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Software Images icon An illustration of two photographs. Images Donate icon An illustration of a heart shape Donate Ellipses icon An illustration of text ellipses. Full text of " A history of the town of Poultney, Vermont, from its settlement to the yearwith family and biographical sketches and incidents " See other formats Go We have completed the History of Poultney according to the best of our ability and the means of information within our reach, and such as it is we dedicate to the " present and coming generations.
That committee, soon after their appointment, com- menced the work ased them, and before the year closed had the larger portion of the body of the history prepared. But in the year very little was done. In the spring of the committee took upon themselves the responsibility of publish- ing the History, and made their arrangements accordingly. That our work is incomplete we are aware, and how could it be otherwise? We could obtain no information from the first set- tlers, for they had all passed away. Some items had been cop- ied from the town records prior to their destruction by lire, in Church and family records, inscriptions on monuments in the cemeteries, old books — all that would throw light upon the history of the town were sought and examined.
We consulted the oldest inhabitants, both personally and by letter; availed ourselves of tradition, when it was deemed reliable. With such sources of information we have dene the best we could, and hope critics will pass charitably over our work, for, notwithstanding its incompleteness, we think we have saved much from oblivion which in a few years would have been beyond the reach of the historian. In the spring of we decided to go more into biographi- cal and family sketches than was at first contemplated.
This gave us more work, and of the most tiresome and perplexing- kind. We published a request in the Poultney Journal to fam- vi. We are aware that some families have been omitted, others have meagre sketches, and our only apology is, we cannot give information unless we can procure it. It would be strange if some errors were not found. Writers and printers are liable to mistakes, and those furnishing dates and other information are not free from such liability. We ask the reader to make due allowance for the literary execution of our work, for it has been done amid the cares and interruptions of other business, and we are aware that the literature of the family sketches will not endure close criticism.
We did not engage in this work with any idea of making money out of it; we kne w when we commenced that the profits would not be in dollars and cents. A hundred years had passed away since the town was settled, and no historic record had been made.
We Believed that even a partial history of the first half century of the town's existence would be written soon or never. To pre- serve what we could of that history has been our aim. Our work, such as it is, is before you. The First Settlement and the First Settlers No foot of white man, unless it may have been some adventurous explorer, had ever trod its solitary pathways. The same venerable summits, "Old Herrick," Spruce Knob and Bird Mountain, stood then as now, and from their tops a grand and beautiful view could have been obtained of the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain at the north- west, the Catskill Mountains at the south-west, and the Green Mountain chain on the east, for nearly a hundred miles in extent.
Town Kill and Howe's Hill the latter formerly known as Parker's Hill then, as now, looked down upon the Valley of Poultney River, which seperates these two prominences. That river, too, was then here, and its tributaries. They were filled with the speckled trout, larger and much more plentiful than now found in those streams; and Poultney River, then without a name, unchecked by dam or crossed by bridge, coursed its roaring or babbling way beneath the tufted foliage of the primeval forest into the quiet waters of Lake Champlain.
Rears growled, deer bounded, and wolves howled amid the thickets, Which no woodman's axe had invaded. No voice of man had for once awakened the echoes of these hills and glens, save some Indian hunter, as he pursued his game, or uttered the defiant War-whoop as he met his foe in deadly conflict. Then, every- thing was in its rudest dress — hill side and hollow, forest and rock — all as nature made, all as their untutored occupants left them.
The Indian passed away, and with him perished the story of his race. All their tender loves and their revenges; every ad- venture of chief or subject — all alike unrecorded, have gone forever into an oblivion from which the pen of the historian can never recover them.
The white man came. In defiance of a frowning forest, the inclemencies of a severe climate, and in the midst of blood-thirsty beasts of prey, he sought his home. He counted and accepted the cost; he set up the altars of his faith, and taught the wilderness to "bud and blossom as the rose. Idle streams were made to work their passage, as they were made to turn his machinery, and thus, with tireless gladness, to aid and assist him in the business of life. The patient genius of religion and education built the church; the school-house took his little ones in care, and trained them up to execute new triumphs in the arts of civilization.
And now for a hundred years, on this ground, that race have plied their intelligence, their invention, their industry and their skill. And why may we not — why should we not gather up the story which those busy years can furnish? Who would refuse to trace the record of their sayings and doings? Who withhold from the hardy pioneers who inaugurated, and the wist' and valiant men who have transmitted to us this noble inherit- ance, that meed of praise their nanu s so richly deserve?
Surely not the worthy sons who inherit their names and virtues; surely not the natives of other towns, who have been drawn hither by the prospects of good, and who are now gathering the fruits of a prosperity which others planted. Every just, evejpy filial, every honorable son or citizen of Poultney, must respond to the claim which liis native or adopted tow n h;is to a permanent and in- structive history. It would be undutiful and unjust to the departed generations — the ancient worthies of our town — to refuse it.
No efforts should be deemed too costly which can secure it. Henry Clark, Esq. He saved an essential portion of the joroprietors' records, and of other documents, by copying, and kindly furnished to the writers of this work what he had thus saved, with much other material that he had collected in preparing his address.
Clark, in his address, says: "The grants of Charters in this State by Governor Benning Wentworth, commences with Bennington, January 3d,and extends to August 4th, Only sixteen charters, and most of those for towns located on the east side of the mountain, were granted until In that year, sixty charters were granted. In the month of September, eleven were granted, and seven of these were within the present limits of the County of Rutland, viz.
The following is a copy of the Charter: Province of New Hampshire. France and Ireland, King and Defender of the Faith, etc. And the inhabitants that do, or shall hereafter in- habit the said township, are hereby declared to be enfranchised with, and entitled to, all and every the privileges and immuni- ties thai other towns within our Province, by law, exercise and enjoy.
Ami further, thai the said town, as soon as there shall he fifty families resident and settled tin rein, shall have the liberty of holding two fairs, one of w hich shall be held on theand the other on theannually; which fairs shall not continue longer than the respective following the - iid. Also, that the first meeting for the choice of town officers, agreeable to the laws of Our said Province, shall be held on the second Tuesday of October next, which said meeting shall be notified by Mr.
Samuel Brown, who is hereby appointed the Moderator of said first meeting, which he is to notify and govern agreeable to the laws and customs of Our said Province. And that the annual meeting, forever after, for the choice of such officers for the said town, shall be on the second Tuesday of March annually. To have and to hold said tract of land as above expressed, together with all privileges and appurtenances to whom, and their respective heirs and as forever, upon the following- con ditions, viz.
That every grantee, his heirs and ass, shall plant and cultivate five acres of land within the town in five years, for every fifty acres contained in his or her share, or proportion of land in said township, and to improve and settle the same by additional cultivation, on the penalty, or forfeiture of his grant or share in the said township, of its reverting to Us, Our heirs or successors, to be by us or them regranted to such of Our sub- jects as shall effectually settle and cultivate the same.
That all white or other pine trees within the said town- ship, fit for masting Our Royal Navy, be carefully preserved for that use, and none to be cut and felled without Our special for so doing first had and obtained, upon the penalty of the forfeiture of the right of such grantee, his heirs and ass, to Us, Our heirs and successors, as well as being subject to the penalty of an Act or Acts of Parliament that now are, or shall be enacted. That before any division be made to and among the grantees, a tract of land, as near the center of the township as the land will admit of, shall be reserved and marked out for town lots, and of which shall be allotted to each grantee of the contents one acre.
Every proprietor, settler or inhabitant shall yield and pay unto Us, Our heirs and successors, yearly, and every year from and after the expiration of ten years, from the above said 25th day of December, which will be in the year of our Lordone shilling, proclamation money, for every hundred acres he so owns, settles or possesses, and so in proportion for a greater or less tract of the said land, which money shall be paid by the respective persons above said, their heirs or ass, in Our Council Chamber in Portsmouth, or to such officer or officers as shall be appointed to receive the same, and this to be in lieu of all other rents and service whatever.
In testimony whereof, we have caused the seal of Our said Province to be hereunto affixed. September 21, Recorded in the Book of Charters, His Excellency, Benning Wentworth, Esquire, a tract of land, to contain five hundred acres, as marked "B.
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