History of Woodstock, Vt. -- Chapter 07

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER VII.

FROM TAFTSVILLE TO SOUTH WOODSTOCK.

In the northeast corner of Woodstock is situated the village of Taftsville. Stephen Taft was the first settler in this village. He came from Mendon, Mass., about the year 1793, and built a shop on the south side of the river, and a dam across the stream, and commenced the business of making axes, scythes, and other edge tools. On the 17th day of August, 1795, he began building a saw-mill at the opposite or north end of the dam, and had it in working order by November following. Daniel Taft, brother to Stephen, was born in Mendon, December 28, 1778. In 1794 he came to Woodstock as an apprentice to his brother Stephen in the scythe-making business. The following year he assisted at the building of the saw-mill, and worked in this mill most of the time for a twelvemonth. He presently began to think of working for himself, and, following out this thought, on the 15th of January, 1802, he hired of his brother two fires in the shop and the use of the trip-hammer two thirds of the time till the first of August following. His next step was to purchase in August, 1804, in company with his brother Seth, the shop and one third of the water-privilege for the sum of two hundred and sixty dollars, the two being equal owners in the property. The business was now carried on by the two brothers in company till 1811, when the shop took fire and was destroyed. Seth received a fatal hurt in the head at the fire, which caused lockjaw and death in about ten days. [1] Daniel now purchased the remainder of the water-privilege, rebuilt the shop, and resumed the business alone. From this date his business gradually increased, till in time it amounted to twenty thousand dollars a year. His scythes had the highest reputation and sold all over the country, and although other scythe-makers stepped in to compete with him, yet Taft's scythes always continued in the highest repute.

[1] Seth Taft's wife was named Lucy. Seth was located within the limits of Hartland. He left four minor children, namely, Reuben, Melinda, Lucy, and Beulah, all under the age of fourteen years.  (Probate Records, vol. iv.)

(p. 93) After his sons were grown up they went into company with their father, and the business was continued and enlarged under the firm of  D. Taft & Sons. In April, 1835, they purchased the stock and tools of Messrs. Granger & Swan, who recently carried on the furnace business at Woodstock Green, and set up a new furnace near the shop of  D. Taft & Sons, and continued the business of casting ploughs, fire-frames, and stoves.

November 1, 1801, Daniel Taft married in Mendon, Mass., Miss Thankful Wilson, by whom he had three sons, Daniel, Owen, and Paschal P.  She died April 19, 1815, aged thirty-one years. For his second wife Mr. Taft married, October 11, 1815, Miss Mary Samson, by whom he had one daughter, Loriette Maria. He died August 30, 1857.

Solomon Emmons, Sr., settled first in Windsor, in 1764. About four years later he came into Woodstock and located in Taftsville, on the spot afterwards owned by L. Putnam. It is now occupied by Benjamin Bugbee. His first house he built of logs, as no lumber was to be had in the neighborhood till after Stephen Taft put up the saw-mill in 1793. He had three sons, namely, Thomas, Solomon, and Abel. vSolomon, Jr., married, at the age of twenty-two, Prudence Taft, sister to Daniel Taft, Sr. vThey had several children, namely, Sophia, a pair of twins named Solomon and Prudence, Laura, Harry, Seth, and Lewis, afterwards Dr. Lewis Emmons, who was of the same age as Daniel Taft, Jr. vThe road from Woodstock at that early day passed along the side hill fifty rods further south and west than the road now runs, and going above Harvey Vaughan's residence, where in old times was a log house, it came by the Solomon Emmons place, then swung round east above Paschal P. Taft's house, where is the cellar of still another ancient dwelling. vStill keeping round east, there are the sites of two more log houses, where early settlers were established. vAfter crossing Babcock's Brook, so called, there are found the ruins of an old log hut, occupied about the time Solomon Emmons came to Taftsville by a Mr. Blackmer, who moved in from Windsor. Solomon Emmons, Jr., built his house of sawed lumber in 1795. It stood on the river road, and is the place where Harry Emmons afterwards lived. All the children above named were born in this house. The brick house was erected in 1846, and is now occupied by Thales Winn Emmons, son of Harry.

(p. 94) Samuel Marsh settled on the river road about 1795. The place is now owned by Thomas M. Ryder. The next house is the mill-house, so called, the east side of the river, built by Elisha P. Perkins in 1817, now owned by B. D. Hathaway.  Daniel Taft's house was built in 1805.  This was only a frame dwelling at first, which was moved back in 1826 and the brick house put up, now occupied by Daniel Taft, Jr.  Paschal P. Taft's house was built in 1834; still occupied by him.  Owen Taft built his house in 1836; now occupied by Mrs. Marcy.  David Hathaway's house was built in 1852.  The house where Mr. Gillette lives was built by Frank Metcalf in 1876.  The house where John Parkhurst lives was built in 1843 by Comings Martin.  This was an old barn made over.  The house now occupied by the widow Bean was built by I. B. Howes in 1836.  William Strong's house was built by Comings Martin in 1839.  Strong bought in 1873.  The Blaisdell house, built in 1840 by Comings Martin, is now owned and occupied by George Cleveland.  Barnes Gilbert built his house in 1846, and it is still occupied by his family. Harvey Vaughan's house was built by Zenas Adams in 1843. The Alfred Whitney house was built in 1844 by Clark Stockwell.  The house now occupied by E. C. Emmons was built by Solomon Emmons, the third in descent, in 1854.  Levi D. Hall's house was built by D. Taft & Sons in 1848; now occupied by Frank Young.  The house where Hiram Spaulding now lives was built in 1842 by Mr. Gilbert.  The next is a house built of brick by Lemuel Holt in 1841; passed through several hands, and is now owned by Mrs. Barrett.  The next above is Olive Moore's house, built in 1852 by D. Taft & Sons.  The next house, built of brick, was erected by D. Taft & Sons in 1840 for Joseph Weed.  His wife was the daughter of Abel Emmons, third son of the original Solomon Emmons, and this house stands about twenty rods east of the said Solomon's original log house.  The Joseph Bigelow house was built by Eben Martin, who lived and died there.  It is now owned by Clark Newton.

The next is the Earl Vaughan house, built by D. Taft & Sons in 1833, and occupied by the Vaughans down to the present time. The house where Homer Darling now lives was built by D. Taft & Sons in 1840.  Charles G. Darling's house was built by D. Taft & Sons in 1837, and is now owned and occupied by Frank D. Metcalf.  The next house was built by Daniel W. Bigelow in 1865, and is still occupied by him.

(p. 95) C. W. Seaver's house was built by Chester Collins in 1867. The site was once in Hartland, but it is now in Woodstock. The house built by Seth Taft about 1796 stood on the hill some fifty rods above the present road.  Daniel Taft, Jr., was born in this house, and in after times Solomon Emmons occupied it till he built the house where Edwin C. Emmons now lives.  This house has been torn down.

Taftsville is embraced in School District No. 7. The first schoolhouse in this neighborhood, so far as there is now any recollection, was a frame building, which stood on the westerly side of the road leading up the valley, and a little distance above the river road.  It was burnt in 1811.  Uriel Dutton was then keeping the school, which had still two weeks to keep when the accident occurred. The schoolhouse was rebuilt of brick on the same site, and continued to be used about thirty years, when it was taken down. These two schoolhouses were each arranged after the usual fashion of the day, with desks on opposite sides of the room and an alley between.

Daniel Taft, Jr., took the job of putting up the third schoolhouse, at the same time changing its site to the present location. The building is very conveniently arranged for the ends and purposes for which it was designed.  It has two school-rooms on the first floor, and is equipped with a belfry, in which is a good-sized bell. When first put up, it stood within the limits of Hartland, but in 1851 a small section of that town was set off to Woodstock in the adjustment of boundary lines between the two towns, and the section so set off included this schoolhouse.

Taftsville has a post-office, which was first established in or about the year 1839, and Dexter Bates was the first postmaster. The second was Daniel Taft, who held the office from January, 1849, to January, 1852.  From that time to 1856, the office was held by Owen Taft.  Curtis Cady succeeded Owen Taft, holding the office till 1869, when L. J. M. Marcy was appointed, continuing postmaster till 1875.  Daniel Smith was appointed the sixth postmaster, and has acted as such since the cars began to run on the Woodstock railroad, October, 1875.  He is postmaster still.

The post-office was located at first within the limits of Hartland; but the portion of Hartland set off to Woodstock at this

(p. 96) point in 1851, included the land on which the post-office building was situated, and it is now, therefore, within the limits of Woodstock. [1]

On the top of Hartland Hill, about a mile above the village of Woodstock, is a spot called Beaver Meadow, known by that name since the earliest settlement of this town. From the northerly side of this meadow flows a brook which passes down the valley to Taftsville, and then finds its way into the Quechee. The valley drained by this brook still retains some of the wildness of the primitive forest, and on a pleasant summer's day, for a drive or walk, is one of the most charming spots about here. It goes by the name of Happy Valley, though when and by whom the name was first applied to it is a matter of uncertainty. The first person to settle in the valley was Josiah Clark, who had a farm of two hundred acres here, bounded on the north by the Governor's lot, and on the east by Hartland town line. He built bis first log cabin on the eastern slope of the valley, at the edge of the woods, near the line which separates the Harvey farm from the one lately occupied by Orson Perkins. This cabin he gave up to Edmund Harvey in April, 1783, and moved into a new one a little higher up the hill. [2] Besides farming it for a living, he was neighborhood shoemaker.

Clark remained in the valley till 1791, when he disposed of the homestead to Elisha West, and moved somewhere else. Poverty and rheumatism seem to have been his close companions during the latter part of his life. He is credited in the town records with a family of thirteen children by his wife, Jerusha Burt. The oldest of these, Freeman by name, was born the 12th day of January, 1774. This Freeman Clark and another resident of the valley, named Josiah Hurlburt, were among the fifty insurgents who about the 16th of November, 1786, assembled at Captain Lull's, in Hartland, for the purpose of rescuing Robert Morrison. This Morrison had been sentenced by the court at Windsor for heading a riot against the court on the 31st of October previous.

The chief occupation of Elisha West, the next after Clark to

[1] Paschal P. Taft. did specimen of the forest, standing a [2]This second log cabin seems never to have been occupied after Clark left it.  Right up through the chimney of this hut an elm-tree started, perhaps ninety years ago. This tree has grown to be a splended specimen of the forest, standing a hundred feet high, and rising fifty feet or more without a branch, and then the top spreads out like an umbrella. (D. G. Spaulding.)

(p. 97) occupy this farm, was to compose music and teach singing-schools, as is related elsewhere. His family, like himself, were all singers. During the manifold trials that disturbed West's life in the last few years of his residence in Woodstock, he appears to have so managed his affairs that in the judgment of the civil authority of the town he came within the description, true intent and meaning of Section 14 of the Act providing for the Poor, then in force among the laws of this State. Thereupon such proceedings were taken in the case that some time in June, 1808, a guardian was appointed over this "chief of singers," who proved to be no other than the solid and stable Jabez Bennett, as conspicuous for his unmusical voice as for his shining virtues. In the inventory of effects belonging to West, which was returned to the Town Clerk's office for record, is one interesting item, namely: "Seven books on music at $3.50." It is pleasant and proper to add that the guardianship over this excellent teacher of the divine art of music did not continue long. Isaac Tribou, who succeeded West on the farm in Happy Valley, came from Old Middleborough. He was a shoemaker by trade, and lived and died on this farm, and then Elias Thomas became its owner.

Another early settler in Happy Valley was Adam Turner, who bought a farm of fifty acres on the east side of the brook, cornering on Edmund Harvey's farm. He was born about the year 1763; came from Templeton, Mass., to Windsor, before he was twenty-one, and hired out on service. In Windsor he made the acquaintance of Betsey Lull, to whom he was married in Josiah Clark's house one Monday morning in the month of November, 1784. His farm of fifty acres he had already purchased, on which he now settled, and continued to occupy it for several years. December, 1800, he was appointed deputy sheriff by William Rice, but got into trouble, and removed to the State of New York in 1802, where he died.

Next above Josiah Clark's place came the farm and residence of Edmund Harvey, who was born in Attleborough, Mass., 1757, where he spent his boyhood. On the breaking out of the Revolutionary War, he enlisted in a company under the command of Captain Goldsmith, and served through a portion of the war. Having finished his period of service in the army, he came with his father's family to Hartland, whence he found his way into Woodstock about 1781. In the early part of 1782, he married

(p. 98) in Bridgewater, Mass., Mary Harvey, his second cousin, and the next year, in the month of February, started for Woodstock with family and stores. On his way he left baggage and stores at No. 4, and pushed forward with wife and child to Cornish, where he put up at Chase's tavern. After being weather-bound here a few days, taking the ferry-boat the 5th day of March, they succeeded in crossing the river safely. Wife and child now pushed forward to Hartland and put up at the house of Mr. Luce, while Mr. Harvey returned to No. 4 for baggage and stores. It took him between four and five weeks to get through and back to Cornish again. No need of ferry-boat now. Such had been the severity of the weather during his trip to No. 4 and back that Connecticut River, though in high flood, and though it was now the second week in April, was frozen over solid, so that he crossed it with his loaded teams on the ice. He then pushed on through Hartland, picked up wife and child by the way, and reached and camped down on his own farm just six weeks after the first crossing of the river at Cornish. The farm consisted of twenty-five acres of land purchased of Josiah Clark, not a rod of which was cleared as yet, and the snow was still plentiful and deep, though it was past the middle of April. Harvey occupied at first the log hut Clark had vacated, but after two years he built a better one twenty-five or thirty rods further down the road. This log house had two large rooms on the ground floor, in which the family ate and slept and performed all their domestic labors, including spinning and weaving, making butter and cheese, and preparing fowls for market. [1] In the summer of 1795, Mr. Harvey put up a frame house about fifteen rods further down the road. This building, after standing many years, was taken down by George W. Harvey, in August, 1878.

On the 29th of April, 1807, Mr. Harvey went with his son Nathan over to Mr. Burtch's store in Hartford, to settle an account. On his return in the afternoon, he attempted to cross the river above Taft's dam in a canoe. The river was high from a spring flood, the current proved too strong for the rowers, and the boat was swept over the dam. The young man escaped, but Mr. Harvey was carried down the stream and drowned. [2]

[1] Miss Mary Harvey. [2] Fortunately the latter (the son, about twenty years of age), after being carried down the falls for some distance, was preserved by means of some flood wood from receiving any material injury. Edmund Harvey's body was accidentally found on Tuesday, May 12th, following, near the mouth of Quechee River. (Spooner's Vt. Journal, May 18, 1807.)

(p. 99) After the death of Edmund Harvey the farm continued in possession of the family, and is still occupied by George W. Harvey, grandson of the above. Southeast of the Harvey place lies a farm recently owned and occupied by Henry B. Reed. This farm was once a part of the large estate purchased by Israel Richardson, when he first settled in Woodstock. From Richardson it passed to Elisha West, from him to Allen & Dana, then to Elias Thomas. John Bement owned it next, who married Silvia, daughter of Mr. Thomas. The farm remained in possession of the Bement family upwards of fifty years.

A little distance above the Bement farm stands, on the left side of the road, a house now deserted. Here, some forty-five or fifty years ago, Samuel White settled.  White was an ingenious mechanic, and especially skillful in carving woodwork. Just above the house he built a dam across the brook so as to secure a water power, by means of which he drove the machinery in a workshop attached to the rear of the house, having an upper room and a room in the basement.  A garden was laid out below the house, which was terraced and partly covered with fruit-trees. Through this the brook flowed, and in Mr. White's day the place, all about, wore the appearance of thrift, neatness, and care. After he left it, however, things soon went to decay and ruin. A little above Mr. White's, on the road to Hartland, comes the farm occupied by Thomas E. Putney, and a short distance beyond is Balston Cottage, established by Mrs. Francis some twenty-five years ago as one of her places of abode in this town.

On the 7th day of July, 1779, Abigail Luce, "wife to Adonijah Luce of Hertford in the County of Cumberland and State of New York (alias Vermont) Spinster," deeded to John Hurlburt, of Mason, county of Hillsborough, N. H., Lot No. 184, one hundred acres in the township of Woodstock. Hurlburt's wife's name was Philippa Emerson, sister to Betsey, wife of James Emerson, Sr.  His family was quite large when he came to Woodstock, and it increased after he got here.  He settled on the easterly slope of Happy Valley, which overlooked Beaver Meadow.  The old road passed along the side of this slope, near the foot, and then crossed the brook at the head of the valley. The house which Hurlburt built and occupied stood above the road, a little up the slope.  By the edge of the

(p. 100) meadow, at the foot of the slope, can still be seen a clump of bushes and briars where the spring was, from which Hurlburt drew his supply of water for family uses.  On the left of the house, a little lower down the hill, stood the barn. All about was spread a thrifty orchard. Hurlburt had no other business in hand besides his farm, and this he managed well. He was one of the founders of the Congregational Church in this place, of which his wife also was member. They both, it is understood, maintained a good character in their profession. Hurlburt himself was of a cheerful, social disposition, disposed to be chatty, generally quite well behaved, and was respected by all, and was certainly careful about getting into debt. [1] He died July 4, 1811, his wife some years after, and both are buried in the cemetery by Mr. Cushing's. No headstones indicate their graves.

After the Hurlburts got through with this house and the farm, the house was occupied by William Gallup, brother to Dr. Joseph A. Gallup.  When he died it was used for some years as a place of religions worship, and meetings were held in it by the Methodists.  A preacher by the name of John Smith, a cheery, wide-awake man, who went by the name of Happy John, held forth here for several seasons. At length the house was torn down, and the barn on the premises removed by Mr. Latimer to his farm.

The first person to take up the farm at Beaver Meadow was Abraham Powers. But in 1778 he disposed of the place to Samuel Dutton, of Woodbury, Conn., who appears to have settled in this town that year. Dutton was a carpenter and house-joiner by trade, and a diligent farmer besides. He built a house on the farm, which was used afterwards for a back wing to the house now standing on the premises.

Mr. Dutton was twice married, and raised a large family. His oldest child, Olive, was born the 19th day of August, 1761, and his fourteenth child, Asa, was baptized by Mr. Daman, February 15, 1789.  He occupied the farm till the spring of 1796, when he sold to Jesse and Roger Williams, as described in the deed, "the farm, on which I now live adjoining land of John Hurlburt and land of Israel Richardson, Jr., and Benj. Sanderson's land

[1] Occasionally some of the more capatious sort tried to find fault with him because he was such a cheerful man, but such folks found no countenance with the better sort. To be sure, it was sometimes whispered, it was no credit to Hurlburt, if he did walk orderly; for he lived next-door neighbor to Deacon Dutton, and that was enough to keep any man straight.  (Miss Mary Harvey.)

(p. 101) and on the South a part of the farm of James Herwood so called, "one hundred and twenty acres in all, embracing the land he had bought of Abijah Lamphire, Oliver Willard, and Abraham Powers, and soon after this moved away from Woodstock.

The farm, while owned by Jesse Williams, was rented from time to time by different persons, but about 1812 was occupied by Henry B. Brown.  As Mr. Brown's family was of a social turn, and included several accomplished ladies among its members, his house became an attractive spot to many of the young people in the village. In those days one of the visitors at this house was Mr. Norman Williams, who found here for a wife the estimable lady to whom he was married in November, 1817.

After Mr. Brown left the farm it was occupied by Plutarch Houghton, who finally gave up the place and went West. In recent times it has been owned and occupied by the excellent Deacon Boyden.

The house on the top of the hill coming up from Deacon Boyden's place stood formerly on the west side of the road, near the house where Jason L. Darling now lives. It was built, it is supposed, by Dorphin Dennis, who was married to Mary Rogers, December, 1814, and took up his residence here about the same time. After a while Mr. Dennis moved the house across the road, and here his son, Horace T., was born. In the spring of 1848 Mr. Dennis removed the house to its present site, and occupied it till his death. The place is now in possession of Mr. Wood.

The first house on the road that turns off here and goes towards Hartland was built by Alonzo D. Washburn some fifty years ago, on a tract of eighty-one acres given to him by his father, Simeon Washburn. Alonzo, after occupying the farm a few years, removed to another spot, and the place now belongs to Mr. Hadley.

Adjoining Washburn's farm on the west was in early times the farm and residence of Benjamin Sanderson, already mentioned. He had a son, Beriah, born in Leicester, Mass., 1767, who came to be enrolled in due time in the ninth company of militia in this town. On a certain celebration-day, when the company were paraded on the Common to fire thirteen salutes in honor of the thirteen original States of the Union, Beriah loaded his gun with bullets. But, as the bullets began to whistle over the heads (p. 102) of the people, anxious inquiries arose as to the source from which they came, and being traced to Beriah, the captain informed him, the State had no further occasion for his services in the military line, whereupon Beriah took up his gun and departed. Thirty rods to the northeast of Benjamin Sanderson's house stood the residence of our old acquaintance, Timothy Knox, directly on the Knox ledge, so called from that fact. The house was a poor affair; the ground served for a floor, whereon also the kitchen fire was kindled, while the smoke escaped either by the chimney or in some other way.

Returning to the Hartland road, next beyond Alonzo D. Washburn's place lived in former times Thomas West, who came from Stonington, Conn. He married Esther, sister to Billy Gray, and resided on a large tract of land he purchased of Andrew Powers. As a part consideration for the purchase of the land he was to support our venerable patriarch and his wife for the remainder of their lives, but this part of the contract was not carried out.  In 1812 he sold eighty-five acres of this land to John Hammond, who two years later conveyed a half interest in the same to Dorphin Dennis. The house in which West lived has been torn down. [1]

We come next to a modern house, put up by Horace T. Dennis in 1876. It is now occupied by Jason L. Darling. Beyond the Dennis place comes the farm which was taken up and occupied by Seth Darling about the year 1796. Part of his farm was in Hartland, and the town line passed between the dwelling-house and barn on the premises. The first house was a log structure, and stood within the limits of Hartland. In this the first four children were born. Afterwards he built the house now standing on the Darling place, within the limits of Woodstock. A small portion of the old log affair was a frame building, and was brought across the line and made a part of the new house. Mr.

[1] It is remarkable to observe in what a lively manner wives, eighty years ago, sometimes posted their husbands, where family jars arose. In the Vermont Journal, August 1, 1811, one Hannah ___  complained against her husband, Thomas ___ , setting forth that the said Thomas had eloped without just cause, while she was visiting her friends in Weathersfield and Cavendish; had carried off all her cloth and all the yarn she had spinned, and all the flax, wool, and provisions raised on the farm the last year, and put his farm, horses, and cows out of his hands, on purpose to deprive her and her children of a home; all on account of an ugly, mischief-making, evil-minded woman he had taken into the house, contrary to the said Hannah's wishes, with other words of similar import following.

(p. 103) Darling carried on the farm many years, and died here Sunday morning, March 27, 1825.  Retiring to rest at night, apparently in good health, in the morning he was found dead in his bed, having passed away so quietly not even his wife was awaked, who was sleeping by his side.  He was succeeded in the occupancy of the farm by his son, Jason Darling, a good farmer, attentive to his business, and an upright man. During the administration of the son many improvements were made on the farm, and the limits considerably extended.  Also the barn was moved across Hartland line, that all the buildings might be in Woodstock. He died February 7, 1864, and the farm is now owned and occupied by Elisha S. Gallup.

Another early settler on this road, neighbor to Thomas West and Seth Darling, was Asahel Doubleday.  He was born in Hartford, Conn., April 11, 1751; at the age of fourteen began his apprenticeship at the weaver's trade, and served his seven years.  In 1777 he entered the service under General Gates, and was present at the battle of Saratoga and at General Burgoyne's surrender.  At the close of the war he came to Woodstock to live.  Here he married Betsey, sister to Billy Gray, and settled first on land lying to the west of C. Richardson's farm, where he built a log house.  This was in 1783.  Five years later he purchased, on Hartland Hill, twenty acres of land adjoining Deacon Dutton's farm, and extending twenty rods on Hartland town line.  He settled on this land, and, in 1791, added to it twenty-one acres purchased of Thomas West, who married his wife's sister.  He now had a good farm, and devoted himself to it, and what with farming and weaving made a good living.  He had no children of his own, but about the year 1800 he adopted a child named Pliny Baker, who, on the 7th day of November, 1822, when he became of age, had his name changed to Pliny Enos Day. [1] To this Pliny Mr. Doubleday gave his property, which proved to be a most unfortunate affair for both parties, certainly for Mr. Doubleday, and was the end of him.  His wife died October 1, 1821.  In 1824 he went to live in the family of Simeon Dunham, where he received most kindly treatment and was esteemed by all. He died February 24, 1843.  Mr. Doubleday's father had twenty-five children, — thirteen by his first wife, seven by his second, and five by his third.  Asahel was the second child by the second wife,

[l] Pliny's story is told by Chauncey Richardson, in the Vt. Standard for Feb. 18, 1869.

(p. 104) Next south of the Seth Darling place, following the road, came the farm and residence of Israel Taylor Houghton, who seems to have settled on this place about the year 1793. But Houghton was living in the town earlier than that; some of the time on North Branch and elsewhere. After his death the farm passed to his son, Cyrenus, who carried it on for some years, then sold to Jason L. Darling, and moved a little further down the road, on the Bingham farm. The place is now held by Charles Darling, brother to Jason L.

James Harwood, whose farm adjoined Deacon Dutton's on the south, moved into Woodstock, from Hartland, as already stated, in the year 1769. He bought and sold large tracts of land in the town, as did many other of the early settlers. His farm embraced Baylies' Hill and land round about, where now is the farm of George Brewster. [1] Here he continued to live to the day of his death. His wife's name was Eunice Brooks. Their oldest child, Eunice, was born April 5, 1760.  Betsey was born January 20, 1766; Electa, in March, 1775.  He had also three sons, — Theron, Abijah, and Abner. Theron died young, and was buried on the home farm. Abijah also died young, and was buried in the yard laid out on the high bank of the Quechee, near the mouth of South Branch. Abner wandered away, and never was heard of afterwards.

Harwood, in the latter part of his life, became incapable of taking care of himself, and in 1804 Samuel Winslow and Paul Brewster were appointed by the Probate Court his guardians. He had mostly disposed of his landed estate previous to this, but still retained sixty-six acres of the home farm. This land the guardians sold in January, 1805, to Nicholas Baylies, Esq., embracing what is now called Baylies' Hill, whence the name.  That same month Harwood died.  His wife, Eunice, survived him till about the year 1814.

A part of the farm originally owned by James Harwood he sold to John M. Call, who married his daughter. Call occupied the place till 1798, when he sold to Clothier Pryor, and bought of Ebed M. Burk the farm in recent times carried on by E. C.

[1] Harwood received from Oliver Willard, the 13th day of April, in the ninth yenr of his majesty's reign, A. D. 1769, a deed of Lot No. 25, drawn by John Grout, by virtue of his name being entered in the charter of the township of Woodstock granted by New Hampshire, but now being in the Province of New York and County of Cumberland. Also Lot No. 154.

(p. 105) Pelton. Here he resided till his death, in 1814. His widow survived him for several years, and died in 1832.

John M. Call, when fifteen years old, enlisted in the Revolutionary army, and remained in service about nine years, or till 1784. He was one of the soldiers in the army who had the rare privilege of a personal acquaintance with General Washington. By those who knew him he was esteemed as a man of good natural abilities and well trained in the business affairs of life. He was a good accountant and an excellent draughtsman, and had quite a gift for solving difficult mathematical problems. He was early chosen clerk of the school district in which he lived, and retained this place to the end.

On Hartland Hill was the farm where James Sanderson finally settled, after he gave up his roving life. Having moved into the town and located, as is described elsewhere, he seems to have remained here till 1774. Our fathers, even at that early day, were troubled with swine running at large, and resorted to various expedients to remedy this evil. One of the first offices established in the town was the appointment of some person to look after the swine. Such person was variously designated hog-driver, hogrief, hog-committee, hog-hayward. The year above named James must have been present at the annual meeting held for the election of town officers, the 17th of May, and he and his brother John were chosen "hog-drivers." But as James was of a roving disposition, and the office of "hogdriver " was not sufficiently attractive to keep him here, that year he left Woodstock and went to Hartford; from there found his way, in due time, to Lancaster, Coos County, N. H., where his daughter Sally was born, September 20, 1775. That in no very long time after he got back once more to Woodstock is reasonably sure, as he was present, it may be said, at the annual March meeting, 1778, and was again chosen one of the "hogrieffs." At this same meeting a vote was passed that the fee for pounding be one shilling, and that "Hogriefs or other persons that pound cattle or hogs shall proceed to get their fee or Damage as the law directs in the State of New Hampshire."

William Powers, whose sister James Sanderson had married, and on whose land James had thus far squatted, or lived as tenant, left Woodstock this same year, 1778, and moved to Hartford. Thither James must have followed him soon after, and in that

(p. 106) town lived a year or two, where his son Asa was born, July 2, 1780.  Hitherto Sanderson had been a wanderer, unsettled in life; but now he was to become a land-owner, and so get fixed somewhere. While staying in Hartford this time he purchased, September 16, 1780, a hundred-acre lot, No. 187, in the township of Woodstock, the same lot Andrew Powers, father of William, bought of Oliver Willard in 1768. This land he occupied till 1784, then purchased of Moses Evans part of Lot 185, a little further up the road, and here he became established and fixed for the rest of his life. After this event there were no more wanderings or changes for James Sanderson, and on this farm he died the 6th day of November, 1794.

Benjamin Sanderson, second son of James, after his marriage settled on the home farm, which under his management was extended and enlarged to three hundred acres. He was a forehanded farmer, and after spending a long and useful life, died the 29th day of March, 1846. His wife, Polly, died September 24, 1852, aged eighty-two years. After the death of Mr. Sanderson the farm in part was divided between his sons-in-law, John W. Carey and Henry Morgan, two excellent farmers and worthy men.

Simeon Dunham took up a farm southerly of the Sandersons, on a branch road running up the hill a short distance. He was born in Carver, Mass., April 6, 1745.  His wife's name was Lydia Shaw, who was born February 28, 1751. They moved from Middleborough, Mass., to this town in 1788, and stopped with Dr. Lysander Richardson till the next spring. Then they moved to the Billy Gray farm; then to Asahel Hoisington's house in the south part of the town; then to land now owned by Ward C. Richardson; all which moves took place in the year 1789. [1] In the spring of 1780, Mr. Dunham settled on the farm lying easterly of the schoolhouse in District No. 14, which proved to be his home farm, and there he spent the remainder of his days, dying May 20, 1820. His wife, Lydia, died in Pomfret the 9th day of August, 1822. After his death the farm passed to his son Simeon, who was succeeded by his son, Simeon C. Dunham.

As we are now in School District No. 14, a few words in description of the same may not be out of place. The district is quite large, and is agreeably diversified with hill and valley. The

[1] C. Richardson.

(p. 107) South Branch flows through it, and numerous small streams descend the hillsides as tributaries to this main stream. The Sanderson spring is in this district, celebrated for its pure and wholesome water. It is on the farm formerly owned by Benjamin Sanderson, 2d, and lately in part by our excellent friend, Henry Morgan, now deceased. The road from the Green extending up the branch to South Village was laid out about the year 1787. This road is intersected at three different points by roads descending from Hartland Hill, one of which coming in at Mr. Kenyon's leads up to the old Harwood farm, recently occupied by George Brewster.  On this road lived Charles Carlisle, famous so many years in this vicinity for his bachelor life and his culture of the strawberry.  The main road over Hartland Hill comes in at the schoolhouse and Dutton's mill. The third intersects at Chauncey Richardson's. At the extremity of this branch road, and near the east line of the town, lived Captain Elisha Lord, who was born in Lyme, Conn., in 1763, and moved to Woodstock in 1788. He purchased of Jonathan Grout a hundred acres of land at this point, extending along the said east line a hundred and ninety-four rods. His next-door neighbor northerly was Simeon Dunham, and he had Nathan Avery on the south. He attended to his business as a farmer steadily, and lived and died here. After his death the farm descended to his son, Albert Elisha, who occupied it till his death, February 25, 1873.

Some of the settlers on the branch road that intersected at the mill-site have been mentioned already. One of the earliest of these was Ebenezer Dike, who occupied a hundred-acre lot adjoining the Sanderson farm on the west, a deed of which he received from David Slayton, June 6, 1774.  Dike made some additions to his farm, and sold off some portions. From the southeast corner of his land he sold four acres to Francis Hendrick in the fall of 1795, probably for a house-lot, as Hendrick was a resident of this district for some years.  In 1802, he disposed of a large portion of his farm, embracing a hundred and thirty-seven acres in all, to Hatsel Pelton, of Chatham, Conn., who settled in this district that year, and some of his descendants still remain in the same neighborhood.  In 1805, Dike sold another portion of his farm to Arnold Smith, some sixty acres in all, adjoining Benjamin Howard, Simeon Dunham, and Hatsel Pelton, and that was about the end of him in Woodstock. He never took much

(p. 108) part in town affairs, and the family, though once quite numerous here, seems to have wholly disappeared from this place.

Arnold Smith was born in Lyme, Conn., February 7, 1778. In 1795 his parents, Richard and Lois Smith, with a family of eight children, moved from Lyme to North Bridgewater, Vt., taking an ox team with them, which was about the sum of their worldly possessions. They lived there a short time, then bought a farm in the westerly part of Woodstock, near English Mills, where they lived till well advanced in life. The parents were cared for in their old age by their youngest son, Elias, who succeeded his father, Richard, in the occupancy of the "Smith farm," and was succeeded in turn by his own son, William Henry, the present occupant of the same. Arnold Smith was a steady, industrious man. When twenly-one years of age, he hired out to Mrs. Sarah Avery, who then occupied a small farm adjoining and northerly of the one in recent times owned by Cyrus Perkins and son. The agreement between the two was that Smith should care for Mrs. Avery through life and then receive the property. In 1802 they sold their farm and bought another of Sally Perry in New Boston School District, and then, in 1805, they took the Dike farm. Mr. Smith enlarged his domain till it embraced two hundred and fifty acres, with fifty corners on it, and having a circuit of five and a half miles, following the lines of survey of the several pieces which composed the whole farm. He lived here till his death in 1839, when his son Oliver succeeded him, taking one hundred and fifty acres of the paternal farm, which he carried on for nineteen years. During this time he made various improvements on the place, including a new house put up. His health now failing, he sold out to Ward C. Richardson, the present occupant, a prudent, industrious farmer. Mr. Richardson has still further improved the place, and has arranged the outbuildings so as to secure greater conveniences for doing his work. The Dike barn, so called, which stood in the south lot, he has brought across the road, so that it now stands with the other buildings. He has also brought water from a never-failing spring in this south lot, and now has a plentiful supply of the same at his door. He has occupied the farm now going on twenty-seven years.

The first settler in District No. 14, on the road running up the Branch from the Green, was Ephraim Brewster, a descendant of the well-known Elder Brewster who came over in the May-

(p. 109) flower. In the spring of 1775 he came up to this town from Preston, Conn., and purchased some three hundred acres of land extending along the South Branch, and including all the meadow land on both sides of the brook, from Elder Sterlin's north line to the big rock near Harvey Dutton's stone house. He spent the summer in clearing the land and building a house. This first house was made of logs, and located on the hillside up above the meadow. The frame house, which was constructed of hardwood plank, was erected a few years later. The next spring, being the spring of 1770, he moved his family up from Connecticut, driving a four-ox team with supplies, while his wife kept company on horseback, carrying the two children in her arms.

Mr. Brewster proved a valuable addition to the new settlement. He was a good farmer and careful man of business; ready to assist in every improvement, and to do his part in conducting public affairs. He was born in 1731, which brought him on the stage of action in season to serve during the last French aud Indian war. When Royalton was burnt in 1780 by the Indians, Mr. Brewster, having had experience with this kind of foe, was ready at once to turn out in defense of the settlement and assist in beating back the savages. In or about the year 1787, in connection with Lieutenant Richard Ransom, he laid out the road along the South Branch from the Green through to Reading. Previous to this the travel had been by the great highway which led up the present Church Hill, and so on to the South Parish.

Mr. Brewster, by his good management, was able to leave a comfortable estate for the support of his wife and family when he died. He passed away May 10, 1810, at tha age of seventy-nine. His wife, Margery, was the daughter of Paul Parks, of Preston, Conn. When, about the year 1744, the sect of the Separatists began to appear in Connecticut, one of their churches was organised in Preston. In this church Parks was ordained an elder, and was charged at his ordination not to premeditate what he should say in his preaching, but to speak as the Spirit should give him utterance. Yet the Separatists allowed that, while the knowledge of the tongues and liberal sciences is not absolutely necessary, it is convenient, and like to be profitable if rightly used.

Margery Brewster died in February, 1841, at the advanced

(p. 110) age of ninety-eight years and two months. At the time of her decease she had been an inhabitant of the town sixty-five years, and had lived to see the fourth generation of her descendants come upon the stage of action, and the fifth born into the world.

Mr. Brewster had three sons and three daughters. Polly married Seth Sterlin; Paul married Rachel Stiles, enlisted in the service during the War of 1812, and was out two years, being discharged in 1815; Sally married William Bramble; Seth married Dolly Green, of Woodstock, the 14th day of November, 1799; Ephraim married Augusta Crafts, sister of Governor Crafts; studied medicine, was appointed surgeon in the army at the opening of the War of 1812, and some time during the first year of the war was accidentally drowned in Lake Champlain. He left one son, who also studied medicine, and was established as a physician in Craftsbury.  Margery married Benjamin Stiles, of Woodstock, the 25th of February, 1802.

Another early settler in the town, who may be mentioned in this connection, was Joseph Sterlin. He came from Lyme, Conn., in 1781, and in company with Jabez Cottle built a grist-mill and saw-mill in the South Parish, on land belonging to Cottle. In the spring of the next year he received from Cottle a deed of one half of a tract commonly called and known by the name of the "Mill Spot," also a house spot adjoining the same, "together with one half of the saw-mill and one half of the grist-mill now standing on the premises." This same season he moved his family up from Lyme, then consisting of four sons and three daughters. Sterlin was a blacksmith by trade, and possessed great inventive genius. He was a skillful workman besides. He contrived many useful tools for the neighboring mechanics, and in 1806 invented the first machine used for paring apples. Such, indeed, was his mastery in these matters, that when the neighboring mechanics had a piece of work in hand they did not know how to do, the word was, "Call on Uncle Jo, he will do it for yon." [1]

Joseph Sterlin died September 17, 1814; his wife, Lydia, November 20, 1805.

Seth Sterlin, eldest son of Joseph, at the age of sixteen, was drafted for six months' service in the Revolutionary War. He

[l] C. Richardson.

(p. 111) went to New London, and assisted in finishing the forts and barracks, and in mounting the guns. In 1782 he came with his father to Woodstock. In 1788 he began working at his trade of blacksmith, which he learned under his father, setting up a shop on ground afterwards occupied by Dr. Buckman. In 1791 he was appointed quartermaster-sergeant by Colonel Jesse Safford, in the Third Regiment, Third Brigade, Vermont militia. In 1793 he broke up from the old stand in the South Village, and moved into School District No. 14, a short distance above Mr. Brewster's place, where he followed his trade as blacksmith, and devoted part of his time to farming. At his trade he showed himself inventive and skillful, like his father.

But Seth Sterlin was now about to make a great change in his course of life. Not far from the year 1804 he had become a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church in this town, and at Barnard, May 17, 1807, he was ordained a deacon in that church by Francis Asbury, bishop. [1] He preached in the society for a number of years, as occasion presented, but becoming dissatisfied with the mode of government of the Methodist Episcopal Church, he withdrew, and uniting with the Methodist Reformed Church, he was ordained elder in that church the 4th day of February, 1815.  In 1833 his name was placed on the pension - roll, and thereafter he received a yearly pension of twenty dollars so long as he lived.  He died the 27th of April, 1846, and it was remarked of him at the time that for nearly fifty years he had been engaged in the ministry as a preacher of the gospel, and in this character few had been called upon to administer its consolations to the afflicted more frequently than he.

After the death of Seth Sterlin the home farm continued with his son William (born January 19, 1799, died February 5, 1867), and upon the decease of William it was divided between his two sons, Seth F. and John.

Another resident of the district, living on this road, was John Hayes, who came from Lyme, Conn., and settled on a farm of thirty acres, situated about three miles from the Green. He married Miss Azubah Roland, was a saddler by trade, and a very good workman. He died April 1, 1813, probably of the camp fever then raging in this town, and his wife followed him on the 7th of the same month.

[1] Town Records, vol. i., page 144.

(p. 112) On this same road, about three miles from the court-house, is situated the farm of Chauncey Richardson. This farm was taken up originally by Captain Nathaniel Killam, brother to Charles, about the year 1784. The land was then all a dense forest. Captain Killam built a house of some kind to live in, also a saw-mill, in 1785, just above the bridge, the first one within the limits of this district. He occupied the furm till 1796, then conveyed it to Joseph Perry, and removed to Barre. From Barre he went to Irasburgh, in this State, and died there.

Joseph Perry sold the farm to Ezekiel Fitz in 1798, Fitz to Dr. Lysander Richardson in 1799, who occupied it in May, 1800, moving from King's Flat. After the decease of Dr. Richardson, in 1813, the farm, then containing fifty acres, became the property of his eldest son Chauncey. It now embraces one hundred and twenty acres.

The house on this farm was raised, clapboarded, and shingled by Joseph Perry about the time he bought the place. Perry built with the expectation of setting up a tavern here, but before the house was finished he gave up the enterprise, and sold out to Fitz. Some further improvements on the house were made by Fitz, but he in turn soon gave up the affair, and disposed of the property to Dr. Richardson.

In 1798 Captain Ebed M. Burk set up a tannery a few rods east of the saw-mill. He carried this on for a few years, then sold out and moved to South Woodstock. Burk's tannery seems to have been the only one ever established in this district.

About half a mile below the saw-mill, on the ground where now stands, or did stand recently, the barn of Reuben Douglass, was once a distillery in full operation. It was carried on some of the time by Samuel Taft, and the principal liquor made was cider brandy. Perhaps it was at this mill that Benjamin Sanderson, 2d, purchased, one season, his supply of liquor to carry him through haying time. He bought thirteen barrels of cider brandy, and stored them in his cellar. During the working-days all hands drank freely, and when Sunday came the house was filled with people, like a regular tavern. The general work of the week being then suspended, there was a little less sobriety than on other days of the week, because every man took a double portion of the precious fluid to relieve the dullness of the day. Before the haying-season was ended the cider brandy gave out,

(p. 113) and Mr. Sanderson was obliged to go down to the Green and get a half-barrel of gin to carry him through. [1]

Towards the close of the year 1799 Colonel Phinehas Thomas, in connection with Jabez Bennett, bought of Stephen Drew a parcel of land lying on the South Branch, near a barn owned by John M. Call, being part of the farm previously owned by Eben Kingsley. Three years later they put up a saw-mill on this place, but Bennett sold out his share of the farm and property to Thomas in October, 1803. Thomas carried on the farm and sawmill alone for a few years, then sold to John M. and Isaiah Cull. About the year 1828 Arnold Smith bought one half of the sawmill place, and here, in connection with Isaiah Call, manufactured lumber and brick for some years. In 1836 he disposed of his interest in the saw-mill to his son Oliver, who managed the business till after the death of his father in 1839. He then sold to Mr. Scott, who ran the mill a short time, and then sold to Mr. Jaquith, and Jaquith to Ira Dutton. Mr. Dutton took possession of the place in the spring of 1857, and has retained it down to the present time.

The first schoolhouse in this district was a log house built about the year 1797, some forty rods west of the spot where the schoolhouse stands to-day. When the district was organized, the question arose among the inhabitants, " What name shall we give the district?" It was decided to call it "New Boston." This was because so many poor and destitute families lived here. Near the centre of the district were some eight or ten families within gunshot of each other, all very poor. This spot was called the capital of New Boston. Those families all sold out to Arnold Smith about the year 1805, and moved north. The last building left within the limits of the city was a barn that had stood alone for many years. In the fall of 1860 "the wind took it, and it went by the board." In 1804 Mr. Ransom, of South Woodstock, sent his two hired men with a heavy team, to break up some sward land for Mr. H[oward]. Mr. Ransom, knowing Mr. H.'s destitute condition, sent dinner to his men. The men fed the oxen, and sat down to their dinner when the hour came. After they had done Mr. H. came up, and Mr. B.[illy Brown], one of the men, said to him: "Come, Mr. H., take some dinner

[1] Chauncey Richardson states that they began making potato-whiskey at this distillery about 1810.

(p. 114) with us; there's enough for us all; beef, pork, sauce, and plenty of it left." Mr. H. said he wished his poor wife had some of it. "We have not had any meat in the house for a long time." "Well," said Mr. B., "carry it home; we shall not want any more of it." Mr. H. sat down and tasted the food, and his appetite was so strong it overpowered him, and he forgot his poor wife, and never stopped till he had eaten everything up. Such was the state of things in the city of New Boston. [1]

June 26, 1802, Jonathan Wait deeded to the inhabitants of New Boston School District twelve rods of land for a school house. On this land the first framed schoolhouse in the district was built in 1803. The old log building which had served the purpose of a schoolhouse for some years Wait converted into a blacksmith-shop. In the course of two years this shop took fire one day, while Wait was at work, from a spark which caught in some bundles of flax overhead, and the establishment was consumed, with a loss of about five dollars.

In the winter of 1812 the schoolhouse took fire from a crack in the chimney, and was consumed, books and all. No new building was put up to supply its place till 1815, when the present brick schoolhouse was erected. This, in 1867, was repaired and much improved by Ira Dutton, who took the job.

Jonathan Kingsley, Jr., taught the school in the winter of 1803-4; Celinda Dexter, the summer following; Mayhew Safford, in the winter of 1805; Lucy Sterlin, the next summer; John Hayes, Jr., in the winter of 1806; and then for five winters in succession the school was taught by Billy Kingsley; in 1812, by Seth Allen. In the winter of 1813, after the schoolhouse was burnt, Charles Fullerton taught in Jonathan Wait's house. For the winter of 1814 Miss Sarepta Emmons taught a part of the district, in the widow Call's house, and a Miss Palmer the other part, in the widow Hatsel Pelton's house. The first school in the new brick schoolhouse, winter of 1815-16, was under charge of Miss Sarepta Emmons, and she taught the following summer. The average attendance at the winter school in those days was about seventy.

[1] Chauncey Richardson.