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3 1833 01150 6489 

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Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center 




Richard M. Bayles 

pages 605-1204 

New York, W.W.Preston S; co. 
3 889 

17:^9460 ^^ 



Geograjiliical Description.— The Volunteers' Lane).— Settlement as Voluntown.— 
Division of tlie Laml.— Town Privileges. — Presbyterian Clmrch Organized. — 
Lands Laid Out.— Sterling Town Organized.— Meeting House Erected.— 
General Progress. — Public Highways. — School Matters — The Voluntown 
and Sterling Cluirch. — Line Meeting House. — Sterling Hill Baptist Churcli. — 
Other Churches.— Mannfa<-turing.— Rocks and Quarries.— Oneco. — Decline 
of Manufactures.— The Change.— BiogTaphical Sketches. 

THE township df Rlcrling occtipies the .•southeast corner of 
the county, beinj^- bounded on the north bvKillingiy, east 
by Rhode Island, south by Voluntown (funnerly a town 
of Windham county, but recently transferred to X"e\v London 
county), and west by Plainfield. The town is nine miles long 
froin north to south, and has an average width of three miles. 
It is centrally distant from Hartford 40 miles and from New 
Haven 73 miles. It contains an area of twenty-seven square 
miles. Much of the land is hilly or swampy. The town is well 
drained by the Quanduck and Cedar Swamp branches of ]Moosup 
river. It contains valuable building stones, which are quarried 
to some extent. Sterling hill, in the western part, is the original 
settlement, and occupies an eminence, furnishing a delightful 
view of the surrounding country. The town is crossed near the 
center by the Providence Division of the X. Y. & X. K. railroad. 
Large quantities of railroad tics are cut from th.e woods of the 
town. Farming and manuf:icturing form the industrial inter- 
ests of the town. Its population at different periods has been : 
In ISOO, 908; in 1840, 1,009; 1870, l,()-32; ISSO, 9r)7. The grand of the town in 1800 was $20,87:^ ; in 1847, SI 1,791 ; in 18;'37, 
§13,447 ; and 1887, 8:2.")9,-203. The number of children between 
the ages of four and sixteen in ]8.j8 was 280; in 1881, 227; and 
in 1887. 107. The post offices of Sterling, Oneco, Ekonk and 
Xorth Sterling are in this town. 

In October, IGOij, Lieutenant Thomas Lcft^ng^vel], of Xorwich, 
and Sergeant John Frink, of .Stonington, moved the general 


court, "that they, with the rest of the English vohmtecrs in for- 
mer wars, might have a plantation granted to them." A tract 
of land six miles square was granted in answer to this request, 
"to be taken up out of some of the conquered land," its bounds 
to be prescribed and settlement regulated by persons appointed 
by the court. The volunteers sent " out upon the discovery " of a 
suitable tract, found their choice very limited. !Major Fitch, 
the Winthrops and others had already appropriated the greater 
part of the conquered lands, and the only available tract remain- 
ing within Connecticut limits was a Strip bordering on Rhode 
Island, a few miles east of Norwich, and upon reporting this 
"discovery" to the general court, "Captain Samuel }ilason, ]\Ir. 
John Gallup, and Lieutenant James Avery were appointed a 
committee to view the said tract, and to consider whether it be 
suitable for entertainment of a body of people that may be able 
comfortably to carry on plantation work, or what addition of 
land may be necessary to accommodate a body of people for 
comfortable subsistence in a plantation way." After taking 
three years for viewing and considering, the committee reported 
favorably, and in (3ctober, 1700, Lieutenant Leffingwell, Richard 
Bushnell, Isaac Wheeler, Caleb Fobes, Samuel Bliss, Joseph 
Morgan and ]\Ianasseh Minor moved for its confirmation to the 
volunteers, which was granted, "so far as it concur with the for- 
mer act of the General As.sembly, provided it bring not the Col- 
ony into any inconvenience" or, as afterward expressed, "do 
not prejudice any former grant of the court." A large part of 
the tract thus granted is now comprised in the town of Volun- 
town. Its original bounds were nearlv identical with those of 
the present township, save that eastward it extended to Pawca- 
tuck river. 

Little now can be learned of the primitive condition of this 
region. It was a waste, barren frontier, overrun by various 
tribes of Indians, and after the Xarragansett war, claimed bv the 
Z^Iohegans. Massashowitt, saehem of (Juinebaug, also claimed 
rights in it. No Indians are believed to have occupied it after 
the war, nor were any white inhabitants found on it when made 
over to the volunteers. 

Some years passed before the division was completed. xVfter 
the disputed Mohegan claim was settled a survey of the land 
was made in ITOf). This land extended from the north bounds 
of Slonington nurthward to the Whetstone country, being a 


tract some twenty miles long, and from three to six miles in 
width. Its original quantity was diminished somewhat by the 
encroachment of the Rhode Island line, but after that had been 
established the tract was substantially the same as that now oc- 
cupied by the towns of Voluntown and Sterling. One hundred 
and sixty persons had enrolled themselves as desirous of shar- 
ing in the benefit of this grant, and the land was distributed 
among them by a drawing made April 6th, 170G. These drawers 
of lots were residents of New London, Norwich, vStonington, 
Windham, Plainfield and other neighboring towns. The list 
comprised not only officers and soldiers, but ministers, chaplains 
and many who had served the colony in civil capacity as well as 
military, during the war. Samuel Fish was probably the first 
settler on this tract, but at what point his settlement had been 
made (it being already tliere), we are not informed. Very few 
of the "volunteers" took personal possession of their allotments. 
Some of the proprietors sold out their rights at an early date, 
receiving five, six, eight, eleven and twelve pounds for an allot- 
ment. Others retained their shares and Tented out farms on 
them whenever practicable. These first divisions were made in 
the southern part of the tract surveyed and most, if not all of 
the first land divisions and operations were probably within the 
limits of the present town of Voluntown. Northward lay the 
vacant land east of Plainfield. This land was petitioned for both 
by Plainfield and Voluntown. Some few had already obtained 
possession of lands here and had made improvements upon 
them. Reverend Mr. Coit, of Plainfield, had received a grant of 
three hundred acres north of Egunk hill, and he conveved it to 
Francis Smith and Miles Jordan. vSmith soon put up a mill and 
opened his house for the accommodation of travelers. Smith 
and Jordan, in 1714. erected a bridge over the river there, and 
received in payment loO acres of land on the Providence road. 
This convenient road and pleasant locality soon attracted other 
settlers — John Smith, Ebenezer and Thomas Dow, Robert and 
John Parke, Robert Williams, Nathaniel French and others. In 
May, 1719, this vacant country was annexed to Voluntown, by 
act of the assembly, a strip one mile in width across the north 
end being reserved as public land. The settlers who were estab- 
lished in the vacant land had their purchases confirmed to them 
by the assembly, in October, 1719. on condition that each should 
"have a tenantable house and settle themselves within the space 


of three years and continue to Hyc there three years after such 
settlement, upon the forfeiture of said purchase." 

In May, 1721, the people inhabiting- this territory were invested 
with town privileges, in the exercise of which they proceeded to 
lay taxes for the support of a minister and building a meeting 
house. The town government of Voluntown was organized 
June 20th, 1721. Thirty-seven persons were then admitted in- 
habitants. The town was thus eighteen or twenty xniles long 
and three or four miles wide. The question of location of a 
meeting house was a perplexing one, but it was finally decided 
by actual measurement, and placing it in the geographical cen- 
ter of the town, or about a quarter of a mile therefrom, the 
central point falling on an inconvenient spot. The first pastor 
.settled by the town was Reverend Samuel Dorrance, a Scotch 
Presbyterian lately arrived from Ireland, who was installed De- 
cember 12th, 1723. A church had been organized October loth, 
1723. This church adopted the Westminster Confession of Faith 
and was the first and for a long time the only Presbyterian church 
in Connecticut. The first members of the- church were Samuel 
Dorrance, Robert Gordon, Thomas Cole, John Casson, John 
Campbell, Robert Campbell, Samuel Campbell, John Gordon, 
Alexander Gordon, Ebenezer Dow, John Keigwin, "William Ham- 
ilton, Robert Hopkins, John Smith, Daniel Dill, Thomas Welch, 
Jacob Bacon, Daniel Cass, John Dorrance, George Dorrance, 
Samuel Church. Jr., John Dorrance, Jr., Xathaniel Deane, A"in- 
cent Patterson, Robert ^Miller, Patrick Parke, Samuel Church, 
Adam Kasson, William Kasson, David Hopkins, Charles Camp- 
bell, Nathaniel French, John Gibson, James Hopkins, John and 
Robert Parke, William Rogers and John Gallup. 

In 1724 John Gallup had liberty to build a dam and .<aw mill 
"where he hath begun on ye stream that runs out of ^Monhungon- 
ntick Pond," and Robert Parke was allowed a similar privilege 
on the Moosup. The landed interests of the town were still 
managed by the propriclors, and their meetings were held at 
New London, Norwich and Stonington. This subjected the resi- 
dent proprietors to much inconvenience and was afterward cor- 
rected by allowing a part at least of the business concerning lands 
to be done in the town. In May, 172C.Voluntown organized its first 
military company, with John Gallup, for captain; Robert Parke, 
for lieutenant: and Francis Deane, for ensign. The progress of 
the town had been greatly retarded, and at that date it was much 


behind its contemporaries, having no schools nor even a meet- 
ing house, and but few roads laid out. A long continued and 
obstinate contest over the site of the meeting house disturbed 
the town and prevented the erection of the building. Then 
again, boundary contests with the adjoining towns disturbed the 
peace of the town. Added to these disturbing forces from with- 
out and within was the fact that its population, though quite 
large, was motley and disorderly, made up of substantial settlers 
from adjacent townships, sturdy Scotch Presbyterians and lawless 
Rhode Island borderers. So great was the popular agitation and 
discontent that at one time the town voted " that it desired 
that the patent granted to Voluntown might be lui-actcd 
and made void, and that the town be divided by an east and 
west line into north and south ends, and each end to make and 
maintain their own bridges and highways." Attempts to go 
' on with the building of the meeting house in this disturbed 
condition of affairs were quite suspended. A frame had been 
set up on Egunk, now Sterling hill, the site chosen and con- 
tended for by a large faction, and there it stood for years with- 
out covering. In 1729, however, the agitation was so far sub- 
sided that a meeting house was begun upon the site origi- 
nally designated by the town, and this was completed in the 
course of two or three years. 

In 1740 a committee was appointed to lay out the undivided 
landsbelonging to the proprietors. In 1739 the strip of public 
land which had been reserved, a mile in width, at the north end 
of the town, was annexed to this town by an act of the assembly. 
Up to this time no freemen had yet been sworn, no " country 
taxes " paid, and no representatives sent to the general assem- 
bly. The town now settled down to a more complete fulfillment 
of the privileges and responsibilities of corporate existence. 
But the division of land ordered in 1740 was delayed till 1747, 
when all previous committees being dismissed, Humphrey Av- 
ery, Charles Campbell, Robert Dixon, Samuel Gordon ajid John 
Wylie, Jr., were appointed to divide the common lots to each 
proprietor or his heirs, remcasure and rebound old lots, and lay 
out cedar swamps, which were .satisfactorily accomplished. The 
cedar and pine swamps, said to be the best in the county, were 
laid out and divided. The lot on which the meeting house stood, 
and the burial place adjoining, were sequestered for the use of 
the inhabitants of the town and their successors. Several of the 


original lots had not been taken up by those to whom they had 
been granted. 

In this condition Voluntown remained for many years, a 
greater part of the inhabitants averse to the established church 
and yet compelled to pay rates for the support of its ministry. 
Attempts were made by residents of each end of the town to 
procure distinct society privileges. A petition presented to the 
assembly in 1702 sets forth the situation in the following lan- 

"That there was but one society in Voluntown, twenty miles 
long and four or five wide; list in 17G1, ;^10,7SG; inhabitants set- 
tled at each end and dispersed in almost every part, about one 
hundred and eighty families, soine dwelling seven, some nine 
and ten miles from meeting house; trouble of transporting our- 
selves and families very great and heavy; town conveniently sit- 
uated for division; such burden of travel hardly to be found in 
any other town — and prayed for division." 

In 1772 fifty-four persons north of iSIoosup river, including 
John, James and George Dorrance, Robert, Thomas and James 
Dixon, Robert Montgomery, John Coles, John Gaston, ]Mark and 
David Eames, some of them six, seven, eight and nine miles 
from Voluntown meeting house, and greatly impeded by bad 
roads and traveling, received liberty from the assembly to or- 
ganize as a distinct society or join in worship with Killingly. A 
number of these northern residents consequently united with 
the church in vSouth Killing]}-, and after some j-ears organized 
as a distinct society. 

Sterling obtained town privileges without the customary 
struggle. The inconvenience arising from the peculiar elonga- 
tion of ancient Voluntown was abundantly manifest, and a prop- 
osition, April 25th, 17!)3, to divide into two towns met immediate 
acceptance. The resolve incorporating the new town was passed 
May. 1794, as follows: 

" Resok'fd by this Assiiubly, that all that part of the ancient 
town of Voluntown, within the following bounds, beginning at 
the northwest corner of said ancient town of Voluntown, at 
the south line of Killingly; thence running southerl)- on the 
east side of Plainfield until it comes to the southeast corner of 
Plainfield; thence east ten degrees south to the division line 
between this state and the state of Rhode Island; thence by said 
state line to the southeast corner of Killingly; thence westerly 


on the line of Killingly to the first mentioned bounds, be, and 
the same is hereby, incorporated into a distinct town by the 
name of 'Sterling,' and shall be, and remain in, and of the 
County of Windham." 

The first to>vn meeting was held at the house of Robert 
Dixon, Esq., on Sterling hill. June 9th, 1794. Benjamin Dow 
was elected town clerk and treasurer; Captain John Wylie and 
Asa Montgomery, George Matteson, Anthony Brown and Lem- 
uel Dorrance, selectmen; Captain Thomas Gordon, constable 
and collector; Noah Cole, James Dorrance, Jr., Nathaniel Gal- 
lup, Dixon Hall, fence viewers; Nathaniel Gallup, grand jury- 
man; John Hill, Nathaniel Burlingame, ^latthias Frink, tithing- 
men. Benjamin Dow, Lemuel Dorrance and John Wylie were 
appointed a committee to make division of all the corporate 
property that did belong to Voluntown; also, to settle the line 
with Voluntown gentlemen and make division of the poor. 
Sheep and swine were allowed liberty " to go on the common." 
The dwelling house of Robert Dixon was selected as the place 
for holding town meetings until the town saw cause to make 
other arrangements. Nearly a hundred inhabitants were soon 
admitted as freemen. The original Voluntown families — Dixon, 
Dorrance, Dow, Douglas, Cole, Smith, Gaston, Gordon, Galluj"), 
French, Frink, Montgomery, Wylie — were still represented. 
Patten, Perkins, Vaughan, Young, Bailey, Burgess, Burlingame, 
Hall, ]Mason, and other later residents, appeared among the in- 
habitants. The name of the town was given bv a temporary 
resident. Doctor John Sterling, who promised a public library in 
return for the honor. 

Sterling entered upon its new duties with the usual spirit and 
energy. Its population was about nine hundred. Though much 
of its soil was poor, and its shape inconvenient, it had some 
peculiar advantages. It had fine water privileges, an excellent 
stone quarry, a great post road running through its center, and 
sterling men of good Scotch stock to administer public affairs. 

The lack of a suitable place for holding town meetings was an 
annoyance and mortification to the leading men of the town, 
publishing to the world their lamentable destitution of that 
most essential accommodation — a public inccting lioitst. Congre- 
gationalists in the south part of the town were included in the 
North society of A'oluntown, and now engaged in building a 
new meeting house upon the boundar}' line between the town- 


ships; those in the North or Bethesda society united ^vith the 
South church of Killingly. The Baptists in the west part of the 
town were connected with the church in Plainfield; the east 
side Baptists joined in worship and church fellowship with their 
Rhode Island neighbors. As no religious societY was ready to 
lead, its public-spirited citizens hastened to supply the defic- 
iency by erecting a house of worship upon their own expense 
and responsibility. Sterling hill, as it is now called, was vir- 
tually the head and heart of the town, the center of business, 
the residence of the most influential citizens, and the members 
of the Sterling Hill fleeting House Association could not think 
of erecting the projected edifice in any other locality. 

The subscribers to the building of the Sterling hill meeting 
house were as follows: Francis Smith, LcA^i Kinney, David Gal- 
lup, Joshua Frink. Isaac Gallup. William Gallup, George Madi- 
son, Charles Winsor, Xathan Burlingame. Philip Potter. Archi- 
bald, Lemuel, James and John Dorrance, Stephen Olney, Pierce 
Smith, Robert and Thomas Dixon, Joshua "Webb, Benjamin 
Tuckerman, Reuben Thayer, David Field, Caleb Gushing. An- 
drew Knox, Tit^^s Bailey. Joseph Wylie, Reuben Parke, ]Moses 
Gibson, Azacl }*Iontgomery, Dixon Hall, Archibald Gordon, 
Thomas Gordon, William Vaughan, Captain Gaston, Andrew 
and Samuel Douglas, Thomas and Samuel Cole, John Kenyon, 
Sr. and Jr., George Hopkins, Asa Whitford, Benjamin Bennet. 

The subscribers, through a committee, obtained a deed from 
the heirs of Samuel Dorrance for a building lot on the east side 
of the Great Lane, now called the Green, •' for the ])urpose of 
setting a meeting house and that only, and the convenience of a 
green." The meeting house was soon completed and in the 
autumn of 1797 the town meeting occupied it instead of the house 
of Robert Dixon, which had previously been used for that pur- 
pose. Other public meetings were held in it, and occasional reli- 
gious services, but no regular worship was maintained for several 
years. In this way matters stood till about the year 1S12. when 
the Baptists, having grown stronger, were able to maintain stated 
worship, and its occupancy was given up to them. 

About 181S a post othce was established here, with Benjamin 
Tuckerman postmaster, which position he held for many years. 
The public library, which had been promised for the honor of 
naming the town but failed in its fulfilment, had been estab- 
lished years before, and was maintained at that time. Pierce 


Smith succeeded Asa Montgomery as town clerk. John Wylie, 
Thomas Backus, Dyer Ames, Richard Burling-ame, Dixon Hall, 
Jeremiah Young, John Gallup and Calvin liibbard served as 
justices. Other town offices were filled by Lemuel Dorrance, 
Obadiah Brown, Asa Whitford, Jonah Young, Archibald Dor- 
rance, John Hill, John and Azel Cole, Elias Frink, Amos Per- 
kins, Joseph Gallup, John Keigwin and Artemas Baker. Half 
of the town meetings were held in the house of Azel Cole, and 
at a later date at the house of William Fairman,"on the new 
road near the American Cotton Factory." 

From its location and surroundings the territory of Sterling is 
not subject to such violent distui'bances by flood of swelling 
streams as some of its neighbor towns. Being smaller in terri- 
tory, and its shape rather favorable thereto, it has been spared 
the burdens of road making and bridge building, which have 
been to some towns a serious drawback in their early experience. 

After organization as a town, one of their first duties was to 
examine. the circumstances of that stage road " that leads from 
Plainfield to Providence by Captain Robert Dixon's." The Turn- 
pike Society, then recently constituted, was about to lay out a 
large sum of money in alterations and improvements, and the 
.selectmen of Sterling were cited to do their part. " Taking into 
consideration the circumstances and liabilities of the town, and 
the consequences that might follow any failure or neglect," they 
proceeded to notify the inhabitants and make the proposed alter- 
ations, viz., from Archibald Dorrance's fence through Kenyon's 
field and so on to old post road; also, another piece near the 
burying-ground and Captain Colgrove's. A bridge was built 
over Moosup river near .Smith's ]\[ill — Lemuel Dorrance, John 
Gaston and John Douglas, committee. A turnpike gate Avas 
erected near the western line of the town. To facilitate its fish- 
ing interest, it was ordered that obstructions should be removed 
fnmi the river. 

School matters, like most all other public enterprises, suffered 
delay in the early years of this town, while it was part of Volun- 
town. In December, 1732, it was voted " That there shall be a 
surkelating school kep and a school-master hired at ye town's 
charge." In March, 173."), it was further ordered, "That the 
school be kept in four places, three months in a place, six months 
in ye north end and six months in ye south end, dividing ye 
town by a line from Alexander Gordon's to Ebenezer Dow's 


house— and that the master, John Dunlap, should haYe thirty 
pounds money, and sufficient meat, drink, washing- and lodging, 
for keeping school eleven months and eighteen days, and in ye 
night, when convenient." The first school house in the town 
was built in 17H7, '"four rods from ye northwest corner of ye 
meeting house," and a rate of twopence allowed for the same. 

In 1702, John Gordon was chosen grand school committee, " to 
take into his hands the school bonds belonging to the town, and 
to collect the interest on bonds, and to receive the proportion of 
money granted by Government to the town out of the Colony's 
rate, and to dispose of the same, and all other money coming 
from Plainfield, &c., and town's proportion of thesalc of Nor- 
folk." In 1766, David Eames, John Cole, Joseph Parke, Thomas 
Douglas, John Gaston, John Gordon and John Wylie were 
appointed to set out school districts throughout the town. Thir- 
teen districts were specified, each of which thenceforward man- 
aged its own school under the supervision of a " o;rand-school- 
committee-man," appointed by the tov.n. 

June 9th, 1794, John Douglas, Jr., was chosen grand school 
committee man, and a com.mittee of one for each of the seven 
school districts, viz : 1. Jencks Mason; 2. Noah Cole; 3. Elisha 
Perkins; 4. Lemuel Dorrance; 5. Asa Whitford; 6. Nathan Dow; 
7. Nathan Burlingame. 

After the organization of the town of Sterling improvements 
in schools were gradually effected. Ten school districts, accom- 
modated with good, convenient schools, were reported in a few 
years. Efforts were made to establish an academy, a company 
formed, and a suitable building erected, " standing near our new 
meeting-house, nearly in the centre of the town," where a "man- 
school was maintained throughout the year, teaching reading, 
writing, mathematics and grammar." With these public build- 
ings, Robert Dixon's well-known tavern stand, and several large, 
substantial houses built by the Dorrances and other thrifty resi- 
dents. Sterling hill presented a fine appearance, and received 
especial commendation from Doctor Dwight. After noting the 
lean soil and imperfect civilization of Western Rhode Island, he 
proceeds : 

" At Sterling we were pleasantlv advised that we had come 
to Connecticut by sight of a village with decent church and 
school-house and better houses. A beautiful prospect from 
Sterling Hill." 


Reverend Mr. Dorrance remained pastor of the town ecclesi- 
astic of Voluntown until March Hth, 1771, when, on account of 
his great age and infirmity, he was relieved. About 1772 an ec- 
clesiastical society was chartered in the south part of Voluntown, 
and the same year, as we have already seen, a society was also 
chartered in the north part. The mother church, thus crippled, 
was unable to settle a pastor, and could with difficulty maintain 
regular worship. June I^Oth, 1770, the ancient First Church of 
Voluntown was reorganized as a Congregational church accord- 
ing to Cambridge Platform, its membership including ten males 
and sixteen females. The pastoral services of Reverend Mr. 
Gilmore were then secured, and religious wor.sliip was regularly 
maintained. " Xear the close of the century, and after the organ- 
ization of Sterling, the remnant of this ancient church built a 
house of worship on the line between the towns, so that while 
the speaker stands upon the platform, one foot may be in Ster- 
ling and the other foot in Voluntown. In the last year of the 
centur}' Reverend ^Micaiah Porter, wdio had been pastor of this 
church for nineteen ^-ears, removed and left the people without 
a shepherd. The weakened congi-egation now turned to the 
Baptists, who were strong in the neighborhood, and Elder Amos 
Crandall, an open communion Baptist, occupied the Line meet- 
ing house on alternate Sabbaths for several years, preaching to 
a small congregation. Still the church was not entirely dis- 
banded. Reverend Elijah Welles, after his dismission from 
Scotland, labored with it for a year, but without marked sticcess. 
Worship was kept up in an intermittent fashion for several 
years by a few brethren. In 1S17 an appeal for aid was presented 
to the Domestic ^Missionary Society for Connecticut, and this was 
favorably answered for a time. After nearly thirty years of un-' 
certain existence, this church secured the services of a stated 
pastor, and Reverend Otis Lane was installed over it October 
29th, 1S28. Infirm health compelled his removal after a few 
years, but he was quickly succeeded by Reverend Jacob Allen, 
installed in October, 1837, who with a brief intermission re- 
mained in charge for nearly twenty years. A new meeting 
house on this site was erected in 1S5S. At the dedication of this 
the new pastor. Reverend Charles L. Ayer, was ordained. This 
dedication of house and ordination of pastor took place January 
0th, 18.")9. A new parsonage was obtained, largely through his 
efforts. He was dismissed October 27th, 18G3. Reverend Wil- 


Ham M. Birchard was installed May 4th, lb()4, and dismissed 
Mareh 2."3tli, 180S. Reverend Joseph x\yer, father of Charles L., 
came here in Xovember, ISGS, and after acting- some time as 
stated supply, was installed May 11th, ISTO. He was dismissed 
May I'Jth, 1S75, on his S2d birthday. Reverend Stephen B. Car- 
ter served the church as pastor from January 1st, IbTC, to De- 
cember 31st, 1880. John Elderkin, the present pastor, began his 
labors here in April, 18S1. The present house of worship on 
Ekonk hill was dedicated January 6th, 1859. The house before 
it occupied the same site, built in 1795 to ISOO. A burying 
ground still marks the spot where the first house of worship 
stood, about two miles northeast from the present one, on the 
west side of the road leading from Voluntown to Sterling hill 
and Oneco. In January, 1SS9, the church had 03 members. 

The meeting house on Sterling hill, which had been erected 
for general religious and town meetings, by the "• fleeting House 
Association," was used by different societies until about the year 

1812. At that time the Baptists were rising in importance and 
increasing in numbers, and the regular stated occupancy of this 
meeting house was accorded to them. This new religious inter- 
est had been developed under the preaching and labors of P21der 
Amos Welles, previously of Woodstock. Baptists in Coventiy 
and vSterling united in a new church organization February 13th, 

1813, and its pastoral charge was assumed by Elder Welles. Pub- 
lic wor.ship was held alternately at Coventrv and Sterling hill. 
Asa Montgomery was chosen deacon in 1810, and Philip Keig- 
win assistant. Xearly fifty were added to the church during the 
ministry of Elder Welles, which continued till his death in 1819. 
The Plainfield Baptist church and a neighboring church in 
Rhode Island united with this church in forming the Sterling 
Hill Association, which held a general meeting once a year, ex- 
citing a large attendance and much interest. 

After this, the church enjoyed for five years the ministrv of 
Reverend George Appleton. In April, 1829, Peleg Peckham be- 
came its pastor, continuing in charge for many 3-ears. Great re- 
vivals soon following brought in more than fiftv to the member- 
ship of the church. The connection with Coventry was dis- 
solved, and the church assumed the title of the First Baptist 
church of Sterling. John (jallup succeeded Thomas Douglas as 
clerk. Ira Crandall was chosen deacon upon the death of Dea- 
con Asa Montgomery. Philip Keigwin was also a deacon. Dur- 


iny the year 1820 a branch was established in Voluntown, which 
became independent of this church in about ten years. The 
meeting house was thoroughly reconstructed in 18G0-G1, the 
former proprietors relinquishing their claims to a new "Asso- 
ciation " and the Baptist church which had so long occupied it. 

Elder Peleg !M. Peckham took charge, as we have said, in 
1829, and continued until September. ISoO. ■ After that no stated 
preaching was had for some time. Services were conducted by 
temporary supplies. The old house stood where the present 
one does. Some of the timber of the old was worked over into 
the new. Elder Peckham died }ilay 29th, 1872, at his home in 
Sterling hill, now occupied by his grandson, Samuel P. Green. 
While the old church was in a dilapidated condition. Elder Bid- 
die preached to the congregation in the school house for a year, 
about 1857. After that. Elder Peckham, who had given up the 
ministr}' on account of throat troubles, resumed the work for 
another year — 1858. Elder Terry came in ISGl, and served the 
church till 1SG.J. Elder Thomas Dowlingcame in January, 186G, 
remaining three years. Fenner B. Dickerson ministered, to this 
people from 1870, aboiit four years. Elder W. D. Phillips was 
ordained here June 24th, 1874, but only staid about three 
months. Temporary supplies followed. L. Smith Brown was 
ordained ^Slay KJth, 1877, and remained till 1881. C. W. Potter 
began pastoral labors June 1st, 1882, and continued till April 
1st, 188.0. Elder E. S. Hill began his work here August 1st, 
1885, and still remains in charge. The church at present num- 
bers 97 members. 

At Oneco ^Methodist services have for some time been con- 
ducted, in connection with the Methodist Episcopal church of 
Moosup. At the present time (1889) a house of worship is being 
erected here by that denomination. 

At North Sterling, in the northeast part of the town, a Union 
Free Will Baptist church has been started. This settlement is 
on the Rhode Island line, and the meeting house stands beyond 
the line in that state. A number of the inhabitants in this town 
are connected with it. 

The uprising of the manufacturing interest gave Sterling a 
fresh impetus in growth and prosperity, Asa Ames, Isaac Pit- 
man and Samuel Dorrance and Dixon Hall, of Sterling, in ISOS, 
as the Sterling Manufacturing Company, buying land " at a 
ledge of rocks, called the ' Devil's Den Chimney;' thence west 


by and down a small brook to Moosup River." The Sterling 
Manufactory was ready for work in ISOO. Sterling's manufac- 
turing facilities were well improved during the early part of 
the present century. Its first factory, built by Dorrance, Hall 
and others, was destroyed by fire soon after its completion, but 
its site was soon occupied by a larger building under the more 
exclusive management of Samuel Ames of I'rovidence, which 
was described in 1818 as " one of the largest manufacturing 
establishments in the State, running sixteen hundred spindles." 
The buildings for the accommodation of the workmen were 
built of stone, taken from the ledge of rocks included in the 
company's purchase. This " Devil's Den Chimney," as it was 
previously called, possessed, according to Xi/cs' Gazetteer, "very 
singular and curious features," viz: 

" It is situated within a ledge of rocks, and has a circular area 
of about lOi) feet in diameter. The rock is cleft in two places, 
forming at each a chasm or fissure of about 50 feet deep, through 
one of which there runs a small stream of water; the other com- 
municates with a room of about twelve feet square, at the inter- 
ior part of which there is a fireplace and a ehiinney extending 
through the rock above, forming an aperture of about three 
feet square. In another part of the rock there is a natural stair- 
case winding around it from the bottom to the top. In the cold 
season of the year a large mass of ice is formed in the room 
above described by the dashing of water through the chimney, 
which continues there through nearly the whole of the warm 
months, the sun being almost excluded from this subterraneous 

The American Factory upon the Quanduck, and a small cot- 
ton factory upon the Moosup were also carried on. Three grain 
mills, one carding machine, one fulling mill and clothiery 
works, two tanneries, four mercantile stores and two taverns 
were reported in 1818. 

For many years the cotton factories continued in operation, 
furnishing employment to male and female operatives, and a 
ready market for farmers. The Sterling Company manifested 
much enterprise, and was one of the first in the country to 
whiten their cloth by the use of chlorine instead of sun bath. 
Mr. William Pike effected this invention, and also experimented 
in wood distillation, extracting for the use of the dyer the first 
pyroligneous acid made in the country. Ilis success encouraged 


him to further enterprise. Brandy and gin di.stilleries had fallen 
into disrepute, but the transformation of wood into various 
chemical agencies met with nothing but favor. Three of these 
"sap works" were in time established— two in Sterling, one in 
Voluutown — requiring some five or six thousand cords of wood 
annually, and at least a score of men to prepare the wood and 
aid in the working. Pyroligneous and citric acids, sugar of 
lead, tincture of iron, naphtha and fine charcoal were among the 
products of distillation. Mr. Pike had his residence on Sterling 
hill, in one of the line old Dorrance houses, and was much re- 
spected as one of the leading men of the town. He was the 
first to introduce one horse wagons into use, paying for them 
in cotton yarn. Charcoal making was carried on quite exten- 
sively in Sterling. 

Jeremiah W. Boswell was born in Fo.ster, R. I., and came to 
Sterling, Conn., in 1S76. He learned the trade of stone cutter 
and commenced quarrying granite about one-fourth of a mile 
east of Sterling Dye Works in 1SS7. He employs about twenty- 
five men. The stone is of superior quality for building pur- 
poses, and finds a ready market in Providence, Norwich and 
other places. 

The village of Oneco, in the central part of the town, was 
foiinded by Henry Sabin, of Plainfield, who built a small cotton 
factory here about the year 1830. Successive owners gave it 
their names till it was finally re-christened by the Norwich pro- 
prietors, who now utilize its granite, working its fine quarries 
to good advantage. Indications of yet more valuable ore have 
been found in the vicinity. Among these are specimens of 
plumbago and dendrite, and such large and glittering quartz 
crystals, that their chief depository is known as "the Diamond 
Ledge." , The famous "DcviTs Den Chimney" was blown up to 
make way for the railroad when that was building. 

About ISGO Smith & Williams commenced quarrying granite 
at what is now known as Garvey Brothers' quarry. They were 
succeeded by A. & W. Sprague, and in 1S84 by Garvey Brothers, 
of Providence, who employ at the quarry and in connection with 
it about 120 men. The granite quarried here is used for paving, 
building and monumental purposes in Providence, New York, 
Chicagoandmany other places, and is also sent to England. Their 
facilities for handling stone are not surpassed, a railroad run- 
ning direct to the ledge. ^Ir. John Garvey, who. since the death 


of his brother ^[ichael, in 1?87, has been sole manager, came to 
this country in 1809 with about fiYe dollars in his pocket. He 
learned the trade of stone cutter, became a contractor and builder, 
and, by his industry, has built up a large and increasing busi- 

Oscar F. Gibson, son of Allen Gibson, was born in Sterling in 
1835. In 1886 he commenced quarrying granite about one 
mile west of Oneco village. He employs about 20 men. The 
stone are chiefly used for building, and find a ready market. 
Mr. Gibson represented Sterling m the legislature of 1880. He 
married Ellen, daughter of Arnold Dixon, and has two sons, 
Allen M. and Merrill A. 

The cotton manufacturing interests of the town have declined. 
Factories burned down have not been replaced. Its natural re- 
sources now furnish its chief reliance. The "sap works" of ^Ir. 
James Pike continue to resolve the forests into their component 
elements, consuming annually some two or three thousand cords 
of hard wood, employing a number of workmen, and extracting 
and combining a variety of useful products. A specialty of this 
unique establishment is the dissolution of refuse tin and iron, 
battered tin pans, rusty stove pipes and the like, by which these 
heretofore indestructible nuisances are made subservient to the 
will and use of man. Stimulated by the enterprises, Gneco bids 
fair to become a place of business importance, has a new public 
hall and public-spirited residents. 

A Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, was recently organized 
here by Mr. Bowcn, the state lecturer of that order. It had 
thirty-six charter members. The location of the Grange is at 
the " Line meeting house."' where it was organized, and only a 
part of its membership belong to this county. Its first officers 
were as follows : John E. Tanner, ISL: E. P>yron Gallup. O. ; A. 
A. Stanton, L. ; G. A. Youngs, S. ; Silas Barber, A. S. : Mrs. Na- 
thaniel Gallup, L. A. S.; Reverend John Elderkin, C.: Benjamin 
G. StantoTi, secretary: J. Cyrus Tanner, treasurer; ]Miss Minnie 
Elderkin, P.; Addie E. Gallup, F. ; :\Irs. J. E. Fenner, C. ; Ezra 
A. Gallup, G. K. 

Biographical Sketches. 

Ambrose H. Bates.— William Bates, who resided in Coventry, 
Rhode Island, married Mary Hopkins. To this union were born 
twelve children, of whom Ambrose II. is the subject of this 

;i.. . nj-jT. iw . 1 J St J -*¥ i* Jkil ^- ^iii^ i- *»y ' ^ '■'» *»wiilii,^ j >»mfy^ ! ig ' . -jf r ^ 


'<Sh^' - ^. 



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sketch. His birth occurred February 21st, 1S32, in Coventry, 
where he resided until his eighteenth year. He enjoyed but lim- 
ited opportunities for acquiring an education, but in later years 
by careful and intelligent reading of the best literature, in a 
measure made amends for the want of early advantages, and 
thus possessed a well-stored and disciplined mind. 

At the age of eighteen he entered the whaling service and for 
twenty years followed a seafaring life, cruising in various parts 
of the world on extended voyages. On abandoning his vocation 
he settled in Oneco, in the town of Sterling, and began a mer- 
cantile career as the proprietor of a country store. Mr. Bates 
continued thus employed for five years, and after an interval of 
of leisure again engaged in business as an undertaker, estab- 
lishing a large and increasing patronage, which was maintained 
until his death on the 21st of February, 1SS5, in his fifty-third 
year. He enjoyed an extended acquaintance among public men 
throughout the state, was a man of progressive ideas, and active 
in the promotion of various useful enterprises. A democrat in 
his political views, he filled a number of local oflices and in 1877 
represented his town in the Connecticut legislature, llv. Bates 
was also identified with the ]\lasonic fraternity, in which he oc- 
cupied a leading position. 

He wds, August 12th, ISGl, married to Diana E., daughter of 
Orren Kenyon, of Coventry, Rhode Island. He was a man of 
strong personality, an indomitable will and rare natural gifts, 
and had he been possessed of the advantages of early education 
would have risen to a high position in the state. Mr. Bates dur- 
ing his life traveled over the greater part of the world. He 
spent several seasons in the Arctic regions, man\' times "rounded 
Cape Horn," and at various times lived in the Hawaian Islands. 
Entering the whaling service, as he did, in ISoO, at the time 
when it was most lucrative, as welj. as the most dangerous, his 
life was an extended series of adventure and peril. From the 
very bottom of the ladder he rose in a few years to the highest po- 
sition in the service, that of owner and master of a vessel — a 
thing which rarely occurred. 

J.-\.MKS PiKK. — John Pike, the common ancestor of the branch 
of the Pike family residing in Connecticut, settled in Salem, 
Massachusetts, in 1GG4. He was the progenitor of Jonas Pike, 
of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, who married a descendant of Peri- 
grine White, the first white child born m Xew England. Their 


foui- sons were : David, Ephraim, Jonas and Jesse. There -was 
also one daughter. Amy. David married Elizabeth Pitman, of 
Newport, Rhode Island. Their children were two sons, William 
and James Pitman; and two daughters, Lucy, wife of David 
Baylcss.and Xancy, who married Abijah Prouty. William Pike 
left Sturbridge in 1810 and settled in Sterling. He learned from 
his father, who was by trade a hatter, the art of coloring. In 
the year 1811 he began the dyeing of cotton yarns and later as- 
sumed the charge of the dye house of the Sterling Manufactur- 
ing Company. Removing to Pawtucket he introduced the bleach- 
ing of cottons by chlorine, and thus superseded the primitive 
method of bleaching in the sun. In 1814 he was employed by 
the vSterling Manufacturing Company, and a year later started 
the manufacture of pyroligneous acid for the use of the dyers' 
art. About this date he established the firm of William Fike 
& Co., for the manufacture of the above acid, in Sterling. He 
married Lydia Campbell, to whom were born five children, the 
only survivors being James, the subject of this biography, and 
Wiilian^. " 

James Pike was born December 31st, 182G, in Sterling, the 
scene of his lifetime btisiness experiences. After a season at the 
public schools he became a pupil of the Plainfield Academy 
and the Scituate Seminary. Soon after he found employment 
in the mills of the vSterling ^Manufacturing Company, and sub- 
sequently aided his father in the manufacture of chemicals. 
Meanwhile, by a series of experiments, he discovered a pro- 
cess of coloring black, which fur permanency and general ex- 
cellence was superior to any dye in He at once organ- 
ized the vSterling Dyeing and Finishing Company, in which 
he holds the controlling interest and for which he is the agent. 
So favorably received was this new process that the capacity 
of the works was soon inadequate to the demand, and exten- 
sive additions have since been made, most of the buildings 
being substantial stone structures. To this business his time 
and attention are exclusively given. 

Mr. Pike was married on the l(»th of :\Iay, 18r)R, to :\Iary E., 
daughter of Abram Shepard, of Brooklyn, Connecticut. Their 
children were: J. Edward, who is engaged with his father in 
business; Lydia Campbell, wife of Clarvamon Hunt; Mary 
E. ; Harriet E., wife of George Call ; and one who is de- 
ceased. Mr. Pike is a republican in politics. He served as 







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railroad commissioner from ISGS to 1S71, has held various town 
offices and while a member of the state legislature served on 
the committee on banks. He is a member of Moriah Lodge 
of Free and Accepted Masons of Danielsonville, and a sup- 
porter of the Congregational church. 

Avery A. Stanton.— The subject of this sketch was born in 
Preston, Conn., in 1S37, is a son of Lodowick Stanton, and the 
great-great-grandson of General Thomas Stanton, who came from 
England and settled in Stonington, Conn. His great-grandfather, 
John Stanton (known as AVarrior Stanton), served in the French 
and Indian war and also fought in the revolutionary war, com- 
ing from battle with eighteen bullet holes .shot through his coat. 
The mother of Avery A. Stanton was a daughter of Deacon John 
Stanton, who was a son :f Joshua Stanton, whose father Wash- 
ington also came from England. His brothers are Captain John 
L. (who fell at the siege of Port Hudson), Alburtus S. and Rev- 
erend William E. 

In 1848, Mr. Stanton and his motlier removed to Voluntown, 
Conn., his father having died one vear previous. He received 
his education at the schools of Voluntown, East Greenwich, R. 
I., and at the Connecticut Literary Institution, ef Suffield, Conn. 
He taught school about eight years in Eastern Connecticut and 
Rhode Island, and in 180:? settled in the town of Sterling, Conn., 
where he has since resided, engaged in farming and the lumber 
business. In 18G4 he was elected one of the school visitors of 
Sterling, which position he held for twenty-four years. In 1873 
he \yas elected first selectman, and has held other important 
town offices, being town agent and auditor for a number of 
years. In 1874 he represented the town of Sterling in the state 
legislature. In 1884 he was appointed by the governor of the 
state county commissioner to fill an unexpired term, and was 
chosen by the legislature of 1884 to the same oflice for a term of 
three years. He still holds this position, having been reap- 
pointed for a second term of four years. 

Mr. Stanton is married to Laura, daughter of Benjamin Gallup, 
of Voluntown, and has five sons — Walter A., John B., Benjamin 
G., William E. and Albert H. — and three daughters — Nettie E., 
Ella C. and Lottie E. Mr. Stanton belongs to a family that is 
able lo trace 6,000 relatives. 



Location, Description, Geolotc.v. — Pre-historic Oecuiiants. — The Indians of tliis 
Region. — Early White Settlfis. — Qiiinnatisset Hill. — Increase of Population. 
— Land Controversies. — Pattaquatie. — Highways in the Wilderness. — Bridge 
Building. — Samuel Morris. — Early Attempt to secure Town Privileges.— Sec- 
ond or North Society of Killingly. — Thompson Parish. — Land west of the 
Quinebang annexed. — Building the Meeting House. — Religious Worship Es- 
tablislied. ^Military Conipany. — Non-resident Land-owners. — Various Im- 
provements.— Schools.— Town Affairs.— The French War.— Tlio Old Red 
Tavern. — Business and Finance.— The Revolutionary Period.— Quadic Ship- 
yard. — Petitions for Town Privileges. 

THO^IPSON occupies the northeast corner of the state of 
Connecticut, bordering- north on Massachusetts and east 
on Rhode Island. Its territory is ample, about eight miles 
by six, coinprising 4S.49 square miles. The Quinebaug and 
French rivers, flowing through the west of the town, unite below 
Mechanicsville. The Five-mile or Assawaga river is near the 
eastern border. Capacious reservoirs greatly augment the vol- 
ume of these streams and multiply the manufacturing facilities 
of the town. The surface of the soil is much broken and diver- 
sified, particularly between the rivers, and so encumbered by 
stones as to make its cultivation very laborious. Granite ledges 
underlie the hills, and myriads of detached stones overlie field 
and pasture. Sixty years ago Niles' " Connecticut Gazetteer" 
reported "more miles of wall fence in Thompson than in any 
town of the State," and it is doubtful if this record has been 
broken. Elaborate and unique stone walls in all parts of the 
town testify to the ingenuity and industry of the farmer. ^Many 
well-cultivated farms, neat and convenient farm houses, and a 
general aspect of thriftiness indicate a further triumph over 
natural disadvantages. In spite of hard and stony soil, farming 
in Thompson has not been unremunerative, and the majority of 
her farmers are well-to-do and comfortable. The eastern part 
of the town is less favored— a barren ridge of rocky woodland, 


stretching into Rhode Island and southward to the Sound. 
With increasing emigration and modern methods of farming, 
less pains are taken to cultiYate poor soil, and many fields and 
pastures are left to grow up into forest, and though much wood 
is cut off and sent to market, much more is growing than there 
was fifty years ago. 

The territory now included in Thompson was, prior to white 
settlement, a part of the Xipmuck country, though also claimed 
by the Narragansetts. The Great Pond, Chaubunakongko-, just beyond itspresent northern boundary, was the "bound 
mark " between the Nipmucks and Narragansetts. An Indian 
captain named Allum or Hyems gave his name to the little Al- 
lum pond, near its northeast corner. In the days of John 
Eliot's missionary labors. 1G7O-1074, the Xipmucks were in 
ascendency, occupying a fort on the hill east of what is now 
Thompson hill. This latter hill and the surrounding country 
was known as Quinnatisset, and the little brook circuiting from 
" the meadow " into the French river was called Quinnatisset 
brook. Through the faithful labors of Eliot's Indian mission- 
aries the Quinnatisset residents were persuaded to gather into 
a village on the hill, where a large wigwam was constructed, 
visible as late as ITt'iO. Twentv families, .containing about a 
hundred souls, were reported to Eliot, partly civilized and in- 
clined to religious worship, to whom was sent in 1674 " a sober 
and pious young man of Xatick, called Daniel, to be their min- 
ister, whom they accepted in the Lord." The breaking out of 
King Philip's war quickly obliterated the results of missionary 
labor. The Quinnatisset Xipmucks joined the Xarragansetts 
and were mostly destroyed. The fort in Quinnatisset, known 
as " Fort Xo. 1 in the Xipmuck Country," was assaulted and 
demolished, but the aboriginal cellar on Fort hill, described by 
surveyors in ir>S4 as "the ruins of an old Indian fort," is visible 
until this day, one of the oldest and best authenticated Indian 
relics in Windham cuunty. ^lany Indian utensils and arrows, 
found in this vicinity and the adjacent Pattaquatic (now Quadic), 
show that this Assawaga valley was once a favorite resort. The 
remains of corn rows were distinctly seen upon Fort hill within 
the memory of older inhabitants. 

In connection with the general settlement of Indian affairs 
following King Philip's defeat, five thousand acres of land at 
Quinnatisset were included in the reservation allowed to the 


Indians. This land was immediately made over to the Massachu- 
setts agents, Messrs Stoughton and Dudley, and soon after sold 
to non-resident English gentlemen. June 18th, 1G8.S, two thou- 
sand acres of "forest land in the Xipmuck Country," including 
the present Thompson hill and surrounding land, was conveyed 
to Thomas Freak, Hamingtou, Wells county, England, and a 
two thousand acre tract, east of the above, was soon after sold to 
Sir Robert Thompson, North Newington, Middlesex, p:ngland— 
the initial bound between the tracts running through the cellar 
of the old fort. Another large slice of the Indian reservation, 
east of the Quinebaug or Myanexet, now occupied by New Bos- 
ton village, was secured by Joseph Dudley, and smaller farms 
by other non-residents. These farms were all laid out in 1684, 
the earliest of any in Windham county, b)ut owing to the uncer- 
tain tenure of the land, they were not improved for many years. 
The suivey under which :Massachusetts claimed Quinnatisset 
and the adjacent Senexet (now WoodstockUvas clearly errone- 
ous. Woodward and Safi'ery's line, dividing Massachusetts and 
Connecticut colonies, deflected southward six or eight miles, 
striking the Connecticut river at Windsor. The protracted 
boundary quarrel greatly discouraged settlement, and it was not 
till after 1713, when Massachusetts consented to rectify the line 
provided she could keep all the towns she had settled, that much 
progress was made. The township of Killingly had meanwhile 
been settled and organized, and as it was certain that Connecti- 
cut's claim would ultimately prevail, a few settlers had straggled 
in north of that town. 

The first known and datable settler within the limits of the 
present Thompson was Richard Dresser, of Rowley, Mass., who 
in 1707 purchased "the place called Nashaway,"a beautiful'farni 
west of the Quinebaug, at its junction with the French river, a 
little south of the present Mechanicsville. His son Jacob, born 
in 1710, was the first white boy born upon Thompson territory. 
Sampson Howe followed the next year, settling between the 
rivers. Farther north, between the rivers, land was taken up 
by Isaac Jewett and John Younglove, whose premises were so 
infested with bears, wolves and Indians, that a log fort or garri- 
son was needed for protection. The first settler m the vicinity 
of Quinnatisset hill was Samuel Converse, of Woburn, who, with 
wife and four sons, in 1710 took possession of what was known 
as the Quinnatisset farm, about a mile south of the hill ^now 



occupied by Mr. Stephen Ballard). Mr. Converse was a man of 
middle age and excellent position and character, and was long 
regarded\s the father of the growing settlement. His resi- 
dence was the first south of the great wilderness between the 
colonies, traversed yet only by blazed paths, and served as a 
welcome resting place to many a wearied traveler. On the 
doubtful border-land adjacent Killingly the first settler was 
Richard Evans, as early as in 1093. His establishment, with 
"tenement of houses, barn, orchard, tanning pits and fulling 
mill," was purchased by Simon Bryant, of Braintree, in 1713, 
the happy father of seven blooming and capable daughters, the 
future mothers of many a Thompson family. The oldest daugh- 
ter, Hannah, married her neighbor. William Larned, another 
early settler in this vicinity. Thomas Whitmore, James Wilson, 
Joseph Cady, Samuel Lee' Jonathan Hughes, were among the 
early re-sidents of this old " South Neighborhood " very promi- 
nent in Thompson aflairs, although their various farms and 
homesteads are now within the limits of Putnam. 

The first regular settler in the northwest of Thompson was a 
man of much character and influence, SaiBuel Ivlorris, son of 
Edward :^Iorris, of Woodstock, who purchased fifteen hundred 
acres of the Dudley land on the Quinebaug in 171-i. The " old 
Connecticut Path,"''long the chief thoroughfare of travel between 
Boston and southern colonies, ran past his dwelling house and 
through a mile of his estate. One of his first achievements was 
to bridge the turbulent and troublesome Quinebaug, then 
greatly addicted to freshets. He also built two smaller bridges 
over tributaries, expended time and labor in clearing out the 
channel of the river, and greatly improved the road and kept it 
in order. His energy and prowess gave him great influence 
over his Indian neighbors of Woodstock and the reservation 
northward, who honored him with the title of governor. Gov- 
ernor ^Morris was emphatically the great man of this section, and 
it was said that a blast from his conch-shell would bring a hun- 
dred Indians to his aid. Wild land south of the :Morris farm, west 
of the Quinebaug, was owned and settled by Woodstock resi- 
dents. ~rhe first to take possession were John Dwight. John 
Corbin and Penucl Child. Freak's farm, on Ouinnatisset hill. 
passed on to Josiah Wolcott. of Salem, and his wife, Mary, niece 
of the original proprietor. In 17K", Wolcott, for />J(i(). conveyed 
four hundred acres on the summit of this lull to Captain John 


Sabin, first settler of Pomfret, agreeing " to defend said Sabin 
in quiet and peaceable possession of the premises, so that he be 
not forcibly ejected." With this guaranty, Captain Sabin 's son 
Hezekiah took possession of the present Thompson hill and soon 
put up a large frame house, known even within the present cen- 
tury as " the old Red Tavern." This tavern soon became a place 
of familiar resort, especially when a country road was laid over 
the hill, accommodating Plainfield and Killingly with more di- 
rect communication with Boston. Along the French or Little 
Quinebaug settlers had already gathered, viz., David Shapley, 
Samuel Davis, James Hosmer, Nathaniel Crosby, Henry Elli- 

Land north of Ouinnatisset hill was bought up by Governor 
Saltonstall and Sampson Howe and sold out to settlers. Among 
these permanent residents were Comfort Starr, of Dedham ; Ben- 
jamin Bixby, of Topsfield, and his nephew Jacob ; Israel Joslyn, 
of Salem ; Nathaniel Wight, Abraham Burrill, John Wiley, Na- 
thaniel Brown, Joseph Ellis, James Coats, Samuel Narramore. 
Ivor}' Upham, of }vlalden,and Nathaniel Jacobs, of Bristol, R. I., 
were somewhat later in settlement. The first resident propri- 
etor of land eastward in the vicinity of Quadic, was Henry Green, 
of Maiden, with eight sons, in 1719. John Ha.scall, of ^Sliddle- 
borough, Edward Zyluuyan and William ]Moft"att, of Salem, also 
settled on the eastern line. Nathaniel jSIerrill purchased a farm 
near Quadic pond, now owned by ^Mr. Horace Bixby. His near- 
est neighbor on the west was Jonathan Clough, of Salisbury, 
whose old house is still standing, owned by 'Mr. Asa Ross. 

The rapid increase of population in all parts of this tract was 
the more remarkable, considering its chaotic condition. The 
old boundary difficulty was slow in healing. Killingly regarded 
with great contempt the claims of its non-resideut proprietors, 
and would gladly have ousted them from all possession, insisting 
that her town patent extended to the new boundary line of 1713, 
and rightfully covered the whole ground. In 1721 the select- 
men of Killingly, without permission from government, pro- 
ceeded to lay out portions of this ungranted land and make it 
over to previous residents and new comers, and exercised in 
many ways unlawful authority over these settlers. The original 
white proprietors of Ouinnatisset and their representatives, Paul 
and William Dudley, Samuel ^1 orris, the agent of Sir Jo.seph 
Thompson, and Josiah Wolcott, very strenuously opposed these 


efforts of Killingly, and insisted that she had no right beyond 
the Woodward and Saffery line, on which she was laid out, 
and that the land north of this line should be erected into a 
distinct and independent township. As early as 1714 these gen- 
tlemen petitioned the general assembly for a town, and secured 
a vote in their favor from the upper house, but were unable to 
earr}' the lower. The government was poor and embarassed; 
Killingly was most persistent in her claim and conduct, and im- 
mediate decision was inexpedient. Delay only increased the 
difficulty of decision ; both parties were too powerful to be 
offended, and so the matter drifted for many years. Killingly 
received permission to levy rates on the inhabitants for the sup- 
port of her minister, but her petition to annex the land was 
flatly rejected, and she was positively forbidden to exercise any 
jurisdiction west of the Ouinebaug. This strip of land border- 
ing on Woodstock was long left "a peculiar" — unstated to any 
town, subject only to New London county and the general gov- 
ernment. Possibly this very lack of organization made settle- 
ment therein more desirable and attainable, especially as con- 
trasted with neighboring towns, where land was held by strong 
corporations and new comers subjected to very severe scrutiny, 
while Killingly opened heart and lands to all immigrants, and 
especially those who were willing to run the risk of ejection. 
Many sterling citizens received their original homesteads under 
the irregular if not unlawful apportionment of 1721. In several 
cases settlers were obliged to give up their allotments, the gov- 
ernment of Connecticut always confirming the claims of non- 
resident land owners when a suit was brought to issue. It is 
very creditable to these early residents, that in spite of land dis- 
putes and the absence of local town officers, there is so little 
trace of disturbance. Practically they were left to shift for them- 
selves ; they had no schools, no suitable roads, no selectmen or 
constables, and only the privilege of attending church in Kill- 
ingly 's far-off meeting house. 

Scattered over a wide section, still mostly a savage wilderness, 
they broke up land and built their log houses, knowing so little 
of each other that three families settling on the eastern frontier 
in 1721 supposed themselves the only inhabitants north of Kill- 
ingly. The ten-years old boy of one of these families, 'Joseph 
Munyan, delighted in old age to tell the story of their emigra- 
tion and early experiences. Over the long, rough road from 


Salem to the purchased homestead, they brought their scanty 
household goods and stock— six cows, ten sheep, four hogs- 
sleeping by night on their cart, and foraging as best they could. 
Oxen were hired to draw the cart from one settlement to an- 
other. Reaching their new home after a long and wearisome 
journey, they found but rocks and wilderness. The great oak 
under which they encamped was covered with wild turkevs in 
the morning. Game of all kinds was abundant ; brooks swarmed 
with fish ; wolves chased and terrified the cattle. Pine knots 
were burned through the night to keep oft" wild beasts and In- 
dians. During the first summer they built a log house and broke 
up and planted some land, from which in the autumn the daugh- 
ters harvested three aprons full of corn. Luring the hard sum- 
mers of 1725 and 172G. when crops were everywhere cut oft' bv 
drought and frost, the Munyans were obliged to travel to old 
Hadley, in Massachusetts, to buy corn, a journey almost equal 
to that of Joseph's brethren into Egypt. 

Henry Green and his numerous sons were verv helpful in for- 
warding settlement at J^attaquatic. A saw mill was soon set up 
and in full motion, the dam built by the beavers furnishing suffi- 
cient water power. One of the most northerly settlers on the 
road to Boston was Benjamin Bixby, a little west of the present 
Brandy hill, whose house was also used as a tavern. Here oc- 
curred the only reported instance of Indian disturbance— the 
shooting of }vlrs. Bixby in the thigh by a drunken IMohegan for 
refusing to give him more liquor, for which injury ^17 was for- 
warded to ]Mr. Bixby by the Indians at Xew London. "The aw- 
ful providence of heaven," in further visiting the unfortunate 
Mrs. Bixby by lightning stroke in a terrific thunder shower, 
called out universal sympathy and compassion, even Governor 
Saltonstall expressing his "tender concern" at this series of 

Perhaps the most serious inconvenience resulting from the 
unorganized condition of the future Thompson was inability to 
provide suitable roads. To make a good road in its hard and rock- 
bound soil was a very difficult enterprise, requiring the authority 
of selectmen or suitable officers. Lacking such authority, the .'ct- 
tlers simply " trod out "their own ways from house to house, 
and to such points as enabled them to communicate with the 
outer world. For public roads there was the "old Connecticut 
Path," obliquely crossing from Massachusetts line into Wood- 


stock, below tlie site of the present New Boston. There was also 
the road from Plainfield, a wretched " old gangway," as it was 
sometimes called, very nearly corresponding with the present 
north and south road through the town. The entire lack of all 
other accommodations may be gathered from the universal cry 
that arose from all sections simultaneously, for " i^oads to Thomp- 
son meeting house " when that edifice was opened for public 
worship. They seemed demanded not merely as a matter of 
convenience, but out of respect to the day and occasion. Home- 
made, trodden-out paths might answer forgoing to mill and vis- 
iting neighbors, but a special "go-to-meeting" road seemed as 
indispensable as' Sunday clothes. The only apparent use for a 
road was " to travel to Thompson meeting house " upon ; at least 
no other object was hinted at in the numerous petitions with 
which Killingly was deluged. The selectmen of this town, only 
too happy to exercise authority over this coveted section, ap- 
pointed a committee in ] 730 to go to the parish of Thompson 
and to take a view and see what ways they need to go to their 
meeting house, and lay out what they think best, modifying this 
order by the subsequent vote—" That for the future every per- 
son that shall move to this town to have any way altered or re- 
moved, it shall be done at the petitioner's cost and charge." So 
arduous was the task laid upon the committee, so large the num- 
ber of roads demanded, and so difficult of manufacture, that it 
seemed quite unable to grapple with it, and in the great major- 
ity of cases simply confirmed the roads "as trod out," or made 
slight alterations and improvements. Among the roads thus 
altered was the one "beginning west side of Ouinebaug River, 
near ]\[rs. Dresser's, and on between Captain Howe's house and 
barn to the French River . . . and so as the road is now trod 
to ye meeting house " — varying little from the present road to 
West Thompson. 

The road from " Sabin's Bridge " (now Putnam Centre) 
was a very remarkable achievement, accommodating Joseph 
Cady, Deacon Eaton and other widely separated prominent 
citizens, and also contriving to intersect " the path by which 
Simon Bryant already traveleth from his own dwelling 
house to Thompson meeting house." Still more remarkable 
was a road laid out bv a special committee "chosen to view ye 
circumstances in ye quarter of ye Greens." which, .starting from 
Thomas Whitmore's corner (now Whittlesy's, Putnam), mean- 


dered leisurely about Pattaquatic, from Bloss's pasture along- 
side of a brook to an oak near Phinehas Green's house, thence 
to another oak in Henry Green's pasture, crossing and recrossing 
the stream at lower and upper fordways, and after accommodat- 
ing all the families of that section, wound through ^Merrill's im- 
proved land "into the old road over Quinnatisset Brook, and so 
as the road goes till it comes into the country road, southwest 
corner of Hezekiah Sabin's little orchard, foreside of the meet- 
ing house." This very ancient road, "old "in 1735, is still ex- 
tant and in good condition, forming the southern side of that 
nondescript geometrical conformation east of the village of 
Thompson called by courtesy " The Square." A venerable Sea- 
konk sweeting and one or two Roxbury russets are the sole sur- 
vivors of this primitive orchard. One of the ways left "as 
trod," to evolve itself in time into a passable cart road, was one 
demanded bv Ilascall, near the ^lassachusetts line, who had to 
let down twelve pairs of bars on his way to meeting. The con- 
dition of the road over wliich Samuel ^lorris was required to 
travel to that distant shrine will be best described by himself 
in another place. Among old roads still in use is what is 
called the "Mountain Road" to Putnam, which was laid out 
in 1703. To this very irregular and inconvenient style of road- 
making the present residents of Thompson are indebted for the 
number and variety of rural, romantic, roundabout drives for 
which it is distinguished, dating back to those old days when 
every household in town had a special vs-ay of its own. 

Tlie problem of bridge-making weighed verv heavily upon 
the early settlers of Windham county. To construct a bridge 
that could withstand the swollen current of the raging Ouine- 
baug, whose ravages it was declared " could not be paralleled in 
the colony," seemed beyond human attainment. Again and 
again bridges were constructed at great cost and labor, only to 
be swept away in a few months. Yet, in the face of all this dis- 
couragement, ]Mr. Samuel Morris contrived to build a bridge 
over the Ouinebaug at his settlement, in 1717, which did good 
service for many years. Xo wonder that his Indian followers 
looked upon him as almost a supernatural power, and that the 
genei^al assembly should exempt him from " paying any rates 
whatever" for the term of ten years. In 1722 a cart bridge was 
built over the Ouinebaug by Sampson Howe and John Dwight, 
upon the road over which the latter afterward traveled to meet- 


ing — a good bridge and great convenience to the public; but as 
a bridge had just been built below the High falls by Captain 
Sabin, with assistance from government, these builders were 
obliged to pay their own expenses. In process of time all the 
more traveled roads were supplied with bridges. A bridge was 
built over the French river by Henry EUithorpe. on the present 
site of Grosvenor Dale, wiiich bore his name for many years. 

In 1727 the non-resident land owners in the colony land north 
of Killingly, together with Samuel Morris, made another earnest 
attempt to procure town privileges. Desiring '• to have each 
one enjoy his purchase because it is inhabitants that do make a 
town, and a great part of the remaining land is rough and 
broken and but little more fit to be inhabited," they felt that all 
interests demanded "that a new town may be made there, so 
that we may know what town we are in." But the forcible pleas 
and representations of Killingly's foremost citizens— Joseph 
Leavens and Joseph Cady— decided the case against them, and 
it was decreed that a religious society or precinct should be 
erected instead of the desired township. By act of assembly, 
Jklay, 1728, a society was formally set off and incorporated, 
known at first as the vSecond or North society of Killingly, and 
soon after as Thompson parish. Its southern bound was a line 
near the present residence of ^Ii\J\Villia m Converse.j )f Putnam, 
extending west to the QuinebaugTnd^ast to Rhode Island. Or- 
ganization was effected July 9th, 1728. By warrant from Justice 
Joseph Leavens, the inhabitants of the new precinct met on 
Ouinnatissct hill, at the dwelling house of Hezekiah Sabin. Jon- 
athan Hough was chosen moderator. "They then voted and 
chose Sampson Howe clerk for said society; the same, with Hez- 
ekiah Sabin and Benjamin Bixby, were chosen committee of the 
society." As the first object of their organization, they then 
voted, "To hire a minister to preach the gospel in said society, 
and to begin with us to preach the first Lord's day in August 
next ensuing; also, that ^Ir. Wales should be invited to preach 
the gospel to us and to continue with us for the space of six 
months." The place for public worship was not specified, but 
it was probably in Sabin's tavern house, as the most accessible 
from all parts of the society. 

At the second society meeting it was proposed " To vote in 
the peculiars," meaning the residents west of the Quinebaug. 
A somewhat singular vote was passed August 13th. viz.: "Whether 


every man that hath a house and land of his own belonging to 
this society, shall have liberty to vote and act with us in all affairs 
relating to the settling the worship of God in said society," and 
it passed in the negative. September 9th it was put to a vote, 
whether the society would ever build a meeting house, and it 
passed in the affirmative. PY'cling their wa>- carefully, item by 
item, it was agreed that the meeting house should be fifty feet 
long, forty feet wide and twenty-four feet stud, and that John 
Comings should be improved to be master workman in hewing 
and framing — having five shillings a day and his victuals. Sep- 
tember 20th, the very important question, where to set the 
meeting house, was in order, and it was voted — " That it be set 
south side and near to the road that leads from John Cooper's to 
Benjamin Bixby"s, right before the door of the house of Hcze- 
ekiah Sabin, near where was an old wigwam " — a site near the 
center of the present common. An acre c)f land for a meeting 
house was given to the society by Mr. Sabin. "The affare of 
building our meeting house " was entrusted to Xathaniel Merrill, 
John Wiley, Uriah and Jaazaniah Hosmer, Hezekiah Sabin and 
Benjamin Bixby as a committee. It was also voted, "To give 
every man that works about the meeting house three shillings 
per day, he finding himself ; that every man allowed to hew 
timber shall have three and sixpence ; that the oxen that shall 
go to work about the meeting house shall be allowed eighteen 
pence per day ; a horse that draweth, one shilling; for a cart, 
one shilling." 

Further legislation in October gave the new society additional 
territory and powers. The " Peculiar," west of the Ouinebaug, 
was formally annexed to the North society of Killingly. A 
yearly tax of ten shillings upon every hundred acres of land 
within its bounds was granted for four years, and the societv 
committee empowered to use the money thus raised in building 
a meeting house and settling an orthodox minister. For pre- 
venting law suits and accommodating differences, the tract of 
land between the old and new north boundary lines, excepting 
what had been confirmed to original grantees, and needful 
equivalents, was now made over to Killingly. 

Thus organized and equipped, the North .society began its career, 
and joyfully entered upon the task of collecting and preparing tim- 
ber for the much-desired meeting house. Deprived for so many 
years of ordinary religious and civil privileges, this happy set- 



tlenient and hqpeful prospect was a matter of great rejoicing. 
In no other precinct or town within the county was this meeting 
house work carried on with such alacrity and harmony. "The 
people's hearts were stirred up and they willingly offered them- 
seh-es." The little word " our " prefixed to all meeting house 
Yotes pleasantly indicates a personal sense of prc'prietorship. 
All over the large parish men and teams were busily at work. 
Giant oaks were levelled, hewn and hauled over the rough ways 
to the appointed site. vSo earnest and vigorous were the work- 
ers, that by November loth, the society was called " to consider 
how and in what method we shall proceed in order for making 
preparation for the raising our meeting house." The method 
adopted was, " That every man in said society shall have liberty 
to bring in provisions and drink what may be thought his pro- 
portion." John Dwight, Benjamin Bixby, Hezekiah Sabin, Ed- 
ward Co nverse, Jonathan C'lough and Sampson lIo\ye were ap- 
pointed a committee to take care to provide for the raising. 
Under such auspices the work was triumphantly accomplished 
— the first great gathering assembled on Thompson hill. 

The "liberty to bring in provisions and drink" had been so boun- 
tifully improved, that John Wiley and John Dwight were ordered 
to take particular account of what each man brought and give 
him credit for it, " the overplush to pay the 'rerages of hiring 
ministers." The rates allowed for provision were — pork, six 
pence a pound: beef, four pence; mutton, four pence; suet, 
eight pence; sugar, twelve pence; butter, one shilling; turnips, 
one and six pence per bushel ; wheat, eight shillings ; rye, six 
shillings; Indian corn, four shillings ; cabbages, three pence per 
head. Xo stated minister was yet procured, but services were 
kept up through the winter at Sabin's tavern. January 20th, 
1729, Ensign Green, Jonathan Eaton, Joseph Cady, John Dwight 
and Edward Converse were deputized "to agree with workmen 
to finish all the outside work belonging to our meeting house," 
and further instructed " to make AVoodstock meeting house their 
pattern to go by, excepting what .said committee shall judge 
superfluous in said house." Also voted, "That for the future 
every man that shall cart one thousand of boards from Green's 
mill to the meeting house shall have ten shillings money for the 
same." During the following summer the work ^vent on so 
rapidly that on August 1st a society meeting was held in the 
new building. Such honest work had been expended upon its 



massive frame, that after one hundred and sixty years of faith- 
ful service, it stands to-day erect and in good condition, the resi- 
dence of Thompson's faithful clerk and treasurer. A minister 
was soon provided for the meeting house. October IGth, it was 
voted to extend a call to ^larston Cabot, of Salem. This call 
was accepted after due consideration, provided the society ful- 
filled three articles : — 

1. Their offer of /:200 settlement. 

2. That they always keep up the credit of the proposed salary, 
viz., v7S0 a year, adding £5 yearly till it reached ^100. 

H. That they bring him a sufficiency of cord-wood for his own 
use in the season of it. 

Preparations wei^e at once made for church organization and 
ordination. Platform, pulpit and deacon's seats were provided, 
neighboring ministers visited and consulted. January 2Sth, 
]73() (O. S.). was kept as a day of fasting and prayer. Services 
were held morning and afternoon, conducted by Reverend John 
Fisk of Killmgl}-, Reverend Ebenezer Williams of Pomfret, 
Reverend Amos Throop, Woodstock, and before the large 
assembly was dismissed, •AVe were incorporated and formed 
into a distinct church by having the church covenant read and 
owning our* consent to it." The constituent members of the 
church in Thompson parish, known as the Second church of 
Killingly, were : Marston Cabot, pastor elect, SamiieLComiexse, 
James Wilson, John Wiley, Beni'amin IMxby, Israel Joslin, 
Sampson Howe, John Russel, Jonathan, Clough, Nathaniel 
Merrill, Ilezckiah Sabin, Edward Converse, Nathaniel Johnson, 
Ivury Upham, Robert Plank, John Bowers, Ephraini Guile, 
Menry Green, Benjamin Pudney, Comfort Starr, John liarrett, 
Richard Bloss. Jonathan Eat(jn. PJavid Shapley, Thomas Whilte- 
more, Jr., Thomas Converse, Eleazer Green, Samuel Narra- 
more. February 2.1th the same honored ministers, together with 
Reverend Messrs. Coit of Plainfield, and Hale of Ashford, as- 
sisted in the ordination of ]\Ir. Cabot. Jonathan Eaton and 
Benjamin Bixby were soon after elected deacons. 

" Divine worship " and ordinances being then happily estab- 
lished, various secular affairs claimed the attcaition of the society. 
In May, 1730, a military company was organized, with vSanipson 
Howe for captain, Hezekiah Sabin, lieutenant, and John E>wight, 
ensign. The utter lack of schooling for children was a griev- 
ance much in need of abatement. January loth, 1731, this 


matter Avas considered, when it was agreed, " That there should 
be four schools kept in this parish, and the school master to be 
removed into four quarters of this parish." Four honored citi- 
zens, one from each quarter, viz., Jonathan Clough, Joseph 
Cady, Penuel Child and John Wiley, were straightway empowered 
"to divide this parish into four parts in order for the benefit and 
advantig of having their children educated each quarter in read- 
ing ancAvrighting and sifering." Spelling in those days was a 
quite superfluous accomplishment. The ordained '• quarters " 
differed greatlv in size according to the distribution of inhabi- 
tants. The Southeast, afterward "The South Neighborhood," was 
much the least, being far the most poptilous; next in size was the 
Southwest, taking in Cady's, Eaton's and other first families, 
while the great, irregular, sparsely settled and North- 
west seemed almost like separate townships. Committees were 
chosen for each quarter, to warn the inhabitants to meet together 
to agree where to set their school houses, viz.: Southeast, Thomas 
Whftmore and Henry Green : Southwest, James Cady and 
Samuel Cutler ; NorthYrcst, Christopher Peak and Isaac Jewett ; 
Northwest, Comfort Starr and Nathaniel Brown. A school- 
master was hired for the year, serving throe months in each 
quarter, the school money being "equally divided between each 
school, according to the number of families that sent their chil- 
dren to school," 

Continued friction between the non-resident proprietors and 
Killingly officials resulted m a thoroiigh investigation and settle- 
ment, "through the agency of Roger AVolcott and other wK«e 
counsellors.' The farms so early purchased and laid out were 
solemnlv confirmed and Killingly precluded from farther inter- 
meddling by having her own rights allowed to her. The North 
society, wliich during the squabble had petitioned to be erected 
into a township, was pacified and reconfirmed, the assembly at 
the same date, 1730, changing its name to that of her most dis- 
tinguished non-resident, Thompson, This family had always 
manifested a special interest in their Nipmuck purchase ; paid 
without grumbling the tax imposed by the society, and soon 
after date had the tract laid out into farms and seven substantial 
English " tenement houscn " erected. The Dudleys also peace- 
ably fulfilled their legal requirements. " Esquire Wolcott," as 
he was called, sold his farm to sundry purchasers. With }.Ir. 
Samuel Morris relations were less amicable. That gentleman 


indeed paid off-hand the heavy land-tax, but whc,ni he found him- 
self enrolled as a stated member of Thompson parish, and bound 
by law to pay his share of minister's salary and all other charges, 
he demurred. The section in which he lived was long- supposed 
to belong to ^Massachusetts, and all his interests, civil and eccle- 
siastic, were with that colony, and before the ei-ection of the new 
parish he had attended church and supported religious worship 
in Woodstock. At his time of life, and after all his public ser- 
vices, to be compelled to leave the church of his fathers and 
attend a new service at so great a distance seemed to him an 
absurdity, and equally unjust to pay for preaching ^vhich he had 
not heard. 

J3ut the ecclesiastic laws of Connecticut were not to be con- 
temned, even by so great a man as " Governor Morris." The 
appointed collector came upon him for lawful dues, and when 
he refused to pav, took forcible possession of sufficient goods. 
Mr. Morris indignantly appealed to the assembly, showing, 
"that he lived seven miles from Thompson meeting house; 
never attended service there and never should; lived some miles 
nearer Woodstock, and had attended there till last winter, v,-hen 
he and others obtained a young gentleman to preach with them, 
and cheerfully assumed the great charge thereof, that so our 
families might have the benefit of Christian instruction, and not 
live like heathens ; that he had paid a full tax to help build 
meeting house in Thompson, and prayed to be excused from 
paying anything more." This request was refused on the ground 
that Thompson had not b'een properly notified, whereupon Mr. 
Morris further represented, October, 1731 . '•that he could not 
even in summer, attend worship in Thompson with any tolerable 
convenience, nor in the winter without extreme i)eril, because 
of mountains and rocks to go over and miry swamps to go 
through ; that he had a great regard for the minister at Thomp- 
son, and would like to sit under his ministry, but should count 
it a less evil to stay at home and read good books than to go 
through so much difficulty and hazard to attend at Thompson 
parish ; that to be obliged to go there would have a tendency to 
discourage religious inclinations, besides causing a great part of 
holy time to be spent in very servile labor both to man and 

But none of these arguments, though reiterated year after 
year with much force and cogency, prevailed against the en- 


forcement of a legal church tax, though a slight abatement 
was allowed and afterward a half-rate. The cost of collection 
must have beeii more than the sum at issue. Again and again 
the society was called together "to consider how to proceed in 
our difficulties with Samuel ^vlorris." Every year committees 
had to be sent to general assembly to answer these indignant 
memorials. Legal authorities had to be consulted and paid, 
while the duty of collecting this disputed tax became so repug- 
nant that many of the best men in the society refused to serve as 
collector, neces.sitating the enactment, that every person chosen 
collector and refusing to serve should be prosecuted in the law. 
Even as late as 1742, after Mr. Morrishad helped establish public 
worship in his own neighborhood at Dudley, and insisted " that 
Thompson was more able to maintain their o\\'n minister than 
he was to help maintain two, and for him to pay so much money 
to Thompson for nothing, was moi-e than God docs, or more than 
men can rea'^onably require of their fellow creatures." he was 
only released "one-half of all parish taxes." 

In all other respects Thompson enjoyed remarkable harmony. 
By slow degrees various improvements Averc effected. The 
pound so necessary in those days of free commons was con- 
structed in ITSj — " a good substantial pound," thirty feet square, 
with good white oak posts, and a good cap on top of them, a 
good gate well hanged with good iron hinges, a good lock and 
key and g-ood staple and hasp— Hezekiah Sabin, pound keeper. 
"A piece of land" near the French river was given by David 
Shapley " for a burying place for said society." One of the ear- 
liest inscriptions to be found in it is that of a near resident, " ]\lr. 
Samuel Davis, who died August. 1727, in the 37th year of his 

The finishing of the meeting house was delayed for some 
years. John Wiley and Sampson Howe " were the men to lay 
the floor," Jacob Bixb}- furnishing for that purpose for £'S per 
thou.sand. 500 pitch pine boards that arc good. Simon Bryant, 
Henry Green and John Wiley had charge of constructing "a 
body of seats" after the form of those in Woodstock meeting 
house, using for " stuff," good sound oak timber. Henry Green, 
Jr., was employed " to provide jilank for seats for our meeting 
house at 7s. per hundred, and the slit work for the seats at 4s. 
Gd. per hundred, and plank for the heads at Os. per hundred, of 
good white oak timber." This body of seats occupied the floor 


center, reserving room for seventeen large square pews 
the walls of the house, to be built and owned by such members 
as were able to bear the expense and were thought worthy of 
such honor. The delicate duty of selecting these seventeen pew 
holders was assigned to Captain Howe, Simon Bryant and John 
Wiley, as a committee of nomination, who presented the sub- 
joined list, which was confirmed by a society vote upon each 
nominee in succession, viz.: Henry Green, Simon Bryant, David 
vShapley, John Russel, Captain ITuwe. Lieutenant vSabin, Joseph 
Cady, Comfort Starr, Nathaniel "Wight, James Wilson, Urian 
Hosmer, John Younglovc, fohn Wiley, ]\Irs. Dresser, and her son 
Jacob, yiv. Dwight and his .'ion John. A space on the north 
side of the house adjoining the minister's " stayrs " was reserved 
for a ministerial pew, and the deacons were allowed to build a 
pew "for their wives and families to sett in." Mrs. Dresser was 
the widow of the first settler, Richard Dresser, who had died just 
before the organization of the societ}-. She held a high place 
among the "honorable women" of the day, and her son Jacob 
was one of the most substantial men in town and society. 

Reverend Josiali Dwight Avas a retired minister, who after a 
stormy pastorate in Woodstock found a peaceful haven for his old 
age on the "wild land west of the Quinebaug." Hispew joined the 
Reverend ]Mr. Cabot's, out of respect for his office as well as fam- 
ily connection, his daughter ]\Iary having married the Thomp- 
son minister. It was then enacted by the Society " that each 
person that hath a pew granted him shall take it for his seat, and 
shall take in as many of their family as can conveniently sit 
therein ; also, that each person .shall finish the meeting house up 
to the lower girth, and maintain the glass belonging to his pew." 
Hczekiah Goffe, a famous builder of the day, was employed to 
build two pair of framed stairs and lay the gallery floor, and face 
the fore seats round with goeid, handsome jxanel work, all to be 
done workman-like. Still another committee was required to build 
seats in the gallery after the form of those in their respected 
model. vSo much time was consumed in erecting the elaborate 
pews and m all the various items, that it was not till ^larch ISth, 
IT^f), that " our meeting house " was .sufficiently near completion 
to require a formal seating. This onerous task was assigned to 
Joseph Cady, Jr.. Henry Green, Simon Bryant and Urian Hos- 
mer, whose "rule to go by" was "computing all the charge of 
settling the go.'^pel in said Society, having respect also unto age." 


It was then, after scYcn years spent in perfecting this much 
prized sanctuary, that the builders as one man insisted upon 
worthier " ways" of reaching it. 

Thus happily settled, Thompson parish pursued its way peace- 
fully and prosperouslv. Its parochial affairs were well admin- 
istered, and it bore a fair part of town burdens. Simon Bryant, 
John Dwight, Hezekiah .Sabin, jonatlian Clough. Joseph Cadv, 
Jedidiah and Urian Hosmerand Penuel Child were sent succes- 
sively as deputies to the general assembly. Jacob Dresser was 
elected town clerk of Killingly in 1744. William Larned man- 
aged so well as treasurer of the town that he was voted a special 
payment for his services. vSamuel ]\Iorris, in consideration of 
his maintaining roads and bridges, was exempt for life from tOA\n 
and country taxes. As the fathers passed away they were suc- 
ceeded by their sons or competent new settlers. Sampson Howe 
died in 17^0, and was succeeded as clerk and captain by Joseph 
Cady, the richest man in the vicinity. In 17-12 Jacob Dresser was 
chosen society clerk, and John Dwight captain of the company. 
Jonathan Clough and AVilliam Larned succeeded in ofTice Deacons 
Eaton and Bixby. Penuel Child was appointed in 1742 to serve 
in -the new office of " querister." The RcYcrend 'Mr. Cabot. 
after a faithful and successful pastorate, died in charge in 17rr), 
stricken with apoplexy in his own pulpit while preaching. 

He was succeeded the following year by Noadiah Russel of Mid- 
dletown, another popular and faithful pastor. Among new fami- 
lies connected with the society durijig ]Slr. Cabofs ministry were 
those of James and David Barrett. Isaac vStone, Nathaniel Child, 
John Atwell, Lusher Gay, Samuel Barrows, James Fuller, James 
Dike, William Alton, Samuel Porter, Jeremiah Barstow, Joseph 
Town, Josiah Mills, John Holmes, John Flint, Robert Prince, 
Ebenezer Howard, Francis Carrol, Francis and Joseph Elliot, 
Samuel Watson, Thomas Ormsbey, who took place among the 
substantial inhabitants, settling in various sections. The old 
"quarters" for school jiurposes were still maintained. In 17."'2 
Samuel Barrows, William Whittemore, Nathaniel Child and 
John and .Samuel ^'ounglove were allowed the privilege of a 
school among themselves and their own prt>portion of school 
money. Five years later other petitioners were allowed a sep- 
arate school in the northeast corner, "line to begin at Ezekiel 
Green's, thence east to Rhode Island and north to }ilassachusetts." 

In 17G2 a number of the younger men of the society entered 


their dissent against the societ3''s proceeding's in regard to 
schools. Michael Adams, Pain Converse, J^qiiier Hascall, James 
Dike and William Alton were appointed to " ve%ve the districts 
and see if they thought best to make alterations." They advised 
the setting off ten school districts and selected a suitable site iu 
each for a school house. Each district was designated by the 
name of some central or prominent resident, viz.: 1. Landlord 
Converse's, including Thompson hill and vicinity, "school house 
to stand betwixt Landlord Converse's and the Widow Flint's, at 
the end of the lane where vSamiiel Converse comes out into the 
country rhoad," which " lane " is the present " ilountain road "; 
2. Captain Adam's district, South Xeighborhood ; 3. Captain 
Green's district, Ouadic and vicinity; 4. Nathan Bixby's district, 
the present Brandv hill and vicinity; i). .Samuel Stone's district. 
Northeast corner, from Joseph ?iJunyan's to Rhode Island line; 
6. Joseph Brown's district, present " Little Pond district "; 7. 
Squier Hascall's district, corresponded with the present Wilson- 
ville, extendmg north to [Massachusetts line, school house on the 
present site, " near where the said Ha.scall crosses the mill-rhoad 
in comiing to meeting"; 8. Nathaniel Crosby's district, embraced 
both sides French river, from Nathaniel Mills' to Ebenezer 
Prince's, corresponding with the present Grosvenor Dale; 9. John 
Hewlet's, occupied the Northwest quarter, school house to stand 
where it is; 10. Esquire Dresser's district, in the Southwest 
quarter of the society, covering so much ground tliat to have the 
school "in the senter " would not accommodate the district, and 
two schools would be needful. The report was accepted as in 
the main satisfactory. A pitiful petition was soon, however, 
presented from inhabitants of Hewlet's district, complaining 
that they had been overlooked by the committee, " who suppo.sed 
that no one lived northwest of a certain great hill but Clement 
Corbin, whereas there were /r.v/r'i families there so remote from 
the school house that thev could not send their children there to 
school, and had little oi- no benefit I'the most none at all) of tlie 
school kept there, and never had any of the loan nioncy, and not 
so much of the tax money as they did pay." These families were 
immediately set off as District No. 11. Captain Corbin's. After 
some delay and diniculty Dre.sser's district was also divided, and 
the north part set off as No. 12. Perrin's district. 

Though debarred from special town privileges, the citizens of 
Thompson parish were awake to public affairs, and bore as ac- 


livi- a part in town administration as was practicable under their 
cireunistanccs. At the annual town meeting in Killingly, 1760, 
Tain Converse and James Dike were elected selectmen ; John 
Jacobs. John Whitmore, ISenjamin Joslin, Daniel Alton, John 
Corbin. Francis Carrol, highway surveyors; David llarrett, 
jr^-and juror; Samuel Watson, Richard Child, listers; Ensign 
lulward Converse, horse brander. In military affairs it was al- 
\v;ivs active. A second military company was formed, taking in 
the northern residents, in 1754. 

A number bf Thompson men served in the French and Indian 
war- Samuel Darned as captain ; Diah Johnson, ensign; I.saac 
Stone, I-.enjamin Jcslin, Zebediah Sabin, Nathaniel Ellithorpe, 
Luke Upham. Joseph Town, Joseph Newell, Nathan Bixby, 
Tlionias Shapley, Noah and John Barrows, as privates — many of 
them suffering severely through imprisonment and hjss of 
ho.ilth. In 1701 Edward Converse was appointed captain of the 
first Thompson company, then Company 7, 11th Regiment ; John 
Alton, lieutenant; Joseph Elliott, ensign. 

Alter the death of Samuel ;Morris, the valuable farm upon the 
Ouincbaug was sold by his son to Benjamin Wilkinson, of Rhode 
Island, a man of great energy, but of restless and roving spirit. 
The capacious " ^lorris House " was now opened as a tavern. 
A sh;d)bv old traveler passing the night there, asked ^Ir. Wil- 
kinson casuallv what he would take for the whole establishhient. 
He n.amed a large sum and thought no more of it till within a 
few weeks the old man appeared with a bag full of gold and sil- 
ver, ready to close the bargain and pay hard cash for it. Amazed 
at his promptness and ever ready for trade and change, Wilkin.son 
yielded the ^lorris purchase to the wily old man (Mr. John Hol- 
brook, of Woodstock), and himself removed to Thompson hill, pur- 
i-h;ising the "old Red Tavern" and Sabin farm, then thrown into 
uKirket bv the death of Lieutenant Sabin and the removal of his 
sous. The restless energies of ^Nlr. Wilkinson found ample .scope 
in this new field. As yet tavern and meeting house stood alone 
m-, the bare, broken hill-top. The minister's house, built by 
Ji^hn Corbin, occupied the present site of Mr. Chandler's rcsi- 
tlence, southward. The small house built by vSamuel Watson 
was r.orth of the hill, and so encompassed by underbrush that it said Mrs. Watson lost her way when trying to go to meet- 
ing. Mr. Wilkinson cut down the brush, routed oil stones and 
♦nisted the aborisrinal tree-stumps, transforming the rough field 


into a comfortable common for " trainings." He " rectified " the 
pound and set out an extensive peach orchard cast of the meet- 
ing house. 

It was his benevolent practice to plant a peach stone by 
every rock on the road side, that boys, travelers and church 
attendants might have a free supply. lie also served as the 
committee for enlarging the meeting house, which was done by 
cutting the same in two and inserting a strip fourteen feet wide 
between the bisections. This feat being accomplished, the so- 
ciety proceeded " to culler our meeting house," voting "That the 
cuUering of the body of our meeting house should be like Pom- 
fret and the Roff should be cullcred Read ;" Mr. Wilkinson's 
artistic instincts thus anticipating modern fashions. The in- 
serted strip was laid out into pew spots and sold to such parish- 
ioners as were able to build upon them. Other spots were ob- 
tained by taking seats from the ancient "body," and little twenty- 
inch alleys were promiscuously devised " for the people to go 
into their seats." Three choristers were needed to lead the 
singing in the enlarged meeting house, together with Joel Con- 
verse and Thaddeus Larned, to assist the aliove "in tuning the 
psalm." Jacob Dresser, Lusher Gay and Simon Larned now 
served as deacons. 

yir. Wilkinson's tavern might have been considered as 
an adjunct to the meeting house, so much was it resorted 
to before service and at intermission. As a native Rhode 
Islander he was less strict in his views of Sabbath keep- 
ing than his Connecticut neighbors, but only on one occasion in- 
curred official censure, after the whole congregation had been 
disturbed one hot summer day by what seemed the lugubrious 
creaking of a very rusty grindstone upon his premises, and 
after service he was waited upon with formal remonstrance. 
But to the great astonishment of the committee Mr. Wilkinson 
had the effrontery to deny the charge, even against the present 
evidence of their own ears. " Why, there it is grinding now 
louder than ever." ihey rejoined. "Come into the orchard and 
see for yourselves," re])lied the smiling landlord, and then for- 
mally introduced them to a /<?/> of Guinea lu-ns, a novel importa- 
tion, whose doubtful cries, aggravated by homesickness, had 
subjected the rash experimenter to such official visitation. The 
" Red Tavern," under }«Ir. Wilkinson's administration, increased 
greatly in popularity, and was the scene of many a dance and 


merry-making-. Taverns were also kept by luhvard Converse, 
lames Dike and John Jacobs— the latter tavern becoming in 
time vcrv famous as the halfway house between Boston and 

Although money was very scarce in those early days and the 
resources of the people very limited, Thompson, in some unac- 
countable way, seemed more favored than its neighbors, its tax- considerably exceeding that of Killingly's society. Its 
main industry was farming; its most convenient market the 
town of Providence, over the cart road constructed by Nathaniel 
Sessions of Pomfret. The first reported trader was Islr. Samuel 
Morris, who improved his eligible position on the old road to 
Boston by taking in his neighbors' produce and forwarding it to 
market. ?3usiuess was carried on in other parts of the parish 
through the agency of a peculiar institution known as "the 
Butter cart " which picked up butter, eggs and all sorts of 
domestic products, to be exchanged for " store goods " in Boston 
and Providence. This institution was peculiarly valued by the 
wives and daughters, supplying them with pins, needles, beads, 
ribbons and little articles of finery dear to the feminine heart, 
and the return of the freighted vehicle was hailed like a ship 
from the Indies. 

A vcrv flourishing business was started in the South Neigh- 
borhood by Mr. Daniel Larned about the year 1770. A great 
revival of trade had followed the return of peace, especially 
between Providence and the West Indies, exchanging all kinds 
of colonial produce for those vital necessities, rum, .sugar and 
molasses. P)eginning in a small way by taking in the surplus 
products of his own neighborhood, 'Sir. Larned gradually ex- 
tended business operations over a large section of country, send- 
ing carts and agents far up into the new settlements of Vermont 
and New Hampshire, buying up beef, pork, grain and ashes for 
Providence market. Taking for a partner Mr. John Mason, of 
Swanzey, the business increased in magnitude. Larncd's store 
became a great place of resort for all the .surrounding country. 
Rum, molasses, spices and even tea came into common use. It 
is said that the arrival of the first whole hog.shead of molasses at 
this store was made a matter of public cclcljration, the children 
being allowed to indulge without stint in their favorite dainty — 
roasted potatoes and molasses, crammed down their throats 
sizzling and dripping. The ideal of supreme felicity, as ex- 


pressed by a youth of lliat generation, was to sit "in tlic great 
room," with his especial adorable, and eat fried potatoes and 
molasses. Larned's store and residence weie under the famous 
" Revolutionary Elm." of the South Xcighborhood. Mason built 
the house now occupied by Mr. William Converse, of Putnam. 
Their business, though much impeded by public disturbance.^, 
was kept up throughout the war period, and greatly revived 
after its close. New roads were laid out to accommodate 
" Larned and Mason." A nail sho]) was set up for the manu- 
facture of iron utensils ; potash and pearl ash made in large 
quantities; pork and beef packing carried on : great supplies of 
grain and produce taken in. Finding the maritime transfer of 
so much merchandise costly and inconvenient, Lamed and Mason 
decided to build a special carrying-ship for themsehes. A body 
of stalwarts was dispatched to cut and hew timber in theThomiv 
son woods, and Green's saw mill engaged for the season. 
Captain Jonathan Nichols, a newly arrived citizen of much me- 
chanical ingenuity, had charge of the work, and in a few months 
a neat little sloop was constructed and on exhibition at Ouadic 
ship yard, a truly remarkable specimen of inland enterprise and 
architecture. Transported by sections to Ih-ovidence, it was 
there carefully put together, and successfully launched as the 
sloop " Harmony," and brought its plucky owners both profit 
and glory. Under the stimulus and increased population of this 
flourishing business, the South Neighborhood was considered as 
quite the head of the new town which took the place of the old 
parish- •' District No. One," as it was named in a revision of 
seiiool districts. 


THE TOV/N OF THOMPSON.— iCoiitinued.) 

Organization —Affairs of tlip Body Corporate.— Foreign Trade aud Traffic — 
Highways.— Thompson Turnpiiie.— Fouitli of July Celebration.— Protection 
against Small-pox.— General Progiess.— New Town Scheme.— The Civil 
War.— Temperance Sentiment.— Modern Improvements.— Town Expenses 
and Government.- The Pnhlic Schools.— First Church of Tliompson.— Fiist 
Baptist Church.— B.-iptist Cluirch of Thompson Hill.— :Methodi5ts at West 
Thompson.— Fisherville Methodist Church.— East Thompson Methodist 

TO\A'X organization v.-as secured with les.s than custoniary 
Cvontroversy. In many respects the parish had enjoyed 
unusual privileges, and its local interests were quite dis- 
tinct from those of the mother town. In 17G] tlie vote was car- 
ried " that Thompson Parish be set off as a town— Jacob Dresser, 
Esq., agent for preferring a memorial; " but in the threatening 
condition of public affairs division was deemed inexpedient. In 
1782 it was again voted in Killingly town meeting, " That said 
town be divided and Thompson Parish be a distinct town," and 
division again refused by the general assembly. ReneAved peti- 
tion :^Iay, 1 7S5, carried the day. The Xorth society of Killingly 
and its inhabitants were constituted a distinct town by the name 
of Thompson, said towji to be responsible forits share of state taxes, 
pay one-half the debts and share one-half the credit and stock 
of the former town, and support the poor belonging within its 

In compliance with this act and lawful warning, Thomp- 
son held its first town meeting June 21st, 178."), " at the Rev. 
Mr. Russel's meeting house," on Thompson hill. Deacon vSimon 
Earned, oldest justice and most honored citizen of the new town, 
was appointed by assembly to preside at the meeting and lead 
its inhabitants to the choice of moderator and clerk. Jason 
Phipps, Esq., from the northwest section, was chosen moderator, 
and Jacob Dresser town clerk. The freeman's oath was then 
administered to seventy-eight persons. They then voted and 


chose Thomas Dike, Esq., Ca|vtain Pain Con\-erse, Simon Lamed, 
1-Isq., Jason Phipps, Esq., 'Mr. Stephen Brown, selectmen; Jacob 
Dre.sser, town treasurer; vSimon Davis, Peleg Corbin, constables.' 
Jason Phipps, Samuel Barrett, Jacob Con ve rse , Ebenezcr Prince 
John Bales, John Jacobs, Deacon \Villiam l-iichards, hiL;"hway 
surveyors and collectors; Amos Carrol, William Richards, fence 
viewers; Henry L:irned, Jonathan Ellis. vSamucl I^almer, William 
Richards, listers; Simon Davis, l^eleg Corbin, town collectors; 
John Wilson, leather sealer: Ebenezer Cooper and Jeremiah 
Hopkins, grand jurymen; Nathan Bixby, Peter Jacobs, I-xhvard 
Paull. tithing men; Amos Carrol, sealer of weights and mea.s- 
ures; Joseph Watson, key keeper. Captains Daniel Earned and 
Pai n_C pnverse ^nd Thomas Dike, Esq., were chosen to join with 
such gentlemen as Killingly should appoint to settle all debts 
and charges, and divide debts and credits as directed. Jacob 
Dresser was authorized to purchase books for the town records. 

At the annual tovsMi meeting, December P2th. .some of these offi- 
cers were replaced by Alpheus Converse, Ensign Joseph Brown, 
Daniel Ru.ssel, Rogei" Elliott, Captain Jonathan Nichols, Edward 
Jo.slin, William Smith, Asa Barstow, James Paull, Jose^^h Gay, 
Captain Simon Goodell, John Carrol, James Ho.smer, Ephi-aim 
EUingwood, Peter Stockwell, Elijah Bates, John Wilson, provid- 
ing- for a inore equable distribution of town offices among all 
classes and sections. Jacob Dresser was retained many years as 
town clerk and treasurer. Accounts betv-een the two towns 
were settled with promptness and harmony, the "credits" 
allowed to Thomp.-^on out-balancing the debts by some twenty- 
five pounds. Bv an arrangement with the ecclesiastic society 
the meeting house continued to be used for town meetings and 
other public purpr),scs. Jason Phipps was sent as Thompson's 
first representative to the genenil assembly. Others sent during 
these early years were: Obadiah Clough, Jonathan Nichols, Pain 
Converse, William Dwight, Israel Smith, Thaddeus, Henry, 
(k-orge and Daniel Earned, Simon EJavis, Joseph Gay. John Ja- 
cobs, jr., Xoadiah Russel, Wyman Carrol, Isaac Davis. 

Majiir Daniel Earned was elected in special town meeting, Nov- 
ember .")th, 1 7S7. to represent the town as delegate to the slate con- 
vention called lo ratifv the federal constitution. A committee v.-as 
sjon sent to consult with committees from other northern towns 
with regard to obtaining a new county or half-shire, and upon 
receiving its report tlie town voted to instruct "our deputies to 


join with Pomfrct clepiUies with rug-ard tv making Pnmfret a 
half-sliirc, witli this proviso, that wx- may be free of cost of court 
house and jaiL" The young- town looked carefully at the rosf 
of any expenditure, and managed its affairs with much shrewd- 
ness and economy. Amount due for ordinary expenses, allowed 
January, 17i).j, includir.g pa\-ment of listers, /".'>;»; balance in 
treasurer's hands, ilG'r, debts allowed by town, januarv, 1790, 
^56, 16s.; paying bounty for crows' heads, at 8d. a head, agree- , 

able to a rate of the town, 7s.. 4d.; whole amount, including ^ 

abatements, i'iS, 12s.; balance due from trea.surer, iTl7<), 
17s., lid. 

School and highway repairs were managed mainly district- 
wise, with reference to the town in doubtful cases. In military 
matters there was much enthusiasm, stimulated bY the appoint- 
ment of Daniel Larncd to the generalship of the Fifth brigade, 
the only citizen of Thompson ever attaining to that honcir. The 
several companies included in the Eleventh regiment were fdled 
with willing recruits, and the grenadier and infantry companies 
ccjually alert and ready for parade and action. The frequent 
training and musters on Thompson cominon were observed with 
delight by all participants and spectators. The general training 
held at Thompson hill during the administration of General 
Earned was unfortunately discommoded by a very severe rain 
storm, but the spirits of the dripping soldiers were kept up by 
tlie bountiful supply of free liquor, furnished gratuitously by the 
general and his predecessor in ofl^ice. General ]\IcClellan. 

The Providence and West India trade, instituted before the 
revolution by Lamed & Masmi, was carried on with much spirit 
until the sudden death of the senior partner, in 1707. Ilis 
funeral was made the occasion of the greatest militarv and ^la- 
sonic display ever witnessed on Thompson hill. The A't-i^' Lon- 
don Gazette repjorts : " General Earned v,-as buried under arms. 
His corpse was attended by the brethren of ^Moriah Lodge to the 
meeting- house, where a sermon was preached by the Rev. Daniel 
Dow; a ^lasonic address and prayer followed by the Worshipful 
Master of Moriah Lodg-e. A procession was then formed and 
moved to the grave in the following order; [Military; ^lasons, I 

clothed with the badges of their order; Clergy; Pall (corpjsci 
bearers; Mourners and Strangers." After an elaborate eulogium i 

pronounced by ]Mr. Daniel Putnam, the ceremonies were closed { 


by a Masonic prayer by the worshipful master and a sprig of 
cassia deposited on tlie colfm. 

The privilege of ordering and making her own highways was 
joyfully assumed by Thompson, ever painfully conscious of early 
privation in this regard. "A road from Thompson to ]\Iuddy 
Brook Line by tlie way of Mr. David Jewett's," and another 
from Cliild's mills mow Wilsonvillc) to Dudle}- line leading to 
Dudley meeting house, were at once allowed; also a special road 
for the accommodation of Larned 6v: Mason, running east of Fort 
hill through ''the Thompson Land," considerably shortening 
the distance to Boston. Travelers over this road were accom- 
modated at the new tavern opened by ]Mr. James Dike. New 
roads were laid out in various sections, and many old ones recti- 
fied. The project of establishing turnpike roads with stage 
coaches and mails running regularly over them was hailed with 
enthusiasm. Captain Jonathan Nichols, Lsrael Smith and Jacob 
Dresser were commissioned by the town " to wait upon the com- 
mittee appointed by the C.eneral Assembly to view and lay out 
a stage road from Hartford to Massachusetts or Rhode Lsland 
Line." Captain Xichols and his associates were incorporated in 
1707 as "The kioston Turnpike Company," and to him was en- 
trusted the oversight of constructing the road. The work con- 
sisted mainly in straightening and Avidening roads previouslv 
existing, viz., the north and south road through the town, and 
the old road to West Thompson. A change was made in the 
road over Thompson hill which previously ran considerably west 
of the present lay out. A new bridge was built over the French 
river, formidable gates and toll houses erected, milestones let- 
tered and set up, and the Boston and Hartford turnpike opened 
for public accommodation, bringing in the stage coach, dailv 
mails and nineteenth century civilization. 

Business was made much more lively but town expenses pro- 
portionately increased. The proposal to lay cut aiKnher turn- 
pike from Rhode Island line to Dudley, east and west through 
the town, met with strong opposition frcm relv.ctant taxpayers. 
A committee was appointed to lay out such road — Captain Jona- 
than Xichols, vSimon. Davis and Roger Elliott to wait upon them, 
'i'he town rejected their report and refused liberty to begin the 
road. After some years' effort the town refrained from opposing 
petition. Elijah Cnjsby, Joseph Watson, Nathaniel Jacobs, Peleg 
Corbm, Thomas Chaffee, Xoadiah Ixussel, John Xichols, and 


associates ^vc■re thereupon incorporated as "The Thompson 
Ttirnpike Company," in 18ii:>, and a second ttinipike was soon 
Oldened, becoming- a main tlioroughfare of travel between Provi- 
dence and Springfield, intersecting the Boston ttirnpike on 
Thompson hill. vStages were run dailv over both lines, and a 
vast amount of travel and teaming passed over them. A third 
turnpike was at abotit the same date constructed in the S(jtith 
part of the town, known as the Woodstock and Thompson ttirn- 
pike, furnishing another route to Providence, and connecting 
westward with Somers. These enterprises brought heavy bills 
of expense upon the town, increasing the annual outlay from 
seven or eight hundred dollars to over two thousand ; but by 
care and larger assessments all debts were paid, and in 1810 and 
1811 expenses had dropped down to less than a thou.sand dollars, 
with a balance in the treasury. Nathaniel ]\lills succeeded as 
town clerk and treasurer in 1708, serving faithfully many years. 

Increased businessrmd growth in all parts of the town more than 
counter b.'ilanced the outlay. Thompson hill enjoyed a special 
boom with its stages and new inhabitants. Its first store was 
opened in 179G, bv Daniel Wickham, in a new building east of 
the common, now the rear of Doctor Holbrook's residence. A 
new tavern house was built on the site southward by George 
Keith, especially for the entertainment of stages and their pas- 
.sengers, which after manv years of service has been recently 
demolished. The present "AVatson House'" was built by !Mr. 
Joseph "Watson in 1708. vSeveral other hotises were built on the 
Providence turnpike. Enterprising ycamg men from various 
parts of the town were drawn to the growing village. John 
Nichols, -^d, and Theodore Dwight entered into partnership, 
erecting a store at the intersection of the turnpikes, on the site 
now occupied by Mr. Scarborough's residence. The only house 
north of this was that now occupied by Judge Rawson. built by 
Mr. vSamuel Watson in 17G7, and long the residence of his vener- 
able widow. 

The new business impulse quickened all jxirls of the town. 
Labor came into demand and land increased in value. The 
farms east of Fort hill, owned by the English Thompsons, were 
now broiig;ht into market, Thaddeus and P)aniel Lamed pro- 
cured a quit claim deed frcnn the agent of the family in ]8()o,for 
fourteen thousand dollars, and soon sold out the farms to lessees 
and other purchasers. The last of these substantial '•tenement 


houses" has been taken clown williin a few years. Manufactur- 
ini^- interests were now coming to the front. The various saw 
mills on the different streams were busily at work. Josiah IVrry 
and Elijah Child earried on o^rinding, sawing and dyeing- on the 
French river, in the extreme north of the town. Rufus Coburn 
and Al[)heus Corbin engaged in clothierv and potash works on 
the Ouincbaug. at the present Xew Boston. Stephen Crosby 
was equally active in similar works on the site of tlie present 
Grosvenor Dale, and talk of new discoveries in cotton spinnino- 
was already in the air. In the extreme northeast Joseph joslin 
was running mills, making potash and helping open Buck hill 
to civilization, himself carrying through the first cart road over 
that benighted section. A sometime resident of Rhode Island, 
and believer in state rights, he was one of the earlv leaders in 
organizing the JefJersonian party in Thompson. 

The early politics of the town were strongly federal and conser- 
vative, and it was not till 1808 that sixteen votes were east for the 
rej)ubliean or administration party; bnt so rapid was its growth, 
enhanced by [Methodist and Baptist votes, that in ]SOC> it cast 06 
votes, only llj less than the federalists. The first Fourth of July 
celebration on Thompson hill was held l)y the Jeffersoniaii re- 
publicans the same year -Doctor Knight (postmaster), Captain 
Jonathan Converse and Joseph Jo.slin, commiltee. A bower was 
put up on the treeless common, a band of music procured, and 
ap})ropriate toasts prepared. Joseph Wheaton served as presi- 
dent of the day. Elder John Xicliols read the declaration of in- 
dependence and offered prayer, "and there was a good entertain- 
ment and a good oration, delivered by Kldcr Amos Wells, of 
Woodstock," a Baptist minister. The approaching troubles with 
England checked the growth of this party, Thompson sharing 
with the majority of Connecticut towns in its dislike of the war of 
1!SBJ. Unlike many other towns, she made no formal record of 
hostility, and promptly fulfdlcd every requisition of governnicnt 
-■a number of her citizens performing military service in New 

A victory of peace was won in 18] J.the town con.scnting after 
long urging to pnn-ide for "the inoculation of the Kine pox 
anH)ng the inliabitants." A committee was appointed to agree 
with Doctor Fancliear upon terms and a committee of two in 
each school distiict to .see that it ^s•as faithfully carried out. The 
per.sons .serving were, in Xo. 1, Ceorge Earned, lileazer Keith ; 


2, James Whealoji, Danic] Pcrrin ; S.Jonathan Nichols, jr., John 
Elliott, Jr.; 4, Xoadiah Ru.ssc], James Webb; o. John Barrett, 
Ebcnezer Green ; G, Josiah Comins, Marshall Keith ; 7, James 
Bates, Elijah Nichols, Jr.; 8, William Lamson, Jesse Ormsbey ; 
9, Thomas Chaffee. Isaac Upham ; JO, Timothy Sheffield. Elijah 
Converse ; ] 1. Abel Jacobs, John Keith ; 12, Samuel Porter, Jesse 
joslin ; 13, Dolphus Phipps, Jonathan Waters. 

John Nichols was chosen clerk and treasurer in 1814. It hav- 
ing- been decided in 1810 by the ecclesiastic society to build a 
new meeting house on the site of the old one, the town defrayed 
the expense of removing' the old church edifice across the street 
and fitting- up a hall for permanent town purposes. The first 
page of a new book of town records now ordered by the town 
chronicled an important change — the inhabitants were notified 
to meet at the town house July 4th, 1818, to elioose delegates to 
attend a convention to be holden at the state house in Hartford 
in August for the purpose of formpig- a constitution of civil gov- 
ernment. George Earned and Jonathan Nichols, Jr., were then 
chosen to represent the town and took part in that weighty 
public service. October oth, the freemen were again summoned 
to give their votes for or against a ratification of the constitu- 
tion as submitted to their judgment and decision ; one hundred 
and seventy-four voted for ratification, ninety-three against it. 

At the annual town meeting following the adoption of the new 
constitution Novcn-iber 30th, 1818, Benjamin Arnold was chosen 
moderator; Stephen Crosby. Jesse Ormsbey, Joseph Jo.slin. James 
Wheaton, John Bates, selectmen ; John Nichols, Jr., town eleik 
and treasurer; Stephen E. Tcfft, constable; for highway sur- 
veyors by districts — No. 1. Simon I)avis ; 2. James Wheaton ; 3, 
John Elliott, Jr.; 4, Hezckiah Olney ; o, John P.urrell, Jr.; 6, 
Isaac Davis; 7, Smith Bruce; 8, Alpheus Corbin ; 9, Lyman Up- 
ham ; 10, Ezra Jacobs; 11, Joseph Benson; 12. Rufus Brown ; 13, 
Peter Rickard ; 14, Darius Starr; David .Munyan. Alpheus Rus- 
sel, Escck Aldrich, fence viewers; John Nichols, Jr., Simon 
Davis, Jr.. Stephen Holmes, lames liates. Harvey Lamson, listers; 
Stephen E. Tefft. collector of rates; Smith Bruce, Aiiios Green, 
John Brown, Joel Taylor, Elijah Nichols, grand jurors ; Asa 
Hutchins, Joel Taylor, Archelaus Upham, Millard Bowen, hay- 
wards ; Rufus Coburn, sealer of weights and mea.sures ; Darius 
Dwight, key keeper of the pound ; Josiah Sessions, Amos Green, 
Jonathan Nichols, Asa Jacobs, Charles Sharpe, tithing men. 


Town expenses for the year reported — $1 GOO. 45. Seven hun- 
dred and fifty dollars was cheerfully voted by the town the fol- 
lowing year as their reasonable pi'oportion of the sum needed 
for the removal of court house and jail from Windham to Brook- 

Under the new regime of state and county Thompson moved 
steadily onward, its wealth and population increasing more rap- 
idly than any other town in the county, its thriving manufacturing 
villages offering remunerative labor and home market. Grad- 
ually various improvements were effected ; its poor were no 
longer trundled about town to the lowest bidder, but installed 
in a comfortable home in the east of the town, with a responsi- 
ble family to take proper care of them. The upper room of the 
old town house proving insufficient and inconvenient, a special 
town building v.-as ordered in 1841. ^^'^lliam II. }\Iason, Faxon 
Nichols, Talcott Crosby and William Fisher ^vere appointed to 
fix upon a jjlan for the proposed building and make a statement 
of all the expenses. Their report was accepted, the town's right 
and interest in the old building sold to ^vle.ssrs. Erastus Knight 
and Edward Shaw— Talcott Crosby, Jonathan Nichols and Fleze- 
kiah S. Ramsdell appointed a committee for building. Incase a 
town meeting should be needed while the new Iniilding was in 
progress, it was voted to h(>ld the same on the pin/.za in front of 
the house of Captain Vernun .Stiles, and when the new town 
house shall have been completed, that it shall be the lawful 
place for holding to^vn and other public meetings. 

After holding several meetings dui'ing the summer on the pi- 
azza of Captain Stiles's popular tavern, the town met in its new hall 
October 3d, 1 84-2. Jonathan Nichols, Esq., who for iwelve years 
had served as town clerk, was now superseded by Talcott Crosby; 
George Nichols was chosen moderator; Faxon Nichols, Nelson 
S. Eddy, Winthrop II. Ballard, James John.son and Amos 
Goodell, assessors ; John Tourtellotte, Stephen Crosby, Thomas 
F)avis, board of relief ; Edward Lippitt. David Wils(Hi, Joseph 
Tourtellotte, selectmen ; May, constable : ,\inos Goodell, 
Silas Bo\\en. Welcome Bates, Eeonard Bugbec. Silas N. Aldrich, 
grand jurors; George Town, (}eorge ^I. iJay, Elijah Carpenter, 
John Shumway, I'earson C. Tourtellotte, Samuel E. Joy. tithing 
men ; Jeremiah Olney, scaler of weights and measures ; Hczekiah 
Olney, pound keeper; Thomas Davis, Josiah Comins, Joseph 
Tourtellotte, fence viewers ; Talcott Crosbv, Jesse Onnsbey, Ilez- 


ekiah C.)Incy, committee for adjusting- to\vn accomits. Expenses 
were reported as $1,5-10. Voted, to allow the school visitors one 
dollar per day each for time actually spent in vi.siting schools. 
Petitioners received liberty to hold their singing school in the 
town house the ensuing season, under such regulations as should 
be made with the selectmen, as soon as insurance could be effected 
on the house. At a later meeting voted, " That the town house 
be opened for all such meetings as the selectmen .shall judge 
proper, and on such terms as they may prescribe." One of the 
first public meetiugs held in this house was in the autumn of 
1S43, when the children of all the public .schools in town, having 
been recently enrolled in temperance societies, were brought to- 
gether there, to be confirmed and strengthened in temperance 
sentiment bv the thrilling eloquence of a young orator then 
lately discovered in Worcester — John ]>. Gough. 

The peace and comfort of the town was suddenly broken in 
1849 bv a movement to dissever the southern part of the terri- 
tory, that it might be incorporated into a new valley town to be 
called Ouinebaug. The village of Rhodesville now embraced a 
large manufacturing interest, adding much to the tax list and 
population of the town. This village, and that favorite section 
known as the South Neighborhood, were to be taken from 
Thompson and swallowed up in the new town. Thompson's 
population then numbered nearly five thousand, and it stood 
very high on the grand list of the state, closely folhiwing the 
cities and large county or manufacturing towns. Apart from 
considerations of sentiment, to be thus summarily thrust frcmi 
her high position into comparative nothingness, to sink from 
"thirteenth on the list" into the rank of perhaps thirtieth or for- 
tieth, was not to be thought of or endured, and all parties and 
sects agreed in earnest opposition to such a scheme. The town 
had taken just pride in this thriving village and great pains to 
satisfy its exorbitant demands for roads and bridges. When 
called upon to take action upon the petition, Jonathan Xichols 
was appointed agent to oppose the same, with full power to em- 
ploy counsel if needful. " ALso, resolved. That we, the citizens 
of Thompson, in town meeting assembled, consider that the di- 
vision of this town as contemplated by the inhabitants of Pomfret- 
ville Would be highly injurious to the interests of the town at 
large, and con.sequentlv as highlv inexpedient, and that our rep- 
resentatives in the eeneral assemblv be and thev are herein' re- 


quested to oppose in every honorable manner the establishment 
of said division." 

The very urgent opposition of the four to^vns interested in the 
matter procured the prompt rejection of the Quinebaug petition, 
but after taking breath for a season they returned to the charge 
with increased ardor. Thompson reiterated and confirmed her 
former resolution and circulated a forcible remonstrance, signed 
by a large number of citizens. Thomas E. Graves, Esq., was 
now appointed agent to oppose the petition, which service he ac- 
compilished with his accustomed energy and adroitness. Tn lSi^)2 
Talcott Crosby, ]-]enjanun E. Hutchins and "William H. Chandler 
were chosen " to consult and ad\-ise " with Esquire Graves in op- 
posing the petition. In 1854 the situation became so alarming, 
the new town favorers assuming with the name a double portion 
of the spirit and persistency of ^Yindham county's most famous 
hero — Putnam — that Thompson was constrained to send a most 
imposing delegation, viz., Thomas E. Graves, Talcott Crosby, 
William Eisher, Jesse Ormsbey, Erederie l]r)vey, Benjamin F. 
Hutchins, Jeremiah Olney, Silas X. Aldrieh and Hosea }ilunvan, 
"to oppose the petition for a new town to be called Putnam." 
Once more the petitioners were defeated and Thompson's del- 
egation returned in triumph. In ]8.'3 William II. Chandler was 
appointed as sole agent for the town in opposing division. It 
was becoming manifest that farther opposition was useless; that 
nothing could withstand the march of progress and fiat of " man- 
ifest destiny." The treacherous motion "to send no agent to 
oppose division " was lost by oiily a meagre majority nf foity- 
three. Tidings of the inevitable result were received with mourn- 
ful resignation, ar.d while Putnam joyfully celebrated her vic- 
tory and independence, Thompson meekly grounded her arms 
and prepared to die decentlv. The line between the towns was 
run by Joseph ]\I. h'errin and Willi: m Lester, surveyors. Divis- 
ion of town funds and other needful settlements were accom- 
plished by Adams White and ^Villiam Dyer, esquires, the referees 
appointed by the legislature the charge of two "paupers" and 
some .S2, .000 being made over by Thompson. The running ex- 
penses of the town during this costly and protracted contest 
reached the unin'ecedented amount of nearly §4,000 yearly. 
Erastus Knight and Jeremiah Olney served successively as town 
clerk and treasurer during this period. 


Thompson had so far recovered from this loss and heavy 
charges as to bear her part in the civil ^var ^vith becoming loyalty 
and public spirit. At a special town meeting, called April 29th, 
ISGl, the town vcited to appropriate five thousand dollars for ex- 
tra payment to enlisters, support of their families during their 
absence, iheir clothing, equipment and other needful outlay. 
Messrs. Jeremiah Olney, Liicius ]!riggs and Hczekiah S. Rams- 
dell were appointed a committee to carry these votes into effect. 
At the county meeting held in PJrooklyn, April 22d, iSIessrs. 
Chandler and Olney served on the committee on resolutions, ?.nd 
Mr. Chandler headed the subscription list pledged for the sup- 
port of government. The popular physician, Doctor John ^Ic- 
Gregor, went to the front as surgeon of the Connecticut Third, 
and was taken prisoner while earing for the wounded at the dis- 
astrous stampede at Ihill Run. }Iis return after fourteen months' 
wearisome captivity, his earne.-^t and affecting rejiresentations 
and pleas had much influence in quickening enlistment and 
deepening public sentiment. 3.1any of Thompson's sterling men 
enlisted in the Eighteenth Connecticut, mustered in August, 1802, 
with Munroe Nichols, lieutenant colonel, and Doctor Lowell IIol- 
brook, later, as surgeon. George W. Davis served as quarter- 
master of the Eleventh regiment. Lieutenant Eirimons E. 
Graves enlisted a company in the Thirteenth. Every requisition 
made upon the town was promptly fulfilled, her soldiers serving 
in many regiments; her agent, yiv. Olney, and the selectmen 
looking carefully after the needs of their families; her women 
enrolled in numerous Soldiers' Aid Societies, busily engaged in 
furnisliingelothingand supplies. The great additional expense, 
bringing its annual outlay to more than nine thousand dollars, 
was cheerfully met by taxpayers. True to its early principle 
and habit of eschewing debt, it paid its bills every year. In 
August, 180."), a very large bill was brought against it, incurred 
the last year of the war in connection with raising- colored sol- 
diers. A town meeting was cal led, which promptly voted to raise 
a special tax of S.:l mills on the dollar by September 20th. A 
proposition was afterward made to provide for paying the debt 
by installments, and a meeting called to see if they would re- 
scind the previous vote. R was a warm day in August and work 
pressing, but the town turned (-ut i-/i //urssi- and voted unani- 
mou.sly /,■('/ /c) frsi-:)/</ the vote passed August .5th, and paid the 
extra tax without grumbling. 


As a tcmiierance to^\•n Thompson has a fair record. As public 
opinion became enlig-htened upon the question, it declined to 
license the sale of liquor, and when the local option la\v was 
promulgated a large majority voted against license. Finding 
that the law was in manv evaded, it was voted in 1873 to 
appropriate a sum of money to .suppress the sale of intoxicating 
liquors; also to appoint Judge lY^rry an agent to prosecute, with 
power to emplov counsel to carry on said business. As the 
foreign element has increased in town, attempts have been made 
to open the question of licensing the sale of liquor, but it has 
been invariabl}- refused by a large majority. 

Within the last ten years a very great change has been made 
in the expenditures of the town, Thompson proving itself not 
only alive but fully up to the times in its views of what is de- 
manded by the civilization of the present age. The clumsy 
wooden bridges of past generations are fast being replaced all 
over the town by graceful structures of iron, more costly, in- 
deed, but it is hoped far more enduring. The old district highway 
system, under which every citizen had libertv to leisurely " work 
out his own tax " has been superseded by more modern methods, 
more ellective, indeed, but costing the town annually, perhaps, 
more than double its whole running expenditures of former 
years. A far greater number of outside poor are helped, doub- 
ling expenses in that quarter. School expenses, formerly hardly 
worth noting, have become under new laws and administrative 
theories a very formidable item. The price paid for labor and 
the salaries of town officers are much augmented. Many im- 
provements have been made of permanent value. ]\Ioney has 
been allowed for the improvement and care of the town burying 
grounds. A very beautiful and complete index of the record 
books of the town was made by the late I\Ir. Jerome T. Crosby. 
The town house has been comfortably fitted up with accommo- 
dations for the probate records and for town business. 

The expenses of the town for the year ending September loth, 
18S8, amounted to the incredible sum of over $2fi,(jno. Schools 
cost S0,o70.37; bridges, So,44.').S9; roads, $4,441.30; poor house and 
farm, $1,1.57.70; outside poor, $1,900.00; officers' salaries, $993.4."); 
snow bills \ blizzard), $9(>.-).4]; vital statistics, $r)0.50; state and 
military tax, $:2,71.5.77. The population in 1880 was^.O.")], but 
has probably increased some hundred; children between four 
and sixteen years of age, 1,410; grand list, $1,713,420. The 


I)resent luwu clerk, rcyislrar and treasurer, James N. Kingsbury, 
has held the ntliee nearly twenty years. Present selectmen, 
Oscar Tourtellotte, Thomas G. Stcere, (^corg'C A. Hawkins; as- 
sessors, lliram Arnold, Luther ]M. Child, Jerome Xichols; board 
of relief, George Flint, Oscar Robinson; grand jurors. Thomas 
Wilber, Barton Jacobs, Thomas Ryan, A. E. Jones, Nathaniel 
Child; constables, William M. Rabbitt, William X. Bates, John 
Tradcau, Ge;rge A. Putney; school Yisitors, Stephen Ballard, 
E. H. Cortiss, E. F. Thompson. Reverend X". J. Pinkham had 
previously served many years in this office. 

A Probate court was constituted in Thompson in 183-2, John 
Nichols, judge. Previous to that date it had been included in 
Pomfret probate district. The offiee of judge has been admin- 
istered by Talcott Crosby, Jonathan Xichols, Alanson Rawson, 
George Flint, and by c)thers for very brief periods. Judge Flint 
entered upon service July 4th, JS73. 

Public schools continued under the administration of the 
ecclesiastic society till 3707, when by a change of law it was 
recognized in the '• capacity of a school society." Liberty had 
been previously given to the several districts to ta.x themselves 
for the purpose of building and repairing a school house, to 
choose a clerk and appoint a collector and treasurer. In 179S it 
was further enacted " that each school society shall appoint a 
suitable number of persons to be overseers or visitors of its 
schools, whose duty it shall be to examine the instrtrctors, super- 
intend and direct the instruction of the youth in letters, religion, 
morals and manners, to appoint at their discretion public exer- 
cises for the youth, to visit the schools twice at lea.^t during each 
season for schooling, and particularly to direct the daily reading 
of the iJible by such of the youths as are capable of it, and the 
weekl}- instruction in some catechism, by them approved, and to 
recommend that the master conclude the services of each day 
with prayer." 

Reverend r)aniel Dow, Xoadiah Russel and LXaniel Wick- 
liam were accordingly appointed visitors and "inspectors" of 
the Thompson school, and on ^Iciy 1st, 1709, presented an elab- 
orate report, recommending a faithful examination of school 
teachers, each master to consider it " a necessary requirement to 
be able to read and write English with propriety." to explain the 
spelling book, and to perform common arithmetic; that a moral 
character be considered indispensable, and a knowledge of Eng- 


lisli o-rammar very desirable ; teachers to exercise their o\vn 
choice between the shorter Westminster catechism and Doctor 
Watt's catechism for children. These recommendations were 
faithfully carried out. ^Examination of teachers was duly en- 
forced, Bible read daily, and catecJnsm administered. Reading, 
writing and spelling were taught in all schools throughout the 
year, to which were added arithmetic and grammar in the 
winter, sewing and knitting in summer. The school-ma'ams' 
task of overseeing the sewing, basting and sometimes cutting 
out and fitting garments, was often very arduous. Some little 
girls were even required to make underwear for their fathers 
and brothers in school hours. No girl was thought to have 
thoroughly learned the alphabet until she had acquired the art 
of affixing each separate letter pci'fectly upon an elaborate 

Geography was taught in very economic fashion, the older 
scholars reading it to the school in place of other reading- 
exercise, sparing the necessity of buying more than one copy. 
Saturday afternoons they were allowed, as a special treat, to read 
aloud by turns, in the weekly count}' newspaper, before recita- 
tion in the catechism. 2\lr. Dow was accustomed to visit and 
catechize each school in town, if possible, twice during the sea- 
son- -the brethren of the church, resident in each district, mak- 
ing a point of attending with him at such visitation. To make 
amends for this strictness there were weekl}- spelling matches, 
when boys and girls enjoyed the privilege of " choosing up 
sides " and spelling each other down, ransacking spelling books 
for the most difficidt specimens of orthography. Evening 
exhibitions were also much in vogue, with declamation, rec- 
itation and amusing dialogue. The lastday of the winterschool 
was celebrated with especial festivities, the boys contributing 
pennies to purchase the requisite materials for a generous bowl 
of fiip, and the girls bringing cake and home-made dainties. 
A popular teacher in the South Xeighl^orhood was accustomed 
to give the children a closing ball in his own house. Five shil- 
lings a week was considered ample pay for a school mistress ; a 
successful master could command as much as two dollars. The 
.school house of that date was usually as bare, cold and comfort- 
less a building as could well be devised, but a daughter of ls\x. 
Dow gives a pleasant picture of that in the Central district. 


This Thompson Hill district school house must haYc been 
quite exceptional. x\s a rule the .school houses were close, 
crowded, and every way uncomfortable, with yreat cracks in the 
floor and about the windows, the huge fires burning the faces of 
the children while their feet were freezing. The numerous 
children in every household filled the houses to overflowing, es- 
pecially in the winter, when the schools frequently numbered 
more than a hundred pupils. Their progress depended entirely 
upon the personality of the teacher, some having that native 
teacher's instinct or faculty which enabled them to stimulate in- 
tellect even under those disadvantages. Captain John Green 
was one of these " born teachers," whose services were in great 
demand for many years throughout the town. His brother, 
Winthrop Green. ^Messrs. Horace Seaman s and Winthrop H. 
Ballard, are remembered as successful teachers. Among the 
schoolmistresses none gained a higher rank than ]\Iiss Hope B. 
Gay, a shining member of Priest Atkin's celebrated "" 
upon Killingly hill, and highly gifted with the art of imparting 
her own knowledge to others and winning the respect and affec- 
tion of her pupils. As a rule, however, the standard of the dis- 
trict schools was so low, and the accommodations .so poor, that 
well-to-do families preferred to send their children to select 
schools or academies. Thompson boys were sent to Plainfield, 
Woodstock or Dudley Academies. Especially favored young 
girls had the privilege of a year's schooling in one of the noted 
" female schools " of Hartford, where they added to solid studies 
the accomplishments of painting, drawing, music and fine em- 

The first piano in town was purchased for one of these 
young ladies about 1820, who in turn instructed the other 
girls of the village in those rare arts. The first select school in 
Thompson was opened by }vliss Caroline Dutch, an experienced 
teacher, in 1824, where a large number of charming young ladies 
were trained in polite accomplishments. Select schools were 

also taught by Messrs. Welcome Wilmarth, David, 

Cooley and Matthew :Mi]ls. In 1837 a high school was 
opened by Mr. Thomas P. (ireen, of Auburn, Mass., which 
gained a more permanent standing and higher reputation. 
Woodstock Academy suffering a serious lapse at that time, its 
young men came over to the Thompson school, as well as many 
from other countv towns and fnmr Rhode Island. !Mr. Green 


and his sister were not only stimulating and successful teachers, 
but tliey knew how to carry through' an attractive " f2xhibition," 
held yearly in tlie Congregational meeting house on the rirecn, 
Avhich added much to the prestige of the school. In 1840 the 
old tavern house -was purchased by ^Messrs. Joseph 13. Gay and 
William II. Mason, and transformed into an academy buildinir 
and boarding house, where the school flourished for a number 
of years. A few years after the demise of ^Nlr. Green's school, 
viz., in 1S.")1, another high school was opened by Mr. Henrv Par- 
ker, an experienced teacher, which soon merged into a "P'aniily 
and High School," carried on by ^Iv. Parker and the Reverend 
Alanson Rawson, in the historic "old Watson House." This 
school enjoyed a high reputation for thoroughness and good 
scholarship, and many young people of the town availed them- 
selves of its privileges, while a number of lads from other states 
found a pleasant home and careful training. 

During these years great changes had been wrought in the 
administration of public schools. Finding that the Connecticut 
school fund, of which the state was so proud, had proved to some 
extent a disadvantage, that people took little interest in what 
cost them little or nothing, and that the provision for ])ublic ed- 
ucation in Connecticut was actually falling below that of other 
states, a new departure was resolved upon and effected. Through 
the efficient labors of Henry Barnard, first state school superin- 
tendent, measures were instituted which placed educational mat- 
ters upon a new basis and led to thorough regeneration or re- 
form. Schools have been formed for the instruction of teachers, 
laws passed compelling children to be placed under their tuition, 
and boards constituted to see that all these laws are faithfully 
carried out. School houses, school books and appliances, school 
methods, wages of teachers and ways of paying tliem, have been 
exhaustively scrutinized and debated, and if public schools in 
Connecticut are not some hundred per cent, in advance of those 
of former generations, it is not for lack of discussion, legislation 
or expenditure. Thompson has labored diligently to keep up 
with the demands of the age, and under the careful oversight of 
a competent board "of visitors, has reconstructed her .school 
houses, provided them with maps, charts, school books and libra- 
ries, graded the schools when needful, and supplied them with 
as good teachers as could be procured. Some of these teachers 
are graduates from the town schools, as Mr. Xewton A. and the 


Misses Ballard, ^liss Shaw, the blisses Chace, Kni-'ht, Bates, 
IMxby, yiv. George Town and Mr. AVilfrcd ^lills. Xo one has 
done more for public education in the town, both as teacher and 
visitor, than ^Iv. .Stephen Ballard, often secretary and chairman 
of the board, and sk many of the name are associated with our 
schools that it might well be called the banner famih- in this re- 

The First church of Thompson, as already narrated, was organ- 
ized January ISth, ll'.M). and ]\Iarston Cabot ordained and in- 
stalled over it as its pastor, lie was born in Salem in 1704, 
graduated from Harvard College in 17-24, married, July 22d, 
1731, Mary, daughter of Reverend Josiah Dwight. lie was a 
man of learning and sound judgment and a preacher of unusual 
excellence. The covenant adopted by the church under his 
guidance shows him to have been of unimpeachable orthodoxy, 
according to the standard of the day, and that the church ^vas 
in full sympathy with his views, and " ready to rest satisfied with 
such admittance of adult persons as is performed by the pastor's 
examination of their knowledge and experience of the princi- 
ples and practices of religion." It covenanted " To obey him 
that is by our present voluntary election, or those that may here- 
after be set over us in the Lord, as such that watch over our 
souls, and whom we shall always account worthy of a gospel 
support and maintenance ; as also to adhere to a pious and able 
ministry in this church, laboring in a way of joint concurrence 
with him or them, to his or their conscientious discretion, ex- 
erting the ministerial authority commiLted to them to recover 
and uphold the vigorous and impartial administration of disci- 
pline among us." The sc^-callcd " llalf-Avay Covenant" was ad- 
mitted by the church, under which children of baptized parents, 
not church members, were made subjects of baptism. 

Mr. Cabot exercised theauthority entrusted to him with becom- 
ing discretion, and Avhile strictly enforcing the laws against intru- 
sive Separates and Baptists, tempered justice with mercy, allowing 
such to withdraw quietly from the church without attempting 
coercion. His relations with his own people were ever most 
cordial and harmonious, and although the currenc}- was so fluc- 
tiuiting that it was sometimes ver}- difficult to ascertain its 
real value, the "credit of the salary " was faithfully maintained 
vaccording to contract. In 17r>], i.'.")()0 were found needful: in 
175."), i"G()U were reipiired and /"G."3 allowed for firewood. His 



domestic life was shadowed by tlie loss of several children in the 
successive epidemics so prevalent at that period. Ei^lit hur- 
drcd and thirty infants were baptized by .Mr. Cabot in his twen- 
ty-six years ministry, but a star affixed to many names indicates 
their early removal. AVhetber, in addition to - throat ails " and 
mal.o-nant dysentery, lives may not have been .shortened bv 

brin-'ing them into the fireh 

ss mectmo- liouse to be Ixiptized 

even in the depth of winter, is an open question. One respect- 
ed bnuher of the churcli, Jacob Kixby, lost his wife and cirrht 
children within a short period. ^ 

^The second pastor of Thompson's First church, Reverend 
Xoadiah Russel. was born in Middletown, January ?4th, ]73(,) 
graduated from Yale eolleg-e in 1750, studied for the ministry 
probably with his father, one of the leadino- ministers in Con- 
necticut, received a call to settle in Pomfret, which, "very much 
if not altogether" on account of quarrels about btiildino- a meet- 
ing house, he felt constrained to decline. " June 7, 1757, preached 
the first Sabbath in Thompson; July 57 the society had a meet- 
ing, unanim<vasly invited me to settle among them in the work 
of the ministry; Aug. 30 gave my answer in the affirmative, 
considering their unanimity, and consequentlv the prospect that 
there is of my being comfortable among them and serviceable 
to them; Oct. 5 was kept as a fast previous to the ordination- 
Aov. 9 was the day of my ordination; Rev. Mr. Putnam of Pom- 
fret made the first prayer; Rev. Mr. Gleason (Dndley) made the 
prayer before the charge; my brother of Windsor made the 
prayer after the charge; my father gave the charge; the Rev 
-Mr. Gleason gave the right hand of fellowship." That very 
important part of the exercises-the sermon-omitted from the 
church record, was undoubtedlv delivered bv the father of the 
new minister, fs'everend Xoadiah Russel. Jacob Dres.Kcr, Simon 
Larned and Lusher Gay were then serving the church' in the 
ofiice of deacon. 

Mr._ RiKssel received from the society .^1G5 .settlement 
and /,(;:> salary, with sufficiency of cord wood for his own use 
till he came 'into family estate," and then thirtv cords a 
year. "Family estate" was .soon established bv hi.s^narriarre 
with I'slher Talcott of r^liddletown, and the purchase t.f 
the "Corbin House," on the brow of the hill, on the site now 
occupied by .Mr. Chandler. His pastorate was eminentlv serene 
and peaceful, the well known " mola.sses story " illu.strating 


the reg-ard in which he was held by his people. Attempting 
to reinon.sliate against the large proportion of molasses with 
which a worthy dame persisted in sweetening his tea, his hostess 
only answered with another brimming spoonful and the emphatic 
assertion, " chyir mo/asses ain't too good for Mr. Riisscl," a saying 
everywhere accepted as expressing the popular sentiment that 
nothing could be too good for so good a minister. As a preacher 
he was sound and solid, but perhaps a trifle heavy and hardly 
considered equal to his predecessor. He was much beloved by 
his ministerial brethren, and his counsel and judgment held in 
high esteem. Doctor Whitney reports: "His mental powers 
were excellent. He thought and reasoned Avell, was careful 
and critical in examining things, capable of forming a good 
judgment, agreeable and edifying in conversation. His house 
and heart were open to friends and acquaintances, a lover of 
mankind, faithful in his friendships, ready to do good and to 
communicate, exemplary in relative duties." The young Wood- 
stock schoolmaster, Mr. Timothy Williams, in his contemporary 
diary, gives us the opportunity of attending service in the old 
meeting house and learning something of his preaching, viz.: 

"Jan. 7.1787, Weather very cold, walked to meeting and heard 
Mr. Russel preach verv well, A. }il. from John iv. 24, 'iod a pure 
spirit; spent the intermission at '\\v. Russcl'.s; sat in Esq. Larncd's 
pew P. ^l. with }klajor Simon Larned, and heard a hne, close 
Xew Year's sermon from Psalm xc. 9, 'Our years pass away as 
a lale that is told.' Mr. Russel observed seventeen persons had 
died last year, although it vras remarkably healthy; exhorted us 
to inquire v.'liether we were better prepared for death than when 
the last year began. If not v/e were vastly more unprepared, 
&c., much to the purpose. Jan. 14. Rode in slay to meeting 
house; heard ^Ir. Russel from ]\latt. xxv. 14, 1.0, on improvement 
of talents. If the unprohta'ole servant was so severely punished 
merelv for neglecting his single talent, what would be the con- 
demnation of those who waste, squander and misimprove their 
many talents. Dined at Rev. 'My. Russel's with ^Major vSimon 
Larned. and sat with him and lady in :\Ir. Russel's pew, P. ]\I." 
Between the two Sunda\s the young schoolmaster spent one 
evening by invitation at the minister's with agreeable young 
company, "t(jok tea and played at Alphabetical Induction, huz- 
zling ihe bag and shifting two corks." 


Mr. Russel was a nian of great punctuality, conservative in his 
views, '• very strict in liis attention to the order of society." 
His temperament inclined him to great moderation, and during 
the revolution his sympathies Avere with the mother country, and 
his accustomed prayer for " King George and all the members of 
the Royal ]'\amily," was made a part of the Sabbath sei-vice as 
long as it was in any way suitable. Yet by his great prudence 
he maintained this difficult position without giving offense. 
His prudence was also manifested during the Dodge episode, 
when that audacious young reprobate offered to preach m his 
pulpit. The Woodstock minister, by declining such overture, 
brought upon himself a troul^lesome lawsuit, heavy costs, and a 
scathing castigation from Judge Swift. " How different," says 
the judge, "the conduct of Reverend Mr. Russel," who himself 
attended the service and assisted in the public worship, thereby 
endearing himself to his parishioners and all good men, and in- 
stead of producing mischievous consequences was })roduetive of 
peace and harmony. Thus quietly amid troublous times the 
years glided away and ]Mr. Kussel was considering the necessity 
of employing a colleague, when, like his predecessor, he was 
suddenly removed. A newspaper reports — "Died at Mendon, 
Mass., Tuesday, October 17, 170.'), Rev. Noadiah Russel, of 
Thompson, Conn. On the 'J'hursday preceding. Mr. Russel, his 
wife and son entered upon a journey from their house to Boston, 
proceeded leisurely, arrived at the Rev. Mr. Alexander's on the 
following Monday. Towards evening sat down at table for re- 
freshment. Then Mr. Russel was suddenly seized with apo- 
plexy, and continued with little or no sense or motion till about 
eleven the next evening, when he expired. The remains were 
brought back to Thompson for interment on Fridav, on which 
very mournful occasion a sermon was delivered b)- Rev. Josiah 
Whitney, of Brooklyn, from Heb. vii. illl" 

The number of children bajjtized during [Mr. Russcl's ministry 
was 920. Additions to the church had been less frequent during 
this period, "a great spiritual dearth" prevailing during the 
revolutionary war and through the remainder of the ecntuiy. 
Five hundred and hve members had been admitted into the 
church between ]7oO and ]70."). Deacons Thomas Dike and 
Joseph Gay had entered upon service. 

After a brief interval Mr. Daniel Dow, of Ashford, received a 
call to the vacant pastorate. After graduation frcm Yale Col- 


leg-c in 179:], he had pursued Iheologieal studies under Rever- 
ends Doctor Goodrieh, of Durham, and Enoeh Pond, of Ashford, 
supporting- himself meanwliile by teaching psalmody, and was 
licensed to preach, by the Windham County Association, ]\Lay, 
]79o. He had but just passed his twenty-third birthday, and 
was very small of stature, so that when he first appeared in 
Thompson as a candidate he was taken for a boy who had come 
for the doctor, and quite amazed the family when he made 
known that he purposed to sup])ly the pulpit. His ability and 
promise were cptickly recognized, and he received a satisfactory 
call, although his orthodoxy was not qtiitc up to the requisite 
standard, he having '• fallen into some mistakes and inconsis- 
tencies, in consequence of having read many erroneous books." 
It was a time of great doctrinal ferment. High Calvinism was 
in vogue, and the ministers composing the majority of theAVind- 
ham Association were keenly alert to any taint of unsoundness. 
The examination of the candidate was held in Esquire Dresser's 
tavern. A little girl peering into the room carried through life 
a vivid picture of the youthful divine standing in the center of 
the room, with his coat thrown off, and sweat raining down his 
face, like a farmer's in a July hay-field, parrying the thrusts of 
his .ministerial inquisitors. Whatever his sentiments, he held 
his own triumphantly, and was successfully ordained and in- 
stalled, April '20th, 179G— '' a day of much rejoicing nnd mutual 
congratulation. The people loved their young minister and he 
loved the people." "To be further qualified for the office of a 
bishop," he had previously become " the husband of one wife," 
the daughter of Deacon Jesse BoUes, of Woodstock. 

Fifty years later Doctor Dow thus detailed his early experiences, 
and the aspect of the times : "The church I found to be in a very 
cold, back-slidden state : very few of them v.-illing to converse up- 
on experimental religion, or ready to give a rca.son of tlic hope that 
was in them, if they had any religion at all. The congregation 
seemingly intent upon nothing but vanity and folly. My flock 
.scattered over the whole tov.m. an area of about eight miles 
square. A'arious denominations of Christian people contending 
with each other about the shells and husks of religion, while 
thev appeared to pay little or no attention to the substance. In- 
temperance greatly prevailing, and moderate drinkers, as they 
were called, drinking most immoderately, lirrorists of every 
kind running to and ivo. and many having itching ears running 


after them. Some opciih- avowing their infideliity ; while others 
were pruclaivninc;- L;'oofl news and .glad tidings; by which they 
meant that impenitent sinners, drunkards and all Y-ere sure to 
go to Heaven. . . . 2\1y people were all very friendly to me. 
The}' filled the old meetinghouse well, heard Nvhat I said to them 
with as much satisfaction as they woidd listen to a song, but there 
Y'as the end of it. Xor was it in my pOY'cr to awaken them. I 
preached what I thought good sermons, great sermons, seimons 
full of excellent speech and moral suasion, sermonsgood enough 
to convert anybody, and yet they had no more effect inaY-aken- 
ing and converting sinners than a pop-gun di.^charged against 
an impenetrable roek. . . . But in all this the Lord taught 
me an important lesson. I Y-as brought to see that nothing 
shcjrt of the- pov.-er of God can either awaken or convert a sinner. 
Froni that time I preaclicd the doet]-ine of grace more plainly. 
I expurgated my system of divinity of all Arminian notions, 
and my language of such phrases as were capable of miscon- 
struction . . . and determined to preach all the doctrines of 
grace if I possibly could, as plainly as Christ aad his Apostles 
preached them. Soon J began to perceive aver}- different effect. 
The Lord did what the preachcrcould not do . . . and from 
that time to this we have had re])cated occasion to sa) : ' What 
hath Ciod Y'rought'-'' ""■■'■ 

]\Laterial prospL-ritv kept pace with spiritual. The ancient 
house of worship Y-as once more renovated arad crowned Y'ith 
steeple and bell bA" private enterprise. A great crowd of people 
assembled to Y-itness the hanging of this most welcome bell, 
June 2d, 1798. A clock Y-as also procured and inserted, and 
twenty dollars a year alloY-ed for ringing bell and taking care 
of clock. Two dollars yearly were also paid " to SY-eep the 
house once in two months and clear off the cobwebs." The so- 
cietv committee was directed "to procure and luajig" a conduc- 
tor to said steeple. ]Mr. Low was alwavs much interested in 
church psalmody and a singing school Y-as now opened and four 
neY- choristers appointed. Although so prosperotis in the main, 
money Y'as still so scarce that it Y-as found difficult to raise the 
three hundred dollar salary promised the minister and measures 
Y'ere set on foot for establishing a fund, the interest thereof to 
be for the support of the Gospel. Tliis was successfully accr m- 
plished in 18O0— the sun-i of S."),0()(i being raised by many sub- 

*Seiiii-ceiitLnniul i)ieaflu'cl hy Doctor Dow, April 22il, is?'".. 


In 1S1,"J, the mcclino- house was so damaged by the memora- 
ble " September Gale " that its renovation was deemed impraeti- 
cable. Thaddeus and George I.arned, Elijah Crosby, Zadoc 
Hutchins, Isaac Davis, John Niehols, Noadiah Russel, David 
Town, Daniel Dwight, John Brown, Roger and Joseph Elliott, 
and James Bates, were appointed a committee for building a 
new meeting house. A Building Association was formed, sub- 
scribers agreeing to build a house, not expending over SO,('(i(). 
A native architect, afterward very celebrated, !\lr. Ithiel Town, 
furnished the plan; Elias Carter served as master builder: 
Harvey Dresser, of Charlton, executed the handsome painting 
iinder the lofty pulpit, so artfully simulating a stairway partly 
veiled with crimson drapery that children were always wonder- 
ing that ^It. Dow did not make use of it. The dedication of the 
new house, September 4th, 1817, was one of Thompson's especial 
gala days — the singing under the direction of a veteran leader, 
Mr. Charles Sharpe, surpassing anything before attempted. The 
choir met at the gate of the parsonage and marched in proces- 
sion in pairs, led by the chorister and first soprano, to the meet- 
ing house, singing all the way, but so timing march and song 
that as they crossed the threshold, " I'.nter his gates with scmgs 
of lov " was on their lips. They also sang "Old liundred," 
" -Alarlborough," and lastly. " Denmark," with astonishing force 
— "the ro-ho-ho-ho-ling years"' being so drawn out and intensi- 
fied as " not onlv to astonish the waking multitude but would 
have aroused the Seven Sleepers." The new meeting house, 
with its heavy galleries and elaborate pulpit, was greatly ad- 
mired, althotigh wholly destitute of any accommodations for 
Sabbath school or conference meetings. ^Ir. Dow was at this 
date one of the most popular and eloquent ministers of the 
county. The singing of the choir was exceptionally fine, and 
the impressive figures of the venerable deacons, Aaron and 
Moses Bixby, seated beneath the pulpit, added to the effect of 
the whole service. Children supposed that their names were 
ex officio, and that all deacons were called Moses and Aaron. 

After some years of unsuccessful experiment, a Sabbath school 
was established in lS-2.-), Deacon Josiah Thayer superintendent. 
Deacon Thayer, with Deaetms Charles Brown and Daniel Alton, 
were in service many years. The pastorate of ]\Ir. Dow, pro- 
longed for more than fifty years, was marked by many striking 
events and changes, but the early love and admiration of his 


people remained uncbang-ed. A man of dee]i convietions, great 
ability and many striking- qualities, he impressed himself Yery 
deeply upon the minds of two generations. A keen controversi- 
alist, perfectly sure that he \vas in the right, his early relations 
with other denominations were not harmonious. When invited 
to speak u\n:m the platform at the first ^Methodist eamp meeting, 
he repaid the ecnirtesv by denouncing, in most straightforwai d 
terms, their whole method of procedure. Young people, timidly 
questioning the validity of their baptismal sprinkling in infancy, 
were treated to a sermon upon vain jangling and the keen 
query, "Have not some of you been Jaiii^/iiiL;- about your /v?/- 
iisiH ? " 

The pertinency of his texts was very remarkable, and his 
peculiar and emphatic mode of announcement and reitera- 
tion gave them more power. He used no notes ; discourse and 
illustration were w^holly based upon scripture, which he had at 
tongue's end from Genesis to Revelation. AVrongdoers in his 
own congregation found little mere}'. When, after keen, in- 
cisive glance, he announced for text — " How long, ye simple 
ones, will ye love simplicity ?" — those who had attended dance 
or merry-making during the week knew very well what was 
coming, fleeting one !Monday a. young lawyer of his congrega- 
tion, he remarked that he had missed hin\ from his place in 
church the preceding afternoon. "Yes," said the young man, 
" I was invited to attend the dedication of an Universalist hall 
up north ; had a great time there— a band of music from South - 
bridge, a Universalist minister ofiered prayer, and / preached 
the sermon." " No doubt the Devil was very much pleased with 
the whole performance," was the instant reply. 

Softening with advancing years, ]\Ir. Dow relaxed from earlier 
denominati(-mal exclusivcness. and enjoyed much pleasant fra- 
ternal intercourse with ISaptist and ^Methodist ministers. His 
long experience and intimate acc[uaintancc with family histo- 
ries made him exceedingly effective and impressive upon funeral 
occasions, which he regarded as special means of grace. He 
delighted to preach upon the fulfillment of prophesy and the 
restoration of the Jews, but opposed the ^lillerite delusion so 
effectually in a series of sermons that not one of his congrega- 
tion embraced this belief. In 1840 a doctor's degree was con- 
ferred upon him by Williams College. In April, 183(5, he 
preached an appropriate discourse upon the words, " Forty 


Yc:irs I have k-d yon in the wiiderness." Ten years later peo- 
ple g-athered from fai' and near to eommemorate the fiftieth an- 
niversary of his settlement and listen to most beautiful and 
touehing- reminiseences from the CYcr-beloved pastor. Original 
hymns by his son, }. K. Dow, of Washington, and !Mrs. Anna S. 
Larned, added to the interest of the occasion. iJoctor l)o\v con- 
tinued to preach -with unabated animation and po^ver for more 
than three years, till suddenly stricken down from heart failure, 
on the CYC of July 19th. 1849, after his return from officiating 
at a funeral. An immense congregation attended his funeral 
the following Sabbath. The sermon was preached by his min- 
isterial brother and friend, I-ieverend Roswell Whitmore, of 
Killingly. His aged widow surviYcd till ]8.")o. The first thice 
pastorates of the Congregational church had thus coYcred a pe- 
riod of one hnndred and nineteen years. 

Deprived so suddenly of tlieir lifetime leader, the church, like 
sheep without a shepherd, did not know which way to turn, but 
a chance word left bv Doctor Dow led to the immediate choice 
of his successor, the first and only candidate. ReYcrend Andrew- 
Dunning, of Brunswick. Maine; born July 11th, 1815; graduate 
of Bowdoin; ordained at Plainfield, Conn., 'May 24th, 1842; dis- 
missed January 2Gth, 1847: installed over the Congregational 
church of Thompson }ilay ir)th, 18o0; died in charge, like his 
predecessors, 2\larch 20th, 1872, an honored member of a re- 
markable ministerial succession. Lovely in person and charac- 
ter, eminently prudent, peace-loving, sound in iudgment, able 
in discourse, the pastoral work of ^Slr. Dunning fully lustified 
the spontaneous choice of his picople. Although the withdrawal 
of pojmlation to the valleys was now telling heavily upon tlie 
hill churches, and manv valued members were thus removed 
from Thompson, the church maintained a good record through- 
out Mr. Dunning"s ministry. In 185C it took possession of a new 
and elegant house of worship, opposite the foriner house, ivlr. 
William II. Mason bearing a large share of the cost of construc- 
tion. Dedication services were observed with the u.siual enthu- 
siasm, Mr. Dunning presiding with grace and dignity, and 
preaching an appropriate and impressive sermon. A suitable 
organ was soon after placed in the church, through the instru- 
mentality of the ladies of the congregation. 

vSmitten with fatal disease while vet in the prime of manhood, 
and not attaining "unto the davs of the vears of the life " of his 


fathers in the ministry, 2\Ir. Dunning- was permitted in a very 
special manner "to glorify God " in the heroic fortitude with 
which he bore his sutTerings, and in his dying testimony to the 
faith which had suppoi-ted him. His long illness "was a perfect 
triumph of grace." His funeral sermon was preached bv one of 
his own spiritual children, Reverend Joseph P. liixby. The in- 
scription on the tablet in the Congregational church edifice de- 
lineates most truthfully the characteristics of this beloved min- 
ister: " vServant of the L<:ird .... gentle unto all men, ajjt to 
teach, patient .... thoroughly furnished unto all good work." 

Four pastors in one hundred and forty-two years was Thomp- 
son's excellent record in 1S72. Fi-re since that date show its 
ability to keep up with the times. Reverend Joseph Bodwell 
was installed as pastor December IGth, 1S72; dismissed in the 
autumn of 1S74. Reverend John A. Hanna was installed July, 
1876; di.smissed (October, 1879. Reverend Aaron C. Adams 
served as acting pastor from December, ] 879, to Mav, 1887. Rev- 
erend Marcus Ames entered upon service as acting pastor De- 
cember 1st, 1887. but m three months was stricken down with 
illness and died during the year. Reverend George H. Cum- 
mings was ordained and installed ^vlay 24th. 188S. In these later 
pastorates the church has faithfully maintained its original 
pledge " to adhere to a pious and able ministr)-," each minister 
having his special excellences and devoted adherents. Since 
the resignation of Deacon Charles Brown, who served more than 
forty years, the office has been filled by Deacons Elijah Crosby, 
Charles Brown, }*larcus F. Town, Josiah AV. Dike— all descended 
from early members of the church. The present chorister, Mr. 
Andrew refills, has been a member of the choir more than half a 
century. }>Iessrs. James O. refills, Charles Baldwin, B. F. Hutch- 
ins and Jerome 1'. Crosby have also served as choristers. It 
is a remarkable fact, illustrating the lamented dying out and 
emigration of native Xew England families, that of the twenty- 
eight original members of the First Thompson church, onAy o>ii\ 
Henry (rreen, is represented by name on the present roll of 
membership. Two or three are still represented in the female 
line. Descendants of .Samuel Converse. Israel joslin and Ivory 
Upham are now numerous in different parts of the town. 

The first Baptist church in Windham countv was formed in 
Thompson parish in 17.30. Jeremiah Ixarstow, of Sturbridge, ap- 
pears as the first l^aptist cxhorter, suffering a month's impris- 


onment in Windham jail for presuming to preach Avithout 
permission from constituted authority. " Gone to ye Baptists" 
is the mournful record of good Mr. CaVwt against the names 
of those ^vho yielded to his enticements. Refusing to pay 
rates for the standing society, they were " strained upon " by 
collectors, and suffered various trials, until emliodied as a 
"Six Principle l.-iaptist Cliurch," with Elder AVightman Jacobs 
for their pastor, and united in association with other churches 
in the vicinitv. Its existence was, however, short and troub- 
led, and it became extinct upon the removal of its pastor and 
leading members to Royalston, Vermont, in 17G1). Finding 
themselves exposed anew to taxation for support of the stand- 
ing order, and being fullv in harmony with Baptist sentiments, 
a Baptist society was formed November 17th, 1772, some sev- 
enty-five stibscribcrs expressing their regard for the Baptist 
constitution and way of worship, their willingness to be help, 
ful in building a house for public worship and in settling a 
minister, according to their ability, "not believing thai there 
ought to be any compulsion in such cases, or carnal sword 
used." j\lr. John ]Niartin, of Rehobotli, was chosen to preach to 
them on trial, who preached through the winter in private 
houses in the vicinity of the present Brandy hill. 

After pleasant meetings in June to tell of their experience of 
God's grace in their souls, James Dike was appointed to write a 
petition, and Ebenezer Green to carry it to the mother church 
in Leicester, ]\lass., asking leave to embody as a distinct church. 
September 0th. 1773, these ])ctitioners, viz., \Vidow Deborah 
Torrey, :SIary Green, Elizabeth Atwell, Sai-ah AVhite,Widow Deb- 
orah Davis, Lydia Hall, Hannah Jones, James Dike, Ebenezer 
(rreen, Jonathan ]\lunyan, Levi Wliitc, Thaddeus Allen, John 
White, together with John Martin, John Atwell, John Pratt. 
Tames Coats and Levisa ^^lartin " firstly gave -ourselves to the 
Lord and to each other and signed a written covenant," and thus 
became embodied. On the same day Mr. ]\Iartin was called to 
become the minister of the church, the society concurring with- 
out "one vote to the contrary." James Dike and Ebenezer 
Green were elected deacons. Ordination services were held No- 
vember 3d, 177;), under a large apple tree near the Jacobs Tav- 
ern. Elder Ledoyt of Woodstock began the public service with 
prayer. A sermon suitable to the occasion was preached from 
Phil. i. 18, by Elder Lsaac Backus, Elder Green of Charlton gave 


the charge, lilder Winsor of Gloucester the right hand of fel- 
hnvship — all conducted with decency and order. Tlie deacons 
were formally ordained, December 0th, the church having pre- 
viously decided that each had a gift of prayer and exhortation 
that ought to be inlpro^-cd for the benefit of the church, but that 
it ought to be "limilcd, viz., he ought not to rise up of his own 
head and open IItc nieetiug by prayer," but wait the suggestion 
of the elder; likewise the gift of exhortation should not be in- 
dulged in unless "he could see any point that he could advance 
any further upon in agreement to what had been said," and "if 
the churcli in general should judge that he did not advance any- 
thing forward, or give some furthcj- light," he should be gently 
reproved, but the third ti)iic he attempted and advanced nothing 
forward, he .should be silenced. It is not surprising that upon 
reconsideration the church "disannulled that vote concerniiig 
Dea. Dike's and Dea. Green's gifts, and ordered that vote to be 
crossed out. but willing they or an \- other brother should improve 
according to the ability that God shall give at proper times and 
seasons as the church shall judge." A meeting house was built 
the following summer on land given by Benjamin Wilkinson, 
the large hearted proprietor of tlie old Red Tavern on Thomp- 
son hill, " in the fork of the roads where Oxford and Boston 
roads meet," Ezekicl Smith, Ebenezer Starr and Jonathan 2\lun- 
yan, building committee. " A vote was called whether we would 
allow this Baptist church the decisive vote in choosing her gifts 
to improve in the meeting house we are now about to build, and it 
was voted in the affirmative;" by which action the control of the 
house was given to the church. Many were added to its mem- 
bership, and public worship was largely attended. In 1792 Pear- 
son Crosby and Jonathan C(ni verse were chosen deacons. 

In 1 700 Brother Solomon Wakefield had liberty " t<) improve his 
gilts and hold meetings, when the door mav ojien at any time or 
place, when he is free to do the same," and the clerk gave them 
"credentials to go forth to preach." Some serious difticulties 
had then arisen in the church, due mainly to dissatisfaction with 
the pastor, whose mind was somewhat unsettled with advancing 
years. A part took sides with the minister. September 7th, 
1707, a council was held, whicli resulted m division of the church, 
" each individual, male and female, to have full liberty to join 
which party they choose." 'j'wenty-.scven members thereupon 
withdrew and set up worship for themselves in an obscure cor- 


ner. known as Oxford Gore, with ]'>lder Martin for their minister, 
The majority remaining soon after uniterl in ehoice of I'earson 
Crosby. Resigning himself wliolly to the judgment of the 
brethren, a council was held November 7th, 171)^^, which unani- 
mously voted, " Satisfied with the work of grace on his heart, 
his call to the ministry and system of doctrine." On the day 
following he was ordained and inducted into the ministry, '• all 
of which was attended to with a degree of becoming solemnity." 
The faithful labors of the new minister were crowned with 
abundant success, and in a few years the membership of the 
church had largely increased. Thomas Day was added to the 
number of deacons. 

Though so prosperous in the main it was found difficult to 
provide a support for the minister. After laboring more than 
two years, it was voted to pay Elder Crosby forty dollars for his 
past services. A legacy from Deacon li^benezer (ireen, and lib- 
eral subscriptions from others, enabled, the societ}- in 1801 to 
purchase a farm "to provide a place of residence for our teacher 
or minister near our meeting house," which, with an annual 
salary of eighty dollars enabled him to provide comfortably for 
the wants of his large family. In 1S08, a new meeting house 
was erected — Elder Cro.sby, Deacons Jonathan Converse and 
Thomas Day, Captain David Wilson, Joseph Dike, Abel Jacobs, 
building committee. A suitable site was purchased "on the 
great turnpike road from Boston to Hartford." ]May 19th, more 
than a hundred men assisted at the raising, "having dinner, sup- 
per and liquor enough provided," and the work of building was 
pushed forward so efficiently that in August the vSturbridge As- 
sociation of churches was held in the new house. Pews 
sold to ready purchasers helped defray the cost. The church 
continued to gain in numbers and its new meeting house v.-as 
well fdk-d with attentive hearers. It Avas very interesting on a 
Sabbath morning to see the people flocking thither bv the old 
by-ways and " across lots \' from all sections. Elder Crosby was 
a .strong and eloquent preacher, particularly gifted on fu.neral 

lu 1805, a standing committee was instituted, consisting 
of the pastor, deacons and five brethren, to settle all mat- 
ters of difhculty between members without the knowledge or ac- 
tion of the church, called out probably bv the great number of 
trilling complaints lodged against church members in those days, 


but hardly consistent with the democratic character of Baptist 
principles and usages. In other respects the church showed it- 
self remarkably conservative, particularly in " A Rule for the 
J\Ianag-ement of its Temporal concerns" adopted in 1818, which 
provided "that all delegated power in things of a temporal con- 
cern shall be vested in the deacons except in such things as the 
church shall think proper to add other brethren." The minis- 
ter's salary was to be raised by an " everedge " upon each mem- 
ber, the deacons "to make out the Everage Bill," lay it before 
the church for ratification, receive payment, warn and report de- 
linquents, and if any should neglect to pav within a montli of 
the time specified, church fellowship would be withheld till sat- 
isfaction was given — a method differing but little from the rate 
bill and "carnal sword," so repugnant to Baptists. So also with 
reference to women using their gifts of speaking in public, the 
church w-as severely censured for permitting a very able and 
fervent female preacher to occupy the pulpit in the absence of 
their pastor. 

But in spiritual power the " Old Baptist church " exceeded. 
Between 1812 and 1815, a remarkable " revival " was experienced, 
bringing hundreds into the churches. The work was particularly 
sweeping in the newly-formed " Factory Milages" of the valley, 
" v.-here for two or three years Satan had seemed to reign with 
almost sovereign and despotic sway. Vice and immorality were 
permitted to riot without control. The sound of the violin, at- 
tended with dancing, the sure prelude to greater scenes of rev- 
elry for the night." Here Elder Crosby reports — " Convictions 
of the pungent and powerful character. Some wrought 
upon in the most sudden manner — one moment swearing, curs- 
ing and ridiculing religion; the next, calling upon God to save 
their souls. In less than a week instead of the violin, the songs 
of Zion and ])reaching and conference every evening." Eigh- 
teen baptismal seasons, all characterized by the greatest solem- 
nity, were observed by Elder Crosby during this powerful re- 
vival. On a bitter cold day, January, ISlo, he enjoyed "the 
glorious sight " of beholding thirteen young people in the very 
bloom of life following their dear Lord into the cold stream of 
Jordan, people traveling through the snov,- and cold eighteen 
miles to witness this impressive scene. Young people who went 
about town in ox sleds that tempestuous winter breaking out roads 
that they might attend these precious meetings, never forgot the 


jovf ui enlhiisia'^m of the time. Many ^Yere brought in who became 
most valuable members of the churches and preachers of the 
truth. Ik-njamin M. Hill, afterward secretary of the American 
IJaptist Home Mission Society, was licensed by this church in 
ISl."); Lewis Seamans a few years later. John B. Ballard, one 
of the subjects of this revival, was afterward very active in min- 
isterial and mission work. Stephen Crosby was ordained dea- 
con in 1815. Three hundred and fifty-four were added to the 
church in the twenty vears of Elder Crosby's ministry. In 1S19 
he followed his children to Fredonia, X. Y. 

His immediate successor was Elder John Xichols, of West 
Thompson, received the fellowship of the Baptist church 
and installed as its pastor ^lay 10th, 1S19, an eloquent and pow- 
erful preacher. Arthur A. Ross, a licentiate of the church, was 
associated with him, and served as sole pastor for a .short period. 
^ In 1S23 Elder James Grow, an experienced minister, already 
well known to the church, became its pastor. A man of deep 
spiritual experience and fervent piety, his labors were greatly 
blessed, one hundred and forty-five being added to the church 
during his ten years' ministry. Reverend Bela Hicks was called 
as his successor in 1834. At about this date the growing pros- 
perity of Thompson Hill village and the number of influential 
Baptists living there led to a separation in the church, a number 
of its members, with their pastor. Elder Hicks, removing their 
Avor.ship to anew meeting house built by them in the village. 

Elder Grow resumed charge of the branch in the former meet- 
ing house and served acceptably till laid aside by increasing 
infirmities. Till his de.'.th in ISr^O, he held a warm place in 
the hearts of many, and his trembling vuice was often raised in 
prayer and affectionate exhortation. Four hundred and seventy- 
six were baptised by him. AVith a small salary he gave with a 
willing mind, and sent Doctor |uds<jn in the early days of for- 
eign missions fifty dollars with his own hand, vrhieh Doctor Jud- 
son answered in a letter, which brought more than twenty thou- 
sand dollars to the mission. Elder James Smither, an 
earnest preacher, succeeded Elder Grow for two years, and was 
followed by Elder Xieholas Branch, a man of strong character 
and a vigorous and original preacher. An attempt was now 
made to unite in worship with the church at the Center, I'^ldcr 
Branch taking for his text the Sundav before leaving the old 
meeting house, '"Ye have compassed this mountain long enough." 


But the words were not prophetic. Older people could not feel 
at home under new conditions, and returned in a few months to 
their old church home, and haYing still their ministerial farm, 
proceeded to build a new house of worship and make arrange- 
ments for permanent abiding. After careful thought and n-iu- 
tual conference, an harmonious separation was 'effected April 
Sth, 1S4G, each brother and sister present of the two churches 
signif3-ing their assent to the subjoined resolutions: ■' Ro.solYcd, 
that the Baptist church in Thompson be, and the same 
hereby is divided, and hereafter constitutes two distinct bodies, 
the one body to be known as the East Thompson Baptist church, 
and the other as the Central Baptist church of Thompson. Be 
it further resolved, that each individual present answer for him- 
self or herself as to which body they \vish to be connected with ; 
also, so far as they feel authorized to, answer for their friends." 

The Eastern church, with its new meeting house and ample 
•field of labor, has since enjoyed a comfortable existence under 
the guidance of successive faithful ministers, viz.: Elders 1. C. 
Carpenter, L. W. Wheeler, j. B. Guild. Nicholas Branch, P. ^lat^ 
thewson, D. S. Hawley, W. A. AVortliington, X. J. Pinkham. 
The one hundredUi anniversary of the church was celebrated 
very delightfully by both chuj,-ches, at the East Thompson meet- 
ing house, September 9th, 1S73, when a very interesting history 
of the church was given by its pastor. Reverend N. J. Pinkham. 
Addresses were made by former pastors. Elders Carpenter and 
Matthewson, and by children of the church, residents in other 
towns ; also by },Ir. James Hill, the oldest member of the church ; 
Captain John Green, a former member, and by ministers from 
other towns. A beautiful September day, a large and .sympa- 
thetic audience, the number and variety of addresses, made it a 
day of rare interest and enjoyment. The present pastor. Rev- 
erend vSamuel Thatcher, who has now labored some six years 
with the East Thompson church, has the happy gift of imparting 
his abounding energy to others, and the church enters upon its 
second century with cheering pro.spect of continued usefulness. 

At the time of the migration to Thompson hill the Baptists in 
that vicinity boasted some very strong and influential men, such 
as Deaci^i Steplien Crosby and his son. Judge Talcott Crosby, 
Captain Vernon Stiles, Mr. Richmond Bullock. Under their 
oversight a comfortable house of worship was erected and opened 
for service in 1830. Elder Harvey Fittz succeeded lilder Hicks 


llie following year. The conyrcg'ation wa.s large and influential, 
man}- sterling families from different parts of the town favoring 
rcmoval to the village. A powerful revival soon followed, 
strengthening the membership of the chiireh. During the suc- 
ceeding pastorate of Reverend Silas Bailey, a distinguished and 
able minister, afterward president of Granville College and other 
institittions, the church continued to flourish and received large 
accessions. Jason Elliott and George Davis were ordained dea- 
cons in 1840. 

Great interest was fell at this dale in temperance reform, 
and many very interesting meetings were held in the Bap- 
tist church — the commanding presence and sound judgment 
of Elder Bailey giving him much influence in this and other pub- 
lic movements. Union temperance meetings were held through- 
out one winter in the vestry of the church, greatly enlightening- 
public sentiment. The loss of IHder Ikiiky, when called to wider 
fields, was much lamented by all. His successor. Elder L. (t. 
Leonard, a man of culture and ability, was less successful. Elder 
Charles Willett was called to the pastorate June 4th, 1845, and 
continued .some years in charge, assisting very effectively in the 
harmonious settlement of the two branches in 184G. A council 
of recognition was held 'May 20th, at which time Elliott Joslin 
and Valentine Ballard were set apart as deacons, an office which 
they worthily filled many years. Emigration was now depleting 
the church ; some influential families removed west, others be- 
came connected with the Baptist church of the present Putnam. 
Each pastor found the number of members decreasing. Elders 
Thoinas Dowling, E. R. Warren and Moses Curtis succeecied Mr. 
Willett. During the pastorate of Reverend B. vS. Morse, 1858- 
1861, the meeting house was thoroughly repaired. ]\ir. ]\Iorse 
did good service in compiling a history of the Baptist churches, 
delivered before his people, and published in the minutes of the 
Ashford Baptist Association. Elder E. P. Borden supplied the 
pulpit for two years. Elders W. Mungcr, B. N. Sperry, Robert 
Bennett, William Randall are later pastors. For several years 
Baptists in Grosvenor Dale associated with this church, }\Iessrs. 
Sperry, Bennett and Randall holding an afternoon service in the 
chapel of that village, and having pastoral charge of tljose at- 
tending the service ; but from the removal of ^Mr. Ihiggs and 
other causes it was discontinued. The p]-esenl pastoi', Re^■erend 
S. A. Ives, entered upon service in April, 1888. Deacons Valen- 


tine Ballard and Hiram Arnold serve as senior deacons. Charles 
Arnold and John I). Converse have been recently installed in 
service. The ehiirch edifice has been thorouglily repaired and 
refitted, absent ones of the church assisting in this work. 

Methodists appeared in Thompson at an early date, zealous 
itinerants preaching" in various localities, wherever they could 
find a hearing. Avoiding the hilltops so long pre-empted by the 
" Standing Order," they found a v\-illing con.stituency in the 
neglected valleys, where population had slowly gathered about 
the mill sites. The first ^Methodist preachers remembered are 
John Allen and Jesse Lee, who gained a few followers. In 1793 
a class of six members was formed in West Thompson, with 
Xoah Perrin of Pom fret, for a leader. Joseph Buck, Shubael 
Cady and Jonathan Allen were prominent amcmg these early 
Methodists. The Xicliols family Avas a notable accession to their 
ranks. Captain [onathan Nichols, the bridge builder and ship 
architect, became a ^Methodist, opening his house for the recep- 
tion of the New England Conference in 1796. This was the 
sixth Methodist conference of New England, the only one ever 
held in Windham county. Bishop Asbury, Joshua Hall and 
many distinguished ]\Icthodist preachers were ]')resent, and the 
services were marked by the most thrilling interest. Soon a 
Methodist house of worship was built west of the Ouinebaug, 
under the direction of Captain Xichols, and religious services 
statedly observed. John Gore, Dyer Branch, Joshua Crowell, 
Elisha vStreeter, Thornas Perry, were early preachers in this 
house, drawing manv hearers from the west j.virt of the town 
and adjoining sections of Pomfret and Woodstock. In time the 
rough house became too small for the congregation and was bi- 
sected and enlarged. 

In the revival season of 1S12 ISl;"). many were added to the 
church, and an earnest brother, Shubael Cadv, gathered the chil- 
dren into a class for instruction —one of the first reported vSnn- 
day schools in the country. 

The Thompson church became so powerful that its name was 
given to the circuit. It continued to increase and flourish under 
the care of zealous leaders and elders till, in IS-JO, a handsome 
church edifice was erected in West Thompson village. Judge 
Jonathan Nichols and his kinsmen, Messrs. Faxon and George 
Nichols, Were very active and elficieiu in forwarding the Metho- 
dist interests throu'^hout the town. So also was Reverend Ilez- 

niSTOi;v OF wixmiAM county. 681 

ekiah Ramsclel], who made his home in West Thompson while 
preaching in various fields \vit.h much eloqiTenee and acceptance. 

Thompson and Eastford were now united in a. circuit embrac- 
ing- a membership of seven hundred. So large was the field that 
a division was thought needful, and new societies formed in 
Fisherville and East Thompson. Soon after this division the 
mother Sdciuty was fuillicr weakened by the establishment of 
worship in what is now Putnam, bv which many valuable mem- 
bers were removed. The West Thompson ^Methodist cliurch 
has, in spite of these losses, maintained a good standing, fur- 
nishing an acceptable chnrch home for many substantial fami- 
lies, and also for aged ministers and their families. The vener- 
able Fathers Warren Emerson and John Case spent their 
years with this people. Among its many faithful ministers may 
be numbered: Elders George May, William and Richard Livesly, 
Edward A. Stanley, Charles I\Iorse, Phelps and Stearns. 

A Methodist house of worship was erected in Fisherville in 
1842, and a good congregation gathered. One of its first min- 
isters was the honored Father Daniel Dorcliester, whose son, 
Daniel, now so widely known in the denomination, preached at 
the same time in East Thompson. This society was greatly 
benefitted through the thoughtfulness of 'Mv. Joseph Green, by 
which the debt upon the meeting house was cleai"ed and money 
left for a permanent fund. Captain George Nichols was one of 
the early benefactors and constant friends (>f this society. 
Situated in a thriving village, with a country around it unoc- 
cupied by other churches, this Methodist church has filled an 
important position and been productive of niuch good. Its well 
ke})t burying ground and continued improvements in the house 
of worship manifest niuch enlightened public spirit. The pres- 
ent pastor. Reverend (jeorge A. )iIorse, is completing his third 
year of service. 

The East Thompson }>Iethodist society, organized in a part of 
the town previou,sly left cnit in tlie cold, had a hard struggle for 
existence in its earlv years. Hut the very difliculties in the way 
made its preservatien more important. With the opening of the 
New York and New England railroad, and its junction at East 
'llmmpson with the So\nhLn-idge Branch, pnpulation increased 
and the church felt a new imjietus. For many years it has been 
a strong and active bodv, and enjoved a succession of faithful 
and efficient pastt)rs. Its Sabbath school has been kept up with 


much iiitcrcsl. its praver meetino-s arc lively and well attended, 
and the eliurch and children's festivals are observed with'un- 
usual sjiirit. 

]Miss l<'.ninia Shaw, a native of Thompson village, much 
esteemed as a tc-acher in tlie public schools of Providence, R. I., 
has woTi uuiiiuc celebrity bv her energy and enterprise in ex- 
ploring unfamiliar portiunsof the American continent. She was 
one of the lirst American women to explore our Alaskan terri- 
tory, and in successive visits has made herself very familiar with 
tlie topography and characteristics of that remarkable region. 
For six successive summers Miss Shaw has cros.sed to the Pacific 
coast, over the several trans-continental routes, making each 
year a special visitation and study of some almost undiscovered 
country, and describing her adventurous wanderings in graphic 
letters to many influential newspapers. Yellow-stone Park, the 
Cascades of tlie Columbian river, the Winnipeg country, the vSas- 
katchewan river far into the territory of the Hudson Bay Com- 
]xany, and oihci- remote and unfrequented sections, have been 
thus visited and described. ]\Iiss Shav\- has in a very marked de- 
gree tlie qualities essential for a successful traveler, and the in- 
teresting papers recounting her varied and unusual experiences 
have been ;j;really enjoyed and appreciated by many intelligent 


THE TOWN OF THOMPSON.- (Concluded). 

Jhmufactui-es.— The Swainii Factory. —Fishervill.' Fuel iiy.— Water PrivilegL-s.— 
Grosvenoi- Dale, Mascmville.— North Grosveiior Dale.— Clianyes WroiiRlit by 
the Manufacturing Interests.— Catholic Cliurclies.— The Swedish Ouuch of 
Grosvenor Dale.— Conueclicut Mamifacluring Company. — The "Brick" 
Factory.— West Thompson.— Mechanicsville.—Qiiadic Manufacturing Com- 
pany.— Brandy Hill.— The Northeast Section.— AVilsonville.— New Boston.— 
Thompson Yillage.—A "Boom" to Tl)onip.:ou 1 lill.— Old-Time Taverns.- 
Social Customs. — Railroad Oi)ening. — Thomjison Fiie Engine Com- 
pany. — Some Prominent People. — Summer Inlialiitaiits.— The Hons of Thomp- 
son.— Thompson Grange.— Biographical Sketches. 

THOr^IPSOX'S manufflcturing interests are of iritieli value 
and importance, having- been the main factor in its con- 
tinued prosperity and good standing. The opening of 
Mr. vSmith Wilkinson's cotton spinning factory in 1807, near the 
southwest corner of Thompson, excited much interest, giving 
employment to many women and children, and furni.shing a 
nearer market for farm produce. Mr. John ^lason, at the ex- 
treme south of the town (oldest son of the furmcrmerchant, who 
had then removed to Providence), was the first to prcipose a 
similar enterprise in Thompson, and selected the site of the pres- 
ent Grosvenor Dale as the scene of experiment. Persuading 
Nathaniel, son of Elder Cro.sby, to associate with him, they at- 
tempted to negotiate for the upper privilege with I)cacon Ste- 
phen Crosby, who had at that time a saw mill, grisl mill and 
fulling mill in successful operation. Failing in this attempt, 
they invited ]Slessrs. John Nichols. James B. !Mason, Theodore 
iJwight and Rufus Coburn to unite with them as the Thompson 
Manufacturing Compan\- in 1811, and succeeded in purchasing 
a suitable tract of land " near the old bridge place, below Ste- 
phen Crosby's mills." Here were erected, in 1812, Thompson's 
first manufactory or factory building, a wooden house OU by 36 
feet, three sluries higli, designed to run sixteen hundred spin- 
dles. Early in the following year it went into operation, draw- 

684 HISTORY OF wixdham couxtv. 

ing in the class of operators usual at that date, mostly embarasscd 
men witli small means and large families. Society in early mill 
villages was very chaotic, and according to l^lder Crosby, " Sa- 
tan " gained the mastery in this case, "reigning with almost sov- 
ereign and despotic sway." An unfortunate rivalry between 
the Thompson Company and the " Connecticut Company " at the 
Brick Factory below helped to give a bad name to this vSatanic 
stronghold. Occujiying one of the " miry hollows" so vividlv 
depicted by Samuel r\Iorris a century before, it was considered 
a very unwholesome and undesiralilc location, and was derisively 
nicknamed "The .Swamp" or ".Swamp Factory" by mocking 
rivals — a name that clung to it for many years. The future 
Judge Nichols was the first agent of ihe company; Rufus Co- 
burn sub-agent. Lacking in experience, and probably in the 
rare executive ability which had given such .success to j\Ir. Wil- 
kinson's experiment, the first aspect was not favorable, but ere 
many months had passed a complete change of base Avas effected. 
" Land, water privilege, buildings, machinery, stock of yarn and 
cloth," in short, the whole establishment, was bought out bv Gen- 
eral James B. ^lason , for S12.."300. August llth . 1 SI 3, his brothers, 
Amasa and William H. ^NLason were admitted into the company. 
General ]\Lason retaining sixteen-thirty-seconds for himself. 
Colonel William Foster, of Smiihtleld, R. L, was made the resi- 
dent ag'ent, a man of experience and resolute energy. Lender his 
efficient agency order took the place of chaos, and when under 
the great religious interest of J814 unruly spirits were farther 
quelled, the character of the place was almost wholly trans- 
formed, ^lany good and substantial families removed to Swamp 
Factory, thrifty women welcomed the privilege of weaving the 
spun cotton into cloth, struggling farmers paid off mortgages by 
working for the factory, and the usual good results of such pe- 
cuniary aid were experienced in many directions. The little 
school house was soon crowded with native children and many 
religious services were held there by the different ministers of 
the town. Through the skillful management of Colonel Foster. 
the depression in manufactured goods, following the return of 
peace and the introduction of power looms and nev-- methods of 
working, was tided over without loss to the company. 

After the death of General James B. Mason in 18:20, his widow, 
Mrs. Alice Mason, and Mr. William IL ]\Iason, leased their re- 
spective shares in the Swamp Factory to Mr. xVmasa Mason. 


Colonel Foster was succeeded, as manager, by Mr. Thomas 
Thatcher, a man of much weight of character and sterling in- 
tegrity, who continued to administer its affairs with much wisdom 
and efficiency. In 1826 ^Messrs. Amasa and William li. lilason 
pureliased of Deacon Stephen Crosby the long courted upper 
mill privilege, together with dwelling house, nimiemus mills and 
eighty acres of land for $."),8(i0. }^Iarch 13th, 1820, 'Mr. ^Villiam 
H. Mason sold ^Ir. Thatcher one-eighth of his interest, the three 
proprietors now taking the name of the ]\Iasonville Company, 
and giving the name to the village. The square house built by 
Deacon Crosby became the residence of ?\Ir. Thatcher. A sub- 
stantial stone factor}- building was erected as soon as possible 
80 by 40 feet, four stories high, fitted for twent3'-five hundred 
spindles — forming the northern portion of the present western 
group of mills. A handsome row of stone houses was also built 
for the operatives, and the population of the village very largely 

It Avas the policy of the ^Masonville Company to manufac- 
ture cloth of the highest grade and best quality. With Sea 
Island cotton, new machinery and skilled workmen they soon 
attained their object, and the Masonville sheeting stood at 
the head of the market. With the tariff of 1828 protecting their 
interests, the 2\Iasonville Company prospered greatly, their 
profits in five years reaching one hundred thousand dollars. In 
1831 a brick building was added, four stories high, running 
twentj'-five hundred spindles. The ensuing ten years wei-e 
mainly prosperous, though the first wooden factor)- leased to 
different parties, met some reverses. ~Mr. Thatcher remained in 
charge, and was honored as the patriarch and autocrat of the 
village. "Who is governor of Connecticut?" queried a passing 
traveler of the gaping children. " ,Mr. Fracher," lisped a little 
maid, unable to conceive of higher dignitary. The residents of 
the village w-ere as yet almost wholly of New England .stock. 
Many good Yankees found employment in the various offices. 

Some idea of the society of ^lasonville at that dale may be gath- 
ered from the fact that, on the day of the inauguration of Gen- 
eral Harrison to the presidency, }\Iarch 4th, 184] , the ladies of 
the Congregational vSewing Societv were invited to meet with 
their Masonville sisters, and that /////iheads of families furnished 
the turkey dinner with which they celebvated the event. Other 
families attended the llaptist and Metliodist churches. Farmers' 


and im'chanics' dauj^lTtcrs o'ladlv improved the privilege of 
c.irnino: a])iiiidant wages, and were among the best customers of 
the stores at Thompson hill-~the usual " factory store " not satis. 
fying their ambitions. In ^S4^) Mr. William H. !Mason became 
the sole proprietor of the old Thompson factory, which lie pro- 
ceeded to enlarge and refit vrith new machinery, making- it run 
twenty-seven hundred spindles. Changes were made in the 
company proprietorship^by which seven shares accrued to 'Mr. 
Amasa ^Mason, the same to Mr. W. H. :Mason. one share to ;Mr. 
Thatcher, one to Captain William S. Arnold, who, after .serving 
in various dejxartments, now had charge of the store. ]\Ir. ^lason, residing; in Providence, served as mercantile 
agent and general manager of the company from the date of or- 
ganization in 1S13 till failing health compelled its relinquish- 
ment. ]\Ir. William H. Ma.son, the last survivor of the Mason 
brothers, a.ssumed the charge for a few years, till his increasing 
infirmities induced him to resign the office to his nephew b}- 
marriage. Doctor William Grcsvenor of North Providence. His 
wife, Rosa A. Grosvenor, daughter of Cjcneral James B. ^lason, 
had inherited ])art of her father's interest, and also one-fourth 
part of Mr. Amasa ]\Iason's interest. Doctor Grosvenor was de- 
scended from one of the first settlers of AVindham county, the 
John Grosvenor who negotiated for the MashamocjUi-t purchase, 
now the central part of Pomfret, and whose descendants were 
ranked among the leading citizens of .successive generations. 
His father. Doctor Robert (Trosvenor, entered upon medical 
practice in Killingly, and was known far and wide as a .skillful 
practitioner and keen business man, a partner in the Killingly 
Manufacturing Company of 1814, whose ivy-covered "Stone 
Factory " is now the most picturesque ruin in Windham county. 
His son, William, born April 30th, 18] 0. inherited his father's 
professional and business aptitude, and after cc^mpleting- medical 
■studies engaged for a time in practice, but finding business more 
congenial, in 1848 he accepted the position of mercantile agent 
and general manager of the ^Masonville Manufacturing Company. 
June 30th, ]8.")4, Doctor (jrosvenor purchased of [Mr. William H. 
Mason eleven and one-half .shares, representing his share of the 
interest, and soon after jjurchased the remaining rights held by 
heirs of General Mason, and stiil later the share held by Captain 
William Arnold. Gne share was sold to Mr. Lucius Driggs, an 
experienced machinist and manufacturer, who, a few years after 


the death of :\Ir. Thatcher, had been appointed superintendent 
rjf liiith upper and hnver factories, and proved a most eflicient 
and valuable manager. I'nder his administration many improve- 
ments, were effected, especially in regard to the sanitary con- 
dition of the village. In early years its unhealthiness was pro- 
verbial, and no autumn passed withotit the prevalence of fever. 
Mr. Briggs introduced a thorough system of drainage and com- 
pelled strict obedience to sanitary laws, so that in a few years 
the health re[)ort of the nialarious " Swanip " compared favorably 
with that of other manufacturing establishments. The change 
in the character of the residents made this strictness more im- 
perative. The Xew F.ngland born operatives had been almost 
wholly re})laced by foreigners, mostly Canadian I'rcnch, who 
usually returned home after making a little money, liad no per- 
sonal interest in the place, and required a strong hand to keep 
them in order. 

With great executive ability and mechanic ingenuity, ]\lr. 
Briggs shared in Mr. firosvenor's advanced ideas in relation 
to the capabilities of manufacturing enterprise, believing in 
the policy of large expenditures to ensure commensurate ulti- 
mate returns. Their motto from the beginning- \vas progress 
and continual improvements. In 1S59 they erected a stone 
factory, connecting the .Mason factories of lS'2(y and 'ISBl.and 
more than doubling their capacity, increasing- it to eleven thou- 
sand spindles. At the same time a Jeuvel turbine wheel of one 
hundred and eighty power was .substituted for the two 
breast wheels formerly in use. In ISGl the old original wooden 
mill at the lower privilege was moved across the road and a veiy 
beautiful and complete brick factory building erected at great 
cost, 160 by or, feet, with an ell of 80 b}- -Id feet, five stories high. 
It was very thoroughly built, fitted up with improved niachinery 
and the best modei-n arrangements, one of the best mills in the 
country at the time of its erection, running twentv thousand 
spindles. Its power was furnished by Jeuvel and Leffel turbine 
wheels. The former factory was moved across the street and 
fitted up for tenements. A capacious and tasteful boarding- 
house was also added. After completing these in-iprovements 
they made provision for further expansion and achievement by 
buying (jut Captain Arnold's share in the Masonville Company, 
•and also by the purchase of the whole Fisherville interest. 

ess insroRY OK wixuiia.m couxtv. 

The factory at Fishcrvillc was built in 18'2S on land previously 
owned by Calvin Randall. So rough and rocky was this region, 
and so apparently absurd to think of utilizing it to any extent, 
that wits of the day dubbed the infant settlement Mount Hun- 
ger, a fitting counterpart to the neighboring Swamp Factory. 
John Nichols, Darius Dwight, of Thompson, and William Fisher, 
of KilHngly, formed the first company, but soon admitted Cor- 
nelius G. Fenncr and Thomas D. Fenner, of Providence, form- 
ing what was first styled " The Tliompson Village Company," 
which erected dam, factory building and needful dwelling- 
houses, entering upon manufacturing work early in 1S29. The 
following year ^Iv. Fisher bought out the other stockholders, be- 
coming sole proprietor of factory and village. The latter now 
took for itself the name of Fisherville, though some years passed 
before it outgrew the original nickname. ^Mr. John Andrews, of 
Providence, joined with ]Mr. Fislicr for a few years, and it then 
passed wholly into the hands of William Fisher & Sons. 

]\Ir. Fisher was born in Dedham, ]Mass., March l.jth, 1788; en- 
gaged in manufacturing enterprises in Attleborough; removed 
to Howe's I\Iills, Killingly, about 1820, and to Thompson in J83S. 
B}- his judicious management, in a few years a rciTiarkable trans- 
formation was efl"ected. The craggy, rocky woodland had been 
made to bud and bloom like the rose. Mr. Fisher was much in- 
terested in farming, and took great delight in subduing the wild 
land around him. A class of sub.stantial farmers were brought 
into the growing village, building honies for themselves in ad- 
dition to the usual rented houses. The factory of the olden 
time was well represented by Fisherville— the owner at home 
among his people, all bound together by common interest and 
regard; the number of workmen so small that all could be known 
to each other, and to the families of the proprietors and over- 
seers. Among the operatives were many typical New England 
women, choosing the independence of factorv life, and working 
on year after year until they had laid up a sum suftieient for 
future support; others were young girls working to fit them- 
selves for something better, using their wages for schooling or 
marriage outfit. The factories were a great benefit to many men 
of small means, vrho, by the labor of their children and the ready 
money paid themselves, were able to lift a cumbering mortgage 
or buy a small farm for old age. Great pains were taken at 
Fisherville to procure help of good character and standing. 

■ii ;• 


'Sir. Fisher was one of the pic>neer temperance workers in Con- 
necticut, and before leaving KiUinoly had drawn up and circulated 
the first pledge taken in that tov.n. A thriving temperance so- 
ciety was now established in Fisherville, and great efforts were 
made to bring in every person employed by the company. ^Ir. 
Fisher being able to boast on one occasion that every man hired 
for the year had -pledged himself lo temperance. Some friction 
was excited by ^Ir. Fisher's adherence to ]\Iasonry, but caused 
no serious inconvenience. ]\Ir. William Fisher, Jr., and ?\lr. J. 
Ellis I'^isher were able and efficient assistants in carrying for- 
ward the business- the former as superintendent, the latter in 
charge of the store. The oldest son, Itoctor X. Augustus Fisher, 
left home at an early age to pursue his studies, and then en- 
gaged in the practice of dentistry in Providence. Foremost 
among the denti.sts of the day, his high character, pleasing man- 
ners, and the patience with which he bore long and wearisome 
infirmities, brouglit him even greater respect and honor. 

]\lr. William Fisher, jr., a man of great rectitude and solidity of 
character, died in 1S43. The ill health of :\Ir. lillis Fisher, fol- 
lowing the loss of his brother, made the charge of the business 
too heavy for ]\Ir. Fisher, Sr., and in IS.").") he made over his in- 
terest in the whole establishment and Avent south for a season. 
The breaking out of the rebellion made this sojourn much longer 
than was intended, even until after the return of peace. The 
remainder of his life was mainly passed wdth his daughter, T\lrs. 
Lowell Holbrook, at Thompson village, where he died m serene 
old age, with remarkable preservation of mind and faculties, in 
October, 1S7S. The family had long passed from the home they 
had created, but their impress and influence still survive in the 
pleasant valley. 

January 1st. 1_S.")(), ]\Iessrs. r)avid Goddard and Jeremiah 
Pritchard, of Boston, assumed administration of Fisherville 
factory, and carried on the business successfully for five years. 
Mr. Charles Albro, of Taunton, then succeeded to part of the 
interest, but only retained it a short period. ^larch oJst, JSCi-i, 
Messrs. Grosvenor & Briggs purchased the whole Fisherville 
property from Pritchard & Albro, Mr. Grcsvcnor beeotning the 
owner of three-fourths and ^Iv. Briggs of one-fourth. The sons 
of ]\lr. Grosvenor, \Villiam Gro.svenor, Jr., and James B. M. 
Grosvenor now purchased each one-sixteenth of ^ir. Briggs' in- 
terest. Four years later, in 1SG8, these young men recei\ ed 


shares in the r^Iasonvillc Company and it was then that the two 
companies vrere consolidated and the present GrosYcnor-Dale 
Company instituted. Tlie owuersliip had passed in both compan- 
ies from the orig-inal founders into the hands of the J^Iessrs. Gros- 
venor mainlv, and it was fitting-, as well as a matter of great con- 
venience and almost necessity, that these several villages and 
interests should be ranged under the name of the standing ] 
prietors. Masonville, with its factories and village, was there- 
fore apjiropriately re-christened Grosvenor Dale, and Fisher- 
ville replaced by North Cirosvenor iJale. ]\Iucli additional ter- 
ritory was purchased by the new company, including a water 
privilege as valuable and capable of affording- as much power as 
either of those previously utilized, so that their land extended 
from Wilsonville to ^Mechanicsville. An advance along the 
whole line was immediately ordered. To provide for a greater 
head and more permanent supplv of water, a new dam and res- 
ervoir were to be constructed. These works were accomplished 
by g-reat outlay of money and labor in the most substantial and 
thorough manner. 

Two dams were built at North Grosvenor Dale, each a hun- 
dred feet in length— tlie second built at an angle with the first, 
designed to relieve the extreme pressure in time of freshets — 
which were models of strength and mechanical adaptation. 
They were raised eleven feet, six inches above the previous 
Fishcrville dam. The level of the railroad at this point being 
nearly ])arallel with the old dam, it was necessary to con- 
struct a dyke or embankment of stone and grax'cl about half 
a mile in length above the dam, wliieh was done in the most 
substantial manner at very heav}' expenditure. A capacious 
and beautiful reser\-oir v/as thus formed, extending up to 
the dam (jf the Wilsonville privilege. At the same time prep- 
arations were going on for building the great mill at North 
Grosvenor Dale. Another dyke was constructed leading to the 
site of the new building, half a mile long, a liundred feet wide 
at the bottom and twenty at the top, which from the height of 
the dam and the conformation of the land, was a work of great 
diftieulty, requiring much engineering skill and a vast amount 
of labor. 

All these works, together with the new building, were com- 
pleted in 1872. This statelv and beautiful structure is -10^ 
feet long, 73 feet wide, with four storit-s and an attic; also an ell 


J '28 by 07 feet, and a coiUinualion of tlie same, l.")7 bv 50 feet, 
witli separate buildings for steam engine, boiler and gas ^vorks. 
The capaeity of the whole building is Gr),{)00 spindles. The 
power is furnished by three Jeuvel wheels of 270 horse power 
eaeh. There is also a Corliss steam engine of 450 horse power 
to be used at low stages of water. The machinery was of the 
most improved make, embracing the latent improvements. In 
respect of beauty, solidity, convenience and adaptation to the 
purpose for which it is designed, this North Grosvenor Dale 
mill is not surpassed by any in the country. To furnish homes 
for the large number of workmen many new houses were 
requisite, all of which were built by the company with the same 
good taste and liberal and judicious expenditure. The old Fish- 
erville stone mill, with renovated machinery, is also operated. 

The Grosvenor Dale Company now operates more machinery 
than any cotton manufacturing company in the state, and car- 
ries out the design of the original founders in furnishing as de- 
sirable a grade of goods as can be found in the market. In 1883, 
Mr. Briggs sold his interest to the Grosvenors, having been com- 
pelled by ill health to relinquish his position. Mr. William 
Grosvenor, Sr., head of the firm and so prominently connected 
with all its interests, died in 1888, leaving the great manufactur- 
ing establishment in the hands of his sons, William and James 
B. M. Grosvenor. These gentlemen have developed marked 
capacity for business, and their careful training, experience and 
sagacity, guarantee the successful prosecution of the trusts com- 
mitted to their hands. Mrs. Rosa A. (h'osvenor ]-)receded her 
husband a few years, a lady of rare excellence, whose name will 
be ever associated with the building u]) and growth of this great 
manufacturing interest. 

The changes wrouglu in the last fifteen years h;ive been in- 
deed marvelous. Former residents familiar with the old-time 
Masonville and Fisherville, as they sec the stately factory build- 
ings, the places of business, the array of dwelling houses, the new 
streets, the school houses, the Catholic and Swedish houses of 
worship, as they see the throngs of foreigners crowding the 
streets of a vSaturday night, and hear a Babel of alien tongues, 
rnay well fancy themselves in a foreign land. Of the twelve 
hundred and fifty operatives less than two hundred are of Xew 
I'^ngland origin ; about seven hundred and fifty are French 
Canadians, and the remainder are Irish and Swedes. Alien in 


religion and character-, as Avell as in blood and tongne, the 
Canadians Avere at first slow to assimilate \vith their surround- 
ings, but within a few years a great change is perceptible, and a 
majority now prefer to remain in Ncav England and become per- 
manent citizens, as well as those of other nationalities. In all 
that tends to the physical and moral well-being of the workmen 
and their families, and to the up-building and prosperity of the 
two villages, the Grosvenor Dale Company manifests a wise 
liberal interest. The present resident manager is Ur. Frank :M. 
i\Iessenger, of Cheshire county, New Plampshire. 

Increase in trade and business inevitably follows increase of 
population. :\l;i.ny Xew England families have been drawn into 
the villages to help supply the needs of tliis army of workmen. 
North Grosvenor Dale has been particularly favored, having 
estalilished three dry-goods or variety stores, one gram store, 
one hardware store, three markets, one carnage manufactory. 
One of these stores is carried on by a life-long Vesident, }kfr. ]. 
Nichols Upham, the first child born in Fisherville, father, 
Mr. Ransom Upham, helped lay the foundations of factory and 
village. Others are kept by :\Iessrs. John Elliott, H. vS. Thomp- 
son, vSimon S. Parkhurst. Henry Paradis. 'Jlie Grosvenor Dale 
store is carried on by :Mr. Thomas Hutchinson. The carriage 
manufactory of .Messrs. Arad U. and George E. Elliott is a very 
important industry, employing a number of workmen, and liring- 
ing into the village descendanis of one of the substantia] old 
settlers of the town. The partnership was formed in ISTo; a 
blacksmith's shop, store house and carriage house were soon 
erected. Wagons arc built to order, and ordinary job work 
carried on. Messrs. A. U. and G. E. Elliott liave served the town 
as representatives and selectmen and in other capacities. An- 
other old Thompson family is represented by Islr. Oscar Tourtel- 
lotte, first selectman, who has been very prominent in school and 
public affairs. Nathan Rawson, v%'ho died a few vcars since, had 
served the town as justice and in various otlier capacities, and was 
a much respected and influential resident of North Grosvenor 
Dale. In the recent death of Constable William Cummings, so 
popular and i^romment in civil and military affairs, Grosvenor 
Dale has met willi a heavv loss. 

The new elements in the manufacturing center bring new 
developments in church and school. In January, 18SS, S7G chil- 
dren of school age were reported in the two Grosvenor Dale 


districts. A modern convt-nicnt. school house ^v;ls built in Gros- 
venor Dale in 1878. North (yrosvenor Dale suflered much for 
lack of suitable accommodations, and ncnv rejoices in a most 
eligible modern school house, ^\•ith four ample moiiis and every 
needful convenience, on a sig'htlv eminence removed from the 
bustle of the village, built at a cost of 87,835, In- a tax upon the 
district, and opened for use in the autumn of 1888. 

The first Catholics in the two villages attended service in the 
cluu'chcs of Webster and Putnam. The first minister to visit 
and look after them was Reverend Father Duffy, of Pascoag, 
R. I. When Putnam parish was formed in ] SCO. Thompson was 
constituted an out-mission. Reverend Father Vygcn then as- 
sumed charge and held services in the ^Masonville chapel, and 
later in a hall. In 1872 Father Vygeu purchased twelve 
acres of land between the Grosvcnor Dales, and immediateh' 
commenced the erection of St. Joseph's church, a gothic wooden 
structure, costing 8](»,(J(Ki. This chiirch was solemnly dedicated 
by Right Reverend F. V. :MeFarland, September 29th, 1S72 ; the 
sermon on the occasion was delivered by Reverend IL ^Martial, 
assistant pastor of Putnam. The following January a parish, 
was formed, embracing the whole town excepting ]\lechanics- 
ville, West Thompson and Ouadic, under the name of St. Jo- 
seph's Catholic Society, including about nine hundred worship- 
ers. Father r^Iartial was appointed its pastor; la}- trustees, Pat- 
rick KeDey and Louis P. Lamoureux. r\ pastoral residence was 
completed the same year. In 1874 the cemeterv was laid out 
and was blessed by A'ery Reverend James Hughes, V. G.. ad- 
ministrator of the diocese, Jitne I5th. In 1880 the parish was 
made to embrace the whole town, and Reverend A. J. Haggerty 
sent as assistant to P'ather [Martial. During this year a church 
edifice was erected at West Thompson and dedicated by Right 
Reverend L. S. ]\Ic;Mahon. 

leather Flanagan took charge of the parish after Father [Nlar- 
tial's decease, assisted by Reverend J. M. Fitzmaurice. Other 
a.ssistants in the field were Reverends A. |. Haggerty, T. R. 
Sweeney, J. P. Connelly, I. W. Fones, R. F. Moore, W. E. Flan- 
agan. Reverend Thomas Cooney succeeded to tlie pastorate at 
Grosvcnor Dale, I'ebruary 14th, 1883, and soon instituted mission 
work at Xew Boston and Ouinebaug. Land for a church edifice 
was given by ICben S. Stevens, of Ouinebaug. and S300. Its 
architect and builder was L. ]\ Lamoureux ; cost, §3,000. 



Tliis third Catholic cliurch in Thompson, St. Stephens, ^vas 
dedicated by Right Reverend L. S. :\Ic:\Iahon, March 30th, 1884. 
February 2d, ISSG, ^Nlechanicsville and vicinity was constituted a 
distinct parish, with Pomfret as an out mission, Reverend W. E. 
Flanagan, pastor. A pastoral residence was built the following 
year, at a cost of $3,000. Father Cooney continues in charge at 
Gro.svenor Dale. The Catholic poptilation of the town numbers 
some 2,800. Since the erection of St.Jo.seph's parish, there have 
been 1,000 baptisms, 380 marriages, G30 deaths. The .school, 
established with much labor and personal sacrifice, is very flour- 
ishing. A substantial, three-story building, containing- convent, 
school and hall, was erected in 1881, at a cost of $12,000; archi- 
tect and builder, Louis P. Lamoureux. This bitildingwas placed 
under the charge of " the Sisters of Holy Cross," for a free Cath- 
olic school ; was opened January 2d, 1882, with an attendance of 
three hundred children. In addition to the branches taught in 
the common schools of the state, the children receive a thorough 
religious training, together with an elementary cottrse in the 
French language. Present nuiuber of pupils, 400; average at- 
tendance, 3Go. 

Next to the French the vSwedes are gaining in nitnibers and 
readily assimilate with their new surroundings. The Swedish 
church in Grosvenor L)ak' numbers 320 communicants; a house 
of worship was erected in 1884 ; their first pastor was Reverend 
Ltidwig Holme.s, a man much beloved by his people and respected 
by all. Reverend G. E. P'^osberg, now a student, has been called 
to the Swedish pastorate. 

The rival company that cast such disdainftil eyes and name 
upon the future Grosvenor Dale, has a very different record. As 
the " Connecticut Manufacturing Company," securing a most 
eligible privilege upon the Ouinebaug and Boston turnpike, and 
very near the junction of the Boston and Providence turnpikes, 
it may have thought its prospects of success and continuance far 
more favorable. John and Jonathan Nichols, Jr., Daniel Dwight, 
William Dwight, Jr., I]enjamin Arnold and Samuel Perrin, or- 
ganized as a manufacturing company in 1811. A substantial 
brick building was soon erected and made ready for work ; sub- 
stantial workmen came wiih their families, the new Methodist 
meeting house and the prevalence of the Methodist element, 
drawing Methodists to this church center. Shubael Cady and 
Joseph Buck were among these ]Methodist brethren, earing for 


the souls of the cliildreu as well as the work that cotild be f^otten 
out of them. The hard times of ISl.") -JS told heavily tipon 
Brick Factory, and the death of some of the founders led to en- 
tire reconstruction. In 1821, the interest was sold to AVilliam 
Reed, l^sq., a native of Attleborough, ]\Iass., one of the constitu- 
ent members of the Danielsonville ^Manufacturing Company of 
Killingly, and for many years its resident manager. Walter 
Paine, of Providence, joined vvitli him the following year and 
continued a partner till 1829, when ^Mr. Reed purchased the 
whole establishment. George Lamed, 2d, who had married 
the only daughter of Fisqttire Reed, carried on the store. 

Under this administration the Brick Factory pursued its way 
prosperously for many years. The high character of the propri- 
etors and their excellent wives gave tone to the village. The tem- 
perance movement found willing advocates and a deep religious 
spirit pervaded the community. One of its most esteemed citi- 
zens, Mr. Faxon Nichols, served as first postmaster. Reverend 
Hezekiah Ramsdell, an early resident, did good service in vil- 
lage and town by his interest in pttblic education, and also in 
the culture of flowers and choice fruit. Brick Factory, or Reed- 
ville, or West Thompson Village, as it was variously called, was 
particularly flourishing just after the opening of the Norwich & 
Worcester railroad, when residents of the future Putnam at- 
tended church at its meeting house and received their mail mat- 
ter at its post office. Prosperity was checked by the burning of 
the factory in 1849, and as Esquire Reed was now advanced in 
years, he sold the manufacturing privilege to his son, 'Mr. Ezra 
C. Reed, of New Haven, Conn., wlio retained it but a few years, 
and after needful repairs and refitting conveyed the wliole inter- 
est to Messrs. Flenry Sharpe and Walker. Esquire Reed and his 
estimable wife passed their declining years with their son in 
New Haven, living to extreme old age. 

West Thompson village has made little or no advance since 
the latter change. \'arious attempts have been made to revive 
the former interest or develop new industries. In 1881 Mr. Os- 
car F. Chase, who had succeeded Sharpe and Walker in owner- 
ship, sold his interest to Messrs. .Sayles and Washburn, of Me- 
chanicsvillc, who have reconstructed the privilege and changed 
the course of the (Juinebaug. The village remains as ever, a 
pleasant place of residence, the home of substantial families. 
and doubtless in time will be revivified and farther built up by 
the thrivino- interest on its borders. 


Mechauicsvillu dates back to 1S27, when a privilef:(c upon the 
I'^rench river, just above its junction with the Ouinebaug, was 
secured by a number of enterprising men, viz., Erastus Buck, 
Augusus Howe,Tliomas and James Dike, Jude Sabin, John Chol- 
lar, Jacob Leavens and James Cunningham, who associated to- 
gether as " The ]\Iec]:anics' Company " for the manufacture of 
woolen goods, and put up a three-sl<.;ry wooden mill, a saw mill 
and an eiglit-tenement block for operatives. All members of 
the company were expected to help carry forward the work per- 
sonally. ^Ir. ilowe served as agent; the ^lessvs. r3ike and Cun- 
ningham carried on the machine shop; Mr. Buck drove the 
mules; and Mr. Leavens superintended the weavers. A work- 
shop bought with the land was transformed into a school house. 
For some uuassigned reason, perhaps because one level head is 
a better motor than half a dozen, the co-operative experiment 
failed of success, and in al)tHit three years the company dissolved, 
and in ISo-j the whole property was sold at auction to William 
Rhodes and Thomas Trucsdell, who run the mill intermittently 
till it was purchased by ^Ir. Smith Wilkinson in ]S:!^^. k'or five 
years it struggled on under diiterent lessees, lill destroyed b)' 
fire in 1S4::!. 

In 18r)S [Messrs. .Sabin and ILirris Sayles and ^Mowry Ross 
made ai-rangements with Mr. Edmond Wilkinson, under which 
they built a small brick mill and engaged in the manu- 
facture of fancv cassimere. Jn 1865 Messrs. Thomas D. 
vSayles and Warren llnrris became partners with the }*Iessrs. 
vSayles in the }vlechanics\-ille Company, purcha^-ing the previous 
establishment and adjacent territory. A nc^^v and beautiful 
brick building was speedily erected, LTjO by 42 feet, four stories 
high, and fitted up with the best machinery and ever}- modern 
appointment, A large number of operatives were straightway 
imported, new houses built, and great improvements made in 
the village. The dingy old workshop which had done duty for 
a school room was replaced by a neat brick building. Since the 
assumption of ^Slechanicsvilleb}- the present proprietors, ^Messrs, 
Thomas D. S.ayles and B. S. Washburn, in 1879, very great 
changes have been wrought. Burehasing the West Thompson 
privilege, the Ellis farm, and other needful territory, the firm 
entered u]5on a work of demoliiion and reconstruction, costing 
some years of labor and half a million of money. A new and 
very superior dam was built, the cliannel of the Uumebaug deep- 


tiled and in some places turned, roads straightened and new 
ones conslrncted, hills leveled and valleys fdled np, resulting in 
an entire transformation. The drive to West ldH)mpson over 
the smooth, level road, Avith its iron bridges, with the sparkling 
blue lake on one side, and the pieturesque verdant park, reclaimed 
from marsh land, oil the other, is indeed " a thing of beauty" 
and a ]jerpctual joy. The same g'lod taste has transformed and 
beautified the village. The factory building, with its green 
lawn in front, occupies one of the finest locations in New Eng- 
land, and everything about premises and village are in perfect 
keeping, emblematic, it is said, of the unusual harmony in 
the relations between employers and employed. The present 
number of operatives is three hundred and fifty— Canadian 
French, German, Irish, Swede. A Catholic house of worship 
was built in 1S80— '^The Church of the Sacred Heart" — Mr. 
Thomas 1). Sayles giving land and S"'W t""r t-h^^l- purpose. 

A new iron bridge now spans the Ouinebaug near AVest 
Thompson station. The old Thompson burying ground, opened 
soon after 1720, is now in excellent condition. An ample ad- 
dition on the north, provided by Mr. George H. Kichols, pre- 
cludes the anticipated need of a modern cemetery. Descendants 
of Captain Jonathan Nichols, viz.. Elder John Kiehols, Esquire 
Jonathan Nichols, Messrs Faxon and Captain (^,eorge Nichols, 
have been very prominent in town, filling many public 
oflices with ci'edit and usefulness. The latter is now represented 
by his sons. Jerome and George H. Nichols, who also serve the 
town in many public caiJacities. A third son, the late lamented 
Lieutenant Colonel ^lunroe Nichols, gave a life of much prom- 
ise .to the service of his country in the late war. The family of 
Mr. ]ames Cunningham, one of the original proprietors of Me- 
chanics' Factory, still reside in the vicinity. The venerable ;Mr. 
Winthrop H. Ballard and his son, :\Ir. Stephen Ballard, are re- 
spected residents. 

The Five Mile or Assawaga river, in the east of the town, has 
propelled but one small factor}- in Thompson, though helping 
run several larger establishments in towns below. Grist and 
.saw mills have been kept at work .since the first settlement of 
the town. In 1 81:3 a number of gentlemen from Providence, 
viz., Fmor Angell, Nehemiah Kni-ht, Thomas Burgess, John 
Maekie, associated with Stephen Matthewson, of Johnston, R. I., 
and losiah Sessions and Joseph Vx'atei'man, of Thompson, as the 


Ouadic Manufacturing Company, and bought land and water 
privilege in the little hamlet of Ouadic, of a well-known resident. 
Deacon Jonathan Converse. They soon erected a small build- 
ing and engaged in the manufacture of w^oolen hats. The close 
of the war brought untimely end to this enterprise, which was 
soon replaced by the inevitable cotton factory, set in motion by 
Mr. John ]\Iason and a new company. A larger factory was now- 
built, and a number of dwelling houses between lS20-'22. 

In 1822 Mr. i\Iason, for S1.0"0 sold "one-third interest in the 
Quadic Manufacturing Company, set off as one-half of the late 
hat manufactory," to ^Messrs. Sessions and \\'aterman, who for a 
number of years continued in charge, manufacturing "Ouadic 
sheeting." Calvin Randall and Stephen B. Winsor had also 
rights in the mill. Nelson S. Eddy purchased the establishment 
in 1835, and resided a number o! years in the village, employing 
from fifty to seventy-five men, women and children. Quadic 
village, with its factory, daily stage-coach passing through it, 
and constant teaming to and from Providence, was then a brisk 
little settlement, its convenient store in pre-temperance days 
furnishing spirituous refreshment to many a weary traveller. 
After the decease of Mr. Eddy the factory was leased for a time 
to Card & Stone. In IS-IS Mr. Lemuel K. Blackmar assumed the 
charge of the saw and grist mills, and a little later fitted up the 
old " red hat factory," for the manufacture of twine. ]Mr. I )avid 
Warner, who purchased rights of the children of Mr. Eddy, also 
carried on twine manufacture. The privilege of deepening the 
channel of the Assawaga, and constructing a reservoir for sup- 
plying iJayville and Attawagan factories with water, was 
obtained by the ^lessrs. Sayles and Blackstone, resulting in the 
formation of a full, deep lake, setting backward to near the north 
bound of the town. ^lowry Ross, a veteran mill owner, pur- 
chased the Ouadic privilege in 1873. His sons, ]\Iowry and Isaac 
Ross, built a tasteful new mill on the south side of the road, 
which fell into possession of Mr. A. W. Thurber, of Putnam. 
Its destruction by fire has apparently put an end to Ouadic cot- 
ton manufacture. The old .saw and grist mills also rest from 
their labors. A few of the former residents still linger in the 
picturesque little village. Sabbath schools have been kept up 
for manv years in the Ouadic school house, by earnest Baptist 
brethren, viz.. I_)eacons Stephen Crosby and Welcome Ikites, Mr. 
Newton Ballard and others. 


When Brandy hill first assumed its inspiriting name is beyond 
the memory of descendants of the oldest inhabitant. Tradition 
refers it to the bursting of a brandy hogshead upon the hill, and 
it may be inferred that the great outflow of liquor at Starr's tav- 
ern during the days of turnpike opening, helped to make it per- 
manent. Succeeding stage taverns were famous for the concoc- 
tion of flip, the poker being kept red hot in the glowing coals 
for that purpose from morn till eve. Before the much-needed 
temperance reform it was the custom of honored fathers of 
Thompson hill to take their wives and daughters, after a special- 
ly hard day's work at house cleaning or the like, to this famous 
tavern, to be cheered if not inebriated by foaming flip. Brandy 
hill at that date boasted a special military company and train- 
ings, with a flourishing store, and at one time secured a vote to 
hold town meetings part of the time at the Baptist meeting 
house. It was also famous for singing schools and occasioifel 
balls. A stately row of poplars was set out about 1800 by Cap- 
tain Isaac Davis. The meeting house and taverns were said to 
have built up Brandy hill village, and with the decay of the lat- 
ter the village declined. It has furnished a pleasant home for 
many residents, particularly the descendants of the faithful town 
clerk, Mr. Nathaniel IMills, whose sons, Nathaniel, Colonel Isaac, 
Ashley and Corbin :Mills, have had homes in the village or in its 
vicinity. The old church still holds its own as has been noticed 
elsewhere, and the venerable row of poplars stands as a familiar 

The northeast part of the town was sparsely settled for many 
years, the descendants of Nathaniel Jacobs and Israel Joslin oc- 
cupying manv of its farms and homesteads. Turnpike travel 
increased the number of residents, and the "Jacobs District" 
became quite populous. Tlie ^lethodist church and projected 
railroad helped to centralize this population, but it was not till 
the Boston & Erie railroad was fairly opened that East Thomp- 
•son village entered upon existence. Its importance was in- 
creased by the junction with the Southbridge Branch. A num- 
ber of families connected in various ways with the railroad in- 
terest now occupy the village. Shoe manufacture was carried 
on for a time by the Reverend Isaac Sherman, a useful and re- 
spected citizen. The store established by him is now conducted 
bv Mr. CTCorgc 11 . Wilber, the present p'.stmaster. A store is 
also kept by R. J. Steins. The family which gave its name to 


this district is much less numerous than in former years — sev- 
eral branches failing from extinction or emigration. One of its 
oldest representatives, ^Ir. Joseph L). Jacobs, has recently re- 
moved from a family homestead to Thompson hill, l^vo of his ■ 
seven sons gave their lives to their country; the survivors are en- 
gaged in business in various parts of the land, 

The present Wilsonville occupies the site of tlic " Child's 
Mills" of former generations. Elijah Converse came into pos- 
session about 1796, and conveyed them to his son, '^\v. Riel Con- 
verse, who ran grist and saw mills. In 1&2 he sold mills and 
privilege, with nine acres of land, to Mr. Zirah Preston, for $2,- 
7iiO. ;Mr. Preston in the following year sold land to Mr. Laban 
T. AVilson, with privilege to run a wheel for the purpose of man- 
ufacturing woolen goods. ^Ir. "Wilson soon put up and set in 
motion a small establishment, engaging in the manufacture of 
sjftinet. In 1824 he leased the grist and saw mills, and gave his 
name to the growing village. After ten years of doubtful suc- 
cess, he gave place to a succes.sion of owners— Jo]-. n Farnam, 
Wheeler Barrett, Riel Converse, Archelaus Upham. the ^Messrs. 
Capron, li. A. Wheelock, Oscar Chase, who carried on the mills 
in intermittent fashion Avith varying success till the inevitable 
fire consumed the old building. The present proprietor, }^Ir. 
Rcegan, has built a small mill and engaged in woolen manufac- 
ture, ^lany of the residents of this village are descended from 
old families. 'Mr. Diah Upham, who has filled many town offices, 
carried on mercantile business for fifteen years. Mr. .Samuel 
Adams has kept the Wilsonville store for twenty years. The 
Wilsonville burying ground shows that many residents of this 
vicinity lived to advanced age. ^Nlr. Riel Converse exceeded 
ninetj'-two years. 3ilrs. Xathaniel ( Whitfordi Child, who died at 
W^ilsonville, May -21 st, 1S77. aged one hundred years and thirty- 
.six days, attained the greatest age of any Thompson woman on 
record. Her son, Hon. ^Marcus Child, a very respectable citizen, 
twice representing the town at the legislature, died suddenly 
within a few years. 

Xew Boston site was occupied at a verv earlv date. Among 
its old time celebrities were 'Sir. .Samuel ^lorris and ]\Ir. William 
Chandler, the latter a son of Hon. John Chandler of Woodstock, 
whose wife, Jemima Bradbury, boasted the bluest blood in Mas- 
sachusetts. Their large house, near the west line of the town, 
was for half a centurv the most aristocratic establishment in the 


vicinit)', kept up in true colonial style, with negro and Indian 
servants, stately furniture, books and pictures. Captain Chand- 
ler was, like his father, a skillful surveyor, and was the only man 
in town bold enough to ask to have a road laid out to accommo- 
date his business, as well as "travel to Thompson meeting- 

The ^lorris-Holbrook farm fell finallv into the hands of Cap- 
tain Goodell,a noted military man, whose wife was a daughter of 
John Holbrook. Residents in this vicinity who had purchased 
old Dudley land were involved in the famous lawsuit brought 
by Paul Dudley for the recovery of these farms, on the ground 
that, as entailed property, the sale was finlawful. The final trial 
of this case before the supreme court at Washington was the 
great event of the generation, with Daniel \Yebster pleading for" 
the defendants, and the di.stinguislied orator, William Pinkney, 
stricken with fatal disease while arguing against them. 

The northwest corner of Thompson received a new impulse 
from the opening of the Providence & Southbridge turnpike, 
with its travel and taverns. The Barnes and Chaffee tavern 
stands became noted places of resort. The old Morris farm on 
the Ouinebaug was now held mainly by heirs of John IIol- 
brool:, who purchased it from Penjarain Wilkinson. His son, 
Thomas, gave the valley the now familiar name. New Boston. 
The widow of Thomas Plolbrook married for her second hus- 
band in 1802, Colonel Jo.seph Chapin, whose na'aie is still pre- 
served in the neighborhood. His sisters, man-ied to Ephraim 
and Sylvanus Houghton and Captain Amos Goodell, also occu- 
pied Morris homesteads. Jason Phipps-bought land of Benjamin 
^Morris as earlv as 1700. father settlers in the vicinity were: 
William Copeland, Thomas Ormsbec, William Jordan, ^^•ho, 
with other substantial families, made a pleasant neighborly 

Kbenezer Phelps of Sutton, bought land and water privilege of 
the Houghtons i-.i 18i»4, and set up saw and grist mills. Part of 
this privilege was soon made over to Rufus Coburn and Alpheus 
Corbin, who introduced a fulling mill and cardingmachine. The 
present "Phelps House " was eonipleted in 18oS. William Jor- 
dan and William Lamsun also bought land of Phelps and Hough- 
ton, Vjuilding svibstantial houses in the growing village. A 
burial lot for the use of the neighborhood was given by ^Irs. 
Chapin, and enclosed and made ready for occupation by the 


adjacent residents. The first interment Avas that of Luc)- Rob- 
bins, in ]SJ:J. 

The clothicry ^vorks were purchased by John Barber in IS];"), 
who built the house now owned by !Mr. William Copeland. He 
was succeeded for a short interYal by Otis Nichols. Mr. Par- 
ley Jordan engaged in the manufacture of axes and other edged 
tools in IS^l. William Jordan, Sr., built a fine nevr tavern house 
on the street in 1S2S, with a large hall, which was opened by a 
ball and appropriate exercises. iSIanufacturing enterprise had 
now sought out New Boston. I'xlward Howard, an Englishman, 
secured water privilege and surrounding land in 1S29, and scon 
erected a small brick mill for the manufacture of satinets. IMarry- 
ing a resident, ]\liss Lucy Houghton, he expected to spend his 
life in this pleasant resting place, but adverse fate pursued him, 
and he Avas lost at sea on his voyage homeward from England. 
His widow survived him but a few months. A " New I'oston 
Manufacturing Company" essayed to carry on the mill, but 
met various misadventures. Company after cc)mpany was 
formed, began work, and made assignments. It was said that 
'the Devil, alert to seize the opportunity, "had l)cen let into 
the Avheel-pit" at the beginning of the enterprise, and that 
was the cause of all the calamities. 

A store was kept up and some shoemaking and minor busi- 
ness essayed. Mr. Parley Jordan's trip-hammer did good ser- 
vice for many years. ^.Icssrs. AVilliam Billings and Upham came 
into po.ssession of the factory in ISoB, and remained in charge 
twelve 3'ears. A .Social Circle and Library were established 
during this period, throug'h the agency of Mrs. Billings and Mrs. 
Upham. vStill greater im])rovcments have been effected during 
the administration of the present proprietors -the ^lessrs. I\Iur- 
dock. They found mill and tenement buildings greatly dilapi- 
dated, moralitv at a low ebb, rum sold at several places. The 
process of renovation was slow and difficult. Flood and fire 
made havoc with the ancient dam and factory buildings, but ap- 
parently drove out the original enemv, and Avith new dam and 
buildings pro.sperity dawned upon the New Boston !Manufaetur- 
ing Company. Continued additions have been made and new 
machinery introduced. About eighty hands are now employed, 
half of them Americans. In thrift and morality there have been 
great advances, and New lioston now compares favorably with 
other manufacturing villages. Religious .services are held 


Statedly in tlic liall. and the comfort and Avcll-bcing of tlie oper- 
atives made a special care. The energy and public spirit of the 
Messrs. Murdock and their assistant, Mr. Ira N. Bates, have added 
much to the standing and influence of this section of the town. 
Mr. Dates has served as selectman and town representative. 
The spirit of improvement has permeated the village. The abun- 
dance of llowcrs and neat appearance of the houses have long been 
remarked. The " Ladies' Union Circle," established in 1855, has 
aided much in promoting good feeling and social intercourse, 
and its library has proved an incalcuable benefit. Mr. Jerome 
Jordan served first as librarian : Miss Jane Ormsbee succeeded, 
but since 1857 ]\Iiss ^lary P. Jordan has administered the offices 
of librarian, secretary and treasurer with much tidelity and 
acceptance. Some seven hundred volumes are now included in 
the library. 

New Boston village is particularly noted for its cordial hospi- 
tality and enjoyable social entertainments, its ancient and mod- 
ern elements most happilv uniting on such occasions. The in- 
stitution of a b)-anch railr<_>ad in place of the former turnpike is 
a great convenience, and a new Quinebaug village is growing 
up around the station. Wliile some of the early New Bo.ston 
families are still represented, others have passed away. Mr. 
Edward Aldrich, the last representative of the .several sons of 
'Mr. Esek Aldrich, died some years since. An eccentric resident, 
stranded in New Boston after the shipwreck of Dorr's experi- 
ment in Rhode Island — Aaron White, Esc|. — died in 1SS6. 
Fuller details of his character and career will be found in another 
section. The late Jesse Ormsbee and Ilarvev Lamson, Esquires, 
Messrs. William and J^arlev Jordan will long be remembered as 
among the honored citizens of the town. 

Nothing worthy of the name of village existed in 'J'hompson 
during the last century. Four or five houses and a blacksmith 
shop had been built upon Thompson hill, in the vicinity of the 
meeting ; the meeting house, as in manv hill towns, building 
wp a village instead of the village building the meeting house. 
But when it was found tliat two lines of turnpike vrere to inter- 
sect upon the hill, new life sprang up. The Joseph Watson 
house, Wickham's store and Keith's tavern were built before 
ISOO, and soon after that date several houses were erected, espe- 
cially upon the east side of the Providence turnpike. Building was, 
however, impeded by the scarcity of building lots, the north 


part of the hill being' included in the Watson estate, wliich was 
not thrown into market till after the death of Widow Samuel 
Watson in ISio. The north end of the hill was then purchased 
by George Larned, Esq., and laid out in building lots, he him- 
self occupying- the Watson house (now judge Rawson's) as a 
dwelling house and law office. On the opposite site a house was 
speedily built by Hezekiah Olncy. ]\Ir. Xoadiah Comins built 
the house adjoining southward, and Doctor James Webb a third 
house (now occupied by ^Irs. Tallman ). The site below was soon 
fdled by the old meeting house transfornied into a iuwn house, . 
and the nucleus of the present tavern was put up on the corner 
by Stephen E. Teft't. Doctor Webb left town before complet- 
ing his house, and was follov/ed bv Doctor Hoi'atio Holbrook, 
who built on the north side of the street, adjoining Esquire 

A handsome brick house on the corner had been previously 
built by John Xiehols, and a large house with brick ends was 
built on another corner northward by Xoadiah Russel, Esq. 
Captain Joel Taylor built several houses east of the tavern, on the 
Providence turnpike, the first of which was long occupied by 
Obadiah Stone. A small house nearly opposite was put together 
b)- Simon Davis, Esq. All this building, together with the team- 
ing and stage coaches, made the hill very lively. IMany of the 
new residents engaged in business. ^Ir. Olney manufactured 
hats ; I\Ir. Comins, harness ; 'Mr. Stone, shoes ; X'^ichols and TefTt 
carried on various stores; Esquire Davis practiced law; ]\Ir. 
Theodore Dv\-ight made a most acceptable landlord in the new 
turnpike tavern ; "Mr. Riifus Coburn entered upon trade. Rum 
was sold without restriction in all the stoies and taverns. A 
house-warming frolic, in which all these business men and lead- 
ing citizens indulged in great excesses, called out ]\Ir. Dow's 
first temperance sermon. Fixing his eye upon the offenders with 
most scathing rebuke, he thundered out tlie scriptural queries— 
"Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow ? ^Vho hath contentions ? 
Who hath babblings?' Who hath redness of eyes? Thev that 
tarry long at the wine." Puit the fact that the next day the pas- U 

tor himself took a glass of wine at the house of a parishioner 
marred the practical effect of the sermon. All classes were 
greatly benefitted by the rise of the temperance reform, banish- 
ing liquor from common hcmsehold use, social entertainn:ents 
and the better class of stores. 



•a ^* 


/v .1' 




'"' bV ■ 


1 ! 









The rapid expansion of business and manufactures after the 
close of the first half century of the republic brought a special 
" boom " to Thompson hill. Residents of neighboring factories 
.sought supplies of needful articles and luxuries at its well-filled 
stores, now conducted by ^lessrs. Almy & Crosby and Erastus 
Knight, yir. Edward Shaw, of Providence, opened a watch- 
maker's and jeweler's store in IS'.^O. a great novelty and attrac- 
tion, customers coming miles from every direction to have tlieir 
watches regulated and buy glittering ornaments. Mr. Ilezekiah 
Olney, now high sheriff of Windham county, built a brick block 
between the tavern and town house, and opened a fashionable 
" New York hat and cap store." Horatio Paine engaged in the 
manufacture of boots. The tailors' shops conducted by Albert 
E. Whipple and James O. Mills were largely patronized, as 
nothing in the line of ready-made clothing could then IJe pro- 
cured. :Mrs. C. C.Dow supplied a large constituency with taste- 
ful and fashionable millinery. }\lessrs. Andrew P. Baldwin, 
James Plutchins, Danforth Kinney and Walter Bates opened 
shops for carriages and furniture making. All these business 
enterprises found convenient financial accommodation in the 
Thompson ]]ank, incorporated in 1833. The year preceding 
Thompson had the enterprise to purchase a jaunty little fire 
engine, run by an eflicient company. Among other innovations, 
the newspaper came to Thompson hill. George Roberts, pub- 
lisher at a later day of the first cheap daily pajier in Boston, and 
the originator of the famous " ^Mammoth Newspaper," entered 
upon his journalistic career as the editor of a dainty little semi- 
weekly called T/u- Tlioiitpsou rranscril't. This was soon succeeded 
by a Weekly Bulletin^ but neither was able to support existence. 
They were followed by The Wiii-Hiain County Gar-cite, published 
by another newspaper celebrity, tlic J. P. Chapman who was or- 
dered •• to crow" in the Tippecanoe campaign. His newspaper 
lingered for several years, but collapsed in 1837 with many kin- 

One of Thompson's chief notabilities in these booming years 
was " the Stiles Tavern," claiming that more stage passengers 
dined there every day than at any other house in Xew England. 
Its proprietor. Captain Vernon Stiles, was the very beau ideal ui a 
landlord— big, hearty, jolly. ^lore than that, he was a public 
spirited citizen, a graceful speaker and an adroit politician, llis 
bar room was the headquarters o{ the democratic party, and his 


spacious h.-ill the scene of many a festive entertainment. Thomp- 
son's peculiar matrimonial facilities had then been recog-nized, 
cornerini? as it did upon two states where a two or three weeks' 
pul)lishntcnt of intention was required before the marriage cere- 
monv wliile Connecticut let them off with one brief pulpit 
notice. It became very much the fashion for aflianced pairs m 
these states to drive to Thompson on a Sunday morn, and there 
be united at Stiles's tavern. For a time the ministers were called 
in to perform the ceremony at intermission of divine service, 
but the calls became so frequent, and the consequent Sabbath 
breaking so alarming, that they resigned the office to Captain 
Stiles, as justice, who tied the nuptial knot with a grace and 
sympithvthat charmed all participants. Scarce a Sabbath passed 
without bringing wedding parties to partake of the frosted loaf 
always made rcadv for them, and Thompson became widely 
known as the "Ciretna Creen of New England," run-a-ways on 
several occasions improving its facilities. Near the tavern, in 
the town house building, back of :^Ir. Shaw's shop. Esquire 
Davis kept the post ofllce. the only one in town, and also a mu- 
seum of curiosities and Indian relics, exciting much juvenile 

interest. _ ^ • i q- 

A verv famous debating society was organized in 1833, with Si- 
mon Davis. Esq., president, Joseph B. Gay, vice-president, George 
Roberts, secretarv. and a large number of members, where all 
the vital questions of the day were earnestly debated, and pre- 
sumablv settled. The lawyers, young and old. Doctors llolVirook 
and Bowen, Captain Stiles, schoolmasters from far and near, in- 
quiring mechanics and active business men, entered upon this 
arena, and crossed swords in many a fiery conflict. Several 
houses were built during this period, but the hill, as depicted by 
Barber in his " Historical Collections" of ls:!(l, had but a bare 
aspect. The trees set out by Judge John Nichols in the little 
"Heater Piece." and the row of trees near the Watson house, were 
its only shade. The old row of poplars at the south end of the 
village was already vanishing. Blindless and bare, the meet- 
ing house stood on the rough common, cut up by numerous 
wagon roads, and on the pointed apex westward a row of build- 
ings stretched out--blacksmith's shop, barn, and at the 
extreme end a marble shop or gravestone manufactory, which 
in a few years gave j)lace to a very aggressive grog shop, greatly 
quickening the demand for the former article. 


Durinjj^ the prDgrcss of the Washing-toiiian temperance move- 
ment, party spirit ran very hig'h. John Ilawldns, the leader 
among reformed inebriates, made an early \'isit to Thompson 
hill, speaking- night after night to erowded audiences in the Con- 
gregational meeting house, and persuading many common drunk- 
ards and moderate drinkers to sign the pledge and range them- 
selves on the side of temperance. His success roused a very 
bitter spirit of opposition on the part of those who felt that their 
personal and social rights were invaded. The old tavern (late 
Wilks House) had become verv obnoxious, its ])roprietor being 
a man utterly devoid of principle and common Inimanity. The 
death of one of his victims. turned out of doors and leftto freeze 
in the barn, made a very deep impression on the community, 
and ^vas used %vith dramatic effect by Cough on the last 
night of a week's labor in Thompson. Having that da}' visited 
the mother of the dead man in a neighboring state, he told the 
stor}' of this '-prodigal son " as it fell from her lips, in the most 
pathetic and thrilling manner, no one in the house having a 
thought of any personal connection with it, until at the last he 
sent it home to every heart by the low, calm", ovcrwlichning 
statement that this man liad died in a bani at Tliompsoii, after weeks' 
loitering about that aboTuinablc tavern. The keeper of the house 
was unable to stand against the overwhelming tide of public 
sentiment, and the house, after due purification, was made over 
for the use of ^Ir. Green's high scliool. Captain Stiles closed his 
bar and transformed his popular house into a temperance tavern. 

The persecuted rum sellers were driven from tavern to cellar, 
and finally found refuge in the deserted stone cutter's shop at 
the west extremity of tlie common, a most eligible position, fac- 
ing two streets, very near the newly erected town liouse, and 
greatly accommodating tlic obstinate old topers, who made a 
special point of exercising their liberties upon town meeting 
day. Dorr's refugees, coming up from Rhode Island, found 
much needed aid and comfort in tliis convenient grogerv, and 
bestowed upon it the expressive name of " Ponog," borrowed 
from a similar favorite institution at home, originally signifying 
"a p4ace of fair water," but by corrujition "a place of fire 
water." A more unmitigated nuisance llian the Thompson Po- 
nog never afllicled a respectable communitv. ]\lany resorted 
tliither from all parts of the town; young men were enticed into 
liquor there; hooting and yelling disturbed the neighbors by 

7()S HISTORY OF ^VI^•D}IAM county. : 

nic^ht, and free fights after a public day were not; yet, 
notwithstanding- the efforts and eloquence of temperance work- 
ers, it continued for several years to disgrace the village. 

The town house was the first building on the south side of 
West street. ^.Ir. Whitman Jacobs broke ground on the north 
side about IS;!."), building the house now occupied by Doctor 
Knight. Olhcr houses were bu.ilt in a few years by ^Messrs. 
Erastus Knight, Edward vShaw, iJanforth Kinney, AValdo Com- 
ins and Thomas E. Graves. The row of maples was set out in 
1839. Houses were buili a few years later on the south side by 
I\Irs. Thatcher and }* I r. William H. ^Slason. In the summer of 
ISir) a lecture was given by Professor William A. Earned in the 
town house, upon " Beauty, Taste and Tree Culture," — all 
summed up in the modern term, "Village Improvements." ^Ir. 
William IE Chandler was much interested in this matter and 
aided very efficiently in carrying out Professor Earned's sugges- j 

tions. Spontaneous pledges of aid were given by many present, ■ > J 
and in the following Xovcmber a day was devoted to setting out i | 

all over the village, elm, maple and other trees, under the super- -. j 

vision of Mr. Chandler. A still greater improvement was effect- |; | 

cd in the demolition and removal of the Ponog and all its appur- I- | 

tenances — house, barn and blacksmith's shop, which were ' j 

bought up bv adjacent residents, and the point of land leveled I 

off and reconstructed. Ten years later the common left bare by ,~, i 

the removal of the meeting house, was leased temporarily to E-s- r. \ 

quire Graves for fencing and cultivation, which, v\-ith the growth ' 4 

of the trees and other improvements, added much to the beauty '] 

of the village. . j 

With the opening of the Norwich & Worcester railroad and 
the discontinuance of stage coaching, business prosperity in 
Thompson rapidh declined. One by one, stores and shops were 
closed. As the valleys increased the hills wasted. Tailoring, 
shoemaking and carriage making fell off from year to year. 
Many excelleni families removed from the village. Change of 
laws so much reduced the number of matrimonial frequenters 
that Captain Stiles resigned his office and followed the westward 
movement. IMr. Shaw took his shop and goods to Putnam. 
The store so long kept up by " Almy & Crosby " was closed 
and croakers prophesied the decay and ultimate extinction of the 
once flourishing village. Even the corner tavern was closed for 
a season, and the ever solid bank and }klr. Knight's principal 



slorc seemed all Uiat preserved it from stagnation. I^>ut after 
the lowest depth a reflex tiile set in, hringinc;" bael: elements of 
eontinued life and new piosperity. With the reopening of the 
hotel under Mr. .Stephen Crosby in IP.'iO, summer visilors eame 
in, mostly families who had j^one out from town, and relatives of 

Another deeade passed and the "cottagers" cam.c to stay, and 
these too were Thompson's own children, connected by family 
and social ties. Several new houses have been built and 
old ones transformed into picturescpie villas. A Village Im- 
provement Socictv was formed in 1875, which, though somewhat 
intermittent in character, has accomplished good results in grad- 
ing and widening the streets, caring for the trees and improving 
sidewalks. Older residents have caught the spirit of the age, 
and take much pride in l)eautifying and impruving their lawns 
and dwellings. Tliompsnn residents and visitors are well ac- 
commodated with railroad privileges, the near vicinity of the 
New York & Xevr England station bringing Boston, Piovidence, 
the sea shore and many resorts, within a day's compass. Busi- 
ness to any extent declines to return. 3.1r. Janies Kingsbury es- 
sayed shoe manufacturing for a time, but relapsed into store- 
keeping and care for the town interests. The removal of ^Ir. I 
Charles Baldwin closed a carriage and wagon shop, dating back 
to nearly the beginning of the century. The only present rep- 
resentative of former industries is ]\Ir. Vralter Bates, whose 
"cabinetmaker's shop" was opened by Mr. James Hutchins 
more 'than fifty years since. Yet notwithstanding the lack of 
business, Thompson hill is none the less a pleasant place of per- 
manent residence, while its jnire air, health giving breezes, and 
the picturesque drives in its vicinity, are very attractive to the 
summer sojourner. The Family Motel, kept so satisfactcjrily for 
twenty-five years by the late ^Ir. Crosby, promises to be ecpially 
popular under its present proprietor, Landlord Chapin, who has 
treated the old tavern house with a new furnace and effected 
man}' improvements. 

The Thompson hill of the present day has never appeared 
to better advantage than on ^lemorial Day, 1887, when for 
the first time the town made public provision for celebrating 
this occasion. Under the auspices of ^lajor William vS. Beebe 
(then recently removed into the ]Slason house), the town house 
was decorated in the most unique and effective manner with red, 


wliilc and bine stars, banners and streamers, and enililazoned 
witli the names of every battle field and engagement during- the 
civil conflict. Soldiers and war veterans in Thompson and Put- 
nam, members of the Grand Army of the Republic, Sons of Vet- -; 
crans, and other bodies, were invited to participate in the festiv- 
ities. Tlie day was exceptionallv nne, the village in fresh spring 
suit looked its best, and everything passed off in the most har- 
monious and delightful manner. After visiting- the graves of 
their comrades in the different burial grounds of the town with - 
the usual services ;uk1 floral offerings, the several companies, 
with music and parade, marched by different roads into the vil- \ 
lage where great crowds had assembled to meet them, and then 1 
into the Congregational meeting house, which was draped with i 
red, white and blue in simple but most effective st3-le. The sol- j 
diers, with citizens gathered to receive them, filled the large house. • \ 
A bev\' of blooming girls, decked C)ut for waitresses with white J 
caps and aprons, and contrasting bands of dark bearded musi- { 
eians, filled the choir. The services, prayer, singing, addresses, J 
were exceedingly apjiropriate and inspiring. The march of the ] 
martial processioi? from the meeting house to the town house in -g 
the beautiful May sunshine, with the music and the white-capped ^ 
girls, and the common filled with enthusiastic spectators, was 1 
one of the most picturesque and stirring scenes Thompson hill | 
ever witnessed, far superior to the much vaunted "trainings" j 
of r)ther days, and based upon a far deeper and more in- ' 
telligent patriotism. The collation served to many hundreds of I 
weary men in the decorated town was worthy of the day | 
and occasion, and tlic rousing cheers for "Old Tbomp.son " that 3 
closed the festivities were never juore heartily given and ap- , 
preciated. ] 
Thomp.son PSank, which has so creditably held its own through ' ^ 
village, national and financial vicissitudes, was incorporated in j 
1833— Harvey Blashfield, president ; Joseph B. Gay, cashier. i 
Among its early directors were Harvey Blashfield, John Nichols, - \ 
William H. Mason, "William Reed, William Fisher, Robert Gros- 
venor. Franklin Xichols, Jonathan Nichols, Simon Davis and 
George }i. Slater. Neighboring manufacturers found this bank 
a convenient accomniodation, and were much interested in its 
prosperity and stability. Some heavy losses that accrued in early j 
years were tided over by the help of willing friends, and it soon 5 
gained a sterling reputation. Its second president, ]u(lge John 


, iris^m 

m -f'"'^ 



The een-grosvenor; 


Nichols, resigned in 1837, and ^vas succeeded by Mr. Talcott 
Crosby, ^^■ho remained in charge till compelled by ill health to 
resign in ISC"), when he was succeeded by Mr. Jeremiah Olney, 
who still remains in charge, their united term of .service cover- 
ing fifty-two years. Messrs. Joseph B. Gay, Theodore Sharpe, 
William Osgood, A. E. Parker, Hiram and Charles Arnold have 
served as cashiers. ^lany of Thompson's most substantial and 
sterling citizens have acted as directors. The present board 
comprises iMessrs. Jeremiah Olncy, L. K. Blackmar, James N. 
Kingsbury, George 11. Nichols, Thomas D. Sayles, Hiram Ar- 
nold, George S. Crosby, David Chase, Frank jM. Messenger. 

The Dime Savings Bank, of Thompson, was incorporated in 
1871, and accommodates a large number of depositors. Presi- 
dent, George H. Nichols ; treasurer, Charles Arnold. Amount 
of deposits, January, 1888, 8439,933.18. 

The Thompson Fire Engine Conipany has entered upon its 
second half century, alive and in good condition, stimulated by 
the agreeable consciousness of having saved nnich valuable 
property. Its antiquated hand-engine, however insignificant and 
ridiculous to modern eyes, has as good a record as the largest in 
the nation, having put out every fire to which it has been sum- 
moned. Again and again it has rushed in at the breach and 
saved valuable houses from destruction. It has also faithfully 
fulfilled the second object of its creation — the exaction of fines- 
for non-attendance upon its stated meetings, and expended part. 
of its surplus in the "Thompson Fire Engine Library," a collec- 
tion of valuable books, needing only care and fitting "local hab- 
itation " to make it worthy of its name. Its roll of membership 
embraces nearly every male resident of the vicinity of Thomp- 
son hill from the dale of its formation. Present membership 
twenty-five; officers: George A\ Ballard, captain ; Fred Green, 
first lieutenant ; George Wilks, second lieutenant; George W. 
Dexter, clerk and treasurer, also librarian ; George Wilks to 
warn the company. 

The first post office in town was opened on Tliomjison hill in 
180.5, iJoctor Daniel Knight postmaster. His successors, John 
Nichols and Simon Davis, continued to be the sole postmasters 
of the tov/n. The second post office was opened in Fishervillc 
about 1&4U, William Fisher postmaster. Mr. Jeremiah (ilney 
succeeded Esquire F^avis at about the same date. A chanc;e in 
presidential administration sent the office into ]\lr. Knight's store 

712 HISTORY OF WIXDIIAM cou^"^^•. 

across the street. Another cliaii;,;e bo^vled it back toMr. (Mncy. 
Mr. James X. Kin^^slniry administered the office for several 
years. Mr. T.. K. lilackmar held it during- the Cleveland admin- 
istration, and under tlie present dynasty it reverts to Mr. C. 
V. Chapin. Within the last g-eneration its sphere has been much \ J 

circumscribcd--each manufactviring; and railroad village dc- -{ 

manding- its own sneeial accommodations. Xine post oflicesare 
now required by Thompson — the largest number of an\-town in 
the county. They are located at Thompson hill, East Thomp- 
son, West Thompson, (iros\-enor Dale, Xorth Cirosvenor Dale, 
Meehanicsville, ^\"i^(n■lville, Xew I'o.ston and Ouinebaug. | 

The recent loss of lion. William IT. Chandler, so long and | 

intimately identified with the ]vablie interests of Thompson, .| 

is mourned by the v/hole commuiiity. ]\lr. Chandler w;is of Pom- \ 

fret ancestry, born in Providence, R. 1., April Pith, 181.'), gradu 1 

ated from Yale College in 183!:). Debarred from pursuing legal j. 

studies by weakness of eves, he decided upon country life, and \ 

in 1842 purchased of }>Irs. Jacob Dres.ser the " Priest Russel 
homestead " in])sou village, taking possession of the old I 

house immediately after his marriage, and devoting himself J 

with much interest to the cultui-e and improvement of his farm. ^ ) 

He manifested from the first much interest in public affairs, | 

malcing himself a power in town meetings and in the adminis- ) 

tration of town government. Although shrinking from public .;* 

office, Mr. Chandler's extensi\-e reading, keen insight and sound ^t 

judgment gave his counsels much weight and influence, espe- •■| 

cially with advancing years, and probably no man in town was /| 

more widely known and respected. He was early sent as rep- 
resentative and state senator, and his name wns often mentioned 
in connection with higher appointments, but his dislike for pub- 
lic life could not be overcome. An earnest republican and true 
patriot, he was ever ready to ser^■e party and country with wise 
counsel and material aid, and his name and promises were looked 
upon as a tower of strength during the dark hours of the war. 

Averse to parade and ostentation, simple in habits and taste, -\Ir. 
Chandler was exceedingly genial and sympathetic, with much 
playful humor and ready gift of conversation, discoursing pleas- 
antly with all with whom he came in contact. Possessing strong 
individuality, he had his own views and preferences, but was 
very ready to help in all projects that met his apjM'oval. 
Many of the beautiful trees now adorning the village will help 

iiisTOKV OF \vindham; county. 713 

pcr{)etuate the memorv of him who planted and watched over 
tliem so tenderly. Mr. Chandler was a firm friend of the Con- 
yrei^ational church and society, ever readv to do his proportion 
of anything- needed forthcir growth and benefit. His public spir- 
ited services in clearing the ruads after the memorable }*Iarch 
blizzard brought on or confirmed the rheumatic attach which 
ended his valuable life. May 18th, 18S8. His son, Mr. Randoljih 
Chandler, who for some years has practiced law in Putnam, suc- 
ceeds to the family residence. 

No living citizen of Thompson has rdndercd - such substan- 
tial service to his mother state as Hon. Jeremiah C)lney. Born 
near his present residence in this villag'c, attending its public 
schools, ;Mr. Olney grew up to fill the ordinary stations of town 
life, keeping- stcnx-, serving- as constable, postmaster and repre- 
sentative. Appointed town agent during the war, his superior 
executive abilities were recognized, and he was appointed to 
serve as United States assessor, which office he filled v.-itli his 
accustomed energy and fidelity. A few years later he was nom- 
inated by the republican party fcr the office of school fund com- 
missioner, but by some political arrangement the democratic in- 
cumbent was left in charge another term. During- this interim 
)Jr. Olney administered the affairs of the 'jdiompson Bank, and 
served as town representative at the legislature. A keen-eyed 
reporter depicts him as '• a dignified gentleman of the old school, 
sp.are in form, inimaculate in dress, with a fine comn-iand of 
lang-uage, a strong; sense of justice, and whose brave utterances 
command the most respectful attention." In 1880 lie was elected 
to the responsible position of school fund commissioner, involving- 
the care and handling of a most important public trust, demand- 
ing financial experience and sound judgment. Mr. Olney's ad- 
niinistration of the schoi:il fund has been exceptionally slrong and 
aljle. The fact of liis inianin-ious appointment to a third term 
of service testifies to the respect and confidence accorded to him 
by all parties. 

Mr. Charles E. Searls, the late popular secretary of state, re- 
sides in this village : a strong republican, chairman of the great 
Harrison mass meeting at Woodstock, a man whom his fellow- 
citizens delight to horior. 

The popular favorite of a preceding generatioi-i, Mr. William 
S. Scarborough, has returned to his old home in Thonipson, after 
prolonged residence at Cincinnati. 


Our physician, ] )oct()r llolbrook, represents a medical suc- 
cession of more than seveiUy years, his father, Doctor Horatio 
Holbrook, entering upon practice in this village about 1S1G. 
He occupies the house built by D. R. Wickham nearly a hundred 
years ago. 

The very oldest house in town is the residence of our present 
town clerk and representative, 'Mr. James N. Kingsbury, a na- 
tive of Webster, but for over twenty years a resident of the vil- 
lage, filling many important ofiices-. v 

The original ^Vatson House is the pleasant home of our aged 
citizen, Judge Rawson, born in l-^ast xMslead, X. H., April 22d, 
1802, served acceptably many years in the ministry, till obliged 
to relinquish active service by injuries received in a railroad : 

accident. He removed to Thompson in 1853, v,-here, with his ] 

son-in-law. ^Ir. Parker, he conducted a family school, and also | 

performed much public service in occasional preaching, school | 

visitation and as judge of probate. ,. | 

Three venerable Ballard brothers, life-long residents of Thomp- | 

son, reside within the district, whose united ages reach 25G years, i 

viz.: Wintlirop Hilton, 88; Deacon Valentine, 85; Hamilton, 83 ^ ^j 

years. The scriptural promise of length of days to men of ■ j 

peace, wisdom and rectitude is fulfilled in these " hoary heads." j 

Mr. James Munyan represents one of the oldest families in \ 

town, has carried on mercantile business, administered the post ■] 

office, and served as selectman. Mr. L. K. Blackmar has also | 

served faithfully in various offices. ISIessrs. Horace and Marvin . .| 

D. Elliott represent an old family, remarkable for inherited in- f • | 

dustrv and steadfastness. !Mr. Cicorge S. Cro.sby was associated I 

with his fatlier in the management of the Crosby House. Mr. -; 

Horace ]\iorse occupies tlie former home of Mr. Obadiah Stone. 1 

The oldest household by far in Thompson village is that still ,-j 

occupving the house built bv Mr. Joseph Watson soon after his 
marriage, in 1791. Five of this family were living when the 
youngest had attained her 7Sth year. Mr. Xoadiah Watson and 
Miss Katharine Watson still represent the family. The 
built bv ^Ir. "William H. ^lason was purchased after the decease 
of Mrs. Lydia (Watson) Mason by Major William S. Beebe. 

The '• Histcu-y of AVindham County," written and publislied 
by Miss l^llen D. Larncd, has wvn a liigh place among local his- 
tories. About fourteen years were spent in eollectin:;" material 
and preparing this woi'k. Xo pains were si)arcd to ensure ae- 

U'U^ ^< <\^^^^'u^^^ 


curacy and thoroughness, and the result justifies the cost. The 

citizens of Windham county have reason to be proud of their 

history. Lamed represents the family of William Larned, 

who removed to this section in 1712. and is the last of the name 

in town. Another Thompson authoress, ]\Irs. A. K. Dunning, rep- i 

resents the family of Doctor Dow, as the daughter of }ilrs. Xancy j 

(Dow) Ketchum. Mrs. JJunning has been very successful in re- i 

ligious works and stories, contributing notably to Sunday school : 

literature. j 

Thompson hill is peculiarly favored in the character of its i 

summer residents — its own children, not transient strangers. i 

Its young men who went out from Thompson homes to engage ! 

in business come back to found new summer homes for their 
families. These village boys have made successful businessmen. | 

One of the most prominent is Mr. John W. Doane of Chicago, a ■ j 

merchant prince, engaged largely in importing trade, president • j 

of Chicago's Board of Trade, prominent in the Pullman Car [ 

Company, and in many important business enterprises. Isir. 
Doane is very highly esteemed in his adopted city, and has won j 

by his unaided exertions'a most honorable place among the fore- j 

most businessmen of the day. A pleasant rural home in Thomp- ' | 

son is occupied by his family half of the year. j 

Another representative of old Thompson families, }ilr. Henry I 

Elliott, starting out alone for the great city in early youth, has I 

won a most honorable position and good name among the " solid j 

men" of Brooklyn. X. Y. His near kinsmen, Messrs. John E. 
Jacobs and Jerome E. Bates, are .successful business men, and 
like Me.ssrs. Doane and Elliott, have summer homes in Thomp- 
son village. Another successful business man, now of Grand 
Rapids, Mich., ]\Ir. Edgar Olney, has transformed the former 
residence of Judge Crosby into an idyllic summer resting place. 
The sons of Mr. Scarborough, Mrs. Erastus Knight, Mrs. George 
Shaw, Messrs. Bates and Marvin Elliott are welcomed among the 
usual summer sojourners. Mr. Andrew 'SUUs has three sons in 
Boston, two of them connected with the administration of the 
Conservatory of Music, whose visits bring a welcome addition 
to the chorus of summer song. 

Mr.ny sons of Thompson from all parts of the town have 
achieved success and distinction in varied fields. Xorwich is in- 
debted to Thompson for her veteran citizens, 'Sir. I'ranklm 
Nichols, president of the Thames Xational Bank, and ]Mr. I^ucius 


W. Carrol, presiclciU of the first Xational Ilank. Few men in 
our cnuntrY arc more wiclely known or belter serving their gen- 
eration than Reverend Samuel AV. Dike, D.D., prime leader in 
the anti-divorce mo\-ement,and secretary of the Xational Divorce 
Reform League. Mr. Dike belongs to another old Thompson 
family, still occupving the original homestead of their ancestor, 
James Dike. Reverend Joseph P. Bixby, grandson of the ven- 
erable Deacon Aaron Bixby, is a popular and successful pastor > 
at Revere, Mass., and president of the Bible Conference Insti- ) 
tute, established at Crescent Beach. Two grand.sous of the ven- '\ 
erated Elder Grow, Reverends Jerome P. Bates and W.Elliott ■ I 
Bates, and Reverend James F. Hill, son of '• Father James Hill," •' ^ 
are honored and successful Baptist ministers. Another grandson 
of Elder Grow, Captain George V\'. Davis, performed most valu- ] 
able service during the war, and built for himself an enduring ' 
moiTuUment by carrying forward and completing the National i. ; 
^Memorial , at Washington. Representative John Waite re- - ': 
ports: ''It was Capt. IXavis who arranged and perfected all the I 
elevating machinery that carried the stones one after another • 
from the surface of the earth as they went up toward the sky. \ 
It was his skill and rare ingenuity that invented the machirery 
which was so vitally important as a most efficient agent in the ■ 
the rapid and successful prosecution of the work. In the im- j 
portant matter of strengthening and perfecting the foundation 
of the monument the suggestions and assistance of Capt. l^avis 
were invaluable. "' 

Very valuable military service was also performed by anr>ther 
Thompson boy — John E. Tourtellotte; graduated from kirown 
University in 18.^)0, studied law and commenced practice in ^lin- ,..■ 

nesota; joined the Fourth Minnesota Infantry regiment as cap- >.j 

tain in ISGl, served in the same regiment as lieutenant-colonel 
to the close of tlie war, aceomjianied General Sherman on his 
march to the sea, In-eveted brigadier-general in ]SG."3, resigned 
volunteer service, and ajipointed captain in the regular armv in 
ISGG, appointed colonel and aide-de-camp on the staff of General 
Sherman in T871. While in this position he enjoyed the unique 
privilege of attendance upon the Princess Louise and ^larquis of 
Lome during their visit to the United States, as the accredited 
representative of the national government — a son of the sovereign 
people entertaining the daughter of the queen and empress. 


Three sons of the Lite Thomas E. Graves, Esq., born on 
Thompson hill, were eonspicnous during- the war. Colonel Em- 
mons E. Graves entered upon serviee in 18(;i first lieutenant of 
of the Thirteenth Conneetieut regiment, eontinued in service 
tliroughout the war, and had the honor of raising- the Union flag 
upon the state capitol after the taking of Richmond. Lieutenant 
Frank H. Ciravcs was tlie first L'nionoflicer to enter Fort Fisher. 
T. Thatcher Graves, returning from an interesting soiourn in 
Africa in 1SG3, entered at once upon service as volunteer aid to 
General B. F. Butler, received commission from Preside nt Lin- 
coln as captain in the '114th Kentucky volunteers, detailed as 
aid to ]\Iajor-General G. AVeitzel, and served at the front until 
the close of the war; assisted in the occupation of Richmond, 
being the first Union officer to enter Libby Prison, and to take 
possession of the house vacated by Jefferson Davis; served un- 
der General Weitzel on the Rio Grande, with rank of brevet- 
major for two years, arid was mustered out with the last volun- 
teer officers in JSGT. He pursued medical studies at Harvard, 
graduating at the head of his class in 1871, has practiced medi- 
cine at Lynn, r^lass., Danielsonville, Conn., and Providence, R. I., 
with characteristic energy and promptness. Doctor Graves is 
pre-eminently an '• emergency man," always ready for the 

Daniel R. Lamed, born in West Thomj^son village, engaged 
in volunteer service as captain ; was promoted to rank of lieu- 
tenant-colonel for gallant conduct atseigeof Knoxville; private 
secretary to General Burnsidc ; 'serves as paymaster in regular 
army, with rank of major. 

Joseph E. Gay, mining broker, an active republican and influ- 
ential member of the Union League Club, Xew York, grew up on 
Thompson hill. 

Isaac N. Mills, of Brandy hill, graduated with distinction at 
Harvard College, engaged successfully in the practice of law at 
^Slount A'ernon, X. Y., and soon received the honorable appoint- 
ment of judge in tlie court of ^Yestchesler county, succeeding 
one of the great judges of the state. 

" Westward the course of em])ire takes its way," but a goodly 
number of Thompsonians have found fame, wealth or compe- 
tency in eastward cities. The ancient CVunx-rse familv is well 
represented in Boston. James, son of Elisha Converse, began 


his honorable life-work in that city a poor boy. thirteen years of 

aj4"c. In 1)<:->S, at the ag-e of twenty-five, he aided in organizing 

the firm of Field & Converse, so widely known in busi- eircles. Remarkably successful in business, he has been 

still more eminent in works of mercy and beneficence, founding ■. J 

missions, building cliurchcs, strengthening- the hands of fellow j 

labc>rers. }Iis brotlier, Elisha S. Converse, after engaging a \ 

.short time in business on Thompson hill, removed to IJoston in 

18-14, and since IS.");] has served as treasurer and general man- ;-. ] 

agcr of the Boston Kubber vShoe Company, having his residence * 1 

in ISIalden. The statelv and beautiful Converse ^»Icmorial Ihiild- | 

ing, given to the citizens of }iJalden in 188."), for the use of a free j 

public library and gallery of art, b}- Mr. and ]\Ir.s. Converse, in ^ 

memory of their oldest son, will bear their names in grateful t 

remembrance to later generations. >; 

Year after year, upon the roll of Boston's legislative reprcsen- ■ 

tatives and sterling men is found the name of Jacob A. T.)resser ' :i 

— fourth in descent and name from the first white boy Ijorn in i 

Thomp.son. Richard L. Gay, Ashley and William ^.lills were ] 

born in Thompson. Other business men in Providence, Wor- i 

cester and various parts of the land emigrated from the same 
old town. 

Space allows but a In-ief record of emigrants of preceding gen- 
erations. All ovvr the land they may be frmnd ; througli the 
"West and be3'ond tlie Rockies, descendants of those who in earlier 
years helped build up \'ermont and Xew ^'ork. Carrying out 
into the world a certain stability and tenacity that enabled them 
to make their way amid hardships and toil, they have borne an 
important part in building up and developing the nation. Un- 
able to follow tliem in all tlicir various callings, we give a list of 
those only who liave served as ministers: 

Baptists.— Jolm B. Ballard, l.^orn 170."); ordained 18-23; "es- 
tablished Sunday schools in every town in North Carolina;" 
labored as missionary in Xew York city. Benjamin ]M. Hill, D. 
D., ordained in Stafford, September 2od, 181S; corresjionding 
secretary of American Baptist Home ^Missionary vSoeiety. Lewis 
vSeamans, preached at l)e Ruyier. X. Y., died Xovember, 1826, 
aged 29 years. John Pratt, licensed to preach i-^eptembcr 2d, 
1822; profes.sor f>f Creek and Latin in Granville College, Ohio. 
Austin Robbins, licensed to preach 18:J:"); lal:>ored faithfully in 
Elaine and mission fields. 


Congregational.— Joi^eph, .son of Reverend Xoadiah Ru.'=fel, 
settled in Princeton, ^^lass., but di.smi.s.sed on account of ill health. 
Stephen, son of Elijah Cro.sby, a much beloved and u.seful pastor 
in Penn Yan, N. Y.. died early. Henry Gleason settled in Dur- 
ham, Conn.; died early, respected and lamented. Joseph T. 
IJolmes, labored in the AYest. D. Xichols Coburn, settled in 
Ware, Mass. John Bowers, pastor in AVilbraham, ?ilass. Pler- 
bert A., son of AYilliam Reed, Esq., West Thompson, prcaehed 
at Webster, Mass ; removed to ^Michigan. William A., son of 
George Lamed, Esq., settled over the church in ^vlilbury, Mass.; 
obliged to relinguish preaching from bronchial trouble; taught 
in the Theological Seminary, Troy, N. Y.; appointed professor 
of rhetoric in Yale College in 3 840 ; died February 3d, ]?02 -a 
thorough scholar, a brilliant speaker, sound in judgment, prompt 
in action, genial and attractive in private life. 

^vlethodist. — Jefferson Hascall, born 18(17; converted in early 
youth and exercising his gifts in exhortation. ]\lr. llasenll ^vas 
distingtiished for power and eloquence from the beginning of 
his ministry. His labors in his pastorate residted in the 
professed conversion of more thar^ 150 persons. Independence 
and originality of thought, accompanied by fervid imagination 
and a magnetic delivery, gave him a high place among the many 
distinguished pulpit orators of the )ilethcdist ranks. The mere 
announcement of his presence would fill the seats at any meet- 
ing. ]"or more than twenty years he served as presiding elder, 
and tvrice represented New England in the General Conference. 
A man of strong faith and enthusiasm, Imt with simple, child- 
like spirit, he impressed himself strongly uj^on the generation. 
A popular hymn, written upon instant inspiration, will hc-lp 
commemorate his honored name: 

" My latest sun i'^' fast. 
My race is iii arly iiui. 
My strongest Inals no\v are past. 
My triumph is begun." 

Doctor Hascall died February PUh, 1887. His brother, Rev- 
erend Squier Hascall, also served acceptably in the ministiy. 

The Thompson Grange is a new institution here. It was es- 
tal)lished about two years since, and now numbers aljout forty 
members, residing in different parts of the town. Tlie present 
master is George X. Comins; steward, George Ballard. 

' f 

720 HIST(JKV OF WINL'HAM COUX'l'V. • ■•■ | 

' I 


F.DWARii Ai.nkictl. — Echvard Aklrich, the ^grandfather of Uie ; ■; 

subject of this biography, resided on the homestead farm in .| 

Thompson. His son liasiek, a native of Douglas, spent the ehief .! 

portion of his life in 'J'hompson. lie married ^Miriam Ho^v^and, ; 

of lUirrillville, R, I., whose children were: Elizabeth, Edward, ] 

John, A'iletta and Eddy. Edward Aklrich, the eldest of these • 

sons, was born on the 2.")th of July, 1808, in Thompson, vrhere | 

he became a pupil of the neighboring school and afterward pnr- . ' 

sued his studies for one or more terms at Dudley, ]\Iass. His 1 

education was, however, more the result of judicious reading and j 

of habits of reflection, than of training- under masters, and he i 

may therefore be spoken of as sel f-taught. His father having pur- "' 

chased a farm in Thom_pson, ^Ir. Aldrieh devoted his life to agri- j 

culture until 1S70, wlien failing healtli eon-ipellcd a cessation \ 

from active labor. He then retired to the residence in Wood- ^ < 

stock which is the present home of :\Irs. Aldrieh. He v/as for '; .'• 

many years engaged in the purchase and sale of stock, which ' j 

transactions were conducted with much success. ; ^ 

An early whig- and later a republican, he served many tern-is 1 

as selectman, was for a long period justice of the peace, and fre- ] 

queiitly represented his town in the legislature. During the late ] 

war lie was a loyal and zealous supporter of the government. 1 

llr. Aldrieh was a man of excellent judgment and undou])ted j 

inlegritv. His serviecs were therefore often sought as appraiser 3 

and arbitrator, and in the settlement of estates. He was one of j 

the direetors of the Thompson Bank. He was a member of the -j 

jSIethodist Episcopal church of Grosvenor Dale, and one of its "1 

building committee during the erection of the present edifice. j 

:Mr. Aklrich was married February 22d, 1S30, to Ardelia, , -] 

daughter of Lsracl Conistock. of Union, l\)lland eounty. Conn. .q 

Their only child, a son, Edv.-ard Harrison, married Harriet ■■] 

Gager, of Woodstock. Both died at an early age, leaving five . i 

children as follows : Edward (hirdon. Imogene O.sborn, L'^adore ■ \ 

Estellc, wife of Randolph Chandk-r ; Inez Harriet and Irene j 

Fanny. With the exception of the last named daughter, all ;■] 

these children were taken by Mrs. Aldrieh, on the death of their ■ J 

parents, reared and educated as her own. The death of Mr. j 

Aldrieh occurred at his home in Woodstoek on the 12th of Au- J 

gust, 1S7'4. '3 







|i-.KoMi: E. Ba'I'KS. — Clement Rates, of Hertfordshire, England, 
.'I'^x-d 40, with his wife Ann. and their children, James, Clement, 
Rachel, Joseph and Benjamin, came to America in the ship 
••■IClisabeth," April Oth, ICo.-), and settled in Hingham, Mass. 
Clement Bates died in Ilingham, September 17th, 1G71. His 
si>n Joseph, by wife Hester, was the father of Joseph, who was 
the father of eight ciiildren. settled in that part of Scituate 
now Hanover, in 109.;, and died there July Oth, 17-10. His son, 
Joseph, married Mary Bowker. who died a widow, ]uh- oOth, 17r>9. 
Jacob Bates, the ancestor of the Thompson branch of the Bates 
family, left Hingham as early as 1730, and after spending some 
years in Bellingham, }tlass., settled in Thompson with his two 
sons, John and Elii'ah. His son, Elijah, spent his life as a 
farmer in his native town, and was the father of George, Tyler, 
Reuben, Moses, Elijah, William ;uid Jacob. William Bates, born 
1784, whose life was devoied to agricultural pnirsuits, married 
Sally, daughter of I'.dward Joslin, whose children were three 
sons — William, Walter and Winsor- -and five daughters. Wal- 
ter Bates, a manufacturer of furniture, was bc'Vn in Thompson, 
January 31st, 1814, and still resides in his native town. He mar- 
ried ^Slary Jacobs, daughter of Thomas Elliott, of the same town, 
and became the father of eleven children : Jennne V,., Lowell 
IL, Mary }., William X., George F., Julia A., John L., Josephine 
W., Frank J., and two who died in infancy. The coat of arms 
presented to the early English branch of the Bates family was 
for valorous deeds ])erformed during the Crusades. 

Jerome E. Bates was born in Thompson, and began his busi- 
ness career as clerk in. a country store in the same t(jwn. In Oc- 
tober, JS03, he removed to Brooklyn, X. Y., and entered a retail 
boot and shoe store as clerk. In P^bruary, ISOG, Mv. Bates estab- 
lished himself as a wholesale dealer in boots and shoes in Xevr 
York, under the firm name of A. J. Bates & Co. This venture 
from .Tmall beginnings gradually increased in dimensions. Their 
business requires the room afforded by three stores, and has, 
from its first inception, steadily grown in importance and in its 
successful results. In 1884 the firm added the manufacture of 
boots and shoes in Webster, Mass. ]Mr. Bates is a director of 
the Clinton Bank of Xew York. He was married in 1873 to 
Eliza Whitmore, daughter of WuodrulT L. I'arnes, who \\-as a 
son of Doctor linos Barnes, a leading man and one of the earlv 
settlers of western Xew York. They have had five children, 
two of whom, Jessie W. and Edna B., died in youtli. The sur- 
vivors are Clara W.. Leonard "W. and Ethel F.. 


W'ir.i,! wi SriT.Y Bkfj;f, Avas born at Ithaca, X. Y., in 1841, and 
cdmatcd ^vith a vicwtoliis appointment to tlie Military Academy 
at West Point. lie \vas one of the president's appointments 
there in IS.'iS.on account of the services of his uncle and adopted 
father, Captain John C. Casey, himself a graduate of 1 829, a 
member of the board of visitors of 184o. chief commissary on 
Ceneral Taylor's staff in ^Mexico, " wliose zeal, intelligence and 
devotion to duty to the liour of his death, gave a peculiar claim 
and promise of faithful service to his young relatiYC." He grad- 
uated in 1803, fifteenth in a class of t\vcnty-five, \vas apj)ointed a 
second lieiitenant of ordnance and assigned to St. Louis Arsenal 
except during the time of }vIorgan's raid, when he served as volun- 
teer aid with the forces opposing ]\Iorgan in Kentucky and 
Indiana. At his urgent request he was ordered to the field in the 
Department of the Gulf as assistant to its chief of ordnance. He 
ajjplied for detail with the Red River Expedition then starting, 
and was appointed its chief ordnance officer, taking part in all 
the battles and actions of that campaign, acting- as aid to the 
general con:!manding at the battle of Sabine Cross Roads, lead- 
ing the su.pports of Xims' Ilattery in an attempt to recover it 
from the enemy, when his horse was killed under him inside the 
battery and he himself was wornidcd, for which service he was 
reported to headquarters by the chief of staff, an eye-witness of 
the occurrence. In the actic)n of the same day, when tlic 19th 
Armv Corps repulsed the confederate advance, he was sent tore- 
store tlic extreme right of the federal line, in Avhich effort he 
was successful, taking advantage of the confederate cheek to 
drive them in turn and capturing many prisoners, thus securing 
the first authentic intelHgcnce of Tayh:ir's reinforcement l\v 
Cliurcl-iill's Missouri Column, for which he received the thanks 
of tlie JOtli Corps commander, and was again commended to 
army headquarters. At the battle of Pleasant Hill he v.-as com- 
mended bv the general commanding the army and I'Jth Corps 
for his promptness and energy in. leading the supports into ac- 
tion. At the evacuation of Alexandria, and the conflagration 
that took place during a gale, he, at the head of a detail of picked 
men, attempted to stay the fire by blowing up the buildings in its 
path. During this time the party again and again escaped de- 
struction by premature explosion, in some eases the flakes from 
burning buildings falling into the receptacles for pc>wder when 
they were about to be filled. For this he was thanked by the 
citi/.ens of the towji, headed by abrotherin-law of General Albert 


Sidney Johnston, who pledo-ed the good name of the town for 
the safety vnd release of the party in ease of its eaptnre by the 
confederate advanee. 

When the lleet under eommand of Admiral Da^■id D. Porter 
had been foreed to lighten draught by landing their guns, the 
first intention had been to burst them, but on LieiUenanl Beebe's 
stating that he was confident he could move th.em below the falls 
and reload them on the vessels to which they belonged, he was 
given the men to make the attempt and succeeded in saving all 
but five old model 32s, which he had to leave through lack of 
time. For this service Admiral Porter wrote as follows : " It 
Avas under Captain Beebe's orders that that most efficient ord- 
nance party worked so laboiiously and efficiently to save the 
guns of the fleet from falling into the hands of the enemy, and 
but for Captain l^eebe"s energy and perseverance the guns would 
have been so abandoned." 

At the battle of Carie River Crossing, while the I'ear guard 
were being pressed by the enemy, and while the head of the 
column was held in check by some 8,000 confederates strongly 
entrenched, with artillery in position, in fact, when success was 
vital, he was directed by the new chief of staff, General Dwight, 
to join the column detached to dislodge this force and "on his 
arrival to signal what he tliouglit the strength of the opposing 
force and to unremittingly urge the necessity for speed, in which 
action he would be sustained bv his superiors." On his arrival, 
finding the confederate skirmish line on the advance instead of 
being pushed, he volunteered to lead the regiment in front f)f 
him in assault if suitably supported, which offer was at first de- 
clined witli some asperity, but on its being renewed Avhen the 
confederrites showed signs of attacking in force, was promptly 
accepted. He led the assault, being the first man inside the con- 
federate lines, from which they were driven in full retreat and 
for which their commander was relieved from his command and 
was tried by court martial. In this assauU the attacking column 
lost some 2ih) men. On his return he was complimented by the 
column commander on the spot, and on arriving at headquar- 
ters was informed by the chief of staff, who sent him, that while 
waiting for his report by signal, he received the news that the 
enemy had been driven out of their works by an assault led by 
the staff officer he had sent. Lieutenant Beebe was brcvetted 
captain in the U. vS. Army to date from this battle as follows: 
"For gallant and meritorious services and for intrepidity and 



tlnring- and skill in handling' men in the face of the enemy." 
On the run down the ]\Iisbi.ssippi, when the headquarter boat 
was under fire at Tunica Bend, the battery was engaged at close 
quarters by a rifle placed on the boat's upper deck with such 
satisfactory results that although the boat it.self was riddled, no 
lives were lost, and the transports f<;llo\ving passed without re- 
ceiving a shot. This gun was manned by members of the gen- 
eral staff, Lieutenant Sargent, Doctor Homans and others, under 
Lieutenant Beebe's direction. 

^\''hen the expedition terminated Lieutenant Beebe received 
leave of absence with a view to his acceptance of a volunteer 
command, for which he was recommended by the general com- 
manding and every corps commander in the department, as fol- 
lows : " He has shown upon various occasions intrepidity and 
daring and skill in handling men in the face of the enemy that 
merit the highest applause, and sliould secure for him any posi- 
tion he may choose to seek. At Cane River Crossing he partic- 
ularly distinguished himself by leading a regiment on a charge, 
most gallantly carrying a strong" position held by the enemy. 
. . . Vow will find him fully competent to command a regi- 
ment or even a larger body of men." 

General AV. B- Franklin, commander of the 10th Army Corps, 
said : " I am sure that a regiment under his command cannot 
fail to distingiiish itself, and 1 cordially endorse his application." 
Owing to the appearance of smallpox on the transport on which 
he sailed and the consequent quarantine. Lieutenant Beebe 
the op]_iortunity he had in view, and as he found that political 
influence would be required in any new direction, something he 
had neither time nor inclination to seek, he returned to his sta- 
tion at Xew Orleans, where he found that without his knowledge 
an order had been issued assigning him to duty on the staff of 
General Gordon Granger, then about Lo undertake the expedi- 
tion for the capture of Forts Gaines and JNIorgan, the outer de- 
fenses of ^lobile bay. Against General (jranger's friendly con- 
tention he had this order recalled, preferring the position of chief 
of ordnance of the expedition to even such a complimentary po- 
sition as that offered him. During the siege of Fort ^Morgan 
the method of supply for the baiteries by Avagon along the beach 
being tedioiis, he was asked by his chief if he thought he c^mld 
run a light di aught steamer captured from the enemy, under 
cover of darkness and relying on the ure of our sharpshooters to 


pivYcnt its bein;,^- sunk, up to the mortar batteries, \vhicli were 
witliin a few hundred yards of the fort, with a deek load of pow- 
der and shell. This he undertook to do the next morning at 
davlig-ht, and when about to land his cargo, saw in the dusk the 
flag of truce just sent out with a view to the surrender of the fort. 
He accordingly ran by the batteries and over the torpedo 
ground, trusting to liis light draught, and tied up at the fort 
wharf. Owing to this circumstance and the politeness of the 
confederate ordnance officer, who came down to the end of the 
wharf and invited him to make the tour of the fort, he was the 
iirst person inside the works from the federal side, which was 
then on lire and was surrendered that day at noon. He was, on 
General Granger's nomination, brevetted major, to date from the 
capture of the fort, " for gallant and meritorious seiA'ices at the 
siege of Fort Morgan." 

A few months later the expedition under command of 
General E. R. S. Canby, for the reduction of :Mobile and its out- 
lying defenses. Forts Flakely, Huger and Tracy, and 
Fort, was undertaken, when Major Beebe was, at his own re- 
quest, ordered to duty as its chief ordnance otTicer, his especial 
charge being an ordnance and siege train that was drilled for 
the purpose, reviewed by the commanding general and received 
his written commendation. While the troops were being trans- 
ferred across the bay after the outlying defenses and the cit}' 
itself surrendered. }vIajor Beebe took the yawl of one of his 
transports, and with her captain and mate as crew, a confederate 
pilot pressed into the service, and Colonel Palfrey, chief en- 
gineer, as fei'Ow-passengcr, ran across the obstructions and tor- 
pedo ground and put up the first flag in the city oi I\lobile, on 
the spire of the I'piscopal church, the confcdcr.-ite cavalry raid- 
ing the streets wliile they were thus engaged, and the party 
only escaping capture by the confederates being so s]iar]:>ly 
pressed by our infantry as not to have time to dismount, 

^lajor Beebe was one of a half dozen ofhcers sent to^Meridian, 
Miss., to receive the surrender of General Dick Taylor's army 
and supplies, after v/hicli, the war being over, lie was sent to 
command Moun.t A'ernon Arsenal, Ala., from there to 1-^rankford 
Arsenal, Pa., wliere in securing the arrest of a night expedition 
of river thieves he, with two enlisted men, captured their whole 
outfll, a sloop and vawl, one of tlic party, and were forced to kill . j 

another who t:red the first shot and died pistol in hand. The j 

men with h::n were ccmimendcd in peist orders. : 


From Frankford he was ordered to Fort }*lc>nroe, and during- 
an explosion that took place in an ammunition house in one of 
the redoubts, a building some twenty feet square, in which, 
" when the explosion took place there were some twenty barrels 
of powder " and five nien, two of Avhom were n-iortally wounded 
and three killed, "the powder and wounded were safely g;otten 
out of the Ai-ay by :\Iajor W. S. Beebc and Richard Oldfield, 
William Hayv\-ard, James Cooney and Private Carter, Company 
A, Third Artillery. The conduct of ]\Iajor Beebe was hic;hly 
commendable in his efforts to save life and property, as he ex- 
posed himself to more than ordinary danger in doing so." 

From Fort Monroe he was ordered to Watervliet Arsenal, 
Troy, N. Y., and from there to Alleghany Arsenal, Pittsburgh, 
Pa., and finally to Rock Island, 111., from which place he resigned, 
to take "effect at the end of the year as an unusual mark of 
favor." Previous to his resignation Major Eeebe had gone ; ^ 

abroad with a circular from the State DepartRient, worded as 
follows: "That the Department took peculiar pleasure in com- 
mending him as one ^vho had conducted himself ^vith distin- 
guished ability and gallantry in the field, during the late Civil 
War," and "that he came highly commended by General (h-ant, 
General ^Meade and General Dyer, Chief of his Corps." 

Before and since his resignation ^lajor Beebt' has been a close 
student of American mythology, especially in its relations to 
European and Asiatic religions, and is firmly of the opinion that 
common religious property is due altogether to American loans. 
Fie upholds the following theory, which in the main is his 
own : 

I. A great philosophical culte once ciccupicd all the Americas, 
originating in Peru. 

II. The backbone of this culte was a theory of number 
founded on recurrence, which had early attracted the attention 
of the aborigines, and that this theory of number is founded in 

III. That the tablets found at Davenport, la., and Piqua. Ohio. 
are authentic, and that he not only has read them but can restore 
missing portions. 

IV. The phonetic values of these pictographs are Shemitie, 
including many \vell-knowii pro])er names, the legends, the same 
as the Accadian cm which the Genesis Cycle is founded, and that 
thev had their origin here, in short, are American. 


To prove these statements lie has collected a mass of ilhistva- 
tion, a very large part of which is entirely new, and now has his 
work well under way. doing all the labor of text, illustration, and 
print himself. 

Ll'CU'S Briccs was born in Coventry, R. 1., December 2Jst, 
\S-2j. He is the son of A\'anton and Mary Tift Briggs, of Coven- 
try, R. I. Wanton R.riggs was the son of Jonathan Briggs, also 
of Coventry, who served in the revolutionary army from the be- 
ginning to the end of the war, taidng part in many important, 
hard fought battles, and received an honorable discharge signed 
by General Washington himself. Mary Tift Briggs was the 
daughter of Solomon Tift, of Groton, Conn. He served the 
cause of his country during the revolutionary period on the ocean. 
He was taken prisoner and confined for months in the hulk 
known as the old Jersey prison ship, in Xew York harbor. 1 he 
horrors endured by the prisoners is a matter of history. 

Wanton Briggs was a farmer of Coventry, having a family of 
seven sons and three daughters. Cotton man_ufactories were 
then springing up all over Xew England, and particularly in 
Rhode Lsland, and he decided to leave his farm and locate in a 
factorv village. He selected the village owned by the late Ciov- 
ernor Harris in Coventry, and there he remained many years, 
bringing up his children to habits of industry, and a knowledge 
of the business three of them have so successfully followed. 
The subject of this sketch took his place in the mill as soon 
as his age permitted, and with only intervals to attend the 
village school, and one year in Smithville Seminary, of Smith- 
ville, R. I., followed the factory bell until nineteen years old, 
becoming proficient in all the branches of cotton manufactur- 
ing, lie then tocfk two years apprenticeship in building cotton 
machinery, followed by two years of repairing machinery in 
Governor Harris' mill. The gold fever was now taking many 
young men to California, and Mr. Briggs and his brother, 
^Vanton, Jr., decided to try their fortunes there. They sailed 
from Warren, R. I., in the ship ^' Hopewell," January 28th, 18-11), 
and reached San Francisco August 0th. They spent two years 
in mining, teaming and trade, when Lucius decided to return, 
while his brother remained some years longer. Soon after his 
return. Mr. Briggs, in accordance with a jn-evious engagement, 
married Harriet Taylor Atwood, of Warwick, R. I. I'^our ehil- 
<lren were born to them, two sons ;ind two daughters. A b( y 


I i 
I i 

and a girl died in infanc^^ leaving- Charles W. Brig-o-s, now in 4 

business in Xc%v "S'ork, and l-^velyn Clara Cranska, Avife of Floyd ? 

Cranska, a sueeessful manufaeturer of fine eombed yarns, of f 

Moosup, Conn. Soon after his rctnrn from California and mar- | 

riage, i\Ir. JJriggs Avent to ^^lasonville, Thom.pson, Conn., to f 

repair the machinery in the lower or wooden mill belonging to * 

the !Masonville Company. The machinery had become consid- 
erably worn, and the engagement of j\Ir. Briggs was expected 
to be temporary, only long enough to put it in order. But he 
liked the place, and at tlie solicitation of his employers, he re- i 

mained, and in the following spring took charge of all repairs in '■ 

the company's three mills. So well pleased were the ^lason- j 

ville Company with ^Ir. Briggs' services thatayear later he was | 

made sujierintendent of the mills, and local agent of all the com- j 

pany's business and interests in the village. At this time Wil- 
liam Mason of 'J'hompson, owned a majority interest in the 
jMasonville Company, and the late Hon. William Grosvenor of 
Providence. R. I., who married a niece of ]\Ir. ]Mason, was agent, 
but with no direct interest in the company. In less than a year 
after ]\Ir. Briggs became superintendent Doctor Gro.svenor bought 
the entire interest of ^Ir. Mason, except one-sixteenth, which 
was purchased by ]\Ir. Briggs. Doctor Grosvenor and his sons 
soon after bought all remaining interests except the sixteenth 
of Mr. Briggs." 

These jnivchases marked an era in the histor)' of the Mason- 
ville Company, and of the individuals interested. The property 
now consisted of three small mills, willi less than 8,000 spindles 
and ISO looms. Everything about the mills, except the ma- 
chinery in the two upper ones, was old fashioned and out of 
date. The water wheels were of wood and placed under the 
mills. Tile canals leading water to the wheels were narrow and 
insufficient. The races taking it away were shallow, losing a 
good percentage of the power of the water in getting to and 
from the whceks. But tlie situation for manufacturing was 
favorable, and while the time for such small mills and such 
equipments was rapidly passing away, the new owners of Ma- 
sonvillc bought more with reference to the future and what 
they could make of the property than for the present and what 
it then was. Quietly but rapidly, as prudence permitted, the 
property began to be modernized. 1 )ams were relniilt, canals 
and waterways were widened and deepened. The wood water 



wheels gave place to those of iron and bronze, placed outside 
of the mills. The two upper mills were built together, mak- 
ing one mill of 11,000 spindles, in place of two of 5,000. Later 
the wood mill at the lower fall was moved and changed to 
tenements, and a nice brick structure with 20,()00 spindles of the 
very best patterns took the place of the 2,700 worn out ones, and 
the wood mill. This brought the 8,000 spindles and three mills 
to 31,000 spindles and two mills, and completed for the present 
the programme as far as that village was concerned. The village 
next above, called Fisherville, had a mill of 5,000 spindles and 
a large fall of water, less than half of which was developed. In 
1864 Uv. Grosvenor and [Mr. Rriggs purchased the property and 
set about plans for its utmost development. Funher water 
rights were secured, and the pond enlarged from about 10 acres 
to 84, and the fall of water increased from 11 feet to 20-.]. Im- 
mense embankments were raised for long distances, and at the 
approaches of the wheel pits the water was carried above grade, 
held in by high and heavy retaining walls. 

An immense factory was built of brick, of splendid architec- 
tural designs, eai)able of holding easily 00,000 .spindles and ample 
preparation. This mill was put in operation in 1872, bringing 
the number of spindles owned and operated by the company to 
about 9G,00o. In the meantime, and while these great changes 
were in progress, the names of " Fisherville" and " Masonville" 
had given place to " Grosvenor Dale" for tlie whole valley, in- 
cluding an unoccupied privilege between ^ilasonville and :Me- 
chanicsville, and the young sons of Doctor Grosvenor, William 
and James, had compleLed collegiate courses and become part- 
ners in the company, and occupied important positions, William 
as an assistant to his father, and James as agent for the sale of 
the company's products in Xew York. 

The above seems more the history of a company than the in- 
dividual, but il IS impossible to write the history of one without 
the other. From the day of the new ownership to the close of 
his connection with the property in 188^, Mr. iJriggs had fiill 
charge of manufacturing and building, and was the author of all 
})lans and projects for developments and enlargements, and pur- 
chased all machinery and material of every kind, made all con- 
tracts for building, including mills, warehouses, and several 
hundred tenements for help employed in the mills. Doctor 
Grosvenor, while not a practical manufacturer, was one of the 


best business men ever raised in New l^n,o]ancl. \A'ith a judg-- 
ment that almost never erred, with an enterprise that was tem- 
pered with caution, but which never hesitated or turned back 
from the greatest undertakings when his judgment had once ap- 
proved them, his great means and resources made rdmost any 
undertaking jjossible. :^[r. Briggs, from tlie moment he took tiie 
management of the mills, gave liis whole time and al)ilities to 
the conducting of the business and the development of the prop- 
erty. Year after year of intense and close application gradually 
impaired his health, and .soon after the completion of the large 
mill at North Grosvenor Dale this became so marked that his 
physician ordered him abroad, and December 1. -Ah, 1875, with 
his daughter p:velyn for a companion, he sailed from New 
York for Liverpool, and spent six months in travel in England. 
France, Italy, and the East, visiting Alexandria, Cairo, and other 
points in Egypt, Constantinople andminor cities in Turkey, the 
Ionian Islands, Athens and thc^ various interesting localities in 
Greece. He retiirned in the following summer, much improved 
in health. 

In 1SS3 it seemed necessary for the company to organize as a 
corporation. While agreeing fully as to the propriety of the 
change, Mr. Briggs did not wish to join the corporation, and an 
amicable arrangement was made by which he transferred his in- 
terest to Mr. Grosveno]-. He is now (1SS9) half owner and man- 
ager of the Glasgo Yarn Mills, of Glasgo,'Conn., a stockholder 
and director in the Norwich Bleach & Dye AA'orks, an fawner and 
director in the Gla.sgo Thread Company, of Worcester. Mass. 
He is also a large holder of the stock of the Poncmah ^iills, near 
Norwich, Conn., one of the largest and finest plants for manu- 
facturing fine cotton goods in America, if not in the world. For 
some years before leaving Grosvenor Dale 'Mr. Briggs was presi- 
dent of the flourishing Savings Bank of Thompson. In politics 
he has always been a republican. He has occupied seats in the 
house of representatives and the senate of Connecticut. During 
Mr. Briggs' absence in Europe, his son, C. AV. Briggs, occupied 
his place as superintendent of the mills at Grosvenor Dale and 
North Gro.svenor Dale, with credit to himself and the satisfac- 
tion of the company. Mrs. Briggs died in ^Si^G. 

James W. and Elisha S. Co.\vi:i;sii.— The descent of the Con- 
verse family, of Thompson, from Roger de Coigneries, one of 
the tnisted chieftains of William the Conciueror, has been else- 

:.^f -<^ 


'% '-% 




where given in this ve)hinic, and need not be repeated here. 
The finst member of the family to emigrate from England to 
America was Deacon Edward Convers, who settled in Woburn, 
Mass. His grandson, .Samuel ConYers, in 1710 removed to 
Thompson parish, then Killingly, and became the progenitor of 
all branches of the family who bear the name, in Thompson. In 
the line of descent was Edward Convers, whose son Jonatlian 
was the father of Deacon Jonathan Converse (the orthography 
of the name having been at this time changed), wiio resided in 
Thompson. His son, 1-Llisha Converse, born in lli^G. married in 
1807 Dctse}', daughter of Deacon James AVheaton, of the same 
town. Their sons, James AV. and I'^lisha Slade Converse, are the 
subjects of this biography. 

James "W. Converse was born in Thompson, Windham county, 
Conn., January 11th, ISOS, and in early youth removed with his 
parents successively to Woodstock, in the same county, to Do- 
ver and Needham, Mass. In 1821, while yet a mere lad, he 
started for Boston, a poor boy, and there began an eventful, use- 
ful and very successful career. He obtained employment with 
his uncles, Joseph and Ileniamin Converse, who afterward as- 
sisted him to begin business in the Boylston Market. In 1S3'2 
he formed a co-partnersliip v,-ith William Hardwick, for the pur- 
pose of conducting the boot, shoe and leather business in Bos- 
ton. One year later he joined Isaac Field in the hide and 
leather trade. Later he became a partner of Jolm Field, and 
the firm of Field & Converse ranked as one of the leading and 
most reliable concerns in this line of business, enjoying excel- 
lent credit during all the panics that occurred throughout a pe- 
riod of tJiirty-seven years. In 1870 Mr. Converse retired from 
business, and has since been absorbed in his railroad, banking, 
real estate and other commercial schemes. In 1830 he aided in 
the organization of the old }^lechanies' Bank of Boston, was made 
a director, and in 1847 its president, which oftice he held until 
January, ] 888; when lie retired, after having served the bank 
more than fifty years. ^Nlr. Converse has ftu' more than sixty 
years been an exem])]ar\' working member of the Baptist church, 
and for fifty years has served in various churclies as deacon. 
He has been active in personal labors, liberal in cliarities and a 
perpetual inspiration to the ClirisLian men around him. r\lr. 
Converse married, vScptember ."tth, 18;!o, F.meline, daughter of 
Nathan Coolidge, of Boston. Their children are: James "W. 


(deceased), Costello Coolidge and r^mma Maria, wife of Isaac 

W. Chick, of Boston. "' 

Elisha Slade Converse, tlie third son of Klisha and Betsey 
(Wlieatoni Converse, was born in Needham, ^^lass., jnly 2Sth, 
liS2(). When he Y>-as lour years of age his parents rentoved to 
Woodstock, Conn, v'^pendinj:;- his childhood there, under the ; 

wholesoine restraint and kindly influences of Xew England ru- •■ 

ral life, he was trained ir^ habits of industry and integrity, and > 

^u the essentials of an English education. In his thirteenth ■, j 

r he was sent to Boston, that he might have the advantage of 'i 

u^ stiperior schools. He remained there until sixteen }-ears of ' j 

age, when he returned home. : | 

During the next three years he learned the trade of a clothier, ' 

and when nineteen years old he engaged in that business on his • 

own in the village of Thompson, continuing there five ' 

years. In 1844 he again went to ]3oston, where he made a , j 

change to the wholesale shoe and leather trade. The business .• .j 

was new to him, but ht- soon familiarized himself with its de- \ 

tails, and during^ his connection with it the reptitation and suc- 
cess of the firm became well established. In 1847 he removed _ ] 
his place of residence to Stoneham, ?\Iass., and in 1840 to Mai- . j 
den, where he has ever since resided. In IS.")!' he accepted the 
office of treasurer of the ^lalden r^Ianulacturing Company. 
Early in 185."3 this company's corporate uaiue was changed to 
that of the " Bo.ston Rtibber Shoe Compan}'," v, lien, by the ear- 
nest .solicitation of the directors, he was induced to 
his previous business, and, in addition to the ofiice of treasurer, 
to assutue that of buving and selling agent. These offices he 
has held to the present time, and the direetioji and control of 
all .operations, both at the factories and stores of this immense 
concern, have been unreservedly intrusted to his care. He is 
president of the First National Bank of Maiden, president of 
the Boston Belting Company and of the Rubber Manufacturers' 
Mutual Insurance Compan}-, director of the Revere Rubber Com- 
pany and of the Exchange National Bank of I'.ostou, trustee of 
the ]-'ive Cent Savings Bank and a member of the board of trus- 
tees of Wellesley College. He has served the commonwealth 
two veare (1878-79 1 in the house of representatives and tNvo 
years (1880-81) in the senate. In 1882, when :\Ialden had been 
incorporated as a city, he was, bv universal acclaim, awarded the 
lumor of serving as its first ma\(^r. 


, •/■ 



^Ir. Converse is a successful business man, active in thought, 
untiring in work and conservative in method. He was, on the 
4th of September. 1S43. married to Mary D. Edmunds, daughter 
of Captain Ilosea and Ursula Edmunds, of Thompson. Their 
children are : Frank Eugene (deceased), }v[ary Ida (wife of Cos- 
Icllo C. Converse), Harry Elisha and Frances luigenia. 

In all of 'Mr. Converse's life historv he has had a true helpmate 
in his wife. Her kind, sympathizing nature, her bountiful hospi- 
tality, her good judgment and her true womanly qualities have 
been to him of inestimable value. The names of Mr. and ]\Irs. 
Converse ?re inseparable in the history of Maiden, and the 
mother's love and woman's generosity, no less than the father's 
love and his public spirit, have made for themselves a name 
which will last long after they have passed to their reward- 

The church connections of Mr. Converse are wi'h the First 
Baptist society of r^Ialden. His })rivate benefactions are as 
judiciousl}' placed as his public bequests are wisely bestowed. 

While he has done much for the public good in many ways, 
his greatest gift has been that of the Converse ^Memorial Build- 
ing, in which the Maiden Public Library has its home. This ex- 
quisite gift, which is one of the finest library buildings in the 
country, and which its talented designer, the late Henry H. 
Richardson, considered as one of his greatest works in many 
qualities, is in every way worthy of the noble uses to which it is 
dedicated. It was built by Mr. and ^Irs. Converse as a memorial 
of their eldest son. who^c tragic death caused a thrill of pity and 
sympathy throughout the community; and it is characteristic of 
the donors, who are ever one in good works, that their wish to 
preserve his memory bore the fruitage of a great public bene- 

This building, when completed, was given to the trustees of 
the Maiden Public Library, " for the beneiit of the inhabitants 
of the city of ^vlalden." It is of brown sandstone from the Long- 
meadow quarries, and is in the Romanesque style, in which ]Mr. 
Richardson did so much noble and effective work. It is depend- 
ent upon form and proportion for its beauty, rather than upon 
exaggerated details and startling effects. (Ornament it has, but 
its mouldings and graceful carvings were placed by the hand of 
an artist as if they grew from necessity in their places. There 
is nothing obtrusive in its features, nor is there a straining for 
effect; but it is picturesque in an eminent degree, and its pic- 


! I 


^ I 

turesqueness, in all its parts, is a natural result of a perfect adap- - j 

lability to structural necessity, and so fuliils a high artistic '- ^ 

law. » i 

Besides the library room and a large and convenient reading i I 

room, the building contains a noble room for an art gallery, 
which is filled with pictures which are valual.^le in thcmseh'es, 
and more valuable as a means of education and as promoters of 
public taste. Statues and pictures are in all parts of the build- 
ing. In works of art Mr. and 2\Irs. Converse have been liberal 
givers, and their gifts in books for the library, and in funds for 
its improvement and maintenance have been unstinted and fre- 
quent. The memorial which they have raised will never decay, 
nor grow old, for it is a benefaction which has in it the spirit of 
eternal youth. 

Henry Elliott. — The progenitor of the Elliott family in 
Thompson was Francis Elliott, a mariner, who settled in Salem, 
^lass., in 168(5, and the same year married Abigail, daughter of 
John Nichols. Their son Thomas, who early in life resided at 
]\Iiddletown, in the same state, in 1723 married Lucy Flint. 
With his son Joseph he came to Thompson parish in 1740. Jo- 
seph Elliott was a revolutionary soldier, and commanded a com- 
pan)^ at the battle of Bunker Hill. He married Jesusha Bury, 
whose son Thomas was born in 1759 and died in 1843. He mar- 
ried Chloe, daughter of Issacher Bates, and had children : Aaron, 
Ebenezer, Ira, Thomas, and a daughter, Catherine. Thomas of ^ | 

this number was born in Thompson, December 24th, 1793, and j. | 

died Februarv 24th, 1872. He was three times married, the sec- : 1 

ond union being with Polly Dexter, of Killingly. Their chil- ^ \ 

dren were: Sally, Horace. ^Slarvin D., Henry and Jane F.., who < i 

died in 1859. & | 

Henry Elliott was born July 12th, 1831, in Thompson, and re- 
ceived such an education as the public schools of the town af- 
forded, supplemented by a limited period at Dudley, ^lass. The 
routine of a farmer's life not being in accord with his energetic 
temperament, at sixteen he sought a clerkship in Woodstock, 
and was for two years thus employed. The year 18.50 found the 
young man t// roit/c- for New York city, determined by his own 
inherent force and industry to open the road to success and all 
the opportunities which follow in its train. He secured a posi- 
tion in a jobbing rubber boot and shoe house, where the first 
six months of service were given without remuneration. His 



■»»-.i^js.„_ fC't'^' 


7 c-/'Ut-^/-6~A-c^-c 


(| of perception and ceaseless energy speedily made 
tlieniselves felt, and steady promotion ^vas the result. At the 
expiration of tlic fourth year he was admitted to a partnership 
with the proviso, exacted by him, that the management of the 
business should rest exclusively with him. This relation was 
maintained until 1S.")8, when ^Ir. Elliott jnirchased the remain- 
ing interest and continued the business as above. He had mean- 
while become a prominent figure in the field of rubber goods, 
where his sagacity and shrewdness as a buyer, and skill as a 
salesman, had made his presence felt in the market. In matters 
connected with finance he was also regarded as evincing excep- 
tional judgment and ability. 

Mr. Elliott was appointed the agent in New York for three of 
the most important rubber boot and shoe companies in the 
United States, and added tliis responsibility to the business he 
had before conducted with marked success. In 1873 the firm of 
Wallace & Elliott was formed, embracing the large leather boot 
and shoe business of his brother-in-law, J. T. Whiteliouse, and 
his owm. To this firm his nephew, Mr. J. E. Jacobs, was admit- 
ted as a partner under the title of Wallace, Elliott & Co., and 
subsequently his son Clinton, thus establishing a house now 
ranking among the largest in the trade. They are extensive 
manufacturers of boots and shoes and the owners of several 
large factories in New England and elsewhere. 

Mr. Elliott is in his political principles an earnest republican. 
He has had occasion to decline distinctive honors of a political 
character, preferring to be simply a worker while others enjoy 
the dignities of office. In his religious belief he is a Congrega- 
tionalist. Mr. Elliott, on the 2d of April, 18.57, married Mary A., 
daughter of William Whitchouse, of New Hamp.shire, then re- 
siding in Brooklyn, New York. Their children are: Harry A. 
and Osborn, deceased; Augusta, Clinton and Dexter. Mr. El- 
liott, since his removal from Thompson, has resided in the city 
of Brookl3-n, New York, returning to his former home, where 
he has a residence, to spend the summer months. 

Doctor Wii.i.i.\m Gko.svenor, the subject of this biography, 
was a descendant in the fifth generation from the original pur- 
chaser of ihc ^Mashamoquet tract. He was the son of Doctor Rob- 
ert Grosvenor, and was born in Killingly.Conn., April 3(.)th, 1810. 
He attended the best academies of his native state, and his father, 
needing liis early a.ssistance in the practice of his profession. 


sent hiin first to the Cheinical Laboratory of Yale College, and -Ji 

afterward to Philadelphia, where, for three years, he had speeial 
advantages in connection with the hospitals of the city, and at- 
tended the lectures of the Jefferson Medical vSchool, at which he 
received the degree of Doctor of ^Medicine in IS'Si). He im- 
mediately became associated with his father in medical practice, 
and in this connection he continued for four years, when he moved 
to Providence, and there he spent the remainder of his life. 

The event which occasioned this change of residence, and thus 
gave a new direction to the whole course of his life, was his mar. 
riage to Miss Rosa Anne Mason, daughter of the Hon. James 
Brown ^Mason, of Providence. Her parents had died in her 
childhood, and Miss ^lason was the ward of her uncle, Mr. Amasa 
Mason, of this city. Doctor Grosvenor came to Providence with 
the intention of continuing the practice of his profession, but 
finding himself in the midst of associations and interests con- 
nected with business,- he soon abandoned his purpose, and en- 
gaged in business as a wholesale druggist, with .Mr. Edward 
Chace, the copartnership bearing the name of Grosvenor & Chace. 
At the end of five years the copartnership was dissolved. He 
then embarked in the business of "stocking" calico printers 
with the cloth which they used, and in this business he continued 
till ISCO. In 1S4S he had been appointed to act in the place of 
Mr. Amasa ]\Iason, who had become disabled by ill health, in 
the management of the mills at >\lasonville, in Thompson, Conn., 
and on the death of ^Ir. Mason in ISoS he was made the admin- 
istrator of his pstate, of which one-fourth part became the prop- 
erty of ]Vlrs. (irosvenor. He also succeeded to the entire man. 
agement of the manufacturing property of the ^lasonville Com- 
pany, of which Mr. William H. ^lason then owned one-half, 
the other half being the propertv of his wife and her sister, 
Mrs. Eaton. 

He thus entered upon his career as a cotton manufacturer, a 
career which he pursued to the end of his life, with rare judg- 
ment, with singular as.siduity, and with brilliant success. His 
earlier enterprises of business, especially that connected with 
printing cloths, had been successful, and with the capital thus 
acquired he soon pui"chased all the shares of the ^Nlasonville 
Mills, except those belonging to Mrs. Grosvenor. These latter 
were, in 1868, bought by his two sons. An interest of one-six- 
teenth was also sold, in 1860, to Mr. Lucius Briggs, the resident 



, — J/r^^:^-<t^ 

i_^^^^r^ ' 


manager of the mills, which he retained till ]SS3. The plant 
was soon greatly enlarg-cd, old mills were hrought together by 
new connections, new mills were erected, the water power more 
fully developed, and the productive capacity of the whole was 
greatly increased. In ]8G4 Doctor Grosvenor bought what was 
known as the " Fisherville Property," and certain adjoining 
lands to the north of it, extending to Wilsonville, for the pros- 
pective advantages which they offered. In ISCG the ^lasonville 
Company changed its name to Grosvenor Dale Company, its vil- 
lage being from that time known as Grosvenor Dale, and the 
Fisherville Company took the name of North Grosvenor Dale 
Company, with a corresponding change in the name of its village. 
Two years later the two companies were united, and now bear 
the common name of Grosvenor Dale Company. Xew mills 
have been built and great changes have been made in the con- 
dition of both these properties. Additional water power has 
been acquired and steam power has been superadded. A large 
reservoir has been created, with dykes and embankments of 
great solidity and strength, and tenements have been constructed 
for the operatives employed by the company. The entire prop- 
erty now bearing its name extends over a tract of four miles m 
length in the valley of the French river, a branch of the Ouine- 
baug. The original mills of which he became the owner in 
185-4 then contained 7,.-)00 spindles and 180 looms. For the past 
three years they have had 88,170 spindles and 2,3.j7 looms, the 
spindles having been reduced in number without diminution of 
product, in consequence of improvements in their make. 

From his settlement in Providence in 1837, Doctor Grosvenor's 
life had been almost constantly devoted to active business. The 
change from professional pursuits to the pursuits of trade is a 
critical event in the life of any man. AVilh him it had led to 
almost uninterrupted success. lie began liis new occupation bv 
giving constant attention to its daily demands, and by making 
himself master of the principles and methods by which it was 
to be conducted. In doing this his professional experience may 
not have been without its advantages. It had formed in him the 
habit of careful attention to the details involved in the work in 
which he was engaged, and had taught him to guard against 
surprises in the condition of markets and the movements of 
trade. It may thus have done its part to secure the success which 



he continued to have for the period of forty years ahnost Avithout ? 

draAvback or interruption. | 

Hi.s first period of leisure was taken in the year 18G0, when, i 

for the benefit of Mrs. Grosvenor's health, he aecompanied her '/ 

with his elder children on a visit to Europe. The absence was -^ 

greatly beneficial to them all, and would have been prolonged i 

had it not been for the anxieties and sorrows occasioned by the > 

civil war, which began in the following year. The daily tidings f 

of battle and slaughter, and the spectacle of the two great sec- | 

tions of the republic at war with each other, were doubly dis- | 

tressing to loyal citizens away from their country, lie came % 

home early in 1SG2, as did so many others from every part of the I 

world, to do whatever might be in his power in the service of f 

the country, and especially to be as near as possible to the ex- | 

citing and distressing scenes which were then engrossing public j 

attention. ;. 

On his return he immediately connected himself with the f 

patriotic services which were already in progress in Rhode la- | 

land. In the following year he was chosen a senator from the | 

town of North Providence, where he had resided since 1849, and f 

he immediately engaged in all the mo%-ements that depended in i 

any way on the action of the legislature, lie was made a mem- 'i 

ber of the legislative committee on finance, and his careful judg- -: 

ment and well-known determination as a citizen of lar"e re- ■ 

sources, made him an authority in the financial questions before i 

that body. The whole energy and strength of the state were I 

then enlisted in the .service of the country. Taxes were levied | 

in amounts beyond all precedent, and Rhode Island was r^ady t 

to make every exertion and every sacrifice which the crisis ? 

might demand. In promoting all these movements the senator I 

from North Providence was actively engaged during his period ^. 

of service. I 

In ISGG he was again chosen to the senate. The Avar was now *' 

ended and the legislature of the state was occupied with new | 

questions, the chief of which were how to maintain the public *" 

credit and pay the public debts, Avhich had swollen to large pro- i 

portions. In addition to these matters of finance were questions I" 

as to how the legislature could best provide for those who had t 

been disabled in the war, and how it could best honor the mem- | 

ories of those who had fallen in its battles. In the deliberations l 

and discussions relating to the.<^e he took a very active part, and | 


! '-^ 







did much in shaping the measures that were adopted. He Avas 
a member not only of the finanec committee, but also of the joint 
committee of both houses appointed to select a suitable site for 
" a monument to the memory of the officers and men from Rhode 
Island, either in the army or the navy of the United States, who their lives in the service of the United States during the 
late rebellion," and to procure designs and estimates for the 
monument. It was through the agency of this committee that 
the "Soldiers" Monument" was erected, which now stands in 
Exchange Place in Providence. 

As has been mentioned, he became a resident of North Provi- 
dence in 1849, having at that time built as the home of his family 
an attractive mansion, on a farm belonging to I\Irs. Gro.svenor, 
not far north of the city line and now contained within it. In 
1872 he removed to the house which he had bought on Prospect 
street, in which he passed the remaining years of his life. Long 
before this date he had given up the immediate care of the large 
business of the Grosvenor Dale Company to his two sons, Mr. 
William Grosvenor, Jr., the managing agent m Providence, and 
Mr. James B. M. Clrosvenor, the selling agent in New York. 
Soon after his early settlement in Providence he had become 
connected with the congregation of Grace Church. He was for 
several years a member of its vestry, and was also an active and 
most helpful member of the committee for the erection of its 
beautiful and costly house of worship 'on Westminster street. 
He was fond of .society and dispensed a generous hospitality, 
and thus kept alive his interest in the new generations which 
were taking the place of that to which he belonged. His con- 
stitution was always robust, and at the age of seventy-eight years 
he retained his powers, both of body and mind, almost unim- 
paired. His death took place with very .slight premonition, 
August 10th, 1888, at :Maplewood, New Hampshire, whither he 
had gone for a brief season of summer recreation. It was 
occasioned by an acute and sudden affection of the heart and 
the lungs. 

This sketch was prepared for the proceedings of the Rhode 
Island Historical Society, published in 18S0. 

Frank M. Messenger.— Samuel ]\Ie.ssenger, the grandfather 
of Frank M. ^Messenger, married Lavina lilake, of Wrentham, 
Ma.ssachusetts. Their children were five sons and five daugh- 
ters, of whom Silas was born in Stoddard, New Hampshire, and 



during- his actiYe life was both a farmer and a house carpenter 
in his naliYe place. He married Arvilla, daughter of Isaac Cope- 
land, of the same town. Their children were: ^Slary, Alma, Ers- 
kine, Addison, E;dson Winslow, Henry E., George B., Alice C, 
Frank ]\I. and Helen A., of whom three are deceased — Addison, 
whose death occurred while a soldier in the late war; George B., 
who died in childhood, and Helen A., at the age of nine 5'ears. 

Frank M. Messenger was born on the 3d of April, 1853, iu 
Stoddard, Xew Hampshire, where, until the age of fourteen, he 
remained upon "his father's farm, meanwhile attending the 
neighboring school for two terms each year. Removing with 
his parents to }iIunsonville, Xew Hamp.shirt.-, he sought employ- 
ment in a chair factoiw, and there continued until the age of si.x- 
teen, meanwhile pursuing his studies during intervals of leisure. 
He next found employment in a cotton factory, and later spent 
a year as clerk in Norway, Elaine. After a period of work in the 
chair factory a second time, he at nineteeii accepted an engage- 
ment as card grinder in a cotton factory at AA'inchendon, ]ylassa- 
chusetts, and was soon promoted to second overseer in the same 
department. Mr. Messenger next removed to Manchester, Xew 
Hampshire, in the employ of the Amoskeag Company, and on 
leaving the latter place returned to Munsonville in the cajsacity 
of overseer. He then located successively in Shirley, AValtham 
and X^'ewton, all in Mas.sachusetts, as overseer, and finally settled 
in Manchaug, in the same state, remaining four years, and re- 
ceiving- promotion while there to the position of overseer of the 
carding and spinning departments. He at the expiration of this 
time returned to Shirley as superintendent of the Phoenix & Fre- 
donia Mills, yir. Messenger, in Xovember, 1884, accepted the 
position of superintendent of the Grosvenor Dale }*Iills, and in 
January, 1887. wns made agent of all the mills owned by the 
Grosvenor Dale Companv, which responsible position he now 
fills. These mills, under his successful management, have been 
enlarged, and the in their capacity may be fully esti- 
mated at twenty-five per cent. A more detailed description of 
the industry will lie found elsewhere in this volume. 

]Mr. Messenger is in politics a staunch republican, and while 
actively interested in affairs connected with both state and 
county, has declined all tenders of office. He is one of the board 
of directors of the Thompscjn X'ational pKink. He is connected 
with Fredonia Lodge of Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and 

& ^,4, 








is a member of the P.aptist. church of Manchaug, Massachusetts, 
having been for three years superintendent of itSvSunday schooL 
Mr. jMessenger was married February 3d, 1874, to Eliza J., daugh-^ 
ter of John and Sarah Smith, of Winchendon, Massachusetts, 
who died tlie following year. He Avas again married May 13th, 
1879, to Mary A., daughter of John and Mary Young, of Xewton, 
Massachusetts. Their children are Frank :M., Mabel W. and 
Don E. 

George Taft Murdoch;. — Elisha Murdock, the grandfather 
of George Taft Murdock, was a prosperous farmer in the town 
of Uxbridge, Mass. Flis wife, a Miss Chapin, became the mother 
of several children, of whom Fuller Murdock, one of their sons,, 
spent his life in Uxbridge, his native town. He married Esther, 
daughter of James Taft, of Uxbridge. The children of this 
union were: Philina, born in 1807; Abbie Eliza, in 1808; ]Moses 
Taft, in 1810; John, in 1812; Charles, in 1815; Caleb, in 1817; 
George Taft, March ISth. 1819; Harriet, in 1821; Chapin, in 
1823, and Mary Ann, in 182j. 

The fifth son of this number, George Taft ;Murdock, is a native 
of Uxbridge, where, after a period of early youth devoted to 
school, he at the age of twelve years began habits of in- 
dustry which laid the foundation for future success. Entering 
a woolen factory he was assigned to the task of piecing I'olls and 
thus acquired by his own exertion sufficient means to defray the 
expenses of his education at the academy at Uxbridge, and 
at Plymouth, X. H. At the age of twenty-four he embarked 
with a partner in mercantile ventures in his native town, and 
continued for six years to conduct a profitable business. iSlr. 
Murdock then engaged in the manufacture of satinets at Mill- 
bury, ]\Iass., and at Seaconnet Point, R. I., continuing four years 
in these respective localities. Removing to Worcester, Mass., in 
1801, he established the finn of Curtis & ^Murdock, manufactur- 
ers of woolen goods. In 1805 he purchased the present mills at 
New Boston, meanwhile retaining his residence in Worcester 
until 1870, when the former place became his home. The prop- 
erty was at this time in a dilapidated condition, and the moral 
sentiment of the hamlet not such as to make New Boston a de- 
sirable abode. ;Mr. }^Iurdock and his son, the junior partner of 
the firm, by their enterprise and determination speedily created 
a revolution in both respects. The mills were enlarged, new 
buildings of brick erected, and the communitv infused with a 



spirit of temperance and morality which greatly changed the • 

character of the place. The mills give employment to nearly ; j 

one hundred operatives who are engaged in the manufacture of '• | 

cotton warp goods, sold through agents in New York and Bos- ? 

ton. I 1 

Mr. Murdock is in his political alliances a republican. He was ■ | 

in 1862 a member of the city council of Worcester, and in 1884 *"' j 

represented his town in the Connecticut house of representatives, > | 

being a.ssigned to the committee on school fund. He is a strong y- j 

advocate of the cause of temperance, and a supporter of the doc- '; | 

trines of Christianity. Through his efforts and those of his son a i | 

large public hall was built in New Boston in which divine ser- I 

vice is regularly held. }.Ir. ^Murdock was in 1845 married to J I 

Abbie A., daughter of Alvin Robinson, of Mansfield, Mass. | I 

Their children are a son, George Thur.ston, and a daughter, Liz- ':■. \ 

zie G., deceased wife of Horace E. Bigelow. i ; 

GEORfiK Thukstox ^Iurdock, the only son of George Taft and I { 

Abbie A. ^Murdoch, who was born July 4th, 1846, in Uxbridge, £ j 

Mass., at the age of twelve years removed \vith his parents to v j 

Millbury, and later to ^Yorcester in the same state. His educa- I j 

tion was received at the Worcester and Wilbraham Academies, i j 

after which he entered the finishing room of the mills in the :• | 

former place, and thus became familiar with the first principles ^^ | 

of manufacturing. Coming later to New Boston, he filled the ' \ 

position of accountant until 1866, and then assumed the superin- ^ I | 

tendence of the mills. Two years later he succeeded to the in- :, | 

terest of a former partner, who had meanwhile retired. He ul- | 

timately became an equal partner, and for many years during ;. I 

his father's residence in Worcester, assumed almost the entire I i 

oversight of the business, the details of which are still managed ^ >. 

by him. ■- ' 

]\[r. ]\lurdock has been a co-worker with his father in his efforts ^ | | 

to build up and improve the hamlet of New Boston, much of | | 

the active labor of which has been performed by him person- I ;. 

ally. He has been active in both town and county politics, and | | 

is at present one of the town committee. He represented his [ \ 

constituents in the state legislature in 1878, and served on the | j 

committees on manufactures and milage. ]\lr. Murdock was, on | i 

the '22d of June, 1800, married to Arrilla R., daughter of Charles | j 

D.Thayer, of New Boston. They have one daughter, ]^label |. \ 

Florence, born December loih, 1876. I ! 

^ ■ f 

^ , •■ i; 




Franklin Xiciioi.s, one of the well-known business men and 
leading- bankers m Connecticut, was born in Thompson, Conn., 
Aug-ust llth, 180,5. His boyhood was passed in his native town, 
sharing the advantages of the schools of those days. At an 
early age he commenced business for himself, in the improve- 
ment of extensive farming lands inherited from his father, 
which honorable vocation he continued with an older brother 
until May, 1840, when he removed to Norwich and became a 
member of the firm of Nichols & Eddy, wholesale grocers. The 
firm subseqtiently changed to Nichols & Evans, and later to 
Nichols, Evans & Almy. In 1844 Mr. Nichols retired from the 
firm and engaged in the cotton business in company with the 
late Leonard Ballou. He. however, remained in this business 
but about two years, and then engaged in banking operations. 
In the spring of 1S33 he assisted in obtaining the charter for 
the Thompson Bank, which was organized in the fall of the 
same year with eleven directers, all of whom are deceased ex- 
cept himself. He has been prominently identified with the 
Thames Bank since 1846. He was chosen president in IS.M, and 
has officiated in that capacity to the present time. He has out- 
lived all then associated with him in the board of directors. ISIr. 
Nichols has been a trustee in the Norwich Savings Society since 
1851 and its president since 1879. He is the only survivor of 
the forty trustees in the board at the time of his election. He 
was also one of the incorporators of the Thames Loan and Trust 
Company in ISGO, and for several years its president. He was 
chosen a director in the Gas Company upon its organization, and 
is now the president and only surviving member of the original 
board of directors. He assisted in the organization of the Bank 
of ]\Iutual Redemption in Boston, and in this institution also he 
is the only original member left in the board. Mr. Nichols was 
also a director in the Norwich & Worcester railroad. 

October 17th, 1839, he united in marriage with Hannah T. 
Fairfield, a native of Pomfret, Conn., and the family consi.sted of 
one child, a son, Franklin Nichols, deceased. 

Benjamin F. Piiipps. — Deacon Jason Phipps was at an early 
day an extensive landholder and farmer in Thompson parish, as 
also a justice of the peace, who exercised his prerogative with an 
inflexible hand. His son Jason, a soldier of the revolution, mar- 
ried :\Iary Healy, of Dudley, Mass., whose children were : Peyton 
Randolph, Salem T., Jason, Polly, Hannah, :\Iary Ann, Rebecca 


and Persis. Mr. Phipps resided in Thompson, where he became 

the owner of much valuable land. His son, Captain Peyton ':! 

Randolph, was born ]uly 29tli, 17S9, in the same town, and spent i 

his life as * farmer. He also bore an active part in the militia, ^^ 

of which he was captain, and served in the war of 1812, for which . 

his widow drew a pension. He was on the 2Gth of ^lay, 1814, } 

married to Clarissa, daughter of Edward Davis, of Dudley, }.lass. ? 

Their children are eleven in number, as follows: Clarissa D., \ 

Benjamin F., Edward D., Lucretia H., Abigail D., William R.. ;j 

Albigence W. (deceased), Lydia R., Zeruiah, Albigence W., and -i 

Samuel H. On the 2.!)th of October, 1831, ^Ir. Phipps was again I 

married to Harriet Davis, sister to his first wife. His death oc- | 

curred February 2d, 1843. f 

Benjamin F. Phipps was born January 30th, ISIG, on the home- | 

stead farm which is his present residence. Here his whole life '^ 

has been spent in the healthful pursuits connected with agricul- i 

ture. His opportunities for education were confined to a brief * 

period at the neigliboring public school, and his time, until \ 

twenty-one, vras given to his father, who in addition to his farm ; 

employments was engaged in teaming between that point and \ 

Providence. He was afterward for several years employed on f 

the farm and elsewhere in the neighborhood, finally assuming ^ 

the management of the property on behalf of the heirs, on the ^ 

decease of his father. ;• 

Mr. Phipps by his industry and excellent care of the property .'■ 

thus afforded a home to the family, and finally purchased the .1 

farm. He has greatly improved the land, added new buildings ). 

from time to time, and made his home one of the most desirable '- 

in that portion of the town, his daily labor being connected with 4 

the farm and its productions. He has always been identified in i 

politics with either the whig or republican party, and filled such | 

local offices as selectman, assessor, surveyor, etc. He is often % 

called upon to act as executor, trustee and appraiser, and to fill a 

various offices of trust. He worships with the Union Congrega- i 

tion, of Xew Boston, though in his faith a Universalist. ]\Ir. | 

Phipps on the 20th of }klareh, 1849, married ^Mary L., daughter | 

of Charles and Emily Childs, of Woodstock. Their children are I 

two sons, Charles P. and George F., and a daughter. Mary E., I 

who died in childhood. Charles P., who resides in Southbridge, \ 

Mass., married Sarah King of Thompson, and has one child, | 

Maud Gladvs. | 






y^. //Cy/^-^i^ 

I i 

I ! 





Chaki.ks D. Thaykk.— John and Dacy Thayer were the grand- 
parents of the subject of this biography. Their son John mar- 
ried Ruth Mowery and settled in East Douglas. The children 
of this marriage ^vere: Mowery, born April 27th, 1811: Charles 
D., December 2Gth, ISKl; Arrilla, August 9th, ISln. 

Charles D., the second son, is a native of Douglas, ]\Iassachu- 
setts, where he enjoyed the advantages of the public schools, 
and afterward continued his studies at the Oxford and Uxbridge 
high schools. He then taught for several terms, and after- 
ward began his business career as a clerk, first at Oxford and 
then at New Boston. This sedentary life, however, was not to 
his taste, and he resolved to make farming the vocation of his 
life. He assumed charge of his father's farm in Xew Boston, 
managed it with success during the latter's lifetime, and on his 
death received a deed of the property, the elder son also en- 
joying a like inheritance. ^Nlr. Thayer remained on this farm 
from 1838 until 18G9, when his present home near Xew Boston 
was purchased. Here he has since continued the employments 
of an agriculturist. 

His business life has been one of integrity and principle. This 
fact, together with experience and judgment, have rendered his 
services much sought as trustee and executor. He was formerly 
a director of the Thompson National Bank. A democrat in his 
political views, he has served as assessor, selectman, and in other 
offices, and received the nomination as candidate for the state 
legislature, but yielded to the superior .strength of the opposing 
party. Mr. Thayer married November 12th, 1843, Lucy E., 
daughter of David Nichols, of Thompson. Their children are: 
David N., born December 10th, 1844; John M., :\Iarch lGth,lS47; 
Arrilla R., Febniary 4th, 18."i0: and Charles F., November Gth, 
18o2. Charles F. married Aviary Hewitt, of Preston, Connecticut. 
David N. is a resident of New York, and his brothers are suc- 
cessful lawvers in Norwich, Connecticut. 

Marcus F. TowxK.^David Towne, the grandfather of ^Marcus 
F. Towne, married Lucy L'pham. Their children were two sons 
and two daughters, of whom Ceorge, born in Thompson, Febru- 
ary 18th, 1794, married Sally, daughter of Rufus Tyler. The 
children of this marriage were: Lucy, who died in youth; Rufus 
T., ^Larcus F., Noadiah W. and Lucy U., wife of Joseph S. Perry. 

Marcus F. Towne was born June 21st, 1824, on the farm in 
Thompson, where his whole life, with the exception of a single 


year, has been spent. He attended the common school, and for 
a short period the high school, after wliich his attention was | 

given to farming. lie alsu became proficient as a blacksmith, | 

and combined this with his other duties. Mr. Towne entered | 

into a co-partnership with his father, and while farming operated | 

a thresher. He also did more or less teaming. Receiving before 
his father's death a deed of a portion of the farm, he subsequently 
added to this a valuable tract by purchase. He also owns fifty 
acres in Woodstock, which is used as a pasture land for the fat- 
tening of beef for the market. 

Mr. Towne is a director of the Thompson Savings Bank. 
He has been for many vears director and for two years pres- | 

ident of the Woodstock Agricultural Society. He is in poli- g 

tics a republican, was for the years 1S73 and 1SS4 a member | 

of the Connecticut house of representatives, has been for seven | 

years a selectman, and for a long period on the school dis- ^^■ 

trict committee. He has been for thirty-two years an active, I 

exemplary and useful member of the Congregational church ^ 

of Thompson, and a portion of that time one of its deacons. \ 

He was November 29th, 1S4S, married to Lucy Ann, daugh- | 

ter of Jason Wakefield, of the same town. Their only child, | 

a son. died in his fourteenth year. He was again married | 

July Gth, IS.jC, to Mary J., daughter of Paul Kinney, of Union, | 

Connecticut. Their children are Lucy A., George V. and Ad- | 

far ^L I 

A.A.RON White died at Quinebaug, in the town of Thompson, | 

April 15th, ISSO. aged S7 years and six months. He was born in | 

Boylston, ]\Lass., October Sth, 179S, and was the eldest of ten chil- % 

dren, seven sons and three daughters, of Aaron and ]\Lary White. ^ 

His ancestry were of the early puritan settlers of Eastern Massa- | 

chiisetts, and among them on the side of his mother, were the | 

Adams' of Boston, her grandmother being a sister of Governor | 

Samuel Adams, a distinguished patriot of the revolution. His J; 

father kept a country store, cultivated an adjoining farm, was a | 

leading man in town affairs, town clerk for twenty-two years, | 

many years a member of the board of selectmen, and repeatedly | 

a representative to the legislature. | 

The father having determined to give his son, Aaron, Jr., the | 

■ advantages of a liberal education, sent him to the academies in I 

New Salem and Leicester, and in his fourteenth year the boy en- J 

tered Harvard, graduating in the class of 1817. '% 




\ .. 1 / 


^ym-£ZJ^^^OC^^ ^' ct-^-T^^^-^^ 


Having concluded to establish himself in the practice of law 
in Rhode Island, ]\Ir. White after a brief period of study in the 
offices of General George L. Barnes, of Woonsocket, in Smith- 
field, and of the late Judge Thomas Burgess, of Providence, was 
admitted to the bar of Rhode Island, at Providence, at the Sep- 
tember term of the supreme court, 1820 — a little under twenty- 
two years of age, and opened his office at Cumberland Hill, in 
the town of Cumberland. 

A mail route was laid out over Cumberland Hill, and the office 
of postmaster there was held by him until he removed to AVoon- 
socket Falls in 1829. 

As he had the reputation of being a careful bank manager, he 
was invited in 1829 to take charge of a new bank at Woonsocket 
Falls, as cashier and one of the directors. Without relinquish- 
ing his law practice he accepted the appointment, and continued 
in charge of the bank for a few years. 

E.squire White became an ardent adherent of Governor Dorr, 
personally and politically, and chief adviser in all matters 
touching political subjects and the personal affairs of his friend { 

the governor, therefore he was compelled to leave Rhode Island 
in 1842 and he came to New Boston. 

Mr. White at first took up his abode in this obscure village, in 
a brick building, which at that time was the village store, and 
the grandest building in the vicinity. He removed not long af- 
terward to Barnes' tavern, on the old Boston and Hartford turn- 
pike. Here he made the acquaintance of a daughter of ]\Ir. Al- 
fred Barnes, and a mutual attachment was formed, resulting in 
their marriage in 1843. To this event was due his change of 
abode from Rhode Island to Connecticut, his wife dying when 
his son was born. The son now lives on a farm in Grafton, Mass. 
He is unmarried. 

Mr. White in the latter years of his life took up the subject of 
numismatics, the collection and study of coins. The United 
States government in 1857 discontinued the coinage of copper 
cents, substituting at first the nickel cent, and a few years after- 
ward, the bronze one and two cent pieces as at present used. 
This furnished Mr. White a rare opportunity for augmenting his 
collections, especially of the cheaper coins, and he improved it to 
a greater extent, probably, than any other person in the United 
States. In his legal practice he spared no etTort to have his 
clients' business done in the best and most thorough manner, yet 



his charges for services rendered were extremely moderate. | 

A teetotaler in principle and practice, he would not tolerate the •; 

use of alcoholic drinlc as a beverage by any one in his employ- f 

ment. | 

]\Ir. White was possessed of considerable real estate in this vi- t 

cinity, and although reported rich, the actual value of his whole .;' 

estate, real and personal, is not known, and was probably much t 

exaggerated in popular opinions. After ]Mr. White's death, his | 

brother shipped from the station at Ouinebaug 4i tons of pen- $ 

nies, the value of which would be about $8,000. | 

Mr. White after graduating from college, spent a year and up- | 

ward as a school teacher, first in Roxbury, now Boston High- I 

lands, and afterward in the city of Vergennes, Vt. He then com- f 

menced the study of law in Middlebury, Vt., in the office of Ho- | 

ratio Seymour, afterward governor and senator in congress from f 

Vermont. | 

In his will }.lr. White gave directions for his burial on a knoll * 

on the northerly side of the railroad, just over the boundary line f 

of ^Massachusetts, in the town of Dudley. The knoll is shaded | 

with pines, transplanted when small seedlings by Mr. White | 

about forty years ago. After giving minute instructions for a | 

monument to be erected at his grave, he directs the following I 

epitaph w^ritten by him January 1st, 1844, to be engraved on the ) 

stone : | 

To the memory of Aaron \Yliite, Son of Aaron and Mary ^Yhite, born October i 

8th, 1798, died— ' I 

mc I 




ET DOMLM ET Sepulciikum f 

INVEXI. • • * 

I I 


Driven into exile, | 

While defending the eights of man, % 


IIosi'iTALiTV AND Love, ' 1 

A Home and a Sepulchre. 4 



Incorporation and General Description. — Earlv Historv. — First Settlers. — West of 
the Quinebaug. — The South Neighborhood. — Early Imi>rovement of Water 
Privileges.— Roads and Bridges. — The Stone Jlills.— Early Homestead Resi- 
dents.— The French War.— The Revolution.— After the War.— Cargill's Mills. 
— Quinebaug High Falls.— Educational and Religious.— Killingly Hill.— Be- 
ginning of Cotton Manufacturing. — Ponifret Factory. ^During the War of 
1812. — Residents and ^Managers of the Factory.— Rhodesville.— Building up 
of Additional Factories.— Rival and Conllicting Interests of Three Adjoining 
Towns. — Various Propositions and Controversy. — Organization of the new 
Town of Putnam. 

THE town.ship of Putnam, incorporated in ISo."), -vva.s madenp 
from parts of Tliompson, Killingly and Pomfret. The 
Quinebaug river, with its great falls in the heart of the 
village, is its distinctive physical feature, its main source 
of life and business prosperity. [Nlantifacturing, 
aided by railroads, built up a flourishing village. This village 
demanded expansion and the liberty to manage its own affairs, 
and after a desperate struggle obtained town privileges, taking 
in as much surrounding territory as was needful to give it cor- 
porate standing, and by running its south boundary line oblic|uely, 
cutting off barren land eastward. This funnel-like conforma- 
tion of the projected town excited much ridicule during the 
contest, and it is said that its pictorial presentation before the 
legislature had much influence in procuring the rejection of the 
early petitions. But while the manufacturing interests of the 
town are strongly dominant, Putnam is by no means deficient in 
agricultural resources. With improved culture and immediate 
market, farming has made great advances. Dairying and mar- 
ket gardening are remunerative industries. There are many 
good farms in the vicinity of the valley and in the former South 
Neighborhood. The Assawaga or Eive Mile river in the cast of 
the town furnishes a number of mill privileges. The recent 


discovery and utilizing of the Aspinock ^Mineral Spring at Put- % 

nam Heights is likely to prove of much benefit to this section. | 

Though Putnam is one of the youngest towns in Windham |, 

county, and is pre-eminently a growth of modern civilization, I 

its roots reach far backward. The High Falls were noted far |. 

back in aboriginal days. The surrounding valley was a favorite | 

resort of the red man long before Lieutenant John Sabin crossed I 

the Woodstock line into the wilderness of Connecticut. An In- | 

dian trail ran southeast from the falls toward Rhode Island be- ? 

fore Peter Aspinwall cut his way through the woods to make a | 

path to Providence. The "Joseph Cady farm," east of Putnam I 

village (now owned by Mr. Eli Davis), was noted for producing I 

a remarkable variety and quantity of medicinal herbs and roots, | 

much used by the "medicine men" of the Indians. It is tra- ■ I 

ditionally reported that Indians came from a great distance to | 

gather these herbs, and that in consequence this locality was t 

made a sacred haven, where no bloodshed was lawful, and tribal f 

foes might meet in safety. The Falls were noted for their re- i 

markable facilities for fishing, especially when shad and salmon I 

were trying to ascend them. f 

The first known settler within the limits of the present Put- I 

nam was Richard Evans of Rehoboth, who purchased for twenty | 

pounds a grant of wild land laid out to Reverend James Pier- | 

pont, of New Haven, and is described in 1693, " as resident of i 

said granted premises." The farm was further described as I 

bounded by wilderness and about three miles from Woodstock. f 

Very little can be learned of this first settler east of the Quine- 1 

bang, except the fact that he occupied the farm now owned by | 

Mr. William Holland, and that in about twenty years he and his | 

son Richard were in possession of " two tenement of housen, | 

barns, orchards, tanning pits and fulling mill," all testifying 1 

strongly to their thrift and industry. I 

Lietenant Peter Aspinwall, of Woodstock, was apparently sec- i 
end on the field, and the first resident within the bounds of the 
present Putnam village. Sent by Woodstock, in 1691, "to make 
a way unto the cedar swamp, on the other side of the Ouinebaug, 
for a road to Providence," during the progress of the work he 
removed his residence to the valley, biU not probably until the 
close of the Indian war of 109;')- 98, and his marriage to the widow 
of John Leavens. Lieutenant Aspinwall was a very prominent 
man in Woodstock, one of its original pioneers and settlers. 


He was also very active in military affairs, serving as scont and 

ranger during the troublesome warfare. Remaining a bachelor 

till somewhat late in life, he was apparently unfortunate in his 

matrimonial venture, "the widow and her sons keeping him 

low," according to the Aspinwall chronicle. These step-sons, 

particularly James and Joseph Leavens, were the first business 

men within Putnam limits, being employed by James Corbin, 

trader at Woodstock, to collect tar for Boston market. It was 

while engaged in this service that Joseph, the younger brother, ^ 

received a wound in the thumb from a rattlesnake, and only 

saved his life by immediate amputation. Rattlesnake hill, near 

Five Mile river, "half a mile long and a hundred rods broad," 

was the scene of this adventure, and was one of the early land 

purchases of the brothers. James Leavens aLso owned a mill 

privilege on Five INJile river, believed to be the site of Hawkins' 

mills, and carried on the first saw mill east of the Ouinebaug. 

The Providence road cut by Peter Aspinwall wound around 
the base of Killingly hill to this mill, and accommodated cus- 
tomers. The x\ssawaga received its English name from the fact 
that the first land laid out upon it was "supposed to be about 
five miles from Woodstock," the only settlement m the section. 
Peter Aspinwall's farm was south of the Providence road, bor- 
dering on the Ouinebaug. Its site can be identified by the old 
burying ground, its north or noi'theast extremity, which he gave 
to the town of Killingly. j 

The first settlers north of the Providence road were the inev- j 

itable " three brothers " of all New England .settlements — Xich- i 

olas, Daniel and |osc].)h Cady. from Groton, INIass., soon after i 

1700. Nicholas settled first north of Killingly hill, but removed { 

to a fine farm on Whetstone brook. His brother Joseph pur- | 

chased the wilderness land held in such repute by the Indians, i 

a mile east of the Ouinebaug. He was a man of great strength j 

and, much respected by the Indians, able it was said to j 

beat their strongest warriors in wrestling. A bunch of the j 

sacred herbs, suspended over his cabin door, served as an amulet . j 

against assault or surprise. Assoon as circumstances warranted | 

Captain Cady erected the large house still standing in tolerable I 

preservation, and owned by Mv. Eli Davis. It was considered i 

an old house in 1774, when after the demise of the second Josc]ih • j 

Cady it was sold to Lieutenant-Governor Sessions, of Rhode Is- ! 

land. Daniel Cady's homestead was north of Joseph's, and after ' 


I i 

a few years passed into the hands of "William Larned, who built t j 

a large house near the angle of the roads, whose frame forms { ;. 

part of the present residence of Mr. William Plummer. These | 

two old houses merit commemoration as the oldest now standing* % 

within the liinits of Putnam village, and connected with its early | 

settlement. I 

One of the original owners of Killingly hill was John Allen, | 

of Marlborough, Mass., a man of means with sons to settle in f 

life. Among his purchases was a very valuable interval, com- | 

prising IfJU acres upon the Ouinebaug. "near a pair of falls, fifty | 

rods above the mouth of yUW river, extending up stream to a 1 

crook of the river, near the motith of a small brook runninginto ^ 

the river " (east side). All the above settlers purchased their f 

land before Killingly was made a town, and called themselves in ^ ] 

their several land dteds. inhabitants of Aspiiiock, near the Quine- V | 

bang. This picturesque name seems to have been applied to the I I 
valley east of the river from the Cady settlements to Lake ]SIash- 
apaug, but was laid aside after Killingly was organized in 1708. 

Its derivation and signification are still doubtful. f^ | 

W^est side the Ouinebaug the first settler was Captain John f \ 

Sabin. Although his fine old mansion was just outside the line I ! 

dividing Putnam from Pom fret, yet his ov/nership of the land g \ 
and intimate connection with the finst settlement of the Ouine- 
baug gives him a prominent place among Putnam notables. His 

settlement even preceded that of Richard Evans, dating back to | I 

1691, and his services during the subseqxient Indian wars, by 1 j 

maintaining fortifications upon the frontier and restraiiiing and f ' 1 

*" subsisting " the Indians, were publicly recognized by ]\Iassa- i 

chusetts and Connecticut governments. He was made lieuten- f: 

ant of Woodstock's first military company, captain of Pomfrefs |.- 

first company and sergeant-major of Windham county's first | ^ 

troop of horse. Pie was also 'Pomfret's first representative to |j 
general court and one of the most prominent and respected citi- 
zens of Windham countv. CJwning much land in the valley, 

many building sites passed to liis sons, furnishing three or four ^ ■ 

" old vSabin Houses " within the limits of Putnam. His own his- ■: 

toric mansion, demolished with great labor and difiiculty by ]\Ir. * ■ 

William I. Bartholomew in 1835, was just south of W^oodstock \. 

line. This homestead descended to his son Noah. His son John fl 

adopted the medical profession and settled in Franklin, Conn. Ij 

His son. Lieutenant Hezekiah Sabin, was the first resident pro- ?,1 





prietor of Thompson hill. Ilis daug-hter Judith married. Joseph 
Leavens, of Killingly, receiving for her marriage portion a beau- 
tiful farm upon Lake ^vlashapaiig. 

Captain John Sabin is most intimatel}- connected with Putnam 
as the builder of the first bridge over the Ouincbaug below the 
High Falls, in 1722. For more than twenty years Peter Aspin- 
wall had besought the assembly for liberty to build a bridge at 
this point, showing that the want of such convenience had been 
a grievous burden and affliction to travelers and himself, the 
river being exceedingly high and swift and not always fordable. 
Leading citizens of Pomfret reiterated the complaint, that the 
Ouinebaug was at some seasons impassable, and that persons 
had endangered their lives in trying to pass, but the assembly 
turned a deaf ear to all petitions for relief. Captain Sabin, with 
his usual energy, threw himself into the breach,- and with his 
sons' aid built a good, substantial bridge, costing /"120, and then 
called upon the government for reimbursement. The commit- 
tee sent to inspect reported the bridge built in suitable place. 
out of danger of being carried away by floods or ice, the height 
of bridge being above any flood yet known by anV men living 
there ; thought it would be very serviceable to a great part of 
the government in traveling to Boston, being at least ten miles 
the nearest way according to their judgment. Three hundred 
acres of land on the east side of the Connecticut river were ac- 
cordingly granted, on condition of keeping the bridge in repair 
" fourteen years next coming." ' 

The second settler within the present limits of Putnam vil- 
lage was Jonathan Eaton, of Dedham, who in 17o3 bought land 
on both sides of the Quinebaug, at what was called the Upper 
Falls, now improved by the Putnam ^Manufacturing Company. 
His home was, on the west side of the river, in what was then 
known as " a Peculiar," viz., a strip of land unassigned to any 
town, liven Killingly, whichexercised rights in the territory 
of Thompson long before it was legally assigned to her, levied 
no taxes west side the river. Being thus cut off from civil rela- 
tions, we can learn little of this early settler excepting the 
fact that; though not compelled bylaw, he carried his numerous 
children to be duly baptized in "Woodstock meeting house, and 
that he was elected deacon of the church in Thompson parish. 
With two traveled roads near his dwelling, he probably exer- 
cised the-privilege of entertaining travelers. Above the Upper 



Falls the Ouinebau','- was easily forded in low water, and an In- ,r. 

dian trail trodden ouftn f!ffl6to a bridle path connected his es- .^, 

tablishment with the Cady settlement. The mill privilege owned % ■ 

by Deacon Eaton was improved by his sons, at a much later «■■ 

date. .^! 

The third family within the bounds of Putnain village was #:■ 

probably that of Samuel Perrin, who, with Peter Aspinwall and f •; 

Benjamin Griggs, secured a deed of land from ]\Iaj^or James % 

Fitch in 1703, both sides the Ouincbaugj below its junction with z.1 

i\lill brook. According to tradition, this land was purchased of & 

the Indians, and it seems improbable that so valuable a tract f;j 

should have been sold at so low a figure by a veteran land job- |j 

ber unless there had been a prior claim upon it. Aspinwall, as || 

we have seen, took the land east of the river; Griggs sold his f^ 

share to Samuel Paine. The Perrin farm was retained in the v '^ 

family for several generations. How soon Samuel Perrin took ^ 

possession of this purchase is not apparent, as he still retained M 

his Woodstock residence, but soon after 1714 he built the well M 

known "old Perrin House," so familiar to older residents of this • 'i| 

section. It was prob.ably first cuUivated by his younger brother M 

David, who died early, unmarried, and was made over to his son, M 

Ensign Samuel Perrin, after his marriage to Dorothy ^vlorris in '1 


During this period many others had gathered in the South 
Neighborhood and eastward on the Assawaga. James Leavens' 
saw mill passed i;ito the hands of Isaac and John Cutler, of Lex- 
ington, The former had many sons settling in that vicin- 
ity, building gambrel roofed, one of which still stands, 
'•the old Cutler House." near the Rhode Island line. John Cut. 
ler died early, leaving nuinerous children. Part of his original 
farm was lost by a re-settlement of the above line, and his son 
Hezekiah removed to the vicinity of Killinglv hill. The first 
meeting house in Killingly was built a little south of this hill, 
near the Providence road, in 171."). and encouraged settlement m 
that vicinit}-. The first minister. Reverend John Fisk, had his 
residence west of the hill. 

Putnam's first settler, Richard Evans, had now removed, and 
his home farm was occupied by Simon Biyant, of Braintree, who 
purchased house, barn, orchard, tanning pits, etc., in 1712. His 
oldest daughter, Hannah, married William Earned in 171"), and 
their son vSimon succeeded to the Evans farm, the first land laid 

HIS'lORV OF WIMillA.M COL'.\l\'. 755 

out east of the Ouincbaug in this section, now owned by 'Mv. W. 
R. Holland. Thomas Whitmore settled north of Simon Bryant 
at an early date, on the farm now improved by Mv. G. \V. Wliit- 
tlesy. George Blanchard occupied land southward now held by 
Mr. William Converse. Michael Felshaw secured the farm still 
southward, reaching- to the brow of Killingly hill. The farm 
now improved by the family of the late J. O. Fox was first owned 
b}' James \Yilson. Near him was the residence of Jonathan 
Hughes, whose son Edmond set out the " Great Elm," so famous 
in revolutionary annals. John Johnson's homestead was upon 
the site of the present residence of ]\lr. James Arnold. Samuel 
Lee purchased the northern part of what is now known as Parks 
hill, and built the house afterward occupied by Deacon Lusher 
Gay and his descendants. He died before 1730, at which date 
his widow, ]\Iary Lee, was licensed to keep a house of public en- 

A granddaughter of Captain Joseph Cady, who afterward mar- 
ried Deacon Gay. delighted in old age to tell of " a puppet show " 
which she attended at this public house when she was six years 
old, viz., in 1731. There were many little girls and boys grow- 
ing up in the vicinity at that date. Deacon Eaton had eight or 
nine, Simon 15ryant had seven daughters, William Earned seven 
sons, Joseph Leavens had eight daughters and three sons, the 
Cady and Lee children could hardly be numbered, and it is 
pleasant to know that they had this evening's entertainment. 
L^^p to this date there is no evidence that they even had the priv- 
ilege of attending school, but were probably taught at home by 
fathers and mothers. The boys of the neighborhood enjoyed 
special privileges in fishing, the Ouincbaug being famous for 
shad; salmon and lamprey eels. The latter were caught in in- 
geniously constructed weirs or •• eel-pots; " suckers were speared 
by torchlight. The Indians were vei-y skillful fishermen, and 
initiated their favorites into some of the mysteries of their art. 
An " Indian girl " was included in the inventory of Captain John 
Sabin's possessions. An Indian family occupied a wigwam be- 
side a huge boulder near the site of the Davis ice house, self- 
elected tributaries to Captain Cady, who had rescued them 
from some great peril. Both he and Captain Sabin were 
greatly respected by their Indian neighbors. Ap.- old squaw 
thus expressed her emotion, upon the return of the former 
from military service: " O Massa Cady, I glad to see you ! I 

mon thoroughfare, as we find no other trace of it. It is alto 
gether probable that there was a " trod out " road cast of the 
river also, extending south to Plainfield and Norwich. As a 
matter of fact, we know that there has been such a vallev road 



SO glad if I had a whole pint of rum I drink it all down my- 
self." Excessive indulgence in the use of cider, and any other 

liquor thev could lay hands on, accelerated the dying out of | 
these natives. Old Ouaco, the last of his race, was tenderly 
cared for down to his last hours by the Perrin family. 

In 1730 the privilege of the Great Falls was utilized by David | 

Howe of Mendon, clothier, who purchased the point of land be- ]f. 

tween the Quinebaug and Mill rivers, beginning forty rods above f 

the falls, from Captain John Sabin and his son Noah. A dwell- I 

ing house, grist mill, malt house and dye house were soon set up 1 

and in motion, accommodating his own neighborhood and ad- | 

jacent parts of Pomfret and Killingly. Thomj?son parish had .|' 

now been incorporated, taking in all the east side residents north .f 

of the falls. Killingly hill was gaining new inhabitants. In- | 

creasing development called for more roads and better traveling % 

facilities. I 

Putnam as a town has been seriously incommoded by the un- | 

certain tenure of its roads. It has been exceedingly difficult to f. 

trace the roads of three distinct towns to their original layout. .| 

In several cases it has been made evident that there zms no lay- | ; 

out, but that in confirmation of the modern development theory | 

the roads were slowly rrvAvv/ from Indian trails and "trod cut " |. 

paths. This is very notably true of the original east side road, be- -f 

tween the Upper, and High Falls, which must have existed as a '.- 

trail ormode of communication from time immemorial. The road | 

west side of the river was made, as we have seen, by order of | 

the town of Woodstock, about 1T(X), crossing 'Slill river or iMuddy I 

brook just below Peter's brook, and thence southeast diagonally | 

over the falls, past the old Killingly burying ground, and onward I 

around 'the base of Killingly hill. In the deed describing Dea- | 

con Eaton's farm west of the Quinebaug. the Providence road, i 

it is said "crosseth its southeast corner," and another road § 

passed through his land. " formerly laid out from Hartford to I 

. Mendon." This road, laid out before 1700, must have run nearly s 

north up the Ouinebaug valley and connected with what was ^ 

known as the Old Connecticut Path at the crossing below the | 

site of the present New Boston, but it was probably not a com- | 


as far back as can be traced, that the first surYcyors of this wil- 
derness land found a way to get there, and that a rude track 
had been trodden out and made passable before the actual 

In consequence of the total lack of record of " Town Acts ' 
in Killingly for more than twenty years after its organization, 
we are left in ignorance of its first attempts at road making. 
The country road, as it was called, leading from Plainfield to 
Boston, laid out by government before 1700, passed through Kil- I 

lingly, and was nearly identical with the north and south road 
now passing through the same section. It has been twice re-sur- j 

veyed and laid out, but no change has been made in its general j 

bearings. The first surveyors found it easier to run their line . 

west of Killingly hill, but in the "perambulation of 1731" the : 

road was made to ascend " to a heap of stones on a rock upon : 

the hill," and so on over its summit. In 1721 a cart path from | 

Pomfret to Providence was opened under the supervision of | 

Nathaniel Sessions, crossing the Ouinebaug over Sabin's bridge, j 

and thence over the former road cut through by Aspinwall, mak- ! 

ing it passable for wheeled vehicles. The above roads are all that j 

can be identified prior to the establishment of Howe's mills. , 

Efforts were then made to increase accommodations. A private j 

road or bridle path leading from the bridge to Perrin's farm and j 

the Gary district was improved and made a public highway, and ^ j 

a bridge thrown over ]SIill river in 1732. j 

Sabin's bridge was reconstructed or thoroughly repaired by 
Samuel Cutler, a distant relative of Captain Isaac Cutler, who 
was now living at the north end of Killingly hill. He then pe- 
titioned the general court for forgiveness of country rates, li- 
cense to keep a place of public entertainment, and for a commit- 
tee to lay out a road from vSabin's bridge over Killingly hill, past 
his dwelling, at a place called "The Four-fanged Oak," and 
eastward to intersect with the Providence road, thereby prevent- 
ing the long journey round the base of the hill. This new road 
he averred would be a great convenience to travellers, and in- 
deed was " now travelled on but not yet laid out." His requests 
were all refused, but undiscouraged he applied to the town au- 
thorities, who in August, 1732, warned a meeting " to consider 
of altering the country road that goes through the town towards 
■ Providence at the west end, in order to meet a road laid out by 
the town of Pomfret, at David Howe's mills." The town voted 


" not to alter tlie road," and thus it happens that the road lead- 
ing' from Putnam to the north end of the Ileiirhts, was left to f 
evolve itself, not having been laid out by lawful powers. This g 
persistent refusal mav have been caused by the fact that "Sam 1 
Cutler " was not considered as sound as some of his neighbors f- 
and was inclined to speculation. He succeeded in obtaining re- f 
lease from rates for his services upon the bridge, but the " Four- | 
fanged Oak Tavern " and highway passing thereby were not ' | 
granted. I 

The petition of those honored town fathers, Captain Joseph' j 

Cady and Jonathan Eaton, for a better road to Thompson meet- | 

ing, met a very different reception. A committee was at | 

once appointed to consider their needs and those of other ^ . 

church-goers. In point of fact they did little more than to es- ^ 

tablish roads alreadv existing in a crude form, the town having I 

voted " that every person that shall move to this town to have £ 

any way altered or removed, it shall be done at the petitioners' | and charge." September 12th, 1737, the committee reported t- 

a road laid out, " beginning east end of the bridge over the Ouine- % 

baug, near Mr. David Howe's, thence extending along the path ,| 

or road, leading from said bridge to Captain Cady's; thence' |- 
northeast by pine trees and great rock, east of an old ditch in | 

]\Ir. Simon Bryant's land, to a corner betweer. Bryant's and Wil- t ' 
Ham Larned's, thence in the same corner to the southeast cor- 
ner of Larned's fence, keeping the path leading thence to John 
Lee's; thence to the brow of a hill of Deacon Eaton's land; 
thence over Hosmer's field into the road to Thompson meeting- 
house," near the site of the present residence of Mr. George H. 
Nichols. This connection with the West Thompson road, instead 
of the direct road from Killingly hill to Thompson, is an indirect 
testimony to the existence of the valley road previously referred |.,' 

to as passing near Deacon Eaton's. Hosmer owned land now in f. 

the vicinity of Mechanicsvillc. The road from Captain Cady's, i 

"as trod." winding back nearly to the river, so as to accommo- | 

date William Earned, John Lee and Deacon Eaton, must have | 

been laid nearly in the form of a horse shoe. 4 

A bridle road with gates and bars was also allowed '• as the 
path is trod " from Jonathan Hu<^hes, near the countiy road, 
past the dwelling houses of John Pepper and Phinehas Lee to 
William Larned's; also a bridle road from "land of Simon Bry- f 

ant to the country road from Plain field to ( ).\-fuid. upon ihe path 



on \Yhich said Bryant usually travelleth from his own door to 
Thompson Meeting- House." This bridle road is probably iden- 
tical with the present road passing 'Mr. Holland's residence. 
The rapid growth of this neighborhood and the need of open 
access to Howe's mills transformed the first named bridle road 
in a few vears. " March -ith, 1740, Voted, to allow and accept an 
open road from Capt. Daniels' bridge as the road is now trod 
along by William Larned's house and by Phinehas Lee's and 
Mr. Gay's, &c., into the country road by Edmond Hughes', three 
rods wide, excepting through Mr. Gay's land, where there is 
now a stone wall on both sides, and there it is to be but two 
rods wide, and if the wall must be moYcd to make it two rods 
wide the surYeyors that mend the road are to move the wall, and 
it is to be understood that the men that own the land w^here the 
road is.allowed and accepted appeared in the meeting and there 
declared that they would give the land for the said road two 
rods wide as is above mentioned, and the road was allowed and 
accepted upon those terms." This is the ancient road now pas.s- 
ing OYer Parks hill and winding round to the brook near Mr. 
Olney's, and the moss-covered walls now tumbling into ruin are 
the same that Mv. Lusher Gay refused to remove in 1749. 

Several changes had occurred at that date. In 174-2 the Howe 
mills passed into the hands of Captain Xathaniel Daniels, to- 
gether with dwelling house, barn, malt house, shop and the 
whole manufacturing st<ick of (Juinebaug valley, viz., "'ye con- 
veniences of three coppers, two, one iron screw, two pairs 
shears, two iron bars, a blue pot, paper for pressing and sear- 
cloth for malting." Xoah Sabin had succeeded to the mansion 
house and valley land of his father. Peter Aspinwall had dis- 
appeared from public life and was probably sleeping in his own 
grave yard, though no stone perpetuates his memory. Captain 
Jo.seph Cady was succeeded by his son Justice Joseph, a man of 
equal probity and influence, the richest man in the community, 
and, according to tradition, " the first man to own a coach." Wil- 
liam Larneddied in 1747, leaving his homestead to his son. Cap- 
tain William, who sold the same to Isaac Parks, whose name 
still clings to the historic hill and neighborhood. Captain L'a- 
vid Cady, Jonathan Cady and other descendants of Captain 
Cady, Sr., were settled on farms west of Killiagly hill. John 
Felshaw had opened a popular house of entertainment at the 
north end of the hill. The first practicing physician of this : c- 


gion, Doctor Thomas Mcffatt, had his residence upon the hill, 
as also Noah, youngest son of Justice. Joseph Leavens. Simon 
Bryant died in 174S, leaving his homestead to his grandson, Si- 
mon Larned. Deacon Jonathan Eaton died the same year. His 
successor in the deacon's office, Lusher Gay, of Dedham, pur- 
chased the farm originally laid out to Samuel Lee in 1738. Sani- 
uel Perrin was rearing a large family in the pleasant Perrin 
homestead. Jonathan Dresser, Samuel and Seth Paine, were 
residents of the Ouinebaug valley. Captain Isaac Cutler and 
his numerous sons still held possession of the mills and priv- 
ileges of the Assawaga, eastward. 

Captain Nathaniel Daniels carried on his various business en- 
terprises for a number of years, and was prominent in many 
public affairs. In 1760, he sold the whole establishment, viz., 
land, water privilege, mills, dwelling house, together with his 
" clothier's, fuller's and grist mill tools and utensils," to Benjamin 
Cargill, then of Mendon,, a descendant of Reverend Don- 
ald Cargill. Captain Cargill at once took possession of his pur- 
chase and by shrewdness and good manageinent increased and 
extended the business and became very widely known through- 
out the section. Rival mills at the Upper Falls now established 
by the sons of Deacon Eaton made business more lively. A new 
road to Thompson was laid out " from Capt. Daniels' land to an- 
other highway between Landlord Converse's and Martha 
Flint's" in 1703— now known as "the ^Mountain Road " between 
Putnam and Thompson, passing Origin, Alton's and Stephen 
B-allards. Messrs. Jared Talbot and David Perry had set up 
grist and saw mills upon the Assawaga at the site of the ruined 
Daniels' mills. 

Killingly hill had now received another practicing physician, 
Doctor Samuel Llolden Torrey, son of the famous Doctor Joseph 
Torrey, of South Kingston. His young wife, Anna Gould, of 
Branford, brought with her four slaves as part of her marriage 
portion. His brother, Joseph Torrey, settled east of Killingly 
hill, marrying a daughter of Reverend John Fisk. Deacon 
Ebenezer, son of William Larned, Avhose wife was one of the 
eight capable daughters of Justice Joseph Leavens, also occupied 
a farm on the same road near the Cutler farms. His brother, 
James Larned, a shrewd business man and reputed usurer, re- 
sided near Felshaw's tavern. Among other residcnt.s' upon 
homesteads now within Putnam limits were Isaac Cady, vSamp- 


son and Pearley, grandsons of Captain Sampson Howe, Heze- 

kiah and Benoni Cutler, Benjamin and Xoah Leavens, Benjamin, 

Jonathan, Xedcbiali, Joseph, David and Isaac Cady, Jonathan 

and Samuel Buck and Joseph Adams. West of the Quinebaug 

the residents were not numerous, the land being held mostly by 

the Perrin and Sabin families. " Cargill's bridge " below the I 

High Falls, was rebuilt in 1770 — John Grosvenor, Samuel Perrin I 

and Benjamin Cargill, committee. An attempt to lay out a more j 

direct road from Cargill's westward was defeated. 

In the various Vv"irs in which the colonies were concerned, the 
.future Putnam bore her proportionate share. Ensign Samuel 
Perrin served actively in the French and Indian war, his wife 
supporting her family mainly through "the hard winter" of«his 
absence by a crop of carrots raised by her own hands. SamAiel, ^ I 

oldest son of William Larned, served as first lieutenant of Cap- I 

tain David Holmes' regiment. James Wilson was so unfortu- •! 

nate as to be carried captive into Canada, returning just in time j 

to save his wife from a second marriage. As the revolutionary ! 

war came on the whole valley was stirred. The old Cady home- ] 

stead, upon the decease of Captain Joseph Cady, was purchased ' j 

by Darius Sessions, son of Nathaniel Sessions of Pomfret, and j 

then deputy-governor of Rhode Island, one of the prominent lead- i 

ers among the revolting patriots. The house, already " old," was ^ 

thoroughly reconstructed, enlarged and beautified, transformed ; 

into a stately, colonial mansion. Governor Sessions also took i 

much pains with his grounds and farm, making, according to j 

President James Planning, " truly wonderful " accommodations. I 

In this fine country seat many patriots found a safe retreat from \ 

the constant alarms and perils of the seaboard, making it almost 
a war office and place for general consultation. Killingly hill, 
with its lofty banner and bonfires, the South Neighborhood Elm, i 
a noted place of rendezvous, are memorable revolutionary local- " 
ities. Even more sacred is the little triangular common at the I 

junction of the Woodstock and Pomfret roads,.west of the ]SIill 
river, where Captain .Stephen Brown paraded with his company 
before marching to Cambridge after the Lexington alarm. Three 
giant Sabins were in this company, of whom at least one, Icha- 
bod, was slain at Bunker hill. Elihu Sabin was also in that bat- 
tle, and lived to delight many hearers with the .story of his ex- 
periences, and especially of that last charge of ammunition 
which he kept in reserve until hotly pursued by a gallant British 



officer. "And did you kill him?" the boys \vould ask eagerly. 
" Well, I don't know exactly," he would answer, "but the last I 
saw of him he was abetting off his horse." 

With the adoption of the federal constitution and the quick- | 

ening of business enterprise all over the I'nited States, new life ^ 

developed in the Ouinebaug valley. Ebenezcr P.nndy came intr. | 

possession of the Eaton farm and privileges after the removal f 

of the Eaton families to western [Massachusetts. He built a new t 

dam or reconstructed the old one, his grist mill being set upon I 

the rocks, near the bank of the river, the site now occupied by | 

the north end of the mill owned by the Putnam Manufacturing I 

Company, (rreat efforts were made to secure a road direct from | 

this point to Earned & Mason's store in the South Neighbor- | 

hood, which was now the headquarters of mercantile enterprise, | 

but just at this juncture public men were too much occupied | 

with the new town question to give attention to road making. | 

Captain Cargill meantime was greatly extending his business ^ 

operations, buying land east of the river, setting up a gin dis- I 

tillery, building- new mills and hcnises. In ITS? he completed | 

the new grist mill, fitting it up with all the best art of the dav. I 

with three complete sets of grist mills and a bolting mill. A black- ■ § 

smith shop, and two trip hammers, a fulling mill, and mills to % 

grind scythes and " churn butter " were among his achievements. I 

Mr. Timothj- Williams of Woodstock, speaks of Captain- Cargill's I 

new enterprise with much enthusiasm, "Viewed from lofts at 1 

Cargill's mills" (the first and second were used for mill pur- I 

poses): " the third a ]:!aptist meeting room; 4th, a large, con- | 

venient, well replenished granary." With such accommodations | 

and the best attendance, it was no marvel that the establishment f 

took precedence- of all other mills in the section, farmers in f 
neighboring towns driving by their home mills because of the 
superior quality of Cargill's grinding. 

The captain was a genial, whole-souled man, the life of the 
business and settlement, delighting in his large family and 
varied business enterprises. The rude rhyme in which he in- 
corporated the names of his eleven children almost parallels that | 
of the famous " Hutchinson Eamily" song. His oldest daughter, | 
L'ucy Cargill. married as his second wife, Doctor Albigence • | 
Waldo, of Pomfret, the most noted physician and surgeon of his s= 
day, a man of varied gifts and attainments. [Mrs. Waldo s\m- | 
pathized in her husband's literary ta.stes, and was herself a writer | 


and poetess, especially noted for lier proficiency in the "art of 
letter writing." Cargill's Mills was thus noted for literary society 
as well as a business center. The third meeting- of the 
medical society in Connecticut was held at Cargill's, v'^eptemher, 
17S6. Still there were no residents at the mill beside theCargill 
family and those employed by them.- A block of three wooden 
houses -was built west of the grist mill by Captain Cargill about 
this date, which surYiYcd some years after Putnam was made a • 

The ;' Pomfret Factory graYe Yard," west of the old factory, 
must have been opened at this time, as the children of ]\lrs. Waldo ' i 
■were buried there. ^lanj- of the descendants of Captain John i 
Sabin were also buried there. His original homestead, the old ' 
historic Sabin house, had now passed into the hands of his grand- 
son. Cornet Jonathan. Xot far from the house b\it on the east I 
side of the road, so that it came within the limits of the present I 
Putnam, stood a quaint old house with diamond windows, known I 
as the " Silas Sabin place," and a little north of it stood the I 
" Peter vSabin house." vSilas and I'cter Sabin were brothers, de- i 
scended from Deacon Benjamin of Pomfret, who had contriYcd ' I 
to get possession of some of the John Sabin land, for which, it j 
was said, they paid a trilling yearlY rental. The wives of Cor- 
net Jonathan and Silas Sabin were sisters, daughters of ! 

May, so that these three families were very closely connected. 
They were all of immense stature and fine singers, social and 
hospitable, and most heartily improved their remarkable social 
privileges. Still another pleasant wSabin homestead was that of 
the revolutionary veteran. Deacon Elihu Sabin, and his excellent 
wife, a favorite resort for voung and old. 

Land from 'Cornet Sabin, and other tracts from various par- 
ties, increased E!;cnczer l^.undy's farm to at least five hun- 
dred acres on both sides the Ouinebaug. Renewed petitions 
for a road from Larned's store to Bnndy's mills excited much 
discussion and some opposition in Thompson. Though much 
addicted to road making, this young town was char\' of cost. 
When it was decided in 1797 that a turnpike was actually to 
be laid out through West Thompson, renewed efforts were 
made to procure a direct road from Larned's store to Kun- 
dy's mills at the Upper Fall, and thence west to intersect the 
stage road near Abel Alton's. The committee rej-orted in fa- 
vor of such road, but their report was rejected again and 


again. It wa."^ not until Mr. Dundy offered to build a good 
.substantial bridge, at his own cost, over the Quinebaug, and 

the owners of the land volunteered to give what was needful, I \ 

fence the road and make it passable, that the town reluc- | '■ 

tantly consented to allow it. This road, as laid out, began f ' 

twenty-six rods west side the Quinebaug, then across the liver S ; 

where Eaton's bridge had formerly stood, then in a straight | ' 

line up hill and down to intersect the old road from Thomp- | 

son meeting house to Cargill's, near the house of Isaac Parks. | 

It made a very direct route from Woodstock and the Quine- f 

baug valley to Larned's store and on to Providence, but the | 

steepness of the hills made it a very hard road to travel, and M. , 

children going to Bundy's mill on horseback were often pitched f 

head over heels descending these declivities. • | 

Cargill's mills had now been thrown into market. The death | 

of Doctor Waldo, and of some of his own children, had broken f 

the health and spirits of the good captain, and he felt unable #: 

to compete with his enterprising- rival above. In his adver- |- 

tisement in 1793 he sets forth in glowing terms the peculiar '| 

advantages of his " noted inheritance," with land of the most S 

valuable kind, water sufficient to grind three hundred bushels | 

the dryest day ever known, and prophesies that the place " is | 

and must be a place of great trade." In 179S he effected a sale | 

to Moses Arnold and John Harris, of Rhode Island. In 1800 f 

Arnold's share of this purchase was sold to Jeremiah and Xehe- |' 

miah Knight, of Cranston. " Knight & Harris " ran the various f 

mills and works for a few years, under the superintendence of | 

Mr. Nehemiah Knight, afterward governor of Rhode Island. A f 

store was now opened in one of the three Cargill houses. Some ;* 
local improvements were accomplished by ]SIr. Knight, who be- t 

guiled his lonely hours in this isolated valley by laying out "a ^ 
solitary walk " on the tongue of land between Ouin^ebaug ' and S 

Mill rivers. This walk, rechristened " Solitaire," was long a | 

favorite rural resort. Captain Cargill removed to Palmer, ]Mass., | 

with his widowed daughter and the remnant of their families, £ 

but his name and memory were long preserved. | 

While for a hundred years the vicinity of Quinebaug High % 

Falls waswidel)' known as a crossing place, fishery and mill site, f 

it had few residents and fewer school and religious privileges. i. 

Its scattered families attended church and school in whichsoever 1 

of the three towns they chanced to be located. During the rev- I- 



olutionary war a strong- Baptist element developed, through the 
labors and influence of President Manning of Brown University. 
x\ Baptist society was organized in the Quinebaug valley, taking 
in residents of Pomfret and Killingly. Reverend ilr. Kelley 
labored with them as a pastor, holding services in convenient 
residences, which were well attended and productive of much 
good. One of the rooms in Captain Cargill's mill was used for a 
Baptist meeting room. )>lv. Manning was very anxious to estab- 
lish a Latin school in this valley, to serve " as a nursery for the 
college,'-' foreseeing its probable development. 

jMethodism met with equal favor. As early as 1792 a noted 
Methodist itinerant, John Allen, was allowed to hold a religious 
meeting in Cargill's press room. His plain and pungent j^reach- 
ing struck conviction to the hearts of the hearers. A number of 
young women professed conversion, and soon were gathered 
into a class. They were joined by three young n-icn — Elijah 
Bugbee, William Gary and Xoah Perrin. The latter was ap- 
pointed class leader, and opened the hospitable Perrin house for 
public services. Pomfret was included in New London circuit, 
and made a regular preaching station. A number of respectable 
families joined with the Methodi.sts — the Sabins, with their 
grand voices, Perrins, Garys, Cadys, Bucks, etc. Wonderful 
meetings were held in the Perrin house and Cargill's meeting 
room. The ]\Iethodist singing and the fervid exhortations and 
prayers carried everything before them, hi 1795 Pomfret cir- 
cuit was formed, with 169 professed ^lethodists; Jesse Lee, pre- 
siding elder; Daniel Ostrander and Nathaniel Chapin, preach- 
ers. Though meeting much opposition from the established 
churches upon the hill-tops, the Methodists continued to gain 
ground in the valley, and became an element of much power. 

Killingly hill was now an important center, with its recon- 
structed meeting house and military gatherings, its common 
being one of the amplest and finest in the county. Doctor 
Robert Grosvenor, now established there in medical practice, 
was the leading physician and surgeon. Justice Sampson Howe 
had opened its first store. Its tavern was kept by 'Captain 
Aaron Arnold. 

Putnam's cotton manufacture dates back to remote periods, 
the factorv opened by Mr. Smith Wilkinson below the High 
Falls of the Quinebaug. in ]S(i7, being the first of the kind in 
Windham county, and one of the first in Connecticut. Experi- 




menters in Rhode Island had succeeded after much labor and 
trouble in constructing machines for spinning cotton by water 
power. Ozias Wilkinson and his ingenious sons had established 
a factory in Pawtucket, in 1798, and then sought a wider field of 
enterprise. The Ouinebaug Falls and valley w-as the site se- 
lected, and the Pomfret ^Manufacturing Company formed Janu- 
ary 1st, 18UG. Its constituent members were Ozias Wilkinson, §; 
his sons, Abraham, Isaac, iJavid, Daniel and Smith Wilkinson, *,. 
his sons-in-law, Timothy Green and William Wilkinson, and f': 
James, Chrislopher and William Rhodes. James Rhodes, of ;|"^ 
Warwick, R. I., had previously. purchased of John Harris a half 
interest of his share of the Cargill property. All this interest, 
with the remainder of the privilege and much other land in the M 
vicinity both sides the river, were now secured by the Pomfret 
]\Ianufacturing Company, and its charge and the care of build- 
ing the projected factor)-, and superintending the various works, 
entrusted to the youngest brother, ]\lr. Smith Wilkinson, who 
soon proved him.self master of the situation. 

The lonely vale, with its rocky hills and heavy forests, rang M 

with the busy clatter of the numerous workmen. With happy 
forethought Mr. AVilkinson selected the Fourth of July for rais- 
ing the frame of the factory, when a great concourse of people 

from all the adjoining towns came together to help about the ^ 

work and satisfy their curiosity in regard to this novel enter- 
prise. The v.'ork of building and reconstruction went rapidly 
forward. The " solitary walk" laid out by -Mr. Knight was less 
attractive to the young manager than a brisk ride to Killingly 
hill, where he found agreeable society in the hospitable home of 
Captain Sampson Howe. In a few months he married j\liss 
Elizabeth Howe, and began housekeeping in a small house'''' 
east of the river. ^Machinery and all needful appurtenances 
were hauled up from Providence, and on Aprillst, 1807, the first 
cotton factor}- in eastern Connecticut was set in motion — a four 
story wooden building, lOO by 32 feet in dimensions. Its busi- 
ness was to spin cotton yarn to be woven on hand looms into 
coarse cloth and bed-ticking. Its working force was a few child- 
ren picked up in the neighborhood, with a man in each room to 
help and oversee them. The boys and girls were delighted with 
the new employment, and thought the glittering machines " the "* 
prettiest things in the world.'! When a heavy snow storm 
*Site now occupied by Putnam Bank. 


blocked the roads one morning- the little girls put on men's boots 
^nd waded through the drifts in their eagerness to work. They 
were paid about seven shillings a week. 

The children were not alone in rejoicing over the new indus- 
try. To the women who wove the cloth it was a boon beyond 
expression. It is hard to realize the scarcity of money in those | 

days, especially in farming families, when produce was cheap, i 

markets few, business openings rare and wages low^ The priv- | 

ilege of earning things for themselves was thus most joyfully ' | 

-welcomed by hundreds of active women. A store promptly j 

opened by the company, offered all manner of useful and orna- ' i 

mental articles in exchange for weaving. Women of every ■ j 

rank, the well-to-do as well as the poor, hastened to avail them- ; 

selves of this golden opportunity. The impulse given by the ^ ; 

new mill was felt in many ways. ]\Iany workmen were needed • ' j 

for teaming, farming, mill tending, house building' and other i 

purposes. The grain mill was kept busily at work. A hand- j 

some house opposite the mill was soon built by Mr. Wilkinson, ' j 

for his own residence, and other houses for operatives and new 1 

residents. j 

So rapid was the increase of population that in T812 Mr. Wil- j 

kinson found it needful to build a school house for his village. j 

A neat brick building was erected on a steep hill east of the | 

river, which was also used on Sundays for a house of worship. | 

Though himself a member of the Congregational church at Kill- 
ingly hill, and a regular attendant upon its service, :Mr. Wilkin- 
■son was on friendly terms with all other denominations, and 
most willingly accorded them the use of the school house. The ■ i 

Methodists held service every alternate Sabbath for some years, | 

under the charge of the Thompson circuit preacher. On other 
Sundavsthe liaptists " held the fort," under Elders Grow, Crosby, 
Nichols, or Cooper. Reverends Daniel iJow or Elisha At- 
kins or Eliphalet Lyman would often carry on '"a five o'clock 
meeting" in the brick school house. So sober and substantial 
was the character of the Pomfret Factory residents that there 
were but two families in fifteen years which habitually refused 
church attendance. The singing, according to a trustworthy 
reporter, was as varied as the sect of the preachers. When the 
Jklethodists held service choristers like John M. Sabin and 
Augustus W. Perrin led such a volume of niale and female voices 
:as would shake the rafters of the house and waken the soundest 


sleeper. The Baptist .singx-rs were led by Arteinas lirnce. e.s- |_ 

pceially on funeral oeca.sions, and the Congregationali.';ts by 'Mr. f 

Jedidiah Leaven.s, unles.s Mr. Dow preferred to set his own fa- f 

vorite tunes— Windham. Mortality, Florida or Hebron. Sunday f: 

was Sunday indeed under "Sir. Wilkinson's forcible administra- f 

tion, and any deviation from, its proper observance was promptly |" 

noted and punished, and even those audacious young'sters who | 

presumed to play ball upon the day of the state fast had the law f 

enforced against them and were made to pay legal fines. -| 

During the war with Great Britain Pomfrel factory nourished %■ 

greatly, making one year a dividend of $80, COO. By pavirg 2 

large prices they were able to secure sufficient supplies of cotton S 

from Philadelphia, the large profit more than reimbursing- the % 

heavy outlay. Thus solidly established the company met the i 

reverses that followed without embarra.ssment, an'd succeeded 4 

in introducing power looms and other new methods of labor t 

without serious inconvenience. Continued improvements were f 

made in the village and surrounding country. The factory '§, 

farms were brought under good cultivation. ^Ir. Wilkinson took W. 

much pride in the great mowing lot near the Upper Falls, and 
in other parts of his farm. It is said that thirty-five hay-makers 
might sometimes be seen on a good hay day swinging their 
scythes in time with each other, ^lethodical in all things, jNIr. 
Wilkinson once announced "that he had upon count a cock of 
hay for every day in the year — 365." A village cow was taken 
from house to house every night and morning in summer that 
all the families might have a supply of new milk. Each tenant 
had a garden spot for raising his own vegetables, and laid up his 
own beef and pork for family consumption. Fresh meat was 
brought in occasionally by farmers as they slaughtered, and 
meat, milk and ice carts were all unknown in those primitive 

Upon the request of ]Mr. Wilkinson, a road was laid by the 
selectmen of Thompson from the old road over Parks hill direct 
to the village in ISIS. The town voted to accept the road as 
laid out and also voted, "That it is the sense of the town that 
the old road from Pomfret Factory, until it intersects the above 
reported road, be discontinued." Bundy's bridge was newly 
covered and a new road laid out to the Brick Factory. Sufficient 
travel passed through the village to support a respectable tavern 
under the old yew tree at the west end of Cargill's block. Mai- 


achi Green is remembered among its landlords. In 1823 a new 
stone building \vas erected, to be used for the manufacture of 
woolen goods. Its foundations were laid by Asa White, a vet- 
eran mill constructor, who had overseen the building of some 
of the first factories in New England, but who died while this 
was in progress. In 1820 ;Mr. Wilkinson became chief proprie- 
tor, as well as manager, associating with 'Mr. James Rhodes in 
place of the former company. The new stone mill was now used 
for cotton manufacturing and the old mill for woolen goods. 
More and workmen were demanded and business opera- 
tions extended. A new interest grew up at the upper privilege, 
with the building of a brick factory there by "Mr. James Rhodes 
in 1830. Through the good offices of a former resident of this 
section, we are indebted for an unique Directory, giving a full 
report of the residents of the old Pomfret Factory between 1815-- 
1830, viz :— 

"Smith Wilkinson — agent Pomfret Manufacturing company. 
Superintendents in their order — Augustus Howe, Thomas Dike, 
Gen. Reuben Whitman. Overseers of weaving shop — David 
Whitman, John X. Leavens. Machinists — Eden Leavens, Asa 
White, James Cunningham, A. Blanchard, Alpheus Chaffee. 
Blacksmiths — John Phipps, William Phipps, Jonathan Clough. 
Overseers of carding and repairing — Arthur Tripp, P. Carpen- 
ter, Ira Graves, Almon Graves, Benjamin Morris, Jebediah Mor- 
ris, J. H. ]\Iorris, Jr., George ^lorris, Thomas Chapman, Lyman 
Lawrence, G. W. Eddy, William Andrews, Welcome Eddy, 
Benjamin Matthews, Charles Richmond, Joseph Ciindall, Oba- 
diah Grinnell, J. Keach, Charles Chaffee, J. Dike, D. Harrington, 
S. Harrington, Jr. Manager of Picker Mill and general painter 
— David Hall. Mule spinners — Green Capron, William Johnson, 
Jonathan Perrin, George B. Carey, ^lartin Leach. Clothiers and 
fullers — A. Thompson, J. Basset. House carpenter.s — Sylvester 
Stanley, Joseph Heath, Samuel Truesdale, Jr., Asa Park. Blue 
dyer — Jedidiah Leavens. Bleachers — Ephraim Congden, E. 
Chase, Jacob Mann. The clerks in the store were James Hop- 
kins, William Arnold, S. Davis Leavens, George Howe, Augus- 
tus Wilkinson, Plenry Wilkinson, Daniel P. Dew, Horace Whit- 
taker, I'vdmond Wilkinson, William Warren, Sampson Howe. 
Clerks in the Domestic department were Lemuel H. iilliott, X. 
Aldrich, Jedidiah Leavens, Jr., A. W. Perrin. The keepers of 
the general boarding house were, in order, Stephen Stone, L, 

770 niSTOKV OF wixdiiam county 


H.Elliott (afterward steward of Brown University), N. Aldrich, 
Willard Arnold, Asahel Elliott, Benjamin Warren, Eleazer Sa- 

bin. The grain miller was Frank I'earce ; the~saw miller, Isaac "| 

Moore ; the butcher, J. H. Morris; the cow-herder was Thomas | 

Richmond : the freight-teamer to and from Providence was Jo- | 

seph Stone, with a yoke of venerable oxen, Bug and Bright, and | 

a younger yoke, beside Ilezekiah Converse (a grand bass singen § 

was farm teamer for many years ; his successors were Harvey | 

White and Reuben Hoar. There were 'captain farmers' also — :| 

Darius Starr, William Martin, Elliot Hammond. Others in the f 

vicinity who plied the plow, scythe and hoe, while their sons * 

and daughters worked in the mills, were ^Messrs. Bean, Harring- ^ 

ton, Chaffee, Faulkner, Brown, Reach, Cary, Weld, Willard, Her- | 

andean, Johnson, Kelley, Gallup, ]Mascrve, Chambcrlin. Among | 

those who tried to keep them all with a good understanding (the ^|" 

shoe-makers) were S. Truesdale. A. Plummer, J. Harris, G. f 

Glasco." § 

There were many families in the vicinity worthy of notice if ^ 

space permitted. Noah Perrin, Sr., the ^lethodist class leader, T 

had now succeeded to the ownership of the Perrin farm, and his |;. 

numerous sons and daughters were much in demand for teaching |. 

school in the surrounding region, their united service amounting | 
to some sixty-seven terms. Captain Joseph Buck, a mile east 
on the Providence road, was a much respected citizen, chorister 
at the West Thompson Methodist church, the model head of a 
most worthy and promising family. South on the Pomfret road 
another large and promising family was growing up in the 
household of Mr. Abel Dunn. Near them lived the Sawyers, 

one of the old Pomfret families, with the blind brother with | 

such marvelous instinct and aptitudes. Their neighbors, the | 

Gilberts, Halls and Garys, had all large families, growing up f' 

to be usefiil men and women in widely separated fields. An- } 

other noted family in that neighborhood was that of Captain ^ 

Alfred Holmes, whose children it is said were all well educated ^ 

and gifted, their home the center of a "brilliant social circle." I 

Captain Eleazer Reith, old Deacon Deamon, Mr. Darius Sea- % 

mans, were well known residents upon the mountain road north- I 

ward. I 

These various families, remote from the centers of the three f 

towns in which they dwelt, were drawn in many ways to Pom- .| 

fret Factorv and more or less identified with its interests. In W 


the social life of this pioneer " factory village " there was nnich 
that was pleasant and enjoyable. The owner and master was a 
life-time resident, dwelling among his own people, having a per- 
sonal interest in all their affairs. A bond of common interest 
and reciprocal regard united employers and employed as one 
great family — its central hearth the delightful home of Mr. Wil- 
kinson. Probably no house in the three converging towns en- 
tertained so much company. Its hospitable doors were always 
open, and rich and poor alike, county gentry and village opera- 
tive, received the same cordial welcome. The noble and lovely 
wnfe of Mr. Wilkinson was indeed the " mother of the village." 
In health and in sickness, in weal and woe, all were sure of 
the warmest sympathy and aid. 

The Rhodesville enterprise began with the division of the 
Bundy privilege at 'the Upper Falls, which was surveyed and 
laid out in four divisions of about twenty acres each by Simon 
Davis, Esq., in 1S27. These divisions were then apportioned by 
lot among the several owners, Abram and Isaac Wilkinson and 
James Rhodes drawing the two lower privileges, William and 
Smith Wilkinson the two upper privileges. At this date there 
were but two houses upon the estate, one on the east side of the 
river, occupied by Hezekiah Converse, the other on the west side, 
by the Glasko family. A new dam was soon built and the brick 
factory completed and ready for work in ISIJO ; Stephen Erwin, 
of Rhode Island, manager. A row of tenement houses and store 
building were also constructed ; James Bugbee, store-keeper. 
The operatives were all American. In 1834, the mill narrowly 
escaped destruction by fire. In ISHH, ^Ir. Xehemiah T. Adams 
was appointed resident agent and y\v. Leonard Thompson had 
charge of the store, and was in turn succeeded by ^Ir. Chauncey 
Hammett. In 1837, Rhodesville had become so populous that it 
was constituted school district Xo. 17, of Thompson, and a school 
house v.-as built by the company. In the spring of 1841, pros- 
perity was suddenly checked by the burning of the factory build- 
ing ; supposed to beihe work of an incendiary. About a hun- 
dred persons were then employed by the establishment. The 
mill was rebuilt under the supervision of Mr. N. T. Adams. 
The death of Mi. James Rhodes the following year made further 
changes, and after temporary depression the village entered 
upon a career of greatly extended prosperity. 





i . 


In 1835 a road was laid out from Simeon Allen's brick works 
on the Boston turnpike to the Quinebaug-, over the Rhodesville 
bridg-c and on east through the South Neighborhood, intersect- 
ing the old Woodstock and Thompson turnpike near Sawyer's 
store, which greatly facilitated the transportation of cotton from 
Providence. Yet v/ith all the shrewdness and enterprise of the 
two companies and their managers, the supply of cotton was lim- 
ited and business operations could not be largely extended. Keen 
eyes watched with eager interest the experiments in new meth- f 

ods of transportation. Windham county manufacturers noted 
and encouraged the various schemes for accommodating their ^ . 

own valley, and were prominent among the stockholders of the | 

Norwich & Worcester Railroad Company. The actual opening k ■ 

of the railroad in November, 1839, was joyfiilly welcomed by | ; 

business men, though little foreseeing the revolution it would I ' 

accomplish. The first depot master at the Pomfret Factory was \ 

Mr. John O. Fox, re-moving thither from West Thompson. %■ 

Amasa Carpenter, from North Woodstock, occupied part of the %■ 

building, carrying on with Mr. Fox a thriving business in grain i' 

and groceries. | : 

Slowly at first business came to the valley. For a year or two ]| 

there was little apparent movement, and then the tide turned | 

from the hill towns. John O. Fox and Martin Leach were among % 

the first to build dwelling houses on the east side of the street, near £ . 

the depot. In 1844 a building for stores was erected by Mr. Asa £• 

Cutler in the same locality, and first occupied by Lewis K. Per- l^i 

rin, assisted by his brother Charles. The land east of the depot ^:; 

was purchased from Mr. Tully Dorrance, whose wife, Mrs. vSally ^ 

Dorrance, inherited in the Pomfret Manufacturing Company the ^' 

right of her deceased father, James' Rhodes. ^Ir. Dorrance there- 
fore owned much valuable land, and also carried on manufac- 
turing in the first old mill built by ^Ir. Wilkinson. Other Rhode 
Island manufacturers were now on the field, looking up eligible 
privileges for prospective enterprises. Hosea Ballon, Allen & 
Nightingale, ]M. i^. Morse & Co., won the prizes at Rhodesville 
and soon broke ground for three large factories. With the ad- 
vent of their masons and carpenters a boom set briskly in. 
Lafayette Waters, stone mason, who had the charge of much of 
the stone work in the three mills, bought land in the vicinity 
and sold out a number of building lots. Houses for dwellings 
and stores sprang up in various quarters where eligible sites 


could be procured. Young- men from the hill towns eng-:iged in 
trade or professional work in the two villages. 

The first physician on the ground was Doctor H. W. Hough, 
who removed his practice from Killingl}' hill to Pomfret Fac- 
tory in 1846, buying the first building lot sold by Ivlr. Smith 
Wilkinson, 0!i which he soon erected his present residence. He 
was soon followed by Doctor Thomas Perry, who remained a 
few years. The first lawyer to open an ofticc was ^^Ir. Harri- 
son Johnson, of Killingly. One of the first merchants was Na- 
than Williams, of Pomfret, associated for a time with ■ 

Ely, of Killingly. Manning & Plimpton soon followed on the 
east side of the river. Both these stores were largely patron- 
ized by residents of the hill towns, and business grew and 
multiplied in true Western style. Doctor Plimpton also en- 
gaged in medical practice. Doctor Benjamin Segiir opened a 
drug- shop opposite Perrin's store, near the railway crossing. 
Jeremiah vShum.way's tailor shop stood next to Perrin's store, 
across an alley, and the first saloon, kept by Cyrus Thornton, 
occupied Perrin's basement. Three churches meanwhile were 
pushing their way along, striving for precedence and building- 

The opening of the three great factories in Rhodesville in 
1846-47 added some hundreds to the population and gave addi- 
tional impetus to the growth of the villages. Mr. Wilkinson, 
now advanced in years, foresaw the future importance of this 
business center, but did not care to engage in new enterprises. 
For some years he was much occupied in settling the affairs of 
the Pomfret ^Manufacturing Company, making division of its 
large assets among its few claimants. The general business of 
the company was now managed by Mr. Edmond Wilkinson, who 
was also deeply interested in the development of his native 
vallev. ^luch land was now thrown into market and bought up 
by eager customers. Mr. Asa Cutler, a shrewd business man 
and successful manufacturer, was very prominent in this connec- 
tion, buying land and building many houses. In 1848 he asso- 
ciated with Thomas Dike,- John O. Fox and Newton Clark in 
building a large brick block for stores, with a fine hall above 
for public purposes. Lafayette Waters had charge of building 
this block, using 220,000 bricks in its construction. " Quinebaug 
Hall " was soon followed by a fine new " Quinebaug House," 


built by ~Sh-. Abraham Perrin, the occupant of another pleasant 
" Perrin farm " on the road to Pomfret. 

Several new roads were needed for the accommodation of 
builders and travelers. One of especial importance — the present 
Elm street --was laid out by Thompson selectmen in 1S47, upon 
petition from Tully Dorrance and others, viz., " Beginning- south 
side the present road at Rhodesville," th'ence partly by a bank- 
wall to the southwest corner of the porch of the school house, 
thence to a corner of the wall east side North Meadow street, 
thence to a corner of a barnyard belonging to Smith Wilkinson, 
thence to a post in the corner of a fence, thence to a point where 
it intersected the Pomfret Factory road. This road brought 
many new building lots into market, and served as an important 
link in bringing the villages together. The last road laid out by 
the Thompson selectmen was the present School street, in 18.'34, 
beginning on the south side of the road leading to Thompson, 
near the new school house, thence :n land of Edmond Wilkin- 
son, crossing a corner of Henry Thiirber's lot, by land of ^Martin 
Leach and x-Vsa Cutler, to the southeast corner of Doctor Henry 
Hough's lot, on the north side of the Killingly road. But it was 
found very difficult to procure all the accommodations needed 
in this rapid development. People were pouinng in on every 
side; new stores and business operations were constantly set in 
motion, and deraanid kept pace with expansion. 

With all this growth, and bustle and hurry, there was inev- 
itable clashing and jangling. Nothing could have been more 
complex and unmanageable than this cluster of villages, belong- 
ing to three distinct, independent towns, with no central author- 
ity to bring and hold them together, and legislate for their best in- 
terests. That so much order and harmony existed under such 
unfavorable circumstances was undoubtedly due in great meas- 
ure to the earlv character of the place as developed under the 
strong hand of IMr. Wilkinson. There was also something in the 
new spring and impulse, the pleasure of helping up-build a new 
and vigorous community, that brought the inhabitants into 
friendly and mutually helpful relations, working together as one 
man for the good of the whole section. As the inconvenience 
of the situation became more manifest, various projects of relief 
were suggested, such as separate voting places, borough privi- 
leges, etc., but nothing met the case till the formation of a new, 
independent town was suggested. Like many other popular 


movements, it seems to have started simultaneously from several 
sources, or if one man suggested this natural solution of a 
difficult problem, it was assimilated with such avidity that the 
name of the originator was swallowed up in universal acclama- 
tion. ^Ir. Edmond Wilkinson engaged in carrying out this 
project with great heartiness, giving freely money, time and 

A public meeting of those favoring a new town was promptly 
held, and an energetic committee appointed, through whose 
agency a petition was laid before the legi.slature in }*Iay, 1849, 
showing the difficulties of the situation, and praying that the 
villages known as Pomfret Depot, Wilkinsonville, Rhodesville, 
Ballouville and Morse's Village might be incorporated into a new 
town, made from portions of Thompson, Killingly, Pomfret and 
Woodstock, and designated as Ouinebaug. Indignant represen- 
tations from the four towns therein named procured a prompt 
rejection of this presumptuous petition. Opposition but in- 
creased the zeal and determination of the new town agitators, 
and made them more united in effort. New inhabitants coming 
in caught the spirit of the contest, and joined with the older cit- 
izens in contending for sectional rights and independence. Few 
battles have been fought in which there was more harmony 
among the assailants. There were no traitors in the camp. Few 
if any old town sympathizers were to be found in the villages, 
but in the outlying country demanded by the new town there 
were manv who objected strongly to any change in their munic- 
ipal relations, whose names swelled the mammoth memorials 
gathered by its opponents. 

Leaving out llarrisville from the prospective town, m ISjI 
petition was renewed for parts of Thompson, Killingly and Pom- 
fret. Again they were beaten, though evidently gaining the 
ear of the general public. The old towns perceiving the fiery 
spirit that animated their youthful adversary, roused themselves 
to greater effort. Their strongest men, their sliarpest lawyers 
were retained as committees and agents. An actor reports: 
"Each Legislature was besieged by the friends and opponents 
of the measure ; lobby members reaped a golden harvest ; much 
other business was seriously embarassed by this bitter and use- 
less strife ; party politics was invoked on both sides; to the 
democrats it was going to make a whig town and leave the old 
towns hopelessly whig, a result to be fearfully dreaded; and lo 

' 1 



the whigs it would make a democratic town, and inevitably fix 
democracy as the ruling- power in the old towns, and thus ruin 
the state and county ; to the miserly men the taxes would be in- 
creased enormously in both the old and the new towns." 

It is hard to realize that so much time, temper and money 
should haYe been freely squandered by three intelligent towns 
in fighting against the inevitable. Taking Putnam for name 
and watchword in 1854, after a brief suspension of hostilities, 
the new town champions battled on to victory. The rise of the 
know-nothing party and the election of !Mr. Sidney Deane as 
representative hastened the inevitable result, and the Goliath of 
conservatism fell before the youthful representative of energy % 

and progress. The final hearing of the case, Maj', 1855, excited f 

unusual interest in the state. Very able counsel was employed I 

on both sides. The closing arguments and pleas were offered | 

in one of the largest halls in Hartford, which was crowded with ^ 

eag-ar listeners. Hon. Charles Chapman made a forcible appeal | 

n behalf of the old towns. He was answered by Windham | 

dunty's special orator and advocate, ex-Governor Chauncey F. | 

Cleveland, a life -long democrat in the true sense of the word, | 

ths friend of the people and of everything relating to the highest | 

good and development of individuals and communities, who had | 

been deeply interested in this unequal struggle, and now sur- | 

passed himself in his most earnest pleas that the petitioners I 

should be allowed their reasonable request for expansion and I 

town privileges. Six years of arduous conflict were rewarded | 

by triumphant victory, and liberty to embody as a distinct town | 

was at length heartily accorded. Ringing bells and booming I, 

cannon bore the joyful tidings to the ears of conquerors and k 

defeated, and the Fourth of July celebration held a few days | 

later in Putnam village, had a new and vital meaning to its re- f 

joicing participants. While all citizens were interested, and to f 

a degree helpful, theniain burthen was borne by the van-leader, ^ 

Mr. Edmond Wilkinson, who planned and carried out details y 

from the begfinnins: to the end, and paid five-sixths of the leg-al * 

expenses. I 

The first town meeting was held at Quinebaug Hall, July 3d, | 

1855. George Warren, Esq., served as moderator. James W. ' 

Manning was chosen town clerk and treasurer; George Warren, f 

Horace Seamans, Luther Hopkins, selectmen; Asa Cutler, agent t:- 

of town deposit fund and treasurer of the same; Alanson Her- ■«; 


andean, Moses Chandler, Erastus Torrey, Abel Dresser, Jr., grand 
jurors; Abiel L. Clarke, constable. vSigu posts or bulletin 
boards were ordered to be set up, one near the depot, one at 
Sawyer's store, one at South Putnam, and others at any suitable 
place, and the several books needful for public records were or- 

pers.— Orchestral Music. ^Antique Art Loan Exhibition. — Village Cemetery 
— Other Burial Grounds.— Old Killingly Hill, now Putnam Heights.— East 
Putnam.— Its Local Institutions.- BiogTaphica! Sketches. 

AS we have already seen, the town of Putnam was incorpo- 
rated in May, 18,^.). i\.fter incorporation and organization 
the town set to work to adjust the many perplexing ques- 
tions which naturally confront a new corporation just starting 
out upon its voyage of existence. vSettlement with mother 
towns was amicably effected within a few months. Nine and a 
half scjuare miles and 1,S7G inhabitants had been taken from 
Thompson ; seven and a half square miles and 275 inhabitants 
from Killingly; three square miles and 168 inhabitants from 
Pomfret. The population of the new town was thus 2,319, of 
which about three-fourths were included in the village. The 
prescribed bounds were run by competent surveyors from the 
respective towns and confirmed by town authorities. Putnam's 
share of the property of the several towns, the school deposit 
fund and other funds, together with her proportion of public 
poor, were promptly made over, and its various affairs were soon 
settled upon a .satisfactory basis. Lucian Carpenter was ap- 
pointed sealer of weights and measures. It was voted that the 
number of selectmen, assessors and board of relief should be 
three each ; of grand jurvmen, four. October 1st, the town was 
called to vote upon its first constitutional amendment — "That 

;'' / s 



THE TOWN OF PUTNAM— (Concluded). 

Officers and .Statistics. — Layout of Roads and Naming Streets.— Establislmient of 
Churches.— Baptist Clmrch.— Congregational Church. — ilethodist Church.— 
Catholic Cluu-ch. — Episcopal Churcli. — Advent Christian Church. — ;Other 
Religious Societies. — Schools.— Cotton Manufactures. — Pomfret Factory 
Woolen Co. — Silk Manufactures. — Shoe Manufacture.— Artisans and Mechan- 
ics. — Business Men's Association. — Village Development. — Various Manufac- 
turing Enterprises. — Creamery. — Water Works. — Commercial Houses.— Bus- 
iness Blocks. — Hotels.— Banks.— Fire De])artnient. — Fraternal Societies. — 
Celebrations. — Temperance Movements.— Library Association. — Newspa- m 


CYcry person shall be able to read any article of the state consti- 
tution before being admitted as elector." The Yotes cast were 
1')-S — 88 in faYor, C..") against the amendment. On the same day 
the town held its first annual meeting and completed its quota 
of town officers. Assessors chosen were vSeth Babbitt, Eli R. 
Davis, Warren W. White ; board of relief, Benjamin Brayton, 
Richmond Bullock, Daniel Alton; selectmen, Horace Seamans, 
Walter S. Burlingame, Chandler A. Spalding ; town clerk, treas- 
urer and registrar, James W. ^^lanning; constables, Riley Smith, 
Archibald Kennedy; fence viewers, David Clark, Lucius E. 
Sawyer, Dan Cutler; grand jurors, Alanson Herandean, George 
E. A. Bugbee, Erastus Torrey, Abel Dresser, ^^lartin Leach; 
sealer of weights and measures, Lucian Carpenter ; pound keeper, 
Riley Page; haywards, Charles Pike, Prosper Bundy, Horace 
Cutler, Olney Whipple, Elliott Carpenter, George Perry, Palmer 
Hide; agent of town deposit fund, Asa Cutler. The assessors were 
ordered to make an equal assessment of every person's property 
according to actual value without reference to old abstracts - 
George Buck, George Warren, Richmond Bullock, auditors of 
accounts. Rooms in the Brick Block were to be hired for public 
meetings. The first justices chosen April 1st, I80G, were Horace 
Seamans, Hiram A. Brown, Henry C. Reynolds, Warren W. 
White. The first representative \vas Richmond M. Bullock. A 
probate court was constituted the same year and justice Horace 
Seamans unanimously elected judge. 

Thus legally established and provided with competent officers, 
Putnam went bravely onward, preeminently the modern town 
of northeastern Connecticut, booming with life, hope and en- 
ergy, rejoicing in its admirable location and manufacturing and 
railroad facilities. From its first starting it had the good for- 
tune to draw from the surrounding sections young men of ster- 
ling character and active business habits, who identified them- 
selves with the interests of the town, and gave their best ener- 
gies to its upbuilding and development. As in earlier years 
" God sifted three kingdoms to furnish seed for the planting of 
New England," so some of the best elements of three substantial 
towns were enwrought into the foundations of Putnam. Its 
subsequent growth has kept pace with this favorable beginning. 
Built up mainly by the gradual accession of men of moderate 
means and large energies, this growth has been healthful and 
natural, till now it stands among the leading inland towns of 



New EngLmd, in many respects a model among modern manu- 
facturing and railroad towns- — its distinguishing characteris-tie 
a large-hearted and aggressive public spirit, ever ready to make 
sacrifice of self for the good of the public. Its population at the 
latest count was nearing seven thousand ; grand list, Sl.OOo.OOS. 
For thirty-four years it has had the good fortune to retain as 
town clerk, treasurer and registrar the man who received the 
first choice of its voters, James W. Manning. Selectmen in 18SS : 
Omej La Rue, Lawson I. Bowen, "Walter P. White; assessors, 
Charles D. Torrey, Prescott Bartlett, Peter :M. Le Clair ; board 
of relief, Patrick O'Leary, Warren W. White, John S. D. Grant ; 
grand jurors, Louis Elontie, Edward Fly, John R. Cogswell, 
Lebbeus E. Smith ; constables, :Milo P. Corbin, Byron W. Car- 
penter, William H. Longdon, Edward De Croner, George B. In- 
graham ; haywards, 1. Fred Cutler; 2. W^illiam R. Holland; 3. 
David E. Clark ; 4. M. O. Bowen ; 5. William A. Pearson ; 6. 
Ashael Batty; S. W'alter White; auditors of town accounts, 
Samuel R. Spalding, "William A. Pearson. The running ex- 
penses of the town for the year ending August 31st, 18SS, were 
$30,000. Like other modern towns with lofty aspirations Put- ^ 

nam has been compelled to cumber itself with a debt in carrying 
out the various improvements that have seemed imperatively s J 

needful, whose interest is a heavy item in annual expenditure. gj 

Among the extras of ISSS were .some $700 expended in clearing p 

the roads of snow, after the famous ]Mai-ch blizzard. ^J 

Putnam, as previously hinted, has been greatly exercised by % 

the uncertain laying out of some of its first roads. By untiring M 

effort difficulties have been in a great measure sur- ^ 

mounted, old streets widened and new ones laid out where need- 
ful. Among her notable achievements has been the clearing up, 
laying out and transformation of the hills east of the village, 
which in IS.^).") were still reposing in aboriginal rudeness, covered 
with rock and forest. One of the first to aid in the transforma- 
tion of Oak hill was Mr. Ebenczer Farrows, who purchased wild 
land on the east side of Oak hill, together with a boggy swamp 
eastward. By hard labor in draining this swamp and clearing 
the brush, Mr. Farrows prepared the way for human habitation. 
A street that bears his name now runs from Ring street to Wal- 
nut street, continuing thence over what were formerly the 
wooded heights of vShippee hill. Handsome dwelling houses, 
" beautiful for situation," adorn the various streets crowning 



Oak hill. ^lany public spirited citizens have aided in this woik 
of transformation, clearing- off the road, digging out rocks, mak- 
ing ready for the laying out of convenient streets. An angle 
long left to disreputable rubbish, has been lately purified, re- 
constructed and built i:p with tasteful dwellings, through the 
enterprise of Doctor }tliller. Even the historic " Dow's Grove," 
with all its serious and mirthful associations, its memories of re- 
ligious meetings, band concerts and rink skating, has been forced 
to bow before the ruthless hand of progress. Purchased by one 
most prominent in the later building up of the town at a recent 
date, it is already reclaimed, graded, laid out into handsome 
streets and a large number of eligible building lots, offering- 
ample accommodations for many present and prospective resi- 

As soon as it became manifest to the " gathering multitude " 
that the villages in the vicinity of Pomfret Factory were to be 
consolidated into one comprehensive organism, plans Avere set 
on foot for the establishment of churches. The old inhabitants 
of Pomfret Factory were distinctively meeting goers, faithfully 
attending service in the adjacent churches, and greatly enjoying 
the religious gatherings in their own school house. As Rhodes- 
ville grew up and both villages increased in population it was 
most interesting to see the families and foot travelers starting 
off on a fair summer morning for West Thompson, Pomfret and 
Killingly. The Baptists, first in the field, probabh' led in num- 
bers, many of them being members of the Pomfret Baptist 
church. Reverend Benjamin Congdon, a son of this church, 
and then its faithful and devoted pastor, encouraged the church 
members in the valley in their efforts to maintain stated worship 
among themselves. A humble petition that the mother church 
"would, by a vote, delegate to us all the authority and priv- 
ileges of a branch of your body," was kindly received, and on 
January 17th, 18-17, the branch was duly constituted, it being 
understood that such a body could exercise all the powers of an 
independent church, except that of disciplining and excluding 
members. Harrison Johnson was chosen cleik; Elliott Caipen- 
ter and William Johnson to assist in the administration of the 
Lord's Supper. Meetings were held alternately at the brick and 
Rhodesville school houses; Reverend Lucius llc^lmesof Thc>mp- 
son, a promising young minister, serving as pulpit supply, while 
the probable cost and location of a meeting house was discussed 



and canvassed, Mr. Holmes was hired to preach for a year, but 
ere long it was fon nd that he had adopted Universalist sentiments. 

Having thus virtually lost minister and place of worship, the 
persevering Baptists repaired for service to the passenger rocm 
in the depot. The committee appointed " To .see if a sufficient | 

sum of money could be rai.sed to build a new house of worship," # 

reported in its favor, and after much discussion between the ad- |, 

vocates of rival sites, it was voted by a majority- of one, " To lo- ^ 

cate on the western side of the river," on land given to the 
church by Messrs. vSmith and Edmond Wilkinson. David Clark, 
Rhodes G. Allen, Doctor Henry W. Hough, William Johnson 
and Reverend D. D. Lyon were appointed building committee. 

After obtaining dismission from the Pomfret church, it was 
voted, August 30th, 18-17, "To form ourselves into an independ- 
ent church." David Clark, Elliott Carpenter, Amos Carpenter, 
Jarad Chollar were chosen church committee; Harrison John- 
son, clerk and treasurer. Reverend D. D. Lyon served as sup- 
ply during the year, working " with his own hands on the found- 
ation of the building," soliciting funds, baptizing new converts, 
and was succeeded by Reverend Solomon Gale. 

]\lay 30th, 1848, was a memorable day in the history of the 
church. An ecclesiastic council, held at the house of R. G. Al- 
len, welcomed the Wilkinson Baptist church into the fellowship 
of Baptist churches, and the new house of worship was formally 
dedicated. Sermons were preached by Reverends Charles Wil- 
Ictt and J. Swan. David Clark and Elliott Carpenter were con- 
firmed in the office of deacon. In the following May Mr. Gale 
was siicceedod by the Reverend Allan Darrow, a man of exper- 
ience and strong character, well adapted to guide a young church 
in a growing community. The office of clerk and treasurer was 
held successively by Jared Chollar, Dwight T. Meech, Arthur 
Tripp, James W. Manning, Ezra D. Carpenter, Joseph Lippitt. 
The membership of the church constantly increased, embracing 
many active, devoted, faithful brethren and sisters. Reverend 
Charles Willett succeeded to the pastorate in 18n4, another strong 
and influential minister, leaving deep impress upon the life and 
character of his hearers. His successor, in IS;")?, was Reverend 
W. C. Walker, a man of lovely spirit and great earnestness, who 
labored with signal success during the memorable revival of 1857 
-SS, and received many into church membership. His earnest 
patriotism and great popularity with the soldiers led him to ac- 


cept the chaplaincy of the 18th Connecticut regiment, a position 
which he filled with great usefulness and acceptance. ^Ir. \Vil- 
lett, " without a dissenting voice," resumed his former charge. 

The first meeting house had now become too small for the con- 
gregation, and was enlarged and remodelled. J. W. jManning 
and G. W. Carver were elected deacons in 1865, "to assist their 
aged brethren in the spiritual concerns of the church." 'Mr. 
Willett resigned his position in October, 1872, and was followed 
in November by Reverend B. F. Bronson, D.D.. a veteran pastor, 
highly esteemed throughout the Baptist denomination. In the fol- 
lowing February the Baptist meeting house was destroyed by fire. 
Immediate efforts were made to replace it by a more substantial 
and commodious structure. ^Ir. Rhodes Allen and others who 
had helped build the first sanctuary, were equally ready to give 
and labor for the second. Mr. George M. Morse, Deacon Man- 
ning and many others gave largely of their substance, and on 
May ICth, 1874, the beautiful house was ready for dedication. 
The interesting services were conducted by Doctor Bronson. 
Prayers were offered by the former pastors, Mr. Willett and 
■Chaplain Walker. The sermon was preached by Mr. Davies of 
Norwich, in place of Doctor Lorrimor, detained by illness. In 
1875 George ^I. Morse and Frederick E. Lovering were added to 
the number of deacons. Charles N. Allen succeeded Mr. Lip- 
pitt as clerk and treasurer. Doctor Bronson continued in charge 
till 18S1, and was greatly valued as a man of broad and catholic 
spirit as well as fervent piety, of high culture, fine taste and 
much versatility. Reverend J. R. Stubbert entered upon the pas- 
torate April 1st, 188-3. 

A commodious parsonage was now provided on land given b}- 
Deacon G. M. Morse. In 1887 'SI. L. Aldrich was chosen clerk, 
and George A. Smith, treasurer. At the same date the pews 
were declared free, and the church to be supported by the volun- 
tary contributions of the people. For more than forty years 
the Baptist church of Putnam has ably fulfilled an important 
mission, and made itself a power in a rapidly developing com- 
munity. Many revivals have been enjoyed, adding largely to 
its membership. Much aggressive work has been successfully 
carried forward. The Sabbath school connected with the church 
is very flourishing, embracing 584 members. The present mem- 
bership of the church is over five hundred. 

Congregationalists closely followed Baptists in effort and or- 
ganization. Residents of the valley had been long connected 


with the old church on Killing-ly hill, afterward recognized as 
the First Cong-regational church of Putnam, and many of the 
new inhabitants were members of other Congregational 
churches. Two ministers in the vicinity, foreseeing the im- 
portance of the position and believing that a church of the 
Congregational polity might be sustained, laid the matter be- 
fore the Windham County Association of Ministers in 1847. 
That body appointed Reverend George Tillotson, of Brooklyn 
(son-in-law of 'Sir. Wilkinson), to devote four or five Sabbaths, 
and as much intervening time as was practicable, in surveying 
the field and awakening interest. The brick school house wa.s 
secured for stated services upon the Sabbath. Reverend E. B. 
Huntington labored as missionary. July 9th,lS4S, a church was 
organized in the brick school house, with twenty-seven members, 
nine of them males, dismissed from twelve churches. Nathan 
Williams and Amherst Robinson were chosen deacons. Mr. 
Huntington was installed pastor in November, 1848. 

The church gained steadily, but did not think it wise to agitate 
the question of building a house of worship, and Quinebaug Hall 
was used for that purpose. A building lot on the corner of Alain 
and Pomfret streets was given to the society by Messrs. Wil- 
kinsons and Dorrance, and here a small church edifice was 
built, and dedicated January 15th, 1852. ]Mr. Huntington had 
been then succeeded by Reverend J. Leonard Corning, an able 
and attractive preacher, soon demanded by churches of larger 
promise. The pulpit was supplied by Reverend Sidney Deane 
and Reverend J. R. Johnson until 1856, when a change of base 
had been effected and the church recognized as the Second Con- 
gregational church of Putnam. The impulse given in the crea- 
tion of the new town extended quickly to the churches. During 
the ministry of Reverend Eliakim Phelps the number of church 
members steadily increased, and during the great revival of 
1858 many were gathered in. Reverend George Tillotson en- 
tered upon the pastorate March lOth of that year, when the 
church numbered abotit one hundred members. Year by year 
gain was made in numbers, efficiency and liberality. Ere long 
the congregation had outgrown the place of worship, and the 
site of the present church edifice was secured. The former lot 
was sold, and an ample and convenient church building erected, 
and dedicated April 28th, 1870. The membership of the church 
was then increased to over two hundred. December 20th, Rev- 


erend Thomas ^I. Boss was installed as pastor, and served for 
six years with zeal and efficiency. A quarter-century cominem- 
oration was observed the second Sabbath of July, 1S73, when a 
very interesting historical discourse was given by Mr. Boss. 
Reverend E. B. Huntington, first pastor of the church, assisted 
in the gervicc,and reminiscences were related in the evening ex- 
ercises by older members of the church. A system of rules for 
the ordering of the church was adopted during the pastorate of 
Mr. Boss. 

Records and minutes of church affairs were ;in fortunately 
destroyed in the great fire. Mr. Boss was dismissed in ]87(J, 
and succeeded by Reverend C. S. Brooks, installed }klay 2l)th, 
■1877, who continued in service ten years, during which period 
the church maintained steady growth and prosperity. The 
present pastor. Reverend A. D. Love, was installed July 2Uth, 
1887, and entered upon his work with great earnestness. The 
present membership of the church is 328. Messrs. Myron Kin- 
ney, E. M. Wheaton, T.. P. Botham and F. W. Perry serve as 
deacons; J. Davenport, clerk; H. N. Fenn, treasurer; S. H. vSew- 
ard, superintendent of Sunday school, which enrolls some 'S(>() 
members. Sunday schools are also carried on at Harrisville and 
in Sawyer's district, numbering about a hundred pupils. Regu- 
lar preaching services are held in these districts and at Putnam 

Methodists had long been prominent in the Ouinebaug valley, 
holding services in Cargilbs mill house, Perrin's dwelling house 
and later in the brick school house. The first Methodist camp 
meeting in eastern Connecticut was held in Perrin's Grove in 
18US, and many other famous meetings were held in the same 
locality. " Dow's Grove," lately [Mechanics' Park, received its 
first name from a service held tlierein by the noted Lorenzo 
Dow, who finding the brick school house already occupied by 
Elder Grow and the Baptist brethren, drove on into the woods 
on the Killingly road, hung his hat upon a twig and began 
preaching or rather reciting poetry. Yet so numerous in the 
vicinity, Methodists were .slow in establishing regular worship 
and removing their relationship from the West Thompson 
church. The mile or two was of little consequence in those 
days when worshippers were accustomed to Sabbath days' jour- 
neying, and the Thompson society was strong and vigorous, 
with the best of Methodist singing and preaching. It was not 



till Putnam had become a town that measures were taken for '^ 

providing- a Methodist liouse of worship. Land was loaned bv |. 

the Xightino-ale Manufacturing Company and building initia- | 

ted. • ' ^ I 

A number of !^Iethodist brethren and sisters, mostly mem- I 

bers of the West Thompson church, organized as a distinct body | 

-June 25th, 1S5S, Reverend L. B. Bates officiating. Worship was I 

maintained in Morse's Hall till the opening of the new church ^ 

edifice. Dedication services were held December 30th, con- | 

ducted mainly by Elders Ramsdell and Bates. In 1859 Elder t 

C. S. Sanford served as pastor, when the membership had | 

reached over a hundred. Reverends H. W. Conant, G. W. Brews- | 

ter, James ]\Iather, John Lovejoy, Robert Clarke, L. D. Bentley, I 

James Thomas, A. N. Bodfish, E. F. Jones, W. P. Stoddard, L. | 

P. Cansey, James Tregaskis, George H. Butler, have served sue- | 

cessively as pastors of this church. An interesting historical f 

discourse was prepared by Mr. Clarke in 18C8. All debts were I 

then paid and the society flourishing. The present pastor is J 

Reverend Wilbur C. Newell ; church membership, 110 ; Sunday | 

school members, 90. I 

Putnam, like other modern manufacturing towns, embraces | 

now a large foreign element. In the former days of " Pomfret ■ 

Factory and Rhodcsville," masters and workmen were alike of f 

New England stock, descended mainly from old Puritan fam- i 

ilies, to whom the very name of Catholic was the embodiment of .| 

false doctrine and usurped authority. The advent of the first v 

French Canadian, Peter Donough, in 1843, with a large family | 

of children, their foreign tongues and ways, excited | 

much curiosity and interest. Other Canadians followed with | 

troops of children, and after the opening of the three great fac- f 

tories in 1848, foreign operatives were very generally employed. | J 
Reverend Michael McCabe was sent by the Catholic bishop of 
Connecticut to look after these wandering sheep and hold relig- 
ious services. For a time most of these foreigners only staid to 
earn a little money and take it back toCanada, but as their num- 
bers multiplied a portion became permanent residents. 

Holy Mass was now celebrated monthly in Ouinebaug Hall, and 
an acre of land purchased for religious purposes. Putnam parish, 
as then constituted, embraced also Pomfret, Woodstock and 
Thompson. Reverend William E. Duffy, Pascoag, R. I., was 
placed in charge as a missionary in 1858, and in the following 


year laid the foundation of the first Catholic house of worship in 
northeastern Connecticut. It was a small wooden structure, 
costing when completed a little over two thousand dollars, but 
was considered quite an achievement for this migratory and scat- 
tered population. Little progress was made till the advent of 
Reverend Eugene J. Vygen, in 1865, a newly ordained minister | 

from Belgium, consecrated to missionary work in the United | 

States. vSent to administer the sacraments to tl^e Catholics of j 

Putnam, he was greatly moved by the spiritual destitution of the 
people. Without resident priest, schools or burial ground, it was ' j 

no marvel that " scandals became frequent and the Church of I 

God suffered." The keen-eyed young missionary saw at a glance ^ | 

the great capabilities of the field. vSome half-dozen large cotton j 

manufactories in Putnam and Thompson were bringing in hun- j 

dreds of Catholic families. Putnam village gave promise of be- - { 

coming an important business center, and was the natural church j 

home of this increasing Catholic population. With much earn- 
estness Father Vygen laid the need and opportunity before the | 
bishop of the diocese, and was allowed to enter upon the Putnam j 
pa.storate. ! 
The result has far more than realized his most sanguine { 
anticipations. Giving his whole time and energies to the . | 
work, within two years he had secured the laying out and con- 
secration of a convenient Catholic cemetery, purcha.sed other 
land, and erected a pastoral residence, and fused the scattered 
elements into a united and reverent congregation. Before pro- 
ceeding to erect a worthy church edifice he returned to Europe 
and gathered aid from many friends, and then entered upon this 
great work with redoubled energy and enthusiasm. The wooden 
structure was soon replaced by a substantial brick building, with 
trimmings of light gray granite. Its interior was very fine, fitted 
up with much care and taste. The altar was "a gem of art," 
adorned with angels wrought in Munich, "of the highest order 
of art, ideality and beauty." Above and back of the altar were 
three stained glass windows. The semi-dome over-arching the 
altar was divided into five panels, colored in deep blue and stud- 
ddd with gold stars ; in each was the representation of an ador- 
ing angel, each carrying an emblem of the pas.sion of our Lord. 
The first carries the crown of thorns ; the second the cross ; the 
third the palm of victory; the fourth the chalice; the fifth car- 
r>'ing wheat, significant of the Eucharist. Pulpit and organ were 


in keeping. This beautiful structure, capable of seating fifteen 
hundred people, was formally consecrated as St. ]\Iary's church, 
by Right Reverend Bishop McFarland, November 24th, 1870, 
and for nearly five years had served the purposes of its construc- 
tion, receiving thousands of joyful worshippers, when almost in a 
moment it was reduced to ashes. So rapid was the fire that not 
one of its valued treasures was rescued — library, organ, altar, 
chalice, were all consumed. The building with its contents was 
valued at §85.000. With his accustomed energy Father Vygen 
at once commenced the erection of a chapel, celebrating mass on 
Sundays meanwhile at Ouinebaug Hall. November 1st, 1S7C, 
St. Joseph's Hall was dedicated by Right Reverend Bishop Gal- 
berry — a neat and tasteful building in the rear of the blackened 
ruins, furnishing seats for eight hundred people. The erection 
of Catholic church edifices in other towns has somewhat di- 
minished the number of regular attendants at Putnam, so that this 
hall has continued to accommodate the congregation. In 1873 
Reverend H. ]\IartiaL afterward the much-beloved and respected 
pastor of Grosvenor Dale parish, was appointed assistant of 
Father Vygen. Reverend,s Thomas P. Joynt, Alphonse Van Op- 
pen and Edward Chapdelaine have also served as curates. Father 
E. J. Vygen*, now the senior minister in Putnam, is much beloved 
by his people and respected by all for his consistent Christian 
character and faithful labors in behalf of temperance, morality 
and all salutary enterprises. 

A recent survev of Putnam, accomplished under the direction 
of the Connecticut Bible Society, gives the following denomina- 
tional statistics : 

Advent families 29. Individuals 105. 

Baptist " 194. " .... 82.-). 

Congregational families. .102. " 529. 

Episcopal families 17. " 74. 

Methodist •' 08. " .... 248. 

Roman Catholic families. .593. " 3,135. 

Universalist families 34. " 115. 

Scattering families 11. " .... 31. 

The number of Catholic families and individuals thus consid- 
erably exceeds those of all other denominations combined. In 
regard to nationalities, the report shows : American families, 
588 ; individuals. 2.198. French families, 4G4 ; individuals, 2,004. 
Irish families, 105; individuals, 433. English families, 21; in- 

*Father Vygen died in October, 1889.— i^^cf. 


dividuals, l(i9. Others, nine families with fifteen members. The 
Catholic church grounds include the ruins of St. Mary's church, 
St. Joseph's Hall, a conYcnt, school house, parsonage, gas build- 
ing, music stand, park, flower garden. They also haYC laid out 
and own St. Joseph's Park upon the Quincbaug, south of the 
village, a part of the old Perrin farm. Within the last twenty 
years there has been a great change in the character and stand- 
ing of the " foreign element." It is more and more manifest 
that it has come to stay. Children of these families growing up 
in the town are truly citizens. Many own their own homes and 
farms, engage in agriculture and trade, and are identified in 
many ways with the growth and development of the town, shar- 
ing in the administration of government. A^'ery interesting ser- 
vices have recently been held in Putnam in commemoration of 
the twenty-fifth anniversary of Father Vygen's ordination. Ju- 
bilee services began }>Ionday evening, April 1st, at Exhibition 
Hall, when all the societies connected with the church were 
present in regalia, with all the school children, members of 
the boarding school and hundreds of spectators. A brilliant 
procession accompanied the Reverend Father to the church the 
next morning, where high mass was performed, Bishop ^Ic^SIa- 
hon and a dozen priests assisting, yiore than twenty Catholic 
clergymen were present on this occasion. A vast audience filled 
Exhibition Hall, where an ovation was given by the young la- 
dies of the convent .school, consisting of music, song and ad- 
dresses. Very interesting congratulatory and historic addresses 
were made by Doctor La Rue in behalf of the Canadian element 
of the, and by IMr. Patrick O'Leary in behalf of the Irish. 
In summing up the results of twenty-three years' faithful labor, 
it was noted that in ISOG the whole property of the Catholic 
church in this section was one little wooden building with the 
site on which it stood, while in 1SS9 it numbers five churches, 
five priests, two convents and two large parochial schools. 

Regular Episcopal services were established in Putnam in 
November, 18G8, under charge of Reverend J. W. Clark, now 
rector of St. James' church, Washington, D. C. These services 
were held m l^rown's Hall during the erection of St. Philip's 
chapel, on Elm street. The corner stone of this edifice was laid 
with appropriate ceremonies, October IStli, 1S7U, and the house 
opened for worship February •?4th, 1874, Bishops Williams, of 
Connecticut, and Paddock, of Massachusetts, and other noted cler- 


gymen assisting in the exercises. About a hundred families j 

have been connected with this, of whom a considerable i 

number are residents of neighboring towns. Reverend J. W. 

Clark was succeeded in 187G by Reverend E. Jessup, who was 

followed successively by Reverends P. H. Whaley, W. F. Bielby 

and A. P. Chapman. The present imcumbent is Reverend T. 

H. Chiirch. The seatings in the church are free. 

An Advent Christian church was organizx-d in 1870, Reverend | 

D. Matthewson pastor. This church has erected a neat chapel f 

and maintains stated services. Its pastor is an earnest and faith- | 

ful laborer. f 

September 12th, 1SS7, Universalists organized as a distinct i 

church, holding services in the hall of the Grand Army of the | 

Republic. Reverend D. L. R. Libby serves as its pastor. Trus- I 

tees of the parish are: Orrin Morse, chairman : J. F. Weather- | 

head, clerk; Marvin Barrett, treasurer; H. P. Benner, R. B. * 

Stroud, Irwin II. Roberts. | 

Spiritualists maintained stated services for a number of years, | 

but are now disbanded. f 

Putnam enjoys a peculiar religious institution in what is I 

known as the " Holiness Prayer Meeting," carried on year after » 

year in ]\Iorse's Hall, with ever-increasing interest. Christians | 

of various denominations and towns, pledged to higher life and | 

deeper spiritual consecration, have found these union meetings f 

a special means of grace to themselves and the source of un- f 

measured blessings to many sympathizing attendants. f 

Schools received immediate care from the fathers of Putnam. | 

Their first meeting as a school society was held at Quinebaug i 

Hall, Jul_v 9th, 18.W. Closes Chandler was chosen clerk and 
treasurer. The first school committee were its honored citizens, 
Chandler A.Spalding, Richmond M. Bullock and Lucian Carpen- 
ter. Reverend Charles Willett, ^Messrs. Harrison Johnson, G. 
"W. Phillips, \V. \V. White and Xathan Williams were appointed 
school visitors; Lucian Carpenter, collector. At the second 
meeting, September 21st, Messrs. Manning, Willett and B. F. 
Hutchius were empowered to set out and bound districts. Octo- 
ber 6th, a larger number were designated for the important ser- 
vice of investigating and fi.\.ing suitable district boiindaries, viz., 
James Allen, William Tourtellote, Alvan D. Potter, Henry 
Hough, L. Hopkins. Their elaborate report was mainly ac- 
cepted, and after some minor alterations the bounds were allowed 


nearly as at present. Some distant portions of the territory were 
associated witli adjoining districts in other towns. The six dis- 
tricts wholly included in Putnam, after subsequent changes and 
consolidation, were generally known as: 1, East Putnam; 2, South 
Neighborhood; H, Putnam Heights; 4, Gar}- District; o, Depot 
Village; C, Rhodesville. The first formal school report was pre- 
sented by Visitors Horace Seamans and Daniel Plimpton in 1859. 
Number of children then reported in town, GS5; number of non- 
attendants, 196. The expense of maintaining public schools for 
the year, including repairs of school houses, was nineteen hun- 
dred dollars; monthly wages paid to male teachers, §31.27; to fe- 
male teachers. $10.54. Judge Seamans resigned his position in 
18G2, after seven years' faithful service, his experience in teach- 
ing and deep interest in public education and the growth of the 
town, giving much weight to his counsel and judgment. Doc- 
tor Plimpton succeeded as chairman of the board of visitors. 
The growth of the schools in the central districts was now very 
rapid, demanding new school houses and additional teachers. In 
his careful reports Doctor Plimpton tirged with much earnest- 
ness the special needs of Putnam village, viz., the consolidation 
of the two districts, and the establishment of graded schools with 
suitable high school. This project was warmly discussed, hav- 
ing earnest friends and equally earnest opponents. 
. _ In ISGG a vote was carried in town meeting to accept the act 
of legislature allowing consolidation and a Union school district. 
Strenuous objections were made at the time, especially from the 
upper district. At a special town meeting, January ."jth, 1807, 
this vote was rescinded by 93 versus 90. Agitation continued, 
and zealous efforts on both sides, resulting in what was called 
"the Sixth District School Fight," an episode in I'utnam's his- 
tory meriting Carlyle's "wise oblivion."' A motion from one of 
the chief opposers of consolidation laid the question on the 
table by a final vote of 140 versus 111. 

Doctor Plimpton was succeeded as chairman of the board of 
visitors by Reverend G. J. Tillotson, who, like his predecessors, 
gave much time and thought to the interests of the schools, es- 
pecially those of the central districts, now numbering G72 of the 
83S children. Irregular attendance and lack of accommodation 
and suitable classification were greatly deplored. In 1809 new 
buildings were reported, with over a thou.sand children. An- 
other veteran schoolteacher, Mr. J.J. Green, was now very active 


in school affairs, himself instructing- adult pupils in a night 
school. Doctor Bronson and Mr. W. H. Ward also served very 
efiiciently on the school board. As the children of the early res- 
idents of the town grew up into maturity the need of higher ed- 
ucational privileges was more vitally apparent. Jul}- ^athilSTS, 
a meeting was called to consider the question of establishing a 
high school. A motion to dissolve the meeting was lost by a 
majority of ten. A majority of twelve voted to establish a high 
school in Putnam. It was further voted to raise $12,000 for 
school lot and building. ^Messrs. Manning, Alton, Wheelock, 
Wilson and Fisher were chosen a committee to discharge all du- 
ties relating to the projected school: ^Messrs. Chamberlain, 
Houghton, Capen, H. X. Krown, Salem Ballard, committee for 
site. Land was purchased from Mr. G. M. 2^Iorse. Messrs. Phil- 
lips, Carpenter, G. M. Morse, Capen and AVheelock were appoint- ? . 
ed committee for building. A room was hired for school pur- | ' 
poses and the high school actually begun during- this year. Ad- | 

ditional funds were needed for building purposes in the autumn. 
The prospect of a heavy debt and greatly increased school ex- | 

penditures was very distasteful to taxpayers in the town, espe- 1 

cially to those who had no personal interest in a high school. f 

October 0th the town was again called together, to reconsider f 

the question and rescind previous votes. A majority of 47 au- f 

thoritatively decided that the school had come to stay; that a .| 

public high school had become an imperative necessity. Forty. |, 

nine pupils were reported the first term, with Latham Fitch | 

principal, and Ellen Osgood assistant. The school building was |' \ 

dedicated, with appropriate exercises, December 1st, 1S74. Su- |: | 

perintendent Xorthrup and other prominent friends of education | j 

were present. • The number of pupils was then 65 — 8 from out- f 

side the town. f. 

In the fifteen years following this opening the school has |' 

been well sustained. Competent and faithful teachers have 0, 

required and secured a high standard of scholarship. Hundreds 
of pupils within the limits of the town, and a goodly number of 
outside pupils, have enjo_\-ed its advantages. Public graduation 
exercises from vear to vcar have excited much interest. Schol- 
ars have gone out fitted for higher seminaries and college, and 
for various departments of business and usefulness. Graduates 
and .scholars have united in a Putnam High School Association, 
keeping alive friendship and interest by plea.sant •• Field-days " 


in Roseland Park. At the dose of the last school year nine 
graduates pa'rticipatcd in the exercises. The influence of the 
school has been every way salutary and stimulating;. The pub- 
lic schools throughout the town are in good condition. An 
interesting report is recently given of the closing exercises in 
Sawyer's district, formerly "District Xo. 1," of the town of 
Thompson. Out of fortj'-two scholars the average attend- 
ance was thirty-seven. The number of children reported in 
Putnam in 1888, between four and sixteen years of age, 
was 1,558; account for high school, §5,277.82; for district 
schools, S5.C.77.45; for night schools, $349.83. School visitors: 
Lucius H. Fuller, Eric H. Johnson, J. B. Kent, Omer La Rue, 
Frank H. Church, Darius S. Skinner. Mr. Skinner also serves 
as truant officer. 

Parochial schools are also maintained for the boys and girls of 
the Catholic parish, under the auspices and superintendence of 
Fathel- Vygen. The school house was built in 1873, together 
with a very commodious and ample edifice, designed for a first- 
class boarding school for young ladies, conducted by Sisters of 
Mercy. These buildings are on the church grounds, near St. 
Joseph's Hall and the ruins of St. Mary's church, and are fitted 
up with great care and taste. Part of the cost was defrayed by 
the insurance on the burnt cathedral. The schools were opened 
in April. 1874. At least four hundred pupils attend the paro- 
chial schools, and about sixty the boarding school. This school 
is of a high order, conducted by devoted and accomplished Sis- 
ters. The first superior and principal. Sister ^l. Josephine, a 
person of high mental attainments, died in 1870. Her suc- 
cessor, ^L Paula, is well qualified for the duties of her charge, 
and young women graduating from this institution sustain a 
rigid examination with great credit. The admirable discipline 
and order observed in these schools, the superior and thorough 
character of the buildings, the beauty of the grounds, testify in 
the strongest terms to the energy and fidelity of their reverend 

The manufacture of cotton goods, the prime element in Put- 
nam's early growth and prosperity, is still its dominant interest, 
engrossing the largest amount of capital, giving employment to 
by far the largest number of residents. Rhodesville leads in 
this manufacture with its mammoth mills and myriad looms. 
As in former davs Mr. Smith Wilkinson stood for the embodi- 


ment of manufacturing- enterprise, so now one man stands at 
the head of three large establishments, oYersecing the general 
interests of a business far beyond the highest ideal of preYious 
generations. The ^lorse mill with its large addition, the fine 
Powhatan mill erected in 1873, the mills of the former Night- 
ingale Company, including the old Rhodesville mill, are all un- 
der the management of the general agent and part proprietor, 
George M. ^^lorse ; G. C. Nightingale, treasurer. A capital of 
$600,000 is inYested in these manufactories. jMore than nine 
hundred looms are run, and about eight hundred hands em- 
ployed. The former Ballou mill passed into the hands of Mr. 
Edward Cutler, a much respected resident of Putnam, who car- 
ried on the establishment for a number of Years. He was suc- 
ceeded by an association of Providence gentlemen, known as the 
Putnam Manufacturing Company, which after various reverses, 
still retains the privilege. South of the Falls, on Meadow street, 
are the fine new buildings of the ^Monohansett ^Manufacturing 
Company for the manufacture of sheetings, established in 1872 
— Estus Lamb and George W. Holt, of Providence, proprietors. 
About 175 hands are emplo3-ed by this company — George W. 
Holt, president; A. F. Lamb, treasurer; George W. Holt, jr., 
resident agent. 

The old Pomfret Factory Woolen Company, which under the 
management of Mr. M. Moriarty, had been doing a very success- 
ful business, was seriously crippled by the failure of a large 
wool house in Xew York and after a year's struggle was forced 
to make an a.ssignment. The present Putnam Woolen Company 
was organized in 1878; E. A. Wheelock, resident agent and 
treasurer. This company improves the privilege of the former 
woolen company in the manufacture of cassimere, employing 
nineteen sets of machinery and over three hundred hands. 

With the influx of new blood and capital several new and 
promising industries have been established. In this aggressive 
age the supreme authority of King Cotton has been questioned, 
and wool, silk, iron, steel and even such down-trodden entities 
as shoes, assert their claim to equal sovereignty. 

The manufacture of silk goods was introduced in Putnam by 
Messrs. G. A. ILammond and C. C. Knowlton, January 1st, 1878. 
Land and building on the flat below the falls was procured from 
Mr. G. M. Morse, one of the contracting parties, and great pains 
taken with all the initiatorv arrangements for this novel enter- 


hurried matters to a crisis, and Thompson's elected representa- | 

tive carried all before him in a most eloquent appeal in behaif 

of the new town. The •' tide " in Mr. Deane's affairs that set in 

with his championship of the future Putnam, swept him on to a | 

seat in congress and political life, leaving the shoe manufacture * 

in the hands of one of his assistants, :Mr. Charles M. Fisher. 

" Fisher & Clarke " carried on the business for a year, then 

Fisher alone for a year. In ISoO Edward T. Whitmore associated 

with Mr. Fisher, under the firm name of " Fisher & Whitmore," 

their partnership continuing about eight years. 

Great changes were continually made in this manufacture by 
the introduction of machinery and new modes of working, in- 
volving the necessity of larger accommodations and outlay. 
William G. Tourtellotte was associated for a time with j\Ir. 
Fisher, as C. M.- Fisher & Co. Thomas P. Botham, Hiram H. 
Burnham and William D. Case were later partners, who repre- 
sent the firm since the death of 'Mv. Fisher, vSeptember 30th, 
1886. About 120,000 pairs of shoes are annually produced by 
this firm, employing from eighty to a hundred hands. Steam 
power is used as far as practicable. 

Mr. Whitmore continued in the shoe business, havmg for a 
time W. H. Toiirtellotte for a partner, and then, with 'Mr. W. S. 
Johnson, established the firm of "Whitmore & Johnson," mak- 
ing women's, boy's and misses' boots and shoes. Losing their 
factory in one of Putnam's destructive fires, they now occupy 
the "old silk mill," abandoned by, the silk manufacturers for 
a larger building. Reside carrying on this extensive manu- 
factory, [Nlr. Whitmore has operated in real estate, building a 
number of houses on Elm street. Mr. Artcmas Corbin, who 
has been for many years connected with shc^e manufacture in 
Putnam, and Mr. Prescott Bartlett, are engaged in the manu- 
facture of slippers, employing each a considerable" number of 

Carpenters and mas(jns, workers in wood and stone, have 
found abundant employment in Putnam. The Truesdells, Whit- 
fords, Chamberlains, Farrows, Waters, Herendicn are among 
the many who have helped build up the town. John O. Fox, 
so useful in many ways, opened a luniber yard about 18C0. 
The Bundys have long served as house painters in Putnam, 
and adjoining ttnvns have called out a corresponding advance 
in the whole line of house building and decoration. The old- 



time house carpenter, plodding interminably over a single 
dwelling, is superseded by great establishments, with gangs of 
jolly workmen, driving jauntily about and hastily throwing up 
Queen Anne and other fanciful structures. Much of the ma- 
terial used is prepared by machinery and steam. B. 'M. Kent 
established in 1875 a manufactory of window frames, sashes, 
doors, blinds, balusters and kindred articles, ^lucli work has 
been accomplished by contractors Kelly and Wheaton, erecting 
many of the fine new buildings in Putnam, Pomfret and other 
towns. A large number of men are employed by them during 
the summer. Other work is done by John Adams, bricklayer 
and contractor, by H. F. Hopkins and others. A lumber yard 
is kept by Myron Kinney. Many workmen are employed in house 
painting and decoration by ^Ir. T. L. Bundy. 

Putnam's development in manufacturing enterjirise has been 
much quickened by the formation of a Business INIen's Asso- 
ciation. Keen-sighted men awoke to the conviction that the 
business of the town was not sufficiently diversified; was too 
much limited to the cotton factory interest. A meeting was called 
in March, 18S4, in which some forty citizens participated. Mr. 
JSIanning served as chairman, yiuch spirit and imanimity were 
manifested. Appropriate remarks were made by different busi- 
ness men. The chairman stated that Putnam had grand water 
privileges and admirable railroad facilities; had started with 
sixteen hundred inhabitants, and therefore gained in thirty 
years about three himdred per cent. What she lacked was 
unity, perseverance and a doing away with so much selfishness. 
It was voted' to form a society— ^Messrs. John A. Carpenter, T. 
P. Leonard, G. E. Shaw, L. II. Fuller. C. X.Allen, a committee to 
perfect a plan of organization and constitution. At the second 
meeting the proposed constitution was discussed. Judge Car- 
penter explained the object to be, "To unite all the citizens un- 
der rules to work together for the good of the village, in what- 
ever way their united voluntary efforts could be directed." Some 
who favored the object could not exactly see how the association 
could contrive to carry it out, but the wise chairman gave his 
earnest approval and thought a great deal of good could be 
brought about, if the manner of doing could not be stated or de- 
fined. He was deeply concerned to get the entire people united 
together for mutual benefit, and to promote the prosperity of 


. At the follo^ving• meetinc;- the constitution was adopted 
and a g-oodly ninn])er of signatures obtained. The society was 
to be called, "The Putnam Business Milan's Association." Its ob- 
ject was " to advance the general business interests of the com- 
munity, and promote a more intimate knowledge of all events 
afleeting the public welfare, and as far as possible to use its in- 
fluence to improve the material interests of the community." f 
April 4th, 1884, constitution and by-laws were formally adopted, ^ 
and the following officers chosen: President, James W. jNIanning; * 
vice-presidents, E. H. Bugbee, E. A. Wheelock, G. W. Holt, Jr., | 
G. A. Hammond, W. H. Pearson, S. H. Seward, D. K. Olney; | 
treasurer, J. A. Carpenter; secretary, W. W. Foster, M.D.; ex- rf 
ecutive committee, L. H. Fuller, M. G. Leonard, G. E. Shaw, Ed- I 
ward Mullan, C. N. Allen. May loth 109 citizens of the town | 
had enrolled themselves members, meetings were promptly held, f 
and various needed improvements discussed. The work so well | 
begun was carried forward with much spirit, and the good results L 
predicted from this union of heads and hands'abundantly real- £ 
ized. A fresh impulse has been given to business in various de- | 
partments, several new industries have been established, and | 
many new dwelling houses erected. The present number of f 
members is 100. President, G. A. Hammond: secretary, A. B. ^ 
Williams; treasurer, J. A. Carpenter; executive committee, G. 
E. Shaw, L. H. Fuller, E. Mullan, F. W. Perry, W. H. Letters. 

One of the most promising among Putnam's later industries 
is the Foundry and Machine Corporation, incorporated April 
1st, 18S4; capital stock, $20,000. A machine shop and other 
needful buildings were at once erected and the first cast made 
August 27th. They make a specialty of the Plummer Steam 
Heater, for which they hold the patent, but also manufacture 
castings of varied descriptions. The Steam Heater is largely 
in demand, and the business of the company is well established 
upon a permanent basis. Some thirty or forty workmen find 
remunerative employment. Mr. Orrin Morse is president of the 
company. Mr. William R. Barber, secretary and treasurer, is 
also the efficient managing agent. Henry G. Leonard. L. H. 
Fuller, Edward Mullan, J. C. Nichols and George E. Shaw com- 
plete the board of directors. This corporation was formed with 
the special object of adding to the substantial interests of the 
village, and gives promise of abundant success. 



Putnam Cutlery Company was organized in 1SS6, with a capi- 
tal stock of S.").0()0, for the manufacture of knives of every descrip- 
tion excepting table and pocket cutlery. A patented support to 
the blade, owned by this company, is verj^ valuable, making it 
impossible to break or pull the blade from the shank. The late 
John C). Fox was the first president; G. D. Bates, secretary and 

The Russell Force Pump Company was organized October 
31st, 1SS7, and holds the patent right for supplying New Eng- 
land with this pump, which is manufactured for out-door use, 
and can be used by power and hand without the use of wind 
mill. It is a double action pump, capable of pumping from 44 
to 50 gallons per minute, made by the Foundry and Machine 
Corporation. The president of the company is G. D. Bates ; sec- 
retary and treasurer, W. R. Barber, who, with L. J. Russell, 
Charles N. Allen, E. Hersey and L. H. Fuller, form the board 
of directors. 

The Putnam Gas Light Company was formed in 1878, and did 
much for the enlightenment of the village. Farther progress 
was made through the agency of the Putnam Electric Light 
Company, organized in 1886, when a hundred and fifty incan- 
descent lamps and thirty-five arc lamps were introduced. Still 
greater benefits may be expected from the consolidation re- 
cently effected, bv which "The Putnam Light and Power Com- 
pany^' supersedes previous organizations. President, F. W. 
Perry; secretary, treasurer and superintendent, Allan W. 
Bowen ; directors, A. Houghton, F. W. Perry, J. W. Manning, 
C. E. Searls, S. H. Seward, A. W. Bowen, G. A. Hammond. 

The Putnam Steam Laundry, ]\Iiller & Shepard, proprie- 
tors, is a new and flourishing institution, especially welcome 
to housekeepers. Numberless carpets and curtains bear fresh 
testimony year by year to its cleansing efficacy, and the weekly 
washing day is made no longer a supreme necessity. 

Concrete walks are made and repaired by Mr. Albert Ar- 

Carriages are also made and trimmed by S. P. Brown, John 
Gilbert, G. G. Smith and H. W. Howell. 

A creamery is one of Putnam's latest institutions. In iSIay, 
18SS, the subject was first considered and a committee appointed 
to obtain subscriptions for the formation of a Dairy Company. 
June 21st. a company was organized, and C. D. Torrey, C. E. 


Mills, J. W. Trowbridge. L. H. Fuller, W. P. White, G. A. Haw- | 

kins, S. H. Seward chosen directors. Land was secured in Pleas- | 

ant valley, south of the village, and a buildingput up sufficiently | 

capacious to accommodate the milk from a thousand cows. In I 

December it was voted to obtain a charter from the legislature, f 

and the capital stock was increased to S."),000. C. D. Torrey was % 

chosen president ; W. P. White, secretary ; L. II. Fuller, treas- | 

urer; board of directors retained in service. The summer of '| 

1S89 finds the creamery under full headway, receiving the milk | 

of several hundred cows in Putnam. Killingly, Thompson and t 

Pomfret, and turning out some two hundred pounds each, c i | 

butter and cheese, daily. An expert from Xew York state man- | 

ages the milk, keeping everything in excellent order. A ready ^ 

market is found for all the products. It is hoped that pecuniary f 

profit, as well as much saving o'f time and labor, will result from | 

this associated enterprise. | 

One of the most important works accomplished in Putnam, J 

since the formation of the Business ]\Ien's Association, is the in- | 

troduction of an abundant supply of water. Damage by fire and f 

much household inconvenience had accrued frcm previous scar- |; 

city. yiv. George E. Shaw was the first to agitate the matter, | 

laying before the association, in 1SS4. a resolution to investigate I 

the feasibility of introducing water into Putnam village. ]\Iessrs. | 

L. H. Fuller,' G. E. Shaw. Moses G. Leonard, E. Mullan, C. X. 
Allen, J. W. :klanning. C. M. Fisher, G. M. Hammond. J. H. | 

Gardner, D. K. Olney and W. H. Pearson were appointed acorn- | 

mittee for this purpose. Convinced of its practicability they 
petitioned the legi.slature for incorporation, and formed a joint 
stock company, with a capital stock of $100,000. Estimates of 
cost were obtained from different contractors, and Wheeler & 
Parks, of Poston. selected — they agreeing to furnish the Putnam 
fire district with sixty hydrants, at the cost of §1,800 annually. |; 

A supply of water was obtained from the outlet of Woodstock f 

lake, about two miles distant, and brought into a receiving tower |'l 

on Oak hill, and thence distributed throughout the village. A |, 

million gallons daily could be used. The present officers of the | 

Putnam Water Company are: L. H. Fuller, president; 'M. G. 
Leonard, vice president; George E. Shaw, secretary; Elbeit 
Wheeler, treasurer. The work was completed January 21st, 
1886. Though meeting with the combined opposition incident 
to all costly public enterprises at the outset. Putnam water works 




have proved a triumphant success, giving to residents an unfail- 
ing supply of their most vital daily necessity, and a sense of 
security from fire beyond all cost or estimate. 

Trade in Putnam scarcely needed the stimulus of association. 
The Pomfret Factory and Rhodesville stores drew customers 
from all the surrounding country. The first Pomfret Factory 
depot dispensed flour and grain as well as tickets. vStores 
sprung up like mushrooms in the new Depot village, some to 
collapse after a brief existence, others to grow up into estab- 
lished institutions. The large establishment of }^Ianning & 
Leonard, with its ample stock of light and heavy articles, is the 
lineal offspring of a mercantile experiment begun more than 
forty years since by the senior proprietor. A store opened by 
another Pomfret aspirant, Nathan Williams, shared largely in 
popular favor. A directory ]vablished in 1801 gives the follow- 
ing list of stores : Dry goods. Cutler & Tucker, J. W. }>Ianning, 
Richmond & Williams (Lewis), M. S. Morse & Co., J. S. Gay ; 
druggists, D. B. Plimpton, Benjamin Segur ; fish market, Wil- 
liam Winslow; fruit and confectionery, John L. Flagg ; furni- 
ture dealers, C. N. & S. P. Fenn ; groceries, Henry Leech, Sim- 
eon Stone ; fiour and grain, Hobart Cutler, E. H. Davison & Co.; 
jewelers, J. B. Darling, D. R. Stockwell; merchant tailor, H. N. 
Brown ; ready-made clothing, W. ]SL Olney ; meat market, San- 
ford H. Randall; saloon, Thomas Capwell ; shoe store, F. A. 
Brewster; saddle and harness maker, C. F. Carpenter ; tinware, 
Stephen Spalding ; tailor, Henry Thurber ; milliners, -Mrs. John 
B. Clark, Mrs. R. Darling, :\Irs. A. Dresser, Mrs. S. C. Sprague, 
Mrs. ^Lary Smith. This meagre list was soon extended. The 
long established watchmaker's and jeweler's shop of Mr. Edward 
Shaw was removed from Thompson to Putnam in 1808. The 
solitar}' tinware and hardware shop of Mr. Spalding, which 
had contrived to stipply three or four towns with cooking stoves 
and baking utensils, was succeeded by the far more complete 
establishment of Mr. Thomas C. Bugbee. Three large e.<itablish- 
ments to-day, carried on by Chandler & }^Iorse, Perry 8c Brown, 
and J. E. Taylor & Co., crowded with stoves, heaters, agricul- 
tural implements, and all manner of labor-saving devices, illus- 
trate the marvelous progress made in mechanical art and in ap- } 
pliances for household comfort. A fourth store has been recent- ! 
ly opened by S. A. Field. Tiie little watchmaker's shop of Mr, \ 
Edward Shaw has expanded into an emporium of useful, orna- i 
51 ■ 


mental and a:-sthetic articles. The Wright Brothers from AVal- 
tham, Mass., in six years' trading in the same line, have won 
success and honorable reputation. Jewelers' wares are also sold 
by G. L. Geer, practical watchmaker and engraver, and in the 
well-filled store of E. E. Robbins. Druggists have made still 
greater advancement. Those who remember the little apothe- 
cary shops of former days view with amazement the varied as- 
sortment now displayed in the large and elegant stores of G. E. 
Dresser, Davenport & Burt, G. Farley and E. O. Hersey. 

The dry goods stores show less numerical gain, but carry a 
greater amount of stock than formerly. The list comprises Man- 
ning & Leonard, J. E. Bailey, ]\I. J. Bradley, Simeon Farley, Ed- 
ward Mesner, Murray & Bugbee, A. B. Williams. Mesner car- 
ries on "The People's Store," opened in 1869, by J. H. Gardner, 
and enjoying a wide popularity. The well-knov,-n firm of Sharpe 
& Green is successfully represented by Mr. Williams. ^^lurray 
& Bugbee have recently succeeded to the popular store opened 
by the O'Briens. jNIr. Bailey was well known as leading sales- 
man in " The People's Store." The number of grocers and pro- 
vision dealers has very largely increased. Ten leading groceries 
figure in place of two, managed by C. M. Bradway, Alfred Cou- 
tois, Edward Fly, Guilbert & Moison, P. M. Leclair, W. H. Mans- 
field & Co., Edward Mullan, Morse Mills store, P. O'Leary and 
Smith Brothers. These enterprising merchants were mostly 
strangers, brought by the growing reputation of Putnam, and 
have identified themselves with the interests of the town. 

A very flourishing trade in flour, feed and grain is carried on 
in the north part of the village, by Bosworth Brothers, who re- 
moved from Woodstock valley to Putnam, about 1870. They 
run a steam grist mill, supplying hosts of customers. ISleat 
markets are conducted by Morse t^ Darling, Putnam Cash i\Iar- 
ket Co., Randall & Co., and A. C. Stetson, which feed the thou- 
sands of Putnam and also help sustain the needy towns adjacent. 
Refrigerator buildings for the reception of dressed beef from the 
West have been provided near the depot, under the charge of R. 
H. Bradley. Fish is furnished by H. T. Bugbee and other mar- 
kets. A former unknown lu.xury is now abundantly supplied 
from the ample ice houses of H. T. Bugbee and E. E. Lincoln. 
Bread and other bakerage are prepared by Bakers Asselin, La- 
bossiereand Lilly, and fruit of every variety is to be found in its 
season. In the readv-made clothing interest the letter C carries 


all before it. The Connecticut Clothing- Company, Bates & 
Lindsey proprietors, has a large constituency, and makes pro- 
portionate sales. J. W. Church also makes a specialty of ready- 
made clothing, and goods for men and boys. ^Manning & Leon- 
ard sell many goods in this line, also, and still a place is left for 
the tailor's art. as plied by C. L. Gilpatric, J. O'Leary, Legu 
Milot and J. H. York. J. N. Douty for seYenteen years has car- 
ried on a successful hat store. ^Mrs. M. E. Murfey still accom- 
modates her many friends with tasteful millinery. ^Mrs. Thomip- 
son and Buchanan, Miss M. E. Lowe, JvLadame Breault, blisses M. 
M. Brady and X. Egan find abundant patronage in this ever at- 
tractive art, while some half-dozen dressmakers fail to exceed 
demand for their useful service. Popular shoe stores are main- 
tained by A. 'M. Parker and G. W. Ingalls. The latter succeeds 
Mr. T. P. Leonard, who removed from Woodstock with his 
brothers, 3.L G. and "W. Leonard, and built the tasteful " Leonard 
Row," on Providence street. " Shoes of swiftness " and " Seven- 
leagued boots '" might be included in the stock of Mr. Parker, 
judging from the facility with which he traverses the universe. 
The chief furniture dealer is now ]Mr. L. E. Smith. The t'^enn 
Brothers were the first to engage in this business, removing to 
Putnam before the organization of the town, and were active in 
church and business affairs. Mr. C. N. Fenn has long served as 
undertaker, and also deals in pictures, artists' materials and 
house-furnishing goods. The music store of "W. H. Letters sup- 
plies other artistic needs. Such every-day essentials as coal 
and wood are to be found in the convenient coal j-ards of J. W. 
Cutler and F. J. Daniels. 

Accommodations for stores and business have undergone 
various vicissitudes. Again and again fires have devastated the 
center of trade. The original brick block, with its historic 
Quinebaug Hall, built by early enterprise and sold to ]Mr. T. H. 
Bugbee, and the succeeding Bugbee Block, on the same site, 
were both destroyed. The stately Union Block, now occupying 
the site, was built by substantial capitalists in 1SS2-S3. Hath- 
away's, Chesebro's and Wagner's blocks bear the names of those 
who assisted in their construction. The first Congregational 
church edifice forms part of Manning's store. Central Block, 
now owned by W. H. Pearson, was built by Chamberlain and S. 
P. Fenn. 'Mv. T. H. Bugbee built the hotel that bears his name. 
The Chickering House was built by Edward Lyon ; the Elm 



street House by John Ross. A spacious block, with room for 3 

holding courts, is now projected by ^Messrs. Houghton and Wag- •; 

ner. These gentlemen, with Messrs. Bugbee, Gardner, ]Miller, I 

Pearson and Wheaton, are prominently connected with the build- | 

ing and land interests of Putnam, with which many others are | 

also more or less associated. One of the older residents, jSlr. | 

Edgar H. Clark, civil engineer, has exceeded all others in con- | 

nection with the surveying and laying out of the fast growing % 

town. I 

The several hotels of Putnam enjoy abundant patronage. ^ 

Under the efficient administration of the late D. K. Olney the | 

Bugbee House achieved a high reputation, well maintained by | 

the present genial proprietor. A number of boarding houses f 

are well sustained. Payne's dining room is also a well-estab- ^- 

lished institution, while saloons rise and fall at the option of f 

town voters. f 

For nearly twenty years after the tide of business had turned | 

to the valley, money accommodations were still found on the f 

hill-top, particularlv at Thompson Bank. It was not till near i 

the close of the war of the rebellion that the citizens of Putnam | 

awoke to the conviction that the business interests of the town '^ 

demanded local accommodation. T?ie establishment of a na- V 

tional bank was accordingly discussed at the office of Hon. Gil- ' 

bert W. Phillips, ]March 3d, 18G4. Articles of association were | 

adopted and stock subscribed amounting to $100,000. Applica- | 

tion was then made to the United States Treasury Department, f 

and the requirement of the law having been fulfilled, the " First | 

National Bank of Putnam " was opened for business ^larch 23d, | 

in Stockwell's former jeweler's shop. President, Edmond Wil- | 

kinson ; ca.shier, Charles S. Billings ; directors, Benjamin C. Har- | 

ris, Sabin L. Saylcs, Ezra Dcane, Rufus S. jNlathewson, George * 

Paine, G. W. Phillips, Chandler A. Spalding, John A. Carpenter. | 

The capital stock was soon increased by SrM),000. A brick build- | 
ing was erected in ISGG and John A. Carpenter made cashier. 
Mr. Wilkinson was succeeded in the presidency by Hon. G. W. 
Phillips in 1868, who held the position twenty years. James W. 
Manning was chosen as his succes.sor. Judge Carpenter still 
serves as casliirr. Mr. vS. R. Spalding has held position in the 
bank for nearly twenty years. Messrs. Franklin Bailey and 
Seth P. Stoddard served faithfully as bookkeepers. The board 


of directors consists of J. H. Gardner, C. J. Alton, E. II. Biigbee, 
Riifus Pike, Lucius Fitts, with the president and cashier. 

Putnam Savings liank preceded the national bank in date of 
organization. A charter was granted May, 180-2, to Edmond 
Wilkinson, R. M. Bullock, John (). Fox, R. S. Mathewson, 
George A. Paine, Horace vSeamans, AVmthrop Green, Prescott 
May, William Field, James W. ^Manning, Charles Bliven, Henry 
G. Taintor, Charles Osgood, Lorenzo Litchfield, Edgar H.Clark, 
and George Buck. July 19th the bank commenced business. 
Edmond Wilkinson served as president ; G. W. Phillips, secre- 
tary and treasurer; tnistees, Edmond Wilkinson, Richmond ]SL 
Bullock, John O. Fox, Rufus S. Mathewson, George A. Paine, 
Sabin Sayles, Jeremiah Olney, Joseph B. Latham, G. W. Phil- 
lips. The present officers are : President, J. H. Gardner; sec- 
retary and treasurer, Jerome Tourtellotte : trustees, J. 11. Gard- 
ner, O. H. Perry, C. ^1. Fenner, Charles P. Grosvcnor, Z. A. Bal- 
lard, John A. Carpenter, G. W. Holt, Jr., A. Houghton. Depos- 
its reported October 1st, ISSS, $1,132,530.72. 

Putnam's facilities for extinguishing fires were long wholly 
inadequate. Its fire companies were hampered by a scant sup- 
ply of water. In 1875 a fire district was incorporated, including 
the village and its immediate vicinity ; a fire department was 
organized and new engines procured. But in spite of these pre- 
cautions, very destructive fires occurred. The great fire of Oc- 
tober, 1877, swept through the heart of the village, consuming 
Bugbee's and Brown's blocks, with all their stores and offices. 
Hardly less calamitous was the fire of 1882. when Bugbee's 
block and other valuable buildings were destroyed. Hydrants 
ready for instant u.=;e in every part of the village will, it is hoped, 
preclude farther loss and damage from this source. 

The present "Fire Department" of Putnam village, organized 
in 187;"), consists of three hose companies, fifteen men each, and 
one hook and ladder company, supplemented by sixty street hy- 
drants. Fire warden, C. H. Chescbro ; chief engineer, L. II. 
Fuller; assistant engineers, Otis Fisher, H. L. Burt; clerk and 
treasurer, Charles H. Brown ; collector, D. F. Southwick. Pro- 
tector Hose Company No. 1 — foreman, Edward Mesner ; assistant 
foreman, F>. G. Wright ; clerk and treasurer, C. B. Brown; fif- 
teen members. Eagle Hose Company Xo. 2 — foreman, P. M. 
Leclair; assistant foreman, Louis Cloutier; secretary and treas- 
urer, Frank Mignault ; fifteen members. Reliance Hose Com- 


pany No. 3 — foreman, W. R. Barber: as.sistant foreman, J. H. 
Maj-nard; secretary and treasurer, A. L. Mansfield ; fifteen mem- 
bers. General Putnam Hook and Ladder Company — foreman, 
Charles I. Gorham , assistant foreman, James Rafferty : secretary, 
Charles Hicks ; twenty incmbers. 

Putnam Chapter, No. 41, Royal Arch ^Masons, organized April 
22d, 1879. High priest, Alfred M. Parker; treasurer, Eugene A. | 

Wheeloek ; secretary, Gilman H. Brown. 

Putnam Council, No. 340, Royal Arcanum, organized January 
20th, 1883. Present membership, 120. Regent, D. C. Ticknor ; 
vice-regent, L. H. Fuller; secretary, G. \V. Gilpatric ; treasurer, 
W. R. Barber; collector, C. A. Smith. 

The Blue Lodge represents the oldest ^vlasonic order in the 
state. W. M., R. W. :Morey ; S. W., A. ^L Parker ; J. W., S. A. 
Field ; chaplain, F. S. Oatley. 

The St. Jean Baptiste Society was organized August 27th, 1871. 
President, Omer La Rue ; vice-president, Elyear St. Onge ; treas- 
urer, Louis Cloutier; secretary, Hector Diivert, Sr. ; 204 mem- 

Division No. 1, Ancient Order of Hibernians, Avas organized 
in 1875. Present membership, 80. President, Peter Welch ; 
vice-president, Peter Dowd ; recording secretary, James Ryan ; 
financial secretary, Richard Gorman ; treasurer, John !McCau- 
ley ; standing committee, Jo.seph Ryan, Frank ]\Ionahau, ^Martin 
Welch, John Renshaw, John Moore ; committee on finance, 
Thomas McGann, James Weeks, James Cornell; sergeant at 
arms, John Whalen ; doorkeeper, John [Moore. 

Putnam's early enthusiasm in p:jtriotic demonstrations burns 
undiminished. ^lemorial Day. from its first institution, has 
been obser\-ed with ever increasing interest. Its own burial 
places, and those in neighboring towns, have been faithfully vis- 
ited. The services in the Central Cemetery, with the military 
procession, music, and eloquent addresses, draw large crowds 
every year, and quite eclipse the conventional Fourth of July 
celebration. A large number of veteran soldiers residing in 
town give special interest to these occasions. Post Xo. 64 of the 
Grand Army of the Republic was organized April 13th, 1882, 
and named in loving memory of one of Putnam's honored heroes, 
Addison G. Warner, captain Co. L First Conu. Cavalry, .slain at 
the head of his company, i-Yshland, Virginia, June 1st, 1804. The 
A. G. Warner Post is verv nourishing, numbering 140 members. 


A commodious hall is furnished by P. O'Learv, in which the 
prescribed meetings are loyally observed. Present commander, 
S. H. Chickering; S. V. C.V. S. Oatley; J. V. C, Thomas AVest; 
chaplain, Charles H. Hickok; surgeon, Henry Hough; O. F)., 
Charles Monroe; O. G. William B. Whittemore; O. .M., C. M. 
Green; adjutant, J. E. Rawson; sergeant major, S. K. Spalding; 
0. M. S., xVlbert S. Granger. Sons of Veterans organized as the 
M. I. Tourtelotte Camp :\Iarch 11th, 1886; captain, Augustus 
Warren; first lieutenant, Fred. Reis; second lieutenant, W. I). 
Fuller. Company G, Third Regiment, Conn. National Guard, 
was organized in 1872. Present membership, 62 Captain, C. A. 
Winslow; first lieutenant, E. G. Wright; second lieutenant, H. J. 
Thayer. This representative of an ancient state and colonial 
organization is alread}- distinguished for its dexterity in rifle 
shooting, having won the regimental trophy for four consecutive 

Putnam, like other modern towns, is deeply interested in the 
temperance question, to sell or not to sell intoxicating liquors 
coming up anew at every annual town meeting. So nearly are 
parties balanced that extraordinary efforts will procure a victory 
for either side. Doctor W. H. Sharpe,one of the executive com- 
mittee of the Connecticut Temperance Union, is one of the prom- 
inent temperance workers. A Women's Christian Temperance 
Union was organized 2\Iarch 27th, 1885, which has already ac- 
complished much valuable work. A majority of forty-eight 
against license at the election ma\- be in great measure at- 
tributable to its influence. President, Mrs. A. H. Armstrong; vice- 
presidents, Mrs. George Buck, ]Mrs. Joseph ]McKachnie, 'Mrs. 
Lewis Deane, j\Iiss Hattie Kennedy, Mrs. M. K. }>Iurfey, Mrs. 
George Weatherhead; recording secretary, Mrs. C. X. Fenn; cor- 
responding secretary, ^Irs. S. K. Spalding; treasurer, Mrs. C. IT. 
Brown; superintendent of literature, ]Mrs. E. T. Whitmore; Sun- 
day school work, ]\lrs. George Buck; narcotics, Mrs. W. H. Sharpe; 
evangelistic work. Miss Alice Johnson; work among the colored 
people. Miss Louisa Fogg; superintendents of press work. Mrs. 
N. W. Kennedy, Mrs. C. X. Fenn. I'^fficient women's missionary 
associations are carried on in connection with the several 
churches. A Women's Relief Corps, auxiliary to the Grand 
Arm)- of the Republic, has been recently organized, when nine- 
teen members were initiated. President, Miss Minnie Warner; 
first V. P.. ^Irs. M. Kenyon; second V. P., Mrs. J. McKachnie; 
treasurer, Mrs. B. .S. Thompson; secretary, Mrs. S. K. Spalding; 


chaplain, Mrs. A. A. Buchanan: conductor, Miss Gertrude I. Cole; 

assistant conductor, Miss Carrie E. Place; guard, 2\Iiss Annie | 

Monroe. ? 

Another society of recent date is the A. O. U. M., an organiza- |, 

tion of United American mechanics, having for watchwords, | 

" Honesty, Industry, Temperance." The Putnam Council of | 

this order already numbers sixty members. Trustees, ^I. ^Miller, '? 

C. Bosworth, G. G. vSmith. 

Probably the one society in which Putnam residents of every 
age, sect and character, could most heartily unite, is the newly 
chartered Putnam Library Association. The lack of a well- 
stored town library has been long lamented. Such good men as 
the late ^Messrs. Chandler A. Spalding and George Williams at- 
tempted to meet the need in part by leaving books for a Parish 
Library in the Congregational church. Others aided in the or- 
ganization of a Citizens' Library in 1SS4, which collected about 
six hundred volumes, under charge of the Women's Temper- 
ance LTnion. Continued agitation and a recent gift from Mr. 
Edmond Wilkinson have led to a re-organization. J. W. Man- 
ning, E. H. Bugbec, George W. Holt, Jr., L. H. Fuller, E. H. 
Johnson, J. B. Kent, A. B. Williams, E. A. Wheelock, George E. 
Shaw, are elected board of managers of the " Putnam Library 
Association," which takes the place of the former society, retain- 
ing members and library material. New books will be procured 
and it is trusted that the Putnam Library will become a thriving, 
popular and permanent institution. 

Progressive Putnam has its conservative element and does not 
change merely for the sake of changing. A faithful public .ser- 
vant is retained in oflice. In thirty-foiir j-ears she has had but 
one town clerk and treasurer ; her school visitors have had long 
terms of service ; her post office has had but few incumbents. 
Hiram N. Brown succeeded John O. Fox in 1861. His successor. 
Perry Wilson, held the position till a recent date. The oflice 
is now administered by Edward Mullan. Some twenty-five 
mails are handled daily. The Central Telephone office, Putnam 
Division, is managed by L. H. Fuller, general insurance agent. 
Putnam's railroad facilities at the junction of two important 
lines are very advantageous. The opening and the establish- 
ment of the New York tK: Xew England railroad, after long strug- 
gles and embarrassment, has been an important factor in its later 
development. Nearly fifty passenger and freight trains pass 



dail}- throiigh the villag-e. and convenient routes connect its de- 
pot with the many thriving towns within its circuit. 

Interest in its own growth and neighborly affairs is stimulated 
by its two wide-awake newspapers, which keep a brisk outlook 
for all passing events. A column in a Danielsonville paper sat- 
isfied the requirements of the early inhabitants. A page in the 
Windham County Transcript, edited by Doctor Plimpton, was next 
accorded. In 1S7'2, the Putnam Patriot was established by Mr. 
Everett Stone, son of the editor of the Transcript^ which soon 
gained footing in Putnam and surrounding towns. Mr. A. W. 
Macdonald, the present editor and proprietor, succeeded jMr. 
Stone in 1SS2, and is now associated with Mr. L. O. Williams. 
The Patriot is now a large quarto, filled with town and cotmty 
news and more substantial reading, and is considered an indis- 
pensable necessity in many households. The Putnam A-ctcs, ed. 
ited by sons of Doctor Bronson, had a brief existence. A cheer- 
ful Sitndcam, lighting upon Putnam in 1882, has developed into 
a dignified Wind/cam County Standard through the energy and 
perseverance of its editor and proprietor, Mr. N. W. Kennedy. 
The Standard is a vivacious and enterprising journal, ferreting- 
out news from every corner of the county, and has a wide and 
increasing circulation. 

Putnam's "Brass Bands" deserve to be classed among its most 
conspicuous institutions, sounding forth its praise and progress 
in various places and occasions. Both represent a vast amount 
of patience and self-denying practice! It is said that Father 
Vygen encouraged the early neophytes of St. Mary's Band by 
himself taking the field and playing on the in.struments with 
them. The ^Mechanics' Band has been in existence about a 
quarter of a century, and was fostered and encouraged by musi- 
cal veterans of the village. Its roll of membership includes 
many of Putnam's honored citizens. Its chief founder was the 
late Professor Goodspeed, a very thorough and successful music 
teacher, widely known throughout the county. Under his 
guidance the band made rapid progress, and was soon able to 
play a prominent part at public gatherings, assisting at many of 
Woodstock's famous mass meetings and other patriotic demon- 
strations all over the country. A corporate body, for a time '■ it 
held the Fort" at Mechanics' Park, giving weekly concerts and 
entertainments. A history of Mechanics' Band, with its roll of 
membership and varied experiences, would have great interest. 


St. Hilary's Band \vas oroanized about 1807, throuj^^li the agcncv 
of Reverend E. J. Vygen. Its first public performance was at 
the memorable reception of President Grant in 1S70. Through 
the instructions of C. G. ^larey it attained high musical pro- 
ficiency, and has continued to advance, taking- a prominent part 
on public occasions. 

Putnam's demonstrations in welcome of the president and great 
commander were noteworthy. The streets were very gaily dec- 
orated and thronged with thousands of spectators. Soldiers and 
citizens were alike in line. The " pyramids " of children in red, 
white and blue, artistically arranged by Father Vygen on the 
church grounds, were especially noted and admired. 

One of Putnam's achievements, encouraged and helped on by 
her newspapers, was the "Antique Art Loan Exhibition," held 
in March, 1S80, in honor of her twenty-fifth anniversary. It 
was perhaps an answer to the charge of extreme youth brought 
by jealous contemporaries that this especial form of birthday 
observation was devised. Youthful emulation, directed by ex- 
perienced connoisseurs, brought together in Ouinebaug Hall a 
most remarkable collection of nearly three thousand articles, 
many of them of great interest and value. Old-time life and 
customs might be very vividly reconstructed by a careful study 
of these ancient relics. Pictures and portraits of the early resi- 
dents of the county were of great interest. The only regret was 
that the exhibition could not have been more lasting and enjoyed 
by a larger number, the mud and winds of ]\Iarch preventing a 
large attendance. Mr. Darius S. Skinner, chairman of the com 
mittee, was most active in devising and carrying forward this 
exhibition. A large number of ladies and gentlemen also served 
on the committee. 

The recent visit of President Harrison and members of his 
cabinet excited much interest. The distinguishing honor done 
to Windhain county in being permitted to receive and entertain 
the chief magistrate of the great republic was more fully appre- 
ciated than ever before, and Putnam, with great heartiness and 
unanimity, roused itself to meet the occasion worthily. The 
committee of arrangements, comprising many of Putnam's lead- 
ing citizens, James W. Manning, chairman, together with many 
organizations and private citizens, vied with each other in ar- 
ranging and perfecting every detail needful for the appropriate 


reception of the distinguished guests. But "time and tide" are 
bej'ond human control, and the protracted storm brooding over 
New England paid no heed to presidential visitation. In spite 
of delay and discomfort, Putnam did its part nobl}-, with some, 
perhaps, unavoidable omissions. Its streets were as gay as bunt- 
ing and flags could make them, Elach building had its specific 
devices and decorations ; children in gay attire, representing the 
forty-two states, on one side ; another bevy in white, each carry- 
ing a flag, on the other ; the prosaic iron bridge transformed 
into a bower of verdure and beauty, flowers and pennons jaunt- 
ily floating, in spite of the sombre sky. Joseph McKachnie 
served as grand marshal of the day, supported by aids, IMajor 
H. W. Johnson and Captain A. ]\I. Parker. The veterans of the 
Grand Army, 140 strong, appeared in tasteful new uniform in 
honor of the occasion. Company F, from Danielsonville, and Com- 
pany G, from Putnam, a.ssisted in the procession, together with 
Putnam's two musical bands, its fire department of 60 men, the 
Ancient Order of Hibernians, 100 men, and vSt. Jean Baptiste 
Society, 300 men, all in radiant uniform and regalia, making 
a beautiful array as they received the presidential party and 
escorted it through the limits of Putnam. As on the pre- 
vious occasion.the ingenuity of Reverend Father Vygen furnished 
an unique feature of the reception. Driven by the rain from a 
position by the ruins of the Catholic church, an impromptu 
scenic representation was arranged within the portals of the 
convent, its central figure hundreds of happy children m tiers 
of red, white and blue, massed up to the second story. Ringing 
bells, booming cannon, inspiriting music, waving banners, hearty 
cheers and hurrahs, added to the irapressiveness of the exhibi- 
tion, which called out much admiration and praise from the 
president and other spectators. 

After town organization, the lack of a stiitable burial place 
was painfully apparent. Having in his possession near his resi- 
dence a tract of land (a part of the old " Mighill Farm," Kil- 
lingly) which he deemed especially suitable for this purpose. 
Chandler Spalding oft'ered it to the town for a public burying 
ground. The town instructed its selectmen to purchase the 
ground, but its many urgent burdens and expenses compelled 
delay and reconsideration, during which interval Mr. Spalding 
proceeded to lay out the land and prepare a cemetery. July 4th, 
1S.")C, the first interment was made. Many persons secured lots, 


and the ground was constantly nnproYcd and beautified by Mr. 

Spalding till, in ISHO, he couYeyed it to the Putnam Cemetery | 

Association, formed by citizens of the to%Yn desirous of haYing | 

said cemetery hereafter \vell cared for. protected and further f 

improYed and enlarged. These desires haYe been satisfactorily f 

accomplished, and the Putnam Cemetery is regarded \Yith much # 

interest and pride, and is every year freshh- consecrated by me- | 

morial prayers and offerings. President of the association, Otis | 

E. Keith; secretary and treasurer, Charles N. Fenn. | 

A little east of the modern cemetery, overgrown andenmatted f 

with tangled .shrubs and vines, is the lot of land g-iven to the | 

town of Killingly for a burial place by its most honored citizen, i 

Peter Aspinwall. Mouldering stones bearing the names of the | 

earliest settlers of this vicinity, are to be found there. Killing- ^ | 

ly's choicest Y-orLhies, Captain Joseph Cady and Justice Joseph t | 

Leavens, its first ministers. Reverends John Fisk, Perley Howe | j 

and Aaron Brown, itstOY-n fathers and town mothers for at least ^ i 

two generations, Y-ere interred in this time honored grave f 

yard. A tombstone under a spreading pine tree tells the sad | 

fate of the young bride of Othniel Brown, August 13th, 178G: | 

" That awful day, the hurricano | 

\Yheii I was in my prime 'v 

Bleu- down the house, and I was slain i 

And taken out of time." f 

The laying out of other burial grounds led to the partial | 

abandonment and neglect of this most interesting ground, but f 

recently it has received more attention, and it is hoped that it | 

may be more thoroughly restored as an unique memorial of the | 

past. f 

The Pomfret Factory burying ground, on the Pomfret road, j 

west of the former home of Mr. Wilkinson, is no longer in ex- | 

istence. This land Y'as probably devoted to this purpose by | 

Captain Cargill, his little granddaughter, Laura AValdo, being | 

the first person there buried. Included without reservation in | 

the sale of the Cargill land, it was freely used by persons in the | 
vicinity, particularly b}- the descendants of Captain John Sabin. . .| 

As the old families became extinct and the land more valuable, | 

it was devoted to other uses. Such stones as Y-ere sttfliciently f 
preserved Y-cre removed to the ncY' cemetery. | 

The cheerful and well kept burial ground at Putnam Heights | 

is of comparatively modern origin. The first person buried 


there was Captain Luther Warren, who died August 9th. 1839. 
The venerated pastor. Priest Atkins, was also buried there, and 
many of the later residents of the village and vicinity. 

While Putnam village, in a certain sense, absorbs and domi- 
nates the town, the outlying portions have yet a distinct charac- . 
ter and life of their own. Two miles east of the busy village 
old Killingly hill reposes in serene tranquility. Transformed in 
name to Putnam Heights, with new elements and new inhabit- 
ants, this ancient village still retains its primitive characteris- | 
tics. Business has long since flown to the valley. Its one church | 
maintains but intermittent service ; its one school is scantily at- 
tended, and modern institutions fail to gain a footing, yet this 
very repose and fixedness, as contrasted with the rush and tu- 
mult of everyday life, have a peculiar charm, and the wearied 
denizens of " the tired city's mart" welcome this place of refuge. 
A number of families, more or less associated with the hill, have 
permanent summer homes here. Mr. T. J. Thurber, formerly of 
New York, continues through the year. The recent discovery of 
a spring of delicious Avater, with its appropriation of the beauti- 
ful Indian name of this section, may prove an additional attrac- 
tion. Aspinock spring and the old hill, with its pure air and 
wide outlook, merit a larger constituency. " Beautiful for situ- 
ation," commanding one of the finest views in the county, with 
its well-established church and common. Killingly hill was long 
a leading business and social center, especially noted for its pop- 
ular taverns and largely-frequented trainings. Probably the hill 
reached its acme of fame and prosperity socm after the arrival of 
the cotton factory, when proprietors and operatives from Pom- 
fret factory, Howe's factorv and •' The Stone Chapel " sought 
spiritual and secular privileges at its meeting house and store. 
The store kept by those enterprising merchants, Ely & Torrey, 
exceeded anything in eastern Connecticut. Thurber's tailor 
shop was almost equally celebrated, supplying young men far 
and near with wedding and "freedom" suits, and fashionable 
long surtouts. The private class or school of "Priest Atkins" 
was another peculiar institution of Killingly hill, fillingtlie place 
of the present State Normal school, in fitting young men and 
women to become thorough and successful teachers. ■•Choice j 
spirits" on the hill forwarded the organization of the first mis- I 
sionary and Bible societies of Windham county, one hundred ■ i 
and twenty-two ladies in North Killingly and Thompson organ- j 


izing as a " Female Tract vSociety " in 1810, ^vhiIe spirits of a 
very different order were lavishly dispensed froin Warren's j 

tavern — the headquarters of mirth and conviviality. A large | 

circle of relatives and friends enjoyed the delightful hospitali- | 

ties of Justice .Sampson Howe's genial household, and a still f 

wider constituency bowed in meek submission before the dictum | 

and prescriptions of Doctor Grosvenor. I 

The old "Moffats Mills," at East Putnam, established in time | 

immemorial bv an early Killingly family, is still represented. ,| 

A second grist mill was built on the same site by Jaines Cady. -| 

In 18G0 Calvin and William Randall bought a privilege on the t 

same Bowditch brook, and built a small mill for the manufacture I 

of cotton yarn. The whole establishment and privileges were I 

purcha.sed by G. A. Hawkins and Augustus Houghton in 18G5. | 

They doubled the capacity of the mill, put up new buildings and | 

made many improvements. C. J. Alton succeeded Mr. Hawkins t 

in ownership. Houghton & Alton have sold their interest to I 

Norwich owners, who as the " East Putnam Yarn Company " I 

employ about twenty-five hands, and manufacture 3,500 pounds | 

of cotton yarn weekly. Pleasant residences and a neat little I 

Free Will Baptist church are to be found there. Mr. Houghton | 

sided generously in repairing this edifice and maintaining stated | 

worship. Its pastor, IMrs. Fenner, has done much valuable mi.s- | 

sionary work in the vicinity. The Cady mills, at the Four Cor- | 

ners and near the state line, have been maintained, with inter- | 

vals of suspension, for many years. This eastern part of Put- | 

nam, formerly traversed twice a da}- by the convenient Provi- > 

dence stage coach, has been left behind and thrown backward by | 

the all conquering railroad, while the valley west of the town I 

has been built up by the same arbitrary power. ]\lany new | 

houses and families appear in the old Gary district. Population | 

year by year stretches farther southward. The old families are f 

mostly gone. ]\Ir. Ezra Dresser still occupies one of the old | 

Dresser homesteads, the other is improved as the town farm. V 

The name of Gary, once so familiar, is transferred to westward | 

towns, where it bears an honorable record. Judge Gary, of | 

Chicago, descends from the old Pomfret family. The Holmes's, | 

Sawyers. Gilberts are mostly gone. Even the Perrin family, so 
associated with the valley, is no longer represented. The old . 
Perrin house has also passed away. 





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\Vh,i,ia\[ S. Arnthj).— Andrew Arnold, the g-rnndfather of 
"William S. Arnold, married Catherine Reynolds, of North Kings- 
town, Rhode Island. Their children were two in number, Philip 
being the survivor. He was born in Warwick, and married 
■Catherine, daughter of William Searls, and granddaughter of 
Richard Searls, of Cranston, Rhode Island. The children of 
Philip and Catherine Arnold were: Andrew R., born in 1810; 
William S., November 3d, ISll; Albert H., in 1813; George E., 
in 1810; Jabez, in 1818; Susan E., in 1821; Henry R., in 1823; 
and Catherine M., in 1827. 

William S. Arnold, who is a native of Warwick, Rhode Lsland, 
at the age of seven years accompanied his father to Woodstock, 
Connecticut, where, until seventeen, he attended the common 
schools in winter and spent the summer months on the farm. 
He then removed to Masonville, in Thomp.son, and until 18-H 
filled the position of clerk, subsequently acquiring an interest in 
the store and cotton factory owned by the Masonville Company. 
In 1852 he became the exclusive owner of the store, and con- 
■ducted the business successfully and profitably until the fall of 
1867. ]Mr. Arnold having devoted his whole life without cessa- 
tion to active business, then determined to retire from trade, 
and accordingly on the disposal of his interest became a man of 
leisure. He resided in East Greenwich and North Kingstown, 
and at other points where he found congenial surroundings, un- 
til 1884, when his present house near Putnam was purchased. 
Mr. Arnold was formerly a whig, and on the formation 
of the republican party joined its ranks. He has, however, 
been content to exercise the privilege of the ballot without 
controlling the oflfices within its gift. His pleasures have been 
found amid the peaceful scenes of domestic life rather than in 
the excitements attending a public career. 

Mr. Arnold in 183G married Lucina, daughter of Lot Under- 
wood, of Pomfret, who died in September, 1805. Their children 
are: Harriet A., wife of Jacob F. Tourtellotte, of Winona, Min- 
nesota, and Nason Henry, deceased, who married Mary New- 
man. Mr. Arnold was again married in 1880 to Mary E., daugh- 
ter of Alphonso Williams, of West Glocester, Rhode Island, a 
•descendant of Roger Williams. 


Gf:ok(;f. Blxk. — David Iluck removed from ^lassachtisetts to 
the part of Killingly now embraced in the town of Putnam, 
where he conducted a farm and also carried on the trade of a joiner. 
He was known as an enterprising and successful business man. 
His children by a first marriage were three sons, David, Jon- 
athan and Aaron, and four daughters, ^Irs. Josiah I-'ean, Mrs. 
Benjamin Cutler, and two who married Resolved Wheaton. By 
a second marriage was born a son, David, and a daughter, Eliza, 
who became Mrs. Henry Adams. Aaron, of this number, was 
born on the homestead farm in Killingly, upon a portion of 
which he settled and resided during his lifetime. He married 
Annie, daughter of Asa Lawrence, of Killingly, whose children 
were: Lucy, wife of Calvin Leffingwell: Rosamund. Avife of Cal- 
vin Boyden; ]Mary, married to Jesse Herendein; Annie, wife of 
Caleb Howe; P>rastus. Elisha, Augustus and George. 

The last named of these brothers, and the subject of this bi- 
ographical sketch, was born October 13th, ISIO, in Killingly, and 
until his twentieth year devoted his time to the work of the 
farm. He enjoyed but limited opportunities of education, and 
soon found employment in a cotton mill. This not being alto- 
gether to his taste, he became one of the leading builders and 
contractors of the day. For ten years he was employed by 
Messrs. M. S. ^Slorse & Co. and Messrs. G. C. Nightingale & Co., 
in connection with the construction and improvement of their 
property, after which he embarked in building, and dealt to 
some e.xtent in real estate at the same time. For twenty vears 
he has been the trusted guardian of the real estate and other 
property owned by Thomas Harris in Putnam. 

Mr. Buck has been more or less prominent in affairs connected 
with his county, was for three terms county commissioner, for 
five years selectman of the town, and served for the session of 
1878-79 as a member of the Connecticut house of representatives. 
In politics he was first a federalist, afterward became identified 
with the free soil party, whose principles he espoused with much 
earnestness, and is now a strong prohibitionist. Since the age 
of eighteen he has practiced total abstinence, and made it one 
of the guiding principles of his life. He joined the Congrega- 
tional church in North Killingly at the age of twenty-one, and 
later became a member of the Putnam Congregational church. 
The earliest edifice of the latter church he was largely instru- 
mental in erecting, and did much to advance the interests of the 


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society. Mr. Buck in 1S81 married Phila Williams, of Ashford, 
Connecticut. Hev.'as a second time married in December, 1SG7, 
to Sarah Maria, dau(;hter of Colonel Erastus Lester, of Plain- 

GusT.VYUS Davis B.vtes.— Tyler Bates, the grandfather of Gus- 
tavus D. Bates, was a prosperous farmer in Thompson. His chil- 
dren were Erastus, William, Welcome, Holman, George T., 
Ann, Chloe, Betsey and Sally. Welcome Bates, also a resident of 
Thompson, was formerly engaged in teaching, and in his later 
years became a farmer. He married Jemima E., daughter of 
Reverend James Grow, of Vermont. Their children are : Eliza- 
beth G., Hannah Augusta, wife of Horatio H. Hutchins ; Sarah, 
deceased; Marvin G., Gustavus Davis, Sarah Jane 2d, deceased, 
and Welcome E. 

Gustavus Davis Bates was born October 2d, 1S39, in Thomp- 
son, where he remained until his twentieth year, receiving his 
education at the public school and the Thompson academy. He 
was industriously employed either in a factory or on a farm un- 
til sixteen, when his attention was turned to teaching, his field 
of labor being first in Burrillvillc, R, I., and later in Thomp- 
son. At the age of eighteen the young mian entered a store at 
Grosvenor Dale as clerk, and was thus engaged until his majori- 
ty was attained, when he enrolled his name as a pi-ivate in the 
Seventh Rhode Island regiment during the late war. His promo- 
tion, the result of merit, was rapid from corporal to sergeant, 
first sergeant, second lieutenant, first lieutenant, and acting quar- 
termaster and adjutant. In July, 1SG4, he was made captain of 
his former company. Late in 18G4hewas brevetted lieutenant 
colonel, and secured while in front of Petersburg, Va., leave of 
absence on account of failing health, which fact finally occasioned 
his resignation. 

Colonel Bates participated in the engagements at Freder- 
icksburg, Vicksburg. Jackson, the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, 
Bethesda Church, North Anna River, Cold Harbor, Peters- 
burg and Weldon Railroad, after which his regiment went 
into winter quarters. On regaining his health he returned 
again to civil life and embarked in the manufacture of flannel 
shirts in Worcester, Ma.'^s., but met with financial reverses. As 
an instance of the integrity that has characterized his business 
career it may be mentioned that afterward, in more prosperous 
days, he paid all his obligations with interest. The colonel then 


represented Boston houses for ten years, as traveling agent in | 

the sale of gentlemen's furnishing goods, and after an interval f 

of rest assumed the management of the business of George B. | 

Cluett & Co., large shirt and collar manufacturers in New York | 

city. In 1884 he established the Connecticut Clothing Company | 

in Putnam, with a branch at Southbridge, ■Mass., to which he de- | 

votes as much attention as is consi.stent with his other business | 

projects. In 18SG, in company with a partner, he founded the ^ 

Putnam Cutlery Corporation, of which he is secretary, treasurer ^ 

and manager. He is also president of the Putnam Pump & Hose I 

Reel Company. I 

Colonel Bates has been prominently identified with the re- 4 

publican party in politics, and represented his constituents in | 

the Connecticut legislature in 1SS7 and 1888, on which occasion ] 

he was chairman of the committee on cities and boroughs. He | 

was in 1888 a delegate to the national republican convention con- J 

vened at Chicago. In addition to his various business enter- ■ 

prises he is a successful farmer and breeder of blooded stock. ] 

He is a member of A. G. Warner Post, of the G. A. R., and i 

of Quinnatisset Grange, No. 05, of Thompson. His religious \ 

views are in harmony with the creed of the Baptist church, i 

of which he is a member. Colonel Bates on the 17th of June, 
18C7, married Ellen A., daughter of Benjamin F. Hutchins, of 

John A. Carpexter. — Robert Carpenter, of Greenwich, R. I., 
the great-grandfather of John A. Carpenter, on the 2Gth of Oc- 
tober, 17.")."i, married Charity Roberts, of Warwick, in the same 
state. Their children were: Christopher, John, Phebe and 
Marcy. John of this number, who resided in West Greenwich. 
married Sarah vStone, and had children : Christopher, Phebe, 
Patience, Robert and Amos. The last-named and youngest of 
these children, Amos, on the 19th of June, 1813, married ^tary. 
daughter of Joseph P.ailey, of West Greenwich. Their children 
were: :Maria, Sarah C }*Iarcy S., Patience S., Olive B., George 
W., John A., Charles B. and }\Iary E., of whom live are deceased. 
John Anthony, the second son, was born June 23d, 1828, in 
West Greenwich, and at the age of eight years removed to Put- 
nam, then Pom fret, where he pursued his studies at the district 
school, and meanwhile until 18-iG assisted his father in the work 
of the farm. He then engaged in teaching in the schools of 
Putnam and vicinity, the intervals when not thus occupied being 

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-tV CJf^/fiyC 


emploj'cd as before, on his father's farm. In IS')? he entered 
the ofllce of the Morse Mills Company as accountant, paymaster 
and manager of the merchandise department, and remained thus 
occupied until 1806, when he was elected cashier of the First 
National Bank of Putnam, of which he was one of the incorpor- 
ators, and has since that time been its active manager. He was 
the treasurer of the Putnam Savings Bank from ISGG to 1874, 
and on his resignation from that office continued to act as one of 
its trustees. "Mr. Carpenter was, irrespective of party ties, elect- 
ed judge of probate for the Putnam district in 1SG3 and has since 
that time held the office. He has filled various local positions, 
and cordially supported all measures tending to the advance- 
ment of the town, and its material prospei"ity. His sympathy 
with the cause of education assumed practical form in the aid he 
gave with others, toward the establishment of a high school in 
Putnam, when a member of the school board of the tovrn. 

Mr. Carpenter has been twice married. He was first united to 
Ann Elizabeth, daughter of Byram and Nancy Johnson Wil- 
liams. Their two children are Nancy Janette (deceased) and 
Byram Williams. ^Irs. Carpenter died August 12th, 1856, and 
he married a second time, !Marcia J., daughter of Moses Chand- 
ler, whose ancestors settled in Woodstock in 16SC. Their three 
children are : Jane Elizabeth, wife of Edgar ^Morris Warner ; 
Anna Chandler and John Frederick. 

John O. Fox was the son of Captain Abiel Fox and his wife 
Judith Perry. He was born in West AVoodstock, July 5th, 1817, 
and received his education at the common schools near his home, 
and at the Nichols Academy, at Dudley. His father kept a store 
at Woodstock, but later removed to Providence, Avherc he was 
the landlord of a popular public house, well known as " Fox's 
Tavern." On his decease the family returned to Woodstock. 
Mr. Fox, before his majority was attained, had formed a copart- 
nership with his brother-in-law, John P. Chamberlin, in trade, 
and in the manufacture of shoes. They were successful until 
the financial crisis of 1837, which swept away not only the firm 
of Chamberlin & Fox, but many other business men of the 
town. In this failure was involved not only the patrimony, but 
the eai'nings of ISIr. Fox, and a new start in life was the only al- 
ternative. He therefore, in 18-10, removed to Putnam, then a 
rising young village, and was soon appointed to the charge of 
the depot. This connection was maintained for a period of 


1 , 

thirty years, and he himself was the headquarters for the mar- i. 

keting of much of the produce for the adjoining- towns, which | 

was shipped to Boston and Providence. He kept for years the \ 

only livery stable in the town, and was the first person to bring 5 

finished lumber into the place for building purposes. | 

He was one of the leading and influential men of the town 2 in every enterprise resulting in its growth and develop- s 

ment, and ever ready to fill any local office, however inconven- | 

ient, that was bestowed upon him. He was for years a director \ 

of both the First National Bank and the Savings Bank of Put- j 

nam. In all his relations, whether of a public nature or con- f 

nected with private business, his course was characterized by | 

the most absolute integrity. He was a man of indomitable will i 

and unbounded perseverance, acting in all things consistently I 

with his view of the subject, irrespective of the opinion of the I 

majority. In politics a democrat, he was never offensive, yet al- | 

ways ready to defend his convictions. Self-reliant, observant, | 

and possessing excellent judgment, his business career readily -| 

marked him as a successful man. Mr. Fox, in connection with « 

his lumber interests, purchased a tract of land in Florida, which | 

he devoted to the uses of an orange grove. Here he was ac- % 

customed to spend his winters, and each succeeding season found \ 

him looking forward with great pleasure to his period of rest in | 

the South. * 

In 1S4S ]Mr. Fox married Miss Eliza Phillips, whose two chil- | 

dren are a son, John O., Jr., and a daughter, Hattie. The death I 

of John O. Fox occurred in Florida, on the 11th of February, ^ 

1889. ' I 

Lucius FI. Fuller.— P.oth English and Scotch blood coursed | 

through the veins of Mr. Fuller's ancestors. His great-grand- i 

father, Deacon Abijah Fuller, had the honor of assisting in the | 

fortification of Bunker Hill, on which occasion he directed the | 

throwing up of the earthworks the night before the battle. He | 
died in 1885 in Hampton. Avhere he was a farmer and a leading 
citizen. He married Abigail Meacham, whose children were : 
Abigail, Lois, Arthur. Seymour, Clarissa and Luther. Seymour 

Fuller resided in Hampton, his birthplace, until 181G, the date I 

of his removal to Tolland, Conn. He married in 1811, Louisa, | 
daughter of William Butler and his wife, Louisa Huntington. 

Their children were: Lucius S., Abigail, wife of Sylvander Har- I 
wood, Caroline C, William B. and ^.lelissa J.; of whom Lucius 


S. is the only survivor. Pic was born March ]2th, 1812, in 
Hampton, and now resides in TolLand, where he hcis been a 
foremost citizen and prominently idcntilicd with both county 
and state affairs. He married July 4th. 1838, Mary Eliza, daughter 
of John Bliss, Esq., and his wife Sally Abbott, of Tolland. They 
celebrated their golden wedding July 4th, 1S8S. Their two sur- 
viving children are Lucius H. and Edward E. 

Lucius H. was born August 31st, 1849, in Tolland, and re- 
ceived a high school and academic education. On returning 
from school, after a brief interval on the farm, he removed to 
Putnam in February, 1808, and engaged in the insurance busi- 
ness, representing, as agent, many of the most important fire in- 
surance companies in the country. This has, under his able 
management, grown and extended itself until it now takes rank 
as one of the most important agencies in the state, outside of the 
cities. ;Mr. Fuller is also interested in various other enterprises ; 
he is president of the Putnam Water Company, having been one 
of its earnest promoters and warmest advocates ; treasurer of the 
Putnam Dairy Company ; director of the Putnam Foundry Cor- 
poration, of the jSIystic Valley Water Company, the Palatka 
Water Company, of Florida, and also of the Tolland Fire Insur- 
ance Company. He has been an earnest worker for the town of 
Putnam and its material prosperity, having at times influenced 
the investment of considerable capital at this point. As a re- 
publican he was twice elected to the office of justice of the peace, 
but each time declined to act. He is now serving for the second 
term as member of the school board, and is also at present one 
of the acting visitors. He is greatly interested in the Are de- 
partment, of which he was for many ^-ears chief engineer, and 
has been warden of the fire district, of which he was one of the 
principal promotors. 

]\Ir. Fuller was in ISSl elected to the Connecticut house of 
representatives from Putnam, and reelected in 1882, making an 
excellent record. He is the present senator from the Sixteenth 
district, being chairman of the committee on incorporations, 
one of the most important committees in the legislature. He 
has also been a delegate to various state conventions. Asa pub- 
lic speaker he has gained something more than local prominence ; 
his ease and fluency in this respect having aided greatly in his 
political advancement, besides giving him a leading position as 
a leg-islator. 



Mr. Fuller was on the 31st of August, 1S71, married to Helen ] 

A., daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth Briggs, of Pomfret, whodied ] 

May 21st, 187."), leaving one son, }ilaurice Bernard, born May 7tli, ^ 

]y74. He was again married June ?>Oth. LSSO, to Abby Clara, | 

daughter of Joseph W. and Abigail N. Cundall, of Worcester, I 

Mass., who died Xovember ]()th, 1884, leaving a son, born on the | 

7th of August, 1881. ^ 

George W. Holt, Jr. — Jonathan Holt, a soldier of thercvolu- j 

tion, was the father of Josiah Holt, a native of Hampton, Conn., | 

who during his active life followed the trade of a machinist. t 

He married ^lary Prior, who became the mother of a large fam- i 
ily, the eldest son. "William L., being well-known as a 

manufacturer, and a man of much mechanical skill, both in r\ew j 

England and in the South, to which section he subsequently re- j 

moved. Another son, George W. Holt, the fatherof the subject J 

of this biography, was born 2\Iarch 10th, 1810, in Plainfield. ^ 

Coiin., and in looj removed t.o v^iatersviiie, R. 1., where he re- 4 

mained until 1870, when Providence became and is at present '| 

his home. Entering the cotton mills when a hoy he rose through J 

the successive grades, finally becoming superintendent, agent j 

and part owner. Having abandoned active business he still con- I 

tinues the efficient president of tlie ^lonohansett Manufacturing i 

Company. Mr. Holt was on the :5d of September, 1839, marnei.. ^ 

to Lucy Dodge, daughter of Barney Dodge, of Smithfield. R.I. j 

Their children are a son, George W., Jr.. and a daughter, Ellen i 

Porter. 1| 

George W. Holt, Jr., was born July 21st, 1840, in Slatersville. J 

where his earlv education was received at the village schcol. |. 

In 18r)7 he became a pupil of the Phillips Academy, at Andover, | 

]Mass., and one year later entered the vScientinc Department of i 

Brov.-n Universitv, where he completed a two years" course of j 

study. His father was at this time manager of the Slatersville | 

[Mills, and also engaged in building and starting the Forestdalc ;, 

Mills, in which Mr. Holt became assistant superintendent, an'! ^ 

continued to act in that capacity for ten years. He then spiTit | 

a year in Providence, and in 1S71 came to Putnam, as supcrin- j 

tendent for the Monohansett Manufacturing Company, which had \ 

become lessees of certain manufacturing property and water j 

power at that point. The business which had been conducted 'J 

under a partnership with Estus Lamb and George Vs'. H'->lt as | 
the owners, was in 1882 incorporated as the cmpany above 









mentioned. Mr. Holt on his adYcnt in Putnam assumed charge 
of the property, placed the machinery, started the mills and acted 
as superintendent until 1888, when he became ag'cnt, having 
since the date of incorporation had an interest in the business. 
The product of tl\e mills consists of plain sheetings and shirt- 
ings, for Avhich New York city affords a ready market. ]Mr. 
Holt has been since 1873 a member of the board of trustees of 
the Putnam Savings Bank, and has interested himself in various 
enterprises tending to advance the growth of the village, espe- 
cially in the introduction of the electric light. As a republican 
he was elected to the Connecticut house of representatives for 
the session of 1889, and served as chairman of the comtnittee on 

Mr. Plolt married Xovember Gth, 1805, Marion A., daughter 
of Estes Burdon, of Blackstonc, !\lass., who died soon after. He 
was again married April 27th, 1872, to Rosalie F., daughter of 
Samuel F. Dyer, of Xorth Kingstown, R. 1. Their children are 
a son, William Franklin, now a pupil of the Greenwich Acad- 
emy, at Greenwich, Conn., and Mary Florence, who is pursuing 
her studies in the Putnam High School. 

James Winchell Manning. — The earliest representative of 
the Manning family in America emigrated from England in 
1G34 and settled in the suburbs of Boston, Mass. Ephraim, rep- 
resenting the third generation in line of descent, located in 
Woodstock, Windham county, where he lived and died. His 
son William was a patriot, held a commission as captain dur- 
ing the war of the revolution, and served until the close of 
the conflict. His children were six daughters and two sons, 
William H., the youngest son, being a native of Woodstock, 
where his birth occurred September lOlh, 177(1 He later re- 
moved to Pom fret, where he died in June, 1802. By his mar- 
riage to Lucy Tucker were born five children : Lory, Mary, 
Ephraim, Lucy and William. He married a second time Lois 
Paine, of Pomfret, whose children are : James W.. John M., 
Henry F., Edward P. and Edward P., 2d. The survivors of 
this number are William, John 'Si. and James W. 

James W. was born in Pomfret March 8th. 1822, and remained 
until his twenty-fifth year a resident of that town. He was 
educated at the ThLanpson and Woodstock Academies, and 
the Connecticut Literary Institution, at vSutTield, meanwhile at 
intervals divine a hand at the work of the farm. He then 



accepted a clerkship and served for two years in that capac- 
ity, removini;- in ]S47 to Putnam, where he embarked in the 
dry goods trade. ■ This business he has continued until 
the present time, either alone or with partners, the present 
firm of Manning & Leonard having existed since 1809. 

Mr. Manning has been prominent in local affairs, and on 
the organization of the town of Putnam was elected the first 
town clerk, which office he has held continuously until the | 

present time. He has also filled the offices of town treasurer i 

and registrar of births and marriages. He was in 1866, as a I 

republican, elected a member of the Connecticut house of rep- I 

rescntatives, and in 1809-71-72 filled the office of state comp- I 

troller. He was for many years a director and is now the I 

president of the First National Bank of Putnam, as also one | 

of the incorporators of the Putnam Savings Bank. He has, | 

from the organization of the town, manifested the deepest in- « 

terest in its moral and material advancement, and was on its for- | 

mation president of the Business Men's Association of Putnam, I 

which has proved a powerful agent in its commercial develop- ; 

ment. Mr. Manning is a member and deacon of the Baptist I 

church of Putnam. He is a firm believer in the truths of Chris- | 

tianity and lends a willing hand to the support and propagation | 

of the gospel. In the days when the question of slavery was | 

agitated with much personal bitterness, he was an avowed abo- i 

litionist. i 

Mr. ^Manning was, on on the Hth of ^lay, 1840, married to Em- | 

ily, daughter of Daniel Pitts, of Pomfret. Their only child is a 1 

daughter, Helen A., wife of Doctor J. B. Kent, of Putnam. f 

MiLTOX SrRATTOX MoRSE. — Oliver ]\Iorse, the father of IMil- I 

ton Stratton ]\Iorse, and a native of Sharon, ^lassachusetts, was 
first a carpenter, then a farmer. He married Waitstill Stratton. 
of Foxboro, where their son, Milton Stratton, was born, Decem- 
ber 25th, 1799. When very young his father removed to Wren- ': 
tham, Massachusetts, the scene of IMilton's earliest connection " 
with cotton manufacturing. He began work in a small factory, | 
his first task being that of picking cotton and placing it on the f 
cards, which labor was continued for two years. Pic was then f 
apprenticed to the blacksmith's trade, but the terms of the con- ? 
tract not being complied with, he returned home at the age of I 
thirteen, his father having removed his family to Attleboro, f 
while he sought employment at Pawtucket. The lad remained | 



-^^^-^ L-'r' 



(^Z, C- f-'^'^-^-^^y 


at home about a year, engag-cd in braiding straw and picking 
cotton by hand for firms in Pawtucket. lie next worked for 
Zeba Kent, in his mill at Seekonk and on his farm, often going 
to the woods with two yoke of oxen and a horse to load ship 
timber destined for the shipyards at Warwick, Rhode Island. 

Early in 1815 his father removed to a farm in liast Providence, 
where his son assisted him for a year, subseciuently living with 
his nncle at Foxboro. At the end of a year he entered a cotton 
mill at Attleboro, and was speedily made overseer of the card 
room. In this room was a pair of mules, and by their aid he 
learned mule spinning. A year and a half later he removed to 
East Wrentham, near the Foxboro line, and assumed charge of 
the carding and spinning in Blake's factory for about two years. 
After a brief interval spent in farming he assumed charge of 
the mule spinning in a mill at AValpole, remained at this point 
one year, and then became superintendent of Elisha Sherman's 
factory at Foxboro, where warps were manufactured by contract 
for firms in Pawtucket. After spending a year at Foxboro he 
assumed charge of a mill in North Attleboro, devoted to the man- 
ufacture of cotton sewing thread. Though this business, being 
in competition with that of Coates and other English manufact- 
urei-s, was regarded as a difficult one, ]Mr. ]\Iorse resolved to 
teach inexperienced operatives to perform it-— a policy which he 
carried out with such success that a half century ago he was able 
to make, from Sea Island cotton, yarns of Xo. 130, or one hun- 
dred and thirty skeins to the pound. 

After an engagement of one year with the Manville Company 
at Cumberland, Rhode Island, he assumed charge for a brief 
time of the carding room of a mill at Central Falls, in the same 
state, and a few months later formed a copartnership with Avery 
Gilmore, under the firm name of }*Iorse & Gilmore, for the man- 
ufacture of cotton goods. Hiring a small mill at Central l'\alls, 
they effected a contract with Crawford xVllen, of Providence, to 
stock the mill and sell the goods on commission. They soon es- 
tablished a profitable business, which continued for three years, 
when Mr. sold his interest. During this period he was 
also engaged for a year in running the Lefavor mill at Paw- 
tucket. In 1832 he took the Lyman mill at Woonsocket, ran it 
by contract for Crawford Allen, and removed with his family to 
that town. In 1833, in connection with Mr. Allen, he purchased 
the Abbott Run mills at Cumberland, and transferring his res- 


idence to Valley Falls, assumed charge of the property, repaired 
the old and put in much new machinery. He continued in the 
ownership of this property, his half interest having- been in- 
creased by the addition of a fourth interest. In 'JS-12 and 1843 
he ran by contract a mill at Valley Falls owned by Mr. Allen, 
and also one owned by Henry ^^larchant, of Providence. The 
latter contract, which was for three years, was broken by the 
owner of the mills on finding that Mr. IMorse was making the 
mills profitable. 

In 1843, in connection with ^Ir. Allen, ^Ir. Morse operated the 
Arkwright ^Mills, at Cranston, Rhode Island, of which he as- 
sumed the superintendence. In this relation he continued for 
eleven years. In 1844 the machinery was removed from the 
Valley Falls mills to a brick mill then recently built at Put- 
nam, Connecticut, and owned by 3.1r. George C. Nightingale, 
of Providence, and in ISO? machinery was brought from a 
factory at Greenville, Rhode Island, to the present stone mill 
belonging to Mr. Nightingale. These mills were successfully 
operated by ^h. Morse under contract. In 1848 the large 
stone tnill known as the 2^Iorse mill was built and operated 
by jM. S. ^lorse, G. C. Nightingale and S. Dorr, Jr., of Prov- 
idence, the mill and village around it having grown up in a 
single year. In ISGl' Mr. ^Morse, with his brother Alfred, pur- 
chased a cotton factory at Holden and one at Farnumsville, 
both in Massachusetts. He later disposed of the latter and 
became sole owner of the former interest. ^Messrs. Morse (S: 
Nightingale erected in 1872 the Powhatan mill, at the privil- 
ege above that which furnishes power for the mills owned by 
them at Putnam. 

Mr. ^lori^e married on the 30th of September, 1824, Susanna 
Blake, of Wrentham. ^lass. Of their four children, the eldest, 
Stillman F., was drowned at A'alley Falls in his thirteenth year. 
The surviving children are: George M., born at Central Falls 
August 25th, 1830; Fanny B., born at Valley I'alls October 3d, 
1834, and married to Andrew J. Grossman, of Providence, and 
Susan A., born at Valley Falls August 24th, 1838, and married 
to Henry A. Munroe, also of Providence. Although ]Mr. ]Morse 
lived to reach the border of four score years, he continued in the 
active supervision of his affairs until his death on the 17th of 
May, 1877, the result of an injury received three days prcviousl}'. 

^Ir. ]\Iorse was much interested in the political events of his 



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: 1 

^////a^z y^\ ^/t 

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\ / 



day, and willing-ly co-operated in the various projects which re- 
sulted in benefit to the state and country. He, however, never 
aspired to office, being always engrossed in the care of his im- 
portant business. His untiring ambition, accompanied with 
sound judgment, led to success as a business manager. During 
a period of forty years he never failed to meet his obligations 
or fulfill all financial contracts. Socially he was approachable to 
the most humble individual in his employ, and on his decease 
more than a thousand employes felt the loss of a benefactor and 

Geokge IM. Morse, the second son of Milton S. and Susanna 
Blake Morse, spent his youth in and about the city of Provi- 
dence. His early years were devoted to study at the schools of 
Providence, where he remained until the age of eighteen, when 
on removing to Putnam he interested himself for a j'ear in the 
store belonging to the company with which his father was con- 
nected. Again making Providence his home, he spent several 
years in that city, and at Putnam, ultimately locating in the 
spring of 185G in the latter place, where lie was made the super- 
intendent of the Morse mills. This responsible position he filled 
for many years and finally assumed the entire management of 
the property. In ISGO the company was granted a charter,' and 
the year following ^Ir. Morse became one of the corporate own- 
ers. The Nightingale mills under the firm name of M.S. 3iIorse 
& Son, were from ISoS to ISGS operated by the yard. In 1873 
the Powhatan mills were erected under the personal supervision 
of ^Ir. Morse, who superintended every detail of their construc- 
tion, placed the machinery, and successfully started them. Of 
the three corporations located at Putnam, ^lilton S. ]VIorse and 
his son were the managers, the entire responsibility devolving 
upon the subject of this sketch on the death of his father. He 
still continues the competent head of this extensive manufactur- 
ing interest, of which his eldest son, Augustus I., is the superin- 
tendent. Mr. ]\lorse is president of both the ]Morse and Pow- 
hatan companies, president of the Abbott Run mills at Cumber- 
land, R. I., and a third owner and manager of the Ilolden cotton 
mills at Holden, Mass. 

Mr. Morse is much absorbed in the varied duties pertaining 
to his business, and has neither taste nor leisure for matters of 
a political character. He is a firm advocate of the principles of 
the republican party, .-fnd in full sympathy with the protective 


tariff views which it endorses. He has done much to promote 
the cause of education in his town, is a member of the manag- 
ing committee, and was one of the building committee of the 
high school recently erected in Putnam. !Mr. ^Morse ma}', with 
great propriety, be spoken of in connection with his sympathy 
and interest in all forms of Christian work. He became a 
member of the Baptist church of Putnam in April, 1S;"J8, in 
which he is a deacon, and among its most liberal supporters. 
His Christianity finds expression in earnest Christian labor, 
in a broad sjmipathy for his fellow-men of whatever class or 
condition, and in a cheerful and spontaneous giving. Not re- 
stricted by rules or tenets, he gives with a firm belief that he 
is simply the custodian of means which should be devoted to 
the glory of God and the welfare of others. 

Mr. Morse was married xApril 13th, 1851, to Melora, daughter 
of Whitford Whitney of Killingly, Conn. Their children are 
five sons and five daughters, as follows: Frances S., deceased; 
Ida A., wife of Charles 'M. Fenner; Augustus I., married to Anne 
G. Dyer; wStillman F., married to Emma L. Leonard; ^Milton S., 
married to Eloise H. Busiel; George Byron, married to ]\Iaud 
L. Alden; Flattie M., wife of Charles Albert Luke; Alice M., 
wife of James Eugene Taylor; Walter N. and Blanche P. 

Captain Alfred M. Parker is a lineal descendant of Captain 
John Parker, who commanded a detachment of colonial troops 
at the eventful battle of Lexington during the war of the revo- 
lution. Among the children of his son Eben, who resided in 
Boston, was John, also a resident of the same city, who married 
Rebecca Young of Boston. Their children are: Florace B., a 
member of the firm of Parker, Holmes & Co., of Boston; Alfred 
M., and two daughters, Isabella L., wife of George J. Tufts, and 
Ella J. 

Alfred M. Parker was born October 2Gth, 18.52, in Boston, where 
he resided until the age of twelve, meanwhile attending the 
public schools and laying the foundation for a substantial ele- 
mentary education. The three .succeeding years were spent in 
Medford, after which he removed to St. Louis, to familiarize 
himself with the boot and shoe trade. The firm with which he 
engaged managed two stores, and Captain Parker was connected 
in turn with both, finally transferring his relations to the more 
important, in which he was chief accountant. After a bu.siness 
connection of six years with this firm, he returned to Bos- 



''^<m, ^^ 

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ii ii ȣ*wuU\ i-oi-o.*-^ 

^^.V. ^k.Qi^ 

HISTORY OF ^VI^■PI1A^[ county. iird\) 

ton, and became travelling salesman for ^lessrs. Batchelder & 
Lincoln, a prominent wholesale boot and shoe house of that city. 
This eng-agement continued for a period of four years, when 
Putnam became his home. Here he purchased the business of 
Messrs. Houghton & Crandall, boot and shoe dealers, and has 
since that date been actively interested in this branch of trade. 
Under his judicious management the sales have largely increased, 
a wholesale and jobbing department having been added to the 
retail branch of the business. 

Captain Parker has, since his settlement in I'utnam, been 
identified with its improvement, and interested himself in 
the various projects having for their object the welfare of the 
community. He was a director and one of the original promoters 
of the Electric Light Company, and was chiefly instrumental in 
the erection of a drinking fountain in the center of the village. 
He is an active ^lason, and senior warden of Ouinebaug Lodge, 

F. & A. M. Of Putnam Chapter, Royal Arch :\Iasons, he has 
been for two years the high priest. For four years Captain 
Parker has held the position of second lieutenant of Company 

G, Third regiment, Connecticut National Guards, located in 
Putnam, and received promotion to the office of aide-de-camp, 
with the rank of captain, on the staff of General Charles P. 
Graham, brigadier general, commanding the Connecticut Na- 
tional Guards. This promotion was the result of merit, so that 
he may be said in truth to have won his spurs, and with them 
the approbation and esteem of his com.manding general. 

Captain Parker is accustomed to seek relaxation from the cares 
of an increasing business in a hunting and fishing trip on the coast 
of Florida during the winter months, his own convenient and at- 
tractive yacht contributing greatly to this pleasure. He was 
married to ^liss Anne M. Howard, of Bath, ^le., who died in 
March, 1885. 

Ch.vxdler a. SrAi.DiNC. — C)bed vSpalding married Margaret 
Ames. Their son, Eleazer Spalding, married Sarah Parks and 
resided in Killingly, now Putnam, where he owned a farm, and 
also during the winter months engaged in teaching. He had 
two children, a s(mi. Chandler A., and a daughter, ^lary Ann, 
wife of George AV. Keith. Chandler A. Spalding was Ijorn 
April 24th, 1810. on the farm in Killingly, and in the residence 
occupied by him during his lifetime. Having the misfortune to 
lose his father when but twelve years of age, he began active 


labor at the age of fourteen, and such was his aptitude and jud^. 
ment, that soon after, with his mother, he conducted the farm. 
He received a common English education at the district school, 
but was too much engrossed with the responsible duties thus 
early thrown upon him to afford much time for study. 

On the 11th of February, 1835, he married Charity Gilbert, of 
Pomfret, whose children are : Caroline C, Albert, Emily, Lo- 
ren and Charles, all now deceased. ]Mrs. Spalding's death oc- 
curred January 4th, 1S61. Mr. vSpalding having already owned 
one-third of the estate, on his marriage purcha.sed the remaining 
two-thirds from his mother and sister, thus becoming sole owner 
of the homestead farm, on which he settled. He married a sec- 
ond time January 27th, 1862, Emily, daughter of Wareham Wil- 
liams, of Pomfret, who survives him. 

Mr. Spalding was in politics a republican, but not ambitious 
for office, and filled no other positions than those which enabled 
him to be of service to his native town. He was one of the in- 
corporators and a director of the Putnam National Bank. He 
was the projector and at one time sole owner of the Putnam 
Cemetery, which was platted under his personal supervision. 
On its organization as a corporation, he became the president 
and filled that office until his death, which occurred on the 2d 
of April, 1877. 'Mr. vSpalding was a Christian man, giving with 
a cheerful and willing heart, and zealous in promoting the pros- 
perity of the Congregational church at Putnam, of which he 
was a member. 


^ <c 







General Description and Geology. — Aborigines.— Visit of Eliot and Gookin. — 
The Nanagansett 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. — Controversy with Colonel Chandler.— Settlement 
of West Woodstock.— Precinct Organized. — Buildinj; of Meeting House.— 
Organization of Church. — Woodstock's Revolt. — Contest between Massachu- 
setts and Connecticut.— Church Division.— Various Town Afl'airs. 

THE northwest corner of Windham county is occupied by 
the ample territory of Woodstock, eight miles by seven 
and a half in extent, comprising an area of nearly sixty 
square miles. It is the largest town in the county and retains, 
with least change, its original limits, its only loss occurring fi cm 
a slight removal of its northern boundary. Woodstock ranks 
high among the farming towns of the state. Its soil is excel- 
lent, and the dearth of manufacturing privileges has helped to 
develop agricultural interests. A micaceoits formation (gneiss'), 
extending from Pomfret to its junction with a western branch 
of the same near ^luddy brook, in the north of the town, fur- 
nishes a soil capable of great improvement. It is characterized by 
a series of smoothly rounded, detached hills, in which the rock 
is usually covered. Rocky ledges in other parts of the town 
have impeded cultivation, leaving extensive forest tracts, mak- 
ing the himber interest of permanent value. A granitic forma- 
tion in the south of the town is well adapted for qtiarrying, hav- 
ing furnished hearth stones and building material to succeeding 
generations since the first settlement of the town. The west of 
the town is favored with a large deposit of bog iron ore, espe- 
cially in the neighborhood of Black pond, where it is said a sin- 
gle pit yielded a hundred and fifty tons of ore. ^Mineral springs, ! 
near the present residence of Deacon Abel Child, enjoyed a wide ! 
popularity for a season. Woodstock's variety of soil, nearness j- 

. ^/ 1 


to market, its wide-awake Farmer's Club, Grange and Agricul- 
tural Society, have stimulated culture and experiment and 
brought the general administration of farming affairs to a high 
standard. Attempts to utilize its small streams — ^luddy brook, 
Bungee and Saw ^lill brook -for manufacturing purposes have 
been less successful. Other manufacturing enterprises have 
met with varying success. 

This Woodstock territory was first known to the whites as a 
part of Wabbaquasset, a country run over and conquered by the 
i\Iohegans, and subject to Uncas. Its name signifies " the mat- 
producing country," and was probably derived from some 
or meadow that produced valuable reeds for mats and baskets. 
It included land west of the Quinebaug, north of a westward line 
from Acquiunk Falls, now at Danielsonville. The Indians living 
in this section were known as Wabbaquassets. They Avere ap- 
parently few in number and inferior in character, abjectly sub- 
missive to the great sachem Uncas, paying "him homage and 
obligations, and yearly tribute of white deer skins, bear skins and 
black wolf skins." The south part of what is now Woodstock is 
supposed to have been one of their favorite haunts. The .smooth 
hills were btirnt over every year to furnish fresh pasture for 
deer, and corn was grown there as far back as the first settle- 
ment of Boston. When news was borne through Nipnet to 
Wabbaquasset that Englishmen at the Bay lacked corn, and 
would pay a good price for it, a stout young Indian lad, Acquit- 
timaug, trudged through the wilderness with his father with 
sacks of corn upon their backs to sell to the Englishmen. 

Apart from this incident nothing is known of the aboriginal 
inhabitants of Woodstock, until the Indian converts of John 
Eliot found their way there. Two of these youths, trained at 
Natic in a school of virtue and piety, inspired by the teachings 
and example of the reverend apostle, sought to carry " good tid- 
ings" to their benighted countrymen at Wabbaquasset. They 
were sons of Petavit, sachem at Ilamannesset (now Grafton), and 
are described as hopeful, pious and active young men. The 
younger, Sampson, "an active and ingenii;s person," had been 
before conversion dissolute in conduct, " lived very uncomfort- 
ably with his wife." but the transforming power of divine grace 
had been made more manifest thereby, and his mission work at 
Wabbaquasset was remarkably successful. Laboring alone 
among these untutored savages, within four years he had gath- 


ered thirty families into an orderly community, had instructed 
them in the principles of religion, established diYine -worship 
and persuaded them to assume in some degree the habits of ciY- 
ilized life. They cultivated the land, raised great crops of corn 
and beans, and built ^vig■^vams. the like of -svhich were not to he 
seen in New England. The precise locality of this Indian set- 
tlement has not been ascertained, but it was in the south part of 
the tract, near the present " Ouasset," or in thevicinityof South 
Woodstock. A fort was maintained westAvard on what is now 
Fort hill, which was called the " second fort in the Xipmuck 

The report of Major Daniel Gookin, "magistrate over the 
Praying Indians," of ^Ir. Eliot's tour among these Indians in 
1674, enables us to see them as wnth our own eyes. With 
five or six godly persons and a number of Indian guides and 
followers, they visited the new " Praying Towns " planted by 
Eliot's missionaries. After spending the night at Chaubun- 
akongkomuk (near Dudley), where Sampson's brother Joseph 
was teacher, they proceeded in the morning to Myanexet, 
"west of a fresh river called Mohegan" ('now Xew Boston) 
where a village had been gathered. To these twenty families 
with others Mr. Eliot preached in the Indian tongue from the 
words, " Lift up your heads, O ye gates, .... and the King 
of Glory shall come in," words which a swift messenger bore 
with all speed to the king of darkness at Mohegan. John 
Moqua, a pious and sober person, was presented to the people to 
be their minister, and a suitable psalm read by him was sung by 
the assembly. After a closing prayer the missionary band pro- 
ceeded on their way, following the Connecticut Path, the main 
thoroughfare of travel between the colonies, for a part of the jour- 
ney, diverging thence by Indian trail to the Wabbaquasset settle- 
ment. " Late in the evening," September IHth, they reached the 
sagamore's famous wigwam, sixty feet in length and twenty feet 
in width. The chief was absent, but his squaw received them 
courteously, and provided liberally in Indian fashion for their 
followers. The "active and ingenius" Sampson, rejoicing in 
the fruit of his labors, must have given tnem a hearty welcome, 
and " divers of the principal peo])le that were at home " came to 
the wigwam, with whom they " sjient a good part of the night 
in prayer, singing psalms and exhortations." 

" It was a scene that has been many times repeated in mission- 


ary experience, the grave and earnest men of God with the wild 
natives wondering- and questioning at their feet, but one inci- 
dent on this occasion was of unique occurrence. A grim Indian 
among them, ''sitting mute a great space, at hast spake to this ef- 
fect — that he was agent for Uncas, sachem of ]Mohegan, who 
challenged right to and dominion over this people of Wabba- 
quasset. And said he, ' i'ncas is not iccll pleased thtxt the English 
should pass over Mohegan River to call his Indians to pray to 
God.'" The timid Wabbaquassets might well have quailed at 
this lofty message from their sovereign lord, but ISIr. Eliot re- 
plied calmly, "That it z^'as his zvork to call upon all men every- 
where, as hfe had opportunity, especially the Indians, to repent 
and embrace the Gospel, but he did not meddle with civil right 
or jurisdiction." Gookin, as magistrate, further explained and 
desired the messenger to inform Uncas, that Wabbaquasset was 
within the jurisdiction of ^lassachusetts, and that the govern- 
ment of that people did belong to them, yet it was not intended 
to abridge the Indian sachems of their just and ancient right 
over the Indians in respect of paying ti'ibute or any other dues, 
but the main desire of the English was to bring them to the 
good knowledge of God in Christ Jesus, and to suppress among 
them their sins. 

The morning following, September IGth, 1G74, is one of the 
most notable in Woodstock history. The tidings of the progress 
of the missionary band had been borne far and wide, Indians 
from ]\Iyanexet, Ouinnatisset and all the surrounding country, 
had come together to see and hear them, and at an earl}' hour a 
public service was held. Tradition still points out the rock at 
the north extremity of Plainc hill that served as pulpit for John 
Eliot. Gookin and other godly persons stood beside him, and 
the throng of swarthy Indians pressed around their feet. Samp- 
son began the service, "reading and setting the CXIX P's, 
first part, v,-hich was sung." 'Mv. Eliot offered prayer, and then 
preached to them in Indian out of ^latthevv, vi. 83, "First seek 
the kingdom of Heaven and the righteousness thereof, and all 
these things shall be added unto you." 

Prayer closed the religious exercises, and then a civil service 
was enacted. Law folloi<.'ii!g the Gospel presentation on this 
occasion, Gookin as magistrate, representing the authority of 
Massachusetts Bay, laid down the rules of civil government, 
confirming Samp.son as public teacher, and Black James of Chau- 


bunakongkomuck as constable, charging each to be diligent and 
faithful in his place, and exhorting the people to yield obedience 
to the Gospel of Christ and t(_) those set in order there. lie then 
published a warrant or order, empowering the constable to sup- 
press drunkenness. Sabbath breaking, especially powwowing 
and idolatry-, and to apprehend all delinquents and bring them 
before authority to answer for their misdeeds. Having thus es- 
tablished religious and civil ordinances, the visitors took leave 
of the people of Wabbaquasset and turned their footsteps home- 
ward with thankfulness and joy at what had been accom- 

The dreams and hopes of the good apostle, of Christianizing 
and civilizing the tribes that had long sat in darkness, seemed 
likely to be quickly realized. Churches and villages had been 
gathered and religious and civil institutions established. ]\Iin- 
isters and constables had been formally established in office, and 
all was peace and order. A few short months and all was deso- 
late. A ferocious war between whites and Indians obliterated 
the results of years of fruitful labor. The villages were de- 
stroyed, the churches vanished, the praying Indians relapsed 
into barbarous savages. Black James, Sampson, and other con- 
- verts took sides with King Philip. The Wabbaquassets left their 
homes and planting fields and took up their abode at j\lohegan. 
Captain Thomas of Providence, passing through Wapososhe- 
quash in pursuit of Philip, in August, 1075, reports "a very 
good inland country, well watered with rivers and brooks, special 
good land, great quantities of special good corn and beans, and 
stately wigwams as I never saw the like, but not one Indian to 
be seen." In the following summer Major Taleott, of Norwich, 
passed through Wabbaquasset, where he found a fort and some 
forty acres of growing corn, but no enemy. Demolishing fort 
and destroj'ing the corn, they proceeded on their way. The 
Wabbaquassets during the war performed some slight services 
for Uncas, and were rewarded by the Connecticut government, 
and continued for some years afterward under his protection. 

As soon as possible after the restoration of peace, !Massa- 
chusetts arranged to take possession of the conquered territory. 
William Stoughton and Joseph Dudley were commissioned by 
the general court to treat with the Indian claimants and agree 
with them upon the easiest terms attainable. February lOth, 
IGS'2, negotiations were completed by which the whole Xipmuck 


country, from the northern part of ^lassachusetts to a point 
called Xash-a-way, at the junction of the Ouinebaug and French 
rivers, Connecticut— a tract fifty by forty miles in extent- 
was made over to the government of the Bay colony, for the sum 
of fifty pounds, a reservation of five miles square being also al- 
lowed the Indians. Colonization vas the immediate result of 
this cession. Plantation in New England was quickly followed 
by emigration. The mother towns were not able to furnish 
homes for new comers, and the many children of the first plant- 
ers. The flourishing town of Roxbury was especially hampered 
in this respect, " its limits being so scanty and not capable of 
enlargement " that many families were forced to find other set- 
tlements. Eagerly its inhabitants welcomed the opening of the 
Nipmuck country as furnishing a wider field for their super- 
abundant population. 

In October, 1GS3, its selectmen petitioned the general court for 
a tract of land seven miles square, " for the enlargement of the 
town and the encouragement of its inhabitants," the land to be 
laid out afOi-tinnatisset or thereabouts, if a convenient way 
maybe found there. This prayer was granted on condition that 
previous grantees had the first choice, and " that thirty families 
-be settled on said plantation within three ^-ears, and maintain 
among them an able, orthodox, godly minister." The town ac- 
cepted the conditions, and in the following year sent out Lieu- 
tenant Samuel Ruggles. John Ruggles, John Curtis and Edward 
Morris, " To view the premises and find a convenient place to 
take up her grant." With Indian guides they made their way 
through the wilderness and carefully viewed the premises. 
Qumnatisset (now Thompson), for which they had asked, was 
already appropriated, and farms laid out to English owners, but 
land adjacent at Senexet and Wabbaquasset they thought com- 
modious for a settlement. 

The town accepted their information, October 27th, 10S4, and 
chose a suitable committee, "to draw up, upon consideration, 
propositions that may be most equable and prudent for the set- 
tlement of the place." Inhabitants unwilling to assume the re- 
sponsibility of carrying forward the work had liberty to with- 
draw without offense, and be free from further charges. All 
others were to be held responsible for the settlement and ex- 
penses of the Nipmuck colony. The following year farther ar- 
rangements were made, the town agreeing to give to the actual 



settlers one-half the entire grant, and a hundred pounds in 
money, to be laid out in public works, but it was not till the 
third year that they proceeded to take possession. A nutnbcr of 
pioneers having voluntereed to go in advance and prepare the 
way for the main body, it was voted in town meeting, ^larch 
4th, 10S6, " That such should have liberty to break up land and 
plant anywhere they please without being bound to accept it as 
their share of the grant." This advance guard, thirteen in num 
ber, viz., Benjamin Sabin, Jonathan Smithers, Henry Bowen 
John Frizzell, Matthew Davis, Nathaniel Gary, Thomas Bacon 
John Marcy. Peter Aspinwall, Benjamin and George Griggs 
Joseph Lord and Ebenezer Morris left Roxbury about April 1st 
and having surmounted the perils of the journey, made record 
that on April 5th, 16S6, "Several persons came as planters and 
settlers and took actual po.ssession (by breaking up land and 
planting corn) of the land granted to Roxbury (called by the 
planters New Roxbury; by the Antient natives Wapaquasset.)" 

Through Senexet valley in the east of the tract they passed 
on southward, making headquarters at Plaine hill. In the vale 
eastward they planted corn fields and set up a saw mill on a 
small brook running toward the lake. The larger stream feed- 
ing the lake was given the name of their own Muddy brook in 
Roxbury. No curious natives disturbed their solitude. The 
Wabbaquassets were still sojourning in Mohegan. In May they 
were visited by a deputation from Roxbury, which came with 
Surveyor Gore to take a more fonnal survey of the tract, settle 
the south bound, and determine the length and breadth of the 
grant, so that the first '-Go-crs" might Biake an intelligent 
choice. Eleven days were spent in exploring and surveN'ing. 
Massachusetts' south bound, an unknown, disputed, almost imag- 
inary line, making much trouble between Massachusetts and 
Connecticut, could not be identified, but a substitute was devised 
by affixing a station about one and a half miles south of Plaine 
hill, and thence marking trees in line, east and west. The south 
bound thus obtained was nearly two miles south of the " Wood- 
ward and Saffery Line," claimed by Massachusetts and about 
eight miles south of the south bound finally established. Other 
arrangements were made and the committee returned in time to 
report proceedings, June l:i?Ui, at Roxbury. 

A vigorous new colony " boom " had now set in and much in- 
terest was manifested. The prescribed quota of thirty planters 


was already full and others were pressing in. Men were known 
in town "under the denomination " of "Go-ers" or "Stay-ers;" 
men from adjacent towns were craving admittance and permis- 
sion was granted to admit such with the " Goers," " if the select- 
men of Roxbury and other Go-ers do approve them." July 21st, 
an especial meeting was held for the more orderly settling the 
aforesaid village or grant, when the following agreement was 
adopted : 

" I. That every man should take up what number of acres he 
pleaseth in his home lot, not exceeding thirty ; and after-rights 
and divisions of land shall arise according to the proportion of 
his home lot, and all after-charges to arise proportionably upon 
the home lots for the first six years. 

"II. That whoever shall neglect the payment of his rate two 
months after a rate is made and demanded, shall forfeit for every 
five shillings two acres of his home lot with all proportionable 
rights, and so, more or less, according to his failure ; always pro- 
vided that they take not his house nor orchard 

" III. If any meadows should fall out to be in any one's home 
lot it shall be accounted as so much of his proportion of meadow, 
and his home lot made up with upland. 

" IV. That all persons have planted in the year 1C86 shall 
have two acres of his home lot free for the first three years, and 
shall enjoy the land they jjlanted in 1687 and '88, though it fall 
out in any other person's home lot. 

"V. That within one month they will go personally to their 
new plantation, and there make farther agreements, divisions 
and settlements." 

The fifth article of the agreement was faithfully carried out. 
Within the specified month they set out upon their distant pil- 
grimage — the forty men who had enrolled themselves "Go-ers," 
and a fair proportion of their families. Of all circum.stances 
connected with the fitting out, departure and journey of the col- 
ony we arc wholly ignorant. On foot and horseback, with cart 
and cattle, they traversed the well-worn Connecticut path, or the 
newer way laid out by Major Pynchon through the Oxford grant, 
to meet a joyful welcome from the waiting pioneers. In their 
five months' residence the thirteen planters had made a good be- 
ginning. Three distinct sites, suitable for villages, had been 
selected and on the northern extremity oi Plaine hill a house or 
. hall, intended for general use, had been put up. The first pub- 


lie meeting was held August 25th, " at Xew Roxbury, alias Wap- 
aquasset," at the Wabbaquassct Hall, when the planters voted to 
take the south half of the tract for their portion, and "that the 
place where the home lots shall begin shall be upon the Plaine 

Finding some difhculty in arranging plans of settlement, on 
the following day the planters agreed to select seven men to 
state needful highways, and a lot for the minister, and consider 
of land convenient for the planters to settle on, and for a con- 
venient place for a meeting house to stand on. Each planter 
also specified the number of acres he desired in his home lot, 
according as he was able and willing to carry on public charges, 
and liberty was given for any one to select any particular piece 
of land he might desire, otherwise it would be settled " as the 
lots shall fall by a lot." The seven wise men selected for this 
service were the oldest, and, inferentially, the wisest in the 
company, viz.: Joseph Griggs, Edward Morris, Henry Bowen, 
Sr., John Chandler, Sr., Samuel Craft, Samuel Scarborough and 
Jonathan Smithers. Assisted by the thirteen pioneers, and the 
surveys they had already accomplished, the work assigned was 
soon despatched, and on Saturday, August 26th, 1C86 (old style), 
the company of emigrants met on Plaine hill, " in order to draw 
lots where their home lots should be." 

The seven wise men chosen for laying out and pitching the 
town, had decided upon the three locations previously referred 
to — "the Plaine hill." the "Westward hill" adjacent, and the 
Eastward vale, now vSouth Woodstock, and laid out or assigned 
suitable home lots in each. They had also marked out and or- 
dered convenient highways, viz.: 1. A highway, eight rods 
wide, running along the Plaine (hill), extending' to a brook at 
the north end of the eastward vale, running by marked trees; 
thence .southward along the vale to another brook, six rods wide, 
with a cross highway four rods wide about the middle, where it 
may be most convenient when the lots are laid out. 2. From 
the north end of Plaine hill, a highway eight rods wide, to ihe 
east side of the westward hill ; thence northward four rods wide 
and so on circuiting the hill ; which were considered sufficient for 
present use. They had also agreed that the meeting house 
should stand upon the Plaine hill, and that the lots should begin 
upon the north end of Plaine hill, adjacent to Wabbaquassct 


The business of the day was carried forward with much for- 
mality and dignity. It was no common band of emigrants that 
were Laying the foundations of Woodstock, but leading men 
from one of the most prominent and prosperous[towns in ]\Iassa- 
chusetts, whose people were the best that came over from Eng- 
land. In troublous times, a narrow-minded Catholic bigot upon 
the throne of Great Britain, the charter of ^Massachusetts taken 
away, a ro3-al governor imminent, they hoped to find in this dis- 
tant settlement a place of refuge from despotic extortion. 
Thus, with religious ceremonies, as well as legal formality, they 
made their distribution. The place of meeting was doubtless 
Wabbaquasset Hall. The seven seniors, who had served as com- 
mittee, occuined the place of honor. The settlers had ranged 
themselves in three bodies, according to their choice in matter 
of location, and each company in turn presented itself before 
the honorable committee. " Liberty was given to those that 
desired to sit down on the Plaine hill, to draw by themselves. 
Others desiring to sit down in the eastward vale had liberty to 
draw for that by themselves," and those wishing to sit down on 
the westward hill had the same liberty allowed them. Four of 
the elder settlers, who had made choice of particular lots, then 
stepped forward and manifested their choice, viz., John Chand- / 
ler, Sr., Samuel Scarborough, Samuel Craft, "William Lyon, Sr. 
" Solemn prayer to God, who is the disposer of all things," was 
then offered for his guidance and blessing, followed by the 
drawing of lots by the three companies in succession, "every 
man being satisfied and contented with God's disposal." Thirty- 
eight persons received allotments on this occasion, viz.: 

1. Thomas and Joseph Bacon, thirty acres. 

2. James Corbin, twenty acres. 

3. ^Minister's lot, twenty acres. 

4. Benjamin Sabin, twenty acres. 

5. Henry Bo wen, fifteen acres. 

6. Thomas Lyon, sixteen acres. 

7. Ebenezer ^lorris. eighteen acres. 

8. Matthew Davis, sixteen acres. 

9. William Lyon, Sr., and Ebenezer Cass. 

These lots were all laid out on Plaine hill. It had been pre- 
viously voted " by the company of Go-ers," that whosoever took 
up their land upon the Plaine, on the northward side of Mill 
brook, should have one-third part of land added to their home 


lots, Yiz., three acres for two on account of the inferior quality 
of the land. Seventeen lots were then assigned in the eastward 
vale, viz.: 

10. John Chandler, Sr., thirty acres.-^ 

11. Peter Aspinwall, twenty acres. 

12. John Frizzell, twenty acres. 

13. Joseph Frizzell, twenty acres. 

14. Jonathan Smithers, thirty acres. 

15. John Butcher, sixteen acres. 

16. Jonathan Davis, eighteen acres. 

17. Jonathan Peake, twenty acres. 
IS. Nathaniel Gary, fifteen acres. 

19. John Bowen, fifteen acres. 

20. Nathaniel Johnson, sixteen acres. 

21. John Hubbard, ten acres. 

22. George Griggs, fifteen acres. 

23. Benjamin Griggs, fifteen acres. 

24. William Lyon, Jr., fifteen acres. 
2,1. John Leavens, twenty acres. 
26. Nathaniel Sanger, twenty acres. 

Lots 27, Samuel Scarborough, and 28, Samuel Craft, were laid 
out on the east side of Plaine hill. 

The home lots on the westward hill were made over to eight 
persons, viz.: 

29. Samuel ^lay, fifteen acres. 

30. Joseph Bugbee, fifteen acres. 

31. Samuel Peacock, ten acres. 

32. Arthur Humphrey, twelve acres. 

33. John Bugbee, fifteen acres. 

34. John Ruggles, twenty acres. 

35. Andrew Watkins, twenty acres. 

36. John Marcy, fifteen acres. 

Lot 37, Edward Morris, thirty acres, was laid out east side of 
Plaine hill, " bounded west by the great highway: south partly 
by land reserved for public use and partly by land of Samuel 
Craft and Samuel Scarborough; east by common land; north 
upon the highway that goeth from the street to the Great 

It was agreed by vote that the number of shares should be 
limited to fifty. The remaining allotments were distributed 
within six years to the following settlers: 


38. Joseph Peake, twenty acres. 

39. John Holmes, twenty acres. 

40. John Chandler, Jr., twenty acres." 

41. William Bartholomew, fifteen acres. 

42. Isaac Ijartholomew, ten acres. 

43. Clement Corbin, twenty acres. 

44. Samuel Rice, fifteen acres. 

45. William Bartholomew, Jr., ten acres. 

46. Joseph Bugbee, Jr., ten acres. 

■ 47. Nathaniel Johnson, Jr., ten acres. 

48. Jabez Corbin, fifteen acres. 

49. William Bartholomew, Sr., twenty acres. 
61. Benjamin Sabin, Jr. 

52. Philip Eastman, twenty acres. 

50. Reserved for ministry."'- 

These fifty proprietors were all previous residents of Ro.xbury, 
with the exception of Peter Aspinwall, of Dorchester; John 
Holmes, Dorchester; the three Corbins from Muddy river (Brook- 
lyn); the Bartholomews, from Branford; John Butcher, Boston; 
Philip Eastman, Haverhill. ;Many were united by family ties, 
as fathers, sons and brothers. Of the older men, Henrv Bowen, 
Samuel Craft, William Lyon, Sr., Samuel ^lay, Samuel Scarbor- 
ough, returned to their Roxbury homes, leaving their Xew Rox- 
bury land with sons or purchasers. Jonathan Smithers, John 
Bowen, William Lyon. Jr., John Ruggles, failed to retain pos- 
session. About forty of the original proprietors remained in 
possession of their home lots thus assigned to them — the fathers 
and founders of the town of Woodstock. All subsequent divi- 
sions of land in the south half of the grant were based upon the 
number of acres in each man's home lot, and public charges 
were laid in the same proportion. Part of the " Go-ers" had 
brought their wives and children, and hastened to put up houses 
and establish household life. November 3d, IGSG, a proprietors- 
meeting was held at the house of Thomas Lyon. John Chand-^ 
ler, vSr., Joseph Bugbce and Edward ]Morris were chosen a com- 
mittee for the oversight and ordering of public affairs. A com- 
mittee was also chosen " to treat with young ^Ir. John Wilson 

* A Chart showing tlie hiving out of the original home lots anfl liighways, and 
a large Map giving ancient ami luodern liomestefids, highway.s, and all note- 
worthy localities, have been carefully prejiared for the forthcoming History of 
Woodstock, but are not within the scope of the present work. 


of Medficld to come and preach to the planters in order to settle- 
ment." Religions services were held in the open air this first 
autumn, a large rock by the roadside on the way to the westward 
hill serving for a pulpit: but settlement was not stifficiently ad- 
vanced for a stated minister. 

As the older men returned to Roxbury, and winter closed in 
arotmd them, the little colony realized more fully its isolation 
and exposure. The nearest settlements on the north were Ox- 
ford and Worcester, and many miles of savage wilderness lay 
between them and the far-off towns, Providence, Norwich and 
Hartford. The future populous counties, Worcester and Wind- 
ham, were as yet unsurveyed and almost unbroken, inhabited by 
wild beasts and more ferocious savages. Alone in this vast tract 
of wintry desolation, they took counsel together around the scat- 
tered hearthstones and laid plans for coming years. Scouts were 
kept up patrolling the settlements, to guard from Indian alarm, 
and houses fortified to serve as places of refuge. 

As early as possible spring work was begun. April 29th, 1687, 
Edward Morris, Nathaniel Johnson and Joseph White were com- 
missioned by the planters to treat and agree for the building of 
a corn mill, on as reasonable terms as they could. William Bar- 
tholomew, of Branford, a former resident of Roxbury, was the 
person selected and secured, with urgent persuasion, "For build- 
ing a corn mill on the falls below Muddy Brook pocd (now Har- 
risville) and finding the town with grinding good meal, clear of 
grit." He received a place at the falls to set a mill, a fifteen 
acre home lot with rights, a hundred acres of upland, and after- 
ward an additional twenty acre home lot, " provided he bring 
his wife and settle upon it." July 2d, John Chandler, Sr., Na- 
thaniel Johnson, Joseph Bugbee, James AVhite and Joseph Peake 
were chosen to order the prudential affairs of the place as select- 
men for the year ensuing. John Holmes assumed the charge of 
running the saw mill, receiving the land on which the mill 
stood, three or four acres, bounded east and north by Saw Mill 
brook, laid out for the town's tise, provided he leave convenient 
way to carry timber to mill. 

March 12th, 1G8S, the planters appointed seven men, viz., 
Edward ^Morris, John Chandler, Sr., Benjamin Sabin, Joseph 
Bugbee, William Bartholomew, vSamucl Rice, John Bugbee, to 
state and settle highways and make return in writing. These 
seven men were empowered to end the controversy between 



Samuel Rice and John Marcy about their home lots; also to al- 
low Joseph Bacon to take up the remainder of his brother I 
Thomas's lot, provided he come and settle here by the 12th of i 
A])ril next, and to rectify various under and over allotments. | 
Attending to this work '"with all expedition," on March ISth f 
the committee reported seventeen highways necessary for the | 
good of the town. A number of th.ese were two rods wide, ac- t 
commodating the settlers with ways to the mills or Planting hill I 
in the tract. The most important was a road eight rods wide 1 i 
*' running from the brook at the northward end of the eastward * i 
vale to go and be by the pond through the plaine to Muddy 1 j 
brook, from thence up to the Plaine Hill," and also one going ' \ 
out from this highway "to lead to the road called Connecticut | 
Road," extending through the intervale west side ]SIuddy brook. I 
Little else was accomplished during the year ; a bridge was 
built near John Chandler's ; orchards were set out with famous 
russets and other slips brought from Roxbury, but there was 
small encouragement to effort. 

" His Excellency, Sir Edmond Andros, gov. -general of his 
majesty's territories and dominions of New England," had not 
yet granted a patent of confirmation. Again and again the mat- 
ter was earnestly discussed by the fathers of the settlement, a | 
majority pledging themselves to pay all charges necessary for I 
securing it, according to their proportion. Most humble peti- | 
tions, both from old Roxbury and the new plantation, were laid | 
before this despotic ruler, praying that their land might be con- I 
firmed to them "on such moderate quit rent as may be agreea- I 
ble to your Excellency's wisdom, and the great distance and | 
poverty of place and inhabitants Avill allow." Xo notice was 
taken of these requests. Loftier prey was sought by the rapa- 
cious governor. Their very poverty and distance gave them se- 
curity. Roxbury suffered with other prosperous towns from his 
exactions, and was unable to advance the money promised to her 
"Go-ers." ^Meeting house, schools, all public improvements 
were thus left in abeyance, and the New Roxbury settlers could 
only bide their time and improve their own home lots. A few 
new residents came during this interval. Sons of the first com- 
ers became of age and received allotments. The first death was 
that of Jo.seph Peake, Sr., whose place on the committee was 
filled by Samuel Scarborough, :NLarch 1st, IGSS. The first birth 
reported was that of Nathaniel Gary, November Gth, IGSO. Sam- 


•uel Rice, Stephen Sabin, John Marcy, John Hubbard, Hannah 
Gary and Rebekah Bacon were also reported before 1G9U. John 
• Holmes and Hannah Xewell were married April 9th, IGOO. 

The breaking- out of King William's war in 1G89 aroused fresh 
apprehension of Indian assault. " In the sense of our great 
hazard and danger, and our incapacity to defend ourselves," the 
inhabitants of New Roxbury met together and organized as a 
military company, making choice of Edward }iIorris for lieuten- 
ant and William Bartholomew, Jr., ensign. A paper attesting 
this choice " as the act and desire of the soldiers," was laid be- 
fore the government by John Chandler, Joseph Bugbee and Ben- 
jamin Sabin. This nomination was allowed and confirmed by 
the representatives, and consented to by the governor, July 13th, 

The revolution of 1GS8, deposing King James II. and his gov- 
ernors, and establishing King William upon the throne of Britain, 
brought new life and hope to the New Roxbt;ry colony. Both 
town and colony hastened before the court with a petition for 
confirmation, name and further privileges. Its failure to pro- 
cure the settlement of an orthodox mini.ster was generously 
overlooked in consideration of the " great over-turns" that had 
been, and in ^Nlarch, 1690, "the petition was granted by the dep- 
uties and honorable magistrates consenting." IMarch 1 oth, it was 
further voted, "That the name of the plantation granted to Rox- 
bury be Woodstock." a name selected by Captain Samuel Sewall, 
afterward chief justice, with veritable prophetic instinct, "be- 
cause of its nearness to Oxford, for the sake of Queen Elizabeth, 
and the notable meetings that have been held at the place bearing 
the name in England." With joy and gratitude the inhabitants re- 
ceived the tidings, and fomierly inscribed upon their records-- 
" Woodstock, March 31, 1690. — We the selectmen of Woodstock, 
formerly called Xew Roxburv, being met together, have made a 
rate for levving the whole charge of said place on each inhabi- 
tant according to a vote of the town, the sum of which amounts 
tinto i^l24, 10s. in pay ; the other part amounts unto £31, 7s. 44d., 
in money, which whole rate is delivered to Constable John 
Holmes, to gather forthwith for the town's use as the selectmen 
shall order." 

The important question of providing for divine worship was 
now brought under consideration. Mr. Josiah Dwight, of Ded- 
ham, a youth of twenty, who had already graduated from liar- 


vard College and pursued ministerial studies, was even then 
preaching to the people. The selectmen were empowered to 
treat with him about settling in the work of the ministry, and 
soon made satisfactory agreement, offering the twenty acre home 
lot with town rights and divisions, and to build and finish a 
house for him, with a salary of thirty pounds, increasing ten 
pounds annually till it became sixty pounds. October 27th, Wil- 
liam Bartholomew, Sr., Nathaniel Johnson and Benjamin Sabin 
were appointed a committee " to manage the building a minis- 
ter's house 40 X 19, 14 feet stud, a cellar seventeen feet square, 
a stack of four chimneys and two gables." A committee was also 
chosen to assist the selectmen in writing to Roxbury to demand 
the money " due to us by their agreement." At this same meet- 
mg John Chandler, Sr., was chosen first selectman in place of 
that most worthy and prominent citizen. Lieutenant Edward 
Morris, deceased. r 

The annual town meeting was held November 27th. John' 
■Chandler, Jr., was chosen town clerk ; John Chandler, Sr., Wil- 
liam Bartholomew, Benjamin Sabin, John Leavens and Joseph 
Bugbee, selectmen, in whose hands was placed " the whole pow- 
er of the town, excepting granting lands and admitting inhabi- 
tants ; " Jonathan Peake. Matthew Davis, Samuel Rice, survey- 
ors. It was voted that the meadows be divided in two divisions, 
good and bad. each by itself, John Butcher, surveyor. Also, that 
the town be at the charge of digging clay, tempering of it. mak- 
ing a yard, cutting wood and carting it for bricks for the minis- I 
ter's chimneys. As cattle had free range and often lost them- 
selves, a substantial pound was ordered, "to stand nigh to Mat- 
thew Davis's fence in the front of his lot near the highway." 
The houses of Benjamin Sabin and Nathaniel Johnson in the 
south and east extremities of the settlements, were designated 
as watch houses, to be securely fortified, and a later vote required 
that every man should get a ladder for his hor^se, Jonathan 
Peake having the oversight thereof, and forfeiting five shillings 
for every man found lacking. Every man was also ordei^ed to 
bring in the ear-mark of his creatures to be recorded by the town 
clerk. As no arrangements for schools were yet practicable, "it 
was requested and procured that John Chandler, Jr.,' teach and 
instruct children and youth how to write and cypher." In regard 
to the various " quarrels " that Avere pending the town did oblige 
itself " to stand to the determination of the General Court's 


In 1G9I bridges received much attention. Peter Aspinwall 
mended the bridge by John Chandler's ; Samuel Rice was or- 
•dered " to mend the ways about West hill, and especially care 
for the bridges beyond Wabbaquasset hill on Connecticut road." 
Jonathan l^eake and Mattliew Davis were enjoined to mend the 
ways about town, and make two bridges between Lieutenant 
Bartholomew's and Benjamin Sabin's, in the most suitable places, 
.and to repair the bridge by Joseph Frizzell's. The town also 
.agreed to be at the charge of a road to Providence, by making a 
way unto the cedar swamp, on the other side of Quinebaug river ; 
" Benjamin Sabin to oversee the work and take account of the 
.same ;" Peter Aspinwall. substitute. Work on the minister's 
house went leisurely forward, and mea.sures were initiated for 
building a meeting house. John Leavens, Edward ^Morris, Jon- 
athan Peake, John Chandler, Sr., were appointed building com- 
mittee, with power to let out the whole of the work, and make 
.a rate proportionately on each inhabitant, and oblige themselves 
to pay the same and in such specie as they shall promise to the 
workmen. John Holmes was apparently the man selected, and 
.a time limited for the completion of the house. A man was to 
be allowed two shillings a day for working, or two and three- 
pence, he finding himself diet ; five shillings if wath a team of 
four cattle. During the following year work dragged slowly. 
Roxbury deferred the payment of the promised money, and In- 
•dians gave serious annoyance. Ancient AVabbaquassets had re- 
turned to their old home drunken and refractory, averse to ]\lassa- 
chusetts' dominion. Their chief, Tokekamowootchaug, was as 
barbarous as his name, and better disposed Indians were brought 
to death's door by his imruly followers. A petition from Wood- 
stock's selectmen, February, 1G02, reported many outrages, but 
it was found very difficult to restrain or punish the offenders. 

Relations with .Roxbury continued inharmonious. In the 
course of 1G9"3 the minister's house was sufficiently completed to 
serve for public meetings. The selectmen and town clerk were 
directed to consider of and compile such by-laws and orders as 
might be for the benefit of the town. A clerk of the market was 
added to town officers. During this year Woodstock attained 
" the conveniency of a shop," twelve square rods adjoining Clem- 
ent Corbin's lot being granted to his son, Jabez, for that pur- 
pose. The spot assigned was near the site of the present post 
-office on Woodstock hill. The three Corbins were settled at the 



north end of Plainchill, and this shop became a noted institu- f 

tion. The brothers, James and Jabez, were energetic traders, I 

taking in furs, turpentine and any marketable product to ex- | 

change for goods in Boston. Their heavily laden cart toiled | 

back and forth over the rough highway. James Corbin also I 

traded or speculated extensively in land, and was a very prom- 
inent personage. John Chandler. Jr.' was becoming very widely 
known as a land surveyor, much employed by Connecticut land 
operators. Marrying ^.lary Raymond, of Xew London, he spent 
much time in that town, surveying land for JNIajor James Fitch, . j 

agent for the ^lohegans, and practically master of all their terri- : i 

tory. ^/Captain Chandler was also town and proprietor's clerk at 
home, and detailed on other public service. 

After much disagreement and discussion upon relations with 
Roxbury,it was voted. September 6th, " That the town do forth- 
with make choice of one man, who shall join with Captain Chapin, 
of Mendon, to go to Roxbury and agree and determine all mat- 
ters supposed to be in difference, particularly the hundred 
pounds and the remaining part of land, and what they agree to 
shall be stood to by the town " — passed by a very clear vote, 
with some dissenters. John Butcher was the man chosen, and 
all difliculties were happily surmounted. Noveinber Sd the _^. 

town was made acquainted with proceedings of Roxbury, agree- 
ment of committee and Captain Chapin's account of service done, 
and " generally manifested their desire of thanks to be given for 
his service."' Part of the money received was appropriated to- 
ward finishing the minister's house, and ten pounds allowed for 
nails and irons for the meeting house ; the remainder delivered 
to Mv. Dwight, to be kept till the town should call for it. In 
March, 1694, the committee empowered to build a house for the 
minister was commanded to deliver the same and also the lot, 
with all its appiirtenances, to ]\Ir. Dwight, our minister. In 
November of the same year the meeting house was ready for 
occupation, and the old hall, or White House, appraised by indif- 
ferent men and sold for town charges. 

In the following year the church was organized, by a council 
of Massachusetts churches, and Reverend Josiah Dwight ordained 
and installed as its pastor. Unfortunately, all record of its for- 
mation is lacking, but undoubtedly its members were mostly 
dismis.sed from the mother church of Roxbury, with which they 
had maintained connection. .John Chandler, vSr., and Benjamin 


Sabin were elected deacons. During this year a second land 
division was effected — forty acres to each twenty-acre home lot, 
and to all proprietors in that proportion— extending from the 
east line, east side the pond, to four miles westward. William 
Bartholomew. Benjamin Sabin, Benjamin Griggs, with the sur- 
veyor, John Butcher, were commissioned to perfonn the work 
under specific directions. Fifty-one lots were laid out and dis- 
tributed. Samuel Perrin, John Carpenter, Edmond Chamber- 
lain, David Knight and other new settlers appeared, taking the 
place of first proprietors. Several pieces of land were reserved 
for public uses, viz., the site of the meeting house, a square 
piece of land in front of James Corbin's, containing four or 
five acres, for training place and burial ground (part of the 
present Woodstock common), another strip between Jabez Cor- 
bin's and the highway, and several pieces for the maintenance 
of schools. Land reserved for the support of the ministers 
was ordered to be fenced and planted with orchards. At the 
same time a division of the north half was in progress under 
Roxbury's direction, John Butcher, surveyor. William Bar- 
tholomew and Benjamin Sabin joined with Roxbury's com- 
mittee " in stating and settling the dividend line between the 
inhabitants of Woodstock and Roxbury." A highway four 
rods wide was laid out upon this line. Roxbury's land was 
laid out in nine parallel ranges, running north from this high- 
way with highways between. About a third of the north half 
was laid out and the lots made over to 142 proprietors. The 
remainder of the stipulated hundred pounds was then paid over 
to Woodstock, and all accounts harmoniously settled. This pay- 
ment enabled Woodstock to settle her own accounts; pay Mr. 
Dwight his diies " from the beginning of the world to May 6, 
1696;" square up all arrearages for meeting house and town 
charges, and indulge in a special wolf-rate " to pay to those who 
kill the wolves." 

Stringent laws had then been passed for the maintenance of 
proper authority. Those neglecting to work npon the highway 
after suitable warning should forfeit three shillings. A fine of 
one and sixpence was ordered for neglecting town meetings; 
sixpence for not appearing at the hour appointed, and an addi- 
tional sixpence for every following hour. March 2d, farther 
rules were enacted; Jonathan Peake was chosen constable; Xath- 
auiel Johnson, to collect town rates and minister's .salary, receiv- 


ing- ten shilling-s, cash, " and such rates as he does not gather he 
is to pay the same out of his own estate." Selectmen ^vere in- 
structed: 1. To secure the town from all damages and penalties 
of the law sustained through their neglect. 2. In raising town 
charges, all male heads to be rated threepence per head fromi 
sixteen years old and upward; hom.e lots, meadows, at a penny 
an acre; divisional addition, halfpenny an acre; horses, cattle 
and swine as they are valued in law. 3. That every person do 
bring an exact note of their estates August 1st; Samuel Perrin, 
Ebenezer Morris, surveyors; Nathaniel Aspinwall, David Knight, 
fence viewers. The same day Deacons Chandler and Sabin, 
Lieutenant Bartholomew, Nathaniel Johnson and John Leavens 
were appointed a committee to seat the meeting house, observing 
as rules, " what persons have paid and do pay, and to respect 
age." John Carpenter and Peter Aspinwall were afterward add- 
ed to the committee for managing the affair of finishing the 
meeting house, viz., John Chandler, Sr., and Edward Morris; and 
Samuel Taylor allowed twelve shillings a year for sweeping. 

Thus in ten years the Roxbury colony was comfortably estab- 
lished, but clouds were gathering. The long-continued war be- 
tween France and England incited their Indian allies to shock- 
ing atrocities. New England was exposed to constant alarm and 
assault from the fierce ^lohawks and restless Canadian Indians. 
An isolated, frontier town like Woodstock was especially ex- 
posed, and the insubordination of its own Indian residents add- 
ed to their uneasiness. These Wabbaquassets were inimical 
to Massachusetts and her authority, but most fortunately at this 
epoch they were willing to yield allegiance to Lieutenant John 
Sabin, half brother of Deacon Sabin, who had established him- 
self just over Woodstock line, within Connecticut limits. Un- 
der his leadership Woodstock's military position was greatly 
strengthened. Watch houses were fortified, scouts maintained, 
militarydiscipline enforced, the Indians looked after and brought 
within Sabin's fortifications. 

Woodstock's first serious alarm occurred in the August of 
169G, just ten years from the date of settlement. A band of 
marauders fell suddenly upon the helpless Huguenots of French- 
town (now Oxford). John Evans and John Johnson were shot, 
the children of John.son dashed against the chimney jamb, their 
mother managing to escape to the river by the aid of her brother. 
Stealing down the stream and through the woods, she reached 


Woodstock in the morning- with her tale of horrors. Quickly 
the news flew throuj^ii the Woodstock settlements. The inhab- 
itants huddled within the garrisons, tidings were sent to the au- 
thorities of }ilassachusetts and Connecticut, and bands of armed 
men scoured the woods and guarded exposed positions. The 
arrival of ]\Iajor Fitch with a few English soldiers and a band of 
friendly Indians relieved immediate apprehension, especially as 
he was able to exercise authority over the Wabbaquassets. He 
found they numbered twenty-nine fighting men, and as their 
headquarters were with Lieutenant John Sabin, he was able to 
furnish them with arms and ammunition under certain restric- 

This beginning of tribulation was followed by a long period 
of insecurity and alarm. In October, 1696, by act of assembly, 
Woodstock was accounted a frontier and comprehended within 
the act to prevent the deserting the frontier, by which its inhab- 
itants were forbidden to leave the town without special license. 
Tinder very severe penalties. John Sabin was now made cap- 
tain and Peter Aspinwall lieutenant of the company, the latter 
serving many months in command of a company of scouts or 
rangers, patrolling the woods of ]Massachnsetts. 

A very serious panic occurred early in 1700, arising from the 
very suspicious conduct of the Wabbaquassets, who went away 
mysteriously with their families and the treasure of the tribe, 
pretending fear and danger from the ISlohegans. Other indica- 
cations pointed to a general combination and insurrection of 
what were deemed friendly Indians in Xew England, and there 
was great apprehension that these Wabbaquassets had started for 
the rendezvous. A hasty message brought to the relief of Wood- 
stock Captain Samuel :Mason, with twelve English soldiers and 
eighteen Mohegans. He found Woodstock in great excitement. 
James Corbin's well-known cart was on the way from Boston, 
laden with ammunition, and great fear was entertained lest this 
military store might be captured by the enemy. After holding 
counsel with Mr. Dwight, Captain Sabin and leading men of 
the town, it was thought best to dispatch three faithful Wabba- 
quassets, viz., Kinsodock, Mookheag and Pesicus, as messengers 
to the fugitives, urging them to return and assuring them of 
their friendship and protection. A pass was sent with them for- 
bidding people to take their arms from them. News came dur- 
ing the day that Corbin's cart was drawing nigh, and sixty armed 


men went out to meet it and brought it in with great rejoicings. 
The friendly messengers were probably successful, as nothing 
farther was heard of the "resurrection and revolt of his Majes- 
ty's subjects," and Captain Mason returned peacefully to New 

The state of alarm continued several years. ]\Iajor Fitch visit- 
ing Woodstock in 1704, reported affairs there in bad condition, 
the people poorly provided and much exposed, the women and 
children gathered into garrison with but one man to guard them. 
Other inhabitants were out scouting or laboring in the fields 
under arms. The families on the westward hill he found in 
very difficult and disheartening circumstances, too remote to 
come into town, and having no adequate fortifications. He 
thought needful to leave fifteen men for the defense of the 
place, to serve alternately as scout and guard, and desired the 
government of Massachusetts " to provide the standing part at 
the several garrisons as to diet, and the marching part with sup- 
per and breakfast when they came in." The sums levied upon 
Woodstock for her subsistence and maintenance of this defense 
told heavily upon her slender treasury. 

Public affairs were much neglected during these anxious years. 
Town meetings were almost wholly intermitted, common land 
left unfenced, highways to run to waste, mill house out of re- 
pair. A few families removed from town. A number of the 
older settlers were removed by death, viz., John Leavens, John 
Butcher, Deacon John Chandlei\ William Bartholomew, Sr., Na- 
thaniel Johnson, Sr., and others. By 1704 tranquility was so far 
restored that the first school house was ordered, "21x16, six or 
seven feet high, on the hill southv.-est of John Carpenter's. . . 
. . to be finished by Michaelmas ne-xt," Jonathan Peake, Jacob 
Parker, Arthur Humphrey committee to manage the work (site 
on town land near the present Plaine Hill cottage). John 
Holmes, John Johnson, Philip Eastman, Samuel Perrin, Smith 
John.son now served as selectmen; Matthew Davis, constable; 
John Chandler, town clerk: Thomas Lyun, Thomas Eaton, sur- 
veyors. Philip Eastman was sent as deputy to the general court. 
John Picker taught the first school in the new school house, and 
was succeeded by Thomas Lyon. Samuel Paine, Zachariah 
Richardson, James Hosmer, John and Peter ^Morse, John Pay- 
son, John Child and other new settlers had come into possession 
of home lots, made vacant bv removal to growing- settlements 


in Aspinock and Mashamoqnet. Deacon Benjamin Sabin and ' 

his large family of sons. Nathaniel Gary, John Carpenter, Na- 
thaniel Sanger, John Hubbard, Peter Aspinwall, the sons of John I 
Leavens, Samuel Paine and Samuel Perrin were among these " 
emigrants. ! 

The opening of these adjacent settlements added to the im- 
portance of AVoodstock, the mother town, with established in- 
stitutions. These "borderers" attended service at her meeting "j 
house, improved her grist mill, traded at the Corbins' shop, and ; 
participated in the festivities of training and election days. The j 
mill privilege had now fallen into the hands of James Plosmer, i 
whose family retained it for many years. John Holmes added ! 
a fulling mill to his accommodations, and was also chosen and j 
desired to make coffins "as there may be occasion." William | 
Lyon, grandson of William Lyon, Sr., accepted the office of grave j 
digger. Public matters now received attention. Attempts were j 
made "to bridge the great rivers between us and ^Nlendon." I 
Selectmen of Woodstock initiated a movement for a new road | 
to Providence, with a bridge over the Ouinebaug. The road was I 
laid out as at present, crossing the river below the High Falls j 
(now in Putnam), but no bridge was achieved for a number of i 
years. I 

In 1710 two new school houses were constructed, one near 
John Child's corner, the other near Joseph Bacon's, north end of 
Plaine hill; Samuel Perrin, Smith Johnson, William Lyon, John 
Morse, building committee. Thomas Lyon taught for two 
months in the north school house; Stephen Sabin at the south; 
the town stipulating •' that they require not above nine shillings 
a week." 

In 1710 a new division of land was surveyed and laid out by 
'''Captain John Chandler; eighty acres for a twenty acre right, 
and other rights in proportion were allowed to each holder of 
original lots, each proprietor drawing in turn his allotment. It 
was voted, "That the lands still undivided on the east end of 
the town shall abide as common land forever or till the town 
dispose of them." Another division was also made in Roxbury's 
half, "all conformable" to the previous laying out of John 
Butcher in parallel ranges, with highways between. This di- 
vision was not completed and distributed till September, 1715, 
at which date Roxbury's right in AVoodstock passed into the 
hands of individual owners. During this year the western part 


of the south half was laid out in four ranges, running from 
north to south, and distributed among the proprietors. Massa- 
chusetts' southern boundary, which had caused so much con- 
tention and trouble, was now rectified, but by the terms of the 
agreement she was allowed to retain jurisdiction over the tOAvns 
she had settled. Woodstock, although within Connecticut's 
patent lines, was thus left appended to the Bay colony. 

The division and transfer of land in the north part of Wood- 
stock facilitated settlement. Sons of Roxbury owners gladly 
availed themselves of this opportunity to found homes in this 
popular and growing town. Among the first of these north-half 
settlers were the sons of Benjamin Child, whose brother John 
had been for some time a resident in the eastward vale, or " the 
town," as it was then called. His oldest son, Ephraim, married 
Priscilla Harris in 1710, and with his young wife soon removed 
to one of the ample lots in the vicinity of }iluddy brook, held by 
his father. He was soon followed by several gay young bach- 
elors, viz., his brother Benjamin. John ]\Iay, Ichabocl Holmes 
and Joseph Lyon, wlio also took up allotments and went busily 
to work, breaking up land, getting out stumps, fencing, planting 
and building rude houses, making ready for the prospective 
brides. The great Cedar Swamp, " left distinct and excepted " 
for the public i:se, furnished suitable material for building, 
though the watch and care needful to prevent pillage was an ad- 
ditional burden to the few inhabitants. The wild land in the 
west part of the town also furnished shelter for inany wolves and 
other troublesome neighbors. A journal fortimately kept by 
John ^lay gives a pleasant picture of these stalwart pioneers, 
now toiling alone for days over some refractory field, and then 
all joining together in a cheerful "bee" at the final log hauling, 
carting and planting, helping each other with " team," imple- 
ments and friendly service. On stormy days they " sort their 
nails " and potter about house, or visit the several families of 
kindred in the south half, and recreate with these. older resi- 
dents at public fasts, trainings and town meetings. 

The old ■' Child House " with its Centennial Elm, and the " old 
May House," mow Lippitt's) stand upon or near the sites of the 
first rude houses built by Epliraim Child and John ilay. The 
homestead of Benjamin Child was on the brook in the heart of 
the present East Woodstock village. " Old Mr. ^lalurin Allard," 
Thomas Gould, tanner, and De;icon Joseph Lyon, were also 


among the early inhabitants of the north half. Their first recog- 
nition in town meeting was in 1715, when they had liberty to 
mend their own highways. Maturin Allard was the first man j 

chosen to hold town office. Wolf hunting was apparently great- ' 

ly stimulated by settlement in this previously waste country, 
as the town was called to pay many wolf bounties, at twenty 
shillings a head. Thomas Lyon, Jr., and Jonathan Payson were 
very active in this service. John j\Iay showed much versatility, j 

helping build chimneys and houses, having charge of the Cedar ; 

Swamp, and assisting Lieutenant Samuel Morris in placing the 
first bridge over the Ouinebaug river. | 

These northern settlers attended divineSvorship in the town I 

meeting house and bore their share of minister's rate and other i 

town expenses. The question of building a new meeting house 
excited much discussion and wrangling. In 1717, an experienced 
committee reported " that it would be most profitable as well as j 

most accommodable to build a new house." The town accepted j 

this opinion with thanks, but was slow in deciding upon the site. j 

A letter was written to the residents of the north half relating to 
moving the meeting house more northerly, but no return was 
made to it. After long delay and many reversals of decision, 
^Ir. Dwight was sent for " to pray with the town."' All previous j 

action was then annulled and the site referred to three men j 

from out of town. Samuel Paine, Smith Johnson and lienjamin j 

Griggs from vSouth Woodstock, and William Lyon, James Corbin 
and Jonathan Payson from Plaine hill, were appointed, " to re- 
monstrate to the committee from abroad the circumstances of 
the town, and the arguments they have to offer as to which place ' 

they think best, and to write to such committee, provide for and i 

pay them." | 

These wise men decided '"in favor of burying-place spot," } 

the site now occupied by the Congregational church edifice on i 

Woodstock hill. William Lyon, Eliphalet Carpenter and John -'' 
Chandler, Jr., served as building committee. The house was j 

raised with due solemnities and rejoicing in April, 1720. and the { 

work of building earned on with unwonted celerity. ^Nluch at- j 

tention was given to style and ornament. A body of seats occu- j 

pied the floor. A pew for the minister was built east of the pul- j 

pit. Sixteen other worthies were allowed the privilege of build- j 

ing wall-pews for themselves, the minister's serving for a stand- j 

ard. The leading citizen of the town. Captain John Chandler,/ i 


was allowed to build next to the pulpit stairs. ' Following him in 
order were Samuel Morris, John Chandler, Jr., vSamuel Perrin, 
Jabez Corbin, John Marcy, Deacon Edward ^Morris, Deacon John 
Johnson, James Corbin, Eliphalet Carpenter, Jonathan Payson, 
Joseph Bartholomew, Edmond Chamberlain, Joseph Lyon, Zach- 
ariah Richardson and John Morse. 

The cost of this house proved so great a burden to the town 
that an effort was made to procure a tax upon the land owned by 
Roxbury non-residents, which called forth a most indignant re- 
monstrance from the citizensof the mother town, and a prompt re- 
jection by the general court. The new hoiise was occupied be- 
fore completion, the materials of the previous house being used in 
its construction. Its formal " seating " v,-as not accomplished till 
1725, when it was referred to Colonel Chandler and the two dea- 
cons, " rules to be observed — age, charge, usefulness." Suitable 
and desirable young people were allowed to build pews in the 
hind part of the galleries. 

In the following year Woodstock parted with its first minister. 
The pleasant relations of early years had been succeeded by pro- 
longed uneasiness and wrangling. With many good points, Mr. 
Dwight was erratic and headstrong. His small salary- was poor- 
ly paid and in attempting to eke it out by land jobbing and 
"great strokes of husbandry," he incurred much censure. Diffi- 
culties at length reached such a point that a ministerial council 
was convened, which opined that while there were articles in 
Mr. Dwight's conduct which were exceptionable and justly 
grievious to the people, there was nothing that might not be ac- 
commodated by suitable methods in a Christian spirit. Mr. 
Dwight in a long, peculiar and pathetic " declaration " the fol- 
lowing Sabbath, left his " staying or going off " for his people to 
determine, expressing, however, his choice " to finish life and 
labors together in this place." A town meeting was at once 
called to consider the question — "Whether it be the opinion of 
the town that it will be for the glory of God, the interest of re- 
ligion, and the peace and comfort of the town, that the labors of 
Mr. Dwight should be continued further among lis." To the as- 
tonishment of all, and more especially of the pastor, the town 
voted in the negative, "sixty against one, and one was neutral." 
Surprised and disheartened by unexpected opposition and alien- 
ation, Mr. Dwight at once resigned his ministerial office in 
Woodstock, the town voting his " total, immediate dismission." 


was allowed to build next to the pulpit stairs. ' Following him in 
order were Samuel Morris, John Chandler, jr., Samuel Pcrrin. 
Jabez Corbin, John ^larcy, Deacon Edward ^lorris. Deacon John 
Johnson, James Corbin, Eliphalet Carpenter, Jonathan Payson, 
Joseph Bartholomew, Edmond Chamberlain, Joseph Lyon, Zach- 
ariah Richardson and John Morse. 

The cost of this house proYed so great a burden to the town 
that an effort was made to procure a tax upon the land owned by 
Roxbury non-residents, which called forth a most indignant re- 
monstrance from the citizensof the mother town, and a prompt re- 
jection by the general court. The new house was occupied be- 
fore completion, the materials of the previous house being used in 
its construction. Its formal " seating " vras not accomplished till 
1725, Avhen it was referred to Colonel Chandler and the two dea- 
cons, " rules to be observed — age, charge, usefulness." Suitable 
and desirable 3-oung people were allowed to build pews in the 
hind part of the galleries. 

In the following year Woodstock parted with its first minister. 
The pleasant relations of early years had been succeeded by pro- 
longed uneasiness and wrangling. With many good points, Mr. 
Dwight was erratic and headstrong. His small salary was poor- 
ly paid and in attempting to eke it out by land jobbing and 
"great strokes of husbandry," he incurred much censure. Diffi- 
culties at length reached such a point that a ministerial council 
was convened, which opined that while there were articles in 
iSIr. Dwight's conduct which were exceptionable and justly 
grievious to the people, there was nothing that might not be ac- 
commodated by suitable methods in a Christian spii-it. Air. 
Dwight in a long, peculiar and pathetic " declaration " the fol- 
lowing Sabbath, left his " staying or going off " for his people to 
determine, expressing, however, his choice "to finish life and 
labors together in this place." A town meeting was at once 
called to consider the question — "Whether it be the opinion of 
the town that it will be for the glory of God, the interest of re- 
ligion, and the peace and comfort of the town, that the labors of 
Mr. Dwight should be continued further among i:s." To the as- 
tonishment of all, and more especially of the pastor, the town 
voted in the negative, "sixty against one, and one was neutral." 
vSurprised and disheartened by unexpected opposition and alien- 
ation, Mr. Dwight at once resigned his ministerial office in 
Woodstock, the town voting his " total, immediate dismission." 


The lack of formal clntrch co-operation and ministerial concur- 
rence in this disniission prolonged the controversy for a num- 
ber of years. 

The succeeding- pastorate of Reverend Amos Throop. ordained 
May 24th, 1727, "was as harmonious as that of LIr. Dwight had 
been stormy. Various secular matters ^vere now^mder consid- 
eration. As early as 1720 Colonel John Chandler bad presented 
a petition to the general court for the erection of a new county 
in the south of Massachusetts, to be called Worcester. A bill 
was presented, ordered to be considered, and then indefinitely 
deferred. Renewed Imiian hostilities gave much annoj'ance. 
Colonel John Chandler and his son WilliamVere much occupied 
in military affairs, the latter having charge of a frontier guard 
for many months. Woodstock households were again gathered 
into garrisons, and exposed to perils and anxieties. A rumored 
invasion of Worcester, in 1724, called out a most urgent appeal 
from that feeble settlement to Colonel Chandler, " having an ex- 
pectation that he would be a father to it." 

In 1724 a final division of the remaining land in the south half 
was ordered. Some fifty odd pieces scattered about the tract 
were surveyed and numbered. The commons at Plaine hill and 
South Woodstock and some other pieces were reserved for pub- 
lic uses; the remaining forty-five pieces of land, amounting to 
1,681 acres, were divided among the representatives of the origi- { 

nal proprietors. A number of rights were bought up by John"^ I 

Chandler, Jr., which were laid out to him in one strip of two 
hundred acres. C)f the first settlers none were living but John ■' 
Chandler, Joseph Bugbee and Jonathan Peake. Henry P)Owen, 
John Marcy and IJenjamin Griggs had recently deceased. The 
shares were distributed to thirty-six proprietors. The selectmen » 
at this date were John Chandler, Smith Johnson, Edmond Cham- ; 

berlain, Jonathan Payson and ; a.ssessors, Samuel j 

Perrin, Payson and Chamberlain ; constables, Ephraim Child and i 

John Holmes; hiofhwav survevors, Samuel Lillv, Ebenezer !Mor- i 

J ' & . - ' . ' I 

ris, David Holmes and IMaturin Allard ; tithing-mcn. Lieutenant 1 
Jabez Corbin and LXaniel Abbot ; fence viewers, John Child and 

Edward ]\Iorris, Jr.; hog-reeves, Zachariah Richardson, Joseph 1 

Wright, Joseph Lyon, Isaac Johnson and Henry Bowen ; leather I 

sealer, Stephen Fay. Eliphalet Carpenter and Jonathan Payson | 
served as licensed inn-keepers ; John Chandler as retailer. -^ 


In 1731 the new county movement carried the day, and Wood- 
stock, with many northward towns, was incorporated into Wor- 
cester county. This distant frontier town furnished the leading 
officers. Alread}- colonel of the regiment, John_ Chandler, Sr., ' 
was now m^ade judge of probate and chief justice of the court of 
common pleas. John Chandler, Jr.; was appointed clerk of the 
court, and by especial request of the inhabitants removed his 
residence to Worcester. The first court in the new county was 
held in Judge Chandler's Woodstock mansion, wherein much le- 
gal and public business was transacted. A new road was now 
laid out from Worcester to Woodstock line, to accommodate bus- 
iness and travel. Woodstock ranked among the foremost towns 
of the county, its tax list only surpassed by some of the older 
townships. A well-patronized select school gave evidence of 
prosperity and pirogress. Some seventy pupils were reported by 
its master, Thaddeus Mason, including pupils from the best fam- 
ilies in Pomfret and Killingly. An attempt was made to estab- 
lish a permanent Grammar or high school — the town voting to 
build a school house for the accommodation of grown children, 
not hindering subordinate schools. This vote called out one of 
Woodstock's characteristic controversies. Thirty out of sixty- 
nine voters dissented from this vote. A strong memorial was 
immediately prepared, signed by Colonel Chandler,' Eliphalet 
Carpenter, John Holmes, Henry Bowen, and other prominent 
men, showing that this matter had been laid over to this June 
Sth, 1730, " to be farther considered on," but instead was not 
only considered "but transacted upon in a way very grievous to 
a great number of the inhabitants," and for "preventing any 
contests, heats or disputes," desired that another town meeting 
might be called. Though held in the busiest time of the year 
over a hundred voters were present at this meeting. The for- 
mer vote was annulled, the new school house for " grown chil- 
dren " countermanded, and directions given for repairing the 
old Plaine hill school house. 

In 1731 liberty was given to build a school house in the north 
half. The appointed committee affixed the site, east side the 
highway leading from the house of Ephraim Child to }ilaturin 
Allard's, but this site was considered too far eastward. Captain 
Payson, Moses Barrett, Joseph Chaffee, Jonathan Bugbce and 
Nathaniel Sanger were appointed a committee to view the site ; 
John May, Benjamin Child and Maturin Allard. to take care of 


building said hoiise, but still the work did not go forward. Sev- 
eral other families of Child had now settled in this section, and 
man)- children were growing up, and while waiting to agree up- 
on a building site schools were maintained in private houses. 
John May and Jonathan i^Iorse taught in the winter; school 
ma'ams were employed in the several sections in the summer. 

The town at this date was much exercised by a controversy 
with its most prominent citizen, Judge Chandler."' Deacon Wil- 
liam Lyon superseded him as moderator of town meeting; Isaac 
Tiffany as town clerk; David Holmes as town treasurer. Judge 
Chandler refused to deliver up the town records, "because pro- 
prietors' concerns are mixt with ye town's," and declined " to 
transcribe what belongs to proprietors from the town books " 
without some adequate compensation. The town, on her part, 
refused to be at the charge " of transcribing proprietors' concerns 
from town affairs," and ordered the selectmen "to get and pro- 
cure town books from Hon. John Chandler, as speedily as they 
can by the most prudential ways and means as they shall judge 
best." ^- 

Judge Chandler also disagreed with the town in relation to 
the settlement of a minister in place of Reverend Amos Throop, 
deceased. A call was extended to Mr. John Hovey to become 
their pastor. A tendency to override technicalities, and manage 
affairs in a somewhat independent fashion, was severely cen- 
sured by the honorable judge, who " apprehended the whole 
proceedings botli in church and town were the product of arbi- 
trary or mobbish principles, and the foundation being laid upon 
the sand, the superstructure cannot long continue." The town 
responded by appointing as agents Deacon William Lyon, Cap- 
tain Payson and Lieutenant ]\lorris, " To demand, sue for and re- 
cover the town book of records." ^Ir. Ilovey declining this ir- 
regular call, the town concurred with the church in sending to 
New Haven "to invite Mr. Abel vStiles to preach with them by 
way of probation." A large majority expressing their satisfac- 
tion with the ministerial performances and qualifications of the 
candidate, he was ordained pastor of church and town, July 27th, 
1737. Able and accomplished, the only drawback in this rela- 
tion was }ilr. Stiles' prefei^ence for Connecticut's form of church 
government. He did not. however, explicitly refuse to sign the 
church covenant, but presented a written statement of his own 
views and principles, which was considered satisfactory. This 



harmonious settlement contributed to further pacification. Colo- 
nel Chandler was again chosen moderator of town meetings. 
Twenty-five pounds was allowed him for twentj'-six years' ser- 
vice as town clerk, and other demands conceded. 

School divisions were confirmed in 1738. Captain John May, 
Deacon William Lyon, Jedidiah Frizzell, James Chafiiee and Ben- 
jamin Bugbee served as committee in setting the bounds of 
schools in the several parts of the town, " so that one part may 
not send their children to any other part, and every part enjoy 
its own school without being interrupted by any other part." 
The " parts " thus assigned were the central school at Plaine 
hill, the southeast quarter, the northeast quarter, and the whole 
west side of the town. A fifth section was soon after set off at 
Wabbaquasset, in the south of the town. 

The settlement of the western part of Woodstock had now 
made considerable progress. Its south half had been laid out 
to original proprietors, and was occupied mainly by their sons. 
Joshua, third son of Judge Chandler, was one of the first to take 
possession of his father's out-division, "Lot 23, third range," in 
the heart of the future village of West Woodstock. He was soon 
followed by other adventurous youths, viz., Thomas and John 
Child, John and Joseph Marcy, Nathaniel Johnson. John Perrin, 
Ebenezer Lyon, Beniamin Corbin, Samuel and Jesse Bugbee, 
Nathaniel Aspinwall, Ebenezer and Abraham Paine, children of 
first planters, eager to establish themselves in this pleasant and 
fertile section. No part of the town was settled under more 
favorable circumstances — a body of well trained young men, 
with friends at hand to help and encourage them. In 1731 a 
two months' school was allowed by the town. In 1733 it was 
voted "That the inhabitants dwelling on the west side of a due 
north and south line from the top of Fort hill to the dividend 
lines on the north and south bounds of the town have liberty to 
meet together and agree where a school house may be built." 
Improving this privilege, the western residents met together 
and voted " That the best place for a school house is north of 
Clay-pit Brook, between Joshua Chandler's and John Paine's 

This house being constructed, other needs were manifested. 
In 173G it was found that thirty-five families had gathered with- 
in the limits of the west school who were exposed to great hard- 
ships and difiiculties, especially in cold and difiicult times of 


the year in travelling to and from public worship in the distant 
Plaine Hill meeting house. Having borne cheerfully their part 
of public charges, these westward residents now asked the tov.-n 
to help them pay the expense of hiring a minister through the 
winter. The town granted liberty to have preaching at their 
own cost, but refused to afford any help toward its support. 
After five years' efforts and trials, the western inhabitants again 
most earnestly besought their friends and neighbors to take 
their remote and difficult circumstances into their compassionate 
consideration, and in order to settle the worship of God suitably 
among them, allow the western half to be erected into a separate 
town. Aghast at this presumption, the town positively refused to 
grant its countenance and consent to the western inhabitants. 
Again, in the spring of 174:?, the petitioners pressed their suit, 
and succeeded by a majority of two in gaining permission to 
address the general court. 

July 2d Benjamin Marcy and thirty-five others forcibly repre- 
sented " their inconvenience by reason of remoteness from 
public worship," and gained encouragement to hope that a pre- 
cinct might be allowed them. Another appeal was made to 
their obdurate fellow townsmen, not willing "to drive things to 
extremities," " the settlement of public worship the principal 
thing we aim at," but again were scornfully repulsed. With 
equal firmness the western inhabitants again preferred their 
request to the general court, showing their condition, the dis- 
tance which each petitioner and his family were obliged to travel 
to the crowded meeting house on Plaine hill, and begging hum- 
bly to be set off into a distinct and separate precinct. A very 
strong and forcible ris/ousf {voTn the old inhabitants of the town, 
headed by Judge Chandler.'^^ould not in this instance stay the 
march of progress. A committee appointed to repair to Wood- 
stock and view the situation reported in favor of the petitioners. 
September loth, 1743. the report of the committee was accepted, 
and the " west half part of Woodstock erected into a separate 
and distinct township, and vested v.-ith all the rights and priv- | 

ileges that precincts by law enjoy." j 

The first parish meeting was held in the one school house, | 

Septem.ber 27th. John Marcy served as moderator; Isaac John- j 

son, clerk; Joseph Chaffee, Joseph ]^Iarcy and Ebenezer Lyon I 

were chosen society committee; Joseph Chaffee, Moses Lyon and I 

Isaac Johnson, assessors; John Marcy, treasurer. Ebenezer 


Smith. ]nhn Ctiikl and Nathaniel Johnson served as committee, 
with Captain John ^lay, Jabez Lyon and Daniel Paine of the 
old society, in affixing the bound between the precincts by a 
north and south line through the center of the town. The new 
society assumed the name of New Roxbury, and at once devoted 
its energies to the establishment of public worship. A tax of 
two pence a year on all unimproved land, to be applied toward 
building a meeting house and settling a minister, was allowed by 
the general assembly. After discussion and delay, the " decisive 

-spot for meeting house" was fixed upon by a committee from 
abroad, viz., Robert Knowlton, Joseph Leavens and !Mr. Wal- 
bridge; Isaac Johnson, Joseph Chaffee, Ebenezer Paine, Thomas 

■Child, Jonathan Bugbee, Ebenezer Corbin waiting upon them. 
After four days' deliberation "a dry knoll east of Bungee Hill" 
was selected.' INlr. Joshua Chandler giving an acre of land for 
building site. Equal deliberation was manifested in choosing a 
minister. The successful candidate was ]\Ir. Stephen "Williams 

•of Longmeadow, ^lass., the worthy son of honored ministerial 

.ancestry. The meeting house was raised in 1746, and made 
read}- for service the following j'ear. A day of fasting prepara- 
tory to that of ordination was held in June, 1747, at which time 
Woodstock's second church was organized, and on June 24th the 

-ordination was effected. Fift}- acres of good land and a suitable 
dwelling house were provided for the young minister, and 
thus, after ten years' effort, religious worship was prosperously 


The first meeting of the east half as a distinct parish was held 
March 6th, 1744. John Holmes was chosen moderator; Thomas-'' 

■Chandler, clerk and treasurer; Jabez Lyon, John Frizzell, Thomas •■ 
Chandler, assessors; Richard Child. Benjamin Bugbee, collectors; 

■Captain Jonathan Payson, Captain Joseph Wright, Captain 
Samuel Chandler, committee to call precinct meetings and take ; 

• care of the prudentials, viz., to sweep the meeting house, mend 
the glass, etc., at the charge of the precinct. All matters rela- 
tive to ecclesiastic and school affairs were now referred to the 
two societies. Five schools were maintained b}' the first so- 
ciety, viz.. Center, North, South, West and Wabbaquasset. New 

.school houses were built " in the southeast part in the old spot," 

-and at Wabbaquasset, sixteen feet square, beside chimney way. 
A more spacious and elaborate house was provided for the cen- | 

'.ter at Plaine hill. The north district, after ten years' consid- 


cration " agreed upon the spot Avhere the highways intersect, 
east of Capt. Child's house," near the mill site on Muddy brook. 

New families were now appearing, cspeeially in the north 
part of the town. The old settlers had passed awav. Deacon 
William Lyon died in 174:2 ; Judge John Chandler.-'the most 
prominent citizen of Worcester county, died^in 1743j the last 
survivor of the original proprietors was Thomas Bacon, who 
■died in 1758, aged 96 years. With the passing away of the pio- 
neer generation and the introduction of new elements, the tie 
between the inhabitants of Woodstock and the old homes at 
Roxbury and Boston was greatly weakened. J^Iassachusetts 
was at this date involved in many difficiilties. Her debts were 
heavy ; her currency demoralized. Connecticiit was far more 
prosperous and in greater- favor with the British government. 
Yet the movement for a transfer of allegiance was apparently 
sudden. Mr. Stiles indeed took care to remind his people of 
the burthens laid upon them as part of "a province groaning 
under sore calamities," yet the people in general submitted un- 
complainingly without thought of secession or rebellion. The 
rumor that other " Indented towns " were preparing to assert 
ttheir claim to the charter privileges of Connecticut was the in- 
•centive to action. There was apparently no very strong feel- 
ing in the matter, no sense of ill-usage or hostility to the ISIassa- 
•chusetts government, but the change was desirable on the ground 
■of absolute right and local convenience. The question was 
brought before the town ^larch 31st, 1747, " ' If a person should 
be chosen to join those chosen by Suffield, Enfield and Somers 
in trying to get off to Connecticut.' A large majority voted in 
the affirmative and chose Colonel William Chandler' to lay the 
affair before the General Assembly of Connecticut. Fourteen 
persons dissented 'as not likely to prove successful and costing 
more expense.' " 

The petitioners from the four '' Indented towns " asked to be 
received under the jurisdiction of Connecticut, upon the ground 
that the territory of their towns was included in the original 
^rant to that government, and that the boundary settlement of 
1713, under which they were allowed to remain in ]Massachu- 
setts, had never received the royal sanction, and they did not 
believe that cotiunissioncrs could transfer or alter the jurisdiction 
•of lands given by royal charter, and that the doing of the same 
■\vas an infringement on the rights of the subject. The asscm- 


bly appointed a committee of honorable gentlemen to confer 
with gentlemen from Massachusetts, who failing in this effort, 
were farther empowered to consider the affair, and reported in 
favor of the memorialists. After two years" delay and reiterated 
memorials, the Connecticut assembly decided that the boundary 
agreement of 1713 was made through mistake, that Connecticut had 
received no equivalent for the jurisdiction of these towns, and as 
the agreement had never received royal confirmation, so it never 
ought to receive it, and must be looked upon as null and void, 
and solemnly declared, "that the inhabitants south of the lire 
fixed by ^lassachusetts were within and had right to the priv- 
ileges of Connecticut Government." 

This decision was received with delight by a large majority 
of the inhabitants of Woodstock, whose interest in the matter 
had been greatly stimulated by two years' agitation. A warn- 
ing from a Connecticut justice soon summoned them '• to the 
choice of proper town officers, of which they were destitute." 
This "notable meeting" was held in the first meetinghouse, Fri- 
day, 10 A. M., July 2Sth, 1749 (O. S.). Justice Joseph Leavens, 
of Killingly, a native of Woodstock, presided. Before entering 
upon the business of the day, a formal protest was entered by 
Samuel Chandler, John, Jonathan, Nathan and Asa Payson, 
John Frizzell, Joseph Wright, Zebulon Dodge and Joseph 
Griggs, declaring that the meeting was wholl}- unlawful and 
had a tendency to stir up the greatest confusion and disorder, 
if not rebellion. Deciding to take no further notice of this pro- 
test, John May was chosen moderator; Henry Bowen, town 
clerk and first selectman ; Isaac Johnson, second selectman ; Ja- 
bez Lyon, third ; Abraham Perrin, fourth ; John May, fifth ; An- 
drew Durkee and Ebeuezer Paine, constables ; Benjamin Bug- 
bee and Samuel Child, grand jurors; all sworn into oftice by 
Justice Leavens. William and Daniel Lyon, John Morse, Eph- 
raim and Benjamin Child, Henry Bowen, Thomas Chandler, ' 
Daniel Paine and Nathaniel Johnson were then approved to 
take the freeman's oath agreeably to the laws of Connecticut. 
At the following town meeting seventy-four additional residents 
were admitted freemen, and Thomas Chandler and Henry Bowen 
chosen representatives to the general assembly. Transference 
of allegiance had thus been practically effected, and Woodstock 
enrolled among Connecticut townships. 


Massachusetts, meanwhile, wholly refused to accept the situ- 
ation. Spirited remonstrances were laid before the Connecticut 
assembly; warrants and writs were served upon her revolted 
subjects; commissioners failed even to agree upon terms of ne- 
gotiation. Both governments, after some years of bickering and 
wrangling, attempted to lay their claims before the croAvn, but 
owing to many hindrances and public disturbances did not suc- 
ceed in gaining a hearing. After the close of the French and 
Indian war another attempt was made to gain a decision from 
supreme authority in Great Britain, but the revolutionary troub- 
les again prevented its consideration, and the revolted towns 
were left to Connecticut dominion, according to the original 
grant of territory. The aggrieved memorialists of Woodstock 
continued to protest against this transfer, but were forced in 
time to submit to the will of the majority. In many respects the. 
change was greatly to its advantage. The population of the 
town in 1733 was 1,33G whites, 30 blacks; valne of estates 
i: 16.000. 

Revolt from ]Massachusetts was soon followed by a protracted 
ecclesiastic conflict, resulting likewise in secession and separa- 
tion. Both controversies sprung from the same germ — the in- 
herent antagonism between the two colonies. Those citizens 
who favored ^Massachusetts government and ideas adhered faith- 
fully to the Cambridge platform and principles, upon which the 
first church in Woodstock was founded, while the especial friends 
of iSIr. Stiles, advocates for the new departure, had imbibed some 
portion of his regard for the Saybrook platform and religious 
establishment of Connecticut. Mr. Stiles' request to attend the 
meetings of the Windham County Association of ministers, 
" purely for his own information and satisfaction," aroused .sus- 
picion and uneasiness in the first years of his ministry. These 
difficulties had so increased that in 1702 a council was held, in 
which nine specific points of grievance were brought forward, 
discussed and carefully adjusted. Yet notwithstanding this 
amicable settlement, old fires were rekindled by the "amazing 
conduct" of Mr. Stiles in introducing a covenant, embodying as 
he claimed the substance of the Cambridge platfoim, and with- 
out proper warning or discussion, declaring its adoption upon 
the subscription of himself and a small number of the brethren. 
A large number of church members protested earnestly against 
this imposition, and positively refused to submit to it. Attempts 


to compound the difference were wholly fruitless, and after a 
few months of wrangling the opposition withdrew from Mr. 
Stiles' preaching, and held meetings by themseh-es. In 175G 
the aggrieved party — twenty-three brethren and twenty-one sis- 
ters — by the advice of an ecclesiastic council, formally "re-as- 
sumed in church state on the ancient basis of the church, 
whereof we stand members," and were declared by the council 
" a church in regular form, according to the usual method." 

This procedure at once raised the question which of the two 
churches had the right to the tithes and property vested in the 
First society, and both parties carried their woes to the general 
assembly. Mr. Stiles asked for a council to hear and determine 
the differences; his opponents prayed for "a distinct, separate 
society." A council was granted but could not agree upon terms 
of statement. Every day the breach widened. The old church 
party reiterated to the assembly " the inconsistency of the thing 
in its own nature," and " the violence that must be done to our 
consciences, in that we should be compelled to uniformity with a 
minister and his adherents, who have so far departed from the 
ancient order, and be made to suffer for abiding in conformity 
with the sister churches throughout the province in which we 
were first embodied," while Mr. Stiles adroitly insinuated 
charges of Separatism, irregularity and disaffection to the civil 
constitution of Connecticut. The condition of religious affairs at 
that date, the violence and disorders caused by the Separate move- 
ment, gave great weight to these insinuations, and undoubtedly 
warped the judgment of councillors and legislators. The minis- 
try of state and count}' sympathized mainly with Mr. Stiles, and 
the small body representing the original church covcnnnt was 
sorely beset and hindered, and even refu.sed the privilege of 
communion with the church in the West parish. A number of 
prominent ministers appointed by the general assembly in 1757, 
found the difficulties very great — •' all peace, unity and gccd 
agreement wholly destroyed and gone from among the people 
of the society and members of the church." but found no prac- 
ticable way of accommodation. 

The majority for a time apparently favored the Stiles party, 
which was thus enabled to lay taxes upon the whole society, but 
after some years the balance of power had shifted, the question 
assumed a more definite sectional character, descendants of first 
settlers in the south half insisting upon the old church covenant, 


the more Yciried population of the north adhering to }*Ir. Stiles 
and Connecticut church o-overnment. Conflicting votes were 
now passed at successive society meeting's, whereby affairs were 
thrown into the greatest confusion. Rival committees refused 
to warn meetings in behalf of their opponents. The assembly, 
wearied out with their contentions, turned a deaf ear to all pe- 
titions. The old church party, in 1758, secured a vote to assess 
all estates in the society for support of their own minister, and 
proceeded to collect it. Windham courts declared the asses.s- 
ment unlawful, but had not power to grant relief. 

Emboldened by success, the anti-Stiles party proceeded to lay 
hands on the meeting house. Richard Flynn was chosen key- 
keeper; Samuel Chandler'^nd Colonel John Payson deputized to 
get possession of the key. Failing in this, Zebulon Dodge was 
directed to take off the lock and put on anotlier, and deliver the 
new key to Mr. Flynn. Victory was finally achieved by a soci- 
ety vote: "I. That the society meet in the meeting house in said 
society on Lord's day for public worship for the future. II. 
That there be a committee chosen to supply the pul])it till 
farther orders, in the room of ^Ir. Stiles. III. That Islr. Samuel 
Chandler be a committee to supply the pulpit with some suitable 
person to preach, and that the clerk serve Mr. vStiles with a copy 
of the transactions of this society, that he may know the minds 
of the society, and so not presume to go into the desk on Lord's 
day to disturb the societ}' in the public worship as he has here- 
tofore done." 

In spite of this summary ejection ]Mr. Stiles tfi'd presume to en- 
ter the desk already occupied by the opposition minister, and 
was only ousted by a hand-to-hand contest. This battle cleared 
the air, and virtually ended the controversy. The northern 
belligerents Avithdrew with their discomfitted minister. A com- 
mittee appointed by general assembly arranged an amicable 
settlement. The society division besought so many years was 
at length effected — the old south retaining the meeting house, 
the young north carrying off the minister. Church property 
was divided between the two societies. Isaac Johnson, Parker 
and John }*Iorse, John May, Nathaniel and ]^";iisha Child signed 
the agreement July 2oth, 170O. Church records were left in the 
hands of Mr. Stiles, society records with the clerk of the First or 
South society. The question as to which body could claim the 
title of " First church of Woodstock " was ignored as too delicate 
for contemporary discussion. 


In spite of these dissensions the town was gaining rapidly. 
Many new settlers purchased farms, especially in the north part 
of the town. Various business enterprises were set in motion; 
mill privileges and iron ore were utilized, trade and production 
stimulated. New men came to the front. At the town meeting 
December 1 st, 1700, Isaac Johnson served as moderator. Thomas 

^j Chandler was chosen town clerk and treasurer; Isaac Johnson, 
NThomas Chandler, Nathaniel Johnson, Ebenezer Smith, Jr., 
Nathaniel Child, selectmen; .Moses Chandler, constable and col- 
lector of colony ta.x; Closes Child, collector of excise; Samuel 
!McClellan, George Hedge, Elijah Lyon, Abner Harris, John 

' -Chamberlain, Amos Paine, ^latthew Hammond, Jonathan and 
Henry Child, Ebenezer Child, Jr., Ebenezer Corbin, Jonathan 
Morris, Hezekiah Smith. Captain Joseph Hay ward.'Joshua Chand- 
ler, surveyors of highways; Silas Bowen, Lieutenant Hezekiah 
Smith, grand jurymen; Silas Bowen, Moses Child, Hezekiah 
Smith, -^Moses Chandler, Upham May. Ebenezer Child, Jr., Sam- 
uel Child, Jr., listers; Nathaniel Child, Abijah Child. Samuel 
Bowen, collectors of rates; George Hedge, Josiah Hammond, 
Stephen ]Marcy, Asa ^lorris, Caleb May, Elisha Child, tithing 
men; Benjamin Bugbee, William Chapman, fence viewers; Dar- 
ius Ainsworth, Zebulon Marcy, Joseph Manning, Ezra May, Isaac 
Bowen, Nathan Child, haywards; Moses Child, receiver of stores; 
Jedidiah Morse, packer; Joseph Peake, ganger; Richard Flynn, 
Daniel Bugbee, branders. Ebenezer Smith was chosen town 
clerk in place of Thomas Chandler, removed to Vermont. Lieu- 
tenant Hezekiah Smith and other oflicers wxre excused to serve 
in the army. ^ 

Needful improvements were gradually carried out. Highway 
districts were set out in 1773 — five in the First society, in charge 
of Thomas Baker, Jonathan Allen, Jonathan Lyon, Jed. Bug- 
bee, Matthew Bowen ; four in New Roxbury, directed by Dan- 
iel Paine, Benjamin Howard, John Perrin, Samuel Narramoref 
four in the North society, under Caleb May, Ephraim Carpen- 
ter, Eliakim May, Stephen Tucker. New roads were laid out 
superseding the old range ways. A committee appointed in 
1771 to examine the financial condition of the town,- reported 
that the town's money for a number of years had been prudent- 
ly handled. In public afTairs Woodstock manifested much in- 
terest, taking a prominent part in political discussion and de- 
monstration. A strong radical element was very forcibly called 


into exercise throughout the whole rcYolutionar}' struggle, lead- 
ing her citizens to go far beyond their proportion in supplies of 
men and munitions of war. With equal spirit she resisted all 
Massachusetts' attempts to coerce her into subjection, and gal- 
lantly entered the field in the contest for the shire-ship of Wind- 
ham county. The one-sided position of Windham town was a 
grievance to the north part of the county. The proposed change 
to Pomfret was still unsatisfactory. Woodstock met the dilem- 
ma by proposing that Connecticut should remove her northern 
bound some four and a half miles farther north, "agreeable to 
the manifest intent of the Province charter," and "then take a 
just view of the situation of Woodstock and its conveniency for 
a shire town;" a proposition which the Lower House did not 
deign even to consider. 

In the discussion concerning the adoption of the federal con- 
stitution," Woodstock showed her wonted independence, indulg- 
ing in large and warm debate until the dusk of the evening and 
adjourning after much opposition. At the second meeting, 
which was very fully attended, IMr. Stephen Paine and Deacon 
Timothy PeiTin were chosen delegates, and although it was al- 
leged that the vote was illegal, sundry persons presuming to 
vote who were not legal voters, they attended the meeting in 
Hartford, January :?d, 178S, and voted against the adoption of 
the constitution. Woodstock's native radicalism and the prev- 
alence of what were called " sectaries," developed a strong oppo- 
sition to federalism. The anti-federal or republican party found 
many supporters in town, and Baptist and Methodist radicals 
were occasionally sent as representatives. 

Deacon Jedidiah ]\Iorse, long remembered as^ one of the 
strong men of Woodstock, now served as town clerk and treas- 
urer. Captains Nehemiah Lyon, Amos Paine and Ephraim 
Manning, Captains Daniel and William Lyon, Thomas May, 
Noah Mason, Shubael Child, Darius Ainsworth, Benjamin Hay- 
wood, Ebenezer Smith, Nehemiah Clarke, Silas May, Ebenezer 
Coburn, appear among town ofilcers. Hon., Charles Church 
Chandler, grandson of Judge John Chandler and his successor 
in the old Chandler homestead at South Woodstock, the first 
lawyer in Woodstock and a man of wide influence, died sudden- 
ly in 1787. 

Samuel McClellan, general of Connecticut's iMfth Brigade, 
was now one of the most prominent men in Windham county. 


His valuable services during the war of the revolution were 
everywhere recognized. Woodstock's native military spirit was 
greatly stimulated by his presence and example, and her two 
commons were noted for a brilliant succession of military train- 
ing. These gala days were exceedingly popular, bringing 
together a great concourse of people, and were marked by the 
customary hilarity and carousings. General McClellan and his 
revolutionary war horse were especial features of these occa- 
sions. John, son of General McClellan, was early promoted to 
the rank of brigade major. After studying law with Hon. 
Charles H. Chandler, he entered upon practice at Woodstock 
hill, and was very active in establishing Woodstock Academy 
and otiier public enterprises. 

Turnpike schemes awakened much interest in Woodstock. 
The road from Boston to Hartford was laid out through Thomp- 
son to her great disappointment, but she secured the Norwich 
and Worcester turnpike, with a branch diverging to Sturbridge, 
and also a direct road from General McClellan's corner to Provi- 
dence. This latter road was afterward continued to Somers. 
Middlesex Gore on the north, left outside of town bounds by the 
reconstruction of the state boundary, was claimed by Woodstock 
in 1703, but she did not succeed in retaining possession. In 
1797 an attempt was made by a number of western residents — 
divested, as they claimed, " in great measure of the privilege of 
free and legal inhabitants of the town of Woodstock, and a par- 
ticipation in the election of town officers, owing to their remote 
distance," to obtain independent town privileges. Some encour- 
agement was given by the other societies, but a majority of 
voters " would not consent to new town."' Relief was obtained 
in time by holding town meetings alternately in the three so- 

At the town meeting in 1807, John McClellan, Esq.,feerved as 
moderator, fedidiali ^lorse still retained the position of town 
clerk and treasurer; selectmen, John ^leClellan, Captains Luther 
Baldwin, William May and Jedidiah Kimball, and Deacon Ste- 
phen Johnson; constables, David Frizzell, Parker Morse, 
Lyon ; grand jurors, Henry Welles, Thomas Corbin, Captain Asa 
Child, Darius Barlow ; listers, David Frizzell, William Lyon, 
Darius Barlow, Doctor Haviland }»lorris. Captains Carpenter 
Bradford, Aaron Child and Judah Lyon ; pound keepers, Wil- 
liam Flynn, Roswell Ledoyt, Chester May; tavern keepers, Wil- 


liam Bowen, Jonathan Day, Daniel Lyon, Charles W. Noyes, 

Chester May, John Child, Sanford Holmes, Parley Lyon, Earl j 

Clapp and Lemuel Perry; Colonel DaYid Holmes, Captain Wil- j 

liam May, Jedidiah Kimball, committee to wait upon turnpike j 


The multiplication of taverns testified to the increase in travel I 

and teaming-. It was a day of emigration, when all the main j 

roads were thronged with wagons and teams, transporting fam- 1 

ilies westward. Manufacturing was also coming in vogue, stim- j 

ulating intercourse. As yet Woodstock farms sufficed j 

mainly for the maintenance of its population, with such business | 

as was demanded by the daily needs of its inhabitants. The town i 

was thrifty and healthy, standing high among the tOAvns of the j 

county, exceeding in 1810 all others in population. Again in j 

1820, it stood at the head with :-5,U17 inhabitants, the first town in j 

the county to enter the thirties. | 

During the war of 1812 she had shown her usual spirit, though | 

a majority of her citizens opposed the course of the president, and 
manifested their disapproval in denunciatory resolutions. The 
summons to the relief of New London in June, 1813, awakened 
much enthusiasm. James Lyon was sent out to warn the militia, 
and returning from his mission before sunrise, found two com- | 

panics already mustered on the common, under charge of Ad- j 

jutant Flynn, ready to march to the scene of action. Bowen's j 

tavern, under the poplars at Woodstock hill, was a place of much j 

resort during this busy period, and was once the scene of a re- j 

markable conjunction between two government cannon, ordered 
from dillerent establishments by the secretaries of war and 
navy, which met before the tavern door at the same moment, j 

In the succeeding battles for a new state constitution and j 

county seat Woodstock bore her part bravely, enrolling her vote \ 

against the constitution, and persistently refusiifg to pay any share | 

of the expense of the removal of the courts to Brooklyn. This { 

was the more unreasonable in view of the radical tendencies of | 

the town, and its uncommon addiction to excessive litigation. . 

A number of protracted and troublesome lawsuits were carried 
on during this period, and the three lawyers, Esquires ISIcClel- i 

Ian, Ebenezer Stoddard and John F. Williams, found abundant j 

practice. The pugnacity of Woodstock's citizens made politics j 

lively. The anti-Masonic controversy raged with much fierce- j 

ness, breaking down old party lines and inciting new com!'- ,. 

nations. ! 


Hon. Ebenezer Stoddard, who had served as representative in 
congress from 1821 to 1825, was elected lieutenant-governor of 
Connecticut in 183."). Temperance and .slavery agitation called 
out much interest, and were soon introduced into politics. A 
large number of taverns had been maintained during the days 
of heavy teaming and hard drinking. In 1828 the licensed 
tavern keepers were George Bowen, William K. Greene, Rhodes 
Arnold, Aaron Corbin, Judah Lyon, Chauncey Kibbe, Thomas 
L. Truman, Hezekiah Bugbee. With the progress of temperance 
reformation the number gradually diminished. In 1883 Chaun- 
cey Kibbe, William Healy, George Bowen, Amasa Carpenter 
and Rhodes Arnold were nominated. Two years later and only 
Rhodes Arnold and James Lamson were allowed the privilege. 
Five persons were refused nomination, and the petition of George 
Bowen, Danforth Child and Rhodes Arnold for license to retail 
wine and spirituous liquors was rejected. In 1836 Lyman and 
William Hiscox, George Bowen, Pelatiah and Zenas D. Wight and 
Danforth Child were approbated to be retailers of wines and dis- 
tilled spirituous liquors at the several stores. 

After the Washingtonian temperance movement of 1840 a 
special town meeting was called, January 6th, "to see if the town 
will grant liberty as the statute law directs to any person or per- 
sons to sell wine or spirituous liquors in the town the year en- 
suing." A decided refusal was given. Even the discreet appli- 
cation of ;Mr. George Bowen to sell such articles "for medicinal 
purposes only and no other " was decided in the negative. And 
as tavern keeping was quite superfluous apart from liquor sell- 
ing, the application of Mr. Amasa Carpenter to keep a house of 
public entertainment met the same fate. For fifty years no 
liquor selling has been licensed by the town of Woodstock, .save 
for medicinal and chemical purposes. Trainings and taverns 
were also simultaneously abandoned, or transformed into a mere 
shadow of former greatness. 

The movement for the abolition of slavery aroused immediate 
interest in Woodstock. Its citizens aided in the formation of 
the early "Liberty Party." In 1843 Doctor vSamuel Bowen of 
Thompson, received 116 Woodstock votes as the congressional 
candidate of the abolitionists. So powerful was the party that 
for three years it obstructed the choice of town -representatives. 
In 1847 a compromise was effected between the whigs and liberty 
party men, and Leonard M. Deaneand Stephen Hopkins elected. 



The latter is starred on the roll of representatives as the first 
" Abolitionist " in the state lep^islature. Woodstock's abolition 
vote was much larger than that of any other town. So strong 
was this element that in 1S.")6, when the republican party came 
into prominence, 47S votes were cast for " Fremont and Free- 

In population Woodstock has suffered gradual loss, numbering 
some hundreds less than in 1820. Constant emigration and the 
lack of manufacturing interests have caused this shrinkage, yet 
there are indications that the lowest point has been reached and 
renewed immigration set in. Many respected citizens have car- 
ried on the affairs of the town these seventy years. In 1830, 
October 4th, John Paine, Esq., served as moderator; John Fox 
was chosen treasurer and town clerk ; Oliver Morse. William 
Lyon, 2d, Laban Underwood, Simon Barrett, Chauncey Kibbe, 
selectmen ; Perley Lyon. Rhodes Arnold, Rodney ^Martin, as- 
•/ sessors ; John Chandler, 2d, Christopher Arnold, Otis Perry, board 
of relief; Silas H. Cutler, John Child, Oliver Saunders, consta- 
bles and collectors of taxes ; Charles Child, Jr., Elisha C. Walker, 
Spaulding Barstow, Simon Barrett, Elisha Paine, Alexander Dor- 
rance, grand jurors; P. Skinner, Cyrus Davenport, Cyprian 
Chandler, John W. Wells, Amos Paine, Jr., Benajah Bugbee,2d, 
Alexander Dorrance, Charles Skinner, Charles Crawford, Eben- 
ezer Paine, John Chamberlin, Penuel Corbin, Jr., William Child, 
Alfred Walker, tithing men ; George Bowen, sealer of weights 
and mea.sures; Charles Smiih. Asa Lyman, John Fowler, 2d, 
fence viewers; Aaron Corbin, Charles Smith, James Lyon, com- 
mittee on alteration of highway districts. The rate list of 1820 
amounting in value to about S;-36,n()0, comprised 3G3 dwelling 
houses, 10 mills, 399 horses and mules, 3,000 neat cattle, 27 rid- 
ing carriages, 13 other carriages, 169 clocks, watches and time- 
pieces. One academy building, IS school houses and 5 churches 
(houses of worship) were reported. 

Town offices in 1861, at the breaking out of the war of the re- 
bellion, were : Ezra C. May, clerk, registrar and treasurer ; Sam- 
uel M. Fenner, Asa Goodell, FIczekiah Bishop, selectmen ; George 
N. Lyman, S. W. Bugbee, collectors; Nathan E. Morse, consta- 
ble; R. S. Mathewson, H. S. Perry, Oliver Marcy. Elias Child, 
2d, Baldwin Vinton, Carlo May, grand jurors; Simon Bartholo- 
mew, George Bugbee, Albert Morse, assessors ; F. W. Flynn, L. 
I). Underwood, C. C. Potter, board of relief; William Lester, 


Otis Perrin, land surveyors; Georo;-e Rugbec. George A. Paine, 
J. W. Sessions. S. M. Fenner, Alexander Warner, M. Bradford, 
John White, board of education ; Stephen L. Potter, school treas- 
urer. Very heavy burthens were brought upon the town during 
this period, in bounties, supplies for soldiers and care of their 
families. Woodstock maintained its ancient reputation in meet- 
ing proinptly all public demands, and in the character and ser- 
vice of those ^vho went to the battle. Soon after the close of the 
war efforts were made to reduce the debt that had been con- 
tracted. At the annual town meeting in 1808, Mr. Henry C. 
Bowen offered to give §-'.'-'"*', ^ thousand a year, if the town 
would cancel the debt in five years. This generous offer was 
received wath general favor, and immediate measures taken for 
raising the town's proportion. I3y levying an additional tax 
each year the needful amount was secured, arjd the town freed 
from this encumbrance. The great American Hag used at the 
monster mass meeting of 1868 was also presented to the town by 
Mr. Bowen. 

The republican party was largely in ascendency during the 
years of the war. In 1872 democrats and liberals united on a 
ticket for town officers, "composed of good men," but did not 
succeed in breaking the ranks of the republicans. Ezra C. [May 
still served as town clerk and treasurer; selectmen, George W. 
Clarke, Stephen D. Skinner, Nathan E. }iIorse ; assessors, ^lartin 
Paine, Joseph R. Barber. Joseph ]M. ]\lorse : board of relief, 
Amos A. Carrol, William H. Church, John A. ^Slason ; grand 
jurors, Erastus H. Wells, Henry T. Child, Abiel Fox, Arthur 
Stetson, Ezra C. Child, Ebenezer Bishop ; constables, P. Skinner, 
Jeremiah Church. John H. Child ; John Paine, agent ; John A. 
Mason, treasurer of town deposit fund; registrars of voters, Dis. 
1. Lewis J. Wells, William H. Pearson ; Dis. 2. George Bugbee, 
Albert Kenyon ; Dis. 3. John Paine, George A. Penniman ; 
school visitors, George S. F. Stoddard. Sylvester Barrows, F^ben- 
ezer Bishop, Monroe W. Ide, George Bugbee. George A. Paine 
served faithfully for several terms in the important oflice of 
school fund commissioner. 

In 1880 the population of Woodstock numbered 2,C39 ; child- 
ren between 4 and IG years of age, 5oG ; grand list, $9-13,530; 
dwelling houses, GU7 ; mills, stores, distilleries, manufactories, 
4U ; horses, asses, mules. G47 ; neat cattle. 2.029; carriages and 
pleasure wagons, 87. Herbert M. Gifford had then succeeded to 


the office of town clerk and treasurer, retaining- it till 1888; he 
was succeeded by Mr. Newton D. vSkinner. The present select- 
men are Charles H. May, Stephen D. Skinner and Reed Tour- 

Woodstock as a Connecticut town was first included in Pom- 
fret probate district. Its first clerk was Penucl Bowen, of 
Woodstock, under whose administration the records were lost in 
the destruction of his house by fire. Woodsttick's specific pro- 
bate court was constituted in IS'M, John Paine, judge, George 
Bowen, clerk. Political jealousies made this office very transi- 
tory and migratory for many years, transferring it from parish 
to parish. John F. Williams, Theophilus B. Chandler, Daniel 
Lyman, Ezra Child, George A. Paine, G. S. F. Stoddard, T. D. 
Holmes and Stephen Potter, were among the many who served 
as judge of probate. A new departure was eflected under the 
administration of judge Oscar Fisher, who continued in service 
from July 4th, 1SG7, to January, 1881, when the present incum- 
bent. Judge Oliver Perry, entered upon service. Ttie wisdom of 
the civil service reform in this department is conceded by all 

Parish divisions in Woodstock are unusually pronounced and 
definite. After a serious contest the west half of the town was 
set off as a distinct parish or religious society in 1743, and still 
remains nearly or quite intact, as the Second or West parish. 
The First or East parish was again divided after the church 
controversy of 18j0-C0. The villages of Woodstock hill. South 
Woodstock and Ouasset are included in the I'irst society. West 
Woodstock parish includes the villages of West AVoodstock and 
Woodstock Valley. The Third or Northeast society includes 
East Woodstock village, formerly called ^Nluddy Brook, and 
North Woodstock village, first known as Village Corners. 
Town meetings are held alternately in each of the three parishes, 
and representatives are sent alternately, each sending a repre- 
sentative for two successive years, while one is without a rt])re- 
sentative everv vear. 



Early Industries. — Manufacturing. — Decline of Manufacturing. — Agriculture. — 
Woodstock Agi-icultural Society.— Senexet Grange. — Theft Detecting Soci- 
ety.— Woodstock Academy. — Church on Woodstock Hill. — Tiie Second 
Church.— Baptist Churches. — East Woodstock Church.— Methodism. — Uni- 
versalist Church.— Advent Christian Church. — Present Condition. — Public 
Celebrations. — Biograpliical Sketches. 

THE industries of Woodstock during its first half century 
were restricted to the inevitable farming, and such simple 
arts and trades as are needful to support existence. The experiment in wider fields was an attempt to utilize the bog 
iron deposit in West parish. Benjamin Marcy and other resi- 
dents established a furnace or forge and cai-ried on the works 
some years previous to 17G4, when IMarcy sold his right to Heze- 
kiah Smith. vSmith and Asahel Marcy continued the business 
for a number of years, probably until the emigration of the 
former, and during the revolutionary period the furnace became 
extinct, but the ore for many years was carried to Stafford for 
smelting. The first Woodstock brick yard, saw and grist mills 
were carried on by Ebenezer Lyon, who owned much land in 
the vicinity of Black pond. A dam still .standing at the outlet 
of the pond, was built by his slaves — the only existing speci- 
men of Woodstock's slave labor. Mr. Lyon was one of the first 
settlers of Woodstock, a man of wealth for that day and influ- 
ence. Saw and grist mills were also early established in Wood- 
stock Valley and at South Woodstock and Muddy Brook. 

An unique industry was undertaken by Peregrine White, who 
purchased " a shop on the road from X'athaniel Child to Stur. 
bridge " (a little west of Muddy Brook village! "with all manner 
of tools and implements" for working on metals, in 1774. This 
early silversmith shop developed into an institution for the man- 
ufacture of tall clocks with full moons and elaborate appurten- 
ances, highly esteemed and jiatronized for many years by all the 


surrounding- country. Southward, at Quasset, were found the 
pottery works of Mr. Thomas Bug-bee, established in 1793. The 
original clay deposit, so useful in constructing chimneys and 
mason work, was here worked up into all manner of jars, jugs, 
mugs, inkstands, milk pans and pudding pots. A foreign arti- 
san was employed by the establishment to oversee the various 
processes of grinding, mixing, kneading and sizing. Each sep- 
arate piece was fashioned into shape by hand and turning wheel. 
As many as six kiln-bakings were needed every summer, and 
some five thousand pieces turned out. This pottery ware was 
carried far and wide in Mr. Bugbee's familiar pottery cart, and 
found a market in every household. At least two thousand milk- 
pans were demanded every season. The bridal outfit of the day 
included a goodly collection of this fashionable Woodstock pot- 
tery ware. 

The manufacture of potash was carried on by various parties, 
especially by Colonel Russel, of Muddy Brook, who had a large 
and complete establishment, comprising the newest outfit and pro- 
cesses. Coopering, tanning and shoemakingwere among the in- 
dispensable industries of the town, giving employment to a num- 
ber of willing workmen. The first fulling mill in West Woodstock 
was built by Deacon Henry Bowen in 1791, below Lyon's slave 
dam, with the privilege of use of stream and setting up tenter- 
bars for drying cloth. This mill was afterward moved down 
stream and sold to Daniel Mashcraft. who set up a carding ma- 
chine and continued the business of carding and cloth fulling 
until woolen manufactories came into vogue. This establish- 
ment had a high reputation, farmers' wives from many miles 
distance bringing to it their wool and domestic cloth for carding 
and finishing. A carding machine was also set up at Black pond 
by "]\Iason and Sumner '" in ISOo. Grist and sawmills in this 
vicinity were caiTied on by Andrew Williams for a number of 
years. In 1S3() James Arnold built and operated a fulling mill 
on Sawmill brook. A little later. Rhodes Arnold built a saw and 
.shingle mill, and a cider-brandy distillery was also carried on by 
the brothers. The Hosmer grist mill in the .southeast corner of 
the town was an established institution, dating back to the first 
settlement of the town. 

The rage for cotton spinning reached Woodstock somewhat 
late for its own benefit. In 1814 Moses Arnold, purchaser of the 
old Chandler homestead at vSouth Woodstock, united with Wil- 


liam Bowen, Thomas Hubbard and Benjamin Duick, of Pomfret, 
as the " Arnold Manufacturing Company in Woodstock," and as 
soon as possible put up a wooden building and engaged in cot- 
ton spinning. At nearly the same date, Jonathan and William 
May, John Paine and William Lyon, of Woodstock, with Walter 
and Royal Paine, of Providence, and Job Williams, of Pomfret, 
were incorporated as "The Muddy Brook Cotton ^lanufacturing 
Company." A factory building was erected a little north of the 
village, and works set in motion. Chester, Willard and Rensse- 
laer Child, Amasa and Judah Lyon, were incorporated as "The 
Woodstock Manufacturing Company, for the purpose of manu- 
facturing cloths and other fabrics of wool and cotton," in 1815. 
A small building and other accommodations in the north of the 
town were soon provided by this company. 

The great depression caused by the return of peace and influx 
of English goods seriously affected all these companies. The 
Arnold Company was reconstructed, passing mainly into the 
hands of the Arnolds. The factories of North Woodstock were 
reported in the Ga.ZLih\-?- of 1819 as upon " a large scale " and do- 
ing business extensively. The Woodstock Company now man- 
ufactured woolen goods exclusively. In addition to hard times, 
it suffered from the treachery of an English overseer, who cut 
the warp in the looms before absconding. This mischief was 
repaired by the skill and ingenuity of Charles Walker, a youth 
in their employ, who saved the company from ruin and laid the 
foundation for personal prosperity and usefulness. In addition 
to this factory, Judah Lyon carried on the blacksmith's trade 
and the manufacture of the first patc-nt iron ploughs, supersed- 
ing the clumsy wooden implements then in use — an innovation 
which met at first the customarv ridicule and opposition. 

The Mashcraft establishment in West Woodstock passed into 
the hands of Joseph Hollinsworth, an Englishman, who manu- 
factured woolen cloth for a number of years. The old Holmes 
privilege at South Woodstock was purchased about 1840 by Dan- 
iel Warner, who engaged in the manufacture of cotton batting. 
In a few years he built a brick factory building for the manu- 
facture of twine. Leonard Cocking established a woolen mill 
at Ouasset, building a new stone mill in 18-14, and utilizing the 
old Baptist meeting house for a second building. In 1842 
Mr. John Lake set in motion "the first, last and only tub and 
pail shop " in this part of Connecticut. Six thousand tubs and 


pails were reported as the annual product, the tubs finding mar- 
ket in Boston, the pails in Norwich. In 1S.")2 he purchased the 
"old oil mill privilege " of Mr. Rufus Mathewson and engaged 
successfully in the manufacture of window sash and blinds. 
The Hosmer mills passed into the hands of Captain Edward B. 
Harris about ]8;'.(». A new building Wfis soon erected and de- 
voted to the manufacture of cotton machinery, which was car- 
ried on quite extensively, supplying workmen and factories. 

Enterprise was stimulated at the growing center. Village Cor- 
ners, by the opening of the Central turnpike from Boston to 
Hartford, replacing the former route through Thompson. The 
manufacture of wagons and carriages by L. ]M. Deane & Co. was 
here initiated about lS3o. The excellent character of the work 
soon won a wide popularity, and the business was carried on 
successfully for many years. With these many lines of business 
now carried forward, shoe making stood at the head. Peletiah 
and Zenas Wight, sons of a veteran tanner and currier in Wood- 
stock Valley, succeeded to the business of their father and add- 
ed to it as early as 1828 the manufacture of the first sale shoes 
in Connecticut. Men and women, boys and girls hastened to 
take advantage of the golden opportunity thus offered, and soon 
a large business was built up. Other manufacturers hastened 
to follow this example, and sale shoe-making became a leading 
business interest, especially notable for the vast number of 
hands that could be employed in it. In Woodstock and for 
miles surrounding neafly every dwelling house had a room fit- 
ted up or appended for a shoe-making shop. The Wights mak- 
ing a specialty of the shoe called stoggy, the name was applied 
to the valley, which was known many years by the nickname, ! 

■" Stoggy Hollow." A. & O. Hiscox and L. & 'M. Hiscox engaged 
in the shoe business in this locality, employing about twenty 
hands each. 

Shoe business was begun in West Woodstock villaec about 
1833 by John P. Chamberlin and John O. Fox. In spite of fre- 
quent failures and disasters, it continued briskly under a Me- ' 

chanics' Association and various private shoe dealers, and greatly j 

facilitated the building up and improvement of the village. Ly- j 

man Sessions was a prominent shoe manufacturer, engaged also i 

in trade and various enterprises. Village Corners enjoyed an ' 

extensive boom in connection with the shoe business of Amasa 
Carpenter, who also kept the tavern, built new houses and en- 


gaged in trade. So extensively was shoe manufacturing pushed 
forward that in 1845, o,G51,oS0 pairs of shoes were accredited to 
Woodstock, and fifty bushels of shoe pegs. Employment was 
given to 4,918 males, 4,907 women and girls. 

The tannery of Mr. Elias Mason, near Muddy Brook village, 
flourished greatly during this period, furnishing a large supply 
of leather to these various establishments. But this manufac- 
turing activity was of comparatively short continuance. Flood, 
fire and financial panic were inimical to Woodstock enterprise. 
The first serious disaster occurred in 1884, when a new dam con- 
structed at Muddy brook, by Colonel Jonathan May, was carried 
away by a freshet, involving in its loss tlie mill and blacksmith 
shop of Captain Judah Lyon, and much other property. The 
damage accruing was so heavy that the }^Iuddy Brook Manufac- 
turing Company never regained its footing. The commercial 
collapse of 1837 brought down several prominent shoe operators ; 
the failure and death of Mr. Elias Alason depressed business and 
carried distress and straitness to many households. Factories, 
north, south, east and west were destroyed by fire. Much loss 
and havoc were wrought by the heavy freshet, February 13th, 
ISGO. The several privileges at South Woodstock had been, 
bought up by ]Mr. Daniel Warner, who constructed a new reser- 
voir and dam, intended to carry forward large manufacturing 
operations. Dam and factory were washed away, together with 
Lake's sash and blind shop, a blacksmith's shop and other build- 
ings, part of 'Mr. S. M. Fcnner's store, and three bridges belong- 
ing to the town. Later factory buildings at Ouasset and Wood- 
stock Valley, and even the mills on the old Bartholomew site of 
1G86, were all consumed by fire. 

To these casualties were added the inevitable changes result- 
ing from the introduction of new methods of business and travel. 
Monster cotton and woolen factories crushed out the minor en- 
terprises, and machine-made shoes greatly lessened the demand 
for those of hand labor. Manufactures and trade were alike 
drawn to the convenient railroad center, and Woodstock's shoe 
shops and factories were stranded by the law of progress. Shoe 
manufacturing, however, was carried on by T. P. Leonard & Co., 
in Woodstock valley, until about 1870. 

Various business enterprises are still maintained in the south- 
west corner of the town. Grain and lumber business has been 
carried on by A. Hiscox and son for many years, on the site of 


the old Lyon grist mill. The Ken yon factory at Kenyonville 
has been remarkably successful, and still flourishes under the 
skillful management of W. S. Kenyon. The phosphate manu- 
factory of vSanford Bosworth gravitated to Putnam, but the mill 
is now occupied by James B. Tatem, for the manufacture of all 
kinds of %vooden handles, from a small awl to a trip-hammer. 
About 50,000 feet of lumber are worked up every year, giving 
employment to six or eight men. The lumber interest in West 
Woodstock is of much importance. A large quantity of timber 
is annually sent to market. Water-mill saw mills are kept bus- 
ily at work by J. B. Tatem & Son, A Hiscox & Son, E. C. Cham- . , 
berlain, C. H. Stone and Luther Marcy, with steam to help out a ] 
short supply of water. j 

Carriage making is still carried on at North Woodstock vil- j 

lage. ^Ir. Thomas Milligan occupies the former Deane manu- j 

factory site ; Newton D. Skinner has accommodations in the vi- ! 

cinity. Colman continues the manufacture of twine on the site ' 

of Lake's sash and blind factory, and a stockinet yarn factory is i 

run at Ouasset by ^Ir. Arthur Williams. Needful grist mills \ 

and saw mills are maintained in different parts of the town. | 

Vicinity to thriving business centers has greatly diminished the j 

local trade in the several villages, and in place of the niimerous I 

lively stores formerly demanded scarcely one in each manages | 

to support existence. ' | 

The leading interest in the town is agricultural. Wood- j 

stock farms supported a large population long before the days i 

of experimental manufacture. With the building up of South- 
bridge, Webster and Putnam, has come a ready market and j 
greatly increased demand for the products of the farm. The im- j 
provement in farming utensils, the multiplication of agricultural •' 
newspapers, books, clubs and co-operative societies have farther ; 
stimulated interest and progress in all the arts of husbandry. j 
Improved methods of farming have been adopted, new breeds of ! 
cattle introduced, and advance made in various directions. The j 
fine cattle raised on the " Captain William Lyon farm " by the j 
late Mr. Benjamin Sumner, were celebrated throughout the ag- j 
ricultural fairs of New England. Woodstock farmers, viz., | 
Amos Paine, James McClellan, and others, were prominent in ! 
the first agricultural societies of Windham county. Their ex- j 
hibits were conspicuous in the successive annual fairs at Brook- -j 
lyn. In ISGl it was deemed expedient to organize a distinct so- | 
5G j 


ciety in the north part of the county. Horace Sabin, Lucius 
Fitts, Winthrop O. Green, Edmond Wilkinson, James Allen, 
Gilbert W. Phillips, Rufus S. Mathewson, Ezra Deane, George 
Penniman, John F. Williams, Jonathan Skinner, Azel Sumner, 
Horace Gaylord, John H. Simmons, Thomas E. Graves, Jeremiah 
Olney, were accordingly incorporated as " The Woodstock Agri- 
cultural Society " — authorized to hold property not exceeding 
$20,000 and dispose of it at plea.sure. Ample and convenient 
grounds were secured at South Woodstock, the society holding 
its first fair on the Common and using the vestry of the Baptist 
church for a hall. The success of the first exhibition guaranteed 
the permanence of the society. Attendance knd interest were 
all that could be desired, and the annual Woodstock fair was 
thenceforth classed among the established institutions of Wind- 
ham county. 

Year by year the interest has increased, extending to residents 
of other towns, and greatly stimulating agricultural develop- 
ment. The average attendance is rated at some six thousand, 
the exhibitions surpassing also the average of the ordinary county 
fair. The list of life members includes nearly five hundred 
names, embracing many of the most wide-awake men in the 
county. The office of president has been filled by Messrs. Ezra 
Child, Ezra Deane, Horace Sabin, Pomfret, John Giles, L. ~M. 
Deane, John O. Fox, O. H. Perry, G. A. Penniman, Oscar Tour- 
tellotte, Thompson, C. H. :May, T. W. Williams, Pomfret, S. O. 
Bowen, Eastford, G. A. Bowen, M. F. Towne, Thompson, F. W. 
Perry and A. M. Bancroft. The present ofticers are: President, 
Henry T. Child; vice-presidents, W. I. Bartholomew, Pomfret, 
G. T. Bixby, E. A. Wheelock, Putnam; recording secretary, L. 
J. Wells; corresponding secretary, H. W. Hibbard; treasurer, 
Amos M. Paine; auditors, T. W. Williams, S. H. Phillips, W. A. 
Weaver, Jr.; directors, S. O. Bowen, J. M. Morse, C. N. Chandler, 
R. E. Smith, Putnam, J. H. Earned, Pomfret, H. K.Safford, L. A. 
Catlin, L. H. Healey, F. Cutler, Putnam, G. A. Hawkins. Thomp- 
son; committee of arrangements — for hall, C. H. Child, G. C. 
Williams, W. H. Chandler, ]\Irs.E. W. Arnold; for rental of 
grounds, A. M. Pame, L. J. Wells; marshal!, G. T. Bixby. 

With growing prosperity accommodations have multiplied. 
A hall built on South Woodstock common by Mr. Daniel War- 
ner in 18G0 was occupied by the society till 1871, when a new 
building was erected on the "Fair Grounds " purchased from 


Mr. Thomas Warner. The judges' stand and cattle sheds were 
added in a few years. In ISSo a large addition was made to the 
hall,\vith much increased accommodations. A band stand, poul- 
try house and grand stand have been since added, the latter seat- 
ing about seven hundred people. A dining hall and kitchen un- 
der the grand stand, and a horse barn with stalls, are the latest 
improvements. The patrons of this institution take pride in its 
excellent management and the encouragement given to improve- 
ment in every branch of agriculture. 

A very wide awake farmers' club enjoyed profitable discussion 
for many years, but has given place to a very flourishing Grange, 
organized in Woodstock, February 17th. 18SG, with thirty-four 
members. George A. Bowen was elected master; H. W. Hib- 
bard, lecturer; L. J. Wells, secretary. The progress of " Senexet 
Grange " is apparently very satisfactory, though details are dis- 
creetly veiled from public viev:. Its master, Doctor G. A. Bowen, 
serves as lecturer for the State Grange, and is very prominently 
connected with the interests of the organization. Lewis J. Wells 
also serves as state secretary. A large number are connected with 
Senexet Grange, and its meetings are reported as exceptionally 
agreeable and profitable. One of Woodstock's latest agricultural 
I achievements is a creamery near the residence of H. T. Child. 
This is well patronized by dairy men and women, and promises 
to be a profitable and labor saving institution. 

A theft-detecting society was one of Woodstock's earliest co- 
operative experiments. Organized far back in 1703, in days of 
poverty and sore temptation, it doubtless served as a preventive 
to crime and "petty pilfering. The officers of the society were 
president, vice-president, clerk, treasurer and six pursuers. 
These latter officials were furnished with means for providing 
themselves with good horses, with which they were expected to 
pursue thieves at a moment's notice. Ordinary members were 
only required to pay their annual dues and help eat up the good 
dinner provided for the society. In 1824 the society was for- 
mally incorporated, and has since maintained serene existence, 
the chief incident of its career the annual dinner and speech 
making. Another ancient institution, the Putnam jSIasonic 
Lodge, second in Windham county, has been transplanted from 
Pomfret to Woodstock, finding accommodations in the new Agri- 
cultural Hall building. Embracing in its past membership 


many of the sterling men of the county, it still holds its own 
amid the multiplicity of modern organizations. 

The care of public schools was early made over to the three 
parishes. Each parish acted as a distinct school society, build- 
ing school houses, hiring teachers and managing its own educa- 
tional affairs. Under this system the common schools were well 
sustained, and turned out an unusual supply of competent and 
successful teachers. It has been said that no crop in Woodstock 
was so sure as its school teachers. Not only has it raised a suf- 
ficient supply for its ov%'n numerous schools, but a large number 
has been sent out to help enlighten the ignorance of other towns. 
Part of this proficiency is doubtless due to the additional stimu- 
lus given by the Woodstock Academy, which has furnished 
means of higher instruction to successive generations'. A 
regard for education was an early feature in Woodstock history, 
leading to the establishment of a flourishing high school pre- 
vious to 1730. 

The public schools conducted in every district were supple- 
mented by private instruction from such able and learned men 
as Reverends Abel Stiles and Stephen Williams. The latter 
minister fitted many young men for college, numbering among 
his pupils such future celebrities as Abiel Holmes and Jedidiah , 
Morse. A demand for higher educational privileges kept pace 
with the growth and expansion of the young republic. The 
curriculum of the crowded " District School house " was far 
too narrow for aspirants for high political office and business 
influence, and Woodstock forestalled other northern towns in 
securing the establishment of an academy. General ^NlcClellan, 
with his sons. Major John and James ^McClellan, Deacon Jedidiah 
Morse, General David Holmes, and other influential men, gave 
their countenance to the project. Reverend Eliphalet Lyman, 
pastor of the church at Woodstock hill, was its most active and 
successful advocate. 

On January 12th, ISOl, the proprietors of the South half of 
Woodstock granted liberty to set an academy building on the 
common north of the meeting house. Funds for building were 
to be secured by the gift of an hundred dollars each, from 
thirty-two citizens of Woodstock. Having headed the list with 
his own subscription, ]Mr. Lyman rode on horseback all over 
the town, and by his eloquence and persistency secured the 
requisite names and pledges. An efficient building committee 


was appointed, who pushed forward the work with unwonted 
speed. Farmers offered best white oak timber at half its mar- 
ket value, in their eagerness to help found an academy. It was 
said that the boards brought would reach from Woodstock to 
Providence. The raising was made a day of special festivity 
and rejoicing, all Woodstock turning out, as well as volunteers 
from sister towns. " A good slice of the ample common was 
filled with people, ox-teams and horses." Boys, sires and 
grandsires assisted in the several stages of the work. ISIajor 
David Holmes gallantly volunteered to be swung up on an 
eighty-foot timber to adjust the steeple frame. Volunteer labor 
cheerfully helped smooth off the ground, haul up a suitable 
door step from the old hearth-stone quarry, and install in the 
belfry a much prized bell. 

Yale College was much interested in this projected institution 
and selected one of its most promising graduates, Thomas Wil- 
liams, of Pomfret, for the first preceptor. February 4th, 1802, 
the new academy building was formerly opened and dedicated. 
" The event of establishing a seminary of learning, .superior to 
any other which had been previously enjoyed," brought together 
a large and deeply interested assembly. Appropriate addresses 
were made by Esquire IMcClellan and ]\Ir. Lyman, the exercises 
closing b}' the presentation of the key of the academy to 'Sir. 
Williams " in the name of the trustees and with the approbation 
of the proprietors." School opened the next day with nearly a 
hundred pupils. Board for pupils from other towns could be 
found for five shillings a week in the best families. 

Incorporation was secured in the spring by act of legislature, 
whereby Samuel }kIcClellan, Eliphalet Lyman, Xehemiah Child. 
Ebenezer Smith, William Potter, Hezekiah Bugbee, Ichabod 
Marcy, Jesse Bolles, David Holmes and others, were made a 
body corporate. Five trustees annually appointed by the pro- 
prietors were to superintend the management of affairs. ]\Ir. 
Williams was succeeded in the office of preceptor by Hezekiah 
Frost, of Canterbury, and he by other youthful Yale gradtiates. 
The academy continued very popular, attracting many pupils 
from out of town. William Earned Marcy, of Sturbridge; David 
Young, of Killingly ; Prescott and David Hall, of Pomfret, were 
among its early pupils, famous in later years. George ^SlcClel- 
lan, afterward the distinguished surgeon of Philadelphia, father 
of General Georo-e B. McClellan ; Ebenezer Stoddard, future 


congressional representative and lieutenant-governor of Connec- 
ticut, and many other Woodstock boys destined to win success 
in varying fields, enjoyed the privilege of attendance at Wood- 
stock Academy. 

The constant change of teachers was detrimental to the inter- 
ests of the school. The administration of Preceptor Rinaldo 
Burleigh — an experienced teacher — from 1810 to 1813, was ex- 
ceptionally favorable, and brought the institution to the culmin- 
ation of its early prosperity. Aaron Skinner, the much-beloved 
mayor of New Haven ; the Reverend Doctors Willard Child 
and Alvin Bond, the Burleigh brothers, so prominent in aboli- 
tion agitation, received part of their early training in Woodstock 
Academy. A period of great depression occurred between 1820 
and 1843, rival institutions in many towns and the lack of means, 
discouraging local effort. With the advent of Mr. Henry C. 
Bowen as a summer resident, new interest was awakened. The 
old academy building was thoroughly repaired and a first class 
teacher procured — Mr. John T. Averill. Under his stimulating 
influence a large number of scholars were attracted and much 
enthusiasm awakened. Xew chemical apparatus was procured, 
elm trees set out in front of the academy by teachers and schol- 
ars, a printed catalogue issued. After four years of continued 
prosperity, further advance was made under the preceptorship 
of Mr. James W. Patterson, assisted part of the term by Miss 
Edna Dean Proctor. These distinguished teachers impressed 
themselves strongly upon their pupils, and gave character to 
the school. 

Competent instructors maintained its standing till about 1800, 
when another lapse ensued. By .successful effort after a few 
years an endowment fund was raised and a new and capacious 
academy building erected at the cost of over §20,000. Five 
thousand dollars was given by Mr. H. C. Bowen to each of these 
objects, and the remaining large amount raised by some hun- 
dred interested friends and subscribers from Woodstock and 
other towns. The new building was opened with appropriate 
exercises August 21st, 1873. Reverend Nathaniel Beach report- 
ed in behalf of the trustees. Addresses were made by Governor 
Buckingham, Secretary B. G. Xorthrup and others. Mr. Clar- 
ence W. Bowen rehearsed the history of the academy in all its 
varied phases. A noteworthy feature in the day's programme 
was the reading of a most delightful and characteristic letter 


from Doctor Oliver W. Holmes, descendant of one of the origi- 
nal settlers of Woodstock. Thus accommodated and endowed, 
the academy has entered upon a new career of usefulness. 
While under the present graded school system fewer scholars 
from abroad are obliged to seek the academy, it furnishes the 
means of thorough education to all scholars within the town. I 

Competent and successful teachers have been employed, and a | 

goodly number of well trained graduates sent out into the 
world. Elmwood Hall furnishes convenient board for such city | 

students as prize pure air and congenial environment. Among j 

Woodstock's many achievements she has none more worthy of ! 

praise and gratulation then her well endowed academy. 

The church on Woodstock hill remained without a stated pas- i 

tor some three years after the deposition of Reverend Abel Stiles, i 

when it harmoniously united with the society in extending a I 

call to Mr. Abiel Leonard, of Plymouth. Faithful to the Old j 

Dominion and Cambridge Platform, eleven Massachiisetts ! 

churches were invited to carry forward the ordaining exercises, 
June 23d, 1763, and over ten pounds expended in " liquors, sugar { 

and lemons." The eloquence and affability of the young minis- 
ter soon won the hearts of the congregation, and old grievances 
were gradually overlooked and forgotten. In 1760 the rupture 
was so far healed that mutual concessions were interchanged 
between the two churches and amicable relations permanently 
established. Those honored brethren, Jedidiah Morse and 
William Skinner, were now elected deacons ; a vote was passed, 
" That a chapter in the Bible should be read publicly every 
Lord's day if agreeable to the congregation, and three forward 
seats in the front gallery sequestered for the use of the singers." 
Those women, both elder and younger, that were favored with 
agreeable voices were desired by the society to occupy the re- 
served seats on the women's side. Repairs were made in the 
meeting house, and everything indicated renewed harmony and 
prosperity. Old men in later years looked back to this era as 
" the Golden Age " of Woodstock, when the renovated house 
was filled with joyful worshippers, and the pastor, with his two 
deacons, " the largest and finest looking men in the parish," sat 
together at the communion table. 

War with its absolute demands turned all this joy into mourn- 
ing. The beloved pastor was called away and many of the con- 
gregation. Mr. Leonard served most efficiently as chaplain of 


Putnam's regiment, preaching %Yitli great acceptance on several 
important occasions. An autograph letter from Washington and 
Putnam " to the church and congregation at Woodstock," re- 
questing that his term of service might be extended, is held as 
a sacred relic. The cliurch. unable to vote consent, "in silence 
manifested its resignation." His mournful end overwhelmed his 
people with sorrow. Overstaying a furlough, according to tra- 
dition, on account of dangerous illness in his household, he was 
met on his way back to camp by a rumor of disgrace and dis- 
missal, and in a moment of weakness took his life with his own 
hand. His widow and family remained in Woodstock. 

After two years interim. Eliphalet Lyman, of Lebanon, was 
ordained as pastor. September 2d, 1779, having first given satis- 
faction as to his doctrinal standing. He was an' able and sound 
preacher, and held a leading position among the clergy of his 
generation. In the early part of his ministry he was involved 
in an unpleasant controversy with Hon. Zephaniah Swift, of 
Windham, in consequence of his attitude toward Oliver Dodge, 
Pomfrefs reprobate minister. The refusal of jSlr. Lyman to al- 
low Dodge the use of his pulpit called out a most vituperous 
castigation from the irate judge, and he was also subjected to a 
legal trial and damages for intrusion upon his own meeting 
house. The affair occasioned much excitement and ill feeling, 
^nd was widely ventilated in current newspapers. This inci- 
dent may have stift'ened the orthodoxy of Mr. Lyman and his 
church, which in 1815 joined the Windham County Consocia- 
tion, and thus identified itself with Connecticut churches, after 
a century of spirited opposition. 

In 1821 the First society entered upon the work of building 
a new meeting house : Captain William Lyon, General David 
Holmes and William K.Green, committee; Rhodes Arnold and 
James Lyon were commissoned to take down the old house in a 
prudent manner; Jedidiah Kimball, to procure subscriptions to 
defray expenses of building. Four long days in June were spent 
in gratuitous labor upon the foundation. At seven in the morn- 
ing, August 22d, 1821, the work of raising the new frame was 
initiated by prayer from ;Mr. Lyman. Free dinners and supper, 
and spirit at eighty-nine cents a gallon, helped incite a large at- 
tendance, so that by noon the second day the frame was success- 
fully erected, when. " in view of the goodness of God in pre- 
serving the lives and limbs of all those who were engaged in 


this perilous business," the meeting' \vas closed by a second 
prayer from Mr. Lyman and a thanksgiving anthem. Though 
so auspiciously begun, the work was carried on with difficulty, 
but by July 11th, 1S22, this was so far surmounted that the 
house was publicly dedicated. The veteran chorister, 'Mr. 
Flynn, was requested " to select such tunes as he may think 
proper, and with the rest of the singers learn and sing them on 
the day of dedication." James Lyon, Doctor Daniel Lyman, John 
McClellan, Esq., vSpalding Barstow and Rhodes Arnold had charge 
of seating the large congregation. The sermon was preached 
by the venerable pastor. The bell had been recast by Major 
George Holbrook, a communion table given by Mr. Jedidiah 
Kimball, and the ladies of the congregation had tastefully as- 
sisted in dressing the pulpit. Two years later ]\lr. Lyman was 
dismissed from his charge at his own request. 

His successor, Ralph S. Crampton, ordained ^lay 22d, 1827, 
remained but little over two years, the anti-^lasonic agitation 
hastening his departure. The vote not to receive into the church 
any person who was a member of the Masonic institution, was 
afterward rescinded. The pastorate of Reverend William M. 
Cornell continued three years. Reverend Otis Rockwood, in- 
stalled November 20th, ]8'34, remained nine years. He was 
much interested in temperance and kindred reforms, and in 1S42 
received forty persons into the membership of the church. 
Reverend Jonathan Curtis was installed February ISth, 1846, and 
labored faithfully till smitten with paralysis. He was dismissed 
by the same council which ordained his successor, Henry 'M. 
Colton, November 18th. 1852, who after a three years' pastorate 
was dismissed at his own request. Reverend Lemuel Grosve- 
nor, of Pomfret. next served as acting pastor for five years, and 
on Thanksgiving day, IS.oO, gave an interesting historical sketch 
of church and society. Reverends James L. Corning, J. A. "\Vil- 
kins, J. W. Allen, J. W. Lyon, followed in quick succession. In 
1808 Reverend Nathaniel Beach was received as acting pastor, 
and remained ten years in charge, greatly respected and beloved 
in church and county. The succeeding six years' service of 
Reverend F. ^L E. Bachelor was also acceptable and profitable. 

With such experience the church willingly returned to its 
primitive mode of settlement, inviting Reverend E. B. Bingham 
to become its pastor, and after more than thirty years lapse en- 
joyed the privilege of installation. Very interesting services 


were held, April 14th, ISSo. The- sermon was given by a de- 
scendant of several old Woodstock families — Doctor George L. 
Walker, Hartford — and former beloved pastors participated in 
the services. A united, strong, aggressive church is reported as 
the happy result of this five years' pastorate. Spiritual and ma- 
terial prosperity are alike quickened. Young people join with 
much heartiness in wide-awake "Christian endeavor " ^nd mis- 
sionary societies. 

The church edifice of 1S21 has been made over and beautified. 
So complete a transformation has rarely been accomplished. The 
plain, old-fashioned meeting house, with its double row of square 
windows, high galleries, rectangular pews and awkward pulpit, is 
replaced by an aesthetic auditorium, elaborated in every detail 
with the best skill of modern art and taste. Eleven stained glass 
windows, of exquisite design and coloring, add greatly to its ef- 
fectiveness and beauty, in soothing contrast with the glare of 
other days. Beautiful in themselves, these memorial windows 
transmit to succeeding generations the memory of departed 
worth. A window contributed by Doctor Oliver Wendell 
Holmes, Hon. E. H. Bugbee, and others, bears a portrait of the 
first white man connected with the history of Woodstock — the 
pioneer Indian missionary, John Eliot. One of the leading spir- 
its in the first settlement. Lieutenant Edward Morris, is most 
fitly commemorated in the window given by his descendant, J. 
F. Morris, of Hartford. A third perpetuates the memory of 
the gifted and eloquent chaplain, Abiel Leonard, so beloved by 
his people, so prized by Washington and Putnam. Sacred to the 
memory of Elizabeth Beach, a heroine of to-day, is another win- 
dow. The daughter of an honored Wood.stock pastor, a success- 
ful teacher in Woodstock Academy, appreciative pupils have 
thus shown their reverence for her high character and valued 
missionary service. The remaining memorial windows were 
given by Messrs. Edward E. and Henry C. Bowen, and by repre- 
sentatives of the well-known families of Bugbee, Carrol, Lyon, 
Mathewson and McClellan. The renovated church edifice was 
re-dedicated February 17th, 1SS9, with sermon by Mr. Bingham 
and prayer by Mr. Beach, ^vlusic from the new organ added to 
the interest of the occasion. The church on Woodstock hill, 
near the close of its second century, enters upon a new period of 
prosperity and usefulness. 

The Second church, gathered in Xew Ro.xbury, pursued its way 
quietly after the settlement of Mr. Williams. Comprising at 


first residents throughout the parish, its numbers were reduced 
by the development of Baptist principles and interests; yet the 
number of childi-en baptized was very large. Mr. Williams was 
an able preacher and ranked well among the ministry of the 
day. He was also a successful teacher, receiving many young 
men into his family for instruction. His own sons, Stephen and 
Timothy, were fitted for college, together with John McClellan 
and other Woodstock youths. . Diaries kept by IMessrs. Stephen 
and Timothy Williams give a vivid picture, of colonial and col- 
lege life. The Williams homestead, with its inmates, comes 
freshly before us. AVe see the busy pastor studying, writing, 
visiting the sick, attending numerous funerals, catechizing the 
children in various schools, and entertaining the increasing flow 
of company with patriarchal hospitality. The young men study 
and read, help about farm work, install the great logs upon the 
hearthstone, and bring reports from the world about them. 
With them we participate in installation and training days, fu- 
nerals and frolics, school exhibition and college commencement, 
and gather all the news and gossip of neighborhood and towns 
adjoining. How vital the question of the new mode of singing, 
just introduced into West Woodstock church ! Our young men 
favor regular singing and set tunes, and record with reprehen- 
sion the conduct of those church fathers who .stalk out of the 
meeting house when " Virginia " is sung, or other obnoxious 
tunes attempted. In 1782 it was voted " That the singmg be 
carried on by reading the portion line by line till the last sing- 
ing of the afternoon, and then a whole verse to be read at a time." 
vSix choristers were appointed to lead in this exercise. This 
proving unsatisfactory, " that they may all rest easy," after large 
debate it was decided " That the deacon read the portion line by 
line in the forenoon, and in the afternoon a verse at a time, ex- 
cept the double-verse tunes, and them to be sung through with- 
out reading." 

The meeting house soon after this date was thoroughly re- 
paired, fitted up with pews, and painted in fashionable stone 
color, the roof a Spanish brown. Mr. Williams remained in 
charge till advanced age, sustaining through life a very amiable 
and worthy character. His son Stephen was cordially invited 
to the vacant pastorate, but thought best to decline. The place 
was filled "b^f^nother resident of the parish, Alvan Underwood, 
a ofraduate of Brown Universitv, ordained and installed Mav 27th, 


ISOI. John Fox, Elias Child, 2d, and Philip Howard served as 
society committee; John xVustin, Parker Morse and John Paine 
as special committee, " to attend on and see to seating people, 
and to keeping order and regularity in the assembly of specta- 
tors." The pastorate thus inaugurated was peaceful and pros- 
perous. ^Ir. Underwood was of an especially genial and sym- 
pathetic nature, beloved by old and young. The church singing 
was carried on successfully and harmoniously, ^Mr. Jathniel Per- 
rin, a famous singing master, taking the place of the former six 
choristers. The new bass-viol introduced during this period was 
cared for and kept in order by Benjamin Lyon, 3d, Abiel Fox 
and Abraham Paine. 

In 1821 a new meeting house was completed. Dai'ius Barlow, 
John Fox, Abram W. Paine, Elias Child, 2d, Benjamin Lyon, 2d, 
successfully circulated subscriptions for necessary funds. A 
year's salary for that purpose was relinquished by Mr. Under- 
wood. Ebenezer Skinner, Benjamin E. Palmer and William 
Lyon were deputized " to stick the corner stakes for the founda- 
tion," and within two years the work was accomplished. Several 
revivals were enjoyed and valued accessions made to the church 
during Mr. LTnderwood's ministry, and its first Sabbath school 
was successfully established. Thomas Child, Edmund Chamber- 
lain, Ebenezer Corbin, Timothy Perrin, Shubael Child, Gideon 
Shaw, Henry Bowen, Stephen Johnson, Albe Abbot, Jacob Lyon, 
Alexander Dorrance and Laban Underv.-ood had then served the 
church in the office of deacon. Z^Iarch 30th, 1833, Mr. Under- 
wood was dismissed from his office, and engaged mainly in evan- 
gelistic labor, returning to West Woodstock in the closing vears 
of his life. 

John I). Baldwin in 1S34 entered upon three years service. 
During his ministry a new confession of faith and churcli cove- 
nant were prepared and adopted, and pains taken to collect and 
preserve the church records. Reverend Benjamin Ober was in- 
stalled pastor December 4th, 1839. The revival of 1841-2 
brought thirty-eight persons into the church. Ill health soon com- 
pelled Mr. Ober to resign his office. Reverend E, F. Brooks 
served from 1840 to 1849. Reverend Joseph W. Sessions was in- 
stalled March 27th, 1854, and continued ten years in service. 
About seventy were added to the church during the great revi- 
val season of 1857 ."iS, adding much to its strength and vitality. 
Equally fruitful was the ministry of his successor. Reverend 


Henry F. Hyde, whose praise is still vocal in other Windham 
county churches. During his three years' ministry in West 
Woodstock the Sabbath school was much increased and many 
families added to the congregation. 

Other faithful ministers have followed as stated supplies, the 
latest but the present. Reverend John P. Trowbridge, preparing 
an interesting historical discourse, delivered in his own church 
September 29th, 1SS6, in commemoration of the two hundreth 
anniversary of the settlement of the town. Reverend John 
Avery, one of the former pastors of the church, assisted in the 
service. Ancient hymns were sung under the leadership of Mr. 
Luther Fox, and many aged members of the church enjoyed 
the privileges of the occasion. Though from unfavorable cir- 
cumstances, the church in West Woodstock has lapsed from its 
early prominence and standing, it has sent out into the world 
many faithful men and women, and fulfilled in good measure 
the designs and hopes of its founders. 

A church was organized in Xev>- Roxbury parish in 
1766. A Baptist element had previously existed, an da Six Prin- 
ciple Baptist church had been formed and disbanded. Fresh in- 
terest in Baptist principles was aroused by the preaching of 
Reverend Xoah Alden, a popular minister, which led to 
the conversion of young Biel Ledoyt, a former leader in merry- 
making and frolic. Young friends attempting to ridicule and 
argue with him were themselves convicted and converted, and 
many young people became subjects of a powerful work of grace. 
" I^arents were amazed to see their giddy children distressed for 
their souls." Frolic and dance were given up, the Bible and 
good books rec<d eagerly, meetings for prayer and exhortation 
greatly frequented. The standing church of West Woodstock, 
always noted for formality and somewhat rigid orthodoxy, looked 
with some suspicion upon these irregular and enthusiastic dem- 
onstrations. A church fast was proclaimed, and several sound 
divines invited to advise in this emergency, who, with marvelous 
lack of wisdom, " fell to reading about false spirits, and Satan 
transforming himself into an angel of light," insinuating that 
the late powerful work was a delu.sion, and " the first instru- 
ments of their awakening " the deceivers which should come in 
at the last time. 

No wonder that these young converts turned to the church 
which offered them comfort and liberty, and separating from the 


church of their fathers, agreed to meet together as a society, im- 
proving the gifts which God had given them. At the first favor- 
able opportunity a number were baptized by immersion, and in 
February, 17C6, a church of sixteen members vas constituted, 
under the guidance of three ordained Baptist members. In- 
creasing rapidly in numbers, May 26th, 1768, Biel Ledoyt was 
ordained as its pastor. 

As the First Baptist church in a large section of country it 
held a commanding position, and was early connected with the 
Warren Association, of Rhode Island. Opposition from the 
standing church increased its influence and popularity with the 
masses. While a majority of the West Woodstock church was 
disposed to admit the claims of this Baptist church and release 
its members from taxation, a minority stoutly denied the validity 
of their organization, and protested against " freeing the Ana- 
baptist people in this society from paying minister's rates 
amongst us." After much discussion and wrangling the matter 
was referred to the wise judgment of Jonathan Trumbull, who 
shoAved with much clearness, "that the Baptist churches in this 
Colony are no otherwise known in law than that church of Bap- 
tists in your society is, that those people having formed them- 
selves into a Baptist church and society . . . are excused 
from paying any part in your society tax for the support of your 

This matter settled, the church continued to gain in num- 
bers. A rough meeting house was soon built and well filled 
with hearers. With some peculiarities of character and ex- 
pression. Elder Ledovt was an able preacher. Timothy Wil- 
liams attending a chance service in 1788, reports, "a thronged 
assembly; First prayer, seven or eight minutes; sermon, Eph. 
Ill : 8, one hour in length; last prayer, ten minutes." Serious 
difficulties soon after ensued, scattering the large congregation 
and dividing the church. Various councils failing to heal the 
breach. Rider Ledoyt withdrew to Newport, X. H., "leaving 
his flock in a very broken and divided condition." Members 
were added through the labors of Samuel Webster, a colored 
evangelist. January 19th, 1799, Brother Robert Stanton was or- 
dained as pastor over the First Baptist church in Woodstock, 
"as long as they are profitable to each other." During his 
ministry some fifty were added to the church, and a new ch;irch 
edifice constructed. 


Difficulties marring the profitableness of ]\Ir. Stanton's min- 
istry, he was succeeded by Elder Ledoyt in iSOG, who found a 
door opened by God's Providence, " whereby he must return 
and labor with the church of his youth." Malignant disease 
ended life and faithful service, March 24th, 1813. He was suc- 
ceeded by Elder Nicholas Branch, long known and honored in 
the ministry, but then a youth just entering ministerial ser- 
vice. " Peace, love, union and prosperity " were enjoyed dur- 
ing his six years' ministry. In succeeding brief pastorates a 
remarkable revival was experienced, adding sixty to the church. 
Uniting in the Ashford Association, formed in 1825, it reported 
110 members, 45 baptisms during the year. The faithful labors 
of Elder George B. Atwell extended over nine years, and were 
greatly blessed to the growth and spirituality of the church. 
His successors, Elders Nathan D. Benedict and Bela Hicks, were 
faithful and successful pastors. 

The great revival season of 1841-42, brought the member- 
ship of the church to nearly two hundred. Reverends Isaac 
Woodbury, Henry Bromley, Edward Brown, Thomas Holman 
and John Paine officiated as pastors in varying terms of ser- 
vice. Reverend Leavitt Wakeman served from 1S55 to ISoS, 
when Elder Branch again assumed the charge. Reverend W. 
A. Worthington followed in 18G1, and was succeeded in 1865 
by Reverend J. Torrey Smith. The hundredth anniversary 
of the organization of the church was observed in November, 
1866, when a valuable historic discourse was delivered by the 
pastor. Former pastors assisted in the service in person or by 
appropriate letters. In 1869 the meeting house was thoroughly 
repaired and renovated, the sisters of the church giving much 
eftective aid. Reverend Sylvester Barrows served as pastor from 
1869 to 1 874. A new parsonage was built by the society during his 
pastorate. Reverend Samuel J. Bronson became pastor in 1875, 
and died in charge in 1S79. His successor. Reverend William 
H. Smith, remained in service six years. 

Loss of population has told heavily tipon this as on other 
churches in West Woodstock, so that its present membership 
is much reduced. Four of its members have been licensed to 
go forth as preachers, viz.. Miner G. Clark. John B. Guild, Hugh 
Dempsey, Percival IMathewson. A beloved sister of the church, 
Calista Holman, the wife of Reverend Justus H. Vinton, has ac- 
complished most valued missionary work among the Karens. 



Her son, Justus B. Vinton, while laboring- in the same distant 
field, maintained his connection with the West Woodstock Bap- 
tist church. Many other members have gone out to help build 
up and strengthen other churches throughout our own country. 
The list of deacons serving the church comprises many honored 
names, viz., Xehemiah Underwood, John Morse, David Bolles, 
Samuel Crawford, Sr., Aaron Gage, Penuel Corbin, Sr. and Jr., 
Luther Tucker, Charles Mathewson, Samuel Crawford, Jr., Hal- 
sey Leonard, Joseph E. Dean, Shubael Day, Francis L. Corbin. 

Woodstock's Second Baptist church was gathered at what was 
known as Ouasset, June 29th, 1792. The council was held at the 
spacious old Bolles House, occupied by Jesse Bolles, tanner and 
shoemaker, a prominent Baptist. Thirty-five members united 
in fellowship. Amos Wells of Stonington, was ordained pastor 
August 9th the same year. Jesse Bolles and Robert Baxter were 
chosen deacons. A convenient house of v,'orship was soon erected 
on land given by Deacon Bolles. The Stonington Association 
met with this church in 179.5, and fotmd a meinbership of 76. 
Deacons Baxter and Bolles, Brothers James, Jeremiah and Childs 
Wheaton, Charles Chandler. Robert Aplin, Artemas Bruce and 
Thomas Bugbee, were chosen a committee to aid in settling dif- 
ficulties between the members in 1802. William H. Manning 
was chosen deacon upon the removal of Deacon Bolles; Childs 
Wheaton succeeded Deacon Baxter. Elder Wells was retained 
as pastor till 1811, a man of power and public influence, es- 
pecially in relation to the ecclesiastic constitution of Connecti- 
cut. When, by vote of the town. Baptists and ^Methodists were 
allowed to preach to the freemen on election day, Elder Wells 
chose for his text Paul's assertion, " But I was free born," and 
his stirring sermon was published and widely circulated. 

His successor. Reverend George Angell, was a man of lovely 
Christian spirit. James Wheaton, Thomas Bugbee, Williarn 
Manning, John Sanger are names honored in the history of 
this Woodstock vSecond Baptist church. Deacon Sanger received 
liberty to preach as he had opportunity, and his fervent exhorta- 
tions are still remembered. The prevalence of Millerite senti- 
ments greatly reduced the membership of the church, but its 
prosperity returned with its removal to South Woodstock, where 
a new church edifice was erected in 1844, upon land granted by the 
town. The venerable John Paine then served as pastor. Many 
other faithful men have served in its ministry. Elder John 

?h..Mj . ;r 


Paine, honored in many Baptist churches, officiated at the time 
of the removal to South Woodstock. The late Reverend Per- 
cival Mathewson, born and reared in Woodstock, spent his clos- 
ing years with this church. 

The church of .East Woodstock, or ]Muddy Brook, as it was 
formerly called, asstimed local habitation in that precinct early in 
1760, taking with it minister, records, church utensils, indicative 
of previous existence. Thereisnoevidenceof any reorganization 
at that date. An established church or body of believers sim- 
ply changed its place of worship. An ecclesiastic society, known 
as the Third or North parish of Woodstock, was organized Oc- 
tober 30th, 17C0, Nathaniel Child, Nehemiah Lyon, Caleb May, 
committee. It was voted, November 24th, "To build a meeting 
house of the same bigness as that admired edifice in the first so- 
ciety." The choice of site occasioned some delay, during which 
interval the church held services in the dwelling house of Ben- 
jamin Child, Jr., still standing near the residence of Mr. N. E. 
Morse. Successive committees agreed in fixings the meeting 
house spot on land given by Nathaniel Child, east of the brook, 
but there were those who preferred a more westward site, and 
transmitted their preference to their descendants. Nathaniel 
Child, Esq., Lieutenant Ephraim Child, Ensign Stephen ]May, 
Stephen Lyon, Ezra !May, served as building committee. 

The house was so far completed as to be ready for occupation 
August Sth, 17G2. Pew spots were granted to Reverend Abel 
Stiles, iNladam Urania Lyon (widow of Captain Jabez Lyon, a 
prominent resident then recently deceased), Stephen Lyon, Dea- 
con Daniel Lyon, Nathaniel Child, Esq., Captain Nehemiah 
Lyon, Benjamin Wilkinson, Henry Child, Elisha Child, Deacon 
John }.Iay, Caleb May, Thomas May, Ephraim Child, Job Re- 
vere, Stephen May, Joshua May, Samuel Chandler, Benjamin 
Child, Jr., Josiah Sumner, Samuel Corbin, J esse Car penter, Alcx- 
ander Brown, Moses Marcy and Seth Chandler. I'our pews in 
the rear were added afterward. The house was large and abun- 
dantly lighted, and seated a large congregation. 

Mr. Stiles completed a new dwelling house nearly opposite in 
1763, and enjoyed a peaceful anchorage after his many trials. 
Substantial residents in adjacent parts of New Roxbury and 
Thompson parishes were annexed to the society. Land for a 
burial ground was purchased of Elisha Child, and Nathaniel 
Child was chosen to care for the meeting house and dig the graves. 

898 HISTORY or WINDHAM cou^•T^■. 

Singing received immediate attention, Nathaniel Child and 
Caleb May being selected "to tune the Psalms of this society." 
Joseph Manning and Increase Child were soon called to render 
assistance in that office. In 1774 Asa Child, Samuel Corbin, Jr., 
and Chester Child were requested to assist in tuning the psalm. 
As early as 1780 money was paid for "instruction in singing," 
probably to Jedidiah ^lorse, Jr., a proficient in that line. Oppo- 
sition to new tunes was manifested, as in West Woodstock, by 
the withdrawal of offended hearers, Deacon Nehemiah Lyon 
marching gravely out when St. Martyn's was sung. 

Mr. Stiles remained in charge till 1783, though in great bodily 
infirmity, "his soul wading in clouds and temptations." Im- 
pressive funeral services- are reported in the diary of Stephen 
Williams : " A crowded assembly of above a thousand persons, 
the remains of Rev. Abel Stiles being placed in the broad alley, 
i\Ir. Gleason made first prayer; Dadda preached (Rev. Stephen 
Williams); Mr. Ripley in behalf of the mourners made a short 
but comprehensive and pertinent speech at the grave after Mr. 
Russel had closed with prayer." Reverend Joshua Johnson, 
previously ordained as colleague, continued in charge till 1790. 
Mr. Stephen Williams, as delegate, reports the ordination of his 
successor, Reverend William Graves, August 31st, 1791. After 
preliminary grog drinking at Nehemiah Child's, "the council 
marched into the meeting house followed by the multitude, a 
thousand of whom filled the house, and perhaps five hundred 
without. Rev. Josiah Whitney as scribe read the doings of 
council. Woodstock was sung before the prayer, then jNIon- 
tague. Joseph Lyman gave a solid old divinity sermon from 
John 21, 17, forty-five minutes ; addressed only pastor elect and 
society. 'Sir. Whitney with imposition of hands made ordain- 
ing prayer, ten minutes. Rev. Stephen Williams gave the 
charge, eight minutes, Eliphalet Lyman with considerable 
pathos the right hand of fellowship. Rev. Mr. Graves read 
psalm, well sung — Lisbon — and dismissed people a little after 
one ; attention and decent solemnity remarkable ; no opposition 
appears though a number profess neutrality. By Mr. Graves' 
Request drank punch, cherry, and wine, and dined well with the 
council at Mr. Thomas May's, who entertains gratis. Rode with 
Mr. Mosely of Sturbridge or Hampton, theologue, towards night, 
to Bowen's, and spent the evening in festivity with ladies and 
gentlemen from Woodstock. Pomfret, Brooklyn, Thompson, 


Sturbridge ; costr)/4. Saw most of them away, but the dark- 
ness prevented finding all the horses called next 

day on Mr. Graves ; drank wine and had a water-melon feast." 

This festive ordination inaugurated a very serious and profit- 
able pastorate. }>Ir. Graves was an earnest and devoted Chris- 
tian laborer, greatly es'teemed by his own people and brethren 
in the ministry. A fund had now been raised for the mainten- 
ance of public worship, and those who did not approve of the 
legal minister's rates were released npon easy terms. Collec- 
tions were taken for the Connecticut ;Missionary Society, and 
four months absence was granted ]Mr. Graves to go on a mission 
among the new settlements. Church music was aided by a grand 
bass-viol, manipulated by Pearley Lyon and Chester iSIay, and 
the singing school kept by William Flynn for one dollar per 
evening. Nehemiah Child had succeeded to the office of grave- 
digger. Alfred Walker, Amasa Lyon, Rensselaer Child, John 
Paine and Stephen Child were chosen in 1814 to act as superin- 
tendents of funerals. 

Reverend Mr. Graves died in 1813, and was succeeded by Sam- 
uel Backus, of Canterbury, ordained January 19th, 181.5. A very 
remarkable revival was soon experienced by the church, adding 
some two hundred within two years to its membership. Mr. 
Backus was pre-eminently a man of faith and prayer, and though 
moderate in discourse, made deep impression upon the heart. 
He organized a Bible class of seventy-five members, of whom j 

fifty-nine came into the church at one communion. A very i 

effective Sabbath school was begun in 1818. The deacons up to i 

this date had been Caleb ISIay, Nehemiah Lyon, Elisha Child. 
Charles Child, Aaron Lyon, Nathaniel Briggs. William Child | 

was chosen in 1819; Luther Child in 1824. Additional funeral i 

superintendents were Oliver Morse, Alduce Penniman, Ezra ! 

Child, William Child, Penuel ^^lay and John Fowler. j 

Contentions respecting the site of a projected meeting house j 

troubled the closing years of Mr. Backus' ministry .'leading to 
the disruption of society and church, and the erection of two j 

church edifices. A majority of the society favoring the house ! 

built at Village Corners, the eastward residents organized as a ! 

distinct society December 26th, 1831. Their meeting house was \ 

already in progress, John Paine, Judah and Pearley Lyon, com- I 

mittee. The site was given by Messrs. Xehemiah and William I 

Child. William Child, Chester May, Charles Child, Jr., James i 


Lamson, Oliver ^Slorse, William and Abiel May, Caleb, Erastus 
and Stephen Child and Elias Mason, 2d, were added to the com- 
mittee. April 25th, 1S32, the house was formally dedicated, and 
Reverend Orson Cowles ordained as paetor. W. AI. Cornell had 
supplied the pulpit in the interim after 'the dismission of Mr. 
Backus. During Mr. Cowles' five years' ministry remarkable re- 
vivals were enjoyed, bringing many converts into the depleted 
church. Mr. Boutelle's ministry (1837-1849) was marked by a 
great advance in benevolent contributions. Reverends James 
A. Clark, Ivlichael Burdette and J. A. Roberts served for short 

Next followed the pastorate of Reverend Edward H. Pratt, ex- 
tending from 18.3/) to April, 1807, so abounding in all good influ- 
ences. Faithful in every detail of duty, interested in everything 
relating to the well being of individual or community, the pro- 
motion of temperance principles and practice was the crowning 
interest of Mr. Pratt's useful life. His influence, especially upon 
the young men of his own congregation and the children of the 
Sabbath school, was most vital and permanent, and has greatly 
strengthened the temperance standing of the town. Called to 
active service as the secretary of the Connecticut Temperance 
Union, his aid and counsel were ever given freely to town and 
church till his lamented death. Succeeding his ministry were 
the short terms of Reverends Francis Dyer, W. A. Benedict, C. 
A. Stone, \V. H. Phipps and J. A. Hanna, extending to 1875, 
when the two North Woodstock parishes again united in service, 
each occupying its own church edifice part of the Sabbath. 

The East Woodstock house has been thoroughly renovated 
and improved, and the singing, under ^Messrs. Harris May and 
William Child, maintains its ancient reputation. The deacon's 
office since 1832 has been filled by Elisha C. Walker, T. B. 
Chandler, Asa Lyon, Halsey Bixby, George A. Paine, Monroe 
W. Ide, John Paine, Edwin R. Chamberlain. Willard Child, 
D. D., Albert Paine and Charles Walker, D. D., have gone out 
from it into the ministry. The son of Doctor Walker, George 
L. Walker. D. D., is the well known pastor of Centre church, 
Hartford. Conn. 

The Northward wing of the East Woodstock church took pos- 
session of its new house of worship February loth, 1831. Its 
first pastor was Reverend Foster Thayer, ordained and installed 
the following June. During his five years' labor forty were ad- 


dec! to the church. His successor, Reverend L. S. Hough, con- 
tinued in charge four years. Reverends Willard Child and D. 
C. Frost officiated until the installation of William H. Marsh 
November 30th, 1S4-1, who accomplished nearly seven years' 
service. O. D. Hine, D. ^I. Ehvood and John Whfte folkAved in 
quick succession. Reverend T. H. Brown, a young man of 
much promise, was removed by death after a pastorate of two 
years. Reverend J. W. Kingsbury, installed in 1SG9, dismissed 
in 1871, was the last pastor settled by the church. Reverend 
W. A. James, of Killingly. served as acting pastor for four 
years, during which time the church edifice was destroyed by 
fire. Subscriptions were immediately circulated and a suftlcient 
sum raised to repair the loss. Children of former members and 
generous friends helped in fitting up the new building, which 
was completed and dedicated in the fall of 1873. After the re- 
moval of ]\Ir. James in 187*"), the North and East churches united 
in support of a minister. Reverends C. N. Cate, T. 'SI. Boss, 
John Parsons and C. \V. Thompson, have served successively as 
pastors of the two societies. The present incumbent is Rever- 
end F. H. Viets. 

In its comparatively brief term of separate existence this 
church has had the good fortune to send out honored ministers 
and missionaries. Three sons of Captain John Chandler, of 
North Woodstock, have accomplished valuable service. Rever- 
end John E. Chandler was sent by the American Board as mis- 
sionary to India in 1846, and still labors in Madura over an ex- 
tensive field. His son. Reverend John S. Chandler, and his two 
daughters, Henrietta and Gertrude, have also devoted them- 
selves to mission work in ^Madura. Reverend Joseph Chandler 
served in the war as delegate from the Christian Commission, 
and also in Home Mission work. The third brother. Reverend 
Augustus Chandler, debarred from missionary work in India by 
delicate health, labored usefully as evangelist and stated pastor. 

Methodism was introduced in West Woodstock in 1795 by j 

that active itinerant, Jesse Lee. A class was formed at an early | 

day and a few Methodists joined in social worship, but no sub- j 

stantial footing was gained until the revivals of 1829-30, when ' 

through the preaching of Elders Lovejoy, Bidwell and Robbins, 
many converts were gathered in and added to the class. A I 

Methodist house of worship was built in Woodstock and i 

stated services instituted. Ebenezer and Elisha Paine, Thomas I 


Chandler, Charles Child, Benjamin Works, and a worthy band 
of Christian women, were active in this church. Connected suc- 
cessively with Dudley, Thompson and Eastford circuits, it en- 
joyed the ministrations of many faithful, zealous, self denying 
Methodist preachers — Elders Livesy, Ireson, Allen, Carter, Davis, 
Perrin, Pratt, names honored in wide circuits. In connection 
with the labors of Reverend Charles C. Barnes in 1841, an ex- 
tensive revival prevailed, bringing in the whole neighborhood 
in the vicinity of the church. Reverend John Howson was sent 
by the conference in 1S43 as the first stated preacher in the 
Methodist society, and aided much in confirming and strength- 
ening the members. Two faithful ministers went out from the 
church at this date, Elders Charles Morse and Mellen Howard. 
Elder ]\Iorse afterward labored in adjoining towns and died a 
few years since greatly respected by all. 

Methodist conference meetings were often held in East Wood- 
stock village, especially in the house of jNIrs. Stanley, a zealous 
Methodist sister, whose children were working in the factory. 
In 182S a class of forty-five members was formed in the village — 
John Chaffee, leader ; Elders H. Perry and G. Southerland, cir- 
cuit preachers. Having no stated place of worship an earnest 
brother, Nathaniel Jones, built an addition to his house for this 
purpose, where many fervent meetings were enjoyed, under the 
guidance of some of the shining lights of IMethodism. The hall 
of the new school house was afterward occupied by the ]Metho- 
dists for day-time Sabbath services. In 1847 East Woodstock 
was made a station, Benjamin ^I. Walker, preacher. Through 
the efficient agency of Elder Daniel Dorchester, preacher in 
1851-52, the church edifice in West Woodstock was purchased, 
and removed to East Woodstock village. A comfortable house 
of worship and overflowing congregation was the happy result 
of his labors, greatly benefiting succeeding ministers. Elders 
J. D. King, Caleb S. Sandford, J. E. Pleald, Culver, Boynton, S. 
A. Winsor, W. A. Simmons, Horace Moulton, Daniel Pratt, ^II-]- 
len Howard, O. E. Thayer, L. D. Bentley, Pack, Case, Latham, 
Turkington, G. R. Bentley and A. K. Bennett have successively 
served in ministering to the East Woodstock J^Icthodist church. 
One faithful minister. Reverend E. S. Stanley, has gone out from 
it to fulfill much useful service. 

In 1854 ^Methodists in West Woodstock completed a new house 
of worship, stimulated by the presence and aid of Reverend Otis 


Perrin ; Luther Arnold, Lewis and Jarcd Corbin, Elisha Paine, 
William Myers, Benjamin Chandler, and other residents assist- 
ing in the work. Miss Mary ^Nlyers went out to Africa, in 1SS5, 
to aid in the missionary enterprise inaugurated by Bishop Wil- 
liam Taylor. ^Marrying on the voyage another consecrated 
worker, they entered upon the field with much hopefulness, only 
to meet the fate of so many missionaries in that deadly climate. 
A son of Mr. Myers followed his sister in the same work. The 
church in West Woodstock is mainly supplied by resident local 
preachers. Elders Perrin, Goodell and Pratt, with S. B. Chase, 
having had it in charge. Some forty-two families in the town 
are connected with these two ]\Iethodist societies. 

Universalists appeared in Woodstock toward the close of the 
last century, uniting with the church of Oxford. These fami- 
lies, with their descendants, remained apart from the standing 
churches of the town, attending services in other localities. A 
Universalist society was organized in West Woodstock in 1839, 
Ebenezer Philips, clerk; Adolphus Alton, treasurer; Charles 
Wood, George Sumner, John G. Marcy, John Fox, 2d, John 
Weaver, committee. Reverend Zephaniah Baker was hired as 
preacher. In 1S42 Sanford Marcy and Luther Fox were chosen 
choristers: L. ^L Bradford, Pitt Sharpe, Sanford Bosworth, G. 
Sumner, A. Alton, building committee. A house of worship was 
completed the following year. F. AI. Fox was chosen to take 
care of the house and seat the people. It was voted to have the 
slips free. Reverend Plolmes vSlade was retained as preacher for 
a number of years. In ISjO thirty-three persons were enrolled 
members of this society. Zephaniah Baker, its first minister, 
returned to the charge in 1S7G. Weakened by deaths and re- 
movals, the society gradually lost ground, and its meetings were 

In 1874 an Advent Christian church was formed in West 
Woodstock, with fifty-six constituent members, and Reverend 
P. S. Butler as pastor. An Advent chapel was built in Wood- 
stock Valley in 1879, and dedicated November 2oth.. A consid- 
erable number of persons, in different parts of the towns, have 
embraced Advent principles, and maintain religious services. 
An Advent chapel was also built in East Woodstock, in 1879, on 
land of Mr. Nathaniel Child. Reverends P. S. Butler and E. S. 
Bugbee have charge of these churches and services. 


Religious services are conducted in behalf of the Swedes, in 
Agricultural Hall, and a Swedish church has been organized. 

Woodstock's first post office was opened in Bowen's store in 
1811, George Bowen, postmaster. Six offices are now needed, 
one for each separate village, viz., Woodstock, East, West, North, 
South Woodstock and Woodstock Valley. Convenient mail car- 
riages convey the mail from Putnam depot to these several sta- 
tions. These villages, dating back many years, enjoy varying 
degrees of prosperity. Some have lost by business changes and 
emigration ; others gained by nev>- interests. The summer 
element has brought new prosperity to Woodstock hill. The 
erection of " Roseland Cottage," by ^Ir. 11. C. Bowen, was soon 
followed by the opening of Elmwood Hall, in 1S62, b}- Messrs. 
Warner &• Way, with ample accommodations for the " summer 
boarder," with his numerous household. The revivifying of the 
academy, and various improvements instituted by 'Sir. Bowen, 
have wrought a marvelous change in the " Plaine Hill village." 
Graded streets, concrete walks, tasteful dwelling houses, a shaded 
park and spacious common make the village one of the loveliest 
in Windham county, while the pure air and range of beautiful 
scenery are wholly unsurpassed. Summer visitors returning 
year after year to this favorite resort, testify to its attractions. 
Elmwood Hall, under the charge of its veteran proprietor — 
Deacon Amasa Chandler — has long been numbered among pub- 
lic institutions, and has been the scene of many an official and 
family re-union. West Woodstock village has its own especial 
votaries, who find perpetual charms in its verdant placidity and 
wide outlook, and it is becoming more and more a favorite sum- 
mer resting place. The summer element is conspicuous in many 
new and elegant country seats in various parts of the town. 
Senexet road, running east of the lake, is especially favored by 
these summer sojourners, and boasts many of these fanciful 
structures. These new citizens, connected in many cases with 
old families of the town, promise to be an important factor in its 
future development. 

Among modern institutions of Woodstock none has brought 
it into such prominence before the world as the Fourth of July 
celebrations inaugurated in Roseland Park by Mr. H. C. Bowen. 
Repeating the experience of its historic namesake, Woodstock 
hill has ever been celebrated for the number and variety of its 
notable meetings. Its trainings, funerals, belligerent town and 


society meeting-.s, its Masonic and anti-Masonic conventions, its 
temperance jubilees and Sabbath school celebrations, have been 
noted for successive generations. "With the grand " Fremont 
Rally " of 1S56 began a series of most notable political gather- 
ings. The great Lincoln mass meeting of 1SG4, the great Grant 
mass meeting of 1S6S, both held on Woodstock Common, were 
most remarkable occasions, not only in numbers, interest and 
enthusiasm, but as helping to decide conflicting and vital ques- 

The Fourth of July celebration in 1870 was made memorable 
by the presence of the president of the United States, General 
Grant, and his suite, with the Russian minister and other notables. 
Arrangements for this occasion were wholly due to Mr. H. C. 
Bowen, who had the honor of receiving and entertaining the 
distinguished guests. Securing soon after this date the beauti- 
ful grove adjoining Woodstock lake, Mr. Bowen began the lay- 
ing out of the beautiful park so famous in later celebrations. 
July 4th, 1877, Roseland Park Avas formally opened with appro- 
priate exercises. Addresses were made by Senator Blaine, ex- 
Governor Chamberlain, and other distinguished persons. A de- 
lightful historic poem, with appropriate patriotic prelude, was 
read by Doctor Oliver Wendell Holmes. Year after year these 
gatherings have been repeated. As the park has put on new 
beauty and verdure, so the programme has offered more varied 
attractions, until the Fourth of July celebrations at Roseland 
Park are known throughout the country. It would be impossible 
to give a full list of those who have contributed to the interest 
of these occasions. National celebrities in innuiuerable depart- 
ments, presidents, cabinet officers, senators, governors, states- 
men, financiers, distinguished professors and teachers, orators, 
lecturers, poets, literary men and women, clergymen without 
number, representative men and women, have appeared upon 
the platform at Roseland Park and discoursed upon questions of 
vital interest and importance. Woodstock and neighboring 
towns are greatly indebted to Mr. Bowen for the privilege of 
seeing and hearing these distinguished persons, and also for pro- 
viding so delightful a spot for social and public gatherings. Sat- 
urday afternoon concerts, " Field Days " for various institutions, 
" Union Sabbath School picnics," family and village gatherings, 
have come into existence with the park, and social intercourse 
and healthful recreation have been greatly promoted. Xo bet- 



ter test of proo-ress could be cited than the substitution of such 
improving and elevating- assemblages in this tasteful retreat, for 
the uproarious ''training'" and stilted "celebration" of other 

Among later " Notable meetings "in Roseland Park, the re- 
publican mass meeting of September 5th, 1SS8, takes a high 
place. A county political meeting, it excited unusual interest. 
Pomfret, Putnam and Thompson displayed much energy in mar- 
shalling processions worthy of the' occasion. The day was all 
that could be desired, the attendance large and the speaking ex- 
cellent. 'Mr. Searls, of Thompson, served as chairman of the 
day. Hon. William ;M. Evarts and ^Slrs. J. Ellen Foster perhaps 
carried off the highest laurels, although all the addresses called 
out much enthusiasm and applause. A notable feature in the 
day's demonstration was the large number of veterans, eager to 
show their allegiance to the soldier candidate, and the presence 
of a veteran who assisted in the nomination of William Henry 
Harrison in 1S40. 

The anticipated visit of President Benjamin Harrison, July 4th, 
18S9, aroused great interest among all classes. The county ap- 
preciated as never before the distinguishing honor and privilege 
of receiving within her borders the highest officials of the great 
republic. Extensive preparations were made by Putnam and 
other towns for their suitable reception. All eyes and hearts 
were turned toward Woodstock and Roseland Park, and had the 
day been favorable it would probably have recorded the largest 
gathering ever assembled in Windham county. But rain and 
storm are no respecters of persons, and the lowering clouds re- 
fused to melt away. Yet, though thousands were disappointed, 
other thousands pluckily Avithstood the elements. Through the 
rain and heavy fog of Wednesday evening hundreds found their 
way to ^Ir. Bowen's hospitable residence, opened as usual for the 
reception preceding the great day. Such crowds came to see 
and speak to the president and his suite that one marveled where 
space could have been found for them had the skies been fair. 

The wet July morn failed to dampen the resolution of vet- 
erans and patriots. Grand Army men in their shining new 
uniforms, were ready to escort the president and party to the 
park. The multitudes already assembled far exceeded public 
expectation. The address of welcome was made by Hon. Charles 
Russel, M. C. ; prayer by Reverend E. B. Bingham ; the " Day 


we Celebrate " was lauded by the governor of Connecticut, Mor- 
gan G. Bulkeley, who introduced President Harrison. His grace- 
ful greeting called forth storms of applause. He was followed 
by General" Hawley, Associate Justice Samuel F. Miller and 
Hon. Thomas B. Reed, M. C, of Maine. Brief addresses were 
also made by Secretaries Xoble and Tracy. An hour's recess 
was passed in agreeable conversation and collation, the hun- 
dreds of veterans present being especially cared for by a gen- 
erous friend, who took pains to present the president personally 
to each war-worn soldier. The exercises were renewed by the 
introduction of President Gates, of Rutgers College, when the 
storm, as if indignant at such defiance of its power, broke oi:t 
with renewed violence. In spite of the floods of rain, the good- 
natured audience continued to greet and applaud the speakers 
and catch what was possible of the stirring addresses of ^Messrs. 
Gates and Hiscock and the sparkling poem of Will Carlton. 
The greatest good humor prevailed throughout the whole exer- 
cises, and all separated with the agreeable consciousness that 
even the " floods of great waters " could not quench patriotic 
enthusiasm nor seriously mar a Woodstock Fourth of July cel- 

The bi-centennial commemoration of Woodstock's settlement, 
the first to be observed in Windham county, was also a very no- 
table event in its history. Preparations were going forward for 
some months throughout the town. An efficient committee ap- 
pointed by the town— Henry T. Child, chairmian — labored zeal- 
ously in planning and perfecting arrangements. The change 
from Old to New Style brought the anniversary within the first 
week of September, 1880. Initiatory services were held at Pul- 
pit Rock, Sunday morning, September 5th, attended by nearly 
two thoiasand people. After invocation, responsive reading, 
prayer, singing of anthem and psalm by the church choirs of 
the town under direction of Professor Carlo May, a greeting was 
given by Hon. E. H. Bugbee, followed by a sermon from Rev- 
erend John S. Chandler, Madura, India. 

Monday was a day of gathering from far and near, sons and 
daughters of old Woodstock families returning to the old home- 
steads and participating in many a family reunion. In the af- 
ternoon an exhibition of antiques was held in the hall over the 
store, comprising many articles of rarity and value. Many of 
these relics had the additional interest of association with his- 


toric characters. The pocket book of " grandmother Edmonds," 
a lace cap worn by Deacon Jedidiah 2kIorse when an infant, a cane 
belonging- to the last of the Wabbaquassets, were among these 
treasured heirlooms. The collection of portraits was very full 
and interesting. 

The great day of the feast was Tuesday, the two hundredth 
anniversary of the day on which Woodstock's home lots were 
distributed. ISIemorial trees were set out in the morning on his- 
toric sites. Before 10 A. M. a large assemblage had gathered in 
Roseland Park. Mr. H. T. Child introduced the president of the 
day, Hon. J. F. ^lorris, Hartford, whose brief address was fol- 
lowed by prayer offered by Reverend J. P. Trowbridge, West 
Woodstock. Doctor G. A. Bowen made the address of welcome. 
A large number of honored citizens and returned emigrants 
were elected vice-presidents. An interesting historical address 
was given by 'Mv. Clarence W. Bowen, and a graphic poem read 
by Mr. John E. Bowen. Histories of the several churches in the 
town were read by Messrs. Albert yicC. ^lathewson, Nathan E, 
Morse, Reverends Luther G. Tucker and A. H. Bennett, while 
others prepared for the occasion were unavoidably omitted. 
Brethren C. H. May, G. A. Bowen and L. J. Wells, brought tid- 
ings of ancient institutions and modern organizations. 

Formal services were varied by old-time singing, under charge 
of Mr. May, the planting of memorial trees sent with greetings 
from old Roxbury. public and family collations, and with inter- 
esting and humorous reminiscences in short addresses at the 
close. The only drawback to the day's enjoyment was the lack 
of time for all that might have been brought forward. The 
large attendance, the number of descendants from former resi- 
dents, the sympathetic attention of the hearers, showed the deep 
interest awakened by this bi-centennial commemoration. 

While Connecticut is famous for the wide dispersion of its 
sons and daughters, Woodstock has even exceeded the ordinary 
limit. Beginning soon after her own settlement to populate the 
towns around her. the outflow has been perennial. Vermont. 
New Hampshire, Central New York, the vast prairies of the 
West, indeed all parts of the great nation, have received emi- 
grants from this old town. The valuable Chandler and Child 
genealogies show the wide dispersion of those families and the 
prominent part they have had in building up flourishing com- 
munities. Other families might show an equally suggestive 



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record. It is impossible to make even an approximate estimate 
of those who have gone out from this historic town, or to fitly 
chronicle those who have made themselves memorable. Gen- 
eral William Eaton, the conqueror of Tripoli, was born in the 
southwest corner of Woodstock. Commodore Charles Morris, 
so distinguished in naval service, was also born in West Wood- 
stock. The Morse's, with their telegraphs and varied achieve- 
ments; the Holmes's, whom even Boston delighteth to honor, 
date back to Woodstock ancestry. The same good stock has 
given to the world representative Marcys, ^IcClellans, ^lathew- 
sons, Childs, Lyons, Chandlers, Mays, Bowens, Walkers, 
Skinners, Paines, Williams's, and many other honored names. 
Fitted for various walks in life, in every sphere of avocation and 
achievement, may be found the sons and daughters of Wood- 
stock. The subjoined biographical sketches are but a tithe in 
comparison with the great number that might have been in- 


Ebenezer Bishop. — The grandfather of the subject of this 
biography was Ebenezer Bishop, a native of Lisbon, Conn., who 
removed in later life to North Woodstock, where he engaged in 
the practice of medicine until his death in October, 1S3-1. He 
married Sarah Lyon, whose six children were: Amasa, Heze- 
kiah, Elisha, Ebenezer. Tabitha and Delia. Hezekiah, of this 
number, was born December 2d, 1804, in North Woodstock, 
where he engaged in farming and participated actively in the 
affairs of the town until his death, which occurred in 1S63. He 
married Martha D., daughter of Captain Judah Lyon, a citizen 
of much prominence in his day. The children of this union 
were: Sarah L., Ebenezer, Anna ]\I. and Esther E. 

Ebenezer, the only sou, was born February 19th, 1841, in 
North Woodstock, where his earh' years were mainl}- spent. 
lie became a pupil of the Woodstock and Plainfield iVcademies, 
and completed his studies at the State Normal school, after 
which for a brief period he engaged in teaching. In 18G1, on 
tlie call of the government for troops for the suppression of the 
rebellion, he left his duties on the farm and enrolled his name 
as a member of the First Connecticut Cavalry, continuing for 
three years in the service. He experienced all the trying vicis- 
situdes of a soldier's life, and participated in the following en- 


gagements: Second Battle of Bull Run, Cross Keys, Cedar 
Mountain, Leesburg, Chantilly, Culpepper Court House, South 
Mountain, Port Republic and Waterford, where he was made a 
prisoner. Fie served a term of nearly sixteen months as pris- 
oner in the stockade prison at Andersonville, and in Savannah, 
Millen, Libby and at Belle Isle. During the seven months of 
his incarceration at Andersonville he endured all the privations 
and horrors inflicted upon the Union prisoners by the infamous 
Captain Wirtz, and witnessed daily the death of one hundred 
and fifty or more men, from hunger, exposure and cruelty. His 
rugged constitution enabled him to survive these horrors and 
effect an exchange, after which he returned to his home and has 
since been engaged in farming. 

Mr. Bishop as a republican represented his town in the Con- 
necticut legislature in 1872. He has been interested in the 
cause of education and was for several years acting school visi- 
tor. He has also been for a long period justice of the peace, 
and participated actively in the affairs of the town. He is a 
member of A. G. Warner Post, No. 54, Grand Arm}' of the Re- 
public, and one of the present delegates from Connecticut to the 
national convention to be held at Milwaukee. Mr. Bishop 
is a member of the Third Congregational church of Woodstock 
and has for many years been on the society committee, and the 
committee on supplies. 

Abel Child. — Benjamin Child emigrated from Great Britain 
to America in 1G30, and became the head of most of the families 
of that name. A type of character patriarchal in the best sense, 
earnest in purpose, and in the promotion of that Puritanic stamp 
of piety for which the Massachusetts settlers were distinguished, 
he was one of the thirt}- who contributed toward the erection of 
the first church in Roxbury. Bearing the name of the youngest 
son of the head of the Israelites, like that patriarch, " in the land 
wherein he was a stranger," he became the father of twelve 
children, three of whom were baptized by the renowned John 
Eliot, their pastor. 

Benjamin, the second son of Benjamin and Mary Child, mar- 
ried in 1GS3, Grace, daughter of Deacon Edward and Grace Bett 
Morris, Mr. ]\Iorris being one of the projectors and an early set- 
tler of the town of Woodstock. Their eldest son Ephraim, mar- 
ried in 1710, Priscilla Harris, of Brookline, ]Mass. The second 
son by the latter union was Daniel, who married Ruth Curtis, 


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and became the father of Abel Child, whose wife was Rebecca 
Allard. Stephen, one of the sons by the latter marriage, was 
united to Abigail Carter, of Dudley, ^Nlass., and hjid seven chil- 
dren, of whom Elizabeth married Reverend Lucian Burleign, 
of Plainfield ; Caroline married William Chandler, of Wood- 
stock ; Abby became Mrs. Ashley Mills, of Thompson, and Har- 
riet married Harris ^lay, of Woodstock. Mrs. Stephen Child 
died in her ninety-seventh year, with her mental faculties but 
slightly impaired. Though for several years entirely blind, her 
patience and cheerfulness never deserted her. She possessed a 
strong mind, remarkable executive ability , and was for more 
than sixty years a member of the church and highly esteemed 
for her consistent life. Stephen Child was one of those citizens 
of East Woodstock who vigorously advocated temperance prin- 
ciples and banished from his home all alcoholic drinks. A man 
of strict integrity, his word was proverbially as good as his 

His son, Abel Child, was born in East Woodstock, July 27th, 
1821, where he has during his life been an influential and useful 
citizen of the town, and foremost in all projects tending to its 
advancement. A member of the First Congregational church of 
Woodstock, he was chosen a deacon in 1862, and still holds thr.t 
office. An earnest patron of education, he has long been a trus- 
tee of the Woodstock Academy, and for many years chairman cf 
the board. Together with ^Nlr. Henry C. Bowen he personally 
solicited subscriptions for a large part of the endowment fund 
of the academy, and in 1872 for the present building. Mr. 
Child cast his first vote with the free soil party, being one of 
twenty-four who thus cast tlieir ballots. He has since affili- 
ated with the republican party, and represented his town in the 
Connecticut legislature, besides filling various less important 
offices. He is now president and superintendent of the Wood- 
stock Creamery. 

Mr. Child married, April 2d, ISol, Ellen M., daughter of Hez- 
ekiah Bugbee and Jemima Harding, and a descendant of Edward 
Bugbee, of Roxbury, Mass., and John Holmes, one of the earliest 
settlers in the town. Their children are : Clarence Harding, 
born May 14th, 1855; Charles Carter, whose birth occurred Sep- 
tember 30th, 1861, and his death September 12th, 1866; Ellen 
Maria, born May 16th, 1866 ; and Herbert Chauncey, born De- 
cember 18th, 1868, who died March 12th, 1872. Clarence Hard- 


ing Child married on the 25th of May, ISSl, Carrie I., daughter 
of James I. Slade, of Pomfret. They have two sons : Chauncey 
Slade, born February 1st, 1S85, and wSpencer Hohnes, whose birth 
occurred November 5th, ISSC. These children represent the ninth 
generation in both the Child and Bugbees families, and the 
seventh now living on the Biigbec ancestral land, which has been 
deeded only in the direct line of descent. 

Ezra Dean was born in Killingly, Connecticut, on the 31st of 
August, 1813, and when twelve years of age, on the death of his 
father, came to Woodstock to reside with an uncle, who was then 
engaged in the business of a tanner and currier. He attended 
the nearest school for one or more years and then entered the 
tannery, with the intention of learning the trade. On the death 
of his relative he purchased the tannery, in connection with a 
small farm, and there resided until his death, December 7th, 

Mr. Dean evinced much ability and forethought in the man- 
agement of his business, and soon established it on a firm and 
successful basis. He was a liberal and public spirited citizen, 
contributing his means and lending his influence to most of the 
worthy objects that appealed to his generosity. He was faithful 
in discharge of both public and private trusts, making integrity 
and probity ruling principles in his life. He was one of the 
foremost contributors to Woodstock Academy, and to many 
other worthy projects. Mr. Dean represented his town in the 
state house of representatives in 1850, and was elected to the 
senate for the years 1852 and 1853. In ISGl he filled the office 
of state treasurer. He was appointed by President Lincoln col- 
lector of internal revenue in ISGI, and the following year volun- 
tarily resigned the office on account of failing health. He was 
again elected to the legislature in 18G9. He was also a director 
of the First National Bank, of Putnam. 

Mr. Dean, on the 13th of December, 1837, married Pamelia B., 
daughter of Charles Hobbs, of Sturbridge, ,^lass. He was a 
member of the East Woodstock Congregational church, with 
which Mrs. Dean continues active and useful relations. 

M.\R(,)UIS Green. — Thomas Green, the progenitorof the Green 
family in America, came from England in 1G35, and settled in 
Maiden, Mass. His son Henry, born in 1G3S, married in 1G71, 
Esther Hasse. Among their seven children was a son Henry, 
born in 1G72, who maried in 1G05, Hannah Flagg. Their son 






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Henry, the third of the name, born in lOOn, married Judith 

, and resided in Killing-ly. A son John by this marriage, 

born in 173G, one of six children, was the father of Benjamin, 
whose birth occurred March 11th, 1766. He married Tamer 
Moffat, to whom were born four childrtn. By a second mar- 
riage to Esther Jewett were seven children, the youngest of 
whom is the subject of this biography. 

Marquis Green was born January 19th, 1S16, in Thompson, 
where he attended the public .schools and concluded his studies 
at the academy at Millbury, Mass. At the age of seventeen he 
learned the carpenter's trade, and for a period of thirty-five 
years was actively employed in this department of industry. In 
1848 his present home in Woodstock was purchased, to which, 
after a life of activity, he retired in lS08,and has since that date 
been engaged in the improvement of the property. ]\Ir. Green 
has been to some extent identified with public life. In politics 
he was formerly an old line whig, and later joined the republi- 
can ranks. He has officiated as selectman of his town, and in 
1871 was its representative in the legislature, serving on the 
committee on constitutional amendments. He was one of the in- 
corporators of the Putnam Savings Bank. 

Mr. Green was married August 2Cth, 1840, to Clara G., daugh- 
ter of David Goddard, of Millbury, Mass. Both Mr. and :\Irs. 
Green worship with the Congregational church of Woodstock, 
of which the latter is a member. Their only child, a son. Clar- 
endon 'M., was born February 18th, 1844, and at the age of eigh- 
teen joined the ISth Regiment, Connecticut volunteers, during 
the late war. He participated in all the battles in which his 
regiment was engaged, until woimded at the battle of Kerns- 
town, near Winchester, Va. On his discharge he learned the 
carpenter's trade and .succeeded to his father's business. He 
married Virgelia, daughter of James I. Sawyer, of Woodstock, 
and has three children : Justin Sawyer, born October 21st, 1809 ; 
Clara Sophia, March 15th, 1874, and James Marquis, January 
31st, 1879. 

WiLLi.-\M Lyox, 4th. — The progenitor of the Lyon family in 
Connecticut was William Lyon, born in ] 075, who when four- 
teen years of age, came with an uncle to Woodstock and settled 
on the homestead farm now owned by Mrs. William Lyon and 
Mrs. Emma Lyon Frink. William Lyon, his eldest son, born 
in 1700, was the father of eight children, of whom Elijah, born 


in 1727, had among- his children a son William, born November 
11th, 1778, who was the father of William 4th, the subject of 
this biog-raphy, born October 7th,lS0l. His birthplace was the 
homestead farm, which has passed by inheritance into the hands 
the eldest son in the successive generations of the family since 
it was first acquired. 

Mr. Lyon received a common school education and was early 
made familiar with the details of a farmer's life by his father, 
with the hope that he would succeed to his calling. The bent 
of his son's mind lay in the direction of a trade, and the skill 
with which he, unaided, erected the frame and built a barn on 
the farm, decided his fate as a carpenter and master builder. 
This trade he followed with great success for many years, his 
services having been in general demand in both town and 

On the 31st of October, 1832, when thirty-one years of age, he 
married Harriet, daughter of Benjamin Green, of Thompson. 
Their children are a daughter Emma, Mrs. Frink, and a son Or- 
igen, who entered the army during the late war, was in several 
engagements and died from disease contracted during his period 
of service. William Lyon on his marriage built and removed 
to the dwelling now occupied by Marquis Green, where for four- 
teen years he resided. He then returned to the homestead, 
where his death occurred February 9th, 1859. He was actively 
interested in the political issues of the day, and as a whig was 
elected to the legislature and to various important offices in the 
town. He possessed mature judgment, a fund of strong com- 
mon sense, and was highly esteemed as an influential citizen. 
In early years Mr. Lyon united with the Baptist church, of what 
was known as Quassct. 

John — General .Samuel ^IcClellan, the father of 
the subject of this biography, was born in the town of Worcester. 
]\Iassachusetts, January 4th, 1730, his parents having emigrated 
from Kircudbright, on the Firth of Solway, in Scotland. In 
the French war he served as an ensign and lieutenant of a 
compan}', during which service he was v\-ounded. On his return 
from the provincial campaign he purchased a farm in Wood- 
stock, and there married and settled. At a later date he engaged 
in mercantile business and established an extensive trade, not 
only importing his own goods but supplying other merchants as 
well. The war of the revolution, however, ended his commer- 





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' cial projects and enlisted his interest in the training and cquip- 

l mcnt of the militia of the county. A fine troop of horse was 

jF raised in the towns of Woodstock, Pomfret and Killingly, of 

I which he took command. He rose by successive promotions un- 

l til commissioned, in 1784, brigadier general of the oth Brigade, 

I Connecticut militia. In 177G his regiment was ordered into ser- 

f vice, and stationed in and about Xew Jersey. He was earnestly 

I solicited by General Washington to join the continental army 

I and tendered an important commission, but his domestic and 

I business affairs necessitated a refusal of this o^ev. Immediately 

' after the invasion and burning of New London and massacre at 

? Fort Groton, he was appointed to the command of the troops 

' stationed at those points, and thus continued until the close of 

the war. When not in active service he was employed as com- 
mis.sary in the purchase and forwarding of provisions for the 

On the close of the conflict General McClellan returned to his 
mercantile pursuits, but soon abandoned them for the manage- 
ment of his extensive landed possessions. He was esteemed as 
a Christian gentleman, and honored by his townsmen with many 
important offices. In 1757 he married Jemima Chandler, a de- 
scendant of one of the earliest settlers of Woodstock, who had 
one daughter and three sons. He married a second time in 
17G6, Rachel Abbe, of Windham, whose children were three 
daughters and five sons. 

His son John, the subject of this biography and the eldest 
child by his second union, was born on the -ith of January, 17G7, 
in Woodstock, and fitted for college under the late Reverend 
Eliphalet Lyman. He entered Yale College in 17S1, and received 
his first degree from that institution in 17S.^\ He then removed 
to Norwich for the purpose of prosecuting the study of law un- 
der Governor Huntington, and later under Charles Church 
Chandler, Esq. He was admitted to the bar of Windham county 
in August, 17S7, and at once began the practice of his profession 
in W^oodstock, where he continued thereafter to reside. 

Mr. McClellan came very early into public life in the govern- 
ment of his native state, and was for a period of twenty years, 
with some intervals of retirement, a member of the Connecticut 
legislature. He in most of the debates wielded a commanding 
influence, his animation, perfect good temper, and brief speeches, 
often seasoned by a vein of humor and anecdote, always securing 
respectful attention. 


In his own town and county he enjoyed a wide ascendency, 
both in secular and ecclesiastical affairs. His sound practical 
judgment and knowledge of business made him frequently an 
umpire in important matters, and the people were drawn to him 
both by their confidence in his integrity and wisdom and the in- 
variable kindness of his manner. To the humblest individual 
he was attentive and conciliating, and benevolent to an extent 
that often subjected him to serious losses. In the family and the 
social circle the sunshine of a cheerful spirit always shone about 
him, nor was it long clouded even by disaster and sorrow. An 
intelligent reader and an enlightened conversationalist, his in- 
tercourse through life was chiefly with the cultivated and re- 
fined classes of society, though never forgetful of the courtesy 
due the poor and humble. He was a most perfect example of 
the Christian gentleman of the old school, among whom polite- 
ness was both a sentiment and a habit. 

On the 22d of November, 1790, Mr. ]McClellan married ^Sliss 
Faith Williams, daughter of Honorable William Williams, of 
Lebanon, Connecticut, whose mother was a daughter of the 
elder Governor Trumbull. Their children were: Mary Trumbull, 
who married Isaac Webb, and died in 1836; Faith Williams, wife 
of Rufus ^Mathewson, now residing with her daughter, ^Irs. 
i\.lexander Warner, at Pomfret; Sarah Isabella, wife of Isaac 
Webb, and afterward married to Professor Benjamin Silliman, 
of Yale College, who died in 1875; Jane Calhoun, wife of Jon- 
athan Weaver, now residing in Uanielsonville; and two sons, 
John and Joseph, of Woodstock. The death of Mr. jNIcClellan 
occurred on the 1st of August, 1858, at his home in Woodstock. 

Ch.\kles H.A.RKIS M.w.— Stephen May, the great-grandfather 
of Charles Harris May, first settled upon the homestead farm in 
Woodstock, which he bequeathed to his son Ephraim, familiarly 
known as " Captain Ephraim," who married Abigail Chandler. 
Their children were: Seth, Asa, Mary, Eliza, Julia and Hen- 
rietta. Asa 'Sla.y was born on the homestead farm now owned 
by the subject of this biographical sketch, where his life was 
spent as a farmer. He was an influential citizen, active in pub- 
lic affairs, possessing rare executive ability, and highly esteemed 
for his intellectual gifts and his exemplary character. He was 
an earnest Mason and much interested in that order. He mar- 
ried Sally, daughter of John May, and had children: Elizabeth, 
widow of Emerson Rawson; Charles Harris, Ezra C. and Carlo. 

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Mr. May's death occurred in 1830, at the early age of thirty- 

[lis son, Charles Harris, was born September 2d, 1823, on the 
farm where he resides. He enjoyed some advantages at the 
public school and at the academy, but is more indebted to his 
studious habits and careful reading than to other causes for an 
education. His life work has been that of an industrious and 
successful farmer. He has been more or less active in town af- 
fairs, filled the office of selectman of the town, and held other 
positions of trust. In 1854 he was elected to the Connecticut 
legislature. He is a member of the Woodstock Agricultural So- 
ciety, of which he was for two years president, and has been for 
the same length of time a member of the state board of agri- 
culture. Mr. May is a supporter of the Congregational church 
of East Woodstock, of which his wife is a member. 

He was married March 13th, 18.5G, to Harriet F., daughter of 
Stephen and Abigail Carter Child of Woodstock. Their chil- 
dren are: Julia A., deceased; Charles H., married to Nellie Bray- 
ton; Herbert, married to Lena Ivons of 2^Iystic, Conn.; Asa L.; 
Marion F., deceased; John S. and Everett E. 

Joseph M. Morse. — The progenitor of the }vIorse family in 
Woodstock is Anthony Morse, who, on his emigration to Amer- 
ica, settled in Newbury, Mass., in 1G35, and died in ICSG. His 
son. Deacon Benjamin Morse, born in ^Slarch, 1640, married Ruth 
Sawyer. His son, Benjamin, Jr., born in IGGS, married Susan- 
nah Merrill. Their son, Abel, was united in marriage to Grace 
Packer, whose son. Doctor Parker Morse, A. ]SI., married Hannah 
Huse, and became the father of eight children, one of whom 
was Abel Morse, who married Sarah Flolbrook, and had twelve 
children. Leonard Morse, a son by the latter union, was born 
October 27th, 1770, and resided in Woodstock. He married Re- 
membrance, daughter of Joseph Meacham, to whom were born 
si.x children, as follows: Albert (deceased), Nathan, Nelson, Ste- 
phen, Joseph M. and Charles D. 

Joseph M. ^lorse, the subject of this biography, and the fifth 
son of Leonard and Remembrance Morse, was born in Wood- 
stock, April 1st, 1823, and educated at the common schools. He 
until the age of seventeen, assisted at the work of the farm, and 
then learned the carriage maker's trade, which he followed for 
several years, first in Woodstock and later in Wilmington, N.C., 
Bowling Green, Ky., and elsewhere. In 18G2 he responded to 


the call of the government for troops to suppress the rebellion, 
and joined the Twenty-sixth regiment, Connecticut Volunteers, 
for a period of one year. He served with the Banks expedition, 
in the Department of the Gulf, and participated in the fights at 
Port Hudson, May 27th and June 1-lth, his regiment doing good 
service in both engagements. Mr. Morse, on abandoning his 
trade, turned his attention to farming, and in 1S73 removed to 
his present home in Woodstock, where his attention is given 
chiefly to the cultivation of his land. 

He has meanwhile not been unmindful of the public interests. 
and identified himself with the political measures of the day. 
He has been selectman, assessor and a member of the board of 
relief. In the year 1871 he represented his town in the Connec- 
ticut house of representatives. He is one of the directors of the 
National Bank of Webster, Mass., and an incorporator of two 
savings banks. 

]\lr. Morse was on the 11th of December, 1873, married to 
Lucy, daughter of Abiel ^lay, of Woodstock, the latter being a 
son of Captain William May and a grandson of Thomas May, 
all of Woodstock. George A. May, a brother of ^Irs. Morse, joined 
the army during the late rebellion as a member of Company 
D, Eighteenth Connecticut Volunteers, and participated in many 
important battles. The children of ^Ir. and Mrs. Joseph ]\I. 
Morse are a daughter, Florence May, and a son, Arthur George. 

The brothers of ]SIr. Morse are deserving of mention as enter- 
prising and successful men. Albert, a progressive farmer, oc- 
cu'jied the ancestral land in East W^oodstock, where he ranked 
as a foremost citizen ; Nathan has been much of his life engaged 
in the manufacture of sash, doors and blinds, and recently pur- 
chased a valuable mill privilege in Woodstock, to Avhich his at- 
tention is now given ; Nelson was formerly a carriage manufac- 
turer, but at present devotes his time to the cultivation of a val- 
uable farm ; he has held various town offices, been county com- 
missioner, member of the legislature and is active and efiicient 
in public matters ; Stephen owns and cultivates the farm on 
which his father formerly resided, has represented his town in 
the state legislature and been otherwise prominent in public af- 
fairs ; Charles D., a resident of Millbury,, is an extensive 
manufacturer of builders' materials, including sash, doors, 
blinds, etc., is one of the most influential residents of his town, 
has filled various local offices, and represented his constituents 








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in the state legislature, and is president of the National Bank of 

Nathan E. Morse is a descendant of Anthony Morse men- 
tioned in the preceding sketch. His grandfather, Abel Morse, 
married Sarah Holbrook. Their son Nathan, born October 14th, 
17S5, %vas twice married; first in 1S2::2, to Rebecca Child, and 
second to ]\Iary ]Mills. By his first wife he had three children — 
Abel, George and Nathan E. Abel, born August 20th, 1S23, 
married Mary Elliott, of Thompson, and died February 25th, . 
1858. George, born May 19th, 1825, married Sylvia C. May, of 
Woodstock, and is county commissioner. 

Nathan Eugene ^lorse was born in Woodstock November 
12th, 1829, and was married August 29th, 1850, to Sarah B., 
daughter of John Fowler, of Woodstock. They have had three 
children — vSusie E., born June 14th, 1855, wife of Nathaniel G. 
Williams, of Brooklvn, Conn., and two who died in infancy 
Nathan E. ]Morse received an academical education, and at the 
age of IS years engaged in teaching, which he followed for 
several winters, working on the farm in summer. At 20 5'ears of 
age he commenced farming on the Jonathan Carjienter farm, 
continuing there for five years. He then engaged in mercan- 
tile pursuits for six years, and has since followed farming, and 
during this time has been engaged in the mail contracting busi- 
ness and lumbering. In politics he is a republican. He has set- 
tled many estates, has been a member of the school board twen- 
ty years, assessor, member of the board of relief, selectman, jus- 
tice of the peace many years, member of legislature in 1883, and 
trustee of Putnam Savings Bank seven years. He is deacon of 
the Congregational church of East Woodstock, and has been 
secretary of the Agricultural Society of Woodstock. 

Oliver H. Perry. — Judge Perry's ancestors first settled in 
Massachusetts, his grandfather, Daniel Perry, having removed 
when a young man from Rehoboth, in that state, to Woodstock, 
where he became the owner of a valuable farm and the breeder 
of choice stock, which he shipped to the West Indies. 

He married Judith Hunt, of Rehoboth, whose children were : 
John, Otis, Daniel, Judith, Sally and Nancy. Otis, of this num- 
ber, was a native of West Woodstock, where, with the exception 
of a brief period in Greenfield, he engaged in the varied pursuits 
of miller and farmer. He married Polly, daughter of Chester 
Carpenter, of the same town. Two of their children died in 

920 HISTORY OF WrXDHAM cou^"T^■. 

youth. A daughter, Mar)' W., first married to Chester A. Paine 
and now the wife of Waldo Phillips, and a son, Oliver H., are the 
survivors. The latter was born July 7th, 1S21, in Greenfield, 
Mass., and removed at the age of two years, with his parents, to 
Woodstock. The district school and an academy at Wilbraham, 
Mass., aft"orded the opportunity for a common English education, 
after which he began work on the farm, and with the exception 
of two years spent as clerk, continued thus occupied until 1854. 
His father, in 1844, on retiring from active labor, gave him a 
deed of the*homestead farm, in consideration of the filial care 
bestowed upon his parents in their declining years. In 1864 
Judge Perry sold the property and removed to New York city, 
where he embarked in the flour and feed business, and was for 
eleven years a member of the firm of Phillips & Perry. In 18Go, 
having purchased his present, home, he settled again in Wood- 
stock, where he has since been largely identified with local 

Judge Perry in early days was an avowed abolitionist, and has 
always voted either the whig or republican ticket. He was at 
the beginning of his political career elected a justice of the peace, 
and in 1854 represented his town in the Connecticut house of 
representatives. He again served as justice, and in 1880 was 
made judge of probate for the district of Woodstock, which of- 
fice he now fills. He is a director of the Putnam Savings Bank, 
treasurer of the Woodstock Creamery Corporation, and was one 
of the committee to purchase land and erect the buildings of the 
Woodstock Agricultural Association, of which he was for two 
yeais president and treasurer. His ability and judgment make 
his services invaluable in the settlement of estates and in kindred 
offices of trust. His religious belief is that of the Second Ad- 
ventist church, with which he worships. Judge Perry was mar- 
ried September 24th, 1844, to Miss Mary Ann, daughter of Deacon 
Laban Underwood, of West Woodstock. 



<^^>^ ^ 7^<^^z^^ 



Locatiou and Doscription.— Original Killiiigly.— The Whetstone Country.— First 
Proprietors.— Attempts at Settlement.— Bounds and Claims.— Settlers and 
Settlement.— The Town Organized.— Localities.— Counterfeiters.— General 
Progress.— Taking Care of the Poor.— Highways.— Early Manufacturing.— 
Prosperity of Manufactiirhig Interests.— The Gospel Ministry.— Meeting 
House Controversy.— Tlie Second Society formed.— South Killingly Church. 

THE town of Killingly lies in the eastern central part of 
Windham county, on the Rhode Island border. In terri- 
tory, population and bu.siness importance it is one of the 
largest towns of the county. Its territory, which originally em- 
braced the whole northeast corner of Connecticut east of tbe 
Ouinebaug and north of Plainfield, has been diminished by the 
formation of Thompson and Putnam in part from its territory. 
It is bounded by Putnam on the north, Rhode Island on the east. 
Sterling and Plainfield on the south, and Brooklyn and Pomfret 
on the west. Much of its surface is hilly and but moderately 
adapted to agriculture. It is well drained by the Assawaga or 
Five Mile river and its tributary, the' Whetstone branch, and 
the Ouinebaug. into which the former empties. The last named 
stream forms its entire western boundary. These waters afford 
power for a number of mills and manufacturing concerns, this 
town being one of the large manufacturing towns of the county. 
Alexander's Lake, a handsome sheet of water a mile in length 
by a half mile in breadth, lies in the northwest part, and Chau- 
b^maug pond, a narrow body a mile and a half long, lies near 
the eastern border. The town is about nine miles long from 
north to south, and an average width of six miles from east to 
west. Thus it has an area of about fifty-foursquare miles. The 
Norwich & Worcester railroad runs along its western border the 
length of the town. The post oflices of Danielsonville, Ballou- 
ville, Killingly. East Killingly and South Killingly are in this 
town. A small part of the borough of Danielsonville extends 


into the limits of lii-ooklyn, othenvise the borough lies in this 
town. The factory villages of Attawaugan and Williamsville 
are in this town. The population of the town at different peri- 
ods has been— in 1756,2,100; in 1775, 3,4SG; in 1800,2,279: in 
1840, 3,685 ; in 1870, 5,712 ; in 1880, 6,921 . The grand list was— 
in 1775, ;^27,907; in 1800, S-11.027 : in 1845, $35,727; in 1847, 
S3S.809; in 1857, $44,938; in 1887. 82,144,153. 

The original township of Killingly was laid out north of Plain- 
field in 1708. It occupied the northeastern corner of Connecti- 
cut, in the wild border land between the Quinebaug and Rhode 
Island. This region, called the Whetstone country, was known 
to the white settlers of the surrounding towns, but was for a 
long time neglected. It was owned by the colony of Connecti- 
cut and not by individuals or companies, and tracts of it were 
given by the government in recognition of civil or military ser- 
vices rendered it. Its first white proprietors were thus the leading 
men of the colony. Governors Haynes, Treat and Saltonstall ; 
Majors Fitch and ^lansfield ; the Reverend Messrs. Hooker, Pier- 
pont. Whiting, Biickingham, Andrews, Noyes, Woodbridge and 
Russel;»the Hons. Giles Hamlin, Matthew Allen and Caleb 
Stanley, had grants of land here and were associated with the 
early history of Killingly. The grant to Governor Haynes was 
given as early as 1G42, that to the Reverend John Whiting in 
1662, but the greater number at a later period. These grants 
were not located, but simply conveyed a specified quantity of 
land to be selected bv the grantee according to his pleasure, so 
long as it did not " prejudice any particular township or former 

The first to take possession of land in the Whetstone countrj' 
under these grants were Major James Fitch and Captain John 
Chandler. A grant of " fifteen hundred acres, to be taken up 
together and lyeing beyond New Roxbury, near the northeast 
corner of the Colony line," was confirmed to Major Fitch by the 
general court, in October, 1690. With his usual dispatch and 
discrimination. Fitch at once selected and had laid out to him 
the best land in the whole section — the interval between the 
Quinebaug and the Assawaga, extending from their junction at 
Acquiunk to Lake Mashapaug, and also the valley east of the 
Assawaga, as far north as Whetstone brook. Captain John 
Chandler of Woodstock, was next in the field, buying up land 
granted to soldiers for services in the Xarragansett war. Two 



hundred acres purchased by him from Lieutenant Hollister were 
laid out at Nasha%vay, the point of land between the Quinebaug 
and French rivers, and confirmed to him by the general court in 
1691. A great part of the valley land adjoining French river, 
and a commanding eminence two miles east of the (Quinebaug, 
then known as Rattlesnake hill, afterward Killingly hill, were 
speedily appropriated by Captain Chandler. The other grant- 
ees, less familiar with the country, and less experienced in land 
grabbing, found more difficulty in taking up their grants. The 
country was not easy to explore. Lack of roads, swelling streams, 
deep marshes, tangled forests and refractory Indians, all con- 
spired to make the task of locating land claims at that time par- 
ticularly laborious and hazardous. The Reverend Samuel An- 
drews succeeded in having his grant of two hundred acres laid 
out in 1G92, west of Rattlesnake hill, bounded on three sides 
by wilderness. 

The first v/hite settler, as far as is known, came to Killingly 
in 1693. lie was Richard Evans from Rehoboth. He had pur- 
chased of the Reverend James Pierpont a two hundred acre 
grant, for twenty pounds. Little is known of him, and the 
bounds of his farm cannot now be identified. It was in what was 
subsequently called the South Neighborhood of Thompson, and 
is now included in Putnam. In those early days his establish- 
ment served as a landmark, by which many other purchases 
were located. 

In 1694 Reverend Xoadiah Russel secured two hundred acres 
five miles southeast of \Vo:dstock, east of the Quinebaug, " lands 
thatboundit nottakenup." In 169^ seventeen hundred acres, scat- 
tered about on Five Mile river, southeast from Evans", were con- 
firmed to James Fitch, Moses ^Mansfield, Reverend r^Ir. Bucking- 
ham and Samuel Rogers. This was " the wild land in Kil- 
lingly," afterward granted by Major Fitch to Yale College. In- 
dian troubles interfered with further movements toward settle- 
ment, and Evans was probably the only settler here before the 
close of that century. When peace with the Indians was 
established, land speculation began here again. This valley 
of the Quinebaug, extending from the Great Falls, now in Put- 
nam, to Lake Mashapaug, was then known as Aspinock, and 
had attracted the attention of Woodstock men, who saw value 
in it. Turpentine was gathered in large quantities from its 
numerous pine trees by that enterprising trader, James Corbin. 

924 HISTORY OF ^VI^-I>1IA^^ county. 

While engaged in this work in his employ, Joseph Leavens, a 
young man, was one day bitten on the thumb by a rattlesnake. 
There being no help near, the young man coolly chopped off the 
bitten thumb with his axe, and then killed the snake. His life 
was saved, but his thumb was lost, and in after years the Indians 
gave him the nickname, "Old One-thumb." In 1099 Reverend 
Russel sold his land to Peter and Nathaniel Aspinwall, Samuel 
Perrin and Benjamin Griggs, for twenty pounds. Lieutenant 
Aspinwall then settled on the land, a mile southeast of the falls. 

In 1703 Aspinwall bought of Caleb Stanley two hundred acres 
south of ]\Iashapaiig lake. The land adjoining it westward and 
extending to the Quinebaug was laid out to Thomas Bucking- 
ham, and sold by him to Captain John Sabin of Mashamoquet, 
whose daughter Judith, married young Joseph Leavens, and re- 
ceived this beautiful valley farm as her marriage portion. James 
and Peter Leavens bought up land grants and also settled in 
this vicinity. Other .settlers soon followed. These settlers, the 
pioneers of Killingly, located on or near the Quinebaug, mostly 
between the falls and ^lashapaug lake, on the land called As- 
pinock, at distances of three, four and five miles from Wood- 
stock. As details of the settlement of those parts of original 
Killingly which are now included in Thompson and Putnam are 
given in connection with the history of those towns, it will be 
unnecessary to repeat them further in this connection. We 
shall therefore confine our review now as far as practicable to 
the territory of the present town of Killingly. 

The first settler south of Lake Ma.shapaug was James Daniel- 
son, of Block Island, who in 1707 purchased of ^vlajor Fitch " the 
neck of land" between the Quinebaug and Assawaga rivers, for 
a hundred and sevent)' pounds. jSIr. Danielson had served in 
the Narragansett war, and his name appears on the list of oflficers 
and soldiers who received the township of Voluntown in recom- 
pense for their services. Tradition tells us that he passed 
through, the Whetstone country on an expedition against the 
Nipmucks, and stopping to rest his company on the interval be- 
tween these rivers, was so well pleased with the locality that he 
then declared that when the war should be ended he would settle 
there. Nothing more is known of him until thirty years later, 
when he bought the land from the junction of the rivers, "ex- 
tending up stream to the middle of the long interval." Tra- 
dition adds that he first traded with the natives, receiving for a 


trifle all that he could see from the top of a high tree, but found 
that Major Fitch had forestalled him, so then he bought out his 
claim. Mr. Danielson at once took possession of his purchase, 
built a garrison house near its southern extremity and was soon 
known as one of the most prominent men in the new settlement. 
No other settler appeared in this vicinity for several years. The 
land south from Acquiunk — the name given by the Indians to 
this locality — was held by Plaiufield proprietors, under their 
purchase from Owaueco, and no attempt was made for many 
years to bring it into market. 

The settlers in this locality were few in number, but their re- 
moteness from the seat of government and independent mode of 
settlement made the organization of a town government very 
desirable. Their deeds of land transfer had to be recorded in 
Hartford, Plainfield and Canterbury. In ]\Iay, 1708, the assem- 
bly granted town privileges to the people here, the patent of 
which set forth the bounds as follows: " Northerly on the line 
of the Massachusetts Province (it beingby estimation about) five 
miles from the line between this Colony and the Colony of 
Rhode Island and the river called Assawaug ; easterly on the 
said line between the said colonies; southerly, partly on the 
northern boundary of Plainfield and partly on a line to be con- 
tinued east from the northeast corner bounds of Plainfield to the 
said line between the said Colonies; the said northern boundary 
of Plainfield being settled by order of the General Court, May 
the 11th, 1099, and westerly on the aforesaid river; the said 
township being by estimation about eight or nine miles in length 
and five or six miles in breadth, be the same more or less." The 
men named in the patent, as representing the proprietors, were 
Colonel Robert Treat, Major James Fitch, Captain Dan Wether- 
ell, Joseph Haynes, Samuel Andrew, George Denison, James 
Danielson, David Jacobs, Samuel Randall, Peter Aspinwall and 
Joseph Cady. 

Grantees now hastened to take up their lands and sell them 
to settlers, so that population increased much more rapidly than 
in the richer neighborhoods owned by corporations and large 
land-holders. The land north of Danielson's, extending from 
the middle of " the long interval" to Lake Mashapaug, was con- 
veyed by Major Fitch to John, Nathaniel and Nicholas ^lighill ; 
a farm east of the lake was sold to John Lorton ; David Church, 
of Marlborough, and William Moffat settled m the Ouinebaug 


valley, adjoiniivj: James Leavens. ^lany grants Avere bought up 
by Nicholas Cady north of Rattlesnake hill, in the neighborhood 
of Richard Evans, and sold by him to George Blanchard, of 
Lexington, Thomas Whitmore, William Price, John and Samuel 
Winter, John Bartlett. William Robinson and others, who at 
once took possession of this northern extremity of the town. 

The claimants of lands within the bounds of original Killingly 
having located, described and recorded their lands, the remain- 
ing lands within the limits were g^ven to the proprietors in com- 
mon, and on October 13th, 1709, the payment of forty pounds 
through the agency of Captain Chandler having been made, a 
patent for the remaining lands was given by the governor and 
company of Connecticut to the following proprietors: Colonel 
Robert Treat, Major James Fitch, Captain John Chandler, Jos- 
eph Otis, James Danielson, Ephraim Warren, Peter Aspinwall, 
Joseph Cady, Richard Evans, Sr. and Jr., John Winter, Stephen 
Clap, John and William Crawford, George Blanchard, Thomas 
Whitmore, John Lorton, Jonathan Russel, Daniel Cady, William 
Price, William '^foffat, James and Joseph Leavens, John, Nath- 
aniel and Nicholas Mighill, John Bartlett, Samuel Winter, Eben- 
ezer Kee, Isaac and Jonathan Cutler, Peter Leavens, Sampson 
, Howe, John Skbki. John Preston, Philip Eastman, David Church, 
Thomas Priest, '^'icholas Cady, John, Thomas, Matthew, 
Jabez and Isaac Allen.'": Nearly one-third of these forty-four 
patentees were non-residentS, so that Killinglv probably num- 
bered at that date about thirt}'- families. Only a small part of 
the territory was inhabited, and that/' jiiostly in the Ouinebaug 
valley and the open country north of Killingly hill. 

An extensive rise of land in the eastern part of the town was 
called Chestnut hill. A broad open plateau lay upon the top of 
this hill, while its steep sides were heavily wooded. This very 
desirable spot of groiind was included in the grants laid out to 
John and Joseph Haynes, Timothy Woodbridge and Governor 
Treat; sold by them to John Allen; by him to Captain John 
Chandler, who sold the whole tract — 2,400 acres, for i^312 — to 
Eleazer and Thomas Bateman. of Concord, Samuel and Thomas 
Gould, Nathaniel Lawrence, Ebenezer Bloss, Thomas Richard- 
son and Ebenezer Knig^-ht, joint proprietors. John Brown, Moses 
Barret, Josiah Proctor, Daniel Carrol, Samuel Robbins, Daniel 
Ross and John Grover were soon after admitted among the 
Chestnut hill proprietors. Home lots were laid out on the hill 


summit., but the remainder of the land was held in common by 
them for many years. A road was laid OYer the hill-top and car- 
ried on to Cutler's mill and the Providence way. The remainder 
of Haynes' grant was laid out east of Assawaga river, bordering 
south on Whetstone brook, and was purchased by Nicholas Cady, 
who, in 1709, removed his residence hither. This tract, together 
with Breakneck hill on the east, and much other land in this 
vicinity, passed into the hands of Ephraim Warren, son of Dea- 
con Jacob Warren, of Plainfield, and who was one of the first 
settlers of Killingl}- Centre. The Owaneco land in the southern 
part of Killingly, held by Plainfield residents, was still unsettled 
and undivided, though many rights were sold or bartered. Ed- 
ward Spalding bought the rights of James Kingsbury and Wil- 
liam ]Marsh for £1, 10s. each. In 170S Michael Hewlett pur- 
chased Parkhurst's right for one pound. Jacob Warren sold his 
right in this land to Nicholas Cady in exchange for land north 
of Whetsone brook, southwest from Chestnut hill, in 1710. , 

Thomas Stevens at the same date sold his share to Ephraim j 

Warren. John Ilutchins bought out the rights of Nathaniel | 

Jewell and Samuel vShepard. j 

Previous to this time the north line of Killingly had been what j 

was known as Woodward and Saffery's line, then recognized as 
the boundary between ^^lassachusetts and Connecticut, which 
line crossed what is now the southern part of Thompson. In 
1713 this line was exchanged for a new one, six or seven miles 
farther north, which has since been recognized. As the charter 
of Killingly named the r\lassachu.setts line as its north bound, 
the town now claimed the enlargement thus created. This 
claim was, however, denied by the government, by whom ihe ; 

north bounds of Killingly were declared "not to be above nine j 

miles to the northwards of the said south bounds." But Kil- ' 

lingly was persistent in asserting its claims, which were recog- T 

nized by the courts, and this town continued to exercise juris- 
■diction over the territory in question, and admitting the people 
lining upon it to ecclesiastical and civil rights in the town. In 
1728 this territory was constituted a distinct society. By the 
government that society was regarded as independent of any 
town, but the society itself and the town of Killingly regarded 
it as belonging to that town, and so continued to exercise the 
conditions of such an association until the society became an or- 
_ganized town in 17S5. At that time the dividing line between 




Killingly and Thompson was agreed npon as a due east and west 
line between the Rhode Island line and the (Juinebaug river, 
which line should run through the middle of a certain " heap of 
stones about two feet south of the garden wall owned by Mr. 
John Mason." The mansion house of ]Slr. John ;Mason. near the 
garden wall spoken of, is that now owned and occupied by Mr. 
William Converse, of Putnam. 

The population of Killingly continued to increase. Daniel 
Cady removed to the south part of Pomfret, Nicholas Cady to 
Preston; but others took their places. Robert Day settled south 
of Whetstone brook in 1717. Xell-Ellick wSaunders — afterward 
called Alexander — bought land of the non-resident ^Mighills 
in 1721, near Lake Mashapaug, which soon took the name of 
Alexander's lake, which has since clung to it. Joseph Covill, 
Philip Priest, Andrew Phillips and John Comins, of Charlestown, 
were admitted among the Chestnut hill company. John Ilutch- 
ins, of Plainfield, is believed to have taken possession of the north 
part of the Owaneco purchase about 1720. In 1721 the town 
of Killingly laid out and distributed its first division of public 
lands. About eighty persons received shares of this land. 
No record is preserved of the terms and extent of this division. 
During this year the train-band was organized. Joseph Cady 
was chosen captain, Ephraim Warren lieutenant, and Thomas 
Gould ensign. Of the progress of schools, roads and many pub- 
lic affairs at that time, no knowledge can be obtained. A bur- 
ial ground south of the Providence road was given to the town 
by Peter Aspinwall at an early date. 

The first town meeting in Killingly of which there is existing 
record was held November 2r)th, j72S. But forty-four regularl}- 
admitted freemen were then reported, not half the adult male 
residents. Justice Joseph Leavens was moderator of that meet- 
ing, lie was also chosen town clerk and first .selectman. Eleazer 
Bateman, Isaac Cutler, Joseph Cadj- and Benjamin Bixby were 
also chosen townsmen ; Robc_rt_na_y, constable ; Thomas Gould 
and Jonatha.i Clough, branders ; Joseph Barret and John Rus- 
sel, grand jurymen"; Daniel Clark, JaTJez Brooks, William Whit- 
ney, Israel Joslin, William Lamed and Daniel Lawrence, sur- 
veyors ; Daniel Waters, Andrew Phillips, Nathaniel Johnson and 
Jaazaniah Ilorsmor, listers; Benjamin Barret and Jacob Comins, 
fence viewers ; John Hutchins, tithing man. Peter Aspinwiill, 
James Leavens, Sampson Howe and Joseph Cadv still remained 


in charge of the public lands of the town. The school moneys 
were proportioned to the two societies according to their respec- 
tive lists. A year later a committee was appointed to lay out 
highways in Thompson parish, which was in 1730 recognized as 
a parish belonging to the town of Killingly, by an act of the as- 
sembly. The military company of the south part of Killingly 
was now re-organized with Ephraim Warren, captain; Isaac 
Cutler, lieutenant ; and Samuel Danielson, ensign. Isaac Cut- 
ler, Sampson Howe and Mrs. 'Ma.vy Lee were allowed to keep 
houses of public entertainment. 

Mr. James Danielson, one of the early and enterprising settlers 
of Killingly, laid out a burial ground between the rivers, on his 
land, and was himself the first one to be buried in it. The in- 
scription on the earliest stone in that ground is as follows : 

" In memory of the well beloved Mr. James Danielson, who, 
after he had served God and his generation faithfully many 
years in this life, did, with the holy disciple, lean himself upon the 
breast of his Beloved, and sweetly fell asleep in the cradle of 
death, on the 22d day of January, A. D. 172S, in the 80th year of 
his age. ' A saint carries the white stone of absolution in his 
bosom, and fears not the day of judgment.' " 

Mr. Danielson left a son Samuel in possession of his home- 
stead and much landed property. Among his estate were five 
negroes, valued at six hundred pounds. 

The first settler of South Killingly, Jacob Spalding, was 
thrown from his cart and instantly killed, in 1728. He left two 
young children, Simeon and Damaris. His widow afterward 
married Edward Stewart, a reputed scion of the royal family of 
Scotland. Shepard Fisk, afterward a prominent man in public 
affairs, settled near Killingly Centre prior to 1730. Daniel Law- 
rence, of Plainfield, settled on a farm in the Owaneco purchase, 
and title to land " south of Manhumsqueag bounds," was con- 
firmed to him. One of the first residents of Killingly hill was 
probably Xoah, son of Joseph Leavens, who established himself 
on its southern extremity about 1740. The road over and west 
of the hill was often altered to suit the convenience of the in- 
habitants. Samuel Cutler was allowed to open his house for 
travelers in 1740. The tavern .stand afterward known as War- 
ren's, at the tV'rk of the roads, a half mile east of Cutler's, was 
first occupied by John Felshaw in 1742. In the same year John 
Hutchins was licensed to keep a tavern in the south part of the 


town. Poi:nd.s Avere allowed in different neighborlioods for se- 
curing stray animals belonging to this or other towns, which 
were running at large over the coinmons of Killingly and becom- 
ing a source of great annoyance and damage to the people. In 
1749, when by direction of assembly the bounds of the town, in- 
cluding Thompson parish, were more definitely settled and es- 
tablished than they had before been, the town then being divi- 
ded into three societies, the taxable property in the north socie- 
ty (Thompson) amounted to ^TS.SoO ; that in the middle society, 
£4,35^ ; and that in the south society, i:0,112. 

Killingly was greatly disturbed in 1759, by the discoveiy of a 
gang of "counterfeiters within her borders, engaged "in the vile 
crime of aiding in making counterfeit bills of credit." A son of 
one of her most respectable citizens was implicated in this affair, 
convicted, and sentenced to perpetual confinement. A large 
number of his fellow townsmen interceded in his behalf, " that 
they had known him from a child, and known him to be honest 
and regular, and took care of his aged father and mother, to as 
good acceptance as could be. and was in good credit among his 
neighbors, as little mistrusted as any young man in town, and 
were of opinion that he was over persuaded by evil minded per- 
sons." Through these representations, and his own declaration 
that he had been importuned by a certain Frenchman and 
others, the assembly granted the prisoner liberty "to remove to 
Killingly and there dwell and remain." 

In January, 1775, a number of public-spirited citizens secured 
from Reverend Aaron Brown and Sampton Howe a deed of about 
three acres of land adjoining the meeting house lot, for the ben- 
efit of the public as a common forever. In South Killingly af- 
fairs seem to have been less prosperous than in the middle and 
northern societies. Unity was wanting in the ecclesiastical af- 
fairs, three different churches claiming the field and struggling 
for existence there. 

Captain John Felshaw, long prominent in town and public af- 
fairs, died at an advanced age. in 1782. His famous tavern was 
held for a time by Samuel Felshaw, and sold in 1797, to Captain 
Aaron Arnold, of Rhode Island. Business at this time was de- 
veloping. A store was opened on the hill by Sampson Howe. 
William Basto engaged in the manufacture of hats. Stout chairs 
and excellent willow baskets were made by Jonathan and Joseph 
Buck. During the early part of the present century manufac- 


turing received much attention, and a very considerable impulse 
was given to the business development of the town. This im- 
pulse was also manifested in other activities. The mineral re- 
sources of the town were sought out and brought before the pub- 
lic. The old Whetstone hills were found to enclose valuable 
quarries of freestone, suitable for building purposes. Rare and 
beautiful detached stones, as well as extensive quarries, were 
found on Breakneck hill. A rich bed of porcelain clay was dis- 
covered on Mashentuck hill, which was pronounced by good 
judges to equal the best French or Chinese clay. Indications of 
lead and still more valuable ores were also reported. These 
mineral treasures, however, have never been developed to any 
profitable degree. The quality of the clay proved unequal to 
what was anticipated, and a lack of facilities have prevented the 
realization of the sanguine expectations of those early years. 

In 1836 the town had five post offices, all of which retained the 
town name, the cardinal points being used to distinguish four of 
them from the fifth, as well as from one another. At that time 
the Centre postmaster was J. Field; North, Luther Warren; East, 
H. Peckham; South, Cyrus Day; West, George Danielson. 

The expense of taking care of the poor was in early years con- 
siderable of a burden upon the town, and measures were taken 
to avoid, as much as possible, the increase of that burden. The 
custom of farming out the poor to whoever would keep them at 
the lowest price was commonly practiced. During the latter 
part of the last century a work house appears to have been tem- 
porarily provided from year to year, and some citizen appointed 
to have charge of it. In this way the poor were made practically 
self-supporting. About 1833 a permanent house was secured, 
which was said to be a very poor house. Aw Indian woman, who 
went there to live, after the wind had demolished her own wig- 
wam, approved the accommodations, saying, when asked how she 
liked her new home: " Pretty well, 'cos we live just like In- 

Among the first public movements of this town in the direc- 
tion of providing highways within the limits of the present 
town, was the opening of a " gangway," which in fact was al- 
/eady there when the town was organized, in 1709, leading from 
Plainfield to Boston. This extended through the entire length 
of the town, connecting by a cross road with the ways to Hart- 
ford and Woodstock, at the fording place below the Great Falls 


of the Ouinebaug. Its condition may be inferred from the tra- 
dition that when James Danielson's'ro was sent to Boston 
with a load of produce, he had made so little progress after a 
day's journey that he went home to sleep the first night. The 
Providence v/ay, after encircling the base of Killingly hill, wound 
back far to the north, past Isaac Cutler's residence, enabling the 
inhabitants to procure boards from his saw mill, and helping to 
build up that remote section. Mr. Cutler was early allowed to 
keep a house of entertainment, and his tavern was noted as the 
last landmark of civilization, on the road from Connecticut to 
Providence. Other parts of the town were then only accommo- 
dated with rude bridle paths. 

About the year 1729 the organization of the town seemed to 
take a fresh impetus, and ainong other matters that received re- 
newed attention, the roads were remodelled and placed in better 
condition. Chestnut hill settlers were allowed a way from Ser- 
geant Ebenezer Knight's at the south end of the hill, northward 
over the hill to Lieutenant Isaac Cutler's, " as the road was laid out 
by Chestnut hill purchasers through their tract." Bridle roads 
with gates for passing, crossing the hill, were also allowed from 
Ebenezer Knight's to John Lorton"s,and from Ebenezer Brooks' to 
Joseph Barret's. A highway was also ordered from the bridge 
over "Whetstone brook to the settlement in South Killingly, and 
a cart-bridge over Little river in Daniel Lawrence's field. In 
1731, Captain "Warren, Captain Howe and George Blanchard were 
appointed " to perambulate the highway that comes from Plain- 
field, leading toward Oxford," remove nui.sances and report need- 
ful alterations. This important road, comnnmicating with Bos- 
ton, Norwich and Xew London, was then thoroughly perambu- 
lated and surveyed, from John Hutchins' on the south to Na- 
thaniel Brown's on the north — a distance of eighteen or twenty 
miles — and some important alterations suggested. Instead of 
winding westward around the base of Killingly hill, it was now 
carried " to a heap of stones on a rock upon the hill," facilitating 
settlement on this beautiful eminence. 

In 1749 a road was laid out in the south part of the town, to 
accommodate the inhabitants traveling to the south meeting 
house, beginning on Voluntown line, "near the road now laid 
to the saw mill standing on ^loosup," and extending to the bridge 
over Whetstone brook. A bridle road was also laid out from 
Daniel Waters' to the south meeting house, and the road over 


the north side of Chestnut hill leading to "where the old meet- 
ing house stood." was turned east of Enoch [Nloffatt's house, OYer 
a brook, to the new house of worship. A road was completed 
directly from Providence to the south part of Killingly in 1750, 
and a new bridge built over the Ouincbaug, near Captain Sam- 
uel Danielson's. A committee was thereupon appointed to lay 
out a convenient road through the town from this bridge to the 
Providence highway. A road was also laid out from this con- 
venient bridge northeast, to Five ISIile river ; also, one from the 
old burial place to the new meeting house on Killingly hill, and 
others in different parts of the town. A committee was appoint- 
ed, December 1st, 1754, " to view and survey our country roads, 
and take quit-claim deeds of all the persons who owned lands 
where the roads cross." The road from Plainfield to ]Massachi:- 
setts line through the town received especial attention. Quit- 
claim deeds were received from John Ilutchins and his sons, 
Joseph, Wyman, Ezra and vSilas Hutclnns. Willard Spalding, 
Samuel Danielson, Daniel Waters, Boaz Stearns, Daniel Davis 
and many others. The length of this road, as thus surveyed, 
was found to be seventeen miles 250^- rods. 

In 17.-)7 a rc>ad was laid out from Danielson's bridge to Volun- 
town line, near a saw mill called John Priest's. The bridge 
built by Samuel Cutler over the Ouincbaug at the Falls, was 
next examined by the selectmen and found " rotten and defect- 
ive, and not safe to pass over." It was then voted, " To build 
that part of the bridge that belongs to Killingly to build, Ed- 
ward Converse to build it and proceed speedily to do the same." 
In 1767 Briant and Nathaniel Brown and Benjamin Leavens were 
appointed "lo join with Pomfret gentlemen in repairing the 
bridge called Danielson's." However well repaired, it was soon 
carried away by a freshet, and a new committee appointed in 
1770, "to rebuild our part of the bridge at Cargill's }ilills, and 
view the Ouincbaug above and below where Danielson's bridge 
stood, and see where they could set a bridge." William Daniel- 
son was allowed twenty-nine pounds for building half the latter 
bridge, and a new road was laid out from it to Voluntown. In 
1774 the Ouincbaug was bridged between Cargill's and Daniel- 
son's, near the residence of Deacon Simon Cotton. 

A new road was laid out about 1795, from the country road 
near Doctor rlutcbins' dwelling house, running east to Mr. Day's 


meeting- house, through lands of Penuel and Zadoc Hutchins, 
Samuel Stearns, Wilson Kics, James Danielson and the sons of 
Deacon Jacob Spalding-. The petition for an open highway- 
through lands of William Torrey, heirs of Reverend John Fisk 
and others, was opposed for a time, but finally granted. A new 
road was also allowed from Jonathan and Philip Dextcr's to Cut- 
ler's bridge, in the eastern part of the town. An act of the 
county court obliged the selectmen to lay out a road from the 
road near Edward Babbitt's, on Chestnut hill, to the meeting 
house in the north parish. A jury met at Sampson Howe's in 
December, 1799, and laid out a road from Captain John Day's 
through lands of Carpenter, Alexander, Kelly, Leavens, Howe, 
Whipple and W^arren. After much discussion it was decided, 
in 1801, "to lay out a turnpike from the Norwich turnpike, in 
Pomfret, to the turnpike in Gloucester." This Pomfret and 
Killingly turnpike, passing over Killingly hill by the meeting 
house, was accomplished in 1803, but the exhaiisted town de- 
clined to build half the new bridge needed for its accommoda- 
tion till cited before the court to answer for its negligence. The 
bridge was then built, but not being built in a substantial and 
workmanlike manner, it was soon carried away by high water, 
and the town thus involved in fresh difficulties and arbitra- 

Many new roads were demanded for the acconimodation of 
the manufacturing interests, in which this town was involved 
in the early part of the century. The town accepted a road laid 
out from Danielson 's Factory to the country road near the dwell- 
ing house of Solomon Sikes, at the same time declining responsi- 
bility for the bridge over Five ]\Iilc river, and voted not to op- 
pose a road from Danielson 's to the house of Reverend Israel 
Day, and thence to Rhode Island line. This new road to Prov- 
idence was very needful for the transportation of goods and cot- 
ton. The mercantile operations of Captain Alexander Gaston, 
who had removed from Sterling to South Killingly, were also 
greatly benefitted thereby. His flourishing store added greatly 
to the importance of South Killingly. He was accustomed to 
buy large quantities of goods in New York, and when his ships 
wero expected to arrive in Providence, the farmers of this 
neighborhood would hurry down to haul them up to his place 
of business in Killingly. 


The mill privilege on the Five Mile river, afterward occupied 
by "the Howe Factory," was in 17C0 improved by Jared Talbot 
and David Perrv, who accommodated the neighborhood with 
sawing and grinding. In August, 1807, James Danielson, Zadoc 
and James Spalding asked liberty to build a dam on the Quine- 
baug, between Brooklyn and Killingly. The relations between 
the Windham towns and their Rhode Island neighbors had been 
always most intimate and friendly. Providence was their most 
accessible market. Their first public work was to open a way 
to that town. Now that the era of manufacturing Avas opening, 
those intimate relations were intensified. Killingly caught the 
spirit of manufacturing enterprise. Walter Paine and Israel 
Day of Providence, William Reed, Ira and Stephen Draper of 
Attleborough, Ebenezer and Comfort Tiffany, John Mason and 
Thaddeus Larned of Thompson, William Cundall, Sr. and Jr., 
joined with Danielson and Hutchins in the Danielsonville Man- 
ufacturing Company of Killingly. 

The manufacturing excitement raged with great violence in 
this town, its numerous rivers offering such convenient facilities 
that her own citizens were able to embark in such enterprises 
with less foreign aid than was requisite in other towns. " Dan- 
ielson's Factory," at the Quinebaug Falls, enjoyed a high place 
in popular favor, its twenty liberal handed stockholders, mostly 
town residents, prosecuting its various business affairs with much 
energy. William Reed served most efficiently for many years 
as its agent. Its well filled store was managed for many years 
by tlie Tiffany Brothers, from Rhode Island. 

The '• Stone Chapel," on the present site of the Attawaugan, 
was built by Captain John and Ebenezer Kelly, for John Mason 
of Thompson, in ISIU, but did not get into successful operation 
for some years, when John, James B. and Edward Mason, Jr., 
were incorporated as the " Stone Chapel ^Manufacturing Com- 
pany." Messrs. John Mason and Harvey Blashfield had the over- 
sight of this establishment. The tallow candles needed for its 
morning and evening service were dipped by ^Miss Harriet 
Kelly, in batches of forty dozen at a time. 

The privilege on the Five Mile river, long occupied by Tal- 
bot's grist mill, passed into the hands of the Killingly Manu- 
facturing Company in 1S14. Its constituent members were: Waterman, Thomas Thompson, John Andrews, of Provi- 
dence;~David Wilkinson, Henrv Howe, of North Providence- 


Doctor Robert Grosvenor, Jedidiah Sabin, Elisha Howe, Ben- 
jamin Greene, of Killingly; Smith Wilkinson, Eleazer Sabin, of 
Pomfret. 1 he Ho^ves had charge of the business, and the fac- 
tory soon built was called by their name. 

The remarkable descent of the Whetstone brook furnished 
privileges quite out of proportion to its volume of water. The 
first Chestnut Hill Company to take advantage of this fall was 
constituted by Joseph Harris, Ebenezer Young, Calvin Leffing- 
well, Asa Alexander, George Danielson and Lemuel Stark- 
weather, whose wheels and spindles were soon competing with 
those of other manufacturers. 

The greatest spirit and activity prevailed in these growing 
villages. Everybody was hard at work, building, digging, 
planting, carting, weaving, spinning, picking cotton, making 
harnesses, dipping candles, and attending the thousand wants of 
the hour. The intense mechanical activity of the time was 
manifested by a remarkable feminine achievement, the exercise 
of the inventive faculty hitherto dormant in the female mind. 
Mrs. Mary Kies of South Killingly, invented " a new and useful 
improvement in weaving straw with silk or thread," for which 
she obtained in May, 1800, the first pat cut issued to any woman in 
the United States, and she is also said to have been the first female 
applicant. ^Irs. President ^ladison expressed her gratification 
by a complimentary note to ^Irs. Kies. The fabrication of this 
graceful and ingenious complication was thus added to the other 
industries of Killingly. 

Killingly's excessive activity during the war of 1S12 was fol- 
lowed by corresponding depression. ]\Iills owned by men of 
moderate means were generally closed, and those still kept at 
work did so at pecuniary loss to the proprietors. Experiments 
in machinery and modes of working were meanwhile tested, 
power looms introduced, and many improvements effected. 
Companies were reorganized, new men and capital brought in, 
and when business revived, Killingly mills were soon under 
fresh headway. In 1819 the town had so far recovered from its 
losses as to report four factories in operation, all of which con- 
tained about five thousand spindles, and had been erected at an 
expense, including buildings and machinery, of nearly §300,000. 
At the Danielson ^lanufactory water looms had been intro- 
duced and in general the business was carried on upon the most 
improved principles and very advantageously. Besides the cot- 


ton factories there were one woolen factory, one gm distillery, 
one paper hanging manufactory, four dye houses, three clothiers' 
works, three carding machines, three tanneries, eight grain mills 
and eight saw mills. Experiments in straw weaving were tjrought 
to an untimely end by a sovereign decree from the supreme ar- 
biter of fashion, and hopes of pecuniary profit proved as brittle 
as the straw with which Mrs. Kies had wrought out her ingen- 
ious invention. Her son, Daniel Kies, Esq., of Brooklyn, as well 
as friends at home, lost heavily by investing in a manufacture, 
which, by a sudden change of fashion, became utterly valueless. 

Killingly is reported by Barber in 1S3G, " the greatest cotton 
manufacturing town in the State." Its reputation and resources 
had been magnified by the building up of Williamsville on the 
Quinebaug, and Dayville on the Five ^lile river. Dayville was 
commended " for its neat appearance, and for a bridge com- 
posed of two finely constructed stone arches, each 25 feet broad 
and 12 high." Captain John Day sold two-thirds of this privilege 
to Prosper and William Alexander, and joined them in building 
and equipping a cotton factory in 1832. Caleb Williams of Prov- 
idence, purcha.sed the Quinebaug privilege, and erected a hand- 
some stone building in 1827. Danielson's mills had passed into 
the hands of the sons of General Danielson, and began to be 
noted " as a thriving village." The temperance reform had 
swept away the distillery at Mason's factory, and " Gin-town " 
was transferred into Ruggles' factory. The Killingly Company 
owning Howe's factory was reorganized in 1828. Smaller fac- 
"tories on the Five ^Mile river were run by Ballou and Amsbury. 
The carding machine on the outlet of Alexander's lake had 
been superseded by a woolen factory. Great activity prevailed 
in the east part of the town, where some half dozen mills were 
propelled by the lively little Whetstone, under the patronage of 
Ebenezer Young, Richard Bartlett, Prosper Leftingwell, Asa 
Alexander, John S. Harris, Thomas Pray and others. An ag- 
gregate of twenty-five thousand spindles was reported, with 
three woolen mills, one furnace and one axe factory. In 1840 
Killingly boasted the largest population in Windham county, 
having gained upon Thompson, which stood at the head in 

Among the early manufacturing interests of Killingly was 
that of Calvin LetTmgwell, a native of Pomfret. who came to 
East Killingly in 1S28, and in company with Jedidiah Leav- 


ens built a mill for the manufacture of cotton cloth, of twenty- 
four looms. This mill, after running- many years and passing 
into other hands, was burned and not rebuilt. Mr. Leffingwell 
died at Daniclsonville in 1872. 

The first movement in the direction of establishing the 
Gospel ministry in Killingly was in 1708, when the court 
granted " liberty to the inhabitants of Killingly to survey and 
lay out one hundred acres of land within their township for 
the use and encouragement of a minister to settle there and 
carry on the worship of God among them." A hundred acres 
of land for the first settled minister were also pledged to the 
town by Captain Chandler, in presence and with concurrence 
of the selectmen. 

The first minister was Reverend John Fisk, of Braintree, 
Mass., a son of Reverend ]\Ioses Fisk and a graduate of Har- 
vard. His work probably began about 1710, religious services 
being held in private houses, alternating between different 
parts of the town. July 16th, 1711, the town agreed to give 
Mr. Fisk three hundred and fifty acres of land for his encour- 
agement to settle in the work of the ministry. Two hundred 
acres were laid out on French river, which were afterward 
proved to be beyond the bounds of Killingly. Seventy-five acres 
were laid out on the western slope of Killingly hill and seventy- 
five on Assawaga or Five Mile river. Stated religious services 
were probably held after this date by Mr. Fisk, though some 
years passed before his settlement, neighborhood ministers 
meanwhile being called in to administer baptism and other sac- 
raments as occasion required. 

In the summer of 1714, the meeting house was raised and 
covered. Its site was east of the Plainfield road, about one-fourth 
of a mile south of the present East Putnam meeting house. 
Nothing is known of its size and appearance, or of the circum- 
stances of its building. In the ensuing summer it was made 
ready for occupation, and preparations made for ch'urch organ- 
ization. September 15th, 1715, was observed in Killingly as a 
day of solemn fasting and prayer, preparatory to the gathering 
of a church and the ordination of a pastor. October 19th, 1715, 
a church was organized, and Reverend John Fisk ordained the 
pastor of it. The original members were: John Fisk, James 
Danielson, Peter Aspinwall, James Leavens, Sampson Howe,. 
Ebenezer Balman, Richard Bloosse, George Blanchard, Isaac 


Jewett, Thomas Gould and Stephen Grover. Sixteen additional 
communicants were adinitted into the church before the close 
y of the year. December 29th, 171,"), Peter Aspinwall and Eleazer 
^xft-n***'^ Balman were chosen deacons. The first marriage recorded by 
the young minister was that of William Larned to Hannah, the 
first of the seven notable daughters of Simon Bryant. The only 
incident of his dom.estic life that has come down to us is the 
burning of his house and all its contents one Sabbath when the 
family were attending public worship. The ministry of Rever- 
end Mr. Fisk was acceptable and prosperous, and large numbers 
were added to the church. His pastoral charge comprehended 
also the inhabitants north of Killingly. The hundred acres of 
land given by Captain Chandler to the first settled minister of 
Killingly were laid out to him in 1712, west of Five Mile river, 
a half mile east of the meeting house. 

This church prospered for a while. A season of special re- 
ligious interest in 172S-9 added sixty to its membership. Elea- 
zer Bateman, Jr., was chosen deacon in 1730, and Haniel Clark 
in 1733. :\Ir. Fisk remained in the pastorate till July 8th, 1741, 
when he was dismissed at his own request. During his ministry 
he had performed 403 baptisms, and admitted 254 members into 
full communion and 14S to the " half-way covenant." 

A protracted meeting house controversy followed the dismis- 
sion of Mr. Fisk. It was decided to build a new meeting house, 
and at the same time a division of the First society into two was 
contemplated. The people of each prospective society wished 
to have the new meeting house located so that it would fall 
within their own bounds when the division shoi;ld be made. 
The northern people wished it to stand near the old church, on 
Killingly hill, while the southern people wished it to be located 
on Breakneck hill. In October, 1743, the assembly, after hear- 
ing the case and reports of committees, decided that the latter 
site, which was nearly central to the society as then constituted, 
should be adopted. November 21st the society by a large vote 
refused to build on that site. The question was re-opened at a 
later meeting, in December, and a controversy in regard to the 
qualification of some proposed voters became so clamorous that 
the moderator dissolved the meeting, and most of the people 
went home. The southern party then having the field, reorgan- 
ized the meeting and voted to build a meeting house on Break- 
neck hill. A committee was appointed for the purpose, and the 


work was immediately carried forward. The " Breakneck party." 
though probably in the minority, had obtained the lead and 
were carrying things by storm. In the midst of the confusion 
and excitement that prevailed, a messenger was sent to report 
the irregular proceedings to the governor and council. On the 
day appointed for raising the meeting house frame, March 2Sth, 
1744, a large company gathered on the ground. When the 
frame was partly raised the northern party arrived upon the 
ground, with a message from the governor and council ex- 
pressing the opinion that it was irregular and " high handed dis- 
order " for any parly to carry forward the work of building, in 
defiance of the properly expressed determination of the society, 
even though the society had refused to do the bidding of the as- 
sembly. The opinion and advice was that it was the business 
of the assembly to see that its decrees were carried out, and was 
not proper for a part of the society to volunteer to act in that 
direction against the desires of the majority. The opinion and 
advice were not heeded by the builders, who went boldly forward 
with their work until the meeting house was raised and covered. 

The disgraceful wrangle between the two parties was carried 
to the assembly, and so well balanced were their counter 
charges against each other in respect to irregularities and un- 
fairness that the assembly were at a loss to know how to decide 
between them, and postponed any action till October, when it 
decided that the meeting house should stand and be finished 
where it was. The Breakneck party were now in triumphant 
gladness, but the northern people, as well as those in the ex- 
treme south, were not disposed to accept the situation. Thus 
the Killingly First society was broken into many factions. 
There was the Breakneck party, who wanted the society to re- 
main with a meeting house in the center. In the north and 
south ends of the societj- were factions striving for a division 
into two societies, so that each could be better accommodated 
with a meeting house near them. Then, to add to the complica- 
tions, the Separate or Xew Light movements were raging at this 
time, and this made subdivisons of each faction. 

In October, 174.'), the assembly divided the society and made 
two distinct societies of it. I'nder this act each claimed the pre- 
rogative of being the First society, and with this dispute they 
again repaired to the assembly. This, however, was quickly set. 
tied in favor of the north socictv. 


The First society and church no^v hastened to reorganize. 
The church at its reorg-anization, November 29th, 1745, was com- 
posed of the following- members: Joseph Leavens, Sr., Joseph 
Leavens, Jr., Thomas Moffatt, Daniel Whitmore. Joseph Cady, 
David Roberts, Sr., David Roberts, Jr., Samuel Buck, John 
Brown, Ebenezer Brooks, Francis Whitmore, John Roberts, An- 
drew Phillips, Ephraim Day, Benjamin Leavens, John Leavens, 
Thomas ^lighill. Reverend Pearley Howe was then pastor 
elect, and continued in that relation until his death, iSLarch 10th, 
1753, being then in his forty-third year. His wife was Damaris, 
daughter of Captain Joseph Cady. He received the commenda- 
tion of being "a highly respectable and useful minister." By 
consent of the town the First society in the last end of 1745 pro- 
ceeded to pull down the old meeting house and to build a new 
one about a quarter of a mile north of it, on the " cast side of the 
country road right against Xoah Leavens' dwelling house," 
where an acre of land had been given for the purpose by Justice 
Joseph Leavens. The house now erected was said to be super- 
ior to any other in the county. It had three great double doors, 
opening east, west and south ; large square pews, furnished 
with lattice work ; a high pulpit and sounding board ; galleries, 
front and sides, with rising seats and wall pews in the rear, and 
two flights of broad stairs leading to them. Reverend Aaron 
Brown, of Windsor, was ordained January 19th, 1754, and soon 
after married the widow of his predecessor. The society was 
divided into three school districts, each district maintaining- its 
own school. The church and society were now prosperous. Rev- 
erend Emerson Foster, the successor of Reverend Aaron Brown, 
was ordained here January 21st. 1778, the societ}' offering him 
^220 for settlement and ;^20 salary. Dissatisfaction soon arose, 
many withdrew to the Baptist society and it soon became diffi- 
cult to raise the money. In July, 1779, ]Mr. Foster was dismissed, 
and for a time religious services were maintained somewhat ir- 
regularly by Russel Cook and others for several years. Rever- 
end Elisha Atkins, of ]\liddletown, was installed in the pastoral 
office here June 3d, 17S7, the society granting two hundred 
pounds settlement, fifty-five pounds salary, and the cutting and 
drawing of the minister's firewood. The house was repaired and 
a belfry added and a bell procured and placed in it. Sampson 
Howe was to be paid twenty dollars a year for ringing the bell 
and sweeping the meeting house. Mr. Atkins proved a most ex- 


cellent pastor, and as a citizen was interested in all plans for 
public improvement. 

The old church was becoming out of repair, and a new one 
was talked of in 181 T), but nothing was done till the famous 
"September gale" damaged the building, so that repairs on it 
were no longer practicable. The remains of the old building 
were sold at auction, January 28th, 1818, and during the ensuing 
.summer a new house was built on "that part of the ancient 
meeting house lot lying between Providence and Killingly Turn- 
pike, and the road leading to the new factory, so called, near the 
east side of said lot." It is said the " spirits " used in raising this 
frame cost twenty-five dollars. 

Mr. Atkins continued in sole charge of the church on Killingly 
hill until 1833, when, after nearly a half century's service, he 
was compelled to employ a colleague. Reverends William Bush- 
nell, Sidney Holman and Henry Robinson, were successively in- 
■stalled in office ; the latter remaining in charge several years 
.after the death of the venerable pastor in 1839. Reverend James 
Mather appears to have been in charge of the church in 184G. 
Later history of this church will be found in connection with 
Putnam, in which town it is now situated. 

The society of Killingly being divided, as we have already 
.seen, into two societies, meeting houses and churches were es- 
tablished in both ends of the former society, and the meeting 
house on Breakneck hill not being available for either, it was of 
but little further use. It was used for various irregular religious 
services and for public town meetings, and after a number of 
years was taken down, and some of its timbers used in the con- 
struction of the town house at Killingly Centre. A few mould- 
ering gravestones on the rugged summit of Breakneck hill re- 
main to mark the neighborhood of its site. The church and 
• society were by the organization of others reduced to the merest 
remnants, which soon faded out entirely, the church records be- 
ing destroyed by iire, so that the details of the Breakneck church 
-are buried in oblivion. The church appears to have maintained 
strength enough to have a minister more or less of the time un- 
til about the end of the last century. 

The inhabitants in South Killingly were permitted, on ac- 
count of their remoteness from the Killingly hill meeting house, 
in the winter of 1734-35 to employ a minister to preach to them 
xiuring the winter season, though they were required to pay 


rates to the regular minister the same as before. In April, 1735, 
the assembly granted the South Killingly people, who then num- 
bered about one hundred and fifty souls, liberty " to hire an or- 
thodox minister five months in the year, and freedom from the 
ministerial tax during that period." This temporary exemption 
from rate-paying did not become their permanent privilege until 
1755, when they were released by the assembly from further 
charges to the South society, in which they were embraced in 
the division of 1745. This happy result was secured from the 
colonial government only by an appeal first to the throne of 
Great Britain in the reign of George II. The petition from 
South Killingly was the first to gain a favorable hearing in the 
colonial assembly. 

The same year in which the church worshipping on Break- 
neck hill was instituted (known as the South church in Killingly) 
a Separate church was organized in South Killingly, December, 
1746, with Stephen Spalding as clerk. In the early spring of 
the next year Stephen Spalding and John Eaton were chosen 
•deacons. April 27th, 1747, Samuel Wadsworth was elected pas- 
tor. His installation occurred June 3d, 1747, some of the most 
respected Separate ministers being present to assist in his ordin- 
ation — Reverend Matthew Smith, of Stonington, Reverend Jo- 
seph Snow, of Providence, Ebenezer Cleveland, of Canterbury, 
Isaac Backus, the church historian, and Oliver Prentice, of Ston- 

During the siiccessful ministry of jSIr. Wadsworth several of 
the remaining Indians were led to reform their lives and to unite 
with the church. ^Ir. Wadsworth's pastorate was terminated by 
his death in 17^2, and in November of that year a call was ex- 
tended to Reverend Thomas Denison. This relation was an un- 
happy one, lasting a little less than two years; to be followed by 
the very able and acceptable ministry of Eliphalet Wright, who 
was inducted into the pastoral office ]\Iay 16th, 1765. An im- 
portant work accomplished under his leadership was a revision 
and a re-signing of the church's articles of faith and covenant. 
The faith and covenant of the Plain field Separate church were 
voted " a good and wholesome system of our faith and practice 
and agreed to as our covenant, by which we will walk for the 
future looking for more light." 

In 1776 the Divine Spirit was sent down upon the people like 
gentle ram, which lasted for more than two vears, in which time 


about fifty persons were received into the church. This "be- 
loved pastor " met his death August 4th, 1784, from the effects 
of an injury received while leading a fractious animal. His 
burial place is in the old cemetery, as is also that of his predecessor, 
Samuel Wadsworth. The headstones of each are legible and in 
a good state of preservation. !Mr. Wright was an ardent patriot, 
shouldering his musket on one occasion and marching as far as 
Plainfield to repel the invading British. 

June 1st, 1785, Israel Day assumed the office made vacant by 
the death of ^Mr. Wright, Reverend Ebenezer Bradford, of Row- 
ley, Mass., preaching the installation sermon. Forty-one years 
Mr. Day went in and out before this people, resigning his charge 
in 1826, May 23d. In his ministry the church enjoyed two sea- 
sons of special religious interest and joyful ingathering of souls. 
In 1788 forty-nine were added to the church, and in 1800 and 
1801 sixty-four. A narrative of the latter remarkable revival 
from Mr. Day's own pen was published subsequently in the 
Evangelical Magazine. This man of God received a fatal injury 
in the barn of his grandson five years after he had laid down his 
charge. His loss was mourned through all the region round 
about. December 10th, 1881, was the date of his decease. His 
funeral sermon was preached by Daniel Dow, D. D., of Thomp- 
son, from Psalms 1, 5. Like his predecessors, }ilr. Day was bur- 
ied with his own people. In his long mini.stry he attended 750 

For the six years succeeding the resignation of Mr. Day, the 
pulpit was supplied only with occasional preaching by different 
ministers, whose names have not been preserved, as there are no 
existing church records of this period. A Reverend Mr. Whee- 
lock has left the strongest impression on the minds of those then 
living, and perhaps preached longer than any one else. Rever- 
end Mr. >;ott, son of the venerable Doctor Samuel Nott, of 
Franklin, and Reverend Mr. Holt, supplied for several months 

In April, 1832, John X. Whipple, a theological student from 
Bangor Seminary, began to labor with the church, and was here 
ordained as an evangelist }ilay 5th, Reverend Philo Judson, of 
Ashford, preaching the ordination sermon. Mr. Whipple con- 
tinued in the field until the spring of 1834. He again was act- 
ing pastor of the church in 1840-41 . One of the fruits of his first 
ministry was a revival that added 40 persons to the church. He 


was the first mover for a new church edifice. His other minis- 
terial service was in Maine, Rhode Island and Ohio, v\-here he 
died in the town of Lodi, December 29th, ISC"). 

For the the year 183-1-35 Reverend Alvin Underwood was the 
stated supply, of Avhose sitbseqncnt life and labors nothing has 
been ascertained. 

The years 1835-1840 constitute the second broken period of 
the history of the church. Reverend Thomas Williams, who had 
been ordained as " an evangelist to go out as a missionary " in 
the old church by Windham Association ]May 10th, 1804, preached 
during 1838. Mr. Williams died at the home of his son, Rever- 
end N. W. Williams, in Providence, September 29th, 1870, at the 
great age of 97, giving no indication of disease. He preached 
for the last time in his Ood year. He was a A'oluminous author 
and a man of eminent abilities. 

The minutes of the General Association of Connecticut de- 
clare the church " vacant " for 1837 and also in 1839. 

From July, 1842, to April, 1844, Reverend George Langdon 
was the acting pastor. He is now living in Lakewood, N. J., 
preaching as opportunity offers. A licentiate, Isaac C. Day 
(grandson of Israel), was employed to preach in x\pril, 1840. May 
28th, 1847, an ordaining council set him apart to the ministry of 
the Word, Reverend T. T. Waterman preaching the sermon. 
From physical causes }.Ir. Day was compelled shortly to leave 
the ministry-, and is now living in Providence. 

May 28th, 1849, Reverend Joseph Aver was invited to the pul- 
pit left vacant b}' the retirement of ISIr. Day. After supplying 
over a year, Mr. Ayer accepted a call to settle, and was installed 
January 22d, 1851, Alvan Bond, D.D., giving the installation ser- 
mon. This pastorate closed by the dismissal of Mr. Ayer ]March 
25th, 1850, by a council that convened in the Westfield church. 
Mr. Ayer's subsequent labors were with the churches at East 
Lyme, Voluntown and Sterling. He continued to preach till he 
was 77 years old. He entered into rest from the home of his 
son (Reverend C. L. Ayer) in Somersville, December 20th, 1875. 
It was in his pastorate that the creed and covenant of the 
Westfield church were adopted by this church as its faith and 

The church was now so reduced in numbers and strength 
that the meeting house was loaned in 1850 to the Free-will 
Baptists of the place and the vicinity, who organized a church 


that maintained its ordinances for ten years ; after which time 
most of its membership became identified with a new organi- 
zation—the Free Baptist Union church of Foster, R. I. Be- 
lieving that its work was not yet done, some friends of the 
ancient church made the attempt in 18GC to revive its life. 
Reverend David Breed (now over the church in West Stafford) 
was engaged to supply the pulpit one year, from April, ISGO. 

April 1st, 1S67, Reverend Ezra D. Kinney became acting pas- 
tor. In the summer of his first year the church united with 
him in an invitation to Reverend John D. Potter to engage 
in evangelistic service. Mr. Potter came the 4th of August 
and remained through the 9th, holding 16 meetings and preach- 
ing 13 times. His labors were attended with a great blessing, 
nearly 40 expressing hope in the pardoning mercy of God. 
From this revival 24 came into the church. April ISth, lvS69, 
Mr. Kinney preached his farewell sermon and then labored for 
a year at Sayville, L. I., when he removed to Darien, Conn., 
where he was fonnerly pastor for 21 years. He died October 
2d, 1873, aged 74. He was a large and successful worker in 
revivals, wrote much for religious newspapers, and was the 
author of a volume entitled "The Great Supper." 

Reverend AVilliam W. Atwater was employed as stated sup- 
ply July 25th, 1S69. Pulmonary disease seriously impaired his 
health in the fall of 1S72, and in February of the next year he 
removed to New Haven and became the librarian of Yale Law 
School, in which position he died March 14th, 1S74. 

In June, 1873. Reverend William H. Beard, of Andover, ]Mass., 
was engaged as acting pastor. Two seasons of special religious 
interest have been experienced — the first in the winter and 
spring of 1880, and the second in the winter and spring of 
1887. In 187G islr. Beard prepared a centennial sermon from 
Psalms 48: 12 and 13 — " Walk about Zion and go around about 
her ; tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks ; con- 
sider her palaces, that ye may tell it to the generation follow- 
ing," — giving a comprehensive history of the church. Two Sab- 
baths—July 16th and 23d — were occupied in its delivery, the 
people manifesting their appreciation of these historical dis- 
courses by a large attendance. 

There have been two meeting houses used by this church. 
The first stood for nearly a century on the north side of the 
turnpike, a few rods west of the present building. In 1837 the 


old church edifice gave %vay to the present one. When set apart 
to sacred uses, January 2d, 18H8, Reverend Sidney Holinan of 
North Killingly (Putnam Heights;, preached the sermon of dedi- 
cation. This second church has several times undergone repairs. 
The outlay and changes upon it in the summer of 18G8 were suf- 
ficient to justify a re-dedication. The ceremony took place 
August 19th, 186S, Reverend C. L. Ayer preaching the sermon 
from Exodus 25: 8, and Reverend Ezra D. Kinney offering the 
prayer of consecration. The bell that has sumraond the people 
together for more than a half century was the gift of Alexander 
Gaston, the father of ex-Governor Gaston of Massachusetts. 
For many years he was the principal merchant of the entire 
region, having his home and place of business near the church. 



Chestnut Hill.— Baptist Chuiclies.— Cotton Mills.— ElliottviUe Jlills.— Elniville 
Mills.— Attawaugan Mills.— M. E. Church.— Ballouville.-DaTYille.— Manu- 
factories.— Churches. — Societies. — ■\Villiamsville.— The Borough of Daniel- 
sonville.— Public Works. — Great Freshet.— Schools.— Churches.— Banks. — 
Music Hall. — Manufacturing Estahlishments.— ^lasonic and other Societies. — 
Newspapers. — BiogTa]ihical Sketches. 

IX the eastern part of the town of Killingly is the locality 
known as Chestnut hill, or East Killingly, the latter being 
the post office name, and properly comprehending several 
other localities within its limits. In this section are several 
mills and two Baptist churches, which will be noticed in detail 

The organization of the first Baptist church dates IMay 22d, 
1776. At that time the membership numbered thirty-two males 
and twenty-seven females. But little progress was made. A 
minister was employed for a short time, but about the year 1790 
the ordinances of the church were suspended and the effective- 
ness of the organization weakened. At one time the hand of 
fellowship was withdrawn by the neighboring churches on ac- 
count of disorderly proceedings, but on being restored a min- 
ister was obtained, and the work w'ent more smoothly forward. 
A renewal of the covenant was made in ISOO, at which six breth- 
ren and nine sisters subscribed themselves. The pastoral labors 
of Reverend Calvin Cooper, which lasted about a year, added 
about one hundred members to the church. While Reverend 
Albert Cole was in charge of the church, a revival in 1831 and 1S32 
added eighty-five members. About seventy more were added as 
the fruits of a revival which occurred in 183S, under the pastor- 
ate of Reverend X. Branch. Reverend James Smithcr was pas- 
tor of the church from 1S41 to 1843. During that time sixty- 
two members were added. 


The ministers of this church have been as nearly as can be 
ascertained as follows: George Robinson, July, 1776, dismissed, 

17S5; Campbell, a short time; Elders Lamb and John 

Cooper, 1786 to 179G; Elder Peter Rogers, 1796 to 1803; Calvin 
Cooper, September, 1805, ordained October 14th, to about 1826, 
being the longest pastorate the church has ever had; Elder Ap- 
pleton, between the years 1827 and 1830; Albert Cole, ordained 
December 1st, 1830, to about 1833; Reverend Jonathan Oatley, 
May, 1884, one year; Reverend Erastus Duty, 1836; N. Branch, 
1838; James Smither, 1841 to 1842; Tubal Wakefield, 1842 to 
1844; N. Branch, six months in 1844; Joseph Damon, 1845^6; L. 
W. Wheeler, 1847 to 1850; Henry Bromley, 1851, for six months; 
Ebcnezer Loomis, 1854; X. Branch, supply, 1855 to xVpril, 1856; 
Hurley Miner, 1857. about three years; J. Aldrich, 1860 to 1863, 
ordained January 19th, 1861; H. B. Slater, son of Deacon Silas 
Slater of this church, September, 1865, to February, 1866; Austin 
Robbins, April, 1866, to April. 1872; Curtis Kenny, 1874, four 
months; X. I\Iathewson, 1876; James Rhea. 1878. a short time; 
C. B. Rockwell, October. 1879, for one year; Charles Xichols, 
1880, one year; William C. Walker, 1882, a few months; Robert 
H. Sherman, ordained February 14th, 1884, resigned July 5th, 
1885. Since that date there has been no regular preaching in 
the church. 

The first house of worship was built at some time previous to 
1790. A new meeting house was begun about 1802, and com- 
pleted in the course of two or three years. The present house of 
worship was begun in 1834. and completed'about 1836, the cost 
being Sl,400. In 1843 twelve feet was added to its length, and a 
bell was purchased. In 18S2 extensive repairs and improvements 
were made, including the addition of a baptistery, an expense 
of $800. The deacons have been Ephraim Fisk, Jonathan Har- 
rington, Sampson Covil, Silas Slater, Bergen vSlater, John A. Ran- 
dall, Sampson B. Covil. John Murray, E. L. Barstow, Chauncey 
F. Barstow, Edward R. Oatley and Charles A. White. The 
church clerks have been X. Aldrich, P. Rowey, Samuel Bullock, 
X. A. Duriee, Benjamin Brown, Sampson B. Covil, George Pray 
and E. A. Hill. 

A Free Will Baptist church grew out of a union of elements 
at Foiter and Killingly some time previous to 1840. Elder Dan- 
iel ^Villiams preached in school houses in both places alternately 
till circumstances warranted starting a church here. Elder Wil- 


liams began preaching about 1825, but did not continue to 
preach regularly for a long time after the church was built. 
Land was bought of Susannah Peckham inlS51,and the erec- 
tion of a meeting house at once begun. The house was 30 by 40 
feet on the ground and 15 feet high. It was completed during 
the year. Pastors Amos Redlon (in ISGO), Cheeney, Burlingame, 
Bradbury, Baker, Isaac H. Coe and one Cortes (about 1SG5 and 
again in 1874), have at different times served the cliurch. Elder 
Childs, the last regular minister, served about four years, up to 
1887. Since then this church, with part of the otber Baptist so- 
ciety, have sustained preaching part of the time by temporary 
supplies. They are now supplied by Reverend William H. 
Beard, of the Congregational church at South Killingly. The 
membership of the church numbers about one hundred and 

From the heights of Chestnut hill across to the west side of 
the town, the Whetstone or Chestnut hill stream runs, carrying 
on its way a number of manufacturing establishments. It is a 
rapid running stream and in its upper course has a great fall, 
affording abundant power for driving mills. This has been im- 
proved to some extent, but not by any means to its full measure. 
The stream makes a descent of 175 feet in about a mile, carrying 
five mills on the way. We shall now notice the different mills 
on this stream. 
, The Chestnut Hill ]\Iill stands at the upper end of one of the 
.wildest and most precipitous gorges in the state. It has an 
available fall of twenty-seven feet. The mill was built about 
184G by Westcott & Fray. It fell into the hands of John Burgess, 
and afterward into the hands of Mayhew, Miller & Co., of Balti- 
more, Md. They leased it to Westcott & Pray, who ran it up to 
1859. Mayhew Miller, a son of one of the former proprietors, 
was placed in charge, and continued until 1869. The senior ^Slr. 
Pray then, in 18G9, bought it back, and Thomas Prav, Jr., ran it 
five years. The present owner, John L. Ross, too . ' about 1874, 
and has run it since that time. Light .sheetings, ■ ', ■;. 52 picks, 
are made. The mill is fitted with 104 forty-inch loo. -, a id G,000 
spindles. About sixty hands are employed, and 25,0 ■ -rds a 
week are turned out. The building is of stone, 3G by : feet, 
four .stories high, with two wings, one 49 by 37 feet, two ; 'es, 
and the other 3G by 40 feet, two stories high, PI. H. Ha. r/ .H 
is the efficient superintendent. 


Scarcely more than a stone's throw below the last mentioned 
are the Albion Mills, sometimes called Youngs' Mill. Here we 
find a remarkable fall of seventy-two feet available to this mill. 
It is devoted to the manufacture of cotton yarns, having 26 cards, 
100 looms, 0,000 spindles, two steam boilers, besides tv.-o water_ 
wheels. The mill is in the hands of trustees — C. L. Tiffany, 
of New York, J. A. Williams, of Danielsonville; and George 
D. Handy, superintendent. This mill was one of the first built 
on this stream, the date of its origin being about 1S15. It is 
owned by the heirs of Ebenezer Young, and has so been oper- 
ated for years. The main building is about 50 by 75 feet, five 
floors, and two wings adjoin, one about 50 by GO, four floors, and' 
the other 45 by 60, three stories high. 

About one-fourth of a mile below, we come to the Whitestone 
Mills. This mill was first built by Westcott & Pray in 1858. 
The stream here affords an available fall of about thirty feet. 
The building is about 160 by 50 feet, four floors, with a two- 
story wing about 50 feet long. Connected Avith it are two stone 
buildings, each of which is a twelve-tenement house, three stories i 

high. Cotton sheetings and baggings are made here. The mill 
has 150 looms and 8,03-2 spindles. Steam is used in connection 
with water power when necessary. The superintendent is Frank 

About one-third of a mile below the last mentioned, we come 
to the Himes' or Robinson's Mill. This is a building about 160 
by 50 feet on the ground, having three floors, and a wing of brick 
30 by 40 feet, two stories high. The main mill is built of stone. 
Cotton is manufactured. 

A short distance below are the Valley Mills, a building about 
110 by 80 feet, four floors, which has been standing idle for the 
last year or two. Mr. A. W. Greenslit was superintendent, and 
the mill was furnished for the manufacture of print cloths, hav- 
ing 174 looms and 6.S<>0 spindles. 

This locality is known as Elliottville. A fall of some twenty- 
four feet is obtained here. A short distance below the last men- 
tioned, we come to the Elliottville ]\Ii!ls of James P. Kendall, of 
which James Dixon is superintendent. It is a handsome stone 
building, about 40 by 75 feet, four floors, with a wing 40 by 50 
feet, also four floors. Fine cotton yarns and warps are manufac- 
tured. The mill has 7,000 spindles. 


A space of about two miles intervenes between the last men- 
tioned and the next mill on the stream below. This is Sayles' 
Mill at Elmville. This is a brick and stone mill of four floors, 
in size about 40 by 100 feet. It is owned by the Sabin L. Sayles 
Company, of Dayville, as a branch of their more extensive works 
at that place. 

About one-fourth of a mile below the latter is the Hopkins 
Mill. This is sometimes called the Exeter Mill. It is owned by 
Mr. T. E. Hopkins, and is employed in the manufacture of fancy 
cassimeres. It is furnished with five sets of cards, twenty-four 
broad looms, 1,CS0 spindles, and also has a dye house. Besides 
,the water wheel it is provided with two steam boilers for emer- 
gency. The factory is a wooden building, about 150 by 40 feet 
and three stories high. 

The Elmville ^lills of C. D. & C. S. Chase, which occupy a 
site about one-fourth of a mile below the last, were started a long 
time ago. They were owned by Alfred Potter. About twelve 
years ago the mill was burned, it being a wooden building. A 
brick mill was then erected, 175 by 50 feet, having three floors. 
The present company have had possession of the mill since Jan- 
uary 1st, ISSG. The mill is furnished with four sets of cards and 
twenty-five broad looms. It has also a dye house. Fancy cassi- 
meres are made. About SO hands are employed and 150,000 
yards annually produced. 

The Attawaugan }>Ianufacturing Company have three mills lo- 
cated on Five ]Mile river, in the northern part of the town of Kil- 
lingly. Railroad connection is made at Dayville, about two 
miles below. It was organized in 1859. Mr. H. B. Norton, of Nor- 
wich, is president ; L. Blackstone, of Norwich, secretary and 
treasurer, and W. L. Blackstone of the same city, agent. The 
superintendents are Calvin 11. Frisbie and Chancy C. Chace. The 
company employ in these three mills about five hundred hands, 
running eight hundred and four looms and thirty-six thousand 
spindles. The products are fancy dress goods, sheetings, shirt- 
ings and cambrics. The president is about eighty years of age, 
and in possession of remarkable physical and mental vigor and 
business tact. The treasurer is about seventy-five years of age, 
and has traveled extensively. The corporation adopts a liberal 
policy toward its employes. 

In the year 1S59, Reverend L. B. Bates, as preacher in charge 
of the West Thompson M. E. church, formed a Methodist class 


at Ballouville, and appointed Mr. Eli.sha Baker leader. The class 
at one time numbered forty-two members. During the summer 
of 1870 the Attawaupf^n }vlanufacturing Company built a commo- 
dious and attractive church edifice, and gave the use of the same 
to the people of Attawaugan, Ballouville. and the surrounding 
community for religious purposes. Notwithstanding the fact 
that the company were members of the Congregational church, 
Norwich, no denominational preferences Avere urged. The voice 
of the people was to decide what order of preaching should be 
adopted. In the autumn of 1S7U this house of divine worship was 
dedicated with appropriate and impressive services. The dedica- 
tory sermon was preached by Reverend J*Ir. Meriman, pastor of 
Second Congregational church, Norwich. The pastors of the evan- 
gelical churches in this and in the adjoining villages were pre.s- 
ent, and assisted in the exercises. Reverend Shadrach Leader 
represented the ]\t. E. church, being stationed at the time at Dan- 
ielsonville. The following January a Sunday school was organ- 
ized, and ^Ir. Joseph Wheaton, a member of the Baptist church, 
Putnam, was elected superintendent. 

In April, 1871, by request of the people, a preacher was sent 
by the Providence ]\I. E. Conference, in the person of Reverend 
Nelson Goodrich. An attempt to organize a Union church 
proved unsatisfactory, and in ]\Iarch, 1872, the people decided to 
organize a Methodist Episcopal church in due form, and this de- 
cision was immediately carried into execution. The ten mem- 
bers composing it were John Aspinwall, Louisa j. Aspinwall, 
Elisha Baker, ^Mary Baker, Amanda A. Baker, Amy A. Baker, 
John O. Fisher, L. W. S. Fisher, Sarah "Whiddcn and Laura Ed- 

Pastors to this church, beginning with April of each year have 
been as follows: Reverend AV. \V. Ellis, 187-3-r); J. 6. Dodge, 
187."); C. :^Iorse, 187G ; C. Hammond, 1877; D.J. Griffin, 1878; 
R. D. Dyson, 1879; D. L. Brown, 1880; W. A. Luce, 1881 ; S. 
Sprowls, 1882; E. |. Ayres, 1883; O. A. Farley, 1884-0 ; William 
Kirkby. 188G; G. W. Wright, 1887^8; BI. H. Moller, 1889. The 
membership of the church now numbers about one hundred. A 
Parish Association was formed in 1887, with Chancy C. Chace, 
president; Mrs. Almond Bosworth and Mrs. Thomas Holt, vice- 
presidents ; and Calvin H. Frisbie, secretary and treasurer. The 
church building is not in the hands of trustees, but all the prop- 
erty associated with the church, including the church edifice, 


Blackstoue Hall and a parsonage, are owned by the Attawaugan 
Manufacturing Company,. 

Dayville lies in the northwestern part of the town of Killingly, 
on the Assawaga or FIyc Mile river. It has a population of 
about IjOOO, and is in general a modern manufacturing village. 
The Norwich & Worcester railroad has a station here, and by 
that means this is made the shipping point for scYcral manu- 
facturing villages around, such as AVilliamsville, Attawaugan, 
Ballouville, Elmville and Chestnut hill. The railroad station is 
known as Dayville, but the post office is Killingly. It contains 
the woolen goods manufactory of the Sabin L. Sayles Company, 
the principal industrial institution, and two churches. 

Business was started up here some forty or fifty years ago. 
Dayville was then commended for its neat appearance, and for a 
bridge composed of two finely constructed arches of stone, each 
25 feet broad and 12 feet high. Captain John Day sold two- 
thirds of this privilege to Prosper and William Alexander, and | 
joined with them in building and equipping a cotton factory, in | 
1832. Caleb Williams, of Providence, purchased the Quinebaug | 
privilege, and erected a handsome building in 1827, at what is '| 
now Williamsville. This village started up with fresh vigor on 
the opening of the railroad. Mr. Ezekiel Webster was promi- 
nent in its early building up. He erected a hotel and many 
private dwellings, engaging also largely in the lumber trade, in- 
troducing a steam mill and lumber working machinery. 

In 1846 Mr. John Day put up a new brick factory and carried 
on manufacturing till the destruction of the building in ]8!")8. 
when the privilege and accommodations were purchased by 
Messrs. S. and H. Sayles, who built up extensive woolen manu- 
factures. Sabin L. and Harris C. Sayles, of Pascoag, R. I., came 
here about twenty-five years ago. They began work with two 
small mills of two sets of carding machinery in each mill. This • 
was on the Whetstone river. The business was enlarged in 
18.")G, and two years later it was burned down. This was in 1858, 
and in sixty days after the fire a nev,- mill was built by them at 
Dayville, ready to go to work, and containing four sets of ma- 
chinery. This mill has been several times enlarged since that 
time, until it became a thirteen set mill. The growth of the bus- 
iness still requiring additional facilities, a new sixteen set mill 
was erected, and opened in March, 18S3. This is a modern mill 
building, with model appliances for manufacturing. The new 


mill is built of brick, and is 50 by 200 feet in size and five floors 
high, including one floor in the roof. The old firm of S. & H. 
Sayles was dissolved in 1S79, by the retirement of H. C. Sayles, 
and in 18S2 took the riame of the Sabin L. Sayles Company, by 
the admission of Charles A. Russell into the business, which re- 
ceived a special act of incorporation in 1883, by which its capital 
stock is fixed at $200,000. The new corporation received the 
business and property of the former company in October, 1883. 
The officers of the new company were : Sabin L. Sayles, presi- 
dent ; Charles A.Russell, treasurer; and Benjamin Cogswell, 
superintendent. The water power for this mill is supplied from 
a i^eservoir of 1,300 acres, with a fall of seventeen feet, and a 
Risdon water wheel of 190 horse power. A Wheelock engine of 
17.5 horse power is kept in reserve for use in emergencies. The 
works nov: employ about 250 hands, and use about 500.000 pounds 
of wool annually, the product amounting to about 325,000 broad 
yards of cloth. Certain parts of the work are carried over at 
the Elmville mills, which are run in connection with this estab- 

The Dayville Congregational church was organized Llay 23d, 
1849. Its constituent members were mostly dismissed from the 
three Killingly churches. The church had at first about thirty- 
five members, and for a time seemed to prosper. The former 
pastor of Danielsonville church (Westfield), Reverend Roswell 
Whitmore, served as pastor until 1857, completing a term of 
eight and a half years. By a change of the mill owners and the 
introduction of a new class of population the church suffered a 
decline. Only three or four of the original members are still 
living here. After ]SIr. Whitmore the church was supplied for 
a while. Reverend Daniel W. Richardson was settled here in 
the spring of 1802, and was dismissed in the fall of 1SG5. About 
that time the church had some seventy members. Reverend F. 
E. M. Bachelor served the church about two and one-half years. 
He had also been a supply previous to this time. John II. ;Mel- 
ish came in the spring of 1808, and served the church as pastor 
for three years. In 1871 Mr. Bachelor returned again, remaining 
this time about two years. Reverend Edward S. Huntress was 
pastor from about 1879 to 1883. Reverend John Parsons served 
the church from the spring of 1883 to the fall of 1884. He was 
followed by Reverend Henry Kimball, who remained from 18S4 
to the fall of 1888. Reverend Mr. Flint, from Martha's Vine- 


yard, commenced his pastorate in June, 18S9. The meeting 
house was built in 18-i9. A parsonage was built in 1871. The 
present resident membership of the church numbers about 

St. Joseph's Roman Catholic church stands in the west part of 
the village. Land for its site was donated by Sabin L. Sayles, 
the deed for the same being dated November 29th, 1881. The 
lot contains about three acres, and the church was built upon it 
soon after the date of the deed. This section was at first made 
a mission of the Danielsonville church. The first priest estab- 
lished here was Father Thomas Ariens, who had a parochial res- 
idence built about 1882. About the year 1880 the pastor was 
changed and Father T. J. Dunn took charge. He remains at the 
present time. 

Marvin Waite Post, Xo. 51, G. A. R., was organized June 23d, 
1880, with thirty-five charter members. It was named in honor 
of a son of Hon. John T. Waite, who held the office of lieutenant 
and was killed in the battle of Antietam. The post was organized 
in Dayville, and its first officers were : Albert W. Burgess, com. ; 
James H. Rice, S. V. C. ; Jaines Adams, J. Y. C. ; Albert A. Ar- 
nold, adjt. ; Thomas W. Stevenson, O. of D. The following 
have served successively as commanders of the post : Albert W. 
Burgess, 1880-81 ; James Rice, 1882 ; Thomas Stevenson, 1883; 
Newton Phillips, 1884-85 ; Henry E. Baker, 1886 ; Jabez R. 
Bowen, 1887; Alexander Bryson, 1888; Caleb Blanchard, 1889. 
The present membership is about thirty-five. The post meets 
in G. A. R. Hall in Webster's building. A Woman's Relief 
Corps, No. 31, is attached to it. This was organized in ]\Iarch, 
1888. Miss Elizabeth M. .Sayles has been president of it since 
its organization. 

Assawaga Lodge, No. 20, A. O. U. W. (Ancient Order of United 
Workmen) was instituted at Dayville ^Lay 29th, 1883, with nine- 
teen charter members. The first officers were : Day F. Lovett, 
past master workman; Charles J. Sweet, master workman; 
Newton Phillips, foreman; W. P. Kelly, receiver; Etigene 
Peck, overseer; F. W. Bennett, recorder; F. H. Cummings, | 

financier. Successive master workmen have been : Charles 
J. Sweet. 1883; F. W. Bennett, 1884-85; Calvin H. Frisbie, 
18SG; A. H. Bo.sworth, 1SS7; Doctor FL L. Hammond, 1888; 
Charles E. Young, 1889. The present membership is about 
eighty. The lodge is in a flourishing condition. It has lost 


two members by death — Charles J. Sweet and Benjamin Cogs- 
well, the families of each of whom received $2,000 benefit from 
the lodge. 

John Lyon Lodge, Xo. 45, Knights of Pythias, was organized 
at Dayville February 27th, ISSS, with fifty members at the com- 
mencement. The lodge was named after Past Grand Chancellor 
Lyon, of the state, who had then recently died. The first officers 
were : H. L. Hammond, P. C. ; W. H. Edwards, C. C. ; John B. 
Tucker, V. C. ; G. E. King. P. ; James Purnett, M. of E. ; E. M. 
Randall, ^I. of F. ; F. J. Sayles, K. of R.& S. ; George S. Brown, 
AL of A. : N. E. Bowen, L G. ; H. M. Burgess, O. G. The officers 
for the term beginning July. 1S88, were : C. A. Stokes, C. C. ; 
George S. Brown, V. C. ; H. F. Harrington, P. Officers begin- 
ning January, 1889, were: George S. Brown, C. C. ; H. F. Har- 
rington, V. C, to May 7th, 1880, when he resigned and Thomas 
Richmond was elected in his stead ; Fred. A. Hopkins, P. The 
lodge has a nicely furnished hall in Sayles' Building, called 
Pythian Hall. The furniture and equipments, including a cab- 
inet organ, cost about S60(), and the lodge has a financial show- 
ing of S900 in bank. It is in a prosperous condition, and the 
membership has now reached about seventy. iVIr. H. S. Garce- 
lon, of this lodge, is District D. G. C. for the Thirteenth district, 
which includes Danielsonville, Dayville and Putnam. The mem- 
bership of the lodge includes nearly all the business men of the 
village and vicinity, including congressman Charles A. R^issell 
and others of wide reputation. 

Division No. 1, of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, was or- 
ganized in ]\Iay, 1888. The following officers were then elected, 
and they remain to the present time unchanged ; William Pen- 
dergast, president; Heur}' Ouinn. vice-president ; Philip Moft'att, 
recording secretary : John J. Ouiun, financial secretary: Peter 
Flinn, treasurer. The present membership of the lodge is about 

At Williamsville on the Ouinebaug, in the western border of 
the town, is a factory village, the initial factory of which was 
erected by Caleb Williams in 1827. That first mill was what is 
now the north wing of the mill, in size 141 by 44 feet and four 
series high. After Williams the mill was owned by S. & W. 
Foster. In 1849 they formed a corporation composed of Sam- 
uel and William Foster and John Atwood. The company has j 
remained to the present time, except that some of the owner- . | 



ship has passed to the heirs of individual owners. The original 
Samuel Foster, hov.-ever, is still the president and treasurer 
of the company. 11. C. Atwood is now secretary and assistant 
treasurer. The present main building is 417 feet long by 49 
feet wide and four stories high. Of the length of the build- 
ing 1C5 feet was built in ISOO, and the remaining 252 feet 
length was built in 1S7G. The entire building, old and new, 
is of stone. It contains 600 looms and 23,000 spindles. Cot- 
ton shirtings are manufactured. Water is used, and four steam 
boilers stand ready to do the work when the four water wheels 
fail to furnish power sufficient. H. C. Atwood is the superin- 
tendent of the w orks. The village which surrounds the mill 
belongs to the company. There are 105 tenements. A building 
for school and church has been built by the company for the vil- 
lage. A school is kept by the district in the basement, and the 
upper room is used for a church. The building was erected 
about 1868. 

A Congregational church was organized here June 4th, 1883, 
with about thirty members. The first minister serving as pas- 
tor was Reverend E. S. Huntress, who served the church tip to 
February, 1884. He was followed by Reverend A. C. Hurd, who 
came in May, 18S4, and stayed till October, 1885. Reverend O. 
D. Hine began his ministry in December, 1885, and remains to 
the present time. The church has at present about thirty-five 
members. The Sunday school in connection with it numbers 
about sixty. 

The borough of Danielsonville was created by an act of as- 
sembly in May, 1854. The boundaries given in the charter are 
as follows, comprising parts of the towns of Killingly and Brook- 
lyn: " Beginning at a stake and stones southeast of the Kies 
tavern, so called, thence north 191 degrees east, four hundred 
and twenty-five rods, to a heap of stones on the north side of 
the road leading east from the house of David Fisher; thence 
north 67 degrees west, two hundred and four rods to a white 
oak tree on the north side of the road leading from Westfield to 
the house of Jacob Danielson, a little east of the bridge over 
Five Mile river ; thence north 52| degrees west, thirty-eight 
rods on the north side of said road to a turn in the same; thence 
north 70 degrees west, eighty rods, to a heap of stones by a wall 
in Jacob Danielson's meadow; thence south 18| degrees west, 
four hundred and seventy-three rods and twelve links, to a stake 


nnd stones eig:ht rods south^vest of the Cundall barn; thence 
south 71f dej^-rees east, three hundred and seven rods and five 
links, to the first mentioned bound." The officers of the borough 
were to consist of a warden, six burgesses, a clerk, treasurer and 
bailiff, to be annually chosen on the second Monday in April. 
By the terms of the charter the first meeting of the borough 
was held at Rothwell's Hall, July 8th, 1854. Rothwell's Hall is 
now C. H. Bacon's furniture store. 

In form the borough is nearly square; the easterly line is 425 
rods long, the westerly line 473 rods, the southerly line 307 rods, 
and the northerly line 322 rods. It contains 883 acres, including 
ponds, rivers and all surfaces. The total length of streets in 
the borough is nine miles and seventy-four rods, all but 289 rods 
of which are on the Killingly side. In July, 18GS. the legisla- 
ture amended the charter so as to give the borough the super- 
vision of street repairs, but in May, 1881, this right was relin- 
quished to the towns. The streets were first named by the 
borough authorities May 22d, 1862, and the sidewalks laid out and 
established. The borough hall was built in May, 1868, at a cost 
of $2,700, the lot on which it stood costing 8300 additional. The 
growth of the borough may be inferred from the following sta- 
tistics. The number of houses and amount of taxable property 
in the borough at different dates have been as follows: 1855. 195, 
$176,680; 1802. 216, 8225,156; 1867, 248, 8862,589; 1870, 299, 81,- 
104,426; 1875, 341, 81.131,895; 1880, 367, $1,129,563; 1884, 378, $1,- 
215,786; 1889, 428, $1,350,110. There are in the borough forty- 
seven buildings, exclusive of dwellings, used as stores, school 
houses, churches, mills, shops and manufactories. In 1861 the 
population of the borough was 2,190. In 1885 it was 3,215. Of 
the last number the population on the Brooklyn side was 1,140, 
while that of the Killingly side was 2,075. Of the population of 
the borough Americans number 1,866, and French number 1,346. 
Of the Americans there are 267 on the Brooklyn side and 1,599 
on the Killingly side. Of the French population there are 873 
on the Brooklyn side, and 476 on the Killingly side. Of the 
American population in the borough there are 831 males and 
1,035 females. Of the French population there are 582 males 
and 767 females. Of the American population 674 are under 21 
years of age, and of the French population 872 are under 21 
years of age. 

The wardens of the borough have been as follows : George 
Danielson, 1854; A. D. Lockwood, 1855; Horatio Webb, 1850-61; 


W.C.Tucker, 18G2; E. L. Cundall, 1803-64; Samuel Hutchins 
1805; L. H. Rickard, 1S6C; Abiier Young, 18G7-GS ; Anthony 
Ames, 1869; B. F. Chapman, 1870 71 ; George Leavens, 1872-73 
E. R. Burlingame, 1874 ; L. H Rickard, 1875-76 ; B. A. Bailey 
1877; Anthony Ames, 1878; L. II. Rickard, 1870; Thomas J 
Evans, 1880; William H. Chollar. 1881; M. P. Dowe, 1882; Joshua 
Perkins, 1883-85; George Jencks, 1880; Frederick A. Jacobs, 
1887 ; Sidney W. Crofut, 1888-89. 

The borough clerks have been as follows: Amasa Dowe, 1854 
-56 ; Joshua Perkins, 1857-02; O. P. Jacobs, 1863-68; M. P. Dowe, 
1809-71; C. N. Capron, 1872-75 ; C. H. Keach, 1870-80; E. L. 
Palmer, 1881-87 ; C. C. Young, 1888-89. The borough treasurers 
were William B. Tobey, 1854-55; William B. Knight, 1850-67 ; 
Joshua Perkins, 1858-62 ; O. P. Jacobs, 1863-68 ; M. P. Dowe, 
1869-71 ; H. N. demons, 1872-73; C. N. Capron, 1S7-J-75; C. H. 
Keach, 1876-80; E. L. Palmer, 1881-87; C. C. Young, 1888-89. 

The borough at a very early date gave attention to protecting 
its people and their property against accidental fires. It was 
voted October 16th. 1854, that a fire engine should be purchased. 
The engine was purchased in Troy, N. Y., March 19th, 1855, at a 
cost of $990, and the burgesses named it the " Quinebaug." 
April 4th, 1855, the borough voted to purchase 500 feet of leather 
hose at 80 cents a foot. ^.linnetexit Fire Company was organized 
July 11th, 1855, and the name of the engine was changed to 
"Minnetexit," to correspond. A hook and ladder company was 
organized August 15th, 1855, with ten ladders and hooks, and 
the borough voted to purchase 300 feet of leather hose. Trucks 
for ladders and hooks were purchased in July, 1873, at a cost of 
S500, The steam fire engine, "Gen. Putnam," was purchased 
March 14th, 1878, of the Silsby Manufacturing Co., of Seneca 
Falls, X. Y., at a cost of 83,550. 

In order to provide means for the successful operation of this 
apparatus the borough voted to build ten cisterns, August 21st, 
1866; and September 15th, 1882, voted to build two more on the 
Brooklyn side, the first ten being on the Killingly side. These 
were built in the following locations: 1. Corner Mechanic and 
Academy streets; 2. Main .street near Congregational church; 3. 
Main street near Logee's bakery ; 4. Corner Main and North 
streets, near B. F. Chapman's; 5. Corner ^Mechanic and Oak streets, 
near William A.Chase's; 6. Reynolds street, near Thomas Brad- 
ford's; 7. Cottage street, near Bond street, near Loren Bates'; 8. 


Corner Furnace and Franklin streets, near M. V. Woodwortli's; 9. 
Broad street, near Christian hill; 10. Corner Winter and Spring 
streets, near Anthony Ames'; 1 1 . Main street (Rroolclyn side), near 
J. K. Green's; 12. Same street, near William Chapman's. No. 1 
contained -14.7 hogsheads and about $500. The remaining 
eleven had each a capacity of 2,jO hogsheads, and cost $300 each. 
The borough is about to be supplied with water by the Crystal 
Water Company, of Boston, who are now at work putting in 
the pipes to supply the streets with water. A conduit from 
a reservoir, about three miles northeast of the borough, brings 
water down to the village, and another reservoir, on a hill 
near the village, is being constructed for high pressure pur- 
poses, to be used in cases of fire. This will give ' a pressure 
of seventy-five pounds to the square inch at the railroad cross- 
ing on Main street. 

Street lights were established in Mc\y. 1SS2. The lamps and 
lamp posts, ninety-four in number, cost $7.25 each, and are 
owned by the borough. The burners are owned by the Globe 
Gas Light Company, who hold patents upon them. The lamps 
are lighted by this company for six cents per burner per 
night, for twenty nights every month. The Quinebaug Com- 
jjany owns and lights six gas lamps for the borough on the 
same terms, making a round hundred' lamps lighted at the 
expense of the borough. Electric lights are now being talked 
of, and negotiations are pending which will probably give the 
borough the benefit of them very soon, perhaps by the time 
this work comes into the hands of its readers. 

The village is named after a ^Ir. Danielson who built a 
grist mill at this place many years ago, some notice of which 
has already been given in another chapter. The present vil- 
lage is the growth of but half a century. In that time it has 
gained a remarkable degree of maturity. Its streets are well 
laid out, handsomely shaded and lined with neat and home- 
like residences, though but few of them are gorgeous in ap- 
pearance. Upon the completion of the Norwich & Worcester 
railroad the depot became the central point about which the vil- 
lage was destined to grow up. Business and manufacturing be- 
gan on the opposite side of the river, but caine over to the rail- 
way station, where now we find a large number of stores, 
churches, hotels, banks and other institutions. The principal in- 
dustrial support of the village is its manufacturing interest. 


The largest establishment in this line, the Quinebaug mills, it is 
said furnishes the means of support for about one-third of the 
inhabitants of the village. The Quinebaug here is a powerful 
stream, and the Assawaga joins it at this point, in the lower part 
of the village. Very substantial bridges have been built over 
these streams at this place. An iron bridge over the Quinebaug 
was built a few years since, at a cost of about $9,000, the expense 
of which was divided between the towns of Killinglyand Brook- 
lyn. Mr. Ezekiel R. Burlingame was first selectman at the time 
and was instrumental in having it built. A stone arch bridge 
was built over the Assawaga, near its junction with the Quine- 
baug, at a cost of $.5,000. This bridge was completed in the early 
part of 18S9. 

In the great flood of 1S8G this town did not suffer so heavily 
as some otlier towns did, but the event was one which is not soon 
to be forgotten. An account given at the time draws the follow- 
ing picture: 

"As long as they live, the youngest people of the present gener- 
ation will never forget the exciting experiences of the great 
freshet of February, ISSG. Early Friday evening the pouring 
warm rain upon the large amount of snow on the streets of the 
village, and the fields and roads in the vicinit) , brought appre- 
hension of a severe freshet to many minds, especially to the 
agents and others connected with the manufacturing corpora- 
tions. By 10 o'clock Main street and the sidewalks were a river. 
At the corner of Spring street and near the Monument the water 
was high enough to cover rubber boots, and pedestrians who 
were out at that late hour reached their homes in the west part 
of the village with difficulty. Saturday morning the walks on 
either side of Main street were covered with light clay that must 
have come from a considerable distance. 

" At early daylight a tide of people began to move toward the 
iron bridges across the Five Mile river, where the mad rushing 
waters seemed bent on the greatest possible amount of damage. 
Hundreds of people were at this spot all day, and one seemed 
fascinated as the surging tide rushed against the abutments and 
swept in a wild current over the dam, then under the bridges 
and dashed against the rocky impediments below. One crowd 
would leave the spot and move on to the Quinebaug river, where 
even a more fascinating spectacle would meet the eyes of the 
spectators, only leaving space for other groups; and so the pro- 


cession kept passing through the clay. The mills were stopped 
on account of back water, and in fact business of all kinds 
seemed to be suspended in the village for the day. 

" Early in the day Selectman Burlingame sent a party out for 
two long timbers, and these were joined to the upper iron bridge 
by heavy chains, and this precaution was not taken any too soon, 
for in a few hours one side of that bridge began to settle. These 
heavy timbers alone saved it, and probably both, for if one had 
gone the other v.'ould probably have followed it. The loss will 
be only hundreds of dollars instead of thousands by this timely 

"In the Quinebaug river the volume of water was immense, 
and as cakes of ice, wood and other heavy things struck the piers 
and embankments of that long bridge, there seemed danger that 
it might succumb to the furious assault, and that communication 
between Danielsonville and Brooklyn people — who have so many 
interests in common — would be imperiled for a season. And 
the danger began to be more imminent as the waters began to 
make a perceptible breach in the northwest embankment. By 
evening half of this embankment, reaching back more than a 
dozen feet, had been swept away, and the north side of the 
bridge hung over the river without any appai^ent support. The 
break, however, stopped, and the bridge is saved, to the surprise 
and gratification of the people of both towns. About noon, Sat- 
urday, the foot bridge across the Quinebaug river, belonging to 
the Quinebaug Company, after quivering for a time from the at- 
tack of ice, etc., gave way, and the debris went on its rapid 
course toward Long Island Sound. Water entered the old Tif- 
fany Mill, belong-ing to the Quinebaug Company, until it was 
nearly three feet deep in the first story." 

Great interest has been taken in the public schools of this vil- 
lage. Two graded schools are in operation, one in each town. 
Commodious brick buildings have been erected, one in each dis- 
trict. The borough on the east side of the Quinebaug is District 
No. 1, of Killingly, while that part of the borough which lies 
west of the river is Xo. 9, of Brooklyn. In the former there are 
about 537 scholars, and in the latter 347. The school in Xo. 1 is 
accommodated in a handsome brick building, built in the sum- 
mer of 1871 at a cost of about §25,000. A high school, which is 
carried on in this building, belongs to the whole town, and re- 
ceives pupils from any district in the town without charge. The 


high school was opened December Gth, 1871. and the first class 
graduated from it in 1872. Up to the present time the total num- 
ber of graduates has been 119. This school, including the 
graded school connected with it in the same building, employs 
ten teachers. The school in Di-strict Xo. 9, in Brooklyn, has an 
attendance of about three hundred, and employs five teachers. 
The building is a handsome brick structure, and was erected 
about the same time or a little previous to the other. The ca- 
pacity of these schools is hardly sufficient for the growth of the 
village, but they will be relieved by the opening of the Cath- 
olic parochial school, which is to accommodate a large percent- 
age of the foreign population. 

Under the supposition that the remnant of the church which 
had worshipped in the Breakneck meeting house would recog- 
nize and allow their minister to hold services in it, some enter- 
prising persons built a meeting house in the western part of 
Killingly, in 1798. But being disappointed in their expectations, 
they proceeded to organize a church in the western locality and 
cut loose from the old church. Doctor Penuel Hutchins and 
IMr. Robert Howe gave the building site for this new house. The 
organization of the church was effected by a council, of which 
Reverend Josiah Wliitney was moderator, August 25th, 1801. 
It was called the Church of "West Killingly. The following 
were its constituent members: Zadoc Spalding, Boaz Stearns, 
Abigail Stearns, Zadoc Hutchins, James Danielson, Penuel 
Hutchins, Samuel Stearns, Shubacl Hutchins, Elizabeth Hutch- 
ins, ]Mary Stearns, Sarah L. Danielson, Hannah Spalding and 
Anna Kies. The first pastor of the church was Gordon Johnson 
of Farmington, ordained December 12th, lSO-1. It made but 
sloAv advances for several years. The only additional members 
during its first eleven years of existence were the pastor and 
four women. 

Mr. Johnson was dismissed from the pastorate in 1809. His 
succe.ssor. Reverend Roswell "Whitmore, son of an old Killingly 
family that had removed to Ashford, was ordained January 13th, 
1813. Mr. Whitmore was a man of much life and energy, ready 
to engage in any form of Christian labor, and the church was 
rapidly built up. James Danielson and Shubael Hutchins were 
installed deacons in March, 1813. For many years the church 
increased in proportion to the growth of the surrounding vil- 
lages, and enjoyed many seasons of special religious interest. 


Its Sabbath school was among the oldest in the county, being 
organized and well established in 1820. Isaac T. Hutchins, one 
of some fifty converts who joined the church that year, was 
elected superintendent. Testaments furnished by the town 
Bible society served for text book and library. The sessions 
were chiefly occupied in reciting Scripture verses that had been 
committed to memory. The revival of 1832 brought into this 
church about one hundred and fifty members. Adam B. I)an- 
ielson and Warren Stearns were chosen deacons in 1S28. The 
various benevolent societies connected with this church were 
well sustained. Mr. Whitmore retained the pastorate until 'M^y 
2d, 1S43. He was succeeded by Reverend Thomas O. Rice, or- 
dained January 1st, 1845, and dismissed ]March 25tli, 185G. Rev- 
erend Thomas T. Waterman was installed as pastor here Janu- 
ary ISth, 1858, and dismissed January 30th, 18(>1. Reverend 
William W. Davenport was ordained August 21st, 1801, dis- 
missed September 30th, ISGS. Reverend Jeremiah Taylor was 
installed May 12th, 1809, and dismissed December 30th, 1871. 
Reverend Adelbert F. Keith was installed October 13th, 1874, 
and dismissed May loth, 1877. Reverend James Dingwell has 
been pastor from December 1st, 1877, to the present time. 

Stowell L. Weld, William H. Chollar and John Waldo were 
elected deacons March 27th, 1802. Elisha Danielson was elected 
deacon April 13th, 1800; John D. Bigelow December 28th of the 
same year; and Joseph W. Stone January 13th, 1875. The 
second meeting house, the present house of worship, was built 
in 1835. 

A new pipe organ, costing about S-1.<"'0. was put into the 
church in 1887. A parsonage was built about the year 1870. 
The present membership of the church is about 350. 

The beginnings of the Methodist Episcopal church of Daniel- 
sonville are traced to the little workshop of a shoemaker, who 
located in this neighborhood when the village was yet in its 
early infancy. Attracted by the sign of this arti.san, an itiner- 
ant preacher on his rounds called to ask a night's lodging. 
Thus, in the autumn of 1839, Reverend John Lovejoy, while on 
his way from Lowell to Xew London, was the guest of [Marcus 
Childs, and here he preached and formed a class. The names 
of those enrolled in this class were Edwin Dunlap, Julia J. Dun- 
lap (wife of the former i. Hearty Douglass, Chloe Childs and 
Fidelia Frizzell. A tradition is also preserved that Reverend 


]\Ir. LoYejoy had once, as early as the year 1S30, preached in 
a house belonging- to Jared Brainard, which stood near the 
old " Furnace Lot." Of the progress of this early class little 
is known, but in September, 1840, Reverend Hezekiah Thatcher, 
of the Plaintield circuit, preached and formed a class ^of thir- 
teen members, whose names were as follows: Edwin Dunlap 
(who was appointed leader), Julia J. Dunlap, Hearty Douglass, 
Jared Brainard, ^laria Brainard, Parmelia Brainard, Othniel 
Young, Eliza Young, Harriet Young (later the wife of John H. 
Keech), Mary Young, ^larcus Childs, Chloe Childs and John H. 
Keech. Calvin Brainard, Charles H. Brainard and a Miss Cum- 
mings joined it soon after. Edwin Dunlap, the first leader, con- 
tinued in that position, with the exception of about one year, 
until his death, which took place October 2(5th, 1873. 

Reverend Hezekiah Thatcher, who formed the class, was en- 
gaged in fulfilling a contract to carry the mail from Plainfield to 
Canterbury, and while in the discharge of that duty, on the 4th 
of July, 1841, while in the act of crossing the railroad, -just above 
the Plainfield depot, he was struck by the locomotive, and re- 
ceived injuries from which he died, after lingering in an uncon- 
scious condition about twenty-four hours. 

Previous to June, 1S42, Reverend Azariah B. ^Vheeler of Plain- 
field, and Reverend Stephen Hammond preached here more or 
less regularly to the Methodist people, services being held in a 
school house, which has since been converted into a dwelling- 
house, standing on the corner of Furnace and Cottage streets. 
Later meetings v.-ere held in the " Conference room," and in a 
freight house and in "Tavern Hall." While using the freight 
house for meetings a great revival was experienced, and some 
sixty persons were converted. The name of Reverend Stephen 
Hammond is mentioned with great respect in connection with 
the early history of this church. .He was a practical black- 
smith living at Pomfret, and being a local preacher, served this 
church with unselfish devotion, earnest effort and but very in- 
significant financial compensation. 

Steps were now taken toward the erection of a house of wor- 
ship. Captain Samuel Reynolds offered a very elligible site, 
which v.-as accepted, and the erection of the house commenced, 
under the efficient direction of General L. E. Baldwin, now of 
Willimantic. The contract being made July 4th, 1843, the build- 
ing was completed, and dedicated on the 30th of September fol- 


lowing. The whole cost, amounting to Sr5,2()0, was provided for 
in advance by the sale of slips and volinitary subscriptions. 
This house is still in use by the church, occupying its original 
site. The church was organized in lS-12, while the circuit was in 
charge of Reverend George ]\Iay. The house of worship was en- 
larged in 1851, and in the following j'ear a vestry was finished 
under th-e west end of the building. At that time the member- 
ship reached one hundred and sixty-seven. During the years 
1SG7 and 186S the church was repaired and a new bell was added, 
the expense of all amounting to about eight thousand five hun- 
dred dollars. The membership at that time had increased to 
one hundred and eighty-five. A parsonage was built on the 
church lot about 1873, and a pipe organ added to the furniture 
of the church about the same time. The cost of the former was 
nearly four thousand dollars and the value of the latter about 
one thousand. 

At the anniversary of the first forty years of existence of this 
church, which was celebrated with much enthusiasm in 1882, it 
was learned that during the period spoken of the church 
had raised for church and benevolent purposes $59,250. It had 
gained a church property valued at $18,500 ; organized an adult 
missionary society in 1848, and a juvenile society in the follow- 
ing year; raised for missionary uses $3,179.56; paid into the 
treasury of the American Bible Society enough to give more 
than a thousand Bibles to the destitute ; gathered over seven 
hundred children into the Sabbath school, the number at one 
time swelling as high as three hundred ; had eight hundred 
conversions under its care ; received six hundred and ninety 
members to its communion, the greatest membership at any 
one time being two hundred and twenty-four. The pastors 
during this period were as follows; 1841, Stephen W. Ham- 
mond; 1842, George ^May ; 1843-4, John llowson ; 1845-t;, Ben- 
jamin C. Philps; 1S47-8, John Livsey ; 1849-50, Samuel W. 
Coggeshall; 1851-2, Sidney W. Dean ;'l 852, Henry S. White; 
1853-4. Lorenzo Dow Bentlcy ; 1855-6, W. S. Simmons ; 1857-8, 
Lorenzo W. Blood : 1859-60, George W. Brewster ; 1861-2, An- 
thony Palmer; 1863-4, Carlos Banning ; 1865-6, William H. Stet- 
son ; 1867-8, George W. Brewster; 1869, Xorris G. Lippitt ; 
1870-71, Shadrach Leader; 1872-4, George E. Fuller; 1875-6, 
George W. Anderson; 1877, Xorris G. Lippitt; 1878, S. Olin 
Benton ; 1879, R. W. C. Farnsworth ; 1880-81, Robert Clark ; 


18S2-S5, Joseph H.James: 1SS.V87, John Oldham; 18S7-S0, F. 
L. Hay ward ; 1889, G. A. Morse. 

Services according to the Episcopal forms were held in a hall || 

for some time previous to 18G3. Reverend 'Mr. ^Yellman officiated |i 

in this missionary work. Reverend Charles C. Adams followed |j 

him, about 1SG4, remaining until ISCG, during which time steps |j 

were taken to obtain a house of worship. The West Killingly |^ 

Academy, an institution which had been blessed with but a lim- h 

ited degree of prosperity and was now for sale, was purchased of |-; 

the proprietors by John V. Lewis, July 31st, 1865, for $1400, in- \ 

eluding about three-fourths of an acre of ground. It stood where ^^ 

it now stands, at the head of Academy street, and on the east 
side of Broad street. The lot and building were transferred from 
Lewis to C. C. Adams, December 2d, 1865, for §1,300 : and by the 
latter it was transferred to the Trustees of Donations and Be- 
quests for the use and benefit of the First Ecclesiastical Society 
of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the town of Killingly 
known as St. Albans' church, December 21st, 1866, for the sum of 
$3,000. By this time the church was in good working order, and 
the biiilding was probably occupied during that year, the neces- 
sary changes and improvements in the interior having been 
made. Reverend \Y. N. Ackley officiated as rector from 1806 to 
1870. He was followed by Reverend George Coggeshall, whose 
term of service extended from December, 1870, to July, 1871. 
Reverend Alfred S. Rice commenced his service here in June, 
1872, and continued for a year or two. He was followed by Rev- 
erend Arthur T. Par.sons, of whose coming we have not the date. 
He closed his pastorate about 1882, and then for about two years 
the church was without a pastor. Reverend George R. Warner 
became rector in July, 1884, and remained until 'May, 1889. He 
was followed in June, 1889, by Reverend Cornelius G. Bristol, of 
Milford, Conn. The church at present has about eighty com- 

The Baptist church of Daniclsonville has a handsome Gothic 
and Queen Anne house of worship on the corner of Broad and 
Academy streets. The church was organized February 5th, 
1874. Sometime in the April preceding. Reverend R. Turnbull, 
D. D., superintendent of the work of the Connecticut Baptist 
State Convention, visited Daniclsonville in company with Rev- 
erend Charles Willett, who had shortly before closed his pastor- 
ate of the Baptist church in Putnam; the purpose of their visit 


being to decide on the adYisability of organizing a church. 
They decided that much had been h),st already on account of 
delay, and that steps should be immediately taken to gather the 
Baptists together and form a society. 

Libert}' Hall, conveuienily located on Oak street, ^vas se- 
cured, and the first meeting was held ^lay llth, 1S73. at which 
Doctor Turnbull preached. A good congregation was in at- 
tendance and by a nearly unanimous vote decided that they 
desired a Baptist church, and a committee consisting of Henry 
Westcott, Daniel G. Sherman, William ]\I. Johnson and W. 
W. Woodward, was appointed to secure a place for meeting 
and make all necessary arrangements for regular services. 
For this purpose the hall already mentioned was obtained. 
Doctor Turnbull preached again the following Sunday, and 
after that the work was left to the care of Reverend ^Ir. Wil- 
lett, who preached Sundays and hunted up Baptists during 
the week. The mission proved very successful, and on Feb- 
ruary 5th, 1S74, at a meeting called for the purpose, forty- 
two persons constituted themselves a Baptist church. At a 
subsecjuent meeting ^Nlarch oth, 1S7-1, the following officers 
were elected: W. W. Woodward, clerk; Henry Westcott, Wil- 
liam Johnson and FI. A. Brown, prudential committee; and on 
March 2,jth, the church was publicly recognized as a Baptist 
church, b}- a council composed of delegates from the Baptist 
churches of East Killingly, Putnam, Brooklyn, Willimantic, 
Packerville, Union Plainfield, and the following ministers, who 
were present by special invitation: Reverends R. Turnbull, 
D. D., Hartford; J. P. Brown, Xcw London; R. Bennett and 
C. P. Borden, Central Thompson; and J. W. Dick, Woodstock. 
The recognition sermon was preached by Reverend John 
Davies, of Xorwich, and the prayer of recognition was by 
Reverend T. Terry, of Brooklyn. 

From the time of its organization the growth of the church 
has been steady and substantial, there having been additions 
to its membership every year of its existence. The present 
membership is about two hundred. It has had but three pastors. 
Reverend Charles Willett continued as missionary pastor until 
^Larch 2Sth, 1S75. Reverend William C. Carr was called to the 
pastorate. iiujune, 1S75, began his labors October 10th, and was 
ordained November 11th. His pastorate continued until May 
(3th, 1S83. In October of the same year Reverend F. L. Knapp, 


the present pastor, was called, and commenced his work with 
the church on January Cth, 1884. 

The church continued to worship in Liberty Hall until iMay 
4th, 1879, when the present house was dedicated. The build- | 

ing is a very attractive and convenient structure, and seats 350. i 

It has two vestries, one of which can be readily opened into the | 

audience room, q^iving- an additional capacity of about 150. The 
house is also supplied with baptismal font, robing rooms, etc. 
It has two beautiful memorial windows, one contributed by 
Mr. H. F. and Miss A. E. Westcott, in memory of their father 
and mother, Henry and Almira Westcott. There is also a 
beautiful window contributed by the Sunday school. 

Special mention should be made in this connection of Mr, 
Henry Westcott, without whose hearty interest and liberal 
gifts the church would hardly have been organized or its at- 
tractive house have been built. His death occurred before the 
house was completed, but not until he had contributed fully' 
one-half of the entire cost. Shortly after his death, in a letter 
to the ann^^al meeting of the Ashford Baptist Association, oc- 
curs this testimony: " From the first, he, more than anyone else 
has borne our young church upon his heart, and supported it 
with his influence, his sympathy and his means, and his loss is 
more to us than we can express in words." 

The Second Advent church was organized in 1868, as the re- 
sult of a protracted meeting, held by Elders Miles Grant, of Bos- 
ton, and S. G. !Mathewson, who came to this place at the invita- 
tion of Doctor Daniel Jones. Soon after this a man by the name 
of Brown built a chapel for the sect. This was located on Win- 
ter street, and is now a part of the St. James Catholic church, 
the building being sold soon after the death of Mr. Brown. The 
church after that held services in Rothwell Hall for a time. In 
18G6 the present chapel on Academy street was built, under the 
direction and by efforts of Elder H. F. Carpenter, who was pas- 
tor of the church at two different times. Elders William Fenn, 
James Hemenway, Marshall Phettyplace, C. W. Dockham, W. N. 
Tenney and A. S. Williams have served the church as pastors, 
and a considerable part of the time the church has had tempor-' 
ary supplies for a few Sundays at a time. Elder Dockham was 
pastor three years, closing his labors November 2d, 1884. He 
was succeeded by Elder W. N. Tenney, who served from De- 
cember 5th, 1884, to May 2d. 18Sr,. Elder A. S. Williams was 


pastor from December 1st, 18S0, to April 1888. The member- 
ship of the church, reaching nearly one hundred at one time, 
has been reduced by death and removals, tintil it is now only 
about thirty-five. Several notable revivals have visited the 
church, an important one being- conducted by Mrs. E. L. Crumb, 
ten or twelve years ago. 

St. James' Roman Catholic church had its beginning here in 
the labors of Father McCabe, a Franciscan monk from Ireland, 
who was the pioneer priest of this county. Jesuit mission- 
aries from Boston had visited this region occasionally, passing 
through perhaps two or three times a year, and saying mass 
in the towns on the way. The mission of Father ISIcCabe ex- 
tended beyond this county as far as Colchester. He began 
his work here in 1851. The first mass said by Father McCabe 
was in a house on Franklin street, by Five ]Mile river. After- 
ward services were held in Bacon's Hall. Father !McCabe died 
in Daniel son ville, about 1863. John Quinn succeeded him as 
pastor of this church. Father Quinn made his residence at Moo- 
sup, and this church then became a mission. The Second Ad- 
vent chapel, and the lot upon which it stood, were private prop- 
erty, and were now purchased by Father Quinn, of Sally D. 
Brown, August, 29th, ISG-J, and that became the nucleus of St. 
James' church, as it is to-day, the Advent chapel being the tran- 
sept of the present structure. The front part of the building 
was added during the pastorate of Father Quinn, who also 
bought additional land adjoining on the north, of Flisha Cham- 
berlin, July 3d, 1869. This extended to the corner of Hutchins 
and Mechanic streets, and the parochial residence was soon 
after built upon it by Father Quinn. In vSeptember, 1869, 
Father Princen, a Belgian priest, followed as parish priest of 
St. James. The cemetery ground, comprising several acres, 
a short distance northwest of the church, was bought by 
Father Quinn, and in November, 1870, this and the church 
lots were transferred by him to St. James' Catholic church. 
Father Princen built the sanctuary and vestry to the church. 
He remained here until his death, which occurred in April, 
1883. Father Preston (Thomas J.) began his pastorate in 1883, 
and is still in charge. He has had the church remodelled 
and renovated, and in 1886 cleared of a debt amounting to 
about §6.(1110, since which time the church has been free of 
debt. He has had erected at a cost of about SJl.OUO, includ- 


ing- lot, a building- for a parochial school. The lot, which 
contain.s about two and one-half acres, was purchased of Betsey 
II. Ely, ^larch 7th, 1877. A handsome building, two story 
and mansard roof, has been erected upon it, and the school 
will open in September, ISSO. vSix teachers, besides the prin- 
cipal, will be employed, and the school will accommodate 
about 35<) pupils. It will be conducted by the vSisters of St. 
Joseph. All the modern languages will be taught, as well as 
fancy work, drawing and mtisic. English will be the promi- 
nent language in the school. Protestant children will be ad- 
mitted free to the common branches as well as Catholic child- 
ren, and to the higher branches and the languages by the pay- 
ment of the necessary fees. 

There are in the parish of St. James about 1 ,300 French 
Canadians and 500 Irish. Hampton and ESrooklyn are both inis- 
sions of this church. Mass is said in the town hall at the latter 
place. Another mission is maintained at Chestnut hill, where 
there are about 150 French and a few Irish. ]\Iass is said there 
in a hall. In Brooklyn and Hampton missions there are about 
250 Irish. There are connected with the church several socie- 
ties. A St. John Baptist Society numbers about 100 ; a society 
of the Knights of Columbus has 53 members ; the Children of 
Scapular Society numbers 60 : the society of the Children of 
Mary has about 70 young ladies ; a St. Ann's Society has 51 mem- 
bers ; a St. Alyosious Society contains a membership of 40 ; and 
an Infant jesus Society contains about 150 children. 

The First National Bank of Killingly was organized in 1SG4. 
It commenced business June 2d, of that year, with a capital of 
$55,000. It commenced its banking business vSeptember 1st, 
1SG4. Its officers then were Hon. Elisha Carpenter, president, 
and H. N. demons, cashier. It soon doubled its capital, making 
its limit $110,000, which remains unchanged at the present time. 
The first board of directors were Elisha Carpenter, Arnold Fen- 
ner, Henry Hammond. x\bner Young. William Dyer, Harvey S. 
Bartlett, Edwin Ely, George Leavens, John Atwood. The pres- 
ident of the bank was the same as at the beginning until Sep- 
tember 13th, 1804, when he removed to Hartford, and Arnold 
Fenner was elected to take his place. He continued as presi- 
dent till January 10th, 1S71. From that date to the present 
time, Henry Hammond has filled the position. The office of 
cashier has suffered no change from the beginning. The pres- 


ent board of directors are Henry Hammond, Abner Young, vSilas 
Hyde, H. X. Clemons, William H. Chollar, William A. Johnson, 
Lorin Bates, R. R. James, T. E. Hopkins. Jiily 2d, is88, the 
bank paid its fortA'-fifth dividend. Up to that time it had paid 
to its stockholders in dividends S220,0U0, just double the amount 
of its capital. The amount of its deposits November 3d, ISSS, 
was $112,322.32. The bank occupies elegant rooms in the IMusic 
Hall building, on the second floor, over the post office. 

Windham County Savings Bank was incorporated in May, 
1S64. Its incorporators Avere William James, George Danielson, 
Edwin Ely, Orville ^I. Capron, Hezekiah L. Danielson, Samuel 
Reynolds, Horatio Webb, Willard Leavens, Freeman James, Ed- 
win Dunlap, Henry Hammond, John Snow, jr., William Alexan- 
der, Marvin A. Dexter, Amos D. Lock wood, Daniel P. Tyler, 
Elisha Danielson, William B. Wright, I^ysander Warren, Wil- 
liam Humes, Frederick P. Coe, Henry Hutchins. The first offi- 
cers, elected July 2Gth, 1S64, were : William James, president ; 
Henry N. Clemons, secretary and treasurer. The president con- 
tinued in office till July 11th, 1870, when George Danielson was 
elected to that office. He was followed by William H. Chollar, 
July 29th, lS7r). Hezekiah Danielson was made president Au- 
gust 3d, 187.5. John G. Bigelow became president July 10th, 
1876, continuing until he was succeeded by Williain H. Chollar, 
the present incumbent, July 13th, 1885. The office of secretary 
and treasurer has been filled by the following : Henrv N. Clem- 
ons, July 26th, 1864, to August 3d, 1875 ; William H. Chollar, to 
July 10th, 1876 : Anthony Ames, to Jtily 13th, 1886 ; Chauncey C 
Young, to the present time. Anthony Ames is vice-president, 
and the following are tru.stees : Lysander Warren, Samuel S. 
Waldo, Rowland R. James, Edward H. Jacobs, Sidney W. Crofut, 
Thomas J. Evans. James Perkins. The first deposit was made 
September 17th, 1864. The last report shows the total number 
of depositors, 2,020. and the total deposits 8530,198.63. The 
bank occupies a room in the building on the west side of Main 
street, which was built by the bank soon after the commence- 

Danielsonville can boast of one of the finest buildings for 
public entertainments that can be found in Windham county. 
Music Hall was built by a joint stock company, organized under 
the general state law, the shares being §25 each. The building 
was erected in 1876. The capital stock of the company was 


$20,000, but the building was erected at a cost of $38,000. It 
has a handsome front of pressed brick, with iron facings, pillars, 
projections and ornaments. The audience room, which is on 
the ground floor, easy of access, has stage and gallery, and will 
seat 800 persons. When John B. Gough lectured in it there were 
1,000 persons in it, by some dint of crowding. It has movable 
■chairs, so that the floor can be easily cleared for any purpose 
that requires it. The bitilding is three stories high, with another 
story in the ^lansard roof. The ground floor in front is occu- 
pied by a store on one side and post office on the other side of 
the entrance hall. The second floor is occupied by the Killingly 
National Bank and offices. The third floor is occupied by 
Armory Hall, and in the fourth story or Mansard roof is Grand 
Army Hall. The ground covered by the building is about 00 bv 
130 feet. 

The People's Library is an institution in which the intelligent 
people of the village take considerable interest. It was started 
as a Young Men's Library about thirty-five years ago. From 
small beginnings it has increased in size until it now has about 
2,500 volumes. It has a room on the second floor of Music Hall 
building, and is kept open during certain hours of certain days 
■of the week. It is supported by funds raised by membership 
fees and dues. The association has three classes of members: 
life members, Avho paj- $3 for admission and 50 cents annually, 
and are entitled to vote: annual members, who simply pay 50 
cents a year; and honorary members, who are made so on pay- 
ment of $15. The last two have rights to the use of books, but 
not to vote. The as.sociation has a president, vice-president, sec- 
retary, treasurer and a board of six directors. iMrs. Anthony 
Ames has for several years been its librarian. 

The Quinebaug Manufacturing Company's mills, in the south- 
•ern part of this village, are one of the largest manufacturing es- 
tablishments in the county. They are delightfully situated on 
the right bank of the beautiful Ouinebaug river, on elevated 
ground, and are surrounded by nearly two hundred well con- 
structed and nice looking brick tenement houses. Their grounds 
cover more than ninet}- acres, and from the windows of the 
various buildings the view is enchanting. The mills proper are 
designated as No. 1 and No. 2. No. 1, or the oldest mill, was 
built by Mr. Tiffany, the father of the celebrated New York 
jeweler, over a half century ago. It has lately, however, been 


•entirely reconstructed, with new machinery throughout. This 
mill is of wood, and is the first one approached from the town. 
No. 2 is of stone, is a massive structure, and with its great wings 
and extensions, covers a large amount of ground. It would re- 
quire a large amount of space to describe all the interesting de- 
tails — we will have to generalize. The dimensions of the latter 
named mill are as follows: main building, 343 by 48 feet; south 
wing, 160 by 52 feet; picker house, 93 by 41 feet; west addition, 
122 by 48 feet; north wing, 152 by 48 feet; roller shop, 124 by 20; 
weave shed, 450 by 102. No. 1 mill is 200 by 30 feet in area, and 
has a power of 100 horses, while No. 2 has that of 900 horses. 
'These works are run by water power, but steam engines of equal 
power as named for water are on hand in case of necessity. 
There are 54,736 spindles and 1,400 looms, and the number of 
-employees is about 800, the pay rolls of whom amount to over 
$19,000 every four weeks. The number of yards manufactured 
per year is over 3,000,000, and consists of sheetings of different 
widths and weights. 

This company was incorporated in 1851, and the present offi- 
•cers are : R. C. Taft, president; John W. Danielson, treasurer; 
B. A. Bailey, agent. The nominal capital is §500,000, and the 
■ Stock is mostly owned in Providence. Mill No. 2 was built over 
twenty-five years ago. This company own a large store, wliich 
has for its customers others beside the operatives. The opera- 
tives are all paid in cash, and there are but about one-third who 
-avail themselves of the discount, for all are at liberty to trade 
where they will. About three-quarters of the operatives of 
this great corporation — the Quinebaug Company — are French 
Canadians, one-eighth are Irish, and the balance scattering. 
They all seem contented and happy, and we learned from the 
residents of the town that they are an orderly and thrifty class. 

The Quinebaug Grist Mill is located at the junction of the 
Five ]SIile river with the Quinebaug. It was established by the 
Quinebaug Company in 1879, is run by water, and has a storage 
■capacity of 15, 0(H) bushels. It is supplied with improved ma- 
chinery for the manufacture of buckwheat flour. During the 
season about 1,00() bushels of this grain a week are ground up. 

In 1852 Eleazar Baker came to this town from Massachusetts, 
and began the manufacture of reeds at Dayville. In 1854 he 
moved the business to Daniclsonville. In 1858 he sold the busi- 
ness to William S. Short, who ran the same till his death in 1805. 


Mr. Baker then re -purchased the business and continued in it 
until Xovember, 1870, when he sold it to R. S. Lathrop. The 
latter in ISSl built a brick mill on the east bank of the Five 'SUlc 
river, near the railroad station, where the business has been con- 
tinued since that time. It is still owned by ^Nlr. Lathrop's heirs, 
and is now managed by his son, H. A". Lathrop. 

The Danielsonville Cotton Company's works are situated be- 
tween the Ouinebaug and the Five ^lile rivers. They consist of 
three mills proper, and are a continuation of the Danielsonville 
Company, founded over seventy years ago. One of the mills, 
called the old one, is a frame building, erected in ]81C, and is 
still used for various purposes. The stone structure about sev- 
enty feet distant from the first named, and on the same side of 
the street, was built later, while the large brick mill 
was constructed in 18CS. This inill is 219 by 78 feet, four stories 
and a basement. The picker room is 63 by 43 feet, two stories. 
The boiler house adjoining is 40 by 40 feet, and the engine room 
18 by 52 feet. The office is 31 by 42 feet, two stories and base- 
ment. The motive power is furnished by water, the facilities hav- 
ing a capacity available to the extent of 350 horse power. Steam 
engines are also in reserve in case of need. The present com- 
pany was organized in 18S0, and they have a capital of §175,000. 
The officers are : B. B. Knight, president ; Jeffrey Flazard, treas- 
urer, and A. J. Gardiner, superintendent. In these mills are 
17,024 spindles and 384 looms. They manufacture prints, sheet- 
ings and shirtings. About 4,500,000 yards are turned out annu- 
ally. About 300 hands are employed. The establishment in 
general indicates the presence and direction of a master hand, 
and such we find in the business qualifications and courteous 
manners of its superintendent. 

The Assawaga Mill of E. Pilling & Co. is on vSchool >'. ;\.-et, nearly 
across the block, in rear of the Attawaugan House. It is now 
called the Aspinock Knitting Company. It employs about forty 
hands in the manufacture of seamless half hose and other knit 
goods, cotton and woolen. It is furnished with 50 knitting ma- 
chines. The business was started in the spring of 1883. The 
mill is well supplied with the most improved kinds of machinery, 
and the reputation of the work is built upon a careful and hon- 
est foundation. 

Near the last mentioned are the works of Messrs. E. H. Jacobs 
& Co., manufacturers of loom harness, belting and hose. The 


works were a few years since removed to this place from Paw- 
tucket, R. I. The mill has an area of 5,(J(!0 square feet of floor 
surface. Making and repairing- leather b&lting, loom strapping, 
pickers and mill supplies in general, are among the branches of 
work done. The "Challenge " hose carriage, a very popular ap- 
paratus all over New England, is manufactured here. About 
one hundred sets per day of finished loom harness are also man- 
ufactured here. 

The Quinebaug Brick Company hail from Danielsonville, 
though their works are about two miles from the village center, 
in the town of Brooklyn. They make some four million bricks 
annually, which are shipped from Danielsonville by railroad to 
points in southern New P^ngland. The bricks are reckoned as 
first quality in all respects, as the fact that they are used in some 
of the largest manufacturing and storage buildings and other 
important structures, abundantly testifies. Sabin L. Sayles is 
president of the company; Hon. Charles A. Russell, treasurer: 
Charles R. Palmer, resident agent, and George Benjamin, over- 

The principal hotel of this village is the Attawaugan, a house 
of liberal proportions and well furnished appointments. It was 
built in 1850. The first manager was Henry Peckham, who ran 
it a few months. Since that time it has been run by the present 
proprietor, Lewis Worden. The house has forty-one large and 
well lighted lodging rooms, and its arrangements in general are 
excellent and commodious. 

Moriah Lodge, No. 15, is the lineal descendant of the old Lodge 
of Free and Accepted Masons which we have already noticed in 
connection with Canterbury, where its principal early headquar- 
ters were. The lodge had the honor of being Number 1, that is, 
the first lodge instituted in the state of Connecticut. It was in- 
stituted in 1790. At first it had what was called a roving charter, 
which allowed it to move about and hold meetings in difl^erent 
towns to accommodate circumstances. In its early membership 
it embraced some of the leading men of the county, which are 
more particularly mentioned in connection with Canterbury. At 
the time of the Morgan excitement, a remarkable era in Masonic 
history, the charter was given up and action of the lodge sus- 
pended for a few years. Afterward it was revived, but the hon- 
orable number was lost, and the lodge was numbered 15. Its 
home for many years has been in Danielsonville, where it now 


meets in a room in the ICxchange Building. The pi^^-sent officers 
are: M. A. Shumway, \V. ^I.; George R. Warner, S. W.; A. P. 
Somes, y. W.; F. T. Preston, treasnrer; Anthonj' Ames, secre- 
tary; E."W. Hay^vard, S. D.; John W. Day, J. D.; Hosea E.Green, 
S. S.; George c' Foote, J. vS.; E. L. Pahner, chaplain; II. F. Clark, 
marshal!; E. S. Carpenter, tyler; J. F. Seamans, O. \V. Bowen and 
F. W. Franklin, auditors. 

Growing out of this lodge are Warren Chapter, No. 12, Royal 
Arch ]SIasons, and a council of R. & S. Masters. The chapter was 
chartered in 1S12. Its present officers are: ]M. A. Shumway, M. 
E. H. P.; George R. Warner, E. K.; Henry F. Clark, E. S.: F. T. 
Preston, treasurer; j. F. Seamans, secretary; H. H. Green, C. of 
H.; C. E. Hill, P. S'.; F. A. vShumway, R. A. C; Jarvis Wallen, 
3d veil; C. H. Frisbie, 2d veil; E. W. Scott, Jr., 1st veil; E. S. 
Carpenter, tyler; H. H. Green, C. H. Reach, H. F. Clark, auditors. 
]\Iontgomery Council, No. 2, Royal and Select ^Masters.was char- 
tered in ISIS. Their present officers are: H. H. Green, T. I. ^L; 
C. E. Hill, I. I). M.; M. A. Shumway, I. P. C; F. T. Preston, treas- 
urer; J. F. Seamans, R.; H. F. Clark, C. of G.; F. A. Shumway, 
C. of C; C. H. Reach, steward; Reverend George R. Warner, 
chaplain; E. S. Carpenter, sentinel; AV. E. Hyde, H. F. Clark, E. 
L. Palmer, auditors. 

McGregor Post, No. 27, G. A. R., was organized at Danielson- 
ville, July 1st, ISGS. Its charter members were: Frank Bur- 
roughs, S. C. Chamberlin, H. O. Bcmis, D. S. Simmons, P. G. 
Brown, A. F. Bacon, C. W. James, Charles Burton. II. B. Fuller, 
FI. K. Gould. The first officers were as follows: Frank Burroughs, 
C; S. C. Chamberlin, S. V. C; S. M. Howard, J. V. C; H. B. Ful- 
ler, adjutant; G. W. Bartlett, O. ^I.; E. ^l. Eldridge, chaplain. 
The office of commander has been held by the following persons: 
Frank Burroughs, David :sL Colvin, U. B. Schofield, William E. 
Hyde, D. S. Simmons, E. J. :Mathewson, William E. Hyde, Frank 
Burroughs, E. S. Nash, H. F. Clark, B. E. Rapp, S. .M. Woodward. 
Charles Burton, J. W. Randall, H. F.Clark. The post has a com- 
modious room in Music Hall building. Its present membership 
is sixty-four. The present officers are: H. F. Clark, C; Nathan 
Seaver, S. V. C; T. H. Stearns, J. V. C; S. M. Woodward, adju- 
tant; U. B. vScofield, O. M.; L. P>. Arnold, surgeon; Reverend 
James Dingwell, chaplain. 

Quinebaug Lodge, No. 34, I. O. O. F., was instituted at Daniel- 
sonville, Februarv i:5th, 1SS9. The charter members were: 


Newton Phillips, Walter F. Bliven, John B. Hopkins, C. F. Chap- 
man, Reuben Pillincr, Jr., A. A. Boswell, A. W. Dean, John FI. 
Perry, James P. Carver, Henry E. Baker, John E. Bassett, Frank 
A. Prince and Edward Fairman. The lodge meets on Tuesday 
nights, in Knights of Pythias Hall, in the Savings Bank building. 
The officers elected for this, the first year, were: Newton Phil- 
lips, N. G.; Frank Prince, V. G.; Walter Bliven, secretary; John 

E. Bassett, treasurer; A. W. Dean, R. S. N. G.; John Perry, L. 
S. N. G.; Henry Baker, R. S. V. G.; James B. Carver, L. S. V. G.; 
Reuben Pilling, Jr., W.; A. A. Boswell, C; Charles Chapman, R. 
S. S.; W. DeLoss Wood, L. S. S.; J. B. Hopkins, I. G.; Frank 
Willard, O. G. 

Orient Lodge, No. 37, Knights of Pythias, was instituted here 
December 19th, 1877. The charter members were: E. L. Pal- 
mer, T. W. Greenslit, C. H. Bacon, N. W. James, W. N. Thomas, 

F. A. Jacobs, FI. F. Logee, F. P. Warren, C. E. Woodis, O. L. 
Jenkins, A. J. Ladd, S. L. Adams and C. L. Fillmore. The first 
officers were: E. L. Palmer, P. C; T. W. Greenslit, C. C; C. H. 
Bacon, V. C; X. W. James, P.; A. J. Roberts, ^I. of E.; W. N. 
Thomas, M. of F.; F." A. Jacobs, K. of R. & S.; FI. F. Logee, M. 
at A.; F. P. Warren, I. G.; C. E. Woodis. O. G. The present 
membership is about fifty. The numbers have been depleted 
by the formation of John Lyon Lodge, at Dayville, in 1S8S, their 
membership withdrawing from this lodge. The trustees are : 
F. A. Jacobs, C. H. Bacon and X. W. James. The lodge 
meets on Thursday evenings, at their hall in Savings Bank 

^tna Lodge, Xo. 21, A. O. U. W., was instituted here June 
21st, 1883, with sixteen charter members. The first officers were: 

A. P. Somes, P. M. W.; A. G. Bill, :\I.W.; C. E. Woodis, foreman; 
C. A. Potter, overseer; E. Pilling, recorder; B. L. Bailey, finan- 
cier; F. B. Brooks, receiver; C. M. Adams, guide; A. F. Wood. I. 
W.; F. G. Bailey, O. W. The folloving have successively held 
the oflice of M. W.: A. G. Bill, balance of 1883; C. E. Woodis, 
1884; C. M. Adams, 1885; R. A. Bailey, 1886; A. P. Somes, 1887; 
C. H. Bacon, 1888; Irving Hawkins, 1889. The following have 
been successive recorders: E. Pilling, to January 1st, 1885; F. 

B. Brooks, 1885 and 1886; C. H. Bacon, 1887; A. P. Somes, 1888; 
F. U. Scofield, 1889. The lodge noAv numbers fifty-three. It 
has lost but one member since its organization — Hosea Green, 
who died March 5th, 1889. The lodge meets the first and 


third Wednesday nights of each month, in Knights of Pythias 

Lockwood Council, No. 33, O. U. A. ^I., was organized here i^Iay 
9th, 1SS9. It was named in honor of A. D. Lockwood, formerly 
of this village, chief owner and founder of the Ouinebaug INlills. 
The council was organized with thirty charter members. It 
gives sickness and death benefits to its members. The member- 
ship has been already increased to forty. The first officers were: 
Charles E. Woodis, C.; Walter E. Heath, A\ C; Walter E. Kies, 
J. Ex. C; William H. Hamilton, S. Ex. C; Charles D. Stone, R. 
S.; George R. Baker, A. S.; Albert Burrows, F. S.; Edward S. 
Carpenter, treasurer; Adelbert Perkins, inductor; E. G. Baker, 
examiner; J. J. Rynolds, I. P.; R. J. Coon, O. P.; U. B. Scofield, 
C. C. Franklin and W. E. Heath, trustees. 

Ouinebaug Assembly, Xo. 209, Royal Society of Good Fellows, 
an insurance order, was instituted February 4th, 1SS9, by Albert 
Leavens, supreme deputy of Boston. The first officers were: 
William H. Wilcox, ruler; Doctor W. H. Judson,past iniler; John 
E. Westcott, instructor; Charles A. Wood, councillor: Charles D. 
Stone, secretary; E. C. Babson, F. S.; Frank S. Downer, treas- 
urer; Charles C. Franklin, prelate; Henr}-- A. Brown, director; 
W. F. Gates, guard; Frederick G. Gates, sentry; W. EL. Leavens, 
John T. Smith and Doctor W. H. Judson, trustees. The society 
had twenty-two charter members, and this number has increased 
to over thirty, a part of which are from Wauregan. Funds to 
meet insurance are provided by assessments. The headquarters 
of the order are in Boston. It has many very prominent men 
among its membership. Doctor W. H. Jiidson, in May, 1SS9, 
received a commission as supreme deputy over this jurisdiction, 
which comprehends Windham county. 

The first newspaper in this village was called the. A\zv England 
Arena, and was started by Edwin B. Carter in 18-14. He had al- 
ready made some attempts at newspaper publishing in Brooklyn, 
which he now abandoned for this field. But this enterprise was 
doomed to early dissolution. In 1S48 the Windham County Tele- 
graph was started here. The True Democrat and the Windham 
County Gazette were also started here about the same time, but 
they were short lived. After a fluctuating existence of some ten 
years, under the successive, if not successful, management of 
Francis E. Jaques, its founder, Fred. Peck, F. E. Harrison, J. A. 
Spalding and C. J. Little, it was sold to J. Q. A. Stone, in 1S58. 


Mr. Stone, by hard labor, careful management and unfaltering 
perseverance, has brought the paper up from a list of four hun- 
dred circulation to a position of influence and usefulness second 
to none in the county. It has been the earnest exponent of the 
great progressive movements in which the welfare of society 
has been concerned, and in its advocacy of the right it has not 
made obeisance to questions of personal profit or advancement. 
It is a neatly printed, nine column folio, issued every Wednes- 
day evening. A paper called the Herald lived a few years, and 
was succeeded by the Sentinel, a democratic newspaper, which, 
after a few years, suspended. The Neii< England Fancier is the 
title of a neat monthly publication, in pamphlet form, 24 pages, 
which was started in 1885. It is devoted to poultry. It circu- 
lates in every state and territory, and in France and England. 
From the same office is issued a neat four column, quarto paper, 
devoted to both poultry and dogs, Avhich is called Hamilton s 
Weekly, started in 1 SS9. The Kennel Department of this is edited 
by A. R. Crowell of Mattapan, Mass. Both these papers are 
published by William II. Hamilton. The job printing office 
with which they are connected has an exten.sive patronage of 
poultry and association printing from all parts of the country, 
and employs from six to ten hands. ^Ir. Hamilton is an hon- 
orary member of the ^Massachusetts Poultry Association, which 
is largely composed of business and professional men of B(,»ston 
and vicinity. He is also an active member of the American 
Poultry Association, and one of the originators and vice-presi- 
dent of the American Langshan Club, which has its head- 
quarters in Bellows Falls, Vt., and officers in dift'erent parts of 
the Union. 

The Wauregan Brick Company has its post office address in 
Danielsonvillc, though its works are mainly on the southern 
border of the town of Killingly, or over the line in the town of 
Plainfield. Work Avas commenced there in 1880. The company 
was organized under the general joint stock law, in 1S8G. The 
works are located on the line of railroad, so that no carting is 
required. The machinery is run by steam. Aboitt 8,000.000 
bricks are annually made, about o.") hands being employed in 
the work. The officers of the company are: George H. Nichols, 
president; Milton A. Shumway, secretary; John Elliott, treas- 



William A. AT\voon.-~]\Ir. Atwood was one of the most 
prominent figures in the industrial interests of Killingly. His 
grandparents were Kimball and SelindaColgrove Atwood. His 
father was John Atwood, who married Julia A. Battey. Their 
son, AVilliam Allen, was born August 4th, 1S33, in ^Vi]liamsville, 
in the town of Killingly, and received more than an elementary 
education. First entering the Danielsonville High School, he 
continued his studies at the Scituate Seminary in Rhode Island, 
and at Wilbraham, Mass., completing his academic education at 
Middleboro, Mass. He early entered the Williamsville mills, 
then under the superintendence of his father, and having made 
himself familiar with their practical workings, soon bore a con- 
spicuous part in the management of the business. The failing 
health of his father threw much of the responsibility upon his 
son, and on the death of the former in 1SG5, the entire direction 
of this important manufacturing interest was placed in his 
hands. Under his watchful eye the business made rapid ad- 
vancement, and at the date of his death, on the 26th of June, 
ISSl, in New York city, had attained a high degree of prosperity. 

]\Ir. Atwood was married October 4th, 1S55, to Caroline A., 
daughter of Robert K. and Helen Brown Hargraves. Their 
four children are: Henry Clinton; Bradford Allen, who died in 
infancy; Mary Elizabeth, deceased, wife of G. W. Lynn, and 
William Edwin. Both the sons are interested in the Williams- 
ville ^Manufacturing Company, Henry Clinton being the super- 
intendent, assistant treasurer and secretary. j\Ir. Atwood was 
also a stockholder in the large mills at Taftville, and a director 
of the First National Bank of Killingly. He enjoyed not only 
the esteem of the community, but the affectionate regard of his 
employes. This was accomplished by a genial intercourse and 
a liberal and thoughtful management of his varied interests. 
In disposition he was retiring and unassuming, doing many 
kindly acts with such a quiet grace as to make them known only 
to the recipients of his favor. It has been justly said that he 
belonged to that class of men who 

" * * * do good by sto.alth. 
And blusli to find it lame." 

The profound mourning his death occasioned was a just 
tribute to his usefulness and worth. 

I • / 


\ / 


Einvix H. BuciiKE. — The subject of this sketch was born in 
Thompson, April 20th, ]8i?0. Plis father \vas James Bugbec, 
who was born at Woodstock April 11th, 178S, a descendant, 
through Hezekiah, James, Samuel and Joseph, from Edward 
Bugby, who came o\-er in the " Francis " from Ipswich, England, 
in 1G34, and settled in Roxbury, ^Slass. His mother was Eliza- 
beth Dorrance, a descendant of George Dorrance, who came from 
the North of Ireland with that large Scotch emigration about 
the year 1715. He received his education in the public schools 
of his native town, and was early a clerk in his father's store, de- 
voting his leisure hours to reading and study. In 1839 he was 
engaged by a manufacturing firm, located at the Lyman village, 
North Providence, R. I., as clerk and bookkeeper. The year 
proving a disastrous one for cotton manufacturers, the firm felt 
obliged to suspend operations before its close. In the spring of 
1840, operations were again resumed at the mill by its owner, Gov- 
ernor Lemuel H.-Arnold, and Mr. Bugbee was continued as clerk. 
At the close of 1842 business was again suspended by the failure 
of Governor Arnold. The summer following, i\Ir. Bugbee ob- 
tained a lease of the factory property, and associating Avith him 
Mr. LEenry Weaver, a practical operator, and receiving abundant 
financial aid from his friends, the well known firm of S. & W. 
Foster, of Providence, commenced business on his own account. 
Although at the commencement the outlook was not flattering, 
by an unprecedented advance in the price of print cloths, to- 
gether with prudent management, the business showed at the 
expiration of the lease gratifying and substantial returns. At 
the close of the lease, the factory having been sold in the mean- 
time, ]Mr. Bug'bee returned to his native town, having, during 
the year, purchased a farm in Thompson ; but not finding the I 

business of farming at all congenial to his taste, sold it, and in | 

the summer of 1849 entered the employ of the Williamsville j 

Manufacturing Company, of Killingly, S. & W. Foster the Prov- 
idence agents, with whom he remained thirty years, retiring in 

Mr. Bugbee seems to have early won the esteem of the citizens 
of Killingly, the}- conferring various town offices upon him, and 
in 1857 elected him as one of their representatives to the general 
assembly, he serving at this session on the judiciary committee. 
Although a new member and without legislative experience, he 
at once took a prominent part in the debates of the session, al- 


ways commanding- the close attention of the house, receiving 
commendation at the close of the session from political papers 
of both parties. In 1S.59 he was again returned to the house 
and appointed chairman of the committee on education. In 
1861, the war year, he was elected to the house for the third 
time, and was again chairman of the committee on education. 
This session was one of the most important in the history of the 
state, the inauguration year of the great rebellion; and had en- 
rolled among the members of either house some of its ablest 
men. At its commencement the marshaling of troops had al- 
ready begun, the sound of war everywhere heard, and the zl'ovs 
and tn£a)is for furnishing material aid and support to the fed- 
eral government were the engrossing subjects of discussion. At 
this session the subject of our sketch again took a prominent 
part on the floor of the house. Aside from war questions at this 
session, the most exciting subject was that of the Flowage Bill. 
This bill was ably discussed //-a and con, Mr. Bugbee making a 
lengthy speech in its favor, which v%-as highly commended. In 
1S63 he was again elected, serving as chairman of the committee 
on state prison. In 1SG5 he was elected state senator from the 
14th district by the large majority of 1,223 votes. On the floor 
of the senate as in the house he proved an active member. At 
this session he was chairman of the committee on banks, and one 
of the eulogists in the senate on the death of President Lincoln. 
In 1S6S he was elected senator for the second time and chosen 
president /rt? tcm. of that body, serving as chairman of the com- 
mittee on military affairs. In 1S69 he was in the house and 
again chairman of the committee on education. He was elected 
to the house in 1871 and chosen speaker, in which capacity he 
won especial favor and commendation. In 1873 he was a mem- 
ber of the house and chairman of the committee on new towns 
and probate districts. He was elected for the eighth time to the 
house in 1879, receiving the major vote of both political parties 
of Killingiy, and was chairman of the committee on cities and 

The partiality of the voters of his adopted town in having 
elected him eight times their representative — something unusual 
in Connecticut towns, we think — and on two occasions giving 
him large majorities for senator, must have bccij exceedingly 
gratifying to the subject of our sketch. ^Ir. Bugbee, though an 
earnest republican, has never been a violent partisan; and by his 



1 ^ / 





non-partisan action when a member of the legislature, has re- 
ceived more or less democratic support. Through all the years 
of his legislative career he was ever attentive to his duties, sel- 
dom failing to answer to roll calls, participating in most of the 
important debates, always listened to with attention, receiving 
credit in either house as among their most eloquent speakers. 

He married, in ISOo, Selenda Howard, daughter of Howard 
Griswold, Esq., of Randolph, Vt. She deceased in July of the 
following year. He has retired from active business and at pres- 
ent resides in Putnam, Conn. He is a life member of the New 
England Historic-Genealogical Society, audits vice-president for 
Connecticut, and is much interested in genealogical investiga- 
tion. He has been one of the directors of the First National 
Bank of Putnain since the first year of its existence. He is rep- 
resented as being heartily in favor of tariff and civil service re- 
form, and condemns as unpatriotic the policy so often pursued 
by the political party that is out of power of opposing on purely 
partisan grounds and for party purposes the measures proposed 
by the party in power, which very measures if they, the minor- 
ity, were in power they themselves would recommend and ad- 

Henry N. Clemons, cashier of the First National Bank of 
Killingly, was born in Granby, Conn., son of Allen and Catharine 
demons. He was educated in the district school, the Granby 
Academy, the Suffiekl Literary In,stitution and the Williston 
Seminary, East Hampton, Mass. He began teaching at sixteen 
years of age, and taught in Hartland, Granby and Hartford, 
Conn., and Woonsocket and Central Falls, R.I. He was for a while 
in the office of the commissioner of the school fund in Hartford, 
Conn. In 1844 he commenced railroading on the New Ilaven & 
Northampton road, with the engineer corps. He served as sta- 
tion agent at Farmington and Co]lins\-ille, Conn., and was assist- 
ant postmaster at the latter place; then ticket agent of the 
Providence & Worcester road at Providence. In 1855 he com- 
menced banking, as clerk in the Arcade Bank, at Providence, 
and in 185G became teller of the ^lerchants" Bank, then the re- 
deeming bank for Rhode Island, in the old Suft'olk system. In 
June, 18G4. he was elected cashier of the First National Bank of 
Killingly, Conn., then just organized, which office he now holds, 
after more than twenty-five years' service, a period longer than • 1 

any other cashier in eastern Connecticut. The capital of the i 


bank is With its July dividend, 1SS9, it had paid back 
to its stockholders ^^iCCiUO iu dividends. In August, 1SC4, he 
was elected treasurer of the Windham County Savings Bank, 
and organized the bank, and held that position till ISlri. Under 
his treasurership the bank's deposits reached $1,8(10,000. It was 
the first savings bank in eastern Connecticut to allow interest to 
commence each month. In 18GG-7 the savings bank built, under 
his supervision, their present bank building. On the organiza- 
tion of the Music Hall Company he was chosen treasurer, and 
arranged in its building the banking rooms now occupied by the 
national bank. In 1SC6 he was chosen treasurer of District No. 
1, Killingly, and o:j the union of districts 1 and 2 was re-elected, 
carrying out the financial arrangements needed in building the 
high school house, holding the office for eighteen years. 'Mr. 
Clemons was treasurer of the Congregational church for thirteen 
years, and has been notary public for twenty-five years in this 
state. J. Ev.\xs, who was born May 17th, 1820, in Brooklyn, 
Connecticiit, is the son of P^lijah Evans, and the grandson of 
Elisha Evans. His active career was begun at the age of seven- 
teen, as a teacher in Killingly, where he continued for ten suc- 
cessive years, his last term at Dayville having closed with an in- 
teresting exhibition, the proceeds of which aided greatly in the 
purchase of a library and other school supplies. For five years 
he was engaged in the clothing business in the above village, and 
his capital was afterward invested in a livery stable which he suc- 
cessfully managed for nine years at the same point. In the year 
1878 Mr. Evans erected a substantial brick block in Danielson- 
ville, and the following year made that place his residence. 
His political connections were with the republican party, which 
he frequently represented in the various county and town offices. 
He was for sixteen years a member of the board of education, 
for five years assessor, three years town clerk, and judge of pro- 
bate from 1872 to 1880. Fie was also warden of the borough and 
a member of the court of burgesses. For two years he was pres- 
ident of the Windham County Agricultural Society and four 
years its treasurer. ^Ir. Evans was married in 1850 to Miss 
Eliza Kennedy. His death occurred in 1889. 

Tl.MOTHY E.VRLE Hoi'KiNS. — The grandparents of Mr. Hop- 
kins were Timothy Hopkins, born in 17.")1, and Sarah Carver, 
daughter of Captain Joseph Carver. His father was Carver 



1^ -^^ >>< 












Hopkins, born October 2(3th, 1799, who married Abby K. Man- 
chester. Their children, seven in number, were : Israel M., Flo- 
rinda A., Sarah C, Abby E., Ann E., Timothy E. and Lillian P., 
of whom all but the eldest son are still living. Timothy Earle 
Hopkins was born in Burrillville, R. I., December .'th, 183o, of 
which place he continued a resident until 1802. His education 
was received in the public schools and at New Hampton, X. H., 
where a year was spent in study,' after which he served an ap- 
prenticeship as a spindle maker in his native town. He then 
engaged for two mercantile business, and at the expira- 
tion of this time removed to Providence, where three years were 
spent as a merchant. In 1865 ^Ir. Hopkins removed to Thomp- 
son and embarked in the manufacttire of cotton goods, remain- 
ing at this point until 1870, when Burrillville again became his 
home. Here he continued the business of a manufacturer, the pro- 
duct of his mills being woolen fabrics. In 187C he suffered dis- 
aster and loss as a consequence of the severe flood of that year, 
and soon after removed to Fitchburg, Mass., where until 1880 he 
continued the manufacture of woolens. Mr. Hopkins then be- 
came a resident of Danielsonville, his present home, where he is 
still engaged in the production of woolen goods in the town of 
Killingly. He is also treasurer of the Jesse Eddy ^Nlanufactur- 
ing Company, of Fall River, ^lass.. and one of the promoters of 
the Crystal Water Company, of Danielsonville, of which corpo- 
ration he is president. He is a director of the First National 
Bank of Killingly. ]Mr. Hopkins in politics gives his support to 
the republican party, and represented the town of Thompson in 
the Connecticut house of representatives in 1S6S. He has also, 
since his residence in Danielsonville, been active in furthering 
the educational interests of the borough. He is an active IMa- 
son, member of Friendship Lodge of that order at Chepachet, 
of Providence Cljapter, and of Calvary Commandery, of Provi- 
dence. Mr. Hopkins was in May, 1839, married to Marcella S., 
daughter of James S.Cook, of Burrillville. They have had three 
children — Elsie M., Earle Carver and Earle Cook ; Earle Carver 
being deceased. 

Almond M. P.vine. — Benjamin Paine, the grandfather of Judge 
Almond 'SI. Paine, was a successful farmer in Clocester, R. I. 
By his marriage to Phebe Aldrich were born a numerous fam- 
ily of children. The birth of his son. Ransom Paine, occurred 
December i:5th, 1787. and his death on thel.')th of January, 1854, 

988 HISTORY OF xyixnnAM couxtv. 

in Glocester, where he followed the trade of a wheelwright, and 
spent the latter years of his life as a farmer. He married Phebe, 
daughter of Thomas Smith, of the same town, who was born 
June 12th, 1704. and died March 12th, ISGO. Their children 
are: Almond ]M., Mary Ann. wife of James 'M. Adams; Emily, 
married to Elijah .Mann ; Adaline }\1., who died in infancy, and 
James A. 

The eldest son, and subject of this biography, was born Sep- 
tember lOth, 1820, in Glocester, and received an academic edu- 
cation. At the early age of fifteen he engaged in teaching, and 
for nine successive years the winters found him at the teacher's 
desk, while the healthful employments of the farm engaged his 
attention during the summer months. In 1846 he removed to 
Sterling, and four years later made East Killingly his home. 
Here he embarked in trade as a country merchant, and contin- 
ued a successful business until his retirement, since which date 
his time has been largely devoted to the management of his pri- 
vate interests, and to the public service. 

As a republican he for several years filled the office of justice 
of the peace, and was repeatedly elected assessor of his town. 
In 1857 he was made judge of probate and served four years, 
having also, during a brief residence in Thompson, been chosen 
to the same office for a term of two years. He was appointed by 
President Lincoln postmaster cf East Killingly, and held the 
commission during that administration. Judge Paine was in 
1864 made a director of the First ^sational Bank of Killingly, 
and later a corporator and trustee of the Windham County Sav- 
ings Bank. His services are often sought as administrator and 
trustee, where integrity and judgement are primary qualities. 
Judge Paine was in 1847 married to Phebe Salsbury of Foster. 
Rhode Island, born April 28th, 1817, who died in 1878. Their 
children are: Eliza D., born May ;^lst, 1848. who died in 1870; 
and Emily M., whose birth occt;rred June 12th, 1S.")4. 

Hexrv Wkstccitt.— James Westcott, the grandfather of Henry 
Westcott, familiarly known as the " Captain," was born ]March 
5th, 1740, and married r^Iartha Tillinghast. Their son Joseph, 
whose birth occurred April 0th, 1770, in Glocester, Rhode Island, 
married Esther Richmond of the same town. The children of 
this union were: Henry: Almira, wife of Jude Sabin; Elizabeth, 
married to James Wood; and David. Henry, the eldest son, was 
born April ISth, 1801, in Glocester, and in early childhood re- 



^ rv 











moved to East Killingly, where the primitive schools of the day 
afforded him a beginning for that practical education ^vhich was 
chiefly the growth of experience and observation. 

In early years a farmer, he afterward identified himself with 
the commercial interests of East Killingly, and was associated 
with Thomas Pray as a manufacturer, under the firm name of 
Westcott & Pray. They built the Ross mill and the Whitestone 
mill, conducted an extensive business, and were regarded as 
among the most prosperous owners of mill property in the 
county. ]Mr. Westcott's marked abilit}^ keen discrimination and 
indomitable perseverance won for him an enviable reputation in 
financial circles, and carried him safely through many a crisis 
where a less resolute man would have faltered. In his business 
relations he enjoyed a record for integrity and generous dealing, 
while his genial nature made all transactions a matter of pleas- 
ure to others. (3n disposing of his interest at East Killingly, 
he retired to Danielsonville, his residence at the date of his" 
death, on the 5th of June, 1878. Mr. Westcott was an active 
and honored member of the Baptist church, and contributed 
wnth liberality toward the erection of the new edifice in the 
borough where he resided. In politics a whig and republican, 
he filled the more important town offices, and was elected to the 
state legislature in 1840. ^Ir. Westcott was, on the 3d of Feb- 
ruary, 1824, married to Almira Browning of Rutland, ^lass. 
Their eldest child, Nancy X., died in infancy. The surviving 
children are a daughter. A. Elizabeth, and a son, Henry T., both 
of Danielsonville. 



The Wabbaquassot Country.— Land Speculutors.— Settlement of Ashford.— 
Jlajor Fitc}i. — James Corbiii.— New Scituate.— The Town Established.— Titles 
Confirmed. — Common Proprietors, — Laud Controversies. — Civil Disorder. — 
Military Company.— Population and Growth. — Public ^forals ami Order. — 
Growth of the Settlement.— Early Town Oflicers.— Land Title War.— Days 
of the Revolution.— Visit of Presiilent Washinstou.- Post Office, Taverns 
and Probate Court.— Honored Sons.— Roads and Bridges. — Schools.— Ec- 
clesiastical History.— First Church. — The Great Revival and the Separates. — 
We-tford Congregational Church.— Meeting Houses and Ministers.- First 
Baptist Church. — Eminent Men of AVostford.— Baptist Church of Westford. 
— Manufacturing in Westford. — Warrenville Baptist Church. — Manufactur- 
ing and Business at Warrenville. — Eminent Sons of Ashford. — Babcock Li- 
brary and Band. — Biographical Sketch. 

IN the early period of settlement the territory of Ashford, 
which originally included also the present town of East- 
ford, was a part of the Wabbaquasset country which was 
conveyed to I\Iajor Fitch by Owaiieco in 1GS4. It was a wild 
forest region, remote from civilization, but known and traversed 
from the early settlement of Xew England, lying directly in the 
route from Ko.ston to Connecticut. The first company of Con- 
necticut colonists encamped, it is said, on the hill north of the 
present village of Ashford, and the old Connecticut Path 
crossed what is now Ashford Common. Thus the land here was 
exposed to the view of passing adventurers for three-quarters 
of a century before any attempt was made at settlement in this 
vicinity. The first land laid out vx-ithin this territory was a 
tract four miles square, now in the south part of Eastford, which 
was made over to Simeon Stoddard of Boston, in lOOr), in satis- 
faction of a judgment of court. ^Major Fitch was at the time 
greatly embarrassed in business affairs, and his title to the Wab- 
baquasset country was questioned. Mr. Stoddard was a resident 
of another colony, and so neither was disposed to undertake the 
settlement of this re2:ion. 



At this time representations had been made to the general 
court of Connecticut upon which that body on the 9th of ^Nlay, 
1700, granted to "such good people as shall be willing to settle 
thereon," a township eight miles square, and appointed a com- 
mittee of its own members to layout the township by actual sur- 
vey, also to lay out home lots and other divisions of land, to or- 
der and manage the affairs of the town and to admit and settle 
all such inhabitants as should be approved, and who should pay 
their proportionate share of the expense of surveying and set- 
tling the same. This action of the court aroused Major Fitch to 
action, and he at once began to push the sale of lands which he 
claimed. In 1707, a tract five miles in length and three in width 
was purchased for iTllO, by John Gushing, Samuel Clap and 
David Jacob, of Scituate, and laid out on the west of the Stod- 
dard tract, and was called the New Scituate Plantation. Captain 
John Chandler soon purchased a large part of this" tract and a 
strip of land adjacent, and became the chief proprietor of Xew 
Scituate. The whole remaining territory of original Ashford, 
■comprising 21,4(.iO acres, was sold by Zslajor Fitch to James Cor- 
bin, of Woodstock, in 17()S, and he conveyed the same to David 
Jacob, Job Randall and twelve others, residents of Scituate, 
Hingham and Andover, ^Mr. Corbin retaining an equal share in 
the land and managing the affairs of the company. These tracts 
were laid out as rapidly as possible, and efforts made to initiate 
a settlement in advance of the government. The proprietors 
had but partial confidence in the validity of their titles. The 
first actual settlement upon this land appears to have been by 
John Mixer, of Canterbury, who for four pounds purchased a 
tract of one hundred acres, the deed to which containing the 
•Stipulation that if the proprietors' right should be proven in- 
valid the four pounds should be returned to the purchaser. His 
land lay on the river at a place called Blount Hope, where the 
present village of Warrenville is situated. This was in January. 
1710. A few months later, in April, John Perry, of Marlborough, 
bought three hundred and fifty acres near the present site of 
Eastford village, and settled upon it. 

The general court, whose committee had done nothing toward 
laying out a town here, now reappointed a committee with more 
practical instructions to proceed at once with the project of es- 
tablishing a town here. The committee now took possession of 
■-the township and undertook to lay it out in the name of the col- 


ony. The name Ashford was suggested by the great number of 
ash trees which grew in the primitive forests. The region was 
rough, rocky and unattractive, a great portion of it being covered 
with dense forests which abounded in wolves, bears and various 
.species of game. This was a favorite hunting ground of the re- 
maining Wabbaquassets, Avho secured large quantities of furs 
here, which they furnished in trade to j\lr. Corbin, who derived 
therefrom a considerable revenue. Only two families of white 
inhabitants, and they living five miles apart, were now upon the 
tract. The impending contest between the individual proprie- 
tors already mentioned and the government of Connecticut was 
a serious obstacle in the way of settlement. Both parties ap- 
pealed to the general court ; the representatives of the Fitch 
title for confirmation of their title and libert}' to settle, and the 
committee to show their inability to carry out their instructions 
under existing circumstances. While the court was undecided 
as to what course to take, the claimants under Fitch pushed for- 
ward the work of settlement. Philip Eastman, of Woodstock, 
and John Pitts, Benjamin Allen, Benjamin Russel and William 
Ward, of ]\Iarlborough, bought farms of James Corbin and set- 
tled on them, north of the Stoddard tract, on Still river, in the 
summer of 1711. Houses were built, lands broken up, and a 
highway was laid out by these settlers. In the following year 
William Price, senior and junior, David Bishop, Nathaniel Wal- 
ker, John Chubb and John Ross bought land of Corbin and 
joined the eastern settlement. Daniel James and Nathaniel Ful- 
ler, of AVindham, Josiah Bugbee, of Woodstock, and Samuel 
Rice and Philip Squier, of Concord, purchased farms of Captain 
Chandler in New Scituate. The ccAirt's committee also sold 
some land. Homesteads were purchased of them by Isaac Ken- 
dall, -William Chapman, Isaac Farrar and Simon Burton. 

In answer to a petition of the settlers, in October, 1714, the 
general court granted town privileges, which included the right 
to elect officers for carrying on the prudential affairs of the place, 
building a meeting house and settling and maintaining a minis- 
ter. The inhabitants were also instructed to employ the sur- 
veyor of Hartford county to lay out the town eight miles square, 
and each claimant of land within its limits should within one 
year enter the deed or other record or instrument by which he 
claimed title in a book to be provided by the town clerk for the 
purpose. At the same date a quit-claim to 10,240 acres of land 


in Ashford on the Pomfret line was granted by the general court 
to Simeon Stoddard and heirs, of Boston. Other non-resident 
claimants complied as soon as possible with the requirements of 
the court respecting the recording of land evidences. 

Under the grant of town privileges the first town meeting was 
held early in 1715. William Ward acted as moderator ; John 
Mixer was chosen town clerk and treasurer; John Perry, con- 
stable : William Ward and John Perry, selectmen ; William 
Ward and John Chapman, grand jurors, and William Ward, 
Philip Eastman, Nathaniel Fuller, John Pitt, Benjamin Russel, 
James Corbin and Isaac Kendall were chosen to lay out high- 
ways. The town now determined, if possible, to secure posses- 
sion of the large tracts of wild and unoccupied land which lay 
within its limits and were claimed under the Fitch title by non- 
residents who were holding it, though by a very precarious ten- 
ure of ownership, for purposes of speculation, without any ex- 
pense for highways or improvements upon it. Though the town 
was divided upon this subject, the majority prevailed, and after 
considerable conflicting proceedings, the people became nearly 
unanimous in agreement to proceed in exercising jurisdiction and 
ownership of the lands claimed by non-residents before men- 
tioned. As several of the inhabitants opposed these proceed- 
ings of the town lest it should invalidate their titles obtained 
from Corbin or Chandler and compel them to pay twice for their 
homesteads, it was granted by the town that all such as had 
lands purchased in that way should be allowed to hold them free, 
and should have an equal share in the undivided lands in addi- 
tion thereto. 

The town now set about the work of confirming their individ- 
ual titles. January lull, 171S, it was voted, "That the town 
doth grant all those lands that have been already granted to be 
free and clear according to the most free tenure of East Green- 
wich, in county of Kings in the Realm of England — provided 
these persons give sufficient bonds, with sureties, to John Perry 
and Philip Eastman, who are appointed to furnish the commit- 
tee with money to build the meeting house." Under the new 
system the first general distribution of undivided lands was or- 
dered by vote of the town, March .'th, 171 S. This was a division 
of two hundred acres to each proprietor. Each farm was to be 
laid out in regular form, to begin at the west end of the town 
and extend east to a common line, so placed as to allow two 


hundred acre plots of uniform size and shape. These were al- 
lotted to the proprietors by drawing. The following are the names 
of the forty-five persons who, having given bonds, drew lots in 
this division, and were thus admitted to be proprietors of Ash- 
ford : John Follct. Caleb Jackson, Jarnes Fuller, Joshua Ken- 
dall, Nathaniel Abbot, Joshua Beckman, Isaac Farrar, Xathaniel 
Gary, Thomas Corbin, Peter Aldrich, William Ward, Sr., Thomas 
Tiffany, William Ward, Jr., Joseph Ross, John Perry, Nathaniel 
Walker, John Mixer. Isaac ]Magoon, Nehemiah Watkins, Philip 
Squier, E, Orcutt, Nathaniel Fuller, Jacob Parker, William Price, 
Obadiah Abbe, Josiah Bugbee, Benjamin ^Miller, William Fisk, 
John Pitts, William Price, 2d, John Chapman, John Follet, 2d, 
Philip Eastman, Jacob Ward, JDaniel Fuller, Widow Dimick, 
Jeremiah Allen, William Farnum, William Watkins, Thomas 
Tiffany, 2d, James Tiffany, Joseph Cook, Matthew Fuller, Isaac 
Kendall, Antony Goffe. A few of these proprietors were resi- 
dents of Windham and Ponifret, but the most of them were al- 
ready residents of Ashford. In this assumption and division of 
territory the town, though acting solely in its own name and au- 
thority, undoubtedly had received the sanction and advice of 
the committee which the general court had appointed for that 

^lessrs. Chandler and Cushing, in behalf of themselves and 
others, as claimants under the Fitch title, appealed to the gen- 
eral court ]May 8th, 1718, for a confirmation of their title. That 
body also, about a year later, heard the representation of the 
Ashford proprietors in defense of their action, they also asking 
for confinnation. The general court then appointed a committee, 
composed of James Wadsworth, John Hooker, Captain John 
Hall and Ilezekiah Brainard to investigate the matter. They 
met for that purpose at i^shfoid, September 9th, 17] 9. The 
question of the rights of the adjoining towns of Windham and 
Mansfield, which were claimed to have been encroached upon by 
the survey of A.shford, was also involved in the investigation, 
but to the committee there appeared in that claim no cause of 
action. The investigation resulted in a settlement of the con- 
troversy as follows: As to the New Scituate claimants. Chandler, 
Cushing, Clapp and others, all persons holding as inhabitants on 
lands claimed by them, should within one yearpay three pounds 
per hundred acres for what they held, except those persons who 
had purchased lands directly of them, previous to the ♦assump- 


tion of the town inhabitants or proprietors; the Reverend James 
Hale was to have free the two hundred acres upon which he had 
built; sixty acres near the meetinghouse were to be sequestered 
for the support of the ministry forever; and ten acres where the 
meeting- house then stood were to be set apart for a green or com- 
mon; all of which should be free of any claim on the part of the 
previous claimants, who in turn were to hold the remaining lands 
in their claim without taxation. As to the claim of James Cor- 
bin and others a considerable part of their land was already sold 
to and occupied by about twenty inhabitants, amounting to KK- 
770 acres; it was accordingly agreed that such sales should stand, 
and of the 6,000 acres still unappropriated in that tract 2, SCO 
acres should be confirmed to Corbin and company, and the re- 
mainder was to be sequestered to the common use of the inhabi- 
tants. Of the New Scituate tract, which contained 9, GOO acres. 
5,726 acres had already been appropriated by the inhabitants, 
and after deducting the reserves for ministers, ministry and 
•common, there remained 3,374 acres to be occupied or disposed of 
by the claimants. 

The report of the committee was presented to the general 
court, October 20th. 1719, and by that body accepted and con- 
firmed. The Stoddard tract was undisturbed by tlicse contro- 
versies. The a.ssembly had already confirmed this land to 1\\r. 
Stoddard, and the town recognized his claim, while he in turn 
recognized the jurisdiction of the town by paying his taxes as 
-other proprietors of lands did. In 1710 ]SIr. Anthony Stoddard 
conveyed this tract to his sons, Anthony, r3avid and William. 
The first settler upon it was John Chapman, who took what was 
delicately termed "irregular possession," in 1714. but was num- 
bered among the regular inhabitants of the town. Willian: 
Chapman, Benjamin Wilson and John Perry bought land in this 
tract in 1718. Captain John Chandler bought the strip lying 
west of the Xatchaug and sold it out to settlers. The remainder 
of this land was long left vacant and unimproved, its owners 
paying their rates duly and manifesting an interest in the affairs 
of the town. 

An uniisual instance of disorder and the subverting of the 
■ends of government appears m the annals of this town, about 
the years 1721 and 1722. By the act of 1714 an unusual liberty 
was allowed in the qualification of voters. This was on account 
-of the few inhabitants then in the town. As longas everything 


was harmonious this liberality in suffrage qualifications gave rise 
to no difficulty, but at the time spoken of a faction of ignorant 
and irresponsible men arose with such power that one Arthur 
Humphrey, their leader, was elected a selectman, whereupon the 
other members of that body refused to act, and for a time the 
affairs of the town were at the mercy of this faction, which op- 
posed all schools, broke up one that had already been estab- 
lished, warned the schoolmaster out of town, prosecuted the re- 
fractory selectmen to their great cost and trouble, made a scan- 
dalously unjust and imperfect rate list, and by other outrageous 
acts kept the town in a ferment of agitation. The matter was at 
length appealed to the assembly, who confirmed the elections 
thus far had, but ordered that after that time the usual qualifi- 
cations required of voters in other towns should be required 

A full military company was formed in Ashford in 172i\ with 
John Perry for captain, Benjamin Russel for lieutenant and 
Joshua Kendall for ensign. During these years the people 
suffered much from Indian alarms, and constant fears stimulated 
watchfulness to be ready for any outbreak of savage hostility 
which might appear. Captain Perry proved himself an efficient 
and courageous officer, and several times furnished the govern- 
ment important information. To prevent as much as possible 
their approaches under false pretenses Indians were forbidden 
to hunt in the woods north of the road from Hartford, through 
Coventry and Ashford, to New Roxbury. A military watch was 
ordered to be held in Ashford and a scout maintained in the 
northern part of the town. By these precautions the settlers 
were protected in a measure, and no disastrous attack of the 
Indians was experienced. 

The population of the town now steadily increased. Joseph 
Bosworth bought land of Corbin in the eastern part of the town 
in 1718, and Elias Keyes followed in 1722. In the latter year 
Edward Sumner of Roxbury, a brother of Samuel Sumner of 
Pomfret, with two associates bought a thousand acres of land of 
James Corbin in the eastern part of Ashford. As an induce- 
ment to them to settle upon this wild tract of land ]\Ir. Corbin 
further offered to cover and finish a building, the frame of 
which already stood upon the land, using boards and shingles, 
erect a stack of chimneys and finish four rooms within the 
house and then to deliver annually to them four barrels of good 


cider for four years, they to find barrels and send them to his 
house in Woodstock. Thomas Eaton of Woodstock, a brother 
of Jonathan Eaton of Killingdy, settled in A.shford in 1723. In 
172.") Robert Knowlton of Sutton purchased a large tract of land 
in the southwest part of Ashford, now included in the Knowlton 
neighborhood, and at once settled upon it, laying out a road 
on the east side of his farm and freely giving it to the town. 

In May, 1725, James Corbin petitioned the general assembly 
for a patent of confirmation for certain lands in Ashford in place 
of lands which had been taken from him by the annexation of 
a strip of Ashford land to the town of Willington. The annex- 
ation of that strip to that town had prevented his taking up the 
twenty-five hundred acres assigned him in the settlement of his 
claim with Ashford. On the other hand the New Scituate tract, 
which was now held by Colonel John Chandler, contained 2,47G 
acres more than the deed called for. Corbin now petitioned 
that this surplus might be granted to him. A committee ap- 
pointed by the general court found that the New J^cituate land 
was over measured, and that body on hearing the case decided 
that the petition of Corbin should be granted, with the proviso, 
"that all the claimers that have regttlated themselves according 
to the order of the committee in 1719 shall not be prejudiced 

With the commotions created by contests and litigations over 
the possession of lands and the blighting effects of drouth and 
other unfavorable conditions, which discouraged the progress 
of improvement, the town made slow headway with the elements 
of a grow-ing community. But the completion of the minister's 
house and the meeting house was persevered in. The assembly 
had granted the town repeated exemption for many years from 
paving colony taxes. But whatever financial discouragement 
assailed them, the people were firm in their determination to 
maintain the standard of public morals, as far as providing laws 
and punishments could effect this. A set of " stocks " was erect- 
ed on the green, in front of the meeting door, and the 
town was prompt in prosecuting individuals who neglected their 
far^ilies and thus threatened to bring charges upon the town. 
Ber.-.imin Russel and others were allowed to build a pound on 
the "-meeting house green at their own cost and charge. As for- 
eig-n cattle continued to trespass upon the commons the town 
:\rr>-.^:nted men to drive them out, and in 1 734 it was voted, " That 


any inhabitant of Ashford that shall take into possession, care 
or oversight, any neat cattle that don't belong to an inhabitant 
of Ashford, other than his own proper estate, from the first of 
April to August, shall forfeit ten shillings to the town for each 
and every head of neat kine so taken." A cemetery was laid 
out in 1784. At that time James iJcekman, Joseph Whiton and 
Robert Knowlton were appointed a committee "to layout a 
quarter acre of land for a burying place at ye west end of ye 
town, where people have been buried." A burial place was also 
ordered in the east of the town. In 1732 the town began to pay 
colony charges. The rate list of estates for that year amounted 
to ;^4,GU9, 9s. Captain John Perry and Philip Eastman were now 
chosen to represent the town in the general assembly, and they 
were continued in that capacity for several years. Up to about 
this time for many years the town had been in the habit of pay- 
ing a bounty of twenty shillings a head for every wolf killed. 
It appears that by the year 1735 the country was so completely 
rid of these wild animals that the last bounty of this kind was 
paid in that year. 

About the middle of the last century Ashford reached a con- 
dition of some prominence and activity. Many new settlers had 
gained a residence here. Ebenezer Byles, on becoming of age, 
settled on land which had been purchased by josiah Byles in 
1720, about a mile west of Ashford Green. ^Villiam Knowlton 
purchased a farm of four hundred acres in the western part of 
Ashford. This was in after years divided between his sons Dan- 
iel and Thomjas, who, after serving brilliantly in the French 
war, engaged with equal ardor in cultivating their land and dis- 
charging the ordinary civil and military duties of good citizens. 
Ephraim Lyon removed from Woodstock to the eastern part of 
the town, and was greatly esteemed as a man of shrewdness and 
sound judgment. Daniel Dow, of Voluntown, settled north of 
the "green," with a rising family of great promise. David Bolle.s, 
of New London, established himself near the present Eastford 
village, with a license to exercise " the art and mystery of tan- 
ning leather," and great skill and experience in working up the 
same into serviceable shoes. Stephen Keyes, Theophilus Clark, 
and xVmo.s Babcock were admitted freemen prior to 17C0. Sam- 
uel Woodcock, of Dedham, succeeded to the farm once held by 
Jacob Parker, and Jedidiah Dana to that formerly of John Paine. 
The remaining part of the Stoddard tract fell to ]\Iartha, daugh- 


ter of Anthony Stoddard,