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Wallace Fullam RoBiNsor 


His Ancestry — Personal History 
Business Enterprises 

His Public Benefactions 

Jennie M. Robinson Maternity Hospital 
Robinson Hall, at Dartmouth College 
Hanover, N.H.; Town Hall, Reading, Vt. 
Union Church, South Reading 

Edited by 








Portrait Wallace Fullam Robinson Frontispiece 

Opposite page 

" Ebenezer Robinson 2 

" Marvin Robinson 20 

" Harry Ezra Robinson 36 

" Jennie M, Robinson 102 

The Marvin Robinson Homestead, South Reading, Vt. . 22 

Old Stone School House, South Reading, Vt 24 

Reading Town Hall, Felchville, Vt 28 

Old Union Church, South Reading, Vt 58 

Town Clerk's Office, Reading Town Hall 90 

Jennie M. Robinson Memorial Building, Maternity Hos- 
pital, Harrison Ave. and Stoughton St., Boston, Mass. 104 

Robinson Hall, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N. H. . . 108 

Bronze Tablet, Robinson Hall, Dartmouth College, 

Hanover, N. H 106 



Ebenezer Robinson 



NE of the most remarkable of the early 
settlers of Reading was Ebenezer Robin- 
son, who was a soldier of the Revolu- 
tionary War. 
Ebenezer Robinson was born on the 14th day of 
February, 1765, in Lexington, Mass., near the place 
where afterwards occurred the battle of Lexington, 
and was the sixth son of James and Margaret Rob- 
inson, who lived at this time on the old homestead 
farm (recently owned and occupied by the late 
Jonas Gammell, Esq.), which Jonathan Robinson, 
the father of James, purchased of Isaac Powers in 
1706, and on which James was born August 30, 

Jonathan Robinson, the grandfather of Ebenezer, 
the subject of this sketch, was the son of William 
Robinson, and was born in Cambridge, Mass., on 
the 20th day of April, 1682. This is as far back as 
the writer of this sketch has been able to trace defi- 
nitely the record of this family. 

He came and settled in this town in the spring 
of 1788, with his elder brother, James Robinson, 
who was then married. They located on the farm 
recently owned for a long time by Washington 
Keyes, Esq., near South Reading (now owned by 
Frank Gould), which was then a wilderness. They 



built here a log cabin near where stands a barn on 
this farm, and here, immediately after, was born a 
son of James Robinson, Ebenezer Robinson, 2d 
(named after the subject of this sketch), who for 
a long time was a resident of Felchville, and was 
familiarly known as Captain Kb. In this log house 
the two brothers lived for several years, Ebenezer 
clearing and settling the farm adjoining, afterwards 
so long owned and occupied by himself (now owned 
and occupied by Rev. Ira Carter), till the summer 
of 1792, when he built a frame house which is still 
standing as the wing or kitchen part of the present 
house, and in which in November, 1792, having 
married Miss Hannah Ackley, he took his bride 
and established his own happy home. The Ackley 
family had, previous to this, immigrated from near 
Haddam, Connecticut, and settled above South 
Reading. In this frame house this devoted couple 
reared a large, intelligent, prosperous family and 
spent a long, happy life of sixty-six years together. 
In 1824 he built on a large upright two-story frame 
mansion as an addition in front, which in those times 
was considered an unusually fine residence, and still 
stands as a respectable mansion. 

The hardships of clearing this hardwood wilder- 
ness farm were great, but he was always undaunted, 
and nothing baffled him. In the forenoon of his 
first day's work, he unfortunately cut his knee so 
bad that most persons would have given up in 
despair, but, nothing daunted, in a little over a 
week he went out to work again despite of his lame- 
ness. During this early period he successfully dealt 



quite largely in the real estate of this vicinity and 
secured many permanent settlers on the same. At 
this time Aaron Goddard came into this town and 
purchased the farm south of him and boarded in 
his family while he made his first improvements 
thereon and till he married and established his own 
home. They were neighbors for more than half a 
century. Likewise, Trumbull Ackley bought of him 
and settled the present town-farm east, and William 
Goddard, the farm north of him. While there is 
much in his later history that is worthy of note, still 
his earlier life, previous to his settlement in this 
town, was full of remarkable vicissitudes and hard- 
ships. These were the frequent and favorite topics 
of his conversation, even to the last days of his long 

In his ninety-first year, while he was in the full 
vigor of intellect, he gave his grandson, Frank M. 
Robinson of Dubuque, Iowa, the following account 
of his early life, which was taken down in his own 

" I was born in Lexington, Mass., on the 14th 
day of February, 1765. I was therefore only a lad 
of about ten years when the great struggle which 
gave freedom to the American people began, when 
injured rights were to be vindicated, when I heard 
the report of musketry, in the opening scene in this 
conflict for freedom of conscience and freedom of 
country, in the streets and upon the Green of my 
own native town. 

" Well do I remember the roll of the musketry 
and the noise of this battle of Lexington and the 



excitement consequent upon the retreat of the British 
soldiers down the valley past my home to Boston 
and of the subsequent severer conflict at Bunker's 
Hill, but a few miles distant. 

" Thus early in life did I begin to cherish a warm 
love of country, amounting even to patriotism, and 
to be moved by a true sense of the dangers that 
seemed to threaten, not only the peace and quietude 
of the family and town, but the ruin of the whole 
colonial fabric. 

" The engagements at Lexington, at Concord and 
upon Bunker's height warmed my bosom with more 
than a childish ardor to join the contest against 
British insolence and what savored of perpetual 
thralldom. Early in the spring of 178 1 I entered 
the service, accompanied by my brothers Asa and 
James Robinson, on board the ship Bellasaurias, 
carrying twenty guns. The number on board, in- 
cluding officers, sailors and soldiers, was one hun- 
dred and twenty-five. We set sail from Boston under 
the command of Capt. James Munroe. 

^' We cruised of¥ south, along the coast of Penn- 
sylvania, and about the mouth of the Susquehanna 
River, thence still southerly till we were in the region 
of the Equator, where one day we discovered at 
early dawn what appeared in the dim distance to 
be a ship. We gave chase and after the lapse of 
many hours so neared the ' stranger ' that we were 
within cannon range of her. 

" It was a much larger ship than our own and 
carried many more guns. We supposed her a heavy 
man-of-war of the British line, and began to pre- 



pare our noble vessel for an engagement. As is the 
custom in such instances, or in naval contests, all the 
sails were furled, except the top-sails and some of 
the stay-sails, which were just sufficient to govern 
the ships and change her position when necessary. 
Our cannon were charged and our torches were 
burning, and we waited but a change of position 
before we should salute her with a broadside. 

" Meanwhile our enemy had ceased her flight, 
furled sail, cleared deck, prepared for fight, and was 
the first to discharge her cannon. This assault was 
unexpected by us, as it was not attended with the 
usual formalities of naval warfare on the part of 
the stranger. In view of this cowardly act our com- 
mander at once ordered us to draw alongside the 
unknown ship, to grapple and board her as quickly 
as possible, but no sooner was this movement com- 
menced than to our great surprise, not to say our 
chagrin, the vessel, which we had regarded all along 
as an English man-of-war, hoisted Spanish colors, 
and thereby took away all pretext of warfare, except 
the ill-treatment we had received. Captain Munroe 
was at first inclined to resent this indignity, this 
violation of the usages of allied nations in their in- 
tercourse on the high seas in time of war. He how- 
ever gave vent to his irritation and anger by address- 
ing the Spanish Commander in the most pre-emptory 
and decisive manner and terms, in relation to his 
cowardly, dastardly conduct. 

" The Spanish Captain very coolly submitted and 
offered to accompany us and to do us service when 
he could. The reply of Captain Munroe was in 



these laconic words: * Go your way. I prefer rather 

to be alone than attended by such a d d coward 

as you have shown yourself,' and so we separated. 

" From the equatorial regions, after capturing one 
or two smaller prizes, we cruised northward ofif the 
West India Islands. We shifted about here for 
several days, until early one morning we discovered 
a fleet composed of several ships, yet at the distance 
they were from us we could not discern their num- 
ber. They were steering directly toward us and 
bore every evidence, as they afterwards proved to 
be, of being a fleet of the British line. We endeav- 
ored to make our escape by flight. They gave us 
chase and followed in hot pursuit until past midday. 
During their pursuit, when they had gained upon 
us so much as to be within cannon range, they gave 
us occasional shots from the bow or gunwale of the 
ship, though without much injury to our ship or 
crew. One of these shots, however, took off both 
legs, close to the body, of a man who stood next to 
me, on my left hand, and at the same instant a 
splinter from the side of the vessel struck my foot 
and benumbed my whole leg, from which I suffered 
much. The fleet neared us, and it being satisfac- 
torily determined that it was a British fleet consist- 
ing of fourteen ships, five of which were larger than 
our own, and all hope of escape being abandoned, 
we concluded to surrender. We were divided among 
the ships of the enemy, being about twenty persons 
to each. We were well treated while in this situa- 
tion. The fleet directed its course to New York City, 
where we were all put on board the Old Jersey, the 



notorious British prison ship, then lying up East 
River, above the city, and entirely without rigging. 

" We had been cruising about three months when 
we were captured. Our sufferings while confined 
in this old hull of a ship were unaccountably severe, 
and many of our number perished on account of 
the stench, the damp, deathly atmosphere in which 
we were confined, and the miserable food which was 
furnished us whereby to support life. 

" It may not be uninteresting to know of what our 
fare consisted and what humanity is capable of en- 
during, when controlled by the force of necessity. 
The account is brief, but heart-sickening. Bread 
was a constant part of our ration and the chief source 
of our nutriment. It came to our hands in any but 
a palatable condition. The loaves were badly eaten 
by insects and then abandoned by them, or well in- 
habited by vermin on their reception by us. Por- 
tions of it appeared very much like honey-comb, 
filled with the dry refuse matter of worms. What 
was not in this condition was very full, I had almost 
said literally alive, with insects, insomuch that it was 
impossible for us to get them all out, and we were 
obliged consequently to devour these animated com- 
munities, these bee-hives of activity, or be reduced 
to the utmost wretchedness and starvation, the worst 
of deaths, that of famine. Besides our bread we 
had pease twice a week. When the day came in 
which we were to have boiled pease, the steward 
would put about two bushels into a large kettle with 
a quantity of water and boil them. I have stood 
by the side of this kettle while its contents were be- 



coming heated, and have seen yellow worms rise to 
the surface in large quantities, and as the water be- 
came more and more heated, they would gather into 
large clusters, swim upon the surface during the 
entire process of boiling, affording the only season- 
ing or condiment to our repast. I have often found 
these bunches in my own mess. Many times it was 
with difficulty that I could prevent nausea. It was 
under these circumstances that I was induced, in- 
deed, almost compelled to use tobacco, and this is 
now my best apology for acquiring this habit, as it 
has followed me ever since. 

" During the latter part of the time of my im- 
prisonment I had the small pox, but began to recover 
before arrangements were made for our exchange. 
I was a prisoner aboard the Old Jersey about six 
months. We were exchanged, conveyed, and set ofif 
some time in December, on the coast of Rhode 
Island. I remember this fact in relation to time 
from this circumstance, that it was Thanksgiving 
time, and the first of sleighing. I was not well when 
I was set ofif, not having entirely recovered from 
the small pox. I could not walk more than five or 
six miles per diem. Occasionally I had an oppor- 
tunity to ride a few miles. 

" When coming through the streets of Providence 
on a cold, stormy day, with nothing to protect my 
feet from the snow, ice and water which then filled 
them but some old scufifs that were not worthy the 
name of shoes, a gentleman, observing my condition, 
hailed me and inquired the cause of my destitution, 
whence I came and whither I was going. 



" I told him briefly what circumstances had 
brought me to this condition. He assured me that 
my shoes were good for nothing, were utterly unfit 
to wear, and directed me to go into a small grocery 
or huckster shop near by, and remain there until 
he should return with some shoes for me. I entered 
as he directed and there found six or eight young 
men lounging or apparently without any business. 
They gazed upon me somewhat intently, noticed my 
ragged and tattered garments, and soon began to 
manifest no little interest to know what had subjected 
me to so forlorn and destitute a condition. 

*' To them also I narrated some of the leading 
incidents of my life. Excited by pity at seeing me 
ragged, shoeless and shivering with cold, they gave 
me a ' bitter,' a little luncheon, and contributed 
about a dollar in money to procure me food when 
I could not beg, or might be turned away without 
alms. At this point of my interview with the young 
men the gentleman before mentioned returned with 
a pair of shoes, a pair of socks, and some bread and 
cheese, all which he presented to me, accompanied 
with the most cheering language, and expressing a 
strong hope that I might be sustained and prospered 
in the remainder of my journey and in a few more 
days reach my home and friends, we parted. I felt 
encouraged and renewed my journey with a more 
elastic step and a lighter heart. 

" I commonly stopped at houses such as gave evi- 
dence of thrift and wealth, being less likely to be 
turned away from such places than from the beg- 
garly, poor-appearing homes. I was obliged to beg 



my food and shelter nearly the whole of the way. 
I recollect calling at one house, a kind of tavern or 
* way-house,' at night for the purpose of getting shel- 
ter for the night. I went into the kitchen and made 
known my poverty to the landlady, and asked that 
she would permit me to lodge upon the floor by the 
fire. She told me she thought I could be thus ac- 
commodated, though her husband was then absent 
and might on his return be unwilling I should re- 
main. He came late in the evening, had apparently 
been drinking and was very cross. He asked me 
what I was there for and told me he would not 
have me in his house. Said he, ' You have the small 
pox, you must leave, you cannot remain here.' I 
entreated him not to drive me from his house, leav- 
ing me at that hour of the night to the mercy of 
the cold, bleak winds of December. But my appeal 
was in vain. Finally, however, at my earnest solici- 
tation, he gave me a permit to lie in his horsebarn, 
and thus I passed the night. His allusion to my 
having the small pox was because that it was plain 
to be perceived, on account of want and much ex- 
posure to cold, that I had recently had that disease, 
though at that time there was no danger to be ap- 
prehended from it. However, it served as a pre- 
text for driving me from his house. In the morn- 
ing, after sleeping in his barn, he gave me some 
' bitters.' One man carried me several miles on my 
journey, and generally I was treated very well. 

" I remained at home, being in poor health, 
through the three winter months, and then entered 
the military service in the Revolution early in the 



spring of 1782. I enlisted for the town of Maiden 
for three years, under Captain Wait. Before enter- 
ing the ranks in the field, I went to Boston and 
served as waiter to Lieut. Thomas Robinson, who 
was clerk to the muster-master. I remained here 
three or four weeks, when I went with twenty-five 
or thirty others to near West Point, on the Hudson 
River, and joined the loth Massachusetts Regiment. 
The loth wore British coats and was commanded 
by Colonel Tupper. I was in Captain Dix's com- 
pany. We went to Verplank's Point, lay there some 
time, then went to Morrison, or a place of some such 
name, and remained about a month. Soon after the 
9th and loth regiments ranged out or broke up, 
and I entered the 5th regiment, commanded by 
Col. Michael Jackson, under Captain Cogswell. A 
Grenadier company was formed of the tallest and 
stoutest men. I had the offer to join, but did not, 
and was obliged to join another company. The 
Grenadier company was formed at Newburgh Huts 
and remained there till after the news of peace. 

" When the news of peace came, our huts or camp 
was knee deep in snow, but we celebrated the event 
with raising of flags and with guns and music. Then 
all regiments broke up, and one was formed called 
the American Regiment of young men, consisting 
of six or seven hundred, under Col. Henry Jackson. 
I was assigned to Captain Williams' company, my 
term of enlistment not having expired, and we re- 
mained at Newburgh Huts till winter, and was then 
ordered to old Springfield, Mass. Captain Wil- 
liams' company then numbered about sixty. I re- 



mained at Springfield till I got my discharge, which 
was the last of June or first of July. The whole 
company were discharged at the same time. My 
discharge was made out in New York, and was 
signed by Col. Henry Jackson." 

After thus serving the greater part of two years 
in the Revolutionary army, young Robinson re- 
turned, with his brothers, to his native Lexington. 
Here he remained in honest toil till the spring of 
1788, when he removed and settled at South Read- 
ing, as above stated. 

The hardships of his service during the Revolu- 
tionary War, and the fact that he was early in life 
left an orphan and had to labor hard for his own 
livelihood, schooled him well for the hardships of 
his early settlement in this town. What to most men 
would seem insurmountable obstacles were often 
easily encountered by him and regarded as trivial. 
It was a favorite remark of his that, if you wished 
to accomplish anything difficult or laborious, you 
should always say, " Come, boys," and not " Go, 
boys." He believed that success in any calling of 
life consisted mainly in a good, vigorous, personal 
leadership of the person to be benefited. 

Here, on his productive, well-tilled farm, he spent 
a long life of usefulness and activity and reared a 
large family of children, and like many of those 
old revolutionary pensioners, he was always in his 
old age healthy and hearty, remarkably vigorous 
both in mind and body, even to his last brief sick- 
ness. Long will his grandchildren remember those 
grand old Thanksgiving days, and the good cheer 



and the jolly times enjoyed around his festive table 
and cheerful fireside. A few years before his death, 
after a residence in this town of nearly seventy years, 
he again re-visited the scenes of his childhood in 
Lexington. It was a visit of sad and lonely interest 
to him. Of all his former large circle of early 
relatives, friends and acquaintances, he found only 
two survivors, and they were much broken down 
with age. Yet his visit to those places of historical 
and local interest he seemed to enjoy with peculiar 

His death occurred on the 31st day of October, 
1857, at the age of nearly ninety-three years. Less 
than two weeks before his death, he related in detail 
the above history to the writer of this sketch and 
recounted, with wonderful memory and great ani- 
mation and zeal, the various vicissitudes and hard- 
ships of his long life. 

His veneration for Washington, the Father of our 
country, was very great, and it was ever his pride 
that he was once a member of a company that tem- 
porarily acted as a body-guard to their noble 

It was one of his latest remarks, that during the 
sixty-six years he had lived with the wife of his 
choice, in that house and upon that farm, he had 
lived in contentment and happiness, and had never 
in his life wished to change his lot for that of any 
other, nor his home for that which any other country 
or clime could afford. He seemed happy in the 
society of his numerous posterity and had the satis- 
faction of seeing them generally prosperous. He 



had little or no education in early life except that 
acquired in the army and by his later experience, 
yet he could, in his old age, cast up the amount 
due on promissory notes given at annual interest, 
with difficult partial payments indorsed thereon, and 
make a written statement of the same, with an ac- 
curacy and dispatch that might well put to shame 
many of the liberally educated young men of the 
present day. He learned to write while in the Con- 
tinental army by copying the ballads and camp- 
songs of the soldiers, one of which is now in the 
possession of and highly prized by the writer of this 

As a citizen, he was always upright and exact in 
all his dealings, and dignified, though generous and 
cordial in his intercourse. He was never an office- 
seeking politician, but held many positions of honor 
and trust, both civil and militar}% and alwaj^s proved 
himself worthy of the confidence reposed in him. 
He was one of the earliest representatives of his 
town in the State Legislature. He was public- 
spirited and a patron of noble enterprise. The bell 
in the steeple of the church at South Reading was 
his gift to the people of that village. He was ever 
a stern lover of justice. He remarked to the writer 
of this, at his last interv^iew with him, that he had 
made it a principle during his life, " ever to do 
right " and to cause right to be done. He was a 
devoted patriot and had personally attended the 
polls of every Presidential election up to the time 
of his death, casting his last ballot for Fremont 
in 1856. 



Thus have passed away all of these Revolutionary 
patriots. None remain to testify of their early hard- 
ships and struggles for Freedom. Through their 
labors and sufferings we inherit this our fair land 
and these our free institutions. 

Truly do their memory and their courage deserve 
our highest veneration and respect, and if thus their 
memories are revered by their posterity, they will 
not, of necessity, need any lofty monuments or 
deeply wrought inscription to tell us of their noble 
deeds, their devoted patriotism and true greatness. 
However lowly may be their resting-place, let these 
tributes ever be ascribed to their memories with 
grateful hearts. May it truly be said of them 
that — 

The joy 

With which their children tread the hallowed ground 

That holds their venerated bones, the peace 

That smiles on all they fought for, and the wealth 

That clothes the land they received, — these, though mute 

As feeling ever is when deepest — these 

Are monuments more lasting than the tombs 

Reared to the kings and demi-gods of old. 



Marvin Robinson 



Compiled from a Sketch Written by his Son, Frank M. Robinson, Esq., 
of Dubuque, Iowa, for the History of Reading. 

ARVIN ROBINSON, the fourth son and fifth 
child of Ebenezer Robinson, was born 
March 24, 1800, on what is known as the 
"Old Esquire Robinson Farm" at South 
Reading. Until he was twenty-one years of age he 
assisted his father in clearing away the forests and 
carrying on the farm. Soon after reaching his ma- 
jority he commenced the business of tanning in 
South Reading, and continued it with such success 
as to acquire not only what was considered a com- 
petence, but an amount sufficient to number him 
among the wealthier men of Reading. Later he 
abandoned the tanner and currier's trade altogether 
and farming was his principal occupation up to the 
time of his death. 

He filled several offices of trust in his native town, 
having been seven times elected one of the select- 
men, which position he was filling at the time of 
his death. He was chosen lister one or more years 
and served his townsmen in other positions of trust 
and responsibility. In politics he was a Whig, but 
when the issues upon which that party was founded 
no longer existed, he gave his vote and his support 
to the newly formed Republican party. He was not 



a politician or partisan farther than the principles 
of his party, in his judgment, conduced to the gen- 
eral public welfare. 

He was a man of great physical strength and en- 
durance. Whatever he aimed to accomplish he 
labored for with a perseverance and energy that 
distanced many a man of weaker will and less phys- 
ical power. A man of good judgment and sound 
practical sense himself in regard to all the business 
and duties that came within the range of his observa- 
tion, and measuring everything by a matter of fact 
test, he entertained but poor opinion of all theories 
and schemes in which he could see no tangible value 
or practical utility. 

His early education was limited to that afforded 
by the common schools, and a wider range of 
scholastic training he deemed quite unnecessary for 
the successful business man. His sons he taught the 
hard lessons of self-reliance and economy by mak- 
ing them, from early boyhood, dependent upon their 
own resources for all beyond necessary food and 
clothing, and when they reached manhood, the same 
austere discipline compelled them, unaided, to make 
their own place in the world and be the founders 
as well as architects of their own fortunes. 

His opinions he held firmly and the fear or favor 
of no man ever checked their free expression, while 
his unswerving integrity of purpose and character 
were never called in question by friend, neighbor 
or townsman. By nature stern and strong himself, 
his discipline and judgment of others may have 
sometimes seemed to be severe, but severity was 









never allowed to overbalance what he believed to 
be the even scale of justice. 

New England, almost from the rocks, has been 
made the Eden she is through the energy, economy, 
perseverance and practical intelligence of men of 
his type. 

Marvin Robinson (b. March 24, 1800; d. Decem- 
ber 22, 1866) was twice married, ist. On October 
II, 1826, to Lucinda Fullam (b. September 13, 1797; 
d. November 25, 1839). They had seven children. 
2d. On September 22, 1840, to Charlotte Wood (b. 
May 2, 1816, in Hartland, Vermont; d. April 14, 
1899, in Felchville). They had three children. 

Children of Marvin and Lucinda 

I. Franklin Marvin (b. August 2, 1828; d. 
March 25, 1885), who married February 3, 1857, 
Laura Goddard Spaulding (b. May 6, 1832; d. 
June 21, 1889). Mr. Robinson graduated at Dart- 
mouth College, class of 1855. In 1856 he removed 
to Dubuque, Iowa, and practiced law. In 1862 he 
formed a partnership with Austin Adams, another 
Dartmouth man, the firm becoming later " Adams, 
Robinson & Lacey." Mr. Robinson was a sound 
lawyer, an excellent business man, and actively in- 
terested in the city, where he lived for over thirty 

I. May Goddard, b. April 21, i860; m. Oct. 6, 1879, to 
Judge Benjamin W. Lacey; b. March 12, 1849, in Cayuga 
County, New York ; son of Dr. Samuel Lacey and Mary Wood- 
bury Lacey. He graduated from the law department of Colum- 



bian College in 1871; began the practice of the law in 1872 in 
Dubuque; was made a judge of the District Court in 1878 and 
held this position for five years. At present is a member of the 
law firm of Lacey & Brown, President of the Iowa Trust and Sav- 
ings Bank, and a Director of the Gas Company, Street Railway and 
other companies. He has been interested in public institutions, 
having been President of the Hospital and Library Boards. Of 
six children born to them, four are living, as follows: 

Frank Robinson, b. February 22, 1881, graduate of Har- 
vard, class of 1902, Harvard Law School. 

BuRRiTT Samuel, b. March 4, 1882, graduate of Har- 
vard, class of 1903. 

Clive Woodbury, b. February 4, 1893. 

Margaret, b. April 16, 1899. 

2. Belle Fullam^ b. August 11, 1862; d. April 5, 1887. 

3. Grace, b. March 14, 1871; m. June 27, 1893, to Westel 
Woodbury Willoughby, Ph.D., b. July 20, 1 867; Professor at 
Johns Hopkins University. Children : 

Westel Robinson, b. November i, 1895. 
Laura Robinson, b. March i, 1897. 

II. Edwin Auretus, second son of Marvin 
Robinson, was born October 18, 1829, was educated 
in the public schools, and after arriving of age he 
settled in Boston and became a partner in the whole- 
sale provision house of W. F. Robinson & Co., with 
his two brothers, and died unmarried November 8, 

III. Charles Henry, the third son, was born 
July 18, 1831, was educated in Reading, settled in 
Boston and entered the firm of W. F. Robinson & 
Co. with his brothers. He was successful in busi- 
ness, married in Boston, and died April 8, 1902, 
leaving no children. 

IV. Wallace Fullam, the fourth son of Mar- 
vin, was born December 22, 1832, and educated in 
















Reading, and when a young man he entered busi- 
ness in the provision market in Boston. His business 
grew rapidly when he added to it the wholesale and 
packing business and soon took in partnership his 
two older brothers under the firm name of W. F. 
Robinson & Co. They were all good business men 
and were very successful. Wallace F. Robinson has 
accumulated a handsome fortune; has been Presi- 
dent of the Boston Chamber of Commerce and of 
the Board of Trade, and has been honored in many 
ways. He has now retired from business with the 
respect and esteem of his large circle of acquaint- 
ances. He married August 19, 1858, Mary Jane 
Robinson (born August 20, 1838), who was a daugh- 
ter of Ezra Robinson, son of James Robinson, men- 
tioned as brother of Ebenezer in this sketch. Their 
children are as follows: 

Fred Wallace, b. September 10, 1859; d. June 7, 1893. 
Harry Ezra, b. October 17, 1872. 

V. Forrest Alonzo, b. May 29, 1835; d. March 
19, 1836. 

VI. Maria Frances, b. January 2, 1837; m, 
March 27, 1857, James Orville Whitten. 

VII. Elmer Duane, b. July 15, 1838; d. De- 
cember 4, 1893; m. September 14, 1862, Lorette C. 
Hawkins (b. March 11, 1838). Children: 

Erwin Elmer, b. August 6, 1865; m. April 30, 1900, to 

Serena Sheldon, b. October 24, 1868. 
Arthur Hawkins, b. May i, 1874. 

Elmer Duane, when about two years of age, his 
mother having died, was adopted by his aunt, Eliza 



Robinson Keyes, wife of Washington Keyes, whose 
surname, " Keyes," was henceforth his name. 

He entered the Civil War as lieutenant, was pro- 
moted to the rank of captain, and his company, with 
its regiment, took a prominent part in the battle of 
Gettysburg. Mr. Keyes went to Rutland, Vermont, 
in 1870, and entered in the retail grocery business, 
which gradually assumed large proportions, a whole- 
sale branch being also established. He became the 
head of the largest firm in the wholesale grocery 
business in the state of Vermont. In June, 1865, 
Mr. Erwin E. Keyes was taken into partnership. 
Mr. Keyes was a man of the most thorough and pains- 
taking instincts; was prominent in business affairs, 
was a director in banks and other financial institu- 
tions, and commanded to an unusual extent the re- 
spect and confidence of all who were in any way 
associated with him. 

Children of Marvin and Charlotte 

VIII. Elroy Clement, b. January 30, 1844; d. 
October 28, 1885. He was a merchant of Weathers- 
field, Vermont, and a member of the Vermont 

IX. Delia Ada, b. January 24, 1847; d. Octo- 
ber 29, 1851. 

X. Addie Lestina, b. November 7, 1852; d. 
August 9, 1873. 














FEBRUARY i, 1912 

HE hall was well filled and the exercises 
commenced at 1 1 A.M. 

Mr. Burnham. Owing to the absence 
and the late arrival of some of the speak- 
ers, we have been obliged to make a change in the 
program, which will necessitate a little delay. 

Selection by the Windsor Orchestra. 

Prayer by J. B. Reardon. 

Song by Ray L. Blanchard. 

Mr. Burnham. Ladies and gentlemen, we are 
exceedingly sorry that the donor of this building is 
not with us to-day, but owing to such fact the 
presentation of and the reading of the deed will be 
made by one who has been deeply interested in this 
place and has done considerable for the town, that 
is, Hon. Gilbert A. Davis of Windsor, Vermont. 

Mr. Davis. This is indeed a red letter day in 
the history of Reading, a day never to be forgotten, 
a day that means a great deal to this town; but I 
am sure we all regret one thing, that is, the absence 
of Mr. Wallace F. Robinson, whom I have had the 
pleasure of knowing for a great many years. I have 
been requested by him to read this deed. I will 
now read the deed. 



Know all men by these presents: 

That I, Wallace F. Robinson, of Boston, in the County of 
Suffolk, and State of Massachusetts, for the consideration 
of One Dollar and other valuable considerations paid to 
my full satisfaction by Harry Ezra Robinson, of said Bos- 
ton (my son) by these presents, do freely give, grant, sell, 
convey and confirm unto the said Harry Ezra Robinson 
and his successors forever, in the trust hereinafter created, 
a certain piece of land in Reading, in the County of Wind- 
sor, and State of Vermont, described as follows, namely : — 

In the Village of Felchville, bounded on the North by 
the highway leading to South Reading, East by the main 
street, being the highway leading to Woodstock, South by 
land of Caroline M. Hook, and on the West by an estab- 
lished boundary line 2,$ ^^^^ East of the hotel barns, and 
sheds connected therewith as now standing; said boundary 
line shall begin 35 feet East of the South-east corner of 
the barn on the line between the described land and land 
of said Caroline M. Hook; thence running northerly 
keeping 35 feet East of said barn and sheds to the first 
mentioned highway, and I also hereby convey the right 
to maintain the aqueduct as now and heretofore laid to 
said premises and thereby take one-half of the water from 
the two springs or wells of water to said granted prem- 
ises, as the said aqueduct, wells and springs now exist; 
the said trustee shall maintain the branch pipe to said 
granted premises and shall be to one-half the expense of 
maintaining the main pipe and the said two wells or 
springs; but not imposing upon the said trustee any duty 
to maintain the branch pipe to the hotel barns and sheds; 
meaning hereby to convey all and the same premises, 
privileges and appurtenances as were conveyed to me by 
the Town of Reading by Its deed bearing date the seventh 
day of November, A.D. 191 1, and recorded in the Real 
Estate Records of said Town of Reading; and having 
situated thereon a two-story building erected by me In the 
year A.D. 191 1, and to be designated as " Robinson Hall " 



on the Interior of the main room on the second floor, and on 
the outside of the East front as " Reading Town Hall." 

I also convey and deliver to said Harry Ezra Robinson 
and his successors all the personal property which I have 
purchased and put Into said building for use therein, con- 
sisting of chairs, stage furnishings, heating and cooking 
apparatus, curtains, tables, crockery, cutlery, glassware, 
&c., &c. 

To have and to hold the above described premises and 
personal property to said Harry Ezra Robinson and his 
successors In this trust for the following purposes and 
uses and for none other, namely: — 

1. To permit the Town of Reading, under the direc- 
tions of the Selectmen, to use the said building, land and 
privileges and appurtenances connected therewith and per- 
sonal property for town meetings, public political meet- 
ings, public social gatherings, social dances, dramatic 
entertainments. Masonic and Odd Fellows meetings, and 
public dinners, and three certain rooms on the first floor 
for a town clerk's ofiice, post-ofiice and for a business 
ofiice, but not for mercantile or mechanical purposes. 

2. The Selectmen in their discretion shall charge and 
collect a reasonable rental for the use of said building 
or parts thereof, and personal property (except for meet- 
ings of the voters of said town and public meetings of a 
political character) and all such rentals shall be kept as 
a separate fund under this trust, and the same shall be 
expended by the said Selectmen for the expenses of in- 
surance, taxes, heating, lighting, replacing or repairing 
personal property accidentally destroyed or injured and 
the reasonable expenses of this trust, including the ex- 
pense, if any, of maintenance of the water pipes and wells 
imposed upon the trustee as aforesaid. The Selectmen 
shall not move the partitions or make any changes in the 
interior of said building from the location at the date of 
this deed, or sell any of said personal property, nor allow 
said personal property to be used elsewhere than in said 
building, except with the written consent of the trustee. 



3. The Selectmen shall make report to the Annual 
March Meeting of the Voters of the Town of Reading 
of all such income and expenditures, and a list of all the 
personal property on hand, and send a duplicate thereof 
annually in March to the trustee under this deed, 

4. The Selectmen shall keep said building and per- 
sonal property in good and tenantable repair at all times 
and keep the same insured for three-fourths of its value 
against loss or damage by fire or lightning. 

5. Should said building or personal property be de- 
stroyed or damaged by fire or lightning, the insurance 
money shall be used to repair or rebuild another building 
substantially the same as the building erected by me, and 
to supply the same with personal property, similar to that 
as is furnished by me. 

6. Should the Town of Reading ever cease to use said 
building for its public meetings for the space of five years, 
or allow the building to be used for purposes not auth- 
orized by this deed, or intentionally violate the conditions 
of this trust, then said real estate shall revert to my legal 

7. All personal property held under this trust shall be 
plainly marked " The Property of the Robinson Trust." 

8. The said trustee is authorized to appoint by an in- 
strument under his hand his successor under this trust, but 
should said trustee die or become mentally incapable with- 
out having made such appointment, the Court of Chancery 
for the County of Windsor is authorized to appoint such 
successor on proper application and notice to all interested 

In Witness Whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal 
this twenty-seventh day of January, A.D. 191 2. In the 

presence of Wallace F. Robinson 

Edward P, Hurd ( & t I 

Richard N. Morton I ' j 



State of Massachusetts, "I 
Suffolk County r^' 

At Boston this twenty-seventh day of January, A.D. 
19 1 2, Wallace F. Robinson personally appeared and 
acknowledged this instrument, by him sealed and sub- 
scribed, to be his free act and deed. 

Before me 

Meylert Bruner 
Notary Public 

Mr. Burnham. Inasmuch as it is impossible for 
the donor of this building to be here to-day, it is 
very gratifying to have one who is very near and 
dear to him, one who has a great deal of interest 
in the erecting and completion of this building, one 
who for the last few years has had a great interest 
in the town of Reading, the native town of Wallace 
F. Robinson, the donor of this building and of this 
hall. I now have the pleasure to introduce to you 
Mr. Harry E. Robinson. 


Harry Ezra Robinson 


In the absence of my father, Wallace F. 
Robinson, who is unable to be here to-day, 
I have the great pleasure of bringing to 
you the following message, which he has commis- 
sioned me, his only son, to convey. I accept this 
task with some diffidence, knowing as I do how much 
more welcome his presence would naturally be here, 
and also understanding how much better fitted he 
would be to express personally his views on an oc- 
casion of this kind. 

Mr. Chairman and Citizens of the Town of 
Reading: This is to me a day of thanksgiving and 
perhaps, in some measure, a day of atonement, for 
no man can ever adequately repay the place of his 
birth for all that it has done for him, no matter 
how meager at first blush the endowment may be. 
And first let me recite the history of this recognition 
which I am making to my native town to-day. 

Several years ago when I was staying at the hotel, 
then standing on the site of this same plot of land 
on which we gather in such large numbers to-day, 
I was taking a look backward and again forward, 
and in this forward glance suggested to one of your 
citizens that I might some time like to do something 
for the place of my birth, as a token that I had not 
lost all of my affection for the town of my boyhood 



days, but, on the contrary, that it still held a warm 
place in my heart of hearts. And why not? Here 
my family, that had done no mean service in the 
War of the Revolution, migrated at the close of the 
eighteenth century; here my father, Marvin Robin- 
son, whose portrait shall hang upon the walls of this 
town hall for many generations, I hope, to be an 
inspiration to patriotism in the public service and 
strict integrity in business life, was born; here are 
the graves of my father and my mother; and here, 
if I may be permitted, was born the partner of my 
joys and my sorrows, whose sainted presence, I verily 
believe, is here to bless the proceedings of this day. 

At first it occurred to me that perhaps a public 
library might be suited to the wants of the town. 
Your fellow citizen informed me, however, that an- 
other, harking back to his boyhood days, Hon. Gil- 
bert A. Davis, had the matter under consideration, 
and I am glad to know that he has since built you 
a library building which is a matter of great pride 
to the town and which does credit to his generous 
heart. A short time later my opportunity seemed 
to arrive. Your hotel was destroyed by fire and it 
was suggested to me that I might assist in rebuild- 
ing it. I made my subscription accordingly, but for 
some reason the hotel never came into being. 

What seemed to be needed more than anything 
else was a building which might be the common 
property of all the citizens, a place for the New 
England town meeting, which, let me say, has never 
been superseded as an organ for the untrammeled 
exercise of free speech, giving expression to free 



thought, and a place where the records of the past 
one hundred years or more, as well as those of the 
generations unborn, might be better protected. Just 
here, however, a very serious thought occurred to 
me : Did the town need such a building badly enough 
to tax itself to furnish it and maintain it in good 
condition? Naturally I did not think it wise to 
make a gift to the town involving a burden which 
the citizens might find it hard to carry, and at the 
same time try to convey an impression that I was 
doing them a kindness, when, in reality, I might 
be doing them an injustice. Having finally made 
up my mind that I should do something, that it was 
my duty to take note of the wants of the town, and 
scanning closely and curiously its history, I found 
that my roots ran back far enough to give it a claim 
upon my affection. I recalled that my grandfather 
came here from Lexington, Massachusetts, settled 
in this town in 1788, built his log house, and cleared 
the land now comprising the Ebenezer Robinson 
farm; he married and reared a large family, all 
of whom settled near him in South Reading. So 
far as the memory of man runneth, it is not any- 
where discoverable that my kinsmen were not all 
good citizens and in love with the town either of 
their adoption or of their birth. 

To my father, Marvin Robinson, the son of 
Ebenezer Robinson, and to my mother I owe not 
only my existence, but a strong body and whatever 
mental and moral qualities have contributed to my 
success in life, and it seemed to me that I should 
do something in memory of them, as well as the 



other Robinson families that lived in this town, al- 
most all of whom are now resting in the South 
Reading Cemetery. 

My mind was finally made up. I determined to 
erect this town hall and furnish it entirely, with the 
exception of three offices, which are rented. I be- 
lieve that not one dollar of anybody else's money 
but my own is in this building and its furnishings, 
and therefore, if it is accepted by the town under 
the terms of the deed, the gift will be without en- 
cumbrance or cost. At first I did not expect to do 
what I have done, but as I progressed, and as affec- 
tion clutched more tightly my heart strings, I made 
up my mind that, as I did not want to involve the 
town in a dollar of expense, I would deliver over 
this property completely furnished. What is more, 
the property will produce an income which will, 
I hope, for all time continue to keep it in repair 
without becoming a charge to the town. 

What is this building to me and mine? It is a 
memorial of the affection which I bear the town of 
my birth; and it is more: it is a memorial to my 
father, Marvin Robinson, than whom, as the poet 
says, " I could hope to have chosen no other man 
for father if the lots had been shaken in the urn 
and I was allowed to draw." I here and now dis- 
claim any desire to obtain glory for myself. 
Whether the town is at all indebted to the Robin- 
son family, it itself knows and it is not for me to 
say. Of Reading, however, I can say, " mother of 
towns to me, for I was born in her gate." 

In conclusion, I have not only the honor but the 



privilege of presenting this building to my native 
town, to be used, I hope, for many generations as 
a town hall. May it stand as an evidence of grate- 
ful recognition; may it stand as a testimony that a 
man's native town is not a mere plot of ground, but 
something more exquisite still — an idea and an 
ideal that do not die; and may those who come 
after us, as they look upon this building, ever cherish 
and hold it as the gift of a " native son " to his town 
and as a memorial of that son to his ancestors. 



R. BURNHAM. The acceptance of this hall 
in behalf of the town is for one who is 
known to everyone in the county. While 
you may not know him personally, you 
have all read of his actions. I now introduce Mr. 
B. M. Newton of Felchville. 

Mr. Newton. Ladies and gentlemen, friends, 
neighbors, fellow townsmen. As a lifelong citizen 
of Reading and as chairman of this committee I 
extend to you at this time a most cordial welcome 
here at this dedication. I think it will go without 
saying that there has gathered here to-day a large 
number of people. We did not expect as many as 
on that day, forty years ago in August next, when 
we celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of the 
settlement of the town of Reading. There are very 
few here to-day who were with us on that day. One 
who took part in the exercises of that day, Hon. 
Gilbert A. Davis, is with us to-day. During these 
forty years one generation has gone out and a new 
one has come in. Since that time we have had many 
gatherings. Fourth of July celebrations, and Old 
Home Days. In the past few years you have been 
called together to dedicate two buildings — the 
Gilbert A. Davis Free Public Library and the 
Universalist Hall — both buildings standing on this 
street. Last year we were called to Hammondsville 



to observe the forming of the Reading Talk & As- 
bestos Co., but to-day you have come together to 
dedicate the Reading New Town Hall. This elec- 
tion, which comes next month, will be the first time 
that you have entered to cast your votes in a build- 
ing that you can call your own. During all the 
years of the past Reading has had to go down to 
the vestry of the Baptist Church. Since the old 
hall was taken down we have been dependent on 
the hospitality of someone else, and now for the first 
time in the history of Reading we have a place that 
we can call our own. The giver, Mr. Wallace F. 
Robinson, was born here; he first saw the light of 
day in South Reading. There he spent his child- 
hood, his boyhood, there he grew up, and, not find- 
ing the opportunities he desired in Reading, he went 
to Boston. That was nearly sixty years ago. Boston 
then was not the Boston of to-day and for sixty 
years he has been connected with the business of 
that city. He has grown up and seen many changes 
in that city. It may seem strange, while this man 
has been away from his native town for sixty years, 
that he should feel such interest in the old town and 
the people of Reading. Now Mr. Robinson first 
saw the light of day in South Reading; that is why 
he still has a claim on the town and a place in his 
heart for its people. When he comes back here, 
as he has occasionally — he came last summer — 
almost the first place he goes is up to South Read- 
ing. His former associates are not there to welcome 
him; some have gone away to other towns, some 
to the cities, and a great many have gone to their 



reward. What is there that so attracts Mr. Robin- 
son? His old home, the place where he was born. 
I have lived long enough to know that, when a per- 
son was born in a place and there spent the first 
twenty years of his life, though he may go to Bos- 
ton, to the Pacific coast, north, south, across the 
Atlantic to other countries, he will never have an- 
other place that is so dear to him as his old home. 
We care not whether that new place be a palace 
or a hovel, it will never be like the old home. 

Mr. Robinson, as he was not here, chose a com- 
mittee consisting of Mr. Burnham, Mr. Watkins, 
Mr. Amsden, and myself to see that this building 
was properly constructed and that he got what he 
paid for, and last summer we worked here — not 
all the time, but incidentally we were here, as each 
had other business to attend to, but whenever we 
could we came here. We have had many sugges- 
tions from different people, we have had many ideas 
expressed, how this should be built, how that should 
be built. If we had followed all these suggestions 
we would have had indeed a strange-looking build- 
ing. Interested in the town of Reading, Mr. Rob- 
inson furnishing all the models, we followed his 
direction as best we could. 

I have been asked by the Selectmen, since I came 
here, to accept this building in their behalf, and I 
do so at this time. I accept this deed as read to 
you by Mr. Davis. We have had given to us by 
Mr. Robinson a building that the present genera- 
tion will enjoy, your children will enjoy, and your 
children's children will enjoy, and it will stand 



as a monument to Mr. Robinson now and for all 

Mr. Burnham. This closes the exercises for 
this morning. Exercises will commence this after- 
noon at two o'clock sharp. 














HE afternoon exercises began with a selec- 
tion by the Windsor Orchestra. 

Mr. Burnham. It gives me great 
pleasure to have with us to-day a man 
who probably knows more about the records and 
the nature of this town than anyone else, one who, 
when he may have a few days to spare, enjoys com- 
ing to this town with his camping outfit and spend- 
ing the time in camping in different places in this 
town of Reading. I introduce to you Attorney- 
General John G. Sargent of Ludlow. 

Mr. Sargent. Mr. President, fellow citizens. 
So far as making a speech this afternoon is con- 
cerned, I am somewhat in the situation of a man 
I heard of some time ago. He was invited by a 
friend to take something with him, something out 
of a bottle. His friend said, " When I have poured 
out enough, say * Whoa.' " He had just started 
when the man said " Whoa." Then looking at his 
glass he said, " Would you mind giving me a little 
more? I thought I was going to stutter." Up to 
the moment when it was almost time to start to 
come here I supposed that I should not be able to 
be here, so for that reason I had not prepared any 
address to make to the people here to-day. As your 
President has said, there is no way in which I take 



so much pleasure as spending my time in Reading. 
In the western part of the town, it seems to me, 
there is no place on earth that I have seen as beau- 
tiful as that country between the Bell schoolhouse 
and the Chase place. I am invited to talk of the 
records of this town, but in such a talk, as I am 
aware, facts must be mixed with fiction in order to 
make the same interesting, and it takes time as well 
as information to make an address of that kind. I 
have not come here to make a speech, but expect 
to meet people and renew old acquaintances that 
I made here in my early days, when I was teaching 
here and later as a laborer in Reading. I have still 
another interest in the town which I have not men- 
tioned, that is, I belong to the town of Reading by 
marriage. For that reason of course I am very 
much interested in everything pertaining to the 
town and its people. I am interested and pleased 
with this beautiful gift, on account of my being a 
son of Reading by marriage. I asked my wife what 
I should say here to-day, and she said, " I will write 
your speech for you." I will now read the manu- 
script she prepared for me. 

The Attorney-General proceeded to read it as 
follows, explaining at the start that by " political 
activity " was meant not " practical politics " in the 
modern sense of the term, but rather the politics of 
government, a study of the problems involved: 

This is the season in which in Vermont, in the 
old days, political activity ran highest. 

In January, 1777, Vermont was declared by the 



representatives of her inhabitants in convention at 
Westminster assembled to be a free and independent 
nation; and that condition, so declared, was main- 
tained with determination and spirit for fourteen 

January i8, 1791, Hon. Nathaniel Chipman and 
Hon. Lewis R. Morris were chosen commissioners 
to negotiate the admission of the state into the Union. 
They at once repaired to Philadelphia, and one 
hundred and twenty-one years ago, at almost this 
hour, they arrived there and set about the business 
of their mission, which was accomplished within a 
few days. 

During those fourteen years of hardships, so severe 
as to be almost inconceivable to the present genera- 
tion, the territory of this little nation, hanging like 
a blanket on the two sides of the Green Mountains, 
was an object of envy to the governments surround- 
ing it on three sides: New York on the west. New 
Hampshire on the east, and Great Britain on the 
north; and the people inhabiting it, sometimes by 
threats, sometimes by force, sometimes by diplomacy, 
sometimes by flattery and cajolery, though few in 
numbers, poor and weak in everything but physical 
endurance and wits, succeeded in keeping at arms' 
length all three of the parties who would despoil 
them of their lands. 

To do this a strong government of their own was 
necessary, and they early found that out. They also 
saw that the only basis on which such a government 
could be maintained among such people as they were 
was the consent of the governed. 


Therefore those early pioneers had to deal with 
not only the problem of warding off their enemies 
from the outside, but also of creating, literally 
creating anew, a form and frame of government 
which should be strong, self-supporting, and self- 

" There were giants in those days," but that was 
not the real secret of their wonderful success. 
Every man was a student of political science, of 
principles of government. Life was one continuous 
agitation, in the home, in the neighborhood gather- 
ing, in the committee of safety, in the legislature, 
of how and why this measure and that measure 
should be adopted and carried out. The result was 
the working out and adoption of a constitution, a 
plan of government in all essential details the same 
as that under which we are living to-day. 

Once that plan of government was adopted and 
laws enacted under it, the most rigid obedience to 
the constitution and laws was demanded. From 
being the most radical of radicals, the people of 
whom Ethan Allen on March 9, 178 1, in a letter 
to the Congress wrote: "I am as resolutely deter- 
mined to defend the independence of Vermont as 
Congress are that of the United States, and rather 
than fail, will retire with the Green Mountain Boys 
into the desolate Caverns of the mountains and wage 
war with human nature at large," the Vermonters 
became and ever have been the conservatives of the 

The very men who for the sake of creating the 
new state were ready to "wage war with human 



nature at large " became so insistent on obedience 
within its own borders to its own laws that they 
followed and with their arms supported that same 
intrepid leader when two years later he proclaimed, 
" I, Ethan Allen, declare that unless the people of 
Guilford peaceably submit to the authority of the 
state of Vermont the town shall be made as desolate 
as were the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah." 

In these days of self-seeking agitators and popu- 
lar unrest fomented by them, these days when polit- 
ical quacks are prescribing the initiative, the referen- 
dum, the recall of judges, who dare to declare the 
law instead of the popular craze of the day, and 
other political nostrums for the social stomach, I 
recommend to the careful consideration, the thought- 
ful study of every citizen, and every alien too, the 
constitution of the state of Vermont 

I ask that " frequent recurrence to fundamental 
principles " therein enjoined, and which I believe 
will, if honestly pursued, convince all that the same 
right is right, the same truth is truth, the same jus- 
tice is justice, the same equity is equity, now as in 
the beginning of our state. 

Let us cease a little from the ever increasing strife 
to enlarge our own personal fortunes, our own per- 
sonal power and prestige to secure the satisfaction 
of our own tastes and desires, and in these times of 
ease and comfort " recur to fundamental principles," 
study to strengthen the foundations of the state by 
originating and promoting measures looking to the 
good of all rather than of any one or any few. 

For I tell you that just as surely as the machinery 



of government is allowed to be used to take some- 
thing from one man and give to another, whether 
the man from whom it is taken and the man to 
whom it is given be rich or poor, be ignorant or 
learned, just so surely are sown seeds of trouble, of 
social and political disease. 

The little nation of Vermont was strong because 
its people were compelled by force of circumstances 
each to work, and more than that to think, for others 
as well as himself. The great nation can be kept 
sound and enduring only by the same work and the 
same thought, the cultivation and enforcement of 
the same obedience to law that Ethan Allen insisted 
on at Guilford. 

" It is the law of heaven that the world is given 
to the hardy and the self-denying, whilst he who 
would escape the duties of manhood will soon be 
stripped of the pride, the want, and the power which 
are the prizes which manhood brings." 


Old Union Church, South Reading, V't. 


UET by Alice L. Burnham and Ella H. 

Mr. Burnham. I have the pleasure 
of introducing to you one who to many 
of us needs no introduction, one who has done a 
great deal for the town and who feels a great in- 
terest in its welfare, Hon. Gilbert A. Davis of 
Windsor, who proposes to give us an historical 
sketch of the Robinson family. 

Mr. Davis. Mr. Chairman, ladies, and gentle- 
men. An historical sketch must necessarily deal 
with facts and figures. At this time, the dedication 
of this hall, you will be interested to know some- 
thing about the Robinson family. 


The historical address by Hon. Gilbert A. Davis 
of Windsor was, in part, as follows : 

The dedication of this town hall is an event, in 
the history of Reading, that should enlist the interest 
of all. This building, so long as it stands, will be 
a memento to the generosity of a distinguished son 
of the town. Generations yet unborn will admire 
its ample proportions, the perfection of its design 
and erection, its furnishings, its heating and lighting 
arrangements. This hall will be appreciated be- 
cause needed for public purposes. The people will 



not forget the public spirit shown by Merritt G. 
Amsden, at the time of the destruction of this hotel, 
in putting up the money to purchase the site of the 
hotel for some public building, nor the exertions of 
B. M. Newton, George D. Burnham, or E. B. Wat- 
kins in connection with M. G. Amsden and others 
in connection with Mr. Robinson's gift. The town 
meeting represents the New England spirit of in- 
dependence and self-government. Therein the serv- 
ants of the people report to the masters — the com- 
mon people. Therein every citizen is a sovereign; 
the people rule. 

In the spring of 1788 Vermont was an independ- 
ent nation, denying the jurisdictional claim of New 
Hampshire and New York and not recognized as 
an integral part of the Confederate States of Amer- 
ica, yet loyal to it, not hostile. 

That the settlers upon the New Hampshire Grants 
were true to the principles of the Revolution, not- 
withstanding that the Continental Congress had 
taken the side of New York as against the claim of 
Vermont to independence as a separate state, we are 
assured by the testimony of Lieutenant-General Bur- 
goyne himself. In his private letter to Lord Ger- 
main, dated Saratoga, August 20, 1777, he wrote: 
" The New Hampshire Grants in particular, a coun- 
try unpeopled and almost unknown in the last war, 
now abounds in the most active and most rebellious 
race on the continent, and hangs like a gathering 
storm on my left." 

The British Government sought to win its people 
back to an allegiance to the crown. The General 



Haldemand correspondence with the leading men 
of Vermont and the craftily worded replies show 
diplomacy of the highest order. If you have never 
read this correspondence, do not fail to do so. 

The Vermonters were coy as maidens and kept 
King George and his ministers on the ragged edge 
of expectancy; yet the Vermonters were always 
loyal to the Revolution, furnished many troops for 
the Continental Army, but on condition that Ver- 
mont should appoint and commission the officers 
and that Vermont companies and regiments should 
be kept distinct from other organizations. When 
General Burgoyne with his exultant army and In- 
dian allies came up Lake Champlain and sought to 
effect a junction with the force of General Clinton, 
who came up the Hudson and thus separated New 
England from the remainder of the colonies, Ver- 
mont acted an important part in the battles of 
Bennington and Stillwater and the capture of Bur- 
goyne's army. Andrew Spear, as the representative 
of Reading, was a member of the Convention at 
Windsor in 1777 that adopted the first constitution 
of Vermont. The Revolutionary War ended with 
the independence of the colonies and a large number 
of soldiers returned to civil life, among others 
Ebenezer and James Robinson of Lexington, Mass. 
In looking about for homes they were attracted to 
this independent nation called Vermont, and in the 
spring of 1788 we find these two brothers located 
on lands near South Reading, then an unbroken 
forest. Reading at that time was quite well settled. 
In 1791 it had 741 inhabitants, in 1910 it had 530. 



Reading, though an inland town, a hill town, has 
a history worthy of the consideration of all. The 
Psalmist sang many thousand years ago, in the voice 
of the Great Jehovah, " I will lift up mine eyes unto 
the hills, from whence cometh my help." How 
often that has been realized in the world's history. 
From the hills and mountains have come the great 
men who have ruled the world's people and shaped 
the destinies of the nations. The boys, poor boys 
from the hillside farms, who have struggled for 
education and baffled the storms of adversity, have 
been the men who have led the conquering armies, 
swayed the Senate with their eloquence, convinced 
the courts and juries by their enthusiastic reasoning 
and logic, controlled the markets of the world, piled 
up colossal fortunes, proclaimed the truth of the 
Christian religion with convincing fervor, made the 
great discoveries in medicine, mechanics, and the 
arts, brought out the hidden mysteries of electricity, 
built the railroads, and commanded the navies in 
such emergencies as to bring the Oregon from the 
Pacific to the Atlantic and capture the Spanish fleet 
in Manila Bay. The song of the Psalmist has been 
fulfilled in the history of Reading. It is a town 
renowned for the raising of men and women who 
have influenced the world's history in no slight 

Men who their duties know, 

But know their rights, and knowing dare maintain. 

It is a subject rich in its facts, more fascinating than 
idle fiction, crowded with examples for the young 



men and maidens to emulate, for the middle-aged to 
gather up and recite to the children, for the aged to 
cherish as a part of life's history. The roll of the 
honored sons and daughters of Reading is a long 
one. The battle-rolls upon the walls of the library 
are glorious. The roll of college graduates is espe- 
cially interesting. The portraits of respected citi- 
zens are too few — more should be there. It is an 
honor to have been born in Reading. Your daugh- 
ters and sons are proud of it, as well as mine. It 
has been a pleasure to me to gather up this history. 
Let the record be preserved. Do not forget Clar- 
ence W. Marks, a native of Reading, a successful 
business man who endowed the Reading library 
with $5000. 

Records of the Robinson Family 

To-day our minds naturally turn to the records 
of the Robinson family, one of the many notable 
families of the town. The Robinsons have always 
been modest and unassuming people. If the third 
volume of the " History of Reading " should ever 
be published, there will be a mass of facts about 
that family to be put into it, and also about other 
honored families of this town. The Robinsons have 
been men and women of large physique, brainy, 
industrious, frugal, thrifty, hard workers, honest, 
scholarly and patriotic. There has not been among 
them any of the vicious, wicked, lazy class. As I 
go along with my address I shall endeavor to verify 
these general statements by the recital of results 

63 ' .; : 


The family came from the north of England. 
William Robinson, who married Elizabeth Cutler, 
is the first of this family in America. He resided 
on a farm in Cambridge, Massachusetts (now a part 
of Auburndale), and had nine children. From 
their sixth son, Samuel (born April 20, 1680), de- 
scended a line of eminent men, worthy of brief men- 
tion here. 

Moses Robinson, born March 15, 1741, settled in 
Bennington, Vermont, and was the first Colonel of 
Militia in Vermont, first Chief Justice of the Su- 
preme Court of Vermont, Senator in Congress, and 
second Governor of the state. He received the hon- 
orary degree of A.M. at Yale College in 1789 and at 
Dartmouth in 1790 and died May 19, 1813. 

A brother of Moses, Jonathan Robinson, born 
August 24, 1756, was Chief Justice of the Supreme 
Court in Vermont from 1801 to 1807 and United 
States Senator. He received the honorary degree 
of A.M. at Dartmouth College and died November 
3, 1819. 

Moses Robinson, second Governor of Vermont, 
left six sons, the fourth of whom was Nathan, a law- 
yer who died at the age of forty. His son, John S. 
Robinson, the only Democratic Governor of Ver- 
mont for more than half a century, was born in 
Bennington, Vermont, November 10, 1804. He 
graduated at Williams College, became a lawyer, 
and identified himself with the Democratic Party. 
So much for that branch. 

From another branch descended George Dexter 
Robinson. He graduated at Harvard College in 



1856, studied law with his brother, Hon. Charles 
Robinson, Jr., in Charlestown, Massachusetts, located 
at Chicopee, Massachusetts, and served in the 45th, 
46th, and 47th Congresses of the United States. He 
was elected Governor of Massachusetts in 1883, de- 
feating General Benjamin F. Butler, and was re- 
elected in 1884 and 1885. These people have been 
mentioned as illustrating the " Robinson blood." 

Ebenezer, when only sixteen years of age, in 1781, 
entered the service, served first on a man-of-war, was 
captured by a British man-of-war, was a prisoner 
of war on the Old Jersey, and was finally exchanged 
and returned home. In the year 1782 he enlisted 
into the military service in the Tenth Massachusetts 
Regiment and remained until the close of the war, 
enduring many hardships and obtaining an honor- 
able discharge. 

All the Robinsons of Reading have had notable 
and honorable records. Ebenezer Robinson was one 
of the most remarkable of the early settlers of this 
town. He was born on the fourteenth day of Feb- 
ruary, 1765, in Lexington, Massachusetts. 

Ebenezer Robinson settled in South Reading, Ver- 
mont, in the spring of 1788, with his elder brother, 
James Robinson, who was then married. They 
located on the farm near South Reading recently 
owned and for a long time held by Washington 
Keyes, now by R. O. Wells, which was then a wil- 
derness. They built here a log cabin and immedi- 
ately after was born a son of James Robinson, 
Ebenezer Robinson, 2d (named after the subject of 
this sketch), who subsequently was a resident of 



Felchville, in the Coburn house. He was familiarly 
known as " Captain Eb." 

In this log house the brothers lived for several 
years, Ebenezer clearing and settling his farm ad- 
joining, now owned by Herbert Green, afterwards 
so long owned and occupied by himself, till the 
summer of 1792, when he built a frame house, which 
is still standing as the wing or kitchen part of the 
present house, and to which in November, 1792, 
having married Miss Hannah Ackley, he took his 
bride and established his own happy home. Pre- 
vious to this the Ackley family had migrated from 
the vicinity of Haddam, Connecticut, and settled 
above South Reading. In this house this devoted 
couple reared a large, intelligent, prosperous family 
and spent a happy life of sixty-six years together. 
In 1824 he built a large two-story frame mansion 
as an addition in front, which in those times was 
considered an unusually fine residence, and still 
stands as a respectable edifice. 

The hardships of clearing this hardwood wilder- 
ness farm were great, but he was always undaunted, 
and nothing baffled him. During this early period 
he successfully dealt in the real estate of this vicinity 
and secured many permanent settlers for the town. 
Here on his productive, well-tilled farm he spent a 
long life of usefulness and activity and reared a large 
family of children; and like many of those old 
Revolutionary pensioners, he was in his old age 
healthy and hearty, remarkably vigorous both in 
mind and body, even to his last brief sickness. He 
died at the age of ninety-three years. 



As a citizen he was always upright and exact in 
all his dealings and dignified, though generous and 
cordial, in his intercourse. He was never an office- 
seeking politician, but held many positions of honor 
and trust, both civil and military, and always proved 
himself worthy of the confidence reposed in him and 
was honored by his townsmen in positions of trust 
in many ways. He was public-spirited and a patron 
of noble enterprise. The bell in the steeple of the 
church at South Reading was his gift to the people 
of that village. May it truly be said of them, that 

The joy 
With which their children tread the hallowed ground 
That holds their venerated bones, the peace 
That smiles on all they fought for, and the wealth 
That clothes the land they received, — these, though mute 
As feeling ever is, when deepest — these 
Are monuments more lasting than the tombs 
Reared to the kings and demi-gods of old. 

Ebenezer Robinson had nine children: Lewis, 
Calvin, Jonas, Marvin, Ebenezer, Rhoda, Sally 
Towin, Hannah, and Eliza. He was a religious 
man. On December 12, 1796, when the Reformed 
Catholic Society was formed, he was a member with 
thirty-five others, all men; and when the Congre- 
gational and Moral Society was formed on October 
22, 1798, he, with twenty-three other men, united 
with it. 

The Marvin Robinson Branch 

Lewis, eldest son of Ebenezer (born August 19, 
1793), settled at South Reading, built the two-story 
frame house, and there made his home. He also 



built the two-story stone building on the opposite 
side of the street, which was used for a retail store 
and for the manufacture of maps and Masonic charts 
and the printing of legal blanks. He also erected 
the red building east of the stone building and used 
it for his map business. He had seven children. 
Calvin Lewis and George O. received college edu- 
cations and became lawyers. Calvin Lewis settled 
in Florida and died there. George O. settled in 
Detroit, Michigan, became prominent and wealthy, 
and now presides as the Nestor of the Detroit bar. 
There were five daughters. 

One of the sons of Ebenezer was Ebenezer, Jr., 
who resided on the farm of his father, next south of 
the Washington Keyes place. He had a remarkable 
family of three sons and one daughter, all born in 
South Reading, (i) Stillman W. became a civil 
engineer, was professor of mechanical engineering 
and physics in the University of Illinois and profes- 
sor of mechanical engineering in the University of 
Ohio, secured some forty patents, and has published 
several scientific and technical works, which may be 
found in the library at Felchville. (2) Elna Al- 
phonse, a graduate of the University of Illinois in 
1874, is a mechanical engineer. (3) Albert Alonzo, 
born in 1844, worked his way from expressman in 
the Engineer Corps to the presidency of the Mexi- 
can Central Railway Company, and now resides in 
Topeka, Kansas. He has had the direct charge of 
the construction of over forty-five hundred miles 
of railroads. (4) Mary Ella resides in Springfield, 



Marvin Robinson, fourth son of Ebenezer Rob- 
inson, was born March 24, 1800, on what is known 
as the " Old Esquire Robinson Farm " at South 
Reading. Until he was twenty-one years of age he 
assisted his father in clearing away the forest and 
carrying on the farm. Soon after reaching his ma- 
jority he built the large brick house now occupied 
by Abel Ray, Esq., commenced the business of tan- 
ning in South Reading, and continued it with such 
success as to acquire not only what is considered a 
competence, but an amount sufficient to number him 
among the wealthiest men of Reading. Later he 
abandoned the tanner and currier's trade altogether 
and farming was his principal occupation up to the 
time of his death. 

He filled several offices of trust in his native town, 
having been seven times elected one of the selectmen, 
which position he was filling at the time of his death. 
He was chosen lister one or more years and served 
his townsmen in other positions of trust and respon- 
sibility. In politics he was a Whig, but when the 
issues upon which that party was founded no longer 
existed, he gave his vote and support to the newly 
formed Republican Party. He was not a politician 
or partisan farther than the principles of his party, 
in his judgment, conduced to the general public 

He was a man of great physical strength and en- 
durance. Whatever he aimed to accomplish he 
labored with a perseverance and energy that dis- 
tanced many a man of weaker will and less physical 
power. A man of good judgment and sound prac- 



tical sense himself in regard to all the business and 
duties that came within the range of his observation, 
and measuring everything by a matter of fact test, 
he entertained but poor opinion of all theories and 
schemes in which he could see no tangible value or 
practical utility. He despised " the frivolities of 
polished idleness." His early education was limited 
to that afforded by the common schools, and a wider 
range of scholastic training he deemed quite unnec- 
essary for the successful business man. To his sons 
he taught the hard lessons of self-reliance and econ- 
omy by making them, from early boyhood, dependent 
upon their own resources for all beyond necessary 
food and clothing, and when they reached manhood 
the same austere discipline compelled them, unaided, 
to make their own place in the world and be the 
founders as well as architects of their own fortunes. 
" Let the boys cut their own fodder " was his favorite 

New England, almost from the rocks, has been 
made the Eden she is through the energy, economy, 
perseverance, and practical intelligence of men of 
his type. 

His ten children were all born in Reading. In 
passing permit me to mention Captain Elmer D. 
Keyes, one of his sons. He took the name of Keyes 
by reason of his mother having died in his infancy 
and his having been reared in the home of his uncle, 
Washington Keyes. He was a valiant soldier, a 
successful teacher and business man, both in Felch- 
ville, in the firm of Chamberlain & Keyes, where he 
carried on a wholesale and retail business, and at 



Rutland, where he founded the house of E. D. Keyes 
& Co. and became very wealthy. Charles Henry 
and Edwin A. Robinson were partners in business 
in Boston with Wallace F. and had honorable careers. 
Elroy, a son, was a successful merchant at Perkins- 
ville and represented Weathersfield in the Legisla- 
ture. One of these ten children, Frank M., became 
a lawyer and resided in Dubuque, Iowa. 

Wallace Fullam Robinson 

This occasion demands a special reference to him 
whom you will delight to honor, Wallace Fullam 
Robinson, to whose generosity the South Reading 
Cemetery is indebted for a part of its permanent 
funds, the Reading Library for the donation of valu- 
able books, all the inhabitants of the town for the 
splendid example he has set for the young men to 
imitate in his remarkable, successful business career 
in Boston, Massachusetts, and finally for the gift, in 
a trust deed, to his only son, Harry Ezra Robinson, of 
this town hall and all its furnishings for the use of 
the inhabitants of Reading forever. His early train- 
ing under the stern discipline of his father made 
him independent in thought and act. His mother 
was a Fullam, of a distinguished family and of great 
energy. The blood of the Robinsons and Fullams, 
combined, made Wallace Fullam Robinson the suc- 
cessful business man and the firm friend, and W. F. 
Robinson & Co. became known throughout New 
England at least for the purity of its goods put 
upon the market and the square deal for all. He 



was a member of the Boston Common Council in the 
years 1871 and 1872, the time of the great Boston 
fire, was elected for two terms as a Representative 
to the State Legislature in 1875 and 1876, was one 
of the first Presidents of the Boston Produce Ex- 
change ( 1 885-1 886), and was President of the Con- 
solidated Hand Method Lasting Machine Company 
until the formation of the United Shoe Machinery 
Company in 1899. He acquired wealth and in- 
fluence. His sturdy intellect and keen business per- 
ceptions made him many friends in business and 
social circles. He was President of the Boston 
Chamber of Commerce for five consecutive terms 
from 1895 to 1900 and Vice-President of the United 
Shoe Machinery Corporation since its formation in 
1899, as well as Director. Under his management 
that company acquired control largely of the manu- 
facture and leasing of improved shoe machinery in 
Massachusetts and thereby the cost of the manu- 
facture of shoes has been reduced. He will not be 
forgotten so long as this town hall stands. And I 
voice the sentiments of all assembled here when I 
express the hope that this building may ever remain 
and perpetuate the memory of this noble act of 
Wallace Fullam Robinson. 




|R. BURNHAM. We have with us to-day 
one who is widely known in the business 
world and who at the same time has his 
best interests here in Reading. I am 
happy to introduce to you Hon. Allen M. Fletcher 
of Cavendish. 

Mr. Fletcher. Ladies and gentlemen, this is an 
ideal idealistic meeting in my mind and I am sure 
everyone present will agree with me. I have been 
deeply interested in the doings of Reading. Only 
a short time ago, while acting as a pilot to the 
State Forester in Hammondsville, I spoke of getting 
the town clerk to go out and meet this gentleman. 
I came in here to get him to go, as a chap in the 
hand is worth two in the bush, but he refused to 
go out, and then it came to me that he wanted him 
to come in here and see the hall. Whenever anyone 
met Brother Newton he immediately waxed elo- 
quent over the hall they were building here in Felch- 
ville. It is certainly a great and notable thing for 
our friend Mr. Robinson to give us this hall, to 
make it possible for the people of Reading to have 
a hall that they can feel free to use. I am going to 
quote to you, read to you, as there are a great many 
educated and learned men here on this forum and 
I do not want to make any mistake, what one of the 
most celebrated men that ever lived once said, which 



I think applies to this occasion and gift: " How far 
the little candle throws its gleam, Thus shines a good 
deed in a naughty world." Here we have an ex- 
ample. The world cannot be made by legislation 
alone. It helps, but example is stronger. The 
Legislature can help it, but by example you can do 
much. I was passing along the street a short time 
ago and heard two little lads under ten years of age 
swearing in a way that would have made Captain 
Kid's men green with envy. Where did they get 
it? Heard someone say it. That was the effect of 

Mr. Burnham. Ladies and gentlemen, we have 
with us to-day a man who spent much of his early 
life in Reading. It is with pleasure that I intro- 
duce to you Mr. Wallace Batchelder of Bethel. 

Mr. Batchelder. Another gentleman has spoken 
in his speech about the early history of Vermont 
and said that there were giants in those days. Here 
to-day I overheard one person say to another as they 
looked upon a group of five men standing talking — 
one was our Attorney-General, another a townsman, 
and another a civil engineer whom we know: "I 
did not know there were so many tall men." I did 
not wonder at the remark. I said: "That is the 
kind of men Vermont breeds." We have heard 
to-day about the lives of men who first made it pos- 
sible for Vermont to be what it is to-day. Of about 
thirty years I have spent about fifteen in Reading. 
I remember, when I heard people talk of what hap- 
pened twenty years ago, that I thought they must 
be very old, but when I talk of twenty and twenty- 



five years ago, I think I am beginning to reminisce 
a little. I hope you will pardon me if I do reminisce. 
Several years of my boyhood I spent in the Reading 
schools. Sixteen years ago I had a place to teach 
in South Reading, in the schoolhouse in which Wal- 
lace F. Robinson received his early education. Mr. 
Davis tells me that Mount Moses was named for 
my great-grandfather. 

Wherever you may go and hear Vermont spoken 
of, or yourself speak of Vermont, someone will im- 
mediately wax eloquent about the state and proudly 
say that he is a Vermonter. When you find a Ver- 
monter, I assure you you have found someone whom 
you can tie to. 

When I was in the Philippines, the natives could 
come under American protection for about ten cents 
of our money, and so many took advantage of this 
that I needed clerical work done to aid me, and in 
order to be of assistance this man must be able to 
speak Spanish, which requires fifteen or sixteen 
months. Captain Harden said to me one day: " I 
have got a man in my company whom I can recom- 
mend. He learned Spanish with great rapidity, is 
a good penman, and I think he could help you." I 
said : " I can offer some inducement — a home at 
the capitol and a bed — but it is hard work." This 
man came, and who do you suppose it was? C. 
Wilkie Louie of South Reading, Vermont. 

A few more reminiscences. One day last summer 
while at Woodstock I met Bert Cole, and he spoke 
of one time, about twenty-three years ago, that we 
put on the stage here a play, " Rock Allen," and 



Bert reminded me that I played the part of Rock 
Allen. We decided that the world lost the second 
Henry Booth when I decided to become a country 
lawyer. Another one I am going to tell you is what 
"Fixed Bayonets" (Captain O'Connor) said about 
a Vermont boy. He said he was looking up and 
down the line during a battle and he noticed a man 
lying on the ground — the coolest man he ever saw 
under fire. I got interested in that young man and 
went along up there to where he was and stood near 
him, where I immediately became the target for the 
enemy. Captain O'Connor said: "Gentlemen, I 
have served under many officers, fought in South 
Africa, in Sudan, and in India, I have seen many 
volunteers and veterans, but never a man like that 
man. I was interested and afterwards learned that 
that man is Arthur French of Cavendish, Vermont.'* 

I am glad to have been here to-day, and if you 
have enjoyed the occasion as much as I have, Mr. 
Robinson can be well repaid for what he has done. 

Mr. F. C. Morgan of Claremont, New Hamp- 
shire, then sang: 


Composed by L. Arditi. 

Fondly, oh, how fondly, wert thou near me, wert thou near me, 
One sweet kiss, love, one sweet kiss, love, on thy lips I fain would 

press ! 
Fain would tell thee, fain would tell thee. 
Could 'st thou hear me, ah, fain would tell thee all the sweets of love 

Ever, ever seated, ever seated close beside thee, 
I would murmur, I would murmur, 
Countless words of tenderness, 



While I 'd hearken to the beating of the heart that throbs for mine, 
While I 'd hearken to the beating of the heart that ever throbs for 

Pearls and jewels I desire not, 
Crave no bliss more pure or high. 
Thy dear kiss is e'er my treasure, thy fond glance, love, e'er my joy, 

thy fond glance is e'er my joy, love, e'er my joy. 
Come, ah come, no longer tarry, come, ah come, love, come to me, 

ah draw nigh, ah draw nigh to me. 
Ah ! Ah ! come, in thy strong embrace, love, enfold me that I live 

alone, alone in thee! 
Fondly, oh how fondly, wert thou near me, wert thou near me, 

one sweet kiss, love, one sweet kiss, love, on thy lips I fain 

would press. 
Ah ! come. Ah ! come. Ah ! love, come, ah ! come to me. 
Ah! come, oh love, draw to me, ah! come, ah! come, draw nigh 

to me. 
Ah ! yes ! ah ! come ! ah ! come, ah ! come, draw nigh, draw nigh 

to me, ah! come! love, come, ah! come, ah! come! 

Mrs. Morgan then sang: 


The moonbeams around us are creeping. 
While we stand alone in the light. 
The flowers are all fast a-sleeping; 
'T is time, dear, to bid you good night. 
I know by the light of its gleaming 
That the love in your eyes is for me, 
So meet me to-night in your dreaming, 
And let me in paradise be. 

Good night, dear, good night, dear, 
Just wander over in dreamland fair, 
Sweetheart, and I '11 come and meet you there. 
Good night, dear, sleep tight, dear, 
Some day our yearning to joy will be turning, 
So good night, dear. 



The song-birds have all hushed their lay, dear, 
The lights in the windows are low. 
Each hour will be long till the day, dear, 
But kiss me good night and I '11 go. 
I sigh for the time when to kiss you 
In the gloaming will no longer mean, 
That all through the night I must miss you, 
And be with you only in dreams. 

Declamation by Harry Wilcox of Reading. 

Mr. Burnham. If Brother Newton will allow 
me to correct him, I will state that we have with us 
another who took part in the exercises forty years 
ago, Mr. O. S. Holden of Reading. 

Song by O. S. Holden and A. T. Billings. 


By W. P. Chamberlain, 
A former resident of Reading. 


This is our own, our native home. 
Though poor and rough she be, 
The home of many a noble soul, 
The birthplace of the free. 
We '11 love her rocks and rivers. 
Till death our quick blood stills, 
Hurrah for old New England, 
And her cloud-capped granite hills. 


Hurrah for old New England 
And her cloud-capped granite hills. 




Shall not the land, though poor she be, 

That gave a Webster birth, 

With pride step forth to take her place 

With the mightiest of the earth? 

Then for his sake whose lofty fame 

Our farthest bound'ries fill; 

We '11 shout for old New England 

And her cloud-capped granite hills. — Chorus. 


They tell us of our freezing clime, 

Our hard and rugged soil, 

Which hardly half repays us for 

Our springtime care and toil : 

Yet gayly sings the merry boy, 

As the homestead farm he tills, 

Hurrah for old New England 

And her cloud-capped granite hills. — Chorus. 


Others may seek the Western clime, 
They say 't is passing fair. 
That sunny are its laughing skies 
And soft its balmy air; 
We '11 linger round our childhood's home, 
Till age our warm blood chills, 
Till we die in old New England 
And sleep beneath her hills. — Chorus. 

For an encore they sang: 

Give me the friends who ever have been tried, 
And always my wants they have supplied, 
And should you need and kindly on them call, on them call, 
Your old friends will be truest after all, after all. 
In time of health, should fortune on you smile, 
You '11 find your friends will be many for a while. 
But should you need and kindly on them call, on them call. 
Your old friends will be truest after all, after all. 



Give me the friends who ever have been tried, 

And always my wants they have supplied, 

And you did need and kindly on him called, on him called. 

Your old friend responded by giving this Town Hall. 



R. BURNHAM. We have one with us this 
afternoon who is certainly very near and 
dear to many of us, Rev. J. B. Reardon 
of Springfield. 

Mr. Reardon. Mr. Chairman, ladies, and gentle- 
men. I sincerely hope no serious result will be 
caused by mixing the law and the gospel, and I 
doubt if such will be the case, as the gospel follows 
the law, which certainly seems to me to be the proper 

My acquaintance with Reading and its people, 
which now extends over nearly a quarter of a cen- 
tury, would in itself justify my great pleasure in 
being with you to-day. The occasion of our coming 
together is one of much interest to all citizens of 

Many years ago there lived a minister with a 
small salary in a little town near London. One day 
he was very ill and, thinking he was going to die, 
made a will in which he bequeathed large sums to 
many needy charitable institutions and poor families. 
His lawyer expressed surprise at his great wealth. 
The minister replied: "I have no wealth, I am 
poor; but I have donated what I would have given 
if I had been rich." Mr. Robinson has both a large 
heart and the money to carry out his will. 

It was said long ago by One who knew what was 



in man that " It is more blessed to give than to re- 
ceive." There is, perhaps, no greater happiness in 
life than that which accompanies the bestowal of 
some unselfish gift or benefaction, designed to min- 
ister to the comfort and welfare of one's fellowmen; 
a happiness which is enhanced when the giver is 
allowed to witness the realization of the benefits 
which he hoped would flow from his gift. But, for- 
tunately for the large majority of mankind, to whom 
it is not given to confer great benefits upon their 
fellowmen, there is no less a certain blessedness in 
receiving. It is good to have one's heart stirred 
with a feeling of gratitude, and it is good to express 
one's gratitude in words, sincere and earnest, how- 
ever inadequate to convey the feelings of the heart. 
The blessedness of receiving is increased many fold 
when the gift consists of a great public benefaction, 
to be held and used for the good of the whole com- 
munity and of future generations. In such a case 
the gratitude is unselfish, and the receiver enjoys 
something of the blessedness of the giver in feeling 
that, if he uses the gift aright, he will become an 
instrument of good to others. 

Such we feel to be the case in regard to the gift 
of this magnificent building by Mr. Robinson, which 
he has so wisely and generously bestowed upon the 
town. There is no one here to-day whose heart is 
not filled with gratitude; but the feeling is an un- 
selfish one, because we realize that the advantages, 
which we may personally derive from the gift, are 
of little account compared with the benefits it will 
confer upon those who are to come after us. 



And now, citizens of Reading, I have this to say- 
as my closing word: Institutions, like men, must be 
tested to determine their worth. Whatever the 
origin of this building, it must prove its right to 
present and future being and honor by its power to 
help men. Its large dimensions and beautiful and 
bountiful equipments — all elements of strength and 
utility — can meet and merit approval only when 
shown to be helpful to the citizens of this commun- 
ity in actual everyday living. It is up to the citizens 
of this town to see that this institution maintains high 
ideals and renders true service along the lines of 
patriotic citizenship, social order, and ethical re- 
forms. If this is done, future generations in Read- 
ing will have occasion to rise up and bless the name 
of Robinson. 

As I said before, my acquaintance with Reading 
and its people extends over a long period of years. 
For several years I was a resident here, but for the 
past few years I have been able to come here only 
occasionally, about once a month. As I look around 
this hall to-day I am glad to see so many people. 
I see those who come to hear me on Sunday, but as 
for many of you, I wonder where you are when I 
come here to preach on Sunday. 

Clarinet solo by Herbert A. Williams of Windsor. 

Mr. Burnham then read the following letters. 







January 27, 1912. 

Mr. George D. Burnham, 
Felchville, Vermont. 

Y dear MR. burnham, — The unexpected has 
happened and it will not be possible for me 
to get to Felchville Thursday. I have two 
hearings before a committee of the State Leg- 
islature marked for that date, against my hopes and plans. 
I would like to have you feel I am not dodging, hence 1 
inclose a copy of the bills, which I trust you will not 
read before the audience up there, and also pages from 
the bulletin showing that they have been marked by the 
Committee for February first. I had gotten one of the 
bills. No. 493, so that I could possibly leave it and be 
heard later, as the clerk of the Committee is an old class- 
mate of mine and there are not many to speak on it. 

In Bill 449 a great many people are interested and 
will be present, and I have to take charge of it and have 
to be here, much to my regret. I have to be here and 
am a good deal like the boy whom I met up there in 
Reading one summer while I was taking a long walk. 
He was hoeing potatoes. I tried to talk with him a bit, 
but was not very successful, and, hoping to interest him, 
asked him how much he got for hoeing potatoes. " Well," 
he said, " I get hell if I don't and nothing if I do." 

However, I would like to be among those to express 
my gratitude to the donor of your beautiful town hall. 
Still believing, however, that Christ was quite right when 
he said that it was more blessed to give than to receive, 
which, interpreted in everyday language, means that the 
fellow who gives gets more out of it than the fellow who 
receives. Hence the donor might, in the light of Christ's 



experience and wisdom, have all the joy that the hun- 
dreds of people are getting out of the possession of such 
a building. I don't suppose that he gave it because of 
the joy that he would get out of it, but he gave it because 
he wanted to do something for the old town where he 
got, and where many another man has gotten, his early 
education and training, simple as they were, which made 
them successful men out in life. I really suppose that 
Mr. Robinson gave that building through a deep sense 
of gratitude for what those old hills and that old envi- 
ronment of his youth has done for him. Bless him for 
his wisdom and for his sense of gratitude. 

Again expressing my regrets for being unavoidably 
absent, I am, 

Yours very truly, 

Thomas Curley. 

Boston, January 31, 1912. 

Burton M. Newton, Esq. 

Dear Sir, — Let me express through you to the com- 
mittee in charge of the dedication of the Reading Town 
Hall my regret at being unable to join with you to-mor- 
row in voicing appropriate thanksgiving to Mr. Robin- 
son and those good townspeople who have made It pos- 
sible now and I trust forever for the goodly citizens of 
Reading to meet together in their own meeting house 
without the leave or license of any man. 

For forty years they have been without a roof of their 
own, and now that they again have one I am sure they 
will not repeat the folly of tearing it down because the 
roof needs shingling. 

I hope it will be used often and used well for the benefit 
of all the people by all the people of the dear old town. 


Wade Keyes. 



Bellows Falls, Vermont, January 20, 1912. 

To THE Committee of Arrangements for the Dedication of the New 
Town Hall of Reading, — 

It is with special joy and gladness that I join with the 
people of my good old native town in expression of ap- 
preciation to a son of Reading for his most generous 
gift, and gladly, very gladly, do I join them on this happy 
occasion, — and who, if not to-day equal in numbers of 
a former period, nevertheless make it up in public spirit. 

Most sincerely yours, 

A. N. Swain. 

Bellows Falls, Vermont, January 6, 191 1. 

Dear Mrs. White, — Your very kind favor at hand, 
and if it only could be, how glad I would be to attend 
the dedication of your new Town Hall, but the various 
infirmities of age prevent. 

Of late many thoughts have come to me of my early 
boyhood days in old Reading, of things which happened 
about seventy-five years ago, or near 1835, at " Reading 
Center " as it was called at that time. It was a Fourth 
of July celebration and the " crisis " of the day was 
when Henry Conant volunteered his toast, which was re- 
ceived with unbounded shouts by the hundreds of people 
present. I will write it out on another piece of paper. 

This Conant, I think, finally lived and died on the 
poor farm south of South Reading. Do you suppose 
there is anyone living now who heard it besides myself? 
This is not important of course, any of it, but possibly 
it may be new to you and others. 

Most sincerely yours, 

A. N. Swain. 

The following toast was volunteered at a Fourth of 
July celebration held at " Reading Center " about 
1835, or near that time, by Henry Conant: 



The enemies of our country: — may they be 
mounted on a pale horse, headed towards Canada, 
— and may all hell follow after!! 

Boston, January 29, 1912. 

Mr. B. M. Newton, 
Felchville, Vermont. 

My dear Mr. Newton, — I have your valued favor 
of the 26th instant, and thank you most sincerely for your 
kind invitation to attend the ceremonies connected with 
the dedication of the new Robinson Town Building. 

I heartily regret that, being obliged to leave on a 
Western trip to attend the annual meeting of one of our 
large corporations, it will be impossible for me to avail 
myself of your kindness in this direction. If there were 
any way in which this trip could be postponed I can as- 
sure you it would be done, as nothing would give me 
greater pleasure than to be with the good people of Read- 
ing on that occasion. 

Trusting that everything will pass off in first-class shape, 
and that you will all have a glorious time, and again re- 
gretting my inability to be present with you, I remain. 

Sincerely yours, 

Lewis Robinson Speare. 

Other letters were read as follows: 

54 Devonshire Street, Boston, 
January 25, 1912. 

Hon. George D. Burnham, 
Felchville, Vermont. 

Dear Sir, — I thank you for your cordial invitation 
of the 1 8th instant to be present at the dedicatory exer- 
cises of the Town Building which Mr. Robinson has so 
generously presented to the town. 

I regret that it will not be possible for me to attend 



because of the serious illness of a member of my family, 
rendering it impossible for me to be absent for so long 
a time. 

Yours very truly, 

L B. Clark. 

Barre, Vermont, 
January 30, 1912. 

Mr. B. M. Newton, 

Chairman of Committee, 
Felchville, Vermont. 

Dear Burt, — The invitation to be present and the 
program for the grand dedication of the new Town 
Building at Felchville on February i is received, and I 
thank you. I would like very much to attend, but I can- 
not get away at that time. I have just about so much to 
do and just about so much time to do it in, and it keeps 
me busy guessing where I can sometimes wiggle in an 
extra day off. The dedication, coming as it does the first 
of the month, finds me tied to work I can't put away to 
be done later. I will be with you in thought if not in per- 
son, but, say, you boys have made up a wonderful program 
for the event, and even if I could go, I would want to 
take a week off beforehand and go into training. It looks 
good and I know it will be good, but with a chicken pie 
supper at noon, and oyster supper at five o'clock and a 
hot turkey supper at 11.30 P.M., one would need to re- 
duce weight and get up extra muscle to stand it. I '11 bet 
that Dr. Buchanan will have a busy day February 2, and 
I don't believe that even Burt's or George's " bread bas- 
kets " can stand the strain. 

I strongly suspect it is an idea of Merrltt's to boom his 
business, and backed by Ellie to help him out by the sale 
of extra groceries. While I would n't be obliged, per- 
haps, to take in the whole " menu " for the three ban- 
quets, I don't find anything in the intellectual feast pre- 
sented that I would care to " nig." 



I have had the pleasure of listening to each one who is 
expected to make an address except you yourself, Burt,, 
and they are all good, interesting speakers. 

Now you are all going to have a good time and I won't 
be with you, and I am sorry. I wish for you all the hap- 
piness and success possible, and say, Burt, I really hope 
there will be one or two there that will be sorry that I 
am not, for I like you all so very well that I hope a few 
may have at least a kindly remembrance of 

Sincerely yours, 

Dan Davis. 

I can't get over thinking about those three feeds in one 
short day. It reminds me of Mrs. McCarthy, whose 
husband enjoyed a good dinner exceptionally well, but 

generally had to pay the usual penalty, . John had 

been to a banquet the night before and in the morning 
was looking a bit white around the gills. " John," she 
said, "how many helpings did you have last night?" 
" Three," answered John. " Two at the supper and one 
to get me home." 

2 Westland Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts, 
January 30, 1912. 

Geo. D. Burnham, 

Felchville, Vermont. 

Dear Friend, — This morning's mail I received the 
invitation to the " Grand Dedication " of your beautiful 
new Town Building. 

It would give me great pleasure to be present, as you 
well know how much I enjoy meeting all the old friends 
of my native town. 

Trusting the new building will stand for many years 
to be an ornament as well as what the town most needed, 

Yours most sincerely. 

Belle Fletcher Pitkin. 





Mr. Ray Blanchard of West Windsor then sang: 



Oh how dear to each Vermonter is the name of his loved state. 

How his heart is filled with mingled love and pride, 

As her mountains green and bright, 

And her fields so broad and fair, 

Meet his long and lingering gaze on every side. 

And wherever he may roam he will ne'er forget his home, 

Resting here among Vermont's green hills so fair. 

And his heart will ever yearn for the kind and loving friends 

That he knows are always waiting for him there. 


Three cheers for old Vermont, we will shout it loud and clear, 

For no other spot to us is half so dear. 

Where the sweet arbutus blooms, 

'Neath the stately evergreens, 

While the robin and the bluebird carol near. 


Is there anything so tempting to a wanderer's lonely heart 

As a picture of his home in old Vermont? 

And he feels a homesick longing 

For the cheery woods and fields, 

And that peaceful charm with which the air was fraught. 

He can hear the lovely music of the babbling little brook, 

Where his boyhood happy hours oft were spent. 

And the squirrels' lively chatter as he wandered through the woods, 

That so much of joy to childhood days had lent. — Chorus. 



Every season brings its pleasures to Vermont's fair girls and boys. 

Even winter, when the ground is white with snow. 

You will hear their happy shouts, 

Ringing gayly through the air 

As down the hills their sleds do swiftly go. 

Then the bright, bright days of spring, when the birds so sweetly 

Next the summer air perfumed with new-mown hay, 
Autumn days so fair and sweet then their happy hearts to greet, 
Makes them shout 
In old Vermont we 11 always stay. — Chorus. 



Years ago I left my old home and I Ve roamed this wide world 

But to-night my heart is longing for those happy days of yore. 
Oft in dreams I have a vision of those boyhood scenes again, 
When I roamed the fields of clover and through fields of golden 

I can see the new-mown hay and the brook across the way, 
While the birds are singing in the old oak tree. 
There the vacant chair is waiting for the boy who went to roam, 
And the old folks watching for me, back at dear old home, sweet 



Back at dear old home, sweet home, 

I am going there no more to roam. 

It will fill their hearts with joy, 

When the old folk see their boy 

Back again at dear old home, sweet home. 


As I think about the old folks and the old home far away. 
Of the fields and hills and valleys, of the hearts I broke that day, 
I grow lonely, sad, and weary, tired of wand'ring all alone. 
So I '11 go back to the old folks, back to dear old home, sweet home. 



I can almost hear them say, as they said goodbye that day, 

" We will pray that God will keep you from all harm." 

When you 're weary of the journey, when you 're homesick, sad, 

and lone. 
You just come back to the old folks, back to dear old home, sweet 

home." — Chorus. 

The exercises of the afternoon closed with a selec- 
tion by the Windsor Orchestra. 

In the evening a grand ball was given, with 175 
couples in attendance, and a grand banquet at 
1 1.30 P.M. 

Jennie M. Robinson 




Jennie M.Robinson Memorial Building, Maternity Hospital, 
Harrison Ave. and Stoughton St., Boston, Mass. 



HIS building, a part of the Massachusetts 
Homeopathic Hospital of Boston, while 
referred to as the Maternity Building, 
really houses two divisions of this large 
institution, the Obstetrical and the Out-Patient De- 
partments. Separate entrances on two different 
streets are provided for the two departments, and 
the Out-Patient Department occupies exclusively the 
ground floor and the two lower floors. The other 
three floors belong to the Maternity Department, the 
fifth floor, the private patient floor, having twelve 
rooms, eight of them arranged en suite with baths. 
The exterior of the building is of waterstruck brick, 
with limestone trimmings, while the interior finish, 
generally a soft gray-green, is plain and simple. 

In presenting his gift to the Trustees, Mr. Wallace 
F. Robinson said : 

" I most ungrudgingly make this contribution to your 
hospital work, in the hope and confidence that it will serve 
humanity for many years to come, and that the patients 
who are treated here will ever be grateful and pronounce 
blessings upon her, after whom It Is named. It has been 
said that In a true woman sympathy directs all else, and 
truly Jennie M. Robinson was In her lifetime a woman 
who sympathized not only with her fellow-women, but 
with all mankind; and now I ask you, Mr. President, 
ladles and gentlemen, to accept this gift from me as a 
memorial of one who well served her generation." 



Several months after the dedication of this Hospi- 
tal Mr. Robinson endowed it liberally, so that it 
would be possible for it always to be a self-support- 
ing institution, knowing full well that many of its 
patients would not have the means to pay the nec- 
essary fees for services that might be rendered them, 
and at the same time wanting every one to enjoy the 
privileges of this Maternity Hospital. By so doing 
he relieved the Massachusetts Homeopathic Hos- 
pital of any burden and rendered a kindness to 
thousands of deserving women. 






Bronze Tablet, Robinson Hall, Dartmouth 
College, Hanover, N. H. 


















OBINSON HALL was given to Dartmouth 
College by Mr. Wallace F. Robinson 
in order to ofifset the overshadowing 
power of athletics in undergraduate life 
by providing an outlet for college activities in other 
directions. The building, three stories in height, is 
of Harvard brick with limestone and granite trim, is 
modern in every respect, and is absolutely fireproof. 
Here the undergraduate non-athletic organizations 
have their rooms and offices; provision is made for 
the student publications, and a little theatre is even 
provided for the Dramatic Association. 

This Hall fills a long-felt need of the College, and 
because of its endowment it is independent of the Col- 
lege income and finances. It was dedicated during 
the Commencement exercises of 19 14, and was ac- 
cepted by the Trustees of Dartmouth College at their 
meeting of June 19-20 of that year by the following 

" That the Trustees gratefully accept this gift from Mr. 
Wallace F. Robinson and agree to administer the fund in 
accordance with the conditions laid down by the donor's 
letter; and that the Trustees express to Mr. Robinson their 
deep gratitude for and appreciation of his most generous 
gift for the endowment of Robinson Hall, in the building 
and endowment of which he has made possible the culti- 
vation and training of the literary and aesthetic tastes and 
appreciation of the undergraduates of the College through 
the stimulation of their own efforts." 



In June, 1916, Mr. Robinson made an endowment 
to the Trustees of Dartmouth College of a sum suf- 
ficient to maintain Robinson Hall, not only for the 
upkeep of the building — in the way of necessary 
repairs — but that the College should not be bur- 
dened with any expense for the donation which he 
had given them.