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Full text of "Windham County, Conn., business directory ; containing the names, business and location of all the business men in the county, agricultural, manufacturing, and other statistics, with a history of each town"

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HISTORIC GLEANINGS 



IN 



WINDHAM COUNTY. CONNECTICUT 



ELLEN D. LAKNED 



AUTtiOU OK 

■ HISTOUY OF WINDHAM (OlNTY. 



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PROVIDENCE, R. I. 

PRESTON AND ROUNDS COMPANY 

1899 



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Copyright, 1899 

BY 

ELLEN D. LARNED 




^wu* i«v.«\q 



PRESS OF E. L. FREEMAN & SONS 
PROVIDENCE, R. i. 






HISTORIC GLEANINGS IN WINDHAM COUNTY. 



; SPENT LIGHTS." 

There is nothing' more surprising to the student of 
history than the apparent capriciousness of the chance 
by which human beings are remembered or forgot- 
ten. " Survival of the fittest " has been promulgated 
as the great law of the universe. Of the innumera- 
ble multitude g"oue in countless ages " to the pale 
realms of shade," only a few bright and shining lights 
have escaped oblivion. Only those of great ability 
or achievement, or associated by character or circum- 
stance with great and vital events, have won remem- 
brance. But when we apply this principle to recent 
periods, and especially to our own field of observa- 
tion, we are stumbled. We take, for instance, one of 
our Connecticut towns, study its civil and church 
records, exhume its lists of public functionaries in 
every department, extract from living" sources every 
available item, and flatter ourselves that w^e have 

* Read before Connecticut Historical Society. 



2 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

gained exhaustive knowledge of every past resident 
connected with its development, and then stumble by 
chance upon some note-worthy personage who had 
somehow slipped out of preseat remembrance. 

" Why have you robbed me of a grandfather ? " que- 
ries an aggrieved descendant. After all our care we 
are called to account for other vital omissions. Is 
this " survival of the fittest " an universal law, as ap- , 
plied to those who have won or failed to win the boon 
of permanent remembrance ? Is it not quite possi- j 
ble that names are left out and forgotten as worthy j 
of remembrance as many that still survive in text- \ 
book and history ? In a modern and carefully pre- 1 
pared " Cyclopaedia of American BiogTaphy " we find 
many names once honored are missing. Froude has 
given us interesting pictures of " Forgotten Worth- 
ies " in the mother country. May we not with equal 
profit recall to memory some Connecticut worthies 
once prominent but overlooked and in part forgotten. 

James Fitch, Junior, of Norwich and Canterbury, 
may be called in a certain sense the Father of Wind- 
ham County, owning for a time the greater part of the 
territory, selling the land and assisting in the organi- 
zation of several townships. The oldest son of the 
first, most honored minister of Norwich, son-in-law 
of the worshipful Major John Mason, with much na- 
tive shrewdness and force of character, no young 
man in the colonies had a better start or more hope- 



CONTENTS 



I 

Spent Lights 

II 

Windham County Women of Early Time 

III 

Other Lights 

IV 

Eevolutionary Echoes 



i 



V 
Windham County and Providence 

YI 

A Life's Record 

VII 

Dodge, The Babbler 

VIII 

Our First Woman Artist 

IX 

•Tapheth in Search of His Forefathers 

Index 



SPENT LIGHTS. 3 

fill prospects. Yeiy early io life he eug-aged in public 
affairs, especiallj^ in relation to that very vital matter 
in a new country — land surveys and transfers. In 
military and political lines he was equally prominent, 
attaining in a few years the rank of major and office 
of county treasurer. Soon it appeared that he had 
even exceeded his honored father and father-in-law 
in influence over the Mohegan Indians, and had 
gained control of a large part of their territory. The 
drunken and flexible Owaneco — son of Uncas — in 
1680 made over to his loving friend, James Fitch, 
Jun., " the right and title to all his lands to dispose 
of as he shall see cause," while the General Court of 
Connecticut constituted him the legal guardian of 
this Mohegan chieftain. The whole Wal)l)aquasset 
country, a tract extending forty-five miles west of the 
Quinebaug river and north as far as Massachusetts 
would allow, was thus placed within his disposal and 
practical ownership. But just as Major Fitch was 
preparing to lay out this princely domain, negotia- 
ting for the sale of the future Pomfret and Brooklyn, 
he was compelled by the process of events, and the 
administration of Sir Edmund Andros, to observe a 
season of " innocuous desuetude." Fitch Avas far too 
shrewd a man to waste time and money in attempt- 
ing to secure confirmation of his land from that des- 
potic ruler, in whose eyes an Indian deed was " worth 
no more than the scratch of a bear's paw," but quietly 



4 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

bided his time till that welcome Revolution which 
overthrew the power of James II and his detested 
governor-general. He immediately bestirred him- 
self in the re-instatement of colonial government, 
" travelling" it was said, "from Dan to Beersheba, to 
incite the freemen, and summon a General Court." 
" By whom was the Charter of the Government re- 
stored," sneeringly asks an enemy of Connecticut, 
" but by James Fitch, Nathaniel Stanley, and such 
like jn^ioate men ? " A private man instrumental in 
such a public service is surely worthy of grateful re- 
membrance. 

After the first general election Fitch appears as 
member of the council, and thenceforth figures as the 
most prominent and picturesque personage in east- 
ern Connecticut— a magistrate and military leader, 
as well as proprietor of a vast tract of country. Sell- 
ing out townships as if they were farms, surveying 
disputed lands and bounds, holding courts of inquiry, 
deciding vexed questions, he makes what seems like 
royal progresses through his domains, with his ac- 
companying retinue of Indians, soldiers, and land-job- 
bers. The jealous eye of a contemporary, who could 
not " see cause to acknowledge Capt. James Fitch to 
be Lord Proprietor of this Colony," enables us to see 
what power and authority he was exercising at this 
early stage of his career. A " Remonstrance," laid 
before the General Court by many of his majesty's 



SPENT LIGHTS. 5 

loyal and dutiful subjects, sets forth — " That Captain 
Fitch has laid claim to our established inheritance 
by pretences of grants from Owaneco . . . has 
procured the Wabbaquasset, Mohegan, Quinebaug 
and a great part of the Pequod country from Owan- 
eco and hath already sold out vast tracts of our land 
to some now in England, Rhode Island, and some to 
priuateers as we have been informed. . . . Let 
any man give an example of anj^ of the King's sub- 
jects in Europe or xlmerica since the times of William 
the Conqueror till to-day that ever engrost so much 
land as Captain Fitch hath done in this Colony which 
was before given and confirmed to other men under 
the great seal of England, and we cannot but declare 
and protest against these sales as illegal. We can- 
not but declare against Captain Fitch his being such 
a great land-pirate and selling so much of our land 
to strangers and hope the General Court and our 
people will consider how pernicious a man Mr. Fitch 
is to the rising generation, and what a scandal it is 
to this government and how gravaminous to many of 
the Queen's subjects that a person avIio makes it his 
business to sell the freemen's lands shall any longer 
continue in office in this Colony." 

But however strong opposition and remonstrance, 
it had no effect upon the position of our monopolist 
during the wars known as King William's and Queen 
Anne's. His iutluence over the Indians made him a 



6 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

tower of strength tliroughoiit those stormy years — 
Massachusetts was forced to call upon him to defend 
her frontier, where the Wabbaquassets would not be 
ordered but by virtue of authority from Connecticut. 
His new plantation at Peags-com-suck— now Canter- 
bury — was made the rendezvous of many a military 
expedition — the scene of many a martial and legal 
c onflict. 

As Indian wars ceased Major Fitch was called to 
battle for his land titles. His first fight was with 
the heirs of Gov. John Winthrop, who claimed the 
Quinebaug country — now included in Plainfield and 
Canterbury — by an earlier Indian grant than that of 
Owaneco to Major Fitch. The General Court, loath 
to excite the ire of such spirited and powerful combat- 
ants, delayed decision. Both claimants proceeded to 
sell out farms and encourage settlement. A guerrilla 
warfare ensued between the Winthrop and Fitch 
settlers. Bounds and fences were removed ; crops 
raised by one faction seized and carried off by the 
other; future respected citizens clinched and threw 
hatchets. Gay youngsters from Norwich, known in 
later years as sober magistrates and councilors, make 
raids upon the Indian corn-fields ; scout the Major's 
writs, and run away from the arresting constables. 
Our friend, the Major, figures conspicuously in all 
this wrangling; now sitting in judgment, and then 
arraigned as offender. Great meetings of Courts and 



SPENT LIGHTS. 7 

Commissioners were held at Peags-com-suck — meet- 
ings that brought in picturesque conjunction re- 
presentatives of old and new Connecticut, high of- 
ficial dignitaries, governors, ministers, magistrates, 
lawyers ; Ovvaueco in royal state, with surviving 
Pequots, Nipmucks, and Narragansetts. After much 
sifting of conflicting testimony, the right of owner- 
ship was confirmed to Major Fitch, with reservations 
allowed to the Winthrops and other claimants. 

During the administration of Gov. Fitz John Win- 
throp Major Fitch served at the head of the Council, 
and was entrusted with the revision of the colonial 
laws and other important public services. He was a 
friend of education — the first layman in Connecticut 
to ofier material aid to her infant college ; a friend 
of religion, helping to build meeting-houses and 
sustain ministers in his several townships, even when 
laboring under church censure and suspension for 
excess in conviviality. Above all else he was a friend 
of the people ; an advocate of popular rights, con- 
tending as strenuously for the privileges of the 
Lower House in the General Assembly as previously 
against the domination of Andros. Unwilling, how- 
ever, "that any private prejudice should hinder 
public good," he did not hesitate to use his great 
political and personal influence to keep Saltonstall 
in power, though afterwards tauntingly reminding 
him — "That had I let you out of my hands know 



8 HISTOKIC GLEANINGS. 

assuredly yourself and Mr. Christopher had been 
next year at liberty." 

The closing" years of Major Fitch were embittered 
by dissensions and pecuniary embarrassment. His 
large landed possessions involved him in serious 
complications. The great "Mohegan Land-case" 
entailed endless expense and trouble. The Govern- 
ment of Connecticut challenged his claim to certain 
townships, and, when he proceeded to make sales of 
land and lay out allotments, Gov. Saltonstall issued 
a public proclamation forbidding plantation work 
therein, Suifering from gout and harassed by busi- 
ness perplexities, our Major was thrown into such a 
tempest of rage as to lose all sense of propriety and 
respect for Government, and, as if he were indeed 
" Lord Proprietor of the Colony," he immediately 
put forth a counter proclamation from "The Honored 
James Fitch, proprietor of a certain tract of land, 
east of Eutield," asserting his right to the land and 
his sovereign contempt for " a kind of proclamation 
lately come forth," and the authority that issued it. 

This avidacious proceeding called out an immediate 
summons to appear before the Governor and Council 
to answer " for its false and seditious expressions ; " 
but the cidprit, lame with the gout, and unable to 
ride, refused to obey in terms scarcely less insolent 
than the original document. The matter rested un- 
til the succeeding session of the General Court, May, 



SPENT LIGHTS. U 

1717, when it was ordered that a warrant be sent " to 
arrest the said Fitch and have him before the As- 
sembly." But liefore its execution the impulsive 
Major, probably relieved from gout, and returning 
to his better judgment, sent a most humble con- 
fession of his fault, "being heartily sorry and con- 
demning himself therefor," and asking forgiveness of 
His Honor and the Honorable AssemblJ^ Indeed, 
Major Fitch seems to have been thoroughly frightened, 
not knowing but that banishment or imprisonment 
awaited him. The Upper House upon consideration 
proposed to let him off by a £20 tine — " a slight 
punishment for so high a misdemeanor," but the 
Lower House, faithful to its champion, insisted "that 
the full and ingenuous acknowledgement was suf- 
ficient," and obtained an unconditional discharge. 

With this exciting episode the Major disappears 
from public life, and after a few 3' ears was laid to 
rest in Canterbury churchyard. A blackened stone, 
overgrown with briars and sumacs, tells of " his use- 
fulness in his military and in his magistracy to which 
he was chosen and served successively to ye great 
acceptation and advantage of his countrj', l)eing a 
gentleman of good parts and very forward to pro- 
mote ye civil and religious interests of it. Died Nov, 
10, 1727, aged 80 years." 

And yet this gentleman, so active, so useful, so 
prominently connected with public affairs, so master- 



10 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

ful and picturesque in character and circumstances, 
has passed almost out of memory, his name omitted 
from our standard Biographical Cyclopaedia, his ser- 
vices in great measure forgotten even in the section 
which he once owned and dominated. 

As Major Fitch passed off the stage a young neigh- 
bor of his came into view, destined to even wider 
prominence in public matters of a very different na- 
ture. The questions that vexed the soul of our bel- 
ligerent major were to a good degree settled, or out- 
grown. Indian wars had practically ceased, Indian 
land titles had been made over to Government, the 
Indians themselves Avere fast passing away. Many 
questions of public polity had been settled. Some 
supposed to be settled were to rise again with inten- 
sified strife and bitterness. When Major Fitch as 
chairman of the Council in 1708 expressed his " great 
approbation" of the result reached by the reverend 
ministers of the colony in council at Saybrook, and 
assented to that " happy agreement " by which all the 
churches of Connecticut were to be " united in doc- 
trine, worship and discipline," and all troublesome re- 
ligious questionings silenced forever, he little dreamed 
that that young neighbor of his would strike such tell- 
ing blows against that " happy agreement " and 
church establishment. 

Elisha Paine, Junior, like James Fitch, was early 
called into prominence. Sprung from a leading fam- 



SPENT LIGHTS. 11 

ily, with superior advantages of education, he entered 
upon the practice of law in his native town and was 
universally recog-nized as " having the best sense of 
anyone in those parts." But while in the prime of 
life, with every prospect of high eminence in his pro- 
fession and in public affairs, he was caught in the 
vortex of "the Great Revival," and thenceforth the 
current of his life was changed. 

This remarkable religious movement swept with 
great power through Windham County. The settlers 
of these new towns had shared in the preceding spir- 
itual apathy. With the many labors crowding upon 
them in public and private affairs, they had gone for- 
ward " in settling the worship of God ; " had built 
their meeting-houses, provided home and support for 
their minister, assisted in church organization. Their 
meeting-houses were filled with hearers ; their chil- 
dren duly presented in baptism. But the living faith, 
the constant sense of divine presence and guidance 
that had so characterized their Puritan ancestors, 
was largely in al)eyance. Under what was known as 
" The Halfway Covenant," men without religious ex- 
perience were in a certain sense connected with the 
churches and lowered the standard of piety. But a 
reflex tide was setting in. Spiritual men like Jona- 
than Edwards were considering the sitviation. Re- 
vival movements were reported from the Connecticut 
Valley, and then tidings of the wonderful eftects of 



12 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

Whitfield's progress and preaching" roused universal 
expectation and questioning. This general sentiment 
is best seen in the narrative lately brought to light 
of Nathan Cole, a plain farmer of Kensington Parish 
in the vicinity of Middletown, He writes : 

■ " Now it pleased God to send Mr. Whitfield into 
this land & my lieariDg of his preaching at Philadel- 
phia like one of the old aposels & many thousands 
flocking after him to hear ye Gospel and great num- 
bers were converted to Christ, I felt the spirit of God 
drawing me .by conviction. I longed to see & hear 
him &: wished he would come this way ct I soon heard 
he was come to New York and the Jarsies & great 
multitudes flocking after him under great concern for 
their souls and many converted which brought on my 
concern more ct more, hoping soon to see him but 
next I heard he was on Long Island & next at Bos- 
ton & next at Northampton, and then one morning 
all on a sudden about 8 or 9 o'clock, there came a 
messenger <fc said Mr. Whitfield preached at Hartford 
& Wethersfield yesterday & is to preach at Middle- 
town this morning at 10 o'clock. I was in my field 
at work. I dropt my tool that I had in my hand & 
run home ct run through my house <k had my wife 
get ready quick to go & hear Mr. Whitfield preach 
at Middletown & ran to my pasture for my horse 
with all my might fearing I should be too late 
to hear him. I brought my horse home &: soon 



SPENT LIGHTS. 13 

mouuted & took my wife up tt went forward as 
fast as I thong'ht ye horse could bear ct when 
my horse began to be out of breath I would 
get down & put my wife on the saddle & bid her 
ride as fast as she could & not stop or slak for 
me except I bad her & so I would run until I was al- 
most out of breath S: then mount my horse again & 
so I did several times to favor my horse. We im- 
proved every moment to get along as if we were flee- 
ing for our lives, all this while fearing we should be 
too late to hear ye sermon for we had twelve miles to 
ride dubble in littel more than an hour & Ave went 
round by the upper housen parish & when we came 
within half a mile of ye road that comes down from 
Hartford, Wetherstield ct Stepney to Middletown on 
high land I saw before lue a cloud or fog rising, I 
first thought off from ye Great River but as I came 
nearer the road I heard a noise something like a low 
rumbling thunder A: I presently found it was the 
rumbling of horses feet coming down the road, and 
this cloud was a cloud of dust made by ye running 
of horses feet, it arose some rods into the air over 
the tops of the hills and trees S: when I came within 
about twenty rods of the road I could see men <fe 
horses slipping along in the cloud like shadows and 
when I came nearer it was like a stidy stream of 
horses, & their riders, scarcely a horse more than his 
length behind another, all of a lather and foam with 

2 



14 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

sweat, their breath rolling out of their nostrils, in a 
cloud of dust every jump, every horse seemed to go 
with all his might to carry his rider to hear the news 
from Heaven to ye saving of their souls. It made 
me tremble to see the sight how ye world was in a 
struggle. I found a vacance between two horses to 
slip in my horse <k my wife said, ' Law, our clothes 
will be all spoiled, see how they look ' — for they was 
so covered with dust they looked almost all of a color, 
coats & hats & shirts & horses. We went down in 
the stream. I heard no man speak a word all the 
way, three miles, but every one pressing forward in 
great haste & when we got down to the old meeting- 
house there was a great multitude, it was said to be 
3 or 4000 of people assembled together. We got off 
from our horses & shook off ye dust & the ministers 
was then coming to ye meeting-house. I turned & 
looked toward the Great Eiver S: saw the ferry boats 
running swift forward and backward bringing ovifer 
loads of people, ye ores rowed nimble <*c quick ; 
everything, men, horses and boats seemed to be 
struggling for life : ye land & ye banks over ye river 
lookt black with people and horses. All along the 
twelve miles I see no man at work in his field but all 
seemed to be gone. When I see Mr. Whitfield come 
up upon the Scaffil he looked almost angelical, a 
young slim slender youth before some thousands of 
people S: with a bold undaunted countenance. And 
my hearing how God was with him everywhere as he 



SPENT LIGHTS. 15 

came aloug" it solumui/ed my mind S: put me in a 
trembling' fear before he began to preach for he 
looked as if he was clothed with authority from the 
g-reat God S: a sweet sollome Solemnity sat upon his 
brow, and my hearing- him preach gave me a heart 
wound by God's blessing, my old foundation was 
broken up and I saw that my righteousness would 
not serve me." "' 

Such was the beginning of the "Great Awaken- 
ing." The chronicles of those days read like a sup- 
plementary chapter of the Book of Acts. Men with 
flaming hearts and tongues went everywhere preach- 
ing the word, and what seemed like the veritable out- 
pouring of the Holy Ghost fell upon their hearers. 
The revival impulse was felt in all the churches. 
"This religious concern did in many parishes run 
swiftly through most of the families, and there was 
scarce a sermon preached but was blessed to promote 
the work." 

Among the first in Windham county to be brought 
into the spirit of the revival was our Canterbury 
lawyer, Elislia Paine. Of a speculative turn of mind 
and remarkably candid and catholic spirit, Elisha 
Paine had always manifested great interest in re- 
ligious questions and doctrines, "inquiring into all 
the different worships of NeAv England with their 
principles and behaviour," and had sometimes feared 

* This visit occurred Oct. 23, 1740. Some diarizes in spelling liave been 
made in copying from tlie original manuscript. 



16 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

" that the true religion was not in the land." But 
the living- words of the great preacher Avrought 
powerfully upon his own heart, and he was led to 
feel that however he might judge the religion of 
others his own " was of no value." Yielding himself 
to this new influence he received a new spiritual 
baptism, and religion became to him the one thing 
of importance in the land. His brother Solomon, 
his sister, Mrs. Josiah Cleveland, and her family, and 
other leading families in Canterbury, were also par- 
takers in the revival influence. 

This town of Canterburj^ was at this time peculiarly 
situated. It had been for sometime without a settled 
pastor, and the brethren of the church had exercised 
an unusual degree of liberty in administering its 
affairs. Owing in some degree to the influence of 
Major Fitch and his carelessness in admitting in- 
habitants — some even from Rhode Island as we re- 
member — it had a strong radical element. The 
"Platform" adopted at Say brook for the "Permanent 
establishment" of church discipline in Connecticut, 
had given certain powers to ministers and ministerial 
associations that had been formerly exercised by in- 
dependent churches. The Canterbury church ob- 
jected to this Platform, but did not formally manifest 
dissent until after the revived interest in all matters 
pertaining to religious worship. A committee was 
then appointed — to search into the former constitu- 



SPENT LIGHTS. 1 ^ 

tion of the church and make return. Meantime they 
went forward in their efforts to secure a minister, 
and carried on revival meeting's in somewhat inde- 
pendent fashion. The journal of John Cleveland, a 
Yale student, while passing- his vacation at home, 
gives pleasant ghmpses of the situation. 

His father's house is "a little Bethel ;" his parents, 
brothers and sisters filled with great joy. They g-o 
from house to house in all parts of the town, holding 
"very live meeting's." "April 7. A meeting in the 
evening', manj^ filled. 9. A meeting- at g-randmother 
Paine's. Christians useful. 12. This night went down 
into town. Mills preached. Had some of us a very 
live meeting'. 13. Talked with Uncle Solomon about 
religion. He related his experience. This afternoon 
Mills preached. His words seemed to have a very 
great effect upon the audience. There Avas a great 
stir indeed. 21. A meeting at Uncle Elisha Paine's. 
M}^ father relates his experience. Walk with Mr. 
Bradford among the hills to pray. 26. Spent the 
forenoon in the mill-house in prayer and reading the 
Scriptures. In the afternoon Mills gave a funeral 
discourse on Samuel Adams. The children of God 
were very live at the funeral. A spirit of exhortation 
Avas poured down upon them. Two persons were 
struck unto conviction. 27. Exceeding full of the 
spirit. People had a brave meeting. May 2. Mr. 
Avery preached. Widow Spalding came out full of 

2* 



18 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

joy. 4. Mr. Mosely of Canada Parish preached. 
Considerable stir. Some distressed and some rejoic- 
ing. This day old Chaffery was struck into con- 
victions while Solomon Paine was exhorting him." 

Great religious interest and activity are indicated 
in this report, with a tendency to extravagance and 
enthusiasm but no appearance of discord. It gives 
a picture of Christian neighborhoods warmly engaged 
in religious work, with friendly interchange of labor. 
But in this same joyful month of May, 1742, legisla- 
tion was in progress that wholly changed the aspect. 
The great religious movement had its inevitable ac- 
companiment of excesses and disorders. As in the 
infant churches founded by the apostles there were 
" swellings, tumults " and irregularities ; as in the 
days of the Protestant Reformation there were out- 
breakings of ungovernable fanaticism, so the " Great 
Revival " in America had its share of scandalous dis- 
orders. 

Our mortal senses are too weak to bear the open 
vision of things unseen. These vivid presentations 
of the supernatural have a tendency to unsettle and 
unbalance our earthly minds. The sections visited 
with greatest power by the Revival were newly 
settled and imperfectly civilized. Schools were few 
and poor ; religious services formal and lifeless. Was 
it strange that people growing up amid such circum- 
stances, with little to occupy their minds, when sud- 



SPENT LIGHTS. 19 

denly broug-lit into contact with snch eloquence of 
exhortation and spiritual influence, should be carried 
out of themselves ? The spirit that seized many com- 
munities seemed more like intoxication than inspira- 
tion. Groans, shrieks, and other manifestations 
abounded in their meetings ; visions, trances, and 
convulsions were common. The stated ministers of 
the churches, who had at first welcomed the revival, 
were alarmed by these outbreaks. The Legislature 
of Connecticut, wdiich had taken such pains to secure 
the orderly administration of church worship and 
discipline, was even more scandalized by these 
breaches of order and decorum. A convention of 
ministers and messeng-ers was summoned to meet at 
Guilford, with the hope that it might "issue in the 
accommodation of divisions, settling* peace, love and 
charity and promoting- the true interests of religion ; 
for which there seems to be so g-eneral a concern 
among the people of this land." The good ministers, 
each with their tale of excesses and disorders, smart- 
ing under the severe criticisms of Whitfield and his 
followers, could see but one remedy for these evils. 
These abnormal experiences, faintings, convulsions, 
visions, uproarious shrieking and groaning, were 
usually manifested through the agenc\' of the itiner- 
ant preacher ; those ignorant unlicensed exhorters 
wdio had sprung up in the wake of Mr. Whitfield. 
The Legislature of Connecticut in its great wisdom 



20 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

had devised a perfect system of religions adminis- 
tration. Each town was organized as one or more 
religious society or societies. Every inhabitant of 
the town was an organic member of this society, 
meeting-houses and orthodox, learned ministers had 
been provided, and all that was needful for peace, 
quiet, and the true interest of religion was for every 
man with his family to attend worship in the town 
meeting-house and pay his share of the rate. Sup- 
pression of itinerants was the one remedy recom- 
mended. Untaught by all the lessons of church 
history, the new wine in its first si^irited fermenta- 
tion was to be forced into very old and tight bottles. 
Therefore, in May, 1742, the Assembly proceeded 
to enact — that whereas divers ministers, some or- 
dained and licensed, and also some who had no eccle- 
siastical authority or standing, had taken upon them 
to go into parishes under the care of other ministers 
and exhort the people in matters of religion, which 
practise had a tendency to make divisions and con- 
tentions, and to destroy the ecclesiastic constitution 
established by the laws of this^governmeut — there- 
fore, if any ordained minister should preach in any 
other parish than his own without the invitation of 
the stated minister or authorities he should be de- 
prived of provision made for his support ; if any per- 
son not an ordained minister should presume to 
preach or exhort without similar authority, for every 



SPENT LIGHTS. 21 

such offence lie was to be arrested aud bound over 
for trial in the penal sum of £100 ; and if any for- 
eigner, licensed or not, presume to preach in any 
town of Connecticut without permission from recog- 
nized authority, he should be sent out of colony 
bounds as a vagrant. 

This remarkable expedient for promoting peace, 
love, and Christian unity was at once put into execu- 
tion. The inevitable results followed. The revival 
element was at once arraigDed against the Govern- 
ment. Social religious meetings like those described 
in Canterbury had now become lawless and disor- 
derly conventicles, liable to be interrupted by the 
warrant of the constable. The attempted suppres- 
sion of free speech in a time of high religious ex- 
citement greatly increased the existing evil. In Can- 
terl)ury, where so miicli freedom had been exercised, 
these restrictions were peculiarly irksome. Up to 
this date there was no appearance of the slightest 
doctrinal dereliction or difference. All that the Re- 
vivalists required, apparently, was the privilege of 
hearing any ministers they fancied and pouring out 
their own souls in familiar religious conference, and 
in these very points they were debarred or greatl}^ ' 
restricted. In a very few months of this new dispen- 
sation conditions had greatly changed. The " gen- 
tleman of veracity," even then fulfilling his mission, 
thus writes to the Boston Gazette : 



22 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

" Dec. 16, 1742. Canterbury is in worse confusion than ever. 
Their minister, has left them, and they grow more noisy and 
boisterous so that they can get no minister to preach to them 
yet. Colonel Dyer exerted his authority among them on the 
Lord's Day, endeavoring to still them when many were exhort- 
ing and making a great hubbub, and ordered the constable to do 
his office, but they replied, ' Get thee behind me, Satan !' and the 
noise and tumult increased to such a degree, for above an hour, 
that the exhorter could not begin his exercise. Lawyer Paine 
has set vip for a preacher . . . and malies it his business to 
go from house to house and town to town to gain proselytes to 
this new religion. Consequences are mvich feared." 

Elisha Paine had indeed felt constrained to carry 
to others the word that had wrought so powerfully 
in his own soul, and during the summer had applied 
to the Windham County Association of ministers for 
license to preach. The ministers who examined him 
were of opinion " that he was qualified, and that it 
was his duty to preach the Gospel." But as condi- 
tion for receiving license he must subscribe to the 
Saybrook Platform as the Ecclesiastic Constitution 
of Connecticut. Regularly ordained ministers were 
also debarred from preaching, except on conditions 
prescribed by this same Constitution and its amend- 
ments. Men's minds move quickly in such times of 
excitement. Elisha Paine had never been in sym- 
pathy with Saybrook Platform, believing it to exer- 
cise power not warranted by Scripture. It needed 
little reflection to satisfy him that his specific call to 



spp:nt lights. 28 

preach from the Great Head of the church conferred 
a more valid license than anything that could be 
granted by an uuscriptural organization, and so he 
began preaching from house to house, and on from 
town to town. Passing into Woodstock, then held 
by Massachusetts, he held an afternoon religious ser- 
vice in the house of John Morse, and as he was peace- 
fully singing the twenty-third Psalm he was arrested 
by a constable and carried before a justice. His 
conscience forbidding him to give bonds, he was 
taken to Worcester and closely confined " in the 
dirtiest prison that ever was seen." The imprison- 
ment of a man of such high character and standing 
upon so trifling a charge, simply holding an afternoon 
religious meeting in a private house with a few neigh- 
bors, excited much talk and indignation, especially 
when it was found that such confinement was not 
warranted by the laws of Massachusetts. Many vis- 
ited him in prison, and many petitions were sent for 
his release, and after holding him three months the 
authorities were fain to bid him depart, somewhat 
after the fashion of Paul's release from Philippi. 
Continuing- his tour he was everywhere received with 
enthusiasm, his bonds falling out rather for the fur- 
therance of the Revival movement. 

In Canterbury, meantime, there was " confusion 
worse confounded," save that parties were becoming 
more clearly defined and antagonistic. The commit- 



24 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

tee appointed to search into the constitution of the 
church made return, Jan. 27, 1743 : 

"That ye platform of church discipline, agreed upon by ye 
Synod, at Cambridge, 1648, consisting of learned persons from 
the four Colonies, is most agreeable to the former and designed 
practice of this church (except their having ruling elders or dis- 
tinct officers), and most agreeable to the Scriptures." 

This report was accepted Ijy a unanimous vote of 
the church. No one pretended at this meeting- that 
the Saybrook Platform had ever been accepted by 
the church, or was designed to govern it in future. 
Even Colonel Dyer — the leading* opposer to the Re- 
vival party ^ — admitted that Caml)ridg'e Platform was 
most agreeable to its " former and designed prac- 
tice." The point of difference between the parties 
was the power allowed by that Platform. Several 
persons had brought letters of recommendation to 
the Canterbury church, and were anxious to be ad- 
mitted to its membership. The Revival party claimed 
that in accordance with the ancient usage of Massa- 
chusetts churches they could receive such persons 
into the church by vote of a majority of the mem- 
bers, in the absence of a pastor. It was therefore 
put to vote : — 

" That it is regular for this church to admit persons into this 
church that are in full communion with other churches and come 
regularly to this." 



SPENT LIGHTS. 25 

Colonel Dyer aud Edward Eayiisford protested 
earnestly against this vote as illegal aud revolution- 
ary, but it was carried by a clear majority. The right 
thus claimed was speedily exercised. 

Ten brethren producing certificates from the pas- 
tors of divers churches that they were in full com- 
munion and regular standing with the same, the 
Canterbury church, in absence of a pastor, voted to 
receive them into its membership. Next the church 
proceeded to assert its right to take the initiative in 
the choice of a pastor. The controversy was becom- 
ing very lively. Ministers selected by either party 
were rejected with scorn and reprobation by the 
other. A majority of the church were pronoun- 
ced Revivalists, but a majoritj'' of the society 
favored the opposition under the leadership of 
Col. Dyer, a prominent citizen who had control of 
the meeting-house and turned its key against Re- 
vival preachers. Orthodox ministers, on the other 
hand, were subjected to the most soul-searching in- 
quisition as to their belief and experience. Both 
sides indulged in the vituperation common at that 
period. Col. Dyer called his opponents " sorry fel- 
lows," and ordered them " to hold their tongues." 
Meetings called for solemn prayer and fasting w^ere 
made seasons of strife and debate. A formal com- 
plaint was laid against the proceedings of the church 
that they were taking this independent stand " to 

3 



26 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

make themselves strong, and were still fond of their 
own wills." After much discussion as to the precise 
nature of the fault committed by these complainants, 
it was voted, " that they were guilty of evil surmis- 
ing"S, irregular and unchristian treatment and disor- 
derly behavior towards the church " — and, as they re- 
fused to explain or retract, a letter of admonition was 
prepared and publicly administered. The difficulty 
became so serious that public attention was called to 
it. Through the advice and manipulations of several 
worthy ministers on both sides of the controversy an 
armistice was at length effected, the belligerents ac- 
cepting reproofs and mediation from a composite 
council, and consenting to hear on probation, as a 
candidate for the vacant pastorate, Mr, James Cogs- 
well of Lebanon, recommended by the ministers and 
already approved by the society. And now for a 
short time the jjeople of Canterbury — Revivalists and 
Conservatives, exhorters and society officers, met to- 
gether in the well-filled meeting-house and submitted 
to the ministrations of Mr. James Cogswell. He 
Avas a Yale graduate of pleasing manners, amiable 
temper and moderate opinions, and if tact and diplo- 
macy could have healed the breach was just the man 
to effect it. But not even an angel from heaven, as 
Paul says, could satisfy parties in diametric opposi- 
tion. In the violent fermentation accompanying the 
Great Revival new light had been evolved which 
proved a veritable- x-ray in spiritual penetration. 



SPENT LIGHTS. 27 

Under this search-liglit, the half-way covenant al- 
lowed by the churches, and the domination of civil 
authority in religious concerns, were seen in their 
true inwardness as unwarranted by Scripture and 
contrary to the practice of the early New England 
churches. The arbitrary Act of 1742, restricting min- 
isters to their own parishes, and silencing exhort- 
ers was especially obnoxious. Who placed a carnal 
sword in the hands of Connecticut legislators ? The 
whole ecclesiastic system, devised and maintained 
with such care by the leading ministers and laymen 
of the colony, was condemned and renounced by ad- 
vanced Revivalists, now know as " New Lights." A 
thorough purification and sifting of the church, the 
exclusion of half-way and dead members, and lib- 
erty to call and maintain a minister without the in- 
tervention of civil authorities, was now demanded by 
Elisha Paine and other progressive leaders in the 
movement. That a conservative j^oung minister, 
however polished and logical his discourses, should 
satisfy such hearers was simply impossible. Our 
friend Elisha declared — " That he would rather be 
burnt at the stake than hear such preaching," and 
a large majority of the church shared in this judg- 
ment. 

But the minority, worn out with the factious oppo- 
sition of the Revivalists, now asserted itself. It was 
useless to try to find a man that would suit both par- 



28 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

ties. They liked Mr. Cogswell and were bound to 
have him for pastor. And now the battle began in 
earnest between a church minority backed by the 
Government of Connecticut, and a New Light major- 
ity headed by Elisha Paine. The society proceeded 
to call Mr. Cogswell to preach as a candidate ; the 
New^ Lights, conscientiously objecting " to spend the 
precious day of the Lord under a general and life- 
less preaching," formally withdrew from the stated 
worship. A majority of the church voted, " To ap- 
point the house of Samuel Wadsworth to be a place 
to meet in by themselves to serve the Lord in spirit 
and in truth," — thus openlj^ setting at naugiit the 
law of the colony. Officers of the law were quick to 
enforce the prescribed penalty. Elisha Paine and 
Benajah Douglas, a zealous brother, were arrested 
and hurried off to Windham jail on charge "of 
preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ," in a place not 
recognized by the Constitution of Connecticut — -and 
without required license. The whole county ^vas 
stirred V)y these proceedings. Crowds of people 
flocked to the jail, so eager to see and hear the pris- 
oners that Paine was allowed to preach in the jail 
yard by giving security. Indignant Conservatives 
protested against this liberty, insisting that the sheriff 
should be made to drive the people out and keep the 
doors locked. Meanwhile the Ministerial Associa- 
tions and high officials of the colony were encour- 



SPENT LIGHTS. 21) 

aging and abetting the Canterbury minority in their 
efforts to put down the New Lights and settle an 
orthodox minister. 

In September, 174:4, the society proceeded to give 
a formal " call " to Mr. Cogswell. The church imme- 
diately held a meeting, in which a large majority 
protested against this call as an usurpation of power 
delegated to the church alone. They also made a 
formal proposition that, if those in church and so- 
ciety who chose to settle Mr. Cogswell as their pastor 
and folloAV Saybrook Platform would allow the ma- 
jority their share of the meeting-house they had 
helped build, and free them from the charge of sup- 
porting Mr. Cogswell, they would oblige themselves 
to keep up regular public worship, and refrain from 
all further opposition to his settlement — but this 
proposition, which seems to modern eyes so just and 
reasonable, and all other protests and remonstrances 
Avere scornfully rejected. To grant such privileges 
to schismatic New Lights, open op])osers of the church 
establishment of Connecticut, was entirely out of the 
question. The eyes of the whole colony were upon 
Canterbury. No other church had taken so bold a 
stand, Yale college was now dealing with our young 
collegiate, John Cleaveland, and his brother, Eben- 
ezer, avIio, during the summer vacation, had attended 
the meetings at Mr. Wadsworth's house with their 
parents, thereby transgressing the college law which 



aO HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

forbade attendance upon irregular or separate meet- 
ings. The young men explained that they did not 
know that this law was in force when they were out 
of college in vacation, and had not supposed that 
these meetings, held by a major vote of the church 
to which they belonged, were to be considered un- 
lawful or separate. 

"A few more than hitlf makes no difference," re- 
plied Rector Clap, as the meetings were held in a 
private house, and conducted by unlicensed exhortors. 
John Cleaveland then petitioned : 

"To tbe Revd. and Hon«i. Rector and Tutors of Yale College 
in New Haven. ReV^. & Hon'^. 

" It bath been a very great concern and trouble to me, tbat my 
conduct in tbe late vacancy [vacation] bas been sucb as not to 
maintain interest in your favor, and still retain tbe great privi- 
leges tbat I bave enjoyed for three years past under your learned, 
wise, and faithful instruction and government. Notliing of an 
outward nature can equally affect me with tbat of being hence- 
forward wholly secluded from the same. 

" Hon**. Fathers, suffer me to lie at your feet, and intreat yoiu- 
compassionate forgiveness to an offending child wherein I bave 
tnmsgressed. 

Venerable Sirs : I entreat you, for your paternal wisdom and 
clemency, to make in my case such kind allowance for the want 
of that penetration and solid judgment expected in riper beads 
— as tender parents are naturally disposed in respect of their 
weak children. But more especially I beg to be admitted in 
the humblest manner to suggest as a motive of your compassion 
to the ignorant,— that I did not know it was a transgression of 



SPENT LIGHTS. 31 

eitlier the Laws of God, this Colony, or the College, for me. as a 
member, and in covenant with a particular church, as is generally 
owned to be a church of Jesus Christ, to meet together with a 
major part of said church for social worship. And therefore do 
beg and intreat that my ignorance may be suffered to apologize. 
For in respect to that fact, which to riper heads may appear to 
be a real transgression, I can assure you, Ven'^''^ Sirs, that I have 
endeavored to keep and observe all the known laws and customs 
of College unblamably. And I hdpe I shall for the future be 
enabled so to do, if I may be restored to a standing again in my 
class. Thus begging your compassion, I subscribe, your humble 
servant and obedient pupil. 

New Haven, Nov. 26, 1744. John Cleayeland." 

But no plea of ignorance or appeal for mercy could 
condone such an ofience. Nothing* would satisfy the 
obdurate rector and faculty but a x)ublic confession 
in the hall, by the offenders, " That they had violated 
the laws of God, the Colony and the College." This 
confession the young- students could not in conscience 
make, and after suital)le space for reflection and re- 
pentance they were publicly expelled and commanded 
to depart the hall and colleg-e limits, never more to 
return. Likewise their fellow students were forbid- 
den to hold farther communication with them " lest 
they be infected thereby " — and all this because like 
good boys they had gone to church with their parents 
in vacation. 

Their New Light friends of Canterbury, were at 
the same date receiving sentence. The Windham 



32 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

County Consociatiou was convened December, 1744, 
for the ordination of Mr. Cogswell. At a previous 
meeting, attended by the whole church, a large ma- 
jority refused to concur in this ordination, and denied 
the authority of Saybrook Platform to coerce them. 
Brethren who looked upon themselves as under Say- 
brook Regulations, sixteen in number, "did then move 
to the east side of the meeting-house, chose a mod- 
erator, and then, by a unanimous vote, concurred with 
the society in calling Mr. James Cogswell to become 
their pastor." Whether his ordination would be al- 
lowed under this minority call was a question that 
excited much interest. An elect body of ministers 
and delegates was to sit in judgment and decide. A 
large assembly listened to their deliberations — all the 
inhabitants of Canterbury and neighboring towns, 
with many from distant sections — grave ministers 
and magistrates, friends of law and order, and all the 
more prominent New Lights and their sympathizers. 
So great a gathering had probably not been wit- 
nessed in Canterbury since the days of the Fitch and 
Winthrop controversy, but how much more deep and 
soul-stirring the interest now exhibited with such vi- 
tal principles at stake. The facts of the case were 
clearly set forth — the question deduced was very 
simple — Is this body of sixteen Saybrook Platform 
brethren the church of Canterbury ? In opposition it 
was shown that the church at first had simply cove- 



SPENT LIC4HTS. 33 

iiauted to walk with GocT and one another, and had 
supposed itself Congreg-ational : that when it settled 
its second pastor they made him sign with them an 
explicit statement that they Avere under Cambridge 
and not Say brook Platform, and had still farther re- 
jected Saybrook Platform by the unanimous vote of 
1748. After prolonged examination and discussion 
the council gave judgment — • 

That, according to the law of the colony and usage 
in the churches, all churches within Connecticut gov- 
ernment were supposed and understood to be under 
Saybrook Platform Regulation unless, by formal vote, 
covenant or agreement they manifested dissent as 
such a body and in such church capacity ; that the 
church of Canterbur}^, whatever its private sentiments 
might have been, did not thus formally and publicly 
manifest dissent before the vote of 1743, and that 
those Avho on that day expressed their preference for 
Cambridge Platform had thus denominated them- 
selves another church, and s&parated themselves from 
those who adhered to Sa^^brook Regulation, and that, 
therefore, brethren now abiding in the above Regu- 
lation should thenceforward be recognized in laAv as 
the church of Canterbury. 

This decision, perhaps, marks the maximum of 
Connecticut's attainment in her coalition of church 
and State, placing Saybrook Platform as her ecclesi- 
astic constitution upon the same footing virtually as 



34 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

the state religious of the Old Work!. Its announce- 
ment at this juncture, strengthening the hands of the 
ministry and government, was received with much 
satisfaction by the friends of Law and order. The 
minority in Canterbury was greatly elated by its vic- 
tory, and straightway installed the minister of their 
choice with due ceremony and felicitations. 

But the rejoicing was not wholly confined to the 
victors. The defeated New Lights rejoiced in that 
they were deemed worthy to suffer in behalf of their 
principles. And, farther, they rejoiced in the divid- 
ing line so clearly manifested; in the separation thus 
avowed and promulgated between the New Lights 
and their opposers — as " two different, distinct bod- 
ies, acting in two different kingdoms" — the one had 
chosen " their glorious, exalted Redeemer to be their 
only Head : " the other had chosen for its head an 
unscriptural, human institution — the Constitution of 
the colony. Many years later, Ebeuezer Frothing- 
ham of Middletown recalled to the memory of Can- 
terbury Separates the raptures of " that blessed, 
sweet and glorious day, wdien the first visible flock of 
Christ in the Colony took up Christ's sweet cross to 
follow the Lamb," with such gracious manifestations 
of " Divine power and presence, and truth flowing in 
a living stream from heart to heart." Not only did 
the Separate movement throughout the colony re- 
ceive a marvelous impulse by this decision, but it 



SPENT LIGHTS, 35 

served as the spoken word by wliicli a certain defi- 
niteness of statement and aim was evolved from the 
previous chaos, and various conflicting" elements 
brought to unite in determined hostility to the church 
establishment that claimed such supreme power. 

The Canterbury Separate Church, as it was now 
called, thoug-h unstated in the eye of the law, robl)ed 
of its birthright, deprived of legal existence and 
privileges, could still rejoice in the heroic stand it 
had taken and the liberty it had achieved — liberty at 
least to choose a minister " after God's heart " and 
their own fancy, and order its worship after the 
Gospel pattern. As the first church in Connecticut, 
and probably in New England, of avowed New Light 
or Separate principles, it held a most conspicuous and 
influential position. With eagerness it embraced the 
earliest opportunity to re-affirm the original church 
covenant, and also to guard against things that might 
lead to " darkness and corruption " by making some 
points " more plain and particular," especially Avitli 
regard to admitting into the church none but true 
believers assured of their own conversion, and the 
use of civil power in securing support of the minister. 
This amended covenant was signed at first by some 
sixty church members, and by many others in the 
course of a few months, representing some of the 
most substantial families of the town. 

Renewing its attempt to call and settle a minister, 



36 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

it first addressed its " dear and honored father," Elisha 
Paine, but the leadings of Providence clearly calling- 
him to a wider field, it finally made choice of his 
brother Solomon, who, after serious spiritual conflict, 
accepted the call, and was formally ordained pastor of 
the "First or regular Congregational church of Can- 
terbury." This matter of ordination was accom- 
plished with much difficulty — the established minis- 
try of the colony disdainfully reprobating such 
irregular proceedings — but relief Avas procured by 
means of a Separate exhorter, Thomas Denison, 
who had been regularly ordained by Rev. Ebenezer 
Moulton, of Brimfield, a Baptist minister, who could 
trace back in ministerial succession to three of the 
most noted Puritan ministers of Boston. AVith his 
assistance an attempt was made in Mansfield to ordain 
their good brother and deacon, Thomas Marsh, as 
teaching elder of the Separate church. But when a 
great concourse of people gathered on the appointed 
day to witness the services, they found that the good 
deacon had been arrested the day previous on charge 
of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ without law- 
ful license or authority, and was " closely locked up " 
in Windham jail. That the services carried on that 
day in Mansfield by Elisha Paine and other Separate 
leaders were highly inflammatory in character is not 
surprising. Nor Avas the excitement lessened by the 
appearance upon the scene of that most formidable 



SPENT LIGHTS. ?> i 

body — the Windham County Association — " fourteen 
learned ministers," armed with all the powers and 
terrors of ecclesiastic authority, hoping by this united 
appearing" and testimony to scatter the evil forces of 
Separatism — attempting, says Backus, "to scatter 
that flock after their shepherd was smitten." But the 
storm evoked had passed far beyond human manipu- 
lation. The ministers met a most tumultuous recep- 
tion. Their attempted arguments and remonstrances 
were drowned "in unchristian and ajiprobrious revil- 
ings," and they were forced to retreat, after reading 
a formal protest in the name of the appointed eccle- 
siastic authority of the county. A month later the 
Mansfield Separates succeeded in carrying through 
the ordination of another brother, John Hovey, while 
good Deacon Marsh was kept locked up in jail for six 
months. 

But despite, and partly because of, these very ol)- 
stacles and persecutions. Separatism was making- 
great advances. Not only in Connecticut but all 
over New England, Christians were coming out from 
the established churches. "Come out from among 
them and be ye separate," was the cry that rang 
through the land. " Come out from these dead and 
corrupted churches ; from the abominable tyranny of 
those unchristian and ungodly Civil Constitutions, 
and rejoice in the liberty wherewith Christ has made 
us free." Every town, nearly every community, was 



38 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

stirred by this religious movement ; masses of eu- 
tliusiastic Separates, breaking av>'ay from the yoke 
of Egyptian bondage in joyful hope of establishing 
a pure church and hastening forward the glorious 
day of gospel grace and deliverance. Ignorant, 
fanatical, unaccustomed to self or church govern- 
ment, burning with zeal and righteous indignation, 
how great their need of wise and competent leader- 
ship. One man alone, according to the church 
historian. Rev. Isaac Backus, was equal to the oc- 
casion. To one man above all others they turned 
for help and guidance ; Elislia Paine was the Moses 
to lead the Separates from Egypt to the Promised 
Land. From every quarter came to him letters and 
messengers beseeching his presence and aid, and to 
this work he dedicated his life and energies. Like 
Wesley, of later times, he went about his mission, 
traveling from town to town and from one colony to 
another, everywhere aiding in the formation and 
building up of Separate churches. His superior ed- 
ucation and sound judgment enabled him in some 
degree to direct and control the seething elements. 
" A mixed multitude " accompanied the Israelites out 
of Egypt. The Separate movement swept through 
the lowest stratum of society, in a day of compara- 
tive ignorance and imperfect civilization, taking in 
not only the ignorant, fanatical and visionary, cranks 
of every variety, but the sore-heads, the grumbleto- 



SPENT LIGHTS. ?>0 

nians ; all who for any cause were brought into op- 
position to constituted authorities. To bring these 
scattered and disorderly congregations into anything 
like coherent and orderl}^ church estate, seemed a 
task beyond the power of mortals. But Paine and 
other devoted Separates went bravely forward, trust- 
ing in the righteousness of their cause and the help 
of their divine Leader. The Mansfield Separate 
church adopted and published an elaborate covenant, 
which may be considered the official statement of 
New Light doctrine and practice. A pure church, 
perfect assurance of conversion and salvation in every 
member, liberty to choose and set aside its own offi- 
cers, and, also, to preach, exhort, and support the 
preacher in its own fashion, were its distinguishing 
characteristics. As far as possible this covenant was 
made the standard in other Separate churches. The 
destruction of Saybrook Platform was made a special 
object in Connecticut. " A Short View of the Con- 
stitution of the Church of Christ," and the difference 
between it and the church as established by Civil Au- 
thority, published by Solomon Paine, serving " as a 
burning torch to enlighten the conscience " in this 
regard. The views and practices of the several 
churches depended much upon the character of their 
leaders and the strength of the separation. In com- 
munities like Canterbury and Plainfield, where it in- 
cluded a majority of the respectable families, they 



40 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

differed little from other CoDgreg-ational chvirclies 
except in g-reater spirituality and liberty of speech. 
The testimony of Rev. David Rowland, pastor of the 
standing church of Plainfield, who by reason of his 
position was obnoxious to the New Lights, has great 
weight. He writes, at a later date — 

" Although some things appeared among thom at first very un- 
warrantable, yet considering their infant state it must be ac- 
knowledged by all that were acquainted with them, that they 
were a people, in general, conscientiously engaged in promoting 
truth, and Mr. Stevens, their minister, a very clear and powerful 
preacher of the Gospel, as must be acknowledged by all who 
heard liim." 

But while laboring " to guard against things that 
might lead to darkness and corruption," they ad- 
mitted one fatal error — the assumed possession of 
the "ke}' of knowledge," by which they not only had 
perfect assurance of their own conversion and eter- 
nal salvation, but through " the inward actings of 
their own souls " could test the spiritual condition of 
all with whom they came in contact. The adoption 
of this pernicious principle wrought incalculable mis- 
chief — leading the New Lights to despise human 
knowledge, to set their own personal impression 
against all evidence and authority, and above all to 
deny the possession of true religion to Christians 
whose experience varied from their standard. It led 



SPENT LIGHTS. 41 

tliem to denounce with most scathing seventy the 
ministry and meml)ership of the established churches. 
Nothing' brought the Separates into such disrepute 
with true friends of the Revival as the abuse and 
maledictions poured out upon the standing churches. 

But when turned upon themselves the use of this 
supernatural key was even more disastrous. No one 
was safe from the "inward acting" of his neighbor's 
soul. Few of these perfectly assured and regener- 
ated church members escaped church censure and 
discipline. Their records are filled with accusations, 
trials, admonitions, and excommunications. With no 
authority back of themselves to settle their disputes, 
trusting to their own impulses and literal interpreta- 
tion of detached passages of scripture, these loosely 
organized bodies quickly fell into scandaloiis disorder 
and confusion. Letters coming to Elislia Paine from 
many New Light organizations show how widespread 
were these difficulties and disorders. 

And against these bodies of struggling Separates 
were ranged all the forces of civil and ecclesiastic au- 
thority. To the Government of Connecticut the New 
Lights were simply outlaws, excluded by special act 
of legislation from privileges granted to other dis- 
senting churches. Deluded Baptists and intruding 
Episcopalians might claim the benefit of The Tolera- 
tion Act, but for the rebellious children of their own 
favored churches there could be no release or mercy. 

4* 



4:2 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

Did the New Light leaders, taunted with their own 
ig-norance, attempt to found an academy at New 
London for the better instruction of young- men as 
Christian teachers and exhorters (an experimental 
Northfield) ? A law was at once enacted, October? 
1742, forbidding the establishment of such school or 
academy for young persons without liberty from the 
Assembly, upon very severe penalties. Should such 
unlawful school be established the civil authority of 
a town was ordered to make inspection, and proceed 
with such scholars and students, and such as harbor 
or board them, according to the law of the colony re- 
specting transient persons. In the same Act it pro- 
vided — that no person that has not been graduated in 
Yale or Harvard colleges, or other Protestant college, 
shall take the benefit of the laws of the Government 
respecting the settlement and estate of ministers. 
And while thus denying New Lights liberty of speech 
and worship, liberty to found and attend schools of 
their own order, they took from them as far as pos- 
sible every civil right. Separates were excluded from 
town offices ; men of substance and character, like 
Obediah Johnson, of Canterbury, when elected repre- 
sentative to the Assembly by a majority of his fellow 
citizens, was not allowed to take his seat because of 
holding the office of deacon in the rebellious church. 
Ordained Separate ministers Avere shut up in jail for 
joining in marriage their own church members. Bap- 



SPENT LIGHTS. -io 

tisms and marriages performed by them were pro- 
nouuced illegal. And worse than all in its effects, 
touching all classes, were the rates extorted for the 
support of the established churches. In the ej^es of 
the law each Separate was still a member of the parish 
in which he resided, and obliged to pay for the sup- 
port of its stated religious worship. Refusing to pay, 
his goods were forcibly taken by the collector, and, 
however much exceeding the amount due, no overplus 
was ever returned. If goods were insufficient the men 
were carried to prison. These were the days of Con- 
necticut's " religious persecution," not bloody, indeed, 
but most harrassiug and persistent. All over the col- 
ony were heard the cries of these afflicted Separates — 
men dragged to jail by force, wives and children left 
helpless at home. Instances of special hardship are 
noted — the poor man's only cow driven away from 
his door, the meat or grain laid up for winter suste- 
nance carried off by the merciless collector. Wind- 
ham jail was so crowded with victims as to require an 
additional story. In Norwich, where there was a 
strong New Light element, the contest was very 
bitter. The venerable mother of the church historian. 
Rev. Isaac Backus, Avas taken from her home aiid 
confined thirteen days in jail for refusing to pay her 
church rate. It took the constable and six assistants 
to carry a resistant brother to jail. Rev. Alexander 
Miller, of Yoluntown, ancestor of the late Hon. 



44 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

William L. Gaston, of Massachusetts, tells his story 
in the subjoined petition : 

"Whereas, we are rendered incapable upon the account of 
sickness and imprisonment, of sending a petition, we take this 
opportunity of informing your Honors of the difficulties we 
have met with as to our outward man because we are constrained 
to observe and follow the dictates of our own conscience, agree- 
able to the Word of God, in matters of religion, looking upon it 
to be God's prerogative to order the affairs of his own worship. 
We are of that number who soberly dissented from the Ghurcli 
established by Conn, and though we have no design to act in 
contempt of any lawful authority, or to disturb any religious 
society, but only to worship God according to the rules he has 
given us in his Word in that way now called Separation, yet 
have we suffered the loss of much of our goods, particularly be- 
cause we could not in conscience pay minister's rates, it appear- 
ing to us very contrary to the way that the Lord hath ordained 
even the present way in which ministry are maintained — Poor 
men's estates taken away and sold for less than a quarter of their 
value, and no overplus returned, as hath been the case of your 
Honor's poor informers ; yea, poor men's cows taken when they 
had but one for the support of their families, and the children 
crying for milk and could get none, because the collector had 
taken their cow for minister's rates. Neither have they stopped 
liere, though we have never resisted them, but when our goods 
could no longer suffice we were taken from our families and cast 
into prison, where some of us have lain above two months, far 
distant from our families, who are in very difficult circumstances. 
Yea ! and here we must unavoidably lie the remainder of our 
days unless we consent to such methods for which we can see 
no warrant in God's Word. No ! surely it never came into his 



SPENT LIGHTS. 45 

mind, neither Iiath he commanded that it should be so, that the 
Gospel of Peace shoidd be so maintained ; he hath told his minis- 
ters how they shall have their maintenance, but not a word of 
imprisoning men for refusing to maintain them, surely the best 
things corrupted form the worst. And now, we pray you to 
take notice of our difficulties, and grant us relief from bondage 
that we may enjoy the privileges other dissenters enjoy. 
Windliain Prison, May 13, 1752." 

No notice was taken of this representation, and the 
prisoners Avere kept in jail till the authorities thought 
proper to release them. Two years later they again 
presented their case to the Assenil)ly : — 

" We, whose names are subscribed, because we could not in 
conscience pay minister's salary, which we find neither precept 
nor example for in the Word of God, as we understand the same, 
and after we had once and again suffered the loss of much of our 
substance, being taken from us by collectors, our bodies were 
taken . . . and cast into prison in said Windham jail, where 
we were closely confined, some of us above twenty miles distant 
from our families — where we lay some of us ten weeks in most 
distressing circumstances as to our bodies, and our families re- 
duced or exposed to difficulties too affecting to your Honors to 
hear, could they be related. During which time we wrote to 
you to inform you of our difficulties even while we were in 
prison, but having been informed that said letter was never read 
publicly and cannot be found, offer this to you. 

Alexander Miller. 

Peter Miller. 

Joseph Sr.\LDiNG. 

Joseph Warren." 



46 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

Elisba Paine, after the reuioval of his family to 
Long Island, returning in midwinter for household 
goods and stock, was arrested for rates due Mr. Cogs- 
well and kept for months in Windham jail, to the 
great inconvenience and suffering of himself and 
family. Petitions sent to the General Assembly for 
relief in numberless cases w-ere promptly " dismissed 
by both houses." A formal memorial presented in 
1753, from the representatives of some twenty-five 
New Light churches, praying for the benefit of the 
Toleration Act, was scornfully rejected. Men whose 
hearts had been stirred in childhood by stories handed 
down from their grandfathers of the persecutions of 
"Bloody Claver'ouse" and "Wicked Jeffries," now^ 
thrust their own brethren into like bondage. In vain 
w^as the parallel forced upon their notice — " We are 
but asking for the privileges for which our fathers 
bled and suffered and came to this new world." 

" I can but marvel," says Elisha Paine, " to see how 
soon the children will forget the sw^ord that drove 
their fathers into this land, and take hold of it as a 
jewel, and kill their grandchildren therewith." Again 
he writes— "The Roman Emperor was the first beast 
which persecuted the Christians that separated from 
their established religion, and by their law, fined, 
whipped, imprisoned and killed them ; we all own 
that the Pope or Papal throne is the Second Beast, 
which compels all under him to submit to his wor- 



SPENT LIGHTS. 47 

ship. Now what your prisoner requests of you is a 
clear distinction between the Ecclesiastic Constitu- 
tion of Connecticut, by which I am now held in prison, 
and the aforesaid two thrones or beasts, in the foun- 
dation, constitution and support thereof." But their 
eyes were blinded that they could not see distinction 
or parallel. The mistakes, the excesses, the violence 
and hostility of the Separates furnished, as was said, 
" an awful specimen" of their need of this very sys- 
tem which they so bitterly denounced. 

Failing in all attempts to procure relief from the 
government of Connecticut, the Separates were driven 
to appeal to the throne of Britain. Twenty Separate 
churches prepared a memorial, praying King George 
to grant them the benefit of the Toleration Act of 
Great Britain. This memorial was carried to Eng- 
land by a special deputation in 175G, and first exhibi- 
ted to the " Committee for the Dissenters." That 
body received the report with amazement, and could 
scarcely believe that the children of men who had 
fled from the domination of a State religion would 
have fashioned a parallel yoke for their own country- 
men, and that Dissenters from the church establish- 
ment of Connecticut were denied privileges granted 
to those in the mother country. This denial they 
deemed a plain violation of charter rights and feared 
that the presentation of the Separate memorial would 
greatly injure Connecticut. The chairman's letter of 



48 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

remonstrance and censure, and the disturbances ac- 
companying the French and Indian war, modified 
the policy of the government, and thenceforward ex- 
emption from rate paying- under favorable circum- 
stances, and other slight ameliorations of treatment^ 
was grudgingly accorded. But this leniency came 
too late to save the great majority of Separates. A 
number of their leaders were already gone, worn out 
with the severity of the conflict ; their churches had 
wasted ; the rank and file were greatly demoralized, 
A few churches, indeed, struggled on, holding fast to 
their peculiar principles, and in time secured a stand- 
ing among the regular Congregational churches of 
Connecticut, and are still represented by flourishing 
and influential church fellowships. But for the great 
mass it was defeat and bitter disappointment — their 
buoyant hopes of a pure church and emancipation 
from Saybrook yoke blasted and destroyed. Their 
heroic stand for principle ; their battle for eternal 
rights and freedom degenerated into a noisy squab- 
ble with rate collectors. The more substantial ele- 
ment went back into the stated churches ; a very 
respectable number allied themselves with the strug- 
gling Baptists ; the remnant remaining were but Pa- 
riahs and outcasts — " Wild Separates " as they were 
called ; veritable terrors ; violent, factious, impracti- 
cable, hurling anathemas upon all who disagreed 
with them ; their " hand against every man and every 
man's hand against them." 



SPENT LIGHTS. 49 

To all outward appearance the " Separate move- 
ment " had failed completely. As a sect, as an organ- 
ization, the New Lights were indeed " Spent Lights " 
— spent, perhaps, but not wholly extinguished. Those 
poor old Separates Avith all their faults, follies and 
blunders, have indeed long since passed away — their 
bodies resting in forgotten graves — but we rejoice to 
believe that " their souls are marching- on." The 
principles for which they contended are now recog-- 
nized and established ; the liberty for which they 
panted has become the birthright of every resident 
of this great country ; even that achimantiue, inflexi- 
ble Platform wdiich they so battered and berated ; 
that Ecclesiastic Constitution of Connecticut so sa- 
cred in the eyes of our grandfathers, has been set 
aside forever. And for these great and beneficent 
results the Separates helped prepare the way, and 
may be justly numbered with that " noble army of 
martyrs" which through weary ages has borne aloft 
the banner and shouted the battle-cry of religious 
freedom. Those New Light doctrines and principles 
that seemed at first so pernicious and revolutionary, 
slowly working their way into Christian conscious- 
ness, became the prevailing theology of the succeed- 
ing generation. The familiar religious conference 
and lay exhortation, which brought the Separates 
fine and imprisonment, has long been recognized as 
one of the most potent forces in the up-building and 



50 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

strengtlieniug" of the cliiirch. And even " the ac- 
cursed practise " of allowing- women to speak in pub- 
lic, for wliicli tlie Separates were severely reprobated, 
is becoming a marvelous factor in the evangelization 
and illumination of the Avorld. 

We have lost sight for a time of the chief leader in 
this movement — the Canterbury lawyer, so active and 
influential in its development. Unlike most of his 
contemporaries, he lived to witness the apparent fail- 
ure of his mission. As Separate churches died out 
and his services were less demanded, he accepted the 
pastorate of a New Light church at Bridgehampton, 
L. I., and passed the evening of his days in quietly 
administering to their needs. However great his dis- 
appointment, it made no change in his convictions or 
temper. The faith that gave him such " sweet con- 
tentment " when confined in jail for preaching the 
Gospel he so much loved, kept his soul in perfect 
peace. The diary of his former adversary. Rev. 
James Cogswell, gives us a glimpse of him in his 
farewell visit to his native town as late as 1769. He 
sent for Mr. Cogswell to come and hear him preach 
and returned his visit. They " discoursed in a friendly 
manner." Mr. Cogswell took " the old gentleman " 
to task for " meddling with Connecticut establish- 
ment " and " his notion of saving faith consisting in 
assurance." Mr. Paine maintained his own views, 
but " with a pleasant countenance," and temper free 



SPENT LIGHTS. 51 

from bitterness and severity. A reformer without ar- 
rogance, a Separate without bigotry or uncharitable- 
ness, he stood far in advance of his generation, and 
the light of his teaching and example long lingered 
in Christian hearts. Elisha Paine died in Bridge- 
hampton in 1775, in his eighty-fourth year, having 
preached to his beloved flock till within fifteen days 
of his decease. 



II. 



WINDHA.M COUNTY WOMEN OF OLDEN 
TIME.- 

Our scant knowledge of early New England women 
is much to be regretted. While the deeds and lives 
of the Pilgrim fathers have been depicted for us in 
great variety of form, the Pilgrim mothers remain 
mostly in shadow. And as the sons of the first emi- 
grants went out into the wilderness to build up other 
homes and settlements, the daughters are even more 
in abeyance. AVe learn by the self-sacrifice of Lady 
Arabella Johnson, the exquisite letters of Margaret 
Winthrop, something of the character and tone of 
those women who followed their husbands over the 
ocean. But of the great majority of those who helped 
build ap thousands of homes in the waste places of 
New England we knoAv comparatively nothing. 

" Their name, their years, spelt by the unlettered 
muse," the date of birth, marriage, death, and birth 
of children, is all that has been left us. And yet we 
know that these mothers, wives, and daughters l)ore 
their full share in laying these foundations, and suf- 
fered even greater hardships and privations. 

* Publislied in " Tlie Plainfield Graphic." 



WINDHAM COUNTY WOMEN OF OLDEN TIME. 53 

The first woman within Windham county territory 
of whom we know anythin"- more than the above 
data is Mrs. Abigail Bartholomew, second wife of 
Samuel Paine. After the Woodstock colony had got- 
ten in their first plantings of corn in the summer of 
1686, they looked about for a miller, and invited Wil- 
liam Bartholomew of Branford to fill this important 
office. This stalwart pioneer had passed through a 
number of exciting experiences, and while living in 
Hatfield in 1677 had suff'ered the horrors of Indian 
invasion, and saw his young daughter Abigail, then 
five years old, carried away captive. The story of 
capture, suffering, and escape was still fresh in mem- 
ory, when, ten years later, she came with her father's 
family to take up her abode in the plantation of New 
Roxbury. It was the year after the close of King 
PhiliiD's war, when there was less thought of immedi- 
ate danger. At about eleven o'clock in the morning 
when most of the men were at work in the fields, the 
savages burst in upon the settlement, killed twelve 
persons, wounded five, set all the houses on fire, and 
with seventeen prisoners, beat a hasty retreat. All 
but five of the captives were Avomen and children. 
One man escaped to report their probable destruction 
All attempts at negotiation were foiled. The little 
party was hurried on over the bleak country, up 
rivers and lake, arriving at Canada in wintry weather, 
They were the first New England captives who had 



54 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

been forced to travel through this dreary wilderness. 
Two of the Inisbands of the captured women imme- 
diately bestirred themselves to procure their release. 
Obtaining" a commission from the government of 
Massachusetts and tardy help from New York, they 
toiled northward, mostly by water, carrying their 
canoes upon their backs from Lake George to Lake 
Champlain. On January 6, 1678, they reached Cham- 
blee, and found the prisoners at Sorell and vicinity. 
They then went on to Quebec, where they were civilly 
entertained by the French Governor, terms of re- 
demi^tion agreed upon, and a guard allowed them to 
Albany. On April 19 they started on their return 
journey. Arriving at Albany May 22, they sent mes- 
sages to those "loving friends and kindred at Hat- 
field," who for seven anxious months had wearily 
waited for tidings : 

" These few lines are to let you understand that we are arrived 
at Albany now with the captives, and we now stand in need of 
assistance, for my charges are very great and heavy ; and, there- 
fore, any that have any love to our condition, let it move them 
to come and help us in this strait. Three of the captives are 
murdered, old goodman Plympton, Samuel Russell, Samuel 
Foot's daughter. All the rest are alive and well, namely, Obadiah 
Dickinson and his child, Mary Foot and her child, Hannah Jen- 
nings and three children, Abagail Allis, Abigail Bartholomew, 
goodman Coleman's children, Samuel Kellogg, my wife and four 
children, and Quintin Stockwell. I pray you hasten the matter, 
for it requires great haste. Stay not for the Sabbath, not shoeing 



WINDHAM COUNTY WOMEN OF OLDEN TOIE. 55 

of horses. We shall endeavor to meet you at Kinderhawk. 
Bring provisions witli you for us. 

Your loving kinsman, 

Benjamin Waite." 

As soon as possible a company was fitted out to 
meet tliem as arranged. Tliey rode tliroiigh the 
woods to Westfield and soon all reached home in 
safety — the day of their arrival the most joyful day 
that Hattield had ever known. The ransom of the 
captives cost about two hundred pounds, which was 
gathered by contril)utions carried forward by " the 
pious charity of the elders, ministers and congrega- 
tions of the several towns." A daughter of Mrs. 
Jennings, born in Canada, was named C-aptivity. 

We may well believe that the presence in Wood- 
stock of a young woman who had passed through 
such an experience would excite great interest. 
Indian alarms were frequent in those days. Again 
and again the anxious iidiabitants were forced to re- 
pair to the carefully-guarded garrisons. A trembling 
fugitive, whose husband and children had l)een 
butchered upon their own hearth-stone, brought the 
news of the terrible massacre at Oxford. And all 
through these troubled years oar Abigail served as a 
perpetual object lesson, showing to mothers and 
children the reality of the ])eril that threatened them. 
She married first, Joseph Frizzel, and later, Samuel 
Paine, and lived to repeat to many children and 



5t; HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

grandchildren the story of her marvelous captivity 
and escape. 

Mrs. Esther Grosvenor, of Pomfret, comes down to 
lis as a very distinct personality. Her husband, Mr. 
John Grosvenor, having- died soon after completing 
negotiations for the Mashamoquet Purchase, Mrs. 
Grosvenor was much more concerned with business 
interests than most women of her day. Her name 
stands first upon the list of those receiving allotments 
of the Purchase, and she was naturally very promi- 
nent in division and distribution of the large estate. 
Born in England, she brought with her strength of 
constitution and dignity of character. A trouble- 
some squaw once invaded her kitchen, demanding 
immediate supply of food, and even attempting to 
snatch the boiling meat from the kettle. Mrs. Gros- 
venor held her back with her broomstick till her son 
Ebenezer came to the rescue with more effective 
weapon. Like other women of superior station she 
was very helpful in care of the sick, and was viewed 
as a mother by the Avhole community. She retained 
to old age her vigor and habit of authority, and in- 
sisted upon walking to attend church service till within 
a short time of her decease. 

In striking contrast with this " Colonial dame " is 
the first woman whose voice comes down to us from 
Brooklyn. A beautiful tract of land directly south 
of Mashamoquet was purchased by Sir John Black- 



WINDHAM COUNTY WOMEN OF OLDEN TIME. T) i 

well in 1686, as agent in behalf of a number of Eng- 
lish and Irish Dissenters, Avitli expectation of founding 
a colony upon it. Capt. Blackwell also received from 
Connecticut a grant for a township, including his 
purchase, which was to be laid out as a separate town 
or manor, by the name of Mortlake. King William's 
accession in 1688, and the religious privileges now 
granted in Great Britain frustrated all these plans. 
Blackwell returned to England, and his jourchase was 
left neglected till after his death in 1713 his son con- 
veyed it to Jonathan Belcher, of Boston, who entrusted 
Capt. John Chandler, of Woodstock, with its survey 
and division. The tract was still in native wildness, 
save for one small clearing taken up by a squatter, 
Jabez Utter. To him Chandler granted at first a 
deed of the premises for his labor and expense " in 
building, fencing, clearing, l)reaking up, improving 
and subduing " the same. The probable reason why 
this bargain was not carried out, and for the non-ap- 
pearance of Jabez in the subsequent expulsion is 
found in New London court records, wherein at just 
this date we find him arraigned for horse stealing, 
and sentenced to return the horse and pay the plain- 
tiff ten pounds, also to pay the County Treasury forty 
shillings, or be whipped ten stripes on his naked 
body, etc. 

Mary, the Avife of Jabez, was a woman of spirit, 
and held on to her home with a woman's tenacity. 



5S HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

When the sheriff came to demand possession of the 
premises, she barricaded doors and windows and 
held on. All efforts failing- to move her, young- John 
Chandler was sent to effect ejection. The story of 
the siege is told by Mary herself in very vig-orons 
English. She g-ives the names of some twelve or fif- 
teen young- fellows from the neig-hboring towns who 
aided in the raid, bringing- with them drums, clubs, 
axes, and all needful implements. Upon her utter 
refusal to grant possession they proceeded to tear 
down her fences, batter the house with stones and 
clubs, set up ensigns of divers colors, drink to the 
health of King James, committing, she says, "Many 
high and heinous enormities, treasons, profanities, 
and grievous wickedness." After carousing all day 
they had an interval of quiet till towards morning, 
Avhen " they revived their noise, marching round the 
house, beating drums, and singing psalm tunes," per- 
haps imitating the siege of Jericho, and then young 
Chandler made proclamation : " Now we have got- 
ten the victory ; now the day is ours," and raising 
poles against the house, three of the leaders vaulted 
upon the roof, came down through the chimney, 
opened the door and let in the sheriff. Even then 
the resolute mistress refused to yield possession, and 
had to be violently dragged out and flung down back- 
ward out of the door ; but at last, late in the after- 
noon, "they drove me away from my home and drove 



WINDHAM COUNTY WOMEN OF OLDEN TIME. 59 

my cliildreu with me into the wilderness, and set a 
guard about me, and left us there to perish without 
any shelter but the Heavens," — but still with life 
enough to make her way to a justice, and make piti- 
ful complaint as "his Majesty's distressed, forlorn 
subject." Certainly no modern Brooklyn matron 
could use her tongue more ejffectively than this first 
Avoman resident. 

Some pleasant glimpses of early home life in Wind- 
ham county come to us from the diary of Mrs. Me- 
hitabel Chandler Coit, of New Loudon, whose hus- 
band, Thomas Coit, was brother of Plainfield's first 
minister, Rev. Joseph Coit. 

She writes : 

"June 18, 1707. My husband and sister Sarah and I went to 
Stonington, and brother Joseph Coit was married to Experience 
Wheeler. June 21. We came home again." 

Mrs. Coit was the sister of Capt. John Chandler, 
of Woodstock, daughter of Dea. John Chandler. 
When fifteen years of age she notes : 

" May 31, 1G88. My father, with liis family, went to live att 
New Roxbury, afterwards called AVoodstock. Feb. 8, 1089. 
Hannah Gary born, the first child that was born in Woodstock. 
April 18. The Revolution at Boston. June 25, 1695. We were 
married." 

This diary was maintained through life, and while 
noting i^rominent events, and the business ventures 



60 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

of her husband — a pioneer ship-builder — it is mainly- 
taken up with domestic details, the birth of her six 
children and childhood mishaps : 

" June 14, 1706. Billy Coit fell into the cove and was almost 
drownded. March 10, 1708. Martha C'oit's foot burnt with a 
warming pan. April 29. A plank fell off the stage upon Thomas 
Coit and struck him down but gott no grate mater of hurt. Aug. 
13. Mr. Vryland's vessell was burnt upon the stocks, and John 
Coit's foot was burnt." 

A visit at Woodstock in 172G gives us a peep into 
inside life ; those minor domestic details left out from 
general history, and, therefore, all the more valuable : 

" May 19. I set out to go to Woodstock, and before we got to 
Bowlses it rained a smart shower and we fain to go in there for 
shelter. When the shower was a little over we sat out again got 
to Norwich, stayed at Lathrops that night and had fryed veal for 
supper. Friday we dined at Cady's and had beef and pork and 
herbs ; began to be very weary. I rid behind Sam Morris most of 
the way ; got to W. a little before night, almost tired to death. 
Sabbath day. Went to meeting ; come home very weary. 22. 
Half dead still but went to brotlier Josephs a foot (just over the 
line in Pomfret). 23. Came back again ; made seven calls on 
the way and so to brothers very weary (Capt. John Chandler's, 
South Woodstock). 24. Election day : — We went up to town ; 
see tra3ming ; went to dinner at Coz. Johns, Billy and his wife 
there too ; sister, cousin Hannah, Coz. Billy's wife and I called 
at James Corbiu's, Mr. Dwights, Jas. Bacons, Jabez Corbin's, 
Dea. Morris's and Mr. Carpenters and so home ; same day com- 
ing home sister fell down and brake her arm ; they sent for Parker 



WINDHAM COUNTY WOMEN OF OLDEN TIME. <U 

(Dr. ]\Iorse) to set it. 25. Rainy wciithcr ; I went to Mrs. 
Holmes' ; she is not married yet; at night Mr. Dwight and his 
wife and Mr. Morris here to see us ; sister very bad with lier 
arm. 26. A bright, charming morning ; in the forenoon I read 
in the Turkisli history ; p. jr., brotlier, Coz. Ilannali and I went 
to Sam Morrises' (Nevv FJoston), had trout ; to Coz. Billy's, and 
drank sjdlibub ; came home wery and dull ; a pain in my face ; 
I hate to ride ; the horse started three or four times ; I wisht to 
be at home. 28. I went to meeting on foot ; the text : " Happy 
are the people that are in such a case " (I could not ihink myself 
happy if I was in Ids people's case). 29. Brother John went 
with me to West Hill ; we went to Marcy's, Paysons, Coy's and 
Wrights. 30. I set out to come home ; brother Chandler came 
with me as far as change ; brother Joseph came with me as far 
as Plainfield, there we met sister Abigail Coit ; we went to din- 
ner there, stayed an hour or two, then set out for Norwich ; 
brother Coit came with us as far as Quinnebaugs ; then we came 
over in a cannow ; we sail over Shituckett alone ; came to Nor- 
wich about dark ; lodged at Lathrops. 31. Got home about 10 
o'clock, not very wery ; found all well except the garding, and 
this was overrun with weeds ; so much for Woodstock." 

To those familiar with the Woodstock of that date, 
this g"ives a very pleasant picture, naming' all the old 
families and showing- the neighborly intercourse that 
existed. Unpleasantness then rapidly culminating 
between Rev. Josiah Dwight and his people called 
out Mrs. Coit's disparaging comment. " Coz. John " 
was the youth who figured in the expulsion of Mary 
Utter. The wife of " Cousin Billy," then newly mar- 
ried, Jemima Bradbury, was a lineal descendant of 



(52 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

Massachusetts Wiutbrops and Dudleys, and one of 
the most cultured women of her time, especially 
noted for her interest in natural science. 

Few lives have more of the element of tragic ro- 
mance than that of the pioneer woman of South 
KiUingly, Mrs. Hannah (Wilson) Spalding. Her 
husband, Jacob Spalding, of Plainfield, inherited a 
right on the Owaueco Purchase, and was the first to 
take possession of a Killingly section. His adven- 
tures and exploits in connection with the Indians are 
well known. Mrs. Spalding's proAvess in routing a 
noisy band attempting to force their way through the 
window", by striking the leader on the mouth with an 
enormous beef-bone, is handed down by admiring de- 
scendants. Jacob Spalding was killed instantly — 
thrown from his cart on Black Hill — leaving his 
widow and two children in comfortable circumstances. 
Mrs. Spalding was an unusually attractive person, of 
fine presence and character. To the great disgust of 
friends and relatives she gave her hand in a few years 
to an adventurer, who had figured among the Scotch 
settlers of Voluntown, under the name of Girk. To 
Mrs. Spalding he confided that his real name was 
Edward Stuart ; that he was a lineal descendant of 
the royal line, sharing the exile of the banished King. 
His appearance and manners confirmed this story, 
which was also vouched for by Eev. Samuel Dorrance 
and other prominent settlers of Voluntown. Mr. 



WINDHAM COUNTY WOMEN OF OLDEN TIxME. ()8 

Dorrance performed the marriage ceremony, and 
Edward Stuart reigned in the Spalding mansion. 
There was much talk among the neighbors of his 
fine clothes and lordly air. His linen was so fine 
that it could be drawn through a ring ; his gilded 
rapier was of astonishing beauty and workmanship. 
He spoke French with great fluency, and had great 
skill in fencing. The only child of this marriage 
was a daughter, named Mary in honor of the ill-fated 
Queen. Soon after her birth, Stuart went abroad for 
a year, in which he was supposed to have taken a 
part in uprisings in England. After his return he 
persuaded his wife to sell the farm she held in her 
own right, and with the proceeds prepared for another 
venture. His proceedings w^ere at this time con- 
sidered so suspicious that he was forbidden by the 
town to harbor "one Sherrod," and for several days 
before his final departure he maintained " a guarded 
secrecy," and then stole aAvay by night. From Balti- 
more he wrote to his wife that he was about to make 
one more effort to retrieve his fortunes and whatever 
he might gain "it would not be too good to share 
with her." This was the last ever heard of Edward 
Stuart. The date of his disappearance tallies re- 
markably with that of the first concerted attempt by 
Charles Edward to regain the throne of Britain. 
Very extensive preparations had been made for this 
invasion, but a great storm scattered the fleet and 



64 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

wrought great destruction in life and property. If 
Edward Stuart was what he claimed to be, he met 
the fate of many of his associates. 

Mrs. Stuart survived but a few months. Her health 
had been greatly affected by the talk and suspicion 
of her kindred and neighbors, and the estrangement 
and opposition of her children. Mary Stuart grew 
up a beautiful girl, strongly resembling her father in 
manlier and personal appearance, but the Stuart 
destiny pursued her. The farm that would have 
come to her having been pre-empted by her father, 
she was forced through life to struggle with poverty. 
Marrying when youug, William Earl, of Brooklyn, 
their home and its contents were destroyed by fire in 
the middle of a vvinter night, the family barely es- 
caping with their lives, wading barefoot through deep 
snow. Hoping to repair this loss, Mr. Earl enlisted 
in the unfortunate expedition to Havana, and died of 
yellow fever. Mary supported herself and her two 
sons till her marriage with a young- carpenter, David 
Dodge, and then enjoyed a few years of comiDarative 
comfort and happiness. But with the Revolutionary 
War new trials came. Her two Earl boys, fine, 
spirited youDg men, were early induced to enlist, and 
both died of exposure and disease. Mr. Dodge sunk 
all his property in the manufacture of Continental 
wagons ; Mary Stuart's health and nerves were com- 
pletely shattered by all that she had passed through. 



WINDHAM COUNTY WOMEN OF OLDP^N TIME. <)5 

and her remaiiiiug days were clouded by sickness 
and poverty. The children of her second marriage 
were a comfort and support. Her daughter, Mrs. 
Sprague, of Hampton, was a woman of unusual char- 
acter and piet}'^, and her son, David L. Dodge, after 
a manly struggle, succeeding in founding that mer- 
cantile house in New York, still represented by his 
grandson, William E. Dodge. 

Among the second generation of Windham women, 
those born and reared within the count}', none have 
left a more precious record than Marj^ Whiting, 
daughter of Rev. Samuel Whiting, of Windham. 
Marrying the successor of her father in the ministry. 
Rev. Thomas Clap, at the ag-e of fifteen, she proved 
more than equal to the position, lovely alike in person 
and character. Her early death deepened the im- 
pression made by her. More than thirty years after 
her decease, Dr. Daggett writes : 

" She had a beautiful aud pleasant couDteaance ; was a woraau 
of great prudence and discretion in the conduct of herself and 
all her affairs ; was diligent, and always endeavored to make tlie 
best of what she had ; the heart of her husband could safely 
trust in her. She was kind and compassionate to the poor and 
all in distress. She was adorned with an excellent spirit of 
humility and meekness ; did not affect to put herself forward in 
conversation, but chose to speak discreetly rather than much, 
but was always free, pleasant aud cheerful in conversation with 
every one. She exceeded in a most serene, pleasant temper and 
disposition of mind, which rendered her very agreeable to her 
6* 



Q6 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

husband and all her acquaintance ; and though he lived with her 
almost nine years in the connubial state, yet he never once saw 
her in any unpleasant temper, neither did one unpleasant word 
pass between them on any occasion whatsoever." 

The timeworn gravestone still bears record : " She 
was of a most amiable clispositioia, the delight and 
crown of her husband, an ornament to her sex and 
pattern of every grace and virtue. She for a long 
time expected death with a calmness and serenity of 
mind, and met it with great joy and satisfaction. She 
lived greatl}^ desired, and died universally respected, 
Aug. 10, 1736, in the 24th year of her age." 

Many of the early women of Windham county far 
exceeded modern practitioners in the extent and va- 
riety of their medical practice, though experience 
with them took the place of training and diploma, 
Mrs. Hannah Bradford, of AVindham, was one always 
ready to meet the call of sickness and suffering. 
The Mrs. Holmes (of Woodstock) whom Mrs. Coit 
reports as " not married yet," did in time select for 
her second husband Mr. Edmonds of Dudley. Pre- 
vious to this marriage she had devoted herself to 
nursing, and it is said that in " tlie^great snowstorm " 
of 1749 her services were in such demand that she 
was taken out of a chamber window and carried 
through the drifts many miles to distressed patients. 

Another woman very~ widely known as midwife, 
nurse and physician, was Mrs Anne (Woodcock) Ea- 



WINDHAM COUNTY WO:\IEN OP OLDEN TIME. 67 

ton of Asliford, whose practice rivalled in extent the 
most popular physicians of onr day. It is said that 
during- the prevalence of a spotted fever she was 
scarcely off her rounds, day or night, riding" up occa- 
sionally to her own doorstep, inquiring for the health 
of her own family, snatching a bit of food and hur- 
rying off again. 

During the " Great Revival " of 1740, women came 
decidedly to the front in the separation from the 
stafed churches. Their varied and incisive excuses 
for refusing to attend worship at the town meeting- 
house and withdrawal from church, show great fer- 
tility of invention as well as devotion to principle. 
Some of them even went such lengths as to indulge 
in what was called by a Separate brother " the 
cussed practice of women siDeaking in public." 

Probably no woman in the county was so widely 
known in her day as Mercy Wheeler of Plainfield, in 
connection with her very remarkable " faith cure." 
Few cases of this kind are so well attested, or re- 
ported with such mimit'up of process. She was a 
respectable young woman of good family, and her 
disabled and suffering condition was perfectly Avell 
known to the townspeople. For a number of years 
she seemed to have lost the use of the lower part of 
her body — her ankle bones " loose and separate so 
that a string was needful to keep her feet in proper 
position," and the power of speech had been at times 



68 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

taken from her. Her mind during this period had 
remained clear and tranquil and especially open to 
religious impressions. The revival of religion, for 
which she had longed and prayed, was a source of 
great joy to her. Hearing of the wonderful things 
done throughout the land she queried in her own 
mind wdiether the Lord would not send deliverance 
to her, and awaited a meeting to be held in her own 
house, with trembling hope. But when, after the 
services of prayer and preaching no change came, a 
cloud of darkness came over her till the word of 
God came to her with such force — " If thou wilt be- 
lieve thou shalt see the glory of God now " — that she 
seemed to go out of herself and all human agency, 
into the hands of God alone. At that instant a thrill 
passed through her frame — " a racking, a working in 
every joint, as if she were with hands drawn and com- 
pressed together," and then to the utter amazement 
of minister and people, who had known nothing of 
the exercises of her mind, the bedridden woman, who 
for sixteen years had not stood upon her feet, walked 
up and down the room, crying " Bless the Lord Jesus 
who has healed me." 

The cure so suddenly effected was permanent. 
Hundreds of people who had seen the crippled in- 
valid now testified to the completeness of her cure. 
The next Sabbath she rode three miles to the house 
of worship, and thenceforth was able to engage in all 



WINDHAM COUNTY WOMEN OF OLDEN TIME, (il) 

the ordinary duties of life. This wonderful storj^ 
made a g-reat impression at the time throughout the 
Colony. Dr. Benjamin Lord, of Norwich, was espe- 
cially interested in the case and published his sermon 
preached at a sj^ecial service of thanksg-iving held in 
Plainfield, with affidavits from well-known residents 
as to Mercy's previous and present condition. This 
pamphlet passed throug-h several editions and was 
widely circulated at home and abroad, even exciting 
interest and attention among Christians in England. 
All this notice and notoriety had no effect upon the 
simple, humble-minded Mercj^, who proved the reality 
of her religion by faithful performance of everyday 
duties — " a living example of faith, fortitude, love, 
and unshaken constancy in religion." 

These are specimens of those early women resi- 
dents of Windham county whose names and acts 
have come down to us. Many more equally worthy 
of notice are lost to sight and memory. 



III. 

OTHER LIGHTS. 

In connection with the revolutionary struggle 
"Windham county men came into prominence in coun- 
cil and field, whose names are enshrined among those 
which the nation delighteth to honor. Our Trum- 
bulls, Putnam, Knowlton, Grosvenors, McClellan, and 
many lesser lights, are held in grateful remembrance 
as those who bore a most honorable and helpful part 
in establishing our national independence. But dur- 
ing this same period there were others, useful and 
honored in their oavu callings, whose names have 
passed into oblivion . 

A very conspicuous instance of this failure to gain 
a place in history and remembrance of one very 
noted in his own generation, is that of Eev. Joseph 
Howe, the beloved and popular pastor of New South 
Church, Boston, 1773-1775. One letter of his that 
has come down to us gives us a vivid picture of Bos- 
ton under the administration of the famous Port Bill : 

" Aug. 2, 1774. Boston it is true is a very different place in 
some respects from what it was when you were here last. Then 
trade flourished ; our harbor was whitened with canvass ; our 
wharves and quays resembled a forest — a forest I mean of masts 



OTHER LIGHTS. 71 

and sail yards ; and our common, tliat beautiful lawn to the west, 
was made more beautiful by the people that walked, and the 
herds that fed on it. But now to see our harbor and our com- 
mon — how different ! In the former nothing is seen but armed 
ships ; in the hitter but armed men. . . . It is true we have 
not j'et felt the force of either the one or the other, and I pray 
God we never may. B\it yet to be threatened with it — to be in- 
sulted in various ways of a more private nature ; to have four 
regiments of troops in the heart of a large town ; to have all 
these evils brought upon us for our laudable and virtuous strug- 
gles in behalf of our just rights and liberties — is certainly to a 
mind of the least feeling, irritating and painful. And w^ere you 
to come to Boston, I make no doubt that on these accounts your 
visit must be somewhat disagreeable to you. 

However, in another view, these very evils would be tiie 
means of affording you pleasure ; while you saw with what 
calmness, with what patience, with what fortitude and firmness, 
willi what persevering prudence and spirit the people endure 
them. And when I say the people, I say all but a few, a very 
few, and a particular class of men. It is not true that we are 
much divided. The Tories made their grand push about a 
month ago. And wdiat was the effect of it ? Only to convince 
them and us that their whole number consisted of only about 
one hundred and twenty persons, inclusive of some who have 
since retracted. The Bostouians acciuire courage every day. 
How' can it be otherwise, when all the Continent are pitying and 
supporting them, and, above all, when we have that God to go 
to who heard our fathers when they cried unto Him, and who 
we trust will hear us also, their immediate descendants." 

Joseph Howe, son of Rev. Perley and Damaris 
(Cady) Howe, Avas born in Killing'ly, Conn., 1747, 



72 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

fitted for college by his step-father, Kev. Aaron 
Brown ; was graduated from Yale 1765 as the vale- 
dictorian of an exceptionally able class. His towns- 
man, Manasseh Cutler, the father of the "North 
West Ordinance," Theodore Sedgwick, Berkshire 
county, Mass., judge and United States Senator, and 
many lesser lights, were included in this famous class. 
Not one of them made his mark in the world so early 
as Joseph Howe. First as teacher of the public 
school at Hartford, then the most important educa- 
tional institution of the kind in Connecticut, he won 
immediate success and popularity. Accepting a 
tutorship at Yale College, " his literary accomplish- 
ments, especially his remarkable powers of elocution, 
not less than his fine social and moral qualities, ren- 
dered him a general favorite." Through his instruc- 
tions the standard of public speaking and familiarity 
with polite literature in the college was very con- 
siderably elevated, and to say of a successor that he 
was " like Tutor Howe," was the maximum of praise. 
Though frail in body he pursued theological studies 
during his tutorship, and prepared to enter into the 
ministry. His oratorical poAvers brought him at once 
into notice — his exercises in the pulpit as reported by 
admirers were of " the most impressive and fascina- 
ting kind." Wherever he went hearts, homes, and 
pulpits were open to receive him. He received calls 
to settlement from the leading churches of Connecti- 



OTHER LIGHTS. ( 'A 

cut, iu Hartford, Norwich, and Wetlierstield. Visit- 
ing' Boston for his health, he preached at the New 
South Church, and was invited to become its pastor 
upon one day's hearing — the church giving* as its 
ground for such phenomenal indiscretion — " the char- 
acter Avhich Mr. Howe had received from the voice of 
mankind." After a year's delay Mr. Howe was 
ordained pastor of this church May 19, 1778, Presi- 
dent Daggett of Yale College preaching the sermon, 
Dr. Chaunce}^ of the First Church, Boston, giving 
the right hand of fellowship. In this brief pastorate 
Mr. Howe fully sustained his high reputation. The 
magnetic charm of his address was at once recog- 
nized. He was the idol of the hour, the popular 
preacher. The local rhymster sings : 

" At New South now, we'll visit Howe, 
A Genius it is s;iid, Sir ; 
And here we'll hail, this sou of Yale ; 
There's not a wiser head, Sir. 
May his fame soar like one of yore 

Who Cromwell's court did grace 
A better man, we Irow, he can 

See Lord's day face to face." 

A Boston l)lue-stocking reports : 

" He in refined, pathetic sermons shone ; 
His diction pure, his methods all his own ; 
While his melodious voice his audience blest 
And roused each noble passion in the breast."' 



74 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

According to Dr. Sprague his mind was " fitted 
perhaps alike for rigid and profound investigation on 
the one hand, and fof the imaginative and rhetorical 
on the other." And when to other merits was added 
apparent unconsciousness of his great attractions and 
an unusually liberal and catholic spirit, it is not 
strange that he inspired enthusiastic attachment. 

The breaking out of open hostilities closed the 
churches of Boston and this successful ministry. 
Worn out with labor and excitement, Mr. Howe re- 
turned to his old home in Connecticut, and after visit- 
ing his friends, succumbed to complicated disease, 
dying in Hartford, August 25, 1775, at the house of Eev. 
Elnathan Whitman, whose daughter, Elisabeth, he ex- 
pected to marry. Amid all the stirring events of that 
anxious summer his death made a deep impression 
throughout New England. An elegy composed by 
his Boston admirer depicts in deepest shades the 
funeral solemnities : 

"The fair Eliza's anguish who can paint, 
Placed near the corse of our ascended saint : 
Though his blest soul ascends the upper skies 
Her gentle bosom heaves with tender sighs." 

The obituary notice in the " Hartford Courant," 
after the extravagantly eulogistic fashion of the time, 
enshrines Mr. Howe among the lights and benefac- 
tors of the world, the beauty of whose mind was 



OTHER LIGHTS. (O 

Avithout a parallel ; whose life was a treatise of etliics 
and theology ; a great and universal genuis. By the 
generation that had honored him his memory was 
fondly cherished, and years after his decease he was 
again recalled to notice as the model hero in the first 
pages of the "Life and Letters of Eliza Wharton." 
And after all these eulogies he was forgotten ! 

" His leaf bad perished in the green." 

No reporter Avas there to note down even a frag- 
ment of those thrilling discourses. No one paused 
in those busy years to compile even a brief biog- 
raphy of the popular favorite, and so he slipped from 
sight and memory. In our modern standard " Cyclo- 
piedia," of America Biography, of those bearing the 
honored name of Fitch there are fourteen notices, 
but never a "Major James" among them. There 
are Paines, small and great, of almost endless num- 
ber and variety, but no Rev. Elisha ; and from the 
brilliant array of Howes our Joseph is excluded, and 
by a remarkable fatality his burial place at Hartford 
is unmarked and unknown. 

Quickly occurring losses were in part the cause of 
this omission. His step-father died on the way back 
from his funeral, and the bereaved wife and mother 
soon followed, and amid the pressure and burdens 
of Eevolutionarj' years the brother's grave was 
overlooked. Sketches in " Yale Biographies " and 



76 HISTORIC GLEANINGS, 

" Sprag-ue's Annals of the American Pulpit," and the 
obituary notices in " The Hartford Courant," com- 
prise the most that can be learned of one who held 
so high a place among his contemporaries, perhaps 
the most brilliant young man of his generation. 

In reviewing the life of Joseph Howe we are struck 
with the praise accorded to the fine manners and gra- 
cious bearing of this young minister and their influ- 
ence upon his career. Even higher praise was called 
out in the case of his townsman and classmate, Ma- 
nasseh Cutler, whose success in winning the favor 
and votes of southern chivalry for his immortal Or- 
dinance was largely attributed to their admiration 
for his agreeable manners, excelling any previous 
specimens from New England, It is certainly re- 
markable that this rough old border-town of Kil- 
lingly, with its wrangles and church feuds, should 
send out such g-racious and elegant young- men. 
Were these fine manners a heritage from distant an- 
cestry, a residuum of that rare old English polish 
brought over by the better class of our first settlers, 
and taking on even a brighter lustre in the changed 
conditions of the new world ? Class distinctions, as 
we know, were very strongly marked in the old colo- 
nial days. The common people were very common, 
rude and boorish in speech and manner. So much 
the more necessity that the upper class, those allied 
however remotely with noble families at home, should 



OTHER LIGHTS. 77 

hold tenaciously iiilieiited, social traditions, and keep 
aloof from those of lower social grade and roug-her 
manners. .We fancy that the application of these 
traditions Avas largely due to woman. 

It is a common complaint that we see so little of 
the mothers, wives, and sisters of onr ante-revolution 
fathers, but none the less were they a power behind 
the throne. With little outside to occupy or distract 
them thej^ could consecrate their time and energies 
to the care of their households. And while the men 
were out in the world building up towns and institu- 
tions, these insulated women were impressing them- 
selves upon the minds of their children, and so train- 
ing them that they were fitted in turn to bear their 
part in shaping the institutions of the new repulilic. 
How the character of these unseen, unobtrusive 
women shines out in their sons. From Washing- 
ton downward, it would seem that every man promi- 
nently connected with the American Revolution and 
establishment of Federal Government was favored 
with a mother of superior excellence and intelligence. 
We have the privilege to-day of intimate acquain- 
tance with such noble specimens of womanhood as 
Abigail Achims and Mercy Warren. We have the 
letter written by Lydia (Dyer) Gray to her son at 
Boston after the battle of Bunker Hill. And we 
know there were many others equally alive to the 
situation and wise in counsel. Here in Windham 



78 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

county we had Rachel McClellan planting '' trees of 
Liberty " on Woodstock common, and the wife of 
Dr. David Holmes, held in such high respect for 
" excellence of character and noble bearing." Still 
earlier we hear the praises of the mother of Manas- 
seh Cutler " adding to beauty and strength of mind, 
an education in advance of her time." And while 
no special record comes down to us of the mother of 
Joseph Howe, we know that from her position as the 
wife of ministers and daughter of one of the found- 
ers of Pomfret library, that she must have ranked 
among the cultured gentry, the true nobility of early 
New England. 

Across the Quinebaug in the neighboring town of 
Pomfret, contemporary with Howe and Cutler, a 
young man grew up who attained eminence in early 
life and whose name and memory are still held in 
honor, but who failed to gain credit for what in his 
life's work he valued most. A descendant of the old 
Waldensian stock, bearing the honored name of Al- 
bigence Waldo, he enjoyed the usual advantages of 
education, pursuing general studies under his minis- 
ter. Rev Aaron Putnam, and medical studies under 
the most noted physician of the county. Dr. Elisha 
Perkins of Plainfield. Entering into practice in his 
native town, he won immediate success and popular- 
ity. But the critical condition of public affairs ab- 
sorbed much time and energy. He served as clerk 



OTHER LIGHTS. 79 

to McClellaii's famous " troop of horse " and upon 
the tirst news of the battle at Lexing"ton " he joined 
his neighbors and marched to Cambridge where he 
tarried till they came home tog-ether." He soon re- 
turned to the field as assistant surgeon of Col. Jedi- 
diah Huntington's regiment, and for four years suc- 
ceeding continued almost constantly in service. His 
inoculation for and treatment of small-pox at Mon- 
mouth and Valley Forge, " gained him much reputa- 
tion," and the journals kept liy him throw much light 
upon the condition of the army. The demoralized cur- 
rency — " three months wages barely paying a thirty 
shilling debt "—and the suffering condition of his 
family — " on the point of famishing with mere want 
of food and every other necessary " — compelled Dr. 
Waldo in 1779 to resign his position in the army and 
resume his medical practice in Pornfret. 

The valuable experience gained in army practice 
with his native quickness and dexterity, placed Dr. 
Waldo at the head of his profession in northeastern 
Connecticut, especially in surgical practice. He be- 
came at once the popular physician of the daj^, his 
services in constant demand over a large section of 
country. His wide popularity is indicated by one 
unfailing test — the number of children named for 
him, rivaling those of any prominent presidential 
candidate or successful military leader. But with 
this flush of practice he was able to carry on exten- 



so HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

sive investig-atious, not only in his own profession, 
bnt in those varied scientific questionings then ex- 
citing so much interest. An associate for a time with 
Dr. EHsha Perkins, the famous inventor of the " Me- 
tallic Tractors," he shared his interest in the theory 
of magnetic and electric currents, experimenting in 
those mysterious agencies. His quick mind perceived 
the benefits that might accrue from professional and 
scientific association, and he promoted and carried 
out a monthly meeting of the physicians in Windham 
county as early as 1786. A formal county Medical 
Society was formed in 1791, Dr. Albigence Waldo, 
clerk, and in the following year he assisted in the 
organization of the State Medical Society. 

With this extensive jDrofessional practice and sci- 
entific investigations. Dr. Waldo retained his interest 
in all the living questions of the day, and was ever 
ready to bear his part in all public and social enter- 
prises. His literary accomplishment and fluency of 
speech were highly esteemed, and he was called to 
take a prominent part on many important occasions. 
Among thousands of brother Masons he was selected 
to pronounce the eulogy on behalf of the Masonic 
order at the grave of Gen. Patuam, and he was ac- 
credited with valuable aid in the preparation of 
Humphrey's " Life of Putnam." His literarj^ aspira- 
tions and pursuits were shared by his second wife, 
Lucy Cargill. She was the daughter of Capt. Beuja- 



OTHER LIGHTS. 81 

mill Cargill, a shrewd and genial Scotcliman, propri- 
etoY of the Quinebaug" mill privilege (now embraced 
in Putnam cit3^), a very noted and influential person- 
age. He had a patriarchal family, whose names he 
delighted to jingle in rhyme something in the style 
of the late Hutchinson family, viz. : 

'■ Here's my good health to children dear, 
All in a row they jiue 
Collected her0, from far and near ; 
And, lo, they arc called mine. 

Here's William, Lucy, Asenath, too, 

And Ben, and Rhoda, five : 
Here's Phija, Ithael, Sail and Poll. 

And James and Charles, alive. 

And here are two adopted ones, 

I love you as the rest, 
And pray the Lord to smile on you 

And evermore be blest. 

And two are dead, I hope at rest, 

You living ones I call, 
And pray the Lord to smile on you 

And ever bless you all." 

Mrs. Waldo's literary style was very unlike that of 
her straightforward, Methodist father, being fashioned 
after the sentimental Johnsonian then in vogue. It 
was she who declined an invitation to a supper be- 
cause of the illness of " her babe, that tender blossom," 



82 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

and her hand is evident in^tlie epitaph upon a Revo- 
lutionary soldier, " who having worn his life out in 
the service of his country, had gone to wave the Palm 
of eternal Peace." But in spite of these little man- 
nerisms she was a woman of good intellect, and held 
with her husband a leading position in the best so- 
ciety of the day. This happj^ and triumphant period 
of her life had but a short continuance. Dr. Waldo 
died suddenly in 1794, in the prime of life and height 
of professional eminence. Few deaths excite a wider 
sympathy or leave a deeper void. He was borne to 
the grave by members of the medical society, accom- 
panied by the Masonic brethren and a great concourse 
of weeping friends and admirers. Newspapers winged 
his praises all over the land as " endowed by the God 
of nature with the most brilliant and distinguished 
abilities, and with a heart susceptible of all those 
amiable and benevolent virtues which adorn the 
human breast ;" as one who " ranked among the 
highest order of his profession, whose manuscripts 
will doubtless afford great light and benefit to future 
ages ; who lived without an enemy, and died greatly 
lamented by all." A suitable monument erected by 
his fellow Masons testified to " their esteem and re- 
spect for the virtues, talents, and usefulness of their 
late worthy brother .... who attentively studying 
the works of God in the admirable frame of man rose 
to eminent distinction in the noble art of healing; 



OTHER LIGHTS. 83 

his name was Charity ; his actions, Humanity ; his 
intercourse with men, Benevolence and Love. Born 
1750 ; died 1794." 

And after all this public manifestation of grief and 
adidation came a long" and wearisome struggle for 
permanent recognition. Dr. Waldo, like the later 
Agassiz, had "been too much absorbed in professional 
and scientific labors to care for making money ; too 
busy, indeed, to collect what he had honestly earned. 
His accounts had been poorly kept and were found 
very difficult of collection, so that with all his ex- 
tensive practice and high reputation, very little was 
left for the support of his family. And just at this 
juncture the Cargill establishment was broken up and 
scattered. The remarkable manner in which a family 
after a long course of unbroken prosperity and ap- 
parentlj'' fixed stability suddenly falls to pieces, was 
again signally illustrated. Three sons died in rapid 
succession, the old captain's health gave way, his 
property greatly depreciated in value. Mrs. Waldo, 
even more Johnsonian in affliction, thus writes to the 
widow of her brother, William Cargill : 

"My father's baleful destiny reserved him the mournful spec- 
tacle of his dying eldest sou, and who can express his affliction V 
His weeping eyes are as the dropping clouds ; his melting breast 
as the thunder storm — clouds which break not away ; a tempest 
without knowledge of a calm. What is left of life seems un- 
supportable and is not really life but a lingering death." 



84 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

Giving- np their pleasant home in the Quinebaug" 
valley — the old " Cargill's Mills " where they had en- 
joyed so much happiness and prosperity, the old 
people passed the remainder of their lives alternat- 
ing* among the homes of the surviving children, un- 
der the especial care of Mrs. Waldo. But whatever 
other duties claimed her time and thought she stead- 
fastly pursued one g-reat aim — to bring the knowl- 
edge of her husband's scientific researches to the 
world and secure public recognition of his services. 
Herself destitute of means for publication she was 
compelled to ask aid of others, visiting and appeal- 
ing to monied men in different parts of the land. 
Her letters — beautiful, pathetic, Johnsonian letters, 
with carefully hoarded copies at home — were sent to 
many distinguished parties. As tenderly and per- 
sistently as Evangeline sought her lost lover, so did 
Lucy Waldo seek the perpetuation of those memo- 
rials of her lost love — those precious manuscripts 
that were " to afford great light and benefit to future 
ages." How great their real value it is impossible 
now to estimate. Many things were lying round 
waiting" to be discovered. Dr. Waldo had native 
quickness and keen insight, and his researches were 
in the line of those electric and magnetic forces that 
have transformed the world, and may have predated 
modern discoveries, but whether they did or not they 
were allowed to pass unnoticed. Again and again 



OTHER LIGHTS. 85 

Mrs. Waldo seeiued about to attain her object ; eu- 
couragemeiit would be given ; hopes raised ; once a 
movement for publication was actually started ; and 
then some obstacle would arise. Years passed on in 
reiterated effort and disappointment. The " tender 
blossom " drooped and faded ; the old captain and 
his wife passed away ; a pupil of Dr. Waldo's, Dr. 
Thomas Hubbard, filled his place at Pomfret, and even 
surpassed the fame of his teacher : little " Albes " and 
"Waldos," grown up into manhood, scoffed at the 
odd name given them in honor of an old time doctor. 

" Thousands of times has the same tale been told ; 
The world belongs to those who come the last." 

But still the faithful wife carried her precious treas- 
ures from East to West, from one great man to an- 
other. 

■♦ 

" Fair was she and young when in hope began the long journey ; 
Faded was she and old, when in disappointment it ended." 

Her last appeal was to Dr. Waldo's early friend 
and neighbor. Rev. Manasseh Cutler, D. D. " Care- 
fully copied, illustrated with well executed draw- 
ings " the manuscripts were placed in his hands, " but 
for want of means the enterprise was again defeated," 
and Dr. Waldo's valued papers never saw the light. 

Mrs. Waldo passed her declining years with a sis- 
ter, and we may hope that the consciousness of liav- 

8 



S6 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

ing done all within her power to accomplish her ob- 
ject softened the bitterness of disappointment. And 
although her husband does not take a place among 
the lights and benefactors of the world, to be hon- 
ored in coming ages, the self-sacrifice and devotion 
of his faithful wife will help to keep alive his mem- 
ory. 



IV. 
EEYOLUTIONAKY ECHOES. 

The American Eevolution — the sequence of events 
tliroug-li whicli thirteen insulated colonies severed 
connection with the government that had founded 
them, and established a federation of united states 
— can never lose its interest for the American people. 
Rather as time goes on and the marvelous outcome 
of that severance and affiliation is more clearly mani- 
fested, there is increasing- interest in searching out 
and treasuring up every fact and incident connected 
with this momentous revolution. Leaving primal 
causes and underlying principles to be discussed by 
the philosophic historian, our special object of in- 
quiry is — What part did our own ancestors, the resi- 
dents of these Windham County towns, bear in this 
great struggle? 

Our county of Windham, it may be noted, bore a 
more prominent part in the revolutionary conflict 
than her present position in Connecticut Avould indi- 
cate. Her settlers were mainly of old Massachusetts 
stock, closely connected l)y family ties with towns in 
the vicinity of Boston. The main routes of travel from 
Boston to Hartford and New York, Norwich and New 



88 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

London; from Providence to Springfield and Norwich, 
ran throug-li Windham County, bringing- it into daily 
communication with business and political centres. 
The peculiar structure of the Connecticut town, its 
liberty to order and carry forward its own internal 
affairs, had developed in its inhabitants a spirit of 
inquiry and self-reliance. The money question was 
one that appealed with great force to these Wind- 
ham County farmers. Obliged to tax themselves for 
the support of minister and schoolmaster, as well as 
for town and military expenses, every item of expen- 
diture was most carefully scrutinized. The connec- 
tion between taxation and representation had been 
early instilled into their minds. No town presumed 
to send representatives to legislature till it was able 
to pay its proportion of jDublic charges. Its request 
for the privilege of sending deputies was always ac- 
companied by lists of estates for assessments. Min- 
isters exempt by law from tax-paying were not ex- 
pected to vote. When, therefore, Great Britain's 
change of policy was indicated, when her claim to 
the right of enforcing direct tribute from every part 
of her dominions was made known, it roused imme- 
diate and intelligent opposition. The colonies rose 
as one in resistance to the Stamp Act. Prominent 
citizens of Windham County, Lawyer Dyer, Putnam, 
and Durkee, encouraged and abetted acts of open 
resistance. The liberties of the colonists were in 



REVOLUTIONARY ECHOES. 89 

jeopardy. When iu the face of earnest remoustrance 
parliament persisted in its arbitrary course, imposing" 
in 1767 taxes upon g-lass, jjaper, tea and other arti- 
cles, they were met by determined and organized 
opposition. The committee appointed at a public 
meeting in Boston, October, 1767, prepared and sent 
out an explicit "form " in which the signers pledged 
themselves to encourage the use of American pro- 
ductions, and refrain from purchasing articles of Eu- 
ropean manufacture. In response to this call a most 
enthusiastic meeting was held at Windham Green, 
which resulted in the adoption of the following votes 
and measures, viz.: 

" That we do engage with aud promise each other that we will 
not from and after the first day of March next, by land or water, 
transport into this Colony either for sale or our own family's use, 
nor purchase of any other person, any of the following articles 
l)roduccd or manufactured out of North America, viz. : Loaf- 
sugar, cordage, coaches, chaises, and all sorts of carriages and 
harnesses for the same, men's and women's saddles, and bridles 
and whips, all sorts of men's hats, men's and women's apparel 
ready-made, men's gloves, women's hats, men's and women's 
shoes, sole-leather, shoe and knee buckles, iron ware, clocks, 
nails, gold, silver and thread lace, gold and silver buttons, dia- 
mond stone and paste ware, snuff, tobacco, mustard, clocks and 
watches, silversmith and jeweller's ware, broad-cloth that costs 
above 9s. pr. yard, mujfs, lippets and all sorts of headdress for 
women, women's aud children's stays, starch, silk and cotton 
velvet, linseed oil, lawn and cambric that costs above 4s. pr. 
8* 



90 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

yard, malt liquors, cheese, chairs and tables, and all kinds of 
cabinet ware, horse combs, linen exceeding 2s. per yard, silks of 
any kind in garments, men's and women's stockings, and wove 
patterns for breeches and vests. " 

They also agreed to discourag-e and discounte- 
nance the excessive use of all foreign teas, spices, 
and black pepper ; also expensive treats by military 
officers, and to encourage various specified domestic 
manufactures, and to discountenance in tlie most ef- 
fectual but decent and lawful manner any inhabitant 
who did not conform to these regulations. They also 
voted that a committee be appointed to correspond 
with committees from the several towns in the 
county, in order to render the foregoing proposals 
as extensive and effectual as may be. This report 
was unanimously adopted at " a very full meeting of 
the inhabitants of the town," and three of her most 
influential citizens — Nathaniel Wales, Jun., Samuel 
Grey and Dr. Joshua Elderkin — appointed a commit- 
tee of correspondence. The several towns of the 
county were quick to follow this suggestion ; held 
indignation meetings ; passed resolutions and ap- 
pointed their best men on these corresponding com- 
mittees. According to Bancroft, Samuel Adams 
" thought out his plan of correspondence and union 
among the friends of Liberty," and laid it before a 
Boston town meeting in 1772. Madam Mercy War- 
ren claims that it had been previously discussed in 



REVOLUTIONARY ECHOES. 91 

their home circle, and that her husband, Paymaster 
General James "Warren, had suggested it to private 
friends. Like many other great movements it was 
" in the air," and Samuel Adams undoubtedly has 
the honor of its public and general enforcement. 
But here we have it in full force among our Wind- 
ham County towns in December, 1767; five years* in 
advance of its general adoption. 

And these resolutions and pledges were not suf- 
fered to remain dead letters. If any of our young- 
people could have had the good fortune to attend the 
wedding of Miss Dora Flint, of Windham Green, 
December, 1767, they must have discarded from their 
apparel every article of foreign manufacture. Silk, 
ribbons, gauze, lace, jewels, are rigidly tabooed. The 
wedding garment that wins admittance to that mar- 
riage feast is of sober homespun. The bountiful re- 
freshments are all of native origin. Does not Con- 
necticut furnish fish, fowl, and game in endless 
variety and abundance ? Sparkling beverages are 
distilled from her own grapes and apples. Even the 
domestic red-root tea can be made wholesome and 
palatable. It was a jovial and joyful feast, attended 
by belles and beaux from Lebanon and Norwich, as 
well as Windham. Patriotic zeal flavored the viands 
and added lustre to the homespun, home-made gar- 
ments. Any evasion or infringement of this agree- 
ment was quickly noted and held up to severest 



92 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

reprobation. Joshua Elclerkin, a prominent mer- 
chant, presuming- to have on sale " felt hats and 
worsted patterns," the town voted "To look upon 
him as a person not fit to sustain any office of trust 
till he properly manifests his repentance." 

The tea question also came to the front in Wind- 
ham. Perhaps there was no article whose deprivation 
caused so much inconvenience and grumbling-, and 
none that seemed so obnoxious to flaming patriots. 
" Any person who persists in using tea shows disre- 
gard for the liberties of America," votes the town of 
Canterbury. The old minister in Scotland Parish had 
the misfortvme to lose his step-daughter, Elisabeth 
Devotion, a beautiful young woman. Her illness was 
sudden and severe ; her death greatly afflictive ; and 
under the circumstances the aged parents were per- 
suaded to indulge in the gentle stimulant of a cup of 
tea. And such a storm as was raised by it. As soon 
as Mr. Cogswell heard of the complaints he hastened 
to the Committee of Inspection with certificates from 
attendant physicians that the tea had been taken by 
their advice as a medical prescription. But this ex- 
cuse was wholly unsatisfactory. From all parts of 
the parish parishioners were dropping into the min- 
ister's house to vent their own disapproval, and report 
sayings of their neighbors. Some showed their dis- 
pleasure by actually staying away from meeting. 
Others insisted that Mr. Cogswell's dereliction should 



REVOLUTIONARY ECHOES. 93 

be published and denounced in the Norwich and New 
London newspapers. One old woman declared that 
she should never be satisfied till Mr. Cogswell made 
public explanation and confession in the pulpit. 

In the same town a g"Ood farmer had worked up a 
little barter trade with Newport. Some one surmis- 
ing- that Ua might be among the articles brought 
home, neighbors met him on the road with a supply 
of tar and feathers readj^ for application had the ob- 
noxious article been found in his saddle-bags. 

Windham County's intimate relations with Boston 
and Providence brought her into touch with current 
events. A son of Pomfret — Darius Sessions — was 
deputy governor of Rhode Island at the time of the 
burning of the Gaspee. Woodstock boys assisted in 
throwing the tea into Boston harbor. Joseph Howe, 
pastor of New South Church, could give thrilling re- 
ports of the desolation wrought by the enforcement 
of the Boston Port Bill. That act of power had 
great effect in hastening the inevitable conflict. A 
day of public fasting and prayer was observed 
throughout Connecticut. On the day the bill took 
effect, June 1, 1774, meetings were held in most of 
the towns. In Lebanon, the home of Gov. Trund)ull, 
the bells were tolled throughout the day ; town house 
and public buildings draped with black. The people 
were everywhere aflame with indignation. Corre- 
sponding committees received new powers and in- 



1)4 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

struetioiis. Sympatlietic words for the suffering 
inhabitants of Boston were followed by helpful gifts. 
Windham town was first in relief with her "small 
flock " of two hundred and fifty-eight sheep. Put- 
nam himself took down Brooklyn's gift of one hun- 
dred and twenty-five fine sheep. Plainfield, Pomfret, 
Killingly, Woodstock, sent on their flocks. " A beef 
cow for the distressed," with quaint words of sym- 
pathy was forwarded by Capt. Aaron Cleveland, of 
Canterbury, father of the future Gen. Moses Cleve- 
land. 

As it became more and more evident that Great 
Britain was bent upon carrying out her scheme of 
taxation, the colonists became more earnest and de- 
termined in plans for resistance. " Millions for de- 
fence but not a cent for tribute,''' was the prevailing 
sentiment. The burning words of Patrick Henry 
and James Otis added fuel to flames. Military prep- 
aration was carried on by every possible means. 
Experience gained in helping Great Britain to expel 
the French from Canada was now turned to account 
in training men to resist the authority of Great Brit- 
ain. Connecticut equipped four new regiments in 
the autumn of 1774. Each town was ordered to pro- 
vide double its usual stock of powder, balls, and 
flint. Trainings twice a month were required of 
each military company. The militia organization of 
our colony was then very efficient ; military spirit. 



REVOLUTIONARY ECHOES. 1)5 

high. Great military parades aroused the admira- 
tion and martial spirit of country lads. A brigade 
training in Plainfield, 1773, is especially memorable 
for inciting the first spark of military enthusiasm in a 
young Quaker from Rhode Island, Nathaniel Greene, 
destined to win a high name among revolutionary 
commanders. Equally noteworthy was a military 
gathering at Woodstock Hill, May, 1774 — one of the 
first of Woodstock's " notable meetings." Soldiers 
in Indian dress caught up and carried away some of 
the children present but were pursued and brought 
back in triiimph by Capt. McClellan's gallant " troop 
of horse," to the intense admiration of thousands of 
spectators. 

But while providing guns, bullets, and powder, and 
exciting public spirit by loud harangues and spec- 
tacular exhibitions, they did not forget to fortify 
themselves with arguments. The most influential 
ministers of Windham County came out boldly in de- 
fence of the rights of the people. Hev. Ebenezer 
Devotion, of Scotland, was sent as Windham's repre- 
sentative during the Stamp Act agitation. A clause 
in the resolutions of the General Assembly, after 
passage of the Boston Port Bill, expresses the true 
Connecticut attitude of solid men at that epoch : 

" Tbiit the subjects of his Majesty in this Colony ever have 
hiul iiud of right ouglit to have and enjoy all the liberties, im- 
nuinities and privileges of free and natin-al-boru subjects within 



96 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

any of the dominions of our said King ... as fully and 
amply as if they and everyone of them were born within the 
realm of England." 

A small book widely circulated in Coiiuecticnt dur- 
ing- this winter of 1774-75, and especially endorsed 
by Windham County clerg-y, enforced this principle 
in most effective terms. It was entitled — " English 
Liberties, or the Freeborn subjects Inheritance, con- 
taining- Mag-na Charta, Habeas Corpus Act, a Decla- 
ration of the Liberties of the Subject, the Petition 
of Rig-ht, and other kindred documents," reprinted 
from the fifth English edition, and showing-, saitli the 
preface, " the laws and rig-lits that from age to ag-e 
have been delivered down to us from our renowned 
forefathers, and which they so dearly bought and 
vindicated to themselves at the expense of so much 
blood and treasure." And yet there are those to-day 
who ask if our country people were not " dragooned " 
into rebellion by partisan leaders ! 

Tally to appreciate the part borne by Windham 
County in the seven years' contest, we must bear in 
mind the meag-reness of her resources as compared 
with the present. The population of the towns now 
embraced in the county was a little over seventeen 
thousand : its grand list of estates only figured at 
about £160,000, considerably less than three-quarter 
million dollars. There was no business centre of any 
pretensions except at Windham Green, and the pop- 



REVOLUTIOXAKY ECHOP^S. i» < 

ulatiou of old Windham town, including- village, 
Scotland, and parts of present Hampton and Chaplin 
territory, was only thirty-five hundred. Killing-ly, 
including- all Thompson and present Putnam east of 
the Quinebaug, had about the same population as 
Windham, and its tax list only rated a little more 
than a hundred thousand dollars. A few houses in 
each town clustered about the hill meeting-house, 
but the main bulk of the population was scattered 
about in farm houses. There were a few stores in 
Windham : Lamed and Mason carried on an exten- 
sive barter trade in Thompson Parish ; there were 
saw and grist mills in every town, but the great ma- 
jority of the inhabitants were farmers. Wonderment 
has been expressed at the large number of men kept 
in service during- the war in proportion to the popu- 
lation. It was due mainly to the fact that the men 
Avere available ; not tied up by business cares. These 
stalwart farmers with their large families of boys 
were more at liberty to answer the call than any suc- 
ceeding generation. 

The section was favored in the way of ]3ublic roads. 
A weekly stage-coach from Providence to Norwich 
passed through Plainfield ; a new route Avas estab- 
lished in 1774 from Norwich to Boston, passing 
through Windham, Pomfret, and Thompson. The 
only post-office was in NeAV London. Taverns were 
numerous on every road, and well supplied Avith 



98 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

liquor. Public life at this time mainly centered in 
the town meeting" and military gathering. Wind- 
ham's military companies were comprised in the Fifth, 
Eleventh, and Twenty-first Connecticut regiments — 
strong and well disciplined organizations. Jedidiah 
Elderkin was colonel, Experience Storrs, lieut. -colo- 
nel of the Fifth, which comprised companies from 
Windham and Ashford. Pomfret, Woodstock and 
Killingly men made up the Eleventh — Ebeuezer Wil- 
liams, colonel ; William Danielson, lieut.-colonel. The 
newly organized 21st took in Plaintield and Canter- 
bury. A " troop of horse " connected with each regi- 
ment was extremely popular. Old French war vete- 
rans connected with the several companies added 
much to their spirit and efficiency. 

The news of the battle of Lexington found these 
men ready for the summons. Thousands of hearts 
and homes were stirred by the announcement. An 
official despatch sent from Worcester reached Daniel 
Tyler, Jun., Brooklyn, 8 A. M. April 20, the morning 
after the encounter ; but earlier than that, as we 
learn from private sources, a swift-footed messenger 
speeding across the hills brought the great news to 
Woodstock and Killing-ly. A small boy then sleep- 
ing in bed with his grandfather — Ephraim, son of Dr. 
Manasseh Cutler — tells the story in later years : 

" I well remember that the express with the news of the bat- 
tle of Lexington came directl}'^ to my grandfather's house in the 



REVOLUTIONARY ECHOES. 99 

night. He was in bed and I slept with him. He arose and fired 
his gun three times, which was doubtless the agreed signal as it 
was universalh' expected there would be a hostile attack from 
the British. Before sunrise he with fifteen others had started 
for the battlefield. He had the care of a quantity of powder 
which was kept in the meeting house. He gave directions to 
have half a pound delivered to each man as he called for it. The 
house was thronged through the daj^ with parties of ten or 
twenty men who followed on towards Boston. I suppose that 
from the age of si.xteen to seventy all left except sickness or 
some disability excused them. I remember that while the men 
were all away the women were thrown into Cjuite a panic by a 
report which was started by some mischievous or evil-disposed 
person, that ' Malbones niggers ' were coming to pillage and 
burn the place. Our house was filled with trembling, frightened 
women and children. There was not a firearm or weapon in the 
place and only a few aged men. I remember they prepared ket- 
tles of heated water and the boys were stationed as sentinels to 
give timely notice of their approach. My place was the top of 
my grandfather's gambrel-roofed house. But we saw no negroes 
nor indeed anybody else for the whole place seemed deserted." 

Oil this memorable day men fi'om six companies 
marched from Killingly. Those from the mother 
town were led by Major William Danielson and cap- 
tains Ephraim Warren and Joseph and Daniel Cady. 
The Thompson men were led by captains Joseph El- 
liott and John Green and Lieutenant El well. Many 
of the older men, the fathers of the town, were in the 
ranks. The honored list of 177 names embraces rep- 
resentatives of nearly every old family in the large 



100 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

town. Woodstock sent four companies under captains 
Daniel Lyon, Ephraim Manning-, Nathaniel Marcy, 
Benjamin Lyon, with her proportion of the " troop 
of horse," and of Elwell's New Boston company. 
All the other towns in the county were worthily rep- 
resented. We all know the story of Putnam's recep- 
tion of the news and how much he had contributed 
towards inciting military spirit and advising- efificient 
organization. The field in which he left his young 
son, Daniel, to unyoke the team left in the furrow is 
one of the hallowed possessions of Windham County. 
His hurried ride that April day to Cambridge is 
linked with that of Paul Revere in popular regard. 

Among the many thousand homes that day en- 
grossed by the great news and hurried preparations, 
the one I see most clearly is a low, square old house, 
now standing in South Woodstock, left of the road 
that turns to Eoseland Park. There the famous 
Windham County " troop of horse " gathered around 
their leader, Capt. Samuel McClellan — a stalwart 
body of men, the pride of eastern Connecticut — and 
thence they started off in advance of regimental or- 
ders — thirty-six horsemen in battle array. And after 
all were gone in the late April afternoon, the mis- 
tress of the household — Rachel Abbe of Windham — 
brought out a small bunch of saplings, stripling elms 
from her early home, and with her own hands planted 
them in Woodstock soil. And there they stand on 



REVOLUTIONARY ECHOES. lUl 

the common before the house, three noble ehns, true 
trees of Libert\% forever testifying to the patriotic 
devotion of a daughter — rather let us say. of a mother 
of the Kevolution — oue whose constant aid and sym- 
pathy encouraged and streng-thened her husband and 
many other sons of Windham County to bear a most 
honorable and liel})ful part in the long* struggle. 

"What would we not g-ive for as clear a g-limpse of 
many Pomfret homes on that memorable Saturday 
and Sunday. All day and night the clans were mar- 
shaling in this town. No promiscuous scramble to 
the front was allowed in Putnam's town. B}^ his 
advice the companies of the Fifth Regiment were 
mustered to march in due military order to the scene 
of action. And here they met in Pomfret Street and 
Abington, hundreds of men ready for marching 
orders. It is strange that tradition preserves no hint 
of that most remarkable gathering. We are indebted 
to the diary of Lieut.-Col. Storrs for brief report. 
Late on Saturday night he and his company reached 
Pomfret and found Ashford and Windham companies 
awaiting him. The officers were entertained at the 
house of Mr. Ebenezer Grosvenor ; the soldiers — 
where? Did they bivouac in tents, or were they 
billeted upon scores of Pomfret homes ? Hundreds 
more came in the night, eager to offer themselves for 
service. As soon as possible after the morning meal 
they sent for Rev. Mr. Putnam, the Pomfret minister, 



102 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

to pray witli the companies. After prayer Col. Storrs 
formed a hollow square and communicated regimental 
orders. The men were then dismissed till 1 P. M., 
while the officers held council. Was service held 
that day in that famous great meeting-house, filled 
with those waiting soldiers ? Did those good 
ministers, Reverends Putnam and Ripley, improve 
the opportunity for timely prayer and exhortation? 
Did anxious wives and mothers leave household cares 
to attend these helpful services ? No echo comes to 
us from those waiting, eager men and burdened 
households. We can only picture in our minds the 
bustle, the excitement, the varied experiences of that 
eventful day in many a Pomfret home. Col. Storrs 
curtly notes that they decided to take owq fifth of the 
ten companies present and order the "overplush" to 
return home. The elect two hundred were from Ash- 
ford and Windham, (Canada Parish) with fifty-nine 
from Pomfret. At 5 P. M. they started on their 
march to Lexington. Lieut.-Col. Storrs accompanied 
them as far as Dudley and then left them in charge 
of Capt. Thomas Knowlton — a young hero already 
noted in military service, and destined to win im- 
mortal laurels. These companies were received with 
much distinction at Cambridge, as the first on the 
ground fully disciplined and equipped. Other Pom- 
fret men — Lieut. Keyes, Corporal Seth Grosvenor, 
Dr. Waldo, and a number of privates, had preceded 
with the Troop. 



REVOLUTIONARY ECHOES. 108 

Of these tlionsands of Windham County men who 
sallied out upon the alarm, the younger portion 
almost without exception served under successive 
enlistments during the war. As many as were needed 
were mustered into Putnam's own regiment — the 
Connecticut Third, in May. The captains of its ten 
companies were Israel Putnam, senior and junior, 
Experience Storrs, John Durkee, Obadiah Johnson, 
Thomas Knowlton, James Clark, Ephraim Manning, 
Joseph Elliott, Ebenezer Mosely. The older men 
were left to carry on their farms and town affairs, but 
were often called out with the militia. 

We catch few inside glimpses of affairs this sum- 
mer of 1775 — the busiest and happiest summer of the 
war for New England. As yet all were in the first 
Hush of novelty and excitement. Every patriot home 
Avas astir with eager preparation. Constant inter- 
course was maintained with the camp at Cambridge. 
Many an aged Jesse " went down to camp " or sent 
his fresh young David as a substitute. The report 
of the battle at Bunker Hill thrilled every patriot 
heart. Windham County bore a most honorable part 
in this memorable battle. Putnam, by general accla- 
mation, was made the hero of the day. Knowlton 
and Grosvenorhad done conspicuous service. Com- 
panies from Windham, Ashford, Canterbury, and 
Pomfret had taken part in the main defence. Others 
from Killingly had helped cover the retreat when 



lOi HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

ammunition was exhausted. The names of eleven 
Windham County men left on the held are inscribed 
on the sacred roll of Bunker Hill monument. 

A mother's letter brings us back into the home cir- 
cle. It is from Mrs. Samuel Gray, of Windham, to 
her son, Lieut. Ebenezer Gray. 

" July 31, A, D. 1775. 
Dear Child: — I, this morning heard by Mr. Trumbull, who 
passed through town in haste h\st evening, that you are prepar- 
ing to meet the enemy, or to drive them from their new intrench- 
ments. I could not hear it without some emotion of soul, al- 
though I firmly believe God is able to deliver and will deliver 
us out of the hands of these unnatural enemies in his own time. 
Our cause is just I don't doubt, and God in his holy and right- 
eous providence has called you there to defend our just rights 
and privileges. I would commit you into the hands of a just 
and merciful God, who alone is able to defend you. Confessing 
my utter unworthiness of the least mercy, would trust in un- 
merited mercy through Jesus Christ for all that strength, cour- 
age and fortitude that you stand in need of in the business he is 
calling you to. Trust in the Lord and be of good courage ; the 
eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him ; upon them that 
hope in his mercy. Confess your sins daily before the Lord, 
and forsake every evil way ; walk in all the commandments of 
the Lord. Be careful to set a good example before those that are 
under you, especially in observing the Sabbath. The surest way 
of conquering our enemies is to turn from every evil wa}^ and 
seek the Lord with all our hearts with confession of our sins. I 
am more afraid of our sins than of all the forces of our enemy. 
As to profane swearing, which is very common in camps, I al- 



REVOLUTIONARY ECHOES. 105 

ways thought you were not inclined to, and I trust you will take 
all possible care to prevent it in those that fall under your care. 
I think we have abundant reason to praise the name of the 
Lord for his wonderful assistance and deliverances our people 
have experienced at one time and another, especially at Bunker's 
Hill. Well, may we say, ' Had it not been the Lord who was 
on our side when such a number of troops rose up and surrounded 
our people, then they had swallowed us up quick when their 
wrath Avas kindled against, us.' These merciful assurances of God 
for us ought to encourage us to call upon God, and strengthen 
our faith in Him. That you may put your trust in God, and go 
on with courage and fortitude to whatever work or business you 
may be called to, is the sincere prayer of your Loving Mother, 

LiDiA Gkav." 

And some homes, even in this first hopefnl summer, 
are ah'eady darkened. A neat farm-house on the 
road to Grosvenordale — the residence of our hxte 
friend, Mr. Elliott Shumway — bring-s freshly before 
me our hrst Revolutionary officer, Capt. Joseph 
Elliott, tossing on his bed through the hot summer 
days. A brave and gallant officer in the prime of 
life, after return from Lexington he had been selected 
to lead the Killingly company of Putnam's own regi- 
ment. There is reason for belief that he, with part 
of his company, covered the retreat of the little band 
from the redoiibt at Bunker Hill, preserving it from 
annihilation or capture. A few days later he is at 
home struggling with disease, doubtless brought on 
b}^ fatigite and exposure. We picture him lying iu 



KM) HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

the daikeiied house, and the bereaved wife, the eig-ht 
children, and aged grandfather following him to his 
grave in early August. 

And the minister's house on Killingly Hill lies in 
deep shadow. There in June had been welcomed a 
son of the house, Kev. Joseph Howe, the beloved 
pastor of New South Church, Boston — driven from 
his pulpit bjT^ the exigencies of the time — the most 
brilliant young man of his generation. Passing on 
to visit friends in Hartford, he succumbed suddenly 
to complicated disease, brought on by fatigue and 
excitement. The death of his step-father, Eev. 
Aaron Brown, while returning from his funeral, made 
the blow still heavier for family and people. 

Even a deeper shadow rested on a stately residence 
at Windham Green, the home of Col. Eleazer Fitch, 
high sheriff of the county. That beautiful home, so 
famed for social attraction and musical culture, was 
now closed and barred by outside pressure. A colonel 
in the old French war — a civil officer under the King 
— Col. Fitch could not take sides with the patriots 
in resistance to royal authority. His words of repro- 
bation roused the ire of the inflammable people of 
Windham. A boycott was served upon him. A paper 
was circulated in which the signers pledged them- 
selves to withhold from Col. Fitch every possible ac- 
commodation. A miller must not grind; a. black- 
smith must not renew a horseshoe for a Tory — and 



REVOLUTIONARY ECHOES. lOT 

this loyal gentleman who had been the idol of his 
generation, "the best looking man in the army," 
lived in isolation and loneliness, lackiug the common 
comforts of life^" Bad weather for Tories," reports 
Col. Storrs, "yet we have some." 

To a certain extent it is easj^ to follow the course 
of events dnriiig the Revolutionary period. We 
have official military records, details of public meet- 
ings, outline reports of movements and engagements 
in the liniited newspaper of the day, but we know 
that much occurred of which we can gain no knowl- 
edge. It is a matter of wonderment that of home 
life we have so few glimpses, and yet we know that 
every home in the colonies was most intimately 
affected. Even where father, husband or son was 
not in actual service there was depreciation of cur- 
rency, diminution of supplies, interruption of the 
common routine of life. Public and private life, in 
town and home, were alike pivoted upon the war that 
was in progress. 

Personally I have to confess great mis-improve- 
ment of privileges. My maternal grandmother was 
eighteen years of age at the close of the war, and af- 
terwards married a revolutionary soldier, yet all that 
I gained from her was a chance allusion that im- 
pressed my youthful sensibilities of " bloody tracks 
left by the soldiers in marching." "I was born," 
says our good old minister, Daniel Dow, " in 1772, 



108 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

and have a vivid recollection of many of the impor- 
tant events of the Revolutionary War" — and yet, 
though Doctor and Mrs. Dow were capital story tel- 
lers, ever ready to communicate, not one of those 
" vivid recollections " has been preserved by parish- 
ioner or descendant. I think I have seen but one 
revolutionary soldier, " Old Sibley " — who lived near 
the village. The boys of my time thought it great 
fun to hear his war stories, but the girls did not go 
for him. Pomfret Factory boys in the Quiuebaug 
valley had the rare privilege of hearing live Bunker 
Hill stories from that worthy officer of the church 
militant — Dea. Elihu Sabin. He ^vould tell them of 
his covering the retreat from the Hill and being con- 
fronted by a fierce-looking British officer when he 
had but one charge left in his musket. 

" And did you kill him ? " the boys would ask 
eagerly. 

" AVall," he would answer deliberately, " I dunno 
exactly, but the last I see of him he was getting off 
his horse." 

It is because of the increasing rarity of such first- 
hand incidents that we should take much pains to 
avail ourselves of every possible source of informa- 
tion ; to gather and note down every fact and item 
received from those who were personally connected 
with the Revolution. The time is not far distant 
when the last person will have passed away who has 
even seen a Revolutionary soldier. 



REVOLUTIONARY ECHOES. KM* 

With the transfer of the seat of war from Boston 
to New York, came far heavier burdens to our Wind- 
ham County towns. No more pleasant intercourse 
with the camp ; no more return of sick and wounded 
to be nursed at home. But far more urgent was the 
demand and hirger the number of those now enter- 
ing- upon service. All the provision that could be 
spared from household supplies Avas brought forward 
for the use of the army. Every grain of salt, every 
scrap of saltpetre was carefully hoarded. House- 
wives ransacked their stores for towcloth for tent and 
knapsack. One-fourth of the men in each militia 
regiment, perfectly equipped with arms, balls, flints, 
and other needful articles, were ordered to hold 
themselves ready to march as minute-men at the 
shortest notice ; while recruiting for the several new 
regiments ordered by Government was pushed foi'- 
ward with greatest activity. A letter from Washing- 
ton, June 29, to Brig.-Gen.Wadsworth, hastens prep- 
arations — "The safety of our army under Heaven 
depends upon the seasonable arrival of the Connec- 
ticut regiments at New York." Woodstock compa- 
nies were ordered to set out, Thursday, July 4. If 
the whole company was not in readiness they were 
to start with twenty-five men, forwarding the re- 
mainder as fast as they became ready " with all con- 
venient speed." Do we wonder that such a summons 
sent a thrill through every soldier's home? How 

10 



110 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

great the danger tliey were facing in that strange 
far-off New York and Jersey ! Yet they went by 
twos and threes from many a Woodstock home. 
Two sons went out from Henry Child's tavern — one 
son, at least, from the home of that leading patriot, 
Capt. Elisha Child, and a young man brought up in 
the family. While all were engrossed with final 
preparations and words of cheer and counsel, this 
orphan youth, thinking that should he fall in the 
campaign there were none to remember or mourn for 
him, stole off in the woods for a memorial tree which 
he set out in front of this old Ephraim Child house — 
and thus East Woodstock gained her " Eevolutionary 
elm " — a grand old tree, as strong and thrifty as the 
nation it typifies. Little did those Woodstock men 
realize, as they marched off for service that morning 
of July 4, 1776, the significance of the events in 
which they were participating. Days passed before 
they even heard of that memorable Declaration that 
hallows that day forever to every son and daughter 
of our land. But we may well believe that its spirit 
was in their hearts, and in the hearts of their towns- 
men, who, though they had already sent out " a much 
greater number than their proportion," now pledged 
themselves anew " to do everything in their power to 
advantage the public cause." A letter from Wash- 
ington's own hand, commending them for their self- 
sacrifice in sparing their beloved minister, Rev. Abiel 



REVOLUTIONARY ECHOES. Ill 

Leonard, to serve continuously as chaplain in Put- 
nam's regiment, was an additional stimulus. And 
Mr. Leonard's example and eloquent exhortations 
doubtless had great influence. As an instance of the 
sympathetic enthusiasm of the women, it is said that 
when in the preceding' autumn some soldiers returned 
home when their term of enlistment had expired 
without waiting for formal discharge, that their wives 
gave them a hearty scolding and threatened to drive 
them back to the camp. 

And now this courage and enthusiasm were to be 
sorely tested. This campaign of 1776 in Long Island 
and New York, brought a severe strain upon Con- 
necticut. She furnished by far the largest number for 
the field ; her losses were very heavy. The battle 
and retreat from Long Island, the hurried stampede 
through New York city, the death of Knowlton, the 
sickness raging in the camp — all brought inexpressi- 
ble distress to the homes of these Windham County 
soldiers. The regular quota of men from the several 
towns were mustered into Colonels Ward and Dur- 
kee's regiments for the year's service. Another call 
was made in June for special service in Wadsworth's 
Brigade, at Long Island and New Y^ork city. A 
still more urgent call in September summoned the 
Eleventh Regiment, militia, with all speed to New 
Y^ork. A hundred and twelve men now went out from 
Killingly, and equal proportion from other towns, in- 



112 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

eluding- every man that was fit for service. These 
were indeed " the times that tried men's souls " in 
camp and home. Every post broug-ht tidings of fresh 
loss and disaster. The few letters that reached home 
told of defeat, sickness, suffering-, imprisonment, and 
death. Here is a letter from Private Thomas Dike, 
who went out from Thompson Parish in the Eleventh 
Regiment : 

"Westchester, Sept. ye lOtli, 1776. 
Ever Honored Father and Mother : 

After my duty to you hoping tliese few lines will find you all 
well as through the goodness of God it leaves me at present, I 
would inform you that I arrived here last night and have made 
all the inquiries after Samuel that I have had opportunity for but 
cannot hear where he is. The last account was that last Saturday 
he was sick and in the hospital in the city of New York and 
came that day from the hospital up to the regiment but being 
weak could not travel and several of the company told me there 
were carriages provided to carry the sick over to the Jersey side 
among which was Sergeant Jesse Larned who is since dead, 
Samuel Dike, Amos Green and many others. I hope to hear soon 
from him, and see liim for they tell me he is much discouraged 
but thought he was getting better. 

There has been a sore battle at York. The Regulars lauded 
on the island of York, both on the North and East Rivers on 
Sabbath day, and our men were obliged to retreat with all possi- 
ble speed, but notwithstanding many were killed and taken. 
Capt. Stephen Ci-osby being over hot went into a house and 
drinked cold water and died immediately. Lieut. Buck is either 
killed or taken prisoner and several more Killingly men. On 
Monday it is reported our men got the better ; killed and took 



REVOLUTIONARY ECHOES. 113 

great numbers of the Regulars and Hessians. Col. Williams' 
regiment is ordered off to tbe Jersey side and we expect to go 
from here to-day. It is very sickly here among the militia. 
William Smith and Ebenezer Nichols we left behind. Solomon 
Smith and John Barrett must stop here or return back. The 
Lord be merciful to us all for we have got where the inhabitants 
show no pity. I beg your prayers for me that I may be pre- 
served from sin, sickness and the sword and be soon returned to 
ni}" family and friends whom I am greatly concerned for. I 
would have written a few lines to my wife but have not time. 
iVow, I hope she will not take it hard. I desire to be remembered 
to her and all my friends. Tell my little children I long to see 
them but when I shall I cannot tell. It is all confusion here. 
Your dutiful son, Thom.\s Dike." 

Still more distressing pictures were given by Oliver 
Grosvenor, Commissary of Eleventh Regiment, in 
letters to his wife : 

"The sick daily increases in numbers: some companies not 
more than two or three in their returns fit for iluty : the rest sick 
and taking care of the sick. ... It is not in my power to paint 
you the doleful scenes I behold every hour : neither did I believe 
that rational creatures could be divested of that humanity that I 
find they are subject to in the camps, where sickness and sin so 
much prevail. Alas for our land which now mourns beneath the 
horrors and distresses of our present war. . . . Six of our regi- 
ment have died since the day before yesterday and now there are 
a number I expect to hear are dead in the morning. Oct. 3, 1776." 

The irregularity of communication enhanced dis- 
tress and anxiety. In the longer or shorter interval 

10* 



114 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

between tliese chance letters imagination painted 
even greater losses and horrors. Yet the true reality 
was beyond expression. Scores of men who had gone 
out full of life and spirits, blotted out of sight never 
to be seen again by friend or kindred. Some were in 
the flush of youth and hope. Some left young brides ; 
others the burdened wife with family of little children. 
It is well perhaps that we cannot look in upon these 
bereaved homes. Knowlton's, with its eight children ; 
Capt. Crosby's with six, and in both instances a child 
born after the decease of its father. This captain of 
ours was, like Capt. Elliott, a man of sterling char- 
acter, Avho had represented the town at the General 
Court in 1775. His little son Stephen, not four years 
old, remembered through life his opening the gate 
for his father as he rode out for the last time, and his 
" God bless you, my son," as he stooped from his 
saddle. And there were many more equally dear and 
precious buried where they fell in New York and 
Jersey. No sending home of loved remains. 

" 'Tis little, but it looks ia truth 
As if the quiet bones were blest 
Amid familiar scenes to rest, 
And in the places of its youth." 

But even this small consolation was denied the 
Revolutionary soldier, and even in many cases a stpne 
to mark his burial place. Even when he died at 



REVOLUTIONARY ECHOES. 115 

home the memorial stone was withheld or long- de- 
layed. The poverty of the times is shown by this 
omission. The widow with her little ones, the aged 
parents deprived of their strong- sons, could not afi'ord 
the cost. But their memory was tenderly cherished, 
and years after their decease their names were in- 
scribed on the stones in the old burying ground that 
marked the graves of wife or parent. It is remark- 
able to tind so many of these delayed inscriptions in 
our own Thompson ground. The names of Captains 
Elliott and Crosby appear on the grave-stones with 
their widows, who had survived them nearly forty 
years. The names of two and even three sons dying 
in New York and New Jersey are carved below those 
of aged parents. But the resting place of those who 
died in camp or fell in battle was seldom known to 
their friends. 

Those were indeed dark days alike in Jersey camp 
and Windham County farm-house. The soldier in 
camp and hospital was burdened with anxieties for 
those at home. Heavy, indeed, were the cares of 
those wives and mothers. Young- lads were called 
upon to bear the brunt of autumn work and house- 
hold provision. One little lad in Thompson, only six 
years old, remembered vividly through life his trials 
in going after the cows those November twilights, his 
bare feet entangling in the briars, his little summer 
suit of towcloth so tattered that he could hardly 



116 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

hold it together as he stumbled about the rocky 
pasture. 

But the darkest day has gleams of light. Amid 
the anxieties and distress of this terrible autumn 
came the most ludicrous episode of the war ; a farce 
between the acts of a sombre tragedy. Yet, to the 
actors it was a most real experience and illustrates 
one of the most trying features of the situation — iso- 
lation from the seat of war and difficulty of obtain- 
ing accurate information. It occurred in the vicinity 
of the Great Elm, in what was called the " South 
Neighborhood" of Thompson Parish, after the last 
call for militia. The army had been driven from 
New York ; British fleets were in the Sound threat- 
ening New London and Providence ; affairs were in 
the greatest confusion and rumors flew thick from 
every quarter. New London and Providence were 
burned ; Connecticut was invaded ; the victorious 
British might be expected to sweep through the 
State at any moment. Besides these general dan- 
gers this section was haunted by a special bugbear. 

Eight down in Brooklyn the Tory and churchman, 
Malbone, owned a gang of negro slaves, and just 
north of Thompson there was a remnant of " Paygan 
lujins " occupying a reservation. Combustible mate- 
rial was kept piled up on conspicuous hills for signal 
warning in case of attack, and a kettle of tar was 
suspended from the cross-bar of the Liberty pole on 



REVOLUTIONARY ECHOES. 117 

Killiiigly Hill, for the same purpose. A single spark 
of rumor lig-lited all these combustibles. A post 
g-alloped through town without stopping to commu- 
nicate news, and a saucy boy on Dvidley Hill had his 
ears boxed by a suspected Tory. Quick through the 
town flew the report of immediate onset. 

" The Tor-ies are coming ! The Tor-ies are com- 
ing," was the awe-struck cry, and when it reached 
the elm tree the tale was magnified by the addition 
of " Malbone Niggers " and " Paygau lujins " burn- 
ing and slaughtering everything before them. What 
a terrible prospect ! There was not an able-bodied 
man in the corner. Nothing but women and chil- 
dren, old-folks and invalids. Panic, dire, unreason- 
ing, frenzied panic took possession. All manner of 
ridiculous things were said and done. Concealment 
and flight seemed the only course of action. And 
so the neighbors, old and young, rushed together 
and started off" pell-mell for a bushy swamp. One 
woman staid behind — the heroine of the day. I am 
always glad to relate the prowess of my much re- 
spected grandmother — Eebekah (Wilkinson) Larned 
— a worthy daughter of Liberty and Rhode Island. 
She was not the woman to desert her husband's prop- 
erty, or quail before Malljone and his negroes. Three 
young children and her husband's aged grandmother 
were in her care. Piling wood upon the ample tire- 
place, every iron implement that could be mustered 



118 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

was thrust into the blazing- coals, and from every 
hook on the crane a kettle of water was suspended, 
and had the foe appeared he would have met a hot 
reception from fire and tongue. In vain did the fu- 
gitives send beseeching pleas. " Tell Becky," they 
whimpered, " hot irons will never do for the British." 
Ill vain did they urge the aged grandmother — the 
widow of Justice Joseph Leavens — to share their 
flight. Her faith surpassed her fears, and sinking 
back into her chimney corner she meekly murmured 
— " If I am to be killed by the Tor-ies to-night why 
then I shall he, so I'll een stay with Becky." 

But Tory and negro alike failed to materialize. 
The great alarm proved a mere fizzle, but coming as 
it did on those anxious days, it served a most admir- 
able purpose. All the ridiculous sayings and doings 
of the terrified were remembered and reproduced 
with the vividness of instantaneous photograph. We 
see Sam. Cheese ramming down bullets into his mus- 
ket without any powder ; and poor, old, palsied Capt. 
Merriam, with pitchfork quivering in his hands, as he 
tried to guard and hold the house door. We catch 
the sly gleam in the eye of the bedridden granny, 
forgotten and left behind in the flurry, who had man- 
aged to crawl out of bed and stow herself away in a 
cupboard. We hear the plaintive voice of poor old 
hobbling Uncle Asa on his way to the swamp — 
" Thithter, thithter, I've forgot my thin plathter," 



REVOLUTIONARY ECHOES. 110 

and the sister's brusque rejoinder, " Come along-, Asa, 
you'll never dress your sliins again in this world,'' 
while Aunt Nabbj^ voiced the general desire in her 
heartfelt ejaculation — "I'd give a wedg-e of goold as 
big as my foot for one geKul dram!' It is truly re- 
freshing- to learn that these much tried sufferers had 
so legitimate a cause for merriment, even if it is a 
little hard on the panic-stricken subjects. 

Probably the scarcity of Tories in Windham County 
invested them with abnormal terror. In other parts 
of the State they were sufficiently obvious, but here 
they Avere too few to assert themselves. Poor Col. 
Fitch, now deprived of his official position, sat soli- 
tary in his suspected mansion, barely supplied with 
the every day necessities of life. Dr. AValton, of 
Killiugly, a bitter Tory, Avho once presumed to hide 
a Avouuded British officer in his house, dared not open 
his mouth. Hannah Miller, fleeing from Boston " as 
from a nest of hornets to the happy and peaceful 
toAvn of Pomfret," Avith a hogshead of rum and tierce 
of coffee for subsistence, Avas obliged to give proof 
of her loyalty to the patriot cause before she could 
settle down to the consumption of her rum and coffee. 
Col. Malbone, chevalier and churchman, with his 
" church parson and gang of negro slaA^es," felt con- 
strained to observe extreme quiet, and restrict church 
service and prayers for the king to his priA'ate resi- 
dence. The saddest home in Windham County Avas 



120 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

that of Nathan Frink, Pomfret's dashing- yonng- 
laAvyer and excise officer, who, after attempting- to act 
with the patriots, turned squarely against them and 
entered the British army. His aged parents went 
down unto the grave mourning, and a large circle of 
relatives Avas overwhelmed with grief and mortifica- 
tion. The August of 1777 brought grief to many 
hearts in the death of Woodstock's beloved pastor, 
Rev. Abiel Leonard, D. J). Mr. Leonard had won 
much favor among his own people and the churches 
of the county before his acceptance of the chaplaincy 
of Putnam's regiment. Here he achieved still greater 
popularity, his eloquent and patriotic discourses ex- 
citing much admiration. He may be said to have 
been the father of " Army Literature " — " a prayer 
composed for the benefit of the soldiers in the Ameri- 
can army to assist them in their private devotions," 
and printed in a tract of nine pages, is noted as the 
first attempt in this line. Washington's letter to the 
Woodstock church may well be forever associated 
with the memory of this honored pastor, viz. : 

" To the Church and Congregation at Woodstock : 

Mr. Leonard is a man whose exemplary life and conversation 
must make him highly esteemed by every person who has the 
pleasure of being acquainted with him. It therefore can be no 
surprise to us to hear they are loth to part with him His in- 
fluence in the army is great. He is employed in the glorious 
work of attending to the morals of a brave people who are fight- 



REVOLUTIONARY ECHOES. 121 

iiig for their liberties — the liberties of tlie people of Woodstock 
— the liberty of all America. We therefore ho[)e that, knowing 
how nobly he is employed, the congregation of Woodstock -will 
cheerfully give up to the public a gentleman so very useful. 
And when, by the blessing of a kind Providence, this glorious 
and unparalleled struggle for our liberties is at an end, we have 
not the least doubt but Mr. Leonard will, with redoubled joy, 
be received in the open arms of a congregation so very dear to 
him as the good people of Woodstock are. 

This is what is hoped for— this is what is expected, by the 
congregation of Woodstock's sincere well wishers and very 
humble servants, 

Geokge Washington, 
Israel Putnam 

Head Quarters, Cambridge, } 
24th of March, 1776." f 

Wiisliiug-tou's kind hope for the happy return of 
the beh3ved pastor to his flock at the close of the 
war was not destined for fulfillment, and the circum- 
stances attending- his death left a cloud upon his 
memory. Dying at Danbury, on his way home from 
the army, from Avounds received by his own hand, 
the real facts were not ascertained by his friends. 
The story as handed down in Woodstock, upon what 
seemed creditable authority, represented him as hav- 
ing overstaid a furlough, on account of the serious ill- 
ness of his child — and that on his way back to camp 
he was met by the tidings that he had been censured 
and dismissed from his position. Keenly sensitive 
to public opinion he could not endure this disgrace, 
11 



122 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

and attempted suicide. A letter recently come to 
light, from Dea. Jedidiali Morse — the honored father 
of an illustrious house — gives the true facts and 
complete vindication. It was addressed to President 
Wheelock, Dartmouth College, immediately after the 
tidings of his decease had reached them, 18 Aug. 
1777. He gives " a short, exact, but very melancholy 
account of the death of his dear minister ; " of his 
being " as much set by in the army by Gen. Wash- 
ington and other officers " as any man in the service ; 
of having a present of three hundred dollars made 
him by Congress for special services, and that after 
receiving liberty from his people to continue in the 
army he thought prudent to take the small-pox by 
inoculation, which detained him sometime and left 
him in a poor state of health. That he then returned 
to the army in the Jerseys ; took a tour to Philadel- 
phia, where he preached before Congress to their 
great satisfaction ; met with the Presbytery and had 
the honorary title of Doctor of Divinity conferred 
upon him. But during this time he was observed 
" to be melancholy and cast down, and mind and 
senses greatly disordered." On this Sunday he at- 
tended public worship, and went to bed apparently 
as well as usual, but an unusual noise in his chamber 
aroused the people of the house and they found him 
in his gore, his throat cut but not dead. He was 
able in a few days to bear removal to Danbury, but 



REVOLUTIONARY ECHOES. 123 

the heat of the weather and rag-ing- of his wound 
were too much for him and he passed away August 
14th. 

Melancholia caused by nervous exhaustion un- 
doubtedly led to this unhappy act so much misunder- 
stood even by his own dear people. We have g-reat 
reason for g-ratitude to Dea. Morse for leaving- us the 
inmost details of this sad end to a brilliant career — 
and clearing" the character of a devoted and self- 
sacrificing patriot. In this instance there was no 
deliberate attempt to blacken character and depreci- 
ate service as there has been with others. It is bad 
euoug-h to malign the living in the heat of political 
controversy, but they have a chance to correct and 
live down misrepresentation ; but in cold blood to 
pick to pieces and tear down the reputation of public 
men who did their best in times of difficulty and 
danger, is most dastardly and ungrateful. We do 
not claim perfection for our dead heroes — the best 
of men are only human. But even indiscriminate 
hero-worship is better than hero-demolition. The 
g-reat men who have helped in any way to make our 
country what it is are our best heritag-e, and we can- 
not afford to have them belittled or taken away from 
us by this spirit of carping- criticism. 

We, as Windham County people, have great reason 
to complain of the treatment our own Putnam has 
received at the hands of rivals and critics. Perhaps 



124 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

the most remarkable specimen in this line is the state- 
ment recently made by one of these self-appointed 
critics in the New York Sun : " That Gen. Putnam has 
neither lateral nor lineal descendant living, although 
a few families claim without any foundation such de- 
scent." If other charges against our old hero are 
equally baseless we can afford to let them slide. 

The summer of 1778 brought many Windham 
County homes into close connection with the front 
through Sullivan's Ehode Island campaign. An at- 
tempt was made in concert with the newly-arrived 
French fleet to drive the British army from Newport 
and Ehode Island. Windham County was called upon 
to furnish all the aid in her power — ammunition, 
cartridges, provisions for man aud beast, and above 
all, Avith soldiers. A AVindham County company was 
stationed on this field for the year, and companies of 
her militia served at difterent periods. My maternal 
great-uncle, Theodore Gay, went out for his first 
campaign, with one of these companies. Though 
living in the vicinity of the Great Elm, my grand- 
father's family had not shared in that memorable 
alarm. The good deacon and his three oldest sons 
Avere indeed absent in service, but Joseph and Theo- 
dore, though only seventeen and fifteen years of age, 
felt quite equal to the situation. But they did not 
trust in carnal bullets, nor even in hot water and 
irons. Going on with their usual day's work, they 



REVOLUTIONARY ECHOES. 125 

then proceeded with the " nightly chores," and after 
supper sat down in the big kitchen with grandmother, 
mother, and sister, read comforting words from the 
great family Bible, and offered the accustomed even- 
ing prayer. Two of the brothers died that autumn 
in Jersey, and uow the bright young Theodore, God's 
latest, best gift to the household, was sacrificed to the 
Khode Island campaign. A terrible norther swept 
down at the beginning of the action, drove the French 
fleet far south, and rendered futile months of careful 
preparation. Many of our soldiers died from the 
effect of cold and exposure, never seen again by those 
at home who had sent them out so cheeril}^ 

Another calamity, greatly afflicting many Wind- 
ham County homes that same discouraged 1778, was 
the Indian massacre at Wyoming, Penn. Some of 
the most enterprising and promising young men in a 
number of towns had taken their families to this 
beautiful valley, and were among the victims of In- 
dian barbarity. Conflicting rumors brought to Con- 
necticut homes were followed by weeks of anxious 
suspense, and then by the arrival of hapless widows, 
foot-sore and destitute, with orphan families of eight, 
ten, and, in the case of Mrs. Esther Minor Yorke, of 
Voluntowu, twelve children. 

But enough of loss and disaster. There is a 
brighter side to the picture. There are gleams of 
light behind the clouds. As years passed on and it 



126 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

became increasing-ly evident that the colonies conld 
not be brought under subjection to the British yoke, 
hope revived in patriot hearts. If in some cases the 
war wroug"ht demoralization, in a far greater num- 
ber it stimulated energy, courage, self-reliance, self- 
sacrifice. With unfailing constancy our Windham 
County towns kept up their quotas of soldiers and 
supplies. Lads who had so faithfully helped their 
mothers in home and farm, grew up to take their 
father's place in camp and council. It was a time of 
rapid quickening and development. How it brought 
out the stamina of our women. We mourn over the 
comparative inconspicuousness of the Pilgrim moth- 
ers ; we feel they do not receive their just meed of 
honor and remembrance. Few of the stately colo- 
nial dames are brought to actual knowledge. But 
the Revolutionary period not only brings to personal 
recognition Mary and Martha Washington, Abigail 
Adams, Mercy Warren, Faith Trumbull, Lucretia 
Shaw, and the honored names affixed to scores of 
Chapters, but called out unsuspected energy and fac- 
ulty in thousands of humbler homes. The soldier on 
the field was sustained and carried forward to final 
victory by the labor and sympathy of the woman in 
the home. How bravely they bore the heavy bur- 
dens brought upon them. We see them caring for 
their stock, carrying on their farms, making the hay, 
gathering their own supply of fuel, manufacturing 



REVOLUTIONARY ECHOES. 127 

oloth, preparing their own tea and molasses, besides 
attending- to everyday domestic aifairs and training 
their children. Women trained to use the pen were 
called to write the household letters for less favored 
sisters. Some special feats of workmanship are re- 
ported. Mrs. Elisha Adams, of Brooklyn, lays down 
her floor and finishes her apartment. The women of 
Hampton, assisted by a lame old carpenter, raised the 
frame and assisted in building a large two-story 
house that has stood the wear of over a century. 
It was in this same vicinity that a suit of clothes 
was evolved from a sheep's back in less than two 
days. 

The son came home in rags, and the sheep was 
sheared and bundled away in the cellar, while its 
wool was spun, woven, and made up into a substan- 
tial suit of clothes in time for the young soldier to 
wear back to camp in triumph. Here, too, little Mary 
Stedman, the ten-year-old kinswoman of the poet, 
Edmund C. Stedman, wrought out with her own small 
fingers a web of tow-cloth, carding, siuuning, and 
weaving, exchanging it at Windham Green for a set 
of silver tea-spoons, now held as priceless heirlooms 
by her descendants. Among the thousand private, 
beneficent acts called out by the exigencies of the 
time, I like to include that of an aged widow, in 
Thompson — Mrs. Elisabeth (Hosmer) Alton — who 
kept through the summer a barrel of freshly brewed 



128 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

beer on tap by the doorstep for the especial refresh- 
ment of any passing- soldier. 

A somewhat quixotic expedition gave me a glimpse 
of two Revolutionary homes under rather peculiar 
aspect. The friend who enticed me had the good for- 
tune to grow up at the feet of a great-grandmother, 
and was particularly impressed by her yearnings for 
the scene of her early married life, in a remote cor- 
ner of Woodstock, where she had reared and buried 
children, and so a century later we started off to 
visit this " old Bolles homestead." We had some 
difficulty in finding anyone to direct us in our search, 
but after we had fairly recovered the trail, and the 
old house came in view, it was wonderful how the 
old stories of her youth came back to my companion : 

" O, tliere's the great bouse fronting south just as grandmother 
described it, and there is the very same great stone doorstep 
where she stood parleying with tlie officers wlio had come to 
search for a deserter. He was a poor, little, young fellow from 
the neighborhood and had fared so hard they all pitied him, and 
so grandmother talked with the officers on the doorstep while he 
slunk out of the pantry window. Why, don't you see in that 
little projection at the end of the house there's the very window 
and he ran down the hill to this same bridge we are crossing and 
then up the hill on the other side, running backward through the 
snow so as to muddle up the track to a house right over the hill. 
Why, there's the roof and chimney of that very house, and he 
went in there and flung himself down before old Goody Blake 
who was spinning at her wheel and begged her to save him from 



REVOLUTIONARY ECHOES. 129 

the officers in pursuit. Well she had had wild boys of her own 
and knew how to fee) for him, so she just raised a trap-door and 
stowed him away under the floor, and spreading a rug over the 
door set her spinning-wheel upon it and when the officers came 
on there she was spinning away at her wheel and innocently 
humming a psalm tune." 

Ill these later years, as the armies moved south- 
^vard, there was less immediate connection and per- 
sonal communication with the seat of war. Onr lit- 
tle Ephraim Cutler, who, sleeping in bed with his 
grandfather, caught the first echo of " the shot heard 
round the world," now enlightened the neighborhood 
at Killingly Hill by reading aloud " The New Lon- 
don Gazette " every Sabbath noon. The house would 
be filled with elderly people, mothers and grand- 
fathers, anxious to hear the news. One of the most 
harrowing days during the whole period was that 
Thursday afternoon in 1781, when residents of the 
south part of the county heard the roar of the can- 
non and saw the flames of consuming New London. 
Men hastened to the scene and saw with their own 
eyes the terrible butchery and destruction, more 
dreadful from the thought that one of their own fa- 
vored sons had been most active in this outrage. 

Aside from this terrible experience and other New 
London and Rhode Island alarms, there was less dis- 
tress and suffering during these closing years. For 
one thing, supplies were more plentiful. Success in 



130 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

privateering brought to New London West India 
goods and even articles of luxury. And these goods 
were so carried about through the country that a 
bridal outfit was no longer limited to homespun. 
One glimpse in this line we leave with you for a part- 
ing picture. 

A young girl in Pomfret is musing upon the ques- 
tion of a wedding dress — a lovely young girl Avith a 
face of rare promise and character — among whose 
numerous descendants are Mrs. Louise Chandler 
Moulton and Mrs. Caroline Fairfield Corbin. She 
knows the difficulty of the times, the scantiness of 
money and the many demands upon the father's 
purse, but a suitable dress for this supreme occasion 
in a young girl's life she must have. A peddler comes 
along with heavy packs. No matter where he got his 
goods : they are wonderful — and among them is the 
most beautiful piece of dainty pink satin that ever 
gladdened the eyes of prospective bride. She glances 
at the gruff old father, puzzling with knotted brow 
over his accounts. She does not dare to ask the 
favor, but the satin must be hers. Gathering around 
her the glistening folds she steals across the room, 
and kneeling at her father's feet, looks up with plead- 
ing eyes. And the grim old father catches on. With- 
out a word spoken on either side he unlocks his 
desk and puts in his daughter's hand forty silver 
dollars, and the dainty pink satin soon figures at the 



REVOLUTIONARY ECHOES. 131 

marriage feast as the bride's gown and the bride- 
groom's waistcoat. And so, after our many sombre 
pictures, Ave leave you with this gladsome tableau- 
vivant, typifying, we believe, the happy days that 
were in store for the young republic, when, after the 
long, weary struggle, came the blessing of assured 
peace and perfected Union. 

" Thou too sail ou, O ship of State, 
Sail on O Union, strong and great . . . 
Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears. 
Our faith, triumphant o'er our fears, 
Are all with thee, are all with thee." 



AVINDHAM COUNTY AND PEOYIDENCE. 

The caj^ital of Rhode Island and this northeast 
corner of Connecticut have held close and continuous 
relations. And even before there was a Providence 
or a Windham County, before a sectional boundary 
line had crossed the face of New England territory 
and its fields and forests lay open to wild beasts and 
wilder savages, these sections held continuous com- 
munication. The Narrag-ausetts claimed right to 
territory east of the Quinebaug river. The great 
lake — Chan-bon-a-gong-a-mouk (bound-mark) now 
in Webster — marked the bound between sea-board 
Narragansetts and inland Nipmucks, dwelling in 
Nipnet— the pond or fresh water country. The 
stronger Narragansetts held in close subjection* the 
feeble clans or tribelets of Nipmucks. Tradition 
preserved but one iDstance of successful revolt, inter- 
esting to us as showing the early date of that peculiar 
Khode Island institution — the original, aboriginal, 
perennial clainhake. 

The Nipmuck tributaries in the vicinity of Lake 
Mashapaug (now Alexander's) were invited to partake 
of a shore dinner of shell-fish, which it need hardly 



WINDHAM COUNTY AND PROVIDENCE. 133 

be said tliey devoured with great relish. But when 
their hosts in due time returned the visit, nothing- 
was offered them but himprey eels served without 
dressing. The daintier Narragansetts scotfed at this 
plain fare and a free fight followed, in which but two 
of the Narragansetts w^ere spared to carry back the 
tale of insult and defeat. A band of warriors was 
straig-htway sent up to avenge their brethren, but 
were again forced to quail before the arrows of the 
entrenched and triumphant Nipmucks, and retired 
from the field, leaving their dead behind them. The 
bodies of the slain were interred in deep pits at the 
junction of the Quinebaug and Assawaga rivers, a 
spot still known as "the Indian Burying Ground," 
in Danielson, where many Indian relics have been 
unearthed. The name Aspinock, designating the 
Quinebaug" valley near Lake Mashapaug, is transla- 
ted by J. Hammond Trumbull — "an eating place," 
and may have received its name from this encounter, 
which surviving Nipmucks detailed to the first white 
settlers. The Narragansetts would doubtless have 
given a very different version. 

After settlement by the whites, and particularly 
after the Uncas claim to Mohegan and Wabbaquasset 
countries had been allowed by the Government of 
Connecticut, the Narragansetts found it difficult to 
maintain their footing" within Connecticut lines. 
Moosup, alias Pessacus, a war-like chieftain, brother 



134 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

to Miantonomo, affixed liis name to the largest branch 
of the Quinebaug, and struggled manfully to retain 
the Quinebaug country now included in the towns of 
Plainfield and Canterbury, but according to Roger 
Williams, in 1668, the Nipmucks had then for a long 
time renounced allegiance to the Narragansetts, and 
the border-land between Connecticut and Rhode 
Island was but a patch of ground, full of troublesome 
inhabitants, sandy, stony, and scarce worth hghtiug 
for. During King Philip's war these inhabitants 
sought shelter at the headquarters of their respective 
tribes, and the barren patch was made more waste 
by ravages of roving bands, carrying off all the corn 
and swine that could be found therein. Its first white 
Providence visitants were a company under Capt. 
Nathaniel Thomas, who scoured the country far and 
wide in pursuit of the fugitive King Philip. The 
night of August 3, 1675, they reached the second fort 
in the Nipmuck country, called by the Indians — Wap- 
o-sosh-e-quash — AVabbaquasset, a mile west of the 
present Woodstock Hill. Capt. Thomas reports — " a 
very good inland country, well watered with rivers 
and brooks : special good land, great quantities of 
special good corn and beans, and stately wigwams as 
I never saw the like." These wigwams were built 
under the direction of one of the AjDOstle Elliott's 
Indian preachers, Sampson, and bear striking testi- 
mony to the success of his faithful labors. 



AVINDHAM COUNTY AND PROVIDEXCE. 135 

AYithiii ten years after the visit of Capt. Thomas 
and the close of the war the fertile fields of Wabba- 
quasset had been appropriated by our sharp-sighted 
sister, Massachusetts, and a flourishing- colony from 
Roxbury had planted the town of Woodstock. 
Though bound by ties of allegiance and blood to 
Boston, these Woodstock settlers soon found them- 
selves drawn to the nearer market at Providence, 
and one of their first public acts, after formal town 
organization, was a vote " To be at the charge of 
making a way unto the cedar swamj^ on the other 
side of the Quinebaug River for a road to Provi- 
dence — Benjamin Sabiu to do the work and Peter 
Aspiuwall if he can't do it." Our friend Peter ac- 
complished the work in the course of a few years, 
making a narroAv way suitable for foot or horseback 
travel. The greater part of this way ran through 
the outlands of the distant town, as yet a barren wil- 
derness, with only here and there the cabin of some 
hardy pioneer, furnishing food and shelter for man 
and beast. 

As Pomfret, Killiuglj^, and other Connecticut 
towns struggled into being, they too claimed the 
privilege of better communication with Providence, 
and selectmen from the new towns joined with those 
of Woodstock in petitioning Providence town coun- 
cil to help at their end of the work. Committees 
from Killingly, Pomfret, and AVoodstock were chosen 



136 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

to meet at sun an hour higli, October 3, 1710, "To 
state a place over the Quinebaug" River most commo- 
dious for a bridge to meet the prospective hig"hway," 
but ten years passed before road or bridge was ac- 
complished. The southerly towns gained first the 
right of way. Travel from Norwich and Windham 
passed through Plainfield over the " old Greenwich 
Path," an Indian trail " trod out " by early Narragan- 
sett claimants. 

The General Assembly of Rhode Island and Provi- 
dence Plantations met this need by voting in 1711, 
that a highway should be laid out through Provi- 
dence, Warwick, and West Greenwich to Plainfield. 
Representations were made to the General Assembly 
of Connecticut that travelers to the w^estward from 
Boston and Providence, met with great difficulty and 
were exposed to great danger for want of a suitable 
country road through Plainfield and on to the col- 
ony. The famous journal of Madam Knight, 1704, 
gives a most graphic picture of the condition of the 
roads, and the discomforts experienced in traveling 
from Boston to New York, through Connecticut and 
the Narragausett Country at that date. Our colony 
promptly responded to Rhode Island's suggestion. 
A committee was appointed ; land was freely given 
by Plainfield proprietors, and a good and sufficient 
causeway was constructed four rods wide and eight 
rods wide at intervals for the convenience of loaded 



WINDHAM COUNTY AND PROVIDENCE. lot 

carts in passing each otbei". A safe and sufficient 
bridge was thrown over the Moosnp, and canoes pro- 
vided for transit over the turbulent and formidable 
Quinebaug. This improved and convenient highway 
became a popular thoroiighfare, greatly facilitating 
communication between Boston and Providence and 
New York, called the best and nearest route that had 
then been opened between those business centres, 
and aiding much in the development of these towns 
and the intervening country. Eastern Connecticut 
now found in Providence her nearest market and 
base of supplies. The boundary quarrel that raged 
so fiercely in the vicinity of Pawcatuck river was 
confined to southern sections, and pleasant, neigh- 
borly intercourse was constantly maintained between 
Windham, Plainfield, and Canterbury settlers and 
their favorite market town. 

The northerly road, through Pomfret and Kil- 
lingly, was much behind time in construction, mainly 
because it was carried through by the towns apart 
from Government aid. Peter Aspinwall's bridle-path 
was long the only means of communication, even 
barrels of rum having to be brought up on horse- 
back lashed on trees and dragged behind the rider. 
The road was finally accomplished under the super- 
vision of Nathaniel Sessions, of Pomfret, who drove 
the first cart over it to Providence in 1721. His son, 
Darius, future deputy-governor of Rhode Island, 

12* 



138 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

then ten years old, may be said figuratively to have 
driven in the last spike — the youngster claiming- the 
honor of conducting the oxen into the town. In the 
following year the long-coveted bridge was placed 
over the Quinebaug at the High Falls (now in Put- 
nam) by Capt. John Sabin. 

With these two important thoroughfares open to 
the public, intercourse between the inhabitants of the 
neighboring colonies became more and more frequent 
and friendly. Heavy carts laden with country pro- 
duce ; horse-back riders with pillion and saddle-bag ; 
foot-travelers with packs, way worn and weary, were 
ever passing to and fro. Hartford might be the 
political centre of these Connecticut towns, but 
Providence drew them by the stronger ties of business 
relations and social affinities. 

And yet from the outset there was a radical differ- 
ence between a Rhode Islander and a Connecticut 
man. The Rhode Islander affected white corn ; a 
golden yellow was the true hue for Connecticut. A 
Rhode Islander might go to church and build a house 
of worship if he fancied — the Connecticut man was 
compelled by law to build a meeting-house and go to 
meeting. It is a little amusing to read in some local 
town history the glorifications over these "good men 
who in their own poverty and scarceness made imme- 
diate provision for public worship, &c." Of course 
they did this, and in the majority of cases did it freely 



WINDHAM COUNTY AND PROVIDENCE. 139 

and heartily, and yet the truth remains that the law 
compelled them to do it, and they risked the loss of 
their township bj^ failure. Woodstock, unable by the 
difficulties of Sir Edward Andros' administration to 
build their house and settle a minister promptly, felt 
constrained to make most humble acknowledgment 
for being- in some respects " out of capacity ;" and 
beg- the General Court " that the great overturns that 
had been might excuse this omission." The patent 
of Killingly, granted in 1708, expressly provided 
*' That no person now inhabiting on said land, or any 
other persons dwelling without this colonic who have 
purchased any lands Avithiu the said township, that 
shall not give due obedience to all the laws of the 
colonie for the upholding- the worship of God pay- 
ing of all public charges shall have no benefit by 
this act." The redundance of negatives makes this 
injunction more emphatic. 

Trained from infancy to consider the stated estab- 
lishment of religious worship as the first and chief 
duty of state and town Government, it is not surpris- 
ing that our Windham County visitors and sojourn- 
ers should be scandalized and grieved at Rhode 
Island's destitution. As this lack of ministers and 
meeting-houses l)ecame more apparent with increas- 
ing intercourse, their hearts were moved to mission- 
ary efforts in their behalf, and in 1722, the year that 
the Quinebaug bridge was erected, a petition was 



140 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

sei]t to the General Assembly of Connecticut, praying 
tliat a brief mig-lit be granted in several congrega- 
tions, gathering contributions from such as were 
piously inclined towards introducing and carrying on 
the ministry of the Gospel in the town of Providence. 
The Governor and Council graciously granted this 
request and a brief was sent out, directed to minister or 
deacon of a number of eastern Connecticut churches, 
including those in AVindham, Canterbury, Plainfield, 
Pomfret, and Killingly, empowering them to make 
collection for this purpose. This missionary move- 
ment in behalf of benighted Providence had been 
set on foot by some zealous ministers of Massachu- 
setts, who addressed a letter to the deputy-governor 
and other eminent men of Providence, in which, after 
commending the peace and love with which religious 
societies of different modes of worship had been 
entertained in Khode Island, and the freedom and 
safety they had enjoyed in preaching, they most 
liumbly begged their countenance and encourage- 
ment if it should come to pass that a small meeting- 
house should be built in their town to entertain such 
as are willing to hear our ministers. Deacon Jonathan 
Sprague's reply to this humble request fairly makes 
our ears tingle. Genuine Rhode Island sauce has a 
very pungent quality. 

In spite of this rebuff a Congregational meeting- 
house was built on the corner of College and Benefit 



WINDHAM COUNTY AND PROVIDENCE. 141 

streets, and served for many years as a beacon of 
Puritan orthodoxy among the Baptists, Quakers, and 
Independents of free-thinking- Rhode Island. 

With passal)le roads and suitable provision for 
Sabbath-keeping, emigration to Providence assumed 
a more permanent character. Young men averse to 
farming found employment in other lines of lal)or. 
Boys went to sea and found phices in stores. Enter- 
prising young men of better education, like Darius 
Sessions, tried their chances in the growing town. 
Some went back in time for the girls they left be- 
hind them. Others found wives in their new home. 
An elaborate entry in Thompson church records, in 
mammoth letters, with the lilackest of ink, records 
the marriage, 30 September, 1739, of Capt. Nichohxs 
Cook of Providence, to Mrs. Hannah Sabin, daugh- 
ter of Capt. Hezekiah Sabin, first settler of Thomp- 
son Hill, and proprietor of its famous old red tavern 
in the centre of the common. As the bride was only 
eighteen we may assume that this honorary title was 
given her out of respect for the dignity of her own 
and her husband's social position, or, perhaps, with 
a prophetic sense of the honors that awaited her as 
the wife of a governor and mother of a dozen stal- 
wart Rhode Islanders. 

Capt. Sabin's successor in the tavern was a typical 
Rhode Islander, Benjamin Wilkinson, one of the 
class of roving Yankees described by Washington 



142 HISTORIC GLEANINCxS. 

Irving", whose idea of settlement in life is to set out 
upon his rambles. It is said that he kept tavern in 
exevy stand between Providence and Connecticut's 
north-east corner. When he broug-ht up against 
Massachusetts line, on a beautiful farm west of the 
Quinebaug — now in New Boston — people thought he 
had come to stay, but destiny met him in the shape 
of a shabby old traveler wdio carelessly asked what 
he would take for the premises. Mr. Wilkinson 
named a high figure and thought no more of it till 
in a few weeks the shabby old man appeared before 
him with a bag-'full of gold and silver ready to clinch 
the barg-ain. Amused at the incident, and always 
ready for travel, Mr. Wilkinson resigned the farm 
and purchased the tavern stand on Thompson Hill, 
where his energies found ample exercise. He hauled 
off the stones, dug- out aboriginal tree stumps, and 
planted peach-stones by every rock and along the 
highway for public accommodation. Through all 
his wanderings he carried with him Rhode Island 
ideas and white seed corn, and while serving as 
committee for the standing society and opening his 
house to accommodate the Cougregationalists in win- 
ter, he gave sympathy and building spot to the strug- 
gling Baptists. On one occasion only he came into 
collision with church authorities — that fatal Sunday 
when a grind-stone was heard in his door-yard, just 
across the road from the meeting-house, creaking 



WINDHAM COUNTY AND PROVIDENCE. 113 

rustily tliroug-li all tlie services. A deputation of 
worthies was sent to remonstrate with the offender. 
Mr. Wilkinson promptly denied the charge. " Bnt 
w'e hear it now," persisted the complainants. " See 
for yourself," retorted the smiling landlord, pointing 
out to the committee a pair of Guinea fowl, the first 
brought into the town and yet untrained in the strict- 
ness of Connecticut Sabbath-keeping, whose doleful 
croak, aggravated by homesickness, had subjected 
their owner to such reproach and visitation. 

It was probably through Mr. Wilkinson's effective 
influence that a new business interest developed in 
the north-east town of the county. The first public 
attempt to trade with Providence was through a pe- 
culiar local institution known as " the Butter-cart," 
which ran about the town from house to house like 
the later peddler's cart, picking up such small pro- 
ducts as housewives could spare, and bringing back 
in exchange those minor luxuries that husbands too 
often overlooked or refused to purchase. A small 
nutmeg cost a ninepence in those days, and as for 
pins, a single paper was considered a life-long supply. 
Stories are told of mothers bringing up a large fam- 
ily on four rows, and grandmothers exhibiting with 
pride the " great pins " that had formed a part of 
their bridal outfit. The " Butter-cart " was held in 
high esteem by wivea and daughters, and its arrival 
and departure looked for with as much interest as if 
it bore the treasures of the Indies. 



144 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

In the hands of Mr. Wilkinson's son-in-law, Daniel 
Larnecl, and his partner, John Mason, this primitive 
barter-trade expanded into a great commercial en- 
terprise. A store was opened under the Great Elm, 
South Neighborhood, filled with all manner of tempt- 
ing- West India goods and useful articles. Carts 
were sent all over the country, picking up marketa- 
ble products. Ashes were taken in for the extrac- 
tion of potash and pearlash, pork and beef were 
prepared and packed for market ; a shop was added 
for nail manufacture — all to be exchanged for West 
India goods in Providence — especially those most 
needful and desirable articles — rum and molasses. 
The arrival of the first hogshead of the latter article 
at " Larned and Mason's store " Avas made a day of 
special festivity — boys being allowed for the first 
time to revel unstinted in the favorite juvenile dainty 
of the period — hot roasted potatoes smothered in 
panfuls of molasses, and crammed all sizzling and 
dripping down the throats of the happy urchins. 
The candy of later days was far less positive in flavor. 

The close of the French and Indian war was fol- 
lowed by a season of great commercial and maritime 
prosperity, shared alike by town and country. Busi- 
ness enterprises like this in Thompson were not un- 
usual. Samuel McClellan, of Woodstock, engaged in 
this domestic and foreign traffic. The country village 
was in process of evolution. Store and shop were 



WINDHAM COUNTY AND PROVIDENCE. 14:5 

added to the small knot of dwelling-bouses cluster- 
ing" about tlie liill-top meeting-house and tavern. 
The out-lying district first included within the lim- 
its of Providence township was now set off into 
the separate towns of Cranston, Glocester, Scituate, 
Smithlield. The great highways leading through 
them to Providence were more and more thronged 
with travelers and traffic. Substantial bridges over 
the Quinebaug had long replaced the primitive 
canoes. Taverns were in great force in those days 
of sloAv traveling and fast drinking. Eaton's tavern 
in Plainfield was now a famous place of resort and 
entertainment. The constant stream of travel made 
it very difficult to keep these roads and bridges in 
suitable repair. The need of better roads was vo- 
ciferously argued in town meeting and General As- 
sembly. Special orders relating to their renewal and 
maintenance were promulgated by both Governments. 
Plainfield and Canterbury were particularly bur- 
thened by highway demands and charges. In fact 
the road question was one of perennial agitation. 
The first mail carrier of whom we hear was Thomas 
Mumford, who carried the mail once a week on horse- 
back to New London. The first public conveyance 
passing through Windham County was a weekly 
stage coach running from Providence to Norwich, in 
the summer of 1768. Mr. S. Thurber reports the 
first chaise-jaunt in 177G, when, after all the labor 



146 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

bestowed upon it, the road was so stony and roug-h 
that he could not ride out of a sIoav walk, and was 
near two days in going- to Pomfret. Dr. Stiles, of 
Newport, future president of Yale College, makes 
statistical notes of his many journeys over the Provi- 
dence road, which unfortunately give little more than 
date and distances. " From Uncle Abel's (Wood- 
stock) to Browns of Killiugly, 8 miles : thence to 
Larneds' store, 2 miles : thence to Woodstock, 7 miles ; 
from Uncles' to Wilmots, 17 miles : from Woodstock 
to Providence, 34 miles : from Pomfret to Providence, 
36 miles. Expenses at Prov. 3 shillings : at Foster's, 
3s 3d : at Larned's, 5s 3d " — which shows that a great 
man may make a very dry record. 

Among the reciprocal interchanges between Provi- 
dence and Windham County we have to include crimi- 
nals and refugees. The honored names of Stephen 
Hopkins, Eesolved Waterman, William Rhodes, and 
other compassionate and large-hearted Rhode Is- 
landers, appear upon a petition in behalf of the no- 
torious Dr. Hallowell, who had " fled his country " 
upon conviction of criminal oflence. An exile, des- 
titute of everything but Avant and misery, he begged 
permission to return to an unhappy wife and seven 
unfortunate children, " who not participating in the 
guilt had too deeply tasted of the punishment." 
Fine and imprisonment alone he could have borne, 
but to sit upon the gallows with a rope around his 



WINDHAM COUNTY AND PROVIDENCE. 147 

neck, suffer public whipping and further punishment 
at the pleasure of the court, was thought by Dr. 
Hallowell and his Rhode Island sympathizers to be 
more than the laws of God did, or those of men 
should, inflict upon human offenders. Providence 
sent a noted refugee in John Aplin, an Euglishman 
of learning" and g'ood address, who acquired a hand- 
some estate by legal practice, but it being discovered 
that he had received fees from the opposing parties 
in an important case, " between two days fled his 
country" and found refuge in Plainfield. It need 
hardly be said that such refugees as were driven 
from home on charge of heretical or heterodox opin- 
ions, were received with open arms by the sister col- 
ony. The Kev, John Bass, who was dismissed from 
the Congregational church of Ashford " for dissent- 
ing from the Calvinistic sense of the quinquarticular 
points," was welcomed to the pastorate of the First 
Congregational church of Providence, upon the de- 
cease of its first pastor, Rev. Josiah Cotton. Rev. 
David Rowland of Plainfield, who had been made 
for a dozen years a bone of contention in that town, 
the church refusing to let him go and the toAvn with- 
holding his salary, found peaceful anchorage in the 
same church after the death of Mr. Bass. In place 
of writs, attachments, and noisy controversy, we are 
told by the newspaper of the day, December, 1767 — 
that " young ladies, daughters of Liberty and indus- 



148 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

try, met at Mr. Rowland's with their spinning- 
wheels, and at night presented him with 1,020 l-nots 
of thread." 

The troubles with England, the shadow of ap- 
proaching war, only made the intercourse between 
Providence and Windham County more intimate and 
continuous. Hitherto the tide of emigration had 
run eastward — now a reflex tide brought many worthy 
families to permanent establishment in Windham 
County. The Stamp Act excitement sent Godfrey 
Malbone, of Newport, to Brooklyn Parish, where he 
attempted something like the old Narragansett style 
of living with his three-thousand-acre farm, his scores 
of slaves, and church of his own order. But the 
great body of new-comers were families of moderate 
circumstances, who preferred to cultivate their farms 
and bring up their children apart from sea-board 
alarm and agitation. Chase, Congdon, Fisk, Bul- 
lock, Jackson, Hoppin, Randall, Thompson, Torrey, 
Tourtellotte, Wheaton, are among the many Rhode 
Island names thus engrafted. Others came as tran- 
sient residents. 

But Windham County did more than furnish a wel- 
come refuge during this long period of distress and 
exposure. Perhaps her most noteworthy service 
was furnishing the colony a deputy-governor in full 
sympathy with patriotic sentiments and movements. 
Darius Sessions had continued to advance in influ- 



WINDHAM COUNTY AND PROVIDENCE. 140 

ence and position. In 1762 he was chosen assistant ; 
in 1769 he became deputy -governor and indirectly 
afforded much aid and comfort to those incHned to 
resist British oppression. His wilful blindness in re- 
gard to the " Burning of the Gaspee," called out 
much amusement as well as criticism. As the aspect 
of affairs became more threatening, Gov. Sessions 
purchased a country-seat in Thompson Parish — -the 
" old Joseph Cady house " and farm. The recon- 
structed mansion became a famous place of resort 
during the war, entertaining many a noted historic 
personage. Pres. Manning, who, during college sus- 
pension made frequent visits in Windham County, 
speaks with admiration of Gov. Sessions' excellent 
farm and superior accommodations. The meander- 
ings of the good president give us glimpses of many 
of these new homes : 

" Left Providence, Thursday, April 29, readied Col. Abraham 
Winsors, 10 miles ; 80. Traveled to John Brown's farm at Che- 
pachet 6 miles ; refreshed and proceeded to Capt. Corliss's, Kil- 
liiigly 12 ; road extremely bad ; visited Mr. Jones ; set out after 
dinner and visited Gov. Sessions. After tea traveled to Benj.Thur- 
bers in Pomfret, 6 miles ; roads better. Sunday A. M. Preached 
at James Thurbers ; lectured at B. Thurber's at 5 P. M. house 
crowded ; audience very attentive and affected. Monday. Vis- 
ited Paul Tew at Woodstock, also at Mr. Cahoons, Thompsons, 
B. Lindsleys. Tues. Visited Col. Nightingales, Pomfret, dined. 
He lives most elegantly ; has a grand farm ; entertains hospit- 
ably. Thence to Jeremiah Browns and Captain Bowles's, Ash- 
ford." 

13* 



150 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

Pres. Mannino- does not report to us the lasting 
effect of his preaching in Pomfret. From other 
sources we learn that it aroused so much interest 
that the Congregational minister, Mr. Putnam, be- 
came alarmed lest it should lead to the spread of 
Baptist principles, and that he challenged the presi- 
dent to a public discussion of the points at issue. 
But the ponderous town minister was no match either 
in oratory or argument for the college president, and 
the whole affair resulted in many conversions to 
Baptist principles and the formation of a Baptist 
church — a permanent memorial of the Eevolutionary 
exodus. The keen eye of President Manning recog- 
nized peculiar facilities in Pomfret, and especially its 
favorable position for " a boy's school," which he 
hoped to have established there as a feeder for his 
university. 

But Windham did even more than furnish farms 
and homes to her eastward neighbors. These were 
the days of Ehode Island's extremity. Her exposed 
position on the sea-board brought constant peril and 
invasion. Time and again the militia of Windham 
was summoned to her aid. Companies hurried down 
in the autumn of '76 on receiving news of an approach- 
ing fleet, but Avere too late to prevent the occupation 
of Ehode Island by a strong body of British troops. 
Windham County soldiers formed a part of the force 
retained for the defence of Providence, and aided in 



WINDHAM COUNTY AND PROVIDENCE. 151 

the several attempts to dislodge the invaders. In 
the stormy campaign of 1778 her services were es- 
pecially valuable. The prospect of naval coopera- 
tion through the agencj^ of the French fleet en- 
couraged the patriots in their preparations for the 
recovery of Newport and Rhode Island bj^ a strong 
movement on land. Powder, cartridges, provisions, 
everything that could be spared, were hurried down 
to Providence. Companies of militia and volunteers 
marched oft' with renewed spirit and hope. 

Here are three Thompson brothers tramping along 
on the familiar road to Providence — stout young fel- 
lows who, having each served his lawful quota in 
Connecticut, are bound to seek their fortune in 
Rhode Island. They have packs on their backs, and 
the youngest carries somewhere an inkhorn and a 
roll of paper. Little Rhody is all astir these mid- 
summer days. Men are marching off from every 
hamlet and farm-house, and the women are getting 
in the hay and doing all the farm work. One grand 
effort is to be made to drive the British from Rhode 
Island, and our youngsters are quickly snapped up 
and drafted into service. Zeph's ready pen gives us 
his experience, and takes us to the scene of action : 

"August 5, 1778, drafted to serve on Rhode Island twenty 
days ; got some cloth for a knapsack ; went to Jonathan Spragues 
& got a good gun and cartridge, & then Jesse, .John and I set out 
together with some more from Job Angells 6. Did march to 



152 HISTORIC GiLEANINGS. 

town and barrack in the Court House & so it goes. 7. As soon 
as light got up & see the Continentals march for Tivertown ; 
got some breakfast at Mr. Trips; very -warm — I went to the 
New Light meeting-house & got a canteen, and about twelve we 
set out for Tivertown ; marched through Pawtucket, into See- 
konk or Rehoboth, and did lie in a meadow on the side of a fence. 
8. Mustered about 3 or 3 o'clock, & marched into Swanzea & 
got a bowl of chocolate • and then over States Ferry into Free- 
town & ate dinner & very hot, & then over Fall River into Tiv- 
ertown & I encamped by side of a haystack. 9. Had bowl of 
chocolate & went to Parade & fixed our guns for business ; then 
rode over the ferry & landed upon Rhode Island ; formed & 
marched up to the Fort & laid down in the great chamber 10. 
French did engage the English batteries with their ships and 
cannonaded very smart for 3 hours, and Jesse & John went to 
the lines scouting at night. I went upon guard to the bridge & 
did sleep on the road." 

And that nig-lit came on that terrible Norther that 
drove the disabled French fleet far into the sea and 
blasted all the fruits of careful preparation — one of 
those fateful storms that again and again have 
changed the course of human history. Our jDoor 
Zeph gives his experience : 

"11. Jesse & John fixed a little wall to break the wind & we 
have nothing to eat hardly. 12. Knocked about & built a stone 
house and covered it with hay and it rained very hard & the 
house leaked so we thought we could not stand it ; went about 
a mile & got wet to the skiu and fouud a haystack & almost 
chilled to death we rolled off some hay & did lie by the stack & 



WINDHAM COUNTY AND PROVIDENCE. 153 

were almost dead in the morning. 13. Crept out & came to 
stone house, found John alive & after a while I got dry & had a 
boil on my eye & did feel very poorly ; our folks fixed up our 
barracks & got a little green corn & slept very well. 14. Got 
up and paraded & marched to the water & fired in platoons. 15. 
Not well, nor John either. All the brigades marched to the lines 
& we got our packs brought down & encamped in a huckleberry 
plain. I had a clean shirt and trousers & I felt very poorly ; 
blind with one eye & not any tents ; nor haint had but the Heav- 
ens to cover us. 17. Still very poorly ; ate nothing. In the 
late storm one or two died and several wei'e chilled so that many 
in our regiment are very unwell ; cloudy & foggy ever since we 
came upon the Island. 

19. A little firing on both sides. 20. They fire a little ; are 
all the time entrenching and building forts ; I wash my knap- 
sack & feel some better. 21. Set out upon fatigue down the 
lines ; had to dig in plain sight of the enemy ; the ground was 
but just broken when they began to fire upon us very bad but 
received no damage. 23. Enemy fired hot shells & we begun 
the breast work for the great mortar. Jesse & John & I worked 
till noon & placed the great mortar. 24. Constant firing. 25. 
All paraded and went to headquarters ; went three miles for 
rum. 26. Six or seven men killed ; an 18-pounder split all to 
pieces & a brass mortar. 27. Paraded ; took our cooking uten- 
sils & went to head-quarters & delivered them up, & marched 
through Portsmouth to Bristol Ferry & went on board a vessel 
& there was but little wind & that was wrong & we got along 
slowly & beat along almost to Conanicut Point & cast anchor and 
lay till light & then struck for Warwick Neck and landed and 
came along and got a good breakfast of wheat bread and milk 
and came through Pawtucket to Providence and Warwick into 
Smithfield to old Father Job Angells & got some victuals & I 



154: HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

feci very poorly. Camp Middleton, Aug. 18, 1788." "Dec. 30, 
was paid $69.00 for soldiering on Rhode Island." 

AYitli this service our friend's military service closes, 
but the coiitinned diary gives very realistic pictures 
of every-day life in this transition period. Zeph re- 
mains in the vicinity of Providence, picking- up work 
wherever it can be found, digging stone, laying wall, 
fiddling, and dancing. When work fails in the win- 
ter he and his brother tramp round the country like 
young troubadours, dressing flax at farmers' houses 
on shares, making brooms, splitting rails, and fid- 
dling. Again in Rhode Island in summer, working 
for Job Angell, Philip Sweet or Joseph Farman, run- 
ning a farm for John Jenks, Ac. Times are hard and 
the value of money fluctuating. He buys a scythe 
for $25.00, which he breaks in hanging ; gives =£59 48s 
for winter suit of coat, jacket, and breeches of light- 
colored cloth, and receives $81.00 for fiddling all 
night at John Smith's raisers' husking. Work is di- 
versified by frequent frolic and dances; have two fid- 
dles at some huskings, and drink without measure, 
for these were " high old times " in Rhode Island in 
spite of war and poverty. 

As years go on our hero takes more note of public 
aftairs. " March 6, 1781 Men gone to Newport for 
one month ; news of peace : Reformation in the 
camp ; Hear that fifteen tons of silver in French 
horn-pipes have come to Boston. March 14. Gen. 



WINDHAM COUNTY AND PROVIDENCE. 155 

Wasliiug'tou came into Providence from Newport. 
Sept. 14, 1782. This day died at Providence the Hon. 
Governor Cook (husband of our little Hannah Sa- 
bin.) March 31, 1783. A Hag from New York says 
P. E. A. C. E ; handbills say ' Peace ; ' April 25. A 
proclamation of Peace this day." 

Zeph takes to himself a Rhode Island wife and 
tries hard to gain a livelihood. "June 10, 1784. Buy 
fifteen dozen cakes and liquor for Ordination Went 
to North Providence for Ordination and sold liquor 
and cakes and they danced all night." He fiddles at 
huskings and dances, but profital)le work is hard to 
find. Times are still hard, and currency unsettled. 

" June 24, 1788. Great rejoicings to-day on account 
of a new Constitution being framed and sent out to 
see if it will be ratified by the people. July 4. A 
great feast at Providence, they roast a whole ox. 
There are two parties here Federalists and Anti-fed- 
eralists," and Zeph, a man of the people, sympathizes 
with the Anti party. 

Intercourse between Providence and Windham 
County becomes more lively with development of 
the new nation. " Thurber & Chandler " return from 
Pomfret to reopen their store near Major Thayer's 
tavern with its appropriate sign — " The Bunch of 
Grapes." Here they not only dispensed West India 
and New England rum, and French brandy on the 
most reasonable terms, but " woolen and cotton hand- 



156 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

cards " of their own manufacture. It would be im- 
possible to give anything like a complete list of the 
young men from Windham County now seeking work 
and business openings in Providence. And at the 
same date one of its leading merchants, Col. Wil- 
liam Russell, is establishing a potash manufactory in 
Woodstock — buying up land, constructing extensive 
works, experimenting upon " Hopkiu's Plan." 

In educational matters there was equal reciprocity. 

As during the war Plainfield academy had proved 
a boon and refuge to many a Providence youth, num- 
bering among its graduates such future celebrities as 
Nicholas Brown, Henry Wheaton, Wilkius Updike, 
so now Windham County in turn sent her sons to 
enjoy the privileges of Brown University. The first 
Windham County name that appears on her lists 
is William McClellan of Woodstock, 1782. Other 
W^indham County boys, graduating before 1800, are 
Wm. Wilkinson, Jacob Converse, James B. Masou, 
George Larnecl, Peleg Chandler, Joseph Eaton, Eras- 
tus Earned, Philip Hayward, Wm. H. Sabin, Alvin 
Underwood, Nathan F. Dixon, Judah McClellan, 
Lucius Bolles. Wm. Wilkinson while conducting a 
preparatory Latin school served as college librarian. 
Hon. Darius Sessions, John Mason, James B. Mason, 
Lucius Bolles, appear among the university trustees. 
A much respected citizen of Woodstock, Dea. Jesse 
Bolles, served faithfully as steward and registrar. 



WINDHAM COUNTY AND PROVIDENCE. l.")7 

The traditions of college life, as liaiuled clown by 
some of these early students, show full participation 
in the frolicsome spirit of the day. Everybody has 
heard how the president's cow was decoyed into the 
belfry, but how nearly the young-sters succeeded in 
hanging a negro boy after a mock trial is one of the 
stories that had better be left to Carlyle's " wise ob- 
livion." The standard of scholarship, as compared 
with that of later date, was extremely low\ 

Good fellowship and genial hospitality were char- 
acteristic traits of that period. The frolic element, 
so prominent in Zeph's circle, pervaded all classes. 
Between the families who had removed from Provi- 
dence and their town relatives, between new comers 
and country cousins left behind, were continuoiis 
social interchanges. Pomfret, Avith its historic 
"Pucker Street," became an early place of resort 
for Providence aristocracy, its Episcopal church and 
fashionable assemblies giving tone to its society. A 
future governor of Rhode Island, Nehemiah Knight, 
residing for a time as business agent at the Quine- 
baug Falls — now in Putnam — was extremely popular 
among the country belles, and is accredited with the 
honor of instituting the picnic in Windham County, 
and also of providing a place for it, laying out a walk 
on the tongue of land between the Quinebaug and 
Mill rivers, under the fanciful name of La Solitaire. 

With all this skurrying to and fro, on horseback 

14 



158 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

or Avith cart and cliaise, the roads, according to Dr. 
Dwight, were in a very unsatisfactory condition, due 
to the unconquerable spirit of its inhabitants, who. 
insisted that free-born Rhode Islanders ought never 
to submit to the tyranny of compulsory church rates 
or turnpike fare. The sum grudgingly alloAved by 
legislature only sufficed to keep the road repaired 
in the vicinity of Providence. But the law of pro- 
gress asserted itself in time and by 1805 roads were 
completed connecting with a number of turnpikes 
established in Windham County, and "free-born 
Rhode Islanders," says President Dwight, " bowed 
their necks to the slavery of traveling on a good 
road." The Providence and Springfield Turnpike 
passed over Thompson Hill. Another in the south 
part of Thompson ran through Woodstock and Ash- 
ford to Somers, on the north line of Connecticut. 
Still another crossed over Killingiy Hill to Pomfret. 
A very important thoroughfare — constructed by the 
Connecticut and Rhode Island Turnpike Company — 
passed throiigh Killingiy and Brooklyn, connecting 
with Boston and New York Turnpike. And the old 
road through Sterling and Plainfield was managed 
by another turnpike company. 

Windham County could not have carried through 
all this road-making but for the simultaneous de- 
velopment of manufacturing interests. A wonderful 
spirit of enterprise dawned with the new century. 



WINDHAM COUNTY AND PROVIDENCE. l.VJ 

Little Pthody led tlie race in manufactures, but her 
energ"y and capital surpassed the extent of her terri- 
tory. The fraternal intercourse with Windham County 
was now turned to good account, and Windham's 
convenient mill-privileges were quickly appropriated 
by Providence capitalists. The second cotton factory 
by date in Connecticut, and the first in character and 
influence, was the well-known Pomfret Factory, with 
Smith AVilkinson for manager. Other privileges 
were secured in Killingly, Plainfield, Sterling, Thomp- 
son, and later at Willimantic. The list of Windham 
County factory owners includes many of the promi- 
nent business men of Providence. Reciprocal bene- 
fits resulted from these interchanges. The stimulus 
to energy and invention, the demand for labor and 
farm produce, the remuneration oftered to men, 
women, and children brought new life to the country 
town. Laboring men with large families hastened 
to avail themselves of this business opening. Chil- 
dren rejoiced to tend the shining machines and pro- 
nounced them " the prettiest things in the Avorld." 
And as all that Avas done in the mills in those days 
was to spin yarn to be woven on hand looms, this 
opportunity to earn money for themselves was eagerly 
welcomed by thousands of country women, uncon- 
sciously taking the first step in wonum's emancipation 
in receiving personal pay for their own labor. Wives 
and daughters of merchants, lawyers, as well as of 



160 HISTORIC GLEANINGS, 

well-to-do farmers, did not disdain to enter tlieir 
looms to weave cloth for Pomfret Factory. 

This grateful boon happily coincided with new de- 
mands for money. Missionary movements were in 
the air and many benevolent societies were in pro- 
cess of evolution. A brilliant daughter of Provi- 
dence, Martha Whitman — ^wife of William H. Mason 
of Thompson — took the lead in organizing a " United 
Female Tract Society of Killingly and Thompson," 
borrowing for a model a very elaborate constitution 
just adopted by the pioneer " Female Tract Society 
of Providence." 

The stewardship of Brown University passed from 
Dea. Bolles to another son of Windham County, 
Joseph Gady of Killingly. As the chief office of the 
steward of that date was to furnish the commons 
table for a crowd of hungry students, it is said that 
Mr. Cady owed his election to office to the excellence 
of his wife's cooking, as tested through their expe- 
rience in keeping tavern on Pomfret Street. The 
scale of prices is worth recording, in contrast to pres- 
ent charges — for lodging, six cents a night ; meals, 
super-excellent, twelve cents each. Mrs. Cady's rep- 
utation for good cookery was fully sustained at Provi- 
dence, though it was hinted that her husband was 
more successful in catering than in discipline. His 
successor in office — another Windham County man, 
Mr. Lemuel Elliott of Thompson — combined every 



WINDHAM COUNTY AND PROVIDENCE. Kil 

essential quality, and is still held in honor as the 
model steward of Brown University. Here again 
the wife (of course a Windham County girl) comes 
to the front, the superior quality of her apjjle-pies, 
as reported b}^ an experienced critic, Mr. Amasa 
Mason, securing- the favor of the trustees. The wis- 
dom of their choice was abundantly justified. The 
departments of finance, cookery, and discipline were 
equally well administered. Mr. Elliott sat in state 
at the head of the ample board — a true " Autocrat of 
the Breakfast Table " — one tap of his carving knife 
usually preserving order. But if any youth indulged 
in immoderate efi"ervescence the autocrat's strong 
grasp quickly set him outside the window. The 
savor of the Suuday morning breakfast of cod-fish 
cakes and raised biscuit, long lingered in the mem- 
ory of Brown graduates. Mr. Elliott's term of ser- 
vice was prolonged from 1826 to 1864 — during which 
period he was held in high esteem by students, fac- 
ulty and general public. Windham may well take 
pride in the somewhat remarkable fact that for more 
than sixty years this important office was held by 
natives of our county. 

The turnpikes, so opportunely opened, facilitated 
the needful interchange of cotton and store goods in 
the manufacturing era, and stage lines accommodated 
roads and factories. These were the golden days of 
the historic stage-coach, that delightful institution 



162 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

whicli some of us still tenderly remember. Punctual 
as the sun, at 9 o'clock in the morning- the Provi- 
dence stage cheered my youthful vision, soon to be 
folloAved by two enormous loads of cotton-bales, 
each drawn by four stalwart horses. Four stages 
passed daily over Thompson Hill, and at least the 
same number over the Killing-ly and Plainfield routes. 
Jolly tavern stands, at stated intervals, supplied all 
needful entertainment for man and beast, and no 
ascetic temperance legislation restrained the flow 
of liquor. The barrel of beer was always on tap, 
and the poker kept red-hot for flip-making-. Could 
anything have been pleasanter than a first visit to 
Providence in one of these stage-coaches! The 
ruddy, genial driver, John Wilkinson, perhaps, or 
some kindred worthy, receiving you into his care 
with paternal interest. What opportunity the long 
drive afforded for friendship, flirtation and political 
discussion. Perhaps some magnate boarded the 
coach, Smith Wilkinson or Sampson Almy, to be 
remembered through a life-time. What family histo- 
ries were made known to us as we jolted along. 
Here was a j^outli with his bundle, receiving his 
mother's parting counsel as he went out into the 
world, or a brisk young girl alights, all ribbons and 
finery, flush with her first earnings in the factory. 
And then the bimdles, messages, reproaches, picked 
up along the way. We seem admitted into the pvi- 



WINDHAM COUNTY AND PROVIDENCE. 1(31) 

vate histoiy of every family on the road. Short 
seems the iive or six hours' journey as we rattle over 
the pavement of Weybosset and Westminster — and 
our country eyes open widely at the array of stores, 
the throng's of well-dressed people, and all the won- 
ders of the city. The Arcade especially excites our 
Avondering" admiration, and we marvel at the pre- 
sumption of our country villages in attempting* to 
pattern that magnificent structure. 

This manufacturing and stage-coach era was one 
of steady growth and healthy development. Provi- 
dence was transformed from a provincial town to a 
flourishing city ; the Windham County towns made 
very solid gains in population and equipment. Some 
of Rhode Island's peculiar institutions were trans- 
planted to her neighbor's territ ory, viz. : two Quaker 
meetings and meeting-houses, and a Quaker board- 
ing-school. And while Providence boys were avail- 
ing themselves of the privileges of Plainfield Acad- 
emy and Black Hill Boarding-school, a Providence 
mother removed to Pomfret — Mrs. Mary A^inton — 
Avas training her own l)oys for positions of high 
honor and usefulness in army, church, and state. 
Windham County boys were more and more drawn 
to Brown University. Among the bright lights sent 
by her to Providence during this period were Abra- 
ham Payne, of Canterbury, who won a high place at 
the bar, and George W. Danielsou, of Killingly, 



104 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

editor of The Providence Journal. The number of 
Windham County men engaging- in business and en- 
rolled among her honorable merchants is quite be- 
yond our estimate, while to keep the balance, Watson, 
Tingley, Nightingale, and Morse were added to the 
list of Windham County manufacturers. 

A notable feature of the closing years of the turn- 
pike era was the bridal processions gaily wending 
their way to W^iudham County. Connecticut, for once 
less rigid than Rhode Island, tied the nuptial knot 
after one legal publishment of marriage intentions. 

Three successive Sundays, or at least fifteen days' 
notice was required by the sterner law of Rhode 
Island. Thom]DSon, just over the line, was especially 
favored by these votaries of Hymen or " Weddingers," 
as they were commonly called. For a time these 
ceremonies were performed Sunday intermission by 
the ministers, who read the brief publishment of 
marriage intentions at the morning service, but the 
number of hymeneal visitors became so great, and 
the consequent Sabbath-breaking so alarming, that 
they resigned the hicrative ofiice to Capt. Stiles, the 
veteran tavern-keeper — who was made justice for this 
especial service. A man of commanding presence, 
with a melodious voice and very impressive manner, 
he performed the ceremony with remarkable grace 
and unction. Many a Rhode Island family dates its 
genesis from the old Stiles Tavern of Thompson. An 



WINDHAM COUNTY AND PROVIDENCE. 165 

occasional runaway with irate father in hot pursuit 
added to the interest of these matrimonial visitations, 
which made Thompson and its landlord almost rival 
Gretna Green and its blacksmith. 

In striking- contrast to these blissful cavalcades 
was the band of wearied fugitives who appeared on 
Thompson Hill one June morning- in 184:3 — the flying- 
remnant of Dorr's disbanded army — crushed by the 
ruthless hand of " Law and Order." That any per- 
manent result should follow this invasion curiously 
illustrates the beneficial tendency of Providence and 
Windham County intercourse. Accompanying or 
following- the main body was one of the leaders of 
the rebellion — Aaron White — a lawyer of g-ood stand- 
ing- and more than average ability. Anchoring at 
the " Old Barnes Tavern," just on the line between 
Connecticut and Massachusetts, he decided to make 
his home in that vicinity, and as one dead to his 
former life he proceeded at once to select a burial 
spot and compose a Latin epitaph, Avliich thus trans- 
lated he ordered inscribed upon his grave stone : 

" In memory of Aaron, son of Aaron and 
Mary White, born Oct. 18, 1798, 
Here driven into exile 
Wliile defending tlie rights of man, 
I found Hospitality and Love, 
A Home and a Sepulchre." 

Li his subsequent life, prolonged over forty years, 



16(5 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

Esquire White practiced law as occasion offered, and 
amused himself Avith the study and collection of 
coins, leaving- at his decease four and a half tons of 
pennies which were valued at some $8,000. He left, 
by will, to the treasurers of the eight counties of 
Connecticut a thousand dollars each as a trust fund 
" for the procurement and maintenance of County 
Bar Libraries in their several County Court Houses, 
for the sole use of the judges and clerks of the Courts 
therein, members of the Bar and their students." It 
is certainly a very remarkable occurrence that a fugi- 
tive from the laws of one State should confer so 
great a benelit upon the law expounders and admin- 
istrators of a sister commonwealth. 

We have thus traced the intercourse between Provi- 
dence and Windham County in all its varying phases 
— by Indian trail and " trod out " path, by bridle path 
and cart path, by turnpike and stage-coach, to the 
beginning of our own era. Great are the changes 
wrought in this last half-century. Old times have 
passed and all things have become new. One puff 
of the steam-engine blew down our turnpike gates. 
Railroad train and bicycle have displaced the stage- 
coach, and coming electrics cast shadows before. 

Yet, as amid all the changes of the past these sec- 
tions maintained such jileasant and helpful inter- 
course, even so under present dispensations. That 
artificial, almost invisible, boundary line which sets 



WINDHAM COUNTY AND PROVIDENCE. IGT 

them in different governnients has never impaired 
tlie interchange of friendly feeling and kindly offices. 
History they say is prone to repeat itself. As in 
the very first beginnings of historic tradition we saw 
onr Nipmnck residents rejiairing to Narragansett 
shores for a shell-fish treat, so now our Windham 
people flock to the Bay for clam-bake and shore din- 
ner. And our Narragansett friends come in even 
greater numbers to Windham County towns to find 
— not lamprey eels alone — but her pure air, her 
breezy hills, healthy and wholesome social influences. 



YI. 

A LIFE'S RECORD. 

1777-1843. 

Better than tradition, better than fact received 
from ordinary historic sonrces, is the contempo- 
raneous record, the living- word, jotted down at the 
occurrence of what it depictures. Hawthorne tells 
us that even old newspapers and almanacs are " bits 
of magic looking-glass, with the image of the van- 
ished century in them." And still more vividly real- 
istic is the family letter, the daily self-revealing jour- 
nal, bringing us into living, personal relations with 
human beings long passed from earth. Fortunately 
for the world this custom of diary-keeping was very 
much in vogue before the development of the per- 
sonal element in newspapers, and has contributed 
most essentially to our right understanding of many 
facts connected with the early history of New 
England colonies. Our indebtedness to Winthrop, 
Mather, Sewall, and other chroniclers is gratefully 
acknowledged. Many private, personal diaries are 
constantly coming to light, giving us new insight 
into political, military, ministerial, and secular affairs. 



A life's kecokd. 1('>!> 

Some of them are from men of liig-li official position. 
Ministers and colleg-e students were especially ad- 
dicted to this exercise, and many phases of colonial 
and early national life are thus brought to intimate 
knowledge. 

The journal on which this " life record " is founded 
is from a humbler source, a farmer's son with very 
limited advantages, and might be said to represent 
the daily life of an average Connecticut citizen dur- 
ing the period. It Avas kept by the same young fel- 
low who gave us pictures of the Rhode Island cam- 
paign of 1778. He began it the previous year when 
ambling back to camp after a furlough, and contin- 
ued it till near the close of his long life. Jotting 
from day to day the doings and happenings that 
came to pass, he gives us not only his own life's ex- 
perience, l)ut a fair transcript of the growth and de- 
velopment of the nation in whose birth he had borne 
a part. A musty pile of 3^ellow foolscap, tattered ci- 
phering and account books, tells the long story. 
Let us see what we can glean from it. 

Dec. 3. 1777. We see a stout lad of eighteen rid- 
ing leisurely over the hills of Windham County, on 
his way back to Danbury. Brothers John and Jesse 
enlisted into the regular State regiments and served 
their quota. Our Zeph, with a little more snap, or 
spring, or wilfulness, elects a different service. He 
has not very pronounced ideas about the true in- 



170 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

wardness of the war that is in progress, but he Hkes 
to be about "bosses," and appreciates the fun of 
hunting Tories, and so he strayed down to Fairtield 
County and enHsted as a teamster. He has already 
spent six months guarding; and carting Government 
stores, and now returns to duty after a brief furlough. 
It takes four days to reach his destination. First 
night— "Put up at a very good tavern in Coventry." 

Slowly surmounting the Bolton Ridges he spends 
the second night at " old Captain Coles " in Farming- 
ton. On in the rain through Washington to one 
John Clemmons in Litchtield. 

" 6. Through New Milford and Newbury and got 
to Danbury about dusk." 

Work begins next day, care of oxen and horses, 
and foraging for supplies. Danbury was one of the 
most important store-houses maintained by the Con- 
tinental Army. The previous April through the 
great " Tryon raid " it had sustained a terrible loss, 
eight hundred barrels each of beef, pork, and flour. 
Seventeen hundred tents, all burned and wasted. 
Now they were struggling to replace these stores and 
our Zeph drives all over the country with cart and 
oxen — goes to Bethel, Stamford, Norwalk— " Stays at 
a bad place. The man was clever but had a devil for 
a wife." "Dec. 21. Went over a dreadful bad mount- 
ain into Duchess County to Col. Vandeboro's, and 
loaded seven barrels of flour : went for hay to Joseph 



A life's record. Ill 

Hauford's farm — a Toiy that lias gone to the Eegu- 

1)) 
ars. 

It is all work and no play for our country lad. He 
complains of poor living- ; has no cook and no time 
to cook for himself ; no bed to sleep in, no letters 
from home. How little this poor little teamster 
realizes the sig-nificance of what he is doing"? How 
little he knows of what is passing-? There is Putnam 
and his Connecticut regiments right over against 
them in the Highlands ; Washington and his hungry 
soldiers at Valley Forge ; Congress vainly striving to 
meet the situation ; State Legislatures and Corre- 
sponding Committees at their wit's end for men and 
munitions, and our poor home-sick Zeph sees nothing 
but his small trials. Even Thanksgiving day " brings 
no rest." 

Jan. 1, 1788. Prospects brighter. We get a cook 
and fare better. " Pecks folks are diabolical Tories 
but Mother Peck baked rye and injuu bread for us 
Continentals and gave us a good New Years supper, 
rice pudding and baked beef — but the brandy is 
almost gone and what s/mll we do ?" Feb. 2. Saw 
two of his neighbors and heard from home ; first 
time since leaving it. A visit to Fairfield was another 
treat, for there he saw his brothers and " got a good 
dinner of scallops, pork-sides and bread." " Bought 
twelve sheets of paper and an almanac for a dollar : 
saw a lady with a roll upon her head seven inches 



172 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

high. It looked big enough for a horse and had 
wool enough in it for a pair of stockings." 

At the close of the year, Zeph made over his oxen 
and rejoiced in freedom. "Nobody shall say when 
I shall drive team." He takes a job of flax-dressing 
upon shares ; had good cider and a bed to sleep on. 
Spring comes on early ; snipes whistle, frogs peep, but 
his year's pay is withheld, and then work fails him. 
He sells his horse for eight dollars, and that is soon 
eaten. Home-sickness sets in. He sees blue-birds, 
robins, black-birds, and tries " to fly home " after 
them like a foolish boy. Then he swallows his pride 
and goes back to teaming — "pities Continental oxen." 
A harder trial awaits him ; his trousers give out. He 
could get no cloth for new ones or for patching. 
"My breeches, O my breeches," he bewails, and 
flually is reduced " to put on a petticoat." Among 
all the privations endured by Revolutionary soldiers, 
this was the most humiliating. And just at this time 
Capt. Hoyt's house is burnt down, and Zeph's knap- 
sack is consumed with all his worldly goods, viz. — 
two canteens, one inkhorn and box of wafers, one 
gimlet, one pair shoes, one case bottle of "West 
India rum, forty-nine pounds flax, one frock. 

" April 22. Fast throughout Continental Army ; 
did no work & drew butter for the whole month, eat 
victuals now at the school house and lie at Major 
Gailors on a feather bed. Take care of sixteen horses. 



A life's record. 173 

25. Boviglit cloth for breeches. Gay ! Straddled 
two horses at once and run them till I fell through 
and hurt myself. 29. O, I hant got no breeches yet 
but today boiled or washed cloth to make some " and 
next day the}' were made and donned. 

Various diversions were now practicable, such as 
raiding houses and mills for suspected Tories — and 
at the end of three months Zepli received wages 
and discharge, and gladly started homeward with a 
fellow freedman — "Through Woodbury and Water- 
bury, over the mountain through Southington to 
Farmington, Hartford, Bolton, Coventry, Ashford." 
Reached home at sun two hours high, a pleasant 
tramp in the freshness of youth and June. 

Four days at home, one spent in "training at the 
meeting-house," and our restless youth sets o^^t for 
Providence with his lu'others. There are younger 
boys to help the old folks carry on the Bleakridge 
farm, and the older ones must work their own way in 
the world. Zeph finds work at low wages till drafted 
for military service. For these are stirring times. 
With the French fleet outside the Bar, and La Fay- 
ette and Green in counsel with Sullivan, and all the 
regiments that can be mustered in, and companies of 
militia, hurrying to Rhode Island for a desperate 
effort to drive away the British, these stout young 
fellows must do their part. Zeph's hard experience 
has been already given. 



174 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

A few days' rest at home followed the campaign, 
when he called upon " the girls " and once more 
" went to meeting in the meeting-house," and then 
Zeph resumed work in the vicinity of Providence, 
digging stones, laying wall, &c. Home at Thanks- 
giving time when a dance was on hand. He hears 
of the death of one of the expected company — 
" Benoni Smith — the ground caved in while he was 
digging out above, and next day the jury sat upon 
him and there was a dance that night and I went, 
which at the time I did not think it was a fit season ; 
funeral next day." 

Zeph did other things in those irrepressible days 
discreetly veiled from prying eyes in undecypherable 
hieroglyphics, for work was scarce and Satan pro- 
portionately active. Fiddling and flax-dressing were 
resources in the winter, when he and brother John 
tramped about Connecticut, and found a job far over 
in Cheshire — where they lived well and had plenty of 
cider and good company. On good days they could 
dress as high as fifty-two pounds — half of which was 
their own — and on bad days cut rails and make 
brooms with true Yankee faculty. 

Again in '79 they seek work and fortune in Smith- 
field. Times are hard and currency all " out of joint." 
Zeph gives fifty-five dollars for a ready-made linen 
shirt, and pays for other needfuls in proportion. The 
winter following Avas emphatically the Amrl one when 



A life's record. 175 

sickness and suffering- prevailed alike at camp and at 
home. Walking- home in January, 1780, Zeph is 
caught in the great snow-storm, struggles through 
waist-deep to a farm-house, where he spends the 
night. Next day by carrying a bushel of corn two 
miles to mill on his shoulders, he purchases a pair 
" of wooden shoes or rackets," which did good service 
through the snowy winter. Towards spring, on snow- 
shoes, he again sought for flax-dressing, but luck and 
work now failed him. 

Resuming wall laying in Smithfield he records a 
strange phenomenon : 

"May 19, 1780. Now let not this day be forgot. 
In the morning it was cloudy and we laid a little wall, 
wind southwest. About ten o'clock it looked darker 
and I expected it would rain and it g-rew darker and 
darker. We worked at the wall till we could not see 
to range ten rods right. We went into the house and 
it was about twelve. The fire shined like night. 
They light a candle to eat dinner. The air or clouds 
look like brass, yellow, and things too I reckon. 
20. Last night was as much darker than usual as the 
day but I saw it not : was asleep." 

Zeph's interest in meteorological observation was 
quite in advance of his generation. With keen eye 
he notes the changes of the weather, the direction of 
the wind, the coming and going of birds, the putting 
forth of buds. " Sept, 25, 1780. I see a star plain as 



170 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

the sun right over head at mid-day." He sees it day- 
after day. " It rises some time before day very large 
aud bright." 

Star-gazing in those days alternates with sky -lark- 
ing. Zeph is in great demand for frolics and husk- 
ings, and handles the fiddle-bow as deftly as the 
erow-bar. Still the hieroglyphics continue and mul- 
tiply, hinting at some feminine complication. In 
frequent visits at Bleakridge they become more vo- 
ciferous. The course of true love is not running 
smoothly. Finally a crisis is reached and Zeph 
breaks out into open lamentations. He waits upon 
somebody to a ball but is almost crazy. He can't eat 
nor sleep and don't know what to do with himself. 

'■ Talks of loupiug o'er u lyuu." 

Other youth have survived similar mischances. 
Zeph raves and tears in prescribed fashion, and then 
takes himself back to work in Rhode Island ; has his 
*' hair braided the new braid" and starts anew. 

Business and public doings now receive more at- 
tention. Zeph and brother John hire a farm and 
carry it on together, with pretty sister Mary for 
housekeeper. Men go to Newport for a month, and 
Gen. Washington passes through Providence and 
we try hard to get a peep at him. Still the times are 
no better, hard work and poor pay is the cry. " I 
pay sixty dollars for an ink-horn, also buy a sailor 
jacket for self and a red broad-cloth cloak for sister 



A life's record. 177 

Mary." lu spite of hard times the young- folks have 
a merry season. "Who can say that former days 
were better than the present ?" What a state of so- 
ciety is depicted in these yellow pag-es. What frol- 
icking-, and junketing, and promiscuous intercourse 
nmong these young people. How many children 
came into the world Avithout, or quickly following, 
marriage of parents. Statistical Zepli apparently 
chuckles over these unseemly entries. " A liab}' laid 
to such a fellow," is no rarity in these pages. 

After two years' hard work the farm is given up 
and wall-laying resumed, Avith intervals of haying 
and husking. Peace was proclaimed April, 1783, and 
we are hoping for better times — " When an honest 
man can live by the sweat of his broAv, Sir." 

Hieroglyphics appear again in which L. B. con- 
spicuously figures^" L. B. and I rode doAvn to 
Brown's farm and did eat and drink — watermelons 
plenty." And then comes the crowning entry. 

" Oct. 14, 1783. Finished Farnam's Avail ; had Jon- 
athan Angel's horse and rode home ; then took 
George Streeter's horse and L. B. and rode to Elder 
Mitchell's in the evening, and about 9 o'clock Ave 
M'ere married and so Ave rode back again, and two 
better beasts than Ave rode are seldom to be found, 
Sir, your most obedient. And Elder Mitchell Avas 85 
years old. Oct. 15. Eode to Angels and Streeters 
and dug stone." Next month the young- couple get 



ITS HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

thing's together for housekeeping, and ride to Con- 
necticut to keep Thanksgiving with old Father 
Jacob, and appear out at church in Priest Russell's 
meeting-house, and Zeph's fiddle is brought into 
exercise. 

And now, with wife and family to support, our 
Zeph is busier than ever. He tries various schemes, 
Yankee fashion ; sjieculates in poultry ; works " at 
slaughtering ; " runs a meat-cart ; sells liquor and 
cakes at North Providence ordination, and then falls 
back upon wall-laying. Husks and fiddles all night 
through the autumn. Hires "two rooms up stairs 
and one bed-room, half garret, needful cellar-room " 
for twelve silver dollars rentage. But times are hard 
and even this low rent is paid with difficulty. Chil- 
dren come on apace. A cradle is one of the first ar- 
ticles of furniture, and a "little lad" is soon trotting 
round and tumbling down stairs. Then comes an- 
other boy, and last " our daughter Dolly." 

And now come several hard years for our journal- 
ist. He finds that life is something more than a 
frolic. He works hard in various ways but can hardly 
make a living. There is the same cry all through the 
States, and men are flocking to the new countries. 
Twice our Zeph breaks away, axe in hand — the first 
time for Whitestown on the Mohawk, and is sent 
back by a rumor of small-pox. Again the next year, 
1787, he trudges up to the Berkshire Hills ; visits old 



A life's record. 17U 

Uncle Gideon ; looks round ; but his heart fails him 
and he sneaks back home — "a long journey and no 
profit to anybody, but 'tis past and cannot be re- 
called." Dec. 27, pays his taxes ; owes fifteen shil- 
ling's and has nothing- in the world but his head and 
a cow. Gets very little work through the winter : 
neig-hbors sicken and die and there is " no one to 
assist in trouble." " A child found on Mowry's farm 
supposed to have been murdered." The fiddle is sold 
and frolicking comes to an end. 

But there are brighter days in store for the young 
Republic. Willing and skillful hands will not always 
labor for a mere pittance. Those straggling, strug- 
gling, debt-burdened infant States are to be bound 
together into a compact Nation with central govern- 
ment and financial basis. Little Rhody, with all her 
intense individualism and assertion of State rights, 
has to submit to manifest destiny and overwhelming 
public opinion. Zeph chronicles the rejoicings " on 
account of the new constitution being framed and 
sent out," and the barbecue July 4, 1788, when " they 
roast a whole ox," but his sympathies are with the 
" Governor and Gen. West who are anti-federalists " 
— and anti-federal ideas stick to him through life. 

With renewed hope he hires another farm this same 
spring, with two oxen, ten sheep, six cows ; but after 
two years has to borrow money to square up accounts 
with his landlord. Perhaps the good condition of 



ISO HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

the family, as set clown by statistical Zepli, March, 
1790, has something- to do with this failure. They 
must have consumed much store of Rhode Island 
pork and white corn meal. Zeph weighs two hundred 
pounds ; Mrs. Zeph, one hundred and ninety ; Pri- 
mus, seventy-nine ; Jack, seventy-three ; Dolly, sixty- 
seven. 

After many failures and vexations he hires a large 
farm at halves and pitches into work more vigorously 
than ever. He has sixteen cows, four oxen, and other 
stock in proportion ; hires two stout boys for six 
months for $38 each. Wife and children help in pick- 
ing up aijples and other fruit, with one hundred and 
twenty barrels of cider and forty-six barrels of beer 
as the result of their labor. There is no hint of 
church-going and Sabbath-keeping, but the children 
go to school and are supplied with the new spelling- 
book — "Webster make," and busy Zeph manages to 
get time " to hear the scholars say their pieces." 
Fourteen men help about the fall husking, and six 
hogs are dressed, weighing 1,787 pounds. Free- 
handed Zeph pays his help forty shillings more than 
the bargain in return " for eight months faithful ser- 
vice." " Rafting thatch " for some of his buildings, 
Zeph has a narrow escape : loses his footing, goes 
down under the water, and sticks fast in the mud. 
Two men, clutching him by the arm, are not able to 
stir him till others pried him out \\dth a haj^pole. " I 



A life's kecokd. 181 

did breathe three times while under the water," but 
got home alive, " thanks be to Clod," and we rejoice 
in this ejaculation. 

" Work, work, work," goes on with unabated vigor. 
Another great crop of apples is transmuted into beer 
and cider ; and cheese, butter, and pork, turned out 
in heavy liulk. But with all this labor there is little 
real profit. The great fruit farm, so near to Provi- 
dence, draws a superabundance of company. Mar- 
ried sons and daughters of the owner flock thither 
in and out of season, and the house is filled with 
company and confusion. The children fall ill from 
lack of care and accommodations, and Zepli and his 
wife tire of their hard bargain. 

And now old Father Jacob comes to the rescue. 
Doubtless his faithfiil old heart had long yearned 
over his Rhode Island prodigal, and now he opens 
home and farm to him. The other children are out 
in the world, and a place is ready for him — " Come 
back to the good land of yellow corn and steady 
habits, come back to church -going and town-meet- 
ing, come back from Egypt to Canaan ! " and Zepli 
has sense enough to heed the call. 

" April 1, 1796. Sat up all night and wife too, to 
fix things to move." He went out alone with his fid- 
dle-boAv, and came liack with a goodly caravan — wife, 
three children, household goods, and a small herd of 
cattle. Yet after years of hard toil he left debts be- 



182 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

hind him, and confides to his journal that he owned 
nothing- but a small stock of furniture. 

With old-time versatility Zeph adapts himself to 
the situation, attends town-meetings, school-meet- 
ings, trainings, ordinations, and funerals. For meet- 
ing-going he has lost his relish, and the Rhode Is- 
land wife " cares for none of these things." His 
energy finds outlet beyond the narrow farm routine ; 
he picks up ashes and experiments in potash-making, 
hires a saw-mill and gets out boards. With hard 
work he achieves 844 pounds of potash, which he 
carts to Providence and ships to New York, receiv- 
ing ninety dollars cash in return. Another venture 
brought him an hundred dollars. Yes, our Zeph is 
getting on at last and settling down into an order- 
loving, Connecticut citizen, with a little more snap 
to him than common. Soon he is made " school 
committee-man " for his district, and " went to Taun- 
ton and hired a schoolmaster for four months for 
forty-one dollars." Then, too, his politics are in his 
favor. These Bleakridge farmers sniff at the stiff- 
necked orthodoxy of the old Federal leaders, and 
welcome the new Jeffersonian doctrines as expounded 
by our breezy Zeph, and he leads the small minority 
that cast their votes for Thomas Jefferson. 

He goes to Oxford to attend " the Artifillians Fu- 
neral," observed in honor of Gen. Washington, " that 
worthy general, who died December 14, 1799." Again 



A life's record. 18:3 

au(l again lie rides to Oxford to hear the noted Uni- 
versalist, Hosea Ballon, whose preaching- suits him 
better than that of the plain-speaking Baptists and 
Methodists who are active in his neighborhood. More 
deaths than births are now recorded ; more funerals 
than weddings. Those old Bleakridge settlers are 
dropping oif. Uncle Bijali " fell into the fire and 
died when there was no one in the room." Ten 
years later his aged widow found dead on the ground 
two rods from the house — all right the night pre- 
vious ; " got up and dressed and took her pail and staff 
and went out to the well ; slipt down, no one hearing 
her, and she perished in the cold snow and rain." 

In spite of these inevitable shadows it is a happy- 
time at the Breakridge farm. The old people are 
easy-going and cheerful, and the young folks merry 
and thriving. They go to school and church and 
singing-school, and have young company. The boys 
are getting helpful at farm-work. Dolly has grown 
up tall and comely — " A right smart girl," the neigh- 
bors say, "her father over again." "May 11, 1801. 
Dolly ketcht cold by wading in the river ; has pain in 
her side," and herb-drink does not seem to help her. 
Spring work is driving, but this illness is more than 
all. Early in June she is attacked with violent pain 
in her head — is light-headed and full of jiain. Doctors 
are called from far and near. Wise old Dr. Eaton 
from Dudley ; famous Dr. Hubbard from Pomfret 



184 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

eacli with bis saddle-bags and train of " apprentices." 
Dr. Hubbard stays six hours with her but there is no 
relief. It is the height of the busy season ; haying 
is coming on ; the potash kettle breaks in the melt- 
ing ; hail-stones fall as large as an ounce ball ; l)ut 
what are these things compared with Dolly's sick- 
ness ? "I stay in the house all day and only turn 
some hay : wife and I sit up all night. Dolly grows 
weaker and has no sense at all — a sorrowful spectacle 
to behold." "Julyl. Very hot. Dolly grew weaker 
every hour. I was up twice before 3 o'clock and then 
O lamentable, at half past four July 2, the breath 
left the body of our daughter Dolly. This morn 
makes twenty-one days and nights that this poor girl 
has had such an extreme pain in her head and a fever 
almost burnt up. The Doctor calls it the Phrenitus 
and then the Pubmatick fever. 3. Elder C. did 
preach and the funeral attended this afternoon." 

Work is resumed next day, hoeing and mowing. 
Poor Zeph sees Dolly in his dreams ; holds her in his 
arms, "looking just as she did when a baby," and 
then the name drops out from daily record. Primus 
goes to high school in Dudley for a term and then 
keeps school himself. Jack, our youngest boy, starts 
out in the world to work on the Boston turnpike. 

" May 8, 1802. Snowed all the afternoon. 9. Froze 
hard enough to bear a horse ; cold and dry ; no 
grass." Zeph and his wife drive on with work all 



A life's record. 185 

the same, and watch with their sick neighbors, for it 
is a sickly season, dysentery prevailing", and many 
die. Jack comes home from his summer's work 
hearty and rugged, with a hundred dollars for his 
father, besides what he keeps for himself. Zeph sets 
out apple trees, improves his farm and helps on pub- 
lic occasions ; takes both his boys to help raise a 
frame for the new Baptist meeting-house, where a 
hundred men gather, and they have dinner, supper, 
and liquor enough for all. Trainings are com- 
mon, too, where liquor flows in abundance. There 
is a " General Training" at Woodstock — a great pa- 
rade, ending in much confusion. The day being hot 
" many did near faint. Very dark night, with thun- 
der and lightning ; many rode off the road ; fell off 
and got hurt ; horses could not see." Fortunately 
for Zeph " rum was most poisinous to him for some 
years," and he quit drinking. 

Politics are very lively at the time of Jefferson's 
re-election, and Zeph proudly reports " sixteen Re- 
publican votes," with larger gains in prospect. Bap- 
tists and Methodists are coming out against the old 
Federalists and Standing Order. In 1806 Zeph is 
very active in carrying through a great Republican 
Fourth of July celebration at the Centre. He helps 
build a bower, arranges toasts, provides musicians. 
A flaming Methodist leads in prayer, and a fervent 
Baptist elder delivers the oration. Federals and 



186 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

orthodox look gkim enoug-li at the parade, while 
Zeph goes home in triumph and reports ninety-six 
Republican votes at the next election. 

Other public matters claim attention — " a new road 
to be laid over Bleakridge ; schools to be looked 
after." Zeph hires a school-ma'am to keep school 
three months for five shillings a week, while Primus 
gets twelve dollars a month for his services. Here 
are some medical prescriptions for colds and swollen 
face — " a sirup of dogwood, marshmallow, barberry, 
tansy and wormwood boiled ^\ith rum and molasses 
— Substitute red-briar for dogwood and barberry and 
boil in spring water that runs to the north." Some- 
time during these years Primus marries, somewhat 
against the approval of the parents, and " has a 
daughter without much clatter," and Jack slips off 
to live with his Uncle Abel. 

As the family lessens, work and business increase. 
There is progress in the air. The life and stir of the 
new century and repiiblic are reaching this remote 
corner. The " factory " has come to stay. Great 
mills for working up cotton are going up within a 
few miles. Zeph hires a saw-mill to get out boards 
for the buildings. Scarcely has he begun work when 
he is caught in a freshet. "June 14, 1807, Rains all 
day. 15. A very great flood indeed ; so high was 
never seen before by more than one foot ; new bridge 
carried away " — but by working and watching day 



A life's record. 187 

and night Zepli manages to save his mill. The next 
year the road-making* is resumed. Over seventy 
men at work, Avith many oxen, plows, and carts, 
Zeph leads with six men and four oxen, and furnishes 
cider by the barrel, but again " contradiction and 
dispute " lilock the wheels of progress, and the 
needed road is left unfinished. With all his digging 
and driving he is ready to help in sickness ; attends 
the funeral of a neighbor's wife, and " the most peo- 
ple present I ever saw at a funeral." A little girl 
neighbor, four or five years old, " got up in a cart 
and jumped about, and fell over the foot-board, and 
cries, ' I have killed myself,' and died in half an hour." 
Zeph carries six to the grave in his big wagon. 

" Sept. 15, 1808. Drove a wagon to Pomfret to 
Kegimental training, and carried four men for three- 
and-sixpence each." Three days later and the big 
wagon takes a load of eight " to hear the Methodists 
at their first camp-meeting. They keep it five days 
and nights. Oct. 14. Carry wool to be carded at 
the Factory — Cut sausage meat and filled the skins 
with a tin on jDurpose — a great improvement upon 
stuffing it in by fingers." 

" 1809, March 4. James Madison takes his seat as 
president. Sept. 4. Raise in all a hundred and fifty 
bushels of potatoes. Nov. 8. Father rather poorly. 
12. Had a bad night, sat up in chair. 25. Father 
■worse, rather more weak and faint ; sleeps most of 



188 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

the day ; fails fast. 26. Some above 8 o'clock my 
fatlier left this earthly tabei'Dacle. 15. Rain ; Elder 
C. preaches ; funeral set at 11, went to the grave at 
3 P. M." The aged mother soon follows — "May 11, 
1810. Mother very poorly. 22. Mother seemed in 
m ore extremity, and left breathing a little after three. 
Four of her nine children attend the funeral, where 
Elder C. officiates as previously for Dolly and father." 

And now Zeph is left with wife, work, and weather 
observations. "1810, Jan. 14. The coldest day that 
m ost ever was known," the " cold Friday " of mete- 
orologic fame. " March 12. A great snow fifteen 
inches deep." A school quarrel demands heroic 
treatment. Zeph is one of three men chosen by the 
district "to see what was to be done," and he "went 
to the school inspectors and brought eight of them 
down to the school house, where they heard all sides 
and corrected both parties." 

A new era opens this autumn of 1810. "I take 
yarn from Pomfret Factory to weave." A great 
opportunity has come to these suppressed New 
England women. Weaving this smoothly-spun yarn 
into cloth they receive good pay in any kind of goods 
they fancy. How the tongues and shuttles rattle in 
many a farm-house. Our friend, Mrs. Zeph, is one of 
the first to improve the privilege. Everything else 
gives place to the cloth weaving ; even neighborly 
calls and afternoon going-out-to-tea are suspended. 



A. life's record. 189 

*" I hope you read your Bible," hints Elder C. in one 
of his pastoral visitations. " Gracious," Avas the 
quick reply, " I don't git time to look in the alma- 
nik." Four pieces of heavy bed-tick are carried 
back to the Factory in December and broad-cloth 
taken in exchange. Then two tailoresses appear and 
exhibit for their week's work great coats for Mrs. 
Zeph and Jack, straight-lwdy coats for Zeph and 
Jack, and two waistcoats, for which work each re- 
ceives one dollar and twenty-five cents. Yarn for 
seven hundred and fift\' yards of bed-ticking is 
brought home for spring work, and while the " good 
wife plies the shuttle," her good man hires a grist 
mill for the season, and by help of fourteen oxen and 
as many men, set a new millstone. Another rebellion 
in the school-house is settled without outside inter- 
vention. " They could not turn out the master." 

September, 1812. Zeph takes seven passengers for 
a dollar each to witness the brigade training at 
Brooklyn. He reports, " five regiments on parade, 
one of horse, twenty-five hundred troops, and four 
times as many spectators, something of a war-like 
appearance " — an exhibition calculated to rouse more 
interest in the war then in progress. 

1813, June 21. Jack, now at home for the summer, 
is warned " to l)e at the Centre tavern complete in 
armor by twelve to go to New London as there were 
British there." Four neighbors' boys obeyed the same 



190 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

summons, " most of the iDfantry and all the militia 
that did not abscond," for this war is unpopular in 
New Eng-land, and even Administration men like 
Zeph and his neighbors have little enthusiasm. Those 
that stood fire were marched into the meeting--house, 
and treated to a spirited address from the minister 
before starting- on their march. Communications with 
the outside world are still infrequent, and little was 
heard from the absentees during their three weeks 
service. The invasion was not accomplished, and the 
boys had a good time and brought back, instead of 
laurels, a list of false alarms, fizzles, and ridiculous 
sayings and doings that made sport for a life-time. 
Reports of naval victories enkindled war-like sympa- 
thies. " October 3. Hear that Commodore Perry 
hath taken six British vessels on Lake Erie." 

Elemental disturbances receive more specific record. 
" February 10, 1814. Rains hard and froze on trees ; 
fore twelve at night trees began to break and split, 
and the dreadfullest cracking that ever I heard. They 
say it was like the report of heavy artillery. 11. The 
trees bowed their heads like weeping willows, a 
melancholy sight, and the fruit trees are broken as 
the oldest man never saw before." 

" 1815, Jan. 31. Exceeding cold, coldest morning 
for many years by the thermometer." The historic 
September gale came the same year. " Rained very 
fast ; hard wind ; between 9 and 10 A. M. began a 



A LIFE S RECORD. ' TJl 

tornado ; southeast wind blew very hard indeed ; 
hath torn down thirty-seven large apple-trees, and 
upset many smaller ones ; near all our fence torn 
down and timber lands most dreadfully turned up by 
the roots." 

The cold summer of 1816, handed down by tradi- 
tion as the " starved -to-death " summer — is duly and 
daily noted. " May 7. Windy and very cold. 17. 
Very cold. 29, 30. Very cold and dry with frost. 
June i. Frost, fi. Very cold night, ice froze as 
hard as window glass ; put up sheared sheep. 7. 
Very exceeding cold ; wore coat, jacket, surtout, and 
wig, and none too hot. 10. A very hard frost, ice 
as thick as half a window glass ; corn cut close to 
the ground." This condition prevailed through the 
entire season — cold and dry "vvdtli a few warm days. 
Very cold spells in July, August, and September. 
Zepli harvests live loads of corn, " two good-for- 
nothing but fodder, only two bushels fully ripe." 

" 1817, Feb. 14. Caught in Providence by a cold 
snap exceeding anything that hath been in fifty years 
by the thermometer — warmed four times coming- 
home ; many froze some but I did not, coldest night 
most ever I see." Another cold spell came in May. 
" 12. Cold night, ice on grass. 16. A very large 
black frost, exceeding cold. 20. Ice on grass-top 
like shot. 21, 22. Hard frosts." 

These frost-bitten crojjs and war prices make hard 



192 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

times for the poor, but Zepli is fore-handed now and 
able to reheve needy neighbors, lending- them money 
and helping in many ways. Meanwhile the loom is 
busy as ever, turning off great pieces of bed-tick, 
gingham, and " dimino." " War's alarms " do not 
disturb the peace of the old farm-house. Jack is 
living at home now with a brisk, young wife — a 
neighbor's daughter, very acceptable to the old folks,, 
and grandchildren are making the house merry. 
Primus is plodding along steadily and has a houseful 
of stout boys and girls, some of them always stop- 
ping at " Grandpa's." And there are hired men at 
work on mill and farm, travelers stopping to chat, 
townsmen discussing war and politics — a busy, cheer- 
ful, prosperous household, with Zepli for head and 
centre. 

" Feb. 14, 1815. Hear news of peace. Peace! 28. 
Federalists celebrate P. E. A. C. E. between America 
and England at the Centre, and there is a great ball 
in the evening. March 4, 1817. James Monroe 
takes the chair as president and David D. Tompkins 
as vice-president." The war is over now, but there 
is a battle going on in Connecticut ; a fierce fight for 
a new State constitution, and our Zeph is one of the 
foremost fighters. They say he is captain there at 
Bleakridge, and brings down loads of men in his big 
wagon to town meeting. " Sept. 4. Went to Free- 
man's meeting and the Republicans chose two Rep- 
resentatives to our liking ; farmers ; a good day." 



A life's record. 193 

" July 4, 1818. "VVeiit to town meeting to choose 
delegates to send to Hartford to frame a constitution 
for the State of Connecticut. Federalists had two 
votes most. Sept. 29. Heard Constitution read." 
A week later town accepted constitution by a vote of 
174 versus 95, and Zeph is " well pleased." And now 
the Republicans have control in the old Federal 
town, and Zeph is selectman. His energy and ver- 
satility tind ample scope in his new office. Now he 
is letting out the poor to be boarded for a dollar or 
seventy-hve cents a week ; or l)uying a new town 
hearse ; or laying out roads ; or deliberating with 
officers from other towns where to set the new court- 
house. A special service is performed in perambu- 
lating the boundary line between Massachusetts and 
Connecticut, involving ten days labor. " July 5, 1819. 
See the blazing star." 

With increasing years and honors, Zeph manifests 
greater zeal for public worship ; owns two pews in 
the Baptist meeting-house, and helps on repairs for 
the same, and buying a farm for the minister. Ordi- 
nations, association meetings, baptisms, funerals, are 
duly chronicled. A great " revival season " excites 
much interest. Sees " Elder C. baptize seven of them 
young girls, and hears two more tell the travail of 
their minds ; staid to see them take sacrament, home 
at sundown." " April 5, 1820. See three dipt at Bap- 
tist meeting-house. June 14. Went to Baptist meet- 



194 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

ing'-house and heard a woman preach from Vermont 
a,nd she preached well, I thought too. 18. Went to 
meeting- and Elder C. he whipt us smart for hearing 
a woman preach and I wish he had heard her him- 
self." I It is said that Elder C. referred to this woman 
preacher who had been allowed to occupy the pulpit 
in his absence " as a grievous wolf who had entered 
the fold."] 

Common and uncommon casualties find place in 
the record. A small fire starting by the roadside 
" went up the hill as fast as a man could walk ; fought 
fire as long as we could see ; next morn, rallied early 
and fit fire to Alump Pond — thirty -four men. It ran 
north a vast ways, cutting all before it." 

"April, 1821. Neighbor M.'s died this day about 
mid-day, sudden ; fell over backwards in her chair ; 
taken up and said she was dying and it was so. June 
20. Hard thunder shower, lightning struck powder 
house. This clap struck down H. C, flung him down 
lifeless, but he came to, was blue but full of pain. 
Sept. 1. As hard a shower as ever I knew, filled up 
streams like a freshet. 3. Strong S. E. wind and 
rain, many trees blown down, fences and most of our 
apples. 15. Down by the pond trod on a water- 
snake, and it bit my leg, and it swelled and was sore. 
Kept on working. 24. Leg no better, swollen more, 
pain some. 25. Had a hen split open and put on my 
leg three or four hours, then burdock leaves. 26. 



A life's record. 195 

Put on more leaves and went to see the regiment per- 
form at the Centre. 28. Put meadow moss on leg 
and it looks more purple. 29. Set out for Franklin 
to see Dr. M. and he said he could cure the bite of a 
snake, had poultice. 30. Another poultice and physic, 
pills at night. Oct. 1. A wash and two pills. 2. 
Physic and water gruel. 3. Leg looks better. 5. Had 
bandage made and Dr. M. put it on. Paid Dr. M. ten 
dollars for attendance and nearly five dollars for 
board." 

At home he resumes work, taking Dr. M.'s powders, 
but the leg does not heal. All winter he is doctor- 
ing and poulticing, and goes to see a man who had 
been similarly afflicted by the sting of a wasp, but 
gets no benefit. Finally he puts his case into the 
hands of a " woman quack doctor," who, by vari- 
ous washes and treatments, succeeds in reducing the 
inflammation, but he never regained his former 
strength. That he should have survived the poison 
and treatment shows great vitality. A neighbor, 
who while cutting wood was called to go down into 
his well for a bucket, was taken with great pain, 
shivery, cold sweat, and died in twenty minutes. 

March, 1826. Work is laid aside, and Zeph is 
driving round buying store-cloth, a new hat and pair 
of boots, and finally a trunl'. What does this mean ? 
We look back along the crumpled page, and there, 
half concealed by old-time hieroglyphics, we find the 



196 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

key to the situation. The crowning- honor of his Hfe 
has come — Zeph has been chosen town representa- 
tive and is going- to the leg-ishiture ! Little did he 
think when he tramped through the State fifty years 
before, driving team and swinghng flax, that he 
should revisit those scenes in such honored guise and 
company, driving in coach and four with fellow legis- 
lators. But these fifty years of life and work have 
taken the spring and nonsense out of him, and it is 
a somewhat sober old fellow that now drives over the 
hills. " I feel neither smart nor courageous," is his 
meek admission ; in fact he is homesick and out of 
his element. He boards at " Widow Bishop's," and 
sees a steamboat and other new things, and we may 
be sure he never missed a roll-call, and voted the 
straight party ticket. But one permanent effect came 
from this New Haven sojourn. Among his fellow 
boarders there was a glib Methodist minister who 
walked and talked with our homesick legislator, and 
somehow made clear to him some things that had 
before puzzled him, perhaps those Calvinistic points 
that have bothered wiser heads than his. However 
that may be, Zeph joins a Methodist class after his 
return, and slipping down to the river is quietly bap- 
tized one Sabbath summer evening. 

The shadows lengthen. Zeph seems an older man 
after his return from New Haven. The year of 1828 
was especially calamitous. " A cow breaks her leg 



A life's record. 107 

and has to be killed ; sad for tlie poor cow ; " an ox 
sickens and dies ; the colt dies ; it is a bad season 
for lambs and sheep, and even the geese refuse to 
hatch properly. Cut-Avorms appear in g-reat force 
and cut off the young- blades of corn. June 30, a 
hard thunder shower. Nathan's new house Avas 
struck ; the clock was torn to pieces, and a dog un- 
der the table killed ; but a " deaf boy heard better 
after the shock." And it is what old people call " a 
very dying time, indeed." Neighbors and kindred 
drop off like autumn leaves. One brother dies after 
long illness ; one is found dead on the road, supposed 
to have fallen off his cart when asleep. Pretty sister 
Mary, who kept house for us long ago in Khode Is- 
land, comes from the West to visit her old home and 
dies soon after her return. Sister Hannah, living 
near by, soon follows. This neighbor wastes away 
in long disease, Zeph and his wife watching with him 
night after night, after their old, helpful fashion. 
That one, going cross-lots through a wet place stum- 
bled " and fell forward with his forehead against a 
stone and his face in the water and died surpris- 
ing." Another is drowned in his saw-mill flume. 
Saddest of all was that of the lone, lorn woman found 
dead in the swamj). It is supposed " she got up in 
the night in a fright l)y the Avind bloAviug very hard 
and started for a neighbors but got out of her way 
into the SAvamp where she fell. She left her shoes 



198 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

and stockings in the house." Poor lone creature, 
flying- barefoot and panic struck to meet her death in 
the dank swamp — does fiction parallel these trage- 
dies of real life ? 

But a new source of comfort has come to our old 
journalist. Politics have lost much of their interest 
with change of party names and measures. We are 
Democrats now fighting Whigs, Banks, and Anti- 
Masons, but not with the old fervor. There are 
things of more vital interest upon the stage. These 
are the days of " the great revivals of 1830-33," and 
Zeph's whole heart is in the joyful work. Meetings 
are held everywhere, at private houses and meeting- 
houses ; " pike-gate and grove." " See Elder T. bap- 
tize old Miss W. and many people." " Benjamin A's 
son speaks like preaching, many more talk ; a very 
good meeting." "Elder Lovejoy is here, (a noted 
name and preacher.) Two were plunged and two 
more had water poured on their heads." "Aug., 
1830, went to meeting in a tent, 36 x 20 — some speak- 
ing, no preaching ; tent full and many more outside." 
Camp meetings and " protracted meetings " are kept 
up the following year, and Zeph reads his Bible 
through by course in the interim, beginning January 
1 and finishing March 31. 

The clouds darken. The mother of the household, 
the strong, bustling, hard-working wife and mother 
is failing in strength, but the work goes on as usual 



A life's record. 199 

and the loom is seldom idle. Zepli, whose turn for 
rhyming gains upon him, sends this humorous missive 
to a neighbor : 

" My old dame is sick and poorly, 
And now tliere is more yarn yet lacking. 
She thought she'd state the matter fairly 
And have you bring the filling airly, 
And if you don't bring more blue than red 
You had better put yourself to bed, 
She hath been sick and kept a-drilling. 
And now hath stopped for want of tilling." 

But the trouble increases and becomes more mani- 
fest. Work can no longer stifle the growing anguish. 
Neighbors flock in apace ; sometimes '• six women at 
once." Poultices of every conceivable material, hot 
and cold, dry and liquid, are vainly applied. " Very 
full of pain," " wastes fast," are the discouraging en- 
tries. These are " solemn times " for our light-hearted 
Zeph. Three funerals re]iorted in one day and things 
grooving worse at home. " Sad, sad, sad." " Bad, 
bad, bad. A very bad day with some and I am 
sorrowful." But the illness was short. Worn with 
hard work and life's Ijurdens the strong frame soon 
succumbs. " She fell a-bleeding, grew dark to her, 
faint, and she died just before twelve, Sept. 14, 1831, 
aged 73." 

And now Zeph is left in the old home with Jack 
and his wife at the head of aftairs. But he is still too 



200 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

vigorous in mind and body to settle down into a 
subordinate position, and public affairs claim atten- 
tion. He superintends the work on the new school 
house in o^tr district, selects brick of the best mate- 
rial, and does the work so thoroughly that it still 
bears witness to his fidelity. Then he builds a good 
stone wall for our burying-ground, and pays his 
heavy taxes for all these improvements without 
grumbling. 

" A])ril 9, 1833. 'Tis said that I am seventy-four 
years old this day, P. M. Thanks be to God that he 
hath spared me so long." He has more time now to 
note the weather and its changes. " We had an early 
spring, robins, blue-birds and red-winged blackbirds 
early in March. A hard frost in June killed most of 
our corn to the ground ; beans also ; " enjoys in No- 
vember the wonderful spectacle of " many shooting 
stars." Meetings engross much time and interest. 
Now some famous Methodist or Baptist elder gives 
a rousing sermon ; then they meet in some private 
dwelling — "a glorious meeting without preaching, 
many brethren speak and all to the Bible truth." 
He is in great demand for funeral occasions as bearer 
or manager this same Zeph who once danced all 
night when a mate lay dead in his coffin. But he is 
still Zeph, now " Old Zeph." No one would think of 
calling him anything else, or know him by his family 
name alone. He is a noted " character " now at town 



A life's record. 20 1 

meeting's and all inil)lic doing's, with his quaint old 
wig and many-caped cloak, his reminiscences and 
w^eather-saws, and his knack at rhyming. Asked to 
make a rhyme upon an easy-going neighbor, more 
fond of prayer meetings than work, he instantly re- 
sponds : 

" There's Uncle Ase, so full of grace 
Sometimes bis cup runs over ; 
He'll lay and sleep and let liis sheep 
Eat up his neighbor's clover." 

Or he pictures " a hired man " with one snap-shot : 

" Here's Joseph Pace with his long face 
And not so very fat : 
He's poor to hoe and worse to mow, 
And what do you think of that ?" 

He has his old mare killed and l)uried decently, 
which was twenty-seven years old : 

" She could not live on hay 
And I would not put her away." 

" March 4, 1837. Martin Van Buren came in presi- 
dent. 5th. Sixty years past this day I went for two 
months to drive a team for the Continentals, to carry 
provision to the army at Peepskill ; staid fifteen 
months ; took team at Colchester. April 1. Town 
meeting, chose George Nichols and Vernon Stiles 
representatives. Republicans of the old stamp ; four 



202 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

hundred voters in town. Some went not from this 
hill but enough without them." Trainings have lost 
attraction to him, perhaps because the trainings 
themselves are not what they used to be, but he 
takes little Nap to the Centre to see a caravan with 
two lions and ninety -five horses. 

Zeph works hard as ever, but there is a screw loose 
somewhere, and the farm yields less profit. No more 
carting surplus produce to market. No potash 
making and mill-working, and factory-cloth weaving 
under present administration. All the crops are 
lighter, and there is hardly hay enough for the cattle. 
The old man groans over this thriftlessness and " a 
prevailing evil" at the root. 

" April 9, 1839. Eighty years old this day & I am 
poorly. A failing year in health and results of labor. 
A severe winter, cold and stormy, no church going, 
look after pigs and chickens and read good books. 
Great excitement in town this spring of 1840. Fifty 
new voters made " — 737 votes cast. They say old 
Democrats are ahead ; but they cannot check the 
Tippecanoe craze and Harrison's election. Another 
losing season is reported — " short in corn, rye, hay,, 
and so it goes." 

Another cold winter keeps our friend at home, sink- 
ing more and more into the ordinary status of the 
superannuated, and too often supernumerary, grand- 
father. The gay young fellow whistling over the 



A life's record. 203 

hills ; the busy man of afiairs driving- about town 
is gone, and we see a shriveled old man crawling" 
about the premises to feed the chickens, and poring 
over Baxter's Saints' Rest and his Bible by the fire- 
side. Friends of his youth, and companions of his 
life have vanished. Public and even church affairs 
no longer claim his attention. The great political 
overthrow, the opening railroad, excite but a lan- 
guid interest; but the journal begun in his youth, 
the daily chronicle of life and weather, still remains 
to him. Each morning, foul or fair, he hurries out 
to breathe the pure air of Heaven, survey the sky, 
note the direction of the wind. His dulled ear 
catches the first song of the spring birds ; his dimmed 
eyes mark the springing grass, the swelling buds. 
Two books are open to his fading vision — eternal 
works and words, to which some mortal eyes are ever 
closed. The great comet of 1843, stretching half 
way across the visible heavens, thrills his old heart — 
" but I go not to town meeting, nor to other meet- 
ings ; have not strength for it." 

The journal is getting mixed. The dates are jum- 
bled up ; we have turned the last leaf. " June 20, 
1843. I find that I am failing ; feel very slim." Still 
the entries are kept up, but the lines run together. 
The summer sun is shining in full strength ; the corn 
is hoed and the grass is ready for mowing, fully ripe. 
The boys carry on the work — but old Zeph is " sa 



204 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

tired." July 26, lie makes the last entry. A few 
more clays and nig-lits of weariness and watching- 
and eternal rest is his. Good-bye, old Zeph. For 
more than three-score years we have traveled with 
you on your pilg-rimag-e. Truly in thy case, " the 
end was better than the beginning-." "Average 
Connecticut citizen " did we say '? Faithful old soul ; 
true to yourself, your country, and your God, well 
will it be with each if our record marks as high a 
figure. 



VII. 
DODGE, THE BABBLER. 

In the closing" years of the hist century Pomfret 
hehl a hig-h place among Windham County towns. 
Less in extent and population than most of its towns 
it exceeded them in proportionate wealth and influ- 
ence. It held the Probate office for the north part 
of the county. Its post-office, administered by Judge 
Lemuel Grosvenor, accommodated all the neighbor- 
ing- towns. Its leading" citizens were remarkable for 
sound judgment and intellig"ence. Perhaps that 
United English Library, established as far back as 
1739, had something to do with forming- the character 
of these men, and inciting young" men to obtain the 
privilege of college education. The town had also 
been favored with a succession of distinguished 
physicians. Doctors Lord and Warner, of Abing"ton, 
Dr. Waldo, of the Street, were noted in their pro- 
fession, and Doctors Hall and Hul)bard quite equalled 
them in reputation and extended practice. 

But perhaps there w^as nothing in which Pomfret 
took greater pride than in her meeting-house and 
ministers. This house of worship was the largest 
and most pretentious in Windham County, and ex- 



206 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

cited the envious admiration of other towns. Her 
first minister, Kev. Ebenezer Williams, was considered 
one of the leading- ministers of his day, receiving- by 
bequest of Gov. Dudley, of Massachusetts, a me- 
morial ring in token of esteem and favor. An incip- 
ient wrang-le at the time of building- the great meet- 
ing-house was promptly healed by the sugg-estion 
that lack of harmony might hinder them in settliDg 
a minister, so that instead of having as they had done 
the best of orthodox preaching, they might be com- 
pelled to take up with " New Light stuff," or some 
inferior article. As successor of Mr. Williams they 
agreed upon Aaron Putnam, a young graduate of 
Harvard, who filled the place for many years to public 
acceptance, a man of learning and piety ; a sound if 
not eloquent preacher. 

Mr. Putnam's unhappy failure of voice in the latter 
part of his ministry brought in a new element. A col- 
league pastor was found needful, and again Harvard 
furnished the candidate — Mr. Oliver Dodge. The 
lively and agreeable manners of this young gentle- 
man, and the freshness and animation of his dis- 
courses, won universal favor, and he soon received a 
unanimous call to the colleague pastorate, one person 
only advising delay. But before the time fixed for 
ordination, uneasiness had arisen. The spirits of the 
young minister carried him beyond the ordinary 
bounds of ministerial propriety, and unfavorable re- 



DODGE, THE BABBLER. 207 

ports came from abroad, so tliat the ordaining" council 
was confronted by a small number of " aggrieved 
brethren," objecting- to the ordination of- the candi- 
date on charges of " disregard of truth, neglect of 
duty, irreverent application of Scripture and un- 
becoming levity." Decision was referred to a special 
council of ministers and delegates — nine to be chosen 
by friends of Mr. Dodge, four by the opposition — 
which met in Pomfret, September 4, 1792. Four 
days were spent in considering the situation. The 
engaging manners of Mr. Dodge, and the large ma- 
jority in his favor, pleaded strongly in his behalf ; yet, 
as the good repute of a minister was a matter of such 
supreme importance, the council unanimously decided 
not to proceed to ordination. With paternal kind- 
ness they besought the young minister to accept this 
result in its true tenor, and endeavor in future to 
maintain that Christian spirit and live that exemplary 
life " that all the excellent and amiable talents and 
accomplishments with which God had been pleased 
to favor him, might be improved for eminent and 
most important purposes." Mr. Dodge demeaned 
himself through these trials with the utmost pro- 
priety, accepted the reproofs with due meekness, re- 
flecting upon himself in several alleged instances 
except that of falsehood of which he had never been 
•consciously guilty. 

Uninfluenced by this decision, the friends of Mr. 



208 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

Dodge proceeded to renew their call in a regular 
society meeting", and requested the church to concur 
in this invitation. Very great interest had now been 
aroused, and it was evident that a large majority of 
the church would vote in favor of settling Mr. Dodge. 
To Mr. Putnam and the aggrieved brethren this 
seemed a very injudicious and hazardous experiment. 
There was one way by which this evil could be averted 
— the power allowed to ministers in Saybrook Plat- 
form, by which their single vote nullified the unani- 
mous vote of the church over which they were set- 
tled. Believing that Mr. Dodge was unfit for the 
ministerial ofiice, with a deep sense of his personal 
and ofiicial responsibility in the matter, Mr. Putnam 
now exercised this supreme power and dissolved the 
meeting without permitting a vote upon the question. 
So completely had a centiiry of Saybrook Platform 
administration eliminated from its adherents the 
spirit of original Congregationalism and recognition 
of the rights of individual church members, that this 
act of Mr. Putnam's was fully sustained by brother 
ministers. According to Windham County Associa- 
tion, the result would have been the same " had he 
allowed the church to vote, as he would then have 
left the meeting and rendered them incapable of 
further action." That a large majority of the church 
had any rights in the matter never seemed to occur 
to them. "A few more than half makes no difi'er- 



DODGE, THE BABBLER. 209 

ence," said President Clap, of Yale. The rights of 
majorities had not then been admitted. 

But there was another side to the question. Op- 
position to the Say brook Platform, initiated by the 
unfortunate Separates half a century before, had 
now been streng'thened by more orderly bodies of 
Christians. Baptists, Episcopalians, the newly-ar- 
rived Methodists, were equally averse to accepting- 
one religious denomination as the established church, 
the " Standing Order " of Connecticut. Free-think- 
ers of every shade were bitter against it. The spirit 
of free inquiry was in the air. Public men who had 
been active in the attainment of civil liberty were 
realizing that religious restrictions were inconsistent 
with a Republican form of Government. Foremost 
among the opposers of the ecclesiastic establishment 
of Connecticut was Zephaniah Swift, of Windham, 
the able lawyer and jurist. His attitude on this 
point had given great offence to the ministers of the 
county who had upon this ground, opposed his elec- 
tion to Congress. Some of these ministers had as- 
sisted in the rejection of Mr. Dodge, and thus afforded 
Judge Swift ample ground of retaliation. 

As soon as the result of the Pomfret council was 
given to the public. Judge Swift took the field as 
champion of Mr. Dodge, The whole affair was " an 
open attack upon religious liberty and the rights of 
conscience." The power arrogated by the council was 

IS 



210 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

" more unwarrantable and dangerous than that exer- 
cised by the pretended successors of St. Peter." The 
act of Mr. Putnam " in nullifying- the voice of the 
church by his single voice, his sovereign negative, was 
a most conspicuous instance of the arbitrary power 
vested in ministers by that celebrated code of eccle- 
siastic jurisprudence, known by the singular appella- 
tion of SaybrgokPlatfokm." " Is the exercise of such 
a power compatible with the equal rights, the unalien- 
able birthright of man ? Reason, common sense 
and the Bible with united voice proclaim .... 
that the Constitution which delegates to one the 
power to negative the vote of all the rest, is subver- 
sive OF THE NATURAL RIGHTS GF MANKIND, AND REPUG- 
NANT TO THE WORD OF GoD." Dodge liimself was the 
innocent victim of clerical revenge and malice; a 
young man of superior genius and merit ; a second 
Luther, battling against ecclesiastic despotism." 

Pomfret scarcely needed this outside stimulus to 
self-assertion. Her sympathy, pride, and will were 
all enlisted in behalf of the young minister. The 
result led to immediate and great departure. A 
large majority of members of the church withdrew 
from connection, and proceeded to organize as " The 
Reformed Christian Church and Congregation of 
Pomfret." A satisfactory covenant was drawn up 
and adopted, and public worship instituted in pri- 
vate mansions. Mr. Dodge, stimulated by contro- 



DODGE, THE BABBLER. 211 

yersy and popular favor, was more eloquent and fas- 
cinating- than ever. Crowds flocked to the new place 
of worship, while the great meeting-house was al- 
most deserted. Eleven male members, with their 
families and minister, was all that was left of the 
large church membership. The County Consocia- 
tion, called to consider and advise, could do nothing. 
The church had taken itself out of their jurisdiction 
and Mr. Dodge scouted its summons to appear, and 
declared himself " no more amenable to their con- 
trol and jurisdiction than he was to the Bishop of 
London." 

Eemoved from all restriction, Mr. Dodge now came 
out more o^^enly as the apostle of a new dispensa- 
tion. It was a time of g'reat upheaval and discus- 
sion. Kevolutions in Government and thought were 
in progress. " The reign of long faces had passed ; 
ministers were now to act and talk like other men, 
and unite with them in mirth, festivit}'^, and amuse- 
ment. Puritan blueness and austerity were to give 
place to good fellowship and universal jollity. God 
was best served by merry hearts and cheerful voices." 
All knotty ]:)oints of doctrine were to be ignored ; the 
Scriptures a sufficient rule of faith and practice ac- 
cording to each man's personal interpretation. In 
the revolt from stiffened orthodoxy, these views and 
practices as set forth by an engaging and ehxpient 
speaker were most attractive. Dodge was the hero 



212 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

of the day ; the popular minister. Numbers united 
with his church ; people from all the surrounding 
towns flocked to hear him. The friends of free re- 
ligion could not have selected a more eligible leader 
than this clever and accomplished young man, who 
could charm all hearts with religious rhapsodies, and 
dance, drink, and joke with equal acceptance. That 
it was difficult to find ministers of any standing to 
assist in his ordination added zest to the situation, as 
did the wordy battle in the columns of " The Wind- 
ham Herald " between Judge Swift and sundry min- 
isters who rushed to the defence of Mr. Putnam and 
the council. Nothing in modern times equals the 
bitterness of this newspaper controversy, and the 
vituperations exchanged between the combatants. 
All the sayings and doings of Mr. Dodge and his op- 
ponents were paraded before the public, and peaceful, 
dignified Pomfret figured as the scene of this scandal 
and division. Neighboring towns were drawn into 
the strife. Mr. Dodge, by invitation of one of the 
society committee, preached an afternoon lecture in 
Woodstock meeting-house. The minister. Rev. Mr. 
Lyman, having previously manifested his disapproval 
went into the house during service and read a public 
remonstrance. W^hereupon the friends of Mr. Dodge 
served a warrant upon Mr. Lyman for disturbing a 
religious assembly, and compelled him to pay as high 
a fine as the law would allow. In Pomfret the par- 



DODGE, THE BABBLER. 213 

tisan feeling became very strong- and bitter. It en- 
tered into politics ; it divided families. The very 
children in the street jeered and mocked at each 
other as " Dodge-ites " and " Anti-Dodg-e-ites." An 
opposer of the popular favorite lost his place as town 
clerk, leaving this fareAvell upon Pomfret records : 

"Here euds the services of a faithful servant of the public, 
who was neglected for no other reason than because he could not 
Dodge — ^ " 

For more than six years this rupture and strife 
continued, and Mr. Dodge maintained his prestige 
and popularity. It does not appear that during this 
period he lost ground or adherents. His " finely- 
polished golden chain of equality and brotherly 
love " satisfied his congregation ; his good fellowship 
and easy insolence kept his hold in society. His oc- 
casional excesses and increasing levity were excused 
as the exuberant overflow of spirits, and by his frank 
admission of wrong. Nothing but his own suicidal 
act could have lost him his place in heart and favor. 
He held himself in restraint as long as it was possi- 
ble and then gave way at once and forever. Every- 
thing was sacrificed for liberty in vicious indulgence. 
After a week of revelry, driving from one low tavern 
to another, and even ofiering blasphemous prayers in 
a blacksmith's shop upon a challenge, he had the ef- 
frontery to enter his pulpit and attempt to conduct 



214 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

the iis-ual Sabbath service. Rising to speak he fell 
upon the pulpit overcome with drunken sickness, fall- 
ing forever from his high estate. Apparently no at- 
tempt was made to excuse or palliate his conduct. 
Of his large following not one was left him, because 
he was too far gone to make the effort to retain them. 
At a meeting of The Reformed Church of Pomfret, 
July 4, 1799, upon complaint that Mr. Dodge had 
been guilty of repeated instances of intemperance in 
the use of spirituous liquor, and of indecent if not 
profane language, it was voted that he " be excluded 
from the rites and privileges of this church till by his 
reformation and amendment of life he shall be again 
restored to charity." But this charity was not called 
into exercise. The " lost leader " gave himself up to 
reckless dissipation. Seldom does one who has tilled 
so high a position, with so large a following, sink 
into such sudden obscurity and oblivion. The Re- 
formed Church vanished with its founder, its mem- 
bers gladly returning to the old chiirch that welcomed 
them into the fold. The name that had been so con- 
spicuous dropped from the records and " Herald," and 
he himself sunk out of sight and knowledge, only as 
tradition whispered tales of " Pomfret's drunken min- 
ister." 

But there is a sequel to the story. Last, spring the 
Probate judge of Windham at Willimantic chanced 
to light upon a somewhat curious old document, 



DODGE, THE BABBLER. 215 

apparently an affidavit laid against a notorious of- 
fender, denominated "Dodg-e, the Babbler" — under 
date of 1805. The paper best tells its own story : 

"Dodge, the Babbler, in an harangue at Glastonbury, on the 
8th of August, 1805, after declaiming upon church & state & 
law and religion — exclaimed — 

' God knows, angels know, saints know, all honest men know, 
the Devils know, and none but knaves and fools but what do 
know, there ought not to be any laws for the support of religion. 
We should not then see the poor man dragged to jail to pay a 
minister's tax, while his family were left starving : we should 
not then have to pay four or tive hundred dollars a j'ear for 
ministers' dinners at Hartford : we should not then see ministers 
have the privilege of turnpikiug the road to Heaven and erect" 
ing gates and collecting tolls upon tliem.' 

He also used this expression : 

' Minister's salaries are a stink in God's nose, and a stench in 
his nostrils.' 

The above expressions were heard by Mr. George Gilbert, of 
Hebron, and noted down at the time and in the meeting-house.'' 

And so we see our brilliant young- minister, who 
had stood so high in position and favor, who had been 
championed by Judge Swift and other distinguished 
advocates, wandering about the State as a mere 
" babbler " and driveler, undoubtedly injuring by in- 
temperance and indecency the very cause of religious 
liberty that he was trying to advance — his abilities 
and opportuinties wasted ; his life a wreck and beacon - 
warning. He is believed to have died in 1806 — the 
year following this parting glimpse. 



VIII. 
OUE FIEST WOMAN AKTIST. 

First in Connecticut, and in point of time one of 
the first women in this country, to gain public recog- 
nition as an artist, was Miss Anne Hall, of Pomfret 
and New York. She was only preceded and equaled 
as far as we can ascertain by Misses Anna C and 
Sarah M. Peale, granddaughters of the distinguished 
artist, Charles Wilson Peale. There may have been 
local women artists in some of our large towns, but 
none that gained more than a provincial reputation, 
or were honored like Miss Hall by election to mem- 
bership in The National Academy of Design. 

Miss Anne Hall was no untrained phenomenon. 
Like the Peale sisters she inherited artistic tenden- 
cies. Her father, Dr. Jonathan Hall, of Pomfret, and 
his father, had been lovers of art, and, unable to 
gratify their own aspirations, were eager to foster 
their manifestation in little Anne. Figures cut from 
paper or moulded in wax at a very early age showed 
great merit. A box of paints from China enabled her 
to gratify her love for coloring* and reproduce birds, 
flowers, fruit, and whatever caught her childish fancy. 

When a very young girl she accompanied an elder 



OUR FIRST WOMAN ARTIST. 217 

sister to Newport, the home of the Mumfords, her 
mother's family. Here she was permitted to take a 
few lessons in oil painting and drawing- from Mr. 
Samuel King-, the teacher of Malbone and Washing-- 
ton Allston, Mr. King- also instructed her in the art 
of applying color to ivory. Returning to her Pom- 
fret home she practiced diligently in these various 
lines, and had the privilege of further instruction in 
New York city under the skillful teaching of Alex- 
ander Robinson, secretary of the Academy of Fine 
Arts. With such opportunities for cultivating native 
genius it is no wonder that Miss Hall achieved so 
high a rank among the artists of her time. Her first 
success was in copying from the old masters. Like 
Hawthorne's Hilda she possessed that sympathetic 
insight which enabled her to catch and reproduce the 
very soul of the original. Her brother, Charles H. 
Hall, of New York, supplied her with good pictures 
to copy. Copies of Guido's pictures were executed 
with a force and glow of coloring that won praise 
from experienced critics. 

In character and person Miss Hall was exceptionally 
lovely — a bright and shining light in that cultured 
society which distinguished Pomfret in the early part 
of the century. A foreign visitor at one of her fash- 
ionable assemblies gave verdict — " That Miss Hall's 
dress and demeanor Avould have done credit to any 
court in Europe." She had the literary accomplish- 



218 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

ments of her time, some of her poems long living- in 
remembrance. But above all she shone in beauty of 
character — " her life a lofty striving after the highest 
ideal, which she exemplified in every act and word." 
Her ready kindness and sympathy, her willingness 
to devote her artistic skill to memorials of departed 
friends, was very noteworthy. Cherub faces of chil- 
dren long passed from earth are still held as priceless 
treasures in many households. 

But it was not till after her permanent removal to 
New York city, about 1820, that Miss Hall's fame be- 
came fully established, especially in her chosen line 
of miniature painting on ivory. Dunlap characterized 
her work as of the first order, combining exquisite 
ideality of design with beauty of coloring. He notes 
especially her groups of children, " composed with 
the taste and skill of a master, and the delicacy which 
the female character can infuse into the works of 
beauty beyond the reach of man." Some of these 
groups received the rare compliment of being sent 
abroad to be copied in enamel, and thus made inde- 
structible. Miss Hall excelled in rich coloring, and 
in those finishing touches that add so much charm — 
flowers in the hands of her women, wreaths twined 
about her cherub children, were marvels of grace and 
beauty. Among many distinguished subjects, she 
had the honor of painting one of the especial celeb- 
rities of the time — Garafilia Mohalbi. This lovely 



OUR FIRST WOMAN ARTIST. 211) 

Greek girl was taken captive during- the war with the 
Turks, and ransomed in 1827 by a Boston merchant 
and brought to this country. It was this picture ex- 
hibited at the National Academy that brought Miss 
Hall her election to membership, and the engraved 
copy was widely known and admired. As market 
value in our practical days is often made a test of ar- 
tistic merit, it may be noted that some of Miss Hall's 
groups were appraised at five hundred dollars, which 
was considered an extraordinary price for a native 
artist to receive. 

Unaffected in character by her distinguished suc- 
cess, Miss Hall remained modest and retiring, never 
seeking praise or notoriety. Struggling artists from 
her native country gained ready access to her studio, 
and found her ready with sympathy and counsel. 
Our late artist, Mr. Sawyer, spoke of her with enthu- 
siastic admiration, as one far in advance of the ordi- 
nary range of Avomanly attainment. She died at the 
home of her sister, Mrs. Henry Ward, New York, in 
1863, having just passed her seventieth year. In the 
marvelous development of modern art, especially 
among women, this first woman artist in our State 
should not l)e overlooked, and it is hoped that a fit- 
ting memorial may sometime be prepared, with re- 
productions of those faces and groups which won 
such fame and favor. 



IX. 



JAPHETH m SEAKCH OF HIS FOEE- 
FATHERS. 

It is not so many years since the great majority of 
New England families outside of Boston were content 
to trace a vague descent from one of " three brothers," 
who might have come out of the Ark, or the May- 
flower, and then a genealogical boom swept through 
the land, flooding it with family trees, charts, tablets, 
genealogies, and histories. Various genealogic bu- 
reaus conducted by professional experts aid in the 
prosecution of such researches, and testify to the 
wide extent of the newly-awakened interest. With 
such intelligent and sympathetic aid the inquirer can 
hardly fail to exhume some eligible Pilgrim or Puritan 
of approximate family name — a vigorous and fruit- 
ful root from which he might safely predicate a 
goodly family tree. But as he attempts to establish 
connection between his own particular branch and 
this primitive root, and trace out the various ramifi- 
cations, difficulties multiply. If some eight or ten 
branches shoot oft' into as many States, or, still worse, 
if the off-shoots of two or three kindred roots com- 



JAPHETH IN SEARCH OF HIS FOREFATHERS. 221 

mingle in one town, he will soon be involved in inex- 
tricable jangle and confusion. Or if he be so fortu- 
nate as to trace his own lineage straight back to 
some ancient patriarch, there will be other branches 
missing, boughs lopped oft*, mysterious growths en- 
grafted. The genealogist is sure to be confronted 
sooner or later with some obdurate sphinx of a prob- 
lem, whose solution defies his utmost eftbrt. The 
perplexities of Captain Marry at's hero in search of 
his lost father were light in comparison with those 
of our genealogical Japheths, searching through this 
great continent for their buried grandfathers and 
gi'andmothers. The friendly bureaus above referred 
to often fail in such emergencies. They can furnish 
upon demand any number of reputable forefathers. 
It is for you to prove whether some particular speci- 
men belongs to yourself, or to descendants of the 
other " two brothers." Left to himself the baftled 
Japheth pursues his weary search — exploring town 
and church records, unearthing family registers and 
letters, deciphering effaced epitaphs, afflicting the 
souls of far-off relatives by frantic ettbrts to make 
them bring to mind what they never knew or had 
long forgotten. Earnest appeals from some of these 
persistent searchers enlisted me in genealogical re- 
search. A dabbler in local history, it was easy for 
me to find and impart desired information. The ex- 
uberant and altogether dis^jroportionate gratitude 



222 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

called out by very trifling" service in this line awoke 
deep commiseration : 

" I've heard of hearts unkind, kinds deeds 
With coldness still returning ; 
Alas ! the gratitude of men 
Hath oftener left me mourning." 

How many snubs must have been endured to make 
a little common courtesy so thank-worthy. Having 
had occasion to solicit similar favors from strangers, 
I answered every such appeal just as I liked my own 
answered, and in following this golden rule worked 
out a large experience which I would fain impart to 
other wayworn Japheths still groping for lost grand- 
sires. 

And, first, I would premise for your comfort and 
encouragement, that the object of your search is in 
all probability attainable. Those exasperating old 
ancestors and relatives, so persistently evading inqui- 
sition, did in very truth live and walk upon this earth 
and doubtless left behind them some memorial of 
their own birth and marriage, and those of their pu- 
tative offspring. Your " missing link " lurks in some 
furtive corner. That " pivotal fact " on which depends 
your connection with the parent trunk, or the com- 
pleteness and symmetry of the whole structure, is 
safely hoarded by some obscure collateral, all uncon- 
scious of the value of the latent treasure. In my 



JAPHETH IN SEARCH OF HIS FOREFATHERS. 2'2'd 

own experience the particular item establishing- the 
foundation fact of numerous investigations accrued 
through the agency of a single individual, it might 
almost seem providentially preserved to meet the 
foreordained recipient of his fateful message. 

Such was the Staytum case, involving a question 
of localit}'. Descendants of the patriarch Samson 
insisted that he settled at an early date on " the mile 
square " east of the river in First Parish, which they 
still held in possession ; but I found him an officer in 
Second Parish, occupying a farm between two rivers 
bounded by lines which human ingenuity could not 
have made more crooked. It was perfectly evident 
that the two farms could not have been identical, and 
that a resident of First Parish would not have been 
a church officer in the Second ; but the Staytums re- 
fused to yield an ell of their " mile square," or budge 
an inch from their position in First Parish. A hapjjy 
chance opened communication with a ninety -year-old 
descendant in a neighboring State, and from him 
came positive evidence that the original Samson {/id 
first buy and occupy an interval farm in Second Par- 
ish, and his son Smnson was the purchaser and first 
occupant of the " mile square." But if twenty sur- 
plus years had not been granted to the respected 
Hezekiah my exhaustive arguments would have been 
but vain words and fruitless Jeremiades. The gen- 
ealogist may settle it in his mind as a primal axiom, 



224 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

that one person and most probably only one on tlie 
face of the earth can give him definite information 
upon any controverted point. One chance in twelve 
or thirteen hundred million ! But his inquiries are 
necessarily restricted to the Caucasian race, and 
finally narrow down to the sixty millions of the 
United States, and perhaps a few experts across the 
water. We might assume farther limitation by sec- 
tional probabilities but for the wide dispersion of 
descendants of early Pilgrims. Information con- 
cerning descendants of old Massachusetts and Con- 
necticut families would be naturally sought in the 
vicinity of former places of residence, but you are 
quite as likely to find it west of the Rockies. Facts 
vainly sought in many native sources strayed back 
to me unsought from the Ohio and Mississippi val- 
leys. I was long baffled in pursuit of a well-known 
Revolutionary veteran, very prominent at Bunker 
Hill and in subsequent service. Minute and per- 
sistent research in his own and neighboring towns 
failed to furnish any trace of him after the close of 
the war, and I finally numbered him among its un- 
recorded victims, buried like Moses in an unknown 
sepulchre, and then inadvertently stumbled upon his 
grave in the heart of the Empire State. A chance 
allusion from a casual correspondent led to the dis- 
covery of his early emigration and subsequent career. 

[The preceding hints, written some years since, and 



JAPHETH IN SEARCH OF HIS FOREFATHERS. 225 

published in substance in the " New York Independ- 
ent," require some modification to snit present con- 
ditions. Durino- these years interest in g-enealog-ical 
researches has increased in g-eometrical proportion. 
Especially since the organization of the innumerable 
societies of " Dames," " Daughters," and " Sons," all 
requiring- straight lines of descent, have these inqui- 
ries multiplied, and facilities for tracing- these lines 
have increased in proportion. I should now discrimi- 
nate between roots and links. The former are to be 
sought near the original settlements and landing- 
places. It is the connecting- links that are often so 
evasive, and may be lighted upon in most unlikely 
places, and my " one man " theory should be restricted 
to inquiries of this nature.] 

These opportune chances and unforeseen discover- 
ies give a peculiar fascination to g-enealog-ical pur- 
suit, rekindling in fossil sires the fires of youthful 
enthusiasm. That which to the uninitiated is a sense- 
less groping among dead men's bones involves the 
tantalizing delight of gold-digging and treasure- 
hunting. Those thoughtless youngsters who jeer at 
genealogical enthusiasts might well envy the excite- 
ments and surprises of their adventurous quest. 
True, indeed, they are called to suffer many trials 
and disappointments. Nuggets are not found every 
day. Many a placer is dug over without disclosiog 
one golden glimmer. The proverbial " hunting for 
a needle in a hay -mow " often typifies the experience 



226 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

of the g-enealog"ist ; yet, if the needle carry a thread 
the chance is not so hopeless. The slightest clew 
promptly followed ; the tiniest atom of real gold-dust 
may lead the way to marvelous discovery. A mere 
shred of a chance recovered my long-sought Missins. 
A once prominent family, occupying a large tract of 
land on a public thoroughfare, with a flourishing saw- 
mill, a tavern, and roads leading to various settle- 
ments — not only had every vestige of them disap- 
peared, but the site they had occupied could not be 
identified. The oldest inhabitant had only heard of 
them by vague tradition, and could give no satisfac- 
tory conjecture as to their place of habitation. I 
spent days puzzling over the map for it. I set up 
that saw-mill on every water privilege within the 
territory, but try it where I would some condition, 
would be lacking ; mill, tavern, highway, and by- 
ways could not be made to fit in with appropriate 
surroundings. Chancing at length to hear of an " old 
Widow Missin," visiting in a neighboring town, I 
hastened to call upon her. Like most women she 
knew nothing whatever of "Mr. Missins' " family and 
antecedents, but referred me to " Cousin Nimrod," in 
some out-of-the-way neighborhood, as one who might 
possibly give me some information. Starting next 
day in pursuit of this mythical place and personage, 
I drove some six miles southward for farther instruc- 
tions, and then switched off into an old road winding 



JAPHETH IN SEARCH OF HIS FOREFATHERS. 227 

iiortlieastward througli pastures of scrub-oak and 
huckleberry bushes, toward a bleak hill-rang-e. 
Having a well developed organ of what phrenologists 
call " Locality," it Avas extremely harrowing to reach 
a given point by describing the two long sides of a 
very acute triangle, but when, after a wearisome pull 
I reached the summit of the hill, all minor annoy- 
ances vanished. For, oh, dear reader, I saw it all at 
a glance. In this round-about style I had solved my 
problem. Clear as a mathematical demonstration it 
opened before me — the mill-stream and tavern-site in 
the valley, the great highway winding round the base 
of the hill, the old bridle-path eastward, and the 
" trod-out path " behind me, that had led to this 
happy outlook. Left behind by march of civilization 
and change of business centres, enlocked by hill and 
river, the lonely valley had evaded search till opened 
by the ]5ass-uame of the one man who held the key 
to its mysteries. The testimony of the faithful old 
Nimrod confirmed local intuitions. A quaint old 
hermit, forgotten by the world, alone he guarded the 
Missin records and traditions. In this secluded nook, 
once populous and full of life, his family had lived 
and flourished for more than a hundred years, and he 
alone could tell of their past glories, of the mill and 
the great tavern, and seven gambrel-roofed houses 
built for the seven sons of the first settler, and the 
briary grave-yard where name and race were buried. 



228 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

and then sent me home rejoicing- by a cross-cut 
across the base of my triangle. 

Equally slight was the chance that restored to his 
alma mater a certain shadowy James H. Goner, un- 
heard of after his graduation early in the present 
century. I take great pride in this achievement as 
being- myself the medium for recovering the trail and 
enstarring' the lost graduate among his fellows. The 
dim rin2)ression of a surviving classmate, and a cas- 
ual entry in some old class-book suggested Mytown 
as his probable birthplace. Letters of inquiry were 
sent to minister, town clerk, postmaster, &c., but as 
the family had removed from town long before the 
remembrance of any of these authorities no light 
was gained from them. Catching at a straw, the col- 
lege biographer next addressed the embryo town 
historian, who with the rashness of inexperience es- 
sayed the quest. " It is of no use," sighed the ma- 
ternal counselor so helpful in previous inquiries. 
" I took special note in my young days of every 
young man in town that was privileged with going 
to college, and never was there a Goner among them." 
Nevertheless a careful examination of the faded 
church records detected a James Horner Goner bap- 
tized just in time for college entrance at the speci- 
fied date. James H ! First middle name on church 
record! That tioo Goner families should have in- 
dulged in such extravagance when double names 



JAPHETH IX SEARCH OF HIS FOREFATHERS. 229 

Avere so niieommoii was extremely doubtful, but ad- 
mitting" that the vanished collegiate was represented 
in this record Avhat chance Avas there of unraveling- 
his subsequent career, as his family migrated Avest- 
Avard early in his college course and had long passed 
out of knoAvledge. AVell, it did look very dark for a 
time, but g-radually in the maternal consciousness 
faint echoes were awakened of long--g-one talk about 
a " Goner wood-lot " left behind unsold till after the 
death of the family head, Avlien it was boug-ht up liy 
"j^our Uncle Abishai," avIio had no end of trouble 
hunting- up the scattered heirs before he could se- 
cure a clear title. Uncle Abishai's papers and the 
probate records furnished the missing link and evi- 
dence, enabling us to trace the fugitive to West Ten- 
nessee, Avhere he kept school, practiced laAv, married 
and died, leavhig a AvidoAv and several children to 
receive his share of the Goner Avood-lot. 

I Another problem relating to this same Goner fam- 
ily has but recently attained solution. A somewhat 
indefinite marriag-e record represented the head of a 
large and respectable family as marrying " Susanna 
Goner alias Fuller " — a Avay of putting it that Avas a 
source of great perplexity to the present generation 
of descendants. Whether she was a Goner by birth 
or adoption could not be settled, and a " goner" she 
remained for many years. But the increasing de- 
mand for Eastern ancestors at length brought inqui- 
ries from the long-gone Goners,. and Avitli them the 



230 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

information that our mysterious Susanna was indeed 
a born Goner, aunt of the missing college graduate, and 
that she had married for her first husband a certain 
• Fuller. And here came another puzzle. Chil- 
dren by the first husband had also gone West and 
were in communication with their Goner kindred, but 
not one of the descendants knew the first name of 
their grandmother's husband. The Fullers were a 
noted family, straight from Plymouth Eock, and 
they were very anxious to establish connection. I did 
the best I could for them, but could find no record of 
Susanna's first marriage. There were a number of 
Fuller boys baptized just about the date needed, but 
which was the happy man it was impossible to tell. 
But chance at length leading me to consult an earlier 
probate record, there I found the settlement of the 
estate of Susanna's father, and among the receipts 
recorded was one signed by Susanna and her Fuller 
husband— ;/?>6'if nmne and all complete. It was very 
curious. She might have selected for aught we know 
— Joseph, James, Samuel, Abel, John, Peter — but 
with remarkable prescience the chosen name that for 
so many years baffled inquiry was simply — Job — and 
more than Job's patience had been expended in trac- 
ing it.] 

The importance of imnned'i ately following up the 
faintest probability cannot be too strongly urged. 
If you lose your one chance what hope is left for you ? 
" We have these treasures in earthern vessels." Lives 
and memories hang on brittle threads. Especially if 
you hear of an elderly person likely to impart de- 



JAPHETH IN SEARCH OF HIS FOREFATHERS. 2?>i 

sirable intelligence, g"o for him at once. So many 
unforeseen casualties may occur. I remember once 
hastening- as soon as I thought decency would permit, 
to extract some needful item from a bereaved widower 
who, it was feared, would not long- survive the loss of 
his life's companion, and the poor old soul had 
already skipped off with a frisky young wife upon a 
wedding journey. A few days delay would have left 
my Jay problem unsolved. Nothing surprised me 
more than to find a prol)lem in this numerous and 
somewhat common-place family. The Jays were as 
plenty in town as robins and blackbirds, filling a 
whole district and burying-ground. A Nathaniel 
Jay bought up a large tract of land in that section 
and joined the church in due form at an early date, 
and I supposed in a single tramp through district 
and burying-ground I could pick up all family details 
that were needed. But behold, on the contrary, not 
a chatterer among them could give the least account 
of his ancestry, or had any knowledge or tradition 
of the first immigrant, Nathaniel. To be sure they 
could all prattle most volubly about Grandfather Jay, 
the popular landlord of the famous " Half-way Tav- 
ern," but he might have been Melchisedek himself 
for ought they knew of his origin, and so the matter 
rested, to my great annoyance, till Mrs. Blue Jay 
came chirping up to me one Sunday intermission (we 
did not go to the same church and met by the merest 
accident j. 



232 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

" It's not Sunday talk',' she whispered mysteriously, 
" but you know what you asked my husband, and he 
has found out that Cousin Jotham out by ' The 
Brass Ball ' knows more about it than all the rest of 
us, and after haying- he is going to see him and write 
it off for you." 

" He need not trouble himself," I replied with my 
usual briskness, " I'll see him myself to-morrow." 

That a horse could have been beguiled out of the 
hay-fields on such an errand was extremely doubtful, 
but by rare good luck a friend needed conveyance to 
an out-of-the-way station in that vicinity. It was 
the loveliest of midsummer days. Passing over the 
old witch-ground, so famous in local tradition, what 
marvel that we were beset and hindered on our way. 
The wailing spectres, phantom reapers, and headless 
ghosts of other days had indeed forever vanished ; 
no magic deer wiled us into elusive chase over the 
hill-sides — but wild roses in the freshness of " young 
bud and bloom " essayed their utmost witchery ; clus- 
ters of rare, golden lilies beckoned into woodland 
hollows ; seductive strawberries gleamed out from 
uncut mowing, and over-bearing raspberry bushes 
fairly flung their luscious fruit into our mouths and 
baskets. Bob-o-links challenged a race over the fra- 
grant meadows ; thickets rang with the carols of 
cheery chewinks, and birds of strange plumage and 
alien notes enticed as if with the very song of the si- 



JAPHETH IN SEARCH OF HIS FOREFATHERS. -J;>3 

reus. Heroically sliiitting" eyes and ears ag'ainst these 
blaDdishments we reached the station, unscathed, in 
due season, whence I pursued my way alone to the far- 
thest extremity of Jaydom, passing- many a home 
nest, and the great old tavern where Washington 

took breakfast " That's no such rarity," you 

will say. " Did not he breakfast, dine, or sup, in 
every old tavern of the country ? " But would not 
you like to have seen young- Nathan Hale prance up 
to the doorstep that cold January morning- in 1776, 
when the taverns Avere so crowded that he had to 
ride eig-hteen miles before he could snatch a morsel 
of food ; or hob-a-nob-ed with Putnam, g-lass to glass, 
in the great bar-room ; or bartered greetings with 
those valiant champions, Knowlton and Durkee ; or 
cheered the triumphant battalions under Generals 
Heath and Sullivan as they marched to New York 
after the evacuation of Boston ; or bring liack for 
one golden hour the vanished glories of the deserted 
thoroughfare ? 

Cousin Jotham's plain farm-house recalled me to 
present duties. A burly old fellow, with very red 
face and most abnormal nose, sat by the table at the 
open window munching down his supper. Pro- 
pounding with new hope the stereotyped query — 
" Can you tell me anything about the Nathaniel Jay 
who bought the Saltonstall tract in 174:0," "Yes, I 
know everything about him," he interrupted. " He 



234 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

was my great-grandfather, and came to this town 
when grandfather Jay, his youngest child, was just 
two years old." And thence he went on to report his 
various wives and children, and their several hus- 
bands, wives, children, occupations, and places of 
residence, as clear, methodical, and minute, as if he 
had served apprenticeship at a Genealogical Bureau. 
He was his grandfather's boy, he said, and used to 
potter all over the farm with him, hearing his old 
stories ; and so it came to pass that he alone of all the 
race had treasured up the family history. And to 
think that Avithin three days after this interview this 
faithful custodian should have been gathered to his 
grandfathers, cut down in his own hay -field by a sun- 
stroke, and if I had waited for Mr. Blue Jay to have 
finished his haying, or if Mrs. Blue Jay had not 
broken the Sabbath, not one of their numerous brood 
might have heard this true story of their ancestors. 
Finding your prospective victim alive and accessi- 
ble, a word of caution may be helpful. Over rash- 
ness and precipitancy may blast your hopes in the 
moment of anticipated discovery. Old people, espe- 
cially those remote from the world in country places, 
are easily flustered and unstrung. To burst in upon 
a feeble old woman with blunt announcement of 
name and errand might drive every idea and memory 
from her bewildered brain, and reduce her to tempo- 
rary imbecility. 



JAPHETH IX SEARCH OF HIS FOREFATHERS. 2o5 

" I think I did have a sister Olive once," whimpered 
a poor old lady badgered out of her wits by an un- 
skilled evidence-taker. Gradual approach should 
precede the main attack. Assume an errand if you 
have it not. Take along- your butter pail or egg 
basket, and from easy chat upon crops and weather 
glide imperceptibly into family matters, and you will 
hardly fail to unlock the treasures of mennny and 
the still more precious records, carefully hoarded in 
Bible and pocket-book. Whatever you hear or find, 
do not waste time and temper in debate and argu- 
ment. However absurd may l)e the family theory of 
your informants, it is not wise to controvert it. Their 
facts may be " first-rate " if their " theory don't coin- 
cide." You are not a judge nor partisan pleader but 
a seeker after truth ; and what you need above all is 
to have ever}^ witness state whatever facts he may 
have, after his own light and fashion. It is just pos- 
sible that his pet theory is nearer right than your 
own, and there are often germs of truth in the most 
absurd theories. More than once I have been forced 
to adopt views which I thought at first utterly jire- 
posteroiis. If 3^ou sufi^er pangs of conscience at 
leaving an ancient relative, in what seems to you 
gross error, consider the i>robable futility of attempt- 
ing to enlighten him. Jokes and opiates may be in- 
jected into the system, but what can expel an idea 
from the fossilized intellect? Even if under the 



236 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

pressure of inexorable logic you compel your oppo- 
nent to admit that a man cannot die before he is born, 
or be older than his g-randmother, you will hear him 
within twenty-four hours reiterate the same absurd- 
ities. It is Avell, however, to insinuate mildly that 
other branches of the family hold different opinions 
and theories, leading* your informant to a more care- 
ful scrutiny of his own position, and bringing- out 
more clearly all sides of the question. 

These veteran hard-shells, with one or two de- 
tached facts to stand upon, are far less exasperating 
than their light-minded antipodes, void alike of facts 
and theories. Old people, in genealogical estimate, 
are either priceless or good-for-nought. Some have 
memories like a well-ordered store-house, with most 
valuable commodities carefully assorted and labeled ; 
while others are best typified by the household rag- 
bag or refuse-heap. Truly pitiful it often seems that 
eighty or ninety years' experience should have gar- 
nered up so little worth preserving or repeating — and 
yet it will not do to despise rag-bags and rubbish- 
heaps, for precious things sometimes slip into them 
that would never find their way into an orderly re- 
ceptacle. Such a time as I had with old Lady 
Feather-pate. The descendant of a pioneer family, 
with a grandfather almost Enoch-Arden-ized by cap- 
tivity in the French and Indian War, a father who 
had drummed through the Eevolution in Putnam's 



JAPHETH IX SEARCH OF HIS FOREFATHERS. 1^37 

own reg-imeut, and personal acquaintance Avitli all 
the noted ministry and gentry of her own g-eneration 
— I could not g-et a tang-ible item out of her. Again 
and again, with the utmost care and patience, I 
would lead the conversation back to some note- 
Avorthy person or incident with which she must have 
been perfectly familiar, and off she would bob to 
some irrelevant household matter, descanting with 
greatest volubility upon her success in raising- calves, 
which seemed to have been the culmination of her 
life's achievement — (It was whispered, indeed, that 
her OAvn graceless cubs did her far less credit). But 
amid the scum and froth of this disjointed babble 
there bubbled out, inadvertently, a diamond of the 
first water; a definite, chronological, long-buried 
fact, whose recovery is pronounced by my friend, 
Mr. Gradgrind, of more practical value than the sum 
total of all my previous investigations — a fact which 
settled the original lay-out of a contested highway, 
and saved two towns from angry debate and impend- 
ing litigation. 

This apparent dependence upon mere chance and 
luck in antiquarian researches can hardly fail to 
awaken anxious solicitude. If we scarcely manage 
to save so many valuable items, must we not lose 
many others ? Even in matters that would seem to 
demand only patient plodding there is an element of 
uncertainty. A gap is found in the church records 



238 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

just at the time that missing great-grandmother 
might have been born or married, a pivotal date by 
chance left out, precious names blotted or undeci- 
pherable, blundering entries, entailing inextricable 
confusion and bewilderment. It is almost needless 
to advise an earnest, persistent Japheth never to send 
for information when he can possibly go for it, know- 
ing as he does the risk of entrusting such search to 
an indifferent person. Undoubtedly experts may be 
found, especially in old mother towns, who take pro- 
fessional pride in unraveling the most complicated 
lineage ; but the acumen of the ordinary town clerk 
is, to say the least, problematic. They are often 
afflicted with that peculiar optical infirmity that re- 
stricts the vision to things directly under the nose. 
I have known them positively deny the existence of 
records that historic instinct ferreted out in five min- 
utes. It is observed, however, that an application of 
gold-dust or bank-note is a sovereign specific in such 
cases. Equally uncertain is the result of epistolary 
effort, the blanks, as in other lotteries, bearing a large 
proportion to the prizes. Of course, all that can be 
done is to try our chances over and over, believing 
that an earnest seeker will in time attain the object 
of search. For myself, I came at last to a certain 
assured conviction that all that I needed would some- 
how find its way to me. 

" Nor time, uor space, nor deep, nor high. 
Can keep away my own from me !" 



JAPHETH IX SEARCH OF HIS FOREFATHERS. 239 

Ever following-, never fainting-, watcliiug, hunting-, 
plodding, year after year, you will in time solve your 
problems, fit in your links, establish coimection, and 
complete in a good degree your family record. Some 
perverse great-grandmother or minor collateral may 
yet evade you, permitting you the tantalizing- pleas- 
ure of further research. Can anyone give tidings of 
a certain fair Rachel, married in 1738 to a faithful 
Benjamin C ? Blank spaces in many " Ancestral Tab- 
lets " are waiting for her name. 

[Several statements in the above paragraph need 
modification and retraction. I am most happy to 
afiirm that the efficiency of the ordinary town official 
is not in these days " problematic." On the contrary, 
since the great demand for family records, the in- 
efficient and blundering town clerk has become ex- 
ceptional, and many of them have attained almost 
preternatural acuteness in answering these demands. 
The stupidity of a former fossil, who withheld for 
half a dozen years the needful record from a most 
importunate old gentleman simply because of one 
superfluous letter in the name, cannot be paralleled 
in these days. Driven to desperation, this j^ersevering 
Japheth instituted search in every town of the coun- 
ty, though all the evidence pointed to one particular 
town. Having occasion to visit this town, I remem- 
bered his plaintive appeal, and taking up the birth- 
record, there, on the very first page, inscribed in 
large, bold letters with the blackest of ink, were the 
names of this identical " John and Hannah," at the 



240 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

precise dates specified in search warrant — with just 
an o added to the family name, making- it Broad in- 
stead of Brad ! Anyone famihar with old records 
knows that a few vowels, more or less, make no differ- 
ence. There was no standard of spelling-, and, first 
names and date corresponding, there need have been 
no donbt in this and similar cases. Most fortunately 
our long suffering and waiting friend survived to 
attain this welcome verification.] 

The omission or displacement of some small letter 
may be equally disastrous in consequences. With 
deep contrition I recall the perplexity and labor in- 
flicted upon two painstaking genealogists by inad- 
vertently overlooking in proof the substitution of 
John for Jonah and Joseph for Josiah. Both had 
the sense to appeal from the printed page to previous 
notes, which fortunately enabled me to correct the 
error. Where old town records have been copied 
there is room for many errors to creep in, unless the 
copyist is familiar with old family names. In case of 
doubt it is wise to consult the original record. In an 
instance where the birth-date of the oldest child was 
omitted from the copy, I found it safely tucked away 
in the dogs-ear roll of the discarded leaf. Old minis- 
ters in baptizing a batch of babies sometimes man- 
aged to mix up the names in recording them — a source 
of perplexity somewhat difficult to unravel till we 
find him marrying- the exchanged Lucys or Abigails 
— and are able to fit them into their rightful families. 



JAPHETH IN SEARCH OF HIS f^OREFATHEKS. 24 i 

Still by care and patience we learn to, discriminate 
and circumvent these several errors. 

And even assured success may have its reserva- 
tions. It must be admitted that our ancestors are 
not always what we desired and expected. Some of 
us have to take up with Ham instead of Sliem or 
Japheth. I have myself restored grandparents to 
anxious descendants when I would fain have whis- 
pered Pope's couplet : 

" Go and pretend your family is youug, 
Nor own your fathers liave been fools so long." 

It was embarrassing to report to an unknown ap- 
plicant from Bodon, that one of the name had been 
publicly flogged at the whipping post for breaking- 
the Sabbath ; that another had figured as a witch, 
sticking pins into sleeping neighbors, and commit- 
ting other malicious pranks ; and a third, bearing the 
same unlucky name, was the last man /iwuj in the 
county ! One letter of inquiry among hundreds that 
have come to me is left unanswered, ray pen refusing 
to l:)last the hopes of the wife of a high church dig- 
nitary by the disgraceful intelligence that the last 
heard of her unworthy progenitor he had been con- 
victed of horse-stealing, whipped, branded, and sent 
back to jail for lack of means to pay the fine. Let 
him rest in dark oblivion. An ancestor with no more 
consideration for the feelings of descendants de- 
serves to be blotted from their record. 

20 



242 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

[I feel now that I was iitterly at fault iu the above 
premises and conclusion. Under present light and 
experience I feel that the inquirer should be in- 
formed of every fact connected with his family his- 
tory, and that the genealogist has no right to keep 
back discoveries, however unfavorable.] 

" From Nature's chain whatever link you stril^e. 
Tenth or ten- thousandth breaks the chain alike." 

If one link was unsound, those back of it may have 
proved of true metal. How great the loss inflicted 
in this particular instance can never be determined. 
My horse-lifter may have come from some robber 
count or highland freebooter ; he may have de- 
scended, like myself, from William the Conqueror or 
a line of raiding Vikings, and by withholding this 
link I have robbed the Bishop's children of ability to 
prove connection. We wish, like g-ood Mr. Omer, 
" that parties were brought up stronger minded," so 
that the genealogist need not feel qualmish in mak- 
ing-|,'disagreeable revelations. It is certainly absurd 
for citizens of our great republic to be unduly 
squeamish concerning- the social position of their an- 
cestors. We cannot " all be corporals " as the chil- 
dren expected in the old story, and may take right- 
ful pride in having worked our way up from the ranks 
by dint of honest struggle and gradual promotion. 
Even the honor and privilege of tracing your line 
straight back to historic names brought over in the 
Mayflower, or Winthrop's fleet, has its drawbacks. 



JAPHETH IN SEARCH OF HIS FOREFATHERS. 24:'.} 

" What a descent,'' said a sarcastic old g-entleman 
to a boastful scion of the Pilgrims. A less noted 
line may also portend a more vig'orous future. Fam- 
ilies, like their familiar symbol, grow, culminate, and 
decay. Your old trees have hollow trunks and many 
sapless, moss-grown branches. Some are blighted, 
some quickened by change of position and climate. 

" A tree tli;it stands square in old Massacliusetts, 

Wlieu transplanted to other States sometimes askew sets." 

The most hojielessly inert, lifeless, incapable speci- 
mens of humanity may be found among the descend- 
ants of old Puritan magnates. And while there are 
those who still do honor to illustrious names, it must 
be admitted that it is the new blood that chiefly leads 
in public affairs. Over fruitfulness in past genera- 
tions may have impaired capacity for present pro- 
duction, and the lower the social position of your 
grandfather the better may be the chance for your 
grandson's future. 

But there are things unearthed by the genealogist 
harder to bear than degree of social position. There 
are " blots on the escutcheon," bar-sinisters, too great, 
discrepancy between dates of birth and marriage, in 
some instances birth preceding marriage. Those 
familiar with ancient church records find frequent 
examples of such previousness. The custom of ex- 
torting a public confession from such offenders would 



244 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

seem to have ag-gravated the evil, making- it alDiost 
a matter of course that such coufessioii should be 
needed. With our ideas of the strictness of Puritan 
morals and discipline, it seems remarkable that such 
a condition of things should have existed ; yet in 
point of fact, it was less immoral than appears on the 
surface, and was based on the old Germanic idea of 
the sacredness of the betrothal. "Eng-aged folks 
have a right to live like married ones," was the blunt 
assertion of one sturdy recusant. The poverty of the 
times, the lack of business openings, made it difficult 
for a young man to provide and maintain an inde- 
pendent household, and existing customs allowed 
great liberty of intercourse between contracting 
parties. In one case, at least, marriage was delayed 
till the youngster was old eiiough to be the most con- 
spicuous witness of the ceremony. It may be said 
that this liberty was seldom abused, and that in- 
stances where marriage did not follow this previous 
intercourse are very infrequent. But when for some 
unavoidable cause marriage was jDrevented, it bore 
most hardly upon the unmarried mother, bearing 
through life a burden of disgrace and sorrow, having 
lapsed no more than hundreds of more fortunate 
sisters who lived and died in honor. On the other 
side, a pathetic incident occurred in the death of a 
young mother soon after the birth of her child. The 
infant was baptized at its dying mother's bedside, 



JAPHETH IN SEARCH OF HIS FOREFATHERS. 24:5 

but almost immediately the father had its birth re- 
corded under his own name, and his family assumed 
its charge and support. But a shadow followed the 
young- man through life. When, after a time, he de- 
cided to marry, his first child was given the name of 
his lost love, and his life ends in a mazy tradition of 
falling over a bridge in mist and darkness. In that 
case, as in many others, marriage had been delayed 
simply as a matter of convenience. 

But in the days following the Revolution there was 
far greater looseness of morals and manners. It was 
a time of general upheaval and commotion. The 
deadness of the established churches, the spread of 
French Revolution ideas and infidelity, the assertion 
of personal liberty, and the excessive use of liquor, all 
conspired to induce a very bad condition of affairs. 
The diary of our friend Zeph gives a graphic picture 
of the frolickings and junketing's among young peo- 
ple of his grade, and among his many frank entries 
are those of numerous births immediately preceding, 
or without, marriage. Nor were things much better 
among the higher classes. That such a graceless rep- 
robate as Oliver Dodge could have maintained his 
position in such a town as Pomfret, shows the low 
tone of public morals. Our first ventures in po))- 
ular literature bear striking testimony in this line. 
Ministers' sons and deacons' daughters, teachers in 
Plainfield Academy and promising young lawyers, 



246 HISTORIC GLEANINGS. 

figure in hig-lily sensational stories, with only too 
much literal foundation. With the new century 
came new spiritual life and movements, and influ- 
ences Avere set at work that wrought a wonderful 
betterment in all directions. If any genealogical 
Japheth lights upon an unfavorable record, or lack 
of record, during this unsavory period, he can only 
comfort himself by the probability that many others 
are in the same situation. The genealogist may 
deem himself fortunate who never stumbles upon an 
unpleasant revelation. " Any possible move," says 
the wise Mr. Bucket, " being a probable move ac- 
cording to my experience." Considering all the bad 
things that have been done in the world, we have no 
right to claim exemption for our ancestors. And the 
farther back we go the g-reater probability of wrong- 
doing. It is all very well to trace your line back into 
the old world, intersecting lines of nobility and kings, 
but their character and conduct will not bear close 
inspection. A line or lines straight back without 
gap or blot to substantial New England settlers is 
as good a thing as one need have in the way of an- 
cestry, and many such favored lines have been tri- 
umphantly established, while failure in any point 
certainly demands great exercise of philosophy. 

But if you have not gained all that you would like, 
your search has not been fruitless. Apart from the 
fascinating excitement of pursuit it has strengthened 



JAPHETH IX SEARCH OF HIS FOREFATHERS. 2-1:7 

the ties of blood and kindred, and g-iven you a closer 
apprehension of the oneness of the Immau family. 
Amid the hurry and rush of our headlong- national 
growth and expansion this modern interest in g"enea- 
log-ical research has a most beneficent an d humaniz- 
ing- influence, counteracting the tendency to separa- 
tion and dispersion, and drawing thousands of scat- 
tered families around a common hearthstone. Most 
noteworthy is its bearing upon the vexed question 
of New England's future. At a time when the out- 
flow of its native population and the influx of for- 
eigners has revolutionized the rural district, Avhen a 
great majority of Yankee farms are tilled by those 
of alien blood and tongue, this awakened interest in 
ancestral homes and shrines is a hopeful feature in 
the situation. Pilgrim sons of Pilgrim fathers pay 
pious visits to the g-raves of their ancestors, and ar- 
rang-e for their better care and more fltting memo- 
rial stone or tablet. Often the interest extends to 
the family homestead, the neighborhood, the town, 
and finds expression in helpful aid — in renovated 
church-yard and church edifice ; in public school- 
house or library building. Many a town has received 
a new impulse from these friendly gifts, arousing the 
before discourag-ed residents to greater eftbrts in 
their own behalf, and stimulating the interest and 
cooperation of other wandering sons and old-time 
residents. Family reunions at ancestral homes, 



248 HISTORIC GLEANINGS- 

bringiiig- together sons and daughters from all parts 
of the land, strengthen the ties of blood and early 
association, and make it more and more evident that 
sons of New England will not outgrow their filial 
relations ; that the homes that nourished the infancy 
of our land will be even more honored and cherished 
as time rolls on. 

And in its more personal aspect the genealogist 
finds great reward. His feeling of kinship widens 
out to the whole family circle and brings them into 
reciprocal relations. Truly " he setteth the solitary 
in families." To many isolated lives he brings new 
sources of interest and consolation. The most shriv- 
eled old maid, the dryest old twig of a bachelor, 
gains new life and freshness when incorporated into 
a family tree. To how many of our elderly friends 
this pursuit has brought enjoyment that nothing else 
could substitute. How striking its adaptation to the 
instinctive craving of those, who retired from active 
labor, can thus gather up the past and project it into 
the future : 

" Becoming, as is meet and fit, 
A link among the days, to knit 
The generations, each to each." 

How hopeful the interest and enthusiasm thus 
awakened among the younger branches. 

Success to all the Japheths, far and near! May 
each achieve his " Tree," and may its shadow never 
be less. 



INDEX. 



A, Benjamin, 198. 
Abbe, Rachael, 100. 
Adams, Abigail. 54. 
Adams, Mrs. Eiisha, 127. 
Adams, Samuel, 17, 90, 91. 
Allis, Abigail, 54. 
Allstou, Washington, 217. 
Almy, Sampson, 162. 
Alton, Mrs. Elizabetli (Hos- 

mer), 127. 
Andros, Sir Edmund, S, 139. 
Angel, Jonathan, 177. 
Angell, Job, 151, 158, 154. 
Aplin, John, 147. 
Aspinwall, Peter, 135, 137. 
Avery, Mr., 17. 

Backus, Rev. Isaac, 37, 38, 43. 
Bacon, James. 60. 
Ballon, Rev. Hosea, 183. 
Bancroft, 90. 
Barrett, John, 113. 
Bartholomew, Mrs. Abigail, 

53. 
Bartholomew, William, 53. 
Bass, Rev. John, 147. 
Belcher, Jonathan, 57. 
Bishop, Widow, 196. 
Blackwell, Sir John, 56-57. 
Blake, Goody, 128. 
Bolles, Lucius, 156. 
Bowles, Captain, 149. 
Bowlses, 60. 
Bradbury, Jermima, 61. 
Bradford, 17. 

jNIrs. Hannah, 66. 
Broad, Hannah, 239. 
John, 239. 



Brown, 146. 

Rev. Aaron, 72, 106. 

Jeremiah, 149. 

John, 149. 

Nicholas, 156. 
Buck, Lieut., 112. 
Bucket. Mr.. 246. 
Bullock, 148. 

C , Benjamin, 239. 

C, Elder, 184, 188, 189, 193, 

194. 
Cady, 01. 

Daniel, 99. 

Joseph, 99, 149, 160. 

Mrs. Joseph, 160. 
Calhoon. Mr., 149. 
Cargill, Capt. Benjamin, 8. 

Lucy, 80. 

William E., 81. 
Carpenter, Mr., 60. 
Chaffery. Old, 18. 
Chandler, Capt. John, 57, 59, 

60. 
Chandler, Deacon John, 59. 

John, 58, 61. 

Peleg, 156. 
Chase, 148. 
Chauncey. Dr., 73. 
Cheese, Sam., 118. 
Childs, Capt. Eiisha, 110. 

P^phraim, 110. 

Henry, 110. 
Christopher. Mr., 8. 
Clap, Rector. 30, 209. 

Rev. Thomas, 65. 
Clark, James, 103. 
" Claver'ouse, Bloody," 46. 



250 



INDEX. 



ClemmoDS, John, 170. 
Cleveland, Capt. Aaron, 94. 

Ebenezer, 29. 

Johu, 17, 29-31. 

Mrs. Josiah, 16. 

Gen. Moses, 94. 
Cop:swell, Rev. James, 26, 28, 

29, 32, 46. 50, 92, 93. 
Coit, Abigail, 61. 

Billy, 60, 61. 

John, 60, 61. 

Rev. Joseph, 59-61 

Martha, 60. 
Coit, Mrs. Mehitable Chand- 
ler, 59, 66. 
Coit, Thomas, 59-60. 
Cole, Nathan, 12. 
Coleman, Goodman, 54. 
Coles, Old Captain, 170. 
Congdon, 148. 
Converse, Jacob. 156. 
Cook, Capt. Nicholas, 141, 

155. 
Corbin Mrs. Caroline Fair- 
field, 130. 
Corbin, Jabez, 60. 

James. 60. 
Corliss, Captain, 149. 
Cotton, Rev. Josiah, 147. 
Coy, 61. 
Crosby, Capt. Stephen, 112, 

114, 115. 
Cutler, Ephraim, 98-129. 

Manasseh, 72, 76, 78,85, 
99. 

Daggett, Dr., 65. 

Pres., 73. 
Danielson, George W. . 163. 
Danielson, Lieut. Col. Wil- 
liam, 98, 99. 
Danielson, Major, 99. 
Denison, Thomas, 36. 
Devotion, Ebenezer, 95. 

Elizabeth, 92. 
Dickinson, Obadiah, 54. 
Dike, Thomas, 112, 113. 

Samuel, 112. 



Dixon, Nathan F., 156. 
Dodge. David, 64. 

David L., 65. 

William E., 65. 

Oliver. 206-215, 245. 
Dorrauce, Rev. Samuel, 63- 

63. 
Douglass, Benajah, 28. 
Dow, Rev. Daniel, 107. 

Mrs., 108. 
Dudley, 62. 

Governor, 206. 
Dunlap, 218. 
Durkee, Col., Ill, 233. 

Lawyer, 88. 

Capt. John, 108. 
Dwight, Dr., 158. 
Dyer, Col., 22, 24, 25. 

Lawyer, 88. 

Earl, William, 64. 
Eaton, 145. 

Dr.. 183. 

Joseph, 156. 
Eaton, Mrs. Anne Woodcock, 

66. 
Edmonds. Mr., 66. 
Edwards, Jonathan, 11. 
Elderkin, Dr. Joshua, 90. 

Joshua, 92. 

Jedidiah, 98. 
Elliott, Apostle, 134. 
Elliott, Capt. Joseph, 99, 103, 

105, 114, 115. 
Elliott, Lemuel, 160-161. 

Stephen, 114. 
Elwell, Lieut., 99-100. 

Farman, Joseph, 154. 
Fisk, 148. 

Fitch, Eleazer, 106-119. 
Fitch, Major James, Jr., 2-10, 

16, 32, 75. 
Flint, Miss Dora, 91. 
Foot, Mary, 54. 

Samuel, 54. 
Foster, 146. 
Frink, Lawyer Nathan, 120. 



INDEX. 



251 



Prizzel, Joseph. 55. 
Frothingliam. Ebeuezer, 34. 
Froude, 2. 
Fuller, Job, 230. 

Gary, Hanuah, 59. 
Gaston, Hou. VVm. L., 44. 
Gay, Joseph, 124 

Theodore, 124, 125. 
Gilbert, Geor<ije, 215. 
Girk, 62. 

Gouer, James H., 228. 
Goner, Susanna Fuller, 229, 

230. 
Gradgrind, Mr., 237. 
Gray, Lieut. Ebenezer, 104. 

Lydia (Dyer), 77, 104, 
105. 
Gray, Samuel, 90. 
Green, Amos, 112. 

John, 99. 
Greene, Nathaniel, 95. 
Grosvenor, 70. 

Ebenezer. 56, 101. 

]\Irs. Esther, 56. 

John, 56. 

Judge Lemuel, 205. 

Oliver. 113. 

Captain Seth, 102, 103. 

Hale, Nathan, 233. 
Hall, Anne. 216-219. 

Charles H., 217. 

Dr. Jonathan, 205, 216. 
Hallowell, Dr., 146-147. 
Hanford, Joseph, 171. 
Harrison, William, 202. 
Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 168, 

217. 
Hay ward, Philip, 156. 
Heath, Gen., 233. 
Henry, Patrick, 94. 
Holmes. Dr. David, 78. 

Mrs., 61, 66. 
Hopkins, Stephen, 146. 
Hoppin, 148. 
Hovey, John, 37. 



Howe, Damaris (Cady), 71. 

Rev. Joseph, 70-78, 93, 
106. 
Howe, Rev. Perley, 71. 
Hoyt, Captain, 172. 
Hubbard, Dr. Thomas, 85. 

183-184, 205. 
Huntington, Col. Jedediah, 
79. 

Irving, Washington, 142. 

Jackson, 148. 

Jacob, Old Father. 178, 181 

Japheth, 221-222, 238-239, 241, 

246, 248. 
Jay, Mr. Blue, 234. 

Mrs. Blue. 231, 234. 

Gnindfather, 231. 234. 

Nathan, 231-233. 
Jefferson, Thomas, 182, 185. 
Jeffries, Wicked, 46. 
Jenks, John, 154. 
Jennings, Captivity, 55. 

Hannah. 54-55. 
Johnson, Lad}' Arabella, 52. 

Obediah. 42, 103. 
Jones. Mr., 149. 

Kellogg, Samuel, 54. 
Keyes, Lieut., 102. 
King, Philip, 134. 

Samuel, 217. 
Knight. Madam, 136. 
Nehemiah, 157. 
Knowlton, Captain Thomas, 
70, 102, 103-111, 114, 233. 

Lafayette, 173. 

Larned, Daniel, 97, 144, 146. 

Erastus, 156. 

George, 156. 

Sergeant Jesse, 112. 

Kebekah (Williamson), 
117, 118. 
Lathrop, 60-61. 
Leavens, Justice Joseph, 118. 



252 



INDEX, 



Leonard, Rev. Abiel, 111, 120, 

121. 
Lindsley, B.. 149. 
Lord, Dr., 205. 

Dr. Benjamin, 69. 
Lovejov. Elder, 198. 
Lymau^ Rev. Mr.. 212. 
Lyon, Capt. Benjamin, 100. 

Capt. Daniel, 100. 

M, Dr.. 195. 
M, Neighbor, 194. 
Madison. James, 188. 
Malbone, E. G., 217. 

Col. Godfrey, 116, 117, 
119, 148 
Manning, Capt. Ephraim, 100, 

108. 
Manning, President, 149, 150. 
Marcy, 61. 

Nathan. 100. 
Marryat, Capt., 221. 
Marsh, Thomas, 36, 37. 
Mason, Amasa, 161. 

James B., 156. 

John, 97, 144, 156. 

Major John, 2. 

William H., 160. 
Mather, 168. 
McClellan, 70. 

Judah. 156. 

Rachel, 78. 

Samuel. 95, 101, 144. 

William, 156 
Merriam, Captain, 118. 
Miantonomo, 134. 
Miller, Rev. Alexander, 43-45. 

Deacon, 60-61. 

Hannah. 119. 

Peter, 45. 
Mills, Mr.. 17. 
Missin, 226-227. 

Widow, 226. 
Mitchell, Elder. 177. 
Mohalbi. Garatilia, 218. 
Monroe. James, 192. 
Moosup, alias Pessacus, 133. 
Morris, Sam, 60-61. 



Morris, Deacon, 60, 61. 
Morse, 164. 

Dea. Jedidiah, 122, 123. 

John, 23. 

Dr. Parker, 61. 
Mosely. Mr., 18. 

Ebenezer, 103. 
Moulton. Rev. Ebenezer, 36. 

Mrs. Louise Chandler,. 
130. 
Mumford, 217. 

Thomas. 145. 

Nichols, Ebenezer, 113. 

George, 201. 
Nightingale, 164. 

Col., 149. 

Omer, Mr., 242. 
Otis, James, 94. 
Owaneco, 3, 5, 6, 7. 

Pace, Joseph, 201. 

Paine, Rev. Elisha, Jr., 10, 14, 

17, 22, 27, 28, 36, 38, 39,41, 

46, 50, 51-75. 
Paine, Samuel, 53-55. 
Paine, Solomon, 16. 17, 18, 

36, 37. 
Payne, Abraham, 163 
Pay son, 61. 
Peale. Anna C, 216. 
Sarah M , 216. 
Peck, Mother, 171. 
Perkins, Dr. Elisha, 78, 80. 
Perry, Commodore, 190. 
Plyrapton, Goodman, 54. 
Pope, Alex, 241. 
Putnam, Rev. Aaron, 78, 101, 

102, 150. 206-207, 208-210, 

212. 
Putnam, Daniel, 100. 
Putnam, Gen. Israel, 70, 80, 

94, 100, 103, 121, 123, 124, 

171, 233. 
Putnam, Israel, Jr., 103. 
Lawyer, 88. 



INDEX. 



'l'^6 



Randall, 148. 
Raynsford, Edward, 25. 
Revere, Paul, 100. 
Rhodes, William, 146 
Ripley, Rev. Mr., 102. 
Robinson, Alexander, 217. 
Rowland, Rev. David, 40, 147, 

148 
Russell, Priest, 178. 

Samuel, 54. 

Col. William, 156. 

Sabin, Benjamin, 135. 

Dea. Elisha, 108. 

Capt. Hezekiah, 141. 

Capt. .lolm. 138. 

Mrs. Hannah, 141, 155. 

William H., 156. 
Saltonstall, Gov., 7, 8. 
Sampson. 134. 
Sawyer, Mr., 219. 
Sedgwick, Theodore. 72. 
Sessions, Darius, 93, 137, 141, 

148, 149. 156. 
Sessions, Nathaniel, 137. 
Sewell, 168. 
Shaw, Lucretia, 126. 
Shumway, Elliott, 105. 
Sibley, Old, 108. 
Smith, Benoni, 174. 

Solomon, 113. 

William, 113. 
Spalding, Jacob, 62. 

Joseph, 45. 
Spalding, Mrs. Hannah Wil- 
son, 62. 
Spalding, Widow, 17. 
Sprague, Dr., 74. 

Dea. Jonathan, 140. 

Jonathan, 151. 

Mrs., 65. 
Stanley, Nathaniel, 4. 
Staytums, 223. 

Samson. 223. 
Stedman, Edmund C, 127. 

Mary. 127. 
Stevens, Rev. Mr., 40. 
Stiles, Dr., 146. 



Stiles, Vernon, 201. 

Stockwell, Quintin, 54. 

Storrs, Lieut. -Col. Experi- 
ence, 98, 101, 102, 103, 107. 

Streeter, George, 177. 

Stuart, Edward, 62-63-64. 
Mary, 63-64. 

Sullivan, Gen. James, 173,233. 

Sweet. Philip. 154. 

Swift, Judge Zeph, 209, 212, 
215. 

T., Elder, 198. 
Tew, Paul. 149. 
Thayer, Major, 155. 
Thomas, Capt. Nathaniel. 134, 

135. 
Thompson, 148. 149. 
Thompson, Dolly, 178, 183, 

184, 198. 
Thompson, Hannah, 197. 

Jacob. 180, 199. 
Thompson, Jesse, 152, 153, 157, 

169. 
Thompson, John, 151-153, 157, 

169, 174, 176. 
Thompson, Mary, 176, 177, 

197. 
Thompson, Primus. 181. 184, 

186, 192. 
Thompson, Zeph, 151-155, 169- 

200, 245. 
Thompson, Mrs. Zeph, 180, 

188, 189, 
Thurber, Benjamin, 146. 
James, 149. 
Mr. S., 145. 
Tinglev, 164. 

Tompkins, David D., 192. 
Torrey, 148. 
Tourtellotte. 148. 
Trip, Mr., 152. 
Trumbidl, 170 

Faith, 126 
J. Hammond, 133. 
Gov. Jonathan, 93. 
Mr., 104. 
Tyler, Daniel, Jr., 98. 



254 



INDEX. 



Uucas, 3, 133. 
Underwood. Alvin, 156. 
Updike. Wilkins, 151. 
Utter, Jabez, 57. 

Mary. 57, 58, 61. 

Van Buren. Martin. 201. 
Vandeboro, Col., 170. 
Vinton. Mrs. Mary, 163. 
Vryland, Mr., 60. 

VV , Miss, 198. 

Wadsworth, Brig. -Gen., 109, 

111. 
Wadsworth, Samuel, 28, 29. 
Waile, Benjamin, 55. 
Waldo, Dr. Albigence, 78-85, 

102. 205. 
Waldo, Mrs. Albigence, 81-85, 
Wales, Nathaniel, Jr., 90. 
Walton, Dr., 179. 
Ward, Col., 111. 

Mrs. Henry, 219. 
Warner, 265. 
Warren, Capt. Ephraim, 96. 

Joseph, 45. 

Mercy, 77, 90, 126. 
Warren, Paymaster James, 91. 
Washington, Gen. George, 109, 
110, 120. 121, 122, 155, 171, 
176, 182, 233. 
Washington, Martha, 126, 

Mary, 126. 
Waterman, Resolved, 146. 



Watson, 164. 
Wesley, John, 88. 
West, Gen., 179. 
Wheaton, 148. 

Henry, 156. 
Wheeler, Experience, 59. 

Mary, 67-69. 
Wheelock, Pres. John, 122. 
White, Lawyer Aaron, 165. 

Mary, 165-166. 
Whitfield, George, 12, 14, 19. 
Whiting, Mary, 65. 

Rev. Samuel, 65. 
Whitman, Rev. Elnathan, 74. 

Elizabeth, 74. 

Martha. 160. 
Wilkinson, Beuj., 141-144. 

John, 162. 

Smith, 159, 162. 

William, 156. 
Williams, Col. Ebenezer, 98, 

113. 
Williams, Rev. Ebenezer, 206. 

Roger, 134. 
Wilmot's, 146 
Winsor, Abraham, 149. 
Winthrop, 62, 168. 
Winthrop, Gov. Fitz John, 6, 

7, 32. 
Winthrop, Margaret, 52. 
Wright, 61. 

Yorke, Mrs. Esther Minor, 
125. 



History of the State of Rhode island 

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