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Vermont Historical Gazetteer

Source: Abby Maria Hemenway, editor, Vermont Historical Gazetteer: A Magazine Embracing a History of Each Town, Civil, Ecclesiastical, Biographical and Military, Volume 1, Addison, Bennington, Caledonia, Chittenden and Essex Counties (Burlington, Vermont: Miss A.M. Hemenway, 1868), page 52.

[page 52]

[Middlebury, Vermont]

1788.  Samuel MILLER, the first lawyer in town, and one of the most distinguished citizens, settled in 1788.  In 1790, he married Rebekah MATTOCKS, daughter of Hon. Samuel MAITOCKS, State treasurer for many years.  He had an extensive practice, and stood side by side with Daniel CHIPMAN, at the head of the profession in the several counties in which they practised.  In 1797, he was an influential member of the General Assembly.  While the prominent men of Middlebury were pressing their claims before the legislature, it was remarked that “the influence of PAINTER with his cunning, CHIPMAN with his argument, and MILLER with his courteous address, if it were possible, would deceive the very elect.”  Mr. MILLER was devoted to the village, and contributed liberally to build up its institutions of religion and education.  He was particularly active in procuring the college charter, and gave $1,000 to establish the first professorship.  Of the Congregational church he was a member, and left it a legacy of $l000, and $500 to the Vermont Missionary Society.  He died of cancer on the 17th of April, 1810, aged 52.

[page 307]

[Burke, Vermont]


Was born in Farmington, Ct., in 1788. In —-, he moved to Tinmouth in this State, where he resided until he moved to this town. While residing in Tinmouth, he was chosen captain of the artillery company there, and retained in that capacity until his removal. In 1800[?] he removed to this town, and settled on what is called the West Hill.

He was, while a resident of this town, often chosen to fill town offices, such as justice of the peace, selectman, lister, etc., and he always discharged his duty with fidelity and despatch. He raised a family of 10 children, — 8 now living, — the youngest of whom is Dr. Selim[?] NEWELL, of St. Johnsbury. Another (Isaac) was a Baptist preacher, for a long time settled over the Baptist Society at Danville Green, Vt., but moved West about the year 1836, where he died.

In his religious sentiments, the Captain was a Baptist, and one who exemplified his religion by dispensing with a liberal hand to the poor and needy, — consoling the afflicted, encouraging the faint-hearted, — in short, by obeying the injunction, “Do unto others as you would that others should do unto you.” Possessed of a kind heart and a large share of “sociality,” he was ever a welcome guest in every circle, whether of old or young, rich or poor.  Moreover, he was a very public-spirited man, and, while unostentatious in all his acts, always one of the first to engage in any work whereby the community might be benefited, without asking or expecting reward, yet having his reward in the consciousness of fulfilling the design of his creation, and in the respect, confidence and love of his fellowmen. Perhaps no man ever lived in town who was more generally respected and beloved.

Physically, he was a fine specimen of manly beauty, being above the common height, well proportioned, and very straight. His carriage was full of ease and dignity, and his countenance but the reflection of his heart. In 1824 he went to his rest.

[page 310]

One incident occurred in 1846, near East Burke, which shows that God takes care of his own through life, and takes them home to himself as he pleases. There was a Mr. NEWELL and his wife,* some 70 years of age, poor in things of this world, but rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom. She was his third wife, and he was her third husband. They lived in a small log house, at the foot of a steep bank, in a retired place. Being destitute of food and fuel, the neighbors carried in a good supply of the necessaries of life, for which they were thankful. Mrs. NEWELL, a few days after this, in conversation with some of her neighbors, remarked that they were poor, and that it would be difficult to support themselves, and they hardly knew what to do. She said that her children were willing to [?]tain her but not her husband; and that his children would support him, but were not willing to support her, and they could not bear the thought of being separated. She said, “We have concluded to live together, and hope to die to-


*She was a daughter of the Rev. Felig[?] HIX, the first settled minister of Burke.

[page 311]

gether.” A short time after this conversation, there was a heavy rain during the night, which caused an avalanche or slide in the hill back of their house, which came down with such force as to carry away the roofs and fill the entire house with earth to the depth of some 5 feet. It was discovered the next morning by a man who was passing by. He informed the inhabitants of the village, many of whom immediately repaired to the place and commenced removing the earth, which in a moment of time had unroofed the house, and buried its occupants alive, while in bed, apparently asleep, as appeared when the cold, thick, heavy, earthy covering was removed from their lifeless remains. Near the bed a Bible was found lying on the stand. They had doubtless read the Word of God, and in prayer had committed to him the keeping of their souls, and fell asleep to wake no more on earth. And in this providence it seemed that their desires were granted; they were not separated in life, nor divided by death. A large congregation assembled on the day of their interment., and on many a manly face the tear stole silently down as they saw them lie side by side in death, and borne away to rest in one grave.

[page 350]

[Lyndon, Vermont]

Messrs. GEORGE E. CHAMBERLIN and HENRY NEWELL, should rightfully be classed as Lyndon students, who have recently graduated at Dartmouth (but it would be characteristic of St. Johnsbury to claim them) […] The other graduates living in town, are MOSES CRANE, Esq., the Rev. WILIAM SCALES, Hon. SAMUEL B. MATTOCKS, the last two of Middlebury […]

There have resided in town over 20 different physicians, most of whom we have named; some were eminently skilled and all of good repute for science as well as morals. Some of the most scientific and skilled still live, of whom it is not my purpose to make remarks in any department other than general, yet it may not be deemed invidious to name as such, Drs. SPAULDING and NEWELL, who are neither now residents here […]

[page 360]

[Peacham, Caledonia County, Vermont]

Thus we come down to 1800. Within less than 30 years the wilderness had been invaded, and before the sturdy blows of the woodchopper the forest had rapidly disappeared, and those now beautiful and fertile slopes of land laid open to the light of the sun, and bountiful harvests crowned the labors of the husbandman. Substantial dwellings took the place of log cabins, roads were opened and graded, an academy built and not agoing [?] under auspicious influences, a printing press established from whence for several years a weekly newspaper was issued, a church organized and a pastor settled. The people worked — earned their bread by the sweat of thye brow.  The idle and shiftless were not wanted and were summarily reminded they might return whence they came.

The ELKINSes were brave men, the six gigantic BLANCHARDs were not behind, while William CHAMBERLAIN ran lines [?] both for land and conduct. Others too, as the McLAUGHLINs, SKEELs, the BAILEYs, MINERs, MERRILLs, MARTINs, made their mark, and posterity honor their memory. Among its freemen at that time were William CHAMBERLAIN, afterward member of congress and lieutenant-governor of the state, John MATTOCKS, for 6 years member of congress, governor of the state and a judge in the supreme court […]

[page 429]

[Walden, Vermont]

Orleans County, January Term, }
AD. 1847 }

There is but one sketch of any of his [James BELL̓s] public efforts remaining. That was reported by S.B. COLBY, Esq. of Montpelier, and which we take the liberty to insert in this article.

Brother BELL has made one of his great speeches to-day in defence of Mrs. Hannah PARKER, on trial for the murder of her own child. I have never heard or felt a deeper pathos than the tones of his voice bore to the heart, and as he stood up in the dignity of old age, his tall, majestic form over-leaning all the modern members of the bar (as if he had come from some superior physical generation of men), tremulous, slightly, with emotions that seemed thronging up from the long past, as the old advocate yielded, for a

[page 430]

moment to the effect of early associations, and introduced himself and his fallen brethren whom his eye missed from their wonted seats, as it glanced along the vacant places inside the bar. He said:

May it please your honor,

and gentlemen of the jury:

I stood among giants, though not of them: my comrades at the bar have fallen. FLETCHER! the untiring and laborious counselor, the persuasive advocate, the unyielding combatant, is where? Eternity echoes, here!

CUSHMAN, the courtly and eloquent lawyer, the kind and feeling man, the polished and social companion and friend, where now is he? The world unseen alone can say.

MATTOCKS lives, thank God, but is withdrawn from professional toil, from the clash of mind on mind, the combat of intellect and wit, the flashing humor and grave debates of the court room, to the graceful retreat of domestic life.

I am alone, an old tree, stripped of its foliage and tottering beneath the rude storms of seventy winters; but lately prostrate at the verge of the grave, I thought my race was run; never again did I expect to be heard in defence of the unfortunate accused. But Heaven has spared me, another monument of His mercy, and I rejoice in the opportunity of uttering, perhaps my last public breath in defence of the poor, weak, imbecile prisoner at the bar.

Gentlemen, she is a mother. She is charged with the murder of her own child! She is arraigned here a friendless stranger. She is without means to reward counsel; and has not the intelligence, as I have the sorry occasion to know, to dictate to her counsel a single fact relating to her case. I have come to her defence without hope of reward; for she has nothing to give but thick, dark poverty, and of that, too, I have had more than enough.

But it gives me pleasure to say that the stringent hardship of her case has won her friends among strangers, and the warm sympathies which have been extended to my client, and the ready and useful aid I have received during this protracted trial, from various members of the bar, strongly indicate the great hearts and good minds of my departed brothers, have left their influence upon these, their successors.

Soon after Mr. BELL̓s return from court he received the following from MATTOCKS:

“Peacham, 10th January 1847.

Brother BELL: In the Watchman I have just seen a specimen of your speech in the murder case. It is worthy of being inserted in the next edition of “Elegant Extracts in Prose.” Sir, you are the last of the Mohicans and the greatest, and when you die (which I fear will be soon, for from the account I hear of your effort in the cause of humanity, it was all but a superhuman brightening before death), the tribe will be extinct. You have justly called our two lamented friends giants, and with the discrimination of a reviewer, have given to each the distinguishing traits of excellence; and although your introducing me with them was gratuitous, it was kind, and the traits you have given me I owe to your generosity.

You say ‘I was not of them,’ this was a fiction, used in an unlawyerlike manner to prevent self-commendation, unless, indeed, you meant as Paul might have said, that he was not of the prophets, because he was a head and shoulders above them. I am proud that you have sustained and surpassed the old school of lawyers. Sir, you are the Nestor of the bar, and may be truly called the ‘Old man eloquent.’

I am, sir, with the greatest respect,

your friend and humble serv̓t,


N.B. I reserve the all important part of this letter to stand by itself Let us hold fast to our hope in Christ.  We near the brink.”

BELL survived his friend a few years, encompassed with infirmity, and died of paralysis, 17th April, 1852.

[page 807]

[Hinesburgh. Vermont]


Three brothers DORWIN came from Lanesboro, Mass., to Hinesburgh.

SAMUEL DORWIN came to town in 1785. He was born in Lanesboro, March 15, 1747, and died in Hinesburgh in 1800. His children were Samuel, Jr., who lived in Fairfax, and died in 1816; Urana[?], who married Calvin MURRAY, lived in Williston and died in 1793; Laura, who married Nathaniel NEWELL, of Charlotte, and died in 1812; Dolly, who married Paul WHITNEY, lived in Hinesburgh and died in 1814; Lyman, who was born in Lanesboro, March 25, 1785, and married Patty HILL about 1807, and had four children. Lyman DORWIN was a man of good mind, intelligent, liberal and faithful in all the relations of life. He was an active member of the Congregational church, and ever ready to do his full share to advance its interests. He had very largely the confidence of his fellow-citizens, and twice represented the town in the legislature. He died April 23, 1848. His widow is yet living.

AMASA DORWIN came here before 1800, the precise year I am not able to learn. He staid a few years and left in 1802 for Pennsylvania.

THOMAS DORWIN came in 1805, with two sons, Canfield and Thomas Milton, the oldest of which had just attained his majority. He was an industrious and thrifty farmer. He died in 1810, and his wife died of the epidemic in 1813 — the first or second death of that disease in town. Thomas Milton removed to Onondaga, N.Y., in 1823, where he recently died. Canfield has ever lived upon the old farm and yet survives. The father, Thomas, was the oldest of a family of 10[?] sons and 4 daughters, whose descendants are widely scattered throughout the States and Canada — comprising nearly if not quite all of the name in the new world. The original name was probably DARWIN. It is so spelled on the older tombstones — and thus, it is believed, where the name occurs in England.

[page 1008]

[Guildhall, Vermont]

[…] At the bars of several counties in this part of the state, he [General Seth CUSHMAN] was the associate and peer of such men as John MATTOCKS, James BELL and Isaac FLETCHER, all acknowledged “giants of their time.”

The Hon. James BELL, in addressing the court and jury of Orleans County in a certain murder case, and referring to “his fallen brethren whom his eyes missed from their wonted seats” (see sketch of Mr. BELL in history of Walden, in No.4 of Historical Magazine, Vol. 1), says:

“May it please your honor, and gentlemen of the jury:–I stood among giants, though not of them:  my comrades at the bar have fallen. FLETCHER! the untiring and laborious councilor, the persuasive advocate, the unyielding combatant, is where? Eternity echoes, here! CUSHMAN, the courtly and eloquent lawyer, the kind and feeling man, the polished and social companion and friend, where now is he? The world unseen alone can say.  MATTOCKS lives, thank God; but is withdrawn from professional toil, from the clash of mind on mind, the combat of intellect and wit, the flashing humor and grave debates of the court-room,” &c.

Soon after, Mr. BELL received from Gov. MATTOCKS a complimentary letter, in the course of which he says:

“You have justly called our two lamented friends giants; and, with the discrimination of a reviewer, have given to each the distinguishing traits of excellence,” &c.

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