(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "History of Windham County, Connecticut .."

4 

9 



university of 

Connecticut 

libraries 



3 T1S3 DDfllbBT? 



ClftCUUVU 



r 



This book paper is highly acidic due to the 
methods and ingredients used in its manufac- 
ture. As a result it has become brittle with age. 
Please handle with care so that information 
will not be lost to future readers. 

A long-range goal of the Library is to pur- 
chase an acid-free reprint or microform copy 
to replace this volume, or to reproduce it in- 
house on acid-free paper. 

Thank you for helping to preserve the Univer- 
sity's research collections. 

- - * • **- *• — 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2009 with funding from 

Boston Library Consortium IVIember Libraries 



http://www.archive.org/details/historyofwindhamOObayl 



HISTORY 

X 



-OF- 



Windham County, 



CONNECTICUT. 



Vv^ITTFI ILLTJSXRATIOMS. 



EDITED BY 

RICHARD M. BAYLE3. 



Land of my sires; — Wliat tnortal hand 
Can e'er untie the filial hand- 
That knits me to tTiy rugged strand.'" 



SCOTT. 



New York: 
W. W. PEESTON & CO. 

1889. 



THIS VOLUME DOES NOT 
■ CiHCUlArE 



f 

65 



Press of J. HENRY PROBST, 
36 Vesey St., New Yopk. 



« * 



iibl^ 




PREFACE. 



The interest which one feels in knowing and preserving the 
record of events connected with his own locality, is both natural 
and commendable. The good citizen must everywhere learn 
that the roots of the present are in the past, and that only by study- 
ing the past can he know the primal circumstances out of whicix 
have grown the conditions by which he is at present surrounded. 
By this study of cause and effect as seen in his local surround- 
ings he is prepared, as every patriotic citizen wishes to be pre- 
pared, to plant more intelligently the "roots which shall secure 
to his local society in the future the richest fruits of prosperity 
and happiness. As our standard of intelligence advances the 
interest of the people in their local history increases, and we see 
a constantly growing desire to preserve the story of local events, 
local traditions, and the facts connected with the lives of those 
persons who are or have been conspicuous in the local society, 
and whose influence has given tone and direction to its life, 
character and history. 

The editor congratulates himself and the people of Windham 
county on the fact that in this -work he has been able to bring 
together the labors of many earnest, enthusiastic students of 
local history, crystalized in this compilation, w^here the sons and 
daughters of old Windham and of new Windham may refer to 
them to decide those questions which increasing interest in local 
surroundings will ever thrust upon their attention. It would 
afford him pleasure to acknowledge personally, all and singular 
the favprs and encouragement he has received from generous 
friends while engaged in the preparation of this work. But this 



iv PREFACE. 

pleasure must be foregone, for reasons which are obvious. Be- 
sides the draught which by special arrangement with Miss Lar- 
ned the editor has been permitted to make upon her previously 
published History of Windham County, he has been ably assisted 
in this work by Miss Larned herself, who has prepared specially 
for us a very considerable part of the work. The co-operation 
in important sections of the subject, of Reverend Francis Wil- 
liams and Miss Jane Gay Fuller, will also add greatly to the 
substantial and literary value of the history. 

Asking the charitable forbearance of such exacting critics as 
have never known aught of the difficulties which beset the path- 
way of the editor and compiler of a work on local history, and 
expressing the most sincere thanks to all those who hav'e aided 
him in his labors, the editor closes the work of compilation, 
trusting that its readers may find it as pleasing to peruse as he 
has found it exhaustive to prepare. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



CHxiPTER I. 

GEOGRAPHICAL AND DESCRIPTIVE. PAGE. 

Physical Features. — Location. — Shape and Area. — Subdivisions. — Surface. — 
Rivers and Brooks. — Agricultural and Manufacturing Advantages. — 
Productions. — Manufactures. — Railroads and Transportation. — Old Stage 

ny^A XVoJo-Vif TAron-ons ToT-OT-ns (\f +ha r)^,^or, Ti'ina Tho TTillt-nn SetHf»- 

ments. — Romantic Scenery and Historic Associations. — Geological I'or- 
mation and Resources. — Elevations of Land 1 

CHAPTER II. 

THE ABORIGINAL OCCUPANTS. 

Algonquin Tribes. — Tlie Mohegans. — The Nipmucks.— The Wabbaquassets. — 
Narragansett Claims. — The Quinebaugs. — The Pequot Ascendency. — 
Language and Customs of the Indians. — Their Implements and Arts. — 
Superstitions. — Indian Allegiance. — The Whetstone Country. — Intertribal 
• Warfare. — Avenging an Insult.— Uncas and Owaneco.— Christian Influ- 
ence and the "Praying Indians.'"— Visit of Eliot and Gookin. — King 
Philip's War. — Its Disastrous Effect upon the "Praying Towns." — Unjust 
Treatment of the Indians by the English. — Indian Shrewdness. — Close of 
King Philip's War 10 

CHAPTER III. 

SETTLEMENT. 

First Attempts at Settlement. — The Inter-Colonial Route. — Purchase of Land 
by John Winthrop. — Indian Title and Subsequent Confirmation. — Dis- 
pute as to Colonial Jurisdiction. — Indian Claims Revived. — Land in the 
Market. — Influx of Speculators. — First Lands Laid Out. — Boundary Dis- 
putes with Massachusetts. — Claims of Uncas to the AVabbaquasset Coun- 
try. — Land on the Quinebaug Sold, — Owaneco Appoints James Fitch his 
Attorney or Guardian. — IMakes over to him jMoliegan and Wabbaquasset 
Lands. — Fitch Sells Land to Roxbury. — Joshua Bequeaths Land to Six- 
teen Norwich Gentlemen. — Agreement of the Legatees. — Windham Set- 
tlements Made. — Depression of Improvements under Andros. — Slow 
Progress of Settlement. — Religious and Social Affairs. — Settlement of 
the Disputed Section in the Southeast Part of the County. — Some of the 
Early Settlers. — Early Days of the Quinebaug Country. — Settlement in 
the Whetstone Country and the Volunteers' Land 23 



VI TABLE OF CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER IV. 

EARLY EVENTS. PAGE. 

Windham County Organized. — General Condition of Society. — Valuations of 
Property and Productions. — Public Morals. — Their Houses. — Social Con- 
ditions. — Organization of Courts. — Court House and Jail. — Militia Organ- 
ization and Training. — Woodstock Annexed to Worcester County. — 
Transferred to Windiiam County. — Organization of Probate Districts. — 
Emigrations of Inhabitants. — Colonization to AVyoming, N. Y. — The 
Susquehanna and Delaware Companies. — Settlement of Wyoming 40 

CHAPTER V. 

THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR. 

Military Spirit of the People.— Expedition against Crown Point. — Fasting 
and Prayer by the People at Home. — Eastern Connecticut Regiment at 
Lake George. — Distinguished Sons of Windham. — Defeat of Braddock. — 
Earthquake. — Popular Alarm. — Filling the Ranks with Recruits. — List 
of Soldiers. — Official Honors. — Capture of Fort William Henry by Mont- 
calm. — Enlistments and Names of Recruits. — Sufferings of the Soldiers, 
and of their Families at Home. — First Census of Connecticut in 1756. — 
Population, Valuation, Churches and Schools. — General Progress. 53 

CHAPTER VI. 

THE KEVOLCTIONARY PERIOD. 

Spirit of the People. — Influence of their Leading Patriots, Dyer, Durkee and 
Putnam. — Indignation at the Stamp Act of 1765.— Burning Effigies. — 
Positive Demonstrations. — Treatment of Stamp Agents. — Sons of Liberty 
in Windham. — Popular Outburst in 1767. — Determination of the Peof^le 
against using English Goods. — Closing of the Port of Boston. — Windham 
tlie first to send Relief. — Rough Handling of Royal Agents. — The " Boy- 
cott " applied to an Adherent of the King. — " Windham Boys " noted 
for their Aggressive Patriotism. — Fever Heat of the Public Mind. — 
Alarm from Boston, September, 1774, heralded through the- Towns, and 
answered by Putnam and two hundred Volunteers. — Convention of Del- 
egates at Norwich. — Providing Ammunition. — Preparing for War. — 
Organization of Slilitia. — Unity of Sentiment. — Answering the Call 
from Lexington April 9, 177.'>. — Gathering of Troops. — Windham County 
first to send Troops to the Scene of Conflict. — One-fourth of the Militia 
called out. — Officers of Windham Troops. — Manufacturing Munitions of 
War.— Windham Soldiers at Bunker Hill.— Earnest Work of the Men 
at Home. — Energetic Women help on the Cause. — Windham Soldiers 
after Bunker Hill.— Encouragement at the Withdrawal of British Troops 
from Boston in 1776.-~Mauufacture of Powder, Balls and Guns at 
Home. — More Troops wanted.— At the Battle of Long Island. — Organiz- 
ation of the Troops, 1776. — Tlie " Oliver Cromwell " fitted out. — Depress- 
ing IMonotony of the long continued War. — Windham County Losses. — 
Raising their Quotas. — Massacre by the Indians in the Wyoming Valley. 
— Attempt upon Newport, 1778. — Constancy of Windham Patriots. — 
Self-sacrificing Women. — The Fallen Heroes. — Young Men in the Field. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. Vll 

PAGE. 

— Raising Troops, 1780. — Armies en route through Windham County. — 
Cessation of Hostihties. — Return of Peace. — Dealing with the few Tories. 
— Scanty Pay o^f ihe Soldiei's.— Organization of new Towns. — Adopting 
the new Constitution, 1788. — Windham's Representatives in the Conven- 
tion 60 

CHAPTER VII. 

WINDHAM COUNTY UNDER THE CONSTITUTION. 

Progi'ess after the War. — Inxmigration and Commercial Enterprise. — The lot 
of the Farmers. — Moral and Religious Declension. — Slavery disappear- 
ing. — Remnants of Indian Tribes. — Educational Interests. — ^Teachers. — 
Newspapers. — Social Conditions. — Domestic Customs. — Manufacturing 
Enterprises begin. — The War of 1812. — Party Spirit. — Revival of the 
Patriotic Spirit. — Recruiting. — Organization of Troops. — First Summons 
to Arms, June 21st, 1813. — Another Call in September. — To Relief of 
New London, August 9th, 1814. — On Guai-d at Stonington. — Peace re- 
stored, 1815. — Appropriate Celebrations of the Event : 88 

CTT A T-lTTrTTn TTTTT 

THE CIVIL WAR. 

An Age of Prosperity. — Growth of the Union and Anti-Slavery Sentiment. — 
The Strongest Republican County in Connecticut. — Outbreak of the Re- 
bellion. — County Mass Meeting. — Volunteer Companies Formed. — The 
Uprising, of the Martial Spirit. — Popular Excitement. — Raising the Flag. 
— Recruiting.— Death of General Nathaniel Lyon, — Windham's Interest 
in General McClellan. — Organizations Represented by Windham County 
Soldiers. — Responses to Later Calls. — The Eighteenth Regiment — Work 
of the Sanitary and Christian Commissions at Home. — The Martyrs to 
the Union Cause 99 

CHAPTER IX. 

WINDHAM COUNTY OF TO-DAY. 

Its Towns and their present condition. — Their Population at different 
periods. — Conspicuous Citizens. — Presidential Candidates. — Honored 
Sons of Windham. — State Senators. — Presidents pro tetn. of the Senate. — 
Speakers of the House. —Present Representatives. — The Courts. — County 
Officers. — Literary Associations. — Agricidtiu-al' Society'. — Temperance 
Society. — Temperance Movements. . . 105 

CHAPTER X. 

PUBLIC CHARITIES AND CORRECTIONS. 

The Towns' Poor. — Early Methods of dealing with Dependents.— -Increase of 
Burdens by the French War. — Meagre Fare and Accommodations. — Emi- 
gration and Temperance decreases the Burdens. — Present Costs and Man- 
agement of the Poor. — Children's Temporary Home. — Its Management 
and present successful Work. — The Record of Crime in Windham Coun- 
ty. — Capital Punishment. — Execution of Criminals. — Elizabeth Shaw, 
Caleb Adams, Samuel Freeman, Oliver Watkins. — Other notable Crimes. 
— Jail Buildings. — Their Occupants. — Removal from Windham to Brook- 
lyn. — Official Keepers. — Statistics of the present Jail. IIT 



Vlll TABLE OF CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XI. 

TEE BENCH AND BAR OF WINDHAM COUNTY. PAGE. 

Early Attorneys. — Elisha Paine. — Samuel Huntington. — Jabez Fitch. — Elipli- 
alet Dyer. — Jedidiah Elderkin. — Zephaniah Swift. — Tlioruas Stedman. — 
David Bolles. — Sylvanus Backus. — Daniel Kies. — Other Windham County 
Lawyers of Former Times. — Courts Removed to Brooklyn. — The Wind- 
ham County Bar in 1820. — Chauncey F. Cleveland. — Glimpses of ]Many 
Practicing Attorneys. — William Smith Scarborough. — Lucius H. Rick- 
ard.— Elliot B. Sumner. — Abiel Converse. — Earl Martin. — Edward Ciin- 
dall. — John J. Penrose. — George W. Melony. — Seymour A. Tingier. — Ben- 
jamin S. Wai'ner. — Calvin M. Brooks. — Albert McC. Mathewson. — 
Andrew Jackson Bowen. — John L. Hunter. — George A. Conant. — Arthur 
G. Bill. — Gilbert W\ PhiUips.— Randolph H. Chandler.— Eric H. John- 
son. — Charles E. Searls. — Samuel H. Seward. — Edgar M. Warner. — 
William G. Buteau. — Ebenezer Stoddard. — Louis B. Cleveland. — Thom- 
as E. Graves. — G. S. F. Stoddard. — John M. Hall. — James H. Potter. — 
George Earned. — Simon Davis , 13-8 

CHAPTER XIL 

THE MEDICAL FRATERNITY. 

The first Physicians in the different Towns. — Their influence on Society. — 
Later Practitioners. — Conspicuous Members. — Jonathan Huntington. — 
Albigence Waldo. — Samuel Lee. — Benjamin Hubbai-d. — Elisha Perkins. 
— After the Revolution. — Raising the Professional Standard. — Glimpses 
of tlie Physicians practicing in the early years of the Century. — The 
County Medical Society. — Lewis Williams. — Justin Hammond. — Samuel 
Hutchins. — Charles H. Rogers. — Ernest D. Klimball. — Frank E. Guild. — 
Che^ter Hunt. — David C. Card. — E. D. Card. — Eliphalet Huntington. — 
Charles James Fox. — Theodore R. Parker. — Samuel David. — Oliver B. 
Griggs. — Dewitt C. Lathrop. — Francis X. Barolet. — Gardner L. Miller. — 
Frederic A. Morrell. — Omer La Rue. — Daniel B. Plimpton. — Lowell Hol- 
brook. — Ichabod L. Bradley. — Louis Oude ^Morasse. — Willam Richardson. 
— Levi A. Bliss. — Frederick G. Sawtelle. — Seth Rogers. — John B. Kent. — 
Elisha K. Robbins. — S. P. Ladd. — F. S. Burgess. — Nathaniel Hibbard — 
Henry L. Hammond. — Harvey L. Converse. — James F. Mcintosh. — Jesse 
M. Coburn.— S. C. Chase.— AVilliam H. Judson.- Orin Witter, Sr.— Orin 
Witter, Jr. — Hiram Holt. — William Witter. — Henry R. Lowe. — William 
A. Lewis — Isaac B. Gallup 169 

CHAPTER XIII. 

ANECDOTE AND LOCAL STORY OF OLD WINDHAM. 

The IMystery of Gates.— The Battle of the Frogs.— Revolutionaiy Anecdotes. 
—That Little God Bacchus.- The House the Women Raised.— The Black 
Sheep. — A Character.— •' Tea-total." — Doctor Cogswell and Phyllis. — An 
Old Family of Scotland.— The Story of Micah Rood.—" No blood rela- 
tion of mine." — The Fine.— Story of Abijah Fuller.— Sabbath Breaking. 
— Strong minded Women. — Tne First Locomotive. — Windham Wags. — 
Old Time Pedagogues 205 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. IX 

CHAPTER XIV. 

THE TOWN OF -VVINDHAM. PAGE. 

Geographical Description. — Settlement. — Town Charter and Organization. — 
The Early Settlers. — Laying out the Land. — County Relations. — Early 
Town Officers. — Enlargement of Territory. -^-Settlement of the Elastem 
Quarter. — Mechanical and Commercial Trades Introduced, — Division of 
Town and Formation of Mansfield. — Various Phases of Public Interest. — 
Growth of the Northeast Section, called Canada Parish. — Society Organi- 
zation. — Probate Court Established. — Some Prominent Families. — Wind- 
harn made Shiretown. — Attempts at Manufacturing. — Scotland Society 
Organized. — Town Action. — Schools. — Early Taverns. — Pro.=;perity of the 
Town. — Industries. — Under the War Clouds. — Removal of the Courts. — 
Reduction of Territory. — Through the Revolution. — Material Prosperity. 
— Social Innovations. — Roads and Bridges 253 

CHAPTER XV. 

THE TOWN OF WINDHAM (CONCLUDED). 

Employing a Minister. — Building a Church. — Withdrawal of 3Iansfield. — 
Successive Pastors. — The Separate Movement. — Religious Declension. — 
The Father of President Cleveland. — Gradual Dissolving of the Town 
Church into the Windham Centre (local) Church.— Schools of the Town, 
—Early Newspaper. — Old-time Taverns.— Manufacturing Begun. — Gun- 
powder, Silk and Paper. — Windham Centre. — (Cemetery. — Congregation- 
al, Episcopal and Baptist Churches. — South Windham. — Manizfacturing 
Enterprises. — Congregational Church. — North Windham. — Manufactor- 
ies. — Church, Cemetery and School.— BiogTaphical Sketches 279 

CHAPTER XVI. 

WILLIMANTIC. 

General Description. — Communication with the World. — Some Public Feat- 
ures. — Retrospect of Haifa Century. — Early Stages of the Cotton Mill In- 
dustries. — Starting of the Windham and Smithville Companies. — First 
Steps of the Linen Company's Plant. — Early Builders of the Village. — 
The Post Office. — Incorporation of the Borough. — Fire Companies and 
Engines. — Fire Department. — Destructive Fires. — Water Works. — Public 
Schools. — 'Libraries. — Churches : Congregational, Baptist, jMethodist, 
Catholic, Episcopal, Spiritualist, Mission Hall, Camp fleeting. — Growth 
of IManufacturing.— Windham Company. — Smithville Company. — Linen 
Company. — Holland Silk Company. — Morrison Company. — Chaffee & 
Son. — Turner Silk Mill. — Natchaug Silk Company. — Foundry.— Builders 
and Other Manufacturers. — Board of Trade, — Cemeteries.— Masonic His- 
tory. — Benefit Societies. — Banks. — Buildings. — Newspapers, Printing 
and-^Wood Type, — Biographical Sketches 310 

CHAPTER XVII. 

THE TOWN OF HAMPTON. 

Beautiful Scenery. — Location and Description. — Settlement. — A Part of Wind- 
ham. — Organized as Canada Parish. — Its Historic Hills. — As Windham 



X TABLE OF CONTENTS. 

PAGE. 
Village. — Constituted a Town. — Facts and Figures. — Bridges. — Pound. — 
Poor Dependents. — Town Business. — Heroic Women of the Revolution. — 
Military Matters. — Business Activity. — ^Manufacturing Pi'ojects. — Tiie 
Railroad. — School Matters. — The Town Church. — Baptists. — Abbe-ites. — 
Christ-ians. — Roman Catholic Church. — Library. — Little River Grange. — 
Mills and Manufactories. — Biographical Sketclies 372 

CHAPTER XVin. 

THE TOWN OF SCOTLAND. 

Description. — Original Connection. — First Settler. — Early Attractions. — Set- 
tlers coming in. — Church Association. — Disquiet in Society Relations. — 
Scotland Society Organized. — Minister Employed and a Meeting House 
Built. — Peace and Prosperity. — Tlie Separate Movement. — Separate 
Church. — The Standing Church and the Schools. — Leading Men in So- 
ciety. — Successive Pastors. — Period of the Revolution. — The Congrega- 
tional Church in Later Days. — Universalism. — Business and Industry in 
the Town. — Organization of the Town. — Its Size and Growth. — Illustri- 
ous Citizens. — Present Status. — Shetucket Grange. — Tlie Green and its 
Surroundings 315* 

CHAPTER XIX. 

THE TOWN OF CHAPLIN. 

General Description. — Settlement of the Region. — An Ecclesiastical Society 
Organized. — Town Privileges Obtained. — General Progress. — Manufac- 
tures. — Paper Mills, Lumber Mills, and Manufactories of Wheelbarrows, 
Plow-beams, Spools, Woolen Cloth, Boxes and Shingles. — Schools and 
Teachers. — The Church of Chewink Plains. — A Protestant Methodist 
Church. — Deacon Benjamin Chaplin. — The Congregational Church. — 
Its Successive Pastors. — Biographical Sketches 411 

CHAPTER XX. 

THE TOWN OF PLAINFIELB. 

Description. — Statistics.— Settlement and Settlers. — The Town Organized.— 
Coatiicting Land Claims. — The Gospel iMinistry. — Division of Lands. — 
Indian War. — Settlement of Land Disputes. — Progress of the Settle- 
ment. — An Epidemic. — The Separate Movement. — French Prisoners of 
War.— Town Officers, 1765. — Facilities of Commerce.— Old Tavern. — The 
Poor and the Oppressed. — Emigration. — During the Revolution. — Re- 
vival of ^Business Enterprises. — Increase of ^Manufacturing. — Highways 
and Bridges.— The Ecclesiastical Society and Church.— Congregational 
Church of Plainfield Street.— The "September Gale."— The Separate 
Church. — Quaker Meeting House • ■ • • 4^28 

CHAPTER XXI. 

THE TOWN OF PLAINFIELD {CONCLUDED). 

Plainfield of To-day.— The [Methodist Church.— Union Baptist Church.— Con- 
gregational Church, Central A'illage.— Wauregan, Mills, Congregational 
Church and Village.— All Hallows R. C. Church, Moosup.— Schools of 
the Town. — Plainfield Academy. — Eminent IMen of Plainfield. — Village 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. XI 

PAGE. 

Schools. — Manufactures. — Wauregan. — Moosup. — Central Village. — Ken- 
nedy City.— Plainfield Junction.— The Freshet of 18S6.— Fraternal 
Societies. — Prominent Names of a Former Generation. — Biographical 
Sketches 451 

CHAPTER XXII. - 

THE TOWN OF CANTEEBXJRY. 

Canterbury Geography. — Statistics. — Settlement of the Quinebaug Planta- 
tion, — Major Fitch. — Fitch and Winthrop Conflicting Claims. — Town 
Charter and Organization. — Boundary Disputes. — First Meeting House. — 
Dividing Line Established. — Adjusting Land Titles. — Distribution of 
Common Lands, — Ecclesiastical History. — Separate Movement. — West- 
minster Church and Society Formed. — Restoration of Harmony. — The 
Methodist Churches. — Roads and Bridges. — Accident on the Shetucket. — 
Bridges, Dams and Floods. — Turnpike Projects and Other Highways. — 
Public Education. — Miss Prudence Crandall's School.— General Town 
Progress. — Immigration and Entei-prise. — Westminster Society. — Can- 
terbury Manufacturing. — Canterbury Separate Church. — Baptists and 
Episcopalians. — Packerville Baptist Church. — Packerville Growth.— 
Masonic Lodge. — Biographical Sketches 481 

CHAPTER XXIII. 

THE TOWN OF POMFEET. 

Description, — The Wabbaquasset Country. — Purchase by Roxbury Men. — 
The Mashamoquet Tract.— Blackwell's Purchase.— The Mortlake Patent. 
— The Mashamoquet Purchase Allotted. — Town Privileges Obtained. — 
Indian War.— Settlers and Settlement.— Progress.— The Town Fully 
Organized. — Mortlake Management. — Mashamoquet Proprietors. — In- 
creasing Popiilation. — Prosperity of the Settlement. — Good Health of 
the People.— Slow Progress of Mortlake. — Inhabitants in 1731. — Abington 
Society Erected, — IMortlake Transferred to New Proprietors. — Social 
Character of the People. — Business Fluctuations. — Literary Movements. 
— Libraries. — Pomfret Hall. — Schools. — Roads and Bridges. — Improve- 
ments in the Quinebaug. — Great Thoroughfares. — Ecclesiastical History. 
— First Society and Church. — Disturbing Controversies. — Baptist Church. 
— Christ Church. — Quakers. — Methodists. — Roman Catholic Church. — 
Pomfret Landing. — Biographical Sketches 517 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

THE SOCIETY OF ABINGTON. 

Organization. — Settlers. — Schools. — Church Progress. -- Congregational 
Church. — Church of the Messiah.— Second Advent Church. — Libraries. — 
Hall. — Manufacturing. — Charles Osgood 557 

CHAPTER XXV. 

THE TOWN OF BROOKLYN. 

Facts and Figures. — Movement of Settlers. — Richard Adams, — Isolated Set- 
tlers. — Division of Vacant Lands. — The Stoddard Tract. — Heterogeneous 
Settlement. — A Minister Employed. — Organii^ation of "The Society 



Xll • TABLE OF CONTEXTS. 

PAGE. 

taken out of Pomfret, Canterbury and Mortlake." — Becomes Brooklrn 
Parish. — The Town Chartered. — List of Inhabitants. — Business and 
Public Questions.— The County Seat iMoved Here. — Brooklyn Newspa- 
pers. — Putnam and the Wolf. — General Putnam. — Godfrey Malbone. — 
Roads and Bridges. — Manufacturing Enterprises. — School Accommoda- 
tions. — Church History, early and late. — Banks. — Insurance Company. — 
Agricultural Society. — Creamery. — Decline of Manufactures. — Biograph- 
ical Sketches 564 

CHAPTER XXYJ. 

THE TOWN OF STERLING? 

Geographical Description. — The Volunteers' Land. — Settlement as Volun- 
town. — Division of the Land. — Town Privileges. — Presbyterian Cliurch 
Organized. — Lands Laid Out. — Sterling Town Organized. — Meeting 
House Erected. — General Progress. — Public Highways. — School Mat- 
ters. — The Voluntown and Sterling Church. — Line iMeeting House. — 
Sterling Hill Baptist Church. — Other Churches. — Manufacturing. — 
Rocks and Quarries. — Oneco. — Decline of Manufactures. — The Grange. 
— Biographical Sketches 605 

CHAPTER XXVII. 

THE TOWN OF THOMPSON. 

Location, Description, Geology. — Pre-historic Occupants. — The Indians of 
this Region. — Early White Settle; s. — Quinnatisset Hill. — Increase of 
Population. — Land Controversies. — Pattaquatic. — Highways in the Wil- 
derness. — Bridge Building. — Samuel Morris. — Early Attempt to secure • 
Town Privileges. — Second or North Society of Killingly. — Thompson 
Parish. — Land west of the Quinebaug annexed. — Building the Meeting 
House. — Religious Worship Established. — Military Company. — Non-resi- 
dent Land-owners. — Various Improvements. — Schools. — Town Affairs. — 
The French War.— The Old Red Tavern.— Business and Finance.— The 
Revolutionary Period. — Quadic Shipyard. — Petitions for Town Priv- 
ileges 624 

CHAPTER XXVIII, , 

THE TOWN OF THOMPSON (CONTlNrED). 

Organization. — Affairs of the Body Corporate. — Foreign Trade and Traffic. — 
Highways. — Thompson Turnpike. — Fourth of July Celebration. — Pro- 
tection against Small-pox. — General Progress. — New Town Scheme.— 
The Civil War. — Temperance Sentiment. — Modern Improvements. — 
Town Expenses and Government. — The Public Schools. — First Church 
of Thompson. — First Baptist Church. — Baptist Church of Thompson 
Hill. — Methodists at West Thompson. — Fisherville Methodist Church.— 
East Thompson Methodist Church 647 

CHAPTER XXIX. 

THE TOWN OF THOMPSON (CONCLUDED). 

Manufactures. — The Swamp Factory.— Fisherville Factory. — Water Priv- 
ileges. — Grosvenor Dale, Masonville. — North Grosvenor Dale. — Clianges 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. Xlll 

PAGE. 

Wrought by the Manufacturing Interests. — Catholic Churches. — The 
Swedish Church of Grosv^nor Dale. — Connecticut Manufacturing Com- 
pany. — The " Brick " Factory.— West Thompson. — MechanicsvUle. — Qua- 
dic Manufacturing Conapany. — Brandy Hill. — The Northeast Section. — 
Wilsonville. — New Boston. — Thomp?on Tillage. — A "Boom" to Thomp- 
son Hill. — Old-Time Taverns. — Social Customs. — Raih-oad Opening. — 
Thompson Bank. — Fire Engine Company. — Some Prominent People. — 
Summer Inhabitants. — The Sons of Thompson. — Thompson Grange. — 
Biographical Sketches. . 683 

CHAPTER XXX. 

THE TOWN OF PUTNAM. 

Incorporation and General Description. — Early History. — First Settlers. — 
West of the Quinebaug. — The South Neighborhood. — Early Improve- 
ment of Water Privileges. — Roads and Bridges. — The Stone Mills. — 
Early Homestead Residents. — The French War. — The Revolution. — After 
the War. — Cargill's Mills. — Quinebaug High Falls. — Educational and Re- 
ligious. — Klillingly Hill. — Beginning of Cotton Manufacturing. — Pomfret 
Factory. — During the War of 1812. — Residents and Managers of the Fac- 
tory. — Rhodesville. — Building up of Additional Factories. — Rival and 
Conflicting Interests of Three Adjoining Towns. — Various Propositions 
and Controversy. — Organization of the new Town of Putnam 749 

CHAPTER XXXI. 

THE TOWN OF PUTNAM (CONCLUDED). 

Officers and Statistics. — Layout of Roads and Naming Streets. — Establish- 
ment of Churches. — Baptist Church. — Congregational Church. — Metho- 
dist Church. — Catholic Church. — Episcopal Church. — Advent Christian 
Church. — Other Religious Societies. — Schools. — Cotton Manufactures. — 
Pomfret Factory Woolen Co. — Silk Manufactures. — Shoe Manufacture. — 
Artisans and Mechanics.— Business Men's Association. — Village Develop- 
ment. — ^Various Manufacturing Enterprises. — Creamery. — Water Works, 
— Commercial Ho\ises.— Business Blocks. — Hotels. — Banks.— Fire Depart- 
ment. — Fraternal Societies. — Celebrations. — Temperance Movements. — 
' Library Association. — Newspapers. —Orchestral Music. — Antique Art 
Loan Exhibition. — Village Cemetery. — Other Burial Grounds. — Old Kill- 
in gly Hill, now Putnam Heights. — East Putnam. — Its Local Institu- 
tions. — Biographical Sketches 778 

CHAPTER XXXIL 

THE TOWN OF WOODSTOCK. 

General Description and Geology. — Aborigines. — Visit of Eliot and Gookin. — 
The Narragansett War. — New Roxbury Colony.— Incorporation as Wood- 
stock and Subsequent Events. — Indian Troubles. — Important Changes. — 
Final Division of Roxbury's Half of Woodstock. — Second. Meeting House. 
— Ministerial Troubles. — Indian Alarms. — Land Divisions. — Worcester 
County Erected. — Early Schools. — Controver.«y with Colonel Chandler. — 
Settlement of West Woodstock. — Precinct Organized. — Building of Meet- 
ing House. — Organization of Churcli. — Woodstock's Revolt. — Contest 
between Massachusetts and Connecticut.— Cliurch Division. — Various 
Town Affairs 831 



/ 



XIV TABLE OF CONTENTS. 

CHAPTEE XXXnL 

^ * - *• THE TOWN OF WOODSTOCK (CONCLUDED). PAGE. 

Early Industries. — Manufacturing. — Decline of Manufacturing. — Agriculture. 
— Woodstock Agricultural Society. — Senexet Grange. — Theft Detecting 
Society. — Woodstock Academy. — Chiu^ch on Woodstock Hill. — The Sec- 
ond Church. — Baptist Chvirches. — East Woodstock Church. — Methodism. 
— Universalist Church. — Advent Christian Church. — Present Condition. 
— Public Celebrations. — Biographical Sketches. 876 

CHAPTER XXXIV. 

THE TOWN OF KILUNGLY. 

Location and Description. — Original Killingly. — The Whetstone Country. — 
First Proprietors. — Attempts at Settlement. — Bounds and Claims, — Set- 
tlers and Settlement. — The Town Organized. — LocaUties.— Counterfeit- 
ers. — General Progress. — Taking Care of the Poor. — Highways. — Early 
Manufactuiing. — Prosperity of Manufacturing Interests. — The Gospel 
Ministry. — Meeting House Controversy. — The Second Society formed. — 
South KHlingly Church 931 

CHAPTER XXXV. 

THE TOWN OF KILLINGLY (CONCLUDED). 

Cliestnut Hm.— Baptist Churches.— Cottoti :klills.— Elliottville Mills.— Elm- 
ville Mills.— Attawaugan Mills.- M. E. Church.- Ballouville.— Dayville. 
— Manufactories. — Churches. — Societies. — WilUamsville. — The Borough 
of Danielsonville, — Public Works. — Great Freshet.— Schools. — Churches. 
— Banks. — Music Hall. — Manufacturing Establishments. — Masonic and 
other Societies. — Newspapers. — Biographical Sketches 948 

CHAPTER XXXVI. 

THE TOWN OF ASHFORD. 

The Wabbaquasset Country. — Land Speculators. — Settlement of Ashford. — 
Major Fitch. — James Corbin. — New Scituate. — The Town Established. — 
Titles Confirmed. — Common Proprietors. — Land Controvei-sies. — Civil 
Disorder. — L-Iilitary Company. — Population and Growth. — Public Morals 
ajKi Order. — Growth of the Settlement.— Early Town Officers. — Land 
Title War. — Days of the Revolution. — Visit of President Washington. — 
Post Office, Taverns and Pi-obate Court. — Honored Sons. — Roads and 
Bridges.— Schools. — Ecclesiastical History. — Fu-st Chm-ch. — The Great 
Revival and the Separates. — We.-tford Congregational Church. — Meet- 
ing Houses and Ministers. — Firot Baptist Church. — Eminent Men of 
Westford.— Baptist Church of Westford. — Manufacturing in Westford. — 
Warrenville Baptist Church. — Manufacturing and Business at Warreu- 
vLUe. — Eminent Sons of Ashford. — Babcock Library and Band. — Bio- 
graphical Sketch 990 

CHAPTER XXXVII. 

THE TOWN OF EASTFORD, 

Location and Description. — Organized as an Ecclesiastical Society. — Cotton 
Mills. — Search for Gold. — Latham Twine Mill. — Smith Snow. — Crystal 
Lake. — Factories of Eastford Village, — Cotton and Woolen, Wagon 






TABLE OF CONTENTS. XV 

- PAGE. 

Wheels, Leather, Boots and Shoes, Axes and Hatchets, Carriages, 
Scythes, Plow Etandles and Beams, Bobbins.— Tovm Incorporation. — 
Communication. — Honored Sons. — Congregational Church. —The Society 
of North Ashford. — The Methodist Church.— Slinisters and Teachers,— 
The "Church of Bacchus." — Creamery. — Biographical Sketch... 1027 

. CHAPTER XXXYin. 
Personal Paragpraphs. ..1042 



PORTRAITS. 

Aldiich, David L 468 

Aldrich, Edward. 720 

Arnold, WUHam S 815 

Atwood, James S. • •..■..... 470 

Atwood, William A •••'.• • • ■ ■ • • • 982 

Babcock, WiUiam S ...-'. 471 

Baldwin, Lloyd E. , ... ... . . . . . ... ... ... 365 

Bartholomew, William I ...^ 550 

Bates, Ambrose H 620 

Bates, Gustavus D 817 

Bates, Jerome E - 721 

Beebe, William S. 722 

Bishop, Ebenezer . . 909 

Bowen, Stephen O 1040 

Briggs, Lucius 728 

Buck, George 816 

Bugbee, Edwin H 984 

Burgess, Frank S 195 

Card, David C 182 

Carpenter, Elisha 146 

Carpenter, John A 818 

Chaffee, J. Dwight 367 

Child, Abel 910 

Cleveland, Edward Spicer 389 

Converse, Abiel 150 

Converse, Elisha S 782 

Converse, James W , 730 

Cranska, Floyd 472 

Dean, Ezra ..... 912 

Elliott, Henry 734 

Evans, Thomas J 986 

Fox, John 819 

Fuller, Lucius H 820 

Green, Marquis 913 

Greene, Albert C 473 

Greenslit, David 390 

Griggs, David A 424 

Grosvenor, William 736 

Haskins, Rufus T 407 

Hatch, Jonathan 306 

Holt, George W., Jr 822 

Hopkins, Timothy E 987 



XVI TABLE OF CONTENTS. 

. PAGE. 

Hutchins, Joseph 474 

Jillson, William C 368 

Knowlton, Danford 1024 

Lamed, Ellen D 714 

Lincoln, Edgar S 425 

Lyon, WiUiani, 4th 914 

McClellan, John 915 

Manning, James W 824 

Mathewson, Rufus S , , 552 

May, Charles H. 916 

Messenger, Frank M 739 

Miller, Gardner L 188 

Milner, Edwin '. 476 

Morse, George M 827 

Morse, Joseph M , 918 

Morse, Milton S 826 

Moseley, Samuel S 392 

Moulton, George S 307 

Murdock, George T , 740 

Murdock, G. Thurston 741 

Nichols, Franklin 743 

Osgood, Charles H 554 

Paine, Almond M. 988 

Palmer, William F. . . . .. 408 ' 

Parker, Alfred M 828 

Penrose, John J 154 

Perry, Oliver H 920 

Phillips, Gilbert W 158 

Phipps, Benjamin F 744 

Pike, James 622 

Putnam, William H. 602 

Ross, William 426 

Sanger, Marvin H ' 514 

Scarborough, George 604 

Seai-ls, Charles E .-. . . 160 

^ Smith, Guilford 308 

^Spalding, Chandler A 830 

Sprague, Samuel B^ 410 

Stanton, Avery A " 623 

Stranahan, J. S. T 478 

Thayer, Charles D 745 

Towne, Marcus F. 746 

Warner, Alexander 556 

Westcott, Henry 989 

Williams, Francis 423 

Witter, William C 370 

Wood, Darius 5l6 

VIENA/S, ETC. 

Map of Windham County 1 

Residence of George Lothrop Bradley 704 

The " Ben-Grosvenor " 710 




ill] 
CONNECTICUT. 



W. W. PRESTOS & CO., 
■Pti'blisliers. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 



CHAPTER I. 



GEOGRAPHICAL AND DESCRIPTIVE. 



Physical Features. — Location. — Shape and Area. — Subdivisions. — Surface. — 
Rivers and Brooks. — Agricultural and Manufacturing Advantages. — Pro- 
ductions. — Manufactures. — Railroads and Transportation. — Old Stage and 
Freight Wagons. — Taverns of the Olden Time. — The Hilltop Settlements. — 
Romantic Scenery and Historic Associations. — Geological Formation and 
Resources. — Elevations of Land. 



WINDHAM COUNTY occupies the northeastern corner 
of the state of Connecticut, bordering Worcester county, 
Massachusetts, lying on the north, and Providence and 
Kent counties in Rhode Island on the east. New London county 
bounds it on the south and Tolland on the west. Its greatest 
length, from north to south, is twenty-seven miles, and its 
greatest width, from east to west, is twenty-three miles. Its 
north, east and south sides are nearly straight lines, while on 
the west side its territory interchanges offsets with Tolland. 
The greatest variation in the line made by these offsets, how- 
ever, does not exceed six miles. This occurs on the northwest 
corner, where the town of Union makes an advance of about the 
distance mentioned. We may explain that the longest north 
and south line would be drawn from the northwest corner of 
Thompson to the southwest corner of Plainfield, and the longest 
east and west line would be drawn from the northwest corner 
of Windham to the Rhode Island line, about the middle of 
Sterling. 

The county contains an area of six hundred and twenty square 
miles and a population, by the last census, of 43,866. This num- 
ber, however, comprehends the population of VoluntOAvn, then 
1,186, which has since been set off from Windham to New 
1 



2 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

London. The population at present would doubtless still ex- 
ceed that of the census year, since the rapid growth of seYcral 
of its manufacturing villages would, several times make up the 
deficiency caused by the loss of that town. The county as now 
constituted contains the towns of Ashford, Brooklyn, Canterbury, 
Chaplin, Eastford, Hampton, Killingly, Plainfield, Pomfret, Put- 
nam, Scotland, Sterling, Thompson, Windham and Woodstock, 
fifteen in all ; and included in these towns are the incorporated 
borouehs of Danielsonville and Willimantic. 

The surface is rugged and broken. But few spots of level land 
to any considerable extent of area may be found in the county.- 
The most noticeable is the stretch of tolerably level valley that 
extends in a northeasterly and southwesterl)' direction through 
the heart of Plainfield and southern part of Canterbury. This 
covers a length of perhaps ten miles, and, though in some parts 
of the country it would be called decidedly rolling, its character 
is by comparison with its surroundings so nearl}- level that it 
was called by the early settlers the " plains," and so gave name 
to the town of Plainfield. 
r The rugged character of the surface, of which we have spoken, 
while it is opposed to the most felicitous advancement of the 
arts of agriculture, affords two features of great advantage to 
the county, and which are indeed the main sources of prosperity, 
. either realized in the present or expected in the future. These 
are the copious streams and rapid falls, which have invited the 
. numerous manufacturing industries for which the county is 
'C^noted, and the never ending variety and natural magnificence 
of its scenery which have fascinated thousands, and for which 
the county is equally celebrated. Although the hills have no 
regular grouping, yet in general they are cast into ridges run- 
ning north and south, and down the valleys so formed numerous 
streams flow in a generally southward direction. So numerous 
are these streams that hardly a square mile can be found in the 
whole county but upon it may be found a site for a saw mill or 
some more considerable manufacturing enterprise. With a very 
slight exception, in the northwestern part of Woodstock, the 
entire county is drained by the Quinebaug, Natchaug, Willi- 
mantic and Shetucket rivers, the waters of all of which finally 
empty into the ocean through the Thames. 

Along the valleys of these streams the soil is fertile, and upon 
the hillsides in years gone by agriculture was successfully car- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 3 

ried on. This industry, however, has in many parts of the 
county greatly declined, and the agricultural population has 
decreased in numbers, while the manufacturing population in 
the villages has largely increased. The agricultural interests of 
the county are still important. The value of farms, with im- 
provements and buildings thereon, is about nine million dollars, 
and the county contains one hundred and ninety thousand acres 
of improved farm land, divided into three thousand farms. It is 
estimated that these farms annually produce about one and a 
half million dollars worth. The most important of these pro- 
ductions are annually about 180,000 bushels of Indian corn, 
140,000 bushels of oats, 275,000 bushels of potatoes, 50,000 tons 
of hay, 20,000 bushels of buckwheat, 17,000 bushels of rye, 4,000 
bushels of barley and about $15,000 worth of orchard fruit. The 
dairy products consist of about three hundred and fifty tons of 
butter and eighty tons of cheese. In the last mentioned product 
it exceeds any other county in the state except Litchfield. There 
are employed on farms some five thousand horses and about half 
the number of working oxen. The facilities for grazing accom- 
modate about twenty thousand head of cattle, twelve thousand 
of which are milch cows. Sheep husbandry receives some at- 
tention, about seven thousand sheep being kept, and their an- 
nual fleece amounts to twenty-nine thousand pounds of wool. 
About seven thousand hogs are annually fattened. The forest 
growth of the county is considerable. Besides wood for various 
manufacturing purposes considerable lumber, including shingles, 
is obtained from the forests which cover large areas of the hills. 
The most common kinds of wood are the hickory, oak, elm, 
beech, pine and other trees. 

The largest river of the county is the Quinebaug. This rises 
in Worcester county, Mass., and flowing the entire length of 
this county, joins the Shetucket in New London county. Its 
course is through the eastern part of Windham county, where it 
forms the entire western boundary of Killingly and the eastern 
boundary of Brooklyn, as well as partial boundary of Plainfield, 
Canterbury, Pomfret and Putnam. In its course through the 
county it receives numerous tributaries, the most important of 
which are Muddy brook from Woodstock, the Assawaga or Five 
Mile river from Thompson, Putnam and Killingly, the Masha- 
moquet from Pomfret, Blackwell's brook from Brooklyn, and the 
Moosup river from Plainfield and Sterling. The western part 



4 HISTORY OF WIXDHAM COUNTY. 

of the county is drained by the Natchaug river, which receives 
the waters of several brooks from Ashford, which form Mount 
Hope river, as well as several other branches from Woodstock, 
Ashford and Chaplin. The Natchaug joins the Willimantic a 
short distance east of the village of the latter name, and the 
union thus formed takes the name Shetucket. Little river, 
draining Hampton and the west side of Canterbury, flows into 
the Shetucket beyond the limits of the county. These streams 
afford power for a large number of manufacturing establishments 
of various kinds and magnitude, from the large cotton, silk and 
thread mills, employing hundreds of operatives, down to the 
Woodside saw mill tended by a single pair of hands. 

Windham county has extensive manufactures of cotton,woolen, 
silk and linen thread, besides various other kinds. The last 
census shows 288 establishments engaged in this branch of in- 
dustry. The capital employed in manufacturing was $14,026,975. 
The number of operatives employed in these establishments was 
4,789 men, 3,296 women, and 1,643 children and youth under the 
ages of sixteen years for males and fifteen years for females. 
The total amount of wages annually earned by these operatives 
was $2,607,418. The value of material used was $7,951,403 ; and 
the value of products annually finished was $14,022,290. The 
principal manufacturing villages are Willimantic, Danielsonville 
and Putnam. The villages of Moosup, Central Village, Wauregan, 
Dayville and North Grosvenor Dale are also prospering under 
(^ the stimulus of this industry. 

The county is fairly supplied with railroad facilities, especi- 
ally through the central, southern and eastern parts. i\n ex- 
ception to this rem.ark must be made for the northwestern part. 
The towns of Woodstock, Eastford and Ashford are not touched 
by any railroad. The same is true of Brooklyn, though it is 
almost surrounded by railroads but a short distance beyond its 
borders. Canterbury, Scotland and Chaplin each have a railroad 
cutting across a corner of the town. Altogether the county 
is traversed by about one hundred miles of railroad line. The 
New York & New England railroad traverses the county 
diagonally from the southwest corner to the northeast corner, a 
distance of about thirty-five miles. This is a well equipped, 
double track railroad. The Norwich & Worcester railroad 
traverses the eastern part of the county, from north to south, 
making a length within the county of twenty-eight miles. The 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 5 

Hartford & Providence railroad crosses the southeastern cor- 
ner of the county, making within it a distance of thirteen miles. 
The New London Northern railroad has about seven miles of 
its length in the southwest corner, and the Stockbridge railroad 
has about five miles of its line in the northeastern corner. 

It is largely to these railroad facilities that the present pros- 
perity of the county is due. A native writer of prominence says : 
" Modern Windham dates its birth from the first whistle of the 
steam engine. That clarion cry awoke the sleeping valleys. 
Energy, enterprise, progress followed its course. At every stop- 
ping place new life sprung up. Factory villages received im- 
mediate impetus, and plentiful supply of cotton. Larger manu- 
facturing enterprises were speedily planned and executed, for- 
eign help brought in ; capital and labor, business and invention 
rushed to the railroad stations ; innumerable interests and in- 
dustries developed, and in less than a score of years the county 
w^as revolutionized. The first had become last and the last first. 
The turnpike was overgrown, stage coach and cotton team had 
vanished, the old hill villages had lost the leadership, and new 
railroad centers held the balance of power and drew to them- 
selves the best bio 3d and energies of the towns." 

The Norwich & Worcester railroad was commenced in the 
year 1 835, and was opened for traffic here in the early part of 1839. 
The Hartford & Providence railroad was completed as far as 
Willimantic and opened for use December 1st, 1849. That por- 
tion of the road which extends eastward from the latter point to 
Providence was completed and opened for use October 2d, 1854. 
The New York & New England main line, a later enterprise, 
was completed between Willimantic and Putnam in 1872, and 
opened for use in August of that year. 

Before the advent of railroads raw material was brought into 
the county, and the manufactured products sent out by means 
of heavily loaded teams hauling long distances over the numer- 
ous turnpikes and public roads which were then much frequented 
thoroughfares, but are now many of them almost deserted roads. 
Great lines of travel for stage coaches, mail routes and hauling 
goods from Boston to Hartford and New York, and from Provi- 
dence to Hartford, and from Worcester to Norwich and New 
London, lay through this county. These roads in those days 
presented scenes of considerable activity. Heavily loaded wagons, 
sometimes with eiarht draft horses before a single wagon, made 



6 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNT W 

a business of hauling goods back and forth and were constantly 
on the road. The principal manufacturing village of this county 
Avas then as now Willimantic, and stock and goods were inter- 
changed in this way between that village and the three outlet 
cities of Hartford, Providence and Norwich. The round trip to 
Hartford or Norwich and return was made in two days, while 
that to Providence occupied five days. Three different routes 
were used by the through travel from the eastern cities to Hart- 
ford and New York; a southern one, passing through Plainfield, 
a central one through Windham Centre and Scotland, and one 
more northerly passing through Brooklyn and Danielsonville. 
Then there were other routes intersecting some of the more 
northern towns. 

As might naturally be expected houses of " entertainment for 
man and beast " were frequent all along these routes. These 
old time hostelries were commodious and afforded the means of 
making guests comfortable without much assumption of cold 
formalities. However, it must not be supposed that the enter- 
tainers of those days were such boorish rustics as not to be able 
on occasion to display such dignified graces as were appropriate 
to the position. But the material cheer to be found in the well 
supplied table and full stocked bar-room, with the ample accom- 
modations at the barn for their horses, was what the traveling 
public looked for with more interest than graces of manner. 
Many of these old inns remain, in different parts of the county, 
to remind us of the customs of our fathers and grandfathers. 
Very few of them, however, are still occupied as public houses. 
The spacious stables, often capable of accommodating twenty to 
forty horses, which were a necessary accompaniment to these 
houses, have in most cases been removed or are in an advanced 
stage of dilapidation. But whether occupied now as private 
dwellings or half deserted hotels, they have their own several 
memories and legends which are faithfully preserved, and many 
are the noteworthy traditions related by their occupants, of the 
general character of the house, the arrangement of its accom- 
modations, the entertainment of some distinguished guest, the 
■jokes of some regular patron, the enactment of some hair-stiffen- 
ing tragedy, the excessive jubilations of some disciple of Bacchus, 
or the winter night revelries, when the moon was full and " the 
snow was crusted o'er," of the young blood of generations whose 
scattered remnant are now in their decay. A few of these old 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 7 

thoroug-h fares were " turnpikes," and had toll gates upon them, 
while others were public roads exacting no toll. But the toll- 
gate pike, the stage coach, the long line freight wagons and the 
roadside inn are things of the past. 

The main settlements of early date in many of the towns of 
this county are located on hilltops. This remarkable feature, 
while it is not without some advantages, has also its disadvan- 
tages. Among the latter may be mentioned difficulty of access 
from neighboring towns or even the surrounding valleys, a;s 
well as exposure to the cold winds of winter. On the other hand 
the magnificent outlook thus afforded to the residents is a "thing 
of beauty" on a grand scale, and therefore must be a " joy for- 
ever." It is said that those who planned these settlements con- 
sidered such elevated locations more safe from the attacks of 
Indians than valley sites would be. Certainly an approaching 
band of Indians could be more readily discovered from the hill- 
top than from the low ground. But though no such necessity 
for precaution exists at this time, we think it would be with re- 
luctance that the people would remove their homes from these 
commanding sites to the valleys below. These villages are of 
the true New England type. A wide street, which might with 
more propriety be called a lawn, is lined on either side with 
comfortable and commodious dwellings, sufficiently separated 
to eive each some sense of retirement. Shade trees that have 
grown to massive proportions wave in luxuriant stateliness over 
broad stretches of the greenest and smoothest lawn, that lie on 
either side of the beaten roadway. In the central part of the 
village this velvet lined street widens into a sort of public 
square, of the same green carpeting and under the same canopy 
of dark foliage. Here one or two churches and sometimes a 
town hall appear. Looking from the immediate surroundings, 
which seem too pure and guileless and restful — like a hallowed 
Sabbath crystalized into living realization — to come into contact 
with the contaminating arts and usages of trade and business, 
the prospect as the eye sweeps almost the circle of the horizon, 
is one Avhich the citizens of many sections of our country would 
make long pilgrimages to see. The most elaborate description 
of the distant objects — winding stream, darkening vale, hillside 
woods, cultivated farms, nestling cottages, factory village and 
mill, railroad trail through cut or over embankment, moving 
trains, tell-tale church spires, and numberless other points upon 



8 HISTORY OF WIXDHAM COUNTY. 

which the eye rests as we sweep the circle, all of which are 
half enshrouded in the mist of distance, that distance which 
"lends enchantment" — the most elaborate description of all 
these, we say, cannot give the charming and inspiriting im- 
pression which this cycloramic view inspires. 

Abounding as it does, in some of the most enchanting scenery 
that picturesque New England can present, the local story and 
circumstance and character of its people, of former as well as 
present generations, are no less full of enrapturing interest. 
The part that Windham has played in affairs concerning the 
state and nation has ever been an honorable one, and the sons 
of Windham have inscribed their names high among those 
whom Columbia delights to honor. Well may those whose 
nativity is here be proud of their honorable birthright, and 
those who at later periods have made this count}^ their home 
may safely feel that they have gained a place in a grander so- 
ciety than that to which men aspired in ancient times when 
" with a great price " they purchased the liberty of Roman citi- 
zenship. 
, The geological resources of this county are not rich. The 

/valuable minerals which add to the wealth of many sections in 
the central and western parts of the state are almost entirely 
wanting here. The surface is of secondary formation, and con- 
tains no minerals such as are found in the ranges of trap rock 

I which pass through the central and western parts of the state. 
It may be that underlying the surface formation at considerable 
depth there are layers of red sandstone or freestone such as ap- 
pear on the borders of and underlying the trap ranges along the 
valley of the Connecticut river. It is not probable that coal 
formation exists at all beneath the surface of this county. Widely 
differing from the ridges of western Connecticut, so rich in their 
varied deposits of building stone, micaceous slate, copper, lead, 
silver, bayrites, hydraulic lime,. cobalt, hematite iron ore, monu- 
mental limestone, slate and marble, this whole section is granitic 
and metamorphic, and is thrown into gentle and sometimes 
rugged hills which are capable of cultivation to their very sum- 
mits. Clay, suitable for the manufacture of bricks, is found in 
different parts of the county, and this is being worked to some 
extent, especially in the valley of the Quinebaug. In the valleys 
may be seen evidences of glacial action, and immense drift de- 
posits. One of the most curious examples of this kind may be 



^ HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 9 

seen in the valley just northeast of Hampton hill, where an 
almost perfect dome of earth an acre or more in extent rests 
upon the bosom of the deep valley, plainly showing that it was 
deposited there by the settling of a glacial burden beneath the 
flood of pre-historic waters, and then its sides were .smoothed 
and rounded by the action of those waters as they receded. This 
mound is now beautifully occupied as a burial place for the dead. 
The azoic rocks, which are of granitic or gneissoid character, 
are with very few and inconsiderable exceptions, buried many 
feet beneath the surface with these drift deposits. 

The general trend of these hills and valleys is north and south, 
though they are in many places so very irregular as hardly to 
have any perceptible uniformity in this respect. They are gen- 
erally composed of sand, varying in fineness, gravel and coarser 
stones, all of which bear evidences of attrition with water. In 
some of the valleys a loamy soil appears, and as we have pre- 
viously stated beds of clay are found in some places. These 
hills rise to a height of from fifty to three hundred feet, and 
their western slopes rise gradually from the average level, while 
their eastern slopes are generally more decidedly abrupt and 
sometimes precipitous. 



CHAPTER II, 



THE ABORIGINAL OCCUPANTS. 



Algonquin Tribes. — The Mohegans. — The Nipmucks. — TheWabbaqua^setf. — Nar- 
ragansett Claims. — The Quinebaugs. — The Pequot Ascendency. — Language 
and Customs of the Indians. — Their Implements and Arts. — Superstitions. — 
Indian Allegiance. — The "Whetstone Country. — Intertribal Warfare. — Aveng- 
ing an Insult.— Uncas and Owaneco. — Christian Influence and the " Praying 
Indians." — Visit of Eliot and Gookin. — King Philip's War. — Its Disastrous 
Effect upon the " Praying Towns." — Unjust Treatment of the Indians by the 
English. — Indian Shrewdness. — Close of King Philip's War. 



WHEN our eyes look abroad over the beautiful scenery 
which has been made still more beautiful by the arts 
of civilized man, it is but a natural instinct that 
prompts us to inquire what were the conditions under which 
civilization was planted here, and what was the social condition 
w^hich preceded it. We know that but a short quarter millennium 
has passed since the country now occupied by grand old Wind- 
ham county was the home and undisputed domain of the un- 
lettered savage. But where he had come from, or how long he 
had occupied these commanding hills and graceful valleys, or 
whom he had supplanted, or what had been the vicissitudes of 
his weal and woe in the dim and distant past, were questions 
that evoked no response beyond their own echoes. The story 
of human love and hatred, hope and despair, success and failure, 
which made up the lives of those who had for unknown cen- 
turies occupied these hills and valleys, brooks and lakes, forests 
and glens, was to the civilized world a sealed book, which noth- 
ing but the thunder that shall wake the dead at the last day will 
ever open. But the students of Indian history have expended great 
labor and pains upon the subject, and to them we are indebted 
for the translation of some of the Indian traditions which had 
' well nigh passed into oblivion, from which we may gather ma- 
terial for conjecture amounting to even probability in regard to 
some of the Indian history of the dark period. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 11 

The North American Indians were subdivided into a great 
many tribes of more or less nnmerical magnitude. These were 
scattered over the country with no organized association what- 
ever, and took their names from the natural features of the 
country where they frequented, whether mountain, lake, river, 
bay or island. But from similarity in language and some other 
respects it has been possible to group these fragmentary tribes 
into some show of order in a few great families or nations of 
aboriginal people. Of these the Algonquin tribes were numeri- 
cally the most powerful in America, though others may have 
been superior in warlike vigor and prowess. All the Indians of 
New England were branches of this stock, those of the territory 
occupied by Windham county being generally included in the 
Mohegan tribe, a subdivision of the Algonquin. The Indian 
neighbors on the south were the famous and fiercely warlike 
Pequots, whose sachem held his residence in a large fortress on 
a commanding hill in what is now Groton, thence making fre- 
quent incursions into the surrounding country and retiring to his 
stronghold whenever he could not safely keep the field. To the 
honor of the Mohegan tribe it may be said that they from first 
to last proved friendly to the whites. It is asserted that no other 
Indian tribe in New England can claim this honor. The Mo- 
hegans had gained by conquest a portion of the territory of the 
Nipmuck tribe, to which the Indians of this locality had be- 
longed, and thus the Mohegan jurisdiction was made to corres- 
pond generally with the northern border of Connecticut. The 
Nipmuck Indians were named from the circumstance that they 
occupied land remote from the seashore, in "the fresh water 
country." One of their favorite resorts was the great lake, 
Chaubunnagunggamaug or Chabanakongkomuch, meaning the 
"boundary fishing place." This was recognized as the dividing 
line or bound between the Nipmuck and the Narragansett ter- 
ritory. It lies a few rods north of the present northern boundary 
line of Windham county, and the Nipmucks at one time claimed 
land some eighteen or twenty miles south of it. 

The northwestern part of the present county was called by 
the Indians Wabbaquasset, meaning the "mat producing coun- 
try," on account of the reeds or rushes that grew abundantly in 
some of the marshes. The natives living there, as was usually 
the case, took the name of the locality. This Wabbaquasset 
country was bounded on the east by the Quinebaug river, and 



12 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

extended as far south as a line running northwesterly from the 
junction of the Assawaga with the Quinebaug. 

The hills of this Wabbaquasset countr}^ were then, as now, 
abundant in fertility and famous for their product of maize. 
Some of these friendly Indians, it is said, were among the first 
of the natives of the interior to meet the New England settlers 
at Boston in commercial transactions. It is related that as early 
as 1630 a party of Indians from here, with Aquittimaug, one of 
their number as leader, loaded themselves with sacks of corn 
and tugged it on their backs all the way to Boston to sell to 
Winthrop's infant colony, which happened then to be in great 
need and stood ready to pay a good price therefor. 

The Narragansetts. claimed the territory east of the Quine- 
baug, and at times fiercely contested it with the Nipmucks. A 
quarry of rock which possessed qualities for grinding or sharp- 
ening tools lay in this section near the mouth of a branch of the 
Assawaga which from this circumstance took the name Whet- 
stone brook. This quarry was called Mahumsqueeg, or Mahmun- 
squeeg, which name soon became applied to a considerable 
stretch of land north and south on the east side of the Quine- 
baug, the limits of course being altogether indefinite. 

On the south of Wabbaquasset and Mahmunsqueeg lay the 
Quinebatig country, the principal part of which was the territory 
now occupied by Plainfield and Canterbury. To the west of this 
and covering the southwest part of the county as well as parts 
of neighboring divisions,was an indefinite tract of country bear- 
ing the name Mamasqueeg. 

Some twenty years or more before the settlement of Connec- 
ticut by white men the Pequots had subdued the Quinebaugs 
and Wabbaquassets and assumed jurisdiction over all the terri- 
tory now occupied by Windham county, supplanting here both 
the Nipmucks and the Narragansetts. But their reign w^as to 
be a short one. They in turn were soon supplanted by the su- 
perior forces of English civilization. 

Of the Indians but little is known. They were subject clans 
.of little spirit or distinctive character. They were few in num- 
bers and scattered in location of their favorite residences. The 
most favorable localities were occupied by a few families while 
large sections were left vacant and desolate. Their dwellings 
were poor, their weapons and utensils rude and scanty. They 
raised corn and beans and made baskets and mats. A few rude 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 13 

forts were maintained at different places. They were evidently 
on the decline. 

But little has been preserved of their language or their cus- 
toms. They lived by hunting the wild game upon the land and 
fishing from the lakes and cultivating in a rude way the soil. 
As none of the Indians of the country knew anything of the art 
of working iron or any of the metallic ores, for making imple- 
ments of any kind, they were compelled to supply this want 
with sharp stones, shells, claws of birds and wild beasts, pieces 
of bones and other things of that kind whenever they wished 
to make hatchets, knives and such instruments. These early 
implements were at once abandoned as soon as the Europeans 
came and brought them metal instruments. These were at once 
eagerly sought by the Indians in exchange for skins, corn, the 
flesh of animals or whatever nature had placed at their disposal 
that was of value to the whites. 

The primitive hatchets were made of stone, and were nothing 
more than clumsy wedges about six inches long and of pro- 
portionate width. For a handle a stick was split at one end and 
the stone inserted in the cleft, where it was firmly tied. A groove 
was generally made around the hatchet to receive the jaws of 
the split stick. Some were not handled at all, but were held in 
the hand while being used. Thongs made of sinews of animals, 
strips of skin or perhaps twisted or braided shreds of grass or 
bark were used in the place of cords or ropes to tie with. The 
hatchets were mostly made of a hard kind of rock stone, but 
some were made of a fine, hard, apyrous stone. 

One of the most important uses which the hatchet served was 
for girdling trees. The object in this was to prepare ground for 
maize fields. Trees thus treated would soon die, and then, if 
small trees, they were pulled out, root and branches, but if too 
large for that they were not materially in the way so long as 
they were dead so that their roots drew no sustenance from the 
ground, and their branches, bearing no leaves, could offer no 
shade to the growing corn. In this way they cleared the land 
they used for cultivation, which was done by the use of sharp 
sticks, with which the ground was rudely and imperfectly torn up. 
For the purposes of knives they used sharp pieces of flint or 
quartz or some other kind of hard stone, and sometimes sharp- 
ened shells or pieces of bone. 



14 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Narrow, angulated pieces of stone were fastened to the ends 
of their arrows so as to form sharpened points. These stones 
were inserted in a cleft in the end of their arrows and firmly 
bound in place with fine cords. They were commonl}" made of 
pieces of flint or quartz, but sometimes other hard stones were 
used, and sometimes these were substituted by the bones of ani- 
mals or the claws of birds and beasts. 

For pounding maize they generally used stone pestles, which 
were about a foot long and as thick as a man's arm. Sometimes 
wooden pestles were used. Their mortars were made of the 
stumps or butts of trees, the end being hollowed out by means 
of fire. The pounded maize was a common article of food with 
them. The Indians were astonished beyond measure when they 
beheld the mills erected by the Europeans for grinding corn or 
other grains. When they saw the first windmills they came m 
numbers, some of them long distances, to view the wonder, and 
it is said they would sit for days together observing the mill at 
its work. They were slow to believe that it was driven by the 
wind. Such an assertion was nonsense to them. For a long 
time they held the opinion that the mill was driven by the 
spirits who lived within it. With something of the same in- 
credulity they witnessed the first water mills, but as water is a 
more tangible element than wind they were more ready to ad- 
mit its physical effect in driving the mill. 

The old boilers or kettles of the Indians were made either 
of clay or of different kinds of pot-stone {Lapisollaris). The former 
consisted of a dark clay mixed with grains of white sand or 
quartz and burnt in the fire. Many of these kettles had two 
holes near the upper edge on opposite sides, through which a 
stick could be passed, by means of w^hich the kettle was hung 
over the fire. They seldom had feet and were never glazed 
either outside or inside. Many of the stones used in the manu- 
facture of the implements spoken of were not found in this 
locality but were brought hither from some other part of the 
country, either in the raw material or in the manufactured form, 
some of them perhaps from quite remote localities. 

The old tobacco pipes were also made of clay or pot-stone, or 
serpentine stone. The first were shaped like our common pipes 
of that material, though they were of much coarser texture and 
not so well made. The stem was thick and short, often not 
more than an inch long, though sometimes as long as a finger. 



■HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 15 

Their color resembled that of our clay pipes that have been used 
for a long time. Some of the pipes that were made of pot-stone 
were well made. Still another kind of tobacco pipe was made 
of a very fine, red pot-stone or a kind of serpentine marble. 
These were formed with great ingenuity, were very scarce, and 
were almost never used by any others than the chiefs. The 
stone of which these were formed was brought from a long dis- 
tance and was very scarce. Pipes of this material were valued 
by the Indians higher than the same bulk of silver. The cele- 
brated "pipe of peace" was made of this kind of stone. 

After the overthrow of the Pequots their lands, according to 
custom, lapsed to their conquerors. Uncas, having joined the 
English against the Pequot chieftain Sassacus, now claimed his 
land on the ground of relationship, and to his claim the timid 
Wabbaquassets quite readily yielded, " and paid him homage 
and obligations and yearly tribute of white deer skins, bear skins 
and black wolf skins." With the Quinebaugs Uncas was not so 
successful. His right to their allegiance was disputed by the 
Narragansetts, and for many years the land was in contention, 
Uncas extorting tribute when he could, and the Quinebaugs 
yielding homage to whichever power happened for the time 
being to be in the ascendency. For a time " they had no resi- 
dent sachem and went as they pleased." Afterward they con- 
sented to receive three renegade Narragansetts whom. Uncas 
allowed to dwell among and exercise authority over them. These 
were Allumps [alias Hyems), Massashowett and Aguntus. They 
were wild, ambitious and quarrelsome. They built a fort at 
Egunk hill, another near Greenwich Path, and a third at Wanun- 
gatuck hill, where they were compelled to dwell a whole year 
for fear of the Narragansetts. 

The Whetstone country was also in conflict. Uncas claimed 
that his northern bound extended to the quarry, and his fol- 
lowers were accustomed to resort thither for whetstones, but its 
Nipmuck inhabitants "turned off to the Narragansetts." Nemo 
and Azzogut, who built a fort at Acquiunk, a point at the junction 
of the Quinebaug and Assawaga rivers, now in Danielsonville, 
" carried presents sometimes to Uncas, sometimes to Pessacus." 
The latter was at a time sachem of the Narragansetts, being the 
successor of Miantonomi. This fort was eleven rods fifteen 
inches in circumference, four or five feet in height, and occupied 
by four families. Tradition also marks this spot as an aboriginal 



16 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

battle field, the scene of the only Indian rencontre that is re- 
ported with any fair degree of distinctness. 

The tragedy referred to appears to have developed on this 
wise. The Narragansetts invited their Nipmuck tributaries to 
visit them at the shore and partake of a feast of shell-fish. The 
Nipmucks later returned the civility by inviting the former to a 
banquet of lamprey eels. The shell-fish were greatly relished 
by the Nipmucks but the eels, for lack of dressing, were dis- 
tasteful to the Narragansetts. Glum looks and untasted food 
roused the ire of the Nipmucks. Taunts and retorts were soon 
followed by blows and developed into a free fight, in which 
the visitors, being unarmed, suffered most disastrous conse- 
quences. With such terrible vengeance did the Nipmucks fall 
upon them that only two of their number escaped to carry home 
the news of the massacre. 

The Narragansetts now determined to avenge the blood of 
their fallen comrades. A body of w^arriors was at once dis- 
patched to the land of the Nipmucks, where they found them 
intrenched at Acquiunk, on the east of the Quinebaug. Unable 
to cross the stream that lay between them and their foes they 
threw up embankments and for three days waged war across 
the stream. Many were slain on both sides, but the Nipmucks 
were again triumphant and forced their assailants to retire with 
loss, leaving their dead on the field. The bodies of the slain 
Nipmucks were buried in deep pits on the battle ground, which 
has ever since been known as the Indian Burying Ground. Nu- 
merous bones and trinkets found on that spot give some credulity 
to this legend, which aged Indians took great delight in relating 
to the first settlers of Killingly. 

During the years of settlement of the neighboring country, 
and while attempts were occasionally being made by the strange 
white people to establish themselves in possession of some of 
this land, and while sanguinary conflicts were depleting the 
numbers of the neighboring tribes, the Wabbaquassets patiently 
submitted to the authority of Uncas, and when his oldest son, 
Owaneco, was grown up, received him as their sachem, "their 
own chief men ruling in his absence." In 1670 a new light 
dawned upon them. The influence of the faithful Indian apostle, 
Eliot, reached this benighted region. Young Indians trained at 
Natick went into the Nipmuck wilderness and gathered the 
natives into "new praying towns" and churches. Of seven 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 17 

churches gathered three were in the territory now covered by 
Windliam county. These were Myanexet or Manexet, now the 
northern part of Woodstock, Quinnatisset, now Thompson, and 
Wabbaquasset, now the southeastern part of Woodstock. 

Joseph and Sampson, only sons of Petavit, sachem of Haman- 
nesset, now Grafton, came as Christian missionaries to Wabba- 
quasset, and for four years labored and preached faithfully 
throughout this region. The simple and tractable Wabbaquassets 
hearkened willingly unto the gospel thus preached, and many 
were persuaded to unite in church estate and assume some of 
the habits of civilization. 

They observed the Sabbath, they cultivated their lands, they 
gathered into villages. The largest village, comprising some 
thirty families, was called Wabbaquasset. Its locality has not 
been exactly identified, but it is known to be included in the 
present town of Woodstock, either on Woodstock hill or in its 
vicinity. The teacher Sampson had his residence here, and un- 
der his direction wigwams were built, the like of which were 
seen in no other part of the country. Of the magnitude or ex- 
act location of the settlement of Myanexet we have still less 
knowledge. It is said to have been upon the west side of the 
Quinebaug river in a very fertile country, and comprised about 
one hundred souls. The third settlement, Quinnatisset, is sup- 
posed to have been on Thompson hill and to have been about 
equal in size with the second. These villages and their in- 
habitants were under the care and guidance of the faithful 
Sampson, who held religious services statedly, and endeavored 
to civilize and elevate them. 

In September, 1674, Major Daniel Gookin, who had been ap- 
pointed by the general court of Massachusetts as a magistrate 
over the Prajdng Indians, with power to hold courts and dis- 
charge other similar functions, visited these villages on this 
errand. He was accompanied by J\Ir. Eliot and several others, 
who were deeply interested in witnessing the effects of civili- 
zation and Christianity upon the Indians. The object of the 
visit was to confirm the churches, settle teachers over them and 
to establish civil government. Religious services were held, 
Mr. Eliot preaching in the Indian tongue. On September 15th 
they reached Myanexet, where John Moqua was appropriately 
installed as their minister. Difficulties being in the way they 
did not visit Quinnatisset, but appointed a young man of Natick, 
3 



18 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

called Daniel, to be their minister, the appointment being ac- 
ceptable to the people there. 

The party arrived at Wabbaquasset on the evening of the 15th. 
Here they found a good soil and a ripening crop of corn which 
would yield not less than forty bushels to the acre. A spacious 
wigwam, about sixty feet long and twenty wide, was the resi- 
dence of the sachem, who was inclined to religion and had the 
meetings on Sabbath days at his house. The sachem was absent 
but his squaw admitted them and hospitably entertained them. 
The people were called together, among them Sampson, their 
teacher, and a good part of the night was spent in religious ex- 
ercises and conference. One grim Indian alone sat mute and 
took no part in what was passing. At length, after a great space, 
he arose and spoke, declaring himself a messenger from Uncas, 
sachem of the Mohegans, who challenged right to and dominion 
over this people of AVabbaquasset. " Uncas," said he, " is not 
well pleased that the English should pass over Mohegan river 
[Quinebaug] to call his Indians to pray to God." 

The timid Wabbaquassets quailed at this lofty message from 
their sovereign master, but Mr. Eliot answered calmly, " that it 
was his work to call upon men everywhere to repent and em- 
brace the Gospel, but he did not meddle with civil right or juris- 
diction." Gookin, with the authority befitting his office as 
magistrate, then declared unto him and desired him to inform 
Uncas " that Wabbaquasset was within the jurisdiction of IMassa- 
chusetts, and that the government of that people did belong to 
them, and they look upon themselves concerned to promote the 
good of all people within their limits, especially if they em- 
brace Christianity — 5^et it was not intended to abridge the Indian 
sachems of their just and ancient rights over the Indians in 
respect of paying tribute or any other dues, but the main design 
of the JEnglish was to bring them to the good knowledge of God 
in Christ, and to suppress among them their sins of drunkenness, 
idolatry, powwowing and witchcraft. As for the English, thc}^ 
had taken no tribute from them, nor taxed them with anything 
of that kind." At this the meeting ended and no more was 
heard of the messenger from Uncas. 

On the day following, September 16th, 1674, religious services 
were held at which the people of this and the other two villages 
were present, after which Major Gookin held a court and estab- 
lished civil government among them. Sampson, who was spoken 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 19 

of as " an active and ingenious person, Avho spake good English 
and read well," was approved as teacher among them, and Black 
James was appointed constable. Each was inducted into the 
office to which he was appointed with an appropriate charge to 
be diligent and faithful in their places, and the people were ex- 
horted to yield them proper obedience in the Gospel of Christ. 
He then published a warrant or order, empowering the constable 
to suppress drunkenness and Sabbath breaking, and especially 
powwowing and idolatry, and after giving due warning, to appre- 
hend all delinquents and bring them before authority to answer 
for their misdeeds. For offenses of lesser magnitude he was to 
bring them before Wattasa Companum of Hassanamesset, " a 
grave and pious man of the chief sachem's blood," — but for 
serious offenses like idolatry and powwowing to bring them be- 
fore the magistrate Gookin himself. 

Mr. Eliot, Major Gookin and their party returned the same day, 
being well pleased with the success of the efforts which had been 
made to civilize and Christianize the Indians. Seventy families 
in Windham territory had been brought under the influence of 
these efforts and the results were encouraging to the expectation 
that from this fair beginning light would shine into all the dark 
region around them. 

These hopeful prospects were soon blighted. The Narra- 
gansett (King Philip's) war broke out in the following summer 
and swept away at once the result of years of missionary labor. 
The villages were deserted, the churches fell to pieces and the 
Praying Indians relapsed into savages. The Nipmucks east of 
the Quinebaug joined the Narragansetts, and the f earful Wabba- 
quassets left their pleasant villages and planting fields and 
threw themselves under the protection of Uncas at Mohegan. 
Early in August, 1675, a company of Providence men, under 
Captain Nathaniel Thomas, went out in pursuit of Philip, who 
had just effected his escape to the Nipmuck country, and on the 
night of August 3d, reached the second fort in that country, 
" called by the Indians Wapososhequash " (Wabbaquasset). This 
was on a hill a mile or two south of w^hat is now Woodstock hill. 
Captain Thomas reports " a very good inland country, well 
watered with rivers and brooks, special good land, great quanti- 
ties of special good corn and beans, and stately wigwams as I 
never saw the like ; but not one Indian to be seen." The Wabba- 
-quassets were then serving wath the Mohegans, and aided in 



20 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

various forays and expeditions, bringing in on one occasion 
over a hundred of Philip's men, so that each warrior, at the close 
of the campaign of 1675, was rewarded for his services by "a 
payre of breechis " from, the Connecticut government. 

No battle or skirmish is reported during the war as occurring 
within the present Windham county territory, but it was re- 
peatedly traversed by scouting parties, and companies of soldiers 
were sent at different times to " gather all the corne and secure 
all the swine that could be found therein." In June, 1676, Major 
Talcot went out from Norwich on an expedition through the Nip- 
muck country with 240 English soldiers and 200 Indian warriors. 
They marched first to Egunk, where they hoped to salute the 
enemy, and thence to Wabbaquasset, scouring the woods through 
this long tract, but found the country everywhere deserted. At 
Wabbaquasset they found a fort and about fort}^ acres of corn 
growing, but no enemy. The village, with its " stately wigwams," 
had perhaps been previously destroyed. They demolished the 
fort, destroyed the corn, and then proceeded to Chaubongagum, 
where they killed and captured fifty-two of the enemy. 

In this connection it will be of interest to quote the following 
paragraphs from an article by Reverend Martin Moore in the 
American Quarterly Register for February, 1843. Speaking of 
the Praying Indians in both Massachusetts and Connecticut, he 
sa^^s : 

" Philip's war produced a disastrous effect upon these praying 
towns. He formed a confederacy among the natives for the 
purpose of exterminating the English. He used every possible 
art to draw the Praying Indians into this league. The English 
on the other hand feared that they would turn traitors. The 
praying Indians stood between two fires. Both parties needed 
their assistance, and neither of them dared trust them. The 
number of praying Indians was about 3,000. The whole num- 
ber of English was about 20,000. Philip's confederacy probably 
numbered less. It was quite an object with both parties, who 
were nearly balanced, to secure the praying Indians. The Eng- 
lish were so fearful of them that at the commencement of the 
contest they dared not take them to the war. The general 
court finally removed them to Deer island in Boston harbor. In 
December, 1675, General Gookin and Mr. Eliot visited them. 
' I observed in all my visit to them,' says Gookin, ' that they 
carried themselves patiently, humbly and piously, without mur- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 21 

nmi-in;j or complaining against the English for their sufferings 
(which were not few), for they chiefly lived upon clams and 
shell-fish that they digged out of the sand at low water. The 
island was bleak and cold ; their wigwams were poor and mean ; 
their clothes few and thin. Some little corn they had of their 
own which the court ordered to be fetched from their planta- 
tions, and conveyed to them by little and little ; also a boat and 
man was appointed to look after them. I may say in the words 
of truth that there appeared much of practical Christianity in 
this time of their trial.' One of their number thus bewailed his 
condition to Mr. Eliot : ' Oh, sir,' said he, ' I am greatly distressed 
this day on every side ; the English have taken away some of 
my estate, my corn, my cattle, my plow, cart, chain and other 
goods. The enemy Indians have taken part of what I had ; and 
the wicked Indians mock and scoff at me, saying, " now what is 
come of your praying to God? " The English also censure me 
and say I am a hypocrite. In this distress I have nowhere to 
look but up to God in the heavens to help me. Now my dear 
wife and eldest son (through the English threatening) run away, 
and I fear will perish in the woods for want of food ; also ni}^ 
aged mother is lost, and all this doth aggravate my grief. Yet I 
desire to look up to God in Christ Jesus, in whom alone is help.' 
Being asked whether he had not assisted the enemy in their 
wars when he was amongst them, he answered, ' I never joined 
with thern. against the English. Indeed they often solicited me, 
but I utterly denied and refused them. I thought within myself, 
it is better to die than fight against the church of Christ.' After 
the war had raged for a while the minds of the English were 
.softened toward them. The)^ let them go forth to the war under 
the command of English officers. General Gookin says that 
they took and destroyed not less than four hundred of Philip's 
men." 

" Tradition has handed down to us some anecdotes respecting 
individuals, which exhibit the shrewdness of the Indian char- 
acter. Waban, at whose wigwam at Nonantum Mr. Eliot began 
to preach, was commissioned as a justice of the peace. Instead 
of having a long warrant, needlessly multiplying Avords, as legal 
instruments do at the present day, he was accustomed to issue 
his precepts in a very laconic form. When he directed his war- 
rant to a constable, he simply wrote : ' Quick you catch um, fast 
you hold um, and bring um before me, Justice Waban.' On an- 



22 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

other occasion a young justice asked him what he should do 
with Indians after they had had a drunken fight, and entered 
a complaint against any of their number? His reply was, ' Whip 
um plaintiff, whip um defendant and whip um witnesses.' 

The death of Philip in August, 1676, closed this bloody and 
destructive war. The Nipmucks found themselves almost anni- 
hilated, " I went to Connecticut," said Sagamore Sam of Nash- 
away, " about the captives there and found the English had de- 
stroyed those Indians, and when I came home we were also 
destroyed." The grave and pious Wattasa Companum, enticed 
away by Philip's men, was executed in Boston. Gookin was the 
only magistrate who opposed the people in their rage against 
the wretched natives. The few remaining Nipmucks found a 
refuge with some distant tribes, the Wabbaquassets remaining 
with Uncas at ]Mohegan. The aboriginal inhabitants of the 
future Windham county were destroyed or scattered, and their 
territory opened to English settlement and occupation. 



CHAPTER III. 



SETTLEMENT. 



First Attempts at Settlement. — The Inter-Colonial Route. — Purchase of Land by 
John Winthrop. — Indian Title and Subsequent Confirmation. — Dispute as to 
Colonial Jurisdiction. — Indian Claims Revived. — Land in the Market. — 
Influx of Speculators. — First Lands Laid Out. — Boundary Disputes with 
Massachusetts. — Claims of Uncas to the Wabbaquasset Country. — Land on 
the Quinebaug Sold. — Owaneco Appoints James Fitch his Attorney or Guar- 
dian. — Makes over to him Mohegan and Wabbaquasset Lands. — Fitch Sells 
Land to Roxbury. — Joshua Bequeaths Land to Sixteen Norwich Gentlemen. 
— Agreement of the Legatees. — Windham Settlements Made. — Depression of 
Improvements under Andros — Slow Progress of Settlement. — Religious and 
Social Affaii's. — Settlement of the Disputed Section in the Southeast Part of 
the County. — Some of the Early Settlers. — Early Days of the Quinebaug 
Country. — Settlement in the Whetstone Country and tlie Volunteer's Land. 



IN the early commerce between the colonies of Massachusetts 
and Connecticut a popular route over the land was through 
the region now covered by Windham county. Remote from 
the sea shore, and possessing no navigable lakes or rivers, it was 
perfectly reasonable that this territory should be for a time 
overlooked, or rather that it should be passed by as a goodly 
land for the home-seekers in a new w^orld to locate upon. Ac- 
cessibility by water was to the first settlers an almost absolutely 
essential feature in any site chosen by them for the planting of 
a little colony. But w^e may well imagine that the fertile valleys 
and hills of this beautiful region, and the picturesque attractions 
of the future Windham did not long remain unnoticed. The 
land became known to the English about the year 1635. When, 
about that time, the early colonists began to traverse the " hide- 
ous and trackless wilderness," on the way from Massachusetts 
to the Connecticut river, tradition tells us their encampment 
for the night was on Pine hill in Ashford. A rude track, called 
the Connecticut Path, obliquely crossing the Wabbaquasset 
country, became the main thoroughfare of travel between the 
two colonies. Hundreds of families toiled over it to new homes 



24 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

in the wilderness. The fathers of Hartford and New Haven, 
ministers and governors, captains and commissioners, govern- 
ment officials and land speculators, crossed and recrossed over it. 
Civilization passed to regions beyond but made no abiding place 
here for more than half a century. 

One of the most indefatigable land speculators of that period 
was Mr. John Winthrop. In Massachusetts, in Rhode Island, in 
Connecticut and upon Long Island his tracks may be seen, as, 
first in one locality and then in another, he obtained title more 
or less perfect to the wild lands occupied by the Indians. Here 
in the territory now occupied by Windham county he w^as the 
first Englishman to receive from the natives a deed for an in- 
definite quantity of land. This conveyance bears date Novem- 
ber 2d, 1G53, and purports to have been given b}^ James, sachem 
of Quinebaug, and confirmed by Massashowitt, his brother, and 
also to have been made with the consent, " full and free," of 
Aguntus, Pumquanon, Massitiarno, his brother, and Moas, " and 
all the rest of the chief men of these parts." The confirmation 
by others than James was made on the 25th of the same month, 
the writings being witnessed by Richard Smith, Samuel Smith, 
John Gallop, James Avery and William Weloma. The consid- 
erations named were "great friendship formerly from Mr. Win- 
throp, sometime governor of Massachusetts," the father of the 
grantee, and the fact that the latter had erected a saw mill at 
Pequot. which the grantors consider as a great prospective 
means for developing the forest resources of the country. The 
description of land conveyed was as follows : " the bounds thereof 
to be from the present plot of the Indians' planting ground 
at OuinebauQ;, where lames, his fort is, on a hill at the said 
Pautuxett, and so down towards Shautuxkett so farr as the 
right of the said James doth reach or any of his men ; so farr on 
both sides the river as ye right of ye said James doth reach or 
any of his men, with all the swamps of cedar, pine, spruce or 
any other timber and wood whatever." The name Pautuxett, a 
general name for " falls," here refers to the falls at Acquiunk. 

In the transactions connected with this conveyance we are 
told a Pequot Indian, well known by the name of Robin Cassa- 
minon, acted as interpreter. One of the Indians named, Aguntus, 
was dissatisfied with the transaction and accused James, also 
named Hyems, of " selling land that was not his," and com- 
pelled him, in the presence of Winthrop, to pull off a coat which 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 25 

he had received in payment. Aguntus's dissatisfied spirit, how- 
ever, was appeased by the presentation of " a roll of trucking- 
cloth, two rolls of red cotton, %vampum, stockings, tobacco-pipes 
and tobacco." According to Trumbull there was a small num- 
ber of white families on the lands at the time of the purchase, 
but no trace of them has been recovered. An Englishman had 
attempted to settle in Quinebaug about the year 1650, but was 
driven off by the threat of Hyems, " to bury him alive unless 
he went away. 

Governor Winthrop took great pains to secure legal confirma- 
tion of this purchase. The Narragansetts were precluded from 
prosecuting their ancient claim to this territory by an especial 
clause in the agreement made by himself and John Clarke as 
agents for Connecticut and Rhode Island, concerning the divid- 
ing line between their respective governments, which provided 
that " if any part of that purchase at Quinebaug doth lie along 
upon the east side of that river that goeth down by New London, 
within six miles of the said river, then it shall wholly belong to 
Connecticut Colony, as well as the rest which lieth on the west- 
ern side of the aforesaid river." The general court of Connec- 
ticut in October, 1671, allowed Governor Winthrop his Indian 
purchase at Quinebaug, and gave him liberty to erect thereon a 
plantation, but none appears ever to have been attempted under 
this permission. 

As a result of its border location the territory of Windham 
was long in dispute as to jurisdiction. The northern part was 
for a long time held by Massachusetts. The patent of Connec- 
ticut allowed her territory to extend northward to the head of 
Narragansett river, but the prior grant to Massachusetts re- 
stricted it to the southern bound of the Bay Colony, " three miles 
south of every part of Charles River." In 1642 the southern 
boundary line was run out from a point on Wrentham Plain, 
which was settled upon as being three miles south of Charles 
river, to a point in Windsor, Connecticut, which was really ten 
or twelve miles farther south than the starting point. This was 
the famous Woodward and Saffery's line, and it was maintained 
by Massachusetts as her southern boundary for seventy years, 
even against the repeated remonstrances of Connecticut. By this 
deflection the land now included in Woodstock and Thompson 
belonged to Massachusetts, and as a part of the vacant Nipmuck 
country awaited the action of that colony in its disposal, which, 



26 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

on account of being weakened by the Indian \yar, was delayed 
for several years until she could recover sufficient pioneering 
vigor to take hold of it. 

After the scenes of King Philip's war had closed and quiet 
and confidence were gradually restored, many of the Indians, re- 
covering from the shock of defeat, gathered again around their 
old homes and laid claim to various sections. To adjust these 
claims the general court of Massachusetts in May, 1681, appointed 
William Stoughton and Joseph Dudley, two men of prominence 
in public affairs there, to investigate the basis of Indian claims 
in the Nipmuck country. A hearing was accordingly held by 
them in June, and Mr. John Eliot acted as interpreter on that 
occasion. Black James, the former constable at Chaubongagum, 
now appeared as claimant for the south part of the Nipmuck 
country. The commissioners found the Indians " willing enough 
to make claim to the whole country, but litigious and doubtful 
among themselves." They then adjourned to September, in 
the meantime hoping that some mutual agreement might be 
arrived at. Then they .spent a week exploring the country, at- 
tended by the principal claimants. They reported Black James' 
claim as being " capable of good settlement, if not too scant of 
meadow, though uncertain what will fall within our boimds if 
our line be to be questioned." They further recommended that 
some compensation be made to the claimants and that the latter 
surrender all their lands to the government and company of 
Massachusetts. This advice was accepted and Stoughton and 
Dudley were authorized to negotiate with the claimants and 
enter into an agreement with them upon the best terms ob- 
tainable. As a result of these negotiations the whole Nipmuck 
country from the northern part of Massachusetts to Nashaway, 
at the junction of the Quinebaug and French rivers in Connec- 
ticut, a tract fifty miles long by twenty wide, was, on the 10th of 
February, 1682, made over to the Massachusetts government for 
the sum of fifty pounds. Black James received, for himself and 
some forty followers, twenty pounds in money and a reservation 
of land five miles square. 

This Indian reservation was laid out in two tracts of land, one 
on the east of the Quinebaug at Myanexet, now included in- 
the towns of Dudley, Webster and Thompson ; the other at 
Quinnatisset, now the south part of Thompson. Five thousand 
acres at Ouinnatissei and a large tract at Myanexet, being a 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 27' 

moiety or full half of the whole reservation, were immediately 
conveyed to Stoughton and Dudley for the sum of ten pounds.. 
A deed for this was given by Black James and his associates, 
the native proprietors, November 10th, 1682. These commis- 
sioners, Stoughton and Dudley, thus became personally the first 
white proprietors of Windham's share of the Nipmuck country.. 
Dudley retained for a long time his fine farm on the Quinebaug.. 
The Quinnatisset land was soon subdivided to other pur- 
chasers. 

Such a large tract of country being thrown into the market at 
once incited a rage for land speculation, and capitalists hastened 
to secure possession of favorable localities. June 18th, 1683, 
Joseph Dudley, for two hundred and fifty pounds, conveyed tO' 
Thomas Freak, of Hamington, Wells county, England, two 
thousand acres of forest land in the Nipmuck country, part of a 
greater quantity purchased of Black James. Two thousand acres 
in upland and meadow at Quinnatisset were also made over by 
Stoughton to Robert Thompson of North Newington, Middlesex, 
England, for two hundred pounds, English money. This Thomp- 
son was a very noted person, president of the Society for the 
Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, and a devoted friend 
of the colonies. The land was laid out by John Gore, of Rox- 
bury, under the supervision of Colonel William Dudley, in June, 
1684. This land remained in the family of Thompson for up- 
wards of a hundred years, and the town which subsequently in- 
cluded it was named in his honor. Freak's farm included the 
site of the present village of Thompson. The line dividing it 
from Thompson's ran through an old Indian fort on a hill a mile 
eastwa.rd. Five hundred acres south of Freak's were laid out to 
Gore, and five hundred on the north to Benjamin Gambling, of 
Roxbury, an assistant surveyor. 

These Quinnatisset tracts were not only the first lands laid out 
in the northern part of Windham, but are invested with additional 
interest by their connection with the disputed southern bound- 
ary of Massachusetts. Woodward and Saffery's line crossed the 
Quinebaug at its junction with the French river, and thence ran 
northeasterly to Rhode Island and Wrentham. It was intended 
to make this line the south bound of the Quinnatisset farms, 
but by an unfortunate blunder the greater part of Thompson's- 
land and an angle of Gore's fell south of it, intruding upon what 
even Massachusetts acknowledged as Connecticut territory — an. 



28 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

intrusion which ga.\'e rise to much controversy and confusion. 
No attempt was made b}- their OAvners to occupy or cultivate 
these lands. 

A tract of twelve hundred acres lying between the Ouinebaug 
and French rivers was sold by Nanasogegog, of Nipmuck, with 
the consent of Black James, to Jonathan Curtis, Thomas Dudley, 
Samuel Rice and others, in 1684 ; but other claimants apparently 
secured it. John Collins and John Cotton had each of them five 
hundred acres granted to them by the Massachusetts govern- 
ment, laid out on the east side of the Quinebaug in Ouinnatisset. 
On the south of Lake Chaubongagum a tract of one thousand 
acres was granted to the children of Mr. William Whiting, 
sometime of Hartford. 

In the adjustment of Indian claims Uncas assumed the right 
to a large share of eastern Connecticut. Massachusetts yielded 
to his claim the whole Wabbaquasset country. The tract con- 
firmed to him as the hereditary territory of the Mohegans was 
bounded on the north by a line running from Mahmunsook on 
Whetstone brook to the junction of the Quinebaug and Assa- 
waga at Acquiunk, thence westward to the Willimantic and far 
beyond it. The Wabbaquasset country was held by him as a 
Pequot conquest. It extended from the Mohegan north bound 
far into Massachusetts, and westward from the Quinebaug to a 
line running through the " great pond Snipsic," now in Tolland. 
This large tract was given by Uncas to his second son, Owaneco, 
while the land between the Appaquage and Willimantic rivers 
was assigned by him to his third son, Atanawahood or Joshua, 
sachem of the Western Niantics. The latter died in May, ]676, 
bequeathing the land between the Willimantic and Appaquage to 
Captain John Mason and fifteen other men " in trust for a plan- 
tation." His estate was settled according to the terms of his 
will, the general assembly of Connecticut allowing the Norwich 
legatees the lands bequeathed to them at Appaquage, which, as 
soon as practicable, was incorporated as the township of Wind- 
ham. 

In the year 1679 some of the Mohegan Indians in a drunken 
carousal set fire to the New London county prison and destroyed 
it. The county court in September of that year ordered that 
Uncas and Owaneco should render satisfaction for the damage 
by surrendering their right to six hundred acres of land. The 
general court at Hartford in October confirmed this judgment 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 29 

and ordered the county treasurer, James Fitcli, Jr., to dispose of 
the land. A tract of six hundred acres was accordingly selected 
lying on both sides of the Quinebaug, extending from Wanan- 
gatuck on the north to a brook, now known as Rowland's brook, 
on the south.. This was included in Winthrop's purchase of 1653. 
It was sold for forty pounds to John, Solomon and Daniel Tracy 
and Richard Bushnell, the survey being made in June, 1680. 
A farm south of John Tracy's division, adjoining the river island, 
Peagscomsueck, which gave its name to this section of the 
Quinebaug valley, was given to James Fitch by Owaneco, and 
laid out during the summer of the same year. 

Notwithstanding the general court had allowed Governor John 
Winthrop his purchase at Quinebaug, some nine years before, 
yet in May, 1680, that body ordered that " if Uncas hath right 
to any land about Quinebaug he may make it out and dispose of 
it to his son Owaneco and such gentlemen as he shall see cause. 
Under this sanction Owaneco assumed the right to the whole 
Quinebaug country as well as Wabbaquasset. Swarms of greedy 
land hunters now assailed the Mohegan chieftain, eager to ob- 
tain possession of these lands upon any pretext. Their chief 
friends and patrons were the sons of Major John Mason, the re- 
nowned conqueror of the Pequots, Mr. Fitch, the excellent min- 
ister of Norwich, and James Fitch, his son. 

Uncas was now in the years of his decay and Owaneco was 
drunken and incapable of managing business affairs with pru- 
dence and skill. The latter, however, was induced to consent to 
place his land claims in the hands of the younger James Fitch, to 
act for him as a sort of guardian, and accordingly gave Fitch a 
writing in effect a power of attorney, to dispose of all his lands 
and meadows upon the Quinebaug river, according to his discre- 
tion. This was done December 22d, 1680. By a formal deed of 
conveyance which was further confirmed by the general court of 
Connecticut, Owaneco, in 1684, made over to Captain James Fitch 
also the whole Wabbaquasset country. The Mohegan and 
Wabbaquasset lands were then for the first time surveyed and 
bounded, and their bounds confirmed by the assembly. The 
whole of the territory now embraced in Windham county, with 
the exception of two tracts, was thus placed in the hands of one 
individual, who was destined to play a very prominent part in 
its early history and subsequent development. The two excepted 
tracts above referred to were that of Joshua's, between the Willi- 



30 HISTORY OF WIXDHAM COUNTY, 

mantic and Appaquage rivers, and a strip east of the Ouinebaug 
which had been divided between the colonies of ^Massachusetts 
and Connecticut. 

James Fitch, at first captain, and afterward known as major, 
was a man of great energy, shrewdness and business capacity. 
As soon as he gained possession of this land he threw it into 
the market. Personal interest, as well as the good of the public, 
led him to seek to dispose of these vast tracts to good and sub- 
stantial settlers — to colonies and toAvns rather than to indi- 
viduals and speculators. The northern part of the Wabbaquasset 
tract was under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts, and to a 
Massachusetts company Fitch sold his first township. This was 
the town of Roxbury, which had grown so large that it was con- 
sidered advisable to send out some of its members to plant a new 
town somewhere in the wilderness. Accordingly, after extended 
deliberations and due consideration of the preliminary measures, 
a tract about seven miles square was purchased, and about 
the first of April, 16SG, thirteen pioneers began to break up 
the ground and prepare for the improvement of Xew Roxbury, 
afterward Woodstock. The further particulars in regard to this 
tract will be given in connection with the history of "Woodstock 
in another part of this work. 

Four months previous to the division and distribution of land 
for actual settlement in the upper end of Windham county, steps 
in a similar direction were being taken in the lower end of the 
territor3\ The fact that land here had been confirmed in title 
to Joshua, the third son of Uncas, has already been alluded to. 
By bequest this tract was granted to sixteen gentlemen of Ncr- 
^vich and adjoining towns. Their names were Captain John 
Mason, Lieutenant Samuel Mason, Lieutenant Daniel Mason, 
Reverend James Fitch, Captain James Fitch, John Birchard, 
Thomas Tracy, Thomas Adgate, Lieutenant Thomas Leffing- 
well, John Olmstead, Simon Huntington, William Hide, William 
Backus, Hugh Calkins, Captain George Denison and Daniel 
Wetherell. 

Joshua's will, granting the very extensive tract, which will be 
presently described, was allowed and established by the general 
court of Connecticut in 'May, 1678, and the persons named were 
.allowed to possess all of Joshua's rights in the land, provided 
they should comply with the conditions therein named. Though 
.the legality of Joshua's title to various other tracts conveyed by 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 31 

'ithis will occasioned much subsequent controversy and litigation, 

.'the Norwich legatees secured their portion with little difficulty 
and no apparent opposition. Robin Cassasinamon — governor of 

:the surviving Pequots— was commissioned by Uncas to show 
these men the bounds of their tract, and soon after its confirma- 
tion by the general court he set out with a party of the legatees 
and a surveyor by the name of Bushnell into the wilderness 

'.north of Norwich. Passing through Mamosqueage, a strip north 
of Norwich reserved for Joshua's children, they followed an old 
Indian trail eight miles northward, the trail being known in 
those days as the Nipmuck Path, to a flag meadow which was 

.called Appaquage. Here their bounds were to begin. After 

.encamping for the night, the next morning they struck through 

-the woods ten miles to the Willimantic river, where they spent 
the second night. Thence they followed Robin down the Wil- 
limantic to Mamosqueage. Soon after this priliminary explor- 
ation Bushnell and Joseph Huntington were sent by the lega- 
tees " to measure down eight m.iles from Appaquage, by the said 
Nipmuck Path," which they did, "and marked a white oak at 

;,the end of said eight miles, west side of path." The lines of the 
whole tract were soon afterward run by Simon Huntington, 
Thomas Leffingwell, Jr., and Richard Bushnell, under the direc- 
tion of Uncas. In October, 1681, Captain Robert Chapman, 
Captain James Fitch and Thomas Buckingham were appointed 
administrators of Joshua's estate, and they, during the following 
Avinter conveyed according to the terms of the will, "a tract of 
land lying to the west of Appaquage, east from Willimantic 
River, south from Appaquage Pond, eight miles broad," to the 
legatees whose names have already been given. 

The recipients of this princely gift were all gentlemen of high 

, character and standing. Samuel and Daniel Mason resided in 
Stonington, Mr. Wetherell in New London, and the others in 

. Norwich. The following agreement was signed by the legatees 
February 17th, 1682: 

" I. God willing, plantation work shall be carried on and a 

; town settled within the space of four years, that is to say, we, 

. after the above-mentioned time is expired, will bear all such 
public charges according to our just proportion for the carrying 

• on plantation work. 

" II. Those that find they are not in a capacity to manage the 

„ -several allotments for the carrying on of the true intendm.ent 



32 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

and end of a plantation shall resign up their allotments to such 
wholesome inhabitants as the said company shall see reason to 
admit, upon reasonable and moderate terms. 

" III. We having received the land, and upon a view judge 
that it wall afford an allotment for every thousand acres, accord- 
ing to the distribution made by Uncas (who was appointed by 
the deceased son to act), with some other allotments for public 
uses in the several divisions, first, second, and third of the land 
bequeathed to us. 

" IV. It is agreed that the allotments be laid out in an equal 
manner, every one contenting himself with the place where 
God by his providence shall determine, by a lot drawn for that 
end, and the drawing of one lot shall answer for the home-lot 
and for the first division of upland and meadow. It is also 
agreed that Simon Huntington, William Backus, John Post and 
John Birchard shall lay out the same according to the order and 
manner above specified." 

Three years passed without any material progress being made 
toward the settlement of this large tract. In February, 1685, it 
was agreed to make settlements in three different places, for the 
convenience of lands and meadows. By the following spring 
the surveys and divisions were completed and the land was 
ready for distribution. Beginning at Appaquage— " a flaggy 
meadow," — now at or near the southeast corner of Eastford, the 
boundary line of the tract ran south eight miles, large measure, 
on the west side of Nipmuck Path ; thence due west to the She- 
tucket, running a little south of the present site of Windham 
Green ; thence eight miles northwest, up the Shetucket and Wil- 
limantic, and thence ten miles east to Appaquage. A large part 
of the present territory of Windham, Mansfield, Chaplin, Hamp- 
ton and Scotland townships was comprised in this royal gift, 
which was laid out in forty-eight shares, each containing a 
thousand acres. Each share included a home-lot in one of the 
three villages planned, and portions of meadow, pasture and 
upland in different localities. The three village sites selected 
were the Hither-place or Southeast Quarter, now Old Windham, 
village ; the Ponde-place, at Naubesatuck, now Mansfield Cen- 
tre ; and the valley of the Willimantic, near the site of the pres- 
ent borough of that name. Fifteen home-lots were laid out at 
the Hither-place, twenty-one at the Ponde-place, and twelve at 
Willimantic. Highways were laid out through each village 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 33 

plat and from the Hither-place to the Ponde-place. The com- 
mittee spent five days in making the surveys and measurements, 
and were paid for their services at the rate of three shillings a 
day, but those who ran lines received an extra shilling a day. 

The allotments were made to individuals by drawing, on the 
1st of May, 1686. The common owners were probably all pres- 
ent, either in person or by representatives. Captain John Mason, 
William Hide and John Olmstead, having previously died, were 
represented by their heirs or administrators. It is a fact worthy 
of note that these men assembled on this occasion recognized 
the superi-ntendence of an all seeing Providence, and impressed 
with the thought that this was serious, earnest business, and 
that consequences far greater than they could foresee might 
hang upon the results of their work, did not enter upon that 
work until " after prayer for direction and blessing." They then 
drew lots for their respective portions ; some receiving one and 
some six shares, according to the royal pleasure of Uncas, who 
had ordered the distribution. Three shares were reserved for 
the ministry and other public purposes, according to previous 
agreement. 

The settlement and improvement of this great tract was at 
first slow. This will not seem so strange when we remember 
that the events which we are noticing occurred about the time 
when the status of liberty in the colonies was wavering in the 
balance. Connecticut, like other colonies, was suffering from 
the encroachments of King James. Her privileges were cut off, 
her chaii'ter demanded, and her government assumed by that 
unsavory administrator. Sir Edmond Andross. Under his arbi- 
trary rule attempts at settlement were discouraged. He con- 
sidered an " Indian deed worth no more than the scratch of a 
bear's paw," and would have scouted the right of the legatees to' 
land bequeathed by an Indian chieftain. There is no record of 
any attempt to secure confirmation of title from Andross. It 
was doubtless thought more prudent to wait in silence and in 
the meantime make what few improvements might be practica- 
ble until some turn of political affairs should bring them better 
opportunities. 

Some transfers of title were made among the legatees, but no 

substantial settlement was made until after the restoration of 

charter government in 1689. Captain vSamuel Mason in 1677 

transferred a thousand acre right to his brother-in-law. Captain 

3 



34 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

John BroAvn. In 1686 Captain James Fitch sold a similar right 
to Josiah Standish, of Duxbury, who conveyed the same to Jacob 
Dingley, of Hingham, two years later. May 26th, 1688, Richard 
Bushnell sold to Jeremiah Ripley, also of Hingham, a similar 
share. Daniel Wetherell at the same date sold to Joshua Rip- 
ley an allotment. During the same summer also Calkins sold a 
right to Jonathan Hough, and Backus a right to Hough, Abel 
and Rudd. In this way the different shares and rights began to 
be transferred and their ownership divided and subdivided un- 
til in a short time one who should attempt to follow them would 
find himself in a perplexing labyrinth of titles. 

For many years this tract appears to have been uninhabited 
and unoccupied except as an occasional hunting ground. The 
Indians had left it many years before, and the white settlers 
were slow in improving it. John Cates is said to have been the 
first actual settler upon it. Having bought an allotment of Dan- 
iel Mason at the Hither-place, he built a house upon it in the 
summer of 1689. Some other lots were fenced in, ground pre- 
pared and timber made ready for building during that summer. 
A division of pasture land was also laid out and distributed. 
The second settler is said to have been Jonathan Ginnings, who 
bought land of John Birchard, and took possession in 1690. 
Other settlers soon followed, but it is a fact which may be men- 
tioned as somewhat a curiosity that none of the original lega- 
tees made any actual settlement or improvements upon their 
rights. The nearest to such a thing done by any of them was 
that the share of Reverend James Fitch was improved by his 
son John ; William Backus resigned his rights to his two sons ; 
Huntington's right was made over to a son and nephew ; and 
John Birchard's land was occupied by two of his sons. The 
other legatees sold their rights, in accordance with the compact, 
"to wholesome inhabitants." 

Some improvements were made during the year 1691. Joshua 
and Jeremiah Ripley, John Crane, Richard Hendee, Thomas and 
Joseph Huntington, William and Joseph Backus and John Lar- 
rabee, had broken land, built houses and established themselves 
in the Hither-place. This w^as on w^hat is now the west side of 
Windham street. Crane was a blacksmith and bought land of 
Calkins. Hendee bought land of Captain James Fitch. It is 
somewhere recorded that the young Backus brothers sold their 
accommodations in Norwich " to remove to the new, nameless 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 35 

town springing up in the wilderness ten miles northwest of 
Norwich." 

The social conditions scon began to run in the channels usual 
to civilized communities, as nearly as the peculiar surroundings 
would permit. Family affairs were not forgotten. The first 
child born in the settlement was a daughter to Jonathan Gin- 
nings, and the date was February 10th, 1691. The first public 
meeting of the settlers of which we have any knowledge was on 
the 18th of May, 1691. Joshua Ripley, Jonathan Crane, William 
Backus and Joseph Backus were then directed, " To run the 
town lines from Appaquage eight miles south, and thence south 
west to Willimantic River." This work was accomplished by 
the 28th of the same month. During this summer a grist mill 
was established and set in operation by Jonathan Crane. This 
stood on the site of the present Bingham's Mills. A pound was 
also constructed on the Hither-place, and preparations were 
made for settling at the Ponde-place. Religious services were 
held occasionally by the Reverend Mr. Fitch and his son Jabez. 
On such occasions the settlers and their families, with whatever 
wandering natives happened to be with them, assembled under 
a tree to listen to the preaching and engage in the other exer- 
cises of the hour. These settlers were mostly connected with 
the Norwich church, and attended divine worship there when- 
ever practicable. The old Nipmuck Path, on the east of the 
tract, and a rough way made by the first surveyors, connected 
the settlements. In the fall of that year (1691) the prospects of 
the settlement becoming permanent were sufficiently bright to 
encourage the settlers to petition the general court of Connecti- 
cut to grant them a charter as a town. This resulted in the or- 
ganization of the town of Windham under authority of an order 
of the court granted May 12th, 1692, and consummated by the 
act of the people on the 12th of June following. Further par- 
ticulars of this will be found in the chapters of this work de- 
voted to the history of Windham town. 

We have now reviewed in brief the purchases from the In- 
dians and the first steps toward settlement in the two great and 
early sections of Windham county civilization. These are the 
north end and the southwestern part. There was still a large 
tract of undeveloped land in the southeastern part, called the 
Quinebaug country. Here was the third center of civilization 
in the present limits of the county. This Quinebaug country, 



36 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

extending from the junction of the Quinebaug and Assawaga 
rivers to the north bound of Norwich town, and from the Appa- 
quage or Little river eastward to Egunk, was claimed by two 
powerful parties, — the heirs of Governor John Winthrop and 
Major James Fitch as guardian of the Indian Owaneco. The 
Winthrop claim was founded on the deed of 1653, which has 
previously been noticed in particular; while Fitch was the ad- 
vocate of the hereditary title of the Mohegan sachems. The 
general court of Connecticut had to some extent recognized 
both claims. It had " allowed the Governor his purchase, and 
it had also allowed Uncas to dispose of Quinebaug lands to 
Owaneco." 

The first land laid out in this disputed section was the six 
hundred acres, already mentioned as being sold from the pos- 
sessions of Uncas to make restitution for damages committed by 
his men in burning the New London county prison. This tract 
comprised some of the richest land in the Quinebaug valley, on 
both sides of the river. By deeds bearing date June 23d, 1680, 
it was conveyed to John, Daniel and Solomon Tracy and Richard 
Bushnell. They at once took possession of it and their occu- 
pancy was undisputed. A neck of land, below the river island, 
Peagscomsuck, granted by Owaneco to Fitch, was also laid out 
in 1680. Other large tracts in this territory were given by 
Owaneco to Fitch. The boundaries in these are described as 
follows, in part: — "Land and meadow east of the Quinebaug, 
bounded south on Norwich town line, thence northeast to the 
great brook that comes in at Peagscomsuck," (excepting that al- 
ready sold to John Tracy) ; " Land both sides the Little River, 
that comes in at Wequanock, bounded south on Norwich town 
line, west on New Plantation, land of Joshua, deceased," &c.; 
and " Land east side of . Little River, taking all the corne and 
plaine, improvable land, a mile in breadth from Appaquage to 
the Quinebaug, bounded north on the Wabbaquasset Country, 
east on the Quinebaug, west on New Plantation and south on 
common land." 

Neither Fitch nor the Winthrops attempted settlement of this 
land during the troubled years of the Andross administration, 
but as soon as practicable after the restoration of charter gov- 
ernment, both were in the field. This conflict of claim was a 
hindrance to settlement. No organized company would venture 
to settle upon such ground. But the natural features of the ter- 



PIISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 37 

ritory were attractive, and venturesome individuals, in a hap- 
hazard way assumed the risks and began to improve the land. 
The confusion of titles forbids tracing the order of settlement, 
as deeds subsequently pronounced invalid were not recorded on 
the books of the town afterward organized. The Winthrop 
sons, Fitz John and AVait, in October, 1690, asked the general 
court to confirm their title, for the benefit of those about to set- 
tle there, but no action was taken in that direction by the court. 
The plantation, however, was begun. A number of Massa- 
chusetts families took possession of Quinebaug land, east of the 
river, purchased of the Winthrops soon after 1690. The greater 
part of them located south of the present village of Plainfield, 
though some took up land as far north as the mouth of Moosup 
river. Most of them received deeds for their land from the 
Winthrops, but a few bought land from Fitch. Connecticut 
families were also represented in the settlers of this section. It 
will be interesting to know who some of these early, independ- 
ent settlers were, and where they had come from. 

Timothy and Thomas Pierce came from Woburn ; Thomas 
Williams from Stow ; Joseph Parkhurst, Jacob Warren, and Ed- 
ward, Joseph and Benjamin Spalding from Chelmsford; Mat- 
thias Button and James Kingsbury from Haverhill ; Ebenezer 
Harris and John Fellows from Ipswich ; Isaac Wheeler, Isaac 
and Samuel Shepard, and their stepfather Nathaniel Jewell 
from Concord ; Peter Crery, James Deane, William Marsh and 
Edward Yeomans from Stonington ; William Douglas and 
others from New London and that vicinity. Several sons of 
Captain John Gallup, of Stonington, purchased land here, and 
perhaps settled upon it. James Welch, Thomas Harris, James 
and John Deane, and Philip Bump purchased land of Fitch and 
John Trac}^ The most northerly settlers were the young Shep- 
ard brothers, who were sons of Ralph Shepard, of Maiden, then 
deceased. Their land at the mouth of the Moosup river was 
that which had been given by Owaneco to Samuel Lathrop, of 
Norwich. 

Very little is known of the early days of the Quinebaug plan- 
tation. No organization was effected, nor indeed was any at- 
tempt made in that direction for several 3'ears. The settlers 
broke up their land, built rude habitations and made some few 
improvements. The valley of the Quinebaug was found to pro- 
duce very good crops of corn, and in spite of Fitch and Trac)" 



38 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

injunctions, was used by the settlers as a common cornfield. 
Parts of this field were set aside for their Indian neighbors, who 
were then quite numerous, but peaceable and friendly. Fears 
were at first entertained on their account, and garrison houses 
were provided, but it does not appear that they were ever called 
into necessary use. No attempt was made to lay out any public 
highways. The old Greenwich Path had then been trodden out 
and led from here to Providence on the east. A continuation of 
it westward to Windham, became in after years a much used 
thoroughfare betw^ee-n Hartford and Providence. Besides this, 
rough paths were trodden out to Norwich and New London, and 
by means of these communication with the neighboring towns 
was maintained. 

The double land claim of Fitch and Winthrop kept society for 
a long time in an unsettled condition. The friends of these 
conflicting claimants were at open war with each other. There 
was no local organization, and consequently no law to protect 
local interests or secure the peace of the community or the pro- 
tection of individual rights. The court of New London county 
was the nearest tribunal that had any jurisdiction here, and 
much violence and misdemeanor might be practiced before re- 
dress could be obtained through appeal to that body. Its pro- 
tection was, however, frequently appealed to. Cutting grass on 
land claimed by another, gathering crops of grain belonging to 
others, personal assault, refusal to pay rent, profanity and 
threatening the life of another, extortionate demands of land- 
lords and creditors, oppressive acts of officers of the law, stealing 
timber, hay, logs, rails and other depredations upon property 
and person were among the charges brought against individuals 
by others who had suffered from their injustice. The New Lon- 
don court was largely occupied with cases from the Quinebaug 
country. Fines were levied and whipping and imprisonment 
inflicted. The Gallups were leaders of the Winthrop faction, 
and the largCvSt resident landowners. One of them, according to 
tradition, gave such offense to the planters, by greed and over- 
measurement, that he was driven out of the plantation as a 
"land grabber." In 1699 the Winthrops attempted to bring the 
question of proprietorship to an issue by entering complaints 
against Major Fitch and Judge Tracy for entering upon lands 
belonging to the plaintiffs. The cases were tried before the 
court of common pleas for New London county, and resulted 



HISTORY OF WINDHAiNI COUNTY, 39 

in a verdict for the defendants. An appeal was taken and the 
question remained unsettled indefinitely, while each party con- 
tinued to sell and occupy what land they could. In spite of 
these disturbances the Quinebaug plantation gained in numbers 
and strength. 

We have now noticed the three first settlements of Windham 
county territory while in their first or unorganized condition. 
The brief glance which we have given to the subject of the ac- 
quirement of Indian title covers the whole territory of the 
county, with perhaps a few unimportant exceptions. Fitch, as 
the representative of Owaneco, claimed the northwestern part 
of the county, by virtue of the conveyance of the latter in 1684 
More particular delineation of the acquirement of title, division 
of land and organization of government will be given under the 
particular head of each town. It may be proper to mention be- 
fore dismissing the subject, however, that the Whetstone coun- 
try, a considerable tract on the east of the Quinebaug, was 
owned by the colony of Connecticut and remained unoccupied 
for many years, though grants of land, in consideration of ser- 
vices rendered by individuals, were occasionally made with very 
indefinite descriptions. On this territory Killingly was laid out 
in 1708, and about the same time Voluntown was surveyed and 
distributed to a large number of military volunteers. 



CHAPTER IV. 

EARLY EVENTS 



Windham County Organized. — General Condition of Society. — Valuations of 
Property and Productions. — Public Morals. — Their Houses. — Social Condi- 
tions. — Organization of Courts. — Court House and Jail. — Militia Organiza- 
tion and Training. — Woodstock Annexed to Worcester County. — Transferred 
to Windham County. — Organization of Probate Districts. — Emigrations of 
Inhabitants. — Colonization to Wyoming, N. Y. — The Susquehanna and Dela- 
ware Companies. — Settlement of Wyoming. 



WINDHAM COUNTY was organized in 1726. By that 
time many improvements had been made in the wil- 
derness of northeastern Connecticut. The present ter- 
ritory then contained eight organized towns, namely, Ashford, 
Canterbury, Killingly, Plainfield, Pomfret, Voluntown, Wind- 
ham and Woodstock. Forests had been leveled, roads con- 
structed, streams bridged, and land subdued and brought under 
cultivation. The aboriginal inhabitants were fast passing away. 
The wigwam was superseded by the farm house, and the toma- 
hawk by the woodman's axe and the plow. Several hundred 
families were now settled here, with comfortable prospects 
ahead. Some favored towns had made rapid progress while 
others had been impeded in growth by vexatious land title con- 
troversies and other obstacles. In each, however, a church with 
a " learned and orthodox minister," and schools had been estab- 
lished, and military organization effected. Mills and tanneries 
had been set up, and public roads had been opened. By these 
roads each town was connected with one or all of the leading- 
business centers of New England — Boston, Hartford and Provi- 
dence — and so great was the travel on these thoroughfares that 
almost every house on them served for a tavern. The town of 
Woodstock was then claimed by Suffolk county, Mass.; Wind- 
ham and Ashford by Hartford county ; and the other five by 
New London county. 

The remoteness of these towns from their county seat made 
them much inconvenience, and as early as 1717 efforts were 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 41 

made to secure the organization of a new county. Failing at 
first to secure tlie necessary legislation, efforts were repeated 
until in May, 1726, the " Governor, Council and Representatives 
in General Court assembled" enacted, "That the west bounds 
of the town of Lebanon, the north bounds of Coventry, the north 
bounds of Mansfield, till it meets with the southwest bounds of ■ 
Ashford, the west bounds of Ashford, the east bounds of Stafford, 
the Massachusetts line on the north, the Rhode Island line on the 
east, the north bounds of Preston and north bounds of Norwich, 
containing the towns of Windham, Lebanon, Canterbury, Mans- 
field, Plainfield, Coventry, Pomfret, Killingly, Ashford, Volun- 
town and Mortlake, shall be one entire county, and called by the 
name of Windham." The act further set forth that the town of 
Windham should be the county seat, and that two county courts 
should be held there annually — one on the fourth Tuesday in 
June, and one on the second Tuesday in December — and two 
superior courts — one on the third Tuesday in March, and the 
other on the third Tuesday in vSeptember of each year. 

Three towns, it will be seen, were originally included in 
Windham county, which are now outside its limits. Lebanon, 
southwest from Windham, was organized as a town in 1700. 
Mansfield, at first a part of Windham township, was set off as a 
distinct incorporation in 1703. Coventry, west of Mansfield, was 
made a town in 1711. These were all large and important 
towns, and added much to the strength of the new county. The 
little irregfular Mortlake Manor was included in a distinct town- 
ship. 

It is now impossible to form anything like a definite estimate 
of the population of that period. It is doubtful if any town ex- 
cept Windham numbered a hundred families. Windham was 
then the leading town of northeastern Connecticut, and no one 
disputed her right to be the county seat of the new county. In 
population, wealth, cultivation and political influence she had 
far outstripped her sister townships, and was at once recognized 
and received as their rightful head and leader. A few hundred 
Indians, chiefly Wabbaquassets and Quinebaugs, were residents 
of the new county. Mohegans and Shetuckets roved freely 
through the towns of Canterburv and Windham. A small num- 
ber of negroes were held as slaves in the more wealthy families. 
As to the ratable property of each town, the following figures 
give some idea ; Ashford and Voluntown not being in that year 



42 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

(1726) sufficiently organized to be assessed, their names do not 
appear on the list: Windham, i^l0,7()9, 10s.; Lebanon, ;!l"13.S75,- 
15s.,4d.; Mansfield, i;5,817,()s.,6d.: Coventry, i;4,490,7s.,6d.; Plain- 
field, ^6,632,14s.; Canterbury, i:6,229,ls.,6d.; Pomfret, i:6.474; 
Killingly, i:5,302,10s. 

Property was very unequally distributed. Such settlers as 
were able to buy their land at the outset were soon in comforta- 
ble circumstances, but the great mass of the people were poor 
and found it difficult to pay their taxes. Money was scarce, and 
so were commodities that brought in money, and many could 
scarcely raise sufficient food for home consumption. Wheat,, 
rye, corn, barley, flax and hemp were the chief staples of pro- 
duction. Manufactures were limited to leather, potash, coarse 
pottery, and domestic fabrics of linen and woolen. The people 
labored hard and suffered many trials and privations, mcrey 
was scarce, food sometimes scanty and comforts few. This was 
especially true in the later towns, which were remote from the 
older settlements. Among the men of the time there was much 
coarseness and roughness, much bickering and backbiting, but 
withal a high sense of personal dignity, w^hich was easily offend- 
ed by the tongue of slander. The first generation reared in 
these new towns was probably inferior in education and culture 
to the standard of their fathers. Schools, poor at best, were 
maintained with great difficulty, and books were scarce. Inter- 
course w4th older towns was infrequent. Home training, the 
church and the town meeting— the only educating, refining and 
stimulating agencies — could not fully counteract the demoraliz- 
ing influences and tendencies of their isolated position. The 
court records furnish abundant testimony to the roughness and 
violence of the times, and church records bear equal evidence to 
much looseness of morals among the people. With all their 
strictness in Sabbath keeping and catechizing, in family and 
church discipline, there was great license in speech and manner,, 
much hard drinking and rude merry-making, with occasional 
outbreaks of border ruffianism. Training days were the great 
festive occasions in all the townships. 

Houses were small and rough, and the furniture in them was 
rude and scanty. Food and clothing were mainly of home pro- 
duction, and the ordinary style of living was very plain and sim- 
ple. Class distinctions, however, were brought here with the 
settlers, and soon began to show themselves in increased devel- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 43 

opment. A few families were able to adopt and maintain a 
style of comparative luxury. Ministers were looked up to as 
social as well as religious leaders, and with tlieir unincumbered 
homesteads, a salary of sixty to one hundred pounds, and abuVi- 
dance of free firewood, were probably much better provided for 
than the majority of the people. The inventory of Mr. Whit- 
ing's estate, taken in 1725, and that of Mr. Estabrook's, two 
years later, show that these ministers were in very comfortable 
circumstances, and left ample provision for the maintenance and 
education of their children. Both left valuable libraries, num- 
bering nearly two hundred volumes of standard works. A large 
supply of bedding was included in their hoUvSehold furniture, a 
goodly array of pewter and brass, a little silver, some chairs and 
high chests. Carpets and bureaus Avere then unknown, and 
earthenware was rarer than silver. The inventory of wearing 
apparel belonging to Mrs. Estabrook affords some interesting 
hints as to the customs of ladies in those days. It included "3 
black crape gowns and petticoats, 1 silk stuff double gown and 
petticoat, 1 silk poplin gown and petticoat, 1 silk crape gown, 1 
white flannel wrought petticoat, 1 stuff petticoat, 3 linen and 
woolen petticoats, 1 linen and woolen (home) gown and petticoat, 

I new camblet riding-hood, 1 serge riding-hood, 1 gauze hood, 1 
black silk hood, 2 bonnets, 1 silk scarf, 1 pair stays, 1 head dress, 

II night caps, 8 linen aprons, 6 linen aprons, 3 linen and woolen 
aprons, 2 calico aprons, 2 checkered aprons, 9 speckled h. d. 
k. fs., 9 pairs gloves, 2 fans, 4 waist-ribbons, amber beads, 4 
pairs stockings, 2 pairs shoes, &c." 

After the organization of the county the first court of common 
pleas was held at Windham Green, June 26th, 1726. Timothy 
Pierce, of Plainfield, who had been judge of probate, was ap- 
pointed by the general assembly judge of the county court. The 
justices of the quorum, who attended that first court were Joshua 
Ripley, of Windham ; Thomas Huntington, of Mansfield ; Joseph 
Adams, of Canterbury, and Ebenezer West, of Lebanon. Rich- 
ard Abbe was appointed treasurer of the county. The jury of 
this court was composed of Eleazer Cary, Jonathan Crane, Joseph 
Ripley, Jr., Joseph Huntington, Thomas Root and Nathaniel 
Rust. The first act of the court was " to inquire into the circum- 
stances " of the unfortunate Peter Davison, of Mortlake, then 
under the charge of Justice Adams, in pursuance of a recommen- 
dation from the county court of New London, "that this Court 



44 HISTORY OF WIXDHAM COUNTY. 

should make some provision for the further support and main- 
tenance of said idiot." Joseph Backus, of Norwich, appeared as 
attorney for New London county. The court was of opinion 
that it had "no power or authority to assign said idiot to any 
particular place or person for his future support." Forty-six 
cases were tried at this first session of the court. Licenses were 
also granted to Thomas vStevens, of Plainfield ; Sampson Howe 
and Isaac Cutler, of Killingly ; Solomon Tracy, Edward Spald- 
ing and Richard Pellet, of Canterbury ; Francis Smith and Oba- 
diah Rhodes, of Voluntown, "to keep houses of public enter- 
tainment for strangers, travelers and others, and also to retail 
strong drink," and to James Lassel, of Windham "to use and oc- 
cupy ye art and mystery of tanning." At the December session 
Samuel Backus was arraigned for speaking "vile, ungodly and 
profane language," and Joseph Bolles, of New London, "for de- 
claring to ye worshipful Judge Timothy Pierce, 'You fight 
against God and you are perverting wretches.'" Mehitable 
Morris was arraigned for unseemly conduct, was sentenced to 
pay ten pounds, or be whipped ten stripes upon her naked body. 
A jail was at once provided for the use of the county prisoners. 
August 18th, 1726, the justices planned a building to be erected 
for this purpose, "with all possible expedition," and pending the 
completion of that building the back room of Mr. Richard 
Abbe's dwelling house w^as engaged to be used as a jail. ISIore 
particular accounts of this reformatory institution and its suc- 
cessive buildings will be found in another chapter. In April, 
1729, the justices began to take steps toward building a " state- 
house " for the county. A court house forty feet long, twenty- 
four feet wide and twenty feet high was decided upon, and a 
committee was appointed to memorialize the assembly, "pray- 
ing their approbation in this affair, and also, that something be 
granted to said county out of the duties of goods imported into 
this Government to assist them in building said house ; also, 
that something be allowed them from the counties of Hartford 
and New London, in consideration of what we paid for build- 
ing the state houses while we belonged to said counties; also, 
that the town of Windham may be under the same regulations 
as to keeping and maintaining a grammar school in said town 
as the other head towns of other counties in this Colony." 

The petition appears to have been granted, and its purposes 
accomplished except in regard to reimbursement from New 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY, 45 

London and Hartford counties on account of what the towns of 
Windham niight have contributed toward building their court 
houses. The assembly gave permission for those counties to do 
this, but it does not appear that they ever did anything in that 
direction. The new court house was erected, probably in 1730. 
It stood on a corner of Windham Green,- and was considered a 
handsome building for the time. 

Captain John Sabin, the first settler of Pomfret and a leading 
citizen of northeastern Connecticut, was appointed by the as- 
sembly in October, 1726, " Major of the Regiment in the County 
of Windham." Upon the petition of several persons, the assem- 
bly ordered Major Sabin, a year later, "to raise a troop in the 
County of Windham, and to enroll such suitable persons as will 
voluntarily enlist themselves and engage to equip themselves 
well for that service ; and if there appear and enlist to the num- 
ber of fifty persons, the major then lead them to the choice of 
all proper officers." It appears that the required number pre- 
sented themselves and the troop was organized in May follow- 
ing, Joseph Trumbull being chosen captain ; Jabez Huntington, 
lieutenant; Ebenezer Metcalf, cornet ; and Thomas Newcomb, 
quartermaster. 

It will be remembered that at this time the important town of 
Woodstock was not included in the county of Windham. It had 
been held by Massachusetts as a part of the very extensive 
county of Suffolk, but the need of different county associations 
were sorely felt. A movement to effect this object was begun 
in 1721, and renewed during the years that followed until ten 
years later, when in 1731 it was incorporated with many towns 
to the north of it into the county of Worcester. Colonel John 
Chandler, one of the most prominent citizens, and a member of 
a very influential family, w^as a very active and persistent advo- 
cate of the measure. The distinguished position held by the 
Chandler family, with the general prosperity and advancement 
of the town, gave Woodstock a very prominent place in Worcester 
county. In point of wealth it was only exceeded by the older 
towns, Leicester and Mendon. Its quota of tax for building the 
new Worcester county court house was thirty-two pounds. 

We have said before that Woodstock was held by Massachu- 
setts. Although lying south of the southern boundary line of 
that colony, Massachusetts having in a sense purchased the land 
for her offspring to settle upon, continued to exercise powers 



46 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

and rights of jurisdiction as well as rights of proprietorship. As 
the people had faYored this course, the colony of Connecticut 
had neglected to assert her rights of jurisdiction oYer this terri- 
tory, which clearly fell within her bounds. But the people of 
Woodstock now began to see that it would be more desirable 
for them to be associated with the colony of Connecticut. Their 
taxes would be lighter and their privileges greater. Notwith- 
standing the original settlers came from a ^Massachusetts town, 
a new generation was now in public life, less personally con- 
nected with the mother colony. The death of Colonel Chandler 
severed the strongest tie that bound Woodstock to Massachu- 
setts. That the grant of the king gave Woodstock territory to 
Connecticut was admitted by all parties, although an agreement 
between the colonies had yielded it to Massachusetts. The 
Woodstock people maintained that this agreement, which had 
never been confirmed by the king, was invalid ; that a title of 
land could only be annulled or transferred by the power which 
had granted it, and that they were thus within Connecticut 
limits,- and entitled to the privileges of its government. 

The geographical position of Woodstock was similar to Somers, 
Suffield and Enfield, further west, in regard to the Massachusetts 
line. These three towns lay south of the proper Massachusetts 
line, while between Woodstock and Somers a large tract of Con- 
necticut land (undisputed) ran up to the line, the territory being 
nearly the same as that now occupied by the towns of Stafford 
and Union. These Massachusetts towns extending into Con- 
necticut territory were called " indented towns." As earl}' as 
March 31st, 1737, Woodstock appointed by its vote a committee. 
Colonel William Chandler, to join with the other " indented 
towns " in a petition to the assembly of Connecticut to take them 
under its jurisdiction. The assembly appointed a committee to 
confer with a Massachusetts committee in regard to the matter, 
but the assembly of that colony indignantly refused to consider 
the question or to appoint a committee to confer with the other 
in regard to it. Woodstock and her neighbors, however, pressed 
the question during the years of a decade, and the assembly in 
May, 1749, acted on the matter, declaring " that all the said in- 
habitants which lie south of the line fixed by the Massachusetts 
Charter are within and have right to the privileges of this Gov- 
■ernment, the aforesaid agreement notwithstanding." A com- 
mittee was also appointed to join with a Massachusetts commit- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 47 

' tee in running- and fixing the line between the colonies, and if 
the latter should refuse to participate, then the committee should 
through their agent in Great Britain appeal to the king' to " ap- 
point commissioners to run and ascertain the division line." 

Woodstock now called a meeting of her inhabitants and or- 
ganized as a town of Windham county inConnecticut, July 28th, 
1749, seventy-four freemen being at that time admitted to the 
privileges of citizenship. After sixty-three years' subjection to 
the government of Massachusetts, Woodstock thus triumphantly 
effected her own secession. No longer an appended indentation 
but an integral part of her rightful commonwealth, she was now 
organized under Connecticut laws and formally enrolled among 
Windham county townships. It is not to be supposed that 
Massachusetts quietly submitted to this secession of towns over 
which she had held jurisdiction. A considerable of diplomatic 

. fire and smoke followed, but the association of Woodstock with 
Connecticut and with Windham county was maintained. 

The northern towns of the county were at this time included 
in the Plainfield probate district, but this being an inconvenient 
arrangement for them, in 1752 a new district was formed com- 
prising the towns of Woodstock, Pomfret, Ashford, Killingly, 
Mortlake and Union. Paul Bowen was appointed clerk of this 
court, and he kept its records in his dwelling house on Wood- 
stock hill. 

The migratory impulse which has ever been a characteristic 
-of the New Englanders, which indeed has led the sons of the 
Pilgrims from Plymouth Rock to the coast of the Pacific, was 
•early manifested in Windham county. The settlement of this 
field had not been consummated ere the people were look- 
ing westward in search of new fields and pastures green for 
-their restless feet to tread upon. As early as 1735, residents of 
Ashford and Killingly joined with others from towns in Massa- 
.chusetts in petitioning for a township among the " Equivalent 
Lands" allowed to Connecticut, and received a grant, which was 
.afterward laid out as Town Number One, of Vermont. Wind- 
ham settlers followed in 1737, asking for a town east of Salisbury, 
and although, their request was refused, many residents from 
that and other towns of the county, removed with their families 
to the new towns in Litchfield county. A more decided out- 
break of this emigration spirit, however, occurred about the 
year 1750. The„charter rights of Connecticut to a strip of land 



48 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

forty leagues wide, extending- southwest across the continent to 
the Pacific ocean, had never been yielded. A proposition was 
now put forth to plant a colony in the Susquehanna valley and 
thus incorporate it into the jurisdiction of Connecticut. The 
marvelous richness and beauty of the proposed field of settle- 
ment was then well known, and the enthusiastic originators and 
promulgators of the scheme painted it in glowing colors. March 
29th, 1753, the assembly was petitioned by ninety-three inhabi- 
tants of Farmington, Windham, Canterbury, Plainfield, Volun- 
town and several other towns, not specified in the petition, to 
grant a quit-claim on a tract of land sixteen miles square on 
both sides of the Susquehanna river. The petitioners represent- 
ed that the tract in question was occupied by Indians, whose 
claim they proposed to purchase, and that no English inhabi- 
tant lived upon or near to it. They further proposed to go and 
settle upon it. No formal answer appears to have been given, 
but the petitioners evidently received encouragement to go on 
with their plans for the proposed settlement. The project now 
gathered additional strength. A blaze of enthusiasm seemed to 
invest the people. A meeting to form a company to carry out 
the plan was held at Windham July 18th, 1753, at which articles 
of agreement were signed by more than two hundred and fifty 
persons. A committee, consisting of Jonathan Skinner, Jabez 
Fitch, Eliphalet Dyer, John Smith and Captain Robert Dixon, 
was appointed to prospect the land, purchase the Indian claim, 
and lay out and convey the tract to the settlers. The subscribers 
agreed each to pay in advance, two " Spanish milled dollars," 
toward the expense of the committee, and on their return to 
make up any deficiency by equal shares in the amount. The 
committee, however, was limited to one thousand pounds in the 
expense they were to incur. They were to secure a tract twen- 
ty miles one way by ten miles the other. This movement, orig- 
inating in Windham, soon attracted the interest of inhabitants 
of neighboring towns, until it extended to every corner of Con- 
necticut. Meetings were held here and there and step by step 
the interest grew. At Windham, January 4th, 1754, an import- 
ant meeting was held, when in answer to applications for mem- 
bership in the company it was agreed to admit forty persons 
each from the counties of New Haven, Fairfield and Litchfield ; 
thirty from Hartford county ; twenty from New London county ; 
and ten more from Windham. The price of a share was now 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 49 

raised to four dollars instead of two, but this advance did not 
check the applications for membership, which now poured in so 
rapidly that in May it was determined to admit five hundred 
more, at a still further advance in price to five dollars per share. 
The most keen sighted and public-spirited men were engaged 
in promoting this scheme. 

The land upon which the colony proposed to locate was held 
by the Six Nations. During the summer negotiations were en- 
tered into with them by Messrs. Woodbridge and Dyer repre- 
senting the company, and a deed was secured for a tract of land 
called Ouiwaumuck or Wyoming, in the Susquehanna Valley. 
The company had now outgrown the limits of Windham county, 
and its next meeting was held at Hartford on the 27th of No- 
vember, 1754. At this meeting a committee was appointed to 
petition the king for a confirmation of the purchase. This com- 
mittee was composed of Phinehas Lyman, George Wyllis, Dan- 
iel Edwards and Eliphalet Dyer. The limit of numbers now 
fixed for the company was eight hundred "wholesome persons," 
and the entrance fee for new subscribers was advanced to nine 
dollars. Samuel Talcott, of Hartford ; Isaac Tracy, of Norwich ; 
Samuel Gray, of Windham ; Oliver Wolcott, of Litchfield ; Sam- 
uel Bishop, of New Haven, and Joseph Wakeman, of- Fairfield, 
were appointed to manage the affairs of the company in their 
respective counties. In May of the following year the assembly 
was petitioned to incorporate the colony under a charter, but 
though fully acquiescing in the measure it was not willing to 
commit itself to any action in advance of the decision of the 
king. The company was thus forced to await the result of its 
appeal to the Crown, and this being presented just at a time 
when the difficulties between England and France were absorb- 
ing the royal mind, received for the time no attention, and the 
outbreak of hostilities here still further compelled the develop- 
ment of the Susquehanna colony to submit to an indefinite post- 
ponement. 

After the return of peace, five years later, renewed efforts 
were made and the Susquehanna Company resumed active oper- 
ations. At a meeting held in Hartford March 12th, 1760, the 
committee previously appointed were directed to go forward 
with the work entrusted to them with all possible dispatch. An- 
other company, known as the Delaware Company, was engaged 
in a similar scheme of locating a colony in the Susquehanna 
4 



50 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Valley. Both these companies joined in sending an agent to 
England to get a confirmation of their purchases from the 
Crown, but in this they failed. The assembly of Connecticut 
also refused to issue a charter for town settlements or incorpor- 
ation in territor}^ which was claimed with so much reason by 
the government of Pennsylvania. Powerful Indian tribes also 
contested the ground. Before all the Indian claimants had been 
satisfied the company gave liberty to individuals to begin set- 
tlement there. This liberty was improved by several Connecti- 
cut families, who effected a settlement in the Wj^^oming valley 
in the years 1762 and 1763, but were soon attacked by the hos- 
tile savages and butchered without mercy. On the return of 
Eliphalet Dyer, who had been sent as the agent of the Delaware 
and Susquehanna companies to Great Britain on a fruitless er- 
rand to the king, both companies were summoned to Windham 
court house January 16th, 1765, to hear his report. 

Undeterred by rebuff and threatened opposition, the Susque- 
hanna Company continued its efforts. Renewed attempts were 
made to gain the sanction of Connecticut, but that government 
was too wise to expose itself to collision with Pennsylvania, and 
discreetly withheld its formal endorsement of the enterprise. 
Colonel Dyer in particular, so warmly pleaded its cause, and so 
glowingly depicted the charms of the Wyoming Valley as to 
call out from one of the wits of the day the poetic impromptu : 

" Canaan of old, as we are told, 

Where it did rain down Manna, 
Wa'n't half so good for heavenly food 

As Dyer makes Susqviehanna."' 

The vSusquehanna Company was, however, too powerful an or- 
ganization and too strongly entrenched in popular favor, to be 
repressed by lack of official aid or recognition. At a meeting in 
Hartford in 1768, it was voted that five townships, five miles 
square, should be surveyed and granted each to forty settlers, 
being proprietors, on condition that these settlers should remain 
upon the ground and defend themselves and each other from 
the intrusion of all rival claimants. To encourage them still 
further, the sum of two hundred pounds was appropriated to 
provide implements of husbandry and provisions. Great as the 
risk was, there were many ready to meet it. The chance of 
gaining a home in the beautiful valley was worth a contest, and 
indeed to some who had shared in the exciting service of the 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 51 

French war, the prospect of a brush with the "Pennymites " 
may have furnished an additional incentive. 

Early in 1769, forty adventurous Yankees descended upon 
Wyoming. Foremost among them were old French war cam- 
paigners, Captain Zebulon Butler, of Lyme, and Captain John 
Durkee, once of Windham, now of Norwich. Thomas Dyer, 
Vine Elderkin, Nathaniel Wales and Nathan Denison, of Wind- 
ham ; and Timothy Pierce, of Plainfield, were also among the 
heroic "forty." They found the " Pennymites " already in pos- 
session of the field, but they gave battle, and after a sharp and 
spirited contest were obliged to quit the field, leaving Durkee 
and other leading men in the hands of the enemy. Colonel 
Dyer and Major Elderkin were equally unsuccessful in attempt- 
ing to negotiate an amicable settlement with the proprietary 
government of Pennsylvania. Funds were raised by the activity 
of Ebenezer Backus and Captains Joseph Eaton and Robert 
Durkee, with other men in other parts of Connecticut, for the 
relief and support of the prisoners. 

A still larger force returned to the charge in 1770, and a more 
serious contest ensued, but they were also compelled to retire 
with loss of life and destruction of property. After taking and 
losing Fort Durkee in the course of the following winter, the 
Yankees opened the siege in the spring of 1771, with fresh 
forces and leaders, resolved to carry on the war to the last ex- 
tremity. The " Pennymites " met them with their usual spirit 
and gallantry, though greatly crippled in resources. After de- 
fending the fort for several months they were at last forced to 
accept articles of capitulation, and withdrew from Wyoming, 
leaving the rejoicing Yankees in possession of the land so 
valiantly contested. 

Organization was now speedily effected. The towns already 
laid out were divided into farms and distributed. Those who 
had fought for the prize were rewarded by bountiful homesteads, 
and many other families from all parts of Connecticut eagerly 
sought a share. Windham county, so active in proposing and 
promoting the establishment of the colony, was equally ready to 
take possession, and scores of valuable families removed thither 
in the course of a few years. Among them may be mentioned 
Stephen Fuller, John and Stephen Abbott, John Carey, Elisha 
Babcock and Robert Durkee, of Windham ; Simon Spalding, 
Ezekiel Pierce and John Perkins, of Plainfield ; Captain Samuel 



52 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Ransom, Captain James Bidlack and Elisha Williams, of Canter- 
bury ; George and John Dorrance, Robert Jameson and Cyrus 
Kinne, of Voluntown ; Anderson Dana, Joseph Biles and Stephen 
Whiton, of Ashford. Many of these were men in the prime of 
life, with large families, accustomed to the management of af- 
fairs, and eminently fitted to aid in laying the foundation of 
social order and moulding the new settlement after the pattern 
of Connecticut. The fertility of the soil, the mildness of the 
climate, the beauty of the country and the abundance of its re- 
sources far exceeded the expectations, and such glowing reports 
came back to the rocky farms of Windham county, that emi- 
gration raged for a time like an epidemic, and seemed likely to 
sweep away a great part of the population. 



CHAPTER V. 



THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR. 



Military Spirit of tlie People. — Expedition against Crown Point.— Fasting and 
Prayer by the People at Home. — Eastern Connecticut Regiment at Lake 
George. — Distinguished Sons of Windham. — Defeat of Braddock. — Earth- 
quake. — Popular Alarm. — Filling the Ranks with Recruits. — List of Soldiers. 
— Official Honors. — Capture of Fort William Henry by Montcalm.— Enlist- 
mpnts and Names of Recruits. — Sufferings of the Soldiers, and of their Fam- 
ilies at Home. — First Census of Connecticut in 1756. — Population, Valuation, 
Churches and Schools. — General Progress. 



THE French and Indian war interested Windham county 
in common with her sister counties in this and other 
New England colonies. In August, 1755, a regiment 
was raised in eastern Connecticut to assist in the proposed 
expedition against Crown Point. Eliphalet Dyer was appointed 
lieutenant colonel of this regiment. Each town of the county 
was ordered to furnish its proportion of men. John Grosvenor 
was captain of the company in Pomfret, and Nehemiah Tyler 
and Israel Putnam first and second lieutenants, respectively. 
Notwithstanding the dangers and difficulties of the service, the 
requisite number of recruits was speedily secured. A strong 
military spirit pervaded the people, to which was added a sense 
of religious and patriotic obligation, and these prompted the 
people to ready obedience to what they considered the call of 
duty. But not with the hilarious spirit of reckless adventurers 
did they meet this call. Rather with a spirit of humble reliance 
on a higher power who was able to lead them through the dark 
and uncertain way which lay before them, did they face the 
practical and serious question of the hour. As an example, we 
may quote the record of the vote passed by the people of Ash- 
ford at a church meeting, September 9th, which was, "to keep a 
day of fasting and prayer one day in a month to Almighty God, 
in behalf of our friends that are gone and going to defend our 
land against an encroaching foe ; that they may be preserved 



54 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

and have success." And on the same day it was voted in town 
meeting, " That the town do concur with the church in keeping- 
a day of fasting once a month." 

The Eastern Connecticut regiment at once joined the forces 
at Lake George, and did good service during the remainder of 
the campaign. Those heroic qualities which afterward made 
Putnam famous were at once shown and recognized. Associ- 
ating himself with a company of rangers under command of 
Captain Robert Rogers, he engaged with great ardor and bold- 
ness in the most exciting and hazardous service. The official 
report of his first thirty days' service is a series of hair-breadth 
escapes and thrilling adventures. Alone, or with but a single 
companion, he passed night after night in reconnoisances ; 
creeping under bushes into encampments of hundreds of hostile 
Indians, and lying all night within reach of their muskets, ven- 
turing on one occasion, at Crown Point, within a rod of the 
sentry, and having his blanket shot through in different places 
as he was retreating from his perilous position. 

Another son of Windham county distinguished himself during 
this first campaign. This was Nathan Whiting, youngest son 
of Reverend Samuel Whiting, of Windham, who had established 
himself in business at New Haven, but went to the front as 
lieutenant colonel of the First Connecticut regiment. By his 
resolute action and skillful management on the field of battle at 
Fort Edward, he rallied his regiment from a destructive panic 
which followed the death of their colonel and other leaders in 
the fight, and largely influenced the turning of the tide which 
routed the French under Dieskau and secured a victory for the 
English arms. " For his extraordinary services," upon this and 
other occasions, a reward was granted him by the assembly of 
Connecticut. His brothers, William and Samuel, also served as 
colonels during this war. 

In addition' to the depression felt by the colonists in view of 
the defeat of Braddock and the failure of several projected expe- 
ditions, the public mind was greatly alarmed by a severe earth- 
quake shock, felt in all parts of the country, which occurred 
about four o'clock in the morning of November 18th, 1755. The 
air was clear and calm, the moon was shining with her usual 
placidity, but the sea was roaring on the shore with such a noise 
as hardly ever was known. The first shock lasted about one 
and a half minutes, being succeeded by a second one still more 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 55 

terrific. Mr. Stiles, of Woodstock, reports: "The terra viotus in 
this place very severe, lasting about two minutes — earth violently 
shaken." This unusual phenomenon was considered an omen 
of further reverses and disasters. Alarming sickness and mor- 
tality already prevailed among the soldiers. One of the first 
victims of the war was the beloved young Separate minister, 
Thomas Stevens, dying at his father's house on Thanksgiving 
day, of disease contracted while serving in the army as a chap- 
lain. In this hour of darkness the Windham County Associa- 
tion, early in 1756, recommended a day of prayer to be observed 
in all the churches, " on account of frequent and amazing earth- 
quakes ; strange, unusual and distressing war ; awful growth and 
spread of vice, infidelity and iniquity ; /. t\, some hour of the 
afternoon of the last Thursday in every month, leaving it dis- 
cretionary with the ministers whether to spend the whole time 
in prayer only, or give the people a sermon suitable to the 
occasion." 

These untoward events and gloomy forebodings did not, how- 
ever, discourage enlistments. and preparations for further action. 
In November Israel Putnam received a commission as captain, 
and was ordered to raise a company of men to hold Fort Edward 
during the ensuing winter. Many young men in Pomfret and 
adjacent towns were eager to serve with so spirited and popular 
a leader, and the ranks were soon filled, as follows: Captain, 
Israel Putnam ; lieutenants, Nathaniel Porter and Henry Chapin ; 
sergeants, Henry Pearson, Peter Leavens, Peleg Sunderland and 
William Manning ; corporals, David Cleveland, Nathan Hale, 
David Whitmore and Thomas Lyon ; drummer, Nathan Bacon ; 
clerk, Isaac Dean ; soldiers, Robert Austin, Matthew Davis, 
Daniel Isham, Micajah Torrey, Eliphalet Carpenter, Samuel 
White, Littlefield Nash, Jeremiah Jackson, Peter Bowen, Tim- 
othy Harrington, Giles Harris,Ebenezer Cary, John Austin, Aaron 
Dewey, John Waters, Eli Lewis, Samuel Horton, Ezekiel White, 
Robert Newell, Samuel Webb, Gideon Webb, Solomon Mack, 
Zaccheus Crow, Roger Crow, Charles Biles, Edward Try on, 
Edad Parson, Stephen Pease, Wareham Pease, Thomas Brigdon, 
James Hartford, Thomas Eddy, George Gregory, John Metcalf, 
John Philips, John Hutchinson and Benjamin Shipman. 

The forcesunder Johnson during the winter of 1755-56 remained 
in their quarters at Fort Edward, vStrengthening it and complet- 
ing and equipping F'ort William Henry at the southwestern ex- 



56 HISTORY OF WIXDHAM COUNTY. 

tremity of Lake George, and constructing a more commodious 
road between these two important positions. Putnam's company- 
was chiefly occupied with the congenial service of scouting and 
ranging, carrying on a sharp guerilla warfare with the bands of 
hostile savages which infested that region. So efficient was this 
service that, in May, Captain Putnam received from the general 
assembly a grant of fifty vSpanish milled dollars in recognition 
of his " extraordinary services and good conduct in ranging and 
scouting the winter past for the annoyance of the enem}^ near 
Crown Point, and discovery of their motions." 

It is now impossible to give any definite account of the partici- 
pation of the towns in the county in this war, as they preserved 
no lists of the men who went from these towns. But there is 
sufficient evidence to show that Windham county took hold of 
the matter of frontier defense with no laggard or indifferent 
spirit. Among the Windham county names, the following were 
honored with the rank of captain : John Payson, Nathan Pay- 
son, William Whiting, Samuel Whiting, Eleazer Fitch, John 
Grosvenor, Ebenezer Williams, Aaron Cleveland, of Canterbury ; 
Edward Marc3% of Ashford ; Ezekiel Pierce and Benjamin Lee, 
of Plainfield; Robert Durkee, of Canada Parish ; David Holmes, 
of Woodstock; Benjamin Crary and John Keigwin, of Volun- 
town ; John Leavens and Samuel Fairbanks, of Killingly; Sam- 
uel Earned, of Thompson Parish, Joseph Paine, of Pomfret. 
The company headed by Captain Eleazer Fitch comprised the 
following men, most of whom were from Windham ; James 
Tracy and Ezekiel Fitch, lieutentants : Elijah Simons and Asa 
Richardson, sergeants; Nathan Lilly, Peter Bowditch and Wil- 
liam Parish, corporals ; Edward Bibbins, Nathaniel Ripley, Da- 
rius Waterman, Joseph Farnum, Asa Stevens, Isaac Canada, 
Aaron -Eaton, Henry Brewster, Jonathan Knight, Benjamin 
Holden, Josiah Fuller, vSimon Cady, Stephen Baker, Caleb Aus- 
tin, George Parker, John Watson, jNIichael Watson, David 
W^oodworth, Daniel Moulton, James Hide, George Dunham, 
Joseph Truesdell, Jonathan Canada, Daniel Squier, ]\loses 
Sparks, Phinehas Manning, Benjamin Cary, Cyrus Richards, 
Joshua Hebard, Samuel Morris, William Gordon, Benjamin 
Paul, Roger Crary and Enos Bartholomew, privates. Putnam's 
second company was mostly made up from Plainfield and Voltm- 
town ; among its members were Thomas Gallup, as lieutenant; 
George Creary, as sergeant ; Ebenezer Davis and David Shep- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 57 

ard, as corporals, and Robert Dixon, Benjamin Parks, Elijah 
Cady, Ezekiel Whiting, James Ashley and Thomas Rudd as 
soldiers. - .-c-^ 

Directly following the alarm caused by the capture of Fort 
William Henry by Montcalm, four volunteer companies marched 
from Windham county, commanded respectively by Abner 
Baker, of Ashford ; John Carpenter, of Woodstock : Isaac Coit, 
of Plainfield, and John Grosvenor, of Pomfret. As these volun- 
teers were mostly men advanced in life it seems highly proba- 
ble that most of the young men were already in the service. 
Captain Carpenter's company was made up as follows : Sergeants, 
Josiah Child, William Manning and Stephen Marcy; lieuten- 
ant, Diah Johnson ; corporals, Timothy Perrin and Jonathan 
Knapp ; privates, Isaac Stone, Benjamin Joslin, Zebediah Sabin, 
Elisha Marcy, Daniel Corbin, Jesse Carpenter, Benjamin Bacon, 
Joseph Bishop, Thomas Fox, Abraham Frizzel, Abijah Griggs, 
Abel Hammond, Jeremiah Tucker, Abner Darling, Abijah 
Nichols, Nathaniel Ormsbee, Joseph Perry, Joseph Peake, Joseph 
Frizzel, David Barret, Henry Lyon, Daniel Bacon, Uriah Marcy, 
George Lyon, Jonathan Nelson, Ephraim Peake, Joseph Bug- 
bee, Benjamin Deming, Elisha Child, Ezra Child, Nathaniel 
Ellithorp, Luke Upham, Nathaniel Saunders, Elnathan Walker, 
Eliphalet Goodell, Samuel Dodge, Ezra Abbe, Benjamin Marcy, 
Zebulon Alarcy, Elisha Goodell, Daniel AUard, Increase Child, 
Benjamin Dana, Samuel Lyon, vStephen Lyon, Daniel Lyon, 
Joseph Town, Joseph Newell, Nathan Bixby, Peter Leavens, 
William Marsh, Noah Barrows, John Barrows, Thcmas Shapley, 
and Calvin Torrey. Captain Grosvenor's company comprised 
Ebenezer Holbrook and John Cotton, lieutenants ; Joseph Rob- 
bins, Moses Earl, Joseph Johnson and Josiah Sabin, sergeants; 
Josiah Brown, Jonathan Fisk, Benoni Cutler and Jonathan Coy, 
corporals ; Nathaniel Stowell, clerk, and the following privates : 
Elijah Sharpe, Joseph Sumner, Elijah Chandler, James Williams, 
Coy, Danielson, Simeon Lee, Jonathan JefEards, Jon- 
athan Saunders, James Holmes, Nathaniel Goodell, William 
Blackmar, Nathaniel Barnes, Joseph Coller, John Patton, James 
Anderson, Thomas Gould, Joseph Grover, Joseph Sprague, Eli- 
jah Cady, Stephen Brown, Benjamin Tucker, Benjamin Craft, 
Jacob Whitmore, Ebenezer Covill, Jonathan Cutler, and men by 
the name of Hyde, Hubbard, Goodell, Aldrich and Alton. 



58 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

These lists contain but a small part of the names of those who 
served in the Avar. It is probable that but few families in the 
county were without one or more representatives in the army. 
In addition to those who went to fill Windham's quota, others 
went to make up the quotas of other places. As an example, 
Darias Sessions, who had removed hence to Providence, returned 
and raised a company of recruits in Pomfret and Abington to 
serve for Rhode Island. During the war Eliphalet Dyer was 
promoted to the rank of colonel ; Nathan Payson and Israel Put- 
nam to that of lieutenant colonel ; and Elisha Lord, of Abing- 
ton, was a surgeon. Many others distinguished themselves, and 
gained experience Avhich fitted them for still more notable 
achievements in the revolutionary struggle which was soon to 
follow. 

The sufferings of the soldiers, great as they were, could hardly 
exceed those of their families at home, not only from suspense 
and anxiety, but from actual privation and destitution. Very 
little definite knowledge can, however, be gained. We only 
know that the currency was greatly demoralized, provisions and 
clothing were scarce, and all the resources of the country were 
very limited. As an instance, it is told on very good authority 
that the family of Ensign Samuel Perrin, of Pomfret, subsisted 
through one entire winter mainly on a crop of carrots which 
Mrs. Perrin had raised. 

The first census of Connecticut was taken in 1756. The towns 
of Windham county numbered at that time as follows: Ashford, 
1,245 white; Canterbury, 1,240 white, 20 black; Killingly, 2,100 
white; Plainfield, 1,751 white, 49 black; Pomfret, 1,677 white, 
50 black; Voluntown, 1,029 white, 19 black; Windham, 2,406 
white, 40 black; Woodstock, 1,336 white, 30 black; Coventry, 
1,617 white, 18 black; Lebanon, 3,171 white, 103 black; Mans- 
field, 1,598 white, 16 black ; Union, 500 white. Taking from the 
list the five towns which have since been withdrawn to other 
counties, the population of the territory now embraced by 
Windham county was 11,755 whites and 189 blacks. These 
blacks were mostly owned as slaves by the more opulent fam- 
ilies. They Avere generally employed as house or body servants, 
and Avere treated Avith great favor and indulgence. No instances 
of cruelty or neglect have been reported, and no complaint 
against any master has been found on the court records. The 
Indian residents were not enumerated at this time. Though 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 59 

greatly reduced in number, they still occupied their old haunts 
in several towns. Mohegans still asserted their rights to the 
Quinebaug country, and exercised the privilege of fishing in the 
river, cutting down trees, and, in general, taking whatever they 
needed. 

The rate-list of 1759 gives to the towns of tl^e present Wind- 
ham county the following valuations: Ashford, i^l2,6()8 9^-. 6^.; 
Canterbury, i;i6,333 3s. 3./.; Killingly, ^21,837; Plainfield, i;i2,- 
341 19^. 6d. ; Pomfret, i;20,113 13^. 3d. ; Windham, i:26,952 Is. 4d.; 
Woodstock, ^16,500. The unsettled condition of the currency 
at this date makes it difficult to know the real value of this esti- 
mate, but it was not probably equal to one-third of the amount 
in silver. 

Churches at that time were organized and in active work in 
the towns as then constituted, as follows : In Ashford, one ; in 
Canterbury, two ; in Killingly, five ; in Plainfield, two ; in Pom- 
fret, three; in Voluntown, one; in Windham, four; and in 
Woodstock, three. Schools, though poor and insufficient, were 
gradually improving. Towns and societies were now divided 
into districts, each maintaining its own school. High schools 
and academies were yet unknown. Those wishing further ad- 
vancement than the common schools could give them repaired 
to the ministers. The influence and authority of the clergy 
were by this means greatly strengthened. The best educated 
men of the day, leaders in church and state, honored them as 
their instructors and spiritual fathers. Ministers of the town as 
well as of the church, they occupied a most prominent and dig- 
nified position, and were usually treated with great respect and 
deference. 

Very little progress had yet been made in the manufactures. 
The iew articles needed for domestic use were made in the 
home circle or by neighborhood itinerants. Inventories of 
estates show a gradual improvement in household furniture and 
conveniences. The poverty and limited resources of the peo- 
ple, domestic broils and foreign war, however, had greatly im- 
peded progress, and it is probable that no marked change had 
been Avrought, either in the face of the country or the condition 
and manners of the people, since the organization of the county 
in 1726. Yet, in the face of many opposing obstacles, much had 
been accomplished. Settlements had been made, towns founded, 
institutions established, and a good foundation had been laid, 
upon which the coming generations might build. 



CHAPTER VI. 



THE REVOLUTIONARY PERIOD. 



Spirit of the People. — Influence of their Leading Patriots, Dyer, Durkee and Put- 
nam. — Indignation at the Stamp Act of 1765.— Burning Effigies. — Positive 
Demonstrations. — Treatment of Stamp Agents. — Sons of Liberty in Wind- 
ham. — Popular Outburst in 1767. — Determination of the Peoj'le against using 
English Goods. — Closing of the Port of Boston. — Windham the flrst to send 
Relief. — Rough Handling of Royal Agents. ^ — The " Boycott" applied to an 
Adherent of the King. — "Windham Boys" noted for their Aggi'ess-ive 
Patriotism. — Fever Heat of the Public Mind. — Alarm from Boston, Septem- 
ber, 1774, heralded through the Towns, and answered by Putnam and two 
hundred Volunteers. — Convention of Delegates at Norwich. — Providing 
Ammunition. — Preparing for War. — Organization of Militia. — Unity of Sen- 
timent. — Answering the Call from Lexington April 9, 1775. — Gathering of 
Troops. — Windham County first to send Troops to the Scene of Conflict. — 
One-fourth of the Militia called out. — Officers of Windham Troops. — Manu- 
facturing Munitions of War. — Windham Soldiers at Bunker Hill. — Earnest 
Work of the Men at Home. — Energetic Women help on the Cause. — Wind- 
ham Soldiers after Bunker Hill. — Encouragement at the Withdrawal of Brit- 
ish Troops from Boston in 1776. — Manufacture of Powder, Balls and Guns at 
Home. — More Troops wanted. — At the Battle of Long Island. — Organization 
of the Troops, 1776.— The "Oliver Cromwell" fitted out.— Depressing Mo- 
notony of the long continued War. — Windham County Losses. — Raising their 
Quotas. — Massacre by the Indians in the Wyoming Valley. — Attempt upon 
Newport, 1778. — Constancy of Windham Patriots. — Self-sacrificing Women. 
— The fallen Heroes. — Young Men in the Field. — Raising Troops, 1780. — 
Armies en route through Windham County. — Cessation of Hostilities. — 
Return of Peace. — Dealing with the few Tories. — Scanty Pay of the Soldiers. 
— Organization of new Towns. — Adopting the new Constitution, 1788. — 
Windham's Representatives in the Convention. 



WE come now to that period which, of all periods in its 
history, is to the American nation the most import- 
ant — the period of the revolution. After what we have 
noticed of the action and sentiment of the people of Windham 
in the French war, we should naturally expect to find them 
taking- an active interest in the vital questions of this trying 
era. And in this we are not disappointed. The citizens of 
Windham county had been reared to an intelligent participation 
in the government of Connecticut. As soon as a town was able 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 61 

to pay its part of the public expenses it had sent representatives 
to the general assembly, and the proceedings and reports of 
those representatives were closely scrutinized and debated at 
home. The management of their public affairs had developed 
a spirit of self-reliance and independent judgment, and as a con- 
sequence wise leaders and administrators were to be found in 
every community. Taxation for the support of civil govern- 
ment had been associated with a voice in its administration. 
No town presumed to send deputies till it could pay public 
charges. An additional cause of interest which the people of 
this county had in the national uprising lay in the fact that 
their position on the main thoroughfares of travel brought them 
into very close and constant communication with the leading 
towns of the northern colonies. Filial and fraternal relations 
connected them with the flaming patriots of Boston and Prov- 
idence. The earnest words and warnings of Colonel Dyer, who 
was then in London, where he could well judge the aims and 
temper of the British government, made a deep impression upon 
the citizens of Windham — " If the colonists do not now unite, 
they may bid farewell to liberty, burn their charters, and make 
their boast of thraldom." A still more potent stimulus was 
found in the pervading influence of Putnam, Durkee, and other 
popular military leaders, men of mettle and experience, quick to 
apprehend the exigency, and most effective in appeal to popular 
sympathy. 

When the opprobrious stamp act in 1765 was passed by the 
British parliament, the people of Windham county were among 
the first to join in the popular indignation which found a chorus 
of expression throughout the colonies. It was learned that one 
of their own number had been appointed a deputy stamp-master 
under Ingersoll. The excitement caused by this news was 
intense. The prospective officer was waited upon by a self 
appointed vigilance committee and compelled to give up his let- 
ter of appointment and solemnly promise to decline the office. 
On the morning of August 26th, in concert with the action of 
many other towns, Windham publicly hung this person in effigy 
upon Windham Green, where a large concourse of people 
assembled to witness the mock tragedy. Effigies of other sus- 
pected and unpopular individuals were successively brought 
forward and hung up, amid the jeers of the excited multitude. 
After hanging all day they were taken down at evening and 



62 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

paraded about the village, and then burned upon a huge bon- 
fire. The neighboring town of Lebanon observed the day with 
niDre dignity and solemnity, draping her public buildings with 
black, and subjecting her effigies to a formal trial and sentence 
before proceeding to hang and burn them. 

The citizens of Windham and New London counties were 
fully determined to prevent the distribution of the stamps. 
When it was found out that Governor Fitch was preparing to 
carry out the instructions of the king, and that the colony 
agent, Jared Ingersoll had accepted the position of stamp-master, 
they sallied out in great force to end the matter at once and 
forever. Five hundred horsemen, armed with clubs and other 
weapons, and provided with eight days' provision, marched 
across the country under the leadership of Captain John Durkee, 
and intercepting Ingersoll on his way to Hartford, compelled 
him to write his name to a formal resignation which had been 
prepared for him. Putnam was accredited with a prominent 
share in the instigation of this irruption, though at the time he 
was prevented by sickness from taking an active part in its ex- 
ecution. As soon as possible, however, he waited upon Gov- 
ernor Fitch in behalf of the Sons of Liberty, to ensure that no 
other stamp-master should be appointed, and no further attempt 
made to enforce the act, and with his usual directness he assured 
the governor that if he refused to relinquish control of the 
stamped paper his house would be " leveled with the dust in five 
minutes." Nathan Frink, king's attorney in Pomfret, was ap- 
pointed deputy stamp-master for the northern part of the county. 
After building an office for their reception he was assured by 
his fellow-citizens that he would never be allowed to use it for 
that purpose. The words " Liberty & Equality. Down with 
THE Stamp Act," were inscribed upon a stone tablet which was 
raised to a conspicuous position above the door of Mr. Manning's 
dwelling, near Manning's bridge in the south part of W^indham 
town. 

In the various convocations of patriots during this eventful 
time Windham bore a conspicuous part. Colonel Dyer was sent 
as a delegate to the first general congress held in New York in 
October. At a meeting of the Sons of Liberty in Hartford 
March 25th, 1766, which was said to be "much more generally 
attended by the two eastern counties of Connecticut," Colonel 
Putnam, Major Durkee and Captain Ledlie were appointed a 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 63 

committee to arrange a correspondence with the loyal Sons of 
Liberty in other colonies ; and Ledlie, then a resident of Wind- 
ham, was sent as a representative to a general convention of 
that order in Annapolis. Such vigorous resistance and the gen- 
eral suppression of business which it induced, excited the com- 
mercial men and statesmen of Great Britain to plead for the re- 
peal of the odious act, which was soon accomplished. 

In 1767 Great Britain again laid the hand of oppression upon 
the colonies by imposing a tax upon paper, glass, painters' 
colors and tea. This again roused a tornado of excitement and 
opposition throughout the colonies. A meeting in Boston in 
October called upon the people to act unitedly in refusing to use 
the imported articles on which tax was laid. In this sentiment 
the towns of this county heartily acquiesced. All were ready to 
pledge themselves to abstinence from foreign luxuries. On De- 
cember 7th Windham met and appointed a committee to draft a 
response to the appeal of the selectmen of Boston, which response 
was a month later reported and unanimously adopted by the 
townspeople. This response was virtually a pledge of the peo- 
ple not to use any goods imported, mentioned in the list w^hich 
was embodied in it. Other recommendations were also given 
tending toward economy in living and thus increasing the pos- 
sibilities of independence among the colonies. Comm.ittees of 
correspondence were also appointed, to keep up internal com- 
munication so that the sentiments and action of the sister towns 
of this and neighboring counties might be known and as far as 
possible in harmony with each other. Imported luxuries, in 
food, drink and dress were given up, and the theory of practical 
independence was put to a rigid test. Ashford held a similar 
meeting on December 14th, and Canterbury fell into the line on 
the 21st. Other towns followed. The sentiments expressed and 
action taken were harmonious. The closing of the port of Bo.s- 
ton by the British parliament in 1774 again aroused the people 
to expressions of sympathy and indignation. Meetings were 
held in the different towns, and resolutions of sympathy were 
passed. These resolutions were not empty ebulitions of wordy 
and windy patriotism, but were expressions of hearty feeling, 
and were backed up by substantial contributions for the relief of 
the oppressed town of Boston. Windham town has the honor 
of being the first to send such relief. This was given m the 
form of a flock of two hundred and fifty-eight sheep which were 



64 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

driven to Boston during the last few days of June, as a volun- 
tary offering. Other towns of the county were soon in the field 
with contributions from their flocks, which at that time were a 
considerable part of their available means. Contributions of 
other animals and substantial tokens in other forms were for- 
warded. 

As the clouds thickened for war the people of Windham 
county proved themselves ready for action, as well as for verbal 
expressions. Mr. Francis Green, of Boston, one of the " address- 
ers "and adherents of Governor Hutchinson, having ventured 
into Connecticut to collect debts and transact private businet; , 
was forcibly expelled from Windham town, as well as from . 
Norwich. On returning to Boston he advertised a reward of 
one hundred dollars for the apprehension "of five ruffians call- 
ing themselves by the names of Hezekiah Bissell, Benjamin 
Lathrop. Timothy Larrabee, Ebenezer Backus and Nathaniel 
Warren," all of them belonging in Windham, and who he de- 
clares did with the help of a great number of others, "assault 
the subscriber, surround the house in which he was stopping, 
forcibly enter the same, and with threats and intimidations in- 
sist upon his immediate departure." By the patriot journals Mr. 
Green's ejectment was called " the cool, deliberate remonstrance 
of the Sons of Freedom." In reference to the affair Colonel 
Eleazer Fitch, high sheriff of the county, and an adherent of the 
king, declared "that the Norwich and Windham people had 
acted like scoundrels in treating Mr. Green as they did." The 
people thus stigmatized came together in great wrath and firmly 
resolved and declared that they would administer tar and feath- 
ers to any blacksmith, barber, miller, or common laborer "who 
should aid said Fitch in any way," and as these expressions were 
known to be no idle forms of speech, they were heeded to such 
an extent that no one dare harvest his wheat and grass, and so 
they stood till they rotted and fell down on the ground. Also a 
considerable trade was withdrawn from him, thus executing a 
most effectual "boycott." 

Another instance which serves to illustrate the spirit of the 
time in Windham county was that of John Stevens, of Ashford, 
a man of considerable landed property and a prominent citizen. 
He was suspected of being an enemy to the "constitutional 
rights of American liberty," and a committee waited upon him, 
and obtained his confession that he had spoken against the 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 65 

chartered rights of the American colonists. He was compelled 
to sign a paper in which he humbly asked forgiveness for this 
offense, and declared that he would never say or do anything 
against the Sons of Liberty, but was himself a true Son of Liberty 
and would remain so to the end of his life. 

The zeal of Windham patriots was too ardent and effusive to 
be restricted to the limits of the county. Their intense enthu- 
siasm in the popular cause led them to take an active part in all 
aggressive demonstrations. Inspectory committees were con- 
stantly on the alert, and "Windham boys" were ever ready to aid 
in forays upon suspected tories. Colonel Abijah Willard, of 
Lancaster, Mass., a man of large wealth and high character, had 
made himself obnoxious to the people by accepting the office of 
mandamus councilor to Governor Gage. He had business in- 
terests in Connecticut which were intrusted to two attorneys in 
Windham, whom he invited to meet with him for consultation 
in the town of Union. A report of his intended visit took wing 
and when he arrived in Union he was met by hundreds of ardent 
patriots from Windham and adjoining towns who took him into 
their keeping, guarding him through the night, and conveyed 
him next morning over the line into Brimfield, where they for- 
mally delivered him over to a body of Massachusetts citizens, 
by whom he was compelled, under pain of being put to work in 
the Simsbury mines, to ask " forgiveness of all honest men for 
having taken the oath of office," and to promise not to exercise 
the functions of the office. 

The public mind was in a condition of fever heat, ready to 
burst out at any moment into a demonstrative upriwSing of the 
people to arms. On the 2d of September, 1774, a rumor started 
from Boston that the British soldiers there had fired upon the 
people. The news was brought to Colonel Putnam at Pomfret, 
and he at once forwarded it to other towns south and west. The 
following day, being Sabbath, Putnam's message was read in 
many assembled congregations, and the men left their places in 
the worshipping assembly to take up arms and go to the defense 
of Boston and the country. Two hundred volunteers left the 
town of Windham by sunrise on the morning of the 4th, and 
bodies of men were dispatched also from all the other towns of 
the county. They had scarcely passed the Massachusetts line, 
however, when they were met by a contradiction of the alarm. 

This revelation that the people throughout the colonies were 

5 



66 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

read}' to take up arms wheneYer occasion should call them to 
do so, greatly cheered the patriot leaders and stimulated them 
to further resistance. The report of this uprising excited much 
interest at home and abroad. FIyc hundred men ^vere under 
arms in Pomfret, and Putnam in behalf of them wrote : " Words 
cannot express the gladness discovered by everj- one at the ap- 
pearance of a door being opened to avenge the many abuses 
and insults which those foes to liberty have offered to our breth- 
ren in your town and province. But for counter intelligence we 
should have had forty thousand well equipped and ready to 
march this morning. Send a written express to the foreman 
of this committee when you have occasion for our martial as- 
sistance." 

These circumstances suggested to the people the necessity for 
all possible provision for the conflict, which even then must 
have seemed inevitable. A convention of delegates from New 
London and Windham counties was held at Norwich on the 9th 
of the same month, having for its object a preparation for future 
emergency. It was then decided that every town should supply 
itself as speedily as possible with a full complement of ammuni- 
tion and militar}^ stores, that every military company should 
equip themselves at once and perfect themselves in the practice 
of military exercises by calling together the companies and giv- 
ing instructions to those unfamiliar with handling arms and 
military movements, and the officers were called upon to stud}- 
more completely their duties, and see that the militia were made 
thoroughly familiar with the arts of war and military skill and 
discipline. The general assembly in October directed that each 
town in the colony should provide double the quantity of powder, 
balls and flints that they had heretofore been required to keep 
on hand. 

The suggestions with regard to military preparations were 
carried out with promptness and alacrity by all the towns. The 
military ardor of the citizens needed little stimulus, but there 
was great lack of drill and discipline. Company trainings had 
been statedly observed in every neighborhood, but the pre- 
scribed regimental reviews had been to a great degree omitted. 
A grand military parade had indeed been held in Plainfield 
some time in 1773, especially memorable for inciting the first 
stirrings of military enthusiasm in the heart of a young Rhode 
Island Quaker, Nathaniel Greene, who, with hundreds of other 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 67 

spectators, rode many miles to witness tlie scene. A review of 
the Eleventh regiment had also been held at Woodstock in May, 
1774, which was very notable for the large numbers present, as 
well as for the patriotic enthusiasm exhibited. Field officers 
and commissioners from New London and Windham counties 
now planned a great regimental meeting to be held at Windham 
town in the spring of 1775. Ten colonels were associated in it, 
and a corresponding number of regiments were included. The 
military companies in Plainfield, Canterbury, Voluntown, and 
the south part of Killingly now formed the Twenty-first regi- 
ment. The others remained as before, viz. : Companies of 
Windham, Mansfield, Coventry and Ashford formed the Fifth 
regiment, of which Jedediah Elderkin was colonel, Experience 
Storrs lieutenant-colonel, and Thomas Brown major. Pomfret, 
Woodstock, and the north and central companies of Killingly 
were included in the Eleventh regiment, of which Ebenezer 
Williams was colonel and William Danielson major. Lebanon 
was included in the Twelfth regiment and Union in the Twenty- 
second. A troop of horse was attached to each regiment. Com- 
pany trainings were held at least once a month during the winter, 
and special preparation was made for the parade in April. Lib- 
erty poles were set up in many of the towns, with appropriate 
exercises. A great crowd assembled on Killingly hill and 
hoisted two long sticks of timber united by a couple of cross- 
ties. From the top of this high pole a flag was flung to the 
breeze, decorated with a rising sun and other suggestive devices. 
A stray Englishman who had settled in the neighborhood 
smiled scornfully at the demonstrations. "Ah ! " said he, " you 
know nothing of Old England ; she will come and cut down 
your liberty pole for you." 

It is hardly necessary to say that a remarkable unity of senti- 
ment existed among the people of Windham county at this time. 
Tories were very few, and those who did entertain sentiments 
in favor of the mother country were careful about flaunting 
those sentiments too strongly in the face of their neighbors. 
They were, instead, but quiet factors, looking passively on and 
taking no part in the demonstrations that the people were mak- 
ing around them, and at the same time raising no voice to op- 
pose them. 

Following the rencontre between the king's troops and the 
provincials at Lexington on the morning of April 9th, despatches 



68 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

were received in the towns of this county on the next day, and 
the call for help met with a ready response from thousands who 
had been preparing for such an emergency. Putnam, plowing 
in the pleasant April morning, heard the summons, and leaving 
his son to unyoke the team, hurried off for consultation with 
town committees and military officers. A second express, com- 
ing by way of Woodstock, was brought to Colonel Ebenezer 
Williams, of Pomfret, at three o'clock in the afternoon, and for- 
warded at once to Colonel Obadiah Johnson, of Canterbury, wath 
a postscript stating that a thousand of our troops had surrounded 
the First brigade at Boston, and that fifty of our men and one 
hundred of the enemy were killed. Almost the entire male pop- 
ulation of Windham county was now up in arms, ready to go to 
the scene of the conflict. Putnam, on returning from his con- 
sultations, found hundreds of men already assembled on the 
Green at Brooklyn, awaiting his orders. He bade them wait un- 
til regularly called out as militia, and then, without rest or 
refreshment, he started at sunset on his memorable ride b}" night 
to Cambridofe. There is evidence that the news was received 
in Killingly at an earlier hour that morning than it had been 
received at Brooklyn. An express from Boston came to Mr. 
Hezekiah Cutler, who, on receiving it, rose from his bed and 
fired three guns as an alarm. This was answered by fifteen 
men, who, with Mr, Cutler, were on the road toward Cambridge 
before sunrise. 

Friday, the 20th of April, was a day of activity and excite- 
ment in Windham county. Preparations were everywhere in 
progress. Officers were riding rapidly around in every direc- 
tion, bullets were being cast and accoutrements and rations 
provided. Many, especially in the northern towns, shouldered 
their guns and started without awaiting any organized move- 
ment. Killingly's stock of powder was stored in the meeting 
house, under the charge of Hezekiah Cutler, who had left orders 
that each volunteer should be furnished with a half pound ; and 
the house was thronged all day with squads of men coming in 
to receive their portion before starting on their self directed 
march for Cambridge. 

On Saturday fifteen companies gathered at Pomfret, the place 
agreed upon as the rendezvous for the Windham county volun- 
teers. There the officers were entertained for the night by Mr. 
Ebenezer Grosvenor, and the men bivouacked where it was most 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 69 

convenient for them. More than a thousand men had offered 
themselves. On Sunday morning they attended prayers led by 
Reverend Mr. Putnam, after which a letter from Colonel Putnam 
at Cambridge was read, and regimental orders were received 
from Colonel Elderkin. A council of officers being held, it was 
decided that only one-fifth of the men present should be sent 
forward, and that the remainder should return to their homes. 
The whole Ashford company, consisting of seventy-eight men 
under Captain Thomas Knowlton, a large number from Pomfret 
under Captain Ingalls, with a few selected from the other com- 
panies present, were taken. These, under command of Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Storrs, marched that afternoon to Woodstock, 
where, at Moulton's tavern, they passed the night. Next morn- 
ing they moved forward. Lieutenant Colonel Storrs proceeding 
with them as far as Dudley, when he left them to pursue their 
way under charge of Major Brown and Captain Knowlton. 
Their orderly and soldierly bearing attracted great attention on 
their march, and they were received at Cambridge with special 
distinction as the first trained companies that had come from 
outside her limits to the aid of Massachusetts. Thus Windham 
county for the second time gained the honor of being first to 
respond with aid to the needs of Boston — the first instance being 
the forwarding of a flock of sheep when the port was officially 
closed, mention of which has already been made. 

Other companies were soon called for, and followed on as rap- 
idly as the circumstances M'-ould permit. Besides troops of horse, 
of which each town contributed its proportion, Woodstock sent 
140 men, under Captains Benjamin and Daniel Lyon, Ephraim 
Manning, Nathaniel Marcy, and Lieutenant Mark Elwell ; Wind- 
ham 159 men, under Captains William Warner, James Stedman, 
John Kingsley and Lieutenant Melatiah Bingham ; Canterbury 
70 men, under Captains Aaron Cleveland, Joseph Burgess and 
Sherebiah Butts ; Ashford 78 men, under Captain Thomas 
Knowlton ; Pomfret 89 men, under Captain Zebulon Ingalls ; 
Plainfield 54 men, under Captain Andrew Backus ; Killingly 146 
men, under Major William Danielson and Captains Joseph Cady 
and Joseph Elliott. The great regimental muster which had 
been planned for April was, by the logic of ei^ents, transferred 
from Windham Green to Cambridge. In some towns it is slid 
that every able bodied man went to the scene of war, leaving 
the country at home so destitute of active life as to give it a 
quite desolate and deserted appearance. 



70 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

The government of Connecticut now decided that one-fcurth 
of the militia throughout the colony should be called out and 
equipped for the defense of the colony. They were to be formed 
into companies of one hundred men each, and all were com- 
prised in six regiments. Israel Putnam w^as appointed second 
brigadier general of these troops. Under this regulation the 
Windham county men were mostly enrolled in the Third regi- 
ment, of which Putnam was colonel. The officers of these com- 
panies, as far as they belonged to the towns of present Wind- 
ham, were as follows : Company 1 — Israel Putnam, captain ; Jon- 
athan Kingsley, Scotland, first lieutenant ; Thomas Grosvenor, 
Pomfret, second lieutenant ; Elijah Loomis, ensign. Company 
2 — Experience Storrs, captain ; James Dana, Ashford, first lieu- 
tenant ; Ebenezer Gray, Windham, second lieutenant ; Isaac 
Farwell, ensign. Company 4 — Obediah Johnson, captain ; Eph- 
raim Lyon, first lieutenant ; Wells Clift, second lieutenant ; Isaac 
Hide, Jr., ensign ; Lieutenant Clift of Windham, the others of 
Canterbury. Company 5 — Thomas Knowlton, captain ; Reuben 
Marcy, first lieutenant ; John Keyes, second lieutenant ; Daniel 
Allen, Jr., ensign ; all of Ashford. Company 7 — Ephraim Man- 
ning, captain ; Stephen Lyon, first lieutenant ; Asa Morris, sec- 
ond lieutenant ; William Frizzell, ensign ; all of Woodstock. 
Company 8 — Joseph Elliott, captain ; Benoni Cutler, first lieu- 
tenant ; Daniel Waters, second lieutenant ; Comfort Day, ensign ; 
all of Killingly. Company 9 — Ebenezer Mosely, captain ; 
Stephen Brown, first lieutenant ; Melatiah Bingham, second lieu- 
tenant ; Nathaniel Wales, ensign ; Brown of Pomfret, all the 
other officers and men from Windham. Company 10 — Israel 
Putnam, Jr., captain ; Samuel Robinson, Jr., first lieutenant ; 
Amos Avery, second lieutenant ; Caleb Stanley, ensign ; all of 
Brooklyn. 

Many who had gone out on the first alarm were mustered into 
this regiment without returning home. The men by whom 
Windham county was at this time represented in the colonial 
assembly were as follows : Windham — Colonel Jedidiah Elder- 
kin, Ebenezer Devotion ; Lebanon — ^Colonel William Williams, 
Jonathan Trumbull, Jr. ; Mansfield — Lieutenant Colonel Exper- 
ience vStorrs, Nathaniel Atwood ; Woodstock — Captain Elisha 
Child, Captain Samuel McClellan ; Coventry — Captain Ebenezer 
Kingsbury, Jeremiah Ripley ; Canterbury — David Paine, Eli- 
ashib Adams ; Killingly — Stephen Crosby, Eleazer Warren ; 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 71 

Pomfret — General Israel Putnam, Doctor Elisha Lord ; Asliford — 
Captain Benjamin Sumner, Ichabod Ward ; Plainfield — Captain 
James Bradford, William Robinson ; Voluntown — ]Major James 
Gordon, Robert Hunter. 

While the "bone and sinew " of the county was absent at the 
front, there was still left Avilling hands and active brains at home 
to work for the common cause at such labors as lay Avithin their 
reach. And these were neither few nor insignificant ; scarce a 
household that had not some concern with fitting- out men and 
sending supplies to them. All private interests seem to have 
been laid aside that every thought and energy might be devoted 
to the common cause. Large bodies of men were now passing 
across the territory of Windham county, over the great thor- 
oughfares, from the western and southern sections of the coun- 
try to the seat of war. New taverns had to be opened along the 
way and largely increased facilities provided for the accommo- 
dation of these augmented numbers of travelers. The assembly 
offered bounties for the manufacture of fire arms and saltpetre. 
Hezekiah Huntington, of Windham, opened a shop at Williman- 
tic for the repair and manufacture of fire arms, and John Brown 
carried on the manufacture of saltpetre in the same locality. 
Nathan Frink projected a similar establishment at Pomfret. 
Samuel Nott and Moses C. Welch devoted their mental energies 
to experiments with saltpetre and explosives. Colonel Elderkin 
and Nathaniel Wales, Jr., arranged for the construction of a 
powder mill. 

The excitement of the hour and the reports of successful skir- 
mishes with the enemy kept the people in high spirits. Hope 
and enthusiasm were inspired, and the prospects looked bright 
before the eyes of the Windham county patriots. When the 
battle of Bunker Hill passed into history, an honorable share of 
its glory fell to the credit of Windham county. Of the two 
hundred Connecticut men detailed under Captain Knowlton for 
special service on Bunker Hill on the evening of June 16th, 
1775, one hundred and twenty were taken from the companies 
of this county, being drafted from the first, second, fourth and 
fifth companies. Thirty-two men were also drafted from Cap- 
tain Chester's company, in the Second regiment, and probably a 
similar number from Captain Coit's company. These were the 
men who toiled all night and in the early morn upon Prescott's 
redoubt, banked with wet grass the famous rail fence, and, aided 



72 HISTORY OF WIXDHAM COUNTY. 

by " Hampshire boys " under Stark, and Connecticut reinforce- 
ments led by Captains Chester, Clark, Colt, and Major Durkee, 
drove back from it again and again, with great slaughter, the 
serried columns of the advancing British, and saved the retreat- 
ing garrison from capture or annihilation. Many incidents of 
the fight were carried home to Windham county. Josiah Cleve- 
land, of Canterbury, kept guard through the night while the 
men were digging entrenchments, and heard the unsuspicious 
sentinels on the opposite shore pronounce their watch calls, 
"All's well!" Abijah Fuller, from Windham, helped Gridley 
draw the lines of the fortification on Breed's hill. Knowlton, in 
his shirt sleeves, walked before his breastwork, cheering his men 
and firing his own musket until it was wrenched from his grasp 
by a cannon ball, bending the barrel so as to render it useless. 
Lieutenant Dana was the first to detect the flank movement of 
the enemy, and having given the alarm, was the first to fire upon 
the advancing army. Lieutenant Grosvenor fired with the same 
precision and deliberation that he was accustomed to exercise 
in shooting a fox, and saw a man fall at each discharge of his 
piece. " Boys," said Putnam, to several veterans of the French 
war, as he passed them on the field, " do you remember my 
orders at Ticonderoga?" Promptly came the response, " You 
told us not to fire till we could see the whites of the enemy's 
eyes." "Well," said Putnam,"! give the same order now;" 
and most literally it was obeyed. Timothy Cleveland, of Can- 
terbury, had the breech of his gun stock shot off when in full 
retreat, and exclaiming, " The darned British shall have no part 
of my gun," ran back and secured the broken piece in the very 
face of the advancing enemy. Putnam stood by a deserted 
field piece urging the retreating troops to make one more stand 
until the bayonets of the foe were almost upon him. Robert 
Hale, a saucy Ashford boy, discharged an artillery piece in the 
very teeth of the foe, and escaped unscathed. Abiel Bugbee, 
also of Ashford, was one who held his ground to the very last 
of the fight, throwing j-/cw£'j- when his ammunition was expended. 
A few Windham county men were killed and several others 
more or less wounded in this engagement, but their loss was 
much lighter than that of many other sections. In recognition 
of Putnam's distinguished services he was immediately pro- 
moted to the rank of major general, fourth in command in the 
American army. Knowlton and Dana were also highly com- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 73 

mended, and soon afterward promoted, the former to the posi- 
tion of major and the latter to that of captain. 

Other men than those mentioned went to the w^ar from Wind- 
ham county. These were in the Eightli regiment, of which Jed- 
idiah Huntington, of Norwich, was colonel; John Douglas, of 
Plainfield, lieutenant colonel ; Reverend John Fu.ller, of Plain- 
field, chaplain ; Dr. Elisha Perkins, of the same toMm, surgeon ; 
and Albigence Waldo, of Pomfret, assistant. A company of 
Canterbury militia, under Captain Ephraim Lyon, was sent to 
Norwich in August, upon an alarm occasioned " by vessels 
prowling about the Sound," and were retained to build a battery 
or redoubt at Waterman's Point. Ephraim Squier, of Ashford, 
with Simeon Tyler and Asa Davison, probably of Brooklyn, left 
their companies at Cambridge in September to join in the north- 
ern expedition of Colonel Benedict Arnold, but after suffering 
incredible hardships on their journey up the Kennebec and 
through the wilderness of Maine, they were among those who 
were ordered home again ; and after ten weeks" absence they 
arrived in Cambridge on Thanksgiving day, November 23d, 
as the account says, " abundantly satisfied." 

Everybody at home during this period was engaged in doing 
double duty, in farm work, gathering up supplies, or manufact- 
uring military munitions. Town and county civil affairs were 
almost forgotten. All thoughts and energies were absorbed in 
the war. The county court met in June, 1775, and licensed some 
fifty taverns, granted executions in a few cases, and adjourned. 
The arts of preparing munitions of war had made some prog- 
ress here. Hezekiah Huntington had wrought to such good 
purpose as to receive from the treasury of the colony in the 
autumn a bounty of thirteen pounds " for fifty-two guns well 
made and wrought," besides repairing and refitting great num- 
bers of old guns. Timothy Larrabee assured the assembly that 
he had applied himself to making saltpetre, and had succeeded in 
mastering the art, which he claimed could be carried on as well 
in the colonies as elsewhere in the world. 

The Windham soldiers chafed under the restraints of camp 
life during the long period of inaction which followed the bat- 
tle of Bunker Hill. Forty of them marched home about the 
time of the expiration of their term of enlistment, without wait- 
ing to be discharged, ignorant of the fact that by so doing they 
were liable to be treated as deserters. Washing-ton sent for 



74 HISTORY OF ^^TXDHA^[ COUNTY. 

them, but Governor Trumbull, better understandirg their 
motives, refused to give them up. The same men, however, re- 
enlisted soon after, and served in many subsequent campaigns 
with honor and fidelity. 

The majority of Putnam's regiment are believed to have re- 
mained upon the field, re -enlisting in the Twentieth regiment 
of the continental army. Of this regiment Benedict Arnold was 
appointed colonel ; John Durkee, of Norwich, lieutenant colonel; 
Thomas Knowlton, major. Its companies were officered as fol- 
lows: Company 1, Ephraim Manning, captain ; Nathaniel Webb, 
lieutenant; Brown, ensign. Company 2, Jedidiah Water- 
man, captain; John Waterman, lieutenant; Walter Clark, en- 
sign. Company 3, Thomas Dyer, captain ; Daniel Tilden, first 
lieutenant; Nehemiah Holt, second lieutenant; Joseph Durkee, 
ensign. Company 4, Wells Clift, captain. Company 5, Thomas 
Grosvenor, captain; Joseph Cleveland, ensign. Company 6, 
Stephen Brown, captain. Company 7, John Keyes, captain. 
Company 8, John Robinson, captain. Other subalterns, whose 
companies cannot now be determined, were Lieutenants Mela- 
tiah Bingham, William xVdams, Beriah Bill, Robert Hallam, 
Samuel Brown, Seth Phelps, Josiah Fuller, Nathaniel Bishop, 
James Holt, Daniel Putnam and Ensigns Briant Brown, Silas 
Goodell and John Buel. The chaplain of the regiment was Rev- 
erend Abiel Leonard ; quartermaster. Lieutenant Ebenezer 
Gray; surgeon. Doctor John Spaulding ; assistant surgeon, 
Luther Waterman. This regiment formed a part of the central 
division of the army, and thus in position became a sort of body 
guard to the commander-in-chief. The continued absence of Ar- 
nold left it in charge of Durkee and Knowlton, under whose 
efficient training it attained the same enviable position as to dis- 
cipline and soldierly deportment that Knowlton's own company 
had previously held. Other Windham county soldiers re-enlist- 
ed in Huntington's and Patterson's regiments, and a still larger 
number in a militia regiment sent to Boston early in January^ 
to take the place of those whose term of service had expired. Of 
this regiment John Douglas, of Plainfield, was colonel; Doctor 
Elisha Perkins, surgeon ; Thomas Gray, assistant surgeon ; and 
Reverend John Fuller, chaplain. 

The withdrawal of the British troops from Boston to New 
York in 1776, inspired the Windham patriots with new courage 
and enthusiasm, and stimulated them to greater activity in prep- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 75 

arations for the summer campaign. The powder mill at Willi- 
mantic was now tinder full headway, sending out large supplies 
to the continental army. All the saltpetre which could by 
any method be fabricated was quickly swallowed up by this im- 
portant establishment, w-hich was guarded day and night at the 
expense of the government. Black lead for its consumption was 
taken from the hills of Union. So great was the throng of peo- 
ple and teams resorting thither that David Young was ordered 
to open a house of public entertainment in its vicinity. Travel 
was also greatly increased by the passage of many regiments 
and long trains of military stores through the county on the 
way from Boston and the east to the seat of war at New York. 
Demands for supplies called out the utmost energies of the peo- 
ple. Commissaries and jobbers were scouring the towns for 
provisions, taking off all the pork, beef and sheep that could be 
spared from home consumption. Selectmen were now making 
requisitions for scales, clock w^eights, anything that could be 
transformed into ammunition. Orders for knit stockings, tow 
cloth for tents, and home-made shirtings and vestings kept thou- 
sands of nimble fingers at work. Great quantities of military 
stores were lodged in Plainfield, Windham and Canterbury. 
Depots were constructed for their reception, and carefully 
guarded, and teams were constantly occupied hauling them to 
and fro. A large number of prisoners, dangerous tories, cap- 
tured seamen and soldiers, confined in Windham jail and neigh- 
boring towns, required much care and attention. 

On the 1st of August, Trumbull issued a special circular beg- 
ging for more recruits at the earliest moment. The call was 
sent to every town, and read from many pulpits at the close of 
service. Windham county responded with her usual prompti- 
tude and spirit. Many were enlisted in the First regiment, of 
which Andrew Ward was colonel ; Obadiah Johnson lieutenant 
colonel, and William Douglas major. James Stedman, Nathan- 
iel Wales, 3d, Waterman Clift, Daniel Allen, Jonathan Nichols, 
Jr., James Dana, Elijah Sharp, James Arnold, Benoni Cutler, 
William ]Manning, Joseph Durkee and Obadiah Child were ofE- 
cers in this regiment. Reverend Benjamin Trumbull, the his- 
torian of Connecticut, was chaplain, and Royal Flint, of Wind- 
ham, paymaster. The seventh company of the first batallion 
sent to the relief of the northern department was from Wind- 
ham county. Of this company Vine Elderkin was captain, Wil- 



76 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

liam Frizzell first lieutenant, Abner Robinson second lieutenant 
and Lemuel Grosvenor ensign. In the third battalion, raised for 
service in New York, Comfort Sage, colonel : Company 1 was 
from Lebanon, James Clark, captain. Company 3 from Volun- 
town, John Dixon, captain. Company 5, from Killingly, Stephen 
Crosby, captain; Josiah Robbins, first lieutenant; Jonathan 
Buck, second lieutenant ; Sylvanus Perry, ensign. The sixth 
battalion, Colonel John Chester, contained at least three Wind- 
ham county companies : Company 4 from Ashford, Reuben 
Marcy, captain ; John Holmes, first lieutenant; vSamuel Marcy, 
second lieutenant; Daniel Knowlton, ensign, and 79 privates; 
Company 5 from Woodstock, Stephen Lyon, captain ; Josiah 
Child, first lieutenant ; and Company 6 from Canterbury, Asa 
Baker, captain; Abner Bacon, first lieutenant; Aaron Cleve- 
land, ensign. 

At the disastrous battle of Long Island in August, 1776, Wind- 
ham county men in the line suffered severel}-. More than a 
hundred and fifty officers and privates were missing from Hun- 
tington's regiment alone. Several men from Pomfret were 
killed, and others taken prisoners, among whom was Surgeon 
David Holmes. Durkee's and Chandler's regiments were de- 
tailed by Washington to cover the retreat from Long Island to 
New York. Knowlton, whose sterling qualities had made him 
a conspicuous figure and promised to secure his rapid promotion 
to the highest military honors, fell on the field at Harlem on the 
16th of September, and was buried there on the following day, 
amid impressive martial ceremonies, and deeply mourned by all 
his comrades and soldiers. In the engagements w^hich attended 
the gradual falling back of the American forces up into West- 
chester and across into New Jersey many sons of Windham fell. 
The militia regiments of the county were repeatedly called on 
to go to the defense of some point where it was expected the 
British were intending to make an attack. When Rhode Island 
was threatened, the Fifth, under Major Thomas Brown and the 
Eleventh under Major Samuel McClellan and the troops of horse 
under Major Backus started for the scene, but before they 
reached there Newport and its surroundings were seized by a 
strong body of British and fortified against the militia. During 
the autumn additional recruits were enlisted in the continental 
army, and the militia was re-organized in six brigades. The 
Windham county regiments were included in the Fifth brigade. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 77 

of which Eliphalet Dyer was made the general. He soon after 
resigned the appointment, and John Douglas was appointed in 
his stead. William Danielson, of Killingly, was now appointed 
colonel of the Eleventh regiment, and Samuel McClellan lieu- 
tenant colonel. Company officers w^ere as follows: Company 1, 
Daniel Lyon, captain; Benjamin Ruggles, lieutenant ; Nathan- 
iel Brown, ensign. Company 2, Caleb Clark, captain ; John Wells, 
lieutenant; Stephen Griggs, ensign. Company 3, Amos Paine, 
captain; Thomas Baker, lieutenant; William Lyon, ensign. 
Company 4, Joseph Cady, captain; Jonathan Cady, lieutenant ; 
Elisha Lawrence, ensign. Company 5, Ephraim Warren, cap- 
tain ; Daniel Waters, lieutenant. Company 6, Stephen Tucker, 
lieutenant ; Phinehas Walker, ensign. Company 7, Paine Con- 
verse, lieutenant. Company 8, Zebulon Ingalls, captain ; Wil- 
liam Osgood, lieutenant; Robert Sharpe, ensign. Company 9, 
John Green, captain ; Obadiah Clough, lieutenant; Daniel Earned, 
ensign. Company 10, Jonathan Morris, lieutenant ; Richard 
Peabody, ensign. Company 11, Samuel Chandler, captain ; John 
Holbrook, lieutenant; John Whitmore, ensign. 

During the autumn of 1776 Windham county was interested 
in fitting out at Norwich the schooner " Oliver Cromwell " for 
privateer service. This vessel had been built at Essex, Conn., by 
Uriah Hayden, during the previous year. She was built for the 
colony of Connecticut, and furnished with twenty-four guns. 
She was afterward presented to the general government, being 
one of the first if not the first gunboat ever owned by the United 
States as a nation. At the time of her fitting out at Norwich 
William Coit of that town was her captain, and among the crew 
were Phinehas Cary, Solomon Lord, Eleazer Welsh, Eleazer 
Spofford, Lemuel Stoddard, Hezekiah Abbe and Arad Simmons, 
of Windham, and Thomas Holbrook, of Lebanon. Doctor Sam- 
uel Lee, of Windham, was appointed surgeon on board, but was 
soon after succeeded by Doctor Albigence Waldo. Doctor Lee, 
with Doctors John Clark, Elisha Lord and James Cogswell, and 
other physicians from different parts of the state were made a 
committee for examining persons who offered themselves for 
the army. 

The spring of 1777 found the citizens of Windham county pre- 
paring themselves for the long continued war which was now in 
prospect. Again meeting and deliberating in their public town 
meetings, which had been almost suspended during the two 



78 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

previous years, they prepared to meet the demands \Yhich fell 
upon them to furnish recruits for the army, bounties for soldiers 
and provision for their families in their absence. The deprecia- 
tion of the currency and the increased price of the necessaries 
of life, the scarcity of breadstuffs and salt, were among the im- 
portant questions with which they had to deal. The citizens 
were required to take the oath of allegiance to the state. Com- 
mittees were appointed by the towns to provide for their public 
needs and to confer with similar committees from other towns 
in regard to questions of common interest. 

The Windham County Association of Alinisters now gave 
voice to their sentiments in regard to the general situation as 
follows : " Considering the peculiar circumstances of our land 
during the present calamities of war, wherewith the holy and 
righteous God is pleased to exercise us ; the decline of religion 
and prevalence of iniquity ; think it our duty to stir up our- 
selves and the people of our charge to additional attention to our 
duties, and propose to General Association to recommend pro- 
fessors of religion to renew their covenant with God that family 
religion and order might be maintained." A committee was ap- 
pointed to prepare a suitable address which was published, and 
a thousand copies of it were distributed among the twenty 
parishes of Windham county. 

In the early part of the year 1777 the second company of the 
Fourth Regiment of Light Horse was reorganized with Perley 
Howe of Killingly, captain, Asa Wilder, lieutenant, Stephen 
Tucker, cornet and Davis Flint quartermaster. Some enter- 
prising citizens of Brooklyn having offered to furnish three or 
four light field pieces, fitted for service, Daniel Tyler, Jr., and 
thirty-five others formed an independent matross company, sub- 
ject only to be commanded by the commander in chief or either 
of the major or brigadier generals of the state of Connecticut. 
Arrangements for the manufacture of saltpetre and powder 
were now so far perfected that ammunition was more plenty. 
Private individuals in every town were engaged in the manu- 
facture of saltpetre, and this work had become so general that 
the powder mill at Willimantic received from the towns of the 
county 42,666 pounds of it during the three months ending with 
February. This was received in various lots, ranging in quan- 
tity from twenty up to nine hundred pounds. Eight hundred 
and eighty-one pounds of scale and clock weights, shot and bar 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 79 

lead were also reported as received at the mill. The recruits of 
Windham were scattered among the various departments of the 
■continental army and at the scenes of conflict in different 
quarters, sustaining losses here and there as might be expected. 
Captain vStephen Brown, of Pomfret, successor of Knowlton in 
command, ^vas instantly killed by a shot from a ship while gal- 
lantly defending Fort Mifflin. Captain Daniel Clark was killed 
in battle at Stillwater, September 19th. Chaplains Fuller and 
Leonard also died. Mrs. Putnam died in the hands of the enemy 
as a prisoner of war. Colonel William Douglas died during this 
year. These losses of some of the most prominent of Wind- 
ham's patriots caused great depression of the public spirits. To 
.add to their discouragement the powder mill at Willimantic 
blew up, killing one man and destroying valuable machinery 
and material. This occurred on the 18th of December. Then 
followed the winter of 1777-78, when the patriots of Washing- 
ton's army were suffering memorable hardships at Valley Forge. 
Windham shared in the depression which affected the whole 
country in that dark hour. The people had spent their means 
and energies in the common cause, and were reduced to a con- 
dition of extreme want. However, they managed to hold up 
their hands and to meet the demands of the country upon them, 
both in the matter of supplying their quotas of men and in con- 
tributing means to sustain the patriot cause. The Articles of 
Confederation recommended by the congress were approved 
and formally adopted. 

In the spring of 1778 prompt and liberal provision was made 
by all the towns for raising their respective quotas, and bounties 
were accordingly offered as liberally as the means of the people 
-would warrant. The outlook was more encouraging. Favorable 
news from France revived the spirits of the downhearted patriots, 
and soldiers went out again with hopeful hearts, while the people 
at home labored with new courage, hoping that brighter days 
were at hand. 

But while the national skies seemed brightening over theii 
heads, a new source of grief called for their deepest mourning. 
Rumors of the terrible Indian descent and massacre in the Wy- 
oming Valley came to them like the bursting of a thunder storm 
from a fair morning sky. Among the many of the sons of Wind- 
ham county who had been most barbarously tortured and butch- 
ered were Robert Durkee, Robert Jameson, Anderson Dana, 



80 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

George Dorrance, James Bidlack, Thomas and Stephen Fuller, 
vStephen Whiton, John Abbot, Samuel Ransom, Elisha Williams, 
Timothy Pierce and John Perkins. Their homes had been 
burned, their farms ravaged, and their families taken prisoners 
or driven out naked and starving into the wilderness. Aged 
fathers and mothers here waited in harrowing suspense to hear 
from their lost children, and after many anxious days received 
the remnants of these stricken families as one by one they found 
their way back to the old hearthstone. Among the many in- 
stances of suffering arising from this calamity, the brief records 
of a few have been preserved. Mrs. John Abbot and Mrs. 
Thomas Fuller, each with nine children and utterly destitute, 
begged their way back as best they could to their Windham 
homes. Mrs. Stephen Fuller came on horseback, with her little 
daughter Polly, Mrs. Anderson Dana, with her widowed daugh- 
ter, Mrs. Whiton, who had been married but a few weeks, and 
six younger children, toiled back to Ashford, bringing with her 
what she could save of the valuable papers belonging to her 
husband. Mrs. Elisha Williams left on that field of carnage her 
husband, two promising sons, and a daughter's husband, and 
with her five surviving children sought refuge at her father's 
house in Canterbury. Mrs. Esther Minor Yorke, with her twelve 
children, barefoot and starving, after many months had passed 
and they had been given up for lost, reached her old home in 
Voluntown, having with great difficulty escaped from their In- 
dian captors and accomplished the perilous journey, the baby 
dying on the way from cold and exposure. Another hunted 
fuo-itive, Rufus Baldwin, arrived at about the same time from 
Newport, New York, where he had killed an Indian and was 
obliged to flee for his life, traveling through the wilderness to 
Canterbury with only a chunk of raw salt pork in his pocket to 
subsist upon. 

In the attempt made by Sullivan and the French fleet under 
D'Estaing, August 10th, 1778, to recapture Newport, the militia 
of Windham county had a part, and several of them were killed 
and others wounded. Others suffered from exposure to the 
severe storm which prevailed at that .time and contributed so 
much to the failure of the enterprise. Requisition was made by 
Governor Trumbull upon Ebenezer Devotion, of Scotland Parish, 
for one hundred barrels of musket powder. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 81 

The attempt to recapture Newport was unsuccessful and the 
prospects of American independence were shrouded with doubt. 
And with little improvement of the situation time wore on. The 
people all over the land were weary, depressed and discouraged. 
Their property was becoming- worthless and the comforts and 
even necessaries of life almost unattainable. Other factors 
helped to make the situation still more discouraging. There was 
demoralization, degeneration and defection. Young men came 
back wrecked in health and character, dissolute in habit, and 
infidel in principle. Even Windham county, with all its self- 
sacrificing and almost unanimous patriotism, was not without 
its Arnold. Nathan Frink, a successful lawyer, seeing no hope 
of future success on the patriot side, left home and friends and 
offered himself and his services to the British commander in 
New York, causing overwhelming sorrow, shame and resent- 
ment among his family and friends, and bringing the gray hairs 
of his father indeed " with sorrow to the grave." Even among 
those who claimed to be patriots there were things that caused 
sadness and discouragement. Selfishness prompted men to keep 
back their goods for a price, though they knew their soldiers 
were starving and naked. The brief sessions of the county 
court were chiefly occupied with hearing complaints against 
various people for selling cattle and swine at foreign markets or 
for unauthorized prices, and for other breaches of wholesome 
laws made to encourage fair dealing and restrain and punish 
sharpers and oppressors. 

Yet in the face of all these discouragements and difficulties, 
Windham county continued steadfast, trusting in the justice of 
the patriot cause and in that Providence which had so wonder- 
fully led and sustained the people of America. In darkest days 
she stood firm and unwavering, striving with unceasing diligence 
to strengthen the hands of government and carry forward the 
war. Year after year the towns taxed themselves heavily to 
pay bounties, furnish clothing, and provide for the families of 
the soldiers. General Douglas, of Plainfield, Colonels Williams, 
Danielson and Johnson, though now advanced in years, led the 
militia many times on alarm of danger, and Major Backus time 
after time hurried his troops of horse to the relief of New Lon- 
don and Rhode Island. McClellan not only served almost con- 
tinuously in the field, but paid his regiment out of his own 
pocket when the public treasury was empty. General Douglas, 



82 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Colonel Johnson, ]\Iajor Ripley, Commissary Waldo, and indeed 
very many of those leading men who had money at command, 
advanced it repeatedly to pay off bounties or to fit out expedi- 
tions. 

Men went out to battle and council and provide for public de- 
mands, and the women labored as efficiently in their own special 
fields of action and usefulness. The burdens and distresses of the 
war fell very heavily upon them. They sent out husbands, 
brothers and sons to the battle field, and then labored heroically 
to fill their places at home. Farm work was added to their or- 
dinary domestic duties. They had to take care of their stock 
as well as of their children, to plant and reap as well as to spin 
and weave, to cure herbs for their own tea, and manufacture 
their molasses out of corn stalks. These various demands upon 
them stimulated ingenuity, so that whatever the call the}^ were 
ready to meet it. 

With such support and sympathy from town and fireside the 
soldiers sent out from Windham county could hardly fail to do 
her honor. Their early reputation for courage and good con- 
duct was abundantly sustained. Many who had sallied out at 
the first cry from Lexington remained in service throughout the 
war. The officers of Putnam's first regiment, the Connecticut 
Third, of 1775, thus served with but few exceptions. Lieuten- 
ant Thomas Grosvenor went on from rank to rank, succeeding 
Durkee in command when that valiant leader was compelled by 
ill health to retire from active service. Lieutenant Ebenezer 
Gray served the whole seven years, attaining the rank of lieu- 
tenant colonel. Captain Mosely was often called to command 
the militia in special service at Rhode Island or New London. 
Captains Dana, Clark, Cleft and Manning, and Lieutenants Dan- 
iel Marcy, John Keyes, Daniel Allen, John Adams, Melatiah 
Bingham, Benoni Cutler, Josiah Cleveland, Nathaniel Webb, 
William and Stephen Lyon served with distinction through suc- 
cessive campaigns, and were honored by various promotions. 

The system of enrollment at that time was so confused and 
imperfect that it would be impossible to learn the whole number 
sent out from any section, and very difficult to form even an ap- 
proximate estimate. It appears, however, certain that the sev- 
eral towns of Windham county fulfilled every requisition for 
continental or militia service. The burden of the war was borne 
by the whole population, and a complete muster-roll of Wind- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 83 

ham's revolutionary soldiers would probably include the name 
of nearly every family in the county, while man}' families sent 
very large representations. It is said that seventeen cousins by 
the name of Fuller were in the service from Windham's Second 
Society. The Adamses and Cleveland s w^ere almost without 
number. Peter Adams, of Brooklyn, and Ephraim Fisk, of Kil- 
lingly, each had six sons in the army, and Barzillai Fisher and 
Lusher Gay each had four. 

A notable feature of the later years of the war was the num- 
ber of very young men, lads of fourteen and upwards, who en- 
listed if permitted to do so, or attached themselves to some pop- 
ular officer. Samuel Calvin Adams, of Canterbury, not then 
quite fourteen years of age, waited upon Captain Aaron Cleve- 
land at the time of Governor Tryon's assault upon Horse-Neck, 
and saw General Putnam plunge down the steep bluff, while the 
bullets of the baffled dragoons were whizzing around him and 
some even passing through his hat. William Eaton of Wood- 
stock, at the age of sixteen ran away from home to join the army, 
and prevailed upon Captain Dana to receive him as his servant. 
John Pettengill, of Windham, enlisted at fourteen and served 
till the close of the war under the same popular leader. Levi 
Bingham, of Windham, entered the service at fifteen. Daniel 
Waldo, at seventeen served a month under Captain William 
Howard at New London, and then enlisted under Captain Na- 
thaniel Wales for continental service. Many a household was 
forced reluctantly to part with even its Benjamin. Laban, 
the youngest son of Barzillai Fisher, appeared before his aunt 
one morning at daylight w4th a gun upon his shoulder. " O, 
Laban, you are not going ! " besought his distressed aunt. " Yes," 
he answered cheerily, "but don't tell father," and off he went to 
suffer and die in the Jersey prison ship. 

After the removal of the seat of war to the Southern states 
Windham had less occasion for active participation, though still 
called to raise her quota of men and supplies for protection of 
the state and continental service. Of fifteen hundred men 
raised by Connecticut in May, 1780, for six months' continental 
service the quotas of the towns of Windham were as follows: 
Ashford, 17 ; Canterbur}', 9 ; Coventry, 18 ; Killingly, 37 ; Lebanon, 
36; Mansfield, 20; Plainfield, 16 ; Pomfret,25 ; Union, 6 ; Volun- 
town, 17 ; Windham 34, and Woodstock 20. The towns at once 
made provision for enlisting these men, but before it was ac- 



84 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

complished a thousand men were called for to serve for three 
years. Windham offered ^20 in money, equal to wheat at five 
shillings a bushel, as a bounty for recruits. In December she 
offered i^l2 in silver money as a bounty for the first year and £'d 
silver for each succeeding year. Plain field offered ;^100 to any 
five men who would enlist for three years. Other towns were 
equally generous in offering bounties, and the quotas were filled 
without resorting to a draft. 

Notwithstanding the continued demand for men,monev and 
supplies, and the little apparent progress m.ade by the conti- 
nental arms, the prospects were brightening. La Fayette had 
returned full of hope and courage. France was taking part in 
favor of American liberty more decidedly and heartily. The 
marching of Gates and his division through Plainfield, Canter- 
bury and Windham on their withdrawal from Newport, the 
quartering of the French Huzzars at Windham for a week and 
at Lebanon through the winter of 1780-81, gave new life and 
stimulus, and encouraged the people to hope for better days. In 
1781 the patriots of Windham, eagerly watching the signs of the 
times, heard dim rumors of more fleets and troops on the way 
from France, and treasure to the amount of fifteen tons of silver 
in French hornpipes ; and in June they were treated to the sight 
of Rochambeau's grand army as it marched from Newport to 
Hartford. " Magnificent in appearance, superb in discipline," 
with banners and music, it passed in four divisions through the 
county. The major part took the great highway through Volun- 
town, Plainfield, Canterbury and Windham, where all the coun- 
try people from far and wide flocked to the Providence road to 
see the brave array pass by. Barrack masters appointed by the 
governor and his council met them at every stopping place and 
provided suitable accommodations. A hundred eager school 
boys in Plainfield village gave them vociferous welcome. In 
Windham they encamped for a day or two, where they were 
visited by all the leading patriots. It is supposed that one of 
these divisions took the more northerly route to Hartford, 
through Killingly, Pomfret and Ashford. Tradition confidently 
asserts the passing of the French army through these towns, 
and points out the very place of their encampment in Abington. 
The accompanying tradition that Washington and La Fayette 
were with the army appears hardly probable, as the latter was 
with the southern forces in June, 1781, at which time the army 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 85 

is supposed to have passed through here. It seems more prob- 
able that the visit of the two generals was at some other time, 
perhaps after the cessation of hostilities. They are reported to 
have passed a night at Grosvenor's, in Pomfret, waited for 
breakfast at the hearth-stone of the Randall house in Abington, 
and spent another night at Clark's tavern in Ashford, where 
their names are still to be seen upon an antique window pane. 

April 19th, 1783, Washington announced the cessation of hos- 
tilities. We hear but little of festivities and noisy demonstra- 
tions of rejoicing on the reception of this welcome tidings. The 
joy of the citizens of Windham county was perhaps too deep for 
such expression. It had been a long, hard, earnest struggle — 
one that involved questions of life and death. Many precious 
lives had been sacrificed. There had been great expenditure of 
money and forces ; there were hard problems still to face ; and 
so the rejoicings were mostly expressed by religious solemni- 
ties. As the people repaired to the sanctuary when they sent 
out the first soldiers to the war, so when the war closed and the 
soldiers returned, they again found their way to the house of 
God to give expression to the mingled feelings which must have 
filled their bosoms. It may have been difficult indeed to discern 
the noise of the shout of joy from that of the weeping of the 
people, for in the galleries and in the great pews there were 
many vacant places. The aged deacons who sat beneath the 
pulpit had laid their precious sons upon the altar. There were 
other parents there whose sons had been stricken ; there were 
widows bowed with grief ; there were children who were father- 
less ; there were fair young girls whose hearts still yearned for 
missing lover and brother, and thanks for the great blessings of 
peace and independence were hallowed by a deep consciousness 
of the great price that had been paid for them. 

With the close of the war and the return of peace the attention 
of the people was turned to the question of organizing society 
anew and resuming the ordinary labors and habits of a time of 
peace. The citizens of Windham county went vigorously to 
work, adapting themselves to the new social and political condi- 
tions with which the establishment of a new form of government 
surrounded them. One of the first things to be done was to rid 
society of the few tories which infested it. No formal process of 
ejection was served upon them, but somehow they were given 
to understand that they would be no longer tolerated here, and 



S6 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

it appears that they heeded the admonitions of the situation. 
The principles of the modern " boycott " were applied to them. 
The Sons of Liberty had ordered that no mills should grind for 
a tory, and that no merchant should sell goods to one of that 
class. By various means the lives of tories were made so tin- 
comfortable here that most of them preferred to leave the coun- 
ty rather than endure the conditions of remaining. A few were 
among that notable band of refugees who left New York in Sep- 
tember, 1783, to seek new homes in Nova Scotia. Only a few re- 
mained and suffered the partial sacrifice of their property by 
confiscation. 

Now arose a voice of complaint which, though raised before, 
had been stifled amid the confusion of louder calls upon the 
public ear, but now sounded with more distinct and conspicu- 
ous force. This voice of complaint came from the soldiers who 
had fought the battles of the revolution and had returned with- 
out satisfactory pay for their services. Some had received no 
pay at all, while others who were nominally paid received their 
pay in scrip which was little better than worihless. So thorough- 
ly demoralized were the finances of the country, and to such an 
extent had the continental currency depreciated that a hundred 
dollars of it would hardly buy a meal's victuals. With such a 
low condition of the circulating medium it is easy to see what 
extremes of injustice might result to those who had loaned 
money or entered into contracts when the nominal unit of value 
was fifty or a hundred fold greater than it was at this time and 
they were compelled to receive pay in the depreciated currency. 

Various attempts were now made to organize other towns, and 
one even to organize a new county, but nothing was effected ex- 
cept that the towns of Union and Coventry were withdrawn 
from this county to become parts of the newly formed county of 
Tolland, which was organized by act of general assembly in 
1786. 

The consideration of the new constitution of the United 
States now involved much of the attention of the people. Public 
opinion was at first greatly divided in regard to it. In Novem- 
ber, 1787, the towns of the county were instructing their dele- 
gates in the general assembly in regard to it. The proposed 
document was publicly read and warmly debated in the several 
towns, assembled for the purpose. By many it was looked upon 
with suspicion, as calculated to rob their state of its rights and 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 87 

give too much power to the general governrnent. But the coun- 
sels of wisdom prevailed and most of the towns accepted the 
constitution, though Pomfret, Woodstock, Mansfield and one of 
the Lebanon delegates withheld their consent. The great ma- 
jority of the people of the county, however, approved of the ac- 
tion of the state convention in adopting the constitution and the 
final result was ratified with general rejoicings. At the conven- 
tion which assembled at Hartford January 3d, 1788, adopting 
the constitution, Windham county was represented by the fol- 
lowing delegates : Windham — Eliphalet Dyer and Jedidiah El- 
derkin ; Canterbury — Asa Witter and Moses Cleveland ; Ash- 
ford — Simeon Smith and Hendrick Dow ; Woodstock — Stephen 
Paine and Timothy Perrin ; Thompson — Daniel Darned ; Kil- 
lingly — Sampson Howe and William Danielson ; Pomfret — Jon- 
athan Randall and Simon Cotton ; Brooklyn — Seth Paine ;, 
Plainfield — James Bradford and Joshua Dunlap ; Voluntown — 
Moses Campbell and Benjamin Dow ; Lebanon — William Wil- 
liams and Ephraim Carpenter; ]\Iansfield — Constant Southworth 
and Nathaniel Atwood. 



CHAPTER VII. 



WINDHAM COUNTY UNDER THE CONSTITUTION. 



Pro.^ress after the War. — Immigration and Commercial Enterprise. — The lot of 
the Farmers. — Moral and Religious Declension. — Slavery disappearing. — 
Remnants of Indian Tribes. — Educational Interests. — Teachers. — Newspajiers. 
— Social Conditions. — Domestic Customs. — Manufacturing Enterprises begin. 
—The War of 1812.— Party Spirit.— Revival of the Patriotic Spirit.— Recruit- 
ing.— Organization of Troops. — First Summons to Arms, June 21st, 1813. — 
Another Call in September.— To Relief of New London. August 9th, 1814.— 
On Guai'd at Stonington. — Peace restored. 1815. — ApproiDriate Celebrations 
of the Event. 



PASSING over a period of about twenty-five years, we pause 
to look again at the condition of the people of Windham 
county, and to note the changes that have been made in 
the course of that time as the citizens went forward with the 
work of building up a prosperity which should in after years 
make them strong and vigorous of muscle, means and principle 
to maintain the contests into which subsequent years were to 
bring them. We find that the twenty-five years was a period 
of growth and advancement, though the outflow of population 
to newer parts of our vast country had somewhat checked the 
increase of population. The census of 1800 showed a gain of 
only 728 .since 1774 and an actual loss of 699 since 1790. Busi- 
ness enterprise, however, had been stimulated by the opening 
of new avenues of trade, turnpike roads and mechanical inven- 
tions. Several business firms traded directly with the West In- 
dies, owning their vessels and buying up surplus produce here, 
thus enriching themselves and at the same time greatly benefit- 
ting the farming interests of many of these towns. Other towns, 
in which the facilities for farming were fewer, had turned their 
attention to manufacturing. Keen eyes watched with eager in- 
terest the various attempts now made to supersede by machinery 
the slow and painful processes of hand labor. Machines for 
carding wool were brought into the county as early as 1806. 
The manufacture of paper, potash, pottery, bricks, boots, shoes 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 89 

and hats was carried on to a considerable extent. At that time, 
however, wealth had not begun to roll into the laps of the fav- 
ored ones in such masses as has been seen in later times. 
Money making as a fine art was probably not the absorbing 
theme of the minds of that time. Rich men were few. The 
farmer who owned land free from incumbrance, professional 
men and traders might indeed secure a competence, but it is 
doubtful if a majority of the population could do much more 
than make a scanty livelihood. Children were numerous, trades 
few and wages low. Three shillings a day, paid in produce, was 
the common price for farm laborers, and a workingwoman would 
drudge through the week for two and sixpence. Ten dollars a 
month for a schoolmaster and five shillings a week for a 
schoolma'am were deemed ample wages. Young men roved 
about in spring, swingling flax and tow on shares and picking 
up such odd jobs as they could find. Young men found it very 
difficult to make their way in the world, and it was only after 
years of hard, self-sacrificing labor that they could save enough 
to stock a farm, even in the most meagre manner. Clothing 
was expensive, and partly owing to this fact and partly owing 
to the more favorable fact that it was durable in those days, 
it was common for a good suit of clothes to be worn almost a 
life time, and until men could be distinguished as far as the 
eye could see them by the well known peculiarity of some feat- 
ure of their clothing. 

In morals, there had appeared at the beginning of this period 
a marked deterioration. Rum was used without stint ; Sabbath- 
breaking, profanity and loose living were increasingly preva- 
lent. But there was now evidence of a turn in the tide. The 
immediate effects of the war, always demoralizing, were being 
obliterated, and the public mind was awaking to a sense of 
its condition. Intemperance in drinking intoxicants was de- 
nounced, and plans were discussed for the suppression of vice 
and immoralities. The evils of rum drinking were set forth by 
printed publications intended to arrest the attention of the 
thoughtful and instruct the young to avoid the snare of the 
drinking habit. A religious revival had preceded this attempted 
reformation in morals. Methodism had done a good work in 
reaching a class removed from religious and restraining influ- 
ences, and the ministry at large was awaking more and more to 
the demands of the hour and striving to arouse the churches to 



90 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

a higher sense of individual responsibility and a more general 
co-operation in aggressive Christian labor. There were in the 
county in 1806, about forty religious societies, each having a 
church organization and a place of worship. Of these, twenty 
were Congregational, thirteen Baptist, four Methodist, two Sep- 
arate, and one Episcopal. 

In accordance with the statutes of 1783, forbidding the im- 
portation of slaves and providing for the gradual emancipation 
of slave children, the institution had nearly died out. Uncon- 
genial as it was with the spirit of society here, it died almost 
unnoticed, of its own spontaneous decay. Negroes who had 
served during the revolution generally received their freedom 
at that time. Many born in slavery were manumitted by their 
owners. The old house servants were generally retained for life, 
and were comfortably supported. Many of the younger negroes 
sought employment in the large towns. 

The aboriginal inhabitants also were fast disappearing. Rem- 
nants of ancient tribes might still be found on reservations in 
Woodstock and Brooklyn, as alien from the people around them 
as if they belonged to another order of beings. Almost every 
town had its one Indian family, familiar to all, and regarded as 
a sort of common charge. A few wandering Indians with no 
fixed home roved about from town to town, extorting tribute of 
food and cider. Noah Uncas, Little Olive, Eunice Squib and 
Hannah Leathercoat were familiar figures of this class, grim, 
gaunt and taciturn, stalking in single file along highway or turn- 
pike. Mohegans still made their annual pilgrimages up the 
Quinebaug. These various representatives of a fallen dynasty 
were usually treated with kindness and consideration, strongly 
seasoned, however, with contempt, the Indian of that period 
holding much the same position as the negro of a later period. 

The educational interests were, at the time of which we speak, 
receiving more intelligent consideration. Public schools had 
received a new impulse from the creation of the school fund 
and more stringent supervision. The district system was more 
fully carried out, bringing a school within the reach of every 
family, and schools were maintained with greater regularity and 
efficiency. But the ordinary school house was yet very rude 
and primitive. A typical house of this class has been described 
by a man who knew it as a boy, as follows : " It was a wooden 
building about twenty feet square, underpinned at the four 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 91 

corners with common stones. It was boarded, clapboarded, the 
roof shingled, and an outer door, no porch or entry, at the south- 
east corner. It had a loose floor made of unplaned boards, and 
a ceiling of the same, a chimney in one corner built of rough 
stone. There was a long writing table, reaching across one 
side and one end of the room, and the scholars sat on both 
sides of the table, facing each other. They had no desks or 
drawers, nothing of the kind. The idea of being comfortable 
there never entered our minds. While we wrote, our ink would 
freeze in our pens, so that we were frequently obliged to hold 
them up to our- mouths and thaw it with our breaths." 

The standard of qualifications of teachers was low, compared 
with that of the present time, the range of subjects beingmainly 
reading, writing, arithmetic, sewing and the catechism ; the 
price paid teachers was correspondingly low ; but the results 
show that they were more efficient in securing the vital objects 
of public education than the popular voice of the present boast- 
ing age would permit us to believe. The brightest and most 
capable young men generally secured the position of teachers, 
and the energy of their youthful blood sustained the enthu- 
siasm of their minds and inspired their younger charges to the 
most effective mental achievements. The few subjects taught 
were thoroughly learned, and often a thirst for investigation 
and further knowledge was excited which found gratification in 
the solid, standard w^orks to be found in the different town 
libraries. Increasing interest in education was manifested m 
the establishment of academies and high schools and the mul- 
tiplication of these useful libraries. 

The people of Windham county were among the foremost in 
recognizing the value of the newspaper as a popular educator. 
When we speak of the newspaper as a popular educator we 
mean the newspaper of that time and the class of later times 
that are aiming to elevate mankind by wholesome teachings 
and profitable intelligence — not the indiscriminate newspaper 
which daily or weekly throws to its readers a mass of the 
slimiest filth that it dare put in print, or at best the most 
worthless literary froth which its hireling writers can spin out. 
While other localities similarly circumstanced in most other re- 
spects were counting their newspaper subscribers by twos or 
threes, the towns of this county were counting theirs by scores. 
For example, in 1778, Joseph Carter, of Canterbury, a post-rider, 



92 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

carried the Hartford Ga::cttc to twenty-fiYe families in vScotland 
parish, to forty-three in Westminster parish, and to forty-fiYe in 
the First Society of Canterbury. The Providence papers were 
also widely circulated, and the WindJiani Herald hsid twelve hund- 
red subscribers early in the present century. Almost every 
town had its " newspaper class," neighbors joining together that 
they might have a larger variety. 

The social conditions of that time have so completely passed 
away that the historian must in justice review them to prevent 
the memory of them entirely passing from the knowledge of 
men. The great kitchen, with its log fire in the huge chimney, 
and its high-backed settle keeping the draughts out, its bare 
sanded floor, and round-topped table tipping back into an arm 
chair, its wheels and reels and various working appurtenances, 
its porridge kettle on the crane, and dye pot in the chimney 
corner, was still the general abiding place of the whole family, 
for there alone could be conveniently carried on the diversified 
operations of the domestic routine. The fabrication of cloth 
taxed the united energies of the household. Strong arms were 
needed to break and swingle the stubborn iiax fibre, cleanse and 
separate the matted fleece, ere feminine hands could undertake 
the hatcheling and carding. Children, grandparents and feeble 
folk could wind up the quills and turn the reel while the sturdy 
matron and her grown-up daughters accomplished their " day's 
work " at the loom or spinning wheel. The various kinds and 
grades of cloth needful for family use — sheeting, toweling, 
blankets, coverlets, heavy woolen cloth for men's wear in winter 
and tow cloth for summer, woolen stuff, linsey-woolsey and 
ginghams for women and children — were mainly manufactured 
at home. And when to this Herculean labor was added the 
making of butter and cheese, the care of pickling and preserv- 
ing a year's supply of beef and pork, making sausages, running 
candles and other necessary work, but little time was left for 
labors of fancy and ornamentation. The homespun gowns 
were made up in the simplest fashion. Perambulating tailors 
cut and made the heavy garments for men, and itinerant shoe- 
makers fashioned the family shoes from cowhides and calfskins 
produced on the premises. Bean porridge, baked pork and 
beans, boiled meat and vegetables, rye and Indian bread, milk, 
cheese and cider, with plenty of shad and salmon in their sea- 
son, and a good goose or turkey at Thanksgiving, made up the 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY, 93 

bill of fare. Butchers and markets were yet almost unknown, 
but a self-regulating meat exchange was found in every com- 
munity, several neighbors by mutual understanding slaughter- 
ing each an animal in turn, and exchanging the fresh meat, so 
each was served with fresh meat during a considerable part of 
the season. The salt then used was bought in great chunks, 
and had to be ground at the grist mills, where a day was occa- 
sionally set apart for this specific kind of work. 

The beginnings of the manufacturing era, to which Windham 
county mainly owes its present material prosperity, may be set 
down as about the close of the last century, or the early years of 
the present one. Arthur and John Scholfield, who came from 
England in 1793, succeeded after ten or twelve years' experi- 
mental effort in making ready for market " double carding ma- 
chines, upon a new and improved plan." A machine for carding 
sheep's wool was set up by John Scholfield, Jr., in Jewett City, 
in 1804, who accommodated numerous customers by picking, 
breaking, carding and oiling wool at twelve cents a pound. 
Families in adjacent parts of this county availed themselves of 
this improved method of getting their work done, and the busi- 
ness prospered so much as to stimulate others to engage in it. 
In 1806 Cyrus Brewster established a mill on the falls of the 
Willimantic, where he did the same work as that mentioned above 
for nine cents a pound in cash, or eleven cents "other pay." 
Other machines in other parts of the county soon followed. 
About this time the introduction of machinery for manufactur- 
ing cotton furnished new food for the enterprise and activity of 
the people. This was the establishment of the Pomfret Manu- 
facturing Company at the present site of the village of Putnam, 
the first cotton factory in Windham county. The works were 
set in operation April 1st, 1807. Other cotton factories followed 
in the neighboring towns with such rapidity as to cause alarm 
in the minds of some. The Windham Herald in November, 1811, 
after stating that the number of cotton mills within thirty miles 
of Providence had increased within two years from thirty -nine 
to seventy-four, asks the startling question : " Are not the peo- 
ple running cotton-mill mad? '' But for all that the cotton mills 
continued to be erected and the people connected with them 
prospered. 

We come now to a period when the clouds of war hovered 
over our land. The war of 1812-14, with the questions of public 



94 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

policy associated with it, excited great interest among the peo- 
ple of this county. Party spirit was aroused to a high pitch, and 
political animosities were kindled into vivid flame. The old 
Federalists as a party denounced the war and its advocates, and 
quite overbore for a time the influence of the sympathizing Jef- 
fersonians. After the embargo act of "1807, the occasion being 
designated as an " alarming crisis," a meeting of the citizens of 
Windham county was held at the court house to consider the 
situation. The voice of this meeting disapproved this act as a 
thing unnecessary, at the same time declaring that " the same 
patriotic spirit which conducted us to Liberty and Indepen- 
dence will now animate us when that Liberty and Independence 
are in danger, and that the American Nation are prepared to 
sacrifice their lives and fortunes in defence of the only Free Re- 
publican Government on Earth against the insidious wiles or 
the open attack of any foreign power." 

Notwithstanding the dominance of the federal party and the 
strong influence of such men as Swift and Goddard, personal ex- 
perience of the exactions and insolence of Great Britain, as well 
as the spirit of party, led many to welcome the prospect and de- 
claration of war. Windham sailors had been taken from Amer- 
ican ships under false pretenses and made to serve for years in 
the British navy. The brisk little *' Windham" and other craft 
had been seized and confiscated under Berlin Decrees and Or- 
ders in Council. The military spirit, revived in the hearts of the 
young men by what they heard their fathers tell of the revolu- 
tion, prompted many to accept the tempting inducements held 
out by recruiting officers and join the military companies that 
were forming. The following call, issued through the columns 
of the WindJiain Herald, illustrates the methods of obtaining re- 
cruits. 

''RECRUITING SERVICE!! 

"TO MEN OF PATRIOTISM, COURAGE AND ENTER- 
PRISE. 

" Every able-bodied MAN, from the age of J8 to 45 years, who 
shall be enlisted for the ARMY of the United States, for the 
term of five years, will be paid a bounty of SIXTEEN DOL- 
LARS ; and whenever he shall have served the term for which 
he enlisted, and obtained an honorable discharge, stating that 
he had faithfully performed his duty while in service, he shall 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 95 

be allowed and paid in addition to the aforesaid bounty, 
THREE MONTHS PAY, and ONE HUNDRED AND SIX- 
TY ACRES OF LAND ; and in case he shall be killed in action, 
or die in the service, his heirs and representatives will be en- 
titled to the said three months pay, and one hundred and sixty 
acres of land, to be designated, surveyed, and laid off at publick 
expense. 

" Henry Dyer, 

" Lieut. U. S. Infantry. 
" Rendezvous, WineiJiavi, 

" May 11th, mm. 

" N. B.— A good DRUMMER and FIFER are wanted imme- 
diately." 

It is hardly to be expected that the above appeal should have 
■called out a full army at once. It doubtless met with a ready 
response, however. But what patriot could resist the following, 
which was also promulgated through the columns of the Winei- 
Jiam Herald : 

" The subscriber gives this public notification to all young 
Gentlemen who have an inclination of serving their country and 
gaining immortal honor to themselves and their posterity, that 
he has lately received fresh orders of Inlistment from govern- 
ment, which are much more favorable than those he formerly 
had. The period for inlistment is now fixed at five years, unless 
sooner discharged, after which time an honorable discharge will 
be given, where it is merited. Let no male or female disorgan- 
izer discourage you from engaging in this most laudable under- 
taking, but voluntarily step forth and tell the world that no 
usurpers shall maintain ground on Columbia's shore, but that 
America is, and shall be a distinct republic. Come, my good 
.souls, come forward, let me see you at the rendezvous at Mr. 
.Staniford's, where you will get further information, and some- 
thing good to cheer the heart. 

"William Young, Jun., Capt." 

Troops were raised by Connecticut, subject, how^ever, only to 
the order of her governor. Of these troops in Windham county, 
Daniel Putnam was made colonel of the Second regiment, raised 
for special service. Of the Second company in this regiment 
Asa Copeland, of Pomfret, was captain ; Ebenezer Grosvenor, 
first lieutenant ; Jonathan Copeland, Jr., of Thompson, second 
.lieutenant ; Jeremiah Scarborough, of Brooklyn, ensign. In the 



96 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Third company George Middleton, of Plainfield, was captain ; 
Elkanah Eaton, first lieutenant ; George W. Kies, second lieu- 
tenant ; Jared Wilson, of Sterling, ensign. Of the Third com- 
pany of Cavalry Thomas Hubbard was captain ; William Trow- 
bridge, first lieutenant ; William Cotton, second lieutenant ; Ralph 
Hall, cornet. Citizens exempt by age or official position from mil- 
itary service were enrolled as the First regiment of a volunteer 
brigade under command of General David Humphreys. Of this 
regiment Honorable Thomas Grosvenor was colonel ; Eliphalet 
Holmes, lieutenant colonel ; James Danielson, first major. Such 
men as Lemuel Ingalls, Chester Child. Hobart Torrey, Abel An- 
drus, Moses Arnold, Shubael Hutchins, Ebenezer Eaton, Syl- 
vanus Backus, John Davis, Luther Warren and Jeremiah Kins- 
man were officers m this regiment. 

The first summons to arms created considerable excitement. 
June 21st, 1813, men were ordered to rendezvous in the central 
taverns of their respective towns, " complete in arms to go to 
Xew London as there were British there." Soldiers meeting at 
the taverns were in some instances marched to the meeting 
houses, where they were treated to stirring addresses to nerve 
them for the prospective scenes. Whole companies were drawn 
up in line ready to march in an amazingly short space of time. 
Marching to New London, they remained on guard there about 
three weeks. 

Another call came in September. Artemus Bruce, Stephen 
Ricard, Charles Howard and some twelve or fifteen other Pom- 
fret boys went out under Captain Copeland and Ensign Gros- 
venor. Meeting others from Ashford, Windham and other 
towns, in Norwich, they formed a company ninety-six strong. 
They embarked in a sloop next da}^ and proceeded to New Lon- 
don, where they encamped. Here they remained seven weeks, 
but were not called upon to do any fighting. A detachment of 
cavalry from the Fifth regiment was stationed at New London 
and Groton from September 1st to October 31st. These were : 
Comfort S.Hyde, of Canterbury, lieutenant ; John C.Howard 
and Jacob Dresser, sergeants; John Kendall and David Hutch- 
inson, corporals ; Rhodes Arnold, Henry Angell, Charles Bar- 
rows, Elisha P. Barstow, Zachariah Cone, Ichabod Davis, Abial 
Durkee, John Gallup, Arnold Hosmer, Jonathan Hammet, Jr., 
Edward vS. Keyes, Dana Lyon, Hezekiah Loomis, William Morse, 
Zeba Phelps, Elisha Paine, Bela Post, Shubael Strong, Otis Stod- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 97 

dard and Jasper Woodward, privates. Many others of the sons 
of Windham, but who had gone out to other fields of life and 
labor, had entered the service of the country and were honoring 
themselves, their country and the locality of their nativity by 
their valorous acquittal of the trusts imposed upon them. Of 
these we cannot now speak particularly. 

The summons to the relief of New London when invasion 
actually came, August 9th, 1814, awakened something of the 
old revolutionary enthusiasm. Lieutenant Hough, of Canter- 
bury, with a small body of militia, helped to defend Stonington 
from the attack of the British fleet, and he was himself knocked 
down by a shell, and taken up for dead. David Fuller, of Scot- 
land, begged leave of Captain Palmer to lead the first company, 
warned the men at sunrise, and at three o'clock in the afternoon 
marched off with seventeen men directly for New London. 
Other companies, drafted from the militia of different towns, 
followed as soon as possible. Marvin Adams, David Walden and 
others, from Scotland, reached Norwich town August 23d and 
lodged in the old court house. Joining other companies at 
Norwich, they proceeded the next day to New London, running 
races by the way and giving but little attention to military 
order. After remaining in New London about six days, they 
proceeded to Stonington, where they acted as a sort of guard to 
the town. Some of the men were in uniform, and others Avore 
their Sunday suits. Discipline was easy and so were the duties 
of the men. Substitutes in standing guard could be obtained at 
any time for a pint of whiskey. No fighting was called for, and 
after enjoying a sort of protracted picnic for several weeks the 
men returned home in safety. 

Many scenes and events of that period would afford pleasure 
in their recital, but the space cannot be afforded to offer them 
here. Though suffering visited many parts of our land, where 
the sterner scenes of war were enacted, and dangers hovered 
about the coast near this part of Connecticut, yet the participa- 
tion of Windham county in the war really amounted to hardly 
more than a farce. This fact, however, did not prevent the 
news of peace being hailed with many and hearty demonstra- 
tions of rejoicing. The news of Jackson's triumphant victory at 
New Orleans reached Windham simultaneously with that of the 
signing of the treaty of peace. The conjunction of good tidings 
7 



98 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

was announced b}- the Wimiliam Herald, February 16th, 1815, in 
the following language : 

" We congratulate our readers on the heart-cheering news 
which they will find in our paper of this day. The rumor of the 
glad tidings of PEACE reached this place ]\londay afternoon. 
It was immediately announced by loud peals from the belfry of 
the meeting house. In the course of the evening this gratifying 
news was fully confirmed by handbills from Hartford, etc. No 
event since the peace of the revolutionary war could have dif- 
fused such general joy. Every countenance appeared glad, and 
mutual gratulations were reciprocated without distinction of 
party. The rejoicings were resumed the next day by the ring- 
ing- of the bell, firing of cannon and other demonstrations of 
joy." 

Appropriate celebrations were held in most of the Windham 
county towns, the old field-piece of the Brooklyn Matross Com- 
pany doing triple service in honor of the occasion. All parties 
rejoiced that the war was ended, and even the bluest federalist 
exulted in the triumph of his countrymen. So the war of 1812 
passed into history, and Windham county had from it but little 
to darken the peaceful trend of its *own experiences. In later 
years the government made liberal provision by pensions for 
those who served their country in any way during that period. 



CHAPTER VIII. 



THE CIVIL WAR. 



An Age of Prosperity. — Growth of the Union and Anti-Slavery Sentiment.— The 
Strongest Republican County in Connecticut. — Outbreak of the Rebellion. — 
County Mass Meeting. — Volunteer Companies Formed. — The Uprising of 
the Martial Spirit. — Popular Excitement. — Raising the Flag. — Recruiting. — 
Death of General Nathaniel Lyon, — Windham's Interest in General Mc- 
Clellan. — Organizations Represented by Windham County Soldiers. — Re- 
sponses to Later Calls.— The Eighteenth Regiment.— Work of the Sanitary 
and Christian Commissions at Home. — The Martvrs to the Union Cause. 



FOLLOWING the war of 1812-14 a long period of peace and 
material growth blessed the land with its strengthening 
effects. Windham county during this period was absorbed 
in building up her manufacturing enterprises and educating her 
sons in the principles which were to be put to the fearful test of 
a four years' war. During all those years of peace the principles 
which w^ere at last to be involved in war were taking root and 
firmly establishing themselves in the hearts of the people of this 
county in common with hundreds of other counties in the north- 
ern states of the Union. Though but one of the many in this 
respect, still it may be said of Windham that she was at least one 
of the conspicuous ones in her devotion to the principles of 
human freedom and support of the general union of the states. 

Though the resources of Windham county were relatively 
limited, yet her political status enabled her to extend most 
hearty aid and comfort to the central government. The strong 
anti-slavery sentiment early developed, deepened and strength- 
ened by the repeal of the Missouri Compromise and concurrent 
events, overcame partisan and political bias, and made her the 
strongest republican county in Connecticut. The call to aid in 
putting down the rebellion at the South met with immediate re- 
sponse in this county. Meetings were at once held in all the 
prominent villages, and measures w^ere instituted for carrj'ing 
out patriotic resolutions. Revolutionary scenes were re-enacted. 



100 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Young men hurried to cities to enlist, or joined in company drill 
at home ; women came together to prepare clothing and lint ; 
towns hastened to make provision for raising and supplying 
their prospective quotas. A county mass meeting was held in 
Brooklyn, April 22d, 1861, at which Governor Cleveland presided. 
A committee on resolutions, consisting of Daniel P. Tyler, W. 
H. Chandler, B. F. Palmer, H. Hammond, W. Simpson, J. Q. A. 
Stone, B. P. Spaulding and Jeremiah Olney,- declared that " citi- 
zens of Windham County would expend their last dollar, and 
exhaust the last drop of their blood ere they would submit to a 
disruption of the Nation." Stirring, patriotic addresses were 
made by many earnest speakers. Sixty volunteers offered to 
take the field at once, and six thousand five hundred dollars was 
pledged for the support of the government, Mr. W. H. Chandler 
heading the list with five hundred dollars. Many volunteer 
companies were formed in the several towns in advance of state 
requisition. E. W. Whitaker and Daniel Whitaker, of Ashford, 
and Lester E. Braley, of Windham, gained admittance into the 
First reg-iment of Connecticut volunteers. No man rendered 
such service in oro-anizing Connecticut's forces as the colonel of 
this regiment, Daniel Tyler, of Norwich, a worthy representa- 
tive of the father and grandfather bearing the same name, so 
long honored in Brooklyn and throughout Windham county. 
Sixteen Windham county residents enlisted in the Second regi- 
ment, under Colonel Terry, and a small number in the Third, of 
which Alexander Warner, of Woodstock, was major, and Doctor 
John McGregor, of Thompson, surgeon. These regiments were 
hurried on to the seat of war, and took part in the action at Bull 
Run, where Doctor McGregor was taken prisoner. 

In all the events which crowded upon each other during those 
early years of the war Windham county took a deep interest. 
The excitement and strange fascination which seized the people 
when the blare of martial movements swept like a noontide con- 
flagration over the land will be remembered by those who were 
living at the time as long as memory shall serve its mission to 
them. But how like a dream it has already become ! Were it 
not for an occasional mound in the graveyard, an empty sleeve 
or otherwise disfigured body, or the face of a loved one whom 
the fortunes of war have never returned to the home whence he 
went out in the freshness and vigor of his young manhood, we 
might almost be tempted to set our recollections of the war down 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 101 

as a dreamy illusion of our minds — a picture of the past con- 
jured up by the imagination laboring under some strange spell 
of abnormal excitement. But there are enough of these sad 
material evidences to painfully refresh our fading memories 
and make real the misty recollections of the scenes associated 
with the great civil war. The people of Windham county heard 
the strains of martial music, as one after another companies of 
soldiers, in progress of forming and filling their ranks and 
marching to some rendezvous to enter the service, came through 
the different towns and villages. They heartily joined in rais- 
ing the dishonored flag to every position of prominence where 
it could float on the pure breezes of these immortal hills and 
proclaim to the stars of heaven and to the noon sun their de- 
termination to avenge the dishonor that had been attempted 
upon it, and to preserve, at the cost of their treasures or their 
lives, the fullness of its emblematic significance. One of the 
prominent figures of the early part of the war was General 
Nathaniel Lyon, a son of this county, and one of the early and 
conspicuous martyrs to the cause of the Union. His death was 
deeply mourned by the whole loyal country, but to Windham 
county the death was one of augmented importance from the 
fact already mentioned of his association with the county, and 
still further from the fact that hither his remains were brought 
and laid away in their final resting place amid impressive cere- 
monies, which were witnessed by the largest concourse of people 
ever assembled within the county. It was estimated that his 
funeral and interment at Eastford was attended by twenty thou- 
sand people. A more particular account of it will be found in 
connection with the history of that town. 

The promotion of General George B. McClellan to the com- 
mand of the Union army was another event in which Windham 
county was peculiarly interested by local association. He was 
the son of Doctor George McClellan, a distinguished Philadelphia 
surgeon, whose boyhood was well remembered in Woodstock. 
James, the father of the latter, was the son of General Samuel 
McClellan, who was among the prominent figures of this county 
during the revolution. Thus the name could not but awaken 
enthusiasm and hope for his success in the hearts of the Wind- 
ham county people, and only the unwelcome conviction that the 
modern general lacked something of the fire of his ancestors, 
and did not share their anti-slavery views, overcame this early 
predilection. 



102 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

The events to which we have referred in general and in par> 
ticular, all awakened the deepest interest in Windham county, 
stimulating activity in enlistment and military preparation. 
Young men kept back by the reiterated declaration that they 
would not be needed, were mustered by hundreds into the 
quickly forming regiments. About fifty were included in the 
Fourth regiment. Company H, of the Fifth regiment, Captain 
Albert S. Granger, of Putnam ; Company A, of the Sixth, Cap- 
tain Thomas K. Bates, of Brooklyn : Company K, of the Seventh, 
Captain Charles Burton, of Killingly, who was succeeded by Cap- 
tain Jerome Tourtellotte, of Putnam ; and Company F, of the 
Eighth, Captain Elijah T. Smith, of Plainfield, were almost 
wholly filled with Windham county men, while others still en- 
listed in other companies. The Whitakers and Edwin L. Lyon, 
of Ashford, were enrolled in Cavalry Company B. Judson M. 
Lyon, of Woodstock, was major of First regiment cavalry, and 
Andrew B. Bowen captain of Company A, with some thirty men 
from Woodstock and towns adjacent. The Eleventh regiment 
was greatly beloved in Windham county. Officers of this regi- 
ment from here were Charles Matthewson, of Pomfret, lieuten- 
ant colonel ; Reverend George Soule, of Hampton, chaplain ; 
Doctor James R. Whitcomb, of Brooklyn, surgeon ; George W. 
Davis, of Thompson, quartermaster sergeant. The companies 
of Captain Clapp, of Pomfret, and Captam Hyde, of Plainfield, 
were mostly made up from this county. Many from the south- 
ern towns enlisted in Company G, of the Twelfth regiment, 
sometimes called the " Lyon Guards," under the veteran Captain 
Braley, of Windham. Alexander Warner, of Woodstock, went 
out as lieutenant colonel of the Thirteenth. Windham's contri- 
bution to this regiment were mostly included in Company E, of 
which E. E. Graves, of Thompson, was first lieutenant. 

These soldiers received generous bounties from their respec- 
tive towns and ample provision for their families, and went out 
hopefully to their varied posts of duty and service. After six 
months of military vicissitudes, culminating in the withdrawal 
from the sieofe of Richmond, the towns were again called to 
raise their proportion of " three hundred thousand more." East- 
ern Connecticut responded with such alacrity that the Eighteenh 
regiment, raised in New London and W^indham counties, though 
the last one summoned, was the first one to be ready to leave. 
This regiment was in line of march by the 22d of August, 1862. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 103 

Enlistment in it, especially in the north part of the county, 
was greatly stimulated by the return of Doctor McGregor, after 
more than a year spent in captivity. A public reception given 
him on Thompson Green was very largely attended, and his 
changed appearance and affecting story made a very deep im- 
pression, rousing sober, thoughtful men to a truer apprehension 
of the nature of the contest. The Eighteenth was the most 
emphatically representative regiment of Windham county. Col- 
onel Ely was of Killingly parentage. Lieutenant Colonel Nich- 
ols, a favored son of Thompson, was widely known in other 
towns Major Keach was a Killingly veteran, while Assistant 
Surgeons Harrington and Hough were familiar residents of 
Sterling and Putnam. Companies of Windham county men 
were commanded by Captains T. K. Bates, of Brooklyn; Joseph 
Matthewson, of Pomfret ; G. W. Warner, of Woodstock ; C. D, 
Bowen, of Windham, and E. J. Matthewson, of Killingly. Doc- 
tor Lowell Holbrook, of Thompson, and Reverend W. C. Walker, 
of Putnam, at a later date went out as surgeon and chaplain re- 
spectively, of this favorite regiment. Windham was also well 
represented in Companies D, J, and K, in the Twenty-first regi- 
ment, and in Company G, of the Twenty-sixth. Addison G. 
Warner, of Putnam, having recruited more than a hundred men 
for the First Cavalry, was commissioned captain, in January, 1864. 

Windham also furnished recruits for the artillery and other 
regiments, and paid her proportion for the colored regiments, 
promptly fulfilling from the first to the last every requisition of 
government. More earnest in filling her quotas than in seeking 
for office, she furnished proportionably more subalterns than 
commanders, though many of Windham birth or stock who 
went out from other places, gained a high rank and rendered 
distinguished service. At home as in other sections there was 
great outflow of private liberality, money and labor being freely 
expended in sending comforts to friends who had gone to the 
front, and to the Sanitary and Christian Commissions, in every 
neighborhood Soldiers' Aid Societies were busily at work, and 
" prayer was without ceasing of the church unto God " for help 
and deliverance. 

Of the service rendered by the men sent out from Windham 
county it is impossible here to give a detailed report, but there 
is good reason for belief that it compared favorably with that of 
the great mass of volunteers, and in many instances was sig- 



104 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

nally effective. Still less can we speak in detail of the lives that 
were sacrificed. Each town has its death-roll and its honored 
graves, which the people yearly decorate. Some of these heroes 
were among the best and brightest young men of Windham 
county ; most worthy to be remembered with those of a previous 
generation, who like them had given their lives for their coun- 
try. We need not fear that their names or their deeds will be 
forgotten. Enrolled in the archives of the state and nation, em- 
balmed in ever}^ patriot heart, their fame will but grow brighter 
with the lapse of years. Mustered into the great army that 
from age to age in every clime has raised the "battle-cry of 
Freedom," the men whose names are inscribed on Windham's 
latest war record may be sure of imperishable remembrance. 



CHAPTER IX. 



WINDHAM COUNTY OF TO-DAY. 

Its Towns and their present condition. — Their Population at different periods. — 
Conspicuous Citizens. — Presidential Candidates. — Honored Sons of Windham. 
— State Senators. — Presidents pro tern, of the Senate. — Speakers of the House. 
— Present RepresentatiTes. — The Courts. — County Officers. — Literary Asso- 
ciations. — Agricultural Society. — Temperance Society. — Temperance Move- 
ments. 



THE towns at present comprising Windham county are fif- 
teen in number, viz., Ashford, Brooklyn, Canterbury, 
Chaplin, Eastford, Hampton, Killingly, Plainfield, Pom- 
fret, Putnam, Scotland, Sterling, Thompson, Windham and 
Woodstock. In these are also included the incorporated bor- 
oughs of Danielsonville and Willimantic. The following brief 
S3mopsis of them will assist the reader to a better understand- 
ing of them. Ashford, first mentioned in 1710, lies in the north- 
western part, is an agricultural town, and has a population of 
1,041. Its grand list amounts to $275,534. It has no railroad 
within its borders. The post offices in it are Ashford, Westford, 
West Ashford and Warrenville. Brooklyn, the county town, 
was incorporated in May, 1786, the territory composing it being 
taken from Pomfret and Canterbury. It has a population of 
2,308, and its grand list amounts to $1,451,404. Its principal in- 
dustries are agriculture and the manufacture of cotton goods. 
Canterbury was incorporated in 1703, being formed from Plain- 
field. It is an agricultural town and has a population of 1,272. 
Its grand list is $482,166. It is located in the southern part of 
the county, and contains post offices Canterbury, South Canter- 
bury, Westminster and Packerville. Chaplin, lying on the west- 
ern border of the county, was taken from Mansfield and Hamp- 
ton, and was incorporated in May, 1822. It has a population of 
627, and its grand list is $204,730. The principal industries 
are agriculture and paper making. Its only post office is Chap- 
lin. Eastford lies in the northwest part of the county, and 



106 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

contains a population of 8o5. It was incorporated in Alay, 
1847, being formed from Ashford. The grand list amounts to 
$203,127, the principal industries being agriculture and twine 
making. It contains post offices Eastford, Phoenixville and 
North Ashford. Hampton, situated in the western part of the 
county, was incorporated in October, 1786. It was formed from 
parts of Windham, Pomfret, Brooklyn, Canterbury and Mans- 
field. It has a population of 827, and a grand list of §839,104. 
The principal industry is agriculture. Its post offices are 
Hampton, Rawson and Clark's Corner. Killingly was incorpo- 
rated in May, 1708. It lies midway of the county, on the east- 
ern border. It has a population of 6,921, of which 2,210 are in- 
cluded in the borough of Danielsonville. The grand list 
amounts to $2,144,153, and that of the borough of Danielsonville 
to $1,200,717. Agriculture and the manufacture of cotton and 
woolen goods are the leading industries. Post offices in the 
town are Danielsonville, Killingly, Ballouville, East Killingly 
and South Killingly. Plainfield, situated in the southeastern 
part, has a population of 4,021, and a grand list of $1,735,640. 
It was incorporated in May, 1699. The principal industries are 
agriculture and the manufacture of cotton and woolen goods, 
bricks, carriages, and other articles. Within its limits are post 
offices Plainfield, Central Village, Moosup, Wauregan and Pack- 
erville. Pomfret lies in the central part of the county and has 
a population of 1,470. Its name appears as early as 1730. The 
principal industries are agriculture and entertaining summer 
boarders, the beauty of its scenery being famous. Its grand 
list amounts to $801,711. Post offices in the town, Pomfret, 
Pomfret Center, Pomfret Landing, Abington and Elliott's. Put- 
nam, formed from parts of Thompson, Pomfret and<- Killingly, 
was incorporated in May, 1855. Its population is 5,827, a consid- 
erable part of which is in the compact village. The grand list 
is $1,995,008. The principal industries are the manufacture of 
cotton, woolen and silk goods, shoes, steam heaters and other 
goods, and agriculture. The town lies near the northwestern 
part of the county, and contains the post offices Putnam and 
Putnam Heights. Scotland, taken from Windham, was incorpo- 
rated in May, 1857. It has a population of 590, a grand list of 
$267,423, and its principal industry is agriculture. It lies on the 
southern border, near the southwest corner of the county. Ster- 
ling, taken from Voluntown, which was then a part of this 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 107 

county, was incorporated in May, 1794. ItvS population is 957 
and its grand list $259,263. The town now occupies the extreme 
southeast corner of the county. Its principal industries are ag- 
riculture, dyeing and bleaching and some other manufacturing, 
and granite quarrying. The post offices Sterling, Oneco, Ekonk 
and North Sterling are in this town. Thompson, located in the 
extreme northeast corner of the county, was incorporated in May, 
1785. Its territory was taken from the northern part of Killingly. 
Its population is 5,051 and its grand list $1,713,420. The princi- 
pal industries are agriculture and the manufacture of cotton and 
woolen goods. It has post offices Thompson, West Thompson, 
East Thompson, Grosvenor Dale, North Grosvenor Dale, Wil- 
sonville, Mechanicsville, New Boston and Quinebaug. Wind- 
ham, occupying the extreme southwest corner of the county, 
was incorporated in May, 1692. Its present population is 8,264, 
being greater than that of any other town in the county, while 
in territory it is one of the smallest. Its grand list amounts to 
$4, 146,127, while that of the borough of Willimantic, which is 
included within its limits, amounts to $3,505,044. The principal 
industries are the manufacture of spool cotton, silk twist, cotton 
fabrics, silk and other machinery, carriages and other articles, 
and agriculture. It contains the post offices Willimantic, Wind- 
ham, North Windham and South Windham. Woodstock, in the 
northwest part of the county, is the largest in territory of all the 
towns of the county. It was incorporated as a town of Massa- 
chusetts in March, 1690, and annexed to Connecticut in May, 
1749. Its population is 2,639 ; grand list $943,536. The princi- 
pal industries are agriculture and the manufacture of cotton 
twine. Its post offices are Woodstock, North Woodstock, South 
Woodstock,, East Woodstock, West Woodstock and Woodstock 
Valley. 

Some idea of the growth of the towns of this county may be 
gained from the following figures which show the population of 
each town at various periods: Ashford — 1756, 1,245; 1775, 2,241 
1800, 2,445; 1870, 1,242; 1880, 1,041. Brooklyn- 1800, 1,202 
1870, 2,355; 1880, 2,308. Canterbury— 1766, 1,260; 1775,2,444 
1800,1,812; 1870,1,552; 1880,1,272. Chaplin— 1870, 704 ; 1880 
627. Eastford— 1870, 984; 1880, 885. Hampton— 1800, 1,379 
1870,891; 1880,827. Killingly— 1756, 2,100; 1775,3,486; 1800 
2,279 ; 1870, 5,712 ; 1880, 6,921. Plainfield— 1756, 1,800 ; 1775, 1,562 
1800, 1,619 ; 1870, 4,521 ; 1880, 4,021. Pomf ret— 1756, 1,727 ; 1775 



108 HISTORY OF WIXDHAM COUXTY. 

2,306; 1800, 1,802; 1870, 1,488; 1880. 1,470. Putnam— 1870, 4,192; 1880, 
5,827. Scotland— 1870, 648; 1880, 690. Sterling— 1800, 908; 1870. 
1,022; 1880, 957. Thompson— 1880, 2,341; 1870, 3,804; 1880, 5,051. 
Windham— 1756, 2,446; 1775, 3,528; 1800, 2,644; 1870, 5,413; 1880, 
8,264. Woodstock— 1756, 1,366; 1775, 2,054; 1800, 2,463; 1870, 
2,955 ; 1880, 2,639. 

Citizens of Windham county haYC often been honored with 
positions of importance and trust under the state government 
or the colonial government in pre-revolutionar}^ times. Some of 
those we shall notice in the following lists, which are in some in- 
stances complete, and in others as nearh^ so as accessible mater- 
ial will allow. Among the governors of the state were Samuel 
Huntington, Jonathan Trumbull and Chauncey F. Cleveland. 
Among those who have been lieutenant governors are the names 
of Samuel Huntington, Jonathan Trumbull, Ebenezer Stoddard 
and David Gallup. Among those who have held the office of 
state secretary are Marvin H. Sanger, of Canterbury, who served 
four years, 1873-77 ; Charles E. Searls, of Thompson, who served 
two years, 1881-83 ; and Charles A. Russell, of Killingly, who 
served two years, 1885-87. 

It may not be amiss to mention in passing, while having in 
mind the sons of Windham who have come into prominence, 
that some associated at least with this county have aspired to 
the presidential chair of the nation. We have already seen that 
General George B. McClellan was a descendant of Windham 
county stock. If we have been rightly informed, the ancestors 
of ex-President Grover Cleveland were citizens of Windham 
county. And the late candidate of the prohibition party for the 
presidency. General Clinton B. Fisk, in a speech at Roseland 
Park during the campaign, said : '•' I count it no light honor that 
my father and mother were born in Windham county; that but 
a few miles from here, on the Five Mile river, the village black- 
smith in the first decades of this century was my father ; that in 
the little church at Killingly my mother was one of the sweetest 
singers in the choir." If this reference to men of prominence 
be considered a digression here, we trust our charitable reader 
will pardon it, while we briefly mention others who have been 
honored in other than political fields and other localities county 
wise. Scattered throughout the land, in almost every state, are 
found the descendants of Windham, among the solid, sterling 
citizens who have built up society and maintain civil and relig- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. .109 

ious institutions. The world has heard of our Morses and 
Holmes, Generals Eaton, and Lyon and Commodore Morris. 
Dartmouth, Williamstown, Union, Andover, Yale, Middlebury 
and Bangor honor the memory of the good men that Windham 
has given them — Presidents Wheelock, Fitch, Nott, and Profes- 
sors Adams, Kingsley, Hubbard, Larned, Hough and Shepard. 
Rhode Island will never forget the services of Lieutenant Gov- 
ernor Sessions. William Larned Marcy and Elisha Williams 
hold a high rank among the great men of the empire state. 
Ohio gratefully remembers Doctor Manasseh Cutler and Gen- 
eral Moses Cleveland. Edmond and George Badger won suc- 
cess and honor in North Carolina, and New Orleans still bears 
witness to the eloquence of Sylvester Larned and Chief Justice 
Bradford. Colonel Craft, of Vermont ; Governor Williams, of 
New Hampshire ; Senator Ruggles, of Ohio ; Hon. Thomas P. 
Grosvenor, of Maryland, has each an honorable record in his 
adopted state. New Haven owes to Windham her respected 
Whitings and Whites, and the late excellent mayor, Hon. Aaron 
Skinner, while Hartford is indebted for distinguished and use- 
ful physicians — Doctors Coggswell, Welch and Sumner. Wind- 
ham is largely represented in the ministerial ranks, sending out 
the ancestors of Dr. Bacon, of New Haven ; Dr. Storrs, of Brook- 
lyn ; Dr. William Adams, of New York ; Dr. George L. Walker, 
of Hartford, and a host of lesser luminaries. She has given to 
art Miss Anne Hall, Samuel Waldo, Frank Alexander, Henry 
Dexter and Ithiel Town, architect of national fame. The Gros- 
venor Library of Buffalo perpetuates the name and munificence 
of the son of one of Windham's honored families, Hon. Seth 
Grosvenor, of New York. The works of E. G. Squier, Alice and 
Phebe Gary, Mrs. Botta, Mrs. Lippincott (Grace Greenwood), and 
E. C. Stedman, do honor to their Windham ancestry. And here 
we should not forget the name of Henry C. Bowen, the indefat- 
igable pu-blisher of the Nezv York Independent, whose interest in 
Windham county is " known and read of all men." Then we 
find among the residents of the county also those whose literary 
works are known beyond the limits of the county, among whom 
may be mentioned Miss Jane Gay Fuller, of Scotland ; Mrs. C. 
N. W. Thomas, of Killingly ; Mrs. Corbin, Mrs. Louise Chandler 
Moulton, whose summer home is at Pomfret; Mrs. Charles 
Thompson of the same place, and Miss Sarah S. Hall, of West 
Killingly. 



110 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Of those ^vho haYe held official positions in the state we may 
mention state treasurers Jedidiah Huntington, 1789-90; Ezra 
Dean, 1861-62; Henry G. Taintor, 1866-67; Edwin. A. Buck, 
1877-79, and Alexander Warner, 1887 to the present time. Of 
comptrollers may be mentioned Roger Huntington, 1834-35; 
Mason Cleveland, 1846-47; Jesse Olney, 1867-69; James W. 
Manning, 1869-70 and 1871-73. 

State senators from this county since 1819 have been as fol- 
lows, the number directly following each name being the num- 
ber of the senatorial district represented by him : William 
Alexander, 14, 1843; John C. Ames, 13, 1849; Thomas Backus, 
14, 1835,38; Clark E. Barrows, 16, 1883,84; Joseph D. Barrows, 
14, 1869, 70 ; Ira D. Bates, 16, 1887, 88 ; Eugene S. Boss, 17, 1882, 83; 
Lucius Briggs, 14, 1875 ; Calvin B. Bromley, 13, 1863 ; William 
Brown, 13, 1857; Edwin A. Buck, 13, 1876; Edwin H. Bugbee, 
14, 1865,68; Ichabod Bulkeley, 14, 1836,37; Gilbert W. Phillips 
to January 7th and Richmond M. Bullock succeeding, 14, 1880 ; 
Mowry Burgess, 13, 1844; James Burnett, 13, 1872; Harvey 
Campbell, 13, 1861 ; Elisha Carpenter, 14, 1857,58; George S. 
Catlin, 13, 1850; William H. Chandler, 14, 1867; Thomas G. 
Clarke, 17, 1884,85; Mason Cleveland, 13, 1842; William H. 
Coggswell, 13, 1860 ; James M. Cook, 11, 1886; S. Storrs Cotton, 
14, 1871,72; Edward L. Cundall, 13, 1864; Albert Day, 13, 1873; 
Ezra Dean, 14, 1852,53; John S. Dean, 14, 1877,78; Archibald 
Douglass, 13, 1848 ; Edwin Eaton, 13, 1852 ; Joseph Eaton, 13, 
1840,41 ; Edward Eldridge, 14, 1841, 42 ; Samuel M. Fenner, 14, 
1873,74; William Field, 14,1849,50; Archibald Fry, 13, 1853; 
Amos J. Gallup, 13, 1858, 67; David Gallup, 13, 1869; John Gal- 
lup, 13, 1856 ; David Greenslit, 13, 1866 ; Edwin C. Griggs, 13, 
1868 ; Charles W. Grosvenor, 17, 1886 ; Dixon Hall, 13, 1821, 22 ; 
Henry Hammond, 14, 1881 and 16, 1882 ; Whiting Hayden, 13, 
1874 ; Thomas Hubbard, 1829 ; Joseph Hutchins, 17, 1887, 88 ; 
Andrew T. Judson, 13, 1830; John Kendall, 13, 1843; David 
Keyes, 1823,24; Samuel Lee, 13, 1855; William A. Lewis, 13, 
1880,81 ; William Lyon, 3d, 14, 1844,45; Thomas S. Marlor, 13, 
1875; Charles Matthewson, 14, 1854,56; John McGregor, 14, 
1866 ; Chauncey Morse, 13, 1865 ; George S. Moulton, 13, 1877, 79; 
Faxon Nichols, 14, 1847; John Nichols, 1828,29; Jonathan 
Nichols, 14, 1833, 34; Daniel Packer, 13, 1831 ; George A. Paine, 
14, 1859, 60 ; Stephen F. Palmer, 14, 1830, 32 ; Philip Pearl, 13, 
1832,33,39; Porter B. Peck, 13, 1859; Gilbert W. Phillips, 14, 



HISTORV (JF WINDHAM COUNTY. Ill 

1862, 68, 79 to January, 1880, when lie resigned ; Elislia Potter, 

13, 1845 ; Hezekiah S. Ramsdell, 14, 1851 ; Jared D. Richmond, 

14, 1848 ; Wilham S. Scarboroug-h, 14, 1846 ; John H. Simmons, 
14, 1861, 64 ; George Spafford, 13, 1834, 38 ; Bela P. Spaulding, 13, 
1837; Ebenezer Stoddard, 1825,27; Elliot B. Sumner, 1.3, 1871; 
Henr}^ G. Taintor, 13, 1851 ; James B. Tatem, 16, 1885, 86; Oscar 
Tourtellotte, 14, 1876 ; John Tracy, 13, 1862 ; Peter Webb, 1819, 
20; Samuel Webb, 13, 1846; Joel W. White, 13, 1835,36; Job 
Williams, 14, 1839, 40 ; Walter Williams, 13, 1854 ; William Wit- 
ter, 13, 1847; Ebenezer Young, 1823,25. 

This county has furnished the following presidents pro tcin. of 
the senate : Ichabod Bulkley, of Ashford, 1837 ; Elisha Carpen- 
ter, of Killingly, 1858; Gilbert W. Phillips, of Putnam, 1863; 
Amos J. Gallup of Sterling, 1867; Edwin H. Bugbee, of Kil- 
lingly, 1868; David Gallup, of Plainfield, 1869 ; S. vStorrs Cotton, 
■of Pomfret, 1872, and Gilbert W. Phillips, of Putnam, 1879, till 
his resignation in January, 1880. Windham has not been so 
popular a field for the selection of clerks of the senate, the only 
one of whom we have any knowledge being Edgar M. Warner, 
of Plainfield at the time, later of Putnam, who held the position 
in 1880. The following speakers of the house of representatives 
(state) have been selected from Windham county : Ebenezer 
Young, of Killingly, 1827, 28 ; Chauncey F. Cleveland, of Hamp- 
ton, 1835, 36 ; Alfred A. Burnham, of Windham, 1858 ; Chauncey 
F. Cleveland, of Hampton, 1863 ; David Gallup, of Plainfield, 
1866; Alfred A. Burnham, of Windham, 1870; Edwin H. Bug- 
bee, of Killingly, 1871 ; John M. Hall, of Willimantic, 1882. 
Clerks of the house from this county have been as follows : 
Jonathan A. W^elch, of Brooklyn, 1840 ; Edward B. Bennett, of 
Hampton, 1870, and Edgar M. Warner, of Plainfield, 1878-79. 

The senators for this county in 1888 were : Ira D. Bates, of 
Thompson, for the Sixteenth Senatorial district, and Joseph 
Hutchins, of Plainfield, for the Seventeenth district. The pres- 
ent representatives from this county are: Vine R. Franklin, 
Brooklyn; Davis A. Baker and Newell S. Delphia, Ashford; 
Marvin H. Sanger and C. S. Burlingame, Canterbury ; William 
A. Clark, Chaplin ; Charles A. Wheaton, Eastford ; Joseph W. 
Congdon, Hampton ; William P. Kelley and Milton A. Shum- 
way, Killingly ; Edwin Milner and Edward G. Bugbee, Plain- 
field; Charles O. Thompson and Charles F. Martin, Pomfret; 
•Charles D. Torrey and Gustavus D. Bates, Putnam ; Caleb 



112 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Anthony, Scotland ; William C. Pike, vSterling; Byron S. Thomp- 
son and Alonzo O. Woodard, Thompson ; J. Griffin Martin and 
Albert R. Morrison, Windham ; John M. Allen and Albert A. 
Paine. Woodstock. 

There are within this county two commissioners of the 
United States court, viz., Abiel Converse, of Thompson, and 
John ]M. Hall, of Willimantic. In its relations to the supreme 
court of errors, this county is a part of the First Judicial dis- 
trict, which comprises all the northern counties of the state, 
the courts in which are held at Hartford on the first Tues- 
days of January, March, May and October. The superior court 
is deemed to be open in each county for certain purposes at all 
times. Stated terms and sessions are provided for by law in 
the different counties. Those provided for Windham county 
are : a " term and session " for civil and criminal business, 
opening at Brooklyn on the first Tuesday in May ; session at 
Windham on the first Tuesday in December. A criminal term 
also begins at Brooklyn on the first Tuesday in September. 
The probate courts of this county are divided by districts co- 
incident with the towns, with the exception that the Windham 
district comprises with that town the town of Scotland. The 
judges are : Huber Clark, Windham ; Davis A. Baker, Ashford ; 
William Woodbridge, Brooklyn ; Marvin H.Sanger, Canterbury ; 
C.Edwin Griggs, Chaplin; Stephen O. Bowen, Eastford ; Pat- 
rick H. Pearl, Hampton ; Arthur G. Bill, Killingly ; Waldo Til- 
linghast, Plainfield ; Edward P. Mathewson, Pomfret ; John A. 
Carpenter, Putnam ; Gilbert C. Brown, Sterling ; George Flint, 
Thompson ; Oliver H. Perry, Woodstock. 

The county officers are as follows : Commissioners — Edwin 
H. Hall, Windham, 1888 ; John Kelly, Killingly, 1889 ; A. A. 
Stanton, Sterling, 1891 ; county treasurer, John P. Wood, Brook- 
lyn ; state's attorney, John J. Penrose, Central Village ; clerk of 
courts, vSamuel H. Seward, Putnam ; assistant clerk, Huber Clark, 
Willimantic ; sheriff, Charles B. Pomeroy, Willimantic ; depu- 
ties — Frank E. Baker, Brooklyn ; Nathaniel P. Thompson, Cen- 
tral Village ; William W. Cummings, Thompson ; Oliver W. 
Bowen, Danielsonville ; E. C. Vinton, Woodstock ; Henry A. 
Braman, Eastford ; coroner, Arthur G. Bill, Danielsonville ; 
medical examiners — Windham, Scotland and Chaplin, Charles 
James Fox, of Willimantic; Brooklyn, Alfred H. Tanner; Ash- 
ford, John H. vSimmons ; Canterbury, W. A. Lewis; Eastford, 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 113 

E. K. Robbins ; Hampton, H. H. Converse ; Killingly, Rienzi 
Robinson, of Danielsonville ; Plainfieldand Sterling, William A. 
Lewis, of Moosup; Pomfret, F. G. Sawtelle ; Putnam, J. B.Kent; 
Thompson, Lowell Holbrook ; Woodstock, George A. Bowen ; 
prosecuting agents— D. S. Simmons and Joseph Snow, Daniel- 
sonville ; George U. Carver and John Davenport, Putnam ; 
George A. Conant and E. B. Sumner, Willimantic. 

Before closing this general review of the county, we shall 
turn aside, even at the risk of being charged with digression, 
to notice an institution of a literary character, which had its 
beginning at a time when the ripened literature of the world 
was not scattered, as now, about every man's door almost as 
plentifully and as free as the autumn leaves are borne to us on 
the winds of the dying year. The institution to which we refer 
was the United Library Association. As early as 1739 the as- 
pirations of the people were reaching out after more extended 
opportunities of reading the best authors, and a more complete 
culture of the mental powers of the people in this new country. 
A meeting was held September 25th of that year, at which the 
ministers and leading men of the northern towns of the county 
especially were present. An organization was effected, with a 
dignified and perhaps rather severe set of laws and regulations, 
and a title which ran as follows : " The United Society or Com- 
pany for Propagating Christian and Useful Knowledge." Its 
field of operation was to be the towns of Woodstock, Pomfret, 
Mortlake and Killingly, and the west part of Thompson par- 
ish. The names of the original members of this society and the 
amount subscribed by each to the funds of the library were as 
follows : John Chandler, Esq., £%) ; Abel Stiles, ;^30 ; John May, 
^^15 ; Benjamin Child, £\{) \ Penuel Bowen, i;]2 ; Thomas Mather, 
£\^\ Abiel Cheney, £\^\ Ebenezer Holbrook, ^20 ; Joseph 
Bowman, ;^20 ; Joseph Dana, i^lO ; Ephraim Hide, £\^ ; Eph- 
raim Avery, ;^20; William Williams, £'^'d ; Ebenezer Williams, 
£Ak)\ John Fisk, £m\ Marston Cabot, i:20 ; Joseph Cady, £\Q; 
John Hallowell, ^16 ; William Chandler, £\^\ Samuel Morris, 
Jun., ;^10; Hezekiah Sabin, £\^\ Noah Sabin, i;20; Edward 
Payson, £\Q\ Joseph Craft, £\0\ Timothy Sabin, ^10; Jacob 
Dana, i^lO ; Isaac Dana, £\^ ; Darius Sessions, ^^20 ; Seth Paine, 
£\^ ; vSamuel Perrin, ^^15 ; Nehemiah Sabin, £\^ ; Samuel Sum- 
ner, i;iO; Benjamin Griffin, ^^20; John Payson, £\^; Samuel 
Dana, ^10. Two of the first books obtained for the foundation 



114 HISTORY OF ^YINDHA^I COUNTY. 

of the library ^vere " Dr. Guise's Paraphrase on ye 4 EYangelists," 
which \vas presented by the author, and " Stackhouse's Bod}^ of 
Divinity." About forty books were obtained, all but those 
named above being sent for to England. In 1741 the librar}^ 
was much increased, though it still numbered less than a hund- 
red books. The scheme of conducting a library for the 
benefit of so large a field, however, ^vas found to be 
inconvenient, and in 1745 the library was divided. Woodstock 
and Killingly now received thirty-nine volumes, and the remain- 
ing books were given to Pomfret and Mortlake, the latter so- 
ciety now numbering twenty-one members. 

One of the first agricultural societies in the country, possibly 
the first in existence here, was organized at Pomfret as early as 
1809, and how long before that time it existed we are not able 
to learn. It was in operation then, and on December 19th of 
that 3^ear, the following officers were elected : Benjamin Duick, 
president ; Amos Paine and John Williams, vice presidents ; Syl- 
vanus Backus, Esq., treasurer, and Darius ]\Iathewson, of Brook- 
lyn ; Benjamin Duick, of Pomfret ; James McClellan, of Wood- 
stock, correspondence committee. 

Nothing further is heard of its progress until 1818, when it 
doubtless had been revived by the incoming of fresh residents, 
and a step forward was taken. Premiums were in that year of- 
fered for the largest and best fattened animal for beef, $10 : next 
best, $5; the best or most valuable crop of flax, $5; next best, 
$2.50; most fruitful acre of clear spring wheat, $5; for the 
largest yield of barley on an acre, $5 ; the largest or most val- 
uable crop of potatoes, $6 ; best pair of working oxen, not more 
than five years old, $5 ; best lot of pork made from spring 
pigs, not to exceed ten months old when killed, and not less 
than six in number, $6 ; and for the best fattened and largest 
spring pigs, two in number, of a different lot, $4. Stimulated 
by this society, new inhabitants and fresh importations of stock, 
the dairy business was now pursued to an extent and with a 
success that was said to be "scarcely surpassed." Not only 
were cheese and butter among the surplus productions of the 
farmers, but pork, lard and beef, as well. Wool had also been 
added to the agricultural products of the locality, and consid- 
erable rye, corn and oats were raised. 

An institution, which for the good work it has done in the 
county should be held in grateful remembrance, is the Wind- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 115 

ham County Temperance Society. Beginning with the 3^ear 
1828 local temperance societies were organized in the different 
towns, and April 20th, 1829, a meeting was held at the court 
house in Brooklyn at which a county society was organized. 
The first officers of this society were : Darius Matthewson, pres- 
ident ; Daniel Frost, George Benson and Hon. Ebenezer Stod- 
dard, vice presidents; Reverend Ambrose Edson, secretary; 
Edwin Newbury, treasurer; Reverend Samuel J. May, Thomas 
Hough, Uriel Fuller, Esq., John Holbrook, Esq., and Major Asa 
May, executive committee. In the organization of the count}^ 
society local societies were represented, having an aggregate 
membership of four hundred and seventy-five, from the follow- 
ing places: Canterbury, Brooklyn, Pomfret, Killingly, Hamp- 
ton, Chaplin, North Woodstock and West W^oodstock. A year 
later the membership represented was increased by some three 
hundred more, and additional societies were represented from 
Ashford, Eastford, North Killingly and Plainfield. 

It would be interesting to recite many of the episodes of that 
attempt of progressive men to bring under subjection the great 
curse of intemperance. Earnest work was done, and the friends 
of sobriety rallied to the support of the cause. Temperance 
lectures were delivered, the pledge circulated and personal in- 
fluence of men and women enlisted in the work. A marked 
change was discoverable ere many months had passed away. 
The quantity of liquors sold was very perceptibly lessened. But 
the advocates of temperance had much to contend with both 
from the rum-drinkers and rum-sellers and those who professed 
to be favorable to sobriety and good order as well. Tippling ' 
was not then as unpopular as it is now, and those who took a 
stand to oppose it were obliged to face popular notions of long 
standing and firm hold upon the appetites, interests or prejudices 
of the people. Public quarterly meetings of the society were 
held successively at Ashford, Pomfret, Woodstock and Canter- 
bury. At the meeting held at Pomfret the celebrated lecture 
by Doctor John Marsh, entitled " Putnam and the Wolf, or the 
Monster destroyed," was delivered. This was immediately pub- 
lished and very widely circulated. The proprietors of factories 
and factory villages were generally temperance men and they 
encouraged their employees, as much as possible, to sign the 
pledge and to become accustomed to temperance habits. In 
Eastford the people had occasion to move their meeting house 



116 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

down a steep hill-side, the building having been sold to a private 
party. A great crowd of people were present, to help as help on 
such occasions is generally furnished. With the help of nearly 
a hundred oxen they had started the building down its perilous 
descent when a chain broke. In accordance with the custom in 
such cases, treat was demanded, but the purchaser of the build- 
ing, being a temparence man, refused. High words and threats 
followed, but they failed to bring forth the "treat." Finally the 
men became so huffed that they decamped, taking their oxen 
with them, leaving the meeting house suspended. But there 
were temperance men enough in the vicinity, and they quickly 
rallied and the removal of the building was carried forward to 
completion, without a drop of liquor. 

At the anniversary of the Windham County Temperance So- 
ciety, July 4th, 1830, Reverend Daniel Dow was the orator of the 
day. At the following anniversary, that of 1831, which was held 
at Pomfret, a stirring and eloquent address was delivered by 
Doctor Wilbur Fisk of Wesleyan University. For several 
years the work of temparence reform was carried forward by 
this society with unabated vigor. Meetings were frequently 
held, both in the meeting houses and in the different school 
houses, and the question was kept thoroughly agitated and the 
people were in.structed. Successive presidents of the society 
were, after Mr. Frost, George S. White, Solomon Payne and An- 
drew T. Judson. In 1834 the membership numbered 635, which 
number may have increased somewhat in later years, but was 
probably never greatly augmented. 



CHAPTER X. 



PUBLIC CHARITIES AND CORRECTIONS. 



The Towns' Poor. — Early Methods of dealing with Dependents. — Increase of 
Burdens by the French War. — Meagre Fare and Accommodations. — Emi- 
gration and Temperance decreases the Burdens. — Present Costs and Manage- 
ment of the Poor. — Children's Temporary Home. — Its Management and pres- 
ent successful Work. — The Record of Crime in Windham County. — Capital 
Punishment.— Execution of Criminals. — Elizabeth Shaw, Caleb Adams, 
Samuel Freeman, Oliver Watkms. — Other notable Crimes. — Jail Buildings. — 
Their Occupants. — Removal from Windham to Brooklyn. — Official Keepers. 
— Statistics of the present Jail. 



THE poor ye have always with you ; " yet in the early days 
of Windham county history there was little call for pub- 
lic aid. In a certain sense, everybody was poor. Even 
those who owned farms and houses had few ways of gaining 
money. The old and feeble, idiotic and insane, were cared for 
by their own families if it were in any way practicable. An 
amended act of assembly, May, 1715, expressly provided that 
the relations of such poor impotent persons, in the line or de- 
gree of father or grandfather, mother or grandmother, children 
or grandchildren, shall relieve such poor persons, ... on pain 
that every one failing therein shall forfeit twenty shillings for 
every month's neglect, etc. Much neighborly sympathy and aid 
lightened these heavy burdens. If through age or misfortune 
any of the stated inhabitants of the town became greatly im- 
poverished, their fellow townsmen considered these circum- 
stances and in many cases granted relief from taxpaying and 
public burdens. Their charity, however, began and ended at 
home. For stragglers, vagabonds, transients, there was no re- 
lief nor mercy. Citizens harboring such strangers for even a 
few days without certifying the selectmen of the town were 
liable to fine or heavy damages. New comers preparing to set- 
tle in a town were subjected to severe scrutiny, and if they 
could not give good account of themselves, or seemed likely to 
prove "unwholesome" or undesirable inhabitants, they were 



118 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

peremptorily ordered to depart. It is traditionally affirmed that 
some families which in time attained good position and wealth 
were at first " warned otit of town." It was thought wiser policy 
to pay constables' bills for " traveling after such persons to warn 
them out of town " than to run the risk of a longer sojourn. 
Yet, with all their care, impositions were not always evaded. 
One Christian Challenge, a wandering beggar woman, having 
been " rode over on the Sabbath day, either wilfully or care- 
lessly," brought "extraordinary charges" upon Norwich and 
Windham. The case of. Peter Davison, the idiot son of a wid- 
owed mother, having her residence in Mortlake manor (now 
Brooklyn), involved Pomfret in troublesome and expensive con- 
troversy. Mortlake having no town officers, Mrs. Davison ap- 
plied to the selectmen of Pomfret for aid, whereupon it was 
voted in town meeting " That we are not obliged by law nor 
conscience to take the charge upon ourselves, . . . and if she do 
offer to impose the same upon the town, we desire the selectmen 
to follow her in the law as a trespasser at the town charge." 
The poor boy was then hustled off to Norwich, his birthplace, 
but as "it was none of their business," the town officers straight- 
way sent him back to Pomfret. The matter was finally referred 
to the newly organized court of Windam county, June, 1726, 
which affirmed that it " had no power or authority to assign said 
idiot to any particular place or provide for his future support ; " 
and thus he was left in charge of needy relatives. Another 
" distracted person," Robert Culborn, who had the added mis- 
fortune of living upon disputed territory, was bowled back and 
forth between Windham and Canterbury, each town refusing to 
assume his support — a process little calculated to modify his dis- 
traction. In ordinary cases, where the claim of the applicant 
was undisputed, the selectmen of a town took charge of such 
persons or families as needed help, procuring nurse and med- 
ical attendance, and speeding them on their way as soon as cir- 
cumstances permitted. As, for example, Joseph A.'s wife, of 
Woodstock, " unable to take care of herself and in a suffering 
condition," the selectmen having taken care of her at the town's 
cost, these officials were desired " to take the prudentest care, 
and move her as soon as they can, and keep her husband to work, 
as the law directs." 

The public charges brought upon the towns by the French 
and Indian war, together Avith the support of French refugees 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 119 

wlio were distributed among them, made the care of their own 
poor more burdensome. The large town of Killingly was 
especially burdened, so that it was compelled to raise a tax of a 
penny a pound for the support of its poor — persons taking charge 
of such poor receiving their pay in specie, /. e., in corn, rye, 
wheat, beans, pork and flax, at specified price. Between 1765 
and 1770, an almost simultaneous attempt was made by the sev- 
eral towns to procure a permanent home for the poor, which 
home was also to be a workhouse that idle and dissolute persons 
might be put therein and employed ; but it is doubtful if in any 
town these efforts were successful. 

The number of poor claiming and receiving public aid was 
largely multiplied after the war of the revolution, while the re- 
sources of the towns were proportionately, crippled. To many 
disabled veterans, war widows and fatherless children were now 
added the victims of intemperate drinking, which had become 
very prevalent during that period. The towns found it exceed- 
ingly difficult to find places in private homes for all that needed 
them. Many who had places of residence and friends to care for 
them, but no means of support, received aid from the public 
treasury toward vital necessities, rum and medical attendance. 
The strictest economy was observed in all these expenditures. 
The selectmen were emphatically enjoined " to let out the poor 
to the lowest bidder." Pomfret, with unusual consideration, en- 
acted " to make the best disposition of the poor for their comfort 
and the least expense to the town by putting them to one man 
or otherwise." The custom then came into vogue of " putting up 
the poor at vendue " on town meeting days, to be bid off by 
such as were willing to assume the charge. Prices varied from 
one and sixpence to five shillings a week, according to the in- 
firmity of the subject or the work that could be gotten out of 
him. This practice, though perhaps less inhuman than appears 
on the surface, was distasteful to the towns, and continual efforts 
were made to secure a permanent home for those who were 
public charges. Pomfret was apparently the first to succeed in 
these efforts, voting in 1796 "to build a house for the poor on 
land belonging to the town, now occupied by William Stone — 
to be 60x14 feet, 4 rooms, one story high, 2 stacks of chimneys, 
2 cellars — Selectmen to have charge of the same." Other towns 
succeeded in time in buying or hiring houses for the accommo- 
dation of their poor, entrusting their care to the man who 



120 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

"would do it cheapest." It is doubtful if the comfort of the 
poor was enhanced by thus bringing them together under one 
keeper or master. '' Poorhouscs''' \.\iqy were in every sense of 
the word. " How do you like your new home?" was asked of 
old Martha Sousaman, the last Indian in Killingly, taken to the 
poorhouse when her wigwam was blown over. " Pretty well," 
she answered, " 'cos they live just like Injuns." The adminis- 
trative policy of those days was stern and rigid. Drunkenness, 
laziness, shiftlessness, brought the great majority to the poor- 
house, and justice demanded that they should bear the penalty. 
That innocent women and children should suffer for the sins of 
husbands and fathers was but in accordance with Divine com- 
mand and prophecy. To pamper paupers was inexpedient if 
not wrong. A bare living for those who would starve without 
aid was all that justice demanded of the towns. Under this 
Gradgrind theory the poorhouses were administered with little 
or no regard for the comfort and well-being of their inmates. 
Men, women and children, the deceased, vicious, imbecile and 
lunatic, were huddled together in cramped, unhealthy quarters 
and supplied with the cheapest and plainest articles of food. 
The very thought of the town's poorhouse was a terror to the 
respectable poor, who would suffer extremity of want before 
yielding to this dire necessity. Yet cases of actual abuse and 
ill usage, such as were common in English workhouses or in 
larger cities in our own country, were apparently unknown. 
The selectmen, if harsh, were honest and conscientious in their 
treatment, and as in other New England communities, " neisfh- 
bors " served as self-appointed "vigilance committees," eager to 
spy out and report any act of abuse or neglect. 

As westward emigration, the temperance reform, enlarged 
business operations and multiplied manufactories diminished 
the number which demanded public aid, their condition was 
greatly improved. Pomfret again took the lead as early as 1820 
in voting to purchase real estate for the benefit of the poor, and 
one by one the other towns fell into line in purchasing a town 
farm, furnishing a permanent home for all that needed it, and 
healthful exercise for those who were not disabled. The style 
of living was gradually improved, the sick and aged better cared 
for, old people indulged with an occasional cup of tea and even 
allowed to sweeten it. Within the present generation there is a 
return to the old method of helping needy poor in their own 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 121 

homes, so that the number of permanent residents at the several 
poorhouses is much reduced, especially in the farming towns. 
These permanent inmates are almost invariably of pure New 
England stock, Catholics, foreigners and colored people prefer- 
ring to be cared for by their own churches or by their family 
and society connection. A few disabled, or superannuated or im- 
becile mien and women find comfortable homes and thoughtful 
care in the houses provided by the towns. Insane or dangerous 
persons are now transferred to the State Lunatic Asylum ; chil- 
dren are sent to their special Home, provided by the county. 
The number of these permanent residents in the old farming 
towns averages less than ten in each. Woodstock, with a popu- 
lation of 2,639, paid for her poorhouse in 1887, $1,196.47; for 
outside poor, $1,653.98. Thompson, population 5,051, paid for 
poorhouse in 1888, $1,157.70; for outside poor, $1,901.69. In 
towns where manufacturing prevails the conditions are changed, 
and a much larger number require temporary aid. Killingl}^ is 
especially noted for its interest in her permanent beneficiaries, 
numbering among her institutions an annual New Year's visit 
to the poorhouse. The foreign element in Willimantic, its 
large manufactories and abnormal growth bring very heavy ex- 
penses upon the town of Windham, especially in relation to its 
poor. Thirteen insane and idiotic persons are supported by 
the town. During the past year an average of forty-one per- 
sons was maintained at the almshouse at the cost of $5,667.10. 
A large number of outside poor were also assisted in various 
ways, costing the town $2,510.54. Convenient buildings have 
been provided and great pains have been taken to make the 
Windham almshouse a model institution. 

For many years the condition of children growing up in the 
poorhouses of Connecticut was exceedingly unfavorable. Not 
only was it impossible to give them proper physical, mental or 
moral training, but the continued association with a class of 
v/orn out, diseased, demoralized and sometimes des^raded town 
charges, was in every way depressing and uUvSalutory. It 
seemed almost a miracle that such children should rise above 
their surroundings, and in too many cases they were graduated 
from the poorhouse to the reform school or penitentiary. It 
was the policy and practice of the selectmen to find homes for 
these homeless children, but in many cases they were seriously 
injured before removal. The state board of charities interested 



122 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

itself in their behalf and by persistent agitation procured the 
passage of a legislative act in 1883, providing that each county 
in the state should establish a home for orphan or homeless 
children by January 1st, 1884, and appropriating $1,000 to each 
county to start and furnish the same, and empowering the coun- 
ty commissioners to purchase or hire property for that purpose. 
Windham county was one of the first in the state to take ad- 
vantage of this act and opportunity. Messrs. J. D. Converse, 
Thompson, and E. H. Hall, Willimantic, county commissioners, 
visited several towns in search of a suitable location, and m.ade 
temporary choice of the house of H. O. Preston, Putnam 
Heights, where the home was opened November 20th, 1883, un- 
der charge of Mr. and Mrs. Preston. Three children from 
Thompson were the first admitted and during the first year the 
number continued very small. Town officers and tax pa3'ers, 
already burdened with heavy charges for the poorhouse, out- 
side poor and other expenses, opposed the new^ institution as an 
unnecessary outlay, and the general public was slow to appre- 
hend its value. One or two special cases of relief to children 
suddenly left destitute opened the eyes of some, and the im- 
proved condition of the children as se.en at the annual meeting 
deepened the good impression. When it was understood that 
the home was intended as a temporary abiding place, and that 
the children therein cared for were much more readily adopted 
into suitable families, and much more likely to grow up into use- 
ful members of society, the prejudice wore away, and the towns 
began to send their poorhouse children more freely. During 
the three years' continuance at Putnam Heights under the faith- 
ful care of Mr. and Mrs. Preston the children's home gained in 
public favor and the number of applicants steadily increased. 
In August, 1886, the county had the good fortune to receive a 
deed of the Giles farm in Putnam, with all its buildings and im- 
provements, and a good supply of water at house and barn, for 
the very moderate sum of $4,250. Although so far north in the 
county, yet the easy access to the railroad center at Putnam vil- 
lage, connecting by railroad and mail stage wnth most of the 
towns, makes the location very convenient and accessible. Sub- 
sequent addition of kitchen and dormitories, with a steam heater 
and modern conveniences, make a very complete and beautiful 
establishment, with ample grounds and play-rccm, most admir- 
ably adapted to its purpose. Mr. John D. Converse assumed the 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 123 

superintendency of the home November 1st, 1886, when the chil- 
dren were removed to the new building. The present number 
of children under his care is 22, which is about the average. 
During the past year 24 were admitted and 15 placed in private 
homes. The whole number received since the institution of the 
home is 83. The children attend school at the public school 
house near by, and are intelligent and tractable. Many of them 
attend church and Sabbath school at the Baptist .church in 
Thompson with Mr. and Mrs. Converse. It would be hard to 
find a company of happier and healthier children. They wear 
no uniform, no badge to mark them from other children unless 
it be their superior good behavior. One only needs to contrast 
them in thought with the forlorn specimens seen in the ordinary 
poorhouse to appreciate the good results of this philanthropic 
institution. It is almost an ideal home, where homeless outcasts 
receive most kind and judicious care, training and instruction, 
and one which Windham county will value more and more. 
Each town has the privilege of appointing a lady visitor, who 
is allowed full liberty of inspection and suggestion. The annual 
meeting of all officials connected with the home, together with 
town officers and any persons specially interested, is made a very 
pleasant occasion. All its affairs are seen to be administered 
with wise forethought and economy, the board for children re- 
ceived from the towns, and the profits of the farm, paying all 
ordinary expenses. 

The court records of Hartford and New London before the 
erection of Windham county preserve no heavier charges 
against the inhabitants of its infant towns than such rude as- 
saults and misdemeanors as are incident in any early settlement, 
with the one exception of Ashford. Joseph Wilson, a young 
farmer of that town, while wrestling with a neighbor, John 
Aplin, over a disputed game at pennies, received an inward in- 
jury which caused his death in a few days. The jurors sum- 
moned on inquest gave verdict : " That Wilson came to his death 
by some strain, or wrench, or blow, or fall, or broke something 
within his body. We all conclude that was the occasion of his 
death — John Aplin being with him when he received hurt 
Dec. 28, 1720." 

Aplin was at once indicted on the charge of manslaughter and 
bound over for trial before the superior court at Hartford, the 
leading men of the town giving bonds for his appearance. 



124 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Though clearly free from any charge of design or malice, yet 
being also clearly accessory to Wilson's death, great fears were 
entertained as to the result of the trial. The situation of the 
young man called out deep sympathy and compassion — " grieved 
and broken at heart that he should have been in such a manner 
instrumental in the death of his friend," and yet exposed to 
severe penalty. The dying man had himself absolved Aplin 
from intentional blame, and even his wife "did reckon one as 
much to blame as the other." Neighbors and friends interested 
themselves strenuously in his behalf, especially urging that he 
might not be sent to the dismal, fireless jail at Hartford to await 
his trial. A letter forwarded to Governor Pitkin by Captain 
John Fitch, of Windham, from old friends who had known him 
from childhood and testified to his "peaceable and quiet con- 
versation," obtained this boon. Aplin was allowed to remain in 
Ashford till his trial, March 21st, 1721, when he was acquitted 
and discharged. The tenderness and humane consideration 
manifested in this instance were very rare at that period. 

The first criminal trial after the organization of Windham 
county resulted in conviction and execution. Elisabeth Shaw, 
of Canada parish (now Hampton), Windham, was publicly exe- 
cuted December 18th, 1745, for child murder. She was a poor, 
simple minded girl, decidedly lacking in mental capacity. Noth- 
ing is known of the circumstances of the case except that, hav- 
ing given birth secretly to a living child, she contrived to get 
away with it and leave it hidden in a ledge of rocks not far from 
her residence. Her father, a straight laced Puritan, suspected, 
watched her, and perhaps unable to force her to confession, him- 
self preferred accusation to the town authorities. Search was 
made and the dead body found. The grand jurors found Elisa- 
beth Shaw guilty of murder, and committed her for trial. This 
was held September 17th, 1745, Roger Wolcott, chief judge. 
The facts of the case were easily proved — " that Elisabeth Shaw 
did secretly hide and dispose of her living child in the woods in 
said Windham, and did cause to perish said child." Extenu- 
ating circumstances had no weight. The mental or physical 
condition of the unfortunate girl seemed not to have been taken 
into consideration, and the supreme penalty of the law was pro- 
nounced against her. No public effort was apparently made to 
obtain remission or commutation of sentence. In those stern 
days the rigid enforcement of law was deemed the onl}- safeguard 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 125 

of morality. A doubtful tradition hints that Elisabeth's stern 
father, repentant too late, hurried on to Hartford and procured 
a reprieve from the governor, but that a sudden storm brought 
on a freshet, which delayed his return until after the execution. 
On the appointed day a gallows was set up on a hill a mile south- 
west from Windham Green. An immense crowd of spectators 
gathered there to meet the mournful procession, reaching from 
hill to jail, headed by the cart in which upon her coffin sat the 
condemned victim, praying continuously "Oh Jesus, have mercy 
upon my soul ! " through the dreadful " death march " and the 
prescribed religious ceremonies. One official entry completes 
the harrowing-chronicle : " Allowed Mr. Sheriff Huntington, for 
cost and expense of doing execution on Elisabeth Shaw, i^29, 5s." 

The second murder reported in Windham county was com- 
mitted by Anne, a negro girl twelve years of age, owned by Mr. 
Samuel Clark, of Pomfret, in November, 1795. While playing 
with her master's daughter, Martha, a little girl of five years, 
she was made so angry by some trifling circumstance, " not hav- 
ing the fear of God before her eyes, but moved by the Devil," 
that she snatched a sharp knife that chanced to be near her and 
cut the child's throat so that she bled to death almost instantly. 
With remarkable coolness and cunning she immediately rushed 
out and gave the alarm, crying out that " a shack had killed 
little Martha." Her story was at first believed by the distressed 
household and neighbors, but suspicious circumstances appear- 
ing, a skillful cross-examination elicited the truth. Anne was 
taken to Windham jail, tried, convicted and sentenced. Thirty- 
nine lashes were inflicted upon her naked body, the letter M 
stamped upon her hand, and she was confined for life within 
the jail limits. 

Eight years later another child was murdered in Pomfret, un- 
der circumstances of cool deliberation and settled malice. This 
occurred in the little neighborhood now known as Jericho, in 
Abington parish, near the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Reuben 
Sharpe, a kindly elderly pair, uncle and aunt to the whole com- 
munity. Childless themselves, they often cared for homeless 
children, and according to a frequent custom had bound them- 
selves to the care of Caleb Adams, a motherless boy of weak 
intellect and morbid temper, whom they treated with great kind- 
ness. When Caleb was about seventeen years old they took a 
younger boy into their family, Oliver Woodworth, nephew to 



126 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Uncle Reuben, a very bright and winning little fellow, who. nat- 
urally became the pet of the household. Caleb's jealous disposi- 
tion was excited by the attention paid to Oliver, and his spleen 
was further aggravated b}' the pranks and tricks of the little 
boy, who took a childish delight in teasing his surly comrade. 
One day when Caleb was pulling beans in the field, Oliver came 
out to him with his sled and asked him togo a-graping withhim, 
and agreed at first to wait for him and help him on his job, but 
soon became tired of it and asked him for his sled, which Caleb 
had put over the wall. Upon Caleb's refusal, Oliver went him- 
self for the sled, whereupon Caleb snatched it away and flung it 
up into an apple tree, telling the boy that if he got it again he 
would be sorry for it. Oliver immediately pulled it down, and 
doubtless looked defiance at the big boy who was trying to 
master him. Caleb at once determined to kill his childish ad- 
versary, and laid his plans accordingly. Quite possibly the 
murder of Martha Clarke, which he must have heard discussed, 
might suggest to him this way of ridding himself of a trouble- 
some rival. Calmly and pleasantly he now volunteered to go at 
once for the grapes, first helping to get a new tongue for the 
sled. The delighted boy went with him back to the house, 
helped grind the butcher's knife and carry the implements for 
his own destruction, and went gaily prattling with his compan- 
ion into the deep woods, when a blow from the axe stunned 
and felled him. 

And then his senses came back to him. From the moment of 
" that first fierce impulse unto crime," Caleb had thought of 
nothing but how he should carry it out. He thought of no re- 
sulting consequences. " The devil," he said, " led me on till I 
had done it and then left me." He could not even carry out his 
design of flaying the boy and hanging him up like a butchered 
animal. His impulse now led him to shrink from the vsight of 
men and he traveled off some miles to the residence of an uncle. 
Night brought no boys to Uncle Reuben's hearthstone. Neigh- 
bors were aroused, search made, and the ma«ngled body of the 
little favorite brought to light. Caleb was traced and examined. 
At first denying the charge he was soon brought to make con- 
fession of the crime and committed to Windham jail September 
15th, 1803. The greatest interest in the case was manifested 
throughout the county, and the attendance upon the trial was so 
large that the court adjourned to the meeting house. No in- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 127 

vestigation could lessen the blackness of the deed, the question 
at issue was the responsibility of its perpetrator. The criminal 
had been tainted even before his birth. It was affirmed and "sup- 
ported by credible testimony," that before the birth of Caleb his 
father had become so infatuated with a woman of the vilest 
character as to persist in keeping her at his own house with her 
idiot child, to the infinite distress of his outraged wife, who died 
from grief and mortification a few months after the birth of her 
son. Two months after her death Adams married his paramour, 
who took charge of Caleb until her own death, after which he 
was left in the hands of any one who would keep him for a trifle. 
It was said that his general aspect and facial motions thorough- 
ly resembled those of the idiot child whose presence had so dis- 
tressed his mother, and that he now exhibited an innate and ab- 
normal delight in inflicting torture upon animals, together with 
a strong predisposition for lying, stealing and other vicious prac- 
tices, while he had been debarred from counteracting influences 
and judicious training. But all these facts and the alleged in- 
sanity of his father which might indicate hereditary mental un- 
soundness, only served to convince judge and jury of his unfit- 
ness to live and the necessity of keeping him from further mis- 
chief. A petition signed by many sympathetic persons was laid 
before the general assembly in his behalf, but that body declined 
to interfere with what it called "the course of justice." Ver}^ 
great interest was manifested in the prisoner's religious condi- 
tion, many ministers and Christian people visiting him in his 
•cell and laboring to bring him to right views of himself and his 
situation. He had an especially affecting interview with his 
kind friends, Mr. and Mrs. Reuben Sharpe — when Mrs. Sharpe 
in particular was reported as "very tenderl}^ affected towards 
him, and treated him with Christian compassion, freely forgiv- 
ing him and hoping that God would also forgive him." As is 
frequent in such cases, Caleb seemed quite to enjoy his notoriety 
.and played his part with great propriety. His execution, No- 
vember 20th, 1803, was made a grand scenic exhibition, affording 
the highest satisfaction to many thousand sympathetic specta- 
tors. Divine service was held on the Green before the meeting 
liouse. Caleb walked to the place of public worship accom- 
panied by the high sheriff, Shubael Abbe, and a number of min- 
isters, " exhibiting on a serene countenance signs of deep and 
.solemn thought." Reverend Samuel Nott, of Franklin, opened 



128 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

the service with a pathetic and well-adapted prayer, which was 
followed by a sermon from Reverend Elijah Waterman, of 
Windham, upon Luke xi, 35 — " Take heed therefore, that the 
light that is in thee be not darkness" — a solemn and appropriate 
discourse upon the nature and power of conscience. The im- 
mense congregation was then told that Caleb had specially re- 
quested to receive the ordinance of baptism before execution, 
and leave his dying testimony in favor of the religion that 
supported him. He then ascended the stage or temporary pul- 
pit, and made audible confession of his faith and was baptized 
by Reverend Walter Lyon, of Abington, his former pastor. On 
his way to the gallows he conversed freely upon the ground of 
his hope and the support it gave him that through Jesus Christ 
he should find mercy, and gazed upon it with countenance un- 
moved, finding strength in prayer and passages of Scripture. 
An address was now made by Reverend Moses C. Welch, of 
Mansfield, stating some facts in the prisoner's life with appro- 
priate reflections and remarks. Before and after this address, 
Caleb kneeled and prayed with composure in words well suited 
to convey his feelings and desires — that he might obtain mercy 
and final forgiveness of sins through Christ ; that he might be 
supported in the trying moment ; that all might be for the glory 
of God ; and particularly, that the people might take warning by 
his end and forsake the ways of sin. Mr. Lyon "then addressed 
the Throne of Grace in language the most interesting and affec- 
tionate, at the close of which the criminal was launched into 
eternity." The tender-hearted sheriff burst into tears after per- 
forming his most painful, duty, and a deep and lasting impres- 
sion was made upon all who had witnessed this remarkable 
ceremony. 

In less than two years, on November 6th, 1805, Windham was 
treated to its third public execution — that of Samuel F'reeman, 
of Rhode Island, a temporary resident of Ashford, a colored man 
of mixed Negro and Indian blood and vicious character, who in 
a fit of drunken rage took the life of an Indian woman with 
whom he was consorting. The trial and execution were con- 
ducted with the customaiy formalities and attracted the inevita- 
ble crowd of spectators, whose satisfaction in this case was un- 
alloyed with any troublesome questionings as to the justice of 
the penalty, or any sentimental sympathy with the degraded 
subject. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 129 

The murder of one of Woodstock's most promising young 
men the same November called out very different emotions. 
Marcus Lyon, a descendant of one of Woodstock's substantial 
old families, returning from a summer sojourn at Cazenovia, 
New York, was attacked by two desperate ruffians at Wilbra- 
ham, Mass., most barbarously murdered, robbed and thrown 
into Chicopee river. Some peculiar indications observed and 
reported by a little boy led to the discovery of the body, which 
was taken out and identified and tidings sent to his home in 
West Woodstock. The story spread like wildfire through the 
town and the population sallied out en viassc to meet the mourn- 
ful procession bringing the murdered man back to his old home. 
A still greater multitude assembled at the Baptist meeting 
house to witness the funeral ceremonies conducted by Reverend 
Biel Ledoyt. The shocking circumstances, the tears and lamien- 
tations of mourning friends, the deep emotion permeating the 
vast assembly presented a scene seldom witnessed in a rural 
township. Several elegies and ballads were called out by this 
event, perpetuating the memory of this lamented youth. We 
quote from one giving full details : 

' ' A shocking story to relate 
When on his way from New YorL: state 
To Woodstock, to his native home, 
As far as Wilbraham he come. 
Tlien some past noon on Saturday 
Two ruffians did this man waylay, 
They murdered him most barbarously 
And threw him in a river nigh 
Four rods from whence they murdered him. 
They left the body in the stream; 
The stone they did uj^on hini lay 
Upwards of sixty jjounds did weigh. 
A boy he sees them on the ground 
Where marks of violence were found; 
Blood in abundance to be seen , 
He tells the place, describes the men. 
On Sunday evening light they took 
Along the river for to look ; 
One says: ' Come here, I something see, 
Near to that rock it seems to be.' 
Then on it he attempts to get. 
The stone gave way under his feet — 
Oh, what a sight ! Oh, what a sight ! 
For to behold here in the night; 
The stone slips off, then did arise 
A bloody corpse before their eyes ! 



130 HISTORY OF WIXDHA.M COUNTY. 

A jury then was summoned 

The incjuefit of the murdered: 

His skull was broke, his side shot through, 

His face disfigured by a blow, 

Two pistols near the place were found. 

Much bruised the trimmings all around, 

Besmeared with blood and human hair 

To all beholders did appear 

At dead of night the people send 
The heavy news unto his friends. 
Before sunrise his mother had 
News that her son was murdered. 
His mother said, ' Oh! in this way 
I never thought my child to seel 
I've husband lost and children too 
Trouble like this I never knew.' .... 
On Wednesday was the funeral; 
Hard hearts indeed not here to feel. 
Such bitter mourning never was — 
Knowing the corpse and then the cause. 
His mother lost a lovely son. 
His only brother left alone; 
Three sisters to bemoan the fate 
Of their dear brother, died of late. 
Among the mourning friends we find 
To mourn he left his love behind. 
Who did expect the coming spring- 
In mutual love to marry him. 
Dejected now, disconsolate, 
Often his cruel death relates, 
Then wipes her eyes again, again, 
Telling the cruelty to him. 
His age was nearly twenty-three, 
Was mild, affectionate and free, 
His heart benevolent and kind. 
His equal scarcely can we find. 
A pretty youth beloved by all, 
By old and young, by great and small. 
By rich and poor, by high and low, 
By every one who did him know."' 

By a quite remarkable chance the murderers were discovered 
and publicly hung in Worcester, a large number of Windham 
county residents enjoying the privilege of attendance. 

The tendency of certain crimes to become epidemic is often 
marked. Even the decorous and conservative town of Thomp- 
son indulged in a murder excitement and trial at about the same 
date of the preceding. Ebenezer Starr, the popular landlord of 
the Brandy Hill tavern, while violently disputing with the well 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 131 

known physician, Doctor Thomas Weaver, died instantly from 
rupture on the brain. Though it was quite obvious that " passion 
was the cause of his death," public opinion demanded the arrest 
and trial of Doctor Weaver on charg-e of manslaughter. He was 
acquitted of the crime, but nevertheless sentenced to a public 
whipping and branding on the hand as a punishment for his 
assumed agency in arousing such angry passions. 

Thompson was also variously implicated in the counterfeiting 
epidemic, which was exceedingly prevalent in those days of pov- 
erty and bad money. Its frontier position, cornering upon Mas- 
sachusetts and Rhode Island, furnished admirable facilities for 
illicit enterprise, enabling fugitives from justice to dodge back 
and forth from pursuing officers. A professional expert from 
New Hampshire availed himself of these peculiar advantages, 
brought down die and tools, and enticed a simple minded rustic 
to join with him in counterfeiting silver money. This work was 
carried on in a cave in the Buck hill woods, while the simple 
young man engaged in outside trade, buying up produce and 
stock, for which he paid in spurious coin. One good silver dol- 
lar was made to cover a number of the counterfeit, and money 
became very abundant. It is said that man}^ recipients sus- 
pected something wrong, but quietly connived in the young 
man's business operations. His own folly at length brought the 
matter to light. "The goose that laid the golden eggs " com- 
mitted suicide in this instance. Intoxicated with the rare de- 
light of plenty of spending money, the young man insisted upon 
treating all his friends in all the taverns about town, squaring 
the accounts with his new silver dollars. Such unprecedented 
freeness and fiushness aroused suspicions which led to investi- 
gation and discovery. His sudden arrest carried consternation 
to his self-seeking aiders and abettors, who -hid away in meal 
chests and outhouses till the excitement subsided. The crafty 
old offender evaded capture ; his victim escaped trial by forfeit- 
ure of bonds and went out west, returning after a few years a 
sadder and wiser man to settle down into a sober and law abid- 
ing citizen. Some years later, a larger gang, in the same vicin- 
ity, engaged in manufacturing fraudulent bank notes, Avhich 
ended in exposure and punishment, the ringleaders suffering 
prolonged imprisonment. 

The first and only execution after the removal of the county 
seat to Brooklyn was that of Oliver Watkins, a resident of Ster- 



132 • HISTORY OF WIXDHA.M COUNTY. 

ling, for strangling his wife. The crime was clearly proYen, 
although Watkins refused to make confession, and denied his 
guilt with his latest breath. The trial, sentence and preparations 
for execution excited the usual interest. Captain David Keyes, 
of Ashford, resigned his position of high sheriff to escape offi- 
cial service. Roger Coit, of Plainfield, w^as appointed to succeed 
him, and carried through the law's requirements. In expecta- 
tion of the coming influx, landlords and liquor sellers provided 
vast supplies of all kinds of liquor, and hired a special guard to 
keep watch of the criminal the night before execution, lest he 
should commit suicide or in any way escape. A gallows was 
set up in a hollow between Brooklyn and Danielsonville, where 
the vast multitude of spectators crowding its sloping sides en- 
joyed a distinct view of the whole proceedings. Long before 
the break of day, August — , 1831, the various roads were 
thronged with wagons and foot travelers, single men and fam- 
ilies, coming from all parts of Windham county and adjacent 
states. The ceremony was conducted with the usual formal- 
ities. Prayer was offered by a well known minister, and then 
Reverend George Tillotson, the youthful pastor of the Congre- 
gational church of Brooklyn, preached a most solemn and im- 
pressive sermon upon the words, " Be sure your sin will find you 
out," followed by prayer. As he pronounced the fateful " Amen " 
with such composure and distinctness as to be heard by each one 
" of the thousands who listened for it with the most absorbing 
interest, in stillness that seemed rather of the dead than of the 
living," the drop fell and the forfeited life was taken. The deep 
solemnity which marked the exercises profoundly impressed the 
vicious minded, and it is said that in the religious revival that 
followed " not a few dated their first heart purpose to turn from 
their sins from the sayings and scenes of that awful day." On 
the other hand, an eye witness* gives his testimony, "that there 
were never half so many drunk at any one time and place in 
this county ; " that the throng was so vast that long before night 
not a mouthful could be procured in the village either to eat or 
drink except water, and there were reports of conduct which 
ought " to make a Feejee Islander blush." 

As soon as possible after the formation of Windham county, 
August 18th, 1726, the justices ordered " that a gaol be built with 
all possible expedition, 31 x 18. The gaol to be ten foot wide, 

* The late Isaac T. Hutchins, "West Killingly. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 133 

built of logs all framed into posts, and be divided into two 
rooms by a board partition ; one to have a small fire-place or 
chimney. The other end to be for the prison-house ; to be built 
after the manner of other ordinary framed buildings, having a 
chimney with the back to the gaol ; the (gaol) room to be 
6^- feet between joints and having a cellar under it 14 x 12." 
This building sufficed for prison accommodation till the period 
following the great revival of 1742, when many Separates and 
what were deemed religious schismatics were imprisoned for 
holding religious services contrary to law and refusing to pay 
rates for the support of the stated churches. The Separate min- 
isters, Elisha and Solomon Paine, Alexander and Peter Miller, 
Thomas Marsh, and many zealous exhorters and conscientious 
opposers of compulsory taxation for religious purposes, were 
thus imprisoned, so that the justices were compelled to add a 
new story to the jail and send many offenders to Hartford for 
safe keeping. Very great excitement prevailed at this epoch, 
crowds of people flocking to the jail to hear their favorite min- 
isters, who by giving bonds were allowed to preach in the jail 
yard, while law abiding citizens sent rescripts to the sheriff de- 
siring him "to shut the prison doors and keep the people out." 
It is evident that considerable liberty was allowed to prisoners 
at that time, as some specially obnoxious Separates complained 
of being •' closely locked up " and denied the liberty of the yard, 
while notorious offenders confined on criminal charges were 
allowed to go about the town. Letters from worthy Christian 
ministers confined in Windham jail " on the sole presentment of 
preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ," report their " close con- 
finement in most distressing circumstances as to our bodies, and 
their families reduced or exposed to difficulties too affecting to 
relate." Next in number to these religious offenders were the 
imprisoned debtors who were allowed a range within certain 
limits, and such as were unable to pay worked out their debt in 
various services. In 1762, the jail yard was reported in a decay- 
ing state. In 1774, extensive repairs were made, and a farthing 
tax ordered throughout the county to meet the outlay. During 
the early days of the revolution, the citizens of Windham coun- 
ty were greatly annoyed " by their situation in regard to a 
sheriff, which place in their opinion was very badly supplied," 
the incumbent. Colonel Eleazer Fitch, a very capable and popu- 
lar military officer, unfortunately failing to participate in the 



134 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

popular moYement and remaining loyal to England and its king, 
yet so great was his personal popularity that it was not till after 
the escape of noted prisoners that citizens of the county peti- 
tioned for his remoYal. He was succeeded December, 1776, by 
Captain Jabez Huntington, "whose principles were far more 
agreeable " to the public, as one not likely to exhibit undue 
leniency to inimical Tories and prisoners of war. The jails 
were now filled to overflowing, each encounter with the enemy 
bringing fresh recruits, so that it was difficult to keep and guard 
them. Mr. A. E. Brooks, Main street, Hartford, has at his place 
of business a rare and curious memento of this period — the 
image of Bacchus, striding a wine cask, carved out of a block of 
pine in Windham jail, by four seamen of H. M. S. "Bombrig," 
captured June 10th, 1776, by a party under command of Captain 
Nathan Hale. Edward vSneyd, captain ; John Coggin, boat- 
swain ; John Russel, carpenter, and William Cook, sailor, were 
the aforesaid prisoners and carvers of this remarkable revolu- 
tionary relic. They were evidently jolly fellows, devotees of 
the jovial god, and having been permitted through the laxity of 
Sheriff Fitch to enjoy the good cheer of the Windham taverns, 
they left this specimen of their handiwork as a parting testi- 
monial of gratitude and regard to the popular landlady, Widow 
Carey, when they made their escape from the jail. Bacchus was 
immediately installed as an appropriate figure-head for the 
tavern, and for many years occupied a high position among the 
tutelary divinities of the gay old town. 

After the close of the war Windham jail became even more 
popular. Tories and inimical persons were indeed required to 
keep out of town, but the number who suffered imprisonment 
for debts incurred in the service of their country was painfully 
large. Men of high position and character, earnest and self- 
sacrificing patriots, were confined within the jail limits. These 
limits were defined, 1782, from the jail to Captain Tinker's 
house, then to Samuel Grey's trading shop, on to Thomas Reed's 
work shop, and to Major Harbyton's blacksmith shop — then, a 
straight line to the tavern sign post, and west to an elm tree in 
front of John Stani£ord's dwelling house. In 1784, it was or- 
dered that a yard twelve feet high be erected around the jail, as 
soon as the money could be procured from the county. The 
limits of the jail were again confirmed in 1786, but prisoners 
were forbidden to enter dwelling houses : allowed to enter work 
shops used for mechanical purposes. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 135 

Very little can be learned of the condition of Windham jail 
from this date onward till its removal to Brooklyn. During this 
interval a new building was probably erected, but the precise 
date is difficult to ascertain. Very little can be learned either of 
the treatment of prisoners, but it was probably such as prevailed 
in other jails during that period, modified by an unusual degree 
of outside liberty. Exposure to cold, damp and filthy quarters 
and the promiscuous herding of all grades of criminals, were its 
most repulsive features. 

After an arduous struggle the county seat was removed from 
Windham. July 26th, 1820, it was found that a convenient court 
house and jail had been provided in Brooklyn. The court house 
was newly erected ; jail and prisoners had been removed from 
Windham to the site now occupied by the Episcopal church. 
Jail limits were assigned and Ebenezer Baker appointed keeper 
of the jail, but was soon succeeded by William Tyber. Attempts 
were soon made to establish a county work- house and house of 
correction. Among the great reformatory movements for bet- 
tering the condition of mankind the treatment of criminals Avas 
included. Philanthropists labored to reduce crime and reform 
the criminal ; town officers to reduce the tax list. Under this 
double stimulus great changes were made. The feasibility of 
providing remunerative labor for prisoners in confinement was 
carefully considered. Six acres of land were procured a little 
west of the village and new brick buildings erected. In 1842 
the prisoners were removed to this new Windham county jail, 
and thenceforward employed, when practicable, in cultivating 
the land and other outdoor labor. The good effect of this ex- 
periment upon the health and conduct of the prisoners led to its 
permanent adoption. Under the judicious and careful manage- 
ment of Mr. John S. Searls, appointed jailor in 1847, the outdoor 
working of the prisoners was much extended and systematized. 
Continued employment was sought out both in summer and 
winter, in digging, carting, wood cutting, harvesting and any 
specie of out labor for all such as were not compelled to be kept 
in close confinement, their wages accruing to the county. Acom.- 
mittee on prisons, appointed by the general' assembly, May,18G5, 
the late Charles Osgood, of Pomfret, chairman, reports of 
Windham : 

" The jail at Windham is a substantial brick building, erected 
in 1842, pleasantly located near the village, and with the out- 



136- HISTURV OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

buildings, including a spacious barn recentl}- erected, and all 
its surroundings in first class order. The prisoners for years 
past have been employed almost wholly at outdoor labor, at 
whatever kind of work and wherever they could be employed 
to the best advantage. The commissioners receive $3.00 per day 
and no charge for travel or expenses. 

" Number of prisoners in jail, June 17, five. The present in- 
debtedness of the county is $367.31, occasioned by building a 
barn and an addition to the jail for a female department in 1863, 
at an expense of nearly $2,000. 

" The result in this county of the prudent management of its 
affairs, the manner of working prisoners and the reasonable and 
honest charges of its officials, is, that all the ordinary and the 
greater part of the extraordinary expenses of the county, in- 
cluding extensive repairs and additions to the court house and 
jail and the erection of new buildings, have been paid 2csi^ that, 
too, without calling upon the towns in the county for either tax, 
contribution or assessment for vwrc than tiventy yearsy 

This good record was maintained through the twenty-six years 
of Mr. Searls' faithful service, and has been mainly attained by 
his successors, though in consequence of the increasing demands 
and large expenditure of the present era the county cannot al- 
ways succeed in carrying out its ideal of making its prisoners 
pay all its running expenses. Their earnings, however, added 
to what is received from the state for board of prisoners, make 
the jail considerably more than self-supporting j^ear by 3'ear, 
and provide for repairs, additions and modern improvements, 
with a balance in favor of the county. Fortunately in this rural 
town there is no conflict with other classes of laborers. Farm 
help has become so scarce and dear that the farmers welcome 
aid from this source, and in many cases can carry on their farms 
with prisoners' help at special seasons. Perhaps ten thousand 
bushels of corn were husked and as many bushels of potatoes 
dug by the prisoners last autumn, and there is no difficulty in 
finding jobs of work throughout the year. The physical effect 
of this outdoor labor is very marked _ and the consumption of 
food proportionably larger than by prisoners kept in close 
confinement. Continual efforts are made for their mental and 
moral improvement. Through the forethought of Mr. Sibley, 
the present jailor, a prison library has been instituted, supplied 
with suitable books and papers, which are constantly in demand 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 137 

and greatly appreciated. A religious service is held once in two 
weeks by the chaplain, Reverend E, S. Beard, and a monthly 
meeting is held by the Women's Christian Temperance Union. 
This temperance effort is especially called for as at least three- 
fourths of the prisoners are brought there through the use and 
abuse of liquor. Yet though great pains are taken to enlighten 
and reform, it is to be feared that the good impressions produced 
are seldom lasting. Much good seed falls apparently on stony 
ground, but it can at least be said that the influence of prison 
life is salutary, and that no man or woman is the Avorse for con- 
finement in Windham county jail. With regard to women the 
question has scarcely been tested, so few is the number that 
have been committed to its precincts. The whole number com- 
mitted to jail in the year ending June 30th, 1887, was 225; num- 
ber discharged, 218; average number in confinement, 34. By far 
the larger proportion were received during the winter when work 
was not attainable. Over 21 5^ears, 190 ; under 21 years, 35 ; na- 
tives of Connecticut, 62 ; of other states, 71 ; other countries, 92. 
One man from Connecticut, four from other countries, could not 
read or write. Drunkenness was the direct charge against 129 ; 
106 called themsel«ves moderate drinkers; one, habitually in- 
temperate ; 18 strictly temperate ; 113 had been previously in 
prison ; 19 were committed as tramps. Receipts from earnings 
of prisoners, §1,857.11 ; total jail receipts, $6,426.87; total jail ex- 
penditures, $4,988.37. 



CHAPTER XL 



THE BENCH AND BAR OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 



Early Attorneys. — Elisha Paine. — Samuel Huntington. — Jabez Fitch. — Eliphalet 
Dyer.— Jedidiah Elderkin. — Zephaniah Swift. — Thomas Stedman.— David 
Bolles. — Sylvanus Backus. — Daniel Kies. — Other Windham County Law- 
yers of Former Times.— Courts Removed to Brooklyn. — The Windham Coun- 
ty Bar in 1820.— Chauncey F. Cleveland.— Glimpses of Many Practicing At- 
torneys.— William Smith Scarborough.— Lucius H. Rickard.— Elliot B. Sum- 
ner. — Abiel Converse. — Earl Martin. — Edward Cundall.— John J. Penrose. — 
George W. Melony. — Seymour A. Tingier. — Benjamin S. Warner. — Calvin M. 
Brooks. — Albert McC. Mathewson.— Andrew Jackson Bowen. — John L. Hun- 
ter.— George A. Conant.— Arthur G. Bill.— Gilbert W. Phillips.— Randolph 
H. Chandler. — Eric H. Johnson. — Charles E. Searls. — Samuel H. Seward. — 
Edgar M. Warner. — William G. Buteau. — Ebenezer Stoddard. — Louis B. 
Cleveland.— Thomas E. Graves.— G. S. F. Stoddard.— John M. Hall.— James 
H. Potter. — George Larned. — Simon Davis. 



WITH the gradual adaptation of the new society of Wind- 
ham county to the forms and customs of civil order 
and recognition of the rights of individuals, both per- 
sonal and proprietary, the need of advocates before the consti- 
tuted tribunals of justice began to be felt. The profession of 
the law, distinctively regarded, does not show itself as soon as 
some other professions — conspicuously, the ministry, school 
teaching and medicine. But the county was not long organized 
before the field began to open for the work of the lawyer. At 
the time of the establishment of the courts in 1726, there was 
probably no professional attorney residing in the county. When 
cases were brought before those early courts requiring the ser- 
vices of an advocate they were placed in the hands of attorneys 
from some neighboring town, frequently from Norwich or Hart- 
ford. The first son of Windham to be admitted to its bar as a 
legal practitioner of whom we have learned, was Jedidiah Elder- 
kin, a young man, who was admitted in 1744. Soon after Eliph- 
alet Dyer, who graduated from Yale College in 1740, at the age 
of nineteen, studied law, and in 1746 was admitted to the bar of 
Windham county. These young lawyers entered with much 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 139 

zeal upon the practice of their profession, and soon ranked 
among the foremost public men of the day. Law business was 
beginning to be somewhat brisk, and a large number of cases 
were reported at every session of the courts. Elisha Paine, Jr., 
of Canterbury, was also practicing law about that time. In 
Plainfield, Timothy Pierce was one of its most prominent and 
respected citizens, a member of the governor's council and judge 
of the county and probate courts, all of which offices he is said to 
have executed with such diligence and care as to be unblamable. 

Elisha Paine was a man of unusual breadth and force of char- 
acter, a succeSvSful practitioner in law, and universally conceded 
to have the " best sense of any one in those parts." Of a specu- 
lative and inquiring mind, he was prompted to investigate the 
principles and practices of the different organizations, then con- 
ducting public religious exercises, and was soon led to enlist his 
sympathies with the Separate movement which attracted so 
much notice during that period. He protested strongly against 
the practices of the established church and pronounced it sadly 
lacking in the true religious spirit. So offensive did his position 
on this subject become that in 1744 he was arrested and impris- 
oned for several weeks in the county jail, but was at last released 
on bail. He became absorbed in religious questions and finally 
abandoned the practice of law for the preaching of the Gospel. 
He received a call to a church at Bridgehampton, L. I., and in 
1752 he attempted to remove his family and personal property 
thither but was again arrested by the collector of society rates 
for the support of the established church, which Paine refused 
to pay, and was again imprisoned in the county jail. After re- 
maining there several weeks he was again set at liberty. 

About the middle of the last century Jabez Fitch, son of Doc- 
tor Jabez Fitch, was practicing as an attorney in Canterbury. 
He was made justice of the quorum in 1755, and judge of pro- 
bate in 1759. Samuel Huntington, son of Nathaniel Huntino-. 
ton, of Scotland, was practicing law in that town at this period. 
Though early noted for his fondness for books and study, he was 
apprenticed to a cooper, but so improved his leisure moments 
that when he had completed his apprenticeship he had not only 
acquired a competent knowledge of Latin, but had made some 
progress in the study of law, from books borrowed of Jedidiah 
Elderkin. Adopting this as his chosen profession, he pursued 
his studies with indefatigable zeal and perseverance, and was re- 



140 HISTORY OF WIXDHAM COUNTY. 

warded with abundant success. Nathan Frink, as king's attor- 
ney, was practicing law in Pomfret and adjoining towns. 
Thomas, son of John Grosvenor, Esq., after graduation from 
Yale College in 1765, and later preparatory legal studies, also 
opened a law office on Pomfret street. Eliphalet Dyer and Jedi- 
diah Elderkin, already mentioned as among the early law3-ers of 
the county, were actively engaged for many years in the practice 
of law at Windham, and ranked among the prominent public 
men of Connecticut. Among the terrible sounds which were 
heard in the great frog scare the excessively wrought imagina- 
tions of the populace could distinguish the vengefuJ demands of 
the approaching foe for the bodies of their leaders, Elderkin and 
Dyer. Elisha Paine, son of the distinguished advocate of the 
Separate movement and sufferer for the cause, was about 1765, 
practicing law at Plainfield, where he was admitted to a promin- 
ent position in social and civil affairs. 

After the close of the revolution we find among the promi- 
nent men of the new generation Zephaniah Swift, of Tolland, es- 
tablished in Windham town, and winning immediate success as 
a lawyer. Jabez Clark and Samuel Gray, Jr., had married 
daughters of Colonel Jedidiah Elderkin, and engaged in legal 
practice. Colonel Ebenezer Gray also resumed the practice of 
the legal profession, and engaged in public affairs as far as his 
enfeebled health would permit. Timothy Larrabee and the older 
lawyers still continued in practice. 

Samuel Huntington, one of the most honored members of the 
bar of Windham county, and distinguished citizens of the colony 
of Connecticut, has already been mentioned. He deserves a 
more extended notice than the means at hand or space at our 
disposal will permit in this connection. He was descended from 
an ancient and respectable family of this county. His childhood 
and youth were distinguished by indications of an excellent un- 
derstanding and a taste for mental improvement. Without the 
advantage of a collegiate education or that assistance in profes- 
sional studies which modern times have wisely encouraged, he 
acquired a competent knowledge of law and was early admitted 
to the bar and became eminent in his profession. In 1774 he was 
made an assistant judge in the superior court. In 1775 he was 
chosen into the council, and in the same year elected a delegate 
to congress. In 1779 he was made president of that honorable 
body, and in 17S0 was re-elected to the same station of promin- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 141 

ence. In 1783 he was again made a member of congress. In 
1784 he was chosen lieutenant governor and appointed chief 
justice of the state. In 1786 he was elected governor of Connec- 
ticut and was annually re-elected by the freemen with a singular 
unanimity until his death. He thus served in that honorable 
position the longest term, with but two exceptions, that has ever 
been held by any man during the history of the state. His term 
lasted nine years and eight months, closing with his death, Jan- 
uary 15th, 1796. The exceptions spoken of were Jonathan 
Trumbull, eleven years and eight months, and Oliver Wolcott, 
ten years. 

Thomas, son of Captain James Stedman, opened a law office on 
Hampton Hill about the year 1790, occupying a house built for 
him by his uncle, just north of the meeting house. He greatly 
distinguished himself in his profession. He was called "one of 
the most urbane, genteel, intelligent and obliging men of the 
day." He was rapidly rising in the estimation of the public, and 
was even mentioned as a candidate for the office of governor of 
the state, when he was induced to remove to MavSsena, N. Y., 
where he quickly won public confidence and respect, and ac- 
quired a large landed property. About this time Colonel Thomas 
Grosvenor was engaged in the legal profession in Pomfret. He 
served for a time in the governor's council, and was held in high 
repute throughout the state. His ofhce was a place of constant 
resort for soldiers of the revolution, Indians, and all who needed 
help and counsel. At this time Zephaniah Swift, of Windham, 
was called the ablest lawyer of eastern Connecticut. In Abing- 
ton John Holbrook was practicing law, occupying the homestead 
built many years previous by his grandfather, Ebenezer Hol- 
brook. Sylvanus Backus, of Plainfield, opened a law office on 
Pomfret street and soon took rank among the leading lawyers of 
the county. His wife was the only surviving daughter of Doc- 
tor Waldo. In Ashford William Perkins, son of Lsaac Perkins, 
was practicing law, and was becoming a prominent man in town 
affairs. David Bolles, after studying medicine for a while, turned 
his attention to the law and became a competitor of Mr. Perkins 
in the practice of law in Ashford. He acquired a considerable 
degree of success, and had secured the favor of the people called 
" Sectaries " in that and adjoining towns, by his open and uncom- 
promising opposition to any taxation for support of public wor- 
ship, and to the religious constitution of Connecticut. When a 



142 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

little boy six years old he had stood by his mother's side, 
when her precious pewter was taken by the collector and carried 
to the town post and there sold at auction to paj^ a "priest tax," 
and her tears and unavailing remonstrances had such an effect 
upon his childish mind that he then and there resolved that 
when he became a man he would fight those laws that had caused 
his mother such distress. The surroundings of after years 
strengthened his determination, and his manhood kept the boy- 
ish vow. With tongue and pen he fought, until he had become 
one of the foremost champions of the Baptist cause. 

In Canterbury John Dyer was a prominent man in public af- 
fairs and legal matters as well. He was colonel of the Eleventh 
regiment, judge of the county court, deputy in the assembly at 
times for forty years. In all these public functions he sustained 
an unblemished reputation, and was called " a man of sound 
judgment and unbiased integrity." He died February 25th, 
1799, in the eight5^-seventh year of his age. Moses Cleveland 
opened a law office in the same town, on his paternal homestead, 
and engaged with much spirit in public and military affairs. 
Though hindered by many other engagements from devoting 
much time to the practice of his profession he could direct others, 
and many young men studied law in his office. His brother, 
William Pitt Cleveland, Asa Bacon, Jr., and Rufus Adams, were 
among those students, and all for a time practiced law in Canter- 
bury. Elisha Paine also opened a law office in his own house in 
the south part of the town. William Dixon, of A'oluntown, en- 
gaged in the practice of law in Plainfield about the year 1790. 

John Baldwin, of Windham, the son of Ebenezer Baldwin and 
his wife, Ruth Swift, of Mansfield, was born April 6th, 1772. He 
was a lawyer, judge of the count}^ court, served one term in con- 
gress, and was a man of good abilities and considerably em- 
ployed as a counselor and in public business. He died March 
27th, 1850. John McClellan, son of General Samuel McClellan, 
graduated from Yale College in 1781, studied law with Governor 
Huntinofton and his neighbor, Hon. Charles C. Chandler, was ad- 
mitted to the bar of Windham county in August, 1787, and re- 
mained for a time at the family homestead in Woodstock, suc- 
ceeding to the practice of his honored instructor. In 1796 he re- 
moved to Woodstock Hill, there to continue the practice of his 
profession, and a few months later married Faith Williams, the 
only daughter of Hon. William Williams, of Lebanon. 



HISTORY OF WINDHA.M COUNTY. 143 

In Sterling, Jeremiah Parish and Artemas Baker attempted 
legal practice about the close of the last century. During the 
early years of the present century we find Samuel Perkins, David 
Young, John Baldwin, John Fitch and Philip Howard actively 
engaged in legal practice in Windham. At Hampton, Joseph 
Prentice was established, perhaps as the first lawyer of that 
town. Other men had been and were then much consulted on 
legal questions, though not formally credentialled in the profes- 
sion. vSuch men were Amasa Clark and Captain Silas Cleveland. 
In Canterbury Andrew T. Judson, of Eastford, had already 
gained a flourishing legal practice. Other law^'ers in that town 
were Rufus Adams and Daniel Frost. In Plainfield at this time 
Calvin Goddard was achieving an eminent degree of success as a 
lawyer. His ambition led him to seek a larger field, and in 1809 
he removed to Norwich, leaving the field in this town to be 
■shared by Joseph Eaton and Job Monroe. Soon after this time 
Calvin Hibbard, of Windham, engaged in the practice of law in 
Sterling. In Killingly Ebenezer Young opened a law office in 
the rising village of Westfield. In Pomfret Judge Thomas 
Grosvenor, Sylvanus Backus and Ebenezer Grosvenor were set- 
tled in legal practice. The latter was a son of General Lemuel 
Grosvenor, and graduated from Yale in 1807. Sylvanus Backus 
■served for many years as speaker of the house of representatives 
in the state, and was elected as a representative to congress in 
1817. To this position he Avas chosen by the united vote of all 
parties. His friends anticipated much from him in that position, 
but ere the time came for him to take his seat he was called 
away from this scene of action. He died in February, 1817. 
Activity of mind and brilliancy of imagination, combined with 
much solidity and strength, made him one of the most influen- 
tial men of the time, indeed, a strong pillar of society and the 
state. He left a widow and five children. A few months later 
he was followed by his brother attorney, Ebenezer Grosvenor, 
^one of Pomfret's most promising sons. Elisha B. Perkins, who 
had- studied with 'Squire Backus, now succeeded to his practice. 
John F. Williams at this time practiced law at West Woodstock. 

About the time of the war of 1812 John Parish and Daniel Kies 
were practicing law in Brooklyn. The mother of the latter had 
invented an improvement in weaving straw with silk or thread, 
for which she received a patent in May, 1809, and he had become 



144 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

SO much absorbed in attempting to utilize that invention that 
he suffered considerable pecuniary loss by it. 

The courts of Windham county were removed from the vil- 
lage of Windham to Brooklyn in July, 1820. The bar of W^ind- 
ham county at this time boasted a very creditable array of legal 
talent, and held a good position in the state. It was represented 
in the different towns as follows: Brooklyn — John Parish, Daniel 
Kies, Jonathan A. Welch (son of Doctor Moses C. Welch), Uriel 
Fuller; Ashford — David Bolles, Philip Hayw^ard, Samuel Ash- 
ley ; Canterbury — Rufus Adams, Andrew T. Judson, Daniel 
Frost, Jr.; Hampton — Joseph Prentice, Chauncey F. Cleveland 
(admitted at the last court session in W^indham); Killingly — 
Ebenezer Young ; Plainfield — Joseph Eaton, Ira Case ; Lebanon — 
William T. Williams, Denison Wattles, Jr., Henry Huntington ; 
Pomfret — John Holbrook, Elisha B. Perkins, Jonathan Prescott 
Hall ; Sterling — Calvin Hibbard ; Thompson — George Earned, 
Simon Davis ; Windham — Jabez Clark, Samuel Perkins, David 
Young, John Baldwin, John Fitch, Thomas Gray, Edwards 
Clarke ; Woodstock — John McClellan, Ebenezer vStoddard, John 
F. Williams. Daniel P. Tyler soon after commenced the prac- 
tice of law, at first for a short time in Pomfret and then in 
Brooklyn, his native town. About the year 183<) we find Francis 
B. Johnson in legal practice in place of Ira Case, deceased, in 
Plainfield. William Dyer, of Canterbury, opened a law office 
in Central Village. Joseph Eaton of this town was now also 
chief judge of the county court. George S. Catlin, a lawyer of 
brilliant promise, was now located in Windham. Jabez Clark, 
of Windham, for a time chief justice of the county court, died in 
1836. Judge Ebenezer Devotion, who had long been prominent 
in Scotland affairs, died in 1829 in the eighty-ninth year of 
his age. 

Chauncey F. Cleveland, of Hampton, won immediate success 
at the bar, evincing remarkable skill in presenting a case to a 
jury, and was equally successful in winning the suffrages of his 
fellow citizens. In 1826 he was sent as a representative to the 
legislature, and thenceforward was retained in public service. 
He was made judge of Windham probate district, and prosecu- 
ting attorney for the county. In Ashford, Ichabod Bulkley, a 
very able young man, succeeded to the legal practice of David 
Bolles, who died during the year 1830. Mr. Bulkley was also 
made judge of probate. He won a high position at the bar, and 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 145 

was employed on the celebrated Crandall case and in many other 
important suits. He died in 1838, and after that Jared D. Rich- 
mond, of Westford, established himself in Ashford village, and 
practiced law for many years. John F. Williams was practicing 
law in West Woodstock about 1835. In Killingly a second law- 
yer was established in the person of Thomas Backus, of Sterling, 
a graduate of Brown University, who was made judge of the 
newly constituted probate court in 1830. John Holbrook was 
practicing law in Abington in 1836. 

William Dyer was born at Canterbury October 25th, 1802, and 
was the eldest son of Elijah and Mary (Robinson) Dyer. He had 
two brothers, the late Elijah Dyer, M. D., of Norwich, Conn., a 
physician well known throughout eastern Connecticut and who 
died at Norwich March 10th, 1882, after a successful practice of 
his profession of more than half a century, and Harvey Robinson 
Dyer, who has retired from active business pursuits and is still 
a resident of Canterbury honored by all who know him, and 
one sister, Mary Elizabeth, who married the late Kimball 
Kennedy of Plainfield. His early life, like that of so many of 
the young men of his generation, was spent in farm life with his 
father, attending the common schools of the day, and afterward 
w^as a student in Plainfield Academy, which at the time was 
fully equal to any of the academic institutions of New England. 
As was the custom of the times he was engaged for several win- 
ters in the occupation of a school teacher, the better to enable 
him to obtain an education and to meet the expenses incident 
to preparing himself for his chosen profession, the law, which 
he studied with the late Honorable Calvin Goddard, afterward 
judge of the superior court, and the late Daniel Frost, Esq., of 
Canterbury, both of whom were acknowledged to be among the 
leaders at the bar. In the year 1831 he was admitted to the bar, 
and removing to Plainfield commenced the practice of law at 
Central Village, where he continued to reside until his death in 
1875. He was pre-eminently an office lawyer, never attempting 
to thoroughly acquaint himself with the decisions of courts 
upon questions of law, but was alwaj^s familiar with the statute 
law, and the principles of common law, which his sound judg- 
ment enabled him to interpret and apply with remarkable 
accuracy to all the varied affairs of his large constituency in the 
section in which he practiced. All classes of people resorted to 
him for advice, and such was the confidence reposed in him that 
10 



146 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

his instructions were regarded as law. He was interested in 
business matters outside the sphere of his profession, being en- 
gaged for a term of years in cotton manufacturing and mer- 
cantile affairs with his brother Harvey and his brother-in-law, 
Kimball Kennedy; He was averse to accepting any public office 
and though often requested to allow his name to be used in 
nomination for positions within the realm of the gift of the 
people, he courteously but peremptorily declined all except such 
as were actually connected with the field which he had selected 
as his workshop, only once accepting the position of town 
representative, and was house chairman of the judiciary com- 
mittee. 

He was thrice married, his first wife being Susan, a daughter 
of the late Morey Burgess, M, D., the second Olivia, the only 
daughter of the late Nathan P. Sessions, both of Plainfield, and 
the third, Sarah, daughter of the late Joseph James, of Cov- 
entry, R. I., who at the time of his death with two children sur- 
vived him, viz., William J. and Mary. 

In March, 1888, the son William J. died after a short illness, in 
the twenty-second year of his age. A young man of superior mind 
and a fine education, he was called away just as the hopes of his 
relatives and friends were in expectation of a long, useful and 
honorable life. He was universally acknowledged to be a thor- 
ough Christian gentleman by all who had the pleasure of an in- 
timate acquaintance with him. 

Honorable Elisha Carpenter was born in that part of Ashford 
which is now the town of Eastford on the 14th day of January, 
1824. His parents had seven sons and one daughter, all of whom 
are now living. His father died in 1872 aged eighty-one years, 
and his mother ten years later at the age of eighty-six. The 
first representatives of the Carpenter family in this country 
came from England in 1642 and settled at or near Attleboro, 
Mass. The first settlers and their descendants for many genera- 
tions seem to have been farmers and mechanics, as it is not 
known that any of them followed any of the learned professions 
until modern times. They belonged to the middle class, indus- 
trious, intelligent and respectable ; in short good citizens. The 
same may be said of the ancestors of Judge Carpenter's mother, 
whose maiden name was Scarborough. 

The early life of our subject was spent upon the farm. His 
early educational facilities were meagre, being such as were 







W_V/:prsston^C<?N-'y 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 147 

afforded by the district school, which was more than a mile from 
his home and some five miles from any village or business 
center. There he attended school during the winter months, 
assisting in the labor of the farm in vSummer, until he was six- 
teen years of age. At the age of seventeen he engaged in teach- 
ing in Willington, Conn. He taught school for several winters, 
attending school and working summers. He fitted for college 
at the " Ellington Institute " in charge of Reverend Richard S. 
Rust, succeeded by Reverend Mr. Buckham. He never entered 
college but continued his education in the school room, the law 
office and in the forum. 

He studied law with the late Jonathan A. Welch, Esq., of 
Brooklyn, Conn., and was admitted to the bar in December, 1846. 
He began practice in his native town January 1st, 1847, and con- 
tinued there until March, 1851, when he succeeded the late Honor- 
able Thomas Backus at Danielsonville. In the summer of 1851 he 
was appointed states attorney for Windham county for one year, 
and was reappointed in 1854 and continued to hold the office until 
1861. In 1857 and 1858 he represented the then Fourteenth district 
in the state senate, serving in the latter year as chairman of the 
judiciary committee and president pro tern, of the senate. In 1861, 
with Edwin H. Bugbee, he represented Killingly in the lower 
house of the general assembly and served as chairman of the 
military committee. During this session he was elected a judge 
of the superior court, succeeding Judge Butler, who was elected 
to the supreme court. In 1865 he was elected a judge of the 
supreme court of errors to succeed Governor Dutton, who re- 
tired by constitutional limitation at the age of seventy. His term 
commenced in February, 1866, and he has held the office by 
successive reappointments to the present time. At the organi- 
zation of the state board of education in 1865 he was appointed 
a member of that board, which position he held for eighteen 
years. He is now a member of the board of pardons of the 
state. 

Judge Carpenter, in 1848, was united in marriage to Harriet 
Grosvenor Brown, daughter of Shubael Brown, of Brooklyn, and 
niece of Reverend John Brown, D.D., formerly of Boston, who 
died in Hadley, Mass. Mrs. Carpenter died in 1874, leaving one 
son, who died in 1879, and three daughters who still survive. In 
1876 Judge Carpenter was married to SophiaTyler Cowen, of Hart- 
ford, a daughter of the late Sidney J. Cowen, of Saratoga, and 



148 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

granddaughter of Esek Cowen, formerly a judge of the supreme 
court off New York. She is a lineal descendant of Thomas Hooker, 
the founder of Connecticut, and of Jonathan Edwards, They 
have one son and one daughter. 

The first lawyer who located in the growing village of Putnam 
was Harrison Johnson, who established himself there about 
1840. Chauncey F. Cleveland, commonly called Governor Cleve- 
land, was practicing in Hampton, where he spent a long life, 
and devoted himself to advancing the welfare of his fellow man, 
both in his own locality and elsewhere. He was greatly inter- 
ested in railroad enterprises, and was largely instrumental in 
securing the convenience of a railroad through his own town 
where it was so much needed. Besides his law practice he was 
pre-eminently a public servant. After two years in the state 
legislature, devoted largely in the encouragement of railroad 
enterprise, he was sent as a representative to congress in 1849. 
There he gave his vote and influence in opposing the extension 
of slavery, thus incurring the displeasure of the democratic 
party, by whom he had been nominated. But he was heartily 
supported by a constituency in sympathy with his views and 
was re-elected for another term by a much greater majority 
than at first. He soon became a bold and vigorous opposer of 
slavery, and in the memorable campaign of 1860 was placed at 
the head of the electoral ticket which gave the vote of the state 
to Abraham Lincoln. He was appointed by Governor Bucking- 
ham one of the delegates to the Washington Peace Convention 
. of March, 1861, when he used his influence as best he could to 
avert the threatening war, but without avail. During the war 
he earnestly supported the administration. The term of service 
which gave him the title " Governor," which he afterward wore, 
was the two years 1842 to 1844. He practiced his profession as 
an advocate whenever the demands of official labors would per- 
mit. His otherwise happy and honored life, among his own 
people in Hampton, was shadowed by heavy bereavements — the 
death of his most promising son, John J. Cleveland, in early 
manhood, followed in less than two years by the death of his 
only surviving child, Delia Diantha, the wife of Hon. Alfred A. 
Burnham. 

William Smith Scarborough was born in Brooklyn, this coun- 
ty, August 2d, 1814. He graduated from Yale College, with the 
famous class of 1837, of which class he was a popular and dis- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 149 

tinguished member. He studied law in the law school of Tran- 
sylvania University at Lexington, Ky., and entered upon the 
practice of law in Thompson, in January, 1841. He soon gained 
a high position at the bar of Windham county, and served as 
state senator in 1846. On account of failing health he removed 
to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he soon resumed the practice of his 
profession with fidelity and success, serving there as school com- 
missioner. He returned and again made his home in Thomp- 
son, in 1884, and still resides there. 

Lucius H. Richard was born in Pomf ret, October 12th, 1828. At 
the age of four years he removed with his parents to Hampton, 
and four years later to Killingly, where his home has been, with 
brief exceptions, from that time till the present. He worked on 
the farm and attended the district school until he was thirteen 
years of age, when he went to the Scituate Seminary, in Rhode 
Island, remaining there four years. Afterward he attended the 
East Greenwich Seminary for six months, all the time working 
to pay his own expenses. In October, 1848, he went to Greene 
county, N. Y., and amid the rugged scenery of the Catskill 
mountains taught school in the town of Hunter for two years. 
During this time he commenced the study of law with Hon. Ly- 
man Tremain, who was then located at Durham, in Greene coun- 
ty. Remaining in that county until 1850, Mr. Rickard was ad- 
mitted to the bar at Albany, during that year, and the following 
spring returned to Killingly and commenced the practice of law. 
In 1852 he was appointed to a government position at Washing- 
ton by President Pierce, which position he retained until during 
President Buchanan's administration he was appointed assistant 
district attorney of Iowa and removed to that state. There he 
remained until 1862, when he returned to his old home in Kil- 
lingly. He was admitted to the bar of the United States 
supreme court at Washington in 1861. Since 1862 he has con- 
tinued in the practice of his profession here. He has been five 
times elected warden of the borough of Danielsonville, and at 
the present time is commissioner of the supreme court, justice 
of the peace and notary public. 

Elliot Benjamin Sumner was born in Tolland, Conn., August 
23d, 1834. He was the son of William A. Sumner and Anna 
Washburn Sumner, his mother being now living at the age of 
ninety-five years. Until he reached the age of sixteen years he 
lived on his father's farm at Tolland ; he then entered the Wes- 



150 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

leyan Academy at Wilbraham, Mass., where he was fitted for the 
Wesleyan University at Middletown, Conn., but circumstances 
prevented his pursuing that course of study. In 1855 he com- 
menced the study of law with the late Judge Loren P. Waldo 
and Honorable Alvin P. Hyde at Tolland, at which place he was 
admitted to the bar in August, 1857. In the following December 
he opened an office at Willimantic, where he has since been 
steadily engaged in the practice of his profession, occupying the 
same office for more than thirty years. In 1861 he married Miss 
Sarah E. Farnham,who died in 1881, leaving two children, Flor- 
ence A. Sumner and William A. Sumner, who are still living. 
In 1857 Mr. Sumner was assistant clerk in the house of repre- 
sentatives, and in 1871 senator from the Thirteenth senatorial 
district. He was then chairman of the committee on federal re- 
lations and cities and boroughs. He has from time to time held 
various county, town and borough offices. His church relations 
are with the Baptists. 

Abiel Converse was born in the town of Thompson, in Wind- 
ham county, on the 13th of December, 1815. His early life and 
education were with a primitive people, amid very primitive 
scenes, and in the most primitive schools. In conformity to the 
customs of the time, he was subjected to the most exacting la- 
bor upon a hard and rugged farm from childhood to the stature 
of a man. An abundance of simple and substantial food, and an 
active life in the open air gave him health and vigor for a life- 
time. At about the age of seventeen years, he began teaching 
"common schools" during a few months in the winter, continu- 
ing his farm labors the rest of the year. Two or three years 
later he entered Wesleyan Academy at Wilbraham, Mass-., pre- 
pared for college and graduated at Wesleyan University at Mid- 
dletown, Conn., in 1839, during all this time teaching school oc- 
casionally to supply a chronic deficiency in his exchequer. 

Soon after graduation he entered the law office of Hon, Peter 
C. Bacon, late of Worcester, Mass., as a student, where he re- 
mained for about two years, and was then entered a student of 
Hon. L. F. S. Foster, of Norwich, Conn., after which he was 
called to the bar of New London county in February, 1842. He 
soon commenced the practice of his chosen profession at Daniel- 
sonville in Windham county, and successfully pursued the same 
until 1854, a period of twelve years. At this time he removed 
to New London, at once rose to prominence in the profession and 




'^< 




HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 151 

secured the confidence and esteem of his associates at the bar, 
his large clientage and of the public. Twenty years later he re- 
tired from all active business and removed to his native town of 
Thompson, where he is still living in the enjoyment of vigorous 
health and a fair competence. 

On the 17th of November, 1842, he was joined in marriage 
with Miss Matilda Sly, of Dudley, Mass., an estimable young 
lady who has since shared his joys and sorrows, and still lives in 
robust health, nearing gently and serenely the evening of life. 
Two daughters crowned this union: to wit, Mary Ellen, born 
July 17th, 1847, who died November 19th, 1884, and Martha An- 
na, born October 28th, 1848, married to Major Charles C. Mac- 
Connell of the United States army on the 26th of December, 
1871, at New London, Conn., who died in Fort Adams at New- 
port, January 9th, 1874. 

Mr. Converse traces his genealogy for more than eight hun- 
dred years back to Normandy, France, where the titled family 
of De Coigniries held a distinguished place among the Norman 
nobles of that day in possession of large estates around the 
Chateau of Coignir. A member of this family, Roger De 
Coigniries, accompanied William the Conqueror in his invasion 
of England in 1066, was one of his most trusted and able chief- 
tains, and so distinguished himself at the battle of Hastings that 
his name was entered upon the roll of honor in the record of the 
battle and placed in the abbey erected upon the battle field by 
William and called the Battle Abbey. This name after the con- 
quest was changed to Coniers or Conyers, and was transmitted 
with vast estates by lords and barons and nobles for more than 
five hundred years as the records show. In 1590 in this line was 
born Edward Conyers, who in 1630 came with Winthrop to 
America, and with him settled in Charlestown near Boston. He 
is the ancestor of the family of Conyers or Convers, and later 
Converse, in this country. He was one of the founders of the 
first church in that town, now known as the First Church of 
Boston, also of what is now the First Church of Charlestown, 
and a few years later of the church and town of Woburn, was 
the first deacon of the last named church, continuing such until 
his death. He became a leader and distinguished citizen of 
that town, and was honored with all the offices in the gift of its 
inhabitants. 

His grandson, Samuel Convers, settled in the north part of the 



152 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

town of Killingly in 1710, then Thompson Parish, and was ore 
of the very first settlers in that remote section. From him has 
descended a large portion of the people of that name in the 
United States. 

Jonathan Convers, sixth in the line from Deacon Edward of 
Woburn, was born in Thompson Parish, married Keziah Hughs, 
and was the father of a large family of children, the eldest being 
Elijah Convers, who married Experience Hibbard and was the 
father of four children, the youngest being Riel Convers, who 
married Alice Bixby, a descendant of one of the earliest settlers 
of Thompson Parish. 

Abiel Converse, eldest son of Riel and Alice, was a born demo- 
crat, and very early entered with characteristic enthusiasm the 
arena of politics. While never seeking official position, he was 
honored by his party with many offices of trust, the duties of 
which he discharged with ability, fidelity and integrity. 

In 1844, he was appointed by the court, attorney for the state 
in and for Windham county and held the office by reappoint- 
ments for several years. In 1845 he represented the town of 
Killingly in the general assembly of the state. In 1848 and in 
1849 he was appointed by the general assembly judge of probate 
for the district of Killingly. After his removal to'^ew London 
he was clerk of the court of probate for that district, judge of the 
city police court and of the city court (civil), and for several 
years city attorney. He has always taken a deep interest in 
public education and been active in school boards for many 
years, and in all places where he has resided. He has been 
leader of a forlorn hope of his party in many contests against 
overwhelming odds. He was the democratic candidate for con- 
gress in his district directly after the civil war and received the 
full vote of his party. 

Earl Martin was born in Chaplin in the year 1820. He was the 
son of Thomas and Hannah Martin. He read law with Judge 
Richmond, of Ashford, Conn., and was admitted to the bar in 
1847. He removed to Danielsonville in 1849, and has lived there 
since that time. He was judge of the superior court of Connec- 
ticut from 1874 to 1882 inclusive, and has served one term in the 
legislature as a representative, being put in nomination by the 
democrats. He was married in 1855 to C. Jane Champlin, daughter 
of Deacon Benjamin Champlin. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 153 

Edward Cundall was born in Killingly, March 9th, 1831. He 
was a descendant of Joseph Cundall, who was born in 1692, and 
came from York county, England, to Boston and thence to Rhode 
Island, where he engaged in woolen manufacture. The sub- 
ject of this sketch pursued a course of study at Hopkins Acad- 
emy and studied law with Judge Foster of Norwich. He was 
admitted to the bar in 1851. From 1866 to 1872 he was state's 
attorney for Windham county. In 1872 he was appointed clerk 
•of the superior and supreme courts for this county. He held a 
major's commission in the Seventh regiment, was a representa- 
tive in the state legislature in 1857, 1866 and 1883, a senator 
from the Thirteenth district in 1865, and a member of the com- 
mission to revise the probate laws of Connecticut. He was mar- 
ried November 26th, 1857, to Emily M. Smith, of Killingly. 
They have two children living, Arthur L. and Clarence E., who 
graduated at Yale Law School in the class of 1888. He died in 
October, 1885. 

John J. Penrose. — The parents of the subject of this biography 
are William and Lydia Lynch Penrose. Their son, John J. Pen- 
rose, was born on the 12th of December, 1821, in New York city, 
and when eight years of age removed to Hampton, Connecticut. 
His education was received at the common and select schools of 
the town, with additional advantages at a later date under a 
private tutor, where he became familiar with the Latin language 
.and English history and literature. He in his nineteenth year 
began the study of law with Governor Chauncey F. Cleveland, 
and continuing for three years as a student, was admitted to 
practice at the bar of Connecticut in 1843. Mr. Penrose located 
in Central Village, in the town of Plainfield, where he is still 
•engaged in the practice of the law. He very soon attained a 
prominent place in the profession, and has been identified with 
the leading cases that have come before the courts of Windham 
and the adjacent counties. 

Always politically allied with the democracy he was during 
the critical period of the war a war democrat, and in 1860 can- 
didate for the position of elector-at-large on the Douglas ticket. 
He has also received the nomination for congressional honors, 
and has for twenty years held the position of state's attorney 
for Windham county. He is a trustee of the Windham County 
Savings Bank and identified with other business interests in the 
■county. Mr. Penrose was married in October, 1869, to Rebecca, 



154 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

daughter of Henry Angell, of Plainfield, a lineal descendant of 
Roger Williams. Their children are two daughters, Kate and 
Nellie, and a son, John J., Jr. 

George W. Melony was born at Windham February 15th, 1850,. 
being the second son of Norman and Sophia (Beckwith) Melony. 
He graduated from the Natchaug School at Willimantic in 187], 
and commenced the study of law with Mr. E. B. Sumner, and 
was admitted to the bar of Windham county in 1874. He soon 
after commenced the practice of law in Willimantic, in which 
he has since practiced. 

Seymour A. Tingier (originally Tinker) was the son of Dea- 
con Edward L. Tinker and Laura Steele, and was born in the 
little hill town of Tolland, Hampden county, Mass., December 
4th, 1829. After a preparatory course at the Westfield, Maps., 
Academy and Connecticut Literary Institution, of Suffield, Conn., 
he entered Williams College, from which he graduated in 1855> 
He then went west, with the intention of locating in Nebraska, 
but returned in 1857, and was married, November 25th of that 
year, to Sarah Twining, the only daughter of Lyman Twining,, 
of Tolland. He had previously studied law in the office of his 
brother-in-law, William F. Slocum, at Grafton, Mass. About 
this time he applied to 'the Massachusetts legislature, and that 
body legalized the change of his surname to Tingier. In 1858 
he established himself in the practice of law at Webster, Mass., 
where he continued until 1878, when he removed over into the 
adjoining town of Thompson, Windham county. Conn. Here 
he devoted most of his attention to farming, practicing law but 
little, until his death, July 23d, 1888. He held various town of- 
fices in Webster, and during his life in Thompson served on the 
board of assessors, board of relief and as registrar of voters. 
His death was the result of a fall from a scaffold in his barn. 
His first wife died August 22d, 1864, leaving two children, both 
born at Webster — Lyman Twining Tingier, who is now practic- 
ing law in his native town, and Sarah P. Tingier, who is also 
still living. In 1870 he married Mary L. Tucker, daughter of 
Charles Tucker, of Webster, who survives him. 

Benjamin Silliman Warner was born in Woodstock, Conn., 
September 24th, 1856. He was the son of Alexander and Mary 
Trumbull Warner. His mother, whose maiden name was 
Mathewson, was the great-granddaughter of William Williams, 
one of the signers of the declaration of independence, whose 




C^ cP, ^'A^^^^^^ 



TOTYPE, E. 8IERSTADT, 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 165 

wife was the daughter of Governor Jonathan Trumbull, the im- 
mortal " Brother Jonathan," whose real name has been taken as 
the nick-name of a nation. Thus it will be seen Mr. Warner's 
lineage, through maternal ancestry, connects him with two of the 
conspicuous patriots of revolutionary times. He lived in Wood- 
stock until he was five years of age, at which time he went South 
with his mother who went to join her husband, then in command 
of the Thirteenth Connecticut Volunteers. They lived in camp 
with Lieutenant Colonel Warner until after the surrender of 
Port Hudson. Young Warner then lived in New Orleans, where 
he attended school, till after the close of the war. His father 
bought a plantation in Madison county. Miss., and there they 
lived for three years, after which Benjamin was sent to school 
for a year and a half at Lookout Mountain, Tenn. The follow- 
ing year he acted as messenger in the senate, at Jackson, Miss. 
In the spring of 1872 he came to Windham county, and for four 
years lived at the home of his grandparents in Pomfret, attend- 
ing school meanwhile in Woodstock. He graduated at the Put- 
nam High School in 1877, and then took a special course for one 
year at the Sheffield Scientific School. He then began reading 
law in the office of Charles E. Searls, of Putnam, and two years 
later attended the University of the City of New York, where 
he graduated in 1882, and was immediately admiitted to the bar 
of Windham county. In June, 1886, he married Sara L. Trow- 
bridge, daughter of Edward and Sarah A. Trowbridge, of Brook- 
lyn, N. Y. They have one son, Arthur Trumbull Warner. In 
1877 Colonel Warner bought a farm in Pomfret, and here the 
subject of our sketch with his father spent much of his time 
superintending its improvement. They had the finest herd of 
Guernsey cattle in the county, and one of the finest in the state. 
Their herd gained a number of gold and silver medals at the 
New England and state fairs. Mr. Warner has been justice of 
the peace in Pomfret, notary public, and twice assessor of the 
town. 

Calvin M. Brooks is a native of Worcester county, Mass., and 
is now fifty-eight years of age. He is a graduate of Yale College, 
and studied law in Worcester, Mass., where he also practiced for 
a considerable time. He also practiced law in Boston, Mass., in 
the city of New York, and as counsel for the Russian legation at 
Washington, D. C. For several years he resided at Eastford, in 
this county, but has since removed to Hartford, Conn. 



156 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Albert McClellan Mathewson was born in Woodstock October 
19th, 1860, and spent his early boyhood with his parents on a 
farm near Roseland Park. He attended Woodstock Academy 
from the spring of 1870 until the close of the year 1877, when 
he began teaching school in the same town. In the fall of 1882 
he began a course in the Law Department of Yale University, 
and graduated with the class of 1884. He began the practice of 
law in Putnam, October 19th, 1884, and remained there until 
July 1st, 1888, when he removed to New Haven, where he is 
now practicing his profession. He was married June 13th, 1888, 
to Mary E. Foster. He is a descendant of the renowned revolu- 
tionary characters, Jonathan Trumbull (Brother Jonathan) and 
William Williams, signer of the declaration of independence. 
His father is William Williams Mathewson, and his mother's 
maiden name was Harriet Augusta Warner. 

Andrew Jackson Bowen was born in what is now the town of 
Eastford, but was then a part of the town of Ashford, April 16th, 
1845. His ancestors came to this country in 1640, and settled in 
the town of Swansea, Mass., which they named after the town 
in Wales from which they had come. His father, Oliver Bowen, 
was an active business man, having been engaged in the manu- 
facture of shoes previous to 1837, but was afterward engaged in 
mercantile pursuits and farming. The subject of this sketch 
was familiar with the latter occupation, and practiced therein 
during his boyhood. His education was obtained in the com- 
mon school, with some additional instruction in a private school, 
after which he engaged in teaching for a few terms. He was 
married December 4th, 1867, to Hannah R., youngest daughter 
of J. K. Rindge, Esq., of Hampton, and they have had three 
children, Bessie, Clarence and Ernest. At the age of twenty- 
one he engaged in trade, and continued it for a period of twelve 
years with satisfactory results, his field of operation being in 
his native town. While thus engaged he held the office of post- 
master for five years. He also held local offices, was director in 
a savings bank, and represented his town in the state legislature, 
serving on the committee on corporations. He studied law 
about four years, part of the time with Judge Richmond, of Ash- 
ford, and was admitted to the Windham county bar in May, 1881. 
A short time before that he removed to Willimantic, and soon 
after opened a law office, engaging at the same time in the fire 
insurance business. He has been an efficient officer of the Con- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 157 

necticut Humane Society, and has also had more than the usual 
business of a trial justice. Although named in honor of a dis- 
tinguished democratic president, he cast his lot with the repub- 
lican party by voting for U. S. Grant in 1868, and in the pres- 
idential campaign of 1888 took the stump for Harrison and pro- 
tection. Since 1865 he has been an active member of the Con- 
gregational church. 

John Lathrop Hunter was born at Gardiner, Maine, March 13th, 
1834. He was the oldest son of John P. and Mary A. (Stone) 
Hunter, his mother being the daughter of Colonel John Stone, 
of the pioneer stock of Maine, and one of the early temperance 
reformers of that state. Young Hunter in his youth attended 
Gardiner and Wicasset Academies, entered Bowdoin College in 
1851, and graduated there in 1855. He studied law in Gardiner 
with Charles Danforth, now a judge of the supreme court of 
that state, and was admitted to the Kennebec county bar in 1859. 
He commenced to practice law in his native town, and also 
edited the Augusta A^-e for a while. He began the practice of 
law in Willimantic in 1871, and has since been practicing here. 
He was a member of the Connecticut legislature in 1879. 

George A. Conant was born at Ithaca, N. Y., June 27th, 1856. 
He was the only son of Albert A. and Amanda M. (Cullender) 
Conant. He graduated from the Natchaug High School in 
1874, and soon after entered Amherst College, where he grad- 
uated in 1878. In 1 879 he attended the Boston University Law 
School. He studied law with John M. Hall, of Willimantic, 
and became a member of the Windham county bar in 1880. 

Arthur G. Bill was born in Chaplin May 29th, 1856. He 
attended district schools in that town until 1867, when he en- 
tered Natchaug High School at Willimantic, and afterward 
attended Woodstock Academy and Danielsonville High School. 
He graduated from the latter in 1874, and in the fall of the same 
year entered the law office of the late Edward L. Cundall. After 
remaining with him for a year, he entered the Yale Law School 
and graduated from there in 1877. Immediately after that he 
was admitted to the bar in New Haven. He then engaged in 
the practice of law, being associated with Mr. Cundall. In 1882 
they also engaged in the insurance business, under the firm 
name of Cundall & Bill. Since the death of Mr. Cundall, in Oc- 
tober, 1885, Mr. Bill has succeeded to the law and insurance bus- 
iness of the firm. In June, 1886, he was appointed coroner for 



158 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

this county, ^vhich office he still holds. In November, 1886, he 
was elected judge of probate for the district of Killingly, and 
in November, 1888, was re-elected to that office. He is also 
largely interested in Western mortgage loans as agent for the 
celebrated Lombard Investment Company, of Boston, Mass. He 
was married to Miss Lillian E. Chase, of Danielsonville, August 
11th, 1880, and now has two daughters, aged respectiYcly five 
and two years. 

Gilbert Wheeler Phillips was born in Woodstock, Connecticut, 
July 22d, 1828. His educational opportunities were such as were 
afforded at the common schools and in the academy of his na- 
tive town, supplemented by a coiirse of instruction at the academy 
in Dudley, Massachusetts. 

Determining upon the study of law, he became a student in 
the office of George S. F. Stoddard of Woodstock, was admitted 
to the bar in 1852, and at once began professional work, laboring 
therein with an enthusiasm that never abated as long as health 
and strength remained. The career of Mr. Phillips was most 
successful and honorable, and his life in its many phases com- 
manded from the beginning the respect and confidence of those 
with whom he was brought into business or social relations. He 
was an astute lawyer, a keen observer of men and things, usually 
correct in his judgment of character and motive, and admirable 
in the preparation and presentation of a case. His arguments 
were logical and his delivery earnest and impressive. He fully 
realized both the weak and strong points in his case, and his 
conclusion as to the probable effect of certain evidence upon 
the minds of the jury was often surprising in its accuracy. He 
studied his case before he tried it, and understood it thoroughly 
when he entered the court room. His clients were numerous 
and the strain of his work often severe. For many years he was 
the attorney of the New York & New England Railroad Com- 
pany, and conducted for them a large number of cases. He was 
an honest lawyer, above all mean and unworthy expedients, and 
most courteous withal. 

Mr. Phillips was prominent outside the sphere of his pro- 
fession. He was assistant clerk of the Connecticut house of rep- 
resentatives in 1853, and in 1860, 1861 and 1872 was a member 
of that body. In 1862, 1863 and 1879 he represented in the sen- 
ate the Fourteenth district, acting as chairman of the judiciary 
committee during the last two years of his service there and 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 159 

president /7'<? tcm. in 1879. He was re-elected in 1880, but shortly 
-after the opening of the session resigned on account of the press- 
ure of legal business. 

In local affairs Mr. Phillips manifested the deepest interest ; 
he was liberal and public spirited, ever ready to aid the further- 
.anceof any object promotive of the growth and prosperity of the 
town ; he was one of the founders of the First National Bank of 
Putnam and until the very last its president. He was also one 
•of the corporators and trustees of the Putnam Savings Bank. 

In all the relations of private life his bearing was such as to 
win the respect of all with whom he had intercourse. He was 
a most affectionate husband and father, devoted to his home and 
family, never so happy as when under- his own roof with those 
he loved about him. He was a kind neighbor and a warm and 
■constant friend. 

Mr. Phillips for many years prior to his decease was a con- 
sistent member of the Congregational church in Putnam and 
■one of its most active and liberal supporters. His pastor thus 
refers to the religious side of his character and his life: — " He 
saw into and sensed the divineness of life and of eternal things 
and opened up the Godward side of his nature to them, and 
while he gave himself to a proper worldliness he joined with it 
attention to and prosecution of that other-worldliness which 
rounds our experience and makes us, as we ought to be, men of 
time and men of eternity." 

Mr. Phillips married on the 30th of March, 1852, Jane, daugh- 
ter of Lieutenant-Governor Ebenezer Stoddard, of West Wood- 
stock, Conn. Two sons, Gilbert Wheeler, Jr., and John Cleve- 
land, survive. A daughter, Genevieve E., is deceased. The death 
of Mr. Phillips occurred October 24th, 1888. 

Randolph Henry Chandler was the only son of William H. 
and Martha H. (Allen) Chandler. He was born at Thompson, 
January 11th, 1853. He entered Phillips Academy, of Andover, 
Mass., at an early age, and was also a student in Highland Mil- 
itary Academy, of Worcester, Mass. He studied law with Hon- 
orable Charles E. Searls, of Putnam, and was admitted to the 
Windham county bar in 1879. He commenced the practice of 
law in Putnam during the same year, and in that field of labor 
he still continues. He was a member of the Connecticut house 
•of representatives in 1879-80, and has held various town offices. 
The maiden name of his wife was Isadore E. Aldrich. 



160 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Eric H. Johnson was born in Putnam, September 2d, 1855. 
His early education was obtained in the common schools, and he 
entered Woodstock Academy in 1871, and there prepared for 
college. From there he entered Yale College, where he gradu- 
ated in 1877. He then taught school three years in Putnam, and 
one year at Orange, N. J. He then took a course in Harvard 
Law School, and was admitted to the bar of Windham county in 
1882. He is now practicing law in Putnam. 

Charles E. Searls was born March 25th, 1846. The Searls 
family originally came from Dorchester, England, and settled in 
Dorchester, Massachusetts. Salter Searls, the first to locate in 
Windham county, where he engaged in farming, had eight sons,, 
among whom was Bela, the grandfather of the subject of this 
biographical sketch. He married Hannah Walcott. But two of 
his children, Edwin C. and Henry, grew to mature years. The 
former of these, Edwin C, was born in 1815, in Chaplin, Con- 
necticut, and died October 3d, 1857. His early career as a mer- 
chant was familiar to many residents of Pomfret, whence he re- 
moved to New York city and established himself as a broken 
He married Caroline Mathewson, of Pomfret. Their only son, 
Charles Edwin Searls, was born in Pomfret, and in childhood 
removed to Brooklyn, New York, where his early years were 
passed. In the spring of 1858 the town of Thompson became 
his home, and at this point he has since resided. His education 
was received first at private schools in the city of Brooklyn, and 
later at the Thompson Academy, from which he entered Yale 
University in 1864, and was graduated from that institution in 
the class of 1868. He then began the study of law in the office 
of Honorable Gilbert W. Phillips, of Putnam, and was admitted 
to the bar of Connecticut in 1870. Mr. Searls at once opened an 
office in Putnam, where he has since continued in the active prac- 
tice of his profession. He very early in his career took a lead- 
ing place among the attorneys of the county, is employed in its 
most important litigation, and represents in a professional ca- 
pacity nearly all the large corporations of the vicinity. Mr. Searls. 
actively interests himself in matters connected with his town. 
As a republican he was made town clerk of Thompson in 1869, 
has been for years and is still justice of the peace, and was in 
1871 elected to the Connecticut house of representatives. In 
1881-82 he filled the office of secretary of state. He was re- 
elected to the legislature in 1886, and was during that session a 




^''KPreston^ C'VT 




t^^ 




HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 161 

candidate for speaker of the house of representatives. Mr. 
Searls is still much absorbed in a large and increasing law 
practice. 

Samuel H. Seward was born in Guilford, Conn., April 16th, 
1835, being the eldest son of Samuel L. and Huldah M. (Sanford) 
Seward. In early life he attended the common school, also a 
private school in his native town, studied law with Hon. Ralph 
D. Smith, of Guilford, and was admitted to the New Haven 
county bar in November, 1869. He was engaged in buvsiness at 
Waterbury, Conn., for three years, and for three years more 
was postmaster at Guilford. He commenced to practice law at 
Stafford Springs, and remained there until 1873, when he re- 
moved to Putnam, where he has since engaged in that profes- 
sion. August 15th, 1862, he enlisted in the Fourteenth Connecti- 
cut regiment as a private, but was promoted to the office of first 
lieutenant, and paymaster, with the rank of major. He lost one 
of his arms at the battle of the Wilderness, July 9th, 1864. He 
has been twice married, first to Martha Smith, of Essex, Conn., 
and second to Sarah Watson, of Beloit, Wis. He has one son, 
Walter L., who resides in San Francisco, Cal. He was a mem- 
ber of the house of representatives in 1880, and at other times 
has been clerk of the courts and county clerk, and served on 
the state committee to erect the Normal school at New Britain, 
Conn. 

Edgar M. Warner was born in Worcester, Mass., June 16th, 
1850. He was the youngest son of Earl and Adeline (Lester) 
Warner, of that city. After passing his boyhood in the com- 
mon schools, he attended Bartlett High School, at New Lon- 
don, and studied law with Hon. Hiram Willey, of that city, 
and with George Pratt, Esq., of Norwich, He graduated from 
Harvard Law School in 1872, and was admitted to the bar of 
New London county the same year. He practiced law at Nor- 
wich for three years, and then, in March, 1875, located in Cen- 
tral Village. In 1885 he extended his practice by opening an 
office in Putnam, and as business increased he subsequently re- 
moved to that place. He served in the state legislature as clerk 
of the house in 1877 and 1879, and as clerk of the senate in 
1880. He married Jennie, the daughter of Judge John A. 
Carpenter. 

William G. Buteau, the youngest son of Henry and Mary 
Buteau, was born at Sprague, Conn., July 9th, 1860. He attended 
11 



162 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

the Mt. Pleasant Academy, at Providence, R. I., then went to 
the Sorel Classical College, at Sorel, in the Province of Quebec, 
Canada, then took a course at a business college in Varennes, 
in the same province, where he graduated in 1880. He then 
attended Joliette Classical College, graduating there in 1884, and 
receiving the degree of B. A. During the latter part of 1885 he 
commenced the study of law in the office of Andrew B. Patten, 
of Providence, R. I., where he remained one year. He then en- 
tered Yale Law School, and he graduated from there in June, 
1887, receiving the degree of LL. B. He was admitted to the 
bar at New Haven, and commenced the practice of law at Put- 
nam in August, 1887, where he is still located. 

Ebenezer Stoddard, late of West Woodstock, was a lawyer of 
note and a citizen of whom Windham county is justly proud in 
the preservation of his memory. He was born at Pomfret, May 
6th, 1785, being the son and grandson of men bearing his own 
name. He was a graduate of Brown University, and practiced 
law in Woodstock. He represented this congressional district 
in the house of representatives at Washington in the 17th 
and 18th congresses of the United States. Twice he was hon- 
ored as lieutenant governor of the state, holding the office one 
year in 1833-34, and three years, 1835-38. He was a man of 
much influence and power in his day. He died in August, 
1847. He married Lucy Carrol, of South Woodstock, and they 
had ten children, as follows : Amelia, married Marcus May, and 
died in Utica, N. Y. ; John Marshall De Lafayette, graduated 
from Yale and died unmarried at the age of 24 ; Marietta Lat- 
ma, widow of Orin Sumner, residing in Boston ; George Stan- 
ley Faber, born June 2d, 1818, practiced law in Woodstock, 
and died there June 9th, 1888, having one son, George De Bar- 
stow, a resident of Brooklyn, N. Y. ; Charles, who left no fam- 
ily ; Lucy, who died at the age of 20 ; Ebenezer, who died in 
West Woodstock, leavmg one son, Charles, a resident of Min- 
nesota ; Henry, who died at Springfield, Mass., leaving a son, 
John E., and a daughter, Florence W., wife of George Miller, of 
Springfield ; Jane, widow of Gilbert W. Phillips, of Putnam ; 
and Seth, who died at Putnam, aged 54 years. 

Louis Baker Cleveland, of Putnam, was born in Brooklyn, 
Conn., June 30th, 1855. He was the eldest son of Henry M. and 
Mary C. (Welch) Cleveland, his mother being the eldest daugh- 
ter of Hon. Jonathan Ashley Welch, of Brooklyn. He is also 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 163 

grandnephew of Hon. Chaunce}^ F. Cleveland. After attending 
the district schools he fitted for college at the Phillips Academy, 
of Andover, Mass., and entered Columbia Law School in New 
York city in 1874. He graduated there in 1876, receiving the 
degree of bachelor of laws. He then studied law with Judge 
S. T. Holbrook, of Norwich, Conn., for three months, also with 
Tracy & Catlin, of Brooklyn, N. Y. While with that firm he oc- 
cupied the position of chief clerk to General Tracy during the 
famous Tilton and Beecher trial. He passed his examination 
and was admitted to the New York bar in July, 1876. In the 
following September he came to Brooklyn, Conn., and began to 
practice law at that place, where he remained until October, 
1888, when he removed to Putnam, and is now located there. 
For several years he was a member of the examining committee 
of the Windham county bar, has been justice of the peace for 
ten years, and is a commissioner of the superior court. 

Thomas Eugene Graves, one of the leaders of the Windham 
county bar for half a century, practicing law for fifty-one years» 
was the son of John Graves and Elizabeth Peters (daughter of 
Governor Peters), and was born at Hebron, Conn., May 15th, 
1814. When quite a youth he was placed under the care of a 
celebrated Episcopal clergyman, who was his tutor for several 
years. At the age of fourteen he entered Trinity College, with- 
out any conditions, but with special honors in Latin and Greek, 
which he held. He graduated at the age of eighteen, at the 
head of his class. He then devoted three years to the study of 
law, in the office of Judge Waldo, in Tolland, who was then one 
of the leading lawyers of the country. Mr. Graves passed an 
especially good examination, a rival of Judge Waldo, hoping 
to impeach the qualification of his student, subjecting him to a 
severe examination for three hours, but was at last obliged to 
confess that young Graves was the best prepared man who had 
ever applied for admittance to the bar. In 1837 he opened an 
office in the town of Thompson, and had a general law practice 
in this and New London counties for several years. In 1854, or 
about that time, he was employed in the organization and con- 
struction of the Boston, Hartford & Erie railroad. This was 
formed in part by the purchase of the franchises of several rail- 
roads chartered by the states of New York, Connecticut, Rhode 
Island and Massachusetts. The charters for the new corpora- 
tion were compiled, written and procured in each of these states 



164 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

by Mr. Graves, who appeared before the legislatures and ob- 
tained the charters in the face of great opposition from rival 
railroad interests. The land claims for hundreds of miles were 
separately examined and settled by Mr. Graves, and the many 
leases, involving intricate questions of law and financial bearings, 
called for by the union of several roads operated under this 
company, were all prepared by him. Until 1878 his professional 
labors were given almost entirely to this railroad, and his pres- 
ence was a familiar one at the capitals of the four states men- 
tioned. The requirements of this practice led him to remove 
his residence to West Newton, Mass., and later to Beacon street, 
Boston, where he resided until a few years since, when he re- 
turned to Windham county to spend the remainder of his days 
in the enjoyment of the fruits of his hard labors. 

Mr. Graves entered upon his professional life when there were 
but few reported decisions of cases, and opinions or questions of 
law were given upon the interpretation and application of legal 
principles laid down in a few text books, as understood by the 
advocate or adviser. He was a hard and close student of such 
books as could then be obtained, and in the course of time sur- 
rounded himself with the finest private law library in the state, 
while the many marks upon the books still bear witness to his 
frequent and incessant labor among them. He aimed to possess 
every book published bearing upon the particular department 
of law which was his specialty, and to be thus prepared to refer 
to an authority for any position taken by him in the line of his 
daily work. He was associated in the trial of celebrated railroad 
cases with such men as Rufus Choate, General B. F. Butler, 
Charles O'Conner, and others, and proved himself their peer in 
legal knowledge. For private clients he had such men as Com- 
modore Vanderbilt, Daniel Drew and Jay Gould, all of whom 
employed him upon railroad matters, recognizing him as an au- 
thority in that line of subjects. He refused offers to act as at- 
torney for several large railroads, preferring to remain with the 
railroad with which he was so early and extensively identified. 
Hon. Oakes Ames and Sidney Dillon offered him the position of 
attorney for what is now the Great Pacific railroad. 

Mr. Graves was a man of large patriotism, and during the late 
war personally secured the services of over one hundred and 
fifty men for the army, paying freely from his own pocket large 
sums to help the Union cause. Although never holding an of- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY, 165 

fice, he was a staunch whig- and republican, and an acknowledged 
leader in the party. In his younger days he delivered many 
temperance addresses, often in association with his friend, John 
B. Gough, The village improvement which has given so much 
attractiveness to the beautiful town of Thompson is a monument 
to his generosity and enthusiasm in the public behalf. The 
public green in the center of the village was cleared of rubbish 
and unsightly objects and planted with noble shade trees mainly 
through his personal efforts and generous contributions for the 
enjoyment of coming generations, who will in gratitude associate 
his name with the beautiful park, whose green carpet and de- 
lightful shade they annually enjoy. 

After he gave up his railroad business, intending to retire, his 
old love for practice before judge and jury led him to appear 
once more in the well known court house at Brooklyn. As soon 
as it was known that he was accessible to clients so much busi- 
ness rushed upon him that his name almost monopolized the 
court docket, appearing, it is said, in over two hundred cases at 
one session. He was naturally genial, affable, and accommoda- 
ting, and full of fun, repartee and anecdotes of his early life, 
even after fifty years of active professional labors. He died in 
January, 1888, having been in court only a few weeks previous. 
He had set his house in order, and died peacefully and without 
apparent disease, passing away as though he had simply fallen 
asleep. 

George Stanley Faber Stoddard, named in honor of the Bible 
commentator of that time, was the fourth child of Honorable 
Ebenezer Stoddard, and was born at West Woodstock, June 2d, 
1818. He received a thorough education at the academies of 
Woodstock, Conn., and Dudley, Mass., after which he studied 
law with his father and was admitted to the Windham county 
bar about 1840. Previous to this date he was commissioned as 
colonel of his regiment in the militia, while yet a youth of 
eighteen years, and from that time on he was known by that 
title. His accomplishments as an equestrian, for which he was 
noted, helped to gain him that position and still further qualified 
him to grace it. After being admitted to the bar he settled in 
South Woodstock, and there spent his life in the practice of law. 
He was several times elected to the legislature, held the office of 
judge of probate, and at different times most of the important 
offices of the town. He was a modest, unpretentious man, very 



166 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

fond of his home, and unambitious of political preferment. His 
standing at the bar was high, and his superior abilities as a clear 
and logical advocate were acknowledged by all the circle of his 
professional acquaintances. He was a kind-hearted and genial 
man in his social character, and endeared himself to all with 
whom he came in contact. He was stricken with apoplexy and 
after lingering three or four days, died June 9th, 1888. He mar- 
ried first, Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Spaulding Barstow, of 
South Woodstock, who died about two years later, leaving an in- 
fant son, who is still living, and now resides in Brooklyn, N. Y. 
After her death he married Sara Sumner, eldest daughter of the 
same Spaulding Barstow, who survives him. 

John M. Hall, one of the busiest members of the legal frater- 
nity of Windham county, is a native of Willimantic, where he 
was born in October, 1841. After the usual discipline in the 
schools of his native village, he attended the Williston Seminary, 
at East Hampton, Mass., where he graduated in 1862, and he 
then entered Yale College and graduated there in 1866. He then 
began the study of law in a prominent law office in New York 
city, at the same time taking a regular course at the Columbia 
College Law School. In 1868 he was admitted to the bar, and in 
the spring of 1869 began to practice law in Willimantic, where 
he has since resided. He married Julia, daughter of Silas F. 
Loomer, and has three children, one son and two daughters. So- 
cially he is a man of considerable reserve, but professionally 
stands among the foremost, and is recognized as an exceptionally 
brilliant and able lawyer. He has held many offices of honor and 
trust in his town and among his society brethren. Among such 
have been the offices of registrar of voters, acting school visitor, 
justice of the peace, clerk of the court of probate, director of the 
Dime Savings Bank, delegate to the national republican conven- 
tion of 1876, etc. His legislative experience covers a wider field, 
perhaps, than that of any other man of his age in the state. He 
was a representative from his town in the house in 1870, '71, '72, 
'81 , and '82, and in the latter year was speaker of the house. During 
these sessions he was a member of the committee on fisheries, 
contested elections, constitutional amendments, railroads (of all 
of which he was chairman), judiciary (twice), establishment of 
senatorial districts, and in 1871 was one of the joint select com- 
mittee which canvassed the vote for governor and other state 
officers, in view of alleged election frauds in New Haven, and 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 167 

upon the strength of whose report the general assembly declared 
the Hon. Marshall Jewell governor of the state. 

James Hopkins Potter, the youngest but two of eleven children 
of Stephen H. and Esther (Burgess) Potter, was born in the town 
of Sempronius, Cayuga county, N. Y., July 17th, 1833, his birth- 
place being a log cabin. At that time the country in that section 
was- new, and the homes of the settlers were primitive dwellings. 
The ancCvStry of Mr. Potter have for many generations been con- 
spicuous in the state of Rhode Island. During the first year of 
his life his parents removed from New York state to the town of 
Killingly, in this county, where the children had the benefit of 
the district schools until they were old enough to be employed 
in cotton mills. Long days of labor throughout the year, with 
holidays few and far between, made up the youthful days of Mr. 
Potter. At the age of eighteen he graduated from this work " in 
the mill," to a position in a store, which continued about five 
years. His district school education was supplemented by five 
terms in the West Killingly Academy, where he distinguished 
himself by obtaining the highest prize for English composition. 
He paid his way while attending the academy with money earned 
by teaching in the district schools of Killingly, and later followed 
the profession of teaching for about fourteen years, with much 
success, being thus engaged about twelve years in New Jersey. 
During this time he took up the study of law, and upon retiring 
from school work entered the law office of Hon, E. M. White, in 
the city of Dover, N. J. There he actively engaged in the prac- 
tice of law about two years, after which he returned to Killingly, 
and was admitted to the bar of this county and state in 1875. 
Since that time he has practiced at Danielsonville. 

In 1861 Mr. Potter married the only daughter of the late Cap- 
tain Erastus Short, of Killingly. During most of his life since 
arriving at the age of manhood, Mr. Potter has held some town 
office in Killingly, and in 1862 he represented the town in the 
legislature. 

George Earned, son of General Daniel and Rebekah (Wilkin- 
son) Earned, was born in Thompson March 13th, 1776. He grad- 
uated at Brown University in 1792, studied law in Canterbury 
and Eitchfield, and established himself in practice in Herkimer 
county, N. Y. Here business opened to him with brilliant pros- 
pects 6i success, but the death of his father made circumstances 
urge his removal to Thompson. Here he opened a law office in 



168 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

or about the year 1800, being the first lawyer to locate in the 
town. He soon became very popular and was an effective pleader. 
He was known especially as the " honest lawyer." He was twice 
married and had ten children. His first wife was Anna Dorinda 
Brown, and his second wife was Anna Spalding Gay. He died 
June 11th, 1858. 

Simon Davis, son of Captain Simon and Zorinah (Knight) 
Davis, was born in Thompson August 1st, 1781. He practiced 
law in Thompson, also served as paymaster and pension agent. 
He was a man of exceedingly courteous manners and sound 
judgment. He was very widely known and respected. He was 
married three times — first to Rebekah Larned, second to Harriet 
Ketcham, and third to Hannah Ary, He had seven children. 
His death took place April 21st, 1850. 



CHAPTER XII. 



THE MEDICAL FRATERNITY. 



The first Physicians in the different Towns.— Their influence on Society.— Later 
Practitioners.— Conspicuous Members. — Jonathan Huntington. — Albigence 
Waldo.— Samuel Lee.— Benjamin Hubbard.— Elisha Perkins.— After the 
Revolution.— Raising the Professional Standard. — Glimpses of the Physicians 
practicing in the early years of the Century.— The County Medical Society.— 
LewisWilliams.— Justin Hammond.— Samuel Hutchins.— Charles H. Rogers. 
—Ernest D. Kimball.— Frank E. Guild.— Chester Hunt.— David C. Card.— E. 
D. Card.— Eliphalet Huntington. — Charles James Fox.— Theodore R. Parker — 
Samuel David. — Oliver B. Griggs.— Dewitt C. Lathrop. — Francis X. Barolet. — 
Gardner L. Miller. — Frederic A. Morrell. — Omer La Rue. — Daniel B. Plimpton. 
— Lowell Holbrook.— Ichabod L. Bradley. — Louis Oude Morasse.— William 
Richardson. — Levi A. Bliss.— Frederick G. Sawtelle.— Seth Rogers.— John B. 
Kent. — Elisha K. Robbins. — S. P. Ladd. — F. S. Burgess. — Nathaniel Hibbard. 
— Henry L. Hammond. — Harvey L. Converse. — James F. Mcintosh. — Jesse 
M. Coburn.— S. C. Chase.— William H. Judson.— Orin Witter, Sr.— Orin Wit- 
ter, Jr.— Hiram Holt.— William Witter. — Henry R. Lowe. — William A. Lewis. 
— Isaac B. Gallup. 

MANY of the foremost men of Windham county, during all 
the years of its history, have been found among the 
medical fraternity. We regret the arbitrary conditions 
■of space limitations which compel us to omit many interesting 
details. But we must pass over many honored names with 
but little more than their mere mention. Early in the his- 
tory of the county we find the physicians assuming their 
position of prominence among the people, receiving their con- 
fidence and becoming their leaders in social, business and polit- 
ical movements. The first practicing physician regularly estab- 
lished in Windham county, of whom we can gain any knowledge, 
was Jonathan Huntington, son of Joseph, who was one of the 
first settlers. Doctor Huntington belonged to an honored fam- 
ily, and resided at Windham, practicing during the early part 
to the middle of the last century. Doctor Thomas Moffat, the 
first physician practicing in Killingly, was there about the year 
1740, and probably before and after, but how long we are unable 



170 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

to state. The first practicing physician established in Pomfret 
was Doctor Thomas Mather, of Suffield, who purchased land of 
Samuel Nightingale and established himself here in 1788. He 
was one of the original members of the " United Society or 
Company for propagating Christian and Useful Knowledge,"' or- 
ganized in 1739. He probably removed hence at some time 
previous to 1760. Doctor John Hallowell was at this time also 
practicing in Pomfret. The first physician in Abington was- 
Elisha Lord, who purchased land " on the road from James In- 
galls, inn-holder, to the meeting-house," in 1760. He had already 
married Alethea Ripley, a sister of Reverend David Ripley, min- 
ister of the Abington church. Doctor David Hall, son of Rev- 
erend David Hall, of Sutton, was a physician in Pomfret about 
1760. At about the same time Doctor William Walton was 
practicing both in Pomfret and Killingly. Doctor John Weld 
was also among the early physicians of Pomfret, but the 
date of his practice is unknown to the writer. Doctor 
Elisha Perkins, son of Doctor Joseph Perkins, of Newent So- 
ciety, Norwich, commenced practice in Plainfield about the year 
1759. He afterward married the daughter of Captain Douglass, 
and was eminently successful. At this time Doctor Edward 
Robinson was also established in practice in Plainfield ; and 
Doctor Gideon Welles, who graduated from Yale College in 1753,. 
was practicing in both Plainfield and Canterbury. Doctor 
Nathan Arnold was a distinguished and successful physician in 
his day. He was the son of John Arnold, one of the early set- 
tlers at the " Ponds " of original Windham, and studied medicine 
with Doctor Jonathan Huntington. Jabez Adams, a son of 
Phineas Adams, of Canterbury, was for many years a prominent 
physician at Mansfield. Doctor Jabez Fitch was a leading cit- 
izen and practitioner of Canterbury about 1755. Doctor Joshua 
Elderkin was practicing in Windham about this time. 

Albigence Waldo, son of Zechariah Waldo, about 1760 suc- 
ceeded to the practice of Doctor David Hall, who removed to- 
Vermont, He studied for the profession with Doctor John 
Spalding, of Canterbury, and is said to have been a young man 
of uncommon energy and promise. Doctor vSpalding was a native 
of Canterbury, and established himself there contemporaneously 
with Doctor Gideon Welles. The latter died in 1811. Doctor 
David Adams also practiced considerably in vScotland during the 
latter half of the last century, though his home meanwhile was- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 17-t 

elsewhere. About 1760 three young physicians were established 
in Ashford — Doctors Joseph Palmer, Nehemiah Howe and 
Thomas Huntington. Doctor Ebenezer Gray, of Boston, settled 
in the medical profession in Windham about this time. He died 
in 1773. Doctor Jonathan Huntington, now full of years and 
honors and ripe Christian virtues, died in 1777, after a life 
marked by " piety to God and benevolence to mankind." The 
place made vacant by the death of these two venerable practi- 
tioners of the healing art was occupied by Doctor Samuel Lee, 
of Goshen, a young man noted for his herculean strength and 
agility and ardent patriotism, and who had been a student of 
Doctor Ezekiel Porter, of Wethersfield. John Brewster, of Scot- 
land, after studying medicine with Dr. Barker, of Franklin,, 
married a daughter of Captain William Durkee, and settled in 
"Windham Village," now Hampton, and gained there an exten- 
sive practice, being the first physician located in that vicinity. 

About the year 1763 Doctor Samuel H. Torrey, a young man 
of much more thorough m.edical training than was common at 
that period, established himself at Killingly, and soon gained an 
extensive practice. He was a brother of Joseph Torrey, who 
had preceded him hither from vSouth Kingstown, R. I. The 
wife of Doctor Torrey, Anna Gould, of Branford, brought witk 
her four slaves, as a part of her marriage portion. Doctor Tor- 
rey identified himself with the various movements of the town 
and church, and became very active and influential. Doctor 
Samuel Lee was one of the practicing physicians of Windham 
at the close of the revolution. He died in 1804, and was suc- 
ceeded in his practice by his son Samuel, who had also been as- 
sociated with him for several years. The younger Doctor Lee 
had already become somewhat distinguished as the originator 
and proprietor of "Lee's Windham Billions Pills," one of the 
first patent medicines that came before the public. These ac- 
quired so great a reputation that it is said the lawyers at court 
used to maintain that a box of them carried in the pocket would 
ward off disease. Doctor Thomas Gray also practiced in Wind- 
ham about the close of and after the revolution. Doctor John 
Clark was contemporary with the last mentioned. About the 
beginning of the present century he removed to central New^ 
York. Doctor Penuel Cheney was very active and useful in 
town and society matters in Scotland during the latter part of 
the last century. At some time during the early years of the 



172 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

present century he was succeeded in practice by Hovey, who 
practiced in this town and Hampton for several years. 

Doctor John Brewster of Hampton was widely known about 
the year 1790, and perhaps for a quarter of a century after that 
date. Joseph Baker was a physician in Brooklyn about 1790. 
Doctor Elisha Lord was practicing in Abington in the latter 
part of the last century. Doctor Jared Warner was cotemporary 
with him. Doctor Jonathan Hall was at the same time settled 
in Pomfret and in the early years of his practice gave promise 
-of future eminence. He was held in high repute at home and 
.abroad, both professionally and socially, and his children, as 
they came upon the stage of action, were shining ornaments of 
that polite and refined society which distinguished Pomfret at 
that day. He died about the year 1830. 

Perhaps one of the most active and conspicuous members of 
the medical profession of Windham county a century ago was 
Doctor Albigence Waldo. He was a surgeon in the army dur- 
ing the revolution, and after its close returned to practice in the 
northern part of the county. He was a man of much breadth 
and energy, devoted to his profession and greatly interested in 
scientific questions and discoveries. He was interested in the 
.association of medical men, and through his efforts in this direc- 
tion the movements were set on foot which led to the organiza- 
tion of the Medical Society which exists at the present day with 
so much vigor and usefulness. He was also one of the organizers 
of the State Medical Society in 1792. Doctor Waldo was famed 
for literary accomplishments, and wrote much upon scientific 
and political questions. He excelled in public speaking, especi- 
ally upon funeral occasions. His eulogies at the burial of Put- 
nam and other prominent persons were greatly admired, as were 
also the eulogies and epitaphs composed by him on various oc- 
casions. He was born February 27th, 1750, and died January 
29th, 1794. Passing away in the prime of life and height of 
professional eminence, he was greatly mourned " as a man en- 
dowed by the God of nature with the most brilliant and distin- 
guished abilities, and with a heart susceptible of all those amiable 
and benevolent virtues which adorn the human breast." He left 
many scientific and medical treatises which it was hoped "would 
.afford great light and benefit to future ages." He was buried 
with Masonic honors, and his fellow Masons of Moriah Lodge 
•erected a monument to his memory, on which they declare of 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 173" 

him, " His name was Charity ; His actions Humanity ; His inter- 
course with men Benevolence and Love." 

Doctor Darius Hutchins succeeded to the practice of Doctor 
Lord in Abington in the early years of the present century. To- 
his practice he also added a store after a few years. Doctor 
Thomas Hubbard, a son of Benjamin Hubbard, a young man 
yet under age, one of the pupils of Doctor Waldo, succeeded to 
the practice of that eminent physician. He had made such pro- 
ficiency in medical studies and had such natural aptitude for the- 
profession as to fill the position with great credit and usefulness,, 
and gain in time a reputation even surpassing that of his pre- 
decessor. In later years his surgical skill became widely noted, 
attracting many students, who accompanied him on horseback 
on his daily rounds, striving to keep pace with his swiftly run- 
ning sulky, and thinking themselves most favored if they could 
ride a few moments by his side and catch his oracular opinions 
or enjoy his humorous anecdotes. 

Doctor Huntington, of Westford, already noticed, was succeed- 
ed in the latter part of the last century, by a relative of his. Doc- 
tor Andrew Huntington, of Griswold. About the beginning 
of the present century Doctor Nehemiah Howe attended to his 
patients and took a prominent part in town management in Ash- 
ford. He died in a good old age, about the year 1838. Doctor 
Joseph Palmer of that town had a son Joseph practicing at the. 
same time, and still later a son of the latter; a third Doctor 
Palmer practiced for a while in Ashford and then removed to 
Canterbury. Doctor Elisha Perkins was a prominent citizen and 
medicine man in Plainfield during the latter years of the last 
century. He became much interested in experiments in mag- 
netic action and effects, and invented instruments called "me- 
tallic tractors," which were widely known and used. They were 
patented in this country and introduced into Europe, where they 
received the approval of medical and scientific men to a greater 
extent even than in this country. In Copenhagen twelve phy- 
sicians and surgeons instituted a series of experiments which re- 
sulted in the verdict that " PerkinvSm " was " of great import- 
ance to the physician." An institution was established in Lon- 
don for the purpose of applying the " Perkinian " principles in 
the treatment chiefly of the poor which was done without charge. 
It was claimed at one time that one and a half millions of cures, 
had been effected. Of Doctor Perkins it was said, " Few men in 



174 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

the world were more public spirited, more hospitable, more free 
from all guile." He was ever active in public matters, the friend 
■of the poor and a ready helper of those who needed help. The 
fate of his daughter, Mrs. Merwin, who, with her husband and 
two children, died of yellow fever in Philadelphia in 1793, turned 
his experiments in a new direction and he produced an antisep- 
tic preparation which he used as a preventive of the disease, but 
he fell a victim to his own theories, dying of yellow fever in 
New York city in 1799, where for four weeks he had been earn- 
.•estly engaged in attending the sick. 

Doctor Robert Grosvenor, of Pomfret, succeeded to the prac- 
tice of Doctor Moffat in Killingly, at some time between the close 
of the revolution and the close of the century. After practicing 
some thirty or forty years he was assisted and succeeded by his 
son. Doctor William Grosvenor. Contemporary with the elder 
Doctor Grosvenor was Doctor Josiah Deane, of Killingly. The 
first resident physician in Thompson was Doctor Daniel Knight, 
who was also made, in 1805, the first postmaster of that village. 
About the close of the last century Doctor Ephraim Carroll, of 
Thompson, was established in medical practice in Woodstock. 
Doctor Lathrop Holmes was also engaged in practice and also in 
trade in that town About the same period Doctor Isaac Backus 
practiced at Plainfield, a little later removing his residence to 
Sterling, where he continued to pursue his profession. Doctor 
Charles Moulton was also practicing medicine about the same 
time in Hampton. 

In the early years of the present century the stand'ard of the 
medical profession seems to have been raised to a somewhat 
higher level. The old class of physicians, who had attended 
patients when nothing of more importance was on hand, was 
giving place to younger men, who had won by study the title 
prefixed to their names, and devoted themselves to their profes- 
sion with more singleness of purpose. Doctor Andrew Harris 
at Canterbury Green and Doctor Elijah Baldwin in South Can- 
terbury, harmoniously occupied the field, the former practicing 
more especially with the knife and the latter carrying around 
the saddle-bags. Doctor Johnson continued his daily rounds 
through Westminster Parish. Doctor Hough retained his dual 
office, administering pills and official whippings with equal lib- 
erality and alacrity. Doctor Gideon Welles died in. 1811. Doc- 
tors Baldwin and Harris continued their practice for a consider- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 175 

able term of years. In 1818 Doctors Thomas Backus, John Part- 
ridge and Oliver Howlett were reported as practicing physicians 
in Sterling. At this time the list of physicians practicing in 
Woodstock embraced Doctors Haviland Morris, Ebenezer Bishop, 
Joseph Seagrave, Thomas Morse Daniel Lyman, Amasa Carrol 
and Amos Carrol. Doctor Lyman gave his attention more par- 
ticularly to vsurgery. Doctor Thomas Morse, now settled in 
West Woodstock, was noted as the third Doctor Morse who had 
practiced within the town. His grandfather. Doctor Parker 
Morse, Sr., was graduated from Harvard College about 1735, and 
settled in East Woodstock immediately after acquiring his pro- 
fession, and was succeeded by his son of the same name. The 
grandson maintained the medical reputation of the family, and 
:served many years as clerk of the County Medical Society. Doc- 
tor Waldo Hut chins was at this time established in medical 
practice in Brooklyn. After his death, some fifteen years later, 
Doctor James B. Whitcomb engaged in the practice which he 
left. William Hutchins, of Killingly, and Thomas LIuntington, 
of Norwich, both very promising and spirited young men, took 
the place of Doctor Ebenezer Baker, deceased. A few years later 
we find young Doctors Burgess and Cogswell in Plainfield, shar- 
ing the field with Doctor Fuller. In vSterling at this time Doc- 
tor William H. Campbell engaged in medical practice, having 
his residence near the hill, also. Doctor Nathan S. Pike, who was 
widely known in the profession. 

About 1840 we find Doctors John Hill, Jr., and William Wit- 
ter engaged in medical practice at Willimantic. Doctor Orin 
Witter had been practicing many years in Chaplin. He was a 
prominent man in society and town matters, being the first 
town clerk on the organization of the town in 1822. In Hamp- 
ton about the time referred to Doctor Dyer Hughes was practic- 
ing medicine, assisted by his son and Doctor Clark, previously 
of Canterbury. Doctor Daniel Hovey engaged in practice in East 
and South Killingly. After pursuing his calling here for nearly 
half a century, Doctor Hovey died some ten years since, being 
at the time of his death the oldest member of the County Med- 
ical Society. Doctor William Grosvenor practiced on Killingly 
Hill about forty years ago. Doctor Hiram Holt practiced in 
Pomfret about fifty years. He was a native of Hampton, and 
his labors closed with his death in 1870. Doctors Lewis and 
Elisha Williams also practiced in Pomfret. Doctor Alexander 



176 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Vinton practiced for a short time in Abington before entering' 
the church ministry. The first physicians of the modern village 
of Putnam, about forty years ago, were Doctors Hough, Plimp- 
ton and Perry. Doctor C. H.Bromley practiced medicine in Scot- 
land for many years. Doctors Orin Witter, senior and junior, 
occupied the field in Chaplin so long that their names became 
household words among the people. Doctor Elijah Baldwin, 
after practicing in Canterbury and adjoining towns for more 
than sixty years, died in March, 1867. A son of the same name 
succeeded him in practice. The third Doctor Palmer, of Ash- 
ford, practiced for a time in Canterbury village. Doctor Wil- 
liam H. Cogswell, of Plainfield, after a long life spent in the 
medical profession, died about ten years since. He was widely 
known in professional and public life. His services as agent 
for Connecticut in charge of sick and wounded soldiers during 
the late war, were especially valuable. In public and pri- 
vate, in church and state, he was alike useful and honored. 
Doctor Charles A. Fox practiced medicine in Thompson from 
1852 about to 1860, when he moved hence. Doctor Charles Har- 
ford practiced several years in Thompson, gaining there a very 
strong constituency. He died March 18th, 1877. Later, Doctor 
E. T. Morse practiced three or four years on the same field. He 
came hither from the lower towns of the county, and removed 
hence to East Hartford. Doctors McGregor, Holbrook and 
Bowen have also practiced in that town. Doctor Lathrop prac- 
ticed in Grosvenor Dale, and died there several years since. 
Doctor Sargent also practiced in that village, and afterward re- 
mxoved to Webster, Mass. 

The Windham County Medical Society is one of the oldest in 
the state. Its origin is largely due to the active spirit of Doctor 
Albigence Waldo, through whose efforts the leading physicians 
of the county and its vicinity instituted a monthly meeting some 
years previous to the formation of the Connecticut Medical So- 
ciety. In June, 1786, they held a meeting at Dudley ; in August 
at Stafford ; in September at Cargill's (now Putnam) ; in October 
at Canterbury. At the latter meeting there were present Doc- 
tors Coit of Thompson, Palmer of Ashford, Gleason of Killingly, 
Lord and Warner of Abington, Clark of Hampton, Spalding of 
Mansfield, and Huntington of Westford. These meetings were 
continued with increasing numbers and interest till 1791, when 
a more formal organization of a Windham County Society ap- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 177 

pears to have been effected. Of this organization no record has 
been preserved, beyond the fact that Doctor Waldo was clerk, 
either of the preliminary organization or of the new one. He 
was doubtless a prominent figure in the new society, and was 
also one of the organizers of the State Society in 1792. 

The records of the County Society previous to 1793 have been 
lost, but the roll of members at that time was as follows : Doc- 
tors Jonathan Averill, Thomas Backus, Leonard Bacon, Joseph 
Baker, John Barker, Samuel Barker, Gershom Beardsley, John 
Brewster, Allen Campbell, Benjamin Carter, Penuel Cheney, 
John Clark, Sen., John Clark, Jr., Thadeus Clark, Josiah Coit, 
Noah Coleman, Azal Ensworth, Thomas Glysson, Daniel Gordon, 
Jonathan Hall, Walter Hough, Jacob Hovey, Penuel Hutchins, 
Isaac Knight, Elisha Lord, Joseph Palmer, Elisha Perkins, 
Thomas Robinson, Albigence Waldo, Roger Waldo, Jared War- 
ner and Jesse Wheaton. Parts of the records are defective, but 
as far as they are complete enough to show it the list of presi- 
dents has been as follows : John Clark, 1793 ; Elisha Lord, 1794, 
'96 ; Elisha Perkins, 1795 ; John Brewster, 1797-99, 1801 ; Joseph 
Baker, 1800, 1802 ; Thomas Hubbard, 1803, 1807-8, 1811-12, '14, 
'18, '22, '27, '29; Jonathan Hall, 1806; Joseph Palmer, 1809; 
Erastus Robinson, 1810; Penuel Hutchins, 1813, '15-16, '19, '21, '30, 
'35; Rufus Johnson, 1817; Samuel Hutchins, 1823; Josiah Fuller, 
1824; Silas Fuller, 1825; Darius Hutchins, 1826, '28, '38; Joseph 
Palmer, 1831, '33-34; Andrew Harris, 1832, '37, '39; Morey Bur- 
gess, 1836, '45; Elijah Baldwin, 1840, '44, '59; Eleazer Litchfield, 
1841; Chester Hunt, 1842; Hiram Holt, 1843, '46, '68; William 
Witter, 1847; Lorenzo Marcey, 1848, '50 ; William H. Cogswell, 
1849, '52-53, '57-58, '61; Orrin Witter, 1851, '55; Lewis Williams, 
1856, '69, '74; Harvey Campbell, 1854, '65-66; Samuel Hutchins, 
1860, '63, '80, '83; C. B. Bromley, 1862, '64; James B. Whitcomb, 
1867; Lowell Holbrook, 1870, '76; Milton Bradford, 1871; Justin 
Hammond, 1872; E. Huntington, 1873; Elijah Baldwin, 1875,79; 
William A. Lewis, 1877, '84; John Witter, 1878, '82; H. W. Hough, 
1881; T. M. Hills, 1885; R. Robinson, 1886; Charles James Fox, 
1887; F. G. Sawtelle, 1888. The successive secretaries of the so- 
ciety in the same time have been : Thadeus Clark, 1793 ; Jo- 
seph Baker, 1794-95 ; Thomas Hubbard, 1796-1800 ; Josiah Ful- 
ler, 1801-03; record blank, 1804-5; Thomas Morse, 1806-10; 
Darius Hutchins, 1811-13; William A. Brewster, 1814-19 ; record 
blank, 1820 ; Waldo Hutchins, 1821-25 ; William Hutchins, 1826- 
12 



178 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

31 ; James B. Whitcomb, 1832-35 ; William Hutchins, 1886-41 ; 
James B. Whitcomb, 1842-44 ; AVilliam Hutchins, 1845 ; James 
B. Whitcomb, 1846-61 ; W. Woodbridge, 1862 ; Gideon F. Bar- 
stow, 1863-64 ; Samuel Hutchins, 1864-75 ; John B. Kent, 1876- 
80; R. Robinson, 1881-83 ; W. W. Foster, 1884; Charles James 
Fox, 1885-86; Charles N. Allen, 1887-89. 

The officers of the society for 1888 were : President, Doctor 
F. G. Sawtelle, of Pomfret ; vice-president, Doctor J. B. Kent, of 
Putnam ; censors — Doctors O. B. Griggs, Lowell Holbrook and 
H. F. Hammond ; county reporter. Doctor N. Hibbard, of Dan- 
ielsonville ; clerk, Doctor Charles N. Allen, of Moosup. The 
present membership comprises Doctors John H. Simmons, of 
Ashford ; A. E. Darling, H. F. Hammond, of Killingly ; Edwin 
A. Hill, Charles E. Hill, of East Killingly ; Rienzi Robinson, 
Nathaniel Hibbard, W. H. Judson, of Danielsonville ; E. H. 
Davis, of Plainfield; Charles N. Allen, William A. Lewis, of 
Moosup ; Charles H. Rogers, of Central Village ; F. G. Sawtelle, 
F. W. Chapin, of Pomfret ; H. W. Hough, John Witter, J. B. 
Kent, F. A. Morrell, Omar La Rue, F. X. Barolet, of Putnam ; 
E. D. Kimball, of Scotland ; Lowell Holbrook, of Thompson ; A. 
A. Latour, of Grosvenor Dale ; Frank N. Olin, of North Wood- 
stock ; Frederick Rogers, T. Morton Hills, O. B. Griggs, Charles 
J. Fox, F. O. Bennett, T. R. Parker, D. D. Jacobs, Samuel David, 
W. J. Connor, E. D. Card, of Willimantic ; F. E. Guild, of Wind- 
ham ; and E. E. Gaylord, of Woodstock, 

Doctor Lewis Williams was born in the town of Pomfret in 
1815. At the age of fifteen he entered Amherst College, but 
was prevented by disease of the eyes from completing a reg- 
ular course at that time, abandoning his studies during the 
second year. Regaining his health, he began the study of med- 
icine, and graduated at Harvard Medical College in 1842. He 
married Clara Baldwin, of Woburn, Mass., in 1843, and com- 
menced practice in his native town, where he continued to 
work almost unremittingly for nearly forty years. He was an 
active member of the Windham County Medical Society, and 
for many years a permanent member of the American Medical 
Association. In 1850 he was appointed one of the examining 
committee for the medical department of Yale College, serving 
twice for a term of three years each time. For eleven years 
before his death he was one of the quarterly visitors to the In. 
sane Retreat at Hartford, and his name was associated with all 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 179 

the educational interests of his own town. He was for several years 
one of the trustees of the State Normal school. He kept pace 
with medical progress by daily study, and remained a student 
to the end of his life. He was deeply impressed with the dig- 
nity of his profession, and of his responsibilities as one of its 
members. He stood forth prominently among his contempo- 
raries, and his counsels were always in demand. His sympathies 
were on the side of humanity and progress, and none could 
gainsay the honesty of his convictions or the integrity of his pur- 
pose. He died at the age of sixty-five, June 22d, 1881, thus clos- 
ing a life of arduous labors and great usefulness. 

Doctor Justin Hammond was born about the year 1804. He 
graduated at Brown University, and studied medicine with Doc- 
tor Usher Parsons, of Providence, R. I., then graduated at Har- 
vard Medical College. He practiced medicine in Killingly forty- 
three years, until his death, in Ju]y, 1873, at which time he was 
sixty-nine years of age. He was widely known for medical skill 
and great devotion to his patients. He for many years held the 
office of selectman, and represented the town in the state legis- 
lature in 1871. 

Samuel Hutchins, M. D., son of Doctor Theophilus Hutchins, 
was born in Seekonk, Mass., June 3d, 1818. After receiving a 
classical education in Providence, R. I., he read medicine with 
his father and Doctor L. Wilier, of the same city, and attended 
lectures at the Harvard Medical College, where he graduated 
in 1841. He commenced practice in Danielsonville in the year 
following, and continued in that field until the time of his death, 
with the exception of one year spent in California. After his 
return from the Pacific coast he married Miss Ellen Weather- 
head. Four daughters and one son were born to them. The 
son died, but the four daughters, as well as their mother, still 
survive. Doctor Hutchins was a skilled practitioner and an en- 
thusiast in his profession. He became a member of the Con- 
gregational church in Danielsonville in 1855, and was an active 
and respected member of the society, often being called to po- 
sitions of honor and trust among his fellow citizens. He was 
many years a member of the board of education ; at one time 
was appointed United vStates examiner for pensions ; also held 
at different times the offices of president of the Windham 
County Medical Society and vice-president of the Connecticut 
Medical Society, which latter office he held at the time of his 



180 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

death, he being then one of the oldest physicians in the county. 
He died January 16th, 1886, deeply mourned and universally re- 
spected. 

Charles H. Rogers, M. D., son of Charles Rogers, was born in 
Pomfret in 1818. At the age of twenty years he entered a gram- 
mar school at Hartford, and in 1840 entered Yale College, whence 
he graduated in the Arts in 1844, and in Medicine in 1847. He 
began practice the latter year in Woodstock, and in 1856 he 
came to Central Village, where he has been established in prac- 
tice ever since. During the late war he served about two years 
as assistant surgeon in the Eleventh regiment of Connecticut 
Volunteers. He held the office of school committee for sixteen 
years. He married May 28th, 1848, Sarah C, daughter of Doctor 
Thomas Morse, of West Woodstock. Their three children are 
Mary P., now Mrs. Calvin H. Lee ; Lillian S., now Mrs. Charles 
A. Bock ; and E. Clinton Rogers. He is a member of the Con- 
gregational church at Central Village, a member of Kilburn 
Post, G. A. R., and of the County Medical Society. 

Ernest D. Kimball, M. D., was born in Scotland, Conn., De- 
cember 17th, 1863, being the son of James D. Kimball. He spent 
most of his boyhood and youth previous to his seventeenth year 
on his grandfather's farm, attending the district school when 
that was in session. After attending a select school for twenty 
weeks he commenced to read medicine with Doctor D. L. Ross, 
who was then practicing in Scotland, paying for his board and 
instruction by taking care of the doctor's horses. He graduated 
from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Baltimore, Md., 
March 15th, 1886. After graduating he returned to his native 
town and commenced practice, taking the place of his precep- 
tor. He gives special attention to particular diseases, and prac- 
tices one day in a week at Willimantic. March 15th, 1887, he 
married Miss Etta M. Parkhurst, of Scotland, by whom he has. 
had one child, which died in infancy. Doctor Kimball is a mem- 
ber of the Connecticut vState Medical Society, and holds the 
office of medical examiner for the town of Scotland. 

Frank Eugene Guild, M. D., now of Windham, was born in 
Thompson, August 14th, 1853. He was the son of Reverend 
James B. Guild, who was at that time pastor of the Brandy Hill 
Baptist church, where he died in September following. The 
mother of our subject, whose maiden name was Julia A.Griggs, 
soon after the death of her husband, removed successively to 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 181 

West Woodstock, Willington, Killingly and Putnam, where a 
considerable part of the youthful life of her son Frank was spent, 
bringing him up to his seventeenth year. After working a year 
in the shops of the »Stanley Rule and Level Company, he entered 
the Connecticut State Normal School, from which he graduated 
in the winter of 1874. In August following, he went to Matawan, 
N. J., where he taught the public schools of that place until the 
spring of 1882, with the exception of one year spent at Grosvenor 
Dale, in this county. In the fall of 1882 he entered the Long 
Island College Hospital, from which he graduated June 3d, 
1885. In the autumn of that year he received an appointment 
as assistant physician to Kings County Hospital, at Flatbush, 
L. I., where he remained until the 17th of October, 1886. Thence 
he came directly to Windham and established himself in . his 
present field of practice. While in college he was assistant dem- 
onstrator of anatomy, and vice-president of his class. He is a 
member of the county and state medical societies, and yet un- 
married. 

Chester Hunt, M. D., was born in Columbia, Conn., February 
24th, 1789. He was the son of Eldad and Huldah (Benton) Hunt. 
He studied medicine with Doctor Cyrus Fuller, of Columbia, and 
practiced in that town from 1812 to 1815, when he removed to 
Windham, where he continued to practice until his death, which 
took place August 20th, 1869. He was twice married, but at 
the time of his death had but one child living, Mrs. Delia Ben- 
ton, widow of James M. Hebard. 

David C. Card, M. D., D. D. S., is a grandson of Joshua Card, 
who resided in Sterling, Windham county, where his life was 
devoted to the management of a farm. His wife, formerly a Miss 
Clark, was the mother of one son, Joshua, and four daughters* 
Hannah, Tabitha, Sally and Ruth. Their only son, Joshua, was 
born December 24th, 1776, in Sterling, where his early life was 
spent as a teacher. Later, he purchased a farm in Charlestown, 
Washington county, Rhode Island, and was also the landlord of 
a popular public house. He was a prominent citizen, held the 
office of justice of the peace, and did much surveying in various 
portions of the county. He married Sally, daughter of Benjamin 
Clark, of Sterling. The children of this marriage are : Sally 
(Mrs. Amos Greene), Mercy (Mrs. Perry Tucker), Anna (Mrs. 
William Tucker), Joshua B., Lucinda (Mrs. Green Card), Ben- 
jamin, Welcome, Betsey (Mrs. Simeon Card), Alzada W. (Mrs. 



182 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Clark Reynolds), and David Clark, the subject of this biog- 
raphy, whose birth occurred on the 2d of March, 1822, in Charles- 
town, Rhode Island. Here his early youth was spent as a pupil 
of the district school, after which his studies were completed at 
the Smithville Seminary, at Scituate, in the same state. Decid- 
ing- to make the practice of medicine his life work, he entered 
the office of Doctor William H. Hubbard, of Crompton, Rhode 
Island, and in accordance with the law of that early day, spent 
three years in study under his preceptor. Then becoming a 
student of the medical department of the University of New 
York, he graduated and was granted a diploma by that institu- 
tion in 1849, Doctor Valentine Mott being his professor in 
surgery. 

Doctor Card began practice in 1850 at Clayville, in the same 
state, and three years later located at Carolina Mills, in Wash- 
ington county, Rhode Island. Here he followed his profession 
successfully for nine years, when Willimantic, in 1861, offered an 
attractive field for his abilities. In 1864, during the late civil 
war, he entered the service as surgeon-in-charge of the right 
wing of the heavy artillery located on the James river in Vir- 
ginia, under General Butler, and continued until the close of the 
conflict. Resuming his practice in Willimantic, he has until 
the present time been busily engaged in its arduous duties 
throughout the county, and is now among the oldest practition- 
ers in the borough. In 1866 he was appointed examining sur- 
geon for his district by the Commissioner of Pensions, and con- 
tinued thus to act until 1870. In 1871 he spent a year in Balti- 
more, Maryland, in the study of dental surgery, and on his re- 
turn added this branch of practice to his former profession. 
The doctor was formerly a republican in politics, afterward en- 
tered with spirit into the liberal movement during the Greely 
campaign, and now votes independently and for the best man, 
irrespective of party. He is a member and trustee of the Wil- 
limantic Methodist Episcopal church, and past commander of St. 
John's Commandery No. 11, of Willimantic. Doctor Card was 
married March 25th, 1852, to Hannah T., daughter of Nathaniel 
Thurber, of Foster, Rhode Island. Their children are : Everett 
D. C, a practicing physician in Willimantic ; Huber D., a student 
in the Boston School of Technology ; and two who are deceased, 
Annette T. and David H. 




''^rS'resiffn * C'NT 



^ ^ ^^a^ra^, ^^.jr^s. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 183 

Everett D. C. Card graduated in 1875 from Hillside Seminary, 
Norwalk, Coiin., and then entered the medical department of the 
University of the City of New York, from which institution he 
received a diploma in 1881. He began practice in Willimantic 
in 1882. He is a member of the Windham County Medical 
Society. 

Eliphalet Huntington, M. D., was born of a prominent family 
of Windham, March 3d, 1816. He studied medicine under Doc- 
tor William Webb, of his native town, and received his diploma 
from Dartmouth College in 1848. He began to practice med- 
icine at Chicopee, Mass., where he remained five years. He then 
assisted Doctor F. S. Burgess, of Plainfield, for a time, and re- 
turned to his native town about 1855, where he died December 
30th, 1882. 

Surgeon General Charles James Fox. of Willimantic, was born 
in Wethersfield, December 21st, 1854. He was thoroughly edu- 
cated in district and private schools, graduated at the Hartford 
High School, class of 1872, and fitted to enter college at the age 
of eighteen. He received the degree of M. D., with high hon- 
ors, at the medical department of the University of New York, 
in February, 1876. After a thorough training at Bellevue and 
Charity hospitals of New York, during the time covered by the 
dates given, he received the appointment of house physician 
and surgeon from March 1st, 1876, to March 1st, 1877, at the 
Hartford Hospital. He located at Willimantic in April, 1877, 
where he has since been in active practice. He is a member and 
ex-president of the County Medical Society, a member of the 
State Medical Association, a permanent member of the Ameri- 
can Medical As.sociation and of the American Health Associa- 
tion. He has always interested himself in professional rather 
than political matters. May 18th, 1887, he married Lillian Wins- 
low, daughter of Reverend Horace Winsloiv, a former pastor of 
the Willimantic Congregational church. She died of acute 
Bright's disease September 28th, 1888, leaving no children. A 
frequent contributor to the leading medical journals, his writ- 
ings attracted marked attention. The Journal of the American 
Medical Association pays him the high compliment of referring 
to him editorially as " one of the most active and intelligent 
members of the profession in his state," and declaring that, 
though still a young man, he "has already attained distinction 
in his profession." 



184 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Doctor Fox was Fellow from the Windham Medical Society to 
the Connecticut State Medical Society in 1879, '81 and '84, was 
chairman of the committee on matters of professional interest 
to the state in 1885, and has frequently been chosen as the rep- 
resentative of the state society to other state organizations. He 
was elected by the American Medical Association to represent 
that body before the medical organizations of Europe in 1881 
and 1882, and has been medical examiner under the new cor- 
oner's law since July 1st, 1883. He has also been United States 
examining surgeon for pensioners since December, 1888, and 
was appointed surgeon general of the state of Connecticut, Jan- 
uary 6th, 1887, which office he still retains. Not oblivious to 
the importance of improving the social features of life, General 
Fox is a member of the Putnam Phalanx of Hartford, and a 
Knight Templar, serving with high honor in the chairs of the 
various Masonic bodies. Foreseeing the great advantage of 
such an institution to Willimantic, he became a charter mem- 
ber of the Board of Trade of that borough. He is also eminent 
commander of St. John's Commandery No. 11, Knights Templar, 
of Willimantic, and an officer of the Grand Commandery of that 
order in the state. 

Doctor Theodore Raymond Parker, a native of Montville, New 
London county, was born July 19th, 1855. He was the only son 
of Augustus A. and Harriet R. (Dolbeare) Parker. His early ed- 
ucation was obtained in the common schools, supplemented by a 
classical course at Norwich Free Academy, where he graduated 
in 1876. He then studied one year with Doctor Lewis S. Parker, 
of Norwich, after which he entered Yale Medical College, where 
he took three courses of lectures. In 1886 he graduated from 
the University of New York, and commenced practice in the 
same year at Columbia, Conn. Remaining there till 1882, he 
then came to Willimantic, where he still pursues the practice of 
his profession. He is a member of the county and state medical 
societies. His wife is the daughter of Edwin A. Buck. 

Samuel David, M. D., a native of the Province of Quebec, 
Canada, where he was born, at Chambly, August 13th, 1822, has 
practiced medicine at Willimantic since 1882. He was educated 
at Chambly College and graduated from Montreal Victoria Medi- 
cal College in 1846. He practiced at St. Ours until he came to 
W^illimantic. He married Catharine Bazin and has had nine 
children, two of Avhom died in infancy. The others are : Hermine, 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 185 

-wife of Doctor Omer La Rue, of Putnam ; Victor Samuel, a lawyer 
residing in Canada ; Charles H., a practicing physician at Stafford 
Springs, Conn.; Emma; Adelaid D., born in St. Ours, Canada, 
May 10th, 1862, educated at Sorel College, and now engaged in 
the drug business with his father on Main street, Willimantic, 
under the firm name of A. D. David & Co., and still pursuing 
medical studies, expecting to finish the course in the fall of 1889; 
and two other daughters, Angelina and Wilhelmina. 

Oliver B. Griggs, M. D. — The ancestry of this gentleman came 
from Scotland, in Europe, between 1650 and 1700, and settled in 
Roxbury, Mass. Thence two of the name — Joseph and Benja- 
min — emigrated to New Roxbury, Conn., where they became 
permanent settlers. Here their descendants have ever since re- 
sided. The great-grandfather of Doctor Griggs served during the 
revolutionary war, and Doctor Griggs has in his possession a 
military commission granted in 1771 to this ancestor by Governor 
Jonathan Trumbull, the original character to whom the title 
" Brother Jonathan " was given. Doctor Griggs' maternal grand- 
father, John ;5urnham, was engaged in the battle of Bunker Hill 
and served throuofh the war, while his grandfather on the other 
side, Captain Elijah Griggs, commanded a company at New Lon- 
don in the war of 1812. The father of our subject, Elijah Griggs, 
Jr., soon after his marriage removed from his former home in 
Pomfret to the town of Homer, Cortland county, N. Y., where 
Oliver was born, August 31st, 1823. About four years later his 
parents returned to Pomfret, where they continued to reside 
while he was growing up, surrounded, meanwhile, by the com- 
fortable circumstances of a well-to-do farm homestead. After 
attending the common school in Abington during his boyhood, 
at the age of seventeen he attended the academy at Lebanon 
one year and later spent nearly two years in Bacon Academy at 
Colchester. He taught school during five winters and two sum- 
mers. At the age of twenty he began to study medicine with 
Doctor William Witter, a prominent physician and surgeon of 
Willimantic. After being under his tuition four years he at- 
tended lectures at the Medical College of the University of the 
City of New York, where he graduated in March, 1847. During 
the same spring, being then in his twenty-fifth year, he com- 
menced the practice of medicine in Windsor, Conn., where he 
remained until the fall of 1856. After this time he removed to 
Mansfield, Conn., where he practiced till the spring of 1876. He 



186 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

then removed to Willimantic, where he has practiced ever 
since. 

For several years he was a member of the school board at 
Windsor, and during part of the time was acting school visitor. 
In 1858 he was elected town clerk and treasurer of Mansfield, 
and a year later, probate judge, justice of the peace and member 
of the board of education. Other official honors followed until 
he held nine different offices, all of which he held continuously 
until 1873, and some of them as long as he remained in Mans- 
field. On the 16th of July, 1848, he was married to Ann Eliza 
Norton, youngest daughter of Theron Norton, Esq., of Sanger- 
field, Oneida county, N. Y., her parents having, years before, 
moved to that place from Goshen, Litchfield county, Conn. Of 
three children born to Doctor Griggs, one died in infancy. The 
two surviving are Arthur Burnham, born December 21st, 1854, 
and Theron Norton, born February 27th, 1856. 

Dewitt Clinton Lathrop, M. D., the eldest of four children of 
James and Clarissa (Spicer) Lathrop, was born at Franklin, Conn., 
June 20th, 1819. His father was a farmer, and he secured a 
common school education, after which he studied medicine and 
graduated from Yale Medical College in the class of 1845. 
After receiving his diploma he practiced medicine with Doctor 
Ashbel Woodward, of his native town. In 1846 he commenced 
to practice by himself in Ashford, but in the following year he 
came to Windham Centre, where he remained till 1859, when he 
removed to Norwich. On the outbreak of the civil war he was 
appointed assistant surgeon of the Eighth Connecticut Infantry, 
and died in the service April 18th, 1862, at Newbern, N. C. A 
monument to his memory was erected in the cemetery at Wind- 
ham, by the members of his regiment. His wife was Charlotte 
Gray, a native of Windham. Their three sons survive-d him. 
James is master of athletics at Harvard College, William Webb 
resides in Bridgeport, Conn., and Henry Clinton is cashier of 
Windham National Bank, at Willimantic. 

Doctor Francis X. Barolet, a native of Riviere Du Loup, in 
the province of Quebec, Canada, was educated at La ASvSumption 
College, and after graduating there took a medical course at the 
University of Victoria, at Montreal, from which he gradu- 
ated in 1855. He commenced the practice of medicine at St. 
G'uillaume d'LTpton, Quebec, where he continued till 1867, 
when he came to Baltic, Conn. At the latter place he spent but 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 187 

a short time, removing to Putnam, where he practiced about 
twenty years. In 1887 he sold his practice and returned to St^ 
Guillaume, where he now resides. His wife was Maria Luce 
Henrietta Chenevert. Of their four children one died in infancy.. 
The other three are Louis Phillip, a dentist at Pawtucket, R. I. ; 
Armand, born at St. Guillaume, July 28th, 1863, graduated from 
Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, married Rosaline Jasmin,, 
has one child named Valmor, and is now a surgeon dentist in 
Putnam ; and Antonine, wife of Arthur Jasmin, and resides at St. 
Guillaume. 

Gardner L. Miller, M. D.— Augustus Miller, the grandfather 
of Doctor Miller, resided in the town of Wales, Mass. Among 
his ten children was a son George W., who removed to Spring- 
field, in the same state, where he was connected with the 
Springfield armory. By his union with Eliza, daughter of 
Jasper and Sophia Hyde, of Stafford, were born Francis H. and 
Ella S., both deceased, and Gardner L., the subject of this biog- 
raphy, whose birth occurred June 13th, 1857, in Stafford. At the 
age of five he removed with his parents to Springfield, and on 
attaining his eleventh year again made Stafford his home. Here- 
he attended the public schools and completed his academic edu- 
cation at the Monson Academy. He began the study of medicine 
with Doctor C. S. Sprague, of Stafford, now deceased, and in 
1877 entered the New York Homeopathic Medical College from 
which his diploma was received in 1880. He then located in 
Putnam and practiced for three years with success, when, de- 
siring further opportunities for a thorough knowledge of his 
profession, he went abroad and spent six months in the Univer- 
sity and hospitals of Vienna. Doctor Miller on his return re- 
sumed practice in Putnam and has since been thoroughly en- 
grossed with the labors incident to his profession. His field has 
constantly increased in dimensions, which may be regarded as a 
fair measure of the success he has attained. 

The doctor is a member of the State Homeopathic Medical 
Society and of the Worcester County Medical Society of Wor- 
cester, Mass. He is a director of the Electric Light Company 
of Putnam, and has been somewhat active in local republican 
movements, having served as member and chairman of the town 
committee, etc. No citizen has perhaps in so great a degree, 
promoted the development of the town by the erection of build- 
ings and the improvement of property. He was the prime mover 



188 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

in the co-operative building association, and has lent a willing 
hand to all public spirited enterprises. He is a member of 
Quinebaug Lodge, No. 106, of Free and Accepted Masons of Put- 
nam and of Putnam Chapter. Doctor Miller married, in 1880, 
Alice Holmes, of Ware, Mass. They have two children, a 
■daughter, Florence H., and a son, George L., aged respectively 
-eight and six years. 

Doctor Frederic A. Morrell is a native of the village of Strong, 
Franklin county, Maine, where he was born October 26th, 1857. 
He was the second son of James and Hannah (Hull) Morrell. 
After the usual common school experiences, he finished his gen- 
eral education at the Waterville Classical Institute. After study- 
ing medicine with Doctor P. Dyer, of Farmington, Me., he spent 
three years in the Long Island College Hospital, at Brooklyn, 
N. Y., and graduated there in 1885. He then spent a year in the 
Brooklyn City Hospital, after which, in the fall of 1886, he com- 
menced practice in Putnam, in company with Doctor J. B. Kent. 
He is a member of the state and county medical societies. He 
married Edith I. Body, and they have one son, to whom they 
liave given the name of the father. 

Omer La Rue, M. D., was born at St. Dennis, in the province 
of Quebec, March 14th, 1849. He was the second son and fifth 
child of Levi and Ann (Laptte) La Rue. From the age of eleven 
to nineteen years he was at the College of St. Hyacinthe, and 
graduated from the University of Victoria at Montreal in 1872. 
He removed to Putnam during the same year, and has since re- 
sided there, engaged in the practice of medicine. Here he held 
the office of chairman of the board of selectmen for 1887 and 
1888, and clerk of that body for 1888-89. He married Hermine, 
daughter of Doctor Samuel David. They have six children : 
Antonia, Arthur, Eudore, Bella, Aline and Maude. He is a mem- 
ber of the county and state medical societies. He is also pres- 
ident of the St. John Baptist Society of Putnam, and was pres- 
ident of the first convention of a benevolent society of French 
Canadians held in Connecticut, which took place in Willimantic 
in 1886 ; also an officer in a subsequent convention of the same 
society, and was delegate from Putnam to the national conven- 
tion of the same organization, which was held in Nashville, Tenn., 
in 1888. 

Daniel Bacon Plimpton, M. D., the second son of Chauncyand 
'Calista (Bacon) Plimpton, was born at Worcester, Mass., March 




'^'^^Frestonli C?N-^-^- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 189- 

4th, 1821. He received an academical education at Monson's 
Academy, at Monson, Mass., and graduated from the medical 
college at Woodstock, Vt., in 1841. He afterward attended a 
course of medical lectures at Boston. In 1846 he commenced 
the practice of medicine at North Oxford, Mass., where he re- 
mained about one year and a half, and then spent four months in 
Charlton, Mass. In the fall of 1847 he came to Putnam, and prac- 
ticed here until his death, in April, 1884, with the exception of 
a year and a half spent in business in Springfield, Mass. His wife 
was Tamar Davis, daughter of Asa Cutler, a native of Killingly.. 
They had two sons, Frederick Clinton and James Manning, both 
of whom are engaged in the Plimpton Manufacturing Company,. 
of Hartford. 

John H. Simmons, M. D., was born November 21st, 1811, at 
Ashford, in this county. His parents were Alva and Tryphena 
Simmons. His childhood and youth were spent in his native 
place, he receiving his early education in the district school and 
Ashford Academy. He received his diploma from the Medical 
Institution of Yale College in 1833. He was married to Mary 
Smart, of Salem, N. J., May 23d, 1839, by whom he had four chil- 
dren, three sons and one daughter. The three sons were in the 
United States service in the late war. The daughter died in 
1879. He was married the second time, to Mrs. Emeline E. 
Moulton, November 19th, 1877. He began the practice of med- 
icine in 1833 at Pomfret Factory (now Putnam). After remain- 
ing there one year he removed to Ashford, where he has contin- 
ued to practice till the present time. A very satisfactory degree 
of success has attended his labors, and he is still able, at the age 
of seventy-seven years, to do a comfortable business in his pro- 
fession. He was a member of the state legislature in 1855, and 
was in the state senate in 1861 and 1864. He held an office in 
the Internal Revenue department for five years, was post- 
master in Ashford two years, registrar of voters fifteen years, and 
registrar of births, deaths and marriages ten years. 

Lowell Holbrook, M. D., is a native of Thompson, where he 
has also been engaged in the practice of medicine from 1849 to 
the present time, with the exception of a few years spent in 
Brooklyn, N. Y., and other years, during the war of the rebellion, 
when he was in the service as surgeon of the Eighteenth regi- 
ment of Connecticut volunteers. His father and mother were 
Horatio Holbrook and Arcena Richardson, natives of Wrentham,. 



190 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Norfolk county, Mass. His father, Doctor Horatio Holbrook, 
was a practicing physician in Thompson and vicinity from 1815 
to 1856. The education of the son, Doctor Lowell Holbrook, was 
at Plainfield Academy, Monson Academy, Mass., and Brown Uni- 
versity, R. I. His medical education was at the New York Uni- 
versity, whence he received his diploma in 1849. He was married 
in 1845 to Mary E. Fisher, daughter of William Fisher, Esq., of 
Thompson, who was one of the earliest cotton manufacturers of 
Connecticut. She is still living, but they have no children. 
Among the most important official positions held by him maybe 
named those of representative of Thompson in the state legisla- 
ture in 1879 and president of the Connecticut Medical Society 
in 1884. 

Ichabod L. Bradley, M.D.,was born in Stafford,Conn., April 17th, 
1819, being the youngest son of Elisha and Abigail (Kellogg) 
Bradley. He studied medicine with Doctor Isaac Sperry, of Hart- 
ford, his practice being in the botanic course of medicine. He 
commenced to practice in Ashford, in this county, in 1848, fol- 
lowing the profession in that town and Eastford for five years, 
when he came to Putnam, in which town he practiced until his 
death, November 18th, 1880. His wife was Adaline, daughter 
of Leland and Casandana (Ransom) Slayton, a native of Wood- 
stock, Vt. Her mother was a sister of General T. B. Ransom, 
who was killed in battle during the Mexican war. Their chil- 
dren were : Frank S., now living in Newark, N. J.; Jane, who 
-died at the age of nine years; Ransom H., who resides in Put- 
nam; George vS., who resides in New Haven ; Carrie L., wife of 
Reverend Mortimer Gascoigne, a Methodist clergyman, located 
in Ohio ; and Leland, who is doing business in Southbridge, but 
makes his home in Putnam. 

Doctor Louis Oude Morasse was born in Sorel, province of 
Quebec, Canada, November 15th, 1860. He was the eldest son 
of Louis and Annette (Pouliob) Morasse. At the age of twelve 
years he entered the College of Sorel, and after remaining there 
three years he attended the Seminary of Three Rivers two years. 
He graduated from Sorel College in 1878, and afterward attended 
a medical course at the University Victoria, at Montreal, receiv- 
ing his diploma in 1884. He practiced in Sorel one year, and in 
1885 removed to Southbridge, Mass., and in 1887 came to Put- 
nam, taking there the practice established by Doctor F. X. Bar- 
olet. He is a member of the state and county medical societies. 
He was married May 3d, 1886, to Celia O. Bunze. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 191 

William Richardson, M. D., whose genealogy is traced from 
one of the same name who died in 1658, was a native of London- 
derry, N. H. The early ancestor referred to was William Rich- 
ardson, of Newbury, Mass., who married Elizabeth Wiseman, 
August 22d, 1654, and had a son, Joseph, born May 18th, 1655. 
The wife of Joseph, Margaret Godfrey, is said to have been 
the first white child born in Newbury. The youngest of their 
eight children was Caleb, born June 9th, 1704. He married 
Tryphena Bodwell, and they had ten children. Among the 
ten was William, born October 21st, 1756, a drummer in the rev- 
olutionary war, married Lydia Messer, and died March 21st, 
1836. He had nine children, the third of which was William M., 
born February 12th, 1795, married Betsey Pettengill, and had 
five children, the oldest of whom was William P., born July 26th, 
1821, married Sarah Hale Goodwin, and had four children. He 
was a blacksmith, farmer and lumber manufacturer of London- 
derry, N.H. The second of his four children was William, the sub- 
ject of this sketch. He was born February 26th, 1860. Spending 
his boyhood at work on the farm, in the woods and in the saw 
mill, and gathering his early education in the district school, 
he afterward attended the McGaw Normal Institute, at Reed's 
Ferry, N. H., several terms. In 1880 he began the study of 
medicine, attended three courses of lectures at Dartmouth Med- 
ical College, and received his diploma from that college No- 
vember 13th, 1883. He began to practice medicine in Lowell, 
Mass., in January, 1884, but returned to Londonderry in June 
of the same year, remaining there most of the time until June, 
1887, when he settled in Westford, and has practiced there un- 
til the present time. In 1884 he practiced a few months in 
Alexandria and Salisbury, N. H., and in 1886 spent part of the 
autumn in the New York Polyclinic School. He married, 
August 27th, 1884, Esther F. Whidden, of Auburn, N. H., and 
has had three children, but one of whom is now living, Flor- 
ence, born March 28th, 1886. 

Doctor Levi A. Bliss, now residing at East Woodstock, was 
born and educated in Massachusetts, his native town being 
Brookfield. He was born in August, 1828. He practiced med- 
icine a number of years in Woodstock and adjoining towns, be- 
ing one of the pioneers in the Homeopathic school of practice. 
He served in the late war as a member of Company K, in the 
Seventh regiment of Connecticut volunteers, receiving in the 



192 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

service injuries which in their subsequent development rendered 
him incapable of pursuing the practice of his profession. For 
several years he has been an invalid, almost entirely confined 
to the house. In the autumn of 1850 he married Lydia A. 
Coomes, of Woodstock, who is still living. They have no chil- 
dren. 

Doctor Frederic G. Sawtelle was born at Norridgewick, Me., 
educated at the Long Island College Hospital, at Brooklyn, N. Y.,. 
and established himself in the practice of medicine at Pomfret 
in 1881. He engaged in this field at the invitation of some 
of the citizens, after the death of Doctor Lewis Williams. His 
wife was Elizabeth Winthrop Tappan, and they have two chil- 
dren. 

Doctor Joseph D'Auray was born in Ste. Marie de Mannoir, 
Canada, in 1845. His parents were Charles C. and Marie Louise 
(Messier) D'Auray. At an early age he was sent to college at 
Ste. Marie, where he went through a classical course, and grad- 
uated with distinction in 1867. He then pursued the study of 
medicine, and received his degree at Bishop Medical and Surg- 
ical Institute, I. S. In 1871 he commenced practicing at Dan- 
ielsonville. Six months later he removed to Woonsocket, R. I., 
and practiced there for two years. He published for a time the 
first French newspaper in Rhode Island, Lc Canadicn. In 1872 
he was married and has had ten children born to him, five of 
whom are still living. He soon sold out and returned to Daniel- 
sonville, where he has since practiced with good success. He is 
the founder of two benevolent societies and a literary club, of 
which he was president, was an instigator of the first Canadian 
Convention of Connecticut, and made president of its first 
executive committee in 1884. 

Seth Rogers, M. D,, although not claiming to be a Windham 
county physician in all senses of the term, is yet too much asso- 
ciated with our subject to be passed without mention. He is 
about sixty-five years of age, and practiced medicine thirty 
years, during about ten of which he had a sanitarium. He now 
resides in Pomfret Centre, to which place he came from Wor- 
cester, Mass., after the civil war. He came here for rest and 
retirement, and during the twenty years or more that he has re- 
sided here has not taken up general practice, though he has oc- 
casionally been associated in consultation with other physicians. 
" He is a man of fine education and is well known in the cities 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 193 

as a physician." This remark is made on the authority of one 
of the prominent members of the Windham county medical fra- 
ternity, whose words are few and weighty. 

Doctor John Bryden Kent was born in Truro, Nova Scotia, 
November 16th, 1845. His parents were of Scotch descent witli 
an admixture of English blood from his maternal grandmother. 
After attending the common schools and private school for boys 
he entered the Provincial Academy, graduating thence in 1864. 
In the following year he entered upon the study of medicine 
with Doctor Charles Bent, in his native town, and in the fall of 
that year entered the medical department of Harvard University. 
He graduated from that institution in 1869, and soon after came 
to Putnam, and at once began the practice of his profession. 
Here he still remains. In 1882 he took a special course at Belle- 
vue Hospita], in New York city, in gynecology, and has since 
made that subject a specialty in his practice. For two years past 
he has been associated in business with Doctor F. A. Morrell, 
under the firm name of Kent & Morrell. He was married in 
1872 to Helen Abbie, only daughter of Honorable James W. 
Manning, of Putnam. They have one son, Jamie Manning Kent, 
now twelve years of age. Doctor Kent has been secretary of 
the county medical society, of which he is a member, and has 
seven times represented the state and county societies as a dele- 
gate to the American Medical Society, of which he is a perma- 
nent member. He has been for ten years a member of the school 
board, and was most of that time its chairman. He is post sur- 
geon for the town, examining physician appointed by county 
coroner, and acting examining surgeon for twelve insurance 
companies. 

Elisha Keyes Robbins, M. D., was born in Ashford, July 21st, 
1821. His parents were Hosea C. and Alice Robbins, of whose 
ten children Elisha K. was the eldest. He received a good com- 
mon school education, and then studied dentistry with Doctor 
Joshua Bailey, of Colchester Conn., one year. This profession 
not proving satisfactory, he studied medicine with Doctors Dick- 
inson and Holmes at the same place for two years, and with 
Doctor H. E. Cook, of East Haddam, for another year. He then 
attended one course of lectures at the Eclectic Medical College 
of Worcester, Mass., and another course at the Metropolitan 
Medical College of New York, obtaining his diploma in May, 
1853. Since then he practiced medicine in Webster, Mass., four 
13 



194 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

years and in Eastford the remainder of the time to the present, 
with the exception of three years— July, 1862, to August, 1865 — 
spent in the U. S, army hospital. He was married. May 1st, 1842, 
to Lucy Ann, daughter of Captain Nathan and Lucy Burnham, 
of Eastford, and they have one son, Erwin E., a merchant in 
Putnam. Doctor Robbins has served as registrar of births, mar- 
riages and deaths ten years ; as registrar of electors fifteen 
years ; as representative to state legislature for the session of 
1881, and as judge of probate for the district of Eastford two 
years, and has now commenced on a second term of two years 
in that office. 

S. P. Ladd, M. D., was born in Franklin, Conn., December 5th, 
1847. He was the son of S. J. P. Ladd, and the maiden name of 
his mother was Philena B. Hazen. She was a gifted woman 
and a graduate of the Academy of Wilbraham, Mass., and gave 
her personal attention largely to the education of her son in the 
years of his childhood. He was at the age of ten years placed 
under the care of Reverend Dr. S. J. Horton, who conducted a 
family school for boys at Windham. Here he received a most 
thorough classical training for three years, during which time 
his mother died and her plans with regard to his education were 
abandoned. His further education was, however, pursued for a 
few terms at Plainfield Academy and Ellington High School. 
Leaving the latter place in 1864, he enlisted in the United States 
navy, and served until after the close of the war in 1865. He 
then passed several months on his father's farm, and in 1866 
found employment in a country store as a clerk. In April, 1869, 
he found a better position in a freight office in Hartford. During 
this year, June 7th, he married Miss Sarah A. Meacham, whose 
acquaintance he had made while in the Ellington High School. 
His son, Frederick P. Ladd, was born June 11th, 1870. While 
occupying these clerkships. Doctor Ladd ever preserved a vigor- 
ous determination to pursue his studies, and found some time to 
carry out that determination, and at the same time was able to 
save money enough to help him in its sub.sequent prosecution, 
though often in the face of very discouraging circumstances. He 
was thus enabled, in 1876, to enter the medical department of 
the University of the City of New York, from which he gradu- 
ated in February, 1879. He then spent one year in the Hartford 
Hospital, the first half as assistant and the last half as resident 
surgeon and physician. He then practiced in Portland, Conn., 







^^Vi':Freston5^C'Nr. 



/>-^^ J^/^^. 



^-l^^^Q'/^^^ 



A<S) 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 195 

for two year.s and a half, and in Putnam for one and one-half 
years, and in 1884 removed to Moosup, where he still remains, 
and is realizing in his practice a degree of success exceeding his 
expectations. 

F. S. Burgess, M. D., was born in the village of Moosup, Aug- 
ust 15th, 1827, and was educated in the common schools until 
about sixteen years of age, when he was sent to a high school in 
Norwich for three years. After graduating there, he com- 
menced the study of medicine with Doctor D. M. Rose, of Her- 
kimer, N. Y., for two years. He also spent one year in the Al- 
bany Medical College, under the tutorship of Professor Alden 
March. He graduated from that institution in the winter of 
1849-50. He was married March 16th, 1852, to Miss Julia 
Wheeler, of West Winfield, N. Y. She died August 16th, 1888, 
leaving no children. Doctor Burgess began the practice of med- 
icine in Jewett City, New London county, in the autumn of 
1851. He remained there until the autumn of 1855, when he re- 
moved to Moosup, where he has since been established. He was 
representative from the town of Plainfield in the state legislature 
in 1857 and 1867, and was surgeon-general of the state for four 
successive years under Governor Charles R. Ingersoll. Doctor 
Burgess is still in active practice, with a commendable degree of 
professional enthusiasm, fully determined to " die in the har- 
ness." 

Nathaniel Hibbard, M. D., was born in Maulmain, Burmah, a 
town in British India, June 13th, 1855, his parents being Ameri- 
can missionaries to that country, sent out by American Baptists. 
His father, Charles H. Hibbard, was a graduate of Brown Uni- 
versity in 1850. Young Hibbard was brought to this country at 
five years of age, and has lived in New England ever since. His 
youth was spent in the state of Vermont. He prepared for col- 
lege at the Worcester Academy, and entered Brown University 
in 1874. Here he graduated with the degree of A. B. in 1878, 
and after spending several months of 1879 in Europe, entered 
Harvard Medical School in the fall of that year. There he re- 
ceived the degree of M. D. in 1882. Since December of that year 
he has practiced medicine in Danielsonville. He was married 
to Miss Jennie Robinson, of Providence, R. I., in January, 1885, 
and they have one son. 

Charles H. Colgrove, M. D., was born in Lisbon, New London 
county. Conn., in 1841, his father being a farmer of that place. 



196 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

He had an academical education, and attended two courses of 
medical lectures at Harvard University, and graduated in Detroit 
in 1872. Since that time he has practiced most of the time in 
Willimantic, where he now resides. He was married in 1875, 
and has two children. He is a member of the Connecticut 
Homeopathic Medical Society, is contributor to two medical 
journals, and examiner for two insurance companies. He is also 
a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. 

Doctor Henry L. Hammond was born at East Killingly, Sep- 
tember 7th, 1842. After completing his studies in the common 
schools, he attended Williston Seminary, East Hampton, Mass., 
graduating from that institution, and later from Brown Univer- 
sity, where he received the degree of B. P. in 1864. He then 
studied medicine, graduating at Harvard Medical College in 
1866. During the late war he served as acting assistant surgeon 
in the 25th Army Corps, Army of the James, going into Rich- 
mond at its .surrender. He commenced the practice of medicine 
in Pawtucket, R. I., removing thence to Hudson City, N. J., 
where he remained until 1876, during part of which time he was 
chosen city physician and police surgeon, and was in charge of 
the city during the epidemic of small pox. In August, 1870, he 
married Emma Demy Rawson, of Norwich, Conn. On account 
of his health, he removed to and located at Saratoga, N. Y., and 
later, his health still failing, he was obliged to give up his prac- 
tice there ; and then he spent two years in traveling, during 
which time he visited the Azores and some of the Canary islands. 
After his return he located in Killingly, where his father. Doctor 
Justin Hammond, had practiced medicine for forty years. In 
addition to a very limited practice, he was appointed assistant 
surgeon of the Third regiment C. N. G., which position he 
still holds. In December, 1884, he was appointed United States 
pension surgeon, and assigned to duty at Norwich, Conn., where 
he was made secretary of the United States pension examining 
board, which appointment he still retains. He was post surgeon 
for Windham county in 1886 and 1888. He has also been prom- 
inent in many social, beneficial, literary and professional organ- 
izations of the town and county. 

Harvey H. Converse was born in Brimfield, Mass., December 
19th, 1846. His mother dying when he was five years of age, 
leaving eight children in limited circumstances, of which he was 
the youngest, he was placed away from home to live, and under 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 197 

such circumstances he attended the common school until he 
reached the age of twelve, after which he attended a grammar 
school in Southbridge, Mass., one year, a school in Worcester one 
year, and a high school in Providence, R. I., one year. Having 
now arrived at the age of sixteen years he went to the war and 
served during three years, being in twenty-two general engage- 
ments, receiving two wounds and spending two months in Libby 
Prison. At the close of the war he had saved eight hundred 
dollars, with which he set to work preparing himself for his 
future profession. In 1878 he graduated at the American Uni- 
versity Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania, and com- 
menced practice November 1st, of the same year, in the town of 
Stark, Maine. After five years' practice he was obliged by sick- 
ness to give up his work. Later he located in Hampton in this 
county, where he has been engaged in practice five years. He 
is a member of the Eclectic Medical Association of Connecticut, 
and holds numerous positions of local honor in the town, being 
also a member of the National Eclectic Medical Association. 

James Fabien Mcintosh, M. D. C. M., was born April 2d, 1861, 
at St. Polycarpe, in the county of Soulanges, Canada. In 1870 he 
entered the Montreal College, beginning there his classical 
course, and in 1876 entered the Great Seminary of Montreal to 
study philosophy. He began his medical course in Victoria 
University of Montreal, and in 1886 received the degree of 
M. D. C. M. In the same year he became a member of the 
Canada Medical Association, and on the 9th of November of the 
same year he came to North Grosvenor Dale to engage in the 
practice of medicine. April 19th, 1887, he married Marie Louise 
Azeline Mayer, eldest daughter of Edward Mayer, of Montreal, 
Canada, an officer of Her Majesty the Queen Victoria. They 
have one child, born January 25th, 1888, whom they have named 
Marie Louise Hermine Yvonne Berthe. The father of Doctor 
Mcintosh was a member of the Hudson Bay Company. 

Jesse M. Coburn, M. D., was born at Pittsfield, N. H., March 
27th, 1853, being the eldest son of the Reverend J. M. Coburn, 
then pastor of the Pittsfield Baptist church, but in 1854 removing 
to the pastoral charge of the Baptist church at Manchester, N. H. 
Here the subject of this sketch grew up, passed through the 
graded public schools and fitted for Harvard College. He after- 
ward graduated at Pembroke Academy and became a student of 
medicine in the office of Doctor O. S. Sanders at Boston, where 



198 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

he remained two years. He then became associated with Doctor 
N. P. Clark, of New Boston, N. H., as a student and general 
practitioner, and later attended lectures at the Hahnemann 
Medical College of Philadelphia. After graduating there he 
entered the office of Professor J. H. Woodbury, registrar of Bos- 
ton University, receiving a diploma from that institution in the 
class of 1874. He settled at South Framingham, Mass., and 
built up a large practice, which at the end of five years he dis- 
posed of and immediately assumed the practice of Doctor Frank 
Brigham, of Shrewsbury, Mass., during the absence of the latter 
in Europe. On his return, in the spring of 1881, Doctor Coburn 
removed to Brooklyn in this county, where he succeeded to the 
practice of Doctor James B. Whitcomb. In Augu.st, 1879, he 
married Abbie M. Cutler, daughter of A. G. Cutler, of Shrews- 
bury, Mass., by whom he has two sons. 

Doctor S. C. Chase was born in Killingly, August 23d, 1817. 
He has practiced magnetism and homeopathy continuously since 
1856, and after more than thirty years of professional life he ex- 
presses himself as well satisfied with the degree of success which 
has attended his labors. Throughout a long life he has been 
pre-eminently a man of affairs, having held the offices of con- 
stable, selectman, and judge of probate, and represented his na- 
tive town in the state legislature. He is still in practice at East 
Killingly. 

William H. Judson, M. D., now practicing medicine at Daniel- 
sonville, is the son of Andrew Judson, of Eastford, born August 
26th, 1820, who was the son of Zuinglus Judson, also of Ashford, 
born January 30th, 1790, who was the son of Andrew Judson, 
born in Stratford, Conn., in 1749, and became the first Congre- 
gational minister settled in Eastford, and was a direct descend- 
ant of William Judson, of Yorkshire, who settled in Salem in 
1632. On his mother's side, Doctor Judson is connected with the 
families by the names of Work, Storrs, Southworth and Mat- 
thews. He was born in Milford, Mass., June 27th, 1854, gradu- 
ated at Jefferson Medical School, of Philadelphia, where he had 
been under the old masters, Panchost, Gross, Dacosta, and others, 
in 1878, and began the practice of medicine in Abington the 
the same year. In 1879 he removed to Wauregan, and in J 886 
to Danielsonville, where he still remains. In the pursuit of his 
education he worked his own way, from the farm in Mendon, 
Mass., on which he worked till eighteen years of age, through 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 199 

Phillips, Exeter, and Michigan University Medical School, and 
one year at Philadelphia. He was married December 3d, 1886, 
to Annie Kinney, at Wauregan. They have no children. 

Doctor Orin Witter, the elder, was born in Brooklyn, Conn., 
July 15th, 1797. He studied medicine with Doctor Hutchins, of 
his native town, and with Doctor Thomas Hubbard, of Pomfret, 
completing his medical studies at Yale Medical College in the 
year 1820. During the same year he established himself in 
Chaplin as a physician, and soon gained the confidence and ap- 
probation of the people. Two years later, when the town was 
incorporated, he was chosen the first town clerk. He was later a 
member of the board of education, and also judge of probate 
for the district. The latter office he held for a term of years, in- 
deed until he arrived at the age of seventy years, and was thus 
disqualified for holding it longer. He continued to practice med- 
icine for nearly fifty years, and until about two years before his 
death. He was married to Florenda Preston, daughter of Josh- 
ua Preston, March 31st, 1824. They had two daughters and one 
son. One of the daughters died in infancy ; Cornelia, the other 
daughter, married Doctor E. C. Holt, of Bennington, N. J.; and 
the son retains the name and profession of the father at the 
present time. Doctor Witter, the elder, died February 2d, 1869. 

Doctor Orin Witter, the younger, was born in Chaplin, April 
25th, 1835. After completing his academical course, he com- 
menced the study of medicine under the tutorship of his father, 
and attended lectures at Yale Medical College and the College 
of Physicians and Surgeons of New York city, graduating at the 
latter institution in the year 1859. He was married to Helen A. 
Utley, daughter of James R. Utley, May 26th, 1864, and they 
have had two children, a daughter who died at four years of age 
and a son who is still living. After graduating. Doctor Witter 
commenced the practice of medicine in Chaplin with his father, 
and has continued in that field until the present time. He has 
never sought political honors, but being pressed by the solicita- 
tions of friends, consented to be once nominated and was elected 
to represent the town in the assembly in the year 1877. In the 
town he has held the office of registrar of births, marriages and 
deaths for a number of years. 

Doctor Hiram Holt, who for nearly fifty years was a physician 
in active practice at Pomfret, was the son of Nehemiah Holt and 
Mary Lanphear, his first wife, and was born at what is now the 



200 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

town of Chaplin, then Hampton, January 31st, 1798. He was a 
descendant of Nicholas Holt, the ancestor of the most numerous 
branch of the Holt family of New England, who sailed from 
Southampton, England, on the ship " James," of London, and 
landed at Boston, Mass., in 1635. His name appears on the ship 
roll as Nicholas Holte, of Romsey, tanner. He settled at And- 
over, Mass., where he died in 1685. 

His grandson, George Holt, removed in 1726 from Andover to 
a part of the town of Windham, then known as the Canada Soci- 
ety. There Doctor Holt's ancestors continued to live, and there 
he was born. His grandfather was a soldier in the French war 
of 1756, and his father in the revolutionary war. His ancestors 
from the time of Nicholas Holt were all farmers, and he was 
reared on the old homestead in Chaplin, working as a farmer's 
boy until he was nearly of age. Then, by teaching school, he 
saved money enough to support himself while studying med- 
icine. He went to Pomfret in 1821, and became a student with 
Doctor Thomas Hubbard, then the leading physician in eastern 
Connecticut and later a professor in the Medical vSchool of Yale 
College. Doctor Holt attended a course of medical lectures at 
that school, but was not able to complete the course ; he how- 
ever received an honorary degree of M. D. from Yale in 1834. 
He then settled in Pomfret, where he continued to reside and 
actively practice his profession until his death, with the ex- 
ception of a short period about the year 1843, during which 
he resided at Mexico, Oswego county. New York. He died at 
Pomfret, November 30th, 1870, in his seventy-third year. He 
married, in 1828, Marian Chandler, of Pomfret, who died in 
1857. He subsequently married Martha S. Cotton, of Pomfret. 
Three children of the first marriage are living. 

Doctor Holt had, for a country physician, a large practice and 
a high professional reputation. He was especially fond of surg- 
ery, for which a natural ingenuity and cleverness in the devising 
of appliances and the use of instruments of all kinds naturally 
fitted him. He always kept a complete set of carpenter's tools 
and other mechanical implements, the use of which, in repairing 
and making all kinds of household things, was one of his princi- 
pal recreations, and his natural ingenuity in repairing fractures 
and dexterity in using instruments made all surgical operations 
fascinating to him. Outside of his profession he was a man of 
force in various respects. He had by nature a strong and log- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 201 

ical mind, with a masterful will and an unusually retentive mem- 
ory. He could quote by memory whole pages from favorite 
authors, particularly from Scott's poems. Antiquities and local 
history particularly interested him, and his knowledge of the 
ancestry and family relations of the people of eastern Connec- 
ticut was minute and accurate. He was a capital talker, having 
a great fund of odd and entertaining information, and was an 
especially good story teller, with a keen sense of fun and ad- 
mirable imitative powers. He was a man of unusual energy and 
activity, fond of labor for its own sake. Personally he was a 
good specimen of the old type of Windham county men. He was 
of a large and powerful frame, fully six feet high, with the 
massive head and strong face that one sees in the pictures of the 
continental generals and the New England men of that time. 
Mrs. Caroline F. Corbin, herself a native of Pomfret, in a novel 
published some years ago called " Rebecca, or a Woman's Secret," 
introduced Doctor Holt, under another name and a thin disguise, 
as a character in the book ; and the portrait which she there 
draws of him is, in some respects, an accurate picture, not only 
of the little ways and mannerisms which were characteristic of 
him, but also of the essentially good and just character of the 
man. 

Doctor William Witter was born in Canterbury in 1804, and 
died in 1851 at the age of forty-seven. He was the fifth in line 
of descent from Deacon Ebenezer Witter and his wife, Dorothy, 
who settled in Preston, Conn., before 1699, having come thither 
from Scotland, though the family is understood to be English at 
a more remote period of its history. The line of descent is as 
follows: Deacon Ebenezer Witter, farmer and founder of the 
family in this country, born 1668 and died in 1712. His son, 
Ebenezer Witter, farmer, born 1700, lived in Preston and died 
1790. He was the father of fifteen children, and, as an old ac- 
count quaintly says, " He was also very punctual in family wor- 
ship, and when confined to his bed with a broken limb and on 
his back he led the family in prayer morning and evening." 
His son. Deacon Asa Witter, farmer, born 1744, married Joanna 
Kinne in 1765, lived at first in Preston, but after his marriage 
removed to Canterbury, and died in 1792. He was a justice of 
the peace, a representative in the legislature of the state, and a 
" councillor " among his neighbors. His son, Ebenezer Witter, 
farmer, born 1777, married Eunice Bass in 1799, lived in Canter- 



202 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

bury, died in 1833. His son, Doctor William Witter, subject of 
this sketch, was born in 1804 and died in 1851. He married 
Emily Bingham in 1829, lived in Canterbury, studied medicine, 
graduating at the Medical School of Williams College, Williams- 
town, Mass., and settled as a practicing physician in Willimantic, 
where he lived thenceforward. He was a learned man in his 
profession, and enjoyed in the latter part of his life a surgical 
practice extending into the larger cities and towns of the state, 
was a prominent citizen, a representative and senator at times, 
and found time even in the midst of pressing professional duties 
to exercise the interest he naturally took in the cause of public 
education. Many young men who afterward became leading 
physicians, studied medicine in his office, and he seems to have 
been willing also to devote time to this work. He was a man 
of sterling integrity and uprightness, and was highly respected 
by all who knew him, and he especially had the love and esteem 
of all his many students as well as patients, toward whom he 
was uniformly kind and considerate, and by whom he was im- 
plicitly trusted. On his maternal side he was a descendant of 
the Waldo family. His grandfather, three times removed, was 
Cornelius Waldo,who, coming from England, settled in Ipswich, 
Mass., in 1654, and was the grandfather, twice removed, of Ralph 
Waldo Emerson. His more ancient ancestry includes Peter 
Waldo, the reputed founder of the sect of the Waldenses, who 
died in 1179. 

The wife of Doctor Witter was Emily Bingham, a descendant 
of Captain John Bingham of revolutionary memory. Of this 
union were born eight children, six of whom survived early 
youth. These were as follows : Frances, married Hubert Foot, 
whom she survives with an only daughter, F. Huberta Foote : 
Maria, married Joseph Watson, and in second nuptials Thomas 
Turner, whom she survives, both of Willimantic ; Emily, mar- 
ried Timothy Ingraham, and they have one daughter, Gertrude, 
who married Ezra Sanders of Cleveland, Ohio ; Anne, married 
Herbert F. Palmer, and they have one son, F. Herbert Palmer, 
a graduate of Columbia College ; William Clitus, the only son, 
was born in 1842, entered Brown University in 1861, served in 
the United States army, 10th Rhode Island Regiment as a non- 
commissioned officer, during the college vacation of 1863, re- 
turning entered Yale College and graduated in 1865, graduated 
from Columbia College Law School in 1867, studied law in the 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 203 

office of William M. Evarts in New York city, and is now senior, 
member of the law firm of Witter & Kenyon in that city, mar-, 
ried Florence Wellington, of Boston, Mass., in 1871, and they 
have one child, Florence Waldo, born January 17th, 1887; Hor- 
tense, the youngest of the six of Doctor Witter's children, mar- 
ried Edson Lewis, and died in 1875, leaving one daughter, named 
Hortense. Some years after the death of his first wife. Doctor 
V/itter married Cynthia Barrows, daughter of Daniel Barrows, 
of Mansfield, Conn. 

Henry R. Lowe was born at Mercer, Maine, January 20th, 1849. 
His early life was spent on the farm until arriving at the age of 
twenty-one, meanwhile receiving a common school education. 
He afterward attended the Eaton Family and Day School at Nor- 
ridgewock, Maine, four years. He commenced the study of 
medicine in 1876 with William S. Robbins, in his native town, 
and later attended Dartmouth Medical College, from which he 
graduated in the fall of 1882. He commenced the practice of 
medicine at Worcester, Mass., in the spring of 1883. He was 
married to Mrs. Exoa Stanton, of Shrewsbury, Mass., January 
1st, 1884, and removed to Woodstock Valley, Conn., in the spring 
of 1885, where he continues to practice medicine at the present 
time. 

William A. Lewis, M.D., was born in Greenwich, R. L, in 1829. 
He received his education at East Greenwich Academy, in that 
state, and studied medicine with Doctor Nathan S. Pike, of this 
county. He graduated at Harvard Medical College in 1851, and 
since that time has been a practicing physician of this 
county. He is now located in the town of Plainfield, his post 
office address being at Moosup. He was married in November, 
1864, and has one daughter, now twenty-one years of age. Doctor 
Lewis was a member of the Connecticut house of representatives 
in 1873, and was state senator from the 13th Senatorial district 
from 1880 to 1882. 

Isaac B. Gallup, M.D., of Willimantic, was born in West 
Greenwich, R. I., August 16th, 1846. After receiving an educa- 
tion in the usual common and select schools of the time, he read 
medicine with his father, Alvan W. Gallup, M.D., attended two 
full courses of lectures at the Eclectic Medical College of Penn- 
sylvania and graduated in the winter of 1870-71. He immedi- 
ately located at Scotland in this county, where he practiced medi- 
cine several years. In February, 1878, he removed to Willi- 



204 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

mantic, where he has since remained. In the winter of 1885-86 
he attended lectures at the Eclectic Medical College of New 
York city. He also attended, in the winter of 1888-9, a post 
graduate course at the New York Polyclinic (regular), visiting 
meanwhile the various hospitals of the city. He married Miss 
Marietta C. Hebard, of Scotland, Conn., September 16th, 1879, 
and has two children: Inez M., born July 8th, 1880, and Bertha 
C, born April 19th, 1883. 



CHAPTER XIII. 



ANECDOTE AND LOCAL STORY OF OLD WINDHAM. 



By Miss Jane Gay Fuller. 



The Mystery of Gates. — The Battle of the Frogs. — Revolutionary Anecdotes; — 
That Little God Bacchus. — The House the Women Raised. — The Black Sheep. 
— A Character. — ''Tea-total." — Doctor Cogswell and Phyllis. — An Old 
Family of Scotland. — The Story of Micah Rood. — " No blood relation of 
mine." — The Fine. — Story of Abijah Fuller. — Sabbath Breaking. — Strong 
minded Women. — The First Locomotive. — Windham Wags. — Old Time 
Pedagogues. 



AN impenetrable veil enshrouds the name and fame of Wind- 
ham's first settler, a veil in which many threads of ro- 
mance are interwoven with dark lines of adversity. An 
English refugee, after long years of wandering and exile, found 
a resting place at last in the wild woods of Connecticut. He 
was a gentleman of culture and wealth, accustomed to all the 
refinements of civilization, the companion of rulers and states- 
men. A Puritan of the Puritans, firm and indomitable as their 
great leader, he had rode with Cromwell and his valiant Iron- 
sides to battle in the defense of Protestantism. But a storm 
cloud darkened the sky of England. The sudden death of the 
protector shook her political fabric from its foundation and 
planted another Stuart on the throne. " Blood for blood " was 
now the royal mandate, and the Cromwellian leaders were forced 
to flee from home and country to escape the block or gibbet. 
Everywhere throughout the Old World and the New were posted 
directions for the seizure and arrest of all persons known or sus- 
pected of being implicated in the fate of Charles Stuart. How 
many of these fearless men who dared affix their signatures to 
the death warrant of their king escaped to this country will 
never be known with any degree of certainty. That the first set- 
tler of Windham was one of them there is little reason to doubt, 
as tradition speaks of long journeys through the wilderness to 



206 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

raset former associates, several of whom were known to be in 
adjoining colonies. But as simple John Gates he preserved his 
secret inviolate to the end. We only know for a certainty that 
after more than a quarter of a century of weary wandering, 
everywhere fearing the minions of the king, he came to Norwich 
and thence through an untrodden forest to his final retreat. 

With a faithful negro attendant whom he had purchased in 
Virginia, he dug a cellar in a rocky hillside a little north of the 
present village of Windham, and in that forlorn spot spent the 
long winter of 1688-9. That he had silver and gold remaining 
after so long an exile subsequent events fully proved ; but miles 
and miles from a human habitation, it could at first have con- 
tributed little to their comfort. Game was abundant, however, 
and the faithful Joe ever on the alert ; so the winter wore away 
in safety and spring dawned happily for the colonies and thrice 
happily for the exiles. The vindictive monarch had been de- 
posed and William and Mary were seated on the throne. The 
infamous Andross was driven from the country, and the royal 
offenders could now emerge from their rocks and caves and 
breathe in comparative security. 

The proprietors of the tract that had afforded an asylum for 
the English exile began to take measures for its immediate 
settlement. Gates came forth from his hiding place, purchased 
land, and with his servant built the first house in the nameless 
township. Already advanced in life, with a constitution im- 
paired by hardship and privation, he lived for several years to 
be the firm ally and prudent counsellor of the youthful settle- 
ment. His name is often seen in the early records of the town, 
and the interests of education and religion lay near his heart. 
The first minister. Reverend Samuel Whiting, became his warm 
friend, but not even to him nor to his trusty housekeeper was 
his identity ever revealed. Only occasional allusions to his past 
fell from his lips, and he died as he lived, unknown. 

To the church, of which he was one of the earliest members, 
he bequeathed a service of plate and two hundred acres of land 
in trust for the poor. He also gave two hundred acres as a per- 
manent school fund to his adopted town. To his friend, Mr. 
Whiting, he gave a bed, a chest and his wearing apparel, also 
the trusty servant who had been the companion of his dreary 
solitude. That he had been a kind master the inconsolable grief 
of Joe fully attested, and the poor fellow did not long survive 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 207 

him. Both were buried near the place of their first concealment, 
and a rough stone, rudely initialed, marked for a time the spot. 
When the first cemetery was laid out the body of Gates was re- 
moved thither and a stone, ample for the times, bore the fol- 
lowing inscription : 

In 

Memory of 

Mr. John Cates. 

He was a gentleman born 

In England, 

And the first settler in the 

Town of Windham. 

By his last 

Will and testament 

He gave a 

Generous legacy 

To ye first 

Church of Christ in 

Windham, 

In plate and a generous 

Legacy in land 

For ye support of ye poor. 

And another 

Legacy for ye support 

Of ye school 

In said town forever. 

He died 

In Windham 

July ye 16th, A. D. 

1697. 

The stone is mossed with age, and it seems but just that the 
several towns, that for nearly two centuries have shared his 
munificent bequests, should now unite in the erection of a more 
lasting monument to the memory of their generous benefactor — 
the stranger and exile. 

The Battle of the Frogs. 

" The direst fray in all that war 
To shake King George's crown, 
Was when the Bull-frogs marched at night 
Against old Windham Town." 

A few years since, while traveling in the Northwest I met a 
party of Eastern tourists at the Falls of St. Anthony. Among 
them was our honored historian, George Bancroft. After a pleas- 
ant introduction he exclaimed, "-From WindJiam, Connecticut ! 
A Bullfrog!" "Yes," I said, " I acknowledge the Frog! Here is 



208 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

one perched on one of our bank notes. It is the Windham coat- 
of-arms;" and the note was handed round with much merriment. 
Most of the party were familiar with the story of the frogs, but 
for the amusement of those who were not, it was briefly re- 
peated. 

It was the summer of 1758, during the memorable French and 
Indian war, when bloody incursions were being made all along 
the northern boundary. Windham was then a frontier town, 
the most important in eastern Connecticut. Colonel Eliphalet 
Dyer, a prominent citizen and one for whom the enemy so loudly 
clamored, had just raised a regiment to join the expedition 
against Crown Point, and many of the bravest men of the town 
were already in the field with General Putnam, battling with the 
savages. Rumors of massacre and bloodshed were in the air, 
and doubt and apprehension had taken possession of every 
heart. No wonder the inhabitants were filled with alarm when, 
one dark, foggy night in July, they were aroused from midnight 
slumber by sounds such as no mortal had ever heard before. 
Parson White's negro, returning from a nocturnal carousal, ap- 
pears to have been the first to hear the startling clamor. Rush- 
ing frantically to his master he exclaimed, " O Massa, Good 
Lordie Massa, don't you hear dem coming — de outlandish ?" 

Sure enough the parson heard and raised an alarm that brought 
from their beds as incongruous a mass of humanity as can well 
be imagined. Women and children shrieked and cried and ran 
hither and thither, adding to the general din and hubbub ; while 
men armed themselves valiantly to meet the foe. The night 
was pitchy dark and the direction of the sounds not easy to de- 
termine. At first they seemed to fill the whole heavens, which 
led many to believe the day of judgment was at hand ; but a 
wise old darkey declared " de day of judgment couldn't come in 
de nighty 

Distinct articulations were at length imagined, and there was 
no longer a doubt of their source. An army of French and In- 
dians was at hand calling loudly for " Colonel Dyer and Elderkin 
too " — their prominent lawyers. Every man who had a gun, 
sword or pitchfork rushed up the eastern hill whence the clamor 
now seemed to proceed, but no foe was met and darkness covered 
all. " Borne through the hollow night," the dreadful sounds 
continued, while the dauntless pursuers, utterly confused and 
bewildered, stood with their arms awaiting the dawn. The so- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 209 

lution of the mystery was then made clear. A mile away to the 
east of the town was a marshy pond, the home of thousands of 
batrachians, large greenbackers and mottled little peepers, such 
as often make night hideous. A drought had reduced their pond 
to a narrow rill, and for this the poor thirsty creatures had 
fought and died like Greeks at the pass of Thermopylse. Tradi- 
tion says thousands of the dead frogs were found the next morn- 
ing on both sides of the rill, and the terror-stricken Wind- 
hamites turned their prayers to praises for so gracious a de- 
liverance. 

The above is the simplest and we believe the only authentic 
account of the most wonderful, and at the same time the most 
ludicrous event in our early history. The occurrence certainly 
made old Windham famous, but it does not appear that the ac- 
tors in the comedy very much enjoyed the merriment at their 
expense. The Windham wits had long been the terror of the 
county. Their practical jokes are traditional. The tables were 
fairly turned upon them now, and as the story flew, gathering 
increased strength in its flight, fresh outbursts of retaliatory fun 
were borne in upon them from every quarter. Rhyme and dog- 
gerel circulated freely, and ballads of the frog fight were sung 
both in high places and low. Even grave clergymen conde- 
scended to banter, and a letter from the Reverend Mr. Stiles of 
Woodstock to his nephew, a Windham lawyer, is still extant, 
in which the spirit of fun is manifest, while its puns are 
atrocious. 

It is related that once, when Colonel Eliphalet Dyer was sent 
as a delegate to the first congress held in the city of New York, 
his arrival was greeted with shouts of laughter. Alighting from 
his carriage he found a big bull-frog dangling from the hinder 
part, hung there, presumably, by some wag en route. Whatever 
may have been his feelings at the time, the inhabitants of Wind- 
ham have long since ceased to be sensitive in relation to the 
affair. The story is their own and they love it wherever it 
is told, and they love the old pond, with its fragrant lilies, 
which vandal hands are attempting to drain and destroy. 

Of all the exaggerated accounts of the above, the most mar- 
velous and untruthful is that of the Reverend Samuel Peters 
in his " General History of Connecticut," which President Dwight 
unhesitatingly called " a mass of folly and falsehood." He stated 
that "one night in July the frogs of an artificial pond three 
14 



210 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

m,iles square and five miles from Windham, finding the water 
dried up, left in a body and marched, or hopped, for the Willi- 
mantic river. Taking the road through the town which they 
entered at midnight, bull-frogs leading, pipers following with- 
out number, tJicy filled a road forty yards ividc for four miles in 
length, and zvere several Jwnrs in passing the town." This is a fair 
sample of the whole book, and proves its author a very Mun- 
chausen for veracity. 

As we have stated before, the frog-fight was the theme of 
many ballads, some founded on Peters' narrative, others on a 
more truthful statement of facts. All are amusing relics of 
the times, and worthy of being preserved as curiosities of his- 
tory as well as of literature. The following, believed to be the 
most ancient, is said to have been composed by a youthful son 
of Lebanon, who was undoubtedly glad to have a hit at his 
rival townsmen, and Windham's numerous lawyers. It bore the 
following lengthy title : 

"A true relation of a strange battle tetween some Lawyers and Bull-frogs, set 
forth in a new song, written by a jolly farmer of New England." 

LAWYERS AND BULL-FROGS. 

" Good people all, both great and small, 
Of every occupation, 
I pray draw near and lend an ear 
To this our true relation. 

' ' 'Twas of a fright, happened one night, 
Caused by the bull-frog nation. 
As strange an one as ever was known 
In all our generation. 

" The frogs, we hear, in bull-frog shire 
Their chorister had buried ; 
The saddest loss and greatest cross 
That ever they endured. 

" Thus being deprived, they soon contrived 
Their friends to send to greeting, 
Even to all, both great and small, 
To hold a general meeting. 

" Subject and lord, with one accord. 
Now came with bowels yearning, 
For to supply and qualify, 
And tit a frog for learning. 

" For to supply immediately 
The place of their deceased ; 
There did they find one to their mind. 
Which soon their sorrow eased. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 211 

" This being done, tlie glorious sun 
Going down, and night advancing, 
With great delight they spent the night 
In music and in dancing. 

" And when they sung, the air it rung, 
And when they broke in laughter. 
It did surprise both learned and wise, 
As you shall find hereafter. 

" A negro man, we understand, 
Awoke and heard the shouting. 
He ne'er went abroad, but awaked his lord 
Which filled their hearts with doubting. 

" They then did rise, with great surprise, 
And raised the town or city, 
Although before unto the poor 
They never would show pity. 

" With one accord they went abroad, 
And stood awhile to wonder, 
The bull-frog shout appears, no doubt, 
To them like claps of thunder. 

" Which made them say the judgment day, 
Without a doubt was coming, 
For in the air, they did declare, 
Was very awful drumming. 

*' Those lawyers' fees would give no ease. 
Though well they're worth inditing; 
To pray they kneel — alas! they feel 
The worm of conscience biting. 

" Being thus dismayed, one of them said. 
He would make restitution; 
He would restore one-half or more — 
This was his resolution. 

" Another's heart was pricked in part, 
But not touched to the center, 
Eather than pay one-half away, 
His soul, he said, he'd venture. 

" Then they agreed to go with speed 
And see what was the matter; 
And, as they say, that by the way, 
Repenting tears did scatter. 

' ' They traveled still unto the hill 
With those men they did rally. 
Then soon they found the doleful sound 
To come out of the valley. 



212 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

" Then down they went with one consent, 
And found those frogs a-singing, 
Raising their voice for to rejoice, 
This Avas the doleful ringing. 

" Home those great men returned then 
Now filled with wrath and malice, 
And mustered all, both great and small, 
From prison and from palace. 

" Swearing, I say, thus in array, 
To be revenged upon them; 
Thinking it best, I do protest. 
To go and fall upon them. 

" Then armed all, both great and small. 
With guns and swords and hatchets. 
An Indian king could never bring 
An army that would match it. 

" Old Stoughton ran and charged up his gun 
And flourished his sword in the air. 
But not being stout he at last gave out 
And fell on his knees to prayer. 

" Then armed with fury, both judge and jury, 
Unto the frog pond moved; 
And, as they say, a fatal day 
Unto the frogs it proved. 

" This terrible night the parson did fright 
His people almost to despair. 
For poor Windham souls among the bean poles 
He made a most wonderful prayer. 

" Lawyer Lucifer called up his crew, — 

' Dyer and Elderkin you must come too.' 
Old Colonel Dyer you know well enough 
He had an old negro, his name was Cuff. 

" ' Now, massa,' says Cuff, ' I'm now glad enough 
For what little comfort I have, 
I make it no doubt my time is just out. 
No longer shall I be a slave.' 

" As for Larabie, so guilty was he, 
He durst not step out of his house; 
The poor guilty soul crept into his hole. 
And there lay as still as a mouse. 

" As for Jemmy Flint he began to repent 
For a bible he never had known. 
His life was so bad. he'd give half he had 
To old Father Stoughton for one. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY, 213 

" Those armed men they killed them, 
And scalped about two hundred, 
Taking, I say, their lives away, 

And then their camp they plundered. 

" Those lusty frogs they fought like dogs, 
For which I do commend them, 
But lost the day, for want, I say, 
Of weapons to defend them. 

" Home those great men returned then 
Unto the town with fury, 
And swore those frogs were saucy dogs. 
Before both judge and jury. 

" I had this story before me 
Just as I have writ it, 
It being so new, so strange and true, 
I could not well omit it. 

" Lawyers, I say, now from this day 
Be honest in your dealing, 
And never more increase your store 
While you the poor are killing. 

" For if you do, I'U have you know. 
Conscience again will smite you, 
The bull-frog shout will ne'er give out 
But rise again and fight you. 

" Now Lawyers, Parsons, Bull-frogs, all, 
I bid you each farewell ; 
And unto you I loudly call 
A better tale to tell." 

Revolutionary Anecdotes. 

Old Windham was like a bottle of champagne, ever ready to 
burst forth on occasion. Opportunities to show her spirit were 
not wanting- in the eventful years preceding the revolution. 
News of the stamp act created a general fermentation, and 
when it was ascertained that one of her own citizens had ac- 
cepted the appointment of deputy stamp master, he was waited 
upon without delay and forced to surrender his letter and make 
a solemn promise to decline the office. Nor was this enough. 
The boys were overflowing with patriotism, and no doubt liked 
a little fun withal ; so as an example and warning it was de- 
termined to hang and burn their culprit in effigy. Word was 
dispatched to all the neighboring parishes, and over the Scotland 
hills, down the Mansfield road and up the Norwich pike came 
throngs of the faithful to join in the popular demonstration. 



214 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

A g-allows was erected on Windham Green, on which the un- 
fortunate offender was suspended, and afterward taken down and 
burned with loud acclamations. 

This was only an introductory performance. Finding that the 
governor of the colony had determined to enforce the orders of 
the king, a band of five hundred horsemen from Windham and 
New London counties, with several days' provisions in their 
saddle-bags, and armed with such weapons as were within their 
reach, sallied forth to intercept the newly appointed stamp master 
on his way to Hartford. Putnam is said to have been the in- 
citer of the movement, but being too ill at the time to accompany 
the expedition, the command was given to Captain John Durkee, 
a brave son of Hampton, or what was then Canada Parish. 

The cavalcade met Ingersol before he reached the city, and 
forced him, vi et arviis, to sign a resignation prepared for him 
beforehand, and return to his legitimate business. A few days 
later General Putnam waited upon the governor in person, and 
assured him that if he made any further attempt to force the 
stamps upon the colony his house would be leveled with the 
dust in five minutes. 

To show how this insult to the people's rights had taken pos- 
session of the popular feeling, and what satisfaction was felt at 
the repeal of the odious act, the quaint expression of Jonas Man- 
ning may be cited. Manning was a famous stone-cutter and 
epitaph writer, and the labor of his hands and brain may still 
be seen in all of our rural cemeteries. His residence was in the 
south part of the town, and inserted in the wall, over the front 
door, was a heavy stone slab, on which the following lines were 
chiseled : 

" Liberty, Pi'operty, restored again 
In George ye Illds most gracious reign; 
Now Liberty, Property and no excise, 
God bless our Kings and keep tliem wise. 

" Jonas Manning 1766." 

The lines were copied from the tablet many years ago. The 
old house has since been burned and the historic stone was re- 
duced to fragments by the fire, otherwise it might have stood 
as a lasting memorial of the times in the archives of the state, 
the Historical Society of Hartford having made overtures for 
its purchase. 

The aggressive patriotism of the Windhamiteswas manifested 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 215 

again in their summary dealing with the Reverend Samuel 
Peters, of Hebron, who forbade his parishioners taking tip arms 
in the cause of Liberty, on that memorable Sabbath when the 
whole country was aroused by the news that powder, stored in 
Cambridge, had been removed to Boston by order of General 
Gage. 

This tory divine had long been suspected of sending informa- 
tion abroad, as well as to the resident colonial governors and 
agents. The resolutions of the colonists were satirized and 
ridiculed, while he stigmatized them as traitors. Windham was 
his especial target. In a series of insulting " Resolves " he says : 
" Bostonians would be able to support their own poor after 
Windham and other towns have paid their legal demands." And 
again, " We cannot find any good reasons why the good people 
of Windham undertook to arraign and condemn Governor Hutch- 
inson and others for ignorance, insult and treason against law 
and common sense only for differing in sentiment with some of 
their neighbors, since there were a few names in Sardis," etc., 
and he recommends a day of fasting and prayer " that the sins 
of this Jiaiighty people may not be laid to our charge as a Govern- 
ment," etc. 

Such insolent insinuations were not suited to the Windham 
taste. A committee of five of their leading men was detailed to 
visit and deal with their reverend antagonist. Miss Larned, in 
her very interesting history, gives a graphic account of this 
visit, from which we make extracts : 

" On Tuesday Sep. 6th the Committee, accompanied by some 
hundred of their fellow citizens from the surrounding country, 
proceeded to his house in Hebron, which they found barricaded 
and filled with people, said to be armed. A deputation was sent 
in to inform Mr. Peters of their determination to obtain retraction 
and satisfaction for his late conduct. A parley was held through 
the window. Mr. Peters attempted to justify himself, and said 
he had no arms except two old guns out of repair. They replied 
they did not care to dispute with him, and advised him to ad- 
dress the people who thronged about the house, etc. Putting on 
his white priestly robe, he came out with all his official dignity 
and proceeded to plead his cause, when the discharge of a gun 
within the house startled his hearers. The indignant patriots 
proceeded at once to tear down the barricades, and rushing in, 
found loaded guns and pistols, swords and heavy clubs, thus 



216 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

putting the lie to his assertion. Notwithstanding this discovery 
he was allowed to proceed with his harangue and retire un- 
molested, with the understanding that he should draw up and 
sign a satisfactory declaration. Peters delayed, equivocated and 
quibbled until the waiting crowd lost all patience and proceeded 
to deal with him in a more summary manner. Forcing their 
way into the house again, they seized the struggling divine, 
tearing his sacred Episcopal gown, and putting him on a cart he 
was hauled by his own oxen to the meeting house green, where 
they sat him upon the public horse block and compelled him to 
sign a declaration and humble confession, framed by the com- 
mittee, to the intent that he repented of his past misdeeds and 
would give them no further cause for complaint. He was then 
made to read this paper aloud, sentence by sentence, to the great 
crowd surrounding the horse block, which thereupon gave three 
triumphal cheers and quietly dispersed." 

In reporting this affair Peters, with his customary veracity, 
declared, " The Sons of Liberty destroyed his windows, rent his 
clothes, even his gown, almost killed one of his church people, 
tarred and feathered two, and abused others." 

A few days after he retired to Boston, and sailed for England 
in November. Miss Earned very justly adds "that the rancor 
of his subsequent letters is the best apolog}^ for his assailants." 
These letters, full of spite and malignity, were brought back 
from Boston by two of Peters' friends who accompanied him 
thither. A party of patriots met them at a tavern, and suspect- 
ing they had communications from Peters, questioned them, but 
allowed them to proceed on their way. It appears they were not 
yet beyond surveillance. A man hidden behind a fence over- 
heard them say " they might be searched before they reached 
home and get into trouble and therefore had better hide their 
letters." He watched them and saw them alight near a stone 
fence, then remount and hurry onward. The letters were found 
in the wall, the men pursued and brought back. They denied 
having letters and offered to declare it upon oath, but when the 
documents were shown they were obliged to own the bringing 
and hiding of them. The town in which this occurred was red 
hot old Windham and her ardent citizens were the detectives 
and punishers of the unfortunate wayfarers. 

The story of the capture of " Peters' spies " was quickly noised 
abroad, and young and old, men, women and children hurried 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 217 

to the scene of action. Alarmed for their safety the convicted 
tale-bearers begged for mercy, but public sentiment demanded 
their punishment. The victims were allowed the choice of 
running the gauntlet or of being whipped at the public whip- 
ping post. Finding there was no help for them, they decided 
on the former, much to the delight of the spectators who could 
all have a hand in the infliction. After the Indian manner, 
two opposing lines were formed stretching all the way across 
the village green from the tavern to the meeting house. The 
two men were forced to run between them receiving from the 
enraged populace kicks, cuffs, pokes and insulting epithets to 
the end of the line. 

This story of "Peters' spies" and their punishment by the 
Windham boys and some of the girls, if we may believe the 
tradition, was an especial favorite with the revolutionary vet- 
erans, who added much wit and drollery to their narration. The 
letters in question were to his mother, a resident of Hebron, 
and to Doctor Auchmuty of New York. In them he affirmed 
that six regiments with sundry men of war were on their way 
from England, and as soon as they came hanging-work would 
go on ; destruction would first attend the seaport towns, etc. 
To the doctor he added that the clergy of Connecticut with their 
churches must fall a sacrifice to the rage of the Puritan nobility 
if the old serpent, that dragon, is not bound. With much else 
he adds : "Their rebellion is obvious; treason is common and 
robbery their daily devotion." Were the reverend gentleman 
living at present the descendants of those same doughty Puri- 
tans would undoubtedly make him chaplain of the Annanias 
Club. 

That Little God Bacchus. 

Travelers on the old stage route from Providence to Hartford 
cannot fail to remember a quaint little figure perched on the 
outstretched arm of a great elm that stood directly in front of the 
Staniford House. The figure represented the jolly god Bacchus, 
nude and chubby, sitting astride a cask and holding in his arms 
before him a basket of fruit, grapes, lemons, peaches and pears, 
all colored so naturally as to tempt the youthful passer-by. 

The image had a saucy look. There were great dimples in 
his chin and cheeks, a roguish laugh in his .shining black eyes 
and on his parted lips. Grape leaves and clusters of grapes en- 



218 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

circled his head. His naked body had the look of flesh, and he 
sat astride his red cask with an air of festive enjoyment. This 
strang-e figure had a most singular history. On the 10th of June, 
1776, the Americans captured in Long Island sound the British 
ship " Bombrig," Captain Sneyd, of the royal navy, with all her 
officers and crew. Four of the prisoners, including the captain, 
were brought to Windham and lodged in the old jail, where they 
remained for several months. Their names were Edward Sneyd, 
commander ; John Coggin, boatswain ; John Russel, ship's car- 
penter, and William Cook, seaman. The fate of their fellow 
prisoners is unknown. The widow Carey, afterward Mrs. John 
Fitch, was at that time landlady of the inn adjoining the jail, 
and her kindness to the prisoners warmed their hearts with 
gratitude and incited them to the only return in their power, 
the carving of a wooden image for a keepsake. The subject was 
well chosen for those times when conviviality and good cheer 
were supposed to be the special attractions of a country tavern. 
Russel, the carpenter, was undoubtedly the suggester and master 
workman, as he had served an English apprenticeship and un- 
derstood the carving of figure-heads as well as the fashioning 
of masts. In some way they got possession of a huge pine log, 
and with no other implements than their jack knives, they as- 
sailed it as the sculptor assails the block of marble to bring 
out the hidden image it conceals. Many days of wearisome cap- 
tivity were thus beguiled and brightened by this labor of love ; 
but little could they have dreamed that they were thus tranvS- 
mitting their own names and history to future generations. 

In due time the work was completed and presented to their 
kind benefactress, who placed it as a sign in front of her hotel, 
where it remained until her marriage with Mr. John Fitch, when 
it was removed to the old Fitch tavern. The heirs of Mr. Fitch 
are said to have sold it to the landlord of the Staniford House, 
by whom it was placed on the outstretched arm of his great 
elm to smile a welcome to coming guests. For a quarter of a 
century it enjoyed this lofty elevation, when a storm, more fierce 
than had ever before assailed it, hurled poor Bacchus to the 
ground. One arm was broken, but with the other he clung firmly 
to his basket of fruit. 

For some time the pretty wine god had been frowned upon 
by some of the straiter of the modern moralists as an emblem 
of license, rather than of hospitality ; so with the temperance 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 219 

movement, bruised and sore, the innocent little fellow, like 
Dickens' poor Joe, was forced to " move on," and for three years 
lay in the vile obscurity of a wood house. But better days were 
dawning. A true son of Windham discovered his retreat at 
last, and for a paltry sum became possessed of one of the finest 
historical relics of the revolution. 

After surgical treatment and a fresh coat of paint Bacchus 
was taken to New York for exhibition, and old friends who 
chanced to see it were surprised to behold there the pet of their 
childhood. In 1872 it was removed to Hartford and placed in 
the window of A. E. Brooks, where it still remains, gazing ro- 
guishly out on the passers-by and telling its wonderful tale of 
the past to the thoughtful inquirer. 

Many anecdotes are related of it. While on its way to Hart- 
ford a lady in the car saw it and was filled with indignation 
that a monstrosity should be allowed to travel thus. Her wrath 
was only appeased when the history of the singular traveler 
was explained and comprehended. 

An old lady, leaning on a cane, was walking slowly up the 
street in Hartford when she came to a sudden standstill at sight 
of the well remembered image. " Why ! if there isn't Bacchus," 
she was heard to exclaim. " I haven't seen him for years and 
years!" and she went on murmuring "for so many, many 
years." What memories of childhood that figure evoked. 

Before closing this brief sketch it may be of interest to the 
reader to know the fate of those British prisoners who wrought 
under so many discouragements so lasting a mark. Their story 
was published in the New London Gazette of November 29th, 
1776. By some means the four men had managed to escape 
from jail and make their way to Norwich, hoping to reach Long 
Island and regain the British army. 

The Gazette says: " Tuesday night last, one John Coggin, late 
boatswain of the ' Bombrig,' who, with the three other prisoners 
broke out of Windham jail, was foitnd on board a brig in this 
harbor. He gives the following account of said prisoners, viz.: 
That the night after breaking out of jail they, with one Lewis, 
who was taken in a prize vessel captured in New York harbor 
by a party under Captain Nathan Hale, stole a canoe near Nor- 
wich Landing, in which they attempted to cross the sound to 
Long Island, but at the entrance of the Race near Gull Island 
the canoe upset, when all of them except Coggin were drowned." 



220 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Coggins' story is probably true, as nothing was ever heard of the 
men afterward, although Captain Sneyd was an officer of ability 
and high rank in the British navy. 

Heartfelt sorrow for the fate of the gentle mannered men 
whom the fortune of war had placed in their midst for a season 
was undoubtedly felt by many a good Windhamite who read 
the above; and the token of their gratitude, wrought with such 
skill and patient care, was the pride, not only of its fair re- 
cipient, but of the whole town. No one lives now who looked 
upon it then. Children and children's children have passed 
away, old animosities are forgotten ; a New World has sprung 
from the wilderness with more than a century of growth and 
unparalleled prosperity, but that little image remains as a link 
to the past. Were it mine I should write upon it the names of 
the four prisoners and " Sacred to memory." 

The House the Women Raised. 

The women of the American revolution were worthy of being 
the wives and daughters of brave men. Strong and courageous, 
they were not only the inciters to patriotism, but most ardent 
workers in its cause. They accepted privation and sacrifice 
as a pleasure, and took up the burdens imposed on them with 
a cheerfulness that made them light. It has often been stated 
that at one period during the war not an able bodied man was 
left in Canada parish. The women planted and harvested, then 
had their merry huskings; pulled the flax and hatcheled it, and 
had their spinning bees ; thus aiding and encouraging one an- 
other while keeping the wolf from the door. These same women 
were undoubtedly the first celebrators of the declaration of Am- 
erican independence, not with cannon and drum beat, but in a 
much more novel manner. 

Only the parish minister, well advanced in years, an old doc- 
tor, and a one-legged carpenter, represented the adult manhood 
of the place ; all were in the army. One of these men who left 
with the first volunteers had been collecting lumber preparatory 
to the erection of a new tenement.- As months passed and he 
did not return, it occurred to his wife to set the lame carpenter 
to work and have the frame ready against his coming. When 
this was done and still the army claimed its soldiers, another 
idea was suggested — a proposition to the women to have a 
merry-making on the 4th of July, and with the instructions of 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 221 

the carpenter, to raise the house. Never did proposal meet a 
heartier response, and on the morning designated, the young 
girls and strong-handed women were assembling from every 
quarter of the town, ready for service. Before nightfall a frame, 
two stories and ample, was ready for covering, the carpenter in- 
sisting that never before in his experience had a building gone 
up so smoothly. 

A few years since, when the good people of Hampton were 
celebrating the 4th of July, a patriotic address was made by the 
late Governor Cleveland, in which he told the story of the 
house the women raised and the names of the parties interested. 
At the close of the exercises a procession was formed and 
marched to the spot, where three hearty cheers were given to 
the brave women who celebrated the 4th of July for the first 
time in so remarkable a manner, and who left behind them a 
monument of strength and courage, we venture to say, unpar- 
alleled in history. 

The Black Sheep. 

" Baa ! Baa ! Black sheep, 
Have you got any wool ? " 

Some one of our colonial ancestors brought over from the Old 
World a heraldic bear with a crown on its head, and called it 
the family coat-of-arms. It became obsolete with our independ- 
ence. Were we to choose another, it would be a black sheep. 

Historic mention has often been made of the seventeen cousins 
from one school district in the second society of Windham who 
enlisted in the revolutionary army, and of their noble record. 
In that cold winter of 1777-8, a regiment of the continental 
troops was ordered from Rhode Island to New Jersey. The line 
of march lay through Connecticut, only a few miles south of the 
home of these cousins, the survivors of whom were scattered 
far and wide in the ranks of the patriot army. 

One of these, a mere youth, who had already seen more than 
a year of hard service, was a member of the regiment which 
was making its way to New London. So near his home, he felt 
a great desire to see his mother and friends, and at his request 
his kind captain gave him permission to turn aside for a single 
night. The February snow was falling thickly when he reached 
the homestead, and the ragged soldier, powdered and white, 
was not at first recognized. His aged grandmother was dozing 



222 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

in the corner arm chair, with her knitting work in her lap ; his 
mother, who had been busy at her loom, left it to question the 
new comer of news from the army ; while his young sister was 
stirring a pot of bean soup for the family dinner. The poor boy 
was too much overcome at first to speak, but a moment after 
was weeping in his mother's arms — weeping, not for himself, 
but for the darling son and brother who went forth with him 
to return no more. Poor Willie had fallen in the woods of 
Maine in that terrible march of Arnold to Quebec. 

It was long before the old grandmother would be satisfied that 
the poor, ragged, famished-looking youth was their own sturdy 
boy, her especial pet and favorite ; but when convinced of his 
identity, her knitting needles clicked louder than usual, while 
tears streamed down her furrowed cheeks. " I knew poor Willie 
would never stand soldiering," she said after awhile, "but Jim- 
mie was stouter — built just like his grandfather. He has come 
home all skin and bones." 

" Not quite. Granny dear," he said, turning and caressing her 
in his old way ; " you just see me eat now ! " 

His sister had just placed before him a bowl of warm soup, 
which he devoured eagerly, while his mother unbound the rags 
from his travel-sore feet and washed them, then drew on a pair 
of warm socks and a pair of his father's half-worn shoes — better 
than he had seen for months. The clothing they sent him in 
autumn never reached him, and the government had done 
nothing for its soldiers that winter, except to furnish a scanty 
supply of blankets. 

" Never mind, Jimmie," his sister said, cheerfully, " we can 
make you another suit before you go. We have just commenced 
the summer cloth." 

" I have to leave in the morning," he replied, rather sadly. 
" My regiment broke camp yesterday, and is on its wa}^ to New 
Jersey to be ready for some early movement. My orders are to 
be in New London to-morrow night." 

What a damper his words cast over their joy ! Only one night, 
and what could they do for him in that brief period ? There 
was not a yard of cloth in the house, except a few yards of white 
flannel which had been sent to the mill in autumn and returned 
undressed, as the clothier had gone to the army. There was not 
a yard in the neighborhood, nor an inch for sale in the market. 
What could they do? A bright thought flashed through the 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 223 

young girl's mind. Her little brother had just come in from the 
barn, and was sitting on Jimmie's knee. She whispered some- 
thing in his ear, and he was off in a moment. 

" Do you remember Dido, Jimmie?" she asked her brother. 

"You'd better believe I remember her," he said. "Whatever 
became of the ugly imp? " 

" She is alive and well, and has turned patriot." 

Dido was a black cosset, given to Hettie by one of the royal- 
ists, who left the country at the commencement of the war, and 
was as vicious a creature as could be imagined. Not another 
sheep on the farm would eat at the same rack with her, and she 
had to be confined in the winter in a solitary outhouse. Before 
her brothers left home they advised their sister playfully "to 
tie the king's documents around the critter's neck and make a 
colonial messenger of her, or else send her to England with the 
other black sheep." 

Nevertheless, Dido had been tenderly cared for by her young 
mistress, to whom she was uniformly gentle and docile. The 
little brother's orders were to lead the cosset into the cellar — 
not an easy task, for while he slip-noosed a cord aroimd her 
neck she vStamped at him, butted him with her hard head, and 
tried to bite his knees ; but the boy's will was as strong as her 
own and she was pulled into the cellar. Hettie was there before 
them with a large pair of shears in her hand. 

"Now, Dido," she said, "you have never made any sacrifice 
for your country, but you must do so now. Lie down, my pet, 
and give me your coat ! " 

At a wave of her hand the creature obeyed, and caressing 
her, Nettie began to shear the long, coarse wool from her back. 

" Take this to grandma, Eben, and ask her to card it before I 
come up. And then you run as fast as you can to Aunt Remem- 
ber's, and ask her and Cousin Sallie to come here right away, and 
help get Jimmie off in the morning. They'll want to see him 
and hear from the army." 

It did not take Hettie long to shear the wool from Dido's 
body and sew around it a warm blanket. Then she hastened up 
the stairs with her burden, which was laid at her grandmother's 
feet. The great wheel was next brought nearer the fire, and the 
rolls, already carded, laid beside it. 

" How glad I am you finished weaving in that web this morn- 
ing, mother! "she said, gaily. "We can now send Jim away 



224 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

with a new suit of linsey-woolsey black as Dido. It will at least 
look better than a white flannel one at this season of the year." 

" Is the gal crazy?" asked the old grandmother, resting for a 
moment on her cards. 

" Crazy with joy, then ! Your rolls run beautifully, grandma ; 
warm from the sheep, you know. Jimmie, can't you quill? " 

A hearty laugh, the first they had heard from the young sol- 
dier, did their hearts good. Hettie's tongue buzzed as fast as 
her wheel. As soon as she had spun enough for a single quill, 
she called on her mother to wind it, fill her shuttle, and begin 
the fabric. Never had they wrought more cheerfully ; thei e 
was no time to think of the morrow. Cousin Sally and her 
mother soon joined them, and another pair of cards and another 
wheel helped on the work. The carding and spinning were fin- 
ished at nightfall, and the evening was not spent when the fab- 
ric was cut from the loom. Aunt Remember was a tailoress, and 
while the supper was preparing she measured Jimmie for the 
round jacket and loose trousers, which she said could easily be 
made before morning. 

A pleasant night they made of it while the storm wind 
whistled without. The boys cracked nuts and Jimmie told camp 
stories until after midnight, when the two were sent to bed in 
their mother's room, which opened from the warm kitchen. 
Early the next morning she stole softly in and awoke little Eben, 
that he might feed old Dolly and make ready for departure, as 
he was to accompany his brother on his way. Jimmie appeared 
at the breakfast table in his new suit, and laughingly promised 
his sister that Dido should have a pension at the close of the 
war if she was living. 

When the sword of Corn wallis was placed in the hands of their 
beloved commander-in-chief, that broken band of cousins, with 
their surviving comrades, came marching home. There was a 
wedding at the old homestead not long after, and when Hettie 
left her father's house for a new home of her own, proudly in 
the train that accompanied her was led the old cosset, with one 
of her lambs as black as herself at her side. For more than a 
century the story of Dido and that linsey-woolsey suit has been 
an heirloom. The children and children's children have heard 
it, and from that day to this a black sheep has been the family 
pet and pride. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 225 

A Character. 

Every town has its — I will not say vagabonds, but easy-go- 
lucky fellows, who flourish, like dodder, with no root in the 
ground. Some years ago Scotland parish had one of this sort, 
who got his living by fishing, hunting, and occasionally hooping 
a tub or cask. It entered his odd head at last that a help-meet 
would be in order, and he applied to one of the good farmers of 
the neiafhborhood for the hand of one of his daug-hters. 

"What!" said the old gentleman, in astonishment. '■'You, 

Daniel, want a wife? What on earth could you do with one? " 

"Why," returned the young man, straightening up to his full 

six feet, " I can almost support myself, and it's a darned poor 

woman who couldn't help a little." 

The farmer did not see it so, but it seems the daughter did, 

and in spite of opposition she became Mrs. Daniel . For 

years they obtained a precarious livelihood, the '' zvoman help- 
ing a little " by tending a turnpike gate. But turnpike gates 
became obsolete with the march of improvements, and Daniel 
became rheumatic and was no longer able to haunt the streams 
and woods ; then the town became their almoner. 

Some time after her husband's death a small legacy fell to the 
widow, when it was suggested by a relative that it would be a 
good time to procure a stone to mark his grave. The old lady 
looked serious for a moment, as if considering the matter, then 
replied: " Wal, now, I reckon if the Lord wants Daniel in the 
day of judgment He can fi)id him zvitJwut a guideboard ! " 

When the old lady came to her death-bed she was visited by a 
minister, who, with other inquiries, asked her if sJie had made her 
peace with God. She looked astonished, and after a little replied : 
" I don't remember as the Lord and I ever had any difficulty." 

Tea-total. 

" The women took the matter up 

And said, ' We do agree 
To plant our gardens green with sage, 

And drink it all, 'ere we 

Will taste the Tory tea ! 
The barley malteth in the sun , 

The raspbez'ry leaves are free, 
And we will teach the little ones 

To glean industriously. 

And tell them Liberty 

Is sweeter far than tea.' 
15 



226 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

' ' And boys went whistling through the street, 

' Oh, not a fig care we 
For England's herb-drink — bitter-sweet ! 

Hurrah for Liberty ! 

We drink no Tory tea ! ' 
Brave lads they were; and when the strife 

In earnest was begun, 
They dropped the school-book for a fife. 

Or took a rusty gun — 

Still shouting valiantly, 

' Well drink no Tory tea ! ' 

" But England sent the tea along, 

Though men of all degree 
Protested loud against the wrong. 

And said, ' We've no idee 

Of paying tax on tea ! ' 
And Boston men did more, for when 

The ships at anchor lay 
Three hundred chests of tea were steeped 

In Massachusetts Bay. 

But who went out to tea 

Was not so plain to see."* 

The passage of the Boston port bill gave Windham a new 
dragon to fight, and men, women and children were ready for 
action. For years tea had been the bete noir of their special an- 
tagonism. No one was permitted to bring it into the town, or 
even to taste a drop of the " detested weed," under penalty of 
seeing his name gazetted as an enemy to his country, or at the 
risk of a coat of tar and feathers. The venerable Doctor Cogs- 
well and lady, of Scotland parish, greatly offended his parishion- 
ers by indulging in the prohibited beverage after returning from 
the burial of a beloved daughter, whose sudden illness and 
death had nearly prostrated them. The transgression was made 
public and the reverend gentleman informed that the offense 
would be reported to the committee of inspection. Greatly agi- 
tated, he went at once to that body and informed them that the 
tea had been taken by advice of a physician, and they promised 
to waive proceedings. But his parishioners were not so easily 
satisfied. " Better to die," they said, "than to be guilty of so 
evil an example ! " And many worthy members refrained from 
church-going unless their minister would make a public confes- 
sion from the pulpit ; and their action was commended by a 
majority of the citizens of the neighboring parishes. 

* Extract from an old poem by a Windham lady. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 227 

Nothing delighted the Windhamites so much as the tidings of 
the destruction of those ship-loads of tea in Boston harbor, and 
nothing since the passage of the stamp act had aroused their in- 
dignation to such a pitch as the closing of the harbor in conse- 
quence. The news reached Windham on Saturday, and before 
night handbills were posted all over the town. Mr. White took 
the subject into the pulpit the next day, and made a most earnest 
appeal for their brave suffering brethren, exhorting his listeners 
to concert some speedy measure for carrying aid to the be- 
leaguered city. There was no need of such exhortation, for 
already had the citizens resolved in their minds what they could 
best spare from their own necessities. 

A town meeting was called at once, and there was a grand 
rally from every section of the town. The old meeting house 
was crowded to its utmost capacity, women and children filling 
the galleries. Solomon Huntington was moderator, and soon 
announced that t%vo hundred and fifty-eight sheep were contributed 
and ready for delivery. A number of the young men volun- 
teered to go with their offering, and remain to fight if needed. 

Mr. Bancroft, in his " History of the American Revolution," 
makes very honorable mention of this Windham donation — the 
first from Connecticut, and the earliest save one from any of the 
American colonies. 

Doctor Cogswell and Phyllis. 

Many anecdotes are told of Doctor Cogswell and his two old 
negro servants, Ambrose and Phyllis. Phyllis, when young, 
was brought from Africa, and it was the theme of her life-long 
thoughts and conversation. She was very fond of the kitchen 
garden, and laid by every variety of seed against the day of her 
death, when she fully believed she should return to her beloved 
Africa, bearing with her germs to make the desert fruitful. 
Poor old slave ! Toiling and easing her heavy burden with the 
blessed balm of Hope, which never yet has quite forsaken the 
wretched. May we not believe the poor slave's eyes have, ere 
this, opened to scenes familiar, that she has sat in the shad- 
ows of the palms, and tasted the cocoa milk, so sweet to her 
earthly childhood, in the home so often regretted and longed 
for in the dark years that succeeded? Surely the All-wise will 
suit the future of his poor creatures to their earnest longings, so 
that no vShadow of disappointment will await the " ten thousand 



228 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

times ten thousand," whether their hopes stretch forward to the 
"land of pure delight " of the Christian or the "happy hunting 
grounds " of the savage. 

Old Ambrose was allowed a small patch of ground to till for 
his own personal benefit, after the custom of master and slave. 
A remarkably fine turnip crop was the result of one season's 
sowing, of which he was very proud. One day on going to his 
patch he discovered a number of vacancies, and shrewdly sus- 
pected his missing vegetables had found their way to the par- 
son's table. A passer-by overheard the darkey venting his in- 
dignation in this sort: "-Very rcligiss, he is! Steal a niggers 
tu7'nips! Denid religiss ! " And the story was not long in getting 
circulated. 

The doctor became very forgetful in his later years, often 
omitting the notices for the week. On one occasion he forgot 
to mention the lecture preparatory for the sacrament on the 
coming Sabbath. Good old Deacon Kingsley, who, like most of 
the men of his time, made great account of " training days," arose 
in his seat and said : "/ guess Mr. Cogsivell has forgot that next 
Sabba' day is the first Monday in May.'' 

An Old Family of Scotland. 

One of the most distinguished families of the ancient township 
of Windham was that of Nathaniel Huntington, an early settler of 
Scotland parish. It consisted of six sons and three daughters. 
Their home, a fine old mansion with broad front and sloping 
roof, after the fashion of the time, is still standins^, with orreen 
lawn before it, a few rods west of Merrick's brook. It was the 
favorite gathering place of the young people of the parish, who 
were drawn thither in part by the attraction of music, for which 
the family was famed, and for the wit and good cheer which 
alwa3^s abounded. Three of the sons were graduates of Yale, 
and two of the others became even more distinguished than the 
collegians. The second son, Samuel, left a name to live in his- 
tory. His father intended him for a mechanic, and he was ap- 
prenticed to a neighboring cooper, but a little circumstance 
brought out the spirit of the boy, who, it seems, " was father to 
the man." His elder brother was fitted for Yale, and left home 
one bright autumn morning clad in broadcloth and fine linen. 
Sam was sent to the barn to hatchel flax. Going thither some 
time after to see how the work progressed, his father found him 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 229 

stripped to the waistband, while his homespun shirt was passing- 
vigorously through the iron teeth of the hatchel. 

" What are you doing there, boy ?' ' his father demanded sternly. 
"Trying to make my shirt as soft as my brother's," he replied 
unflinchingly, never for a moment pausing from his work. Beat- 
ing his shirt did not, however, clothe him in Holland or send 
him to Yale. He was duly apprenticed and must hoop tubs until 
he attained his majority, but his mind refused to be bound. 
Every spare moment was devoted to such books as came within 
his reach, and at twenty-one he had more knowledge in his head 
than many college graduates. He taught himself Latin, and be- 
gan the study of law in direct opposition to his father's plans 
and wishes. But the father of his young playmate and sweet- 
heart, Martha Devotion, is said to have encou.raged him to per- 
severe in spite of obstacles, discerning qualities in the young 
man that fitted him for a model statesman. Nor was this confi- 
dence in his abilities misplaced. Others were not long in dis- 
covering his fearless independence, his wise judgment and his 
great purity and integrity of character. The best offices in the 
gift of the people were conferred upon him. He was made mem- 
ber of the assembly, associate judge of the superior court of Con- 
necticut and delegate to congress. Not long after his name was 
enrolled with that immortal band "whose names," in the lan- 
guage of our best historian, " will be household words as long 
as the principles of 1776 shall survive in the hearts of the 
people." 

Nor were these his only honors. In September, 1779, congress 
elected him their leader and president, an office calling for the 
highest wisdom of the jurist and the statesman. After his re- 
turn to his home in Norwich, to recruit his exhausted strength, 
he was appointed chief justice of his native state, and later was 
made its chief magistrate, an office he held for ten years, until 
the time of his death, 1796. 

His father did not survive to read his eooper boys name among 
the signers of the declaration of independence, or to see him 
elected to the highest offices of his state and nation ; but he lived 
long enough to see him honored among men — the friend of 
Washington, Jefferson, and others of that illustrious band of 
patriots whose names and fame will not die, and without doubt 
to regret the stern parental misjudgment that bound his proud 
son for so many years to an uncongenial trade. 



230 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Four of the Huntington brothers were in the ministry, and 
honored their calling. One of these was a celebrated musician, 
who composed for the singers of his native parish the popular 
fugue, "Scotland's burning," which has been sung the world 
over, like John Howard Paine's " Home, sweet home." Music 
appears to have been a family gift, descending to the next gen- 
eration. Jonathan, son of Eliphalet, the youngest but one of 
the six brothers, possessed a voice of remarkable power and 
sweetness. He made music his profession, and taught it with 
great success in Boston, Albany and St. Louis, where he died. 

The old people used to tell of a quilting frolic at the family 
mansion in Scotland, where all the belles of the town were as- 
sembled, and where the beaux were expected to join in the 
festal games and dances of the evening. The sideboard had to 
be replenished, and a member of the family went to one of the 
village inns for that purpose. There was a little too much 
sampling of the liquors, perhaps, and when the young man re- 
turned and was about to enter the room where the young ladies 
were assembled, he stumbled at the door sill and fell headlong. 
His wit did not forsake him, however, for quick as thought he 
called out, in the very tone of their choir leader, ''Sing Old Hun- 
dred, ladies; I have given you the pitch.'' 

But those were days of hilarity, when even the clergy thought 
it no sin to drink their flip and crack a harmless joke, always 
provided they held firmly to the " Saybrook Platform " and gave 
dissenters no countenance. 

The Story of Micah Rood. 

A stranger turning over the musty archives of one of our 
county towns, some years ago, came across the following record : 
" Nov. 16, lim.—Mieah Rood died A\N¥\]i.i.Y r 

" How did he die? " was the question propounded to the town 
clerk, who could not tell, as he was a new comer and had never 
heard of the circumstance before. 

The stranger's curiosity was piqued. "'Died awfully'' kept 
ringing in his mind until another question suggested itself: 
" Have you any very aged persons in the place? " 

The clerk spoke of two, one a revolutionary veteran, very deaf, 
and an aged widow, who remembered away back into colony 
times, and could tell stories forever without stopping. This last 
seemed the very person he wanted, and he inquired where he 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 231 

could find her, and was directed to lier residence, a mile or two 
away on the Providence pike. 

The place was readily found, and after introducing himself 
the stranger made known his errand. 

" Have I ever hearn tell hoio Mike Rood died? Why, man alive, 
I remember all about it myself the same as though 'twas yester- 
day, though I warn't no bigger when it happened than this great- 
grandchild of mine here is now. It had ben kinder snowin' and 
rainin' all day, and father had ben to town, and when he got 
back he said with a shiver, ' There's the awfullest thing happened 
you ever heerd on, mother ! ' 

" ' Do tell us what it is ! ' she said, turning dreadfully white, 
while I stood looking up at him, all ears, you may depend. 

" ' Mike Rood's hung himself on that 'arly apple tree there's 
ben so much talk about.' 

" ' Did he leave a confession ? ' she avSked. 

" ' Not's I heerd on. The jury hadn't got back when I was 
down town. He must have done it in the night sometime, for 
when he was found in the morning he was cold and stiff as a 
log.' 

" Father went out wiping his eyes, and I run up close to grand- 
mother, who was sittin' in her great chair before the fire, and 
hid my face in her apron, half af eared I should see the dead 
man. 

" ' There ain't nothin' to be afeared on, Molly,' she said, 
' though I guess if the truth was all told, there has been them 
that feared Mike when alive.' 

" ' What for ? ' I asked. 

'"Never mind to-day, child ! Some long winter evening I'll 
tell you all about it.' 

" I warrant you I didn't let her forgit her promise, for I was 
mighty fond of stories in them days." She paused a moment to 
take breath, and then resumed. "It was a dreadful strange 
thing she told me one night when father and mother had gone 
to conference meetin' and we were left alone ; but everybody 
believed it in these parts. You see, we'd jest ben in the midst 
of the old French and Injun war, and folks was afeared of their 
own shadders. Mike was a strange chap, and nobody knew ex- 
actly what to make on him. Some folks thought he warn't very 
cunnin' ; others said he had wit a plenty, only an odd way of 
showin' on't. He lived alone with his mother, who was a poor 



232 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

widder. His father was killed a few years afore, fightin' French 
and Injuns, arter which all the sperit^Mike^had "^in him was 
turned agin the French. 

" In the fall of '59 a peddler come into town, bringin' all sorts 
of forrin notions, and everybody set to wonderin';J|who he was 
and where he come from. 

'"//^«^a',' said Mike. 'He's a Frenchman] andQa spy, that's 
jest what Jic is ; and I dare say, if the truth was^known, he come 
straight down here from Canada. But — ' Mike went away 
whispering to himself, ' Dead men tell no tales ! Likely as not, 
mother'd like some of that stuff o' his'n.' 

" Nothin' was ever seen of the forrin peddler arter he went 
to the Widder Rood's that night, and there'was some whisperin' 
around as though Mike might not have used him fair ; but afore 
winter was over everybody would have'jben done talkin' about 
it, only Mike wouldn't let the subject rest. 

" ' WJiat makes the blows on the 'arly apple tree look so red this 
spring? ' he would ask the children on their way to school. That 
was one of Mike's foolish questions. And ' Why didn't the old 
robin come back to her tree this year, as she alius had done 
afore? There ain't another such crotch for a nest in the whole 
orchard.' The children couldn't tell that, nuther ; and their 
parents said, ' Mike was half-witted to ask such foolish ques- 
tions.' - 

" When the apples was ripe the first of August, the children 
went up one noon-time to beg some. ' The apples is pizen this 
year.' Mike said, shakin' his head. 

" ' Give us some, and we'll resk 'em.' 

"'I'll bet a copper you darsent eat one on 'em,' he persisted, 
' for there's a drop of blood in 'em all.' 

" ' You've got to show it afore we'll believe it,' the children re- 
turned. So Mike went and brought his hands full of great mel- 
ler apples, and begun to cut 'em up. ' There ! Look now ! ' he 
said ; ' Didn't I tell ye ? You may eat 'em all if you want to. / 
eloiit I ' 

" Not a child would put a tooth into an apple, for, sure enough, 
every apple had a drop of blood in't, as Mike had said. The 
young ones went home and told their story, but nobody be- 
lieved a word on't till they'd ben and examined for themselves. 
Then everybody from the minister down said it was a special 
meracle. Maybe 'twas because the hand that planted the tree 
was cut off by the blood-thusty enemy. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 233 

" Toward the last of October suthin' turned up that set folks 
thinkin' and talkin' again. A reward of forty pounds was posted 
up for any information of a young German, who left Phila- 
delphy with an assortment of fancy goods the year afore. The 
last heerd from him he was travelin' in eastern Connecticut. 
Everybody who read the notice said straight off, that was the 
forrin peddler ; but what become of him was another thing. 

" Mike read the notice with the others and thought he saw a 
great many eyes looking at him. ' They'll hang me now, as sure 
as fate,' he thought, as he walked away, 'and they'll git that 
forty pounds, beside, which is a heap of money. I never should 
have teched the feller, only I thought he was a cussed French- 
man, one of the very same as knocked over the old man. Ef I 
could manage now to git that forty pounds for mother, and tie 
the knot in my own halter, they might call Mike Rood half 
witted as long as they live, for all I care.' 

" That night as the wind blew and howled round the old 
house, and his mother sat paring apples and stringin' 'em on 
strings to dry, he cut a leaf out of his father's account book, 
took down the lead inkstand and begun to write — curus-looking 
writin' it was too. But as his mother looked up and see what 
he was doin' she thought he was real smart. There warn't no 
better meanin' woman in the whole town than the Widder 
Rood. 

" ' I've a'most forgotten how your writin' looks, mother,' Mike 
said after awhile. ' You jest take the goose quill and write your 
name down here where I can see it,' and he handed her the pen 
with which he had been figerin'. She put down her dish of 
apples, pleased enough to write her name. He examined it 
carefully and said, 'that's fust rate ! I declare you are the best 
writer in town, mother.' 

" She smiled as she went back to her apples and said, ' Your 
father used to say the same when I was young.' 

" Mike folded up the paper and put it in his pocket. ' Got any 
arrants up town ?' he asked. ., • 

" ' Not to-night ! What makes you go out when it is so windy 
and cold ?' 

" ' Left one of my cowhides to the shoemaker's this mornin'. 
He said I could have it by eight o'clock.' 

" He went out and set his face toward the town, talkin' all the 
way to himself as he. went. ' 'Tis all fixed right now, and 



234 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

mother'll git \.h.a.t forty pounds, for didn't they promise it for any 
information on him. dead or alive! and ain't she told 'em if they'll 
come and dig under her arly apple tree, the fust on the right side 
of the house, and ask her no questions, they'll find what they're 
lookin' for, dead enough, I guess ! I'm awful sorry I hurt the 
wrong feller, but it can't be helped now. The post-rider will 
take the letter to Philadelphy short of a week, and by that time 
I can git mother's wood cut up for winter and be ready to step 
out afore they come to sarch.' 

"Poor Mike, like all boys foolish or witty, loved his mother; 
and all that week he went around doin' everything he could find 
to do for her, and she so happy ! never dreamin' what sorrow 
the next week would bring, when her boy was found dead on 
the arly apple tree, hung by his own hands, for that was the way 
Micah Rood died."* 

No BLOOD-RELATION. 

A good story is told at the expense of one of the Elderkins, 
whose position and popularity in his native town was assured, 
but whose habits of conviviality were a little too marked even 
for those festive days. On town meeting occasions and sea- 
sons of general muster it was not uncommon. for him to be 
escorted home by some boon companion of firmer poise. On 
one of these occasions it was necessary that he should have two 
such supporters. When they reached his door they were met 
by his wife, one of the proudest and most aristocratic of the 
Windham dames, who said to them with great dignity of manner, 
" Bring him in, gentleme^i ! Bring him in ! But thank the Lord he is no 
blood-relation of mine.'' 

The Fine. 

Some people are always prating about the "good old times," 
as though the world had been moving crab-wise all the years 
of the nineteenth century instead of marching triumphantly on 
from good to better. But my dear old-time worshippers, let us 
say respectfully, those times were not all good ; only to you 
they may seem so, standing out as they do, memory-crowned, on 
the blessed hills of youth. We like to hear you speak of them, 
although we look on the Past with the eye of the Present, and 

*The Rood cqjple is still found in many orchards with the mysterious red spot, 
which has given rise to so many homely stories. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 235 

regret not the days of pain and penalty gone to rest with bar- 
baric ages. The following is a simple, unvarnished tale of the 
eighteenth century. 

A hundred years ago the young people of one of the parishes 
of old Windham went on a whortleberry expedition to " Tolera- 
tion Hill." It was on Saturday, a very bad day in those times for 
pleasure going, inasmuch as the Sabbath, commencing at sun- 
down and continuing until Monday morning, might not be ap- 
proached in lightsome mood nor the hem of its sable garments 
be touched by week-day fingers with impunity. Nevertheless 
the grand berry party of the season came off on Saturday in 
order to accommodate the village schoolmaster, who was always 
allowed a portion of the day for shaving, shoe-blacking and other 
needful preparations for the " Day of Rest." 

The schoolmaster was a new comer to Connecticut, and was 
already a great favorite in the little inland village which he 
sought the spring previous for the benefit of his health, as well 
as to visit the resident physician, who was a friend and classmate 
of his father. Either the climate suited him or some local at- 
traction detained him beyond the period of an ordinary visit ; 
and when it was proposed to him to take the Center school for a 
year, he accepted the offer, and at the same time commenced the 
study of medicine with his father's friend. 

Young Sears was just the person to take in a rural community, 
not altogether on account of his good looks and polivshed man- 
ners, but for a genuine heartiness that recommended itself to 
the plain common sense of the people. The young folks liked 
him, and drew him out as often as possible to their evening par- 
ties and merry-makings, and no one enjoyed a primitive game 
oi forfeits better than he, no one could sing "Rose in the gar- 
den " with such fullness of expression or richness of tone, and 
not the best player of them all could sooner detect the magic 
" button " when flying rapidly through maiden fingers. 

The young teacher had made many friends, and but one en- 
emy ; that was the son of the first tithing-man, who was also one 
of the wealthiest farmers in the parish. No one except the 
young man himself had any suspicions of his feelings toward 
the stranger until the whortleberry party began to be discussed, 
when his aversion and its secret cause became too apparent to 
be mistaken. The proposition to have the party on Saturday 
instead of Thursday, as heretofore, brought Enos Webb to his 



236 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

feet. He said the schoolmaster counted but one anyway ! They 
had always managed to get along without him, and could again. 
His words met with no favor, the young men all declaring 
that Doctor Sears should be one of the party, if they had one. 

That same evening Enos, in his Sunday clothes, was seen 
directing his steps toward the home of Sallie Bingham, the ac- 
knowledged belle of the parish. It was the occasional walk of 
the teacher in that direction which had aroused the young man's 
jealousy and ill will. A few days before, he had spoken to her 
of the anticipated party and expressed a w4sh to join it, adding 
at the same time that as he was a strano^er to such Pfatheringfs 
he hoped she would teach him the etiquette. 

Nothing would have given her more pleasure ; and now, be- 
fore anything had been said, Enos must step in to interfere. 
While the young man was making his bow and getting at the 
subject, Sallie was resolving in her own mind not to join the 
party at all if it came off on Thursday. 

" I've come to ask you to go a-huckleberrying," he said at last, 
taking the offered seat. 

"It will not be convenient for me to go on Thursday," she 
replied, coolly. 

" Then I'm happy to tell you 'tain't till Saturday, though I, for 
one, opposed its being put off so till the heel of the week. But 
there's some folks round here that think nothing can be done 
without that city chap. Furthermore, I told 'em in the store 
this morning that we alius had got along without outsiders, and 
I guessed we could agin. The fools wouldn't listen to me, and 
if some on 'em don't git fined afore the scrape is over I'm mis- 
taken, Aliss Sallie." 

" I wouldn't go if I felt as you do, Enos," she replied. 

" Wall, I don't care much about it, nohow. So if j'^?/'//stay to 
home /will; and see then how much they'll make out of their 
spark. What do you say, now ? " 

" I make no promises." 

"You don't, hey? Then we'll go! You'll ride behind, I 
s'pose?" 

" No, indeed ! " she answered, sharply. " If I go at all I shall 
ride my own pony. Fret loves the woods as well as her mis- 
tress." 

" But she's too young and frisky for such a scrape. Better 
have your pillion buckled to my saddle and go safe. My mare 
s sure." 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 237 

Sallie preferred her own way, and said so ; which ended the 
colloquy. 

Saturday dawned bright and pleasant. As soon as the dew 
was dried the young people began to gather around the village 
inn, their place of rendezvous. Their hands were full of bas- 
kets, some of which were filled with " good cheer;" for never 
did a New England party go forth to the fields without plenty 
of refreshments. The berry-pickings of the last century were 
the picnics of an utilitarian age, when pleasure subserved use. 
The whortleberries were the plums of the Thanksgiving pies 
and cakes in the early history of our country. 

The departure of the company was watched with interest by 
the villagers, who were curious to see what young lady's pillion 
was strapped to this or that saddle, for thus were more lasting 
alliances often foreshown. Some exclamations of surprise had 
been indulged in before Sallie Bingham stepped on the horse 
block and poutingly took Fret's bridle-rein from the hand of 
Enos Webb, Doctor Sears standing near to see her safely 
mounted. Webb was not at all pleased with the idea of a part- 
nership, and said gruffly : " I say, now, doctor, if you ain't got a 
girl of your own to look after, you ought to had. I can take 
care of mine, anyhow ! " 

" If you have no objection, Enos, I would like to have Doctor 
Sears take this heavy basket from the horn of my saddle," 
Sallie said. " Fret won't bear the pounding of it against her 
side, and I see you have a number of your own to carry while he 
has none." 

" Didn't I tell you at the outset the critter was too coltish for 
a scrape like this ? Better have her turned to clover now, and 
borrow a pillion and go sensible like other folks." 

The mirthful expression of Sears's face, as he quietly took 
the basket and mounted his own horse, restrained the tempest 
which was ready to burst from the indignant girl, and the three 
rode on in silence. 

It was a merry cavalcade, certainly, and slightly grotesque, as 
it wound along the road and up the rugged hill to the far-famed 
berry pasture. Shouts of merry laughter fell back on the ears 
of the disaffected Enos, who exclaimed at last: "They're having 
fun alive ahead there, and that's the way to go a-huckleberrying," 

"You are right! " Sallie responded, ashamed of her own ill 
humor, and her merry laugh soon rang with the loudest. Be- 



238 HISTORY OT WINDHAM COUNTY. 

fore the pasture was reached they were at peace with one an- 
other and with the whole world. 

Alighting under the shade of the tall oaks, they turned for a 
moment to gaze on the magnificent panorama of field and forest 
spread out in the surrounding distance. No lovelier landscape 
can be found in all the country. The hill was soon dotted all 
over with industrious gleaners, but as the sun grew warmer the 
gentlemen insisted on the ladies sitting beneath the oaks, while 
they loaded their arms with bushes and bore them thither. 
A huge pile was reared, and two or three of the gentlemen in 
turn were detailed to preserve its dimensions. Sears was ready 
to go with each band of marauders, alwa5^s asserting his fingers 
were too clumsy for picking. 

" Let him go if he wants to," Enos said ; when the ladies pro- 
tested against his cutting another bush. " He's got a first-rate 
knife — a real two-blade." 

" He's wanted here now, to help spread the cloths for lunch- 
eon, hand down the baskets, and pare the cucumbers," they 
said ; and the young man was soon following directions. The 
repast was worthy the fair hands that provided it, and they 
lingered over the tables, toasting in the currant and gooseberry 
wine the mothers at "home, until it was suggested there was 
more work to be done. Then the broken food was voted to 
\.\iQ '' Mooches,'' a family of Mohegan Indians, w^hose cabin was 
was in the neighborhood, and labor was resumed. 

Before the baskets were all filled the tall oaks cast long shad- 
ows eastward, and they must hasten home before sundown — a 
moral necessity, beside which the winter berries were of little 
consequence. The gentlemen went to saddle the horses, and 
it was soon announced that Sallie Bingham's pony had slipped 
her bridle and was missing. Enos wore a look of blank dis- 
may. 

" Didn't I tell you in the fust place the critter warn't fit to 
come to a place like this," he said, tartly. "We're in a pretty 
fix now, Saturday night and almost sundown I What's to be 
done about it ?" 

" Fines to be paid ! " returned Sallie, with as grave a face as she 
could command. "You know you said, Enos, some one would 
get fined before the scrape was through." 

" I never ivas fined, Miss Sallie, and more'n that, I never mean 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 239 

to be. If you can ride home behind me bare-back, say so, and 
we'll be off." 

" I cannot," she replied, curtly ; " but I can walk." There was 
mischief in the young- lady's eyes. She had little fear for the 
safety of Fret, who had been known to slip her bridle before. 

" I think the matter can be arranged comfortably," the doctor 
said, with his customary gallantry. " I will put Miss Bingham's 
saddle on my horse, and walk beside her with the baskets. We 
have a full moon and I can return for my saddle in the even- 
ing. Will this suit?" 

"■Not 7;/^'," growled Enos, who perceived he was getting the 
worst of it. 

" I think it a slight improvement on riding home bare-back," 
Sallie said, archly. " But I don't mind the walk in the least my- 
self ; I am fond of walking." 

The young lady's saddle was brought and put upon the doc- 
tor's horse without delay. The others were mounting- in hot 
haste, for the shadows of the oaks were stretching longer and 
longer with a warning to transgressors. Heavily laden, the 
horses descended the rugged hill very slowly, but as soon as the 
level road was reached they were put to as great speed as the 
safety of belles and berries would admit of. It was of no use. 
The sun was nearing the edge of the horizon, and before they 
reached the village was quite lost sight of. Enos rode all the 
way in dogged silence. They had fallen some distance behind 
their companions, notwithstanding the doctor's best endeavors 
to keep up, for Sallie refused to ride forward and leave him on 
foot and alone, and Enos determined not to leave her behind 
with his rival. The situation was ludicrous. Sallie enjoyed it, 
and rode slower and slower every moment, joking about their 
forlorn appearance. " Don't you see, Enos, there is Constable 
Hibbard keeping a vigilant eye upon us, as the law directs? I 
dare say this very minute he is saying to himself, to hear how it 
will sound, ' Be it enacted, that if any young persons shall con- 
vene, or meet together in company, in the street or elsewhere, 
on the evening next before or on the evening next following 
the Lord's day, or on the evening next following any public day 
of fast, and be thereof convicted, the same shall suffer the pen- 
alty of three shillings, or sit in the stocks not exceeding two 
hours.' Which will we do, Enos? I don't think there is much 
choice." 



240 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

The doctor laughed heartily, and inquired how she had 
learned so mvich statute law. " It is the first thing taught us 
after the catechism," she said; "taught, you know, by express 
legislation, and comes under the ' Act for educating and gov- 
erning children.' My father was a justice of the peace." 

The fear of stocks or fine did not rest heavily on the young 
lady's mind as she rode leisurely along, attended, as she de- 
clared, by both horseman and footman, the eight o'clock bell 
ringing all the while. Aunt Zipparah, who had reared the mother- 
less girl from babyhood, met them at the door, wondering what 
had happened to detain them, and thankful it was nothing moie 
serious. Fret was in the pasture. The good lady insisted on 
the gentlemen coming in to supper, as the doctor must be tired 
after his long walk, and Sol should go back for the saddle mean- 
while. The invitation was accepted by both, Enos remarking 
he wasn't in the habit of being out Saturday nights but seeing 
as the doctor was going to stay, he guessed he'd jine him, adding 
" he didn't s'pose it would hurt a fellow any more to be hung 
for an old sheep than for a laviby 

The supper passed pleasantly, their hostess helping her young 
guests bountifully, while inquiring as to their success, and speak- 
ing of the pleasure she had in such berry parties when she was 
younger. An open bible was on the stand, with her silver 
bowed spectacles beside it, suggestive of the Sabbath begun in 
a teachable spirit. Although reared in the strictest Puritanic 
school of the age, her faith was without bigotry or fanaticism, 
her religion full of charity and good works. Her brother's 
motherless child had crept into her warm heart and filled the 
place of a broken idol. 

In the interval between morning and afternoon service the 
next day, the town officers consulted together in regard to the 
trespass of the berry-party on the holy time the night previous. 
They were not agreed, the majority considering it meet subject 
for fine, while the minority pleaded accidental detention. As 
minorities do not rule, the offenders were waited upon the next 
day and their violation of statute law suitably impressed en 
their minds by the imposition of the sum. sanctioned by legisla- 
tive authority. The fines were paid without demurring, srd 
sixty shillings found their way that day into the public 
treasury. 



history of windham county. 241 

Story of Abijah Fuller. 

Of the seventeen cousins that Hampton sent to the revolutionary 
army, several were athletes. Ralph Farnham was the heaviest 
man of the Connecticut soldiery, and the only man in the army 
that his cousin, Abijah Fuller, could not throw in a wrestling 
match. This same Fuller was Dana's orderly sergeant, and all 
night preceding the battle of Bunker Hill helped to draw the 
lines of fortification on Breed's Hill and the line of defense to 
repel any flank movement of the enemy. Putnam delighted to 
call him "one of his best boys," and their friendship was as 
lasting as their lives. 

When at the battle of White Plains his cousin Ralph fell wound- 
ed, he lifted the big fellow to his broad shoulders, determined not 
to leave him in the hands of the enemy. Powerful as he was, he 
was unable to keep pace with his flying regiment, and the bul- 
lets fell about him like hail as he gradually fell behind his com- 
rades. " Leave me, for God's sake, 'Bije, and save yourself ! " was 
the earnest entreaty of Farnham. " Not while Abijah Fuller 
can put leg to the ground ! " was the determined reply. And so 
the retreat went on, the hooting and shouting of the enemy in 
their ears. 

Exhausted at last, and hearing his pursuers close at hand, he 
laid his wounded cousin gently on the ground, turned and shot 
the foremost, then took up his burden again and went on until 
he neared an enclosure, when, dropping the wounded Goliah 
once more, he loaded his musket, turned, and picked off the next 
in pursuit, the enemy shouting and firing continually. Entering 
the sheltering barn yard, he deposited his wounded relative 
under a cart, while he again loaded his trusty gun. 

" Leave me here and fly ! " once more entreated his comrade. 
" It will be sure death to us both if you do not. Save yourself 
and good-bye ! " There seemed no help for it. Fuller was ut- 
terly exhausted, for the poor fellows had gone into the recent 
conflict without food or drink, hungry and barefoot. His arms 
felt powerless; he could scarcely lift his gun. Bidding his 
friend a hurried farewell, he started to flee, and his long strides 
would soon have put him beyond pursuit had not the derisive 
shouts of the enemy maddened him. Turning his steps, he sent 
another ball to the heart of the third man — a ball which ever 
after was a wound on his conscience. "I was out of their reach," 
16 



242 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

he would say, when telling the story, " and they had taken no 
notice of Ralph. It was me they were after, and I was so mad 
at their mockery I had murder in my heart, and shall have it to 
answer for at last, for it was not a shot in self-defense, like the 
two first." This he always affirmed. 

With three of their number killed and the giant rebel too 
much for them, the British soldiers picked up the bodies of their 
dead companions and retraced their steps to the victors of the 
day, while Fuller conveyed his cousin to their broken regiment. 
Fifty years after the battle of Lexington, on the 4th of July, 
1^2Q, fortj'-ttvo hoary headed veterans, under their old leader, 
Abijah Fuller, with Nat Farnham as drum major, Foster-"^ and 
Faville as fifers, put on their revolutionary regimentals, and, 
with a tattered battle flag, marched up and down the main street 
of Hampton to the music of " '76." Some of them were battle 
scarred, halt and lame, but their hearts beat as high for Freedom 
and Independence as they had done fifty years before, when 
they first responded to their country's call. Persons who re- 
member the impressive scene assert there was not a dry eye 
among the numerous spectators. When the marching was done 
a feast was spread, and with something stronger than water in 
their old canteens, they drank to the memory of Putnam, Knowl- 
ton, Dana and others of their illustrious leaders and friends who 
had passed to the invisible army beyond. 

The simple and social habits of Windham county favored lon- 
gevity. A number of the revolutionary soldiers neared a cen- 
tury. Abijah Fuller is said to have become quite religious in 
his old age. Always somewhat opinionated, he waged war against 
a salaried ministry, insisting it was every man's duty to preach 
as he had opportunity. His fellow townsmen, loving the old man, 
and wishing to gratify him, urged him to go into the pulpit, and 
had a meeting appointed for him. Everybody went to hear 
what the old soldier was moved to say. A hymn was read and 
sung, a prayer made, and then he essayed to speak. Looking 
down on the eagerly upturned faces, he grew nervous and forgot 
his train of thought. Hemming and hesitating for awhile, the 
honest old fellow said at last, " My friends, if any of you think 
as I did, that preaching is an easy business, just come up here 
and try it ! I don't find it so." 

* Joseph Foster was one of iicelve sons, who, with their father, all bore a part 
in the war of the revolution. Their united service undoubtedly exceeded that of 
any other family in the country. 



history of windham county. 243 

Sabbath-breaking. 

An early official of the town, a venerable judge, was surprised 
one Sabbath morning to see a man driving a small flock of sheep. 
This was an offense against good morals not to be overlooked, 
and the man was at once apprehended and informed that the 
sheep must be impounded, to which he quietly acquiesced. To do 
this was more easily said than done, as the creatures belonged to 
a genus described in Scripture parable, "A stranger will they 
not follow, for they know not the voice of stirangers." The old 
gentleman called and called, but the animals ran the other way, 
baa-ing piteously. The congregation was just assembling for 
morning worship, and the judge shouted for help. A general 
hubbub ensued, the frightened sheep scattering in every direc- 
tion, while the Law ran hither and thither. It was an uncertain 
chase until the owner of the flock came to the assistance of the 
weary officer and his auxiliaries and quietly called the poor ani- 
mals into an enclosure, where they rested until the "Lord's Day" 
was past, and the fine for Sabbath-breaking was imposed and 
settled. 

A later and more ludicrous story was the following, told by a 
well known citizen of Windham, as a warning to young officials 
whose zeal sometimes outstripped their wisdom. 

When newly appointed a justice of the peace, he felt it his 
duty to enforce the Sunday laws with rigor. Seeing a stranger 
riding past his house one Sabbath morning, he accosted him 
officially, inquiring his name, place of residence, and wherefore 
he was breaking the Sabbath contrary to law. The man replied 
very frankly, giving his name, place of residence (Ashford, 
Conn.), and his reason for traveling that day his father was ly- 
ing dead there. His replies were satisfactory, and he was 
allowed to proceed. 

Not long after, the young justice was at Brooklyn attending 
court. The affair occurring to him he inquired of an Ashford 
lawyer if he knew the person he named and described, and was 
answered in the affirmative. " He has lately buried his father, 
has he not?" 

The reply was a stunner. " Why, bless you, his father has been 
dead twenty years," 

The judge, when telling the story at his own expense, added 
that it taught him a good lesson, and that whenever he saw a 



244 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

person riding along quietly and peaceably on the Sabbath never 
to interrogate him. 

Strong Minded Women. 

Strong minded women are not the exclusive product of the 
present. Windham county scored a few in the past. One of 
these was the wife of Jethro Rogers, the most inoffensive man 
in Canada parish. Tradition speaks of her as a virago of the 
most turbulent type, who ruled her husband with a tongue of 
flame. If a visitor approached the house, she usually managed 
to drive him out ; but on one occasion the advent of the min- 
ister gave him no time to escape, so he was ordered under the 
bed. Weary of his hiding place, he ventured at last to look out, 
but her eyes met his with a " Hoxv dare you ? " For once his tem- 
per was up, and he exclaimed : " You may wink, Mrs. Rogers, 
as much as you've a mind to ; hut as long as I have the spirit of a 
man in me I ivill peek ! " 

The minister did not stop for prayer. 

On another occasion, when sick to death of her abuse, he 
ventured on some words not found in the catechism. The wo- 
man's surprise was supreme, and she exclaimed fiercely, "Not 
another crooked word, Jethro Rogers ! " But the little man 
drew himself up to his full height and said proudly, " Ravishorn, 
if I die for it ! " 

Another of the unterrified was a resident of one of the north- 
ern towns of the county, a woman who was noted for her fond- 
ness for litigation. Scarcely a term of court that her name was 
not on the docket, and her readiness to assist her counsel and 
browbeat witnesses so exasperated the judge on one occasion as 
to make him forget his judicial dignity and exclaim : " There 
is brass enough in your face, madam, to make a five-pailful ket- 
tle." " And sap enough in your honor's head to fill it," was the 
quick retort that set the house in an uproar. T]ie judge had to 
confess Jiiinsclf beaten. 

The First Locomotive. 

When the first steam engine thundered along the valley of 
the Willimantic, an untraveled laborer was chopping in the 
North Windham woods. Hearing the distant rumble, he listened 
with awe, thinking of thunder and earthquakes, until the sud- 
den scream of the locomotive froze him with terror. To use 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 245 

his own words — " I then braced myself square against a big tree, 
lifted up my axe ready to strike, and stood with hair on end till 
the sounds died away. / thought it was a ivorrin-cagy''^ 

Very different was the impression on the mind of a venerable 
clergyman of Thompson, who, gazing from his study window 
one evening, saw the first lighted train speeding along the 
Quinebaug. 

" Those are none other than the ' chariots of fire ' foretold 
by the ancient prophet," he exclaimed with enthusiasm, " which 
are to waft the news of salvation to the uttermost ends of the 
earth." 

Windham Wags. 

The Windham boys were never weary of practical jokes. It 
was their annual custom to go to the Shetucket for shad, and re- 
turn for a night supper and a little carousal at Staniford's. On 
one occasion two or three of the young men played off, promis- 
ing to help on the preparations during the absence of their com- 
panions. The piscatorial party set out with their seine and 
plenty of liquid warmth, which they used ostensibly to prevent 
taking cold. 

No sooner had the sound of their wheels and the sound of 
their voices died out in the distance, than the delinquents wnth 
another team followed as noiselessly as possible to the well 
known fishing ground. The evening was quite dusky, and they 
succeeded in planting their wagon at a convenient distance un- 
observed by their noisy comrades, who had imbibed too freely 
to be keenly observant. With shouts and jokes the great fish 
were deposited in their cart by the unsuspecting youth, and just 
as silently, one by one, they were transferred to the other 
vehicle by the wicked marauders, until only a few of inferior 
size remained to the indefatigable toilers. Then, as noiselessly 
as they. came, the plunderers returned to town, and the luscious 
shad were on the broilers when their companions came with 
loud demonstrations of success and drew their cart up before 
the kitchen door. The boys were on the watch and did not re- 
veal themselves until their crest-fallen comrades, looking in vain 
for their spoils, asserted that the tail-board of their cart must 
have slipped and let out the greatest quantity of fish ever hauled 
from the Shetucket. Then their ears were greeted with, " What 

* Worrin-eag, a monster often named by old people; did they mean warriangWi 



246 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

SHAD-oh's we are, and what SHAD-oh's we pursue ! " The joke 
was comprehended, and the injured party agreed " to pay the 
shot " for their stupidity if no more were said about it. This 
story was told me by a lady whose brother was one of the mar- 
auders. 

One of these same Windham boys w^as an impromptu rhymer, 
who frequently surprised his listeners with a happy doggerel. 
A man from the outskirts of the town was often seen on the 
street, mounted on a sorrel mare and followed by a colt, the very 
miniature of its dam. The man wore a butternut colored coat, 
corresponding in hue with his sandy hair and whiskers. One 
day as he was riding past a group of hotel loungers, the wag 
arose and said solemnly — 

" Colt and mare, coat and hair, 
All compare, I swear ! " 

Old Time Pedagogues. 

The school teachers of Connecticut were not exactly life in- 
cumbents like the clergy, but in many instances they held their 
offices until quite superannuated. One of these had long pre- 
sided over the centre district of Hampton. Never perhaps over- 
learned, he became dogmatic with years, brooking no contradic- 
tion. One of his pupils, a daughter of the parish minister, was 
reading with her class in the New Testament, as was the morn- 
ing custom. She came to the passage, " They that be whole 
need not a physician, but they that are sick," which was rendered 
correctly. " Read that over, and read it right," growled the old 
man. The verse was read again as before. " Didn't I tell you 
to read it right ?" persisted the teacher. The girl was bewild- 
ered and stood silent, while her sapient instructor read, much to 
the amusement of the school, " TJiey that are ivJiole need not a 
physic-in, but tJiey that are sick / " " My father taught me to read 
it the other way," she ventured to say. " Humph ! " responded 
the old man, savagely ; " Did your father ever keep school ? " 

That was the old gentleman's last term, the district voting ]SIr. 
H no longer fitted for his office. 

Another of the old regijne, who held sway in the South district 
of Windham village, had a very novel mode of punishing his 
youthful charges for minor offenses, such as whispering, tardi- 
ness, imperfect lessons, etc. He kept a basin of thoronghivort 
steeping on the stove, and forced a draught of it upon little 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY, 247 

offenders, probably considering it more salutary than the rod or 
ferule. When relieved of his office, the old man's great amuse- 
ment was attending funerals in his own and all the neighboring 
towns. On one occasion his grief was great because two such 
ceremonies were to take place at the same hour, as he could 
necessarily attend but one. A lady who had often tasted his 
bitter tea when a pupil at the Old South, told of a visit he 
made to her sick room while she was suffering from typhoid 
fever. Weak and exhausted, she had lain for hours speechless, 
while at the same time she was entirely conscious of all around 
her. After gazing on her for awhile he turned to her mother 
and said : " Harriet cannot get well, and I want you to be sure 
and let me know when the funeral is, as I don't want to miss it." 

Another case of discipline — the best on record — occurred in 
the south district of Scotland, usually known as the Bakertown 
district. There were many ludicrous names appended to the 
school districts of Windham county. We had in our small par- 
ish a Bakertown, a Brunswick, a Pudding Hill and a Pinch 
Gut, which last obtained a small share of the "means of grace " 
from the manifest aversion of ministers to making the appoint- 
ments. These districts are all picturesquely rugged, like the 
character of the English Puritan Carvers and Fullers and Rob- 
insons, or of the French Huguenot Waldos, Devotions, La Salles 
and Luces, whose pilgrim feet found their way to the hills of 
eastern Connecticut. 

The Bakertown school house stood in a secluded spot, a spot 
too barren for the culture of anything save country lads and 
lasses. But these flourished well here under birchen rule, and 
have gone forth noble men and women to the remotest ends of 
the world, with a farewell to Bakertown on their lips and rich 
memories of many a Bakertown frolic in their hearts. 

Our school house, like the gospel house, was "founded on a 
rock." Behind it rose a lofty ledge of granite, a natural forti- 
fication of the little seat of learning below. Every winter, bas- 
tions and block houses of snow were ranged along the summit 
of this ledge, and youths with martial airs, armed with strange 
looking weapons, were seen going hither and thither, as though 
the Bakertown district were threatened with some foreign in- 
vasion. 

At last, as neither Brunswickers, Pudding Hillers nor Pinch 
Gutters came to meet them in battle arra}^ they began to seek a 



248 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

home field for action. Their weapons, which have not yet been 
described, became instruments of offense, and led to their de- 
struction. 

Never in any locality has the elder shrub {sauibitciis caprifolicB) 
grown in greater luxuriance than in Bakertown. Its hedge-rows, 
crowned with myriads of white, umbrella-looking clusters, were 
the summer fragrance of the fields. From some person — -it must 
have been from the parish minister, I suppose, since no one else 
knew anything about Hcbrezu — we learned that that nation form- 
erly made a musical instrument of the elder, called a sambiica, 
whence its botanical name. It was too learned a name for the 
Bakertown boys, however; plain elder or popgun-wood suited 
them better and was a deal more significant. " The oldest Jew," 
they used to say boastingly, " never began to see anything made 
of elder half equal to a Bakertown popgim /" and these were the 
weapons of the Bakertown militia. Every boy in school had a 
gun suited to his size and capacity. Some of them were pro- 
digious and carried a double charge, and that, too, before the 
days of Colt's revolvers ; not of fire and death, however, but only 
of tozu wads. Some of our readers may have heard of the wag's 
logical way of showing the true ruler of a Connecticut commun- 
ity to be the Yankee schoolmaster, " who ruled the boys, who 
ruled their mothers, who ruled the men, who ruled the roost." 
One winter our time-honored ruler went to seek his fortune else- 
where, and we had a new teacher — a gentle, book-loving young 
man, reared in the neighborhood, and consequently, prophet- 
like, without honor. The old master had long been absolute. 
Insubordination never prevailed in his realm, for every symptom 
of disobedience was most effectively crushed in the bud. 

But another order of things came in with the new regime. Was 
not the pale, stripling-looking youth the crazy old huckleberry 
woman's son, whom the children all laughed at, while listening 
to her strange stories? Everybody in the district knew " Granny 
Woodban." She was one of the appurtenances of the locality, 
living in the berry fields all summer, and wandering off, no one 
knew where, in winter. Her son was a scholar and a genius, 
who had fitted himself for college behind the plow and in the 
chimney corner of the farmer's kitchen to whom he was bound. 

Such was the young man who presumed to ask the district 
fathers for the privilege of guiding their sons and daughters a 
little way along the path of science, and for the consideration 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 249 

of ten dollars a month to fit him for the university. For which 
act of presumption the martial youths voted him a suitable butt 
for popgun aim. 

The new teacher commenced his work with a fixed determin- 
ation to overcome, by faithful, persevering kindness, the rebel- 
lious dispositions of his young subjects, and bring them to 
friendly allegiance. Night after night, and day after day, he 
racked his aching head for some mild means of bringing them 
to obedience. New books awoke no enthusiasm ; evening spell- 
ing schools were fully attended, sides were chosen, and every- 
one praised ; but then in the very face and eyes of their in- 
structor, the victorious side would fire a popgun volley at its 
own success. In all this the young master discovered more of 
mischief than of malice, and acted accordingly when counseled 
to chastise the offenders. 

" Flog my boys soundly as they deserve," said one and another 
of the honest farmers to the patient preceptor, " and if that don't 
supple them, we'll take 'em in hand ourselves." It was friendly 
advice, and well meant, but the stripling teacher had no thought 
of matching his strength with the sturdy young yeomen. 

"They have been driven with too tight a check rein already, 
and will fall into a natural pace by-and-by," was the pleasant re- 
joinder of the master. 

" Mebbe so ! But mind, Charlie, and not let 'em run away 
with you fust. Solomon's law was a middlin' good one — ' A whip 
for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back.' 
The lads are full on't and no mistake ! " 

" Full on't " they were, indeed, but the long suffering teacher 
determined not to lose his temper, though their popguns were 
the plague of his life. They greeted his morning advent into 
the school room and his evening departure. More than this, 
sometimes in the very midst of a lesson, d, poppop told that some- 
how one of the big guns had discharged its twin wads. 

One day they went a step beyond the teacher's patience and 
forbearance, and a crisis was the result. It was " Committee 
Day," the day when the elected officers came to visit and exam- 
ine the school, for the first time that season. It proved a com- 
mittee of one, 'ikidA. afternoon, as only the parish minister made 
his appearance. According to custom, all rose at his entrance ; 
but following no precedent whatever, the boys greeted his rev- 



250 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

erence with one of their tallest salutes, every one of them push- 
ing his ramrod vigorously at the same moment. 

A flush of mortification overspread the pale face of the master, 
who for a full hour had been prescribing tasks and exhorting to 
good behavior ; then his pale face became paler than before. 

There was a merry twinkle in the parson's black eyes, and he 
received the salutation with a pleasant smile, as though it had 
been given by order of their teacher, and not by a band of young 
rebels. It was very kind in the old man ; the boys saw it so, 
and did their best at the lessons, and kept unusually quiet dur- 
ing the "remarks" and in prayer time. Moreover, when going 
home from school that night, they declared they would make 
Parson Fisher their chaplain, as he knew how to appreciate an 
honor. But the days of the Bakertown militia were numbered. 
The next morning the teacher appeared with a countenance as 
serenely calm as ever, though some of the rogues afterward 
affirmed they saw " a tiger in his eye " from the first. 

"We will omit the usual exercises this morning," he said 
pleasantly, " and have a drill ! Captain Tracy, call out your 
company !" 

Teacher and pupil exchanged glances. There was no mistak- 
ing the word of command. The captain was chief no longer, 
and prepared to obey the order of his superior. The roll call 
was made and responded to with military precision ; then the 
young soldiers were ordered to fall into line in front of the school 
house, where a drill began such as the little company had never 
before undergone. All night the poor teacher had been study- 
ing his lesson from an old manual of arms which he found in 
the farmer's garret. 

The command " Right ! " was given in a clear, full voice, and 
every urchin did his best, although two or three of the younger 
ones turned heads to the left instead, and had to be regulated. 
Then came the second order, " Front ! " and every face was 
turned forward. " Attention ! " and all eyes were fixed on the 
master. " Right face ! " and the movement was performed ac- 
curately. " About face ! " was the next command, and there was 
some blundering, the right feet getting too near the left heels, 
which the master would by no means allow. 

Captain Tracy stood manfully by the young teacher's side, 
watching with surprise and interest his instructions, and learn- 
ing more of military tactics than he had ever known before. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 251 

After the " facings " were gone through with ejfficiently, the. 
principles of the " ordinary step " were explained, and the mode 
of executing it. This was followed by " Forward — march ! " 
when the twenty boys were all in motion, and kept in motion 
until the order " Halt ! " arrested their steps. 

Four in rank, elbow to elbow, the young rascals were then 
drilled in the " Practice of Arms," and the 'wscy th.Q popguns were 
handled for the next hour was amusing to the girlish spectators, 
but too tedious to detail. Enough that they " drew ramrods," 
"rammed cartridges " " made ready," " took aim," and "fired," 
until but one charge of tow remained. Then, at the master's 
command, they marched back into the school room for a last 
gun. It was done, and but one more order was given. 

" Captain Tracy, I am much pleased with your company. In- 
struct your soldiers now to ' Deposit arms ! ' " and he pointed sig- 
nificantly to the open Franklin stove. 

There was no shrinking nor hesitation. With a proud gesture 
the gallant young leader advanced and laid his own weapon first 
on the blazing fire ; every lad followed, and in five minutes the 
popguns were reduced to ashes. 

" We are yotu^ boys for the winter, sir," said the captain, a great, 
noble hearted fellow in spite of his mischief, as he bowled to the 
now recognized sovereign of the school room. " We only 
wanted to know our master, and have found him quite to our 
liking." 

The drill ended with the kindest feelings on all sides. At 
noon the popgun company was disbanded by mutual consent. 
A debating club arose out of its ruins, and before spring these 
martial students were discussing questions of national policy 
and moral justice, to the great satisfaction of the district 
fathers, and of the old parish minister, also, who never to his 
dying day forgot the salute of the Bakertown militia. 



CHAPTER XIV. 



THE TOWN OF WINDHAM. 



Geographical Description. — Settlement. — Town Charter and Organization. — 
The Early Settlers. — Laying out the Land. — County Relations. — Early 
Town Officers. — Enlargement of Territory. — Settlement of the Eastern 
Quarter. — Mechanical and Commercial Trades Introduced. — Division of 
Town and Formation of Mansfield. — Various Phases of Public Interest. — 
Growth of the Northeast Section, called Canada Parish. — Society Organi- 
zation. — Probate Court Established. — Some Prominent Families. — Windham 
made Shiretown. — Attempts at Manufacturing. — Scotland Society Organ- 
ized. — Town Action. — Schools. — Early Taverns. — Prosperity of the Town. — 
Industries. — Under the War Clouds. — Removal of the Courts. — Reduction of 
Territory. — Through the Revolution. — Material Prosperity. — Social Innova- 
tions. — Roads and Bridges. 



THE town of Windham, one of the smallest in geographical 
size, but the largest in population, wealth and business im- 
portance, occupies the extreme southwest corner of Wind- 
ham county. Its area is about two and three-fourths square 
miles. The beautiful valley of the Willimantic river extends 
along the southern part, entering at the extreme western point 
and leaving at the southeastern corner. This river affords 
abundant water power for many factories, and to this circum- 
stance is due the building up and prosperity of the town. The 
Natchaug, a considerable stream, joins it a short distance east 
of the borough limits of Willimantic. Back from the river the 
town is broken into successive ridges of hills, rising about two 
hundred feet above the general level of the intervening valleys. 
Besides the borough of Willimantic, in the southwest part, the 
smaller villages of North Windham in the northern part, South 
Windham in the southern part and Windham in the central part, 
are in this town. Otherwise the surface of the town is mostly 
covered with forest growth which affords some valuable timber. 
The agricultural interests of the town are not prominent. The 
New York & New England railroad extends through the west- 
ern and northern parts and the Providence Division and the 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 253 

New London Northern run along the Willimantic valley in the 
southern part. The geographical size of the original town of 
Windham has been greatly diminished by the formation of the 
towns of Scotland, Hampton and Chaplin. 

The acquisition of the Indian title to the territory occupied by 
Windham has been set forth in a previous chapter so fully that 
it will only be necessary here to repeat that the territory in ques- 
tion was a gift by will of the Indian Joshua to sixteen gentlemen 
of Norwich, who were intrusted with the business of settling a 
plantation upon it. The first settlement upon it is said to have 
been made by one John Gates, an English refugee, in the au- 
tumn of 1688. From that, settlement progressed slowly for three 
years, when there were upon the tract about thirty settlers. 
None of the men named in the bequest, however, became actual 
settlers. In the autumn of 1691 application was made for a town 
charter, but the grant was not immediatelv made. In the fol- 
lowing spring, however, the petition was granted, the general 
court of Connecticut on the 12th of May, 1692, enacting that 
township privileges be granted to the petitioners, and that the 
town should be called Windham. These petitioners were Joshua 
Ripley, John Cates, Jeremiah Ripley, Jonathan Crane, Joseph 
Huntington, William Backus, Jonathan Ginnings, Thomas Hun- 
tington, Richard Hendee, John Backus and John Larrabee. 

Under the new charter the first public town meeting was held 
June 12th, 1692. By this time four more had been added to the 
eleven just named. These were John Fitch, who had recently 
removed to the Hither-place, and Jonathan Hough, Samuel Hide 
and John Royce, who had established a settlement in the distant 
Ponde-place. At the first town meeting Joshua Ripley was chosen 
town clerk ; Jeremiah Ripley, Jonathan Crane and Jonathan 
Hough, townsmen ; Thomas Huntington and John Royce, sur- 
veyors ; Joseph Huntington, Jonathan Hough, Samuel Hide and 
John Fitch, to lay out highways. A committee was also ap- 
pointed to carry on negotiations with a minister in regard to 
settlement among them. 

Previous to the settlement of a minister Mr. Jabez Fitch offici- 
ated as religious leader. The house of Mr. John Fitch, the latest 
and probably the best built house in the settlement, was selected 
to be the meeting house until other provision should be made. 
The town ordered that it be fortified and a lean-to built, " every 
man doing his share of the fortification." During the summer 



264 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

of 1692 several new inhabitants removed to the Ponde-place, and 
considerable progress was made in that settlement, and alto- 
gether the growth of the settlement was such that at its town 
meeting May 30th, 1693, the list of approved inhabitants num- 
bered twenty-two. Their names were : Joshua Ripley, Jonathan 
Crane, Jonathan Ginnings (or Jennings), Joseph Huntington, 
Thomas Huntington, William Backus, John Backus, John Lar- 
rabee, Thomas Bingham, John Rudd, Jeremiah Ripley, John 
Gates, Richard Hendee, James Birchard, Jonathan Hough, Sam- 
uel Hide, John Royce, Samuel Birchard, Robert Wade, Peter 
Grosse, Samuel Linkon and John Arnold. 

Of these twenty-two inhabitants the last eight had settled at 
the Ponde-place, all others except John Larrabee (who kept the 
ferry between the two settlements) being residents of the Hither- 
place or southeast quarter. Thomas Bingham, who had removed 
from Norwich with a large family of sons and daughters, was an 
important acquisition to Windham . He purchased, in March, 1693, 
Captain John Mason's first lot at the southeast quarter, being 
then about fifty years old. His oldest daughter, Mary, had mar- 
ried John Backus the previous summer. John Arnold had been 
a schoolmaster in Norwich, and was one of the most intelligent 
and infiuential of the Ponde-place settlers. Samuel and James 
Birchard were the sons of John Birchard, one of the Norwich 
legatees. Improvements and accommodations kept pace with 
the increase of population. Great care was taken to provide for 
the Ponde-place people. Sign posts were ordered against Wil- 
liam Backus' house at the Hither-place, and Samuel Hide's at the 
Ponde-place. A public pound was provided and burying grounds 
were laid out, one at each settlement. Jonathan Ginnings and 
the Ripleys were granted the privilege of setting up a saw mill 
at " No-man's-acre Brook." 

During that summer (1693) it was determined that the dividing 
line between the settlers in the wilderness from Hartford and 
from Norwich should be the Willimantic river, the Norwich 
people holding on the east of it and the Hartford people holding 
on the west of it. In December the town passed regulations in 
regard to fences, cattle, swine, timber and the warning of town 
meetings. In.the following spring we have the first record of 
the lay-out of a highway. This was ordered through Peter 
Crosse's division, extending from the Ponde-place to the Willi- 
mantic river near the falls. The meadows in this vicinity fur- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 255 

nished the Windham settlers with a great part of their hay, and 
to facilitate its conveyance this highway was ordered " four rods 
wide from the hill to the river, seven rods wide down to the 
meadow and four rods wide between meadow and fence." Twelve 
acres below the falls were allowed to Mr. Crosse in compensation 
for land taken up by this highway. 

The home lots laid out at Willimantic were not as yet taken 
up by the proprietors, and in April, 1694, they received permis- 
sion from the town to exchange them for allotments "at or 
about the Crotch of the river " — that remarkable curve in the 
Natchaug near its junction with the Willimantic, also known as 
the Horseshoe. Seven lots were now laid out in this vicinity. 
Joshua Ripley, Samuel Hide, Joseph Huntington, Peter Crosse 
and Thomas Bingham were appointed a committee to select two 
lots at the " Crotch of the River," one for the minister and one 
for the ministry. The remaining home lots were sold to settlers, 
who soon took possession. Goodman William More, of Nor- 
wich, purchased a lot laid out to William Backus ; Benjamin 
Millard, also from Norwich, bought of Thomas Leffingwell a 
thousand-acre allotment at the Horseshoe, a part of which is 
still held by his descendants. Benjamin Howard and Joseph 
Gary, of Norwich, and John Broughton, of Northampton, soon 
settled in this vicinity. This new settlement was also called 
" The Centre," from its position between the older ones, and 
seemed destined for a time to become the most important. The 
seventh lot was chosen for the minister and the sixth for the 
ministry, and great efforts were made to have the meeting house 
built upon it. 

Windham had previously manifested a desire to be annexed 
to Hartford county. She had petitioned the general court to 
this end, and in May, 1694, the petition was granted, and this 
town became a factor of Hartford county. The town was now 
fairly embarked upon its career of ups and downs, and various 
experiences common to the towns of that period and surround- 
ings. A military company was founded, of which John Fitch 
was lieutenant, Jonathan Crane was ensign, and Samuel Hide 
sergeant. Training days were inaugurated, and ever after cel- 
ebrated with the usual hilarity. Highways were laid out such 
as were needed " on or about the hill that lies west of the Pond." 
A custom was then established by public order, that at subse- 



256 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

quent town meetings the moderator should open the delibera- 
tions with prayer. 

Let us now turn for a moment to notice some of the individ- 
ual members that were swelling- the body corporate. William 
and Joseph Hall, Joshua and John Allen, Nathaniel Bassett, Ben- 
jamin Armstrong, Samuel Gifford and Robert Smith were now 
settled at the Ponde; the Halls having come from Plymouth, Bas- 
sett from Yarmouth, and the others probably from Norwich. 
Joseph Dingley now occupied the allotment purchased by Cap- 
tain Standish. William Backus exchanged his house and accom- 
modations at the Hither-place for Ensign Crane's grist mill. 
Crane sold the house and lot to Exercise Conant in 1695, and 
Conant conveyed it to John Abbe, of Wenham, July 3d, 1696, 
for £10 in silver. Samuel Abbe, probably a brother of John, 
purchased half an allotment and half a house at the Centre, of 
Benjamin Howard, in 1697. John Waldo, of Boston, a reported 
descendant of Peter Waldo, of Lyons, purchased an allotment 
laid out to Reverend James Fitch, and was admitted an inhabit- 
ant here in 1698. William Hide, William Moulton, Philip Paine, 
John Ashby, Josiah Kingsley, Samuel Storrs, Samuel Storrs, Jr., 
Robert and Joseph Hebard, Isaac Magoon, John Howard and 
Thomas Denham, were also admitted inhabitants in the year 
1698, or before; Shubael Dimmock in 1699, and Abraham 
Mitchell in 1700. James Birchard sold his right to Philip Paine 
in 1696, and removed to the West Farms of Norwich. Samuel 
Abbe died a few months after his arrival here, his son Samuel 
succeeded to his estate at the Centre, and his widow married 
Abraham Mitchell. John Cates, the first Windham settler, died 
in the summer of 1697. He left a service of plate for the 
communion service of the church, two hundred acres of land 
in trust for the poor, and two hundred acres to be applied to 
schools. 

The town officers elected for the year 1698 were : Joshua Rip- 
ley, town clerk ; Joseph Dingley and Joseph Hall, collectors for 
minister; Thomas Huntington and Jonathan Ginnings, fence 
viewers for south end of town ; William More, surveyor of high- 
ways for south end ; Samuel Lincoln, surveyor for north end ; 
William Backus, pound keeper and hayward for the great field 
at the south end ; Benjamin Millard, hayward for fields at Crotch 
of River ; Lieutenant Fitch and vSamuel Birchard, to lay out 
land. The value set upon allotments at this time was £^o each. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 257 

During this period one of the chief questions which agitated 
the corporate mind was the location and erection of a meeting 
house and the collection of taxes to pay the minister, these 
things being, according to the custom and sentiment of the time, 
■legitimately under the care of the town in its capacity as a po- 
litical organization. After much social commotion on the sub- 
ject, a site was decided upon, and January 30th, 1700, the front 
part of William Backus's home lot at the southeast quarter was 
purchased by Mr. Whiting and Ensign Crane, and made over by 
them to the town, for a " meeting-house plat or common." This 
was the nucleus of Windham Green, on which the first meeting 
house was soon after erected. The thousand-acre right which 
had been reserved for the minister was soon afterward made 
over to Reverend Mr. Whiting, the first settled minister of this 
town church, a more detailed account of which will be given in 
its appropriate place. 

The territory of this town was enlarged by the addition of 
two considerable tracts of adjacent land. The tract which lay 
between the former bounds of the town and the limit of Nor- 
wich, called the Mamosqueage lands, reserved by Joshua for the 
benefit of his children, was contested by Owaneco, and only after 
a long and troublesome controversy secured by Joshua's son, 
Abimileck, who sold it to John Clark and Thomas Buckingham. 
This tract, embracing about ten thousand acres, lying west of 
Nipmuck path, was purchased in 1698 by Messrs. Crane and 
Huntington, in behalf of the proprietors of Windham, and in 
1700 made over to Reverend Samuel Whiting and Jonathan 
Crane, who assumed the whole charge of it, laying it out in 
shares and selling it to settlers. Their right was challenged by 
Lieutenant Daniel Mason, who had received a deed of the land 
from Owaneco, and in spite of the decision adjudging it to Abim- 
ileck, Mason in 1701 openly proclaimed his right to the lands at 
Mamosqueage, and warned all people against cumbering the 
same. In September of that year, however, the general court 
confirmed the land to Alessrs. Whiting and Crane and granted 
them a patent for it. The other tract referred to was the broad 
stretch of meadows west of the Willimantic river, which was 
not included in the former grant to Windham or to Lebanon. 
Residents of both these towns had purchased land in this section, 
and as settlers took possession the question arose as to which 
town they belonged. Upon application to the general court, a 
17 



258 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

committee was sent to consider the situation and report. Upon 
their report it was decided that the tract in question should be 
attached to Windham, which decision appears to have been 
agreeable to all concerned. The boundary line between the two 
towns was satisfactorily and permanently settled by a commit- 
tee from each town, September 23d, 1701. 

About the year 1700, settlement in the quarter now known as 
Scotland was begun by Isaac Magoon, who had been admitted as 
an inhabitant in 1698. A hundred-acre division of lands in the 
town was made in 1700, each proprietor being allowed consider- 
able of latitude in his choice of location, with certain qualifica- 
tions, one of which was that they were not to choose land within 
one mile of the meeting house. 

With the increase of population came the establishment of 
various trades and enterprises for the benefit, real or imaginary, 
of the people. In 1700, Benjamin Millard was allowed to set up 
the trade of a tanner. Lieutenant Crane received permission 
from the court at Hartford " to keep a public victualing house 
for the entertainment of strangers and travelers and the retail- 
ing of strong drink." Sergeant Hide had license to keep an or- 
dinary at the Ponde, and " retale his mathagiline so far as 
y^ towne have power." Liberty to build a saw mill on Goodman 
Hebard's brook, and the privilege of the stream for damming or 
" ponding," was granted to several petitioners, or, " if that would 
not answer, take any other stream." It was decided that the 
miller should grind corn for the people every Monday and Tues- 
day, and if more was brought than he could grind in the speci- 
fied days, he was to keep on grinding till all was finished. In 
December, 1702, the town for the first time made provision for 
a school, directing the selectmen to agree with a school master 
or mistrees, the " scoUars to pay what the rate falls short." 

Soon after this it began to appear to the people that the town 
was too large to be advantageously managed under one local 
government. Movements toward division which began in 1701 
were consummated in May, 1703, by the division of the territory 
into two parts, called the northern and southern parts, though 
more properly they were the eastern and western. The western 
part of the town, comprising forty -one square miles, was erected 
into the township of Mansfield. A part of its original territory 
is now included in Chaplin. A patent was granted by the gen- 
eral court to the new town of Mansfield, likewise a new patent 



HISTORY or WINDHAM COUNTY. 259 

to the town of Windham, thus reconstructed of one-half of the 
original Joshua's tract and the Clark and Buckingham tract 
added to it. 

The town thus reduced in size was able to give closer atten- 
tion to the details of its own territory and organization. The 
boundary line on the east was for many years a matter of disa- 
greement and litigation with Canterbury. In 1708 the town also 
agreed to have but one " ordinary " within it ; that one to be 
kept by Lieutenant Crane. Lieutenant Fitch was chosen town 
clerk at this time, a position which he continued to hold for 
many years. When the Indian war broke out in 1704, the free- 
holders were all required to remain in the town under penalty 
of forfeiture of their estates, or a fine of ten pounds to be lev- 
ied on any other male persons, not freeholders, over sixteen 
years of age, who should leave the place. Knapsacks, hatchets 
and snowshoes were provided by the selectmen, to be ready for 
emergencies, and ten pounds in silver were expended for a stock 
of ammunition. The militia was reorganized, Windham now 
having population sufficient to form a full train band. John 
Fitch was appointed capt^n, Jonathan Crane lieutenant, and 
Joseph Cary ensign. A watch was maintained along the front- 
iers, and houses were fortified according to law, but the threat- 
ened danger passed without giving the people any serious in- 
convenience. In 1705 an allotment of four hundred acres to 
the right was made, to be laid out west of the tract adjoining 
Canterbury which was in dispute with that town. The disputed 
tract was also laid out, Windham vigorously persisting in exer- 
cising possession of it. This disputed land was a gore piece ly- 
ing between two lines which had been run as the eastern bound- 
ary of Windham. The west line was the line run by Bushnell 
according to the direction of Uncas, as the eastern boundary of 
Joshua's tract, and it followed the Nipmuck path, running a lit- 
tle west of south. The east line was a due south line from Ap- 
paquage, which had been run in 1691 by a committee appointed 
to run out the east line of the town. At that time there was no 
settlement claiming on the east of Windham, so the last men- 
tioned line remained undisputed until 1700, when Plainfield, be- 
ing laid out, claimed to the Nipmuck path. The settlement of 
what is now Scotland was at this time steadily increasing, and 
the value of land was rising. Saw mills and grist mills were 
erected on the powerful stream near Willimantic falls. But the 



260 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

settlement at the " Crotch," which had promised to become the 
center, ceased to hold its precedence, and with the removal of 
the gatherings for public worship to other parts of the town, fell 
into comparative obscurity. Two of its settlers, Broughton and 
Howard, removed to other parts of the town, and their home- 
steads passed to other permanent residents. Mr. Whiting still 
occupied the house built for him, but no village grew up around 
it. A twenty-acre land division was laid out here in 1707. 

In 1706 a division of four hundred acres to the right, in the 
northeast part of the town, was laid out. In January, 1709, 
David Canada, William Shaw, Robert Moulton and Edward Col- 
burn, all of Salem, purchased one hundred acres of land on both 
sides of Little river, of William More, for ^23, and began the 
settlement of a remote section, which is now included in the 
township of Hampton. A road passing through " the burnt 
cedar swamp," led from Windham to this settlement, and thence 
to the old Connecticut Path. That part of the town known as 
Windham Green soon became the chief center of business and 
public affairs. Here were gather||^ together the principal offi- 
cial men of the town, the meeting !^use, school, shops, training 
field and Lieutenant Crane's "ordinary," as the tavern was called. 

By a land distribution in 1712 the northeast section of the 
town was opened for settlement. This section gained steadily 
in population and importance, notwithstanding its remoteness 
and difficulty of access. Its soil was good and land was cheap, 
its situation pleasant and the outlook commanding. This sec- 
tion, then called Canada Parish, now known as Hampton, soon 
became so strong as to warrant the organization of its people 
into a distinct society. This was done under an act of the assem- 
bly in 1717. In 1718 this parish was also granted liberty to 
organize and maintain a military company within its borders. 
The people of the parish were also empowered to levy an annual 
tax for the parish expenses, of ten shillings on every hundred 
acres of unimproved land lying within its borders. This was 
strongly objected to by the Windham proprietors living in other 
parts of the town who owned land in this section. Their objec- 
tions, however, were oyer-ruled by the assembly, but they never- 
theless caused a great deal of trouble to the new society in col- 
lecting such taxes. 

About the year 1725 the population of the Windham town 
was rapidly increasing. So great was the increase in Canada 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 261 

parish that a full military compan}^ was formed there, with 
Stephen Howard for captain, Nathaniel Kingsbury for lieuten- 
ant, and Samuel Gardner for ensign, and sixty privates between 
the ages of sixteen and sixty. Schools M^ere also provided there 
and selectmen, survevors and other officers were chosen for that 
section, so that the parish was^every way well established and 
accommodated, and its inhabitants only needed to repair to 
Windham Green for town meetings. The society had been 
granted respite from paying: taxes toward the general expenses 
of the colony for four years, in accordance with the usual custom 
of dealing with young organizations. But drought, short crops 
and other discouragements prompted the Canada people to ask 
the further favor of the assembly in this direction. In response 
that body granted "one year and no more," after which the 
society was expected to pay its share of the common expenses. 

During the early half of the iast century the town grew 
apace. Settlement at Scotland progressed as did also that at 
Windham Green. A court of probate was established here in 
October, 1719, for the towns of Windham, Lebanon, Coventry, 
Mansfield, Canterbury, Plainfield, Killingly, Pomfret and Ash- 
ford, and this added much to its business and importance. Cap- 
tain John Fitch, already the honored town clerk of Windham, 
was appointed the first judge of probate, still retaining, how- 
ever, his clerkship. In 1721 the town street was widened to 
eight rods from the southeast corner of Deacon Bingham's 
house-lot to the northeast corner of Gentleman Mitchell's house. 
A new pound was built near the meeting house. The popula- 
tion of the town had now increased so that a second military 
company was organized, with Eleazer Carey for captain, Edward 
Waldo for lieutenant, and Nathaniel Rudd for ensign. Jeremiah 
Ripley was then lieutenant of the first company. 

The sons of the first settlers were now active in public affairs. 
Jonathan Huntington, son of Joseph, was practicing medicine, 
the first regular physician of Windham town. His brother 
Joseph had married Elizabeth, daughter of Joshua Ripley. 
Joshua Ripley, Jr., married a daughter of John Backus. John 
Backus, Jr., married a daughter of Mr. Whiting. Jonathan 
Crane's son Isaac, married Ruth Waldo, of Scotland. Among 
the new inhabitants of Windham was Thomas Dyer, who 
removed hither in 1715, when twenty-one years of age, mar- 
ried Lydia, daughter of John Backus, was first a shoemaker 



262 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

and farmer, but soon engaged in public affairs and became one 
of the most prominent and wealthy citizens of the town. 
Eleazer Carey, nephew of Deacon Joseph Carey, removed to 
Windham in 1718. Deacon Joseph died in 1722. 

John and Samuel Abbe were among the very early settlers of 
this town, and the name has been a prominent, influential and 
respected one in the subsequent history of the town. Through 
the male and female branches the blood has been widely dissemi- 
nated, and is diffused through alm^ost the entire range of Wind- 
ham families. It is supposed that they came from Wenham, 
Mass., their ancestors having come from the county of Norfolk, 
England. John purchased of Lieutenant Exercise Conant the 
seventh home-lot at Windham Centre with a house on the west 
side of the town street and the thousand-acre right belonging to 
it, July 3d, 1696, all for seventy pounds in silver. He was ad- 
mitted an inhabitant December 9th of the same year, and was 
one of the original members of the Windham church, organized 
in 1700. He died suddenly December 11th of the same year. 
Samuel Abbe, brother of the last mentioned, bought of Benja- 
min Howard of Windham, for i^22, 10s., one half an allotment 
of land — a five hundred acre right — being number two at the 
Centre, with half the house, etc. He was admitted an inhabi- 
tant December 21st, 1697, and became the ancestor of the most 
numerous branch of the Windham Abbes, and all of the name 
now living in Windham or vicinity are descended from him. 
He died at Windham in March, 1698. One of his female de- 
scendants, Rachel Abbe in 1738-9 married General Samuel 
McClellan, and so became the great-grandmother of the late 
General George B. McClellan, of national renown. Paul and Phil- 
lip Abbot came from Andover, Mass., and settled here, in the 
section of the town now Hampton, about 1722. Their descend- 
ants have been largely involved in the history of this town. 
Joseph Allen, the ancestor of representatives of the same name 
still living in this town and Scotland, bought land in this town, 
now Scotland. January 13th, 1731. Samuel Ashley in April, 
1717, purchased two hundred acres of John Fitch in the north- 
east part of Windham, on both sides of Little river. This 
homestead farm is in the North Bigelow district in Hampton, 
and has remained in the family ever since. Jonathan Babcock was 
probably the second permanent settler of that portion of Wind- 
ham which is now included in the villag-e of Willimantic. He was 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 263 

the common ancestor of most of the Coventry and Mansfield 
Babcocks. He bought the thousand-acre right which had been 
laid out by Captain John Mason and had passed through several 
hands previous to his purchase in 1709. The home farm, con- 
taining 164 acres, had been laid out on this right, April 17th, 
1706. It lay just beyond the western limits of the borough of 
Willimantic, near the village cemetery, and the first house 
erected upon it was probably the second one built in Williman- 
tic. Babcock was admitted as an inhabitant in 1711. William 
Backus settled in Windham as early as 1693. His father. 
Lieutenant William Backus, was one of the original Norwich 
legatees of Joshua, and had three of the thousand-acre shares, 
one of which he gave to his son William, of whom we are speak- 
ing:. The home lot was number seven, at Windham Centre. 
It was in the center of the present village of Windham. One 
acre of it was purchased, January 30th, 1700, by Reverend Sam- 
uel Whiting and Ensign Jonathan Crane, and presented by 
them to the town for a " Meeting Plot or Common." This was 
the original "Windham Green." Many of the descendants of 
this settler still remain. Deacon John Baker, probably son of 
Samuel Baker of Hull and Barnstable, came to Windham with 
his sons Samuel and John (as is supposed), at some time before 
1746, and located in that part of Windham now the south part 
of Scotland. When the descendants had become somewhat 
numerous the place where the families settled was called " Baker 
Town." 

In 1726 the courts of the new county of Windham were held 
in this town. Being thus made the shiretown its prosperity re- 
ceived a fresh impetus. The growth of the village at Windham 
Green was especially quickened. The court house and jail were 
soon erected, with stores, taverns and numerous private residen- 
ces, and much business, private as well as public, centered here. 
A grammar school, authorized by the general court, was estab- 
lished after some delay. Improvements were also in progress 
throughout the town. Ichabod Warner, in 1727, was allowed to 
make a dam across Pigeon Swamp brook, and John Marcy and 
Seth Palmer to make one on Merrick's brook. The first dam 
was built across the Willimantic the same year, near the site of 
the present stone dam of the Linen Company. The Iron Works 
bridge was also erected. The forge and the iron works were at 
that time in operation, but from the frequent change of owners 



264' HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

we judge that they were not very successful. Badger soon sold 
his share to Ebenezer Hartshorn, son of Thomas, the first Wil- 
limantic mill owner. Hartshorn conveyed it to Joshua Ripley, 
and he to Thomas Dyer, together with the adjacent dwelling 
house, May 27th, 1731. Dyer retained it till 1735, and then sold 
out to Hathaway, one of the founders of the company. These 
Willimantic Iron Works were maintained many years, and em- 
ployed a number of laborers, but were never very thriving. 
The privilege occupied so early by Thomas Hartshorn was made 
over by him to his son Ebenezer, of Charlestown, who in 1729 
sold the grist mill, saw mill, water privilege and forty-acre lot 
to Joseph Martin of Lebanon, for ^^"410. Thomas Hartshorn, 
the first settler of Willimantic, then purchased a house of Ebene- 
zer Jennings, and removed to Windham Centre. An early set- 
tler in this vicinity, not previously recorded, was Stephen, son of 
the Captain John Brown, who received a thousand-acre right 
from Captain Samuel Mason in 1677. The home lot pertaining 
to this right was laid out in 1706, abutting southeast on Willi- 
mantic river, near the northern boundary of the town, and was 
improved and occupied prior to 1720, by Stephen Brown. 

The Scotland settlement was rapidl}^ growing in strength, 
and with its growth developed the desire to become a distinct 
society. Ecclesiastical organization was the basis of civil or- 
ganization, and the Scotland settlers as early as 1726 began to 
discuss the question of being independent of the other part of 
the town. In May, 1732, that part of the town was endowed 
with society privileges by act of the general court. Further 
particulars concerning it will be found in connection with the 
history of the town of Scotland. 

The growth of the town required an enlargement of the num- 
ber of town officers. In 1746 there were chosen a town clerk 
and treasurer, five selectmen, three collectors of town rates, four 
constables, six grand jurors, seven listers, four branders, three 
leather sealers, six fence viewers, eight tithing men and ten sur- 
veyors. Penalties at this time were extremely severe. Heavy 
fines, whippings and imprisonment were administered for slight 
offenses. Those unable to pay fines and lawful debts were often 
bound out as servants. In one case a year's service satisfied a 
judgment of ^23. In another case it took five and a half years 
to satisfy a debt of i^50. Another was bound servant for eight 
years for a debt of £120. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 265 

An intimation of the progress of education in the town is fur- 
nished us in the records of 1750, which tell us that a good gram- 
mar school was ordered to be kept the whole of every year " by 
a master able and sufficient for that purpose." This school was 
moved about from one society to another, each of the three so- 
cieties in the town being entitled to have the school kept within 
its bounds during a portion of the year, corresponding to the 
proportion of money contributed by it to the support of the school, 
the basis of both being their lists of property valuation. 

Jonathan Trumbull was judge of the probate district of Wind- 
ham in 1746. John Ripley was chosen town treasurer in 1750. 
Samuel Gray succeeded Eliphalet Dyer as town clerk in 1755. A 
receiver of provisions for the colony tax, an excise collector and 
a packer of tobacco were now added to the town officers. The 
deputies sent by Windham to the general court between 1746 
and 1760 were Thomas Dyer, Eleazer Gary, Jabez Huntington, 
Eliphalet Dyer, Jonathan Huntington, Nathaniel Skiff, Jedediah 
Elderkin, Nathaniel Wales, Thomas Stedman, Jonathan Rudd, 
Joseph Kingsbury, Samuel MurdoCk and Samuel Gray. 

Among the tavern keepers scattered over the town about the 
middle of the last century were James Brewster, David Ripley, 
John Backus, Eleazer Fitch, Isaac Warner, Benjamin Lathrop 
and Isaac Parish. The social life of the town was said to be at 
that time very hilarious and enjoyable. Nearly all the families 
in the town were connected by intermarriage, and the most 
friendly and open intercourse was maintained. A free and 
generous hospitality prevailed among all classes. Merry-mak- 
ings of every description were frequent. The residents of 
Windham Green were especially noted for love of fun and 
frolic, bantering and jesting. Traditions of these golden days 
represent Windham with her two parishes like Judah and Israel 
in the days of Solomon — " many as the sand which is by the sea 
in multitude, eating and drinking, and making merry." 

During this period the growth and prosperity of Windham 
was marked. Even by contemporary judges it was estimated to 
surpass in prominence, and rapidity of growth and commercial 
activity, every other inland town in the colony. About 1760 
it had four well trained military companies, four meeting houses, 
the county buildings, a number of stores and taverns, and many 
handsome private residences. The following list of town 
officers for the year 1760 will be of interest, both in showing 



266 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

the number of officers required by the town government and 
the men who were in active life at the time to fill these offices : 
Doctor Joshua Elderkin, moderator; Samuel Gray, town clerk 
(chosen first in 175o in place of Eliphalet Dyer, who had gone 
into the army, and retained in office more than thirty years) ; 
Captain Samuel Murdoch, George Martin, Captain Henry Silsby, 
Samuel Webb, Lieutenant Prince Tracy, selectmen ; Hezekiah 
Manning, Paul Hebard, Abiel Abbott, constables and collectors 
of town rates ; Joshua Reed, Hezekiah Huntington, Nathaniel 
Lord, John Manning, grand jurymen ; William Warner, Nath- 
aniel Wales 2d, Nathaniel Warren, John Clark, Joseph Burnham, 
Nathan Luce, Joseph Manning^ tithing-men ; Benjamin Lathrop, 
Jonathan Babcock, James Flint, Jonathan Burnap, Nathaniel 
Mosely, Andrew Burnham, Joseph Woodward, listers; Edward 
Brown, Ebenezer Fitch, Ebenezer Bingham, John Bass, Isaac 
Andrus, Gideon Hebard, Thomas Tracy, Samuel Murdoch, 
Nathaniel Huntington, Daniel Martin, Jeremiah Clark, Zebadiah 
Coburn, Stephen Park, Jeremiah Utley, William Holt, Josiah 
Hammond, Simon Wood, Joshua Farnham, John Manning, Jos- 
eph Woodward, Richard Kimball, Jonathan Luce, Joseph Gin- 
nings, highway surveyors ; Samuel Webb, Edward Brown, Wil- 
liam Durkee, Isaac Ringe, John Webb, David Ripley, fence 
viewers; Hezekiah Huntington, John Fuller, Elisha Palmer, Jr., 
Eleazer Palmer, branders and tollers ; Edward Brown, Isaac 
Ringe, Reuben Robinson, leather sealers ; Joseph Huntington, 
Joseph Sessions, Elisha Palmer, Jr., pound keepers ; Joseph 
Huntington, Jeremiah Durkee, Joseph Manning, packers ; Sam- 
uel Gray, town treasurer ; Elijah Bingham and Thomas Tracy, 
to take care of the town bridge ; James Flint, receiver of pro- 
vision paid for discharge of colony tax ; John Abbe, collector of 
excise ; Hezekiah Manning and Shubael Palmer, surveyors and 
packers of tobacco. 

In the revival of business following the close of the French 
war, Windham actively participated. Some enterprising local 
merchants opened commercial exchange with the West Indies, 
and by this means a market was provided for the products of 
the town. Under this stimulus much attention was given to 
wool growing, the culture of hemp, flax and tobacco, and the 
making of cheese and butter. Great flocks of sheep and herds 
of cattle ranged over Windham pastures and commons. Wheat 
and other cereals were extensively grown and exported, and so 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 267 

the agricultural prosperity of the town continued until the for- 
eign trade was choked by English exactions. Then the Wind- 
ham people turned their energies to manufactures. John Brown 
of Willimantic, in addition to other branches of business, manu- 
factured potash and refined saltpetre. Ezekiel Gary carried on 
his trade as tanner and currier in this vicinity. Colonel Elder- 
kin, among his other avocations, interested himself in silk cul- 
ture, and set out a fine orchard of mulberry trees in the south 
part of Windham. His efforts reached a moderate degree of 
success, and he was able to make a strong, coarse silk, which was 
used for handkerchiefs and vestmgs. 

Through the gloomy days of the revolution Windham shared 
the hardships and burdens common to all the towns of the county. 
From her prominent position as the shiretown of the county, 
she saw much of the military activity and public demonstrations 
of the people, not only of this town but of other neighboring- 
towns ; and bravely did the people of the town of Windham 
maintain their prominent position as the banner town of the 
county. The conditions of the war have been so fully reviewed 
as to the whole county that it seems unnecessary to go over the 
ground as to the details of this particular town. After the war 
was over, and when the federal constitution was presented to 
the people for adoption, Windham, having appointed a day for 
its special consideration, after a lengthy and able discussion of 
the question, resolved that the proposed constitution, being a 
subject to be acted upon by a state convention, it was not proper 
for the town to pass any vote upon it. There were during sev- 
eral years succeeding the war many returned soldiers about 
town destitute of employment, and many idlers hanging about 
the village without regular business, depending mostly upon jobs 
at court sessions, and the town considered it necessary to instruct 
its selectmen " to attend vigilantly to the laws respecting idle- 
ness, bad husbandry and tavern haunting, and see that the same be 
carried into effectual execution against such of the inhabitants 
of the town as shall in future be guilty of a breach of said law." 
With the revival of business and the improvement of finances 
this charge became less needful. The pressure of English re- 
striction having been removed, the various industries initiated 
in Windham before the war were now resumed with redoubled 
spirit. Great attention was given to stock raising and dairy 
manufactures. A large surplus of beef and pork was barreled 



268 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

on the farms for market, and cheese became so plentiful that 
" a speculator could sometimes buy a hundred thousand pounds 
in a neighborhood." Wool was produced in considerable quan- 
tities, and many of the industrious women of the town found 
profitable employment in knitting stockings and mittens, which 
found their way to the New York market. It is estimated that 
this industry annually brought several thousand dollars into 
the town. As an instance of the business of importance carried 
on at Windham may be mentioned the drug business established 
by Doctor Benjamin Dyer, who claimed to have the largest as- 
sortment of goods in that line to be found in eastern Connec- 
ticut. Among his stock might be found at one time a hundred 
and fifty pounds of wafers, an article which was in every day 
use at that time, but now almost unknown. His trade extended 
to all the physicians in the surrounding country. At one time 
he was accustomed to import goods directly from London. Man- 
ufactures were also progressing. Up to January 1st, 1795, the 
people were supplied with mail from Norwich, but on the date 
mentioned a post office was opened at Windham Green, John 
Byrne being postmaster. Residents of all the neighboring towns 
now received mail through this office. Letters for Ashford, 
Brooklyn, Canterbury, Hampton, Mansfield, Killingly; and even 
distant Thompson, were advertised in the Windham Herald, which 
had been started in 1791, and was published by the postmaster. 
Thus for many years Windham maintained her position of 
prominence among Windham county towns ; but in 1820 the 
courts were transferred to Brooklyn, as being a more central 
point in the county. This was not done without many years' 
effort and agitation of the question. As early as 1817 public 
meetings were held and arguments presented for and against 
different sites. The question was referred to a committee, and 
upon their report the assembly, May 29th, 1819, provided that as 
soon as a court house and jail should be erected in Brooklyn, 
without being any direct tax upon the county, and the buildings 
approved by the judges of the county and superior courts re- 
spectively, the courts should be held there, and at the same time 
the county buildings and land given up at the old county seat 
should be the property of the town of Windham. After consid- 
erable difficulty the necessary funds were raised and the build- 
ings erected. They were approved by Chief Justice Stephen T. 
Hosmer and Judge John T. Peters, July 26th, 1820. Windham 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 269 

made a strong effort to obtain half-shire privileges, but without 
success. Then the glory of Windham Green began to fade. In 
addition to the loss of all the patronage brought to it by the 
county business, the upspringing of manufacturing enterprises 
at Willimantic Falls was drawing business rapidly away from 
the old to a new center. The "Green," however, still kept its 
place as the head of the town, exercising its ancient sway over 
the border villages. Their growth at first added in some respects 
to the importance of the mother settlement. Proprietors and 
managers of Willimantic factories found pleasant homes at Wind- 
ham Green, and Windham's six stores, bank, probate and town 
clerk's offices, accommodated all the villages. But this favor was 
only temporary, for the demands of the growing center of Wil- 
limantic were rapidly growing stronger and she could not long 
withstand them. Gradually her stores, public offices and busi- 
ness interests lapsed to the borough. 

The original territory of Windham has been reduced several 
times. In 1703 nearly one-half of it was taken by the formation 
of Mansfield ; in 1786 the northern part was taken by the form- 
ation of Hampton ; in 1822 it was further reduced by the forma- 
tion of Chaplin ; and again in 1857 a large part of its remaining 
territory was taken to form the town of Scotland. 

During the early years of this town, the boundary dispute 
with Canterbury on the east was one of the chief sources of an- 
noyance. From time to time the vexed question broke out 
afresh, with ever-increasing bitterness and violence. Various 
legal decisions adjudged the disputed land to Canterbury, but 
were not recognized by Windham, who continued to retain it 
in possession, and kept an agent constantly in the field to de- 
fend the claim before the courts and the assembly. Another 
grievance was the diminution of its territory. The growing 
population could barely find room for the exercise of its energies 
upon its own soil. It is true there was land enough in the town, 
but much of it was unavailable hillsides, and still more was held 
by speculators, who then as now were a burden upon the devel- 
opment of the country. As a result, many of the young men, 
and even the growing families, emigrated to other localities 
where the conditions were more favorable. Many valued fam- 
ilies were lost to churches and town by the rage for emigration. 
The children of Wyoming emigrants returned to Susquehanna 
valley, and gained possession of the lands claimed by their 



270 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

fathers. Representatives of the old Windham families were 
scattered abroad in all parts of the opening republic. Thus mat- 
ters continued for half a century, until the census disclosed an 
actual decline in the population, amounting in the decade be- 
tM^een 1790 and 1800 to one hundred and twenty. 

During- the long and trying struggle of the revolution the old 
town of Windham acquitted herself nobly, fully sustaining her 
reputation for patriotic devotion, and even gaining many fresh 
laurels to add to her already honorable reputation. When the 
port of Boston was formally closed by the British parliament the 
people of this town in public meeting passed vehement expres- 
sions of the popular sentiment, asking the general assembly to 
appoint a day of fasting and prayer, that the impending calamities 
might be averted, calling also for a general congress of the colo- 
nies, and condemning the East India Company and their action 
in the East Indies in most extravagant terms, a single sentence 
of which we quote by way of illustration : " Let the Spanish 
barbarities in Mexico, and the name of Cortez sink in everlast- 
ing oblivion, while such more recent superior cruelties bear 
away the palm in the late annals of their rapine and cruelty." 
The sentiment of that meeting found expression in language so 
noble and pathetic that we cannot refrain from preserving some 
of its most striking passages. " Let us, dear fellow Americans, 
for a few years at least, abandon that narrow, contracted princi- 
ple of self-love, which is the source of every vice ; let us once 
feel for our country and posterity ; let our hearts expand and 
dilate with the noble and generous sentiments of benevolence, 
though attended with the severer virtue of self-denial. The 
blessings of Heaven attending, America is saved ; children yet 
unborn will rise and call you blessed ; the present generation 
will, by future — to the latest period of American glory — be ex- 
tolled and celebrated as the happy instruments, under God, of 
delivering millions from thraldom and slavery, and secure per- 
manent freedom and liberty to Arcerica." At that meeting the 
people at once set about the practical demonstration of the sen- 
timent which they so nobly uttered. Nine of their most respected 
citizens, from different parts of the town, viz. : Samuel Gray, 
Nathaniel Wales, Ebenezer Devotion, Ebenezer Mosely, Hezekiah 
Bissel, Joseph Ginnings, William Durkee, John Howard and 
Hezekiah Manning, were appointed a committee of correspond- 
ence, and authorized to procure subscriptions for the aid of Bos- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 271 

ton. Their appeal was most effectual. The fields and hills of 
Windham abounded with fine flocks of sheep, and the generous 
owners of them, whether rich or poor, were ready to contribute 
from them to make up a flock, which, within five days were on 
the road to Boston. With them was sent a letter, abounding in 
expressions of sympathy and encouragement, exhorting the 
people of Boston to stand true to the common cause of opposi- 
tion against the tyranny of the British parliament. This was 
the first contribution from outside towns to reach Boston in that 
hour of emergency, and thus to Windham belongs the signal 
honor of leading the towns of New England in a voluntary 
movement for the relief of oppressed Boston, and indeed we 
might say taking the first practical steps in the direction of 
American independence. The town of Boston received the gift 
with gratitude, as will be seen from the following vote of the 
town passed July 4th, 1774 : 

" That the thanks of this town be, and hereby are given to our 
worthy friends, the inhabitants of the town of Windham, Con- 
necticut colony, for the kind and generous assistance they have 
granted this town under its present distress and calamity in vol- 
untarily sending two hundred and fifty-eight sheep as a present 
for the relief of the poor, distressed inhabitants of this place, 
who by a late oppressive and cruel act of parliament for block- 
ing up the harbor of Boston are prevented getting subsistence 
for themselves and families." 

In subsequent events the town of Windham participated with 
other towns of the county whose action in general has been 
already noticed in another chapter. In 1775, Windham was 
represented in the general congress at Philadelphia, by Colonel 
Dyer, and the action of that body was reviewed in town meet- 
ing December 5th, with the resulting vote " That this town does 
accept, approve and adopt the doings of the Continental Con- 
gress held at Philadelphia in September last, and agree and 
oblige ourselves religiously to keep and observe the same." 

In 1777 the depreciation of the currency became a cause of 
great distress and general embarrassment, and regulations were 
attempted to stay the evils resulting therefrom. Windham 
voted March 24th, " That the inhabitants of this town will with 
one consent join with, and support to the utmost of their power 
in carrying into execution the laws made for regulating and 
affixing the prices of certain articles." The town also appointed 



272 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

a committee to provide necessaries for the families of soldiers 
belonging- to the town, who should go into any of the conti- 
nental armies. In the spring of the following year the quota 
of this town was thirty-seven men. A bounty of six pounds 
was offered every man who would enlist for one year, and this 
in addition to a like sum offered by the state, and twelve pounds 
at the end of the year, besides forty shillings a month, "all in 
lawful money." To meet this outlay a rate of sixpence on all 
the polls and ratable estates was levied, to be paid in beef, pork, 
flour and other articles of produce. 

Messrs. Elderkin and Gray had a powder mill in the town,ard 
considerable supplies were manufactured here, and Hezekiah 
Huntington carried on the manufacture and repair of fire-arms 
at Willimantic, so it will be seen this town was an important 
factor among its sister towns in the great struggle. Town action 
was unanimous. No attempt was made to evade military or 
civil requisitions. The leaders kept their post and the people 
faithfully upheld them. That spirit of detraction and suspicion 
which often wrought such mischief in the patriotic ranks was 
here denounced and held in abeyance. Many anecdotes of re- 
markable performances are preserved, some of the more notable 
ones being ably told by Miss Fuller in another chapter of this 
work. 

The "grand list " of this town in 1775 showed a valuation of 
thirty-two thousand two hundred and twenty-two pounds, ten 
shillings, seven pence. At that time the population consisted of 
three thousand four hundred and thirty-seven whites, and ninety- 
one negroes. Among this population were many honored names, 
but after the revolution they soon passed off the stage of action; 
having served their generation, they rested from their labors, 
while their works followed them. Among such examples were 
Colonel Ebenezer Gray, who after suffering greatly from disease 
contracted in the service of his country during the war, died in 
1795, greatly respected and beloved. With other Windham offi- 
cers he was an honored member of the Cincinnati Society, an 
organization having for its object the perpetuation of revolu- 
tionary friendships and associations, and the relief of widov s 
and orphans of those who had fallen. His brother Thomas 
Gray, physician and merchant, died in 1792. Colonel Jedidiah 
Elderkin died in 1794, Deacon Eleazer Fitch in 1800, Elder Een- 
jamin Lathrop in 1804 and Samuel Linkon, in the one hundred 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 273 

and second year of his age, in 1794. Arthur Bibbins, another 
centenarian, though he had never known a sick day, was thrown 
from his horse, receiving injuries which caused his death, as we 
might say, prematurely, at the age of about one hundred and 
two years. Colonel Dyer, far advanced in years, but still hale 
and hearty, though retired from active participation in public 
affairs, might often be seen on Windham street raising his earn- 
est protest against the alarming growth of radicalism, Jacobin- 
ism, infidelity and immorality. The new generation of men in 
active life taking the places of those honored veterans were 
Swift, the compiler of a famous " Digest of the laws of Connec- 
ticut ; " lawyers Samuel Perkins, John Baldwin and David W. 
Young ; Henry Webb, high sheriff ; Charles Abbe, deputy 
sheriff; Phinehas Abbe, jailer; William Williams, chief judge 
of the county court, succeeded in 1806 by Thomas Grosvenor of 
Pomfret ; and Samuel Gray, clerk of the courts. In the year 
1800 the "grand list" of the town amounted to $64,272.20, and 
the population was 2,644. 

At Windham Green trade and business continued lively. The 
introduction of wagons with four wheels, which occurred about 
1809, was an episode of wonderful interest. Roger Huntington 
owned the first one brought into town, and in September of the 
year mentioned he sent it up to Leicester, after a load of hand 
and machine cards. The lads who drove the horse, George Webb 
and Thomas Gray, found themselves the objects of great curi- 
osity. People on the road everywhere stopped to look at them, 
and women and children flocked to the doors and windows as if 
a menagerie was passing. At Woodstock a crowd gathered 
around them to examine the new vehicle, that they predicted 
was destined to kill all the horses. One man had seen such a 
thing before, in Hartford, "and the horse drawing it was nearly 
fagged to death." When Leicester was reached at three o'clock, 
the wagon having been driven from Pomfret that morning, it 
was found that the horse was neither dead nor badly tired. On 
their return the next day 'Squire McClellan and other Wood- 
stock people came out to see them, and as the horse had traveled 
over twenty miles with a load of cards and still appeared fresh, 
they decided that " perhaps such wagons might come into use 
after all." 

Projects for village improvement excited much discussion in 
the early years of the present century. An Aqueduct Company 
18 



274 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

was formed in 1807, which by bringing water into the tow^n 
street by means of pipes laid under the ground, accomplished a 
great public benefit. The men composing this company were 
Jabez Clark, Benjamin Dyer, Elisha White, John and Charles 
Taintor, John Staniford, Jr., Benjamin Brewster, Samuel Gray, 
John Byrne and Henry Webb. The consent of the town to 
needed improvements in this central district was often difficult 
to obtain, consequently an act of incorporation was asked for 
and granted, with power to enact by-laws within certain limits 
and to maintain a clerk. This was accomplished in 1814. Cat- 
tle and geese were now forbidden the roads, and encroachments 
upon the highways were removed. Ancient grants allowing tan- 
works, shops and houses on the public highways were revoked. 
Shad and salmon were up to this time quite numerous in the 
Willimantic river, and fishing for them was a much relished and 
exciting sport. 

But a few years later the energies of Windham were concen- 
trated upon the vital question of the county seat. When this 
was decided against her, and the courts removed to Brooklyn, 
still Windham contended for half shire privileges, and long and 
earnestly was this contest maintained. But at last Windham 
was obliged to yield to the inevitable, and accepting the situa- 
tion she then turned her attention to new channels of enterprise 
and new sources of prosperity, which were in a short time des- 
tined to prove far more fruitful than that which she so reluc- 
tantly surrendered. 

Roads and bridges were among the most important public im- 
provements for which the people of the town had to provide. 
The Willimantic was a vigorous stream and the preservation of 
bridges over it required vigilance and outlay of money and 
labor. The Natchaug was also a difficult river to cross. At first 
no attempt was made to bridge it, but it was crossed by a ferry. 
One of the first acts of the town on this subject was passed in 
August, 1692, to the effect " That thirty-five acres of upland and 
five of meadow be sequestered upon the account of a ferry — land 
to be laid out between ye two riding-places." Twenty-five acres 
on the south side of the river, above the upper " riding-place " 
were ordered to be " measured and laid out to John Larrabee, 
upon condition that he keep the ferry seven years, with a good 
and sufficient canoe upon his own cost, and in case the towns 
shall see cause to make a boat, this likewise to be kept and main- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 275 

tained by him for the time aforesaid, his charge being two-pence 
a head for single persons ; hors and man carried over in the 
boat — four-pence." The conditions of the grant were probably 
carried out. But the ferry was probably not satisfactory. It 
was too slow, and its operation might be impeded or obstructed 
by too many circumstances. In Februar}^, 1695, a committee 
was appointed " to choose a place on the Natchauge river for a 
sufficient bridge suitable for man and beast to pass with a load, 
the selectmen to agree with men to make it, lay a rate for the 
same and find help to raise the bridge." This bridge was built 
by Robert Fenton, for the sum of fourteen pounds. 

Traveling facilities up to this time had received but little at- 
tention. This bridge had been built and the one road which 
passed over it had been laid out. The only other roads were 
those marked out by the first surveyors of the tract and as yet 
but vaguely defined and unimproved. The road from the Crotch 
or Centre to Windham Green, it is said, was never regularly laid 
out, but gradually developed from an original foot-path. Rude 
bridle-paths and foot-trails led from the settlements to the mills, 
the meadows, the cedar swamp and the outlying parts of the 
town. 

In 1713 the highway surveyors were ordered to portion out the 
town for convenience in mending highways. Joseph Dingley 
was appointed " to call out the inhabitants east of the Williman- 
tic and north from meeting house ; " Stephen Tracey to call out 
those who dwelt west of the Willimantic and Shetucket ; John 
Burnap and John Bemis were to warn all who lived east from 
John Ormsbee's, the whole length and breadth of the tract ; 
while to Richard Abbe was assigned " all south of meeting 
house." Liberty was also given to Plainfield proprietors " to 
join their field with that of proprietors south and west of She- 
tucket river, so that the highway by that river to the mill and 
that over the upper riding-place to Norwich might be pent-ways 
— provided Plainfield makes and maintains good, handy gates." 

In 1746 the matter of the public highways appears to have 
fallen into neglect. In that year Isaac Burnap and Joseph Hunt- 
ington were appointed a committee to provide suitable accom- 
modations for all the people of the town to travel " to the several 
places of public worship." The bridge across the Shetucket, 
between Windham and Lebanon, which had for many ye^rs been 
maintained by private enterprise, was consigned to th^ care of 



276 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Windham in 1735, by an act of the assembly. Robert Hebard, 
Jr., was chosen by the town to inspect and take care of it. 

The burden of bridge making, always heavy in Windham, 
was greatly augmented by the increase of travel consequent 
upon the popular emigration to Wyoming and other new sec- 
tions of the country. An extraordinary flood and great accumu- 
lation of ice in 1771 demolished and carried away nearly every 
bridge in the whole county, making a clean' sweep of the Nat- 
chaug, Willimantic and Shetucket. As these bridges were upon 
public highways much frequented by trains of emigrants travel- 
ing from other towns of this colony, as well as Rhode Island, 
to parts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York, the 
authorities of this town refused to reconstruct them without aid 
from other quarters. Several roads were thus rendered impas- 
sable, travelers were compelled to go many miles out of their 
way to find suitable fording places, and were then often flung 
from their horses and placed in imminent danger of drowning. 
Complaints were laid before the general assembly in regard 
to the refusal of Windham to rebuild her bridges. In answer 
the town replied that within a few years five large bridges had 
been built at an expense of ;{^800, all of which had been swept 
away by the floods ; that the floods seemed to be increasing in 
frequency and force, and that these bridges were more for the 
accommodation of other towns than Windham. Relief was 
therefore petitioned. This, however, was denied, and the town 
was ordered to rebuild and maintain a bridge over the Shetucket 
on the road from Windham to Hartford, known as the Old 
Town bridge, and another over the Willimantic called the Iron 
Works bridge. Mansfield was directed to rebuild the bridge 
over the Natchaug. In 1774 the town of Windham was ordered 
to build and maintain a bridge over the Shetucket upon a road 
lately laid out to New Hampshire, to accommodate the travel to 
the new college in Hanover. 

About the beginning of the present century considerable at- 
tention was renewed in behalf of the improvement of highways. 
The town was divided into districts for the purpose, these dis- 
tricts being made identical with the school districts, and author- 
ity was obtained to levy a tax to keep the roads in order. The 
organization of turnpike companies now began to agitate the 
public mind. The Windham Turnpike Company was organized 
in 1799, for the purpose of constructing a turnpike from Plain- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 277 

field to Coventry, past Windham court liouse. Tlie original 
members of the company were Jeremiah Ripley, Timothy Lar- 
rabee, Moses Cleveland, Luther Payne and James Gordon, the 
charter being granted to them and their associates. This turn- 
pike became a part of the great thoroughfare between Hartford 
and Providence. Efforts were made by the town to compel this 
company to lay its road over the Shetucket where the bridge was 
already standing, so as to place upon the company the burden of 
maintaining the bridge to the relief of the town, but a new cross- 
ing was determined upon by the company, and the old town 
bridge was in 1806 abandoned. The Windham and Mansfield 
Turnpike Society was incorporated in 1800, having for its object 
the opening of a turnpike from Joshua Hide's dwelling house 
in Franklin to the meeting house in Stafford, connecting with a 
turnpike leading from New London and Norwich. The leading 
men in this enterprise were Timothy Larrabee, Charles Taintor, 
Eleazer Huntington and Roger Waldo. Some other turnpike 
projects were opposed by this town with such energy that they 
were abandoned, or at least diverted from the designed course. 
A proposed turnpike from the Massachusetts line to New Lon- 
don was projected to run through Scotland parish, but this town 
opposed it so vigorously that it was laid out further eastward. 
Another road was planned to run from Woodstock through Ash- 
ford and Mansfield to Windham court house, but this also was 
defeated by Windham. The town, however, manifested a favor- 
able spirit toward its local roads and bridges. At the request of 
Joseph Skiff and others, the Horseshoe bridge was taken under 
the charge of the town, and two hundred dollars were appro- 
priated from its treasury for reducing the hills and mending the 
road from Scotland meeting house to Jared Webb's. 

Still, as the years advanced, additional responsibilities forced 
themselves upon the town, in the line of road and bridge main- 
tenance. Five great bridges, requiring constant supervision 
and frequent repairs or renewal, were not sufficient to meet the 
wants of the growing communities. The growing village around 
Taintor & Badger's paper mill required a new bridge and a bet- 
ter road to Willimantic. A new turnpike to Killingly, and other 
roads, were demanded. The petition for a bridge and road 
from the paper mill, referred to above, headed by John Taintor, 
was opposed by a committee appointed for the purpose in 1815, 
but without avail, and in 1818 the selectmen were authorized to 



278 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

contract for the building of Horseshoe bridge over the Natchaug 
river on the road leading to the paper mill. The six bridges 
thus maintained at the expense of the town were placed in charge 
of overseers, as follows : Manning's bridge, Nathaniel Wales ; 
Newtown bridge, Zenas Howes ; the Iron Works bridge, Alfred 
Young ; the Horseshoe bridge, Waldo Gary ; Badger's bridge. 
Edmond Badger ; the Island bridge, Joshua Smith. A few years 
later two newbridgesover Merrick's brook were granted to Scot- 
land ; one near John Burnett's house, called Church bridge, and 
the other near Zaccheus Waldo's mill. Willimantic manufac- 
turers in 1826 petitioned for roads and bridges to accommodate 
more fully the needs of their growing business, but for a time 
such matters were compelled to wait while the entire energies of 
the town were engaged in the contest for the court house. But 
after that absorbing question was decided they were able to gain 
a hearing. A new bridge was built to accommodate the Wind- 
ham Company, and the old public highway was widened and 
transformed into Main street of the village of Willimantic, and 
along its sides buildings for stores and otjier public uses soon 
sprang up. 



CHAPTER XV. 



THE TOWN OF WINDHAM (Concluded). 



Employing a Minister.— Building- a Church. — Withdrawal of Mansfield. — Succes- 
sive Pastors. — The Separate Movement. — Religious Declension.— The Father 
of President Cleveland . — Gradual Dissolving of the Town Church into the 
Windham Centre (local) Church.— Schools of the Town.— Early Newspaper. 
—Old-time Taverns.— Manufacturing Begun. — Gunpowder, Silk and Paper. 
— Windham Centre. — (I!emetery. — Congregational, Episcopal and Baptist 
Clhurches.— South Windham.— Manufacturing Enterprises. — Congregational 
Church. — North Windham. — Manufactories. — Church, Cemetery and School. 
— Biographical Sketches. 



THE civil and ecclesiastical association of the people kept 
pace, each with the other, so uniformly that it is hard to 
tell definitely which one took the lead. We have endeav- 
ored to notice in the preceding chapter^the founding and growth 
of the town of Windham in its civil capacity. We shall now 
turn our attention to a brief review of its founding and growth 
as an ecclesiastical body. Having held its first town meeting 
June 12th, 1692, the town was not complete until a Gospel min- 
ister was settled among the people. This, in fact, was one of 
the most conspicuous conditions of the charter granted ,by the 
general court of Connecticut on the 12th of May, preceding, the 
language of which ran as follows : " And the inhabitants are 
obliged to improve their utmost endeavor to procure and main- 
tain an able and faithful ministry in the place, and bear all other 
town charges as the law directs." 

In pursuance of this requirement the town, at its first town 
meeting, after asking advice of a Mr. Fitch, probably Reverend 
James Fitch, appointed a committee to go to -Milford and ar- 
range, if possible, for the services of Reverend Samuel Whiting 
as a minister to the town. Pending such negotiations, religious 
services were conducted by Mr. Jabez Fitch, at his own house. 
After repeated applications Mr. Whiting was induced to accept 
the proffered position, and began his ministry on the first day of 
January, 1693. In appropriate harmony with the circumstances 



280 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

he began on the first day of the week, month and year by preach- 
ing from the first verse of the first book of the Bible. His stip- 
ulated salary for the first half year was twenty pounds in pro- 
vision pa}^ and four pounds in silver. Collectors were duly au- 
thorized by the town to collect the rate " and if need be sue or 
distrain for it." His labors seem to have proved satisfactory, 
and during the year it was determined to offer him, as a more 
permanent inducement to remain with them, an allotment 
through the several divisions of land that should be afterward 
made, and fifty pounds salary, and to build for him a house two 
stories high and eighteen feet square, " said house in capacity 
like Joseph Dingley's, provided he would stay four years." Mr. 
Whiting accepted the offer. In 1694 it was decided that services 
should be held three Sabbaths at the Hither Place and two Sab- 
baths at the north end of the town. Mr. Whiting was a young 
man, a son of Reverend John Whiting, of Hartford, and as yet 
unmarried. In 1694 the town agreed, among other encouraging 
inducements, to increase his salary if he would continue, so as 
to make it sixty pounds a year for three years, seventy pounds a 
year for the next three years, and eighty pounds a year for the 
following three years. 

Up to this time the town had no meeting house. Early in 1695 
an attempt was made to find a place to erect such a building. 
A committee was instructed to measure the town from north to 
south, " where the path goes, and so to find the senter for meet- 
ing house." Two settlements, " four miles apart and with a bad 
river between," were to be accommodated. The spot determined 
upon as most desirable was at the Crotch or Horseshoe, where 
a little settlement was then just commencing. Its prospective 
selection as the site of the meeting' house drew other settlers to 
it and increased its importance. Here the minister's house was 
built in 1696, and here also divine service was held during the 
following winter, in the house of Goodman More. This arrange- 
ment was adopted in compliance with the request of Mr, Whit- 
ney. The ancient " Crotch " in later 5'ears is known as " Brick- 
top." 

The people of the southeast quarter objected to building a 
meeting house at the intermediate point, believing that they 
were able, or soon would be, to build a house of worship in their 
own locality. They therefore favored a division of the town 
into two parishes, at least as far as the erection of houses of wor- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 281 

ship was concerned, even though they should both unite in the 
support of the same minister. But the people of the northern 
settlement, who were not as strong as the former, desired to 
build the meeting house at the Crotch. The town, however, 
voted, January 14th, 1697, that each locality might build a meet- 
ing house as soon as it felt strong enough to do so, but not to be 
exempt from its obligations to the town until they should be set 
apart in two distinct societies. But after much discussion of the 
matter, a committee appointed for the purpose decided in De- 
cember, 1697, that the town should not be divided, but that the 
original design of building a meetinghouse at the Crotch should 
be carried forward. Before the work was begun, however, the 
question was again opened, and discussion followed which re- 
sulted in an agreement, March 16th, 1699, that each settlement 
should build a meeting house as soon as it could, at its own 
charg^e, the house to be large enough to accommodate the whole 
congregation, and that services should be conducted in each 
place one-half the time between the middle of March and the 
25th of December, for seven years, after which each place should 
endeavor to support a minister by itself. By authority of the 
general assembly, a church was now formally organized. The 
organization took place at what was known as the Dingley 
House, a mile north of Windham Green, December 10th, 1700, 
the following being the names of original members, as far as 
the list can be read, names of two males and ten females being 
now illegible : Samuel Whiting, Thomas Bingham, Joseph Carey, 
Joshua Ripley, Thomas Huntington, John Backus, Joseph 
Huntington, Jeremiah Ripley, Jonathan Crane, Joseph Hebbard, 
Samuel Abbe, John Abbe, Robert Hebbard, Mary Hebbard, 
Hannah Abbe and Rebecca Huntington. The deacons at this 
time chosen were Thomas Bingham, Joseph Carey and Nathan- 
iel Wales. Mr. Whiting had been ordained on December 4th, 
1700, and the thousand-acre right reserved by the legatees for 
the minister was soon afterward made over to him, "for his 
faithful labors eight years in the work of the ministry." 

January 30th, 1700, the front part of William Backus's home 
lot at the southeast quarter was purchased for a meeting house 
plat or common. This was the nucleus of Windham Green, 
and the first meeting house was soon after erected upon it. This 
was completed and opened for worship in April, 1703. The 
building was " clabboarded from sill to girths " around the in- 



282 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

side, and furnished with a pulpit and seats and pews. Then a 
committee was appointed to designate the particular places in 
the house to be occupied by the several attendants upon service : 
" Deacon Bingham in the right hand seat below the pulpit, and 
his wife in the pue answerable thereto ; Deacon Gary in the 
left hand, and his wife in the pue adjoining ; Joshua Ripley and 
Lieutenants Fitch and Crane in the foremost pue ; Abraham 
Mitchell at the head of the first, and Josiah Palmer of the sec- 
ond seat, with their wives against them — and the remainder of 
the congregation in due order." The Green around the meeting 
house was now enlarged and appropriated ; the town voting De- 
cember 23d, 1702, " That the land east from Goodman Brough- 
ton's, south from Thomas Huntington's, north of the road by 
Goodman Broughton's, extending to three or four acres of land 
onto Stony Plaine, should lay common to perpetuity." 

The division of the town having been effected, the Windham 
church prospered and rapidly increased in strength. The Mans- 
field people, not finding it convenient to support a minister by 
themselves, continued to worship with the Windham people until 
the year 1710. After the adoption of the Saybrook platform in 
1708, as the established form of church government in Connecti- 
cut, Windham, by provisions therein contained, was included in 
the North Association of Hartford county. Mr. Whiting contin- 
ued to retain the affection of his people, neither his land opera- 
tions nor his interest in public affairs interfering in the least with 
his ministerial duties and usefulness. As his family increased his 
salary was proportionately enlarged, although the yearly allow- 
ance of eighty cords of wood which had been given him was 
gradually reduced to forty, each man being required to provide 
according to his list or forfeit six shillings a cord. This allow- 
ance was finally superseded by a ten pound rate for ministerial 
fire-wood. The meeting house was supplied in 1708, by vote of 
the town, with the luxury of a " pulpit cushion." During the 
same year a committee was also appointed " to agree with work- 
men to finish the galleries, repair the underpinning and the 
breaches in the seats." 

The growth of the society demanded more room, and in 1713 
it was resolved to enlarge the meeting house, but before the work 
was done it was decided to build a new house altogether on the 
site of the first. Deacons Cary and Bingham, and Lieutenant 
Crane were a committee to conduct the work, which was speedi- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 283 

ly accomplished. The house was much larger than the former 
one, and on its completion the usual designation of seating 
places was secured. Messrs. Ripley and Fitch were honored 
with the chief seat in front. The venerable Joseph Dingley was 
allowed to sit in the pulpit because of his deafness. Mr. Whit- 
ing was allowed to build at his own expense such a pew as he 
saw fit for his family to occupy " by the east door." Several of 
the young men, Joseph Crane, Josiah Bingley, Zebulon Webb, 
Jeremiah Ripley, Jr., Jonathan Huntington, David Ripley and 
Ebenezer Wales, were allowed to build a pew for themselves, 
probably in the gallery, on condition " that if they removed out 
of the pue they should deliver it to the town without demolish- 
ment." To modify the temperature of the unwarmed house as 
far as possible, it was ordered that in cold and windy weather 
the windward doors should be kept shut, leeward ones only 
opened. Two pounds, provision pay, were allowed annually for 
sweeping the meeting house. 

In 1720 and 1721 the church enjoyed a season of revival, a cir- 
cumstance quite remarkable by contrast with the generally cold 
condition of surrounding churches at that time. Residents of 
neighboring towns were drawn to the meetings, and young men 
were converted who were among the most prominent actors in 
the religious developments of a later period. 

Mr, Whiting died suddenly, of pleurisy, while on a visit to 
Enfield, September 27th, 1725, being then in the fifty-sixth year 
of his age. He left a widow and thirteen children, the young- 
est, Nathan, then being but little more than a year old. The 
sudden death of their beloved pastor filled the people of Wind- 
ham with mourning, and they appointed a day of special humili- 
ation and prayer for guidance in the work before them of secur- 
ing a minister to be his successor. The labors of the committee 
were successful in securing the services of Reverend Thomas 
Clap, of Scituate, Mass., a graduate of Cambridge in the class of 
1722. After a trial of his gifts the town gave him a call, which 
was accepted, and he was duly ordained August 3d, 1726. The 
call to settlement offered him three hundred pounds for settle- 
ment and an annual salary of one hundred pounds and fire-wood. 
The church had received three hundred and eighty-three mem- 
bers during the ministry of Mr. Whiting, and had dismissed 
colonies to Mansfield and Windham Village (Hampton) and still 
numbered two hundred and sixty-four. The recent revival had 



284 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

increased its strength and spirituality, and Mr. Clap began his 
ministry under the most favorable auspices. New deacons were 
now chosen — Eleazer Gary, Joseph Huntington, Nathaniel Wales 
and Abel Bingham, with whom were also elected to act in advis- 
ory counsels three others, Joshua Ripley, John Fitch and Jona- 
than Crane. 

The church was now prosperous. Mr. 'Clap developed remark- 
able administrative capacities, and brought all ecclesiastical af- 
fairs under stringent laws and discipline. In 1728 it was voted, 
" That all baptismal persons have a right to hear confessions 
for public scandal, and that no such confessions shall be accept- 
ed unless made before the congregation on the Sabbath, or some 
public meeting wherein all baptized persons have warning to at- 
tend." These confessions were very frequent. The number of 
delinquents arraigned under the strict regimen of Mr. Clap was 
very large. Though not brilliant or eloquent, he was a forcible 
preacher, and greatly impressed the community by his earnest- 
ness and strength of character. He was married November 23d, 
1727, to Mary Whiting, daughter of his predecessor. He was 
called from this field of labor to the presidency of Yale College, 
and the reluctant people allowed him to be dismissed from this 
pastorate, December 10th, 1739, and April 2d, 1740, he was in- 
stalled as president of Yale. He had served Windham fourteen 
years. And in return for having taken their pastor from them, 
on whom a settlement had been made by the Windham people 
in expectation of his life services, the general assembly, in May, 
1740, voted to reimburse Windham to the amount of three hun- 
dred and ten pounds, in the then depreciated currency of Con- 
necticut, which was equal in value to about fifty-three pounds 
sterling. 

Another pastor was now secured in the person of Reverend 
Stephen White, of New Haven, a graduate of Yale in the class 
of 1736. He was mild and gentle in character, and rather defi- 
cient in that administrative capacity which had been so marked 
in his predecessor. He nevertheless appears to have been ac- 
ceptable to the people. A settlement of six hundred pounds, 
and an annual salary of two hundred pounds were given him, 
and he was ordained December 24th, 1740. The membership of 
the church was then two hundred and eighty-seven, and such 
was the excellent condition of the societ}^ that every head of a 
household was connected with the church, either by profession 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 285 

of faith or by owning the covenant. Family prayer was observed 
in every household, and every child was consecrated by baptism. 
Profane swearing was but little known, and open violations of 
the Sabbath were very rare. Soon after his settlement Mr.White 
was married to Mary, daughter of Major Thomas Dyer. The 
management of ecclesiastical affairs by the civil town was no 
longer the custom, but an organized society, connected with the 
church, had control of its material affairs. The deacons then in 
service were Joshua Huntington, Ralph Wheelock, Eleazer Gary 
and Nathaniel Wales. 

In the time of the great revival and the Separate movement, 
which took place soon after the settlement of Mr.White, the church 
of Windham received large accessions, and on the other hand suf- 
fered somewhat from the withdrawal of some to join in the Sep- 
arate movement. During this period over one hundred mem- 
bers were received. A number of these converts a little later 
withdrew and organized as a Separate church in 1747, ordaining 
their brother, Elisha Marsh, as their pastor. It does not appear 
that this church was ever very thriving or vigOK)US. The mild 
temperament of the pastor prevailed among the church to re- 
strain the more rigid disciplinarians from exercising their extreme 
authority toward the Separatists, and they apparently allowed 
the seceding brethren to retire without resistance. The Sepa- 
rate church, thus left to itself, without any breeze of opposition 
to fan its energies into a flame, soon fell to pieces. Its pastor 
became a Baptist, its more moderate members returned to their 
allegiance, while others were absorbed into the more vigorous 
churches of Mansfield and Scotland parish. 

After order and the usual even tenor of life were restored the 
church began to consider the question of enlarging and rebuild- 
ing their house of worship. This work was begun about 1753, 
and completed in 1755, the new church being large and elegant, 
with a lofty and beautiful steeple, in which was hung the first 
church bell of Windham county. This latter accessory was pur- 
chased by a legacy of twenty pounds left for that purpose by 
Mr. Jonathan Bingham, who died in 1751, having already greatly 
aided and encouraged the erection of the new house of worship. 
It is also stated by Doctor Samuel Peters that this church had a 
clock in its steeple. Eighty members had been added to the 
church between 1746 and 1760. Mr. White was greatly respect- 
ed for his amiability and uprightness of character, but had no 



286 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

very marked influence upon the community. The senior dea- 
cons, Joseph Huntington and Ralph Wheelock, died in 1747 and 
1748. Deacons Eleazer Gary and Ebenezer Wales died in 1757, 
and their places were filled by Joseph Huntington and Nathan- 
iel Skiff. The latter died in 1761. Jonathan Martin and Elijah 
Bingham were chosen junior deacons in 1766. 

Now, we are told, there followed a time of religious declension, 
which lasted for many years. During the period covering the 
revolution, and for several subsequent ^^ears, Universalism and 
infidelity had come in and drawn away multitudes from the re- 
ligious faith of their fathers. A reaction seemed to have taken 
place. Free-thinking and free-drinking were alike in vogue, 
and a looseness of manners and morals had replaced the ancient 
Puritanic strictness. Any sect or church within the state was 
allowed the privilege of worshipping according to its own no- 
tions, but still the state insisted that every man should worship 
somewhere, or at least bear his part in maintaining some religious 
worship. The Saybrook Platform was dropped from the statute 
book in the revision of 1784, but the society organization was 
retained. Every man within the limits of a stated society was 
taxed for the support of its religious worship, until he lodged 
with the clerk of the society a certificate of membership in some 
other society. 

The Reverend Stephen White died January 9th, 1793, in the 
seventy-fifth year of his age, closing with his life a pastorate of 
nearly fifty-three years, It is related of him that his gentle and 
lovely character, consistent Christian life, and faithful ministerial 
service, had won the regard of all " whose approbation was worth 
possessing." He was succeeded, in the ministerial office by Eli- 
jah Waterman of Bozrah, who was ordained here October 1st, 
1794. He at once devoted himself to his work with great earn- 
estness, and by his faithful labors and pungent exhortations 
soon aroused a new religious interest in his church, which soon 
received encouraging accessions to its membership. He, like 
his predecessors, found a wife among his own people, Luc}^ 
daughter of Shubael Abbe. Mr. Waterman was prominent in 
progressive movements in religious, educational and literary 
matters. Among other enterprises in the latter directions he 
collected materials for a history of Windham county, which 
materials, unfortunately, were in subsequent years allowed to 
become scattered. His pastorate however, was not altogether a 



J{ISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 287 

peaceful one. As might be expected, his vigorous crusade 
against vice and irreligion aroused against him a spirit of oppo- 
sition, and some with whose unlawful sports he had interfered, 
and others whom his aggressiveness had offended, withdrew and 
organized an Episcopal society, thus evading the payment of rates 
for the support of Mr. Waterman. This weakened the finances 
of the societ}^ and made it difficult to raise the minister's salary. 
Added to this the society was still further weakened by the sud- 
den death of Sheriff Abbe, one of its chief supporters, which 
occurred April 16th, 1804. In view of the circumstances Mr. 
Waterman was dismissed, at his own request, February 12th, 
1805. Eighty-nine members had been admitted to the church 
during his pastorate, and two deacons had been elected, viz., 
Samuel Perkins, Esq., and Captain Eliphalet Murdock. Deacon 
Samuel Gray died in 1787 ; Deacon Jonathan Martin in 1795 ; 
.and Deacon Elijah Bingham in 1798. 

Reverend Mr. Andrews was ordained pastor of this church 
August 8th, 1808. He was a very serious and devout Christian, 
and was distressed and discouraged by the lack of religious earn- 
estness among his people. To such an extent was he affected 
that he asked for dismission in 1812, and though at first opposed, 
he obtained it in the following year. He was succeeded by Rev- 
erend Cornelius B. Everest, who was ordained November 22d, 
1816, and whose ministry happily allayed all storms and had a 
most invigorating and healthful influence. Many new members 
were added to the church. Mr. Everest was dismissed in 1827, 
after a peaceful and prosperous ministry. He was succeeded by 
Reverend R. F. Cleveland, whose ministry of three years was 
equally successful and acceptable. This church lost considerable 
of its strength by the withdrawal of members to form the church 
-at Willimantic in 1828, among whom was Deacon Charles Lee. 
Deacon Thomas Welch was also dismissed about the same time, 
to unite elsewhere. Reverend J. E. Tyler of East Windsor, was 
ordained and installed October 11th, 1837. Abner Follet was 
chosen deacon in 1840. 

Subsequent events have made it a matter of unusual interest 
that an additional word should be given to Reverend Richard 
Fally Cleveland, who was ordained here October 15th, 1829. He 
was a native of Norwich, Conn., and a graduate of Yale College. 
After remaining here three years he was dismissed in October, 
1882. He was the father of ex-President Grover Cleveland, and 



288 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

two of his children were born during his pastorate here. These 
were a daughter, Ann, now Mrs. Hastings of Ceylon, and a son, 
William, afterward a minister. During Mr. Cleveland's pastorate 
thirty-one persons were added to the church. He removed hence 
to Portsmouth, Va., and was also stationed at different times at 
Caldwell, N. J., and Fayetteville, N. Y. After his pastorate in 
Windham different ones occupied the field for short periods, but 
no pastor was settled until the installation of Mr. Tyler in 
1837. He was the son of Reverend Bennet Tyler, D.D., presi- 
dent of East Windsor Seminary, also known as the Theologi- 
cal Institute of Connecticut. On account of failing health Mr. 
Tyler was dismissed at his own request December 2d, 1851. 
During his pastorate the church was removed from Court House 
square to the site at present occupied. The last sermon in the 
old church was given March 20th, 1848. The house was torn 
down and a new house built, some of the materials being used 
in the new building. Reverend George Ingersoll Stearns, a na- 
tive of Killingly, was ordained here September 22d, 1852, and 
after a pastorate of nearly ten years he died here March 13th, 
1862. Samuel Hopley began serving this church January 21st, 
1864, and was dismissed January 26th, 1866. Hiram Day, the 
eleventh pastor of the church, followed him. He was settled 
May 23d, 1866, and resigned, his resignation being accepted 
March 24th, 1869. The next pastor, Adelbert Franklin Keith, 
was ordained and installed October 26th, 1870. During his pas- 
torate the church was prosperous and the meeting house was en- 
larged by being cut in two and lengthened. A chapel was also 
built under his moving hand about 1874. He was dismissed June 
29th, 1874. His successor. Reverend Frank Thompson, was in. 
stalled June 8th, 1875. The church prospered during his pas- 
torate, a revival occurring meanwhile, and about forty members 
were added during his pastorate. He was dismissed November 
23d, 1880. The church was then a little more than three years 
without any regular pastor, being served by stated supplies. 
Reverend Frederick A. Holden was here from the spring of 1883 
one year. Reverend William S. Kelsey, the present pastor, a 
graduate of the Hartford Seminary, was ordained May 27th, 1885. 
During his pastorate thus far sixty members have been added, 
twenty-two of which were added during the year 1888. The 
present membership is about one hundred and twenty. A dis- 
astrous fire, originating in the store of William Swift, which ad- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 289 

joined the chtircli, occurred May 5th, 1886. The church was 
burned down. It was rebuilt on the same site without delay. 
The present handsome and commodious structure was dedicated 
June 16th, 1887. 

Thus the institution which in 1693 was an essential and co- 
ordinate part of the town, and then included members of the 
whole body politic, is now a local institution known as the Con- 
gregational Church of Windham. From this, which may em- 
phatically be called a " mother church," other churches have 
been formed as follows : Mansfield church, organized October 
18th, 1710 ; Hampton church, organized June 5th, 1723 ; Scotland 
church, organized October 22d, 1735 ; " Chewink Plains " church, 
organized 1780, existed sixteen years, and after its dissolution thir- 
teen members returned to Windham church ; Willimantic church, 
organized January 22d, 1828, and South Windham church, or- 
ganized December, 1888. The following is a list of the deacons 
of this church from 1700 down to the present time, with the dates 
when they were elected : Joseph Carey, Thomas Bingham and 
Nathaniel Wales, 1700; Abel Bingham, Joseph Huntington, 
Ralph Wheelock and Eleazer Carey, 1729 ; Nathaniel Wales, 
1741 ; Ebenezer Wales, 1748 ; Joseph Huntington and Nathaniel 
Skiff, 1754; Jonathan Martin and Elijah Bingham, 1765 ; Samuel 
Gray, 1777 ; Eleazer Fitch and Hezekiah Bissel, 1787 ; Thomas 
Tileston, 1790 ; Samuel Perkins, 1796 ; Eliphalet Murdock, 1802 ; 
Charles Lee, 1815 ; Thomas Welch, 1824 ; Abner Follet, 1840 ; 
De Witt C. Lathrop, 1853 ; William Swift and Eliphalet Hun- 
tington, 1862, and Joseph B. Spencer and Casper Barstow at 
later dates. 

In the early history of the town schools received less attention 
in Windham than might have been expected in a town of such 
prosperity and intelligence. " A school to be kept in Thomas 
Snell's house " appears to have been for some time the only pro- 
vision made in that direction. The committee appointed to 
manage the schools may have ordered them in different neigh- 
borhoods, however. In 1711 the town voted to have no more 
school committees, but to leave the matter in the hands of the 
selectmen. In 1713 the town ordered two school houses, one to 
be eighteen feet square and set upon the Green, " not above 
twenty rods from the meeting-house ;" the other sixteen feet 
square, to be set in the eastern part of the town. John Backus 
and James Badcock were chosen a commiittee to secure their 
19 



290 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

erection. The first was soon completed, but the other was de- 
layed a year or two. The first reference to schools which we 
find on the records of the town was made in December, 1702, 
when the vote of the town directed the selectmen to agree with 
a schoolmaster or mistress — " scollars to pay what the rate falls 
short." 

Thus schools were managed in a very imperfect way, with 
but little improvernent for man}^ years. Soon after the revo- 
lution, however, some efforts were made to raise the standard 
of public education. For a time an academy was maintained, 
with the learned Doctor Pemberton as its principal. Though 
at a later period, for lack of permanent funds, it was unable to 
retain so popular a teacher, yet it maintained a respectable 
standing, and was well sustained by Windham and its vicinity. 
Public schools were yet poor, but efforts were made for their 
improvement. In 1794 thirteen school districts were set off, 
each being designated, according to the custom of the time, by 
the name of some prominent resident. Thus they were num- 
bered and named as follows : 1, Frederick Stanley's ; 2, Solomon 
Huntington's; 3, Jabez Wolcott's ; 4, Timothy Wales's ; 5, Eliph- 
alet Murdock's ; 6, William Preston's ; 7, Zebediah Tracy's ; 
8, Josiah Palmer's; 9, James Gary's; 10, Joseph Palmer's; 11, 
William Gary's ; 12, John Walden's ; 13, Zenas Howe's. Private 
schools were often sustained in different neighborhoods. Among 
other tutors who at times held sway in the academy were " Mas- 
ter" Abbott, Roger Southworth and Socrates Balcom. About 
1825 the growth of Willimantic seemed to demand superior ac- 
commodation for its school, and a new brick school house was 
built. The heterogeneous collection of youthful representatives 
of different nations and ideas was, however, a hard school to 
govern, and the school committee, it is said, on one occasion 
sent expressly to ^Sterling for a schoolmaster with a will and a 
hand strong enough to keep the boys from cutting and marring 
the woodwork of the school house. 

The town of Windham takes the lead in being the first in 
the county to send out that great modern educator, the news- 
paper. The first effort of this kind was made in 1790. During 
that year John Byrne, of Norwich, set up a printing press in the 
lower room of the court house in Windham Green, and early in 
the following year began the publication of TJic Plienix or Wind- 
ham Herald. His office was now removed to a location just north 



HISTQRY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 291 

of the court house. The first issue was dated Saturday, March 
12th, 1791. It was a modest little sheet, printed on coarse, blu- 
ish-gray paper, but in most respects, if not all, fully equal to 
the average newspaper of its day. General and foreign news 
was furnished with customary promptness — foreign news three 
months after date, congressional reports in ten or twelve days, 
and full reports of Connecticut elections three weeks after they 
took place. These, with advertisements, short moral essays, 
humorous anecdotes and occasional casualties, made up the 
table of contents. But few items of local events were printed. 
Meager as was the paper, it satisfied the public. It was accepted 
as the organ of Windham county, and in a few years was sup- 
ported by some twelve hundred subscribers, being distributed in 
all directions by post riders. 

We can hardly withdraw our gaze f rom the Windham of a 
century ago without noticing for a moment the taverns of the 
olden time, and some of the scenes of festivit)^ and mirth for 
which they were famous. With the amount of business which 
came to the merchants and mechanics of Windham by reason of 
its prominent position, its taverns might well flourish. Nathan- 
iel Linkon, John Flint, David Young, John Keyes and John 
Parish entertained the public in different parts of the town ; 
Nathaniel Hebard, John Staniford and John Fitch performed 
similar offices on Windham Green. The "Widow Gary," later 
the wife of John Fitch, brought to her new home the jolly im- 
age of Bacchus, occupying a conspicuous perch on the sign-post 
of the "old Fitch Tavern." Travelers, court attendants and 
fellow townspeople found agreeable entertainment beneath his 
beaming countenance, as well as in the other village taverns, 
famed as they all were for their flow of wit and liquor, as well 
as for their more substantial fare. Many revolutionary veterans 
who resided in the vicinity were habitual frequenters of these 
resorts, and here fought over their battles, telling marvelous 
tales of hair-breadth escape and harrowing adventure. There 
were quaint old characters, whose odd sayings and doings fur- 
nished exhaustless merriment. There was one of whom it was 
said that he could not go past Hebard's tavern without stopping 
to get a drink of rum. A frien^ remonstrated with him, and 
finally made a bet with him that he could not do so. The old 
man took the bet, and bracing his nerves and muscles to an erect 
and dignified bearing, he walked triumphantly past the tavern. 



292 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

He then returned to the tavern, saying to himself, " Now I'll go 
back and treat Resolution!' Once, when in a bewildered condition, 
he wandered off into the fields and went to sleep, and on rising 
forgot to pick up his hat. A boy found it and brought it to 
him. But instead of manifesting any confusion, he blandly 
asked where he found it. The boy replied " In Mr. White's 
pasture, near the bars." With patronizing dignity the reply 
came: "Well, boy, go take it right back. That is the place 
where I keep it." Another old wag had a turn for rhyming. 
Meeting one day a rough looking countryman with tawny hair 
and beard, and butternut colored coat, riding on a sorrel nag, 
he flung up his hat at the sight and exclaimed : " Colt and mare, 
coat and hair, all compare, I swear!" Staniford's house was 
a great place of resort, an exchange place for all manner of 
•quips, pranks and witticisms, each one striving to catch or out- 
do the other in a joke or exaggerated tale. We can preserve 
here but a single specimen of these old-time tavern stories. This 
is in relation to the well-known cold winter of 1779-80. Snow 
lay on the ground three feet on the level, as the story runs. On 
a certain day it began snowing very hard, flakes falling some of 
the time as large as small birds. All day snow fell rapidly, but 
during an hour and a half of the time it made depth an inch a 
minute. It was related that on a very cold Sunday of that 
winter one family went to meeting, two miles away, leaving 
meanwhile the big dinner pot on the fire filled with vege- 
tables, boiling over a big fire of logs in the old fashioned 
fireplace. During their absence the kitchen door had blown 
open so as to let in a cold blast of air, and on their return 
they found the steam rising from the pot had formed a large 
inverted cone of solid ice upon the pot, while the contents 
were still boiling away within and the fire burning lustily 
below. 

A large number of waiters, hostlers, drivers, purveyors and 
the like attendants, cccupied at court times, had little to do but 
lounge around and tell stories during the remainder of the year. 
They hung about the taverns and stores, and added to the gen- 
eral merriment. Negro men and boys were very numerous, and 
made much sport for all classes with their droll mimicry and 
endless tricks and capers. Change of status made little differ- 
ence to this class. A few went out into the world as freedmen, 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 293 

but the larger number, even when set free, chmg to their old 
masters and were always supported and cared for. 

The great industry that has built up and given prosperity to 
the town of Windham is her manufacturing. The locality pos- 
sesses remarkable facilities for this in the Natchaug and Willi- 
mantic rivers, which are here considerable streams and afford 
abundant power. The power thus offered by Nature was soon 
recognized by the early inhabitants, and they soon began to 
utilize it for such purposes as they wished to serve, and to such 
extent as their means were sufficient to make it available. 
Special favors were granted to such as would undertake to es- 
tablish grist mills and saw mills in the early days of the set- 
tlement. In 1692 the grist mill was made a town charge 
throughout the town. Ginnings Hendee, Jeremiah Ripley and 
James Birchard were granted the privilege of the stream at 
Beaver brook for building a saw mill, with half a mile adjoin- 
ing for timber and pasture, provided the mill was completed 
within one year, and when the mill should be abandoned the 
land should revert to the town. In the following year Jona- 
than Ginnings and the Ripleys were granted liberty to set 
up a saw mill at " No-man's-acre brook." In 1700 liberty to 
build a saw mill on Goodman Hebard's brook, and the privi- 
lege of the stream for damming or ponding was granted to 
several petitioners, with the privilege of taking any other 
stream if that should not prove satisfactory. The town miller 
was required to grind for the inhabitants of the town every 
Monday and Tuesday, and if more grain was brought than he 
could grind in those days he was to keep on until it was fin- 
ished. , 

In February, 1706, the proprietors granted to Joseph Gary, 
John Backus, Joseph Dingley and John Waldo the privilege of 
the stream at Willimantic falls to build a mill or mills at one 
particular place, wherever they might choose, on the north side 
of the river, and to hold it as long as they and their heirs should 
maintain a good " sufficient " mill, with the privilege of raising 
a dam across the stream, also the improvement of forty acres 
of land near by, timber free, so long as the land should be 
left unfenced. This grant was not to exclude the proprietors 
from granting other sites to other parties for the water privi- 
lege, nor to obstruct highways, " nor damnify lots in ye Crotch." 

Soon after the revolution Colonel Elderkin enlarged his or- 



294 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

chard of mulberry trees, which he had started years before, 
and put forward the work of silk manufacture, turning out an- 
nually some ten or twelve thousand pounds of hosiery silk to 
meet the demands for fashionable long stockings. Handker- 
chief and vest patterns were also manufactured there "in con- 
siderable numbers." He procured a loom and weaver from 
Europe, and succeeded in fabricating sundry pieces of silk 
which furnished dresses for his daughters. He also expended 
much money and labor in constructing a dam and flouring 
works upon the Shetucket in South Windham. He also carried 
on a grist mill at the Frog Pond brook. Ezekiel Gary about 
this time carried on a tannery, which was supplied with water 
from the Willimantic river. Henry De Witt manufactured 
tacks out of such old scraps of iron as could be picked up 
about the town as of little value. The silk factory of Colonel 
Elderkin, after his death passed into the hands of Clark & Gray, 
and soon passed into the hands of Mansfield experimenters 
who were making great efforts to increase and improve silk man- 
ufacture. Machinery for picking, oiling and carding wool was 
erected at the mills of Clark & Gray, on the Falls of the Willi- 
mantic, by Gyrus Brewster. They were in operation as early as 
June 2()th, 1806. The price then charged farmers and others for 
"breaking and carding, cash in hand," was seven cents a pound; 
for picking and oiling, two cents a pound, cash ; or one cent more 
in either case where barter was desired. Similar machines were 
introduced in other towns about the same time. A great saving 
of labor to the farmer in preparing his wool for domestic use 
was effected, and an improved condition of the wool waSvSecured. 
The most niggardly farmer, accustomed perhaps to work himself 
and his family to the bone rather than spend a penny, found 
that it was to his advantage to pay out money or barter for wool 
carding, while women everywhere exulted in the beautiful 
white, soft, clean, fleecy rolls, which made spinning and weaving 
a positive enjoyment. 

About the same time, or possibly a little later, a paper mill was 
established by Clark & Gray at Willimantic Falls. There were 
then the accumulated manufacturing industries at this point of 
a carding machine, a grist mill, a saw mill, a clothiery establish- 
ment, a blacksniith shop and a paper mill. The Spaffords and 
Aliens at South Windham were experimenting in various direc- 
tions. Jesse Spafford and Amos D. Allen procured a patent for 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 295 

an ingenious planing knife, making bonnet chip out of shavings. 
Joshua Smith carried on clothiery works at South Windham, as- ■ 
sisted by his son-in-law, George Spafford, and made cloth for the 
army, the cloth having a high reputation for its indigo blue. 
Amos D. Allen carried on furniture manufacture at the family 
homestead, employing many assistants and gaining a high rep- 
utation for superior workmanship. Hundreds of tall clock cases, 
embellished with many quaint and curious designs, were sent 
out from this establishment, and found a ready market, especialy 
at the South. The Taintor brothers, with George Abbe and Ed- 
mond Badger, formed a partnership for the manufacture of paper, 
about the year 1810. They. built a mill on the Natchaug, in the 
north part of the town, which was then called New Boston. They 
made writing paper in three grades, of strong texture but coarse 
finish. Elijah M. Spafford, in 1814, set up new clothiery works 
at Willimantic Falls, carrying on carding, water spinning and 
weaving, as well as cloth dressing and dyeing. 

From this time forward the manufacturing industry became 
the absorbing interest of this town. The manufacture of cotton 
was soon after introduced, and about the close of the first quar- 
ter century, cotton factories had been built at Willimantic and 
unique manufacturing industries were developing at North 
Windham and South Windham. In September, 1822, Perez O. 
Richmond bought of Waldo Gary and Anson Young land and 
privilege on the Willimantic near its junction with the Natchaug, 
and soon, built up a factory and a village. The brothers Jillson, 
of Dorchester, in 1824, purchased a site just above the old paper 
and grist mills, west of the Iron W^orks bridge, and put up more 
substantial buildings. The Windham Company was next in the 
field, led by Hartford Tingley and Matthew Watson, of Prov- 
idence, occupying a privilege farther westward. A small factory 
in the same vicinity was built and carried on by Deacon Charles 
Lee, of Windham. And from these beginnings have grown up 
manufacturing interests that have gathered together and main- 
tained one of the largest towns of eastern Connecticut, and 
gained for themselves individually reputations that are world 
wide. They will be noticed more particularly in connection 
with the localities to which they belong. 

In the central part of the town and about three miles east of 
Willimantic, lies the peaceful village of Windham, known also 
as Windham Centre. This village exhibits but little of the ac- 



296 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

tivity and business life characteristic of the modern village, but 
here was once the proudest center of business and social and 
political influence in Windham county. Here passed scenes of 
political and patriotic prowess, and events of wide-spread fame 
which have become famous in the annals of the state, and made 
the name of Windham immortal. This was in early days the 
principal settlement of the town, and it continued to hold its 
prominence until the new center of Willimantic came into prom- 
inence, when it was compelled to yield the balance of power. 
As Willimantic increased in size and prosperity this once prom- 
inent and influential village correspondingly receded. She yield- 
ed slowly to the demands of her aspiring off -shoot, but was forced 
to submit to the will of the stronger. Windham is a quiet, lux- 
uriant, well-preserved and attractive village, and a favorite sum- 
mer resort. 

The old cemetery of the town of Windham lies on the west 
side of the road toward South Windham, about a half mile from 
the center of the village. It contains two acres or more, well 
filled with graves. The grounds are plainly but neatly kept. 
Some hemlock, pme and fir trees are scattered about in it. The 
old part of the ground has numerous old gray stones whose in- 
scriptions antedate the present century. The western part of 
the' ground is more modern and contains several vaults and some 
granite monuments. A neat hearse house stands by the road- 
side. Among the family names conspicuously represented here, 
in the old part of the ground, are Allen, Ripley, Marsh, Hebbard, 
Manning, Webb, Elderkin, Huntington, Welch, Murdock, Fitch, 
Gary, Dodge, Young, Wales, Abbe, Bingham, Ginnings, Flint, 
Warner, Badcock, Follet and Tracy. Here we are pointed to the 
grave of the first settler of Windham, and besides the somewhat 
lengthy inscription to his virtues, a copy of which may be found 
in another chapter of this work, the monumental pile which rests 
over his remains also bears this legend — " Mr. John Gates, This 
Monument is Erected upon ye Towns Gost in 1769." One of the 
most fancifully carved slabs of the olden time contains this in- 
scription : — " This stone is erected in memory of Mr. James 
Flint, who died May 23d, A. D. 1788, in ye 66th Year of his Age. 
For 30 years he was a reputable Merchant in Windham, and 
always sustained the character of an honest man and a good citi- 
zen." One of the early ministers of the town church is thus 
represented on stone : — " Dedicated To the Memory of ELDER 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 297 

Benjamin Lathrop who after faithfully discharging his duty as 
a Minister of the Gospel of Christ — worn out with bodily Infirm- 
ities calmly resigned his breath on the 16th of July, 1804, in the 
79th year of his Age." On a heavy old brown stone table we 
read the epitaph of Colonel Thomas Dyer, who died May 27th, 
1766, 72 years of age. His inscription is cut into the slab, but a 
die sunk into it bears the inscription to his wife as follows : — 
" Here lies Interr'd the Remains of Mrs. Lydia Dyar the late 
Consort of Col'nl THOMAS DYAR of Windham. She was born 
January the 15th A. D. 1695, and died March the 12th A. D. 1751 
In the 57th Year of her Age, And in firm Expectation of Eter- 
nal Life Through the Merrits of JESUS CHRIST." 

Besides the Congregational church, which is noticed else- 
where, this village contains a handsome stone structure, known 
as St. Paul's Episcopal church. The origin of the Episcopal 
church in this village dates about the beginning of the present 
century, though its first movements are enveloped in obscurity. 
Services were conducted about that time by Reverend John Ty- 
ler of Norwich, who visited this station occasionally. Services 
were held in private houses for a time, but in 1832 a society was 
formed and in the following year a handsome stone church was 
erected, which is still standing. The first service was held in it 
December 25th, 1833. It was formally consecrated by the Right 
Reverend Thomas Church Brownell, bishop of the diocese of 
Connecticut, April 11th, 1834. The first rector of this church 
was L. H. Corson, whose ministry here began December 17th, 
]832, and ended in 1836. Since that time successive rectors have 
been— William A. Curtis, 1836-7 ; Charles J. Todd, '37-8 ; John 
W. Woodward, '38-9; Henry B. Sherman, '39-43; Giles H. De- 
shon, '43-5; Abel Nichols, '45-6; A. Ogden, '46-7; Joseph 
Brewster, '47- ; Henry Edwards, '50-1 ; Sanford J. Horton, '51- 
61 ; John H. Anketell, '62 ; Alfred H. Stubbs, '65 ; Clayton Eddy, 
'66-8 ; E. Huntington Saunders, '69 ; Isaac W. Hallam, '69-75 ; 
Richard K. Ashley, '76 ; Richard C. Searing, '84-6 ; Henry B. 
Jefferson, from May 2d, 1886, to the present time. Mr. Jefferson 
resides in Willimantic and has charge of St. Paul's church in that 
village. The church here is in a prosperous condition. During 
the last three years the interior of the church has been greatly 
improved by the efforts of the ladies of the parish. The present 
number of communicants is twenty-three. 

A Baptist church once existed in this village for a brief season. 



298 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

It was instituted in 1846. A house of worship was erected, but 
the society was weak and could give but a feeble support to the 
preaching of the gospel. After about ten years, services were 
abandoned, and the house was used for a year or two by an Old 
School Presbyterian society, which also had a feeble and short 
existence. The church being abandoned altogether, was taken 
down and removed to Baltic about twenty years since. 

South Windham is a pleasant little village about three and a 
half miles southeast from Willimantic. It is beautifully situated, 
amid romantic surroundings of hill and marsh, cultivated field 
and wooded plain, winding through all of which the swift, dark 
waters of the Shetucket gracefully ripple on their merry course 
to the sea. It has stations on the Providence Division of the 
New York & New England, and on the New London Northern 
railroads. It lies thirteen miles north-northwest from Norwich. 
It is situated in the southern part of the township, not far from 
the line. It has a population of about six hundred, and is the 
center of considerable manufacturing interest. Many years ago 
the facilities offered by the stream at this point were appreciated 
and turned to account in various small ways. By the develop- 
ment of inventive genius on the part of men associated with the 
locality it was made the seat of manufacturing operations of 
great importance to the country. About 1827 George Spafford 
of this place, a man of much mechanical insight, having been 
employed in fitting up the Fourdrinier machine for making paper 
at North Windham, formed a partnership with James Phelps, 
and they set to work to construct a duplicate. They first began 
work at New Furnace, in Stafford, on account of the foundry 
facilities to be had there. Nine men, under Charles Smith as 
foreman, were kept at work within closed doors, with ordinary 
hand tools and a single power lathe. Yankee ingenuity tri- 
umphed over every obstacle, and completed an improvement 
upon the original Fourdrinier machine. It w^as sold to Amos D. 
Hubbard, and put in successful operation at Norwich Falls, in 
May, 1829. A second machine was soon afterward completed 
and sold to Henry Hudson of East Hartford. Both yielded such 
excellent results that the projectors were encouraged to make 
preparations for the permanent continuance of the business, and 
accordingly erected suitable accommodations on the site of an 
old fulling mill at this place. Their works were ready for occu- 
pancy early in 1830. Here thc}^ built mills for customers in 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 299 

many different states, and supplied parts of machinery. This, 
it is claimed, was the first paper making machinery successfully 
working in this country. It should have been mentioned that 
the first Fourdrinier machine was brought to this country about 
1827, from Germany, by an Englishman named Pickering, who 
employed Spafford to assist in setting it in operation. In 1830 
the firm sent Charles Pickering, son of the first mentioned, to 
England to investigate the process of steam drying used in that 
country, and soon after that time Spafford invented the present 
paper cutter. The firm removed their works to South Windham 
in November, 1830, and commenced operations in the following 
February. They then employed about ten hands and finished 
six to eight machines a year. These machines were valued at 
from $2,000 to $3,500 apiece. About the year 1838, Charles Smith, 
a millwright, and Harvey Winchester, a blacksmith, who had 
been employees of Spafford, Phelps & Co., were admitted into 
the firm, the capital stock of which at that time was $50,000. 
Owing to financial troubles during the years 1838 to 1840, the 
stock of Phelps and Spafford was sold to the other partners and 
the firm of Smith, Winchester & Co. was formed. George Spafford 
died soon after this, heavily involved. James Phelps invented 
Phelps' patent washer, and accumulated some property before 
his death. Since that time the business has been conducted un- 
der the name of Smith, Winchester & Co. They employ about 
one hundred hands, and have manufactured machines that 
weighed one hundred tons each and cost $20,000. Where for- 
merly machines were made from forty-seven to forty-eight inches 
wide and run forty feet a minute, they are now made one hundred 
inches wide and run two hundred and fifty feet a minute. The 
main features, however, remain the same as when their manufac- 
ture was first begun. The firm have again and again been com- 
pelled to enlarge their works and build new conveniences for 
storage. The Little Pigeon Swamp brook, which sometimes ran 
dry during the summer, was made permanently effective by the 
construction of reservoirs covering the former swamp. A pros- 
perous village has grown up around this establishment, and other 
industries have been added. 

Amos D. Allen was a manufacturer of furniture at South 
Windham. His son Edwin inherited a large share of the inven- 
tive genius of the family. Incidentally visiting a printing office 
at Norwich one day, he became interested in seeing a font of 



300 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

wood type, and at once conceived the idea of manufacturing it 
by machinery. He set to work and soon had the idea in practi- 
cal operation, and with such success that about the year 1827 he 
established m a small way the business of manufacturing wood 
type at this place. Though many improvements have been made 
in the manufacture of wood type yet the principle of the chief 
machines used by Mr. Allen is still preserved. The business 
made fair progress under his control, there being at that time 
but one other establishment in the country engaged in the same 
work, that being Darius Wells & Co., of Paterson, N. J. In 1837 
Mr. Allen entered into partnership with George F. Nesbit of 
New York city, who under his own name introduced the wood 
type to the trade, while Mr. Allen conducted the manufacture in 
South Windham. The business made fair progress, though en- 
countering the opposition incident to new inventions. Later on 
another man came upon the stage with an additional fund of 
inventive geni;Qs and executive ability in the person of William 
H. Page, of New Hampshire. He had served many years in the 
practical work of a printing office, and after considerable time 
spent in experimenting in that direction, he obtained the ma- 
chinery which had been used in the business by others and 
started a factory on his own account in 1856. During the next 
year many improvements were made in his machinery, and a 
much superior kind of type was produced. The business- sur- 
vived the panic of 1857 in a healthy state, and in the fall of that 
year was removed to Greenville, in the suburbs of Norwich, where 
it was carried on more extensively. 

Following another line of the history of wood type manufac- 
ture in this town we will go back again to Edwin Allen. He 
was the originator of the business here, and started business in 
an old building which stood near the machine shop. He after- 
ward erected a shop about one mile west, on his father's farm, 
where he employed steam for power. His method was original 
and he kept it a secret to all except his employees. " No Admit- 
tance " was painted upon the doors of his shop and the rule was 
strictly adhered to. This was about the year 1840. Some twelve 
persons were employed, and type cases, galleys and other wood- 
en materials used in printing offices were manufactured, as well 
as wood type, and block letters for signs were also cut out. Allen 
failed in business, and afterward moved the shop down to where 
he building now stands, being used by the present American 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 301 

Wood Type Company. John G. Cooley bought the business and 
removed it to New York city. In April, 1878, the American 
Wood Type Company, then composed of C. H.Tubbs, John Mar- 
tin and George L. Kies, formerly connected with the Page Com- 
pany, began the manufacture of wood type in the building which 
years before had been occupied by Allen. They ran the busi- 
ness for five years, and then the other partners turned their in- 
terests over to Mr. Tubbs,who now represents the company, and 
the establishment is in active operation. The shop has capacity 
and machinery to employ seventeen hands. They have patterns 
on hand to manufacture two hundred different styles of type, in 
all sizes ranging from two-line up to 100-line. The works are 
run by water power supplied by the Pigeon Swamp brook. 

The Radial Thread Buff Company of South Windham was or- 
ganized in 1883, for the purpose of introducing a patent article 
invented by Robert Binns, which they commenced to manufact- 
ure in a small 'way. The patented article is a wheel from eight 
to twelve inches in diameter, made of cotton cloth, the filling be- 
ing cotton rags. This wheel is used by silver platers to burnish 
their ware. The company also make wheels from whole stock, 
but in the manufacture of scrap wheels they are the only concern 
in the country. The present production is from fifteen to twenty 
thousand monthly, and employment is given to about fifteen 
hands. Robert Binns was born in Providence, R. I., January 9th, 
1844, and is of English descent, being the eldest son of Robert 
and Hannah Binns. He is a machinist by trade, and he came to 
South Windham in 1873. He married Mary Rue and they have 
six children : Mary, Nancy, Frederic, Bertha, Eva and Eugene. 

There is also at South Windham a grist mill, owned by Mr 
E. H. Holmes. It is situated in the village, near the track of 
the New London Northern railroad. It was built by Mr. E. H. 
Holmes, the father of the present owner, about the year 1848. 
It has a capacity of about eighteen horse-power, and grinds from 
twenty-five to thirty thousand bushels a year. One room in this 
grist mill is occupied by Robert Binns in the manufacture of a 
patent slitter blade, which is self sharpening and has an im- 
proved slitter hub. Slitter blades are a pair of cutting disks 
with edges working together like the edges of a pair of scissors. 
This manufacture is a new enterprise, but it is meeting with de- 
served success. 

Thf alv church of this villagfe is an offshoot from the Con- 



302 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

greg-ational church of Windham. For twenty-five ^'•ears, more 
or less, services have been conducted here on occasional Sab- 
baths or on week-day evenings. The old Fitch school house is 
used for religious services. This is a building once intended for 
a private school, and is rented of private owners for religious 
services. It stands near and is connected with the Warner 
House, a hotel of commodious size standing near the depot of 
the New London Northern railroad. It is now owned by Alfred 
Kinne. For a few' years back religious services on Sunday have 
been omitted, but in March, 1888, a Society of Christian En- 
deavor was formed here, and in the following December a 
church was organized, which now numbers eighteen members. 
During the winter a revival occurred. Since December 7th, 
1888, preaching services have been held every Sunday afternoon 
by the pastor of the old church at Windham Centre. A Sunday 
school is also maintained here. 

South Windham is a pleasant village, with wide streets and 
elm-shaded walks, lighted with gas. The surrounding country 
is hilly, and on an eminence on the west stands a modern an- 
tique structure of respectable dimensions, just completed for a 
summer hotel. It overlooks the village and surroundings, and 
is a conspicuous object for miles around. Its site affords charm- 
ing landscapes of the Shetucket valley and the surrounding 
country. The road from South Windham northerly toward 
the old center of the town crosses the Shetucket over a covered 
wooden bridge 252 feet long, over the portals of which may be 
read the usual legend of warning, in great black letters on a 
white ground, "The riding or driving any Horses, Teams or 
Carriages on this Bridge in a Gait faster than a Walk is by Law 
prohibited." On the east side of the river is the depot of the 
Providence Division of the New England railroad, about one- 
eighth of a mile from the other. Cleared farms occupy most of 
the hills of the vicinity, which are somewhat bold and rugged, 
while among them the Shetucket, a beautiful stream, swiftly 
and gracefully glides in many a rippling curve. 

In the northwest corner of the town, on the Natchaug river 
and the New York and New England railroad, lies the post vil- 
lage of North Windham. It is situated on a comparatively level 
step on the northwest border of the hilly section of the town, 
and about four miles north of Willimantic. The village contains 
some four hundred inhabitants, and its principal institution is a 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 303 

manufactory of thread. This locality was formerly called New 
Boston, and about the year 1810 Edmond Badger and others 
built a mill here and began the manufacture of writing paper. 
This enterprise gave some impetus to the growth of the village 
for awhile, but it was abandoned by Badger in 1825, and after 
further failures to make it a success, it fell into the hands of an 
Englishman named Joseph Pickering, who with great labor and 
difficulty had succeeded in bringing to America the first im- 
ported Fourdrinier machine for the manufacture of paper. He 
was joined by J. A. H. Frost, of Boston, and they bought the 
dilapidated paper mill at a low price, and here set up the ma- 
chine which was to effect a revolution in paper making. This 
firm soon became bankrupt, and their Boston creditors attempt- 
ed to carry on the business, but they were equally unsuccessful. 
The Fourdrinier machine was moved to Andover, Conn., and 
finally to York, Pa. 

In 1831 the mill property above spoken of came into the 
hands of Mr. Justin Swift, who transformed it into a cotton fac- 
tory. Under his management a successful manufacturing estab- 
lishment was maintained. The mill employed about forty 
hands and was a benefit to the neighborhood. Oft the 16th of 
July, 1860, the mill took fire and was destroyed. It was rebuilt 
and Mr. Swift, in the fall of 1862, leased it to the Merrick 
Brothers, who converted it into a mill for the manufacture of 
thread in the skein. They retained occupancy of the premises 
till 1872, when the property was bought by E. H. Hall & Son, 
the father having been superintendent of the mill for Merrick 
Brothers, and the son having been connected with the same firm 
in their works at Holyoke, Mass. Since that time the capacity 
of the mill has been increased about one-half, and thirty-six 
feet have been added to the original length of the building. 
The mill is run wholly by water, and forty hands are employed, 
the manufactured product amounting to about three thousand 
pounds a week. 

Edwin H.Hall, the senior member of this firm, was the second 
youngest son of a family of thirteen children of Nathan and 
Philomella Hall, and he was born in Mansfield, Conn., May 26th, 
1821. He married Sophia, daughter of Major Henry Prentice, 
and had five children, viz. : Luthera, wife of Charles S. Lyman, 
overseer of Merrick Thread Company, of Holyoke, Mass. ; Ella 
M., Edwin H., Alice A., wife of P. A. Poland, agent at Boston 



304 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

for the ]\Ierrick Thread Company ; and Francois P., who died in 
childhood. Edwin H. was born in Willimantic, December 29th, 
1847. He married Maria Ayers, a native of South Coventry, 
Conn., and they had one child, Francois L., also an adopted 
daughter, Nettie M. Edwin H. died December 12th, 1884. 

The settlement of North Windham had, in the first half of the 
century, a fulling and carding mill, owned by the Lincolns. 
This they afterward transformed into a manufactory of felting 
used in working the Fourdrinier machine, they having acquired 
the art by picking to pieces and reconstructing the English 
specimens first imported. The village had attained sufficient 
importance to be favored with a post office in 1838, and Mr. Ralph 
Lincoln was appointed postmaster, which office he retained for 
many years. 

The North Windham Cemetery is a tract of land about one 
acre in extent, located near the center of the village. Jonah 
Lincoln probably donated ground for it. The society took 
charge of it for awhile, but later the toWn has taken charge of it 
and enlarged it. It is well filled with graves and is neatly kept. 
It lies on the east side of the Windham road, and on either side 
of it are the institutions of the place, the church and the school 
house. These buildings are white and of similar model, and 
not greatly different in size. The meeting house, which stands 
north of the cemetery, is a little larger in size. Each is sur- 
mounted by a belfry. The church, cemetery and school house 
are about one-fourth of a mile west of the railroad station. 

The Christian Society which occupies and owns the meeting 
house referred to is an undenominational society composed 
simply of those who contribute to its financial support. The ob- 
ject is to maintain a Christian rhinistry or preaching of the Gos- 
pel regardless of denominational creeds. The preamble and res- 
olutions aofreeingf to certain broad and liberal conditions bears 
date March 15th, 1830. Meetings were first held in a school 
house. At the organization, Jonah Lincoln acted as moderator, 
and the name then adopted was the " New Boston Christian So- 
ciety," after the name which was held by the locality at that 
time. January 7th, 1857, the name was changed by vote of the 
society to " North Windham Christian Society." The meeting 
house was built in 1844. The first members of the society, that 
is, those who joined it previous to 1840, were Jonah Lincoln, 
Elias Sharp, Levi Johnson, Daniel Lincoln, Jacob Flint, Ralph 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 306 

Lincoln, Samuel Flint, James Lincoln, Warren Clark, Charles W. 
Warren, Lester Lincoln, Benjamin Perry, W^arner Lincoln, 
Nathaniel Lincoln, John Flint, Robert W. Robinson, Bnrr Lin- 
coln, Asa Bates, Henry Lincoln, David Lincoln, Samuel A. Lin- 
coln, Stowel Lincoln, Darias Spafford, Shubael Cross, George 
Backus, Erastus Martin, Thomas Robinson, Rufus Burnham, 
Nathan Gallup, Moses Coffin, William M. Johnson, Horace Flint, 
Sherman Simons, Thomas Baldwin, Schuyler Chamberlin, Sam- 
uel Flint 2d, Moses C. Abbe, Marvin Lincoln, Nelson Simms, 
James L. Brown, Philip R. Capen, Luther Burnham, William L. 
Dexter, John J. Burnham, Levi Allen, Mason Lincoln, Frank M. 
Lincoln and Allen Lincoln. From 1840 up to later dates, as giv- 
en in the list following, other subscribers joined the society as 
follows : Charles Card, Hezekiah P. Brown, N. F. Ackley, Reu- 
ben Peck, Porter B. Peck, Charles Collar, Pearl L. Peck, Albert 
Lincoln, 1847; George Lincoln, Oren F. Lincoln, Freeman D. 
Spencer, Dwight F. Lincoln, 1849 ; Lorin Lincoln, Jared W. Lin- 
coln, Sumner Lincoln, Thomas T. Upton, Lucius Ingraham, 
Lucius Flint, Henry E. Gurley, 1853 ; Lucius H. Cross, Martin 
Flint, 1858; Edward L. Burnham, Charles Johnson, Seymour 
Davenport, Joel W. Webb, 1859 ; Pardon Parker, Charles Squires, 
Stowel Burnham, Chester Welden, 1871 ; Albert Hartson, Ed- 
win H. Hall, 1873 ; Charles E. Peck, Henry A. Jones, George E. 
Bennett, 1880 ; David Nichols, Abner P. Smith, Robert Harley, 
C. F. Spencer, M. A. Bates, William Sibley. 

The society for many years employed regular ministers, who 
resided here and performed pastoral functions. Among the 
early ministers were Roger Bingham, of Windham, Harry Green- 
slit, of Scotland (both of whom also preached here before the so- 
ciety was formally organized), Alfred Burnham, Savage White, 
of Canterbury ; Isaac H. Coe, Waldo Barrows, James Burlingame, 
a young man by the name of Wright for a year or two, and Syl- 
vester Barrows for a year or two. Since about 1878 no resident 
pastor has been supported, but preaching has been maintained 
more or less by the employment of ministers associated with 
churches in the neighboring villages as circumstances indicated, 
the funds of the society being placed in the hands of a commit- 
tee with discretionary power. 

The mill of which previous mention has been made as having 
been once owned and operated by the Lincolns in the manufact- 
ure of feltmg for the Fourdrinier paper machines, stood about 
30 



306 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

fifty rods below the cotton mill of E. H. Hall & Son, The man- 
ufacture of felting belts was carried on by Stowel Lincoln pre- 
vious to the late war. These belts were endless and seamless, 
and made to run over rollers to take up moisture from paper 
pulp. Few manufactories of the kind existed in this country, 
and this gave a considerable prosperity to the village. It gave 
employment to about thirty hands in its prosperous days. This 
business, however, faded out, and when the war introduced the 
" days of shoddy " the mill was changed to a factory for making 
woolen cloth. This business was introduced by Stowel Lincoln, 
and later the mill has passed into the hands of William Sibley. 
It is only in operation now a part of the time. 

Biographical Sketches. 

Jonathan Hatch. — Samuel Hatch, the grandfather of the sub- 
ject of this biography, married Naomi Phelps. Their son Jona- 
than, a resident of Lebanon, Connecticut, was married to Betsey 
Payne of the same town. The children of this union were : 
Samuel O., Eliza, Chester P., Jonathan, and James C, of whom 
Chester P. and Jonathan are the only survivors. The latter was 
born in Lebanon, October 21st, 1817, and until the age of sixteen 
resided on the homestead farm. He received a rudimentary ed- 
ucation, and on deciding to encourage his taste for mechanics, 
entered the shops of Phelps & Spafford at South Windham as an 
apprentice. Here his services were speedily made valuable as a 
journeyman, until an interest in the business was acquired under 
the firm name of Smith, Winchester & Co. 

Mr. Hatch retained his connection with the business for thirty 
years, retiring from the firm in 1877. Meanwhile this attractive 
field of labor furnished aid for the development of his inventive 
genius. He secured various patents on machinery, the right to 
some being transferred to the firm while others were reserved 
by him. His attention is still given to inventions, the most im- 
portant being the construction of a machine for the manufacture 
of paper by a new process, the patent for which was obtained in 
August, 1889. This is but one of several patents obtained by 
him on inventions of more or less importance. Mr. Hatch has, 
aside from his business interests, given more or less attention to 
matters of a public and political nature. He has been for four 
years selectman of his town and represented his constituents in 
the state legislature. He was in 1845 married to Alma, daugh- 





^^^yi Ci/fm CiA-i^ / / c>tA, 



RTOTYPE, E. BIERSTADT, N. 




'i^Wj^r-estoK * C?l^f'^- 




HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 307 

ter of John and Lucinda Armstrong, of Franklin, Connecticut. 
They have had eight children, three of whom are living. 

George S. Moulton. — The subject of this sketch, George S. 
Motilton, was the son of Harvey Moulton and Anna M. Turner, 
who were married October 29th, 1828. He was born in the town 
of Mansfield, Tolland county, Conn., on the 13th of September, 
1829, and was the eldest of six children. He received a thorough 
elementary education, and in youth spent several years on a 
farm. Being, however, ambitious for a widea: field of activity 
than was open to him in the country, he went to Willimantic and 
entered the Windham Company's stores, of which (after a few 
years of service) he became proprietor. In 1853 he married 
Caroline F., daughter of John S. Hazen of Worthington, Mass. 
Their three children are : Cora L., now the wife of A. L. Hatha- 
way, Georgianna and Everett Huntington. In the infancy of 
the Willimantic Linen Company he removed to New York as 
agent for the sale of their thread. In conjunction with this 
business he dealt largely in commercial paper and was also inter- 
ested in other enterprises in that city which, aided by his 
superior judgment and executive ability, were eminently suc- 
cessful. 

In 1869 he was compelled by failing health to abandon active 
business, and retire to his country home at Windham, near the 
scene of his birth and his earliest experiences in commercial 
life. A Republican in politics, he was above subterfuges and in 
all things honest and honorable. He represented the town of 
Windham in the Connecticut house of representatives in 1871 
and again in 1877, and in 1878 was elected to the senate from the 
13th Senatorial district, filling both positions with ability. In 
1876 he was the nominee of his party for presidential elector. 

Mr. Moulton was for several years a director of the Williman- 
tic Linen Company, and a prominent factor in its development 
and growth. He was also a director of the National Shoe and 
Leather Bank of New York, of the New York & New England 
and the Boston & New York Air Line railroads and the Willi- 
mantic Savings Institute, and at one time president of the Wil- 
limantic Trust Company. He enjoyed the reputation of being 
an able financier, whose superior tact enabled him to avoid or 
easily overcome reverses of fortune. Mr. Moulton was held m 
high esteem, not only by his personal friends but by a large cir- 
cle of acquaintances. The afi:ectionate regard he inspired in the 



308 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

hearts of all who knew him can best be indicated by a quotation 
from the editorial columns of a leading journal on the occa- 
sion of his death (which occurred on the 8th of June, 1882) : 

"The man whose life has been a constant bloom, imparting 
its fragrance to the sense of all, suddenly blighted from earth 
leaves a vacancy which cannot be filled : but there remains 
that sw^eet perfume of a life well spent. It is with sorrow we 
are called upon to record the end of a life so honored and 
honorable as that of George S. Moulton. Few men live whose 
obituary when truthfully written will contain little else but 
praise, but the pages of this man's history are radiant with 
noble deeds and marred with blemishes few indeed." 

Guilford Smith.— Joshua Smith, the grandfather of Guilford 
Smith, and a native of Lebanon, New London county, subse- 
quently moved to Windham county, Connecticut, where he was 
both a weaver and a farmer, and in connection with his trade 
wove cloth for the soldiers during the war of 1812. His chil- 
dren were three sons, Chandler, Charles and Marvin, and five 
daughters, Myra, Lydia, Laura, Emily and Mary. Charles, of 
this number, was born in Windham, and early learned the trade 
of a millwright. In 1828 he began the manufacture of machinery 
at Stafford Hollow, in Tolland county, and two years later, 
having built a foundry at South Windham, removed to that 
point, where he is still interested as the senior member of the 
firm of Smith, Winchester & Co., conducting a successful busi- 
ness under his judicious management. He married Mary, 
daughter of Moses and Tabatha Abbe. Their children are a son, 
Guilford, and a daughter, Mary, wife of P. H. Woodward, of 
Hartford. 

Guilford Smith was born May 12th, 1839, in the town of Wind- 
ham, where he pursued his preliminary studies, and completed 
his education at a school of higher grade in Ellington, Tolland 
county. Returning to Windham, he entered the office of Smith, 
Winchester & Co. as bookkeeper and draftsman, and early became 
so thoroughly identified with the business as to warrant his ad- 
mission as a partner. Under his able supervision it greatly in- 
creased in proportions, and a demand for the products of the 
establishment was created in various parts of Europe, in Aus- 
tralia, Japan, Canada, Mexico, and nearly all parts of the United 
States. Machinery adapted to the manufacture of paper is here 
produced, Mr. Smith being exclusively at the head of this large 




%v--^^ ?V^^< sit- -^;:r 



^VMrpresiorLS< Ci^'"^- 





HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 309 

industry. The subject of this biography, though not in any 
sense a politician, nor aggressive in his identification with local 
affairs, is nevertheless a strong factor in the republican ranks, 
and wields in his unostentatious way no little influence in the 
county. In 1883 he was the representative of his town in the 
state house of representatives. He is president of the Windham 
Bank of Willimantic, and director of other banks and business 
enterprises. In religion he adheres to the Congregational 
church, to which his generous aid is given. Mr, Smith was mar- 
ried December 16th, 1863, to Mary, daughter of Thomas Rams- 
dell, of Mansfield, Connecticut. 



CHAPTER XVI. 



WILLIMANTIC. 



General Description. — Communication with the World.— Some Public Features. 
— Retrospect of Half a Century. — Early Stages of the Cotton Mill Industries. — 
Starting of the Windham and Smithville Companies. — First Steps of the 
Linen Company's Plant.— Early Builders of the Village.— The Post Office. — 
Incorporation of the Borough. — Fire Companies and Engines. — Fire Depart- 
ment. — Destructive Fires. — Water Works. — Public Schools. — Libraries. — 
Churches : Congregational, Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Episcopal, Spirit- 
ualist, Mission Hall, Camp Meeting. — Growth of Manufacturing. — Windham 
Company. — Smithville Company. — Linen Company. — Holland Silk Company. 
— Morrison Company. — Chaffee & Son. — Turner Silk Mill. — Natchaug Silk 
Company. — Foundry. — Builders and Other Manufacturers. — Board of Trade. 
— Cemeteries. — Masonic History. — Benefit Societies. — Banks. — Buildings. — 
Newspapers, Printing and Wood Type. — Biographical Sketches. 



WILLIMANTIC, a beautiful village of about ten thousand 
inhabitants, lies in the southwest corner of the town 
of Windham, and consequently in the southwest corner 
of the county. The Willimantic, a vigorous stream, as powerful 
and as graceful as its name is beautiful, winds along the valley 
through the center of the borough to which it has given name. 
On the slope of the left bank lies the principal part of the vil- 
lage, and nearly all of the business concerns. Great power is 
furnished for the driving of machinery by the falls in the river, 
and this circumstance gave rise to the building of a populous 
village here. In the eastern suburbs of the village the Natchaug 
joins the Willimantic, and they unitedly form the Shetucket. 

No place in New England, dependent upon railroad transport- 
ation facilities, is better endowed in this respect. The situation 
of the Willimantic is one that commends itself to the serious 
consideration of progressive and far-seeing business men Avho 
are about to embark in new and promising enterprises, or who 
desire to change from unsuitable and inconvenient locations to 
more congenial and favorable ones, such as they will find Wil- 
limantic to be after having looked over the field and come in 
contact with its citizens. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 311 

Here they will find first-class facilities for receiving materials 
and shipping goods, a desirable place of residence, an excellent 
system of water-works, ample police protection, an effective fire 
department, the very best banking accommodations, moderate 
taxes, electric lights, good schools, churches, public libraries, etc., 
and opportunities to secure favorable building sites for res- 
idences at reasonable prices. 

Magnificent hills rise on either side of the valley, and these 
are yet unoccupied except in a few instances. When their sum- 
mits are crowned by some structures of architectural beauty, as 
doubtless some day they will be, then the attractions of Willi- 
mantic will impress the passing traveler, or the prospecting in- 
vestor or resident, as one of the most desirable localities in all 
this section of the country. Already it is one of the most flour- 
ishing and rapidly growing towns in New England, as doubtless 
it is the most important one of eastern Connecticut. Its rapid 
growth is shown by the following facts : By the census report of 
1870 the population of the borough was 4,048 ; in 1880, 6,612 ; a 
gain of 63i per cent, in ten years. At the same rate of increase 
from 1880 to 1890, the next census will show a population of 10,- 
799. Based on the number of names in the Directory for 1887, 
a population of 10,000 has already been attained. The time is 
not far distant when these figures will be doubled. Willimantic's 
advantages and prospects of future growth and development 
warrant this assertion. 

The railroad facilities are ample. The New York and New 
England railroad runs from Boston, directly through Williman- 
tic, to the Hudson river at Newburgh, a distance of 220 miles, 
passing through Hartford, New Britain, Waterbury and Dan- 
bury. Within a year or two this road will have direct connec- 
tion with, the Pennsylvania coal and oil fields and all western 
points, via the Poughkeepsie bridge, recently completed. 
The New England railroad also extends from Willimantic 
to Providence, R. I., 58 miles, and the company operates a num- 
ber of important branches, among them the Connecticut Central, 
from Hartford to Springfield, Mass., and the Norwich and Wor- 
cester road, which runs in connection with the Norwich and 
New York steamboat line. The division of the New England 
road between Boston and Willimantic is double-tracked, as are 
also sections of the line westward to New Britain. Willimantic 
has direct communication with New York city over the Air Line 



312 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

and New York, New Haven and Hartford roads, both operated 
under one management, and over the New England road via 
Hartford. The New London Northern road passes through 
Willimantic, running northerly until it reaches a junction with 
the Vermont Central system, of which it forms a part, and also 
making connection with the Boston and Albany road at Palmer, 
Mass. 

Willimantic is only sixteen miles from tide water at Norwich, 
communication with which is direct by the New London North- 
ern railroad, and is also reached by rail via Plainfield over the 
New England road. Tide water is also had via the Air Line road 
to New Haven, 54 miles, and by the New England road to Prov- 
idence, 58 miles, and at Hartford, 30 miles. Fast express trains 
place Willimantic within two hours of Boston and three hours of 
New York. To Boston is 86 miles, to New York 117 miles. 
Willimantic is almost midway between Boston, the metropolis 
of New England, and New York, the commercial center of this 
globe. People can also go to and come from Philadelphia and 
Washington, D. C, without change of cars. 

In hotel accommodations Willimantic stands second to no town 
in Connecticut. There are five, viz.. Hooker House (new), Brain- 
erd House, Hotel Commercial, Revere House and European 
House. Of these, the Brainerd House is the oldest. But that 
has no claim to antiquity. The original hotel of Willimantic is 
a brick house, still standing on the south side of the river, which 
in the old stage-coach days was a stopping place on the great 
thoroughfare between Providence and Hartford. Later, the 
house in the village now known as the Chaffee House was opened 
by Mr. Brainerd, and still later the present Brainerd House was 
fitted up by a company, and Mr. Brainerd managed it and gave 
its name. The Hooker House is pre-eminently one of the finest 
hotels in eastern Connecticut, and perhaps the finest. It was 
erected in 1886 by S. C. Hooker. It is a substantial four-story 
brick building, the interior arrangement of which is a marvel of 
convenience and economy. Corridors nine feet wide run through 
the center of the building on each floor, and a hydraulic elevator, 
steam heat, hot and cold water, electric bells and speaking tubes, 
are among the modern advantages in the generally complete 
equipment. There are one hundred chambers of uniform size, 
and the eating and sleeping accommodations are first-class in 
every respect. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 313 

The superior court of Windham county holds half of all its 
civil and criminal terms of court in Willimantic. Under a re- 
cent statute permitting transfer of causes from one county to 
another for trial, by agreement of parties or their counsel, many 
cases arising in Mansfield, Coventry, Andover, Columbia, Hebron, 
Willington and Stafford are also tried here. The court house 
is one of the most elegant in its finish and furniture, and con- 
venient in its appointments, of any in the state. 

Taxation here is moderate. Property is not assessed to exceed 
60 percent, of its market valuation, and the combined borough 
and town tax rate is only 16^ mills on the dollar. The grand 
list for 1886 was : Borough, $3,505,804 ; town, $4,146,127. 

Three lines for telegraphic communication are available — the 
Western Union, United Lines, and the Mutual Union — and man- 
ufacturers and business men here get the benefit of the lowest 
prevalent rates to all competing points. The telephone service 
is complete, and an electric light plant is in operation. 

For pleasant drives, Willimantic and vicinity towns offer un- 
usual attractions. The main street from the eastern to the west- 
ern limit furnishes a drive of nearly two miles, and gives the 
stranger a very good idea of the place, passing as he does through 
the business portion of the town. The opera house, court house, 
all the hotels and banks, the Linen Company's four large mills, 
the Smithville and Windham Companies' mills, and the Willi- 
mantic fair grounds, are located on this thoroughfare. In the 
outside drives, a favorite one is easterly over Bricktop hill to 
Windham. Another is along Pleasant street, on the south side 
of the river and running parallel with it. Here a five minutes' 
climb will take one to the top of Hosmer mountain, the location 
of the reservoir from which the village receives its supply of 
water. Here a magnificent view of the village and the surround- 
ing country may be had. The picture shows the beautiful Wil- 
limantic river winding its way through the meadows as it comes 
down from the northwest ; the different railroads as they ap- 
proach the converging point, from the "four winds of heaven ; " 
on the right, the majestic Natchaug, wreathing its serpentine 
course through hill and vale, as if in no hurry to leave its pleas- 
ant surroundings; the Mansfield, Coventry, Lebanon and Colum- 
bia hills, dotted here and there with villages and thrifty farm 
houses, and the village of Willimantic below, with its mills, 
workshops, business blocks and fine residences. In the way of 



314 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

longer drives may be mentioned one to the south, over Village 
hill to Lebanon, about seven miles, and to the west to Columbia 
green and the Columbia reservoir, a very popular resort for fish- 
ing and picnicingL^arties ; another to the north to South Cov- 
entry, noted /as the site of the monument to Nathan Hale, of 
revolutionary fame. To the west of the village lies Lake Wam- 
gumbaug, a very pretty sheet of water, and quite celebrated lo- 
cally for its fine black bass fishing. Yet another fine drive, but 
somewhat longer, is the one north through Mansfield street to 
the Storrs agricultural school. On this route is passed the Wil- 
limantic water works pumping station. The Natchaug river is 
dammed at this point, forming a beautiful lake, with grounds 
laid out very tastily as a small park. This is fast becoming a 
very popular resort for Willimantic people in summer, being 
only a short drive of two and a half miles from the place. 

The Willimantic Fair Association is in a thrifty condition, 
with good grounds, new, roomy and substantial buildings, and 
the best half-mile track in the county. Horsemen with national 
reputations have spoken in the highest terms of the superior ad- 
vantages of this track for horse trotcing, and of the manage- 
ment. All the exhibitions have been eminently successful, and 
the prospects are flattering for the future. 

About the close of the first quarter of the present century, 
Willimantic consisted only of a few straggling houses here and 
there. The old Carey house was here, and that is still standing. 
The Baker house was one of its associates, and that is still stand- 
ing. A small paper and grist mill and saw mill, owned by Clark 
& Gray of Windham, stood just east of the residence of John 
H. Capen, near the present site of No. 2 thread mill. The old 
state powder works of the revolutionary time occupied very 
nearly the same site. At that time this locality was familiarly 
and locally known as " the State," a name which clung to it for 
many years. A short distance east of the grist mill were two 
dwellmg houses, and on the north side of Carey hill one or two 
more, which have long since disappeared. On Main street, just 
east of E. C, Carpenter's store, stood the Azariah Balcom resi- 
dence, connected with a large tract of land located north of Main 
street. The next house west was owned by Erastus Fitch, and 
in later years by Hardin H. Fitch, one of the oldest natives of 
the village. There was but one more dwelling west of him on 
Main street within the corporate limits, and that was on the site 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 315 

of the present town alms-house. It was replaced by a more mod- 
ern structure in 1835. This was afterward used as a tavern, 
standing at the fork of the Bolton and Coventry roads. It was 
afterward purchased and used as a town alms-house, and was de- 
stroyed by fire about eight or ten years since. A new and hand- 
some building, the present town house, was erected on the spot. 
This is a large two-and-a-half-story building, sufficiently com- 
modious to alTord room for one hundred and fifty inmates. Fifty 
to sixty inmates are frequently in the house in winter, but a 
smaller number are here in summer. Men arrested for drunk- 
enness and vagrancy are frequently sent up here to work out 
a fine. A small farm is worked in connection with the house. 
Some aged and indigent persons are cared for, and a few insane, 
but such are generally sent to Middletown. The building is a 
frame structure, clapboarded and neatly painted. 

Returning to the period which we are reviewing, on the south 
side of the river but one dwelling stood at the west end of Pleas- 
ant street. At the east end of that street stands the old home- 
stead of Alfred Young, Sr., one of the early and prominent men 
of Windham. South of this stood the Murdoch house, which 
has since been taken down. On South Main street stood the 
house of Anson Youngs, which was used as a house of public en- 
tertainment in revolutionary days, but has been replaced by a 
more modern structure within a recent period. East of this lo- 
cality stands the dwelling formerly occupied by Josiah Dean, Sr., 
one of the early residents of this locality. In this description 
we have specified about all there was of Willimantic at the time 
mentioned. 

The pioneer cotton spinner of Willimantic was Perez O. Rich- 
mond, who came here from Rhode Island some time in the year 
1822, and purchased the privilege at the lower end of the bor- 
ough now known as Willimantic Linen Company's Mill No. 2. 
On this site he built a mill of wood, about forty by sixty feet, 
one and a half stories high, put in machinery and commenced 
making cotton yarn. He also built a cheap row of tenements, 
six in number, just north of the mill, for his operatives. Mr. 
Richmond continued to run this mill until 1827, when it passed 
into the possession of Messrs. Hawes, father and son, of Prov- 
idence, R. I,, who made extensive repairs to the mill and ten- 
ements, and also erected a large boarding house and the best 
store in the place. 



316 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

In 1823 Major Matthew Watson, Hartford Tingley, Rathbone 
Tingley and Arnnah C. Tingley. all of Providence, R. L, pur- 
chased the privilege and land adjoining, at the upper end of the 
village, and formed a corporation by the name of the Windham 
Cotton Manufacturing Company. They built a dam across the 
river and put up a mill, which is now the south half of the west 
mill belonging to the Windham Company. Here they put in 
machinery and commenced making cotton sheetings and shirt- 
ings. They also erected some six dwelling houses for two fami- 
lies each, which were known then, as now, as the "Yellow 
Row." A store on Main street at the head of the row of houses 
was built and filled with goods for the operatives. Arnnah C. 
Tingley, one of the owners, removed here from Providence and 
became the local agent of the corporation. He built and occu- 
pied the dwelling house west of the store on Main street. The 
erection of a dam for this corporation caused a set back of the 
water for two miles or more, overflowing large tracts of meadow 
on this river and on Hop river and Ten Mile river as well. This 
caused much damage to lands overflowed, and quite a large 
amount was paid by the company in settlement of such claims. 

About the time the Windham company commenced operations 
Deacon Charles Lee, of Windham, purchased the site of what is 
now the Smithville Company's property, and erected a mill for 
the manufacture of cotton goods, four dwellings and a barn and 
store house. In the spring of 1827 a store was erected by him 
on the corner of Main and what is now Bridge street, in which 
were kept a general assortment of dry goods and groceries. As- 
sociated with him in the store was Royal Jennings, who came 
from Windham and remained here until 1840, when he removed 
to Milwaukee, Wis. Deacon Lee removed to Norwich and was 
for many years the head of the firm of Lee & Osgood. They 
were active business men and took a deep interest in the moral 
and religious welfare of this young and growing community. 

In 1824 Messrs. William, Asa and Seth Jillson, three brothers 
from Dorchester, Mass., purchased land on the south side of 
Main street, with the water privilege attached thereto, built the 
dam and laid the foundation of a cotton mill on the site of what 
is now the Linen Company's spool shop. At that time this was 
the largest cotton mill in Willimantic. In connection with the 
manufacture of cotton goods quite an extensive business was 
done by this firm in the manufacture of machinery for cotton 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 317 

mills. The stone building opposite the mill, and five dwellings 
for four families each, were erected by this corporation. An ad- 
ditional mill was erected a few rods below for the same purpose, 
greatly enlarging what for that time was an extensive business 
in cotton manufacture. The senior brother built the stone house 
between Main and Union streets for his residence. Asa built 
the fine house on the south side of the river, and Seth built 
another on South Main street, the three being at that time the 
finest residences in the village. 

Thus, in 1826, Willimantic had four cotton mills in successful 
operation, and began to assume considerable importance. Peter 
Simpson built a one-story dwelling on the site of the present 
Brainerd House. The old State powder works had passed into 
the hands of Samuel Byrne and David Smith, who were oper- 
ating under the firm name of Byrne & Smith. Guy Hebard had 
erected a brick house on the south side of the river and opened 
it for the entertainment of the public. Of this we have already 
spoken. Here all public gatherings, Fourth of July celebrations, 
trainings, dancing schools, balls and other carousals of festivity 
were held. The old Hebard tavern was known far and wide. 
The first grog-shop in the village was opened by Thomas W. 
Cunningham, and was located on what is now the west corner of 
Walnut and Main streets. 

Philip Hopkins, one of the first to build on private account, 
built a house on what is now the site of Levi A. Frink's block 
on Main street. He also had a general blacksmith shop on Main 
street, near his residence. Alfred Howes had a similar shop at 
the lower end of the village at the same time. He soon gave up 
the business, purchased land between Main, Union, Jackson, 
Maple and Church streets, and engaged in the first drug business 
in the village, in association with Newton Fitch and Doctor John 
A. Perkins of Windham. 

Jairus Littlefield, one of the earliest settlers in the village, 
built and occupied a house on Main street where C. E. Carpenter 
& Co.'s store now stands. He spent the remainder of his life 
here, representing the town in the legislature, and was a trial 
justice for many years. Stephen Hosmer built the second house 
on Pleasant street, west of Young's residence. He moved here 
from Columbia in the fall of 1827. He was a lively business 
man, owned a good deal of land and was an extensive farmer. 
He also owned the turnpike road from Hebron to Hebard's tav- 



318 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

ern. At that time there were no streets south side of the river 
except Columbia Turnpike (now Pleasant street), Card road and 
wSouth street. Main street was the only one on the north side of 
the river. Through the efforts of Mr. Hosmer the courts ordered 
Bridge street to be opened. 

About the year 1825, under the administration of John Quincy 
Adams, a post office was established here by the name of Willi- 
mantic Falls, which form the name retained until about 1833, 
when the " Falls " was dropped from it. Henry Hall, at that 
time a bork-keeper and clerk for the Windham Cotton Manufac- 
turing Company, was appointed postmaster. The most conven- 
ient location seemed to be at the Hebard tavern and there the 
office was established and kept, Mr. Hebard having charge of 
the office as Mr. Hall's deput}^ All the mails in those days were 
carried by stages or other vehicles, and the tavern was a handy 
place for mail carriers to stop at. After Mr. Hall resigned the 
position George W. Hebard was appointed postmaster, and he 
removed the office to the stone store opposite the present Linen 
Company's spool shop. Here it remained for some time. Thence 
it was moved to a building near the Iron Works bridge, about 
opposite the south end of the Linen Company's- Mill No. 1. Mr. 
Hebard kept also a grocery store. The next postmaster was 
Colonel Roswell Moulton, who after keeping the office for a 
while at the old location, removed it to his new store nearly 
opposite the building now occupied by Edward F. Casey. There 
it remained until July 1st, 1843, when Lloyd E. Baldwin was 
appointed postmaster and removed the office to the store nearly 
opposite the Revere House. The pay of the office at that time 
amounted to about $300 a year, being based on commissions. 
The next postmaster was Joshua B. Lord, w^ho removed the office 
to his store in what is now Hanover's Block. He was succeeded 
by William L. Weaver, who removed the office to his store, but 
retained it only a few months. James H. Work was the next 
occupant of the office, which was now kept in the twin buildings 
west of the Franklin Building. Then followed Thomas Camp- 
bell, whose office was where the Adams Express Company is 
now located. He was succeeded by William H. Hosmer, whose 
term closed in July, 1861, he being succeeded by James Walden, 
who held the office eight years. His successor was John Brown, 
who held the office twelve years, and filled the post of assistant 
for as long a term on the end of that. He was succeeded by 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 319 

his predecessor Mr. Walden, who held it for an equal term of 
years, and gave place to Henry N., Wales, the present incum- 
bent. 

No private individual contributed more in his time to the 
growth and prosperity of the village than Daniel Sessions. He 
was a farmer, living some two miles west of the village on the 
turnpike road to Coventry. Almost all the brick used here in 
early days were made and furnished by him. He also furnished 
timber, erected the frames and finished the buildings ready for 
occupancy in many instances. Apollos Perkins, William W. 
Avery and John Brown, living in the near vicinity, did more or 
less in this line of business, contributing essentially to the 
growth and prosperity of the village. 

In 1833 the growth of the village seemed to indicate that the 
condition of things might be improved by incorporation as a 
borough. A petition to the legislature was accordingly pre- 
sented, which contained the signatures of the business men of 
the place. It was sent to the legislature at their session at Hart- 
ford, in May, 1833. Stephen Hosmer was one of the represen 
tatives of the town, and through his efforts, together with those 
of other citizens, a charter was obtained, organizing Willimantic 
into a borough. Mr. Hosmer was authorized to call a meeting 
of the legal voters residing within the corporate limits for the 
purpose of completing the organization by the election of offi- 
cers provided for in the charter. The meeting was held on the 
first day of July in the same year, and the following officers 
were elected : Loren Carpenter, warden ; Doctor Newton Fitch, 
clerk and treasurer; Wightman Williams, Asa Jillson, Samuel 
Barrows, Jr., William C. Boon, Doctor William Witter, Royal 
Jennings, burgesses ; Stephen Dexter, bailiff. A tax was levied 
and Thomas W. Cunningham was chosen tax collector. 

Under the charter a disinterested committee of three persons 
■ was to be appointed once in five years, by the county court of 
Windham, to set off to the borough their fair proportion of roads 
in the town to keep in order during the following five years. 
This arrangement after a time became a source of dissatisfaction, 
as many of the roads to be repaired were outside the corporate 
limits. By a subsequent amendment to the charter this matter 
was remedied by assigning only the highways within its limits 
to the borough. The regular election of officers occurs on the 
second Tuesday in November annually. The borough officers 
/ 



320 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

in 1888 were: John M. Alpaugh, warden ; William H. Latham, 
George Tiffany, James A. McAvoy, D. W. C. Hill, Charles R. Ut- 
ley, James M. Smith, burgesses ; Charles N. Daniels, clerk and 
treasurer; Frederick L. Clark, bailiff; Charles B. Jordan, collec- 
tor; Albert R. Morrison, Samuel C. Smith, Jerome B. Baldwin, 
water commissioners ; Homer E. Remington, treasurer of water 
fund. 

The history of the fire companies of Willimantic begins with 
the history of the first company at Windham Green. Upon the 
petition of Samuel Gray and others the legislature in May, 1814, 
granted to the "Center District," the name applied to Windham 
Green, certain corporate privileges which were improved in 
measures for protection against fire. Some obstruction in the 
conditions or powers of the people under this and subsequent 
acts prevented the accomplishment of the purpose desired in that 
way, and a voluntary effort was made by the people, by which a 
fire engine was obtained. In June, 1821, the corporate fire dis- 
trict purchased of the private company their engine for $180, 
and July 2d, George W. Webb, Henry Webb and Eliphalet Rip- 
ley were chosen fire wardens for the district, with instructions 
to enlist a fire company. A company of twxnty-f our was prompt- 
ly formed. In addition, cisterns, wells, buckets and other appa- 
ratus for working at fires were provided and an engine house 
built, which stood in the vacant lot just back of the present Con- 
gregational church at Windham. The original hand engine is 
still preserved as a curious historic relic. In shape it is like a 
miniature rectangular coal barge, in dimensions six by two and 
a half feet at the top, and five by one and a half feet at the bot- 
tom, and a foot or more in depth. The body is mounted on a 
pair of low wheels. The two pump levers move horizontally 
across the top of the body, the handles running across them be- 
ing long enough to allow two men at each lever to work them. 
The body is mounted by a cylindrical water dome, through 
which water was forced by two pistons connected with the levers. 
Water was brought in buckets and poured into the body at one 
end, whence it was drawn by the pump and discharged through 
a hose which at first was only four feet long, with a nozzle at the 
end. Twenty feet of hose was afterward purchased. The en- 
gine was provided with thills by which a horse could be used, but 
it was generally drawn by hand. By vigorous working it could be 
made to throw a half-inch stream fifty or sixty feet into the air. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 321 

The original company disbanded in 1850, and then the engine 
was sold to the late Justin Swift, in whose family it still remains. 

As the growth of Willimantic increased the dangers from fire, 
some organized means of protection seemed necessary. As early 
as 1830 movements were made in that direction, but nothing 
was accomplished until after the incorporation of the borough. 
In October, 1833, fire wardens were elected, whose duty it was to 
direct the people who should volunteer to work at fires. Appa- 
ratus was also provided for, such as ladders, buckets, etc. An 
engine, similar to the Windham engine, was also procured. A 
company appears to have been formed at some time between 
1830 and 1833, but its organization and members are matters of 
uncertainty, as no records appear to exist in relation to it. The 
number of fire wardens varied at different times, being three, 
four, five and at one time as great as thirteen. In 1837 the num- 
ber of members in the company was allowed to be increased by 
ten. Certain privileges were allowed members of the fire com- 
pany so that the ranks were easily filled when vacancies occurred . 
The need of some more effective means was felt, and by the 
logic of events in several disastrous fires it was shown that the 
old engine was not equal to the times, and the company seems 
to have become disorganized about the year 1850. The old en- 
gine was stored for a while, but in 1858 it was sold, together 
with the engine hoUvSe and equipments. The engine house stood 
for many years on the "Jesse Spafford lot," now covered by the 
Hamlin block, and its exact location was on the northeast corner 
now occupied by W. N. Potter's drug store. 

From the dates last mentioned up to 1868 there was no engine 
company or engine for extinguishing fires in the borough. The 
need of some means of protection was strongly urged, both by 
prudent minds and disastrous events. Efforts had been made 
in that direction the previous year, but nothing decisive had 
been accomplished. In the latter part of the year 1867 a com- 
mittee was appointed to inquire into the cost of fire apparatus. 
The committee was instructed March 5th, 1868, to buy a second- 
hand engine which it had been ascertained was for sale at 
Greenville, Conn., for three hundred dollars. This was done. 
The engine was mounted on four wheels, and was operated by 
levers at which about twenty men could work at once. It was 
provided with suction pipe, and would draw water from a cis- 
tern or well and discharge it through a line of hose. Various 
21 



322 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

schemes for further improvement were agitated, but no definite 
plan was settled upon until November, 1872, when the borough 
ordered two chemical fire extinguishers of the New England 
Fire Extinguisher Company, at an expense of $1,600. Mean- 
while the Excelsior Hook and Ladder Company was formed, 
with Joel W. Webb as foreman, and the borough purchased 
them a truck provided with single and extension ladders, and 
other proper equipments. Two companies were formed to oper- 
ate the chemical fire extinguishers. The first was called Foun- 
tain Fire Extinguisher No. 1, and the second, Fountain Fire 
Extinguisher No. 2. John Crawford was foreman of the first, and 
Samuel Hughes of the second. The original limit given to the 
membership of the hook and ladder company was thirty, and that 
of each of the extinguisher companies was twenty. The limits of 
the former have since been increased to forty, and each of the 
latter to thirty. 

The fire department of Willimantic thus being organized, the 
election of a chief took place July 15th, 1873. Dwight E. Potter 
was chosen to that position. C. Seth Billings was made first as- 
sistant, Alex. L. Fuller, second assistant, and John B. Carpenter, 
third assistant. These officers were constituted the board of en- 
gineers, taking the place of the former fire wardens in the man- 
agement of the fire department. Mr. Potter served with marked 
efficiency until the fall of 1880, when he was succeeded by C. 
Seth Billings, who served until the fall of 1884. He was then 
succeeded by Charles N. Daniels, the present effective chief en- 
gineer. Successive members of the board of engineers since the 
first board have been — George H. Purinton, Alex. L. Fuller, Joel 
W. Webb, George H. Millerd, H. L. Edgarton, M. E. Lincoln, 
Charles N. Daniels, Charles E. Leonard, Thomas Burke, Luke 
Flynn, Jr., and James Tighe. 

In 1880 the Board of Fire Police was started, with six mem- 
bers, viz., M. E. Lincoln, Cyril Whittaker, Luke Flynn, Jr., C. 
M. Palmer, C. B. Pomeroy and Roland White. Their duties are 
to protect property exposed at fires, and to keep the crowd from 
interfering with the firemen, and they are empowered the same 
as regular policemen. 

The chemical extinguishers did not prove satisfactory in their 
practical working, and were sold at auction in 1874. Their places 
were supplied by new hose carriages which were received in 
November, 1875, their co.st being $550 each. The companies now 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 323 

changed their names. No. 1 became Alert Hose Company, and 
No. 2 adopted the name Montgomery Hose Company. John 
Tew was the first foreman of the Alerts and Jerry O'SuUivan of 
the Montgomerys. The supply of water from an elevated reser- 
voir made the use of the engines for throwing water unnecessary 
for the greater part of the village at least. A Bucket Company 
was organized December 17th, 1877, as an independent company. 
It was supplied with a truck, ladders and buckets, the expense 
of which was borne by voluntary contributions from members 
or individual citizens of the borough. John Leonard was its 
first foreman. It entered the field with much enthusiasm and 
did good work, but after about five years its energies began to 
flag, and the borough not taking them under its control or patron- 
age the company was disbanded in the spring of 1884. About 
a year later they sold their apparatus to the people of Windham 
Centre. Successive foremen of this company were Alex. Fuller, 
Howard R. Alford and James Johnson, after the first already 
named. 

Within the last two or three years the borough has built and 
fitted up truck houses for the accommodation of its fire depart- 
ment, of which the citizens may justly be proud. Three commo- 
dious and substantial buildings have been provided. The house 
for Excelsior Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, stands on Bank 
street, nearly opposite the rear of the Hooker House. The truck 
liouse of the Alert Hose Company No. 1, is at No. 193 Main 
street, and the truck house of Montgomery Hose Company No, 
2, is on Jackson street nearly opposite from the Roman Catholic 
church. In 1875 the borough was divided into four fire districts, 
which number has since been increased to seven. A code of 
alarm signals was at the same time established for making known 
the location of a fire. The alarm was at first struck by the Bap- 
tist and Methodist church bells only. In 1879 an electric alarm 
system, with alarm boxes in suitable places was established in 
connection with a gong on the Brainerd House, designed both 
to notify citizens of the district in which a fire may be and to 
signal for the starting of the mill pumps. 

It is estimated that Willimantic has lost during the last quar- 
ter century about $110,000 b}^ fires occurring in the "borough. 
We have not space here to recount all the fires which have oc- 
curred in the history of this village, but brief reference to tvvo 
or three important ones may not be out of place. A sad casualty 



324 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

of the kind was the burning of the old. Potter tavern on the 
night of January 8th, 1842. This house stood on the site of the 
old National House, later the Revere House, and was managed 
by Niles Potter. The flames, which it is supposed caught be- 
hind a door from a broom that had been used to sweep up the fire- 
place — stoves were scarcely known then — were well under way 
before discovered, but the fire company and the villagers gener- 
ally responded promptly to the alarm, and went to work with a 
will. The old engine was brought into requisition, a double line 
of men and women was quickly formed across lots down to the 
Willimantic river, or to "the cove " which used to set in there, and 
water was passed in pails and poured into the engine. In the 
building there stood an old fashioned brick chimney, which 
leaned, but had been supported by the woodwork. The latter 
burned away, and as Nathan Benchley, a well-known resident, 
was carrying out an armful of things by the back door, the 
chimney fell upon him with a terrible crash, crushing his life 
out instantly. And still another tragedy was to be revealed. A 
little ten-year-old girl by the name of Hutchins, who lived with 
Mr. and Mrs. Potter as an adopted child, had been sleeping with 
Mrs. Potter's sister Elizabeth in an upper room. When they 
were awakened by the alarm and smoke, the lady took the child 
by the hand and started for the stairs, let go of her hand at the 
narrow staircase, told the little one to follow and rushed out, 
only to find that the little girl, frightened or suffocated by smoke, 
had probably turned back, and it was then too late to save her. 
Her charred remains were afterward found in the ruins. Heroic 
efforts saved the adjoining property. 

One of the most destructive fires that ever visited Williman- 
tic occurred on the night of March 4th, 1868. It started in what 
was known as Robert Hooper's twin building, two small, one- 
story structures joined together and standing on the lot next 
west of the present Franklin Hall building. A deep snow lay' 
on the ground at the time, but the citizens responded promptly 
to the alarm. No organized fire department then existed in the 
village, and no apparatus was at command save what had been 
provided by the individual enterprise of the cotton mill owners. 
A three-inch water pipe had been laid from the Smithville Com- 
pany's works down Main street to the post office, through which 
power pumps at the mill could force water. The pumps were 
started, but through some defect in the pipes the water could 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

not be brought to bear on the fire until the latter was well under 
way. The flames rapidly communicated to the large wooden 
dwelling house of the late George C. Elliott, which stood next 
west of the twins, and also to the three-story wooden Franklin 
Hall building, owned by Messrs.. Alpaugh & Hooper, which stood 
next east. The old Presbyterian church on the west, and the 
David Tucker house — now Chester Tilden's — on the east were 
only saved by vigorous efforts and surprising good fortune. The 
Tucker house was joined to the Franklin Hall building by a one- 
story apartment occupied by J. Rand Robertson as a jewelry 
store. Courageous persons on the roof of the Tucker house 
kept it wet down as best as they could, and the stream from the 
hydrant was turned alternately upon the jewelry store and the 
west side of the Tucker house. The tin roof over the Robertson 
shop was a great help, but it seemed as if nothing could save the 
Tucker house. Suddenly Dwight E. Potter and William B. Swift, 
then popular young men here, with reckless daring mounted the 
tin roof of the half burned jewelry shop, and there, surrounded 
and almost licked by flame, they stood and told the firemen 
where to turn their stream. " Young Potter " was especially dar- 
ing and helpful to the hosemen, closely watching the flames and 
promptly directing the water upon each spot where they got a 
hold. This bravery proved the salvation of the Tucker house, 
and it came out of the struggle with only a badly scorched side. 
Even part of the jewelry shop was saved, and some of the pres- 
ent shelves on the east side were there then. 

February 27th, 1876, occurred the most disastrous fire in the 
history of Willimantic, of about the same extent as that of the 
Franklin Hall and other buildings in 1868, but more deploiable 
in its results. Three large buildings were burned, one of wood, 
including Starkweather's grist mill and a flock mill (where the 
fire started), the next of brick, including the Atwood Machine 
and the Conant Silk companies, the third a storehouse. They 
stood on Valley street, in order from west to east as named, and 
the present Bank street crosses about where the-Atwood Machine 
Company's building stood. There was no insurance on the 
flock mill's or the machine company's stock. The buildings were 
insured. Mr. Starkweather never rebuilt here, and both the At- 
wood Machine and the Conant Silk companies removed else- 
where, to the regret of our citizens, as they employed many 
hands. There was some delay in getting water at this fire, but 



326 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

the chief difficulty, and the main cause of such a heavy disaster, 
was the lack of sufficient hose to reach the fire effectively. 

Another destructive fire occurred here February 26th, 1885. 
This was one of the largest fires that had ever visited the bor- 
ough. The Cranston block, in the heart of the village, was burned 
and other adjoining buildings badly damaged. The losses on 
buildings were estimated as follows : Cranston building, $3,500 ; 
George E. Elliott's building, $10,000 ; Kellogg's building, $2,000 ; 
McEvoy's building, $1,000. Losses on contents were estimated 
at $7,600 in the aggregate. 

The Willimantic Water Works are a development which may 
be said to have begun with the efforts of the mill owners to pro- 
tect themselves and their surroundings from fire in the early 
years of their enterprise. The first water pipe system outside 
of such private enterprises was a three-inch pipe laid along Main 
street from the Smithville Company's mills down to the post 
office and up High street to the house of Robert Hooper, near 
Valley street, about the year 1853. The expense was borne by 
the company and the property owners along the line, and the 
company contracted to work the pumps whenever the alarm of 
fire was given. The system proved efficient, and as large a 
stream could be sent out as can be obtained from any hydrant 
now in the borough. It is still kept in working order for use in 
case of emergencies. 

After many years spent in discussing and 'proposing various 
schemes for supplying the village with water for the extinguish- 
ing of fires, a contract was finally made with the mill companies 
along the river to furnish power for pumping water through a 
system of pipes to be laid through the principal streets, with 
hydrants at convenient points. The mill owners were to be al- 
lowed for such service a rebate of one-half their taxes to the 
borough. Much opposition to the plan prevailed for a time, but 
it was finally put into execution with the decided support of the 
people of the borough. September 13th, 1873, the borough voted 
to allow the warden and burgesses to borrow money to lay 
the pipes. The work soon after began and was continued, 
though opposition appeared at every step and it was impeded 
somewhat by perplexing litigation, which, however, did not suc- 
ceed in preventing the execution of the plan. The system com- 
pleted, was connected with the force pumps of the Smithville, 
Windham, and Linen companies, and the pressure attainable 
a s 150 pounds to the square inch. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 327 

This system seemed to be all that was required for protection 
against fires, but with the growth of the village a want soon be- 
came apparent for a system of supplying water for household 
purposes. In 1880 Messrs. Whiting, James E. and Willard W. 
Hayden applied to the general assembly for corporate privileges 
as a water company, with the necessary rights of entering upon 
property for the specified purposes, with the design of meeting 
this growing want. Through the influences brought to bear by 
the people of the borough, who were not in favor of water being 
supplied to the village by a private company, the incorporation 
was not effected. 

In July, 1882, steps were taken to consider the practical ques- 
tions regarding the establishment of public water works, and 
the idea became so popular that the borough, at a meeting Novem- 
ber 13th, decided to ask the burgesses to petition the assembly 
for an amendment to their charter which would allow them 
to undertake such an enterprise. In accordance with such 
petition the amendment was granted at the May session of 
1883. August 18th, 1883, the borough accepted the water char- 
ter by a ballot of 194 to 16. January 8th, 1884, George W. 
Burnham was elected water commissioner for one year, E. B. 
Sumner for two years, and Henry N.Wales for three years. The 
regular year begins January 1st. By a vote taken at a borough 
meeting held July 9th, 1884, it was decided, by a vote of 277 
against 42, that public water works should be constructed to 
supply the village from the Natchaug river. The commissioners 
were at the same time authorized to issue bonds to the amount 
of $200,000 to carry out the plan. The bonds were in due time 
issued, and bore date October 1st, 1884, being in four equal 
classes, to run respectively fifteen, twenty, twenty-five and thirty 
years, bearing interest at four per cent, per annum. The work 
was then pushed forward. A dam and pumping station, and 
engineer's house were erected at Conantville, about one and a 
half miles north of the village, on the Natchaug, and a reser- 
voir was built on Hosmer mountain, south of the village. This 
reservoir has a capacity of five million gallons. More than 
twelve miles of iron pipes have been laid through the streets. 
The pumping capacity is two thousand gallons per minute. 
Water from the clear Natchaug stream is thus driven to the 
reservoir, which is elevated several hundred feet above the vil- 
lage, and thence it is led by pipes to the village, having pres- 



3*8 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

sure sufficient to cover any building in the place with a stream 
from a line of hose. The pressure is so great that in dealing 
with fires no engines are necessary. 

Willimantic has shown great liberality in the management 
of its schools. For this purpose the borough is divided into 
two districts known as No. 1 and No. 2. The grand lists of 
both amount to nearl}" four million dollars. The value of all 
school property in the borough is about fifty thousand dollars. 
The new school building in District No. 1 is commodious, 
cheerful and convenient. It is located in a large yard occu- 
pying the corner of Valley and another street, and in the yard 
are two other school buildings. The oldest one of these was 
erected in 1857, and has a seating capacity of 250 ; the second 
one was erected in 1865, and has a seating capacity of 160 : 
and the third, a high-school building, was erected in 1884, and 
has seats for 200. This school, occupying the three buildings, 
has an average attendance of about five hundred. The divid- 
ing line between the two districts is at North street. District 
No. 2 covers that part of the borough lying east of that street. 
This is sometimes called the Natchaug district. The school 
building is situated on Jackson street, adjoining the Roman 
Catholic church. It was built in 1864, and it has a seating 
capacity of about six hundred, with an average attendance of 
about five hundred. The building is in excellent repair and 
is in an ample yard, ornamented with shade trees. 

The furniture of the school buildings is nearly all modern 
and of an excellent model. The physical and chemical appa- 
ratus Avith which the high-school department in each district 
is provided is nearly all that could be desired for the special 
work to which it is adapted. The school libraries contain 
1,000 or more volumes. Globes, maps and books are there in 
commendable numbers for the use of the primary and gram- 
mar grades. There are twenty-one teachers and seventeen 
school rooms, besides recitation and ante-rooms. In each dis- 
trict there is a high-school department where pupils have been 
and still are successfully fitted for college. From these high 
schools nearly one hundred have graduated. 

St. Joseph's Parochial school is located at the corner of Jack- 
son and Valley .streets. It is under the care of the sisters of 
charity connected with St. Joseph's Roman Catholic church. 
This school has twelve teachers and its attendance numbers 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 329 

about six hundred pupils. The building's contain ten school 
rooms. The teachers are sisters of charity belonging to the 
local "Convent of our Lady of Lourdes." This school also 
has a high-school department, from which several pupils have 
graduated. A special advantage of the pupils of the parochial 
school is an opportunity of learning the French language in 
connection with the English. 

In addition to the educational advantages of Willimantic 
already mentioned, we may name two public libraries, one con- 
ducted by the borough and the other by the Linen Company. 
The former is located in the bank building, corner of Main and 
Bank streets, and contains over 2,700 volumes. It is open cer- 
tain hours on specified days of the week. The Linen Company's 
library, in Dunham Hall, at the lower junction of Main and 
Union streets, contains about 2,500 volumes, and files of the lead- 
ing American and English periodicals. It is free to all, and is 
open from noon to nine o'clock at night daily. The books of 
these libraries comprise standard works of permanent value in 
the various departments of literature. 

All that part of the town of Windham lying west of the 
junction of the Windham and South Windham roads leading 
out of Willimantic, and extending west as far as the cemetery, 
was early organized into two school districts. The first school 
house in the First district was a one-story structure about 20 by 
30 feet, located about where the Windham Manufacturing Com- 
pany's east dwelling house now is, on Main street. The increase 
of scholars, however, soon demanded increased accommodations; 
and the school house was removed to the lot now occupied by 
the district for their several school houses. The building was 
enlarged, making two rooms and employing two teachers. This 
accommodated the district until 1847, when the district contract- 
ed with General Baldwin for the erection of a new school build- 
ing some 36 by 60 feet, two stories in height, with three rooms 
for the different departments. The first teacher employed by 
the district was John G. Clark, of Franklin, who became a prom- 
inent resident of Windham. The next teacher employed was 
Horace Hall, coming here from Sterling in 1825. The next 
teacher was that veteran in the ranks of schoolmasters, Leonard 
R. Dunham ; after him Doctor William A. Bennett, long a res- 
ident here ; William L. Weaver, a native of this place ; Saxton 
B. Little, E. McCall Cushman, Jabez S. Lathrop and Perry Ben- 



330 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

nett successively filled the position of teacher in the First district 
in the early days of Willimantic. 

The first school house erected in the Second divStrict occupied 
the location on the south side of the river near the residence of 
Dennis McCarthy. It was a small one-story building, and was 
soon replaced by a larger structure located on the north side of ' 
the river, between the Linen Company's spool shop and what is 
now their thread mill No. 1. The site being wanted for the 
second cotton mill erected by the Messrs. Jillson, a new location 
was provided by the district. From opposite of the store now 
occupied by Edward F. Casey the roads diverged, the north one 
about on the present line of travel, the south one extending al- 
most to the bridge, being a part of the old Windham and Cov- 
entry turnpike, thence eastward along the north side of the river 
past Shackel dam, uniting with the main road near the Linen 
Company's store. On this triangular piece of ground between 
the roads on the river side, the vSecond district located their 
school house. It was a wooden structure with two rooms. It was, 
after a few years replaced by a two-story stone building afford- 
ing additional accommodations required by the' growth of the 
district. Of the early teachers a few are the following : Roger 
Southworth, some three terms ; Samuel L. Hill, one term ; Doc- 
tor Calvin Bromley, Doctor Eleazer Bentley, William Kingsley, 
Robert Stewart, Leander Richardson, William L. Weaver and 
Frederick F. Barrows. 

The religious sentiment of Willimantic is now represented by 
six churches, viz.. Congregational, Methodist, Baptist, Roman 
Catholic, Protestant Episcopal and Spiritualist. These have all 
been built up here since the year 1827. Up to the close of that 
year there was no church nearer than Windham Centre, nor any 
stated meetings except such as were held in a school house or 
in private houses. In the year mentioned a few persons here 
applied to the directors of the Connecticut Domestic Missionary 
Society for a minister. In response, Dennis Piatt, who was just 
completing his theological course at New Haven, was sent to 
them. Mr. Piatt states that this was designed as an experiment 
" to test the question whether an Evangelical church could be 
established in a manufacturing village." Mr. Piatt's first ap- 
pointment was extended to twelve weeks. Then a society of 
ladies in Tolland county agreed to sustain Mr. Piatt three months 
longer. So, it appears, a ministry was sustained for six months 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. ' 331 

with no charge to the people, except that a few individuals gave 
him his board. 

January 22d, 1828, an ecclesiastical council was called, of which 
Doctor Samuel Nott, of Franklin, was chosen moderator, and 
this council organized the First Congregational church of Wil- 
limantic. The sixteen persons who were thus formed into a 
church were Deacon Charles Lee, John Brown, Eliphalet Brown, 
Azariah Balcam, Nathaniel Robinson, Sr., Sybil Brown, Olive 
Brown, Phebe Robinson, Anniss Brown, Lucy Howes, Lydia 
Balcam, Alathea Littlefield, Beulah Littlefield, Anna Robinson, 
Seth Jillson and Joseph H. Brown. Of these, twelve were former 
members of the church of Windham, two of the church of Scot- 
land, and two others were not previou,sly connected anywhere. 
By additions the membership of the church was increased in 1829 
to forty-five. The first four or five years were very prosperous in 
spiritual things to the infant church ;' four years from its organ- 
ization it numbered about one hundred members. A church 
edifice was immediately erected, and was dedicated October 17th, 
1828, Doctor Joel Hawes preaching the sermon. This was the 
first house of worship in the place. The expense of building it 
was a burden from which those who undertook it delivered them- 
selves only after a determined struggle. The present society 
was formed soon after the church was built. During its first ten 
years the church received an average amount of one hundred 
dollars annually from the Connecticut Domestic Missionary So- 
ciety toward meeting its running expenses. The church was at 
first consociated with Tolland county churches, but in 1831, for 
greater convenience, it united with the consociation of Windham 
county. In 1843 the house of worship was considerably enlarged. 
In May, 1857, the congregation began to use the Congregational 
Hymn and Tune Book in its musical services. 

Reverend Dennis Piatt remained as a stated supply from Aug- 
ust, 1827, to the autumn of 1829. He was followed by Reverend 
Ralph vS. Campton, who served as stated supply from May, 1830, 
to April, 1832. Nearly three years followed with no regular 
minister, when Reverend Philo Judson was installed pastor, De- 
cember 18th, 1834. He was dismissed March 21st, 1839. His 
successor was Reverend Andrew Sharpe, who was ordained here 
September 23d, 1840. His pastorate continued for a longer term 
than any that had preceded him. He was dismissed June 12th, 
1849. Samuel G. Willard was ordained as pastor November 8th 



332 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

of the same year. He enjoyed a long pastorate, closing his la- 
bors with his dismission, which took effect September 2d, 1868. 
His successor was Reverend Horace Winslow, who was installed 
April 28th, 1869. 

On the acceptance of the call of Reverend Horace Winslow, 
the question of a new house of worship was earnestly advocated, 
and on February 24th, 1869, the society resolved to proceed to 
the work, and accordingly appointed a building committee com- 
posed of John Tracy, Allen Lincoln, William C. Jillson and the 
pastor elect. In July of that year the corner stone was laid, and 
in one year from that time the main edifice was dedicated to the 
worship of God. The expenses of this enterprise were provided 
for in various ways. To begin with', the society had from sub- 
scriptions and the sale of the old house $19,578. This fund was 
steadily increased by special efforts, so that when the main por- 
tion of the building was completed the debt was only a little 
over $9,000. In May, 1871, the chapel was completed and ded- 
icated to the service of God. In about a year from that time it 
was proposed to pay off the whole debt of the society, which 
amounted then to $12,600. This amount was raised by the 1st 
of October, 1872. The whole cost of church, grounds, chapel, 
furniture, organ and all, amounted to $46,700, and it had all been 
paid, so that the society was free from debt. A service of praise 
and gratulation was held in view of the auspicious financial con- 
dition. Since then money has been raised and the chapel and 
adjoining rooms have been painted, carpeted and seated. The 
size of the main edifice on the ground is one hundred by sixty- 
three feet, and the chapel addition and adjoining room is ninety 
by thirty-six feet. 

Reverend Horace Winslow was dismissed April 28th, 1881. 
He was succeeded by Reverend Samuel R. Free, who served the 
church as a stated supply from November 6th, 1881, to May, 
1888. He was followed by Reverend Andrew J. vSullivan, who 
was installed as pastor in September, 1888. 

The first Baptist church of Willimantic was organized in the 
house of Reverend Chester Tilden, the first pastor, and under 
whose labors it was gathered. Its constituent members were Mr. 
W. M. Barrows, Miss Esther Smith, Charles Thompson, Samuel 
Barrows, William Barrows, Elisha Whiting, Eliphalet Martin, 
Rescome Coggshall, George Byrne, Mahelable F, Barrows, Bet- 
sey Barrows, Dura Whiting, Armina Martin, Susan Coggshall, 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 333 

Lydia Smith, Esther Smith, Hannah White, Laura Balcam, Clar- 
inda Parker and Mary Lawrence. The church was organized 
October 20th, 1827. At first the scliool houses were used for 
meetings, but a spirit of opposition arose and they were debarred 
this privilege. With aid from abroad they succeeded in build- 
ing a meeting house on the site at present occupied. The site 
was purchased of Alfred Howes, and Messrs. Reed, Hardin and 
Fenton, of Mansfield, were contracted with to erect the church. 
The building, being completed, was dedicated May 27th, 1829. 
A Sabbath school was immediately organized. Samuel Barrows, 
Jr., and Eliphalet Martin were elected deacons. The following 
ministers have served the church from the beginning to the pres- 
ent time : Chester Tilden, 1827-31 ; Alfred Gates, January to 
April, 1831 ; Alva Gregory, 1831-34 ; Benajah Cook, 1834-40 ; 
John B. Guild, 1840-45 ; L. W. Wheeler, 1845-47 ; Thomas Bowl- 
ing, 1847-49 ; Henry Bromley, 1850-51 ; Cyrus Miner, 1851-52 ; 
Henry R. Knapp, 1853-54; Edward Bell, 1854-57; Jabez S. Swan, 
1857-59 ; E. D. Bentley, 1859-66 ; E. S. Wheeler, 1866-67 ; G. R. 
Darrow, 1868-69; P. S. Evans, 1869-73 ; W. A. Fenn, 1873-78; 
George W. Holman, 1879-87 ; M. G. Coker, 1888 to the present 
time. The following are the present officers : A. H. Fuller, Wil- 
liam B. Hawkins, J. Ellison, E. S. Sumner, deacons; William N. 
Potter, secretary ; J. Hawkins, treasurer. The membership has 
reached about four hundred. The church is a neat and com- 
modious building, which, with the lot it stands upon, is valued 
at twenty-five thousand dollars. Connected with the church is a 
vigorous Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor and a 
large and flourishing Sunday school. 

At an obscure date — probably about 1825 — a Methodist family, 
Jonathan Fuller, his wife and two daughters, lived in a house 
then standing near the present stone bridge over the Wil- 
limantic, they being the only family of that denomination in the 
place. They held family class meetings for some time before 
anyone else joined them. Mr. Fuller was formerly a Congrega- 
tionalist, but had become a Methodist and was appointed the 
first class leader in 1828. He brought the first minister of the 
Methodist Episcopal church intoWillimantic. This was the Rev- 
erend Gardner, who, about 1826, came and preached in the West 
school house. From this time forward preaching was had in the 
school houses with some approach to regularity, by ministers of 
some of the neighboring circuits. The first Methodist meeting 



334 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

house was finished in September, 1829, and it stood on the spot 
now occupied by the Atwood Block on Main street, opposite 
Railroad street. About the same time the church was organized 
with between thirty and forty members, mostly females, and 
Reverend Horace Moulton became its pastor. The site of the 
house of worship was purchased for $125, and the building cost 
$700. This building was afterward removed to Church street, 
and is now (1889) standing near the new Methodist church on 
that street. 

The church was in 1829 made a Sabbath appointment on the 
Tolland circuit, which was then known as a " six weeks' circuit." 
Some of the difficulties which met the church in its early strug- 
gles are suggested by the following passage from the records : 
"Judge Hurlburt lent the means to pay the debts of the church, 
and at times one or two men were required to keep off rowdies, 
who whistled, stamped and hallooed and put cayenne pepper on 
the stove." The present church edifice was begun in the sum- 
mer of 1850, during the ministry of Reverend Jonathan Cady. 
It was dedicated in March, 1851, with a sermon by Reverend 
Doctor Stephen Olin. Its cost was about $7,000. The pew rents 
were applied to liquidate the debt, and the ministry was sup- 
ported by subscription. The debt was further reduced by keep- 
ing boarders at the Willimantic camp meeting, which began in 
1860, and the indebtedness was finally removed under the pas- 
torate of George W. Brewster in 1864. The church was remod- 
eled and very much improved, and a parsonage was built on 
Prospect street, under the pastorate of Edgar F. Clark, in 1868 
and 1869. It was enlarged in 1882 at a cost of $7,000. In 1886 
a handsome pipe organ was placed in it. The membership of 
the church in 1889 is 360. The successive pastors of this church 
have been : Horace Moulton and Daniel Fletcher, 1828 ; H. Moul- 
ton, H. Ramsdell and P. Townsend, 1829 ; E. Beebe and George 
May, 1830 ; J. E. Raisley, 1831 ; Hebron Vincent, 1832 ; K. Ward, 
1833; Mosely Dwight, 1834; Philetus Green, 1836; vS. Leonard, 
1837; H. Horbush,1837 ; K. Ward, 1838; Reuben Ransom, 1839; 
Pardon T. Kenney, 1840 ; A. C. Wheat, 1842 ; F. W. Bill, 1843 ; 
Charles Noble, 1844; John Cooper, 1845; Daniel Dorchester, 
1847; A. Robinson, 1848; Jonathan Cady, 1850; N. P. Alder- 
man, 1852; George W. Rogers, 1854; Charles Morse, 1855; Wil- 
liam Purington, 1857 ; John Levesy, 1859,; William Kellen, 1860 ; 
E. B. Bradford, 1862; George W. Brewster, 1864; Edgar F. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 335 

Clark, 1867 ; George E. Reed, 1870 ; Charles S. McReading, 1872 ; 
Shadrach Leader, 1873 ; George W. Miller, 1874 ; S. j . Carroll, 
1875 ; William T. Worth, 1878 ; A. S. Church, 1879 ; S. McBurney, 
1881 ; D. P. Leavitt, 1883 ; Eben Tirrell, 1886 ; C. W. Holden, 
1887. The dates given in the foregoing list denote the begin- 
ning of each pastorate. 

The first colony of Irish Catholics came to locate in Willi- 
mantic in the summer of 1847. But few representatives of that 
nation were then living here, and the little band of twenty for- 
eigners, with but little of this world's goods to encumber them, 
was visited with much curiosity, and their coming was the sub- 
ject of considerable excitement. They came at the instance of 
the Windham Manufacturing Company, who sent for five per- 
sons, but their call was responded to by four times that number. 
The greater part of them, however, were employed by the com- 
pany, while the balance readily found work at the other factories 
in the village. This was the opening wedge of Irish labor, which 
has grown by frequent accessions to be one of the most powerful 
elements in the industry of this community. 

The first mass celebrated in this village was in the kitchen in 
the basement of the Lathrop house, on the corner of Washington 
and Main streets, at which Reverend F'ather Brady, of Middle- 
town, officiated. The first public Catholic service was held in 
Franklin Hall, in the fall of 1849, by the same pastor, and was 
witnessed by a large number of our citizens. Services in this 
hall, and at Brainerd Hall, were kept up at intervals of one or 
two months. Reverend Father McCab, of Danielsonville, having 
charge during a part of the time up to 1858, when the Baptist 
-society, being about to build a new church, sold their old edifice 
to the Catholics, and it was moved to Jackson street. At that 
time there were eight families of communicants residing in the 
village, and to show the pecuniary circumstances of the society 
it is only necessary to state that an attachment, for a debt of 
only a few dollars, was served on their building before the mov- 
er's blocks were taken from it. The first pastor was Reverend 
H. I. Riley ; the second, Reverend Daniel Mullen, later of St. 
Mary's church, Norwich. In May, 1863, the present much be- 
loved pastor. Reverend Florimonde De Bruycker, assumed the 
charge of this society, and under his ministrations the church 
has been most signally prospered. For the first few years but 
one service was held each Sunday, the pastor's charge embracing 



336 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Baltic, Stafford and Coventry; but w^th the building- of churches 
and the settlement of resident pastors in the two first named vil- 
lag-es, he has been enabled for many years to devote his time 
principally to this people. 

The old church was enlarged, refitted and repaired, but the ad- 
dition of a large number of French Canadian Catholics to the 
population, and stead}^ increase from other sources, rendered 
the old building wholly inadequate for the needs of the congre- 
gation, and in 1872 steps were taken toward the erection of a 
new building. The work was pushed vigorously forward, and 
in May, 1873, the old church was removed to Valley street ai.d 
on its site the foundation walls for the new were commenced. 
On Sunday, August 17th, the corner stone was laid amid impos- 
ing ceremonies, Bishop McFarland being present, and Reverend 
Father Walsh, of St. Peter's church. Hartford, delivering an elo- 
quent sermon. The contributions received on that day amount- 
ed to $3,000. The church, having been completed, was dedicated 
November 26th, 1874. The style is Gothic, with nave and aisles, 
and a clear story supported by clustered columns and arcade 
arches. From the basement walls, which are formed of very 
handsome granite, the church is built of brick. The size on the 
ground is 156 by 64 feet ; the height of side walls, 24 feet, and 
height from floor to peak of roof, 66 feet. A graceful tower on 
the northwest corner is surmounted with a spire, the cross on 
the top of which is 172 feet above the curbstone. The audience 
room has fourteen double gfothic memorial windows of cathedral 
stained glass, and other parts of the edifice have thirty-five 
smaller windows. The building is an elegant one in all its de- 
tails of finish and furnishing, and has a seating capacity of one 
thousand five hundred. The church is known as St. Joseph's 
church. 

The first Episcopalian service in Willimantic of which we have 
any knowledge was held a little over twenty-five years ago. A 
mission was started soon after by the laie Dr. Hallam, and by 
him conducted for several years. The mission was held in sev- 
eral different halls and its work was prosperous. The last hall 
occupied was Dunham Hall, belonging to the Linen Company. 
Reverend Lemuel H. Wells, now of Tacoma, Washington, was 
the first permanent missionary rector. During his incumbency 
effort was made to obtain a building, and under his leadership 
it was carried to a successful termination. A buildiiig which 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 337 

was no longer required .by the parivSh at Central Village \vas 
donated to this locality and the people here bore the cost of tak- 
ing it down and removing it to this place. Here it was rebuilt 
and improved and ornamented. This was done in the year 1S83. 
Previous to this time services were sustained by different rec- 
tors of the archdeaconry located at contiguous points. The resi- 
dent rectors have been: Lemuel H.Wells from December, 1S82, 
to May, 1883 ; R. C. Searing from June, 1883, to March, 1880, and 
H. B. Jefferson from May 1st, 1886, to the present time. The lot 
on which the church stands was donated by the late Mrs. Eunice 
R. Heap. The part of the lot on which the parsonage stands 
was obtained of the same estate. The parsonage, built and 
owned by the diocese, was completed in the fall of 1887, on the^ 
church lot corner of Valley and Walntit streets, and sufficient 
land remains on the plot for a site for a larger edifice at some 
future time. 

The number of baptisms under the auspices of this church has 
reached one hundred and seventy-four. The present number of 
communicants is sixty-eight. A Sunday school has been main- 
tained since the mission was established. The present number 
in it is about seventy, with an average attendance of forty to 
fifty. The church building is valued at $2,000, the lot at $2,000 
and the parsonage at $3,200. With reference to the benefactress 
of this church, whose name has been mentioned, a local paper 
has the following tribute : 

" Mrs. Eunice R., relict of the late Geo. P. Heap, and an old 
resident of this village, died at her home on Main street Satur- 
day morning at the advanced age of S6 years. Mrs. Heap was 
born in East Hampton, the youngest of a family of nine chil- 
dren, all of whom are now dead, and was the daughter of Dr. John 
Richmond. Early in life she married Dr. Smith, a student in 
her father's office, by whom she had one child, Prudence, who be- 
came the wife of the late Daniel Lord. After the death of Dr. 
Smith she wedded David Kellogg and subsequently was, united 
to the late George R. Heap. She was a woman of strong indi- 
viduality, sterling integrity, alwa^^s just and of unalterable de- 
cision. She was not illiberal and gave where she was inclined. 
The Episcopal church is indebted to her for the free gift of the 
lot on which the parsonage is to stand." 

Spiritualists have been organized and actively at work here 
for something like thirty years. A building was erected on Bank 



338 HISTORY OF WIXDIIAM COUNTY. 

Street in 18G7 and dedicated in February, 1868. This stands 
nearly opposite the rear of the Hooker House. It is a substan- 
tial, plain structure, containing vestry and audience rooms and 
is capable of seating three to four hundred persons. It is called 
Excelsior Hall. The society is regularly incorporated under the 
title of the " First Spiritualist Society of AVillimantic." Its liv- 
ing membership at the present time is about forty. During all 
these years lectures have been maintained on Sundays with 
more or less regularity. A Sunday school, called the " Children's 
Progressive Lyceum," was organized before the house was built 
and has been maintained ever since, its present number being 
about forty. These Sunday lectures are by different lecturers, 
ladies and gentlemen, none resident, and some are mediums 
while some are not. Lectures have been had nearly every Sun- 
day during the past year, about one thousand dollars being ex- 
pended in the meantime for that purpose. 

Mission Hall is the name applied to a meeting of a religious 
character which is regularly maintained in a hall in Willimantic 
Savings Institute building. The hall is capable of seating per- 
haps one hundred and fifty to two hundred people. The tone 
of the society is severely orthodox, including anti-masonic and 
anti-tobacco sentiments. The movement was started about four 
or five years ago, being headed by Mr. John A. Conant, and it has 
some forty or fifty attendants upon religious services which are 
held every Sunday. 

One of the institutions for which Willimantic is noted throusrh- 
out a wide circle of country is the annual camp meeting held 
here. This attracts many thousand visitors from all parts of the 
land. From small beginnings this has become a movement of 
considerable magnitude. The first land for a camp ground was 
purchased in 1860 by leading ^Methodists and conveyed the fol- 
lowing year to the trustees of the Willimantic Camp Meeting 
Association, which meanwhile had been duly formed and organ- 
ized on a legal basis. Other purchases were subsequently made 
so that now the ground comprises about thirty acres on a sloping 
hillside, covered with natural o-rowth and commanding; an ex- 
tensive view, with an audience circle capable of seating five 
thousand people, streets regularly laid out, tents, cottages, 
boarding house and every convenience for accommodating the 
great multitude who annually enjoy its esthetic and spiritual 
privileges. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 339 

Camp meeting, as the years go by, has been gradually assum- 
ing a quiet season, much in contrast with the hurly-burly and 
boisterous demonstrations of years ago. And it must be said 
that on this account it commands the respect and favor of the 
order loving community in a degree corresponding to this change. 
No longer are the grounds the rendezvous of reckless and pleas- 
ure-bent people who care nothing for religion, but they are now 
the scene of undisturbed devotional services and are productive 
•of much good. Perhaps no better idea can be given of the work- 
ing of this institution than to quote some extracts from the re- 
port of the camp meeting of 1887, which is before us. The re- 
port is made up under date of Wednesday, August 31st : 

" The annual meeting of the Willimantic Camp Meeting As- 
sociation was held last Wednesday afternoon and resulted in the 
choice of the following officers : President, the Reverend Ed- 
ward Edson, of Willimantic ; vice-president, the Reverend J. H. 
James, of Rockville ; secretary, the Reverend C. A. Stenhouse, 
of Thompsonville ; treasurer, Huber Clark, Esq., of Willimantic ; 
trustee for five years, C. H. Parker, Esq., of Rockville; executive 
committee for three years, R. N. Stanley, Esq., David Gordon, of 
Hazardville, and the Reverend Eben Tirrell, of Niantic. 

'' Thursday opened bright and beautiful, and by ten o'clock 
the grove was in a suitable condition for an out-door meeting, 
and the congregation sang a hymn of praise to God for the sun- 
shine. Reverend Henry Tuckley, of Providence, preached the 
morning sermon. During the sermon a large company gathered 
from every direction, and the afternoon service opened with 
something like an old-time audience. The veteran Harry Wil- 
son was present and led the singing, which put new life into this 
branch of the service. The Reverend E. M. Taylor preached an 
eloquent sermon. In the evening. Reverend E. Tirrell, of Ni- 
antic, preached to a large and attentive audience. 

" At the business meeting on Wednesday, the question of hold- 
ing services on Sunday next year was fully discussed, and opin- 
ions both for and against were expressed. A motion to modify 
arrangements so as to prevent carriages coming on or going 
from the grounds on Sunday, and to stop sales on Sunday, even 
■of boarding tickets, etc., met with favor, but was finally tabled 
until to-day by common consent. The matter was taken up again 
at the business meeting Friday afternoon, and it was voted to 
hold the camp meeting over Sunday next year as usual, but with 



340 ■ HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

restrictions. The gates will be closed against all teams. The 
restaurant will be closed, and no persons will be allowed to buy 
boarding tickets on that day. 

" Estimated by attendance or by conversions, this has been 
one of the most remarkable meetings on a ground already noted 
for remarkable meetings. Several prominent preachers say that 
the preaching this year has excelled in variety, spirituality and 
results. One who has seen great camp meetings west of the Al- 
leghany mountains says he never saw a Sunday afternoon ser- 
vice followed by such a number of seekers after salvation as were 
in the anxious seats Sunday afternoon. 

" Many of the campers were making preparations for depart- 
ure during the day, and the camp wore an aspect of coming de- 
sertion which always carries with it an element of .sadness. 
Friends were parting with friends, brethren with brethren, some 
never to meet again on the shores of time. The meeting has 
been a very quiet and orderly one throughout, and will be one 
long remembered by those who have had the good fortune to be 
among the regular attendants." 

Colonel William L. Jillson and Captain John H. Capen early 
associated themselves as partners in business, under the firm 
name of Jillson & Capen, for manufacturing cotton-making 
machinery. They carried on the business to a large extent, giv- 
ing employment to a large number of mechanics, and thus add- 
ing to the prosperity of the village. In 1845, having purchased 
at some previous time the premises and water rights where the 
first cotton mill in Willimantic was built, they, in connection 
with Austin Dunham, formed the Wells Company, and named 
this location Wellsville, which was considered an improvement 
on the former cognomen of " Sodom," by which it had been 
known for a long time. A three-story mill and a number of 
dwellings were completed and in use early in the season of 
1846. 

During the summer of 1845, Messrs. Amos D. and James Y. 
Smith, of Providence, purchased of Hill & Arnold what was 
known as the Deacon Lee property, which had been in their pos- 
session for some years without any extensive improvements. 
They were known as the Smith ville Company, having associated 
with them Whiting Hayden as their local agent and manager, 
he having located here about three years previous. Under his 
efficient management a large stone mill was erected, and the fol- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 341 

lowing season a large store house and three large tenement 
houses on Main street. 

The business of the Windham Manufacturing Company hav- 
ing been successful, they decided in the fall of 1827 to erect a 
larger mill than was in operation in this count}^ Preparations 
were made accordingly, foundations were prepared, materials 
contracted for, and by the 1st of April, 1828, work was com- 
menced upon their east mill. In connection with the mill the 
company built the four houses on Main street, and all were com- 
pleted and in use before the close of the year. The company 
also built a substantial stone dam across the river the same sea- 
son. A. C. Tingley, who was at first -local agent, was suc- 
ceeded by Hartford Tingley, and he in turn was followed by 
John Tracy, a careful, conservative business man, who retained 
that position until his death in 1874. Mr. Tracy was a liberal 
contributor for the maintenance of religious institutions, a warm 
friend to education, and in his death the corporation with which 
he had been associated for over forty years, as well as the com- 
munity in which he lived, sustained a great loss. The company 
have from time to time made additions and improvements to 
their premises. The present local agent is Thomas C. Chandler. 
The present owners are Robert W. Watson, son of the original 
Matthew, Thomas C. Chandler and Matthew Watson, son of Rob- 
ert W. The main oiffice of the company is in Providence, R. I. 
The mills are built of stone, and contain about eighty thousand 
square feet of floor space. They are furnished with eighteen 
thousand spindles and four hundred and sixty-eight looms. To 
drive the machinery their water wheels have three hundred and 
forty horse-power, and they have engines of three hundred horse- 
power foruse in dry times. About two hundred and fifty hands 
are employed. Lawns, twills, forty-inch sheetings, pocketings 
and crinkle goods are manufactured equivalent to one hundred 
and twelve thousand yards of print cloths a week. Thirty-eight 
bales of cotton are consumed weekly in this manufacture. The 
original mill of 1822 is the south half of the present west mill. 
vSpur tracks from the New England and the New London North- 
ern railroads run to the store houses to accommodate shipping. 
A reservoir at Bolton, covering about five hundred acres, is 
owned by this and the Smithville and Linen Companies about 
equally. 

Just below the Windham Company's works are situated the 



342 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

works of the Smithville Manufacturing Company, of the early- 
building and operations of which mention has already been 
made. This concern was largely owned by Whiting Hayden, 
the former resident agent, but in October, 1887, it passed into 
the hands of the present company, most of whom belong in 
Providence. The treasurer of the company is Mr. O. A. Wash- 
burn, Jr. Cotton goods are manufactured here, and 275 to 300 
hands are employed. The mills are fitted with twenty-one thou- 
sand spindles and five hundred and eight looms. Three water 
wheels are used, and when water fails, a double steam-engine of 
three hundred and fifty horse-power stands ready to drive the 
machinery. Forty bales of cotton a week are used, and the an- 
nual product is about four and a half million yards. 

But of all the manufacturing establishments of this town the 
Willimantic Linen Company's works are the most conspicuous 
and important. They occupy the stream next in order of posi- 
tion below, or eastward, from the Smithville Company. This 
company has a capital stock of two million dollars, and a skilled 
force of two thousand employees. Here are manufactured the 
celebrated linen thread and spool cotton which bear the name 
Willimantic like a household word all over the civilized world. 
They occupy four large mills designated by number. No. 1 is 
the oldest one of all, and stands near the heart of the borough, 
next below the Smithville works. This is a stone mill, and is 
surrounded by other buildings — a spool shop, store houses, ten- 
ements, etc. Main street crosses the river just at the lower end 
of this mill. Just below this stands No. 2 mill, a handsome stone 
structure, about four hundred feet long, sixty feet wide, and five 
stories high, with wings at the west end about one hundred and 
fifty feet long and two stories high. Still lower down the stream 
stands mill No. 3, a wooden building of much smaller size. This 
is about one hundred and seventy-five feet long, forty feet wide, 
and has five floors, including the mansard roof. The three mills 
thus far noticed stand on the left bank of the stream, between it 
and the main street of the village. On the other side of the 
stream stands No. 4, the mammoth cotton mill of all, and one of 
the largest in the world. It is for the most part a one-story 
building, but in some of its parts one or two additional stories 
beneath were required to accommodate the inequalities of the 
surface. This mill is claimed to be the largest cotton mill on the 
ground floor in the world. It is 820 feet long, 174 feet wide, and 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 343 

has two wings 81 by 48 feet each, and four porches 45 by 32 feet 
each. It is built of brick with stone foundation. The boiler 
house is 80 feet square. The building presents 303,000 square 
feet of floor surface. In its construction 5,500 cubic yards of stone 
work were laid up, and 1,900,000 bricks were used. The wood 
work also required 450,000 feet of timber, 1,500,000 feet of lum- 
ber, and in building it 30,000 cubic yards of earth were removed. 
Power is furnished by five pair of engines of 250 horse-power 
each, and water power also may be applied to the extent of 1,100 
horse-power. The mill is supplied with 50,000 spindles. 

The yards of all these mills are contiguous, and Nos. 1, 2 and 
4 mills are connected by a private railroad, with small locomotive, 
which runs from one to another as occasion requires, supplying 
each with material or taking away the products to points of ship- 
ment by one or another of the railroads which concentrate in 
this town. Each of the mills is furnished with steam engines 
sufficient to run it when the water power fails. Besides the nu- 
merous houses erected by the company for the acccommodation 
of their operatives, Dunham Hall, a substantial stone building, 
has been provided for the intellectual benefits of employees. It 
is situated at the lower junction of Main and Union streets. 
Here is kept the company's library of about 2,500 volumes, which 
is free to all. It also contains assembly rooms where meetings 
and evening schools are sometimes held. The company's inter- 
est in and endeavors to elevate the moral and social condition of 
their employees are practically shown in their elegant and well- 
kept library and reading rooms in this building, which are fin- 
ished in natural woods and warmed and lighted, and liberally 
supplied with books, magazines, and the scientific and daily 
papers. The use of it is free to all, including residents of sur- 
rounding towns. The library is at present under the efficient 
care of Miss Jenny L. Ford, librarian. The company's homes 
for the operatives are models of cottage architecture, while the 
streets and all the surroundings are kept with scrupulous care. 
Mr. E. S. Boss is the efficient and public spirited agent of the 
company at Willimantic. The fairness with which this company 
treat their employees is further evidenced b}^ the fact, equally 
creditable to employers and employees, that no labor strike has 
ever occurred in the history of their operations. The company 
was incorporated in 1856. Their main office is at 389 Allyn 
street, Hartford. The officers of the company at present are : 



344 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Lucius A. Barbour, president and treasurer; Austin Dunham, vice- 
president ; E. H. Clark, secretary ; E. S. Boss, agent ; John Scott, 
superintendent. 

The Holland Silk Manufacturing Compan}' is one of the im- 
portant industries of Willimantic. In 1865, two brothers, James 
H. and Goodrich Holland, came here from Mansfield and com- 
menced building a factory. They were already engaged in the 
manufacture of silk in Mansfield. They erected in Willimantic 
a building- one hundred by forty-two feet, on the northeast cor- 
ner of Church and Valley streets. This building was opened for 
business January 25th, 1866. They employed at that time from 
fifty to sixty hands, and produced 250 pounds of silk per week. 
The style of the firm was then J. H. & G. Holland, and in that 
form the name continued until 1868, when, owing to the death 
of the senior partner, the firm name was changed to Goodrich 
Holland. The death of the latter occurred in 1870, and the busi- 
ness was then conducted under the name of the Holland Silk 
Manufacturing Company, as it is now known. In 1873 they 
erected a brick building, similar in size to their old building, on 
the opposite corner of Church and Valley streets. They now 
employ two hundred hands and manufacture one thousand pounds 
a week, which is finished and made reafly forthe market in their 
own factories. They make sewing silk and machine twist for 
tailors, dress makers, boot and shoe makers, harness makers, and 
the like craftsmen and women. The principal office of the com- 
pany is at 561 Broadway, New York, with branches at 19 High 
street, Boston, and 428 Market street, Philadelphia. Power to 
run their machinery is furnished by two engines, one of forty 
and the other of sixty horse-power. The works are lighted by 
electricity. The treasurer and resident agent is S. L. Burling- 
ham ; superintendent of the works, John A. Conant. In connec- 
tion with the last-named gentleman the following item of history 
is of general interest, and we give it as we find it in a Hartford 
paper : 

" One of the early inhabitants of old Windham was Mr. Exer- 
cise Conant, a native of Salem, Mass., who came to this town 
and bought a house and 1,000 acres of land. He subsequently 
went to Lebanon, thence to Boston and finally came back to this 
town, where he spent the remainder of his life. His grandson, 
Shubael Conant, was licensed to preach by the Windham County 
association, but did not assume any charge. He represented 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 345 

Mansfield (then of Windham county) in the legislature thirty 
sessions. He was a member of the governor's council from 1760 
to 1775 and member of the council of safety at tiie breaking out 
of the Revolutionary war. From these early settlers sprang the 
Conants so numerous in Mansfield and Superintendent John 
Conant of the Holland silk works in this place." 

The W. G. & A. R. Morrison Company commenced the manu- 
facture of silk and cotton machinery in Willimantic in 1875, un- 
der the firm name of W. G. & J. H. Morrison. They manufac- 
tured about $15,000 worth of machinery annually, and employed 
about ten hands. In 1878 the firm was joined by A. R. Morrison 
and the name W. G. & A. R. Morrison was adopted. The ca- 
pacity of the works was gradually increased. In July, 1883, a 
joint stock company was formed under the present name, and 
they now employ about ninety men and turn out machinery to 
the value of about $150,000 a year. These products are shipped 
to all parts of the world. They occupy part of a new brick build- 
ing, built by them in 1888, which is 150 by 50 feet on the ground 
and four stories high. Their works are driven by steam alto- 
gether, being supplied with an engine of 100 horse-power. The 
officers of the compan}^ are : Ansel Arnold, president; W. G. Mor- 
rison, vice-president and general manager; A. R. Morrison, 
treasurer. These gentlemen, with Edw^ard Bugbee and D. W. 
Chaffee, form the board of directors. 

The beginnings of the firm of O. S. Chaffee & Son -date back 
to 1828, when Joseph Conant became one of the first silk manu- 
facturers of any note in America. In 1838 Mr. O. S. Chaffee, a 
son-in-law of Conant, gained a partnership in the business. In 
the course of years he received into partnership with him5;elf 
his son, J. D. Chaffee, and the present firm name was adopted. 
The plant was originally located in Mansfield Centre, but since 
about the year 1872 the headquarters have been in this town. 
From the start the business has had a steady and substantial 
growth, and in its present status constitutes one of the leading 
local industries. The firm now has three mills. Nos. 1 and 2 
are frame buildings. No. 3 mill is an ornate five story brick 
structure embodying the best modern ideas in its arrangement 
and equipment. The motive force is supplied by steam and 
water, and 250 operatives are employed. The product comprises 
silk and mohair braids, sewing silk, button hole twist, dress silks 
and silk linings. The goods have a standard reputation in the 



346 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY, 

market, and the annual sales amount to something like $400,000. 
In the manufacture of dress silks this firm have achieved a sig- 
nal success in direct and spirited competition with foreign pro- 
ducers who have heretofore almost monopolized the market. 
They have a large and growing patronage, and their goods are 
favorably received in all parts of the Union. Mr. J. D. Chaffee 
is a native of Tolland county, and has literally grown up in the 
business of which, since the death of his father, he has had sole 
charge. He has represented his district in both branches of the 
state legislature, and is an ex-member of the governor's staff. 

The business of preparing what is known in the craft as "tram" 
and "organzine," a department in the manufacture of silk, is 
carried on by Arthur G. Turner. The silk " throwster," as the 
craftsman in this department is called, is an important factor in 
silk manufacture, and a large business is done in supplying 
weavers with the materials mentioned. Mr. Turner has been 
for the most of his life identified with the silk trade. For a 
number of years he was a partner in a silk mill at Mansfield 
Centre. In 1885 or 1886 he started the business here in a shop 
on Centre street. Here the premises soon proved inadequate 
to the requirements, and in the latter part of 1888 he began to 
build a new mill, which is now about completed. It is a sub- 
stantial three story and basement brick building of what is 
known as the " Fall River" type of architecture, with a tower 
and engine house adjoining. There are in addition several 
frame buildings for auxiliary use. The mill is equipped with 
8,000 spindles operated by an engine of 150 horse-power. vSev- 
enty-five hands are employed and the output is from 1,200 to 
1,500 pounds per week. 

The Natchaug Silk Company was incorporated in 1887. It 
grew out of the firm of O. S. Chaffee & Son, being established 
here to carry on the manufacture of silk dress goods, serges and 
satins. J. Dwight Chaffee is president of the company, and 
Charles Fenton secretary and treasurer. They occupy the three 
upper floors of the W. G. & A. R. Morrison Company's brick 
building on North street. Work began here in 1888. About 
fifty hands are employed. 

The Willimantic Brass and Iron Foundry is situated on Mans- 
field avenue, in the western suburbs of the village. It was built 
in 1871, and occupied by William M. Gorry in the fall of 1873. 
Here a great variety of castings for machinery is made. A pat- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 347 

ent plow is also manufactured here. Mr. Gorry is a native of 
Lowell, Mass., where he was born December 14th, 1841, and he 
is a moulder by trade. He has at times employed as many as 
twenty-five hands. 

rMessrs. W. H. Latham & Co. established on Spring street in 
'Ij/iG and '77 well arranged and commodious shops for the stor- 
ing, handling and working of lumber. Steam power of ample 
capacity is employed for driving machinery, warming work 
rooms, heating the drying kiln and like uses, and the shop is 
supplied with modern wood working machinery. The firm do a 
general contracting and jobbing business, including painting 
and natural wood finishing. The court house. United Bank 
building. Hooker House and other prominent buildings in Willi- 
mantic are monuments to their reputation as practical builders. 
W. H. Latham was born in Eastford, Conn., September 21st, 1846. 
At the age of fifteen he went to Rhode Island and served as an 
apprentice to the joiner's trade. He came to Willimantic in 
1867, and has since resided here. He married Mary E., daugh- 
ter of Edwin E. Burnham, and has two children, Edwin B. and 
Burnett W. 

The builders' facilities in Willimantic for doing good work at 
low rates are unsurpassed by any of the towns or cities here- 
abouts. The oldest and best known shop is probably that of D. 
E. Potter, who has done a general building, paint and oil busi- 
ness, but of late years has confined himself almost wholly to 
shop work. 

George P. Spencer, proprietor of Spencer's handy mineral 
soap, has his shop and residence here, and ships quantities of his 
soap over a large territory. 

Messrs. Jillson & Palmer, the inventors, patentees and proprie- 
tors of Jillson & Palmer's cotton opener, the best machine ever 
brought out for the purpose (so claimed), reside in Willimantic 
and manufacture their machines here. 

The Edson & Calkins Quarry Company have a fine quarry and 
constantly employ a large force of men and teams. With the 
aid of all the latest appliances, such as steam drills, derricks and 
electrical batteries, they get out and ship great quantities of 
stone, which is finding a large and increasing sale, and by its 
hardness makes the best foundation and bridge piers which can 
be made. 

The wholesale business of Willimantic is well taken care of. 



348 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

The flour, grain and feed trade is represented by the house of 
Ansel Arnold & Co., Main street ; E. A. Bugbee & Co., corner 
Valley and Jackson streets, and E. A. Buck & Co., Main street. 
The last named firm have a steam mill, located between the rail- 
road track and Main street, where they can receive and ship 
grain and feed without the expense of teams. The wholesale 
grocery trade is represented by Durkee, Stiles & Co., who do a 
very heavy business. Willimantic is a trade center for many 
towns and villages within a radius of 15 pr 20 miles. The coal 
and building material interest is in the' hands of the firms of 
Lincoln & Boss, Geo. K. Nason and Hillhouse & Taylor, and that 
prices are lower here than in any place in eastern Connecticut 
is proven by the large shipments of lumber and other build- 
ing materials into Norwich. New London, Putnam and other 
large places. 

The saw mill of Messrs. Hillhouse & Taylor has been in oper- 
ation for several years, sawing from one to two million feet per 
annum. Their wood working shop employs sixteen to twenty 
hands and uses water power to the extent of about sixty-five 
horse-power. Their shop is located on Main street, and here 
they manufacture all kinds of doors, sash, blinds, mouldings and 
like materials used in the builder's art. 

Believing in the strength of union in a common cause the en- 
terprising business men of Willimantic organized a Board of 
Trade in February, 1887. The meeting was held in Excelsior 
Hall, and at that time eighty-eight names had been signed to 
the roll of membership at an initial fee of three dollars each. The 
officers then elected were as follows : President, Ansel Arnold ; 
vice-presidents, F. M. Wilson, H. N. Wales ; secretary, W. N. 
Potter; treasurer, F.F.Webb; directors, A. T. Fowler, H. C. 
Murray, John Hickey, Marshall Tilden, H. E. Remington, W. 
C. Jillson, A. M. Hatheway ; committee on trade and manufac- 
turing, Geo. K. Nason, chairman, W. G. Morrison, O. H. K. Ris- 
ley, G. W. Melony, H. C. Murray ; committee on membership, 
G. H. Alford, J. G. Keigwin, Marshall Tilden, J. C. Lincoln, A. 
J. Bowen ; committee on statistics, F. E. Beach, G. A. Conant,W. 
H. Latham, A. B. Adams, J. D. Jillson. A constitution and by- 
laws were adopted and the Board of Trade started off with a 
bright prospect of accomplishing some good, and the indications 
thus far harmonize with those prospective promises. The offi- 
cers remain at the present time the same with very few excep- 
tions. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 349 

The Willimantic Cemetery lies in the western suburbs of the 
borough. It is a pleasant location and contains many handsome 
monuments and well-kept plats. Its beginning dates back to the 
early part of the century. On the 15th of June, 1829, the First 
school society of Windham purchased of Henry and Joseph 
Brown two acres of land for a burying plot. This lot is now 
nearly in the center of the present cemetery. Four additions 
have since been made, two on the easterly and two on the west- 
erly side. May 5th, 1858, the town of Windham bought about 
five and a quarter acres of Harden H. Fitch, on the east side, 
and May 18th of the same year the town bought of Niles Potter 
a little more than half an acre, also on the east side. August 
6th, 1876, the town bought about twelve acres on the west side 
of the old cemetery, of Benjamin A. Potter, and again, Decem- 
ber 30th, 1877, bought of the same party about two acres addi- 
tional. Thus the cemetery now contains about twenty -two acres 
of ground. It is about one mile west of the heart of the borough, 
and still belongs to the town. It is neatly laid out and kept in 
good order, being ornamented with many evergreen hedges and 
trees, as well as other trees and shrubs. Along the highway 
front, on the north side, is a fine ornamental iron fence, placed 
there in 1882 by George Chase, a native of the borough but now 
of New York city, at an expense of $10,000. 

The poor farm of the town, which was purchased of Benjamin 
A. Potter, December 30th, 1876, lies on the north side of the 
highway directly opposite the cemetery. 

The Roman Catholic cemetery lies about a mile northeast of 
the borough, on the west side of the old highway leading from 
Willimantic to North Windham. On the 29th of February, 1864, 
James G. Martin, of Windham, sold to Francis P. McFarland, 
bishop of Hartford, twenty-five acres of land at this point, to be 
used as a burying ground by the St. Joseph's Roman Catholic 
society. The ground remains in that use, having been conse- 
crated according to the forms and usages of that church. The 
ground is nearly level, and is well laid out and ornamented by 
evergreens and other shrubbery, and has a number of very hand- 
some monuments. 

Eastern Star Lodge, No. 44, F. & A. M., was organized under 
a charter of the Grand Lodge of the state of Connecticut, Novem- 
ber 21st, 1798. It was then located in the town of Lebanon, 
which at that time belonged to Windham county. An amusing 



350 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

incident connected with the organization is preserved in tradi- 
tion and we mention it here as it has been given to us from 
sources outside of the order. It is said that in the early years 
of the Lodge, on one occasion an inquisitive young lady of the 
family in whose house the Lodge held its meetings, determined 
to see what the men were doing up stairs, so she climbed into a 
tree which stood near the house and from her perch there she 
could look straight into the lodge room through a window which 
in the warm summer night was left open. She succeeded in wit- 
nessing considerable of the ceremonies, but unluckily for her in 
the midst of them she was discovered. Some of the men ran 
out and before she could descend and flee to a place of security 
she was captured and brought up to the lodge room where she 
was compelled to go through the form of initiation into the or- 
der and swear never to divulge any of the secret ceremonies 
which she had seen. As the story is not officially reported to us 
we cannot vouch for its correctness, but presume there is some- 
thing of truth connected with it. 

The twenty-four charter members of this Lodge were Jonathan 
M. Young, Saul Carpenter, Flavel Clark, Benjamin B. Fitch, 
Manham Willson, Jonathan Card, Oliver Wattles, Joseph Terry, 
Eleazer Huntington, John Burgess, Elijah Mason, John New- 
comb, Nathaniel Beard, Seth Collins, Nathaniel Williams, Jr., 
Abijah Thomas, Jr., Azel Fitch, Ephraim Tisdale, John Hay- 
ward, Salmon Champion, Ambrose Collins, Thomas Dewey, 
Jared Bennett and Isaac Ticknor. The Grand Lodge of the 
state determined to have the installation of the lodge held in 
the meeting house and to have it public. The first officers of 
the new Lodge were : Daniel Tilden,W. M. ; Joseph Metcalf, S.W. ; 
Labdiel Hyde, J.W. ; Elijah Mason, treasurer ; Ephraim Tisdale, 
secretary ; Joseph Terry, S. D. ; John Newcomb, J. D. ; Seth 
Collins, S. T. ; John Hayward, J. T. Lodge meetings were, at 
first, held in the house of Elijah Mason. Occasional meetings 
of the Lodge were held in Windham for a few years. Action 
was then taken to procure a permanent place for the Lodge to 
meet in Windham. A room was secured in a building owned 
by Samuel Gray in the center of the village, for a term of years. 
After October, 1808, all the meetings of the Lodge were held at 
Windham. Daniel Tilden occupied the post of W. M. from the 
b)eginning until December, 1812, when he was succeeded by 
Gurdon Tracy, then a resident of Scotland. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 351 

From its quarters in Windham the Lodge removed to Willi- 
mantic, November 21st, 1851, then completing the fifty-third 
year of its existence. Here it held its meetings for a time in 
Odd Fellow's Hall and in other rooms, until permanent quarters 
were secured in Atwood's Block, which suite of rooms were well 
adapted to its uses. This they continued to occupy until April 
16th, 1885, when they took possession of "their new lodge rooms 
in the United Bank Building, where excellent accommodations 
had been provided for the several Masonic bodies of the town. 
Very interesting public ceremonies of dedication were held at 
the date last mentioned, conducted by M. W. Dwight Waugh, 
■G. M., and the other officers of the Grand Lodge. A historical 
address was delivered by Hon. John M. Hall, a member of this 
Lodge, and the exercises terminated with a banquet in Franklin 
Hall. 

The following men have been W. M. of this Lodge from its or- 
ganization to the present time : Daniel Tilden, Gurdon Tracy, 
Luther D. Leach, Thomas Clark, William Webb, Gurdon Heb- 
.ard, Wallace Huntington, William Wales, Calvin H. Davison, 
Jeremiah King, Joshua B. Lord, J. S. Loveland, Roderick Davi- 
son, Van W.Austin, Jeptha Harris, John G. Keigwin, Charles S. 
Billings, Chester Tilden, Charles N. Daniels, Richard L. Wig- 
gins, DeWitt C. Hill, Charles James Fox, T. F. Howie. The 
Lodge is in a very prosperous condition, and at the present time 
has a membership of about two hundred, with flattering pros- 
pects of continued prosperity. 

Trinity Chapter, No. 9, Royal Arch Masons, was instituted by 
the Grand Chapter of the state, upon the petition of Daniel Til- 
den and others, at Windham, on the 21st of May, A. L. 6808, 
when the following officers were installed : Daniel Tilden, H. P. ; 
Roger Huntington, K. ; John Clarke, S. The Chapter continued 
to hold its meetings in Windham until April 29th, A. L. 5852, 
when it removed to Willimantic and has since occupied the 
rooms of Eastern Star Lodge. The following persons have 
held the office of H. P. in the Chapter: Daniel Tilden, Andrew 
Harris, Gurdon Tracy, Thomas Clark, Vine Hovey, Gurdon Heb- 
ard, Wallace Huntington, Joshua B. Lord, Chester Tilden, Henry 
A. Balcom, David C. Card, Charles H. Bigelow, Charles S. Bill- 
ings, O. D. Brown, Henry A. La,rkin, E. T. Hamlin, James Har- 
ris, Jr., H. R. Chappell, F. S. Fowler, H. M. Graupner. The 
•Chapter now numbers one hundred and nine members. 



352 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Olive Branch Council, No. 10, was chartered by the Grand 
Council of Connecticut on the 12th day of May, 1868. The fol- 
lowing were charter members : Henry E. Balcam, Chester Til- 
den, Jr., David C. Card, John R.Cogswell, Abel E. Brooks, Sam- 
uel B. Stanton, Van W. Austin, Joel W. Backus'. On the above 
mentioned date the Council was instituted in the lodge room in 
Willimantic by Stephe^i T. Bartlett, G. P., and Joseph R.Wheel- 
er, G. R., officers of the Grand Council. The first officers of the 
Council were: Henry E. Balcam, T. J. M. ; Chester Tilden, Jr., 
R. J. D. M. ; David C. Card, P. C. of W. the following are past 
officers of this Council : H. E. Balcam, Chester Tilden, Jr.,Thomiis 
H. Rollinson, Charles S. Billings, Charles James Fox, E. T. Ham- 
lin, Charles D. Peck. The Council now numbers about seventy 
members. 

St. John's Commandery, No. 11, Knights Templar, was insti- 
tuted January 23d, 1882, upon the petition of charter members 
Sir Chester Tilden, Sir David C. Card and Sir W. H. Bolander. 
The instituting ceremonies were conducted by officers of the 
Grand Commandery, Sirs William H. Cobb, E. C. ; Henry H. 
Green, G. ; and S. G. Waters, C. G. The following Sir Knights 
were the first officers of the new commandery : Chester Tilden, 
E. C. ; David C. Card, G. ; W. H. Bolander, C. G. Past eminent 
commanders up to this date are : Chester Tilden, David C. Card, 
Charles S. Billings and Charles J. Fox. The present officers are : 
Sir John H. Bullard, E. C. ; Sir George K. Nason, G. ; Sir Frank 
S. Fowler, C. G. The Commandery now numbers forty members, 
and is in a prosperous condition. Trinity Chapter, Olive Branch 
Council and St. John's Commandery were all of them outgrowths 
from Eastern Star Lodge. 

Radiant Chapter, No. 11, O. E. S., was organized February 27th, 
1874. Its charter members were : Mrs. Hattie M. Harris, Mrs. 
Susan M. Fuller, Mrs. Clarissa A. Babcock, Miss Nancy Chapin, 
Mrs. Caroline Hanna, Miss Eunice S. Ripley, Mrs. Sarah E. Rog- 
ers, Miss Hattie L. Fuller, Mrs. Eliza A. Congden, Mrs. Arrunette 
Barber. Meetings of the Chapter have been held in Masonic 
Hall from the beginning. Its first officers were : H. M. Harris, 
W. M.; Caroline R. Dorman, A. M.; Susan M. Fuller, Sec; Nancy 
Chapin, Treas.; C. A. Babcock, Con.; Louisa J. Hoxie, A. C; 
W. L. Fuller, A.; S. E. Rogers, R.; Emma A. Bullard, E.; E. S. 
Ripley, M.; Julia King, E.; Bro. A. S. Barber, W. P.; Bro. A. S. 
Fuller, W.; Bro. William Thompson, Sent. Successive W. M.'s 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 353 

have since been : H. M. Harris, 1875; Mrs. Carrie S. Robbins, 
1876; Mrs. Clarissa A. Babcock, 1877-79; Caroline E. Billings, 
1880-82; Miss Helen E. Batey, 1883-84; E. H. Hamlin, 1885; 
Ellen S. Clark, 1886; Susan M. Fuller, 1887-88. The Chapter 
owns no property. Its membership comprises 61 brothers and 
62 sisters. 

Willimantic Council, No. 720, Royal Arcanum, was organized 
December 7th, 1882. It had twenty-two charter members; W. D. 
Brigham, C. S. Billings, A. A. Burnham, H. E. Remington, De 
W. C. Hill, F. M. Thompson, E. A. Taft, C. J. Fox, M. D., H. F. 
Royce, Charles H. Andrews, C. R. Utley, H. R. Lincoln, N. D. 
Webster, W. H. Wales, J. H. Bullard, C. N. Daniels, H.M.Cady, 
F. S. Fowler, Frank Larrabee, O. S. Chaffee, Jr., Charles H. Rob- 
bins, W. H. H. Bingham. The Council meets in old Masonic 
Hall. The first officers were : Charles S. Billings, regent; W. D. 
Brigham, vice-regent; H. F. Royce, treasurer. The presiding 
officers have been as follows: Charles S. Billings, 1882-83; Walter 
D. Brigham, 1884-85; Charles S. Billings, 1886; Charles N. Daniels, 
1887-88; Dwight H. Barstow, 1889. The total membership now 
is fifty-six. Two deaths have occurred within its circle. They 
were, Jonathan Hodgdon, druggist, August 31st, 1883, and Ed- 
ward A. Taft, February 14th, 1887. 

Willimantic Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians was 
organized in 1875. During the first few years it had a feeble 
existence, hardly maintaining its life, but later on a degree of 
prosperity seemed to perch upon its banners. The weak society 
could not well afford to hire a hall, so its meetings were held in 
private houses or spare rooms which were offered for their use, 
as circumstances favored them. The records previous to 1881 
are lost, but since that time the presidents successively have 
been: B. J. Carey, 1881-83; Patrick McGlore, 1884 ; Thomas 
Foran, 1885; Hugh J Carney, 1886-87; John F. Hennessey, 
1888. The vice-presidents have been : John Foy, 1881 ; Luke 
Flynn, 1882 ; Patrick McGlore, 1883 ; John J. Carey, 1884 ; P. J. 
Carey, 1885; John F. Hennessey, 1886-87;' Luke Owens, 1888. 
Recording secretaries have been : Daniel Courtney, 1881 ; Ed- 
ward Carey, 1882 ; John P. Shea, 1883-86 ; Michael Moriarty, 
1887 ; D. J. Regan, 1888. Financial secretaries have been : Pat- 
rick Conway, 1881 ; John P. Shea, 1882 ; Cornelius Shea, 1883 ; 
John F. Shea, 1884; Thomas Haron, 1885-87; Jeremiah Maho- 
ney, 1888. Treasurers have been : Florence Tonnelly, 1881-83 ; 
23 



354 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

John Casey, 1884 ; Dennis Shea, 1885-87 ; John J. Carey, 1888. 
In 1881 the treasury contained $119.33 ; in 1888 it contained 
over $1,000. The membership at different times was as follows: 
1881, 32 ; 1882, 38 : 1883, 34 ; 1884, 45 ; 1885, 55 ; 1886, 60 ; 1887, 
67 ; 1888, 78. 

The Women's Christian Temperance Union, of Willimantic, 
was organized March 7th, 1877. The first members were Mad- 
ams Sarah J. Lillie, Carrie L. Lamb, Julia Pinney, E. S. Andrew, 
E. E. Park, N. Davison, J. M. Pierce, Lucius Carpenter, Adaline 
S. Davis, E. F. Trowbridge, E. M. Hanks, H. G. Douglass, E. A. 
Barrows, Mason Lincoln, George A. Burnham, C. E. Conant, A. 
A. Hall, Eliza Dexter, C. Topliff, William Thompson, William 
Hudson and E. Picknell, and Miss Inez M. Brown. They met a 
part of the time in private parlors, and a part of the time in the 
" Faith Rooms." The first officers were : Mrs. C. E. Conant, 
president ; Mrs. Amos Hall, Mrs. Lucius Carpenter, vice-presi- 
dents ; Miss Inez M. Brown, secretary and treasurer. Mrs. C. E. 
Conant has served as president down to the present time, with 
the exception of two years. Miss Maria Case was president one 
year from October, 1883, and Mrs. C. B. Pomeroy one year from 
October, 1887. The Union meets now in the parlors of the Bap- 
tist church. It owns no property, but has about fifty members. 
Its present officers are : Mrs. C. E. Conant, president ; Mrs. C- B. 
Pomeroy, Mrs. George Phillips, Mrs. Edwin Bugbee, vice-presi- 
dents ; Miss I. E. Sutherland, corresponding secretary and treas- 
urer; Miss Nellie Preston, recording secretary. This was the 
only Union in the county until the formation of Putnam Union 
three or four years ago. 

The St. Jean Baptist Society of Willimantic, was organized 
May 30th, 1880. Its first officers were : Joseph Martin, presi- 
dent ; David Lambert, vice-president ; Reverend Florimond De 
Bruycker, chaplain ; P. P. Pare, recording secretary ; Godfroid 
Lapalme, financial secretary ; J. N. Archambault, treasurer ; Ed. 
Paguin, first director ; H. Belaire, second director. The names 
of other members who first organized the society were : E. Quin- 
tal, H. Blanchette, G. Gilbert, S. Ayotte, P. Sansouci, Ed. Bacon, 
Ed. Bonin, L. Belanger, H. Routier, N. Routier, Ant. Lucier, 
Nap. Bacon, Isaie Racicot, P. Mullen, M. Alix, Naz. Gingras, Jos. 
Gingras. Its first meeting place was in the old St. Joseph's R. 
C. church. Its present place of meeting is in Atwood's Block, 
in the old Masonic Hall. Its property consists of its furniture, 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY, 355 

banners, etc., valued at about $400, and cash deposited in sav- 
ings banks to the amount of about $1,000. Its present member- 
ship is about eighty. The presiding officers regularly elected 
in March and September, have been as follows, each serving for 
the six months term beginning with the date given : Joseph 
Martin, June, 1880, one and one-half terms ; J. N. Archambault, 
March, '81 ; Godfroid Lapalme, September, '81 ; Jos. Martin, 
March, '82 ; Th. Potvin, September, '82 ; G. Lapalme, March, '83, 
two terms; A. P. Favreau, March, '84, four terms; Elzear St. 
Onge, March, '86 ; A. P. Favreau, September, '86 ; Th. Potvin, 
March, '87; A. D. David, September, '87, two terms ; J. N. Arch- 
ambault, September, '88. The other officers at present are : 
Joseph Dumas, vice-president ; Tancrede de Villers, recording 
secretary ; Chs. de Villers, financial secretary ; The. Potvin, 
treasurer ; Frs. Baril, corresponding secretary ; Z. Caisse, warden. 

San Jose Council, No. 14, K. of C, was instituted March 12th, 
1885, receiving its charter at that time. Its charter members 
were : Officers — James E. Murray, G. K. ; Captain P. Fitzpatrick, 
D. G. K. ; D. P. Dunn, R. S. ; William Vanderman, F. S. ; J. H. 
Morrison, treasurer ; E. Grimes, warden ; R. Carney, I. G. ; James 
Maxwell, O. G. ; T. H. McNally, C. P. ; other charter members- 
John McDonough, D. McCarthy, Joseph Cotter, James Toomey, 
James Dolan, James Courtney, John H. Dawson, Theodore Pot- 
vin. The Council meets in Old Masonic Hall, in Atwopd's 
Block. This Council is increasing rapidl}^ in membership and 
becoming popular as a Catholic society. Its insurance system 
is its chief object. It has paid out several hundred dollars as 
its proportionate part for death assessments to needy widows 
and orphans, and has $1,500 in its treasury. The presiding offi- 
cers vSince the first have been : E. F. Casey, G. K., A. P. Favreau, 
D. G. K., from 1886 to 1887 ; J. P. Cotter, G. K., T. F. Reynolds, 
D. G. K., from 1887 to 1889. It has about ninety members in 
good standing. 

Willimantic Lodge, No. 11, Ancient Order of United Work- 
men, a beneficiary society, was organized in July, about six or 
seven years ago. It meets every two weeks, in room No. 3 in 
Loomer Opera House. It has a membership of about fifty in good 
standing. A benefit of $2,000 at death is paid to the surviving 
friends of its members. It is a secret society in its working. 
Lodges are associated throughout the country, but any state hav- 
ing 2,000 members can control its own assessments. Assess- 



356 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

ments are levied on all members as often as the grand treas- 
ury fund falls below two thousand dollars. An assessment 
now brings into the grand treasury about $8,000. The number 
of deaths thus far in this Grand Lodge has been fifty-nine. 

Natchaug Lodge, No. 22, Knights of Pythias, was chartered 
March 7th, 1872. It meets every Monday night in Atwood Block. 
Its charter members were : Thomas W. Henry, George Bartlett, 
L. F. Bugbee, Abel Clark, Cortland Babcock, Jr., Dwight Jor- 
dan, Hiram. A. Snow, M. L. Tryon, J. T. McNeil, Samuel J. Mil- 
ler, W. N. Potter. The whole number initiated up to this time 
is about one hundred and fifty. The present membership is 
about forty to fifty. The present officers are : W. H. Wales, C. 
C. ; E. B. Walden, vice-C. ; H. E. Reade, K. of A. ; W. B. Hoxie, 
prelate; Charles E. Clark, M. of F. ; W. N. Potter, M. of E. ; E. 
D. C. Card, M. of A. 

Francis S. Long Post, No. 30, G. A. R., was organized March 
30th, 1881. The following were charter members : Samuel J.Mil- 
ler, Daniel K. Sweet, J. D. Willis, Chauncey C. Geer, Henry A. 
Howard, William Brown, Benajah E. Smith, Irad W. Storrs, 
Elisha C. Boden, H. F. Lewis, William H. Sweet. The following 
list embraces its entire membership : John Bolles, Amos C. Cran- 
dall, Darius Moon, George A. Murdock, George F. Lyman, Wal- 
ter Plumley, William Warrilow, Horace Warner, William F. 
Gates, William E. Bailey, Philetus G. Perry, Albert S. Blish, 
Lemuel Warner, James W. Beckwith, George L. Cooley, Henry 
L. Bingham, Asa M. Holmes, Daniel C. Lewis, Palmer S. Green, 
Arthur P. Benner, William E. Williams, Edwin M. Tliorne, 
Enoch Dodd, Luke Flynn, E. F. Payson, William Smith, Louis 
Putoz, George W. Herrick, Augustus Tittell, Eugene Winton, 
Danforth O. Lombard, John Hickey, Charles P. Brann, Robert 
Binns, Melvin L. Nichols, John Tew, W. H. H. Bingham, Wil- 
liam N. Tremper, Amos W. Bill, Daniel S. Clark, A. E. Brooks, 
Frederick Miller, Horace Griggs, William H. Bosworth, Frank 
G. Colby, Jerome B. Baldwin, Warren H. Bissell, Elisha D. Hill, 
George Dimock, John J. Brierly, John A. Holmes, Michael 
O'Louglin, Henry K. Brown, Michael Shea, Henry K. Hyde, 
William A. Hempstead, Alvord Chappell, William C. Walker, 
Ames E. Bailey, John J. Franklin, Charles H. Corey, Thomas 
Handley, J. S. Bradbury, Thomas Spencer, Lucien B. Woodworth, 
William H. Sypher, Alexander Bruto, John D. Hart, James Hag- 
gerty, John vSweeney, Frederick J. Traver, C. M. Kearnes, Charles 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 357 

Ashworth, Danford Wyllys, George L. Briggs, Sanford A. Com- 
ins, Van B. Jordan, Andrew E. Kinne, Andrew W. Loomis, Cort- 
land Babcock, C. H. Colgrove, David Clapp, William M. Snow, 
Charles H. Jackson, H. J. Fieldgen, Charles Fenton. The past 
post commanders are : Samuel J. Miller, 1881 ; Benajah E. Smith, 
1882 ; J. D. Willis, 1883 ; Amos G. Crandall, 1884-1885 ; Warren 
H. Bissell, 1886; Elisha C. Boden, 1887; Samuel J. Miller, 1888. 
There are at present seventy members in good standing. The 
present officers are : John J. Brierly, C. ; Charles Ashworth, S. 
V. C. ; George A. Murdock, J. V. C. ; Thomas Handley, adjutant ; J. 
D. Willis, Q. M. ; Warren H. Bissell, chap. ; C. A. Colgrove, M. D., 
surgeon ; James Haggerty, officer of the day ; E. F. Payson, offi- 
cer of the guard ; A. P. Benner, ser. maj. ; Luke Flynn, Q. M. S. 
The Post meets in room No. 3, Loomer Opera House, every Fri- 
day evening. It decorates 178 graves in four cemeteries on the 
annual day set apart for that purpose. 

Jonathan Trumbull Council, No. 29, Order of United American 
Mechanics, a society composed of a distinctively American mem- 
bership, was organized December 4th, 1888. It meets in Atwood 
Block. All members must be native born Americans. The ob- 
jects are to sustain the free institutions of America and the gov- 
ernment as it is, and to provide benefits in sickness and death 
for its members. The officers change every six months. The 
firvSt officers were as follows : Charles N. Daniels, councillor ; S. J. 
Miller, vice-councillor; Eugene Randall, junior ex-councillor; 
H. F. Barrows, senior ex-councillor ; George H. C. Osborn, re- 
cording secretary ; C. H. Edmonds, assistant recording secretary ; 
H. R. Chappell, treasurer ; Arthur L. Hayden, financial secretary ; 
Frank A. Westphal, inductor; C. H. Webster, examiner; Fred- 
erick Young, inside protector ; L. L. Keigwin, outside protector ; 
James Macfarlane, Jonathan Osborn and H. F. Barrows, trust- 
ees. The membership at present numbers about fifty. 

Company E, of the Third regiment, C. N. G., numbers at pres- 
ent fifty-eight members. They have an armory in Centre street, 
where they drill every Thursday evening from November 1st 
to June 1st, according to law. The company was organized 
about 1872. The officers are : Patrick Fitzpatrick, captain ; 
Thomas Ashton, 1st lieutenant ; John H. Morrison, 2d lieuten- 
ant ; John W. Moran, company clerk. 

A lodge called Fidelity Temple, of the order Temple of Honor, 
was instituted here about 1870, which was composed of many of 



358 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

the business men of the place, and others. It had a membership 
of over one hundred, but after several years the interest in it 
died out and the charter was surrendered after an existence of 
about ten years. The subject, howevei* was afterward revived, 
and the Willimantic Temple of Honor, No. 32, was instituted in 
January, 1882. The office of worthy chief has been held succes- 
sively by the following, the regular term being six months : Ed- 
ward L. Furry,. January to May, 1882; John A. Gardner, J. B. 
Hood, Joel W. Cargel, George B. Abbott, George C. Topliffe, 
Charles F. Merrill, George Smith, Maurice Tittle, A. J. Law- 
ton, E. F. Payson, William C. Cargel, E. L. Furry, George B. 
Story, C. L. Fillmore and Charles Ingraham, at present in office 
(June, 1889). The lodge has averaged about forty members, 
and has done much good in reclaiming many drunkards. A 
Social Temple and a lodge of the Golden Cross, societies ad- 
mitting ladies to membership, work in harmony and increase 
the social features of the Temple. 

The Windham Bank was incorporated August 8th, 1842, being 
located in the central village of Windham. The following per- 
sons were then made directors: John Baldwin, George Spafford, 
Justin Swift, Stephen Hosmer, Thomas Gray, William C. Dor- 
rance, John Webb, Chauncey F. Cleveland, John A. Rockwell 
and Abner Hendee. The officers were : John Baldwin, presi- 
dent ; Joel W. White, cashier. The salary of the cashier was fixed 
at $350 a year, to begin when he should give his bonds for $50,- 
000. September 17th Mr. White resigned, and Samuel Bingham 
was unanimously appointed in his place as cashier, which posi- 
tion he held until March 17th, 1886. April 3d, 1850, Henry S. 
Walcott was elected president, to fill the vacancy caused by the 
death of John Baldwin. The bank was organized as a national 
bank June 21st, 1865. January 9th, 1872, Thomas Ramsdell was 
elected president, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Mr. 
Walcott. In March, 1879, the bank was removed from Windham 
to the borough of Willimantic. Mr. Ramsdell resigned the 
presidency, and Guilford Smith was elected in his place January 
12th, 1886. March 17th, 1886, the resignation of Samuel Bing- 
ham was accepted, and H. Clinton Lathrop was elected cashier 
in his stead. The capital stock of the bank is at present $100,- 
000; surplus, $7,500; profits, $11,753; deposits, $182,882. The 
present officers are : Guilford Smith, president ; Mason Lincoln, 
vice-president : H. Clinton Lathrop, cashier. The directors are 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 359 

Guilford Smith, Mason Lincoln, Henry Larrabee, Charles Smith, 
Thomas Ramsdell, George Lathrop, Frank F. Webb, Albert R. 
Morrison and Charles A. Capen. A robbery occurred to the 
bank in the year 1854, the particulars of which are given from 
the personal recollection of one of its officers as follows : 

" Friday, November 17th, 1854. — Windham Bank was entered 
by three men, with false keys, about eight o'clock last evening, 
and when the clerk, James Parsons, who slept in the bank, en- 
tered about nine o'clock, he was taken by two of the men, in 
the dark, after he had locked the door ; a handkerchief was 
put over his eyes and he laid on the bed and watched by one 
man while the others broke open the vault and took about 
$7,000 in specie and about $2,000 of other bank bills and $13,000 
of Windham bank bills. After gagging Mr. Parsons and con- 
fining his hands and feet, they locked the door and went to 
Bingham's Crossing on the N. L. N. Railway and waited while 
one went to Willimantic and took a hand-car from the Hart- 
ford & Providence Road and took them to Norwich, where 
they arrived about 5:30 in the morning. They were fright- 
ened when they heard that the news had got there before 
them, and crossed the river, entering the woods between Lau- 
rel Hill and Allyn's Point, where they were watched until the 
steamboat train arrived for New York. They then boarded 
the steamboat. There the .sheriff and his assistants were wait- 
ing with Mr. Tingley, who pointed them out to the officers, and 
they were arrested. About $21,000 of the money was found 
while the boat was going from Allyn's Point to New York, Sat- 
urday night. At their trial in Windham they gave the names 
of Jones, Crandall, Scott & Wilson. 

"About November 1st, 1854, a large man came to Williman- 
tic and stopped at the hotel then kept by William Tingley on 
the south side of the river (The Hebard House). It was after- 
ward thought that his business was to make arrangements for 
the men to rob Windham Bank. He stayed but a short time, 
then disappeared. On or about November 2d, three men 
stopped at the same place. They went out in the evening but 
came back about ten o'clock and took an early morning train 
to New York, via Hartford. While they were at breakfast Mr. 
Tingley felt of their carpet bag and was satisfied that there 
was a bit-stock and other burglars' tools in it. He came to the 
conclusion that they were there for the purpose of robbing 



360 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. , 

some place in Willimantic. One of the arrested men in reply 
to some questions, stated that they came there at the time 
named above and walked to the Windham Bank to rob it that 
night. They broke their key and went back to New York, 
made another key and were gone two weeks, before they came 
to complete the business. When the lock was taken from the 
outside door of the bank, the piece of a key was found in it, 
which helped to confirm his story." 

The Willimantic Savings Institute was incorporated by act of 
legislature in 1842, approved by the then Governor Chauncey F. 
Cleveland of this county. The incorporators were Oliver Kings- 
ley, Jr., John Tracy, Lloyd E. Baldwin, James D. Hosmer, Joshua 
B. Lord, Royal Jennings, vSamuel Lee, Horace Hall, William L. 
Jillson, Laban Chase, Newton Fitch, Lewis Gager, Lucien H. 
Clark, Amos Palmer and Waterman C. Clark. The first meeting 
of incorporators was held June 18th, 1842. The first officers 
then chosen were : Oliver Kingsley, Jr., president ; Royal Jen- 
nings, vice-president ; John Tracy, secretary and treasurer ; Wil- 
liam L. Jillson, Lloyd E. Baldwin, Joshua B. Lord, Horace Hall, 
Laban Chase, directors. Oliver Kingsley, Jr., held the office of 
president until his death, in 1846. He was succeeded by Horace 
Hall, who acceptably filled that position until 1870, when John 
Tracy was chosen president. Mr. Tracy had acted as treasurer 
since the incorporation, a period of 28 years, and a resolution 
acknowledging his fidelity and ability in that position was unan- 
imously given him by the board. At this time Henry F. Royce 
was chosen secretary and treasurer. In 1869 a fine brick and 
stone building was erected on the corner of Main and Bank 
streets, which affords excellent facilities for the transaction of 
banking business in the corner room on the first floor. The bal- 
ance of the building, on the ground floor and the second and 
third floors, used as stores and offices. On the death of Mr. 
Tracy, in May, 1874, Whiting Hayden, who had for a long time 
been vice-president, was elected president. He continued in 
that capacity until his death, which occurred June 20th, 1886, 
when he was succeeded by Edwin A. Buck, the then vice-presi- 
dent, who still remains at the head of the institute. Henry F. 
Royce, having held the position of secretary and treasurer since 
1870, was suspended March 23d, 1888, and Frank F. Webb was 
appointed, at first temporarily, and in June following elected by 
the trustees at their annual meeting, to the office of secretary 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 361 

and treasurer, which place he still holds. This institution, from 
a small beginning increased with the growth of the place until 
the deposits amounted to nearly $1,000,000, and has divided a 
large amount of profits with its depositors. 

The Dime Savings Bank of Willimantic was organized in 
May, 1872, and was incorporated under the state law in the same 
year. Its original incorporators were Silas F. Loomer, James 
Walden, Horace Hall, James G. Martin, Henry G. Taintor, Ansel 
Arnold, George W. Burnham, Madison Woodward, Porter B. 
Peck, John M. Hall, Hyde Kingsley, James M. Johnson, William 
C. Jillson, Fred. Rogers, S. O, Vinlen, George Lincoln, George 
W. Hanna, E. P. Packer, J. Dwight Chaffee and George W. Mc- 
Farland. The bank commenced business September 21st, 1872. 
Its first officers were: Silas F. Loomer, president; O. H. K. Ris- 
ley, secretary and treasurer. The amount on deposit October 
1st, 1888, was about |600,000. Its present officers are : James 
Walden, president; John L. Walden, secretary and treasurer. 

James Walden was born in Exeter, Conn., October 26th, 1825, 
and came to Willimantic with his parents in 1828. He was the 
youngest son of Silas and Jane (Rose) Walden, and commenced 
at the age of thirteen to work in the Windham Company's mill, 
being engaged in the dressing department. About 1850 he en- 
gaged in the book and stationery business in Willimantic, which 
he carried on successfully till 1887, but during this time was also 
agent for Adams Express Company. He was also postmaster 
and had charge of the telegraph office here. He was elected 
president of the Dime Savings Bank, July 21st, 1880, and since 
that date has devoted much of his time to that institution. He 
married Amanda M., daughter of James Hempstead, and has 
three children — James H., a resident of New York city ; Jessie 
L., wife of H. C. H. Palmer, of Sing Sing, N. Y. ; John L., born 
in Willimantic, April 10th, 1861, and married Bell N., daughter 
of Henry Herrick, and who is the present secretary and treasu- 
rer of the Dime Savings Bank of Willimantic. 

The Merchants' Loan .& Trust Company, organized for the 
double purpose of doing the business of a trust company and a 
general banking business, opened for business February 1st, 
187L A. C. Crosby was president, and J. F. Preston, treasurer; 
William C. Jillson, vice-president, and O. H. K. Risley, assistant 
treasurer. In March, 1873, the two latter became respectively 
president and treasurer. The company continued doing active 



362 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

banking business until July, 1878, when that department was 
turned over to the First National Bank, and the company con- 
tinued to do simply a trust business until the present time. The 
officers last mentioned remain to the present time. The com- 
pany has a capital of $50,000, and its office is with the First Na- 
tional Bank. 

The First National Bank was organized in June, 1878, with a 
capital of $100,000. Its officers were : William C. Jillson, presi- 
dent ; Ansel Arnold, vice-president ; Oliver H .K. Risley, cashier. 
They remain in their respective positions at the present time. 
The first board of directors were as follows, all except those 
marked * remaining in the board at present. Those marked 
have withdrawn, and their places have not been supplied, so the 
board now numbers but six: William C. Jillson, Ansel Arnold, 
O. H. K. Risley, James M. Johnson,^ Hyde Kingsley,* Amos T. 
Fowler, Silas F. Loomer,* E. Stevens Henry, Stephen G. Ris- 
ley. 

The United Bank Building, one of the finest business blocks 
in the town, standing on the north side of Main street, in the 
heart of the borough, was erected in 1884, by the First National 
and Dime Savings Banks. The imposing front is made attrac- 
tive by artistic designs in terra cotta work, and still further set 
off by plate-glass windows at the first story, surmounted by cir- 
cular transoms in cathedral style. The interior arrangement 
is in accord with the best modern ideas of convenience and com- 
fort ; the plumbing, heating and lighting represent the latest 
improved methods, and the polished cherry woodwork and hard- 
finished walls give a pleasing effect. The first floor is occupied 
by the banks, one on either side of the spacious central entrance, 
which gives access to the offices above. 

One of the largest business blocks in the borough is the Tur- 
ner block. It was erected in 1877, and is a substantial five-story 
brick structure with a three-story extension. The main build- 
ing, with the exception of the store floor, is occupied as the Hotel 
Commercial, a well-kept house under the popular management 
of Mrs. P. A. Babcock. The block is named in honor of Mr. A. 
S. Turner, a leading druggist, who occupies an elegant store in 
the extension. 

Loomer Opera House is one of the most substantial buildings 
in the borough. It is built of brick, the walls being not less 
than sixteen inches thick in any part. The fronts on Main and 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 363 

North streets are of pressed brick. The size of the building is 
72 by 125 feet, four stories high. The ground floor is occupied 
by stores, while the upper floors along the Main street front are 
occupied by offices of various kind. Back of these on the sec- 
ond floor is the opera house, one of the finest entertainment 
halls in the state. The architectural plans were furnished by 
the designer of the first class theatres of New York city. It is 
furnished with all the modern appointments, elegant and com- 
plete scenery and properties, a stage 35 by 60 feet, twelve dress- 
ing rooms, four proscenium boxes, two balconies, best opera 
chairs in parquet and first balcony, heated by steam and thorough- 
ly ventilated, and capable of seating 1,100 persons. The audi- 
ence room and its appointments were finished at an expense of 
some twenty thousand dollars. The building was commenced 
in April, 1879, and was completed so far that the corner store 
was occupied by Mr. Murray March 15th, 1880. The opera house 
was completed on the 12th of the following November. The 
proprietor of the building is Mr. Silas F. Loomer, who came to 
Willimantic and started in the lumber and coal business in 1862.- 
At that time there was no lumber or coal business carried on 
here, and the wiseacres advised Mr. Loomer not to risk his mon- 
ey and enterprise in so hazardous and unpromising a field. But 
the remarkable success of that business as well as the rapid de- 
velopment of the village since that time proves those cautions 
to have been not well timed. 

The first newspaper published in this village was the Public 
Medium, started by John Evans, about January, 1847. After a 
few, years its name was changed to the Williiuantic Journal, vch^qx 
which name it is still published. From Evans it passed into the 
hands of a Mr. Simpson, then to William L. Weaver, whose liter- 
ary career was a very important and conspicuous one to the 
people of this town and county. His footprints on the intellec- 
tual sands of this locality were deeply impressed and the influ- 
ence thereof will go out to many generations. From him the 
Joiirnal passed to the hands of a Mr. Curtis, later of the Norzvick 
Bulletin, and again it changed to the hands of Walt Pierson. A 
little later we find it in the hands of W. J. Barber, from whom 
again it passed to Henry L. Hall. Later the firm became Hall 
& French, then Hall & Bill, and still later the Hall & Bill Pub- 
lishing Company, by whom the paper is now issued. It occu- 
pies commodious quarters at the foot of Railroad street, near 



364 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

the depot, where it havS been located for several years. Its form 
was changed from folio to quarto about 1872. It is now a six 
column quarto, republican in politics, published on Fridays. 
The business of job printing is also carried on quite extensively 
in connection with the publication of the paper. Eight presses 
are employed, and the force numbers fifteen hands. Extensive 
job work for manufacturers is done, besides general printing. 
The paper has a circulation of 3,000, and goes to every state and 
territory in the Union, as well as to Canada. 

The first issue of the Willimantic Enterprise was sent out Janu- 
ary 4th, 1877, from an office in the Franklin Building. It was 
started by the Enterprise Publishing Company, of whom 
N. W. Leavitt was the principal spirit. It passed to 
Fayette & Safford in the early part of 1879. In November of 
that year John A. McDonald bought an interest, added capital, 
and increased the facilities of the office. The paper was changed 
from a 4-page to an 8-page paper, and its name changed to the 
Willimantic C/ironiclc, the firm name at the same time being 
changed to McDonald & Safford. In May, 1887, the proprietor- 
ship adopted the name Chronicle Printing Company, the former 
owners still holding the principal interest. From Franklin 
Hall the office was removed to H. C. Hall's building on 
Main street, then to the present building, which had been erect- 
ed for it, at No. 10 Church street, into which it moved in Octo- 
ber, 1887. At first politically neutral, it was made a democratic 
paper since its name was changed, and is now claimed to be the 
only living paper which sustained the democratic banner during 
the period from 1872 to 1889. 

The Connecticut Home was started in September, 1886, by Allen 
B. Lincoln, editor and proprietor ; A. E. Knox is its present 
business manager. It is a seven-column folio, and has a circula- 
tion rising three thousand. It is the temperance paper, and an 
exponent of the prohibition movement. Jt is also a family news- 
paper of general departments. It was started on Church street, 
' the paper at first being printed by another concern. It now has 
a well fitted and furnished office on Main street, over Buck's 
store. 

Other newspaper ventures have been made here that have 
closed up their accounts in time and manner more or less sum- 
mary. The Willimantic Record was started by W. C. Crandall in 
1881. After a very brief existence it was suspended March 24th 




^^^^tcrt/cL £ (fi^Xil/l 



tn^L 



HTOTYPE, E. blERSTAD 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 365 

of the same year. The Willimaittic Daily News was started in 
E. A. Buck's building on Main street in 1887. Its editorial and 
business management was in the hands of J. Harry Foster, 
though John L. Hunter was a frequent editorial writer. Its pub- 
lication was suspended April 1st, 1887, after an existence of 
about four months. 

In connection with the subject of printing, it may be of inter- 
est to notice the enterprise of wood type manufacture which was 
once carried on in this village. Among the employees in the 
shop of Edwin Allen at South Windham, were Horatio N. and 
Jeremiah C. Bill. After that shop failed these two brothers 
started the business at Lebanon in 1850. In the following year 
they removed to Willimantic and located in a room in the old 
cotton mill now owned by the Linen Company as mill No. 3. 
Here they carried on the manufacture of wood type for three 
years, having a trade mostly with New York. They gained a 
wide and favorable reputation in their art, in which they were 
not excelled by any other wood-type manufacturers in the world. 
Indeed they were the only firm exhibiting wood type at the 
World's Fair in New York, and their specimens were burned 
when the ill fated Crystal Palace was destroyed. About the 
year 1853 they had associated with them a man by the name of 
Stark, the firm name being Bill, Stark & Co. Afterward the firm 
name was simply H. & J. Bill. The business not proving profit- 
able, disaster followed, and the material was sold to William H. 
Page in 1854, and he moved it to Greenville, Conn. 

Biographical Sketches. 

L. E. Baldwin. — John Baldwin, one of the first thirty-five set- 
tlers of Norwich in 1659, was the ancestor of that branch of the 
family to which the subject of this notice belongs. John Bald- 
win, 2d, grandson of John, settled in New Concord, then a part of 
Norwich, but incorporated into the town of Bozrah in 1775, his 
son Eliphalet succeeding him in the occupancy of the homestead 
where the father of the subject of this notice was born in 1787. 
Upon attaining his majority, having qualified himself for his 
business, Eliphalet, Jr., removed to Norwich, and was extensively 
engaged in the manufacture of carriages up to the time of his 
death, November, 1819. 

The subject of this sketch was born in Norwich April 13th, 
1810, attended the common schools from four to ten years of age, 



366 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

from ten to sixteen attending the common county district schools 
from three to four months each year. His father's death occur- 
ring when the lad was nine years old, and his mother's four 
years later, threw him upon his own resources. At the age of 
sixteen years he commenced to learn the trade of carpenter and 
joiner in all its branches. After serving an apprenticeship of 
five years, in May, 1831, he commenced business in Willimantic 
as a contractor and builder, for more than forty years being n: ore 
or less extensively engaged in building contracts, embracing 
large factories, churches and dwellings, in various parts of Con- 
necticut and Massachusetts. He married, December, 1833, Miss 
Lora Ann Sessions, of Mansfield, whose death occurred October, 
1864. Of their children, five in number, three are living, en- 
gaged in active business. In 1866 he married his second wife. 
Miss Ellen E. Parmele, of Guilford, who is still living. 

In politics the subject of this sketch is an out and out demo- 
crat, and enjoys the confidence of his party, having three times 
been their candidate for state comptroller, also for senator and 
presidential elector. He has been a representative to the state 
legislature, postmaster at Willimantic, warden of its borough, 
a delegate to the national convention, and held various local offi- 
ces from time to time. He was instrumental in establishing the 
Willimantic Savings Institute, holding various positions in the 
same. His connection with the Masonic and Odd Fellows' or- 
ganizations extends over a period of forty-five years, having 
held the position of grand master of the Grand Lodge of Odd 
Fellows of the state of Connecticut and grand representative to 
the Grand Lodge of the United States, being at this time the 
oldest grand master in this state. For the last sixty years he 
has been connected with the various military organizations of 
this state, holding many responsible positions therein, including 
the offices of captain, lieutenant-colonel and colonel, and general 
■of the Fifth Brigade, holding the last position 1844-47. He 
is now an active member of the Veteran Corps of the famous 
Putnam Phalanx. He has always taken an active interest in the 
local churches and public schools, and done much to promote 
their progress. In brief, General Baldwin has been one of the 
most active and influential factors in the growth and develop- 
ment of Willimantic, is a prominent citizen of the state, and is 
inown as the staunch friend of all that is good and true in soci- 




4- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 367 

<ety. Just now rounding- out his four score years, and still hale 
and hearty, he is enjoying the just fruits of an honest and hon- 
orable life, universally esteemed. 

J. DwiGHT Chaffee. — The Chaffee family have for several 
generations resided in the town of Mansfield, Tolland county. 
Conn. Frederick Chaffee, the grandfather of J. Dwight Chaf- 
fee, a prosperous farmer in that town, married Elizabeth 
Knowlton. Their son, Orwell S., was born in Ashford, Wind- 
ham county, Conn., and for some years resided in North- 
ampton, Mass., where he was engaged in the manufacture 
of silk thread. Later he was similarly interested in Mansfield, 
and was a man of prominence in that locality, serving his 
constituents in the state legislature and filling other important 
offices. He married Lucinda A., daughter of Joseph Conant of 
Mansfield, one of the earliest silk manufacturers in that town. 
Their children are a daughter, Maria A., deceased, and two 
sons, J. Dwight and Olon S. 

The eldest of these, J. Dwight Chaffee, was born August 9th, 
1847, in Mansfield. He pursued a common English course at 
the public schools, and at the age of sixteen entered his father's 
mill in Mansfield. He thoroughly learned the process of silk 
rnanufacturing, passing in succession through all the depart- 
ments and becoming master of the business, the management 
of which gradually passed into his hands. In the year 1872, 
under the firm name of O. S. Chaffee & Son, the business was re- 
moved to Willimantic, where, under superior advantages of 
location, it greatly increased in proportions, and has enjoyed a 
career of much prosperity. Two hundred hands are employed 
and a market for the products, consisting of silk thread and 
silk braid, is found in all parts of the United States through 
agents as direct representatives of the mills. Mr. Chaffee, as a 
republican, was, in 1874, elected to the state legislature, and in 
1885 was the choice of his constituents for state senator. In Jan- 
uary, 1887, he was appointed aide-de-camp on the staff of Gov- 
ernor Lounsbury. He is president of the Natchaug Silk Com- 
pany and director of the W. G. & A. R. Morrison Machine Com- 
pany. 

Mr. Chaffee was married to Martha, daughter of George B. 
Armstrong, of Mansfield. Their children are two sons, Arthur 
T). and Howard S., and a daughter, Gertie. 



368 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

William C. Jillson. — The first ancestor of the Jillson family 
is said to have come over from Normandy with William the 
Conqueror in 1066. The earliest member of the family to sail 
for New England was William Gilson, who came from Kent 
county, England, and settled in Scituate, Massachusetts, in 1631. 
The next on the list to emigrate are Joseph and James Gilson, 
the latter of whom settled in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, about 
the year 1666. " He is the progenitor of the branch of the family 
■represented by the subject of this biography. James and his 
wife Mary died about 1712. Their son, Nathaniel, was born 
in 1676, and died in 1751. To his wife, Elizabeth, were bom 
five children, of whom Nathaniel was the eldest. His death only 
is recorded as having occurred in 1782. He married first Ruth 
Boyce in 1728, and second Sarah, daughter of William Arnold, 
in 1741. He was the father of two children by the first and 
seven by the second union, of whom Luke, the fourth son by 
the last marriage, was born in 1754 and died in 1823. He was 
both a farmer and mechanic, and the first person in the country 
to adapt and apply satinet looms to water power. He married, 
in Cumberland, Rhode Island, Anna, daughter of Nehemiah and 
Experience Sherman, and made Cumberland his residence. He 
had seven children, among whom was Asa Jillson (the name 
having been, in 1709, changed from Gilson to Jillson), born Sep- 
tember 5th, 1783, who died m Willimantic, Connecticut, April 
7th, 1848. A manufacturer of cotton goods, he removed from 
Dorchester, Massachusetts, to Willimantic, in 1828, and spent the 
remainder of his life at this point. He was in 1807 married to 
Anna H. Sabin, of Providence. Their children were nine in 
number, the eldest being William L., the father of the subject 
of this biographical sketch, who was born in Scituate, Rhode 
Island, December 18th, 1807, and died in Willimantic June 1st, 
1861. He married in 1831 Caroline Curtis, of South Coventry, 
Connecticut. Their children are five sons and three daughters, 
of whom William Curtis, the eldest, was born April 4th, 1833, in 
Willimantic, and received his education at the high schools of 
Ellington and his native town. His father being then engaged 
in the manufacture of cotton goods in Willimantic, his son at 
the age of eighteen entered the office to acquaint himself with 
the business of a manufacturer. The death of his father in 1861 
threw upon him very grave responsibilities as agent and treas- 
urer of three cotton mills — the Willimantic Duck Company, the 




^'^WFraston.A C°N-^^- 




HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 369 

Eagle Warp Company, and the Dunham Manufacturing Com- 
pany. He conducted the affairs of these companies until 1870, 
when the former two were merged into the Dunham Manufact- 
uring Company, of which he continued treasurer and agent un- 
til 1876. In 1865 he established the Hop River Warp Company, 
to which his attention is now largely confined ; not, however, to 
the exclusion of an interest in other important business projects. 
He was one of the incorporators and is the first president of the 
First National Bank of Willimantic, president of the Merchants' 
Loan and Trust Company, and vice-president of the Dime Sav- 
ings Bank, both of the above town. He is also vice-president of 
the Hartford Life and Annuity Insurance Company, and was 
formerly a director of the Second National Bank of Norwich. 
The Hop River Warp Company embraces a warp factory and a 
tape mill, both of which are owned by Mr. Jillson, who has 
greatly improved the hamlet, afforded it many advantages in 
the way of postal and telegraph service, aided greatl}^ in the 
erection of a new school house, and given much thoughtful con- 
sideration to the welfare of his employees. In politics Mr. Jill- 
son is an ardent republican. He was chosen on a very close vote 
to represent the town of Windham in the Connecticut legisla- 
ture in 1879, and was for thirteen years committee of the Second 
school district, during which period the schools attained high 
rank and the pupils exceptional scholarship. He is in his reli- 
gious belief a Congregationalist, and has been chairman of the 
Congregational Ecclesiastical Society of Willimantic for a period 
of sixteen years, until the present time. William C. Jillson was 
married May 3d, 1859, to Maria A. Bingham, of Greenville, Con- 
necticut. Their children are a daughter, Josephine Curtis, born 
May 22d, 1860, and a son, William Huntington, whose birth oc- 
curred July 18th, 1869. 

William Clitus Witter, son of Doctor William Witter and 
Emily Bingham, his wife, was born at Willimantic, Conn., No- 
vember 13th, 1842, in the substantial brick house now standing 
at the corner of Main and Witter (now called High) streets. His 
ancestry, both on the father's and the mother's side, is given with 
some detail in the sketch of Doctor William Witter at pages 201- 
203 of this volume, where it is seen that he comes from some of 
the best and oldest New England families, the Witter, the Waldo 
and the Bingham. The mother of Mr. Witter died when he was 
five years old and the father when he was eight, leaving the 
24 



370 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

family in the care of a step-mother, who subsequently became the 
wife of Rev. Samuel G. Willard, the village pastor at Willimantic. 
For some years the subject of this sketch lived in the family of 
this educated, wise and good man. It was under the personal 
instruction and training of Mr. Willard, now recognized as one 
of the most admirable characters of modern Connecticut, that 
the early student years of Mr. Witter were spent — the years 
when good habits, good breeding and high aims are most read- 
ily implanted in the character. After leaving the family of Mr. 
Willard, he enjoyed for a time the advantages of classical study 
under Reverend Daniel Dorchester, a New England educator of 
high repute. He completed his academical studies at Bacon 
Academy, Colchester, Conn., and at Marion, Wayne County, New 
York, under the thorough instruction of Reverend Philo J. Wil- 
liams, himself a native of Windham County. At the age of fif- 
teen he was ready to enter college, but for nearly three years he 
devoted himself to general reading and to the acquisition of 
business habits in connection with the leading merchants of 
Providence, R. I., Messrs. G. & D. Taylor, living in the family of 
the senior member of that house. On entering Brown Univer- 
sity in 1861, at the age of eighteen, he competed for the Way- 
land premium for best examination in the Latin language and 
literature, and gained the first prize. He remained at Brown Uni- 
versity, ranking first in his class, till the end of the second col- 
lege year, when he entered the Union army and served during 
the summer college vacation as private and non-commissioned offi- 
cer in the Tenth Rhode Island regiment. Returning from the war 
and resuming his studies, he entered the junior class at Yale 
University and graduated in 1865. Deciding to embrace the pro- 
fession of the law, he entered the Columbia College Law School 
in New York City, was vice-president of his class, graduated in 
1867, and in order to learn the practical side of the profession of 
the law, he at once entered the law office of Evarts, Southmayd 
& Choate upon the invitation of Hon. William M. Evarts. 

In 1869, at the solicitation of George Gifford, Esq., then the 
foremost lawyer of the country in those branches of the law 
which deal with patents for invention, copyright and trade- 
marks, he became a student of those branches of legal learning, 
and during ten years remained with Mr. Gifford and in charge 
under him of a very large patent law practice. On the sugges- 
tion of the late Senator Roscoe Conklingf heat this time received 




^'rWp-nesionS'. C?N. ^- 






HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 371 

the appointment by Hon. Alexander S. Johnson of United States 
Examiner in Equity. In 1879 he severed his connection with 
Mr. Gifford and became law partner in New York City of Cans- 
ten Browne, Esq., under the firm name of Browne & Witter, 
afterwards Browne, Witter & Kenyon, and now Witter & Ken- 
yon, appearing only in the United States Circuit and Supreme 
Courts, and only in causes dealing with the law of patents, trade- 
marks and copyrights. He has attained eminence in his profes- 
sion and numbers among his clients many of the largest manu- 
facturing concerns of the country, such as The Brush Electric 
Company, of Cleveland, Ohio; The De Lamater Iron Works, of 
New York City ; the great thread making companies at Willi- 
mantic, Conn., and Holyoke, Mass.; The Hartford Carpet Com- 
pany, The North American Phonograph Company and many 
others. His only literary undertaking has been the writing of 
a small book intended as an aid to the acquisition of the French 
language, which was printed for private circulation only. He is 
a member of the Union League Club, the Nineteenth Century 
Club and of several other clubs of New York City, has been a 
life long republican, but too much engrossed in his profession to 
take a very active interest in the politics of the country. 

On October 30th, 1871, he married Florence Wellington, of Cam- 
bridge, Mass., daughter of Doctor Jedediah Wellington, mem- 
ber of an old and highly cultured Cambridge family, earlier an- 
cestors of whom shared in the Lexington conflict. Florence 
Wellington was educated with the children of Longfellow and 
of other Cambridge families at the school of the late Professor 
Louis Agassiz. There has been only one child of this union, a 
daughter, Florence Waldo Witter, born in New York City Janu- 
ary 17th, 1887. Although Mr. Witter's business, city residence 
and citizenship are in New York City, his country seat and home 
are in the mountain county of his native state, at Lakeville, in 
the picturesque old town of Salisbury. 



CHAPTER XVII. 



THE TOWN OF HAMPTON. 



Beautiful Scenery. — Location and Description. — Settlement. — A Part of "Wind- 
ham. — Organized as Canada Parish.— Its Historic Hills. — As Windham Vil- 
lage. — Constituted a Town. — Facts and Figures. — Bridges. — Pound. — Poor 
Dependents. — Town Business. — Heroic Women of the Revolution. — Military 
Matters. — Business Activity. — Manufacturing Projects. — The Railroad. — 
School Matters. — The Town Church. — Baptists. — Abbe-ites. — Christ-ians. — 
Roman Catholic Church. — Library. — Little River Grange. — Mills and Manu- 
factories. — Biographical Sketches. 



ONE of the beautiful towns of this beautiful rural county 
is the town of Hampton. The territory covers about 
four miles in width from east to west and about seven 
miles in length from north to south. It lies in the southwest 
central part of the county, with Eastford and Pomfret on the 
north; Pomfret, Brooklyn and Canterbury on the east; Scotland 
on the south, and Chaplin on the west. The surface in most 
parts is hilly, in many places elevations rising in curious, ma- 
jestic and commanding forms, giving ever changing scenes of 
quiet rural landscape to entrance the beholder who may for the 
first time be spell-bound upon their inviting summits. No vil- 
lage of any considerable magnitude exists in the town, but the 
central village on Hampton Hill makes up in the surpassing at- 
tractiveness of its scenery for any lack of busy life that it may 
show. The New York & New England railroad passes diagon- 
ally through the town, entering near the southwest corner and 
leaving near the northeast corner. Goshen, or Clark's Corners, 
and Hampton Station are the two depots on that line within 
this town. A line of high hills runs through nearly the central 
line of the town from north to south. Between and along the 
eastern foot of these hills Little river runs the length of the 
town, furnishing on its course water power for two or three mills, 
which are, however, mostly falling into disuse. Some farming 
is pursued in the town, but in a business point of view it maybe 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 373 

said that the town is declining. But it cannot be that a section 
of country possessing such loveliness of scenery and health in- 
spiring properties can long remain in obscure decay. Already 
the tide has turned in the direction of the coming uses. Whilst 
the old methods of farming must decline, the new methods and 
the summer delights which are here offered to the overheated 
and weary citizen of the great centers of population and busi- 
ness, are laying the foundations of a new system of culture, im- 
provement and profitable use. 

The territory of this town was once included in the bounds of 
Windham. The good quality of its soil and the cheapness of 
land in this neighborhood induced settlement in the early years 
of the history of this county. By a land distribution in 1712, 
Hampton Hill was opened to purchasers. Nathaniel Hovey 
bought land in this vicinity in 1713, and soon settled upon it. 
A hundred acres were soon after sold to Timothy Pearl, by one 
Jennings. The locality was known by the Indian name of Ap- 
paquage hill. Another lot, with land on Little river were pur- 
chased by John Durkee of Gloucester, in 1715. Other settlers 
on or near this hill were Abiel and Robert Holt of Andover ; 
Nathaniel Kingsbury of Massachusetts ; Thomas Fuller, John 
Button, George Allen and others. The settlement here was then 
known as Windham Village. A few sons of old Windham fam- 
ilies like Ebenezer Abbe and Stephen Howard, joined in the 
settlement, but the greater part of the settlers were new-comers 
from Massachusetts. 

In December, 1716, the town, in answer to a petition of the 
people, consented " that the northeast part be a parish," receiv- 
ing one-fourth part of John Gates' legacy, and having two hun- 
dred pounds returned to them as rebate on what they had paid 
toward the new meeting house at Windham. The town then 
petitioned the general assembly to grant a charter to the new 
parish. This petition was dated May 9th, 1717. The petition 
was at once granted and the new society described in boundaries 
as follows : " Beginning at Canterbury line, to run westerly in 
the south line of Thomas Lasell's lot, and so in direct course to 
Merrick's brook, and then the said brook to be the line until it 
intersects the present road that leads from said town to the 
Burnt Cedar swamp, and from thence a straight line to the brook 
that empties itself into Nauchaug river about the middle of Six- 
Mile Meadow, at the place where Mansfield line crosseth the 



374 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

said brook." The new parish comprised all of Windhani that 
lay north of this line. The name given to it was Canada par- 
ish, from the name of David Canada, who, it is believed, built the 
first house in this section and kept the first tavern. As his name 
does not appear on early records it is supposed that he died com- 
paratively young. David and Isaac Canada, whose names ap- 
pear among the inhabitants at a later date, were probably his 
sons. 

After surviving the trials of its infancy this parish became 
thriving and prosperous, many families settling in the village 
and along the adjacent valleys. Thomas Marsh, Benjamin Chap- 
lin and Samuel Kimball, of the south part of Pomfret, were an- 
nexed to this society. A new road laid out from Windham Vil- 
lage to Pomfret in 1730, facilitated communication between 
these settlements. In 1723 a trio of neighbors from Ipswich, 
Mass., one Grow, one Fuller and Samuel Kimball settled on three 
hills in the northern part of the society. Each gave name to 
the hill on which he located, and those names are still preserved. 
Among the descendants of the Grow family was the Hon. Galusha 
Grow, of national fame, who was born here, on Grow hill, but at 
an early age removed to Pennsylvania where he rose to promi- 
nence in the councils of the nation. The Kimball place still 
remains in the family of the original settler. From Samuel 
Kimball it descended to his son Daniel, then to his son Asa, from 
whom it passed to his son Asa, who, with his son George, still 
occupies the ancestral homestead. This is now located on what 
is known as the Turnpike, once a part of the great thoroughfare 
between New York and Boston. The house, which is large, was 
formerly used as a tavern, and many are the scenes of life and 
festivity which have been witnessed here. The house was built 
about the year 1764. 

Thomas Stedman,of Brookline, purchased a hundred and fifty 
acres of Nathaniel Kingsbury, and settled in Windham Village 
in 1732. Ebenezer Griffin of Newton, in 1733 settled a mile 
northwest of the meeting house, on land bought of William 
Durkee. The first store in this neighborhood is believed to have 
been kept by Benjamin Bidlack. Nathaniel Hovey kept an early 
tavern, and a full military company was formed here in 1730, 
with Nathaniel Kingsbury for captain and James Utley for lieu- 
tenant. 

In the years that followed the first settlement Canada parish 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 375 

kept pace with other sections of the town in thrift and activity, 
and Windham Village, on its fair hill top, w^as hardly less a power 
than Windham Green in the southwest corner. Captain James 
Stedman owned much land and carried on extensive farming 
operations. His brother Thomas was a skillful builder of meet- 
ing houses. Ebenezer Griffin, John Howard, Jacob Simmonds 
and others were actively engaged in business and public affairs. 
Jeremiah, the fifth son of John Clark, was a trader as well as a 
farmer, and bought up such produce as he could take to New- 
port or Providence on hoirseback to dispose of. Thus a tide of 
prosperity flowed into them for a long term of years. 

In 1767 an effort was made to secure greater privileges to the 
society without becoming a distinct town. This plan failing, 
the society appointed Captain Jonathan Kingsbury to apply to 
the general assembly for a grant to allow them the rights of a 
distinct town. This effort was for the time also fruitless. And 
in this condition things remained ur.til the end of the revolu- 
tion, which of course absorbed the attention of the people to the 
exclusion of all minor topics. But in 1785 the people again 
urged their case, and the town voting by a majority of one " not 
to oppose the memorial," the general assembly passed the act, 
October 2d, 1786, " That the inhabitants of the. Second Society 
of Windham, and those of Pomfret, Brooklyn, Canterbury, Mans- ^ 
held and First Society in Windham be constituted a town by the i 
name of Hampton. The bounds prescribed are identical with 
the present north, east and south bounds of the town, but on the 
west it extended to the Natchaug river, taking in a section now 
included in the town of Chaplin. About twelve hundred acres 
were taken from Brooklyn, a generous slice from Mansfield, and 
narrow strips from Canterbury and Pomfret. The first town 
meeting of the new town was held November 13th, 1786, at 
which Captain James Stedman acted as moderator. Officers 
were chosen as follows : Thomas Stedman, clerk ; Captain Sted- 
man, Deacon Bennet, Jeduthan Rogers, selectmen; Andrew 
Durkee, Joseph Fuller and William Martin, Jr., constables; and 
a committee was also appointed to view and adjust the propor- 
tion of bridges belonging to the old town that should fali to the 
new. This important committee consisted of Philip Pearl, Ebe- 
nezer Hovey, Josiah Kingsley, Silas Cleveland, Andrew Durkee, 
Amos Utley, Thomas Fuller and Colonel Moseley. 

In 1790 the census showed that Hampton had a population of 



376 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

1 1,332 whites and one slave. The greater part of its inhabitants 
were enofasfed in aofnculture. Colonel Moselev after the war 
opened a store and engaged .successfully in various business en- 
terprises and public affairs. Captain James Howard was earl}^ 
interested in manufactures, running grist, saw and fulling mills 
in the valley that bore his name. 

The settlement of the question in regard to several bridges 
was a matter of much concern between Hampton and the mother 
town of Windham. The committee appointed at the first town 
meeting was joined by a committee from the old town in appeal- 
ing to the general assembly, which body appointed a commis- 
sion to investigate the matter. This commission met at Widow 
Cary's at Windham Green, in May, 1787, and after hearing testi- 
mon}^ decided that Hampton should pay ^10 a year toward the 
maintenance of the three bridges which Windham had to keep in 
repair over the Shetucket. Hampton now replied that it had to 
maintain two bridges over the Natchaug,and in consideration of 
this fact the assembly reduced the award to £b a year toward 
the Shetucket bridges. 

One of the first achievements of the town was a pound, which 
was ordered to be built with a stone wall for foundation, six feet 
high, four feet thick at the bottom and two feet at the top. 
Three feet from the ground it was bound by a tier of flat stones, 
and it had a similar tier upon the top, and was finished by four 
sticks of hewed timber ten inches thick, linked together, with a 
good gate four feet wide. The erection of this structure was 
awarded to Amos Utley, who accomplished the work in a most 
workmanlike and satisfactory manner. 

The disposition of the poor of the town was another perplex- 
ing question which arose between the new town and the old. It 
was, however, amicably adjusted. Hampton then decided to 
farm out its poor to those who would keep them for the lowest 
price. A single man was accordingly " bid off " by Jonathan 
Hovey at five shillings nine pence a week, an aged couple by 
Amos Utley at five shillings, and a widow woman by another 
bidder at two shillings. The town was particularly careful to 
avoid, as far as lay in their power to do, the possibilities of in- 
curring needless burdens in dependent persons. Transient per- 
sons were looked upon with a jealous eye, and about 1792 Philip 
Pearl was appointed an agent to prosecute those who harbored 
traifsient persons. In 1788 the town voted that those who took 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 377 

the poor to keep at a certain price should keep them whether in 
sickness or in health, and should furnish them with all necessary 
spirits, and on the other hand .should be entitled to the benefit 
of whatever work they were able to do. As these poor people 
were mostly aged or ailing, the small price at which they were 
"bid off " was often found too small to pay their doctor's bills, 
and so a special sum was allowed for that purpose. Medical at- 
tendance for the poor was thus " bid off " in the same manner as 
their support. The prices ranged from £^, 16s. to ;^22. The 
bidder in some cases was to employ what doctor he pleased, and 
in other cases the poor were gratified with their choice of a phy- 
sician. 

It is evident that in its corporate capacity this little town 
was decidedly ambitious, both as to its standing among other 
towns of the county and in regard to its own internal dignity. 
It took active part in general deliberations, and for many years 
about the close of the last century strongly urged its claim 
to the distinction of the county seat. The regulations for the 
orderly conduct of town meetings, passed by the town meet- 
ing September 15th, 1300, are so unique that we must be par- 
doned for inserting them here. They are as follows : 

"1. Choose a moderator. 2. Annual meeting to be opened 
by prayer. 3. Every member be seated with his hat on, and 
no member to leave his seat unnecessarily, and if necessary, 
to do it with as little noise as possible. 5. Members while 
speaking shall address the moderator and him only, and speak 
with the hat off. 6. No member to speak more than twice 
upon one subject without leave of the meeting, and but once 
until each member has had opportunity to speak. 7. As soon 
as a member has done speaking he will take his seat and not 
speak after he is seated. 8. Every member must speak directly 
to the question before the meeting. 10. No persons have any 
right to do private business in any part of the house." 

The patriotic spirit of this town has been a subject of com- 
mon remark. The days of the revolution witnessed it. Even 
among the women, it was fired to the height of heroic devo- 
tion. Elsewhere in this volume the reader is told of the reso- 
lute spirit with which the women of this town carried forward 
with their own hands the erection of a building, when the able- 
bodied men of the town were all away in their country's service. 
After the war, the military spirit that had so characterized the 



378 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

residents of this vicinity was not suffered to decline. Hampton 
took especial pride in her company of grenadiers, which was 
formed soon after the close of the war and sustained with great 
spirit for many years. The roster of this company contained 
the names of many revolutionary veterans. Strength and large 
size were essential qualifications for admission to this honored 
band, and many of them were worthy of a place in Frederick 
William's Tall Regiment. It played an important part on many 
public occasions, and took the first and highest places in the 
great regimental musterings for which Hampton hill was espe- 
cially famous. Successive captains of it were Thomas Stedman, 
Jr., Thomas Williams, who had removed from Plainfield to 
Hampton, Roger Clark and Philip Pearl, Jr. The militia com- 
panies of the town were also well sustained. Ebenezer Moseley 
was appointed colonel of the Fifth regiment in 1789 ; Elijah 
Simons served several years as its lieutenant-colonel, and Lem- 
uel Dorrance, one of Hampton's young physicians, as its 
surgeon. 

For many years this interest in military matters was kept up. 
Its regular trainings and occasional musters were observed as 
gala days by the whole population. One of the great days of 
this kind, long remembered by those who witnessed it, was the 
semi-centennial celebration of the declaration of independence, 
which was duly commemorated here July 4th, 1826. Hampton's 
celebration of this auspicious day was almost as preternaturally 
impressive as the " Midnight Review " of Napoleon's grand army, 
portrayed by an imaginative poet. Not the pJiantovis here, but 
the material, living men themselves, who had marched to Lex- 
ington and braved the carnage of many battles, to the number 
oi forty-tivo gray-haired veterans, appeared in their old-time cos- 
tume and marched up and down the length of the village street 
to the music and the drums of " '76." At their head was their 
old leader, Abijah Fuller, and Nath'aniel Farnham as drum- 
major, and Joseph Foster and Lucius Faville as fifers. Other 
military companies present did homage to the veteran band, who . 
were treated by their admiring fellow citizens to a free dinner, 
and throughout the day they were the most conspicuous objects 
of attention. At that time Samuel Moseley served as lieutenant 
colonel of the Fifth regiment, and Chauncey F. Cleveland was 
captain of the Hampton company. The military bearing of the 
latter, together with his affable manner, gave him great popu- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 379 

larity as an officer, and he was rapidly promoted, rising from the 
ranks to the highest military office in the state. 

In the early years of the present century business was quite 
active, and various enterprises were prosecuted with vigor. 
Shubael Simons obtained liberty to erect a dam on Little river 
for the benefit of a grist mill, and potash works were carried on 
in the same vicinity. Edmond Hughes made and repaired 
clocks and watches. Colonel Simons engaged in trade. Roger 
and Solomon Taintor, who removed to Hampton about 1804, en- 
gaged extensively in exchanging domestic produce for foreign 
goods. In town affairs Colonel Ebenezer Moseley succeeded 
Thomas Stedman as town clerk in 1797, and retained the office 
many years. He was often sent as deputy to the general assem- 
bly. Other deputies during the successive years of that period 
were Deacon Isaac Bennett, Philip Pearl, Jonathan Kingsbury,. 
Doctor John Brewster and William Huntington. The justices 
about that time were Colonel Moseley, Deacon Bennett, James 
Burnett and Philip Pearl. A public library was instituted in the 
town in 1807, which soon contained over a hundred volumes. In 
the census year 1800 Hampton had a population of one thousand 
three hundred and seventy-nine, and its grand list then footed 
up to $38,231.01. 

During the second decade of the present century some atten- 
tion was given to manufacturing projects, though this town has 
never been aroused to conspicuous movements in that direction. 
The introduction of carding machines so stimulated domestic 
industry that three fulling machines were kept busily at work 
in dressing and dyeing the woven fabrics. After the war of 
1812, which by the way had but little effect on this town, a flour- 
ishing hat manufactory was established here by Luther D. Leach. 
During this period the men who were conspicuous in tciwn af- 
fairs, holding different offices of honor and responsibility, were 
Doctor Brewster, who succeeded Colonel Moseley as town clerk ; 
Colonel Simons, Roger Clark, John Tweedy, Daniel Searls and 
John Loomis, serving as selectmen; Philip Pearl, James Burnett, 
Ebenezer Griffin and Joseph Prentice, as justices; Luther Bur- 
nett as constable; James Utley and Jonathan Clark, as collectors; 
Colonel Moseley, Ebenezer Griffin, Roger and Solomon Taintor, 
William Burnett and Joseph Prentice, as representatives. Mason 
Cleveland was chosen town clerk in 1825. William Durkee, Ed- 
mond Badger and Hezekiah Hammond were then selectmen. 



380 HISTORY OF AVINDHAM COUNTY. 

and N. F. Martin, C. Moulton, C. F. Cleveland. Roger Taintor, 
Daniel Searls and Jonathan Clark, justices of the peace. Later 
conspicuous men in town offices were Elijah and Lucius Green- 
slit, William Brown, Harvey Fuller, William Durkee, Alonzo 
Martin, Charles Griffin, Charles C. Button and William Bennett. 
Hampton was made a distinct probate district in 1836, and its 
first probate judge was Edward S. Moseley. 

When the era of railroads opened upon the country Hampton 
was for many years left in the background, other towns more 
advantageously situated attracting population from towns re- 
motely situated as this town was. By this means it suffered a 
decline in business and population. But it was at last brought 
back again to a favorable standing in the world of modern ac- 
tivity through the agency of a railroad thoroughfare, the New 
York & New England, for which auspicious turn in the tide of 
destiny the town is largely indebted to the untiring energies of 
its distinguished and influential citizen. Governor Cleveland. 
This has been the means of giving to the people a business of 
some importance in the entertainment of summer boarders from 
the cities. Vicinity to a great railroad which communicates 
directly with two of the great cities of the country, brings each 
year a larger number to enjoy the fine air and outlook of Hamp- 
ton hill, and cordial hospitality of its many agreeable residents. 

As early as 1763 a committee was appointed to divide the so- 
ciety into school districts. Though this body was slow in fulfill- 
ing its mission, yet in the course of two years the work was done. 
The First, or Central district, very properly began by " taking 
in the Reverend Mr. Moseley and ranging so as to take in Mr. 
Joseph Sessions, and from thence west to Burnt Cedar swamp, 
and then following the main stream of Cedar Swamp brook till 
it comes to the road below Benjamin Burgess', and from thence 
to said Moseley 's." Number Two extended "from old Mr. John 
Perkins' to Mr. Joseph Burnham's, and all east and south of 
Cedar Swamp brook." Number Three ran " from Jonathan 
Holt's, taking in Holt's house, and north, taking in all the in- 
habitants situated on the road to Mr. Joseph Marsh's, taking in 
said Marsh's house, and from thence taking in Mr. William 
Alworth's and James Alworth's house, and ranging north to the 
easternmost extent of the society." Number Four took in "Mr. 
Stephen Clark's house, and then south all the inhabitants west 
of Cedar swamp, and so far as to take in INIr, Jonathan Fish's 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 381 

and Mr. David Canada's houses, and so south and west to the ex- 
tent of the society." School house sites were affixed by William 
Osgood and Seth Paine of Pomfret, and Benajah Gary of Wind- 
ham, viz., one in the northeast district near Deacon Griffin's 
house, and two in the northwest or Fourth district, one nine rods 
south of William Holt's, another eight rods west of John P'ul- 
ler's. " Eleven months schooling by a master, to be kept in each 
district according to its list," was thought sufficient for the 
whole society, and this was supplemented by " school dames " in 
the summer time for the instruction of the smaller children. 
A fifth district was set oS in 1774 in the northeast section, known 
as Appaquage. The number of districts was afterward still 
further increased, so that by 1790 there were eight districts in 
the town. 

When Canada parish was first invested with society privileges 
it was stipulated that the people of this section should raise a 
tax among themselves for the support of the ministry of the 
town equal to the rate of taxation for that purpose in other parts 
of the town, until they should have a minister of their own. 
Great difficulty was experienced in enforcing the stipulation, 
and the subject was repeatedly brought by petitions before the 
general assembly. As soon as it became practicable a minister 
was secured, and religious services were held for a time in pri- 
vate houses, until the erection of a meeting house could be con- 
summated. In 1722 the services of Reverend William Billings 
were obtained. He came from Preston, and was a graduate of 
Yale two years previous. He was formally ordained and in- 
stalled in June, 1723. A meeting house had been begun and 
was at this time probably completed sufficiently to be used for 
public gatherings. 

An episode in the ecclesiastical history of this town during 
the pastorate of Mr. Billings furnishes an example of the im- 
portance which the people of that day attached to the rampages 
of the tongue. In 1729 the minister made complaint to the 
County Association that one of his parishioners had made slight- 
ing remarks about his preaching. A committee was accordingly 
appointed, and after successive and various action extending 
through two or three years the following confession was duly 
published before the congregation oyer the signature of the 
offender: 

" I acknowledge before God and this church yt my saying ' I had 



382 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

rather hear my dog bark than Mr. Billings preach,' was a vile and 
scandalous expression, tending to ye dishonor of our Lord Jesus 
Christ and his ambassadors, as also of religion in general. I do 
hereby declare before God and ye church my sorrow and repent- 
ance for it, humbly asking your forgiveness, and resolve to have 
a greater watch and guard over my tongue." 

Similar confessions were often required of those who had been 
" overtaken with strong drink," though no censure appears to 
have been visited upon those old church members who sold or 
supplied the intoxicants by which the weaker victims were 
"overtaken." 

The pastorate of Mr. Billings closed with his death. May 20th, 
1733. One hundred and seventy-two persons had been ad- 
mitted to the church during his ten years term of service. His 
successor was Samuel Moseley, of Dorchester, a graduate of Har- 
vard in 1729, ordained here May 15th, 1734. Mr. Moseley was an 
able and earnest preacher, dignified in manner and strict in doc- 
trine and discipline. He was a member of the Windham County 
Association, though it appears evident that he was not at this 
time in full sympathy with the ecclesiastical constitution of Con- 
necticut. When the great revival swept over the county about 
1742, he was very active in promoting the work, laboring with 
great earnestness at home and abroad, and receiving no less than 
one hundred and twenty-five persons into full communion with 
his church. He opposed the authority of Consociation and de- 
clared to the brethren that their church was not under Saybrook 
Platform and otherwise favored the Separatists' sentiments, but 
when he foresaw the disastrous consequences which might re- 
sult from the action of the extreme leaders he became more con- 
servative in policy, and by such a course doubtless maintained 
a greater degree of harmony and prosperity in his church than 
might have been felt had he opposed the revival at first, or kept 
pace with the extremists in the later stages. The secession 
from the church toward the Separate churches was much less 
than in many others. There were, however, a few. Its excel- 
lent deacon, Thomas Marsh, who for more than twenty years 
had served the Lord's table, John Hovey and some other promi- 
nent members were unable to remain in its fellowship and 
united with the Separate church of Mansfield, which was organ- 
ized by the Separatists of that town and Windham and vicinity, 
October 9th, 1745. Soon after this the erection of a new meet- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. '883 

ing house received attention, and while it was under considera- 
tion the assembly annexed several families, who by location and 
choice belonged in this connection, to Abington. Vigorous re- 
monstrances and petitions prevailed with the assembly, however, 
and twenty-six families thus situated within the bounds of 
neighboring societies, but in more convenient proximity to this 
church, were allowed to join with Hampton Society in erecting 
a meeting house, and be exempted from taxation for similar 
objects in the societies with which they were legally associ- 
ated. Thus strengthened, the society was able to com- 
plete its meeting house in 1754. It was a substantial struc- 
ture, fitted to abide for many generations. It was furnished 
with one of those ornaments peculiar to that time, a "sound- 
ing board," upon which was inscribed the motto, " Holiness 
unto the Lord.'' The seating of this meeting hoUvSe a few years 
later gave rise to considerable disturbance. The seating com- 
mittee had unwisely ordered six persons to sit in one pew, 
which was regarded as great compressing of the corporal prop- 
erties and consequent personal dignity of church attendants. 
The committee had also offended in allowing "men of little 
or no estate to sit very forward and in high pews," while 
others of good estate and high in public esteem were com- 
pelled to take lower seats. Complaint was also made that the 
galleries were so given over to light-minded youth that the 
tithing-men were obliged to leave their seats below to pre- 
serve order in the g-alleries. Dissatisfaction existed until 1762, 
when it was voted to sell the pews at public vendue, and this 
vote, though stoutly opposed by many, was carried out. Twenty- 
five pews on the floor of the house were sold to the following 
persons at prices ranging from three up to fourteen pounds : 
Jeremiah Utley, John Fuller, Hezekiah Hammond, Stephen 
Durkee, Timothy Pearl, Zebediah Farnham, Ebenezer Hovey, 
Captain John Howard, Deacon Ebenezer Griffin, Henry Dur- 
kee, Daniel Farnham, Thomas Stedman, Jr., Isaac Bennett, 
Jephthah Utley, William Farnham, Joseph Burnham, John 
Hammond, Benjamin Cheddle, Stephen Arnold, John Sessions, 
Jonathan Clark, Samuel Fuller, John Smith, Gideon Martin, 
Isaac Clark. Notwithstanding the fact that many of these 
men were the leading, solid men of the community, a storm 
of opposition was aroused, subsequent meetings were held and 
the matter was finally appealed to the general assembly, and 



384 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

by that body the sale of pews was declared null and void. 
The society now resumed possession of its pews, and a com- 
mittee was appointed to seat the congregation therein with 
requisite order and formality. Some degree of harmony seems 
to have been restored by this action. Repairs were made on 
the building in 1768, and it was determined to keep pace with 
the times by giving the building a coat of paint. A commit- 
tee composed of Captain Kingsbury, Abiel Abbott and Thomas 
Fuller, was appointed to attend to the business, and they were 
ordered to " color the same something like the color of Pom- 
fret meeting house." 

In 1769 a strong division of opinion arose between Mr. Moseley 
and his parishioners, resulting from his exercise of a dictatorial 
power over the church which he claimed by authority of the 
Saybrook platform. This platform was not in accord with the 
general sentiment of the society, but so ingeniously and effect- 
ually did Mr. Moseley exercise the powers in hand as moderator 
of all meetings that he defeated the purpose of the church to 
have a body of ruling elders elected to exercise some of the 
functions of government. In the contest which followed between 
pastor and people much bitterness was aroused, and much unchris- 
tian and discourteous language indulged in. In 1779 a church 
court before whom the matters were brought gave its verdict of 
advice, which seems to have been at least outwardly regarded — 
" never more to revive, nor suffer to be revived, any of those 
matters of difficulty which have been under the consideration of 
the council, but to bury this long unhappy contention in ever- 
lasting oblivion." After this the pastor gained somewhat in the 
affections of his people, and continued here to the end of life, 
though for several years he was confined to his bed by rheuma- 
tism and paralysis. He died July 26th, 1791, in the eighty-third 
year of his age and the fifty-eighth year of his pastorate. He 
left two sons and six daughters. During the long period of 
his incapacity to occupy the pulpit, his place had been often 
filled by his son-in-law, Reverend Joseph Steward, whose health, 
however, would not allow him to be inducted as colleague pas- 
tor. Other young ministers who had assisted during this period 
were Hendrick Dow, of Ashford, and Ebenezer Fitch, of Canter- 
bury. After the death of Mr. Moseley, a call was extended to 
Reverend LudovicusWeld, of Braintree, and he was accordingly 
ordained October 17th, 1792. The compliment was paid him 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 385 

that he was " especially noted for his skill in composing ser- 
mons." In 1796 a bell was procured, through the instrumentality 
of Colonel Moseley,ason of the late pastor. It was ordered that 
the bell should be rung at noon every day, at nine o'clock every 
night, at eight o'clock on Saturday nights, and to be tolled for 
evening meetings and lectures, and to give the day of the month 
every evening. The deacons at this time were Isaac Bennett 
and Abijah Fuller, of revolutionary fame. Infirmities brought 
on by close application and sedentary habits compelled Mr. Weld 
to seek a dismissal from his charge in 1824. The church almost 
immediately united in a call to Reverend Daniel G. Sprague, of 
Killingly, who was installed May 26th of the same year. The 
interest which Mr. Sprague took in the reform questions which 
then agitated the public mind made him a valued acquisition to 
the county ministry. Through his influence a temperance so- 
ciety was promptly formed and efficiently maintained, although 
impeded in its growth by the convivialities for which the town 
had long been noted. In 1837 the meeting house needed re- 
building or repairing, and the question as to which should be 
done was in agitation for a long time, but it was decided at last 
to repair the old house. It was moved to a new site, remodeled 
and refurnished, and this being done it was dedicated anew May 
9th, 1840. 

Meanwhile Reverend Daniel G. Sprague was dismissed in 1838, 
and his successor was called. This was Reverend Daniel C. 
Frost, who served the church from 1840 to 1841. Reverend Wil- 
liam Barnes, the sixth pastor of the church, was installed in 
1842 and dismissed in 1847. After that date Reverend Richard 
Woodruff supplied the church for several years. In 1853 Rever- 
end George Soule was engaged as a supply, and in 1855 he was 
installed as pastor. During the war he was absent one year as 
chaplain of the Eleventh Connecticut volunteers, but being dis- 
charged on account of ill health he returned to his charge here 
and died in the pastorate in 1867. The eighth pastor was Rev- 
erend G. J. Tillotson, who was installed in 1873 and dismissed 
in 1875. Reverend Daniel Denison, a son of this church, began 
labors here as a supply in August, 1885, and continues at the 
present time. Two other ministers have grown up from the pale 
of this church, and are now preaching. They are Reverends A. 
C. Denison, of Middlefield, Conn., and Sherrod Soule, of Bev- 
erly, Mass, Although the loss to the church by removal 

25 



386 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

and death has been very great, yet its activity and usefulness 
are remarkably well preserved, as though indeed it was a 
branch of the true vine of God's own planting. 

Several other churches have had more or less of a foothold in 
this town in past years. In June, 1776, a Baptist church was 
organized on the border between this town and Abington. One 
of their number, William Grow, was ordained as their pastor. 
This church for a time gained in numbers and influence until 
it included some forty families among its resident attendants. 
A great scandal is said to have involved its first pastor to such 
an extent that he was obliged to resign his office and remove to 
Vermont. Jordan Dodge, Dyer Hebard, and other exhorters, 
were in the habit of preaching to this flock. Abel Palmer, a 
brilliant young Baptist of Colchester, supplied the pulpit for a 
time with satisfaction to the people. In 1794 Peter Rogers was 
called and settled, and remained in charge for a number of 
years. The patriarch of this church was its worthy deacon, 
Thomas Grow, whose name was affixed to the meeting house on 
Grow hill, built mainly by his efforts. In later years it suffered 
decline from the lack of stated preaching and the uprising of 
another religious order in its vicinity. It was, however, much 
strengthened by the coming of a son of Abington, Elder John 
Paine, to its pastorate. He was ordained here October 28th, 
1819, and at the same time Asahel Elliott and Gurdon Robinson 
were made deacons. Elder Paine continued in charge until 1827. 
After his dismissal the church lost ground rapidly, and became 
extinct about 1844. 

The religious order which seemed to be making advance upon 
the Baptist church near the close of the last century were known 
as Abbe-ites. They were led by one Joshua Abbe. They were 
represented as a sect of Baptists, but having no association with 
any other churches of that name. Their meetings were said 
to be loud with disorder, men and women speaking two or three 
or more at the same time, while to complete the confusion, sobs, 
sighs and groans were thrown in without stint. After a few 
years this sect gradually gave place to another sect of Christian 
reformers under the leadership of Elders Smith and Varnum, 
who obtained a strong foothold here for a time. They at first 
followed in the footsteps of the previous Abbe-ites, washing each 
other's feet and rolling on the floor to express their humility 
and lowliness ; but after the removal of Varnum and his more 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 387 

ardent proselytes to Ohio, they renounced these excesses and 
adopted ordinary forms of worship. Elder Roger Bingham 
was ordained as a Christ-ian minister (the sect being known by 
that peculiar hyphenated form of a common word), and offici- 
ated in the Goshen and Burnham meeting houses, which had 
been erected for the accommodation of this sect of worshippers. 
William Burnham served as deacon of the church in his neigh- 
borhood. Worship was for several years regularly maintained 
in these houses, but they met their period of decadence and 
were obliged to give place to others. The Christ-ian church at 
Howard's Valley, an outgrowth of those just mentioned, was 
built in 1844. Reverend Isaac Coe, now of New Bedford, Mass., 
was very active in establishing it, and was the first minister. 
There have generally been stated services there, though but a 
small number of worshippers. Not long ago they had a gift of 
a bell from Gordon W. Burnham, late of New York city, whose 
parents belonged here. They have also been presented with a 
cabinet organ by David Clark, of Hartford, whose parents were 
of the Goshen district. The present pastor of the church is Rev- 
erend R. H. Nichols. 

A large and handsome Roman Catholic church occupies a com- 
manding position on the crown of the " Hill." It was built in 
the fall of 1877, and finished in the following spring. An acre 
of ground was given them for its site by Hon. E. S. Cleveland. 
The cost of the building was about $4,000. At the time the 
church was built there were thirty-four families belonging to it. 
They have lost six families by removals to localities more favor- 
able to the employment of younger members in factories. For 
a time there was a resident priest, but services are now con- 
ducted on alternate Sundays by the priest from Danielsonville. 
No cemetery has as yet been established here by the sect. 

The Hampton Library was begun in 1827. After about three 
years it was given up and the books were sold. In 1856 an effort 
was made to revive it, and the books were bought back and a 
new association was formed. This has continued in tolerably 
healthy existence until the present time. The library now con- 
tains eleven hundred volumes, the greater part of which are 
valuable and solid books — history, biography, science and a 
healthy mixture of poetry and romance. 

Little River Grange, No, 36, was organized at the house of Mr. 
George M. Holt, in Hampton, December 29th, 1885, with twenty- 



388 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

two charter members. . The following officers were chosen at 
that time: George M. Holt, master; James A. Burnham, over- 
seer ; Mrs. Joseph W. Clark, lecturer ; Chester B. Jewett, stew- 
ard ; George H. Kimball, assistant steward ; Joseph W. Clark, 
chaplain ; Nathan J. Holt, treasurer ; David P. Weaver, secre- 
tary ; Jirah F. Hyde, gate-keeper ; Mrs. Allen Jewett, Pomona ; 
Miss Louise Jewett, Flora; Miss May A. Weaver, Ceres : Miss 
lola M. Clark, lady assistant. The office of master has been held 
by George M. Holt, 1886 and 1887 ; William H. Hammond for 
1888 ; and Nathan J. Holt for 1889. The grange has a member- 
ship of fifty-four, and holds fortnightly meetings in the town 
hall, with a good attendance. The membership embraces some 
of the best farmers of the town and their families. The meet- 
ings are interesting and their numbers increasing. The present 
officers are : Nathan J. Holt, master ; Austin E. Pearl, overseer ; 
Mrs. N. C. Cleveland, lecturer ; Everett O. Elliott, steward ; Jirah 
F. Hyde, assistant vSteward ; Albert E. Guild, chaplain ; Horatio 
Martin, treasurer ; Henry Clapp, secretary ; Elmer Jewett, gate- 
keeper ; Mrs. William H. Hammond, Pomona ; Mrs. George R. 
Burroughs, Flora ; Mrs. D. P. Weaver, Ceres ; Mrs. Leroy Pearl, 
lady assistant. 

Little river in its course through this town has for many gen- 
erations afforded power for saw mills and other works of mod- 
erate capacity. Some of these it may be interesting to notice. 
The saw mill owned by Mr. Andrew M. Litchfield was formerly 
owned by Mr. Ebenezer Stedman, then by Deacon Thomas Wil- 
liams, from whom it was purchased by the present owner in 1825. 
It is located in the Bigelow district. Three men are employed 
much of the time. About 30,000 feet of lumber are sawed per 
year. Shingles, shuttles, boards, plank and all kinds of build- 
ing timber are produced. A grist mill in connection grinds 
about 1,200 bushels a year. In 1835 a clover mill was also built, 
in which about 4,000 pounds of seed per annum were hulled and 
cleaned. This clover mill was carried away by the great freshet 
of 1877. The business at the present time appears to be in a 
condition of decline, and the above remarks in regards to its 
capacity and business apply rather to the past than to the 
present. Below this mill, near the south line of the town, 
stood a satinet factory which was run by Moseley & Rocking. 
The mill was burned several years since, and the site is now 
occupied by Theodore L. Fuller with a grist mill and cider 




^^^J^'^estcnAC'N'i'- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 389 

mUl- Further lip the stream, and before we get to Litchfield's 
mill site, once stood a cotton factory and a saw mill and a 
grist mill. These were owned by Samuel and Lodowick Wol- 
cott, and were burned several years since, the site then being 
abandoned. Above Litchfield's mills we come to the former 
site of a bark mill, a grist mill and a tannery. This was 
known as Rockwell's mills. The grist mill is still running, 
but the other enterprises were destroyed by fire some years 
since. The next enterprise on the stream above was a com- 
bination of shingle mill, clover mill^ pin manufactory and man- 
ufactory of German silver spoons. A freshet, probably that 
of 1877, swept the whole concern away and it has not since 
been rebuilt. Another saw mill stood next in order up the 
stream, but has been abandoned. Farther still was once the 
site of a clover mill owned by Walter Lyon, but that has long 
since passed away. Another saw mill stands in the south part 
of the town on Cedar Swamp brook. It is owned by Mr. 
Joseph Clark. 

Biographical Sketches. 

li^DWARD Spicer CLEVELAND. — The subject of this sketch was 
born in the town of Hampton, in Windham county, Connecti- 
cut, on the 22d of May, A. D. 1825. He was the son of the Hon. 
Mason Cleveland, who was a man of much influence, and uni- 
versally respected throughout the state, having been both a rep- 
resentative from his town and a senator from his district, also 
comptroller of the state and subsequently school fund commis- 
sioner. He died in the year 1855, soon after the expiration of 
his tertii as school fund commissioner. E. S. Cleveland was a 
nephew of Hon. Chauncey F. Cleveland, also of Hampton, who 
was repeatedly elected to the legislature and served several terms 
as speaker of the house, and was governor of the state for two 
terms, from 1842 to 1844, and subsequently served two terms in 
congress from the Third congressional district. 

Edward Spicer Cleveland received a common school education, 
with a brief period at the Thompson Academy in the same county. 
At the age of sixteen he entered upon a mercantile career in 
Hartford, the capital of the state, as a clerk. At the close of this 
engagement he opened a dry goods establishment on his own 
account. Soon after, he was married to Miss Caroline Lucinda 
BoUes, daughter of Mr. Edward Bolles, one of the leading mer- 



390 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

chants of Hartford. This occurred in 1846. Mr. Cleveland con- 
tinued in mercantile business until the year 1861, when he was 
appointed postmaster at Hartford by President Lincoln. At the 
expiration of his term of four 3^ears he was re-commissioned for 
another term by Mr. Lincoln's successor. After eight years' ser- 
vice in this position he resumed his residence in Hampton, 
which town he represented in the state legislature in the years 
1875 and 1876. In 1877 he returned to Hartford, where he has 
since resided. In 1883 he was elected to the lower house of the 
legislature, and in 1885 to the senate, and re-elected in 1888. He 
was the candidate of the democratic party for governor of the 
state in the year 1886, by a unanimous nomination, receiving a 
plurality of 1,898 of the popular vote, there being four candidates 
in the field. He would have been inaugurated but for that fa- 
miliar clause in the constitution, dating back to 1818, which re- 
quires a majority instead of a plurality to elect. This provision 
required that the names of the two highest candidates should be 
sent to the legislature for choice, and that body, being republican 
by a small majority, decided in favor of the republican candidate, 
who lacked nearly 9,000 votes of a majority. Mr. Cleveland, by 
the courtesy of the senate, of which he is still a member, is a 
visitor for the term of two years to the Scientific School at New 
Haven, and a state trustee of the Connecticut Insane Hospital at 
Middletown, for four years from July 1st, 1889. 

On the 8th of March, 1889, Mr. Cleveland sustained an irrep- 
arable loss by the death of his wife, who was a lady of the high- 
est excellence, always devoted to the household of which she was 
the light and joy. She was the mother of three children, two of 
whom survive her, Edward Mason and John. George Heliry, the 
second son, died in 1865. Mr. Cleveland has retired from active 
pursuits, dividing his time between his country residence at 
Hampton in the summer, and his home in Hartford during the 
winter. The care of the household since the death of Mrs. Cleve- 
land has devolved upon the estimable wife of his younger son, 
John; and her children, named respectively Chauncey Fitch and 
Edward Spicer, 2d, are the especial care and pride of their 
grandfather. 

David Greenslit. — Elijah Greenslit, a farmer and the land- 
lord of one of the early taverns of the town of Hampton, mar- 
ried Mary Burnham. His children were : David, Elijah, Henry, 
Ebenezer, and one daughter. His son David spent his life in 




(X-\^--t,--&^ /iych-^£i^.-^2^i^^^yCiyl^ 



PE, E. yiEBSTAOT, N. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 391 

Hampton, the town of his birth, where he was an industrious 
and prosperous farmer. He married Nancy, daughter of Wil- 
liam Foster, of Canterbury. To this union were born nine chil- 
dren, of whom Lucius, William F. and David grew to mature 
years. 

David Greenslit was born June 2d, 1817, in Hampton, and 
spent his early years at the schools in the vicinity of his home. 
At the age of sixteen he became useful as an assistant in the 
work of the farm, and was thus occupied until his nineteenth 
year. Leaving the paternal roof he then removed to Brooklyn, 
the adjoining town, and was for nearly two years engaged as 
a teacher. Soon after, he purchased a farm in Windham, but 
preferring a home in his native town, was influenced to dispose 
of this property and locate as a farmer in Hampton. He was 
on the 26th of May, 1840, married to Elizabeth, daughter of John 
Searls, of Brooklyn. Their only daughter, Charlotte E., died 
in 1866 at the age of twenty-two years. 

Mr. Greenslit was in 1844 made a deputy sheriff of Windham 
county, and was for nine years the incumbent of the office. He 
was then appointed by the legislature to fill the unexpired 
term as sheriff, and subsequently elected for two terms to the 
same office. In 1866 he was elected to the state senate from 
the Thirteenth senatorial district, and appointed chairman of 
the committee on state prisons. In 1878 he was elected to the 
Connecticut house of representatives, and made chairman of the 
same committee. H^e has served several years on the republican 
state central committee, and had much experience in political 
matters pertaining to the state. Mr. Greenslit is a director of 
the Windham County National Bank, and has been for ten 
years president of the Windham County Mutual Insurance 
Company, as also adjuster of losses"for that corporation. He is 
a director of the Willimantic Dime Savings Bank. Mr. Green- 
slit, though not a professional man, has given much attention 
to the study of law, his occupation as a business agent requir- 
ing him to be well versed in legal rules and practices. His 
services are much sought in the settlement of estates and in 
kindred offices involving great responsibility and well balanced 
judgment. Among other positions of trust he was in 1866 ap- 
pointed by the legislature a member of the board of equaliza- 
tion for the Thirteenth senatorial district. 



392 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Samuel Strong Moseley. — The Moseley family are among the 
oldest and most prominent in the town of Hampton. The father 
of the subject of this biography, Ebenezer Moseley, was a preacher 
of considerable repute in his day. His son, Samuel Strong 
Moseley, was born at the homestead of the family in Hampton, 
in 1786, and in his native town the whole of his active life 
was spent. He received an academic education, and early em- 
barked in mercantile pursuits, to which he later added farming. 
In both of these branches of industry he brought to bear the 
ability and thrift which were the inevitable precursors of suc- 
cess. He was also a large dealer in cattle and sheep, these op- 
erations proving extremely profitable. Mr. Moseley was act- 
ively identified with the public affairs of his county, and bore 
a prominent part in its political conflicts. He represented his 
constituents for successive terms in the Connecticut house of 
representatives, and filled numerous offices of lesser importance 
in the town. 

He was united in marriage to Harriet Bulkley, of Colchester, 
Connecticut. To this union were born four sons: Edward S., 
who served two terms as state treasurer; George, William and 
Henry; and two daughters, Eliza and Mary, the first named 
daughter being the only survivor of these children. Mr. Mose- 
ley died in 1866. 




V.w: Preston l^C'Jf^- 




, .i^^T^z-^^^ 



CHAPTER XVIII. 



THE TOWN OF SCOTLAND. 



Description. — Original Connection. — First Settler. — Early Attractions. — Settlers 
coming in. — Church Association. — Disquiet in Society Relations. — Scotland 
Society Organized. — Minister Employed and a Meeting House Built. — Peace 
and Prosperity. — The Separate Movement. — Separate Church. — The Standing 
Church and the Schools. — Leading Men in Society. — Successive Pastors. — 
Period of the Revolution. — The Congregational Church in Later Days. — Uni- 
versalism. — Business and Industry in the Tovs^n. — Organization of the Town. 
— Its Size and Growth. — Illustrious Citizens. — Present Status. — Shetucket 
Gx'ange. — The Green and its Surroundings. 



THE township of Scotland, lying in the southwestern part of 
the county, is about six miles long from north to south, 
and about three miles wide. It lies on the southern bor- 
der of the county, being bounded on the north by Hampton and 
a small part of Chaplin, on the east by Canterbury, on the south 
by Lisbon and Franklin, in the county of New London, and on 
the west by Windham. It comprehends about eighteen square 
miles of territory, much of which is hilly and in a wild condi- 
tion. This is particularly true of the northern part of the town. 
In the central and southern parts there is a great deal of good 
farming land, and the improved farms and residences give a 
very attractive and home like appearance to the country. The 
surface is sufficiently rolling to make the rural landscape fascin- 
atingly picturesque. Merrick's brook runs down through the 
middle of the town, joining the Shetucket in the southwest cor- 
ner of the town. The Providence Division of the New York & 
New England railroad also runs with the Shetucket river across 
the southwest corner of the town. Here is Waldo's station, a 
locality surrounded by swamps and woods, an ancient saw mill 
having once been in operation near by on the stream already 
mentioned. Scotland presents to the passer-by one of those ri- 
pened communities in which the people are quietly and peacefully 
enjoying the fruits of labor performed in former years, rather 
than living on the sweat of present activities. The surrounding 



39-4 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

forest growth affords considerable timber, which is utilized in 
railroad ties. Scotland in 1870 had a population of 648 ; in 1880 
the population was reduced to 590. As the history of the town 
is but little more than the histor}^ of the ecclesiastical society 
out of which it grew, we shall address ourselves at once to the 
consideration of that subject. 

The territory of this town was originally a part of the exten- 
sive domain of ancient Windham, being the southeast section 
of that town. Settlement began here about the year 1700. The 
first settler was Isaac Magoon, a Scotchman, who gave to his 
adopted home the name of his native country. He was admitted 
an inhabitant of Windham in 1698, and chose to establish him- 
self east of Merrick's brook, in a remote and uninhabited part 
of the town. The brook of which we have spoken is supposed 
to have been named in honor of an early Norwich land owner. 
In 1700 Magoon purchased of Mr. Whiting several hundred 
acres, in the southern extremity of Clark & Buckingham's tract. 
The first rude hut built by him in this locality is said to have 
been destroyed by fire, whereupon his Windham neighbors 
helped him to rebuild it. He afterward bought sixty acres on 
both sides of Merrick's brook, and crossed by the road from 
Windham to Plainfield, of Joshua Ripley, and this is supposed 
to have been his homestead. This road becoming a great thor- 
oughfare between more important points, and the good quality 
of the soil here, as well as the natural beauty of location, soon 
attracted other settlers to the spot. In 1701 Magoon sold farms 
to Samuel Palmer, John Ormsbee, and Daniel and Nathaniel 
Fuller, all of whom came hither from Rehoboth. In 1702 Josiah 
Kingsley, John Waldo, Nathaniel Rudd, Josiah Palmer and 
Ralph Wheelock purchased land of Crane and Whiting and re- 
moved to this new settlement. Waldo's land, in the south of 
this settlement, is still held by his descendants. Many Mohe- 
gans frequented this part of the town, clinging to it by virtue 
of Owaneco's claim to it as Mamosqueage. A hut on the high 
hills near Waldo's was long the residence of the Mooch family, 
kindred of Uncas and the royal line of the Mohegans. 

The settlement made quite rapid progress. Among others who 
soon followed were Josiah Luce, Thomas Laselle, Robert Heb- 
ard and John Burnap. Luce and Laselle were of old Huguenot 
stock. Burnap came from Reading, Mass., purchasing a tract of 
land of Solomon Abbe, by Merrick's brook, April 13th, 1708. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 395 

The demand thus incited here caused valuations of real estate 
to rise considerably. A saw mill was already in operation on 
the brook, and in 1706 a highwa,y was ordered to be laid out 
for the farmers of Scotland, above the mill-dam, for the conven- 
ience of getting on and off the bridge which was then about to 
be constructed, and thence it was to run to John Ormsbee's land. 
With the destruction of the forests and the accompanying de- 
cadence of the streams this mill site has long since been powder- 
less for the purposes to which it was once appropriated. And 
the same may be said in regard to Wolf Pit brook, the privilege 
of which was granted to Josiah Palmer in 1706, " to set up a 
grist mill — he building the same within three years and ditch- 
ing and damming there as he thinks needful on the commons, 
not to damnify particular men's rights." 

In 1707 the town of Windham regarded its southeastern quar- 
ter as of sufficient importance to be allowed a burying ground, 
and at that time Samuel Palmer, George Lilly and William 
Backus were appointed to view the ground here and consult the 
people with regard to laying out a burying place in this local- 
ity. 

The Scotland settlers still maintained their connection with 
the church at Windham Green, though their number was con- 
stantly increasing. George Lilly, in 1710, purchased land on 
both sides of Little river, which runs down along the eastern 
border but just outside the present limits of the town, and in 
1714, John Robinson, a descendant of Elder John Robinson, of 
Leyden, removed to Scotland. The old Puritan stock was well 
represented in this locality. Descendants of Robinson, Brew- 
ster and Bradford, with French Huguenots and Scotch Presby- 
terians, were among its inhabitants. A pound had been erected 
and a school house was built, at what date we have not learned, 
and about these public institutions a straggling village grew up. 
Many sons of the first settlers of Windham established them- 
selves here. Joseph and John Gary settled on Merrick's brook, 
on land given them by their father. Deacon Gary. Deacon 
Bingham's son Samuel settled on Merrick's brook, and Nathaniel 
on Beaver brook. Nathaniel, son of Joseph Huntington, occu- 
pied a farm on Merrick's brook, near the center of the settlement 
and became one of its most prominent citizens. The population 
was gathered mainly on the road to Canterbury and on Merrick's 
. brook. Many of the Scotland settlers were members of the 



396 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Windham church and some were active and prominent men in 
the affairs of the town. 

But the Scotland settlers soon began to feel a desire for church 
privileges nearer their homes than away over the hills several 
miles to Windham Green. At what time this feeling began to 
develop into open agitation we do not know, but it had gone so 
far in that direction that in February, 1726, the town took action 
so far as to consent by vote that when the public list of that sec- 
tion should reach in amount ;^12,000 the town would build a 
meeting-house in that section, and when they should desire to 
settle a minister the town would join with them in supporting 
two ministers and keeping the two meeting houses in order. In 
December, 1727, the Scotland people were allowed to employ a 
suitable person to preach to them during the winter, and this 
permission was kept up for several winters. But the Scotland 
people could not see the advantage to them of paying their pro- 
portionate part of supporting the ministry at Windham Green 
and then hiring a minister additional during a part of the year, 
at so much extra expense. Hence the question of society privi- 
leges was agitated, and after a spirited contest before the gen- 
eral assembly the petition was granted and a charter for a dis- 
tinct society was given by the legislature in May, 1732. The 
bounds of the society were substantially the bounds of the pres- 
ent town. They began at the junction of Merrick's brook with 
the Shetucket, thence northerly to the southwest corner of the 
land of John Kingsley ; thence to Beaver brook at John Fitch's 
dam ; thence a straight line to Merrick's brook, at the crossing 
of the road from Windham Green to the Burnt Cedar swamp ; 
thence north on the brook to the southwest corner of Canada 
Society ; thence easterly by the south bound of that society, and 
southerly along the Canterbury line to the dividing line between 
Windham and Norwich, and westerly along the Norwich line to 
the mouth of Merrick's brook. This bound probably included 
less than one-third of the territory of Windham. The petition- 
ers, in answer to whom the charter was granted, were Nathaniel 
Bingham, Jacob Burnap, Eleazer and Samuel Palmer, Joshua 
Luce, Daniel Meacham, Isaac Bingham, Samuel Hebard, Seth 
Palmer, Timothy Allen, Charles Mudie, Benjamin Case, John 
Waldo, David Ripley, Caleb Woodward, John Cary, Jonathan 
Silsby, Elisha Lilly, Jacob Lilly, Joshua Lasell, Nathaniel Hun- 
tington, Nathaniel Brewster, Nathaniel Rudd, Wilkinson Cook, 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 397 

Carpenter Cook and Samuel Cook. The number of families in 
the society was about eighty, and the number of persons proba- 
bly about four hundred. The list of estates reported amounted 
to £3,94:5. 

The new society met to organize June 22d, 1732, at the 
house of Nathaniel Huntington. Edward Waldo was chosen 
moderator; John Manning, clerk; Peter Robinson, John 
Waldo and Edward Waldo, society committee. In September 
the society voted to employ a minister, and began eagerly to dis- 
cuss the location of their prospective meeting house. It was 
then decided that the preaching services should be held at the 
house of Nathaniel Huntington. The importance of having 
the business well attended to and the magnitude of the under- 
taking as it appeared to those people is shown by the vote at 
that time that "Ensign Nathaniel Rudd, Mr. Samuel Manning, 
Lieutenant Peter Robinson, Sergeants Nathaniel Bingham and 
Edward Waldo, Mr. John Bass and Mr. John Cary, be a commit- 
tee to provide us a minister to preach to us, and also to provide 
a place for him to diet in, and also to agree with him for what 
he shall have a day." The minister then employed by this pon- 
derous committee was a Mr. Flagg. 

After settling some disputes as to the law in regard to electing 
officers, the society unanimously set to work to locate and build 
a meeting house. The site decided upon was " a knoll, east side 
of Merrick's brook, south side of the road from Windham to 
Canterbury." Nathaniel Huntington, who owned the land, 
promptly made over a quarter of an acre for that purpose. June 
25th, 1733, it was voted to build a house 43 by 33 feet and twenty 
feet high, the roof and sides to be covered with chestnut sawed 
shingles and clapboards. The work went bravely forward and 
by November 20th a society meeting was held in the house. 
Then the windows were glazed, and rough board seats provided, 
as well as a " conveniency for a minister to stand by to preach." 
Thus equipped the house was ready for service and the energies 
of the society were then devoted to employing a regular minis- 
ter. 

After several attem.pts, which from one cause or another proved 
abortive, the society succeeded in obtaining the services of a 
minister to be permanently located among them. This they 
found in the person of Ebenezer Devotion, son of Reverend 
Ebenezer Devotion of Suffield, a young man of good abilities. 



398 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUxXTY. 

• 

pleasing address and unimpeachable orthodoxy, who had just 
completed his ministerial studies, having graduated from Yale 
College in 1732, and was just twenty-one years of age when 
called to this parish. On the 22d of October, 1735, a church w^as 
organized and Mr. Devotion ordained as its pastor, on a settle- 
ment of ^300 and a salary of ^140 a year, which was afterward 
increased by an additional thirty pounds. Eighty-nine members 
were dismissed from the First church of Windham to form the 
Scotland church. Edward Waldo and Nathaniel Bingham were 
chosen deacons. 

These trying ordeals having been safely passed, the society 
now enjoyed a period of peaceful and harmonious prosperity 
reaching through many years. The interior of the meeting 
house was subject to many changes in its arrangements and 
seating, as was usual in those days, privileges being allowed 
individuals, singly or in groups, to erect pews for their own use 
and at their own expense. In this line one item is worthy of 
notice. In 1739 twelve young men had liberty to build a pew 
the length of the front gallery, dividing the same by a partition 
of wood, taking one half as their own seat and gallantly allow- 
ing the other half to as many young women. 

We come now to the period when this church and society were 
greatly agitated, in common with others about them, by the great 
revival and the Separate movement, which occurred between the 
years 1740 and 1750. A very respectable part of the Scotland 
church became dissatisfied with the existing discipline and adop- 
ted decided Separate principles. Mr. Devotion, who was strongly 
attached to church order and the Say brook Platform, wholly re- 
fused to grant them any concessions or liberty, whereupon they 
withdrew from the stated religious worship, and held separate 
meetings in private houses. Among the number w^ere Joseph 
and Hannah Wood, Benjamin and Anne Cleveland, Zebulon and 
Hannah Hebard, Mrs. Samuel Manning, John Walden, Daniel 
Ross, Amos Kingsley, Peleg Brewster, Thomas and Henry Bass, 
and John, Sarah, Mary and Margaret Wilkinson. January 26th, 
1746, these persons were cited to appear before the church court to 
"give their reasons for separating for a long time from the worship 
or ordinances which God had set up among them." Their an- 
swer in general was that the ministrations of Mr. Devotion were 
not satisfying to their souls like those of other preachers, like 
Lawyer Paine, Deacon Marsh and Solomon Paine, whom Mr. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 399 

Devotion refused to recognize. Nothing conciliatory resulting 
from the hearing and subsequent action, these people joined 
themselves into a Separate church. This was organized during 
the summer of 1746, and soon gained a very respectable posi- 
tion, receiving into its membership some of the leading families 
in the parish. 

The Windham County Association of ministers held an inves- 
tigation in February, 1747, and after hearing much testimony in 
regard to the Separatists, declared their action to be unscriptural, 
uncharitable and unchristian, and that the churches ought not 
to recognize them in a church capacity, but to labor with them 
as individuals to convert them from the error of their ways. The 
Scotland Separate church was, however, notwithstanding this 
meeting had been held in this town, unaffected by its judgments 
or proclamations, but continued to increase in numbers and in- 
fluence. One of the deacons of the standing church lapsed to 
the Separatists among the rest. For a time they enjoyed the 
ministrations of their favorite ministers, the Paines and Elder 
Marsh. John Palmer, a descendant of one of the early Scotland 
settlers, exercised his gift of exhortation so freely that he was 
summarily arrested by the civil authority and lodged in jail at 
Hartford, where he was kept four months. This only increased his 
zeal, and after his release the church gave him further trial and 
eventually united in a call to its ministry. He was accordingly 
ordained May 17tli, 1749, as pastor of the Separate church of 
Scotland. 

Though deficient in education and somewhat rough in speech 
and manner, Mr. Palmer was a man of estimable character and 
sound piety, and under his guidance the Brunswick church, as 
this body was now called, maintained for many years a good 
standing in the community, comparatively free from those ex- 
cesses and fanaticisms which marred so many of its contempo- 
raries. No difficulty was found in supporting its worship by 
voluntary contributions. A church edifice was built about a 
mile southeast of Scotland village, and this was long known as 
the Brunswick meeting house. Mr. Devotion was never recon- 
ciled to this intrusion within his parochial limits, but true to his 
own name as he was to his cause, it is said that he was accus- 
tomed every Sunday morning to send his negro servant with a 
rescript to the Brunswick meeting house, forbidding Mr. Palmer 
or any unauthorized person to preach therein that day ; a pro- 



400 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

hibition which doubtless only served to increase the number of 
attendants there. 

For many years after this Separate church was established its 
members were obliged to pay their proportion of taxes for. the 
support of the ministry in the regular church of Scotland society. 
When they refused to comply with such demands their cattle or 
goods were taken by distraint or themselves were imprisoned in 
Windham jail. But on the prospect of having to pay rates tow- 
ard the building of the new meeting house in 1773 they peti- 
tioned the assembly for relief, and that body gave a favorable 
response, granting them release from the burden of taxation to 
build the house in which they did not expect to worship. The 
names of those at that time identified with the Separatist church 
were Zacheus Waldo, Zebulon Hebard, Lemuel Bingham, Ebene- 
zer Webb, John Palmer, Benjamin Cleveland, Joseph Allen, John 
Walden, Stephen Webb, Israel Hale, William Perkins, Joseph 
Allen, Jr., Jonathan Brewster, Ebenezer Bass, John Silsbury, 
Timothy Allen, Samuel Baker, Jr., Jedidiah Bingham, Henry 
Bass and Moses Cleveland. 

Through the dark days of the revolution the Separate church 
held on to its existence, though probably weakening in numbers 
and activity by the labors of zealous Baptist itinerants in the 
neighborhood. Unlike many of this sect Elder Palmer had a 
respect for education and sent his son David to Dartmouth Col- 
lege, where he graduated in 1797. The Brunswick church did 
not long survive the loss of Elder Palmer and his fellow helper, 
Deacon Walden. Some members drifted away to the Baptists 
and Methodists. A final attempt was made in 1812 to main- 
tain worship, but in 1813 the church was disbanded, at the final 
meeting May 24th, voting to join with the First church of Can- 
terbury on conditions of being allowed certain privileges. June 
11th they met at the Canterbury meeting house and part of their 
number joined the Canterbury church and part did not. 

In reviewing the action of the society of the recognized Scot- 
land church some things appear of interest worthy of mention, 
as illustrative of the customs of the time more than for the in- 
trinsic historic importance of the events themselves. In 1747 it 
was decided to repair the meeting house. The vote decided, " to 
clabord the outside of our meeting house with oke clabbords, 
and polish the walls within with clay, sand and ashes, and plas- 
ter overhead with lime mortar." Among other liberties granted 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 401 

to individuals for building pews, in 1752 seven young ladies were 
allowed to build a pew " in the sete behind the front seat in the 
woman's gallery, provided they build within a year and raise 
the pue no higher than the seat is on the men's side." But the 
young ladies disregarded the condition and so brought down 
upon themselves the following decree : " Never ye Less ye above- 
said have built said pue much higher than the order, and if they 
do not lower the same within one month from this time the so- 
ciety committee shall take said pue away." 

Schools had already received some attention from the people 
of the society. The school house, however, was a matter of an- 
noyance, and its location was unsteady. In 1755 it was voted 
that, " Whereas, the school house in the society standeth so near 
Samuel Silsby's dwelling house it much discommodes him — that 
we are willing that said Silsby should move the school house to 
any convenient place on the road it now stands on, provided he 
move it at his own charge and leave it in as good repair as it 
now is, and set it somewhere on the highway between where it 
now stands and Merrick's brook, or anywhere else where those 
inhabitants shall agree that send their children to school, and 
have the advice of Nathaniel Huntington where to set it." In 
1774 the school house was again a source of trouble, this time 
from its proximity to the meeting house. Fearing it might give 
rise to conflagrations that might endanger the meeting house, 
it was moved to a suitable distance. In 1758 a committee was 
appointed to divide the society into proper school districts. 

James Brewster was cho.sen clerk of the society in 1760, in 
place of John Manning, who had held the office for many years. 
Josiah Kingsley was chosen deacon of the church in 1752, and 
John Gary to the same office in 1754. Deacon Nathaniel Bing- 
ham, son of Deacon Thomas Bingham, of Windham, died in 
1754, and his brother Samuel in 1760. 

Reverend Ebenezer Devotion was held in high reputation as 
" a great divine, a pious man, an able politician, eminent for 
every kind of merit." After the passage of the stamp act, he 
was chosen to represent the town of Windham in the general 
assembly as the man most competent to advise in that great 
crisis. He died while yet in the prime of life, in July, 1771, be- 
ing fifty-seven years of age, leaving a large family of sons and 
daughters. 

The successor of Mr. Devotion in the pastoral office was Rev- 
26 



402 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

erend James Cogswell, then recently from Canterbury, who was 
here offered £60 for settlement, i;80 salary, and " the liberty of 
getting his firewood on the l:t the society had of James Man- 
ning." He was installed February 19th, 1772. November 9th 
of that year it was voted to build a new meeting house, the vote 
calling out 98 " yeas " and 20 " nays." It was agreed to give Mr. 
Elisha Lillie £750 for building the house. It was several years 
in course of construction. It was completed enough to be seat- 
ed in December, 1778, and in the following May the work was 
formally accepted from the hands of Mr. Lillie, the contractor. 
The old building then being offered for sale at auction, brought 
seventeen pounds. 

After the revolution the returned veterans engaged in the 
arts of peace. Besides many who engaged in farming and com- 
mercial business, Major John Keyes, of Ashford, who was ap- 
pointed adjutant general of Connecticut militia in 1786, after- 
ward removed his residence to Scotland village and established 
a tavern, which soon became a famous place of resort for the 
many old soldiers residing in this part of the town. The parish 
bore its part in the civil administration and was allowed 
the privilege of holding one-third of the allotted town meetings 
in its convenient meeting house. The parish aspired to the 
luxury of a bell in its church steeple, and the purchase and 
poising of this appendage excited the attention of the people as 
an event of unusual interest. On its way hither it met with 
mishaps which were repeated twice or more, by which it became 
cracked, and had to be returned several times for repairs. For 
several years the care of the bell seems to have occasioned much 
annoyance. In the meantime the subject of church music re- 
ceived much earnest attention, and a singing school was main- 
tained under which so much progress was made that it was said 
the singing in this quiet country church was better than that in 
the city churches of Hartford. This church shared in the gen- 
eral religious declension which prevailed during the closing 
years of the last century. There were few accessions and many 
losses. Deacon John Cary died in 1788 ; Deacon John Baker 
in 1791. Some members were lost by emigration and some by 
removal to other churches. In the meantime earnest Baptists 
were holding meetings on Pudding hill, and making converts 
who joined some of the neighboring Baptist churches. Schools 
were maintained and catechised as the law required. The Cen- 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 403 

tral school flourished for two seasons under the charge of a 
teacher who afterward became famous — William Eaton, the con- 
queror of Tripoli. 

The latter years of the life of Reverend Mr. Cogswell were 
attended by an unhappy controversy between him and his peo- 
ple. Being too aged and infirm to perform the duties of his 
office acceptably, he removed to Hartford to live with his son, 
but still claimed a support from his parish, who were legally 
bound by the terms of his settlement as pastor to give him a 
support to the end of life, which claim he was obliged to press 
in the courts of law. 

The third pastor of this church was Cornelius- Adams, of Can- 
terbury, who was ordained December 5th, 1805. The parish, tak- 
ing care to avoid another case like that in which they were in- 
volved with Mr. Cogswell, secured the condition in the settle- 
ment that the pastoral contract could be terminated on six 
months' notice at any time when it should become unsatisfactory 
to either party. The bell now began again to make trouble. 
In 1804 the steeple was repaired and made stronger. The bell 
was re-cast. When it was being replaced in position a plank 
fell from the belfry deck, and struck Mr. Jeduthan Spencer on 
the head with such force that he died from the effects in a short 
time, and also broke the arm of Mr. Eleazer Huntington. The 
ministry of Mr. Adams was brought to an end by his death 
within a year after his installation. He was succeeded by Rev- 
erend Elijah G. Welles, of whose pastorate we have learned but 
little. The church was then in a feeble state, and it is probable 
that his maintenance was difficult. His successor was Reverend 
Jesse Fisher, a graduate of Harvard, who was ordained May 22d, 
1811. Mr. Fisher had the satisfaction of seeing his church built 
up and strengthened, and the evil effects of long dissension grad- 
ually disappear. He remained here until his death in 1836. His 
successor was Reverend O. T. Whiton, who was dismissed after 
a four years' pastorate. A new meeting house, the present 
building, was erected in 1842. Thomas Tallman, of Middle Had- 
dam, was ordained and installed pastor March 20th, 1844. After 
a successful pastorate of about seventeen years he resigned in 

1861. Reverend Luther H. Barber was installed October 22d, 

1862, and remained until May 9th, 1869. Following that date 
the church had no settled pastor for about four years. During 
one year of that time Rufus S. Underwood was a stated supply. 



404 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

and during the time of his ministry a revival occurred which 
gave to the church twenty-nine new members. Reverend Alva 
A. Hurd became acting pastor November 1st, 1873, and remained 
until the spring of 1881. He was the first to occupy the new 
parsonage, which was provided by the society in 1873. Rever- 
end L. D. Place became acting pastor one year, beginning May 
1st, 1884. Then followed a period of vacancy and temporary 
supplies until November 1st, 1886, when Reverend G. A. Bryan 
entered upon his labors as acting pastor. He still remains in 
that position, A neat and convenient chapel was purchased and 
fitted up adjoining the church in 1867. The present member- 
ship of the church is about one hundred and ten. 

During the decade from 1840 to 1850 a flash of Universalist 
sentiment appears to have run through the churches in this part 
of Connecticut. A church of that order was organized in this 
neighborhood, and in 1843 a meeting house was built. This 
flourished fairly well for a few years under the ministrations of 
Reverend H. Slade, but its active life was short, and it has long 
since become a thing of the past. 

Returning now to notice the growth of this town in the early 
part of this century we find a considerable degree of life and 
activity manifest here. Its farms and workshops were prospering. 
Stephen Webb carried on an extensive shoe manufactory in the 
north part of the parish. Thomas Coit, of Norwich, succeeded 
to the mercantile traffic carried on by Messrs. Ebenezer and Jon- 
athan Devotion, offering the usual " variety of well-chosen 
goods," and receiving most kinds of country produce in pay- 
ment. Doctor Dwight, in his observations about the towns of 
this locality, declared that everything about Scotland wore "the 
aspect of festivity, thrift, industry, sobriety and good order." A 
little later the mercantile establishment of the village fell into 
the hands of Philetus Perkins. Saw mills, a grist mill and full- 
ing mill were maintained upon Merrick's brook. These were 
carried on by members of old families, the Devotions and the 
Waldos and others. A quarter century later showed but little 
if any advance. Scotland Parish was greatly burdened by ex- 
cessive imposts and inconveniences brought upon it by Wind- 
ham's growth and aspirations, and devoted much of its energies 
to efforts for separation. No special business enterprises were 
now being developed within its limits. The old saw and grist 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 405 

mills were kept up, and brick making was carried on near the 
line between this and Windham parishes. 

After repeated efforts for release from the inconveniences of 
being associated with Windham, Scotland at last received a town 
charter in 1857. Its first town meeting was held in the vestry 
of the Congregational church, on the morning of July 4th. Jeph- 
tha Green was chosen moderator. The occasion was celebrated 
by a pleasant social gathering in the afternoon, when patriotic 
and congratulatory addresses were made by Governor Cleveland, 
Reverend Mr. Tallman and others. The first officers of the town, 
which were elected on that day, were as follows : Benjamin Ho- 
vey, clerk, registrar and treasurer ; John P. Gager, Jr., Zephaniah 
Palmer and Henry H. Cary, selectmen ; Henry Webb, constable 
and collector ; Simon Fuller and R. W. Waldo, grand jurors ; 
William F. Palmer and Jonathan W. Maine, assessors ; Simon 
Fuller, P. B. Fuller and Dwight Cary, board of relief ; Zepha- 
niah Palmer and P. B. Fuller, land surveyors ; P. B. Fuller, C. N. 
Palmer, C. B. Brumley, H. H. Cary, Thomas Tallman and Zeph- 
aniah Palmer, board of education ; C. B. Brumley, school treasu- 
rer ; Z. Palmer, school visitor ; and John P. Gager, Jr., acting 
selectman. The number of children then of school age — between 
the ages of four and sixteen — was 191 ; and the number of vot- 
ers who cast their votes for governor that year was 135, of which 
85 were in favor of Buckingham and 50 for Pratt. The justices 
of the peace appointed for that year were William Davison, 
Pearley B. Fuller and Zephaniah Palmer. The first representa- 
tive to the state legislature was James Burnett, merchant. 

Change of status made but little practical difference in local 
administration. A slight change was made in the west bound, 
by which a little more territory was included in the town than 
had been in the society. By this change the brick works and 
the old Robinson house were brought into this town. Since that 
time the town has pursued the even tenor of its way, with little 
to disturb the still waters of its social, religious or political life. 
Its g