Samuel B. Goodhue was admitted to the
bar at November term, 1796, of Windham County Court. He opened an
office here in 1806, and moved from this town in 1809. He died a
patient at the Insane Asylum, Brattleboro, Vt.
Charles Phelps was a son of
Phelps of Marlboro; he was admitted to the bar of
Windham County Court
in 1807, and came here to reside on the 7th day of September of that year.
A pair of saddle-bags, with apparel therein, and the colt upon whose back
he rode, constituted the sum total of his property. He married the
daughter of Jennes Houghton of Guilford, July 21, 1814, and had six children.
His wife and four children survived him. He was elected member of
the Vermont Council in 1820-21-22; Judge of Probate for the District of
Westminster in 1821-22-24; and a Judge of Windham County Court in 1832-33-34.
Holding each of the above named offices for three years.
Popular education always found in him
a ready and earnest supporter. Through the purchase of warrants located
in Illinois and issued to soldiers of the Revolution, he became owner of
numerous tracts land in that State. Nearly all of these lots amounting
to very many thousand dollars in value, were given to Knox College a few
months before his death. Down to 1830, his books and dockets contain
abundant evidence to show that his professional practice was large and
remunerative. At that time his private affairs claimed and thereafter
occupied the greater part of his time. His religious training began
with the dawn of understanding. The libraries, lectures, public meetings,
and religious privileges of a superior order, which are so common in cities,
were strong inducements for putting and end to a longer country life.
The residence of a daughter in Cincinnati, Ohio, decided the question.
In the fall of 1845, he removed with his family to that city, where he
died on the 19th day of November 1854.
James H. Phelps, son of Charles Phelps,
was born in West Townshend, Vt., September 6, 1817, where he has always
made his home. After graduation at Middlebury College in 1835, he
studied law with his father, and was admitted to the bar of Windham County
Court in 1839. About this time his father decided to close his business
in Vermont and remove from the State. Settlement of his affairs,
which consisted largely of financial transactions, was placed at first,
partly, and wholly, in charge of the subject of his notice. But the
matters to be handled were many, and were of such character that they could
not be concluded short of a term of years. A business thus prolonged
and which suited the person conducting it could not easily be abandoned,
even when the cause of its beginning had ceased to exist. Hence it
soon became a chief means of support, and has continued to the present
day. The town offices which the people of his native town have conferred
upon him need not be mentioned. He was a register of the Probate
District of Westminster from December 1, 1842, to December 1, 1846; a judge
of Windham County Court from December 1, 1846, to
1848; he represented
Townshend in the General Assembly of 1848,
1867, and was State senator
in 1854 and
1856. He married Miss Sophia A. Robbins, November 7,
Their children are: Eliza Sophia, (Mrs. Pierce), born June 1, 1851, and
Sarah Jane, born October 20, 1853.
Minnus Kenney, John Roberts,
Stoddard, James M. Sharfter, now of San Francisco, practiced for a while
after being admitted to the bar at the time John Roberts was here.
Col. John Hazeltine owned nearly one-fourth
of the town. This proprietorship required a large expenditure of
time in procuring settlers to improve and possibly by some of his unoccupied
acres. We are informed that his daughters were Rachel, Mrs.
Wood; Jenny, Mrs. Jonas Butterfield; Lucy, Mrs.
Joshua Barnard; Mehitable,
Mrs. Samuel Fletcher; and
Elizabeth, Mrs. Josiah Fish.
His sons were Paul, who died a resident
of this town, Asa, who moved from here to Bakersfield, Vt., and died there;
Peter, who lived in this town, and Silas, who was a manufacturer in Sutton,
Mass. Townshend land records show that Colonel Hazeltine was living
1777, and that he died prior to June 12, 1778. Of his
Jane Hazeltine, we have the following account: “Col.
left a great portion of his property to General Fletcher, and his widow
lived with said Fletcher till she died, (Feb. 16, 1810,) at the age of
104 years. This old lady was very industrious, always spinning at
the little wheel as long as she lived. When she was 100 years old
it is said that she got up from her wheel and danced.”
From the records of Sutton we learn
that the provincial Grant of that town to individuals, is dated May 15,
1704; that Col. Hazeltine was a dealer in lands there from June 15, 1726,
to Dec. 29, 1768; and that the births of some of his children are dated
as follows: Paul, Nov. 20, 1728; Rachel, Feb. 26, 1730; Abigail, March
14, 1732; Elizabeth Aug. 9, 1735.
Peter R. Taft. During the winter
of 1798-99, his father, Aaron Taft, came to this town from Uxbridge, Mass.,
and bought the farm where Peter Hazeltine lived on Tafthill. Peter
R., then 14 years of age, accompanied the family. He came all the
way on foot and drove the cow. In the winter, like other farmers’
boys, he did chores and went to the district school. During the other
months, he spent his time in helping his father carry on the farm.
His education, however , was under the oversight of his father, who was
a college graduate. Fondness for mathematics resulted in his becoming
a land surveyor, and receiving the appointment of county surveyor.
The duties of this office often made necessary a long attendance on his
part at the terms of our County Court. On such occasions he was a
willing as well as attentive listener, and so gained a knowledge of many
legal principles which a person of his parts would be apt to apply correctly
in unfolding the twist of a complicated law-suit. From his first
experience as a trial justice, the entire public had great confidence in
him as a magistrate. While pursuing his studies, he devoted
a portion of his spare moments to reading - a habit which grew with his
advancing years. Later in life he was, indeed, a great reader.
No person was oftener called upon to fill our town offices. In one
position or other his service was almost continuous. This was the
case also, in Jamaica, to which town he removed in 1825. When he
gave up farming and returned to Townshend, in 1837, its voters, with unanimity
replaced him in the offices which he had so acceptably filled in former
years. In the efforts made to establish what is now Leland and Gray
Seminary, he took a very active part. As one of the committee for
erecting the academy building, his foresight and executive talent were
highly appreciated. During his residence in the State he was one
of the board of trustees. He was chosen
judge of Probate for the
district of Westminster in 1830-31-32 and 22; a judge of Windham County
Court in 1835-36 and 37; a justice of the peace in 1831 and served 22 years.
In the General Assembly of 1818, 20, 22 and 24 he represented Townshend,
and 1827, 33 and 34 he represented Jamaica.
At the age of 25 years he was married
to Sylvia Howard of this town, with who he lived until her death in 1866.
About 1839, his only child, Hon. Alphonzo
Taft, commenced the practice of his profession in
To that city the father removed from this town in 1841, and died there
Jan. 1, 1867.