"The Revolutionary War —


Who, but the heroes of Vermont

Were first to strike the blow?

At Lexington and Bunker

Before a martyr bled,

The that blood of that glorious war

At Westminster was shed."

 — Chas, G. Eastman,





In the south-eastern part of the Green Mountain State, four miles below Bellows Falls, on the west bank of the Connecticut River, lies the quiet, rural town of Westminster; noted not less for its picturesque beauty, than for the stirring scenes in which it took an active part in the early history of the State.

This township, embracing an area of 6 miles square, has for its western boundary, Brookline and Athens, with Rockingham on the north, and Putney on the south. It is divided into two parishes by a natural barrier, consisting of a ridge of hills, running diagonally through the town and forming a junction with the Connecticut at Putney.

The geographical features of the town are peculiar. The principal village, which lies in the eastern part, is surrounded by semicircular ranges of hills of moderate elevation, which, with the more gradual slope on the New Hampshire side, forms a vast amphitheatre, enclosing within its area the fertile meadows that lie spread out beneath., and the river of Connecticut that rolls between. Nature in this region has been somewhat lavish of her gifts. Aside from the natural fertility of the soil, the beauty of the scenery upon either side of the valley is such as to attract the attention of the most casual observer, and to the lover of nature, has charms that delight, but never tire.

There are three ranges of hills running through the township, parallel to each other and rising in gradual succession, the western being the most elevated of the three, with considerable valleys between. The West Parish lies to the west of the first range, and mostly in the second valley, through which runs a small stream upon which is situated the village. The soil, though not as fertile as the alluvial plains along the Connecticut valley, is nevertheless valuable for purposes of grazing and agriculture, and yields to the husbandman a good return.




of the eastern part of the township is clay slate, and of the western part, calciferous mica schist, and in some localities gneiss occurs. The meadows along




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the river in the eastern part consist of a rich alluvial soil, resting upon a bed of clay. The second plain from the river bed consists of a light, sandy loam; underneath this is a stratum of gravel, extending from 20 to 40 feet in depth, lying upon a bed of blue clay from two to three feet thick, and this resting upon a bed of quicksand. This stratum of clay dips from the hills on the west to the river on the east, and determines the depth at which in different localities water can be obtained for the supply of springs and wells. In some parts of this



mineral waters, strongly impregnated with iron, are found. Several clay beds of excellent quality are found, some of which is said to he nearly as good as that at Bennington. There are also two beds of marl; one in the west part, on the farm of Mr. Cowles, of some 15 acres, covered with a bed of muck from 15 to 20 feet thick and more. The other is in the east part, on the farm of Mr. O. F. Peck. Both of these are said to be



and the latter has not yet been noted in the Geology of Vermont; nor are we aware that any shell marl has been described in Vermont, situated as far south.



at Westminster which contribute so much to the natural beauty of' the location, are worthy of special mention here. These are supposed to have formed the river bed of the Connecticut at different periods. At Westminster village they are four in number and correspond with those upon the opposite side of the valley. The first, or lowest, is that which extends along the river bank, and forms the broad alluvial plain which is crossed by the "Upper Street." The second extends about one mile each way, being somewhat narrowed at its lower end, is crossed by the "Lower Street," and contains the central part of the village. Continuations of this terrace may be seen extending north and south, but now separated from it. A portion of the third terrace forms the site of the new cemetery.

The same plain is extended both north and south. The fourth may be seen on land of N. G. Pierce, east of the house. The elevation of these terraces as ascertained by Prof. Hitchcock in the geological survey of the State, is as follows: The first is 24 feet above the present river bed and 255 feet above the sea; the second is 94 feet above the river; the third, 139, and the fourth, 171. We find another series of terraces, nine in number, near the mouth of Saxton's River, just below Bellows Falls. Their heights above the Connecticut are given as 26, 35, 34, 38, 83, 117, 138, 161 and 226 feet, the lowest being 261, and the highest, 461 feet above the sea. The second and third of these are what is called by geologists the glacis terrace and are said by Prof. Hitchcock to be the most perfect specimens found in Vermont. Their length is 14 and 16 rods, and their thickness 10 and 12 feet.

Through the principal village, which is situated upon the two lower terraces, extends a broad and beautiful avenue some two miles in length and six rods in width, running nearly parallel with the river. This avenue, laid out in the time of George II., was originally 10 rods wide, and was called



Aside from its ordinary purposes it was set apart by the original proprie‑




563                                         WESTMINSTER.                                             3


tors as a training field, for which it afforded ample accommodations. On either side may be seen the neat and commodious dwellings of the inhabitants, and among them some of revolutionary fame; for instance, the old meeting house, erected one hundred years ago, and formerly stood in the middle of the King's highway. "Norton's tavern," with its gambrel-roof, upon the Upper Street, and "Goold's tavern," on the Lower Street, the former the rendezvous of the Tories, and the latter of the Whigs, in revolutionary times.








It appears from the original documents,* that the tract of land nearly answering to the present territory of Westminster, was granted to certain petitioners from Taunton by The Great and General Court of Massachusetts, 24 Nov., 173 5/6, they having been admitted as grantees on the 19th of the same month.

In compliance with many petitions for grants of land on the Merrimac and Connecticut Rivers, it was ordered by the Great and General Court held at Boston, Jan. 15, 1735, that, a careful survey be made of the lands between the Merrimack and Connecticut Rivers, from the northwest corner of Rumford on the Merrimack to the Great Falls on the Connecticut, of 12 miles at the least in breadth; this tract to be divided into as many townships of 6 miles square as the land in breadth would allow of. Also the land on the west side of the Connecticut, from said Falls to the "Equivalent Land," so called, to be divided into one or two townships of 6 miles square if the same would allow.

A committee of eleven were appointed for this purpose and empowered to employ surveyors and chainmen to assist them in surveying and laying out the townships, the province to bear the charge and be repaid by the grantees who should be admitted. This committee were also empowered to admit 60 settlers in each township, and require them to give bonds to the value of £40 each for the performance of the conditions of their grant.




Persons who had not received grants of land within the space of 7 years last past could be admitted as grantees. In case a sufficient number of this class did not appear others could be admitted who had received grants elsewhere, provided they had fulfilled the conditions of their former grant. Each grantee was to:

"Build a dwelling house of eighteen feet square, and seven feet stud, at the least, on their respective Home Lots, and fence in or break up for plowing, or clear and stock five acres with English grass within three years next after their admittance, and cause their respective Lots to be inhabited; and that the Grantees do within the space of three years from the time of their being admitted, build and finish a convenient Meeting House for the Publick Worship of GOD, and settle a learned Orthodox Minister."

The committee were also


* The volume containing the original records of the proprietors of Township No. 1, was discovered in 1848, by Mr. Timothy H. Hall, sheriff of Windham county, while examining the Cheshire county records at Keene, N. H. On giving bonds for the safe keeping of this volume, he was permitted to take it home with him. The people of Westminster voted $20 to procure a fac-simile copy, to preserve these records from oblivion. The original volume was afterward presented to the town of Westminster by the judges of the Cheshire County Court. The hand writing is of rare beauty, the cover of parchment, and the whole in an excellent state of preservation. The volume also contains the records of the original grantees of Winchester, Westmoreland and Claremont.




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"To take care that there be sixty-three House Lots laid out in as regular, compact, and defensible a manner as possible; one of which lots shall be for the First Settled Minister, one for the Second Settled Minister, and one for the School."

In accordance with the foregoing provisions 28 townships were laid out between the Merrimack and Connecticut Rivers, and on the west side of Connecticut River, Township No. 1, now Westminster, was granted to a number of persons from Taunton, Norton, and Easton, Mass., and from Ashford and Killingly, Ct.




The names of those who were admitted as grantees were: Joseph Tisdale, Samuel Sumner, Benjamin Ruggles, James Williams, Thomas Clapp, Eliphalet Leonard, Seth Staples, Seth Sumner, James Leonard, Morgan Cobb 2d, Edmond Andrews, John Harvey, James Leonard 3d, Edward Blake, Joseph Willis, Eliakim Walker, Josiah Lincoln, Jonathan Paddleford, jun., Joseph Barney, John Smith 2d, Joseph Wilbore, Jonathan Barney, Ebenezer Dean, James Walker, Ebenezer Smith, Joseph Eddy, James Leonard 2d, Joseph Tisdale, jun., James Walker, jr., Ezra Dean, Ephraim Dean, William Ware, Ebenezer Cobb, Israel Tisdale.


A copy of the order of the General Court for the first meeting of the grantees of township No. 1:


"At a Great and General Court held in Boston, the Twenty-Fourth Day of November, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Thirty-Six,* the following vote passed the Two Houses, and was consented to by the Governour, viz.:


Voted: That Mr. Joseph Tisdale of Taunton, be, and hereby is impowered to assemble the Grantees of the Township No. 1, on the west side of the Connecticut River, adjoining to the Equivalent Land, so called, giving timely notice to the said grantees admitted into the said township by the committee of their court, and to meet in Taunton where they live, in order to chuse a Moderator and Proprietor's Clerk, and Committee to allot and divide their Lands, and to dispose of the same, and to pass such votes and orders as by them may be thought conducive for the speedy fulfillment of the conditions of their Grants. And also to agree upon Methods for calling of Meetings for the future."

It thus appears that Westminster, then known as Township No. 1, or, as it was sometimes called,




in honor of the residence of the greater number of the grantees, was the first township granted in the State of Vermont, although the charter of the present Westminster, received from the government of New Hampshire, bears the date 9 Nov., 1752, being the third town chartered in the State, Bennington and Halifax having received theirs a few years before.




was held at the school house in Taunton, 14 Jan., 1736. A committee of six was appointed who should repair to Township No. 1, and lay out 63 house lots according to the direction of the General Court; each lot not to exceed 50 acres, nor less than 10, and to proportion the same according to quality, that each lot might be of equal value. They were also to select a suitable place for the meeting-house and lay out a convenient road or roads through the town, and also lay out a convenient training-field and burying-place, near


*There is a discrepancy in the records between this and subsequent dates. The first meeting of the grantees, which must have occurred after the grant was made, was in Jan., 1736, and there are records of two ocher meetings or the proprietors during this same year, from which we infer that the grant must have been made November, 1735.



565                                         WESTMINSTER.                                             5


the meeting-house plat, and also lay out a convenient place (if any there be) near to or within said house lots, for a saw-mill and a grist-mill.

The interval lands were also to be laid out into 63 lots, according to quality; each proprietor to pay for one whole right (i. e., one house lot and one interval lot) the sum of 30 shillings to defray the cost of the allotment of the lands. These lots, one of each kind, were, 26 Sept., 1737, assigned to the grantees, each person receiving as many rights as he had given bonds for and paid charges. Proposals were also received for building a saw-mill and a grist-mill. We have not been able to determine the location of this mill. There were two streams afterwards called "Mill brooks," one north of the street, now known as "Governor's Brook," and one south, known as the "Underwood Brook." It is not certain that the grist mill was built at that time. The oldest inhabitants say that their grandfathers used to go to Northfield to mill.

The grist mill was undertaken by several of the proprietors and, as appears from the records of a meeting held 8 July, 1740, had been completed at that time, and measures were taken to open a road to it, for which purpose £30 were appropriated. The committee to take the matter into consideration were of the opinion

"That the ten rods highway be cleared and made passable from the four rods highway that is between the 47th and 48th lots southward to said saw mill; and so over as far as can be done with the thirty pounds."

The 48th house lot is the one which Joseph Tisdale sold to Richard Ellis, and which was drawn to the 45th original right.

On the 28 May, 1739, a sum to the amount of £240 was appropriated for the encouragement of the first settlers, one half to be paid to such of the proprietors as should actually repair to No. 1 during that year and build a dwelling house on his lot according to court act, and by June 15, 1740, fence in and break up for plowing, or clear and stock with English grass, 5 acres of land. The remaining half to be paid to such as should actually inhabit their houses, either by themselves or some other Christian subject to the King, for the space of three months from 15 June, 1740, each one to draw his proportion according to the number of houses he should have inhabited at the end of that time.

It appears from the records that one




did repair to Township No. 1 in 1739, built a dwelling house, broke up 5 or 6 acres of land, and received for his services a gratuity of £45. Several others were, during this and the next year, engaged in laying out roads and building fences and received gratuities for their services. The proprietors had in project other improvements, such as the laying out of lands not already appropriated and the construction of a road to Fort Dummer, when on the 5th of March, 1740, the northern boundary line of Massachusetts was fixed, which excluded Township No. 1 from that province.




At a meeting of the proprietors held at the school house in Taunton, Apr. 5, 1742, Joseph Eddy was appointed agent to wait on the committee of the General Court to whom they gave bonds for the settlement of the township, to acquaint them with their difficulties and the labor and money they had expended



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in settling their grant, and to receive such directions as might be of service to them in securing their rights under the jurisdiction of New Hampshire. This appears to have been the last meeting of the propriotors under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts, and the settlement was probably abandoned on the breaking out of Cape Breton War.

In the opening of 1751,




with his wife and son, Asa, removed from Northfield, Mass., to No. 1, at which time there were but two houses in the place; one on the top and the other at the foot of Willard's or Clapp's hill, at the southern extremity of the 10 rods highway. The latter, which was unoccupied, was probably the one built by Mr. Ellis and his son in 1739. Mr. Averill moved into the one on the top of the hill, which had been occupied by four men, one woman and two children. The men were William Gould and his son, John, Amos Carpenter, and Atherton Chaffee. Two of these, Gould and Carpenter, removed their families from Northfield to No. 1 during the summer of the same year. The first child born in Westminster was Anna Averill, in the autumn of 1751.




9 Nov., 1752.


PROPRIETORS: Josiah Willard for and in behalf of Samuel Greeley, Jas. Hills, John Hunt, Benjamin Farwell, Robert Usher, Samuel Cummings, Josiah Brown, Peter Powers, John Chamberlain, Jonathan Cummings, John Usher, Robert Fletcher, Jonathan Cummings, jun., Jonathan Willard, Prentice Willard, Solomon Willard, Ebenezer Field, John Pierce, Nathaniel Mattoon, Wm. Wilson, John Taylor, Jonathan Hubbard, James Jewel, Jos. Ashley, Sam'l Ashley, Josiah Willard, jun., William Willard, Billy Willard, Ephrahim Dean, Wilder Willard, Jethro Wheeler, John Averill, Michael Gilson.

On the 9th Nov., 1752, township No. 1 was re-chartered by Governor Benning Wentworth, of New Hampshire, and its name changed to Westminster.

Under this charter the township was entitled to the privilege of holding town fairs as soon as there should be 50 families resident and settled. It was also provided that a town market should be opened and kept one or more days each week, as might be most advantageous to the inhabitants.

The conditions of this grant were that every grantee should plant or cultivate 5 acres of land within 5 years for every 50 acres contained in his share, and continue to improve and settle the same by additional cultivation on penalty of the forfeiture of his grant.

A reservation was also made of all white and other pine trees fit for masting the royal navy.

A reservation was also made of a tract of land as near the center of the township as the land would admit, for town lots (this reservation to be made before any further division of land); one of these lots to be divided among the grantees, each receiving one acre and paying for it one ear of Indian corn on the first day of January each year for 10 years, if lawfully demanded, and after that a revenue of one shilling a year for every 100 acres he owned.

The first meeting of the grantees was held at Winchester, at the house of Josiah Willard, 22 Aug., 1753, and met by several adjournments at Fort Dummer, 29 Oct. of the same year.



567                                         WESTMINSTER.                                             7


It was decided at this latter meeting that those proprietors who had purchased rights according to the Massachusetts grant, and now held those rights, should have their house lots and first division meadow lots where they had them before, and have the liberty of taking them without a draft, and that the rest of the house lots and meadow lots be drawn for, and that there be six house lots and six meadow lots laid out, the house lots to contain 15 acres each and the meadow lots not above 4 acres each, after which there should be a second division of all the meadow land in the township, and also a division of upland, each to be divided equally into 69 lots, the upland not to contain less than 50 acres to each proprietor. It was also voted to lay out the Governor's two shares at the upper end of the township (now known as the "Church Meadow"), and to lay out the whole of the share belonging to the glebe or Church of England in some suitable place, and the share for the Incorporated Society where the committee should think best. The records contain no account of any further meeting of the proprietors for more than 7 years.




The year of 1753 had been one of comparative quiet. During the latter part of the summer of the following year the Indians began their incursions on several of the settlements of New Hampshire. Mr. Johnson and family were taken captive at Charlestown, "No. 4," and carried to Canada. This alarmed the inhabitants of Westminster, who were few in number and poorly protected, and they removed to Walpole where they remained until October, and then returned. In the spring Mr. Averill and family removed to Putney, and the settlement was for a time abandoned.

On the 11th June, 1760, Col. Josiah Willard, jun., obtained a renewal of the charter of Westminster and called a meeting of the proprietors, which was held Feb. 4, 1761, at the house of John Averill, in Westminster, of which Benjamin Bellows, of Walpole, was moderator. Measures were taken for an allotment of the lands, and preparations made for a permanent settlement.




The names of the proprietors at the time of the renewal of the charter, 11 June, 1760, were:

1. John Hulbert; 2. Josiah Willard; 3. William Willard; 4. Valentine Butler; 5. Joseph Alexander; 6. Nathan Willard; 7. Susannah Gilson; 8. Oliver Willard; 9. John Arms; 10. Wilder Willard; 11. John Moor; 12. John Moor, jun.; 13. Daniel Whitmore; 14. William Willard, jun.; 15. Prentice Willard; 16. Ephraim Dean; 17. Elijah Cady; 18. Asa Douglass; 19. Samuel Ashley; 20. John Alexander; 21. Samuel Greeley; 22. Jethro Wheeler; 23. Jonathan Thayer; 21. Joshua Wells; 25. Submit Foster; 26. Nathan Willard, jun.; Joseph Hubbard; 28. Joseph Ashley; 29. Nathaniel Mattoon; 30. John Hunt; 31. John Taylor; 32. John Pierce; 34. Andrew Gardner, jun.; 35. Jas. Jewel; 36. Manasseh Divol; 37. Simon Hunt; 38. Wm. Wilson; 39. John Arms, jun.; 40. Solomon Willard; 41. Ebenezer Field; 42. Samuel Allen; 43 Billy Willard; 44. Caleb How; 45. Jonathan Hubbard; 46. Jas. Hills; 47. Josiah Willard, jun.; 48. Benjamin Farwell; 49. Samuel Cummings; 50. Josiah Brown; 51. Peter Powers; 52. Robt. Fletcher, jun.; 53. Timothy Leatherby;



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54. Minister; 55. Henry Sherborn; 56. Sam'l Smith; 57. John Downing; 58. Samson Sheaff; 59. Jonathan Willard.

In addition to these 59 shares there were 14 shares set off at the northern part of the township, two to His Excellency Benning Wentworth, and one each to John Wentworth, Robt. Usher, Jno. Chamberlain, Jonathan Cummings, John Usher, Jonathan Cummings, jun., David Stearns, Byfield Lloyd, Richard Wibird, and Theodore Atkinson. One share for a glebe for the Church of England, and another for the benefit of the Incorporated Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.

At a meeting held May 6, 1761, certain valuable lands — 50 acres on the Mill Brook and some 60 acres at the lower end of the Governor's meadow — were voted to Col. Willard for encouragement to build a saw-mill and grist-mill. The conditions upon which he was to receive these lands is thus expressed in the original records under Massachusetts:


"Provided he shall Build a Good Saw Mill and Grist Mill in sd Town and saw and grind at the usual Price of Sawing at the Neighboring Mill, and Grind Likewise at the same Toll Taken at the Neighbouring Mills. The Saw Mill to be built by the first Day of October next, and the Grist Mill in two years if the Town shall Desire the same, and keep the said Mills in Repair ten years or longer, or Deliver up sd stream for the use of the sd Proprietors after ye ten years, if he Refuse to Continue to Keep sd Mills in Repair. And it is to be understood that if the stream that is in sd land be not sufficient for Constant Water for a Mill, then the said Town is to Provide a Stream for sd Mill to be built upon, and Land for the conveniency of building sd Grist Mill on, or the said Willard to be Exempted from building sd Grist Mill."


Liberty was also given for a town way through each lot if needed, also for a proprietor's road through the Governor's Meadow, so called, and also through the Lower Meadow. A tax of 10s. was laid on each right to defray the expense of surveying and laying out the township, also one of 8d. on each right to pay Col. Josiah Willard for services in getting the charter renewed; also one of 20s. on each right to be worked out on the roads at 2s. 6d. per day until the first of September, and 2s. per day from that time till the last of December, "a Team of four Cattle to be equal to a man's Day's work."

Willliam Willard, Michael Gilson, Bildad Andros, Atherton Chaffee, and John Pettey were chosen a committee to lay out roads and make the same.

The town records for the next 20 years, except certain records of deeds, have not been preserved.

It appears, however, from other sources, that Westminster enjoyed a good degree of prosperity, attracting settlers from the older provinces, and that before the close of 1766, there were upwards of 50 families in the place, and according to the census ordered by the Governor of New York in 1771, it was the most populous town in this part of the province, the whole number of residents being 478.




In the year 1763, there arose a controversy between the Governors of New Hampshire and New York, each claiming the lands lying on the west side of the Connecticut River. Neither of the parties being disposed to yield, the subject was referred to the decision of the King, who, by an order dated 20 July, 1764, declared "the western banks of the river Connecticut, from where it



569                                         WESTMINSTER.                                             9


enters the province of Massachusetts Bay, as far north as the 45th degree of northern latitude, to be the boundary line between the said two provinces of New Hampshire and New York."

In accordance with this decision Westminster came under the jurisdiction of New York. On the 26th Mar. 1772, a new charter was issued by the Governor of New York to certain grantees who conveyed to Col. Josiah Willard, then of Winchester, N. H. and he executed releases to such of the former proprietors, or their assigns, as chose to take titles under the new authority.

Under this charter the government reserved for its own use the two rights appropriated to the Governor of New Hampshire, together with all mines of gold, and all pine trees fit for masts, 20 inches in diameter at one foot from the earth. Also a revenue of 2s. 6d. for every 100 acres granted, to be paid on "Lady Day, or the Day of the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary."

The grantees, or their assigns, were required to settle on the tract of land granted them within 8 years from the time of the grant to the number of one family for every thousand acres granted, and plant and cultivate within 3 years 3 acres for every 50 acres granted, if capable of cultivation.

We approach now that stormy period in the history of the American colonies which immediately preceded the Revotution. In the exciting scenes of that period the settlers of the New Hampshire grants have a conspicuous part.

In 1772 the courts of Cumberland county, in the province of New York (which county embraced nearly the same territory as the present counties of Windham and Windsor), were removed from Chester to Westminster. Here was soon to be witnessed the first grand uprising of the people of what is now known as the Green Mountain State, in resistance to the authority of the government of Great Britain; and here was to flow the first blood, at least in the State of Vermont, in the cause of American Independence.




which we are about to relate were but the exponent of those feelings occasioned by the course of the mother country towards the colonies, whose rule had become too oppressive to be any longer endured.

In the early part of 1774, Isaac Low, chairman of a committee of correspondence in the city of New York, to ascertain the feelings of the people of the colony with regard to the usurpations of Great Britain, wrote to the supervisors of Cumberland county in May to ascertain what measures the people would be likely to adopt in the present crisis. At their meeting in June the supervisors took no action upon this letter, and for some reason the knowledge of it was kept from the people. The secret, however, became known to Dr. Reuben Jones, of Rockingham, and Capt. Azariah Wright, of Westminster, who communicated it to the inhabitants of their respective towns.

Meetings were then called in these towns and a committee chosen to wait upon the supervisors at their meeting in September, and ascertain if such a letter had been received by them, and why it had not been laid before the people of the county. "They made many excuses," says Dr. Jones. "Some plead ignorance, and some one thing and some another, but the most of them did seem to think that they could send



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a return to the committee at New York without ever laying them before their constituents, which principle at this day so much prevails, that it is the undoing of the people."

The committees, however, would not give their consent to have any return made until Mr. Louis' letter had been laid before every town in the county. Accordingly a convention was called to meet at the "County Hall," at Westminster, on the 19th of Oct., which held a session of two days. Here it was resolved:


"That as true and loyal subjects of the King, they would spend their lives and fortunes in his service; and that they would defend the King while he reigned over them, as his subjects, so they would defend their just rights, as British subjects, against every foreign power that should attempt to deprive them of those rights, while breath was in their nostrils and blood in their veins."


On the 5th of Sept. a Continental Congress was convened at Philadelphia to adopt measures against the usurpation of royal authority in the colonies. This was followed by a second convention at Westminster, on the 30th of November, which adopted all the resolves of the Continental Congress and the delegates bound themselves, as representatives of their constituents, "religiously to adhere to the non-importation, non-consumption, and non-exportation association."

On the 7th of Feb., 1775, a third convention was held at Westminster, whose main object was to obtain, if possible, from the legislature of New York, the passage of such laws as would tend to improve the mode of administering justice in the county courts.  Their special cause of grievance was the "great expense and heavy burdens" imposed upon them by reason of the additional courts that had been established, in consequence of which lawsuits had increased and charges had been multiplied and families nearly beggared.

The "acts and resolves" of the Continental Congress which had been adopted by the people of Cumberland county in open convention, had however been rejected by the General Assembly of New York. And while in the other colonies the meeting of the Continental Congress had been followed by an almost universal suspension of royal authority, the higher civil officers in the colony of New York remained loyal to the King, and the courts still continued to be held, but being administered in the interests of the crown they were so oppressive as to be almost insufferable on the part of those who had espoused the liberal cause. And those who expressed their dissatisfaction were denounced as "guilty of high treason," for with-holding their allegiance from the King.

The people were no longer willing to trust themselves in the hands of those whom they regarded as enemies of American liberty. And "in duty to God, to themselves, and to their posterity, they thought themselves under the strongest obligations to resist and to oppose all authority that would not accede to the resolves of the Continental Congress."

Such was the state of feeling which led to that memorable event in the history of this town, known as




which occurred on the 13th of Mar. 1775. The scene of this event was the "Old Court House," which stood at the extreme north end of the Lower Street, on the east side of the road on the spot now known as "Court House



571                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           11


Hill," but a short distance from the meeting-house which then occupied the middle of the highway. This building was erected in 1772, at which time the courts of Cumberland county were removed from this place to Chester.

The following description we append from Hall's Eastern Vermont, where an engraving of the " Old Court House " can be seen:

"In shape it was almost square, the sides being about forty feet in length, and was built of hewn timber, clap-boarded. The roof was gambrel, surmounted by a cupola or tower, open at the four sides. An aisle ten or twelve feet in width, ran east and west through the middle of the lower story.

A double door was placed at, each end of the aisle, or in other words, two doors opening either way from a center fastening. In accordance with a custom of the times, the building was intended to afford some of the conveniences of a tavern. In the southeast corner was a kitchen, or cook-room, occupied by the jailer, and in the southwest corner a bar-room, in which the jailer served in the capacity of bar­tender. The chimney rose between these rooms, and opened into each in shape of a large, old-fashioned fire place. Another door was cut in the south side of the building leading into an entry, on either side of which were doors to the kitchen and bar-room.

In the north part was a jail, which comprised within its limits two prison-rooms, divided, the one from the other by a narrow aisle running north and south. This aisle communicated with the broad aisle, by a door. Doors also opened from the prison rooms into the narrow aisle. A flight of stairs led from the last entrance to the court­room in the second story, which did not differ materially from the court-rooms of the present day in its arrangement."

The courts were held there until 1781, when Westminster and Marlborough became half shire towns, until 1787, when New Fane became the county town and a new court-house and jail were erected there. The old court­house in Westminster stood till about the year 1806.

The 14th of March, 1775, was the day on which the county court was to commence at Westminster. To avoid all rashness and unnecessary collision with the Court party, it was thought best to request the judges to remain at home. For this purpose "about forty good, true men," went from Rockingham to Chester to dissuade Col. Chandler, the chief judge, from attending court. He "thought it would be for the good of the country not to hold any court, as things were; but there was one case of murder that they must see to, and if it was not agreeable to the people they would not hear any other case." Some one said that "the sheriff would raise a number of men, and there would be blood shed." The judge assured them upon his word and honor that there would be no arms brought against them.

Noah Sabin, one of the associate judges, "was very earnest to have the law go on, as welt as many petty officers. Col. Wells, the other associate judge, was absent, in attendance upon the General Assembly at New York.

There was much debate among the Whigs as to what means they would adopt to prevent the sitting of the Court. It was at length agreed to let the Court come together and then present their reasons for not wishing it to proceed. But upon learning that the Court was to take possession of the house on the 13th inst., and place a strong guard at the doors, they thought best to effect an entrance "before the armed guards were placed," that they might lay before the Court their grievances before it opened.

On Monday, March 13, a party of Whigs from Rockingham came down to



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Westminster and halted at the house of Capt. Azariah Wright, and repaired from thence to the school-house on the opposite side of the street, and held consultation as to the best manner to prevent the sitting of the Court.

Having armed themselves with sticks from Capt. Wright's wood-pile, they proceeded on their way, and were joined by others armed like themselves, and on arriving at the court-house, the whole party to the number of about one hundred, entered about 4 o'clock in the afternoon.

Soon after this, the High Sheriff, Wm. Paterson, who had on the day previous gone to Brattleborough to obtain assistance in preserving the peace, came up with a large number of men, some of them "armed with guns, swords and pistols, and others with sticks or clubs."

Approaching within about 5 yards of the door, the Sheriff commanded the "rioters," as they were called, to disperse, but obtained no answer. He then ordered the "King's proclamation" to be read, and told them, with an oath, if they did not disperse within fifteen minutes, he would "blow a lane through them." The Whigs replied, they would not disperse, but the Sheriff and his company might come in if they would lay aside their arms, but not without.

One of the party within advanced to the door and asked the Tories if they had "come for war," saying "we are come for peace, and would be glad to hold a parley with you." Whereupon Samuel Gale, Clerk of the Court, drew a pistol, and replied with an oath, he would hold no parley with them but by this — referring to his pistol.

The Tories then withdrew a short distance after some pretty harsh language, and held a consultation, and the Whigs sent out three men to treat with them, but with no avail.

About 7 o'clock Col. Chandler came in and they laid the case before him, reminding him of his promise that no arms should he brought against them. He said the arms were brought without his consent, but he would go and take them away, and they should enjoy the house undisturbed until morning, and that the Court should then come in without arms, and would hear what they had to lay before them. Having given them this assurance, he departed. The Whigs then left the house and chose a committee to draw up a list of articles to present to the Court, which was unanimously adopted by the company. Some of them then went home, and some to the neighbors, having left a guard at the court-house to give the alarm in case of an attack during the night.

Meanwhile the sheriff had sent word to all the Tories in the neighborhood to come to his assistance. They met for consultation at Norton's tavern,* whence they proceeded in small parties to the court-house a little before mid­night. Their approach was discovered by the sentry, who gave order to "man the doors."

The sheriff marched his company within about 10 rods of the court-house, and advancing towards the door, demanded entrance in His Majesty's name. Seeing his demand was not regarded he told them he should enter quietly if he could, or by force if he must. Being


* This tavern, which was at that time the Royal inn of the village, is supposed to have been built as early as the year 1770; it is a large two-story house, with gambrel roof, stands on the west side of the street, about a mile north of Court-house hill, and is now occupied as a dwelling-house. John Norton, for many years its owner, was of Irish Scotch descent, a man of wealth and influence, and was generally regarded as a Tory. The family name in Ireland was McNaughton. When John removed to Westminster he omitted the prefix, and changed the spelling of the name to Norton.



573                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           13


twice repulsed in attempting to effect an entrance, he then ordered his men to fire.

Three shots were fired which passed over the heads of those within. The order was then repeated and several men were wounded; one, Wm. French, was shot with five bullets, one of which passed through his brain, of which wound he died the next day.

"Then," we quote the words of an eye-witness, ''they rushed in with their guns, swords, and clubs, and did most cruelly maim several more, and took some that were not wounded, and those that were, and crowded them all into close prison together, and then told them they should be in hell before the next night, and that they did wish that there were forty more in the same case with that dying man. When they put him into prison, they took and dragged him as one would a dog, and would mock him as he lay gasping, and make sport for themselves at his dying motions."

In this bloody affray, two of the sheriff's party received slight flesh wounds, and of the Whig party some escaped, ten were wounded, two of them mortally, and seven were taken prisoners,

Tuesday morning, the 14th, all was confusion. At the appointed hour the court convened and prepared a statement of the facts, "exactly as they happened," in the " very melancholy and unhappy affair," that had occurred during the night. It was thought best not to proceed with business, and an adjournment was made to the second Tuesday in June. That session has never been held.

Meanwhile messengers had been dispatched in all directions and the tidings quickly spread. By noon of the next day more than 400 hundred persons had assembled at Westminster, about half of whom were from New Hampshire; Capt. Benjamin Bellows came with his company from Walpole, and Capt. Sargent with his from Rockingham, another with an organized band from Guilford, and the Westminster militia were in full force under Capt. Azariah Wright.

The prisoners who had been confined the night previous were soon set at liberty, and before night the judges with their assistants, the sheriff and such of his party as were engaged in the massacre as could be taken, were put under arrest.

It was with difficulty that the enraged populace were restrained from doing acts of violence. Some demanded that the judges should be brought forth and make satisfactory acknowledgments; and some threatened to burn the court-house and shoot every man engaged in the massacre of the previous night. Through the influence of Capt. Bellows they were dissuaded from carrying their threats into execution.

The morning of the 15th witnessed a renewal of the scenes of the preceding day. An inquest was held on the body of young French, and the sheriff and those of his party imprisoned with him were placed in close confinement.

During the day reinforcements came from the southern part of the county and from the Massachusetts province, and from the west side of the Green Mountains, so that upon the morning of the 16th it was computed that there were "five hundred good martial soldiers, well equipped for war," assembled in Westminster, besides others who had come as private citizens.

A public meeting was held, and a large committee chosen, to consist of persons out of the county as well as in, who, "after the most critical and impartial examination of evidence," de‑



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cided that the leaders in the massacre should be "confined in Northampton jail till they could have a fair trial," and those who appeared less guilty should be "under bonds, holden to answer at the next court of Oyer and Terminer " to be held in the county.

Those of the court party who were imprisoned were: Thomas Chandler, the chief judge, Bildad Easton, a deputy sheriff, Capt. Benjamin Burt, Thomas Sergeant, Oliver Wells, Joseph Willard, and John Morse, who were released on the 17th on giving bonds with security to John Hazeltine. Thomas Ellis, against whom no charge was found, was released unconditionally. Noah Sabin, associate judge, Benj. Butterfield, an assistant justice, Wm. Willard, a justice of the peace, Wm. Paterson, the high sheriff, Samuel Gale, the clerk, Benj. Gorton, a deputy sheriff, Richard Hill, William Williams, and one Cunningham, were on the 19th sent down the river under a guard of fifty men and two officers, and confined in jail at Northampton. Here they remained some two weeks, until they were removed on a writ of habeas corpus to New York, for a regular trial in order to their enlargement. We do not learn as they ever had their trial. The Revolutionary War had now become a fact, and other interests were absorbed in that.




one of the victims of this massacre, was a son of Nathaniel French, who lived in Brattleborough, near the southern line of Dummerston. He was a young man of patriotic spirit, and an ardent sympathiser with the liberty party. He was one of those stationed in the court­house on that eventful night of the 13th of March, 1775, animated by that liberty loving spirit, whose smouldering fires were now ready to burst forth in a general uprising throughout the colonies. He fell pierced with five bullets in as many different places, one of which entered the brain just behind the ear, and caused his death.

Dr. Wm. Hill, of Westminster, was allowed to visit him between three and four the next morning, but his martyr spirit had fled.

The verdict of the coroner's jury to investigate the causes of his death is in the following words:





"An Inquisition Indented and Taken at Westminster the fifteenth Day of March One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy five before me Timo. Olcott Gent one of the Corroners of the County aforesaid upon the View of the Body of William French then and there Lying Dead upon the oaths of Thos. Amsden John Avorll Joseph Pierce Nathael Robertson Edward Hoton Michal Law George Earll Daniel Jewett Zachriah Gilson Ezra Robenson Nathaniel Davis Nathaniel Double Dee John Wise Silas Burk Elihue Newel Alexr Pammerly Joseph Fuller. Good and Lawfull men of the County afore said who being Sworn to Enquire on the part of our Said Lord the King when where how and after what manner the said Wm. French came to his death Do Say upon their oaths that on the thirteenth day of March Instant William Paterson Esqr Mark Langdon Cristopher Orsgood Benjamin Gorton Samuel Night and others unknown to them assisting with force and arms made an assault on the Body of the said Wm French and Shot him Through the Head with a Bullet of which wound he Died and Not Otherways in witness where of the Coroner as well as the Juryors have to this Inquisition put their hands and seals att the place afore Said."

Mr. French was buried the same day with military honors in the old graveyard at Westminster, and a stone with



575                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           15


the following quaint inscription, marks the spot where he was laid:



Son to Mr, Nathaniel French. Who

Was Shot at Westminster March ye 13th,

1775, by the hands of Cruel Ministerial tools.

Of Georg ye 3d, in the Corthouse at a 11 a Clock

at Night in the 22d year of his Age.



For Murder his Blood for Vengeance cries

King Georg the third his Tory crew

tha with a Bawl his head Shot threw.

For Liberty and his Countrys Good.

he Lost his Life his Dearest blood."


Young French has been claimed by historians as the first martyr whose blood was shed in the cause of the American Revolution. This claim, however, has been disputed, but upon how good authority we are not able to say. An attempt was made in 1852, by some of the most distinguished and patriotic citizens of Vermont to obtain from the Legislature an appropriation for the purpose of erecting a monument to his memory. The bill was, however defeated by a small majority. When Vermont, in 1877, met at Westminster to celebrate the Ono Hundredth Anniversary of the declaration of her independence as a State, measures were taken for the erection of a monument in honor of her first blood shed in the cause of American liberty, upon that sacred spot where that first blood was shed and where her independence was declared.




who was mortally wounded at the time French was killed, was a resident of Dummerston; he received a wound in his body and lived but 9 days. His name is not usually found in connection with that of French, probably for the reason that it was expected for some days that he would recover. In the records of Dummerston, however, their names are coupled together as martyrs in a common cause. Hall says that at a meeting held at that place on the 6th of April following, a committee was appointed to "go to Westminster there to meet other committees, to consult on the best methods for dealing with the inhuman and unprovoked murtherers of William French and Daniel Houghton."

Houghton died at Westminster at the house then occupied by Eleazer Harlow, which stood northwest of the courthouse, and but a short distance from it. He was buried in the old grave-yard not far from the resting-place of William French. A rough stone once marked the place where he lay, which has since disappeared, and no one can tell the precise locality of his grave.

Jonathan Knight, of Dummerston, received a buck-shot in his right shoulder, which he is said to have carried there for more than thirty years.

A man by the name of




was severely wounded in the knee, and after being cared for three months at the house of Azariah Wright, where most of the wounded were taken, he was conveyed on a litter down the river to some place where he could receive proper medical attention.




of Rockingham, likewise received several cuts upon the head with a sabre in the hands of Sheriff Paterson, dealing in turn some pretty effective blows to the sheriff's posse, knocking down several of them with his club, by means of which he forced his way through and made his escape.

Of the sheriff's party, Justice Butterfield received a shot through his coat



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sleeve, slightly grazing the skin, and another received a slight wound from a pistol ball in the head. These were probably wounds received from their own party as the Whig party assert that there were no weapons carried by them but stones and clubs.


At a convention held here Jan. 15, 1777, Vermont was declared a free and independent State, and Westminster was for a time practically the capital of the State. The General Assembly held its session here in 1780. Here, too, was the first printing office established in Vermont, by the firm of Spooner & Green, in the year 1778. The press and types were removed to Woodstock in 1783.


The State Bank was established here in 1807, and removed to Woodstock in 1811.


And we should not omit to mention here a mode of punishment in vogue in those days, by means of




and cat-o'-nine tails, applied by some person duly authorized. No farther back than the year 1800, there were two of these whipping-posts upon Westminster street; one at the soldier's barracks at the lower end of the street, and the other stood near by the church. The one was used for the punishment of deserted soldiers, and the other for the punishment of culprits.


The last person whipped, we are told by one who was an eye-witness, was a negro woman who had been stealing. This instrument of terror to evil doers remained standing until about the year 1804, when it was pulled down by the boys. This relic of a barbarous age has given place to better laws.








The first person who actually settled in Westminster appears to have been Richard Ellis, who, with his son Reuben, came from Easton, Mass., in 1739, fenced in and broke up several acres of land, and built a house at the foot of Willard's hill, at the south end of the Main street, where Harlan Farr now lives.


He bought in September of that year three original Rights, drawn to Eliphalet Leonard, for which he paid 60 pounds. He afterwards bought two Rights of Jonathan Paddelford, and two of Joseph Tisdale, for all of which he paid £48. "old tender."

Reuben, his son, bought in 1740, of Israel Tisdale, the 60th Right, being the 50th house lot, and 47th interval lot. Farther than this we have no knowledge of either of them. Their names do not again appear in the history of the town. Nor do we find any record of deeds to give any clue to whom they conveyed their lands.




of Easton, came here in 1740, and made some preparations for settling, and it was recommended by a committee of the proprietors that he receive a gratuity for his services, which, however, was not granted. He bought in July of that year, of Joseph Tisdale, the 49th house lot and 39th interval lot. His house lot lay just north of one owned by Richard Ellis, which was the 48th, and the one on which Mr. Ellis built.


In a deed from widow Rush Tisdale in Sept., 1741, and in two others, from James Leonard 2d and Job Tisdale, in



577                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           17


1742, his name appears as a resident of "No. One."

We do not find his name among the proprietors under the N. H. charter, 9 Nov., 1752, but it appears in the list at the time of the renewal of the charter, 11th June, 1760.




came from Northfield, Mass., to Westminster, at a very early period, and began to clear and make preparations to settle, but was driven off by the Indians, and was subsequently killed by them. He had a son Aaron, who settled in Putney, whose daughter Rhoda married Eleazer Harlow, who settled here in 1758.




came up from Northfield with his family in canoes in the spring of 1751, and occupied the house at the lower end of the street afterwards known as the Averill place, where Mr. French now lives. He had at that time three sons, Asa, John and Oliver, and in the autumn of that same year was born to him a daughter, Anna, who was the first child born in Westminster. By whom this house was built we do not know. Hall says that this and the one built by Richard Ellis, then unoccupied, were the only ones in the place at that time; and the one into which Mr. Averill moved had been occupied by four men, one woman and two children, viz., William Gould and his son John, Amos Carpenter and Atherton Chaffee, and that Gould and Carpenter removed their families from Northfield here in the summer of 1751.

Mr. Averill was a proprietor of Westminster under N. H. in 1752, and on the French jury in 1755, and Captain of Militia in 1776.

In the spring of 1755, on account of the French and Indian war, he removed his family to the fort on the Great Meadows at Putney, and returned again after the war.

The Averill family have been prominent in the history of the town, and many of the descendants are still living here, but the name is gone.

The ancestors were a godly family, and such to a great extent have been their posterity.

Mrs. Ephraim Smith, a great-grand­daughter of John Averill, now living here at the age of 77, well remembers going to see her great-grand-father and great-grand-mother when she was a little child.




settled on the street, and always lived on what is now known as the Whittle place. He married Anna Chaffee (probably a daughter of Atherton Chaffee), by whom he had 6 children: Obed, Asa, David, Molly, Experience and Anna. He married (2) the widow of Major Peter Lovejoy, who had 6 children by her first husband, and two by Mr. Averill, viz., Mercy and Sally, and what was regarded as somewhat remarkable, they all lived together in the greatest peace and harmony.

ASA AVERILL, jr., was a young man of much promise, a good scholar, and good mechanic. He became somewhat noted in these parts as being the first man who framed a building by the use of the "square rule." The barn which formerly stood on his father's place is now owned by Mr. Hills.

OBED, the eldest son of Asa Averill, built and settled on the "Tower place," now owned by John Leach; and two of his children, Mrs. Ephraim Smith and Mrs. James Tower, are now living in the parish.

ASA and DAVID died young.



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MOLLY married Jonathan Atwater Phippen, who settled here in 1781, and has grand-children and great-grand children now living here.

EXPERIENCE married Abraham Nutting, and has several descendants now living in the place.

There is a curious circumstance related of the marriage of Mr. Averill to his second wife. It was an opinion prevalent in those days that whoever married a widow who was administratrix upon the estate of her deceased husband, and who through her came into possession of anything purchased by the first husband, became liable for any demands against the first husband's estate. This difficulty was avoided in the following manner:

A blanket was stretched across a recess next the chimney, behind which went the bride with her attendants, who divested her of all her clothing, and threw her clothes into the room. She then reached her hand through a small opening in the blanket, which was clasped by Mr. Averill, and the marriage ceremony was performed. He then produced a complete assortment of wedding attire which was appropriated by Mrs. Averill, who soon appeared in full dress, to receive the congratulations of her friends.

John Averill, Jr., was a wheel-wright and carpenter. He built the first framed house in Westminster, which stood on the east side of the street, opposite his father's. He took the home place and lived there till he died. He had five children: John, Daniel, Jotham, Hannah and Olive.

Jotham and Hannah were never married.

John "was an upright and honorable man." He married Anna Averill, daughter of Asa, and afterwards Rhoda Wales, and removed to Swanton, Franklin county, and became a quaker.

Daniel married for his second wife a daughter of Eleazer Harlow, one of the early settlers. He was a very good man, and considered as one of the "pillars of the church."

Olive married a Heald and removed to the northern part of the State.

3. Oliver Averill, third son of John, removed to Northfield, this State, where his descendants now live.

4. Anna Averill married Amos (?) Carpenter, and lived in Westminster for a time.




The Chaffee family for many years had a residence in the parish, but are now gone. Atherton died here in 1776, aged 63. We find at a later date the names of Atherton, Clifford, Otis, and Constant, whom we suppose to be his sons.




settled on the old road to the West Parish, to the north of Shubael Peck's. An old barn still marks the spot. He had a son, Atherton, who went to Canada and died, and who has a daughter now living in Walpole, N. H.

Clifford Chaffee married a daughter of Capt. Jesse Burke, one of the early settlers, and had a grandson Clifford, who received his early education in Westminster, became a physician, practised a time in the State of New York, afterwards removed to Springfield, Mass., and has since been a member of Congress.




was here when John Averill came, had his residence here till 1776, when he sold to James Richardson and removed to Rockingham. His farm, according to the plan of the town, was Nos. 8 and 9, in the first range of 80 acre lots, and is now owned in part by Clark Whitney.



579                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           19





and his son John were also here in 1751. There were probably other sons. We find Seth, John and Nathaniel, proprietors here in 1772, at the time of the grant from New York. And at the time of the formation of a Baptist society in the west part of the town in 1784, there were three Goolds, William, Seth and Nathaniel, members of that society.

We have no further information of any of these except John, who has numerous descendants in Westminster, Windham, Chester, Coventry and other towns of this State, as well as in New Hampshire and Ohio.

He was a large land owner in the town; we find deeds conveying to him 5 house-lots and 4 meadow-lots, and No. 1, in the first range of 100-acre lots.

Most of his house-lots were situated near where the meeting-house and parsonage now stands. In revolutionary times he kept the Whig tavern, in the house where Mr. Whitman now lives, which then stood upon the opposite side of the street. He was a soldier in the Revolution and very proud of telling stories.

There is a story of an incident that is said to have happened in those days which, perhaps, is worth telling here. A traveller who had stopped at his tavern over night, found in the morning as he was about to start, that he had been relieved of a part of his load. In the absence of any detective police it was agreed to adopt the following shrewd plan: A rooster was placed under a large brass kettle, and each one present was to pass round and touch his nose to the kettle, and when the guilty one touched the kettle the rooster would crow. When they had all passed around and an examination was made of the noses, it was found that all but one had a black nose, and he was adjudged guilty of the theft.




had 4 sons and 2 daughters who also had families.

John Gould, Jr., the eldest, was a printer, in the employ of Spooner & Green, and afterwards carried on the business here himself. His office was the old building, a part of which now adorns the new part of the present parsonage. He afterwards removed to Windham, and thence to Chester, where he died. He was the father of 9 children.

Aaron, the next son, settled in the West Parish, and had 6 children, two of whom, Reuben C. and Mrs. Zenas Lord, now reside in the East Parish.

Jonathan, another son, kept the Goold tavern for a while, and then went to Ohio.

Luther also went to Ohio. Of the daughters, Abigail married Dea. Nathaniel Kittredge, of the East Parish, and Sarah married a Chandler, who lived here for a time and then went to Townshend.




came from Taunton, Mass., at the age of 20, in the year 1758, and settled where Charles Willard now lives. He built, at first, a plank house, in 1782, the one now standing. He married Rhoda Alexander, of Northfield, Mass., by whom he had 3 sons and 6 daughters.

LEVI, the eldest son, married Elizabeth Ranney, a daughter of Deacon Ephraim, and went west as far as the top of the hill, between the two parishes.



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His son, Eleazer, lived there, and a great grandson of the first Eleazer now owns the place.

JOSIAH, the second son, died in the army, and his children went to Ohio.

ELEAZER, the other son, died unmarried.

Of the daughters, Rhoda married Ephraim Ranney, son of Deac. Ephraim, and settled in the West Parish.

Abigail married Waitstill Ranney, a son of Deac. Ephraim, and went to Chester.

Hannah married Alfred Spooner, who lived here awhile, then removed to Woodstock, and from there he went to New Orleans and died.

Lavina married Calvin Britton, both of whom died here.

Anna, the youngest, married Giles Marvin, by whom she had three children, and (2) Zacheus Cole, with whom she now lives in the happy enjoyment of a serene old age. She is now 85 years old, and vigorous in body and mind.  She has had 6 children by her second marriage, all of whom are married and living at the present time. Her residence, with the exception of 16 months, has always been her native place.




He was born in Old Hatfield, Mass., in 1731, he came to Putney during the French and Indian war, and enlisted in the fort on the Great Meadows. His mother and two sisters were with him there in 1755. He was exposed to all the dangers of savage warfare, and came near losing his life. After peace was declared he came to Westminster and began a settlement by putting up a log-house on the meadow at the south part of the town, about 100 rods east of where he afterwards built.

His earliest deed bears date of March, 1759.

He married a sister of Dea. Sessions, took his bride to the log-house, where they ate their bridal dinner of stewed beans, served upon chips for plates, with wooden spoons whittled out for the occasion.

After a few years he left the log-house and built upon the old stage road, where he kept a tavern for 20 years.

He was commissioned 1st Lieut. of the Westminster Militia in 1788, and Captain of the same Co. the following year. He was Justice of the Court of Oyer and Terminer in 1782.

He was shrewd at business, had no education, except what he acquired by attending school one week, but could read and write enough to do common business. He died at the age of 92.

Capt. Gibson had no children.




was his adopted child, and the second owner of the farm from the settlement of the town, until he died 15 July, 1870, at the age of 79.




a brother of Capt. Michael, settled a few years later, a little farther to the south, on the farm owned by the late Richard Ward. He was once taken captive by the Indians and carried to Canada, but returned hero and died. He had several sons, Zachariah, Michael and Benjamin, but has no descendants now living in town. Zachariah, jr., had a son, Freedom, who now resides in Rockingham.



He lived at the foot of the Willard hill, where Richard Ellis settled in 1739. Precisely when Mr. Willard came to Westminster is not known. He was a



581                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           21


proprietor in 1752, and a soldier at Fort Dummer as late as 1756, and probably came here soon after and lived here till he died.

He was the fifth generation from Major Simon Willard, who came to this country in 1634, and is supposed to he the ancestor of all the Willards in this country.

Rev. Joseph Willard, father of William, was slain by the Indians at Rutland, Mass., 1723, on the day he was to have been installed as pastor of the church. Joseph, a posthumous son, was born about three months after the father's death. This Joseph, we suppose to be the one whose family were taken by the Indians at Charleston, No. 4, in 1760, and carried to Canada. The widow of Rev. Joseph Willard married Rev. Andrew Gardner, who was settled in Lunenburg, Mass., and afterwards at Winchester, N. H.




of Winchester, whose name is familiar in the early history of Winchester, was a son of Henry, who was the fourth son of Major Simon. His sons, Col. Josiah, jr., Nathan, Oliver and Wilder, were proprietors of Westminster under N. H., but not resident here.

Prudence, a daughter of Col. Josiah, married William, son of Rev. Joseph, who was slain at Rutland.

William and Prudence, his wife, are both buried in the old grave-yard at Westminster. William died in 1804, at the age of 83, and Prudence died in 1794, at the age of 67.

William Willard appears to have been a prominent man in his day; he was justice of the peace in 1766, 7 and 8, and again in 1772. Assistant justice of the Court of Common Pleas, 1768 and 1772.

William had, by his wife Prudence, three sons, Joseph, Billy and Lyndes. Billy settled on the home place and Joseph where Henry Wells now lives, and Lyndes a short distance to the south. Billy was prominent among those engaged in the massacre when French was killed, and boasted of having knocked him down. Joseph was imprisoned with the Tory party, but released on bail. Joseph and Lyndes have descendants now living in Westminster. Joseph had a son Joseph, whose sons went from here to Washington and became the proprietors of "Willard's Hotel."




came from Farmington, Ct., about the year 1760, and kept the "Norton Tavern." He married Anna Holton, sister of Joel Holton, by whom he had ten children, one of whom is still living in the parish. Another daughter, who married a grandson of William Willard, Esq., died during the present year but a short distance from the spot where she was born, at the age of 88.

Another married a Campbell, who settled in the West Parish.

Another became the wife of Nathaniel Fullerton, Esq., of Chester, President of Bellows Falls Bank.

Mr. Norton was a prominent man in the town, held various positions in the town offices, and in 1776 was delegate with Dr. Elkanah Day to the Council of Safety for Cumberland Co. He was also a member of the Legislature in 1782.




came from Haddam, Ct., about this period, and settled where George Wetherell, who married a grand-daughter of Mr. Cone's, now lives. He built a log-house, and in 1770, one now standing. He had 11 children, 9 of whom lived to be married.



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Joshua settled in the northern part of the town, lived there for a time and afterwards sold to Jonathan Lane.

Samuel was a merchant and had his store on the upper street.

John married a sister of Rev. Sylvester Sage and removed to the State of New York.

Ezra T., lived on the home place.




came here in 1761, at the same time with his brother Azariah and Joel Holton, who were all from Northfield.* Aaron Pettey came at the same time and camped with them, and so did Judge Burt, on the spot where Medad built. Whether the two last mentioned were from the same place we do not know. John Norton, we are told, camped with them. His daughter thinks he came here at the age of 21, which would make him here in 1760. Mr. Wright became acquainted with the locality in carrying supplies up the river during the French and Indian war. He and his brother, Mr. Holton and Mr. Norton all located near each other upon the Upper street. Mr. Holton's house-lot was No. 10, Azariah Wright's No. 11, Medad's No. 12, and John Norton's No. 13. Aaron Pettey's was No. 17 and Eleazer Harlow's No. 18.

Medad Wright was constable of Westminster in 1766, His sympathies appear to have been with the New York party. He was one of the 30 who were arrested by the authority of the State of Vermont, in 1779, and lodged in jail at Westminster for non­compliance with the conditions of the new Militia law. Among those from Westminster who were also imprisoned were:

Dr. Elkanah Day, Michael Gilson, Benjamin Whitney, John Norton, Dea. John Sessions, Billy Willard and his brother Joseph, and Bildad Easton.

They were each tried and fined from £10 to £40 each, according to the magnitude of the offence.

Medad Wright had 9 sons, seven of whom lived to be married. He married for his first wife, Irene, a sister of Joel Holton, and for his second, widow Mary Willard.

Asaph, the oldest of the 9 sons of Medad Wright, was a physician and lived in the West Parish.

Rufus lived at the lower end of the Upper street, on land now owned by Harlem Farr, and died there of cancer.

Elihu lived where Joseph Wright now does, and one of the daughters married Joseph Wright, a grand-son of Capt. Azariah. Another daughter of Elihu married another grandson of Capt. Azariah, and settled in the West Parish. A third married Addison Dunham, and lives in the East Parish.

Obed, son of Medad, lived sometime on the road towards Ephraim Smith's, and then went West.

Hollis settled on the home place, where his son, Daniel C., now lives. The old house, erected as early as 1770, was standing on the spot where it was built, until last year, when it was removed to the other side of the street to give place to a new one. This is the only instance in the parish in which the home place has descended from father to son, from the early history of the town until the present time. Another remarkable circumstance of the three generations of children born in the old house, only one has been a daughter, and that the last child born.


* The deed from Josiah Willard to Azariah Wright, of House-lot No. 11, bears date of April, 1761. In that deed he is represented as a resident of Westminster.



583                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           23





settled close by Medad, where Mr. De Wolf now lives. He married a Safford, and had 6 children, all of whom settled in town.

1. Azariah, Jr., the eldest, lived in the next house west of Roe Morse. He had 9 children, most of whom went to Illinois.

2. Solomon lived in the house just west of his brother Azariah. He lived to be over 90 years of age, and voted 71 years. He was fond of history, was a great reader, and had a good memory. He died with his son, Capt. Azariah, at Coventry. He also had 9 children.

3. Caleb settled in the West Parish. He had 7 children. His son Caleb, who died at Newton last year (1869), was a man of considerable note as a writer and lecturer.

4. Joseph settled beyond where his son Joseph now lives, and had a son and three daughters.

Capt. Azariah Wright was a man of great energy and perseverance, and bold even to recklessness. Previous to his coining to Vermont he served as a soldier in the French and Indian war. He was captain of the Westminster Militia company as early as 1770, and a leading spirit in those times. He has been called an Ethan Allen on a smaller scale. The members of his company, as given by Hall, are as follows: Lieut. Jabez Perry, 1st Sergeant, Simeon Burk, 2d Sergeant, Jesse Burk. Privates — Jacob Albee, John Albee, Samuel Ames, Asa Averill, John Averill, Thomas Averill, Jabez Bates, Silas Burk, Atherton Chaffee, Andrew Crook, Robert Crook, William Crook, David Daley, Jonathan Fuller, Seth Goold, William Goold, Francis Holden, John Holt, Ichabod Ide, Israel Ide, Jos. Ide, Robt. Miller, John Pettey, Atwater Phippen, Joseph Phippen, Robert Rand, James Richardson, Nathaniel Robinson, Reuben Robinson, Edmund Shipman, Jehiel Webb, and John Wells.

Capt. Wright led his company at the time of the Westminster massacre, and had them under strict discipline. He went with 12 men on an expedition to Quebec during the winter of 1776, no further record of which has been preserved.

An incident in connection with a case of church discipline serves to show the character of the man. Uncle 'Riah, as they used to call him, had occasion to shoot a bear which he found trespassing in his corn-field on the Sabbath, for which deed he was to be excommunicated from the church. At the close of the service, Mr. Bullen, the pastor, was about to read the letter of excommunication, when Uncle 'Riah presented his gun. Mr. Bullen then passed the letter to Dea. Sessions, who began to read, when Uncle 'Riah levelled his piece upon the deacon. The deacon then returned the letter to the parson with the remark that "all things were lawful but not expedient." After some consultation, the letter was laid aside, and the benediction pronounced, and the congregation left the house, followed by Uncle 'Riah, who locked the door and gave a lad a ninepence to take the key to the sexton. Capt. Wright died here in 1811, at the age of 74.




came at the same time with the Wrights and settled close by them. He married Bethia Farwell, by whom he had 12 children.

His son, Joel, lived in Westminster, where Allen Wells now lives, and had several children, among whom were David Parsons Holton, M. D., New York



24                           VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.                         584


City, and Miriam, who married Henry S. Brown, M. D.

Zoeth, another son, lived on the home place, and Bethia, who married John White, father of Rev. Pliny H. White, late of Coventry, is still living in Westminster, at the age of 87.




built just back of Eleazer Harlow, the house-lot which he owned being too low for a building spot on the street. He died in Rockingham in 1788, at the age of 45, and was buried here. One of his daughters, Asenath, married John Lovejoy, who settled upon the place afterwards owned by Jonathan Lane. Margaret, another daughter, married a Burton, of Walpole, and Aaron, jr., died in early life, while engaged in the study of medicine.




was also here at this time, and lived in the north part of Westminster, just beyond Saxton's River bridge, where Charles Chase now lives. Some of the older inhabitants say they used to go there to grist-mill when they were young.

Judge Burt appears to have been quite a prominent man in his time. He was sought by his fellow citizens to fill many positions of trust in his town and State. He was elected member of the Council of his State in 1779, and was a member of the Assembly in 1781, '86, '96, '97 and '98. From 1786 to 1802 he held the position of assistant justice, and from 1781 to 1785, was assistant judge of the Windham County Court.




have been associated with the history of the town for more than a hundred years. Theirs, it is said, was the third permanent settlement in the town. Dan and Azariah were two of the nine that constituted the church at the time it was organized in 1767. They came from Haddam, Ct., and their father's name was Azariah. They settled in the south part of the town; Dan where Dea. Abiel Goodell afterwards lived, on the hill road to Putney, and Azariah on the middle road, on what is now a part of the Ward farm, nearly opposite of where Zachariah Gilson settled.

They both have descendants now living in town. Azariah had two sons, Cyrus and Job. Cyrus had two Sons, Harvey and Alvin. Job had two sons, Job and Ephraim, and five daughters, one of whom married Heman Goodridge, and another became the wife of Jazaniah Hunt, and settled in Westminster.




came from Sutton, Mass., about the year 1768, and settled where the present meeting-house now stands. He was a carpenter and farmer, and also a great trapper and hunter. He afterwards removed to the place where his grand-son, John Dorr Morse, lived, and has numerous descendants in the place. He was the fourth generation from Anthony Morse, who came to this country in 1637. He was a connection of Prof'. Morse, inventor of the telegraph, who was also the fourth generation from Anthony.




came from Middletown. Ct., about the time of the French and Indian war, and settled on the Upper street, several lots north of Joel Holton. His deed of house-lot No. 7, where he lived, which he bought of Jonathan Thayer, bears date of March, 1761. We are told he kept tavern there. He married Silence Wilcox, by whom he had 11 children, and he lived to see them all married.



585                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           25


He was a man of sterling Christian character, and leaves behind a godly posterity. He is the ancestor of as many as five ministers of the gospel and numerous deacons. Eight of his children settled in their native town; two sons and a daughter in the West Parish who, with their descendants, have been among the substantial citizens of the place. Of those who became preachers of the gospel, are two grand-children, Seth Shaler Arnold, now living, nearly 80 years of age, and Joel Ranney Arnold, his brother; three great-grandsons, Josiah Goodhue, Joseph Ranney, Timothy E. Ranney, and a great-great-grandson, Henry A. Goodhue.

Ephraim Ranney was one of the two first deacons of the church in the East Parish, and his son, Elijah, was one of the first deacons of the church in the West Parish, and he was succeeded by his son, Elijah, jr.. Ephraim, jr., Dea. Ephraim's oldest son, had a daughter who married a deacon, and one of their sons fills the office at the present time.

Three sons of Dea. Ephraim settled near their father: Joel, where Ambrose Arnold's house now stands; Benjamin, where John Leach now lives; and Janna on the home place. Esther, a daughter, married Seth Arnold, who lived on the place near by, now owned by Mr. Foster.




was here at the time the church was organized, 11 June, 1767, and was one of its first deacons. He settled near Michael Gilson, where Mr. Floyd now lives, on No. 5 and 6, in the first range of 50 acre lots.

The deacon was sharp and shrewd; quick at a retort, and generally had the "best end" of a joke. On one occasion, in company with several others, when the toddy was being passed around (it was the custom in those days for ministers and deacons to drink), some one espied a fly in the toddy, and playfully passed it to the deacon to see what he would do. He very gravely took out the fly, and held it while he took his drink, then put back the fly and passed it to the next.

His daughter Anna married David Foster, of Putney, who was elected deacon of the church in Westminster in the spring, and died the following July.

One of his sons died a dissipated man, and one of his grandsons became a minister, and a grand-daughter became the wife of the late Rev. Dr. Thurston, of Fall River.

Aside from the office of deacon, Mr. Sessions held the office of chief judge of Windham County court, from 1781 to 1784, and for many years was one of the prominent and influential men of the town.

He represented the town in the General Assembly in 1787. He was also commissioned a deputy in the New York Provincial Congress, and Convention of the State of New York, in 1776; also a Commissioner to administer oaths of office, in 1777 and 1778, and judge of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas in Aug., 1778.




was probably here as early as 1767. We find record of a deed of this date, conveying to him lot No. 7 in the second range of 50 acre lots, where T. W. Wiley now lives. He was born in Scotland and died here in 1770. He had a son, Nehemiah, who lived on the home place, and a son John. Nehemiah was constable here in 1800.

John was brought up by Dea. Sessions, with whom he went to live at 8



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years of age. He settled in Andover in this State, and had 7 children, one of whom settled in Westminster, on his grandfather's place, and is one of the present deacons of the church.




came from Connecticut as early as 1769 and settled on Rocky hill, where Clark Whitney now lives. He had 7 or 8 children. John, the oldest, married Betsey Goodridge, and lived where Samuel Spaulding now does, and has descendants now living in the place.

Another son, Derastus, married a daughter of Jonathan Lane, and has descendants in Westminster.




Jonathan, and his three sons, Jesse, Simeon and Silas, came from Brimfield as early as 1771. A deed from "Jonathan Burk, of Westminster," conveying to his "beloved son Jesse," house-lot No. 22 and meadow-lot No. 39, bears the above date. Charles Rice, who died Mar. 1, 1830, aged 72, was a son of the widow Rice, who married Capt. Jesse Burk. A grandson of Mr. Rice says his grandfather came to Westminster with Capt. Burk when but 3 years of age, which would give an earlier date by 10 years. Jonathan lived here for a time and then went to Windsor, where he died.

Capt. Jesse lived where Ira Smith now does. He married a widow Rice, by whom he had 5 sons and one daughter. He was sheriff of the county in 1775. His son, Elijah, lived on the home place, and one of his sons became an editor in Newport, N. H., and has since been a member of Congress from New Hampshire.

Simeon married Patty Strong, and had 3 sons and 4 daughters. He lived on the Albee place, where Mr. Wilcox now does.

Maj. Silas Burk settled where Joseph Clark now lives. He was one of the jury of inquest when French was killed. He married Mary Eastman by whom he had 9 children, one of whom is now living at the old homestead at the age of 90 and says she is "just in her prime." (See appendix.)




was born in Dublin, Ireland, about the year 1725, and educated to the profession of the law. He came to this country about 1762, and for some time held the office of Secretary of the Province of New York. He removed from New York City to Westminster in the latter part of the year 1771, and lived in a house that stood a little to the north of the meeting-house, which was the only one in town that faced the four cardinal points of compass. It was originally built for Rev. Mr. Goodell, the first minister. Mr. Brush was ambitious of power and fond of display, and was received with great courtesy by the people of Westminster until his true character came to be known. "But as vulgarity of mind became apparent and novelty of appearance ceased to attract attention, Mr. Brush found, in spite of his boasted attainments as a man of large information, and his pretensions to gentility, that his only friends were a few high-toned and arrogant loyalists."

He held various offices under the government of New York. In Feb., 1772, he was appointed by Governor Tyron as clerk of Cumberland County, and was made surrogate of the county in April of the same year, and was also appointed commissioner to administer oaths of civil office. He was a representative to the General Assembly of


* For an extended sketch of Crean Brush, see Hall's Eastern Vermont, 603-633.




587                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           27


New York in 1773-4-5. He had large influence in the house, and spared no pains to turn it to his own advantage. Mr. Brush owned large tracts of land in Westminster and other portions of the New Hampshire grants, which after the uprising in the colonies in 1775, were confiscated to the State of Vermont and sold, and the proceeds went into the public treasury.

During the summer of this year he was probably in New York, and in the fall went to Boston, then occupied by the British, and offered his services to Gen. Gage.

The General, having determined to winter his army in Boston, found it necessary to vacate some of the residences of the inhabitants, and this business was entrusted to Crean Brush, who was commissioned to receive and protect such property as should be entrusted to his care. Having seized many goods that were not contraband, which were stowed away in vessels in the harbor, he endeavored to set sail to Halifax, but was taken when a few days out, by Commodore Manly, and Brush and others were made prisoners. He was examined and committed to the jail in Boston, on charge of having plundered the city, and carried away under protection of the British fleet, large quantities of goods, wares and merchandise, the rightful property of the citizens of Boston. He was handcuffed, and denied the use of pen, ink, paper and candles, and forbidden to converse with any person unless in the presence of the jailer.

During his imprisonment Mrs. Brush was allowed to visit him, and on Wednesday, the 5th of November, 1778, he made his escape in her clothes; and not until the next morning was it discovered that the noted prisoner was gone, and his wife occupied his place in the cell. Mrs. Brush had left a horse tied at a certain spot, and furnished her husband with the means of escape.

He immediately set out for New York, which place he reached on the 16th of the same month, after an imprisonment of more than nineteen months.

He then directed his efforts for the recovery of his property, and to obtain redress for the injuries he had received, and compensation for the losses he had sustained on behalf of the King. Not being successful in this, and stung with a feeling of remorse, on a cold morning in the following spring, he determined to put an end to a miserable life, and with a pistol in his hand, he blew out his brains.

Mr. Brush owned, as it is supposed, about 25,000 acres of land in the State of New York, and nearly the same amount on the New Hampshire grants, only a small part of which ever came into the hands of his heirs.

Mr. Brush's widow afterwards became the wife of Patrick Wall, who was an Irishman by birth, and at the time of thee revolution, was a tailor in Boston. After a residence of some time in the city of New York they removed to Westminster, to the house formerly occupied by Crean Brush. After her death Mr. Wall married Elizabeth Erwin, of Westminster, on the 7th of Jan., 1812.

Mrs. Wall, previous to her marriage with Mr. Brush, had by a former husband a daughter Frances, who married a Capt. Buchanan, and was a widow at the time she came with her mother to Westminster, with Mr. Wall. Mrs. Buchanan is spoken of as a "dashing woman," with an "imperious bearing," which attracted the attention of the




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quiet people of Westminster. She is said to have been a "fascinating woman, endowed with an ease of manner which she had acquired from intercourse with polite society, and possessed of a refined taste and many accomplishments."

During one of his frequent visits to Westminster, Gen. Ethan Allen, who was at that time a widower, formed an acquaintance with Mrs. Buchanan, which afterwards "ripened into a warm, but singularly intermittent friendship."

John Norton, keeper of the tavern, playfully remarked to her one day, with reference to the prospective alliance, "Fanny, if you marry General Allen, you will be the queen of the new State." "Yes," she replied, "if I should marry the devil, I should be the queen of hell."

The aversion, however, with which she at times held the character of the man "whom all feared and few loved," appears to have given place to the admiration of his nobler traits, and she consented to become his wife. The novel wedding, which is admirably described by Mr. Hall, took place at the residence of Gen. Stephen R. Bradley, of Westminster.

"Thus did the step-daughter of Crean Brush become the wife of the man for whose apprehension Governor Tyron, at the instigation of Brush, had on the 9th of March, 1774, offered a reward of £100."

After the death of General Allen, in 1789, his widow married Dr. Jabez Penniman, of Burlington.

Crean Brush had by his first wife, who died before he came to this country, a daughter, Elizabeth Martha, whom he left in the care of his relatives in Ireland. She married Thomas Norman, of Ireland, by whom she had 4 children. By the will of her father she became heir to a third part of his estate, and having purchased of the other heirs their thirds, she became heir to the whole property. She with her husband, came to America about the year 1795, to recover the property to which she had become entitled, and had their residence in Westminster until 1814, when they removed to Caldwell, at the south end of Lake George.

Mrs. Norman is said to have been a "lady of fine manners, dignified deportment, and was, in every respect, an ornament to her sex."




is said to have been of Irish-Scotch descent, and supposed to have been born in Ireland. He came to Westminster soon after his friend Crean Brush in 1772 or 1773, and received the appointment of the shrievalty of Cumberland county. He was active as high sheriff in the Westminster massacre, and was one of those imprisoned in the court-house at this place, and was afterwards removed with others to Northampton jail, where he remained until the 22d of November following. Farther than this we have no knowledge of his life; his history is shrouded in obscurity.




Jonathan Atwater, Samuel and Joseph, were here about this time, and were all members of the militia company, under Capt. Azariah Wright, in 1775.

Samuel was here in 1772, as appears from a deed from him to Ephraim Ranney of two lots in the first division of meadow.

Samuel, jun., had house-lot No. 29, in 1772, and was a qualified voter in 1781.




589                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           29


Samuel and Joseph were members of the Baptist society at the time of its organization in 1781.

Jonathan Atwater appears to have been the only one who mode a permanent settlement here, or at least who has left descendants here. He married Mary Averill, daughter of Asa, by whom he had 7 children. He settled upon "Phippen Hill," not far from James Richardson.

His son, David, took the home place. He married Hannah Sargent, whose mother was a Washburn, and whose connections of that name have been distinguished in Massachusetts and Vermont.




was here in 1772,  and lived where Porter Rice now does. He married Sarah Humphrey, by whom he had 10 children, most of whom settled elsewhere.

Daniel, son of Joshua Stoddard, went to Sutton, Vt., and then to Ohio. He had 20 children all living at one time.

John settled here. He lived and died where Mr. Farwell now lives.

Amasa lived awhile on the home place.

Ezra married a daughter of Dea. Abiel Goodell, and went to Billymead, now Sutton. He was killed by the falling of a tree, and his son Ezra was killed in the same manner, 10 years after, on the same month, and about the same time of the month. Ezra had 7 children, one of whom is judge of probate, and another is deacon of the church in Westminster.




noted for his Tory proclivities and the active part he took at the time of the Revolutionary proceedings in Westminster, came here about this period.

His first child was born in Alstead, N. H., in 1772, and the next in Westminster, in 1774 , at which place 5 were born to him afterwards.




were also here at this period, and were prominent and influential citizens at that time. They came from Attleboro, Mass.

Nathaniel was a deacon of the Baptist church, and the meetings were sometimes held at his house. He held various offices in the town, as justice of the peace, selectman, and town clerk, and at one time received a vote of thanks from the town for his valuable services. He was a member of the State Legislature from 1778 to 1780. He settled on the "Eaton place," midway between the two parishes, and was buried in an old graveyard near his house. He died in 1815, in his 92d year.

His sons were Reuben, Nathan, Ezekiel, Noah and Titus. He also had several daughters,

Reuben was a soldier in the Revolution. He married Abigail Burk, in 1779, and settled in the West Parish, where Reuben Miller now lives.

Nathan settled on the Tully Clark place, and afterwards removed to Stowe, Vt.

Ezekiel also went to Stowe, and he and Nathan were members of the Legislature.

Noah* also went to Stowe, and one of his sons was a physician.

Titus, a carpenter by trade, went to New Orleans and died there.


* Noah Robinson was born in Westminster, March, 1804, in early life settled in Stowe with two or more brothers. About the same time others of the Robinson family moved to Northfield. They were among the most substantial citizens. At Stowe, Noah farmed and held almost every town office. About 1854, he removed to Waterbury Centre. Here also he held many




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were also here at this time.

Benjamin died in 1776, aged 58, and is buried here. Also Abijah, who died the same year, aged 36. The following lines we take from his gravestone:


"Life is uncertain, death

is suer; sin the wound,

and Christ the cuer,"


He was a delegate from Westminster to the convention held here 7th Feb., 1775.




died here 1793, at the age of 38, and may have been a son of Benjamin or Abijah. We suppose him to have been the Major Peter Lovejoy, whose widow married Asa Averill.

He had three sons: John, Samuel and Joseph, and some daughters.

John was the first who settled in the Lane district, which was then a wilderness. He was a cooper and farmer. He married Asenath, a daughter of Aaron Petty. This district, which in 1800 was thickly settled and contained many of the more prominent families in town, and had some 70 to 80 scholars to send to school, now has but one land owner within its limits, not a child for the district school, and probably never will have again.

Samuel, a carpenter and joiner by trade, built on the street and lived where D. A. Hills now does. He was postmaster for some time and superintendent of the Sunday-school.

Joseph died while young.

Hannah married a Hunt, of Putney, and Betsey married a Wyman, of the West Parish.




was a prominent plan in the place; he appears to have been here in 1777, from the death of three children buried here during that year. He was jail-keeper in 1779, at the time Judge Chandler was buried. He was justice of the peace for several years, and died in 1788, aged 65.




Dr. Day was a resident of Westminster in 1775, and was a prominent and influential man. His residence was the place formerly occupied by Crean Brush. Not only in town but throughout the country he was known and respected as a physician. He was a member of a committee of the County Congress which convened at Westminster previous to the session of 6 June, 1775, and was a delegate from Westminster to the committee of safety held at the same place in June, 1776, and was chosen clerk. In 1780, we find "Maj. Elkanah Day," one of a committee to take into consideration the feasibility of a new government formed by a union of the eastern portion of Vermont and the western portion of New Hampshire.

He was one of the "Yorkers," arrested for non-compliance with the terms of the new militia law in 1779, and was fined £40. He subsequently appears, however, as an earnest supporter of the new government. He was chosen with John Sessions to represent the town in the New York Assembly, in 1779, and was senator in 1781.

He received the appointment of Major of the southern regiment of the State 1778, and in 1782 was adjutant under Gen. Ethan Allen, in maintaining the civil authority of the State. He was high sheriff of Windham county from 1782 to 1787.


town offices; was a successful town agent for years. He married, first, Calista Russell, and second, a sister of Col. Fred E. Smith, of Montpelier. He left two sons and a daughter. The painful circumstances of his death, the newspapers of the time chronicled. He died in 1883; was buried in Stowe. — "Argus and Patriot."




591                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           31





was a descendant of William Bradley,* who came to this country with several brothers in 1637, and a son of Moses and Mary Row Bradley, of Cheshire (then Wallingford), Ct. He was born 20 Feb., 1754. He graduated at Yale with the degree of A. B., in 1775, and received from his alma mater the degree of A. M., 1778.

While in college he prepared an almanac for 1775, of which an edition of 2000 copies were published Nov., 1774. In January after his graduation he entered the army as captain of the Cheshire Volunteers. In December of the same year, with the rank of adjutant, he received the appointment of vendue master and quarter-master.

He afterwards received the appointment of aide-de-camp to Gen. David Wooster. In 1778, he was employed as commissary, and during the summer of 1779 served as major, at New Haven. He studied law with Tapping Reeve, the founder of the Litchfield law school.

His first appearance in the State of Vermont is at the adjourned session of the Superior Court at Westminster, 26 May, 1779, and in 1780, he represents the town of Westminster in the General Assembly.

At the session of the court above named, he was commissioned attorney at law, and received license to plead at the bar within the State. He soon took a high position, and his learning and talents were the admiration of all. He at once became prominent as a political leader, and had a large influence in laying the foundations of the new State. He was appointed to present to Congress, at its session in Feb., 1780, the views and feelings of Vermont with reference to the claims of Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire and New York.

The result of his efforts is contained in a pamphlet, entitled, "Vermont's Appeal to the candid and impartial world, containing a fair stating of the claims of Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire and New York."

This was read before the Council of Vermont, at Arlington, 10 Dec., 1779, and approved and ordered to be published. It is a masterly presentation of the claims of Vermont to independence, and among the various pamphlets written at this period upon this controversy with New York, "Vermont's Appeal " stands preeminent.†

In Aug., 1781, Mr. Bradley was commissioned lieutenant of the 1st Regiment of Vermont militia, and in October following was promoted to the office of colonel. This office he resigned in March, 1787, and in Jan., 1791, he received the appointment of brigadier-general of the eighth brigade of the Vermont militia.

The following are among the various offices which he held: He was State's attorney for Cumberland county from 1781-1785; select man in Westminster in 1782; held the office of town clerk from 1787-1788; from Dec., 1781 to March, 1791, register of probate for Windham county. On the 21 Feb., 1783, he was appointed a judge of the court of the county, and from Oct., 1788, to Oct., 1789, side-judge of the Supreme court of Vermont. He represented Westminster in the General Assembly of the State, in 1780, 1781,


* The first settler of New Haven, Ct., one of whose brothers was an officer in Cromwell's Ironsides.

† He was unable, however, to obtain a personal hearing for Vermont, in Congress, at that time, and presenting a remonstrance, returned to Vermont. — Hall's "Eastern Vermont."




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1784, 1785, 1788, 1790 and 1800, and in 1785 was elected speaker of the house. He was a member of the State Constitutional convention in 1791, and elected to the Council in 1798, and in 1789, he was appointed Commissioner to establish the boundary line between New York and Vermont.

On the 12 May, 1793, he was admitted to practice in the Circuit court of the United States. He received the honorary titles of M. A. and LL. D. from Dartmouth and Middlebury colleges, and was appointed a fellow of the latter in 1800, which position he held till the time of his death. On the 17 Oct., 1791, Mr. Bradley, with Moses Robinson, were elected as the first senators from Vermont to the Congress of the United States; Mr. Bradley for the term of four years and Mr. Robinson for six.*

He was again elected for a term of 6 years from 4 Mar., 1801, and during the greater part of the next two years he was president, pro tempore, of the Senate.† At the expiration of this term, he again entered upon another term of 6 years from Mar. 4, 1807, and in 1808 was again president, pro tempore of the Senate.‡ On retiring from public life Mr. Bradley resumed his residence at Westminster, where he remained until the year 1818, when he removed to Walpole, N. H., where he died 9 Dec., 1830.

In politics Mr. Bradley was a Republican of the school of Jefferson. He is spoken of by Mr. Graham, in his "Descriptive Sketch" of Vermont, as "a lawyer of distinguished abilities and a good orator." "Few men," he says, "have more companionable talents, a greater share of social cheerfulness, a more inexhaustible flow of wit, or a larger flow of unaffected urbanity." The Hon. S. G. Goodrich, known to all as "Peter Parley," who married a daughter of Mr. Bradley, says of him, "He was distinguished for political sagacity, a ready wit, boundless stores of anecdote, a large acquaintance with mankind, and an extensive range of historical knowledge."

We cannot better conclude this sketch than by giving an extract from his distinguished pamphlet, entitled " Vermont's Appeal:"

"The State of Vermont, we have now clearly shown, has a natural right to independence; honor, justice and humanity forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which our innocent posterity have a right to demand and receive from their ancestors. Full well may they hereafter rise up in judgment against us, if, like profane Esau, we mortgage away their birth-rights, and leave them at the expence of their lives to obtain freedom."

Appealing to the inhabitants of the United States of America, he says:


"We have now existed as a free and independent State almost four years; have fought Britains, Canadians, Hessians, Waldeckers, Dutchmen, Indians, Tories, and all, and have waded in blood to maintain and support our independence. We beg leave to appeal to your own memories, with what resolution we have fought by your sides, and what wounds we have received fighting in the grand American cause; and let your own recollection tell what Vermont has done and suffered in the, cause of civil liberty and the rights of mankind, and


* Mr. Robinson took his seat in the United States Senate, Oct. 31, and Mr. Bradley, Nov, 7, 1791. On drawing lots to determine to which of the classes, for 2 years, for 4 years, or 6 years, the two new senators from Vermont should belong, Bradley drew a term for 4 years and Robinson for six. C. K. WILLIAMS.

† In the absence of Aaron Burr, vice-president.

‡ In the place of George Clinton, vice-president, an old adversary in the New York controversy, who had been wont to denounce him as a Rioter.



593                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           33


must we now tamely give up all worth fighting for? No, sirs; while we wear the names of Americans we never will surrender those glorious privileges for which so many have fought, bled and died; we appeal to your own feelings, as men of like sufferings, whether you would submit your freedom and independence to the arbitrament of any court or referees under heaven? If you would, after wasting so much blood and treasure, you are unworthy the name of Americans; if you would not, condemn not others in what you allow yourselves."*




son of Stephen Row and Merab Atwater Bradley, was born at Westminster, 23 Mar., 1782.

He was a precocious child; he began to write poetry at six years of age; published his first prose work at twelve; the title page runs thus:



Composed, revised, and submitted to

The candid Reader;





Author of the Poem on Allen's and Tichnor's Duel.



Printed by John Goold, jun.



At nine he had read the Bible through seven times; was fitted for college at eleven, and entered Yale at thirteen. He was expelled from college during the early part of his course, on account of some mischief which he always said he never perpetrated, although he frankly confessed he "had done undetected mischief enough to deserve censure."

Nothing daunted at the disappointment he had met, and the cold treatment which he received at his father's hand, he resolved to become the learned man which the college had refused to make him. He entered upon the study of law at Amherst, Mass., with Judge Simeon Strong; and after the appointment of Mr. Strong to the office of Judge of the Supreme court, he returned to his father's office, where, by his distinguished talent and zealous application, he acquired a large renown. At the age of 17, he was appointed to deliver a Fourth of July oration at Westminster, which was followed by an ode which he had composed. The success of this effort contained some premonition of the future greatness of the man.

He was admitted to the bar at the age of 20, and having been refused permission to practice in the Supreme court on account of his youth, so great was the respect he had won for his talents, that he was appointed by the Legislature attorney for Windham county, which secured him access to the Supreme court. This office he held for 7 years.

At 24, he represented his native town in the State Legislature (1806 and 1807); at 30, was a member of the Council, and at 32 was a representative to Congress.

After the expiration of the term for which he was elected, at the close of the war of 1812, he was appointed agent of the United States, under the treaty of Ghent, for fixing the Northeastern Boundary. This work lasted 5 years, and was regarded by him as the great service of his life. He was afterwards elected to Congress for two terms (1823-27), which services substantially closed his public career. He


* [Since the above was in print, we have received from Mr. Fairbanks the additional items for the Stephen R. Bradley biography: "He was in Bennington early in 1788; his rank of Adjutant, Vendue-Master and Quarter-Master was conferred 17 December, 1776. He was States Attorney for Cumberland County, from 16 June, 1780-1785."]




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was, however, a member of the State legislature in 1850, and presidential elector in 1856, casting the vote of his State for John C. Fremont, and was a member of the State Constitutional Convention the following year.

Mr. Bradley, during most of his career, was a Democrat in politics. He entered upon his political career during that brilliant era of Webster, Clay and Calhoun, the like of which we have not seen since, and probably never shall again. In the bright constellation of that political firmament, he shone a conspicuous star. He was a man of large talent and great learning. He possessed a wonderful memory, accompanied with rare conversational powers. His capacious mind seemed an inexhaustible reservoir of learning, wit and wisdom, which poured forth in a full torrent from his powerful, yet melodious voice, that would hold the delighted hearers entranced for hours.

The Rev. Pliny H. White says of him: "It is not too much to say, all things considered, that he was the greatest man Vermont has yet produced. Williams may have equalled him as a lawyer, Collamer as a reasoner, Phelps as an orator, and Marsh may be his peer in multifarious learning, but neither of them, nor any other Vermonter, living or dead, who has come to my knowledge, has been at once lawyer, logician, orator and scholar to so eminent a degree. He inherited all his father's strength of mind, and added to it the most liberal culture which books and the best society could offer."

Speaking of the Bradley family, Mr. White says: "Talent and scholarship have descended in a remarkable manner from generation to generation; and not only this, but have continually approached nearer and nearer to positive genius.

William C. had extraordinary talents; but his son, Jonathan Bradley, had more than talent, — even that indispensable something termed genius."*

Mr. Bradley was as much at home in theology as in law, — in fact, theological literature was his favorite study.

He was versed in Hopkins and Edwards, as well as familiar with the German writers of the liberal school. "Theology," he said, "is the noblest profession, law is second to it." He had an extensive acquaintance with the Sacred Scriptures, which he was in the habit of studying in the original languages. He often wrote out exegeses of difficult passages, giving his own views as to their interpretation. He also wrote out his religious views, which are preserved among his manuscripts, in a neat and legible hand.

Few men are as happy in their domestic life as was Mr. Bradley. His grand-daughter, in speaking of this phase of his life, says:

"When a mere school boy he plighted his troth for the first and last time; and that love grew with his growth, and strength, till at eighty-four years of age, the tenderness and devotion of this happy couple was like the blossom of the olive, rare and beautiful. The object of this life-long love, was Sarah Richards, daughter of Hon. Mark Richards, of Westminster, and she was wholly worthy of his love, in person and in character. She was petite and graceful, with a beautiful blue eye, dark hair, a gentle voice and a quick, light step. She was one of the old school of gentlewomen; had met Washington in her, father's house at Boston, and mingled with the refined and courteous of that age. Her love and ad‑


* [see biography and portrait of Jonathan Dorr Bradley, in the History of Brattleboro, this volume. — ED.]




595                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           35


miration for her husband was deep and sincere, and she was unconscious of the great influence which she exerted over him. He never failed to consult her on all important changes, and always paid great deference to her opinions."

Mr. Webster said of him, that he had one of the greatest minds in the country. As a specimen of Mr. Bradley's oratorical composition, we give the closing passage of his eulogy upon Mr. Webster:


"There may be those, who, looking to former opposition, may think that, notwithstanding our friendly relations in private, I have already said too much. To such I answer, that, old as I am, when my heart becomes too contracted to swell at the manifestations of talent, worth and greatness, may it cease to beat! Were I, being in a state of safety, to look upon the lion roaming in his native haunts, and to behold his firm and regal tread, the majesty of his countenance, his large, calm eye filled with the expression of conscious power, how could I withhold my admiration? If he was afterwards seen by me breaking out of bounds, and scattering desolation and misery abroad, should I be inconsistent in declaring my abhorence? But when the shaft of the Mighty Hunter had laid him low, dead, prostrate before me, and I looked upon his great and noble proportions, and the symmetry of his make, I must feel that he was indeed created monarch of the forest. So has it never been permitted me to cease admiring and bearing witness to the great things of Daniel Webster, and if it can soothe his mighty spirit to have a political adversary twine the cypress round his tomb, I freely offer myself to bear his memory a tribute which I trust will be also in unison with the feelings of the whole House."







"As at midnight I was reading by my lamp's fitful gleam,

I fell into a slumber, and behold I dreamed a dream;

This outer world had undergone a great and sudden change,

And everything around me seemed wondrous new and strange.


No sunlight, no moonlight, no starlight glittered there:

A mild and steady twilight seemed to permeate the air;

And there sat the blessed Jesus. No golden throne had he,

But was clad in simple majesty, as erst in Galilee.


Behind him Justice, Mercy, Truth, safe guides in earthly things;

Their functions now absorbed in him, all stood with folded wings;

And the recording angel, with deeply sorrowing look,

Took in his hands and opened the all containing Book.


There came a distant murmur, as of waves upon the shore,

While throngs on throngs unnumbered into the Presence pour;

By their instincts segregated here, nigh the close of Time,

Rush the bad of every nation, of every age and clime.


They stop astonished, all abashed; and with attentive ear,

Though the angel's lips were moving, no accents could I hear;

Yet of that startled multitude, to each like lightning came,

His life's continued story, its mingled guilt and shame.


From all the records there disclosed, oh! who could lift the veil;

Or of the varied shades of wrong unfold the dreadful tale

Of kingly pride, plebeian spite, of violated

Of mastering force, of hidden sin, hate, cruelty and lust!


Each has due allotment, and with agony of heart,

The vast assemblage vanished at the thrilling word, "Depart!"

There was no driving angel, and no extraneous force;

For conscience was accuser, and the punisher remorse.




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When this I saw transacted, upon my face I fell!

The anguish of that moment, no human tongue can tell.

With throat convulsed, and choking, I gasped, and strove to cry,

"Have mercy, Lord! Oh, mercy have! a sinner lost am I."


To look upon that face again, how was it I should dare?

And yet I wildly ventured, With the courage of despair;

When that pitying eye fell on me, beaming mercy from above,

And I saw that smile ineffable of never-dying love.


By so sudden a transition, all stupefied I gazed,

When in my members trembling, rose bewildered and amazed;

But kindliest words of comfort the blessed Master spoke,

Which wrapped my soul in ecstacy; and sobbing I awoke."



Mr. Bradley has written much poetry that has never been published. His office is the repository of a large collection of manuscripts and documents, left not only by himself, but by his father, General Bradley, and by his father-in-law, the Hon. Mark Richards.

From these abundant materials an extensive biography of the Bradleys is in contemplation, and will constitute a valuable contribution to the history of Vermont, as well as to American literature.







married (1) Merab Atwater; (2) Thankful Taylor; (3) Belinda Willard. He had 3 sons and 4 daughters.

William Czar (by 1st wife), born 23 Mar., 1782.

Stella C. (by 2d wife). She married Jonah Bellows, of Walpole, N. H.

Stephen Row, drowned in Deerfield river, while at Deerfield Academy.

Adaline G., married S. G. Goodrich (Peter Parley). No descendants of the last three living.

By his second wife he had:

Louisa, died in infancy.

Mary Row, married Henry S. Tudor, Hartford, Conn.

WILLIAM CZAR BRADLEY, son of Stephen Row and Merab (Atwater) Bradley, born 23 Mar., 1782; died, 1867; aged, 85. He was born and died at the Bradley mansion in Westminster. He married Sarah, daughter of Mark Richards. She died 7 Aug., 1864, aged 83 years; four children:

1. Jonathan Dorr. 2. Mary Row. 3. Merab Ann. 4. Stephen Row. Mary Row and Stephen Row died in childhood.

1. JONATHAN DORR, married Susan M. Grossman, of Peacham. Children: William Czar (A. B., Harvard Col.); Richard, Stephen Row, Arthur C. (A. B., Amherst Col.).

2. Merab Ann, married Hon. Daniel Kellogg, of Brattleboro. Children: Sarah Bradley (married Henry A. Willard, Washington, D. C.), Daniel jr., (married Margaret W. May).




was a resident of Westminster for nearly 50 years, and occupied a prominent and influential position in the town and in the State. He was born in Waterbury, Conn., 15 July, 1760. His mother was sister to the Rev. Dr. Hopkins, the distinguished theologian and divine. He enlisted in the Continental army at the age of 16, and was among those whose courage and sufferings in the northern campaigns have given enduring fame to Stony Point, Monmouth, Red Bank and Valley Forge. At the close of the war, he




597                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           37


settled in Boston, and engaged in mechanical and mercantile pursuits. Having accumulated a moderate property, he removed to Westminster, in 1796, and engaged in the mercantile business with Eleazer May.

So correct was his manner of doing business, and so popular was he with his fellow-citizens, that he was soon sought by them to fill offices of trust and confidence. In 1801, he was elected by a large majority to represent them in the Legislature, which secured for him ever after a position of influence in the State. He was reelected to this office in the years 1802, '04, '05.

In 1806, he was a member of the Council of Censors, and was appointed sheriff of Windham county the same year, which office he held until 1810. He was a member of the State Council in 1813 and 1815; was once presidential elector, and in 1817 he became a member of Congress, which position he held until 1820. He again represented his town in the Legislature in 1824, '26, and '28, and in 1829 and 30, he was associated with his old friend and colleague in Congress, Gov. Crafts, as lieutenant-governor of Vermont. He was in the Legislature again in 1832 and '34.

In person and character, he is thus described by his son-in-law, Hon. Wm. C. Bradley:


"Mr. Richards was lean and tall in his figure, of pleasant, but somewhat formal manners, and in spite of a lameness with which he had been afflicted for the last thirty years of his life, was a remarkably active man.

"The traits of his character were distinctly marked. His liberality, though great for his means, was discriminating and well timed; his industry and perseverance whenever the occasion seemed to demand it, were untiring; his love of order was so precise, and descended to such minuteness of detail, that it appeared almost incompatible with much expansion of thought, or ready dispatch of affairs, and yet few men can be named who united more knowledge of human nature, more sagacity and promptness in business, than he uniformly displayed."


He married the Widow Dorr; their daughter Sarah was the wife of Hon. Wm. C. Bradley. Mr. Richards died in Westminster 10 Aug., 1844, aged 84.




came to Westminster about the year 1782. He was a son of Seth and Abigail (Shaler) Arnold, and born in Haddam, Ct., 3 Sept., 1747. His parents both died when he was about three months old, leaving him and an older brother, Ambrose, as the only offspring.

Seth was 3 years in the Revolutionary war; was engaged in the battle of White Plains, N. Y.; was twice taken prisoner; was 9 months in a crowded prison ship in New York harbor, and when it was burned came near losing his life.

He had accumulated a thousand dollars before the war, which he lost owing to the depreciation of currency, having only enough left to carry him through a period of sickness. In this condition, he came to Westminster, with only an old pistareen in his pocket, worth about a shilling at that time. He worked for John Norton six months during that summer, at five dollars a month.

In the course of a year or two, he entered upon the business for which he was prepared, as shoemaker, tanner and farmer. On the 8 Oct., 1786, he was married to Esther Ranney, daughter of Dea. Ephraim Ranney. As the fruits of this union, they had children:




38                           VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.                         598


Seth Shaler, Ambrose Tyler, Esther, Joel, Ranney, Phebe, Olivia, and Abigail.

Mr. Arnold was an industrious man and prospered in his business, and acquired a handsome property. He made a public profession of religion at the age of 89, and lived to the age of 101 years, 10 months and 3 days; and was able to dress himself the day he died.

His second son died when a young man.

Seth Shaler, his eldest son, is now living at the age of 82, an honored and useful minister of the gospel.

Esther, the oldest daughter, twice married, but now a widow, is still living in her native town at the age of 78. A prominent characteristic of the Arnold family has been that of sterling religious character.




Of others who settled in the East Parish of Westminster about this period, whose date of settlement is obtained mostly from the record of deeds, are in 1779,


JABEZ PAINE, at the south part of the town, elected deacon of the church in 1812. No descendants in town.


JOHN LANE, from South Hadley, a teacher before he came to Westminster, settled on Wellington hill. His son Jonathan married Anna, daughter of Capt. Azariah Wright, and has numerous descendents now living in the place.


BENJAMIN WHITNEY, whose lot lay just north of James Richardson's, being No. 11 in the first range of 80 acres.




appears to have been a prominent man in the town; he was member of the Assembly in 1793, '94, and '95, and a member of the Council from 1802-1807.

He was a resident of Hardwick, Mass., in 1779. We find a deed of this date conveying to him several lots of confiscated land in the Government meadow.




Thomas Dunham, Stanton Richardson, were here in 1780; Abel Carpenter, David Daley, in 1781; Richard Dorand, Abraham Shipman, in 1782–'83, none of whom, that we are aware, have descendants in the place now.



was here in 1780; he came from Pomfret, Ct., and settled at the south part of the town on the Putney line. He married the widow of Dan Dickinson, one of the first members of the church, in 1767.

He had 8 children, among whom was his son, Dea. Abiel, who lived here for a time, and then went to Lyndon, Vt. He had also a son William, who was a minister of the gospel, and a son Simon, who was a physician in Melville, N. H., who also had a son Simon, who graduated at Brown University, and became a Baptist minister.



was in Westminster as early as 1783, and elected to the office of deacon, in 1820. He lived on what is called the "Underwood place," on Mill Brook.




came from Keene, N. H., in 1782, and settled on the hill where Roswell Whitney now lives. His father, Benjamin, came from Middletown, Mass., soon after, and lived with him. The father and three sons were in the battle of Bunker Hill. After the father came to Westminster, his son Benjamin removed to the north of Joseph Wright's, and there lived the remainder of his life. He had three sons and three daughters.




599                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           39


Heman, one of the sons, settled in Westminster, and left descendants.

Polly, one of the daughters, married Dea. Abiel Goodell, jr., one of whose daughters became the wife of Rev. Mr. Graves, of Iowa City.




were merchants here in 1784, on the spot where Mr. Hills now lives.




was here in 1785, and settled upon Wellington hill. His son, Judge Austin Fuller, of Saratoga, was the first baptised child of the East Parish church.




was a resident of Westminster in 1783; he had previously been engaged in a naval expedition for the defence of the harbor and navigation of South Carolina, and was twice taken prisoner, and once taken to Glasgow, Scotland.

He possessed a good education, and had devoted himself to the profession of the law. He was chosen to represent the town in the General Assembly in 1789, '91, '92, and 1808. As Presidential Elector in 1792, he cast the vote of the State for George Washington and John Adams. In 1799, he was a member of the Council of Censors, and for 7 years, from 1794 to 1801, was a judge of the Supreme Court of the State.

His services in the latter position displayed much ability, and gained for him much credit. In 1800, he was constituted a fellow of Middlebury college, which position he held until his death.

His character and merits are thus summed up by Mr. B. H. Hall:

"As a friend, he was constant, confiding, and generous. As a citizen, patriotic, public spirited, and liberal. As a husband, obliging, affectionate, and gentle. He was ever ready to assist the poor in their misery, and the afflicted in their suffering.

His legal abilities were of an high order, and were well suited to the times in which, and the people among whom he lived.

While on the bench, his opinions were prepared with deliberation, and his decisions were ever based in justice and right.

His fund of anecdote was great, and a memory of surpassingly retentive powers enabled him to call up, on any occasion, incidents illustrative of whatever topic might be under consideration. This remarkable faculty, combined with an extensive experience of men and things, and an affable disposition, rendered his conversation not only agreeable but instructive. Though dying in the fifty-third year of his age, his life was an active one, and his personal and political influence was felt and acknowledged in the community where he resided."

The following is a passage from Judge Hall's address upon the character

of Washington:

"Heaven seems to have sent him upon the earth, to serve at once as an example of that perfection of which human nature is capable, and of that happiness it may enjoy in private life — and at the same time to have literally endowed him with those public virtues, which sometimes raise human nature above itself. In short, nothing seems wanting to grace the perfection of his character. He sustained adversity with firmness, and prosperity with moderation. The power and sublimity of his genius transcend the fame of Cæsar, and his consummate wisdom and prudence, that of Augustus. His superiority in peace, as well as in war, has been ackhowledged by all, and even his enemies have confessed, with a sigh, his great and shining accomplishments, and that he loved his country; and deserved the empire of the world.

Though we cannot expect to reach the transcendent height of his public honors and military glory, with respect to the exercise of his private and domestic virtues, we may, in some measure,




40                           VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.                         600


be imitators of him. Let us then copy his bright example. Let us live and act as he advises, and in this way shall we more convincingly evidence our regard for his memory than we should were we daily to repair to his sepulchre and bedew with tears of sincere regret that stupendous monument of our country's salvation."




About the year 1785 or '86 there was an emigration from Worcester Co., Mass., some, of whom settled in the south part of Westminster and others in Putney. Among these were Dea. Jabez Paine (lived where Mr. Clay now does), Hezekiah Saunders (lived where James Towers now does) and Major Upham, who settled a little to the east of Dea. Paine. Washburn, Palmer and Brooks settled in the edge of Putney.




is worthy of mention as being the grandfather of six ministers and missionaries and missionaries' wives, besides one who died during his seminary course. One of these went as missionary to Southern Africa, three to Turkey, and one to the West.

John Grout was the fifth generation from Capt John Grout, who came to this country as early as 1640. Mr. Grout was the father of 13 children, and one of the sons is now living in Westminster.




came to this place about the year 1788, and settled where his son Shubael now lives. He married a daughter of Joshua Stoddard and was a prominent man and much respected.




was here early in the history of the town, he lived to the age of 94. His father was killed by the Tories at Bennington.




son of Rev. Eleazer May, of Haddam, Ct., came to this place in 1789, and lived with Mr. Cone, and kept a store a few years upon the upper street; he afterwards built the brick store and entered into partnership with Hon. Mark Richards.




was a man of considerable influence in town. He was a man of few words, but prompt and efficient in business. He held the office of Justice of the Peace, represented the town in the Legislature in 1821, '22, '30, '46 and '48.

He was a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1828, and Judge of Probate from 1838 to '46.




Westminster had formerly many more inhabitants than at the present time; it will never be again what it has been in the past.

The population reached its highest limit in 1820, since which time it has been gradually diminishing, as will be seen from the census at different times. In the year 1771 the population was 478; in 1791, 1601; in 1800, 1942; in 1810, 1925; in 1820, 1974; in 1830, 1737; in 1840, 1556; in 1850, 1722; in 1860 it was 1301; in 1870 it was. 1240, East Parish, 818; West Parish, 422, 1880. — SEE APPENDIX.


(The increase of some 200 from 1840 to 1850 is occasioned by the temporary residence of workmen in building the railroad.)




has received a good degree of attention. The first school in town is said to have been taught by John Webb, who was an early resident of the place, and afterwards removed to Rockingham.




601                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           41





Several years since there was a flourishing academy in the town.

John Goldsbury taught the school in 1849, and in 1850 to '51 it was under the care of Prof. L. F. Ward, and for two or three years after it passed through the hands of Mr. W. H. Coburn, Mr. Clark, Mr. John Stratton and Mr. Maynard.

In 1854, Prof. Ward again took charge of the school, under whose efficient management it gained great popularity, attracting scholars from various parts of New England. The number of pupils was a hundred and upwards, and sometimes it reached nearly 200 students.

Five catalogues were issued under Prof. Ward, and one State Institute catalogue. Mr. A. B. Dascomb took the school in 1858, and did good service for some 3 years, since which time there have been only occasional terms.




was done here in the summer of 1788, by Judah P. Spooner and Timothy Green. In Feb., 1781, the paper called the "Vermont Gazette or Green Mountain Post Boy" was commenced by the first printers in Vermont. Its motto was:


"Pliant as reeds where streams of freedom glide,

Firm as the hills to stem oppression's tide."


It was issued weekly, and continued to 1784, when the press was removed to Windsor, where it now remains in the possession of Preston Merrifield, Esq.

The Vermont Editors and Publishers' Association, at their late meeting, appointed a committee to procure this press for deposit in the archives of the Historical Society, at Montpelier.

After the removal of Spooner & Green from Westminster, the printing business was carried on in the same place by John Goold.




There was formerly a valuable circulating library in the East Parish; a few years since the books were divided among the shareholders.




have had, for several years past, an excellent library, but this during the past year was sold at auction.

There is, at the present time, a magazine club supported by the ladies of the parish.

There are taken from the post office, in the East Parish, at the present time, 6 dailies, 287 weeklies, 73 monthlies, and several quarterlies.




Several of the early settlers were enlisted in the French and Indian war, and several were in the war of the Revolution, to whom reference has already been made.

Those who were in the army in the late war of the Union for the suppression of the Southern rebellion, from the East Parish, were:

Albert W. Metcalf, wounded in hand; Benjamin Cook, died in service; James H. Ellis, Peter Good, Victor Good, Wm. H. Chapin; Milton Pierce, died in service; Ambrose Fairbrother, died in service; Artemas Ellis, died in service; Henry O. Parker, Alvin J. Parker, Charles C. Chapin, Tyler H. Joy, Sylvanus Spooner, died in service; Eli Metcalf, A. S. Spencer, M. H. Cook, Cornelius Harty, John A. Grout, Edward H. Weymouth; Hollis Wyman, lost an arm; Stephen Wyman, Willard Moultrop, William Wood, Hiram Met‑




42                           VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.                         602


calf, Thomas Ashwell, Winslow Church; Henry M. Corlew, lost, a foot.




John Jeffrey, John Landon, Brigham T. Phelps, L. C. Darling, Randall Smith, jr., Charles S. Adams, James P. Shipman, Chas. C. Fisher, Franklin G. Ayres, Byron E. Oakes, Geo. T. Wetherell, Joel H. Holton, William S. Crosset, Geo. H. Whitney, Perley D. Sischo, Robert D. Farr, Albert W. Metcalf, George R. Tower, Wm. F. Willard, Thomas Hyde.




John Norton kept tavern on the upper street, and John Goold on the lower in 1775, the latter of which buildings is now standing. Ephraim Ranney also kept tavern above John Norton's at a later date.

Michael Gilson, at the south part, kept public house for 20 years after he built his house, from about 1765 to '85.

Asher Southard had a hotel for several years (about the year 1800) in the building now occupied by the store of R. S. Safford & Co. He was succeeded by Aaron Wales for some 10 years, and he by Joseph Willard, and then came John Foster, in the same place, 2 or 3 years, and then Joel Aldrich some 6 or 8 years, and Joseph Erwin on the Hunt place, at the south part, about the same time.

Eliakim Spooner about the same time kept a public house where Mr. Lord now lives, about two miles below Bellows Falls.

Samuel Cone had a public house opposite the brick store; afterwards a Mr. Brown carried on the business at the same place, about 1810; and still later, in 1868, Mr. Danforth, now at Marlboro, N. H.

Since the railroad was built there has been less occasion for public houses, and there is now but one in the place, and that is kept by Allen Wells.




Eleazer May opened a store on the upper street, near Mr. Cone's, both of whom came from Haddam, Ct. Sam'l Cone, jr. was clerk with May, and kept store after Mr. May removed.

There was, afterwards, the firm of Pratt & May, and when Mark Richards came to town he bought out Mr. Pratt and with Mr. May did a large business, and, as appears from the old account books, rum and toddy constituted no inconsiderable part of the traffic. They had rum in those days that was thought fit for ministers to drink, as appears from the fact that the parson was a frequent purchaser.

Richards & May were succeeded by Isaac Grout, who carried on the business for two or three years, and he was followed by Mr. Nutting, and he by Mr. Chase, who has been succeeded by the present occupant.

Craige & Pomeroy had a store for many years, from 1784 to 1800, where Mr. Hills now lives, and a Mr. Washburn had a store since 1800 on the site of the present parsonage.




The hatting business was formerly carried on in the place by Josiah Davis. There was, some years ago, a woolen mill on the small stream near Harlan Farr's.

The principal manufacture at the present time is that of baskets. There are three saw-mills and the same number of grist-mills in the parish at the present time. There was once a saw­mill on the Underwood Brook, or as it was formerly called, Mill Brook, probably the first one in town.




603                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           43


There was, some 60 or 70 years ago, an old saw-mill on the Governor's brook, near where Luke Rice lives. Benjamin Goodridge built a saw-mill some 90 years ago on or near the spot where Mr. Goold has one at the present time.




who have practised in the East Parish, so far as can be ascertained, are as follows:

William Hill, who was here in 1769 and attended upon French when he was killed in 1775.

Elkanah Day, who was also here in 1775.

Dr. Robinson, who was here in 1785.

Dr. Hilerman was here about this time, and a noted physician.

Edward Campbell practiced here some 10 years, and then removed to the West Parish in 1804.

Wm. Town probably succeeded him, and died here in 1805.

Dr. Goddard was here about this time.

John Marsh was here in 1808, and Dr. Hilerman in 1813, who was a German and a physician of much note.

Jonathan Badger is spoken of as a noted physician about this time; precisely when he was here is not ascertained.

Dr. Jeremiah Foster was buried here in 1827.

Dr. Barrett was here previous to 1820 and was succeeded by Pliny Safford about this time.




was the physician of the place for nearly fifty years, and died in 1867, an honored and useful man. He was succeeded by Joseph Chandler in 1866, and he by Dr. Stone the following year. Dr. Stone remained in the place but a few months, it being too healthy for a physician to live, and since that time there has been no resident physician in the parish, nor in the town.






As soon as there was a prospect of a permanent settlement in Westminster, measures were taken to organize a church, and in the terms of the original grant, to "settle a learned and orthodox minister," from which time to the present, Orthodox Congregationalism has held the rule throughout the town. The only exception being the formation of a Baptist Society in 1782, whose membership was mostly from the West Parish; and a movement to provide for "liberal preaching" one-fourth part of the time during the ministry of Rev. Mr. Sage, which resulted in the erection of a new house of worship in the East Parish.

Both of these movements appear to have been short lived.

The church in the East Parish began its existence with nine members, one of whom was the pastor-elect, on the 11th of June, 1767. The names of those who composed the church at that time were: REV. JESSE GOODELL, William Willard, Ephraim Ranney, Bildad Andros, John Sessions, Dan Dickinson, Zachariah Gilson, John French, and Azariah Dickinson. On the same day




was ordained pastor of the church, which relation he sustained about one year. During his ministry the church increased to 40 members, about one-half by letter, and one-half of the whole number being males.

Mr. Goodell was a graduate of Yale College, in the class of 1761, and licensed by the Hartford North Associa-




44                           VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.                         604


tion in Oct., 1763. He entered the Revolutionary Army after leaving Westminster, and died in 1779.

On the 4 May, 1769, Ephraim Ranney and John Sessions were elected deacons. During the same year a large and commodious house of worship was erected, which remains in a good state of preservation at the present day. It was many years, however, before the house assumed a finished state, probably not far from 1800. It is now used as a town hall, but is still held in great veneration by the older inhabitants as the sacred place whither the tribes went up to worship God. The old pulpit, " high up the wall, access to it by a flight of several stairs," with the grave deacon's seats in front, still remains, but the ancient sounding-board, threatening, as the young people thought, the minister's head, and the large, square pews, with their clattering seats, whose music once furnished entertainment for the little ones, are gone. These relics of the former days, as well as most of those associated with them, whose lives have passed into history, are among the things of the past.

Between the first and second pastorates there was an interval of some 6 years. During this interval the pulpit was supplied, at least a portion of the time, by the




of Granby, and five were added to the church.

A receipt from Mr. Backus to Col. Stephen Row Bradley, for money received for preaching, bears date, 5 Sept., 1768.

On the 6 July, 1774,




was ordained pastor, and continued in that relation for about 11 years.

Mr. Bullen was a native of Sutton, Mass., and married a sister of John Morse, one of the early settlers of Westminster, and a kinswoman of Prof. Morse, the inventor of the telegraph. "He was a man of learning, talent, and piety, a fine writer, and a clear, sensible, and instructive, though not an eloquent preacher:"


During his pastorate 46 were added to the church, the larger part of them by profession. In addition to the duties of the ministry, he aid a large speculation in land, carried on the mercantile business, and the manufacture of potash.

In 1785, the relation between him and the church was informally dissolved, and he removed to Athens, where lie owned large tracts of land, and organized there a Congregational church. He preached mostly there, as Paul sometimes .did, at his own charges, and twice represented the town in the State Legislature.

He afterwards labored as a missionary among the Chickasaw Indians in Mississippi. He organized the first Protestant church in that State ; he labored in that vicinity for some 20 years, preaching the gospel and establishing churches, and after a ministry of more than 50 years, died at an advanced age in 1825.

After Mr. Bullen left Westminster, the pulpit was supplied fora time by the Rev. Simon Backus, and others whose names have not been preserved.

On the 24 June, 1790,




was called to the pastorate, and ordained on the 13 Oct. following. With the exception of about 2 years, his whole ministry was given to this church. His first pastorate of 17 years resulted in the addition of 95 to the church, 56 of them by profession.




605                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           45


In 1805, on account of the diminished resources of the society, from the removal of some 30 or more from the East Parish church to constitute the church in the West Parish, Mr. Sage was led to ask a dismission, which was not granted.

In 1807, he renewed the request, which was granted. In November of that year, he was installed colleague with Rev. Mr. Weld, of Braintree, Mass., and continued there a year and 6 months, to a day; after which he returned to the church at Westminster, with which he remained for 29 years.

During Mr. Sage's second pastorate, special seasons of religious interest were enjoyed, in 1810, '16, '25, and '31.

This last revival, aside from the addition of 25 members to the church, gave rise to the organization of a temperance society in the winter of 1832-33, and it soon became the practice of the church not to receive those who indulged in the use of intoxicating liquors.

Mr. Sage was a man handsome in personal appearance, of fine social qualities, clear in intellect, and evangelical in doctrine. His reputation as a preacher was such that he was invited to preach the election-sermon before the State Legislature in 1803, and at several installations, and three of his sermons have been given to the press.*


In May, 1838, the




became acting pastor, and continued in that relation for about 2 years, with the understanding that he would give way to an acceptable candidate for settlement when such should be found. Under his labors the church enjoyed a season of great prosperity which resulted in the hopeful conversion of between 60 and 70 persons, and the addition of 41 members to the church.

On the 22 Apr., 1840,




was ordained to the pastorate with a salary of $450. His connection with the church continued 5 years. During the first 3 years a low state of religion prevailed, when in Feb., 1843, an interesting work of grace commenced and continued for several weeks, which resulted in the addition of 17 persons, most of them converts in this revival, to the membership of the church.

Mr. Batchelder was a native of Wendell (now Sunapee), N. H., and a graduate of Bangor Theological Seminary, in 1838. He was a "sound scholar, a faithful pastor, a good sermonizer." After he left Westminster, he entered the ministry of the Episcopal church, and has been rector of the church in Highgate, Manchester, Bellows Falls, and Bethel.

On the 21 Oct., 1846,




was ordained to the pastorate, and continued in that relation until 5 Mar., 1851. He was a native of Weston (now Easton), Ct.; was graduated at Yale College in 1841, and studied theology at Andover and New Haven. Since leaving Westminster he has been pastor of the church in Ashfield, Mass., and in Granby, Ct., and since in the employ of the Connecticut Bible Society.


* He was born in Berlin, Ct.; son of Dea. Jedediah and Sarah (Murry) Sage; graduated at Yale, 1787; studied with Rev. Cyprian Strong, D.D; licensed by Hartford South Association, 1787; preached as candidate in Shelburne, Mass., 1790, the church voting on the call 22 for, 22 against; came directly to Westminster; married, Jan. 20, 1791, Orpah Robinson, of Granville, Mass., who died Feb. 18, 1792; married 2d., Clarrissa, daughter of Rev. Eleazer May, of Haddam, Ct., who died Dec. 16, 1836. He preached his farewell sermon at Westminster the last of April, 1838, and died here Jan. 21, 1841.




46                           VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.                         606


After Mr. Gilbert's dismissal the




became acting pastor for 2 years, and was succeeded by the REV. ISAAC ESTEY for about the same period of time.

In May, 1855, the




became the acting pastor until April, 1858, in November of which year, the Rev. Harrison G. Park was installed, and dismissed in Mar., 1860.

These frequent changes in the pastorate had resulted unfavorably for the prosperity of the church.

For 15 years the membership had steadily declined, the loss had been twice the gain, and at the existing rate of decrease, the prospect was fair for a speedy extinction of the church.

The Lord, however, did not forsake his people. He did not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax. The ministry of the




which commenced in July, 1860, was most happy in its results. It was the means of reversing this downward current, and of uniting and strengthening the spiritual forces of the church. During the summer of 1861, a special season of religious interest was enjoyed without any extra effort to produce it, — it was remarkably quiet in its operations, and confined mostly to the young. As the results of this work, 24 new members were added to the church. On account of protracted sickness in his family, Mr. Foster, at the deep regret of his people, was compelled to leave 26 April, 1863, after a ministry of little less than 3 years. He was immediately succeeded by




then a student in the Seminary, who supplied the pulpit till the first of September, and was invited to the pastorate after he should have completed another year's study at the Theological Seminary. The pulpit meanwhile was supplied by the Rev. Selah R. Arms. Mr. Fairbanks commenced his permanent ministry with the church on the last Sabbath in June, 1864, and was ordained on the 31st of August following, and still remains the pastor (1870).




Ephraim Ranney, 4 May, 1769, to 9 June, 1781.

John Sessions, 4 May, 1769, to 1 May, 1820.

Elijah Ranney, ————  to 24 Oct., 1799.

Abiel Goodell, 22 Oct., 1795, to 2 Feb., 1829.

Jabez Paine, 2 July, 1812, to 3 March, 1836.

David Foster, 23 April, 1818, to 26 July, 1818.

Nathaniel Kittredge, 27 Aug., 1820, to 1 Dec., 1847.

Abiel Goodell, 3 March, 1836, to 13 Feb., 1839.

Pliny Safford, 3 March, 1836, to 8 June, 1867.

John McNiel, 7 Nov., 1839.

Sylvester S. Stoddard, 30 Aug, 1867.








son of Seth and Esther (Ranney) Arnold, born 25 Apr., 1794; studied medicine, and practised it about a year; then studied theology with his brother, the Rev. S. S. Arnold, at Alstead, N. H. He was ordained at Chester, N. H., 8 Mar., 1820, and had a successful ministry there of 10 years, which resulted in the addition of 110 persons to the church. He was installed at Waterbury, Ct., in 1831, and at Colchester, Vt., in 1836, at which latter place he remained 13 years, and had a successful ministry.

He then spent a year or two in his native place, during which time he was instrumental in the organization of a church at Bellows Falls. He afterwards preached at Middlebury, Ct., between 2 and 3 years, and in Dec., 1854, was installed over the South Church at Coventry, where he remained till April, 1860, after which he preached




607                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           47


a year in Maine, and then removed to Chester, N. H., where he died in 1865.*




son of Seth and Esther Arnold, born 22 Feb., 1778, was graduated at Middlebury, 1812. He taught school a year at Bladensburg, Md., and at the same time studied theology with the Rev. J. Breckenridge, Washington, D. C., and on his return to Westminster, in 1814, continued his studies with Rev. Sylvester Sage.

In May, 1815, he commenced preaching in Alstead, N. H., and was ordained pastor of the Congregational church there in Jan., 1816, and was dismissed in April, 1834. Three revivals occurred in connection with his ministry at this place.

Previous to his dismissal, he preached 2 years in Gilsum,  N. H., and subsequently at Walpole, nearly 2 years, and then at Westminster about the same length of time.

He was acting pastor at different times at Newfane, Wardsboro, Saxton's River, Westminster West, Springfield, and Cavendish (in Vermont), and Troy, Westmoreland, Langdon, Charlestown, Unity, Lempster and Alstead (in N. H.). He also preached 2 years in Roxbury, N. H., between 3 and 4 years in West Halifax, Vt., and 6 years in West Townshend, Vt. In 1864 he retired from the ministry to Weathersfield, where he now resides.†




son of Abiel and Margaret (Brown) Goodell, born 18 June. 1783, graduated at Middlebury,  1810, and was principal of Pawlet Academy one year, and tutor in Middlebury College 2 years. Studied theology with Rev. Mr. Packard, and licensed by the Franklin (Mass.) Association in 1813. He was ordained pastor of the Congregational church in Grafton, Vt., in Sept., 1815, and dismissed in September, 1820. In February, 1822, he began to preach in Holland Patent, N. Y., and was there installed March, 1823. He was dismissed in March, 1829. He afterwards preached as stated supply in Russia, Deerfield, Lenox, Howard and Napoli, after which he was engaged as colporteur of the American Tract Society for 3 years, and was also employed for some time as an agent of the Presbyterian Board of Publication. He died at Throopsville. N. Y., 26 Oct., 1865.




son of William and Olive (Rockwood) Holton, born 30 Aug., 1812, graduated at Amherst College, 1836. He was, for a time, one of the Board of Instruction in Middlebury College, and has been prominently engaged as a writer and lecturer.





Frances Goodell, married Rev Alphens Graves.

Mary Goodrich, married Rev. William H. Gilbert.

Martha A. Harris, married Rev. Samuel A. Rhea.

Stella R. Nutting, married Rev. A. B. Dascomb.

Esther Goodridge, married Rev. C. A. Dickinson.


* His publications are: "Address at the Opening of a Cemetery in Colchester;" "Strictures on a Sermon Preached in Chester, on 'Revivals of Religion in Jerusalem;' "a Sermon on "Chance and its Design," preached at the burial of three persons who perished in the burning of a dwellinghouse, and two articles in the "New Englander." — P.H.W.]

† He has published one sermon, "The Intellectual Housekeeper." Boston: 1835. 12mo., pp. 47; and "The Family Choir," hymns set to music.




48                           VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.                         608







We have made some effort during the past year to learn of the state and circumstances of the introduction of this institution into this place; and although positive knowledge has not been gained upon all points, we think it reasonably certain that its advent was as follows:

About the year 1813 or '14, Mrs. Lusk, afterwards Mrs. Field, gathered some children and taught them on the Sabbath, in the old General Bradley house, that stood where Mr. J. C. Richardson's house now stands, and she seems to have been succeeded by the widow Bela Clapp, assisted by Miss Davis, afterwards Mrs. Dea. McNiel, in the same house.

In the year 1817, probably in the month of May or June, the Rev. Mr. Sage having been solicited to lend his influence in introducing the new institution, he appointed a meeting of those in favor of the Sabbath School at the old school-house, on the spot where Dea. McNeil now lives; it was then and there determined to organize a school, and the next Sabbath, Mr. Sage, in the old meeting-house, announced the teachers and their classes. What the officers were under this organization is uncertain; probably they had no secretary, for there are no records in the secretary's hands farther back than the organization in 1838, and we cannot learn that any were regularly kept.

Dr. Thayer was active in starting the school, and was its first superintendent, if they had an office of that kind; he was not a doctor of medicine, but received his title from having practiced the art of the apothecary; and while he lived in this town was an operative in Clapp's woolen mill.

It took 36 years from the time that Richard Raikes started the first Sunday School in London, in 1781, for the new institution to travel from the place of its birth, and become firmly seated in Westminster, and remembering that those were years of slowsailing vessels and slow stage coaches, and few newspapers, it was as soon as could be reasonably expected. And it will be observed that just half a century after the church was organized here, her co-worker, the Sabbath School, joined hands with her.

In the early days of the school, the scholars were all young, none older than 14 years; they learned the catechism and verses from the Scriptures, and hymns, and the school was discontinued during the winter, as there was no fire in the meeting-house.

The earlier superintendents were Dr. Thayer, Hon. Ellery Albee and Samuel Lovejoy.

The Hon. Mark Richards was a great patron of the school, one year furnishing the girls with white dresses and blue sashes, in which they attended a celebration; another year offering three prizes to those that committed to memory the most Scripture. These prizes were a handsomely bound Bible, a Testament, and a hymn book, and were taken by Hannah Davis (now Mrs. Newell of Fall River, Mass.), Harriet Holton (now Mrs. Noyes, of Wallingford, Conn.), and Nancy May (now Mrs. Butterfield, of Palmyra, N.Y.).

In the year 1824, Mr. Richards gave the school $40, $16 to be divided to the four that committed to memory the most Scripture and hymns; $16 to be divided to the next eight, and the balance to be equally divided among the rest of the scholars. Judge Albee was superintendent that year and also a




609                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           49


teacher; he kept a record which gives the classes, with the ages of the pupils, the number of Sabbaths each attended, the number of verses of Scripture recited by each, the number of answers in the Catechism, and the number of verses in hymns recited. The school that, year was held 26 Sabbaths, probably commencing with May and ending with October. It was divided into 28 classes, 12 of boys and 16 of girls, and there were 115 scholars.

The teachers were: Ellery Albee, Joel Page, Harry Bellows, now Chief Justice of New Hampshire, Daniel Averill, Oscar Davis, Wm. Goodell, Edmund Burke, since prominent in political life, Wm. Holton, Jr., Rodney Burton, Mercy Averill, afterwards Mrs. Swinton, Sally Baldwin, sister of Mr. Richards, Mary Lord, Jemima Holton, Sophronia Cone, afterwards Mrs. Thresher, and Salome Cone, now Mrs. Wetherell, Esther Hills, now Mrs. Smith, Phebe Arnold, now Mrs. Isaac Holton, Mary Hunt, now Mrs. Fessenden Clark, Mary Ann May, now Mrs. Gov. Fletcher, Mehitable Davis, now Mrs. McNiel, Anna Chipman and Louisa Chipman, afterwards Mrs. Hodgkins and Mrs. Jones, Merab Bradley, afterwards Mrs. Judge Kellogg, Julia May, now Mrs. Dr. Hoyt, Harriet Ann Holton, now Mrs. John Noyes, Frances Clapp, Susan Willard, Narcissa Buxton, now Mrs. Wm. Goodell, Salina Stoddard, afterwards Mrs. Buxton, Hannah May, afterwards Mrs. E. A. Holton, and now Mrs. Phelps, and Minerva Holton, now Mrs. Gilchrist.

Selections from the Poems of Hon. Wm. C. Bradley:





(Written by Mr. Bradley, at the request of a grandson, to be used at the Ordination of a fellow-student in theology.)




When erst in Eden's leafy shade,

Man newly felt his Maker's breath,

Ere fair temptation's charms had made

This world a scene of sin and death —

No second tongue was needed then

To tell the Almighty's high behests;

The still, small voice could come to men,

And find an answer in their breasts.


But when debased, the torpid soul

God by his messengers awoke,

Amid the thunder's solemn roll,

The tempest's blast, the lightning's stroke,

Then rose the altars to his name,

And crowds the ritual splendor saw,

Heard prophets sing, and priests proclaim

The awful terrors of the law.


At length the Fullness from above

To earth the high commission bore,

And spoke to men of peace and love

As never mortal spoke before;

And conquering Death, the risen Lord

Gave forth his great and last command,

And bid his brethren spread the word

To every soul in every land.




O thou most High! all good and just,

Look down from heaven, thy dwelling-place;

Behold thy servant take his trust,

And aid him with thy helping hand

To do thy work, to do thy will,

To speak thy praise, to preach thy word,

Promote all good, repress all ill,

A faithful steward of the Lord.


Found him on thine Eternal Rock;

Make him a shepherd of thy care,

Heavenward to gently lead his flock,

And in his arms thy lambs to bear;

To walk upright in wisdom's ways,

In which the blessed Jesus trod,

Until the "Well done!'' comes with praise,

Fresh from his Father and his God.


(Written upon the fly-leaf of a Bible presented to his daughter, Merab A. Bradley):


These well-bound leaves an earthly father gave,

Proof of his care, his love, his hope to save;

But, on! the precious word inscribed within,

The powerful antidote to poisonous sin;




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Which guides the wanderer, dries the mourner's eye;

Which teaches how to live and how to die;

Which breaks the bondage of the frozen tomb,

And makes the joyful soul in life to come;

Life, too, eternal; this to me was given

By Thee, my Father, God, which art in heaven.


(Found in a watch which he wore for many years, written in a beautiful and clear hand, but exceedingly minute):


"Little monitor! by thee,

Let me learn what I should be,

Learn the round of life to fill,

Useful and progressive still.

Thou canst gentle hints impart,

How to regulate the heart.

When I wind thee up at night,

Mark each fault, and set thee right,

Let me search my bosom too,

And my daily thoughts review;

Nor be easy when I find

Latent errors rise to view,

Till all be regular and true."


(A news-clip from a letter of Mrs. Mary S. P. Cutts, daughter of Consul Jarvis, who contributed, before her late lamented death, the History of Weathersfield Bow, and its Early Settlers, to this work):


Of HON. WM. C. BRADLEY, S. G. Goodrich, his brother-in-law, says: " 'Few passions, except piety and avarice, survive three-score.' Then Mr. Bradley was a rare exception. The passion for books, the love of the beautiful, remained to the last. A courtier might envy the ease and elegance with which, when past seventy, he would enter a brilliantly lighted drawing-room and charm the hearts of all the ladies, at least, by his sallies of wit, and the grace of his compliments.

"When visiting Washington, a few years since, an accomplished and fashionable young widow, now the wife of Commodore Dahlgren, said to me, 'I have lately formed a delightful friendship with an old gentleman of seventy, from your State.' She could hardly believe it possible that a man over seventy years of age, from Vermont, could surpass the foreign ministers, many of whom visited her, in elegance of manner, and real bonhommie."




The journals of the State all poured their tributes over his bier. Says "The Rutland Herald":

"We regret to announce the death of the venerable Wm. C. Bradley. The death of Mr. Bradley dissolves the last link which connects the former generation of the distinguished men of Vermont with the present, and the names Richard Skinner, Daniel Chipman, Chauncey Langdon, Charles Marsh, Rollin C. Mallory, John Mattocks, and a host of others of the noble men of Vermont who have been his associates in public and private life are brought before us, all of whom have long since preceded him to the grave . . . His father was among the most prominent of the early men of Vermont, the son, inheriting the strong native powers, genial characteristics and ready wit of his father, and educated amid the influences of that early history of our commonwealth, was imbued with the spirit and inspiration of the principles and habits of the men who laid the foundations of our State.


*    *    *    *    *


He was the colleague of Webster, Calhoun, Clay, Mallory and others in the palmiest day of the brightest intellects that ever graced our National Congress. In 1856, he was made the bearer of the vote of Vermont to Washington, 43 years after his first entrance into Congress, and his retentive memory enabled him to give many reminiscences of the early days, and his great fund of anecdote and wit attracted particular attention and drew around him a large circle of admirers during his stay at the Capital.

Thus has passed away from earth one of the most gifted, genial and distinguished men of our good old commonwealth, and his memory will long be cherished in the hearts of those who have been privileged to enjoy his friendship and society. A gentleman of the old school, he enlivened many a social




611                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           51


circle with story, anecdote and wit. In his latter life, as in earlier days, he enjoyed and honored the companionship of the most celebrated and honored men of our country.

He has outlived all of his own immediate family, having, within a few years, buried his much beloved and honored son, the late Dorr Bradley, and his wife, within a year. Some years since he removed to Brattleboro to live with his kindred, and on the occasion of the burial of his wife, he returned to Westminster with her remains, and on no consideration could he be induced to return to Brattleboro, preferring to remain and die amid the hallowed scenes and sacred associations that clustered around his early and active life, and be buried with those he loved and amid the people who had so long and often honored him and unto whom he had been a faithful servant and a useful fellow-citizen. A few weeks before his death he remarked that he should die between the 20th of February and the 23d of March, his eighty-fifth birthday, and the prediction has been fulfilled.

The grave of William C. Bradley, of Westminster and Brattleboro, is covered with laurel, and yet the Editor of this work would lay one more sprig thereon, so the charming countenance and figure of this grand old man, tall, large, rather — nobly developed, crowned with the hoary head, rises up stereoscoped on the glass of the past and stands on the tablet of memory, one of our earliest and noblest friends in this enterprise, as we saw him twenty-five years since.

I think we saw him first in Westminster — twice, later, we visited him at Brattleboro. For years his honored name stood on our published table of writers for Windham county, as the historian for Westminster. He had the papers and the information for it. At the last visit — "I'm getting too old to write much," he said , "I did intend to have written it out myself. But you shall have it. Dorr, my son, must help now; together we can give it, and you shall have it."

"I can appreciate the work," he said, at our first visit; "but you do not ask enough for it — all the cost of time and labor it is for you, besides the publication expenses, you should not sell a single number short of a dollar; and don't you give any man a single number of it. No matter what he may do for it; he will not do as much for the work as you are doing for his town, county and State."

When we sent the work, as issued, he always sent the pay for it, saying "the men that furnish your papers must be the sons of the town and State, not hired writers, but local and patriotic historians."

He always wrote to us on the reception of a new number, and these letters are treasures among those of the past correspondents of the work, many of whom now are in their graves.

His chirography was unique, and several of his letters have poetical specimens of his off-hand writing in verse. He was a man weighted with grave thoughts, with a rich vein of humor. The following was dashed off with happy readiness by him in his 85th year, — the winter of 1861, — which he spent at Washington, after hearing Major Anderson had evacuated Fort Moultrie for Fort Sumpter.





Rob Anderson, my jo, Rob,

I wonder what you mean,

To drink so many juleps

In praise of Halloween.

You need all your wits, Rob,

To keep the forts, you know;

But they'll slip through your fingers,

Rob Anderson, my jo.


Rob Anderson, my jo, Rob,

When first we were acquaint,

You were a sweet cadet, Rob,

And always did your stint;




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But now your shanks are shaky, Rob,

You stagger as you go

Your tongue is thick, your eye is glazed,

Rob Anderson, my jo.


Once in the brush with Black Hawk

You fairly did your share;

And so with Osceola, Rob,

Whose bones, you have in care.

You got fame among the greasers, Rob,

Though with a wound or so;

But now we'll wound your honor,

Rob Anderson, my jo.


Fort Moultrie is a jewel, Rob,

Fort Sumpter is a gem;

But with rafts well made of cotton bags,

We'll surely conquer them.

They now are in your keeping, Rob,

But soon as cocks do crow

We'll ease you of the burden,

Rob Anderson, my jo.

We've watched you in the Nina, Rob,

That away you might not steal,

For we know when you're yourself, Rob,

You are a cunning chiel.

But this night yon are harmless, Rob,

Sleep off your drunk, you fool,

While we steam away to Charleston,

And keep our bonny Yule.

Thus sung the boasting heroes,

Of the palmetto and snake,

And never dreamed that Robin

Was such a "Wide Awake."

They gone, he roused his mettle,

And while they took their swipes,

He stole a march upon them.

And saved the stars and stripes.

                                             WM. C. BRADLEY.


(The following anecdotes are also current of Mr. Bradley:)


At one time he was engaged in the trial of a cause growing out of an alleged fraud in the exchange of horses, in which the damage claimed was very small, but in the result of which there was too much personal feeling. His argument before the jury was a masterpiece of forensic eloquence, in which tremendous earnestness was the prominent feature. Passing from the Court House after he had finished, his pastor, who had been present during the trial, took his arm, and, as they walked down the street, said: "Mr. Bradley, I wish you would tell me how it is that you lawyers become so much interested in the trial of petty issues; and so overpoweringly in earnest in the argument of them, while our ministers, who stand between God and a fellow world, and whose work it is to arouse men to a sense of their eternal destinies, fall so far below them in the earnestness of their discourses."

"That is easily explained," said Mr. Bradley, "you do not realize that you are as near the judgment as we do."

One of Senator Bradley's sons purchased a tract of land north of the Asylum grounds, in Brattleboro, bordering on the Connecticut river. The scenery on every side was grand, but the plat itself was nothing but sand — and that so dry and clean that with every wind it drifted, like snow. His purpose was to erect a residence and convert the grounds into a park.

Having completed the purchase, he invited his father to go with him and inspect his property. Arriving there, his eye took in the beautiful view, the bold, wooded bluffs on the eastern bank and the green background to the valley on the west. Meantime, his father's eye was filled figuratively and literally with the sand over which they were driving. The horses sank to their fetlocks, the wheels dragged heavily through it; the breeze was forming it into little windrows. The son broke the silence with the inquiry, "Well, father, what do you think of my purchase?"

Slowly and sadly came the reply, "Well, my son, I think had I been purchasing real estate, I should have selected that which the Almighty seemed sometime to have had some interest in."




613                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           53












[Mr. Fairbanks' history of Westminster was written in 1870. The Appendix brings the record down to September, 1885 — ED.]






had 6 children: John, married Asenath Petty, sister to Aaron Petty. No children. A good scholar and influential man. Lived on Rocky Hill. He died in 1817, aged 54.

Samuel married Lucy Edwards. Children: John, George, and Belinda. (p. 590).




Here in 1751; supposed to be the one who married Anna, daughter of John Averill. Children: 1. Samuel, married Olive Whitney, and had Louise, Thaddeus B., De Witt C., Henry H. and Sarah Jane. 2. Amos, Jr. 3. Sarah, married Alden Whitney. 4. Hulda, married — Bliss (p. 578).




Here in 1751, died, 4 Mar., 1776, aged 63. Atherton, Clifford, Constance and Otis Chaffee were brothers, and supposed to be sons of Atherton, senior.

1. Atherton, jr., married a Brockway, and lived a little south of the Dorr Morse place. Children: Wm., Atherton, Lyndes, and Phebe.

2. Clifford, married Anna, daughter of Capt. Jesse Burke. Had a son, Calvin, and a daughter who married a Fletcher. Clifford was a physician.




and his son John were here in 1751. Seth, John, and Nathaniel Goold were proprietors under New York in 1772, and were probably brothers. Seth died Aug. 1844, aged 84. William, Seth and Nathaniel were members of the Baptist Society of Westminster, in 1784 (p. 579).




was a soldier in the Revolution and kept the "Whig Tavern," on the lower street. He was a great storyteller. He died 26 Feb., 1809. His children:

1. John, jr., married Nancy Graves, and lived where the parsonage now stands. He was a printer with Spooner & Green, and afterwards carried on the business himself. He had 9 children: John, Nancy, Abigail, Sylvester, Lydia, Amos, Allen, David and Polly.

2. Abigail married Dea. Nathaniel Kittredge, and lived on the Underwood place.

3. Aaron married Elizabeth Clark and settled in the West Parish. Children: Betsey, Polly, Sophia, Reuben C., Rebecca, Sarah, Amasa A., and Emily.

4. Jonathan lived in "Goold Tavern," then on the west side of the street, opposite where it now stands. Children: Frederick H., Anna, Charlotte, Orilla, Alden, Harriet, and Electa.

5. Luther married Betsey Hyde; settled in Ohio.

6. Sarah married a Chandler (p. 579).




came from Taunton, Mass., in 1758, at the age of 20; settled on house-lot No. 18, upper street. He died 13 Jan., 1822. He married Rhoda Alexander, of Northfield, Mass., about 1765. She died 2 Nov., 1816. Children:

1. Abigail, married Waitstill Ranney, son of Dea. Eph. Ranney.

2. Levi, married Elizabeth Ranney. Children: Eleazer, Roxana and Axena, Eldad, Elizabeth and Rhoda.




54                           VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.                         614



3. Rhoda, married Eph. Ranney, jr. Children: Hiram and Grant W.

4. Zilpah, married Daniel Averill.

5. Hannah, married Alfred Spooner. Children: Julia, Nancy, Rhoda, Bathsheba, and Erastus.

6. Josiah, married Rachel Brown. Children: Mary, Caroline, Josiah, and Alonzo.

7. Eleazer, not married.

8. Lorina, married Calvin Britton.

9. Anna, married (1) Giles Marvin, (2) Zaccheus Cole (p. 579).




Here with his mother and two sisters in 1755; was born in Hatfield, Mass, 1731. He came to Putney during the French and Indian war, and enlisted in the Fort on Great Meadows. He bought the farm where Maj. Joel Page afterwards lived, his deed bearing date 6 Mar., 1759. He married a sister of Dea. Sessions. They came to their log-house, and ate their first dinner of stewed beans, with chips for plates, and spoons whittled out for the occasion. No children. A few years after he built a house near by, and kept tavern for 20 years. He was commissioned 1st Lieutenant of Westminster Militia, 18 Aug., 1778, and Captain of the same in 1779. He was shrewd at business; never went to school but one week, could read and write enough to do common business. He died 15 Apr., 1823, aged 92. His wife, Sally, died 4 July, 1757, aged 88.




An adopted child of Capt. Gilson, was born 28 July, 1791, in the house where he always lived, and died July 15,1870. A member of the General Assembly in 1842. Children: Henry and Bradford (p. 580).




came here soon after his brother Michael, and settled a little to the south of his brother, on what is known as the Richard Ward place. He was one of the original members of the church here in 1767. He was once carried captive by the Indians to Canada, but afterwards returned, and died here 15 Nov., 1804, aged 67. Anna, his wife, died 8 Nov., 1826, aged 83. Children: Zachariah, Michael, and Benjamin (p. 580).




born 27 Dec., 1734, died 3 Dec., 1817, aged 82, came from Northfield, Mass., with his brother Azariah, and Joel Holton, and John Norton, soon after the French and Indian war, probably in 1760–'61, and camped on the spot where his grandson, Daniel C. Wright, now lives. Judge Burt camped with them. Aaron Petty came at the same time. The old gambrel-roof house, now removed, was built before the Norton tavern.

Medad was constable of Westminster in 1776. He married (1) Irene, sister of Joel Holton, by whom he had 8 sons. He married (2) widow Mary Willard, of Winchester, N. H., by whom he had one son. Children:

1. Asaph, born 26 Jan., 1763, died 20 July, 1836 A physician in the West Parish. He married Lydia Campbell.

2. Rufus, born 10 Feb., 1765, died 31 Oct., 1837. Twice married. Four children.

3. Elihu, born 10 Jan., 1769; married a Wheeler. Children: Betsey, Emily, Rhoda, and Fanny.

4. Solomon, born 19 Mar., 1771; not married.




615                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           55


5. Obed, born 16 Oct., 1773. He married and went West. Children: Heman, Josiah, and Levi.

6. Hollis, born 22 Jan., 1780; married (1) Lucy Beckwith, (2) Betsey Clay. Children: Daniel C., married Sarah Cragin. Orin went to California.

7. Medad, born 18 Dec., 1781; married and went West.

8. Neri, born 1 Nov., 1785; married Abigail Bradley (p. 582).




lived near Bellows Falls, and had a tannery and grist-mill. He died 10 June, 1835, aged 96 (p. 584) .




came from Northfield with his brother, Medad. His deed of house-lot No. 11 bears date, 20 Apr., 1761. He died 27 Aug., 1811, aged 74. His first wife, Mary, died 1776, aged 54. His second wife, Miriam, died 1797, aged 55; one of them, a Safford, connection of Dr. Pliny Safford. Children:

1. Azariah, died 23 July, 1838; married Dolly Page. Children: Hosea, Olivia, Orpha, Hulda, Jacob, Polly, Amasa, Ruth, and Harriet.

2. Solomon. Children: Jehiel, Lydia, Miriam, Clarissa, Mary Ann, Azariah, Erastus, Louisa, and Safford.

3. Caleb, lived in West Parish. Children: Hiram, Polly, Charlotte, Caleb, Alfred and Adeline.

4. Joseph lived near where his son Joseph did; died 3 Oct., 1805; married Betsey Hawley. Children: Almira,. Julia, Joseph, and Mary.

5. Mary; married Page; 3 daughters.

6. Anna; married Jonathan Lane (p. 583).




came here in 1761, at the age of 21. Born 21 Jan., 1740, died 5 Dec , 1811, aged 71. He built the "Norton tavern," which has been recently torn down. Children: John, Cyrus, Anna, Clarrissa, Electa, Susanna, Arad, Lucy, Mary, Irene, and Heman (p. 581).




born 10 July, 1738, in Northfield, Mass., died 12 May, 1821. Came to Westminster in 1710, and settled just north of Azariah Wright. Children:

1. Joel, born 5 Oct., 1769, died 10 Dec., 1846; married Phœbe Parsons. Children: Erastus A., Minerva, Miriam, David P., and Phœbe H.

2. William, born 26 July, 1771; married (1) Olive Rockwood, (2) ——— Shaw. Children: Mary, Reuben, Elizabeth, Bethia, William, Elisha, Olive, Isabel, Anson, Isaac F., Wealthy and John.

3. Zoeth, born 21 Jan., 1773; married Amanda Loomis. Children: Noadiah L., Julia A., Elihu D., Olivia, Laura, Anjanette.

4. Jemima, born 1775, died 1777.

5. John, born 11 Feb., 1777, died 1815; married Harriet Richards. Child: Harriet Ann, married Rev. J. H. Noyes.

6. Alexander, born 19 Jan., 1779; married Harriet Warner, and went West. Children: Jonathan W., William A., Ellen M., Alexander and Harriet.

7. Bethia, married John White of Springfield, Vt., father of Rev. Pliny H. White.

8. Erastus, born 1784, died 1800.

9. Jemima, born 28 May, 1786, died 7 July, 1865.

10. Isaac, born 13 Mar., 1790, died 26 June, 1850, at Hillsgrove, Ill.; married Phoebe, daughter of Seth Arnold. Children: Seth A., Rebecca R., John




56                           VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.                         616


A., Charles A., Julia E., Anna P., Joel A. (p. 583).




came at the same time with the Wrights and Holtons. He died at Rockingham, 21 Oct., 1788, aged 45. Abigail, his wife, died 1777, aged 35. There were two sisters and a brother, supposed to be the children of Aaron Petty.

1. Asenath, married (1) John Lovejoy, (2) Asahel Goodell. She died 1848, aged 84.

2. Margaret married a Buxton, of Walpole, N. H.

3. Aaron, graduate of college, studied for a physician, died 1803 (p. 584) .




died 9 June, 1811. He married Silence Wilcox, who died 10 April, 1811. Children:

1. Ephraim, settled in the West Parish. Married (1) Johnson of Walpole. Children: Ephraim, Calvin, Rebecca, Lydia, Hiram, Grant W., and Peyton.

2. Dea. Elijah Ranney, West Parish. Married Elizabeth Root. Children: Dea. Elijah, jr., and Joseph.

Joseph was three times married, and had in all 17 children, two of whom, Timothy E. and Addison, were ministers of the gospel.

3. Daniel (Stockbridge). Children: Daniel, Eunice, etc.

4. Lydia. Married Wm. Ranney. Children: William, Lydia, Achsa, Sally and Betsey.

5. Waitstill (Chester), Married Nabby, daughter of Eleazer Harlow. Children: Eleazer, Waitstill, Amarilla, Nabby and Sophia.

6. Sally. Married Guild (Chester) .

7. Esther. Married Seth Arnold.

8. Joel. Married Rebecca Hall.

9. Rachel. Married Job Dickinson.

10. Benjamin. Married Patty Gill. Children: Silence, Angeline, Elmerin and Stella.

11. Janna. Married Phœbe Phelps. Children: Janna, Orange and James. (p. 584.)




settled on the Upper Street. He died 23 April, 1802. He married Sally Richardson. 11 children.

1. Lemuel. Married (1) Susanna Norton; (2) Dolly Parker, and went West. Several children.

2. Hannah. Married John Morse.

3. Sally. Married Warner.

4. Betsey. Married Parker (Springfield). Children: Patience, Ann, Eliza, Elijah and Darius.

5. Joshua. Married Wright. Children: Joshua, Jeremiah, Whipple, Jason, Mary, Adaline, Samuel and Lucius.

6. Samuel. Married a Burgess of Grafton. One child, Patience.

7. John. Married a sister of Rev. S. Sage. One son, Erastus.

8. Maybell. Married John Hazeltine. Children: Hannah, Orpha and Wealthy.

9. Ezra T. Died 22 Feb., 1851, aged 78. Married Rhoda Lincoln.

Children: Almira, Sophronia and Saloma, who married George Wetherell (p. 581).




came from Hardwick, Mass. He was born in 1739; died 20 Jan., 1811, aged 72. His wife died 5 Aug., 1811, aged 75. Children: Eli, Jonathan, Eliab, Jesse, Elijah and Anna (p. 586).




came from Brimfield, Mass. Born 1735. Died 15 April, 1781, aged 44. Married Patty Strong. Children:

1. Samuel. Married Hulda Wright.




617                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           57


2. Simeon.

3. Elijah. Married Grace Jeffers.

4. Elisha. Died 1777, aged 4.




Born 1746. Died 15 Feb., 1825, aged 79. His wife, Mary (Eastman) Burke, died 3 Oct., 1810, aged 97. Children:

1. Philip E. Born 1766. Married Sarah Swan. Children: Harry, Ira, George, Fanny, Laura, Orpha, Mary A., Persis, etc.

2. Mary. Married Eusebius Ball.

3. Keziah. Married Ariel Aldrich.

4. Silas. Not married.

5. Justice. Not married.

6. Sarah. Married Timothy Clark. whose son Joseph now lives on the home place.

7. Anna. Married Luther Brown.

8. Thankful. Not married.

9. Lucy. Not married.




proprietor of Westminster in 1752 and 1760, resident here as early as 1767. He was a son of Rev. Josiah Willard, slain by Indians at Rutland, Mass., in 1723, and the fifth generation from Maj. Simon Willard, who came from England in 1634, and settled in Lancaster, Mass., and afterward in Concord, Mass., and had 9 sons and 8 daughters, who married and left issue. The line is (1) Maj. Simon; (2) Josiah; (3) Samuel; (4) Joseph; (5) William.

The mother of William, after the death of her husband, married Rev. Andrew Gardner (pastor at Worcester, Mass., 1719-1722, Lunenburg, Mass., 1728-1732; afterwards removed to Winchester, N. H., where he died in 1790, at an advanced age).

William joined the Fort, on the Great Meadows, in Putney, in 1755,

was at Fort Dummer, 1756. He married Prudence, daughter of Col. Josiah Willard (Lancaster, Mass.), who with his sons Josiah, Nathan, Oliver and Wilder, were proprietors of Westminster, but not residents here.

William settled at the foot of Willard's or Clapp's Hill. He died in 1804, aged 83. Prudence died 1794, aged 67. Their children were

1. Joseph, who had 2 sons and 3 daughters. The daughters were Susan, Polly and Sophy. The sons, Josiah and Joseph, lived in Westminster.

Several sons of Joseph, jr. (Joseph C., Henry A. and Caleb C.), were proprietors of Willard's Hotel, Washington, D. C.

2. Billy, married Anna ——— , and had 3 daughters:

(1.) Belinda, married Stephen Row Bradley.

(2.) ——— , married Asa Green.

(3.) Betsey, not married.

3. Lyndes, married widow Silence McQuesten. Children: Samuel, Lyndes, Harry, John, Dan, Anna, Persis and Lavina.

Samuel married Betsey Morrison and their sons and daughters are now living here (p. 580).




judge, justice of the peace, etc. His children were:

1. Samuel; married Bragg, 2 children: Julia Ann, married Rev. Dr. Thurston of Fall River, Mass. Wealthy, not married.

2. John, who had a son Samuel, who is a clergyman in Conn.

3. Anna, married David Foster, of Putney (p. 585).




Azariah, Dan and Job. Their father, Azariah, died in Haddam, 1788,




58                           VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.                         618


aged 79. Dan married Margaret Goodell. Children:

1. John (Orwell, Vt.); 3 children.

2. Elizabeth, married Samuel Lord, of Putney, father to Zenas and 9 others.

3. Dan, jr., removed to the State of New York. Several children (p. 584).

Azariah Dickinson died 1808, aged 75. His wife, Temperance, died 1794, aged 60. Children:

1. Azariah, died 1838, aged 72.

2. David.

3. John.

4. Abraham, (Dummerston).

5. Cyrus, died 1846, aged 65; married (1) Lucy Adams, (2) Henrietta Chandler. By Lucy he had Harvey and Alvan. Alvan married Elizabeth Titcomb, and is father to Rev. C. A. Dickinson, Lowell, Mass.




settled on the Hunt place. Born 1777; died 1817. He married Rachel Ranney, daughter of Dea. Ephraim. Children:

1. Job, married Rebecca Spencer. Children: Ira, Rosa, Julia, Fanny, George, and Wealthy.

2. Rachel, not married, died 1865, aged 85.

3. Ephraim.

4. Mary, married Keyes, of Putney.

5. Rebecca, married Jazaniah Hunt.

6. Ira, died young.

7. Esther, married Heman Goodridge.

8. Hulda, not married.




died 1870, aged 52. Had two sons and two daughters.

1. Mary, died 1848, aged 91.

2. Anna, died 1844, aged 77.

3. Nehemiah lived on the home place, died 1822, aged 63.

4. John, married Abigail Gorham. Children: Hannah, Abigail, John, Joseph, Sarah, Mary, Nancy (p. 585).




came from Hardwick, Mass., in 1761, with his step-father, Capt. Jesse Burke. His father was killed by the Indians. He lived on the Luke Rice place; a carpenter, also had a grist-mill. He was many years a sexton; twice married and died 1830, aged 72. Children:

1. Bathsheba, married Benj. Thresher; 8 children.

2. Eliakim, married (1) Mary Webb, (2) Anna Lane. Children: Maria, Porter, Mary, Luseba, Emeline, Luke.

3. Mary, married Thos. Baldwin. Several children.

4. Charles, not married.




came from Sutton, Mass., about 1768, at about 16 years of age, died 1834, aged 82. He was the fourth generation from Anthony Morse, who came from England and settled in Newbury, Mass., in 1637, and a kinsman of the same generation of Prof. Morse, inventor of the telegraph. John's father was Benjamin, and his sister, Hannah, married Rev. Jos. Bullen, the second pastor of the church in Westminster (p. 584).

John, married Hannah, daughter of Samuel Cone, and settled on the lot where the East Parish church now stands. He was a carpenter, farmer and a noted trapper. Children:

1. John, married Lydia Lincoln. Children: Gen. Nelson and John Rowe, Samuel C., Albert A., Mark L.

2. Samuel, Colonel of Westminster Militia, died 1834. He married Fanny Clark. Children: Samuel C., John D., Whipple, Royal T., Fanny E.

3. Francis, married Nancy Fairbrother. Children: Adaline, Hiram, Lucia A., Wealthy, Richard.




came from Rhode Island; a soldier in the Revolutionary war. "Fearless and




619                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           59


courageous." Had a bullet shot through him at Trenton, and the top of his ear, and hair shot off. His children were John, Asa, Calvin, Amos, and Nancy.




He married (1) ——— , (2) Molly Dodge, He died 1819, aged 77. Ten children:

1. Polly, married Jazaniah Hunt.

2. John, married Betsey Goodridge. Children: Roxa, John Carlton, Electa, Amarilla.

3. Charlotte, married David Wells, father to Allen, etc.

4. James, married Lydia Betterly. Settled in Ohio; 4 children.

5. Nathan, married (1) Sally Colburn, (2) Lydia Beckwith. Children: Derastus and Laurinda. Derastus marriee Eleanor Lane. Children: Amarilla, Rebecca, Ellen, John, Ithamar, Lucius.

6. Mercy, not married.

7. Elias, not married.

8. Sally, not married.

9. Lyman, married Harmony Dunham. Three children: Lorenzo, Riley, Harriet.

10. Pamelia, married Alfred Ripley (p. 586).




was from Connecticut. He married Sarah Humphrey. Children:

1. Hannah, married Levi Peck.

2. Joshua, married a Lawrence, of Sutton, Vt. Children: Joshua, Phineas, Frederick, Gracia, Abigail, Ann, etc.

3. Daniel (Sutton, Vt., thence to Ohio). Twice married.

4. Ebenezer, went to Canada; had several children.

5. Ezra, married Jerusha Goodell. Went to Sutton, Vt. Children: Marilla, Harvey, Abiel, Sylvester, Abigail, Ezra, Abishai.

6. Isaac, married Miriam Parsons, and had John, James, and two daughters.

7. Amasa, married Anna, daughter of Lyndes Willard, and had Joshua and Ezra.

8. John, married Mary Hendrick, and had Reuben, Melinda, Humphrey, Sarepta, Salina, and Prosper.

9. Keziah, married Amasa Washburn, of Putney, and had Minerva, Thirza, Sarah, Amasa.

10. Rhoda, married Moses Webster, of Bethel, Vt., and had several children (p. 589).




settled on Phippen Hill. Samuel, jr., Jonathan Atwater, and Joseph were probably his sons.




died 8 July, 1827. He married Mary, daughter of Asa Averill; 7 children:

1. Clark; had by his wife Betsey, 6 children.

2. Anna.

3. Priscilla, married — Wood.

4. Mary, married Joseph Ide, of Sheffield, Vt. No children. Died 1848.

5. Hannah, married Ira Kittredge, and had George, Lucia A., and Milo.

6. David, married Hannah Sargent, and had Anna, Mary, Rodney A., Narcissa, Electa R., Ruth H., Sarah I., Margaret L.

7. Samuel, married Betsey Drew, of Burke, Vt. Eight children: Fannie, Mary, Lucius, etc. (p. 588).




Keziah, his wife, died, 23 Aug., 1795, aged 68. They had 5 sons and several daughters.

1. Reuben, a soldier in the Revolution. He married (1779) Abigail Burke, and had Sarah, Eli, Lucy and Release.




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2. Nathan lived on Tully Clark's place.

3. Noah, who removed to Stowe, had children: Samuel, John, Joseph (a physician), Daniel, and Cynthia (p. 589).

4. Ezekiel. (Stowe, Vt.)

5. Titus. (West Parish; thence to New Orleans.




a prominent man, came to the County Convention at Westminster to look into the monetary affairs of the county, previous to the session of 6 June, 1775. Delegate to the meeting of the County Committee of Safety, held here in June, 1776, and was chosen clerk.

In 1780, Maj. Elkanah Day was one of a committee to consider the feasibility of a new government formed by a union of Eastern Vermont and Western New Hampshire. He attended French at the time of the massacre; was one of those who opposed the State Militia law in 1779, and was fined £40. He was, with John Sessions, a Representative in the New York Assembly in 1779, and Senator in 1781. Major of Southern Regiment, 1778; Adjutant under Gen. Ethan Allen, 1782; Sheriff, 1786 and '87; High Sheriff of Windham County, 1782-87 (p. 590).




came from South Hadley, Mass., about 1779; settled on Wellington Hill; an educated man; had been a teacher. He married a Jennings, and had:

Jonathan, who married Anna, daughter of Capt. Azariah Wright, and had 7 children.

1. Ithamar, married Lucinda, daughter of Scotto Clark, and had Henry C., who married Mary Nutting.

2. Rebecca, married Otis Smith; lived near the Joseph Wright place.

3. Eleanor, married Derastus Richardson.

4. Anna, married Eliakim Rice.

5. Erastus, married Fanny Dickinson, and had George and Ann.

6. Maria, married Peres Clark. Children: Sophia, Guy, Lucinda, Louis, Eugene, and Scott.

7. Esther, married Daniel Upton (Milwaukee, Wis.). Children: Martha, Mary A., Henry, etc.




married (1765) Sarah Richardson, and had in Westminster, children: Sarah (1767), Daniel (1769), Nathan (1771), Zarriah (1773), Jacob (1778), Elipha (1780), Anna (1784).




Here in 1780; came from Pomfret, Ct.; lived on the Putney line. He married Margaret, widow of Dan. Dickinson; 8 children:

1. Abigail, married (1) Hezekiah Sanderson, (2) Levi Ware.

2. Abishai (Rockingham); several children: Anna, William, George, etc.

3. Margaret, died young.

4. Jerusha, married Ezra Stoddard.

5. Abiel (Dea.), married Mary Goodridge. Children: William, Ira, Dan, Mary, Fanny, Ann (married Rev. Mr. Graves).

6. William (Rev.), married Mary Arms. Pastor, Grafton, Trenton, N. J. Children: Ebenezer and a daughter.

7. Simeon (M. D.), Nelson, N. H., married (1) a Melville, (2) ———  and had Simon (Baptist minister).

8. Anna, married Hezekiah Abbey; several children.




came from Middleton, Mass., soon after his son, Benjamin, jr., with whom he lived. He and his three sons were in the battle of Bunker Hill. He lived




621                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           61


on Rocky Hill, and afterwards near the Joseph Wright place. He married Mary Redington, and had 4 sons and 3 daughters: Benjamin, Asa, Thomas, Levi. Levi lived here awhile.

Benjamin, jun., born in Boxford, Mass., 21 July, 1746, and died 1805, aged 59. Came here about 1782, from Keene, N. H. He married (1) Hannah Pingry (born 1764, died 1790). Children: Alpheus, Betsey, Polly, Ira, Hannah, Heman, Matilda. He married (2) widow Polly Cooper (died 1847, aged 89), and had Riley, Matilda and Sally.

1. Alpheus, born Coxhall, N. Y., 1772; settled in Ogden, N.Y. He married Hopeful Crook; 9 or 10 children:

2. Betsey, born Coxhall, N. Y., 1774, died Westminster, 1862. aged 87. She married John Richardson, of Westminster.

3. Polly, born Keene, N. H., 1777, married Dea. Abiel Goodell, of Westminster; died 1834.

4. Ira, born Keene, N. H., 1780; married Chloe Soule; lived in Massena, N. Y.; 6 or 7 children.

4. Hannah, born Westminster, 1782, died 1869, aged 86. She married Artemus Pierce, Londonderry; 8 or 9 children.

6. Heman, born Westminster, 1785, died 1856, aged 71. He married (1) Delia Slack, and had Lorenzo and Horace. He married (2) Esther Dickinson, and had Herman R., Octavia, and Austin.

7. Riley, born 1795, died at Council Bluffs, Ia. His widow died at Peterboro, N. H.

8. Matilda, born 1797, married a Gilmore and went West.

9. Sally, born 1799, married a Gilmore. Went to Seymour, Ind. Died 1865.




came from Massachusetts about 1778; born 1757, died 1835. He was a descendant of Joseph Peck, who came over in the ship Ipswich, 1638, and settled in Hingham, Mass. The line is: 1. Joseph; 2. Joseph, jr.; 3. Jethniel; 4. Ichabod; 5. Solomon; 6. Levi.

Levi, married Hannah, daughter of Joshua Stoddard, and had Ara, Uri, Shubael, Rhoda, and Mira.

1. Ara, married (1) Phœbe Mitchell, (2) Mary Pierce. Went to Westmoreland, N. H., and thence to Salina, N. Y.; 2 children.

2. Uri, married Asenath Powers. Children: Levi, Susan, Wealthy, Philena, Solomon, Uriah, Warren, Irene, Melinda, James, and William.

3. Shubael, married Thirza Wheeler. Children: Sandford, Clarissa, Orestes, Charles, Hannah, and Ellen.

4. Rhoda, married Daniel Fisher, Hinsdale, N. H. Several children.

5. Mira, not married.




son of Rev. Eleazer May, of Haddam, Ct. Came here in 1789, and lived with Mr. Cone, on the Upper Street. He kept store for a time, and built the one now standing, and was afterwards in company with Mark Richards. He died in 1845, aged 78. He married Cynthia House of Andover, Ct. Children: James, Clarissa, Harriet, Mary A., Julia, Nancy, John, William, and Henry.

James, married Eveline Moore. Clarissa, married Phineas Wales. Harriet, married Rev. Horace Fletcher, D. D.

Mary Ann, married Gov. Fletcher. Julia, married Dr. Hoyt, St. Johnsbury.

William (physician), married Thayer.




62                           VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.                         622



Nancy, married Martin Butterfield. John married Catherine Vose. Henry, married (1) Willard (2) Farr.




came from Marlow, N. H., in 1790. Had 6 daughters; two died young.

Hannah, married Ellery Albee.

Lydia, married Isaac Cobb.

Nancy, married Sumner Albee.

Veranda, married Fletcher, of New York.




Seth and Esther (Ranney) Arnold had 7 children:

1. Seth Shaler, born Feb. 22, 1788. He was a graduate of Middlebury College, 1812; studied theology with Rev. Mr. Breckenridge, Washington, D. C., and Rev. S. Sage, of Westminster; pastor Congregational Church, Alstead, N. H., 1816-1834; acting pastor in Walpole, N. H., Westminster, Newfane, Wardsboro, Saxton's River, Westminster West, Springfield, and Cavendish, in Vermont; and in Troy, Westmoreland, Langdon, Charleston, Unity, Lempster, Alstead and Roxbury, in New Hampshire; also in West Halifax, and West Townshend, in Vermont. He married (1) Ann House, (2) Naomi Hitchcock. Children: Mary Ann, married Rev. A. Stevens, D. D., Sophia, died young, Olivia, married ——— Gage, Caroline, married Esq. Waite.

2. Ambrose Tyler Arnold, born 19 Nov., 1790; married Priscilla Farnum, an adopted daughter of Joel Ranney. Children: Ambrose, married Catherine Cone, and Fenelon, married Amanda Richards.

3. Esther, born 3 Sept., 1792; married (1) John F. Hills, (2) Benjamin Smith. Children: David A. Hills, and a daughter, died in infancy.

4. Joel Ranney Arnold, born 25 Apr., 1794; married Julia Arnold. He graduated at Middlebury College. Studied medicine and practised a short time. Studied theology with Rev. S. Sage, and his brother, Seth Shaler, and was ordained at Chester, N. H., where he remained 12 or 14 years, then went to Colchester, Ct. Children: Joel Ranney, a lawyer in Williamantic, Ct., John L., Seth Shaler, Edward A., Henry A., Julia M., Luther H., Fanny L., Nathaniel, William, George.

5. Phœbe, born 29 Jan., 1798; married Isaac Holton, a teacher and lawyer. Several children.

6. Olivia, born 31 Oct., 1800; died young.

7. Abigail, born 17 Nov., 1804; died 1869; not married (p. 605).




A descendant of Capt. John Grout, of Watertown, born in 1765; came here from Spencer, Mass., about 1785 or 6, and settled in the south part of the town. He died here Nov. 11, 1843. He was a soldier in the Revolution. He married Elizabeth Upham. Children: Hannah, John, Zeruiah, Daniel, Isaac, Abigail,. Joseph, Lewis, Eliza, Betsey, Sylvester, Sally, and Nancy.

1. Hannah, married Israel Keyes.

2. John. Children: Lewis (Yale College and Andover Sem., Missionary A. B. C. F. M.), Adamantha (Dartmouth College, Union Theological Seminary), Henry M. (Williams College, and Theological Seminary), and five others.

3. Abigail, married Harvey Bliss. Had Edwin and Isaac and a daughter, who married Rev. Mr. Van Lennep, all missionaries to Turkey, and a daughter, Mrs. Montgomery, a missionary in the West.

4. Sylvester, married Cassandra Grout; 4 daughters.




623                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           63


                                               SCOTTO CLARK


came with his brother Barnabas, from Cape Cod, about 1794. He married Sarah Sears. Children: Peres, Patience, Reuben, Henry, Fessenden, Lucinda, Scotto, Sophronia, Cleopatra, Perez, and Tully. The Clarks are descendants of the Winslows of the Mayflower.




1791, 1601; 1800, 1942; 1810, 1925; 1820, 1794; 1830, 1737; 1840, 1556; 1850, 1722; 1885, 1377.





Stephen R. Bradley, 1791-94.

Stephen R. Bradley, 1801-13.

William C. Bradley, 1813-27.

Mark Richards, 1817-21.





Thomas Chandler, Speaker, 1778.

Stephen R. Bradley, Speaker, 1785.





met at Westminster, 1780, 1783, 1789, 1803.





Stephen R. Bradley, 1788.

Lot Hall, 1794-1800.



COUNCILLORS, 1778-1835.


Benjamin Burt, 1799.

Eliakim Spooner, 1802-7.

William C. Bradley, 1812.

Mark Richards, 1813 and 1815.





Benjamin Burt, Justice, 1786-1802.

Elkanah Day , Sheriff, 1786-7.

Mark Richards, Sheriff, 1806-10.

William C. Bradley, State's Attorney, 1806-11.

Ellery Albee, Judge Probate, 1838-46.

Timothy H. Hall, Sheriff, 1844-46.

Timothy H. Hall, Sheriff, 1848.





Ellery Albee, 1828.

Timothy Field, 1836.

Nathan G. Pierce, 1843.

David Gorham, 1850.





John Sessions, Chief Justice, 1781-4.

Benj. Burt, Assistant Judge, 1781-3.

S. R. Bradley, Assistant Judge, 1783.

Benj. Burt, Assistant Judge, 1783-5.

S. R. Bradley, State's Atty., 1781, '82, and '85.











September, 1885. — Present number of members of the Church, 102. Pres­ent number of Sunday School, 163.

Superintendents of Sunday Schools since 1870 are Dea. R. S. Safford, Dea. Geo. F. Herrick, Dea. Austin Goodridge, H. A. Willard, Dr. W. L. Hoisington.

Dea. S. S. Stoddard died since 1870.

Dea. R. S. Safford, Geo. F. Herrick, Austin Goodridge chosen since 1870.

Rev. Mr. Fairbanks left here April, 1871.

Pastors and acting pastors since then are Rev. O. S. Morris, Rev. P. F. Bar­nard, Rev. I. L. Sewall.




I have found a remnant of one of the sermons of Rev. Mr. Sage. There are 24 pages left, and the title page is as follows:




64                           VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.                         624




delivered before his Excellency

the Governor,

The Honorable



House of Representatives

of the

State of Vermont,



on the day of the

Anniversary Election

October 13, 1803,


Pastor of the First Church in Westminster.


Printed by Alden Spooner.


In General Assembly, Oct. 14th, 1803:


Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to wait on the Rev. Mr. Sage, and respectfully present him with the thanks of the General Assembly for his election sermon delivered yesterday, and request a copy thereof for the press.

Members chosen, Leland, Butler and Olds.

Extract from Journal.

Attest: ANTHONY HASWELL, Clerk."


The three sermons of Mr. Sage which were given to the press were his Farewell Sermon at Braintree, his Election Sermon and his Sermon at the In­stallation of Rev. Jesse Townshend, and I do not know if any are in existence, except this remnant I have found.





1778 — 1884.




The town has been represented for 94 years; and has had two representatives in the years 1780, '81 and '83. Stephen R. Bradley served with Nathaniel Robinson in 1780; in 1781, Benjamin Burt with Stephen R. Bradley; and in 1783, Elijah Ranney with John Tuthill; viz.:

Nathaniel Robinson, 1778, '79, '80; Stephen R. Bradley, 1780, '81, '84, '85, Speaker in 1785, '88, '90, 1800; Benjamin Burt, 1781, '86, '96, '97; John Norton, 1782; John Tuthill and Elijah Ranney, 1783; John Sessions, 1787; Lot Hall, 1789, '91, '92, 1808; Elia­kim Spooner, 1793, '94, 95; Mark Richards, 1801, '02, '04, '24, '26, '28, '32, '34; Ephraim Ranney, jr.. 1803, '05; William C. Bradley, 1806, '07, '19, '52; Eleazer May, 1809, '10, '36; Isaiah Eaton, 1811; Daniel Mason, 1812, '13, '14, '29; Gideon Warner, 1815, '16, '17, '25; Benjamin Ranney, 1818; Samuel Mason, 1820; Ellery Albee, 1821, '22, '30, '46, '48; Elijah Ranney, jr., 1823; Ebenezer Goodell, 1827; John Smith, 1833; 1835, none; David Allen, 1837; S. S. Stoddard, 1838; Alvin Goodell, 1839, '41, '49; John McNeill, 1840, '44; Joel Page, 1842.









The officers of the town chosen at the first town meeting, of which any record is preserved, Mar. 15, 1784, are as follows:

Moderator — John Sessions.

Town Clerk — John Tuthill.




625                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           65


Selectmen — Nathaniel Robinson, Esq., Capt. Ephraim Ranney and David Heaton.

Treasurer — John Norton.

Constables — Edward Goodale and Benjamin Goodrich.

Listers — Capt. John Brailey, Job Dickinson and Medad Wright.

Collectors — John Wells, jr. and Lem­uel Cone.

Tithing-Men — John Holt and Joseph Willard.

Grand Jurors — John Wise and Eben­ezer Holton.

Hog Wards — Israel Ide and Charles Rice.

Horse Brander — Capt. Benjamin Whitney.

Sealer Weights and Measures — Joseph Ide.

Fence Viewers — Asa Averill, Capt. Benjamin Whitney and Stanton Richardson.

Overseers of Highways — Capt. Benj. Burt, Samuel Phippen, Joseph Irwin, Azariah Dickinson, William Crook, Joshua Wells, Jabez Goodale, Wm. Hide, Ensign Nathan Robinson.

Petit Jurors — Billy Willard, James Crawford, Jabez Perry, Asa Averill, Eldad Hitchcock, Abial Goodale, John Holt, Ensign Nathan Robinson, Joseph Ide, Thomas Baldwin.

Pound Keeper — Capt. Jesse Burt.





Capt. Benj. Burt, 1785, '91; Capt. Ephraim Ranney, 1786; Eliakim Spooner, 1787; John Sessions, 1788, '94, 1802, '03; Stephen R. Bradley, 1789; Lot Hall, 1790, '92; Aaron Wales, 1793; David Clark, 1794, '95; Reuben Atwater, 1796, '99; Elijah Ranney, 1798, 1806, '07; Jabez Paine, 1800; Mark Richards, 1801, '22, '24; Benjamin Smith, 1804; Matthias Gor­ham, 1805; Aaron Hitchcock, 1808, '15, '19; Edward Goodell, 1809; Wil­liam C. Bradley, 1810; Elijah Ranney, jr., 1811; Benjamin Ranney, 1812; Isaiah Eaton, 1813, '14, '18, '20, '21, '26; Ebenezer Goodell, 1816, 17, '23, 27; Ellery Albee, 1825, '34, '35, '42, '43, '44; Ezra T. Cone, 1828; John Smith, 1829, '30, '31; Jared Goodell, 1832; Joel Page, 1833; Alvan Goodell, 1836, '37, '51; John C. Richardson, 1838, '46, '52; Russell Ranney, 1839, '47; James Titcomb, 1840; Ira Goodhue, 1841, '49, '53; Edward R. Campbell, 1843; John Minard, 1845; Horace W. Stone, 1850; S. S. Stod­dard, 1854; Edward Hall, 1855; James May, 1856; Ambrose Arnold, 1858; George Campbell, 1859; John C. Rich­ardson, 1860; Freeman Gorham, 1861; '63, '77; D. A. DeWolfe, 1862; Fen­elon Arnold, 1864, '66; Ira Goodhue, 1865, '67; Henry C. Lane, 1868, '70 to '76, '78; D. C. Gorham, 1869; D. C. Wright, 1880 to 1885.




Elkanah Day, 1785; John Tuthill, 1786; Stephen R. Bradley, 1787, '88, '89; John Sessions, 1790, '91, '92; Reuben Atwater, 1793 to 98; Gideon Warner, 1799 to 1803, '05, '07 to '09; William C. Bradley, 1804, '06; Syl­vester Sage, 1810, '12, '14, '16, '18, '20, '22, '24, '26, '28, '30, '34, '36, '40; Timothy Field, 1811, '13, '15, '17, '19, '21, '23, '25, '27, '29, '31, '33, '35, '37, '39, '41, '43; Pliny Safford, 1842, '44, '46, '48, '52, '54, '56, '58, '60, '62; Daniel Campbell, 1845, '47, '49, '51; N. T. Sheafe, 1850; Peyton Ranney, 1853, '55; Homer Goodhue, 1857, '59, '61, '63, '65, '67, '69; S. S. Stoddard, 1864, '70 to '81; Henry C. Lane, 1882 to 1885, present incumbent.

[It will be seen in the above list that Sylvester Sage and Timothy Field were alternately every other year town




66                           VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.                         626


clerk for 30 successive years; Sage in all the years an even number; Field in all the years an odd number, and one year after Sage had surrendered the field, and that one year over the num­ber of Sage, not the successive year, but in the next year of an odd number; Field receiving the honor of holding the pen of the town one year the long­est. Pliny Safford steps in when Sage drops out and holds the ground every other year for 22 years, save one, when a Sheafe drops in his field one year — plucked out the next. In 1870, the idea of permanency of the candidate in office first prevailed. S. S. Stoddard is retained, the first man for two suc­cessive years in the office, for 11 years. The present town clerk is serving his fourth successive year. — ED.]





In early days, Hon. J. D. Bradley was postmaster, but at what date is not known. Dr. Pliny Safford was post­master from about 1830 to 1856; Be­linda Lovejoy was his predecessor, but for how many years is not known. After Pliny Safford, Henry C. Lane served to 1860; then Clark Chase until 1870; then Austin Goodridge until 1885, and now B. F. Sleeper is postmaster.

The present population is 1377; present grand list, $8548.44.





Past Superintendents: Rev. Alfred Stevens, Henry Morse, John B. Morse, Rev. P. T. Barnard; Present: Dr. W. L. Hoisington.





Artemas Ellis, Ambrose Fairbrother, Oscar Parker, Milton Pierce, Roswell Whitney, Ithamar Richardson, Peter Good, John Keach.

The bounties and expenses of the war of the rebellion amounted to about $27,000.

                                                      H. C. L.




Born 1711, died 2 Sept., 1797, aged 86. Mary, his wife, born 1714, died 18 Sept., 1809, aged 95; came here in 1751 (p. 577).




son of John, born 1739, died 25 Aug., 1825, aged 86. He married (3) Betsey, the widow of Patrick Wall. He lived on the Whittle place. Children:

1. Obed, eldest son of Asa Averill, married Susan Lyman; 8 children, viz: Phœbe, married Nathan Marvin, Sus­an, married (1) John Johnson, (2) Eph. Smith, Persis, married James Tower, Anna, died at the age of 18, Asa, died young, Hannah, died young, Obed, married Harriet Wright, grand-daugh­ter of "Uncle Azariah," David, mar­ried Polly Wright, sister to Harriet.

2. Asa, jr.

3. David, died young.

4. Molly, married Atwater Phippen.

5. Experience, married Abraham Nutting.

6. Anna, married John Averill, son of John Averill, jr.

7. Mercy, married Josiah Davis; 9 or 10 children.

8. Sally.




died 22 July, 1835, aged 87. Children:

1. John, born 17 Nov., 1788. "An upright and honorable man." He married (1) Anna, daughter of Obed Averill, and (2) Rhoda Wales. Children: Columbus and Anna by the first marriage, and several by the second.

2. Daniel, born 16 Mar., 1781, died 1 Aug., 1853, aged 73. "A very good man." He married (1) Betsey Vent,




627                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           67



and (2) Zilpah, daughter of Eleazer Harlow; 2 children by the first mar­riage, who died young.

3. Hannah, not married.

4. Jotham, born 1783; not married.

5. Olive, married a Heald, of Chester, Vt.




married and settled in Northfield,* Vt., where his descendants now live.




the first person born in Westminster, autumn of 1751, married Amos (?) Carpenter, and lived awhile on Rocky Hill.




son of Emory and Eunice (Hayward) Fairbanks, was born Sept. 8, 1835, in Ashburnham, Mass. He married, May 1, 1865, Abbie S. Russell, of Asburn­ham.

Children: Ernest Hayward, Fran­cis Joel, Alice Russell, George Stevens, Herbert Stockwell.

Mr. Fairbanks graduated at Amherst College, 1862; Princeton Theological Seminary, 1863; Union Theological Seminary, 1864; and was licensed by Worcester North Association, May, 1863. He supplied the Congregational Church at Westminster, Vt., 1 May to 1 Sept., 1863. He commenced per­manent labor there June, 1864; was ordained and installed Aug. 31, 1864; dismissed May, 1871. He was acting pastor at Ayer, Mass., 1 Jan., 1872, to 1 Jan., 1874; at Paxton, Mass., 1 Apr., 1874, to 1 Sept., 1877; at West Boylston, Mass., 1 Sept., 1877, to 1 Apr., 1885.

He has been acting pastor at Sey­mour, Ct., since 1 May, 1885.

His publications are: '"A Sermon on the War," in 1864, in the Bellows Falls Times, "History of Westminster, Vt.," for the Vermont Historical Gazeteer [this same], also, a considerable amount of miscellaneous correspondence con­tributed for the newspapers. F. J. F.









Edmund Burke was born at Westminster, Jan. 23, 1809, and died at Newport, N. H., Jan. 25, 1882. He was the son of Elijah Burke, and the sixth of a family of 9 children.

He pursued classical studies under Chief Justice Bellows, of Walpole, N. H., and studied law with Hon. Wm. C. Bradley, of Westminster.

Immediately after his admission to the bar he removed to N. H., where he practiced his profession and edited a newspaper, settling at Newport, the county seat of Sullivan county. He was elected to Congress at the March election, 1839, and served as a repre­sentative, 1840–'46. For a time he edited a Democratic newspaper at Nash­ville, Tenn. He was Commissioner of Patents under Gen. Polk's administra­tion.

During the remainder of his life he resided at Newport and his counsel and services were in great request as a pat­ent lawyer. He was esteemed one of the first authorities in the country in all that relates to the subject of patents.

The facts stated, I have taken from a biographical sketch of Hon. Edmund Burke, in a pamphlet lately printed at Concord, N. H., by the Republican Press Association of N. H., and con­taining the proceedings of that Associa­tion at their 14th and 15th annual meetings. Reference may be had to said pamphlet for fuller details concern­ing Mr. Burke.


* See Vol. IV., p. 618, in this work. — ED.




68                           VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.                         628





died at his residence in Palmyra, N.Y., Sept. 10, 1865, aged 57. He was a son of the late Eleazer May, of Westmin­ster, at which place he was born in 1808. He entered Yale College at four­teen, passing an examination that ex­hibited a rare preparation and intellect­ual development. He graduated with the honors of that institution. He com­menced the study of medicine with Dr. Alpheus Fletcher, of Cavendish, com­pleting his studies in the Berkshire Medical College, at Pittsfield, Mass. He practiced a number of years with Dr. Fletcher. In 1831, he came, says the Palmyra Courier, to Palmyra, and was many years a partner with the late Dr. D. D. Hoyt in a successful prac­tice. Since the death of the latter he continued his services here, and outside of his profession was esteemed as a gentleman of intelligence and brilliancy among the educated of his class. He left a wife and three children.

Before his removal to Palmyra, he practiced several years after first re­ceiving his diploma at Berkshire, with Dr. Fletcher, his first instructor in his profession.




a prominent citizen of Westminster, died April, 1877, aged 79. He was a brother-in-law of ex-Governor Ryland Fletcher.




born in town, Oct. 15, 1810, was Advent pastor at Sugar Hill, N. H., in 1845; called to Worcester, Mass., 1850; health failing, returned to Sugar Hill in 1851; remained there till 1867, and and then took charge at Waterbury, Vt. till 1869, when he gave up his charge and went South a year. In 1870, he settled in Lisbon, N. H., where he died of consumption, April 25, 1882. He left a widow, two sons and four daugh­ters. One daughter married Hon. Wm. P. Dillingham, of Waterbury; one son, C. H. Shipman, is a shoe-dealer at Montpelier. Rev. Mr. Shipman was highly esteemed in his denomination as a preacher. [From obituary.]




Joseph and Jonathan Barney (page 564). We have the following from Mayor Barney, of Stowe, Vt.:

The way the Barneys came into Ver­mont strange enough is by Joseph Bar­ney, of Taunton, or Rehoboth, buying, with others, the town of Westminster of the Governor of Massachusetts. No Barney, however, ever lived in Westminster, but almost in every other town. The first settlement I know of in the State was made by a Barney, on an island near Brattleboro, 1741 (or 9). He left and I have not been able to trace him.

I have the names of their wives and children, marriages, births and deaths, from the town clerk of Rehoboth. Hon. W. W. Barney, lately member of the Legislature from Guilford, has every record down to this day of Capt. John Barney's family. I have also much about the Grow family; they came from Pomfret, Ct.

Gov. Chittenden's daughter, that married Thos. Barney, came to Arling­ton married, so I suppose they must have been married in Salisbury, Ct. (Litchfield County). We do not yet know the name of this Thomas' father but presume it was Joseph Barne (the old way of spelling our name) of Ash­ford, near Pomfret, Ct. (Windham County). If not, it was a descendant of Mary Danforth Barney, of Taunton, named after her brother Thomas, of Norwich, Ct., grand-niece of Nicholas




629                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           69


Danforth, first president of Maine, under the King.

Constantine was descended from Elizabeth ——— of Swansea, or West Haven, Wales, a great friend of Roger Williams (Felt's Hist. of Salem, 263). The peculiarities of Uranius' father, as mentioned in your history, came in with the marriage of Joseph Barney to Con­stance Sandries (or Sanders as the name is written also) grand-parents of Con­stantine, whose mother was Elsie Whea­ton, of the celebrated family of that name.

WM. BARNEY, A. M., Harvard College.








Committee of the Church — Dea. Pliny Safford, M. D., Dea. John McNeil, Sylvester Grout, Austin Goodridge and J. P. Davis.

Committee of the Society  J. C. Rich­ardson, F. Arnold, D. C. Wright.

S. S. Stoddard, Esq., Recording Secretary.

Rev. F. J. Fairbanks, Corresponding Secretary.



Choir, — floral hall. — services at the church, — heavy, loaded tables, — sentiments, — speeches. (See printed pam­phlet, 48 pp.).

"A SERMON preached in Westminster, Vt., 11 June, 1867, by Rev. P. H. White, on the One Hundredth An­niversary of the Congregational Church, with a Historical Paper, by Rev. Alfred Stevens, D. D. Bellows Falls, Vt. Printed at the Times Job Office, by A. N. Swain, 1867. Rev. F. J. Fair­banks and M. W. Davis, Committee of Publication."*

Page 39: The day was one of the loveliest in June, a day of joyful re-union. Former pastors, absent members of the church, former residents of the place; a goodly representation from the West Parish church; former pastors: Rev. S. S. Arnold, of Ascutneyville, whose venerable form spoke the near approach of fourscore years; Rev. W. H. Gilbert, Norwalk, Ct., pastor of the church 20 years ago; Rev A. B. Foster, from Orange, Mass. Clergymen and friends from abroad beside the orator of the day, Rev. P. H. White, with Histor­ical Sermon, and the venerable historian of the West Parish; the venerable Rev. Amos Foster, from neighboring Putney; Revs. G. H. DeBevoise, Walpole, N. H.; Levi Loring, Saxton's River; J. C. Chandler, Lewis Grout, West Brattleboro; C. L. Piper, West Towns­hend; Mr. Moore, Dummerston; Nel­son Bishop, Windsor; Rev. L. C. Dickenson, M. E. Presiding Elder, and Rev. W. H. Wright, of Bellows Falls. There were also present Judge Fuller, of Saratoga, N. Y., and his brother from Hardwick, Vt., the oldest baptized children of the church, known to be liv­ing; one aged 75, one 73 years, after an absence of 70 years, returned to visit the spot that gave them birth, and join in celebrating the festal day.

A veil of sadness was thrown over the occasion in the lamented death of Dr. Safford, whose remains were fol­lowed to their resting place upon the afternoon of the preceding day. He had almost reached the age of 80 years; had been 35 years an honored member of the church; 31 years had held the office of Deacon, and had looked forward to the occasion, which would have been a season of much enjoyment to him, had he been spared to see it.

At the appointed hour, at church, all available space was filled, and many


* For which pamphlet history we are indebted to Rev. Dr. Stevens, of the West Parish. — ED.




70                           VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.                         630


unable to gain admission within, occupied carriages at the windows outside.


SERVICES. — Voluntary, "The Lord is in His Holy Temple;" reading of the Scriptures, by past Pastor Foster; Invocation, by present Pastor Fair­banks; Anthem, "How Lovely is Zion." Rev. P. H. White, former resident of Westminster, preached the sermon — one hour long — "But call to remembrance the former days." Heb. x., 32.




The hundred years during which this church has had existence, have constituted the most memorable century in the history of the world; with the sole exception of that in which Christ came from heaven to earth to make atonement for the sins of men. Events of unparalleled magnitude have succeeded each other with unprecedented rapidity, "as if," to use the language of an eminent Scotch writer, "they had come under the influence of that law of gravi­tation, by which falling bodies increase in speed as they descend, according to the squares of the distances." Within that period, our own country has em­erged from the condition of a weak and dependent colony, has passed through one long and bloody war to achieve a national existence, and a tenfold blood­ier one to preserve that existence and make it worth preserving; and, having extended its territory from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and increased its popula­tion from less than three millions to more than thirty-three, it stands to-day equal to any of the empires of the other continent, if not superior to the greatest of them in all that constitutes true greatness . . . .

What cause for gratitude to God has this Church, not merely that it has had existence for a century, but that it has existed in such a century, and has been identified to some extent with the great movements of "such a time as this."

Not to dwell longer upon the general subject, though the theme is a fascinat­ing one, — we come to that which is the specific duty, and enjoyment too, of this hour; to "call to remembrance the former days," in which the fathers of this Church laid the foundations of many generations; and to put on record the facts of its history as fully and accurately as the materials at our dis­posal will enable us to do. It is to be regretted that the records for nearly the whole first quarter of the century long since disappeared, and that the lack of them can be but partially supplied by less authoritative documents and by tradition.

As long ago as 1736, the first steps were taken for the establishment of the institutions of the Gospel in this place. In that year, the legislature of Massachusetts, supposing that its jurisdiction extended as tar north as this, and much farther, granted "township Number One," as it was then called, to a num­ber of persons resident in various towns in Massachusetts and Connecticut. By the terms of the charter, the grantees were required to build and furnish, within three years, "a convenient meeting-house for the public worship of God, and settle a learned orthodox minister." In June, 1737, a highway, ten rods wide, was surveyed and located on a line coincident with that of the main street in this village, and extend­ing northwardly till it struck the river, a burying-ground was established on the land now occupied for that purpose, "and the meeting-house plat is fixed in the middle of the aforesaid ten rods highway right against the twenty-fourth lot," where in fact a house was after­wards built. A few persons moved into the wilderness and began a settle­ment, but the establishment of the Northern boundary of Massachusetts so far South as to leave Number One out of that State discouraged the settlers, and the breaking out of the Cape Bre­ton war led them entirely to abandon the enterprise. In 1751, the settlement of the town was again attempted, and in 1754 or '5 it was again abandoned, for fear of the Indians Who had recently made an attack on Charlestown, N. H., and carried several of the inhabitants into captivity. It was not till 1761 that such measures were taken as se­cured a permanent settlement. From




631                                         WESTMINSTER.                                           71


that time the population rapidly in­creased, and at the expiration of ten years Westminster was the most popu­lous town in Eastern Vermont.

This Church was organized by a council consisting of representatives of the churches in Charlestown, Keene, Walpole, Westmoreland, and Winches­ter, New Hampshire; Northfield, and Warwick, Mass.; and Abington, Con­necticut. Of the 300 persons, or more, who then constituted the population of the town, only nine were found ready to be constituted a church.

At this first ordination, Rev. Micah Lawrence, of Winchester, N. H , made the opening prayer; Rev. Mr. Hedge, the ordaining prayer; Rev. Bulkley Olcutt, of Charlestown, N. H., gave the charge; Rev. Clement Sumner, of Keene, made the prayer after the charge; and Rev. Thomas Fessenden, of Wal­pole, N. H., gave the right hand of fellowship. It does not appear that any sermon was preached.  .  .  . If there was it was probably preached by the candidate himself, as was the custom a century ago.  .  .  .

By an act of the Legislature in 1787, towns were authorized to levy taxes upon the land for the purpsse of build­ing houses of worship . . . they designed mainly to promote the more rapid settlement and increase the value of the lands . . . this design was recognized in the preamble of the stat­ute. In 1783, at a session held in Westminster, the Legislature authorizes the towns or parishes not only to build meeting-houses, but also to support the preaching of the Gospel by taxes asses­sed, as well upon the polls and other ratable estate of the inhabitants, as upon the lands . . . . the parish and the town were identical, and all the property was liable to contribute for religious purposes according to the vote of the majority.

Speaking of the old meeting-house, "The pews nearest the pulpit were the first built and were occupied by those whose social rank was the highest. Gen. Stephen R. Bradley occupied the wall-pew next the pulpit, on the right hand of the minister, and John Norton, with his numerous daughters, had the corresponding pew on the left. The front pew on the right of the central aisle, was the minister's pew, and di­rectly opposite, was the pew of the Hon. Mark Richards."

Among the converts of the revival of 1838, was Erastus S. Holton, who after­wards employed in the service of God a large measure of the remarkable energy and business ability with which he had before served the world, and whose abundant labors in the cause of temperance and Sabbath Schools entitle him to be held in long and grateful re­membrance. Since 1809, the whole period in which the church has been without a stated minister, does not amount to a year and a half; 382 have united by profession, 168 by letter — 550 in all; from which deduction must be made for persons who have united more than once. Of all these, less than one-fifth still remain resident members of the church. . . . The fathers and mothers have rested from their la­bors. They who toiled side by side in the Christian work, and stood shoulder to shoulder in the Christian warfare, have received a gracious release from labor and conflict. Only here and there one, who in strength of manhood or the zeal of womanhood, have stemmed the current of life or bore the burden and heat of the day, during the first half century of the church's existence, remains to tell us of the former days. We rejoice to see here to-day a venerable father in the ministry, who as long ago as 1810 gave himself in the prime of life to God and this church, and who, for nearly 60 years, has watched over it and prayed for it, and, more than once or twice, has been the instrument in God's hands of its deliverance from declension and impending death; and a mother in Israel, who became a member in 1811, and who, as she looks backward two gener­ations to her grandfather, Ephraim Ranney, and forward two generations, to her grandchildren, children of this church, can testify in the fullness of her soul, that God is a God that keepeth covenant with His people and with their children and their children's children unto the third and fourth, and even to the fifth generation . . .




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Upon some of us the lengthened shadows of life's evening hours are already falling, and the day will soon be gone. To some the sun seems to ride high in mid-heaven. The dewy freshness and fragrance of the morning rests upon the pathway of others. But not one of us shall take part in the anniversary which this church will celebrate a hundred years hence. What changes will then have taken place. We send forth our greetings to those who will then celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of the Church and may God grant that we shall look down upon that scene from the upper glory."



Rev. Dr. Stevens introduced.

[We shall give but brief extracts of the address of Rev. Dr. Stevens of the West Parish — the substance of his discourse being embraced in his particular history that follows, of the West Parish.]




"We are admonished our words should be those of a daughter to her mother in good old age, glad to hear of the prosperity of her child. You will allow us to pass by all her faults. . . We have not in them departed from the Articles of Faith and Covenant you gave us, when, in 1779, you formally divided your original parish, giving to us what lies west of the mountain that divided the town. I say west of the mountain, which means more than the narrow strip of Westminster west of that ridge. This place was the center of worship, as well as of commerce previous to the Revolution. The congregation worshiping on this plain was then gathered from as far west as Brook­line and Athens. The late Theophilus Crawford of Putney, who spent his childhood and youth on the farm some half a mile west of the one now occupied by Deacon Asahel Goodell, on the old road leading from this place to New­fane, said there were families residing in Brookline, who were regular attend­ants on Sabbath worship in this place, in the early history of the town. They passed his father's house on Sabbath morning, the mother and the little ones on horseback, often three on a horse, the father and larger boys and girls on foot, sometimes with bare feet; making a journey out and back not far from 20 miles, to attend worship. The brave old man asked, as he made the state­ment, 'What would the boys now think of that?'

About 1795, there was a Congregational church formed in Brookline, which must have been under the watch and care of the Westminster church for years. Her name first appears among the churches, Oct. 30, 1797, by a dele­gate in the Consociation by the name of Ebenezer Wellman. From this time she disappears from notice until 1819, after which she is quite regularly re­ported until 1829. In 1821, she asked the Consociation if it was proper for them to employ Elder Wellman to preach to them and break bread, he having changed his sentiments from the pecu­liarities of the Baptist, and was ready to fellowship our churches. 'Answered in the affirmative.'

In 1797, there was a Congregational Church in Athens. She reports in the Consociation only once, — September 25th, 1798, by the name of Rev. Jo­seph Bullen, a former minister of this church, who, after leaving this church, served in Athens for a few years in the treble office of minister, farmer and miller. This church never reports her­self after 1799. Probably what few members there were became connected with the church in the West Parish in Westminster, which was formed in that year.

The families from which this church was formed, were, first, the children of the early families of this part of the town, who seem to have had the "West­ern fever," enough to carry them as far as the West Parish. Among these were the two sons of your first deacon, Ephraim Ranney; Elijah and Ephraim, and a William Ranney of another fam­ily, Aaron Gould and his brother, Abiel Carpenter, and Levi Harlow. Secondly, the Goodells:— Asahel and Edward, and a relative of the same name, from Ashfield, Conn., then Mendon. Eph‑




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raim Wilcox from the same State. Thirdly, the Hitchcocks, Heli, Eldad, Elisha and Zadock, from Brimfield, Mass. Fourthly, Ebenezer Goodhue, son of the first minister of Putney. Fifthly, Capt. Robert Miller and the Tuthills from Long Island. Sixthly, about the year 1795, the emigration from Cape Cod to the parish that began, led by Atherton Hall, Esq., with his two sons, Atherton and Peter, then married men; followed soon by Mat­thias Gorham, with his five sons, — Isaac, Matthias 2d, David, William and James. Levi Crowell, Elisha Barry, Joseph Hamblin, the Hallets, Howes and Gideons. These families, with their sons which I have mentioned, had daughters to match. They soon paired off, and by a law of progress sacredly regarded in those days, multiplied on a fearful ratio. Every nook and corner of the parish was soon full. There was a house in almost every place where the soil was deep enough for a cellar, as may be seen by passing over the sheep pastures now on the ridge that divides Westminster from Brookline and Athens. The church was full every Sabbath. The school houses in the parish were crowded. It is said three families sent thirty scholars one day and had a large reserve force at home."

For the remainder of this happy church history, see history of the West Parish.

After the address from the West Par­ish, prayer, singing, benediction, pro­cession, dinner, toasts.




1. THE ORATOR OF THE DAY — Though not Westminster born, yet we claim him as an honored son. May his history be as illustrious as that of Pliny of old, to whom the generations to come may delight to refer for the facts of the past.


Rev. P. H. White responded.

2. Reminiscences of the early families of Westminster.


"Father Stevens" responded.

3. We are favored with the presence of one who has been prominently identified with the history of this Church, and for whose prayers and self-denying efforts in her behalf, she would express her deep debt of gratitude to­day.


Father Arnold responded with feeling. He was a native of the town of almost fourscore years; he would not be here long and did not desire to; but could still remember things which occurred when he was but three years old. He spoke of families formerly there, but now all gone. He was educated at Middlebury, where he made choice of his profession for life to work for God and religion, and had never regretted that choice, only that he might have been more faithful. He spoke with tend­erness of the memory of the Rev. Syl­vester Sage, and of those who were am­bassadors of Christ.


The remarks of the venerable man were received with the most profound respect and attention.


4. WESTMINSTER — Honored as one of the first settlements of the Green Mountain State. May she have in history an unblemished page. May her sons and her daughters prove worthy of their illustrious sires, first in the cause of truth, foremost in every good word and work.


Rev. A. B. Foster endorsed this sen­timent. He spoke of the beautiful scenery with which that place was blessed in such rich profusion; how he first came to Westminster, was travel­ing with his wife in Windham county, one dark night; had sought in vain for a place of refuge for the night, for there were no taverns there; inquired for a minister's house, — they were gen­erally a hospitable class, and kept very good taverns, as it was not customary for ministers to use tobacco or strong drink [laughter], finally brought up at the house of their venerable friend, Father Arnold, which resulted in his coming to that place as their former pastor.


5. THE MINISTERS AND MISSIONARIES — who have either directly or indirectly descended from families connected with this Church. One of their representatives we are happy to meet here to-day.


Responded to by Rev. Mr. Grout.


The following by Rev. A. Stevens:


6. THE PASTOR OF THIS CHURCH — Favored in the beautiful location of the place, and the




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united sympathies of the people of his charge. May he be abundantly prospered in his work.


Responded to by the President of the day.


7. THE CHURCH IN WEST WESTMINSTER — Honored in the munificent gift of more than her present membership to churches in other States. Having sent out a goodly number of influential men she has kept a good reserve at home.


Hon. Homer Goodhue, of Westmin­ster West, responded pleasantly; sub­ject, matrimonial alliances between the two parishes. — [Cheers.]


8. THE HOLY BIBLE — A treasure which each may call his own, yet 'tis the heritage of the race. Wherever it goes it scatters Heavenly blessings in its path.


Rev. Mr. Gilbert spoke of the Bible agency with which he was connected; of the time when he was pastor of this church; of one who united with the church at the age of 90 years.


9. Favored is that Church which can combine her talent with her piety in serving the Lord.


Judge Ira Goodhue was called out. He referred to the first settlers, their great physical strength, instanced one woman who could take up a barrel of cider by the chines and drink at the bung. [Laughter.] He did not claim that this had much to do with religion, but it was the kind of people that made good Christians and citizens, and he hoped some of this vigor and vitality would be handed down to posterity.


10. ALL HONOR TO THE HOARY HEAD — The connecting link between the present and the past. What changes have taken place during the last hundred years! What improvements shall we make for a hundred years to come?


Capt. James Titcomb responded for the old people, and said that the story of his life was nearly told, as had been freshly illustrated yesterday, to which event he alluded with much feeling.*


11. THE PRESS — The faithful chronicler of current events and the invaluable depository of materials for future history.


Geo. F. Houghton, Esq., of St. Al­bans, a native of Guilford, this county, responded: "When I see near me veteran editors, who are, at this mo­ment, chronicling the events of this Centennial Jubilee (Rev. Mr. Bishop, A. N. Swain, of the Bellows Falls Times) I am surprised I should be called upon to respond to this sentiment. . .

These Centennial celebrations are of general interest as well as of local im­portance. One jubilee paves the way for another, and it is a matter of no trifling moment that those celebrations, holden heretofore at Weston, Weathersfield, Bennington, Poultney, Middlebury and Vergennes, have stimulated town and State pride, and awakened an inter­est in local history, which cannot be abated.

If it be proper for me to express my hope or tender any advice, I would say that by printing the proceedings of this Centennial Celebration, you can best, in the language of Mr. White's text to­day, 'call to remembrance the former days.' Those who have been present will thank you. Posterity, which de­lights in details, will also thank you. The expense of such a publication will be small in comparison with the advantages to be derived. Such a publication will show your practical belief in the sentiment just read that 'the press is the faithful chronicler of current events and the invaluable repository of mate­rials for future history.' "


12. THE ANCIENT HOUSE OF GOD — It has braved the storms of an hundred years. May it withstand the blasts of many an hundred years to come.


Prof. L. F. Ward said, — alluding to the building in which they were assem­bled:


*The funeral of Dea. Pliny Safford, the first name on the Committee of Arrangements for this Centennial anniversary, whose death had occurred June 5. 1867, but three days before.




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"It has been preserved for an hun­dred years, and shows for itself whether it would last another hundred. It is sacred through its age and will be more so in time to come. Here, too, many worthies of Vermont have assembled as legislators. It was here Ethan Allen had been, and here (pointing to the old pulpit) is the old desk from which came the old-fashioned preaching which made the wicked quake. [Applause.] He saw no reason why the building could not be preserved for centuries to come, and hoped the people of Westminster would preserve it with all its chiseling and architecture."


There were others, clergymen, etc., friends from abroad, it would have been gratifying to have heard from, but for want of time the services were concluded at the hall by singing Old Hundred, in which the audience joined, and the procession then formed, re proceeded to the church, where, with befitting ceremonies, they united in celebrating the Lord's Supper. Thus closed the ceremonies from 10 A.M. to nearly 5 P.M., a day to be remembered in the history of the Church and treasured up in the chambers of the hearts of many.









was celebrated 17 Jan., 1877, in the church near the site of the old Westminster Court House; the people in the East Parish and from the West Parish filling the large church to overflowing, and the sacred house, beautiful for the occasion with flowers, evergreens and mottoes.

P. F. Barnard presided over the meeting; Rev. Dr. Stevens, of the West Parish, opening the ceremonies by prayer; a record of the Proceedings of the Westminster Convention and declaration were read by John B. Morse, a lineal descendant of one of the dele­gates who framed it.

Henry Clark, of Rutland, orator of the evening, spoke happily for an hour. Letters were read from Gov. Fairbanks, and Hon. E. P. Walton, President of the State Historical Society, of con­gratulation, and regretting not being able to attend.

Rev. Dr. Stevens brought forward the fact that the whole territory of Ver­mont was added to New York in 1769 for the consideration of the annual pay­ment of one raccoon skin.

Ralph S. Safford gave the location and occupants of all the houses in Westminster 100 years ago.

Other speakers made short and pleas­ant speeches. All passed off successfully.








1775 — 1872 — 1873.


1775: To the memory of William French and Daniel Hough­ton, shot in the Westminster Court House, March ye 13th, 1775.

1872: To the honor of the Legisla­ture of Vermont, of this ses­sion, who voted an appro­priation of money to be ex­pended in erecting a monu­ment at Westminster in com­memoration of these said patriotic young men, the first martyrs of Vermont Inde­pendence.

1873: Nov. 6, was inaugurated the monument at Westminster — a day of honor on the tablet of her history.


Under the base was placed a record, signed by H. C. Lane, one of the select­men of the town, stating that the ap­propriation for the monument, as then erected, was made by the Legislature of 1872, including also the date of erec­tion. This fine monument is of Rye-gate Blue Mountain granite.




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. . . . I cannot tell you much about the paper money of colonial times. I had a few bills, but put them into the museum at Dartmouth College. I think they were struck off in Spooner's office. (This is hearsay.) There was an old Mr. John Gould living in Windham when I came here. He was a printer in the office. He had a quantity of the type with which the paper was printed. He gave a few to me. I have made in­quiry for the plate from which the money was struck, but in vain.

As to the money, I was told by the late Henry Stevens that every bill of the Westminster money was redeemed in full, which every other State failed to do. He would be good authority for the truth of the fact.

This Mr. John Gould, to whom I have referred, has grand-children living in the county, of whom I have inquired, who understand that their grandfather was printer in the office of Spooner at the date of the money. This is tradi­tion.


[Our "Bank of Continental Money" was presented by Henry Stevens, the Vermont antiquary, whom we have also heard affirm what Rev. Mr. Stevens has quoted, that Vermont redeemed every dollar of her Continental money, and was the only State in the Union that did it.

We have two fresh bills of the old Westminster money for seventy-five cents. They are half the size of an ordinary dollar bill of the present day. "¾" stands in a slightly oblique circle in each corner, within which, round the sides, runs a chain border, within each alternate link a cluster of roses, and within each other alternate link "LXXV." Each border has six links. The printed inscription:



The President and Directors of the VERMONT STATE BANK

promise to pay ___________________ or bearer  SEVENTY-FIVE CENTS,


Westminster __________ 18__.

___________________________ Cash           No. ____

___________________________ Pres.


We have, also, a Westminster money half dollar bill, of the same size as the "LXXV," in whose chain border of links alternates with the link of roses the "HALF D" link; and "FIFTY C." stands in the lower right hand corner.

And we have one whole, grand, Con­tinental Westminster-Money sheet, un­cut, as it came from the Spooner press. The width of the sheet is that of the length of an ordinary $10 bill of to-day, the depth of the sheet that of four bills with free margin. At the top of the sheet is a "1.75" bill; next below, a "1.50" bill; third, a "1.25," and at the foot of the two bills "½" — "HALF D." and "¾," — "LXXV." The bills have both marks. — ED.]


CORRIGENDA. — The statement on page 595 that the Westminster Monument was raised by means devised at the Vermont anniversary at Westminster in 1877, is a mistake. It was talked of at Westminster in 1870, it could be so done. Mr. Fairbanks left the State in 1871 — and correcting his proof in Connecticut, 15 years after, came to the line, "When Vermont shall meet at Westminster in 1877." It did not read well fifteen years after. He changed it to, "when Vermont in 1877 met at Westminster," supposing it had been done as talked of when he left Westminster, — and it passed the press before observed. So difficult is a perfect accuracy on local matters, who would run a historical publication without a "Corrigenda?" Also, page 596, line 23, it should read Mary Crosman, and line 25, Richards for Richard.