EARLY HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF
SPRINGFIELD lies in the southeastern corner of the county, in lat. 43° 17', and long. 4° 28', bounded north by Weathersfield, east by Connecticut river, which separates it from Sullivan county, N. H., south by Rockingham, in Windham county, and west by Chester. It has an area of about 28,000 acres, originally granted by New Hampshire, to Gideon LYMAN and sixty-one others, August 20, 1761, and re-chartered by New York, March 16, 1772.
The surface of the town is broken and rugged, though not sufficiently so to seriously retard cultivation of the soil, which is in many localities of an excellent quality. Black river, with its numerous tributaries, forms the watercourse of the township, entering from Weathersfield in the northwestern part, and flowing a southwesterly course into the Connecticut. The most abundant rock entering into the geological formation of the town is calciferous mica schist, which underlies the whole central part. The western part of the territory is made up of gneiss, while clay slate and talcose schist underlie the eastern portion.
In 1880 Springfield had a population of 3,154, the most populous town in the county, and in 1882 it was divided into fifteen school districts and contained twenty-three common schools, employing six male and thirty female teachers, to whom was paid an aggregate salary of $5,513.69. There were 651 pupils attending school, while the entire cost of the schools for the year, ending October 31st, was $6,736.07, with George W. BAILEY, superintendent.
SPRINGFIELD village lies in the central part of the town, on Black river. It had a population of about 7,520, and is one of the handsomest and most stirring villages in the State. The act of its incorporation was passed by the legislature November 17, 1866. The river at this point passes over a succession of falls, aggregating a fall of 770 feet in an eighth of a mile, thus affording unexcelled hill-sites, accounting for the large amount of manufacturing business centered here. The village has four churches, (Congregtional, Methodist, Universalist and Roman Catholic,) one hotel, two banks, three dry goods stores, three grocery stores, two clothing, two drug, two fruit, and two hardware stores. Of its manufactories there are two machine shops, one foundry, one furniture, two toy, one baby-cab, one mop, one clothes-pin, one cheese, one dolls' heads and sundries, one builders' furnishings, one tin, one scythe snath, and one spool and bobbin manufactory, and one cotton and one woolen mill. The town clerk's office is also located here, and the village has a good weekly: newspaper, the "Springfield Reporter."
NORTH SPRINGFIELD is a post village located in the northwestern part of the town, on Black river. It has two churches (Advent and Baptist); a school house, one store, a fancy box factory, a grist-mill, saw-mill, phosphate factory, three blacksmith shops, a cheese factory and about sixty-one dwellings.
PARKER'S MILLS is a hamlet located in the southern part of town, on Black river. It consists of a bobbin and spool manufactory, saw and grist-mill, school-house and twelve dwellings.
The Springfield Savings Bank was incorporated by an act of the legislature approved December 6, 1853. Business was commenced the following year with Henry BARNARD, president; George JOHNSON, vice-president; and George W. PORTER, secretary and treasurer. The present officers are Samuel ROLLINS, president; George P. HAYWOOD, vice-president; Charles A. FORBUSY, treasurer; and George C. PORTER, assistant treasurer.
The First National Bank of Springfield was chartered in 1863, with a capital of $200,000.00, with Henry BARNARD, president, and George W. PORTER, cashier. In 1878 the capital stock was reduced to $700,000.00. In 1882, the original charter having expired, the institution was re-chartered for twenty years, with a capital of $100,000.00. The bank now has a surplus fund of $33,700.00, with Amasa WOOLSON, president, and B. F. ALDRICH, cashier.
J C. HOLMES & Co.'s cotton mill, located at Springfield village, was built by the Black River Manufacturing Company, in 1836. The property was purchased by John HOLMES & Co., Mr. HOLMES being the father of the present senior member of the firm, in 1865, and came into the present owners' possession in 1874. They now employ twenty-two hands in the manufacture of cotton warp. Previous to the erection of this mill, the Black River Company run a mill on the opposite side of the street, built in 1820, where, it is said, the first cotton yarn in the State was manufactured. The yarn was sent to the State prison and then woven by hand.
The Spring Geld -Flouring Mill, located at Springfield village, was built by the present proprietors, COBB & DERBY, in 1882. The firm does custom grinding in addition to about three car loads of merchant corn per month.
W. M. KNIGHT?s cider-mill, located on road 30, was built by Mr. KNIGHT in 1876. It has the capacity for turning out twenty-five barrels of cider per day.
The PARKS & WOOLSON Machine Company, A. WOOLSON, president, and C. E. RICHARDSON, treasurer, is engaged in the manufacture of cloth dressing machinery, at Springfield village. The business was established by DAVIDSON & PARKS, in 1826, and in 1846 A. WOOLSON was admitted to the firm, the title being changed to DAVIDSON, PARKS & WOOLSON. In 1874, the present company was incorporated, with a capital of $60,000.00. They now employ thirty hands.
The Vermont Snath Company, at Springfield village, was incorporated November 18, 1868, with a capital of $30,000.00, T. P. BALL, president, and H. W. THOMPSON, treasurer. The present officers are Miles SMITH, president, and J. WHITE, treasurer. They employ thirty men in the manufacture of stoves, mill machinery, and brass and iron castings. June 8, 1882, the firm sustained a loss of $20,000.00 by fire. Previous to this they had employed fifty men.
Richard J. KENNEY's sash and blind factory, located at Springfield village, was established by him in 1872. Mr. KENNEY employs about twenty men.
LELAND & FIELD's cheese factory, located at North Springfield, came into the present proprietor's possession in 1877. They manufacture cheese from the milk of 300 cows, though the factory has the capacity for using the milk from 500 cows.
Frank D. MARTIN's fancy-box factory, located at North Springfield, was established in 1879. Mr. MARTIN employs twelve hands in the manufacture of all kinds of fancy boxes.
D. J. BOYNTON's saw-mill, located at North Springfield, was built in 1870-'71, upon the site of a mill carried away by a freshet in 1869. Mr. BOYNTON manufactures about 500,000 feet of lumber, in addition to a large amount of lath and shingles.
The Springfield marble and granite works, located at Springfield village, were the first of the kind established in the county. They came into the hands of the present proprietor in 1862, who has sustained the reputation of the establishment for doing excellent work.
The North Springfield grist-mill, William J. JOHNSON, proprietor, has four runs of stones, and does custom work.
George W. GRAHAM's carriage and wagon works, located at Springfield village, were established by Lewis GRAHAM in 1849, and came into the hands of the present proprietor in 1863, who has since done a flourishing business.
The Springfield Toy Manufactory, located at Springfield village, was established by F. W. PORTER & Co. in 1868. The firm now employs twenty hands and manufactures 100,000 toy carriages per annum.
SLACK & BRINK's shoddy-mill, located at Springfield village, was established in 1871. The firm employs fifteen hands in the manufacture of fine, all-wool shoddy.
GILMAN & THOMPSON's machine shop, located at Springfield village, was established by Mr. GILMAN in 1854. The firm employs eight men in the manufacture of lathes for turning shoe lasts, hat blocks, and other irregular forms.
D. M. SMITH & Co., located at Springfield village, are engaged in the manufacture of clothes pins, mop and brush handles, etc., employing fifteen hands.
The Black River woolen mills, located at Springfield village, were established by the Village Falls Manufacturing Company, in 1836. The present firm, WHITMORE & DILLON, employs seventy-five hands in the manufacture of woolen cloth, turning out about 250,000 yards per annum.
J. T. ROBINSON's saw and shingle-mill, located at Parker's Mills, employs ten hands, having the capacity for turning out 15,000 feet of lumber and 15,000 shingles per day, and two car loads of chair-stock per week.
S. B. & P. W GOULD's spool and bobbin manufactory, located at Parker's Mills, gives employment to twenty men in the manufacture of spools and bobbins.
WOODWARD's saw and cider-mill, located at "Hard Scrabble," was built by John BRITTON, and bought by the present owner in 1875. It has an up-and-down saw and cuts 2,000 feet of lumber per day. The cider-mill was added to the saw-mill in 1877, and has the capacity for manufacturing twenty-five barrels of cider per day.
The first settlement within the limits of the township was made as early as 1753, by Daniel SAWTELL, Jacob SAWTELL, Oliver SAWTELL, Combs HOUSE, Oliver FARNSWOTH, Samuel DOUGLASS, Joseph DOUGLASS, Noah PORTER, Nathaniel POWERS, Simeon POWERS and Simeon POWERS, Jr. These settlers, at the close of the French war, made a futile effort to secure from Governor Wentworth a patent of the lands which they had improved. He took no notice of their petition; but, however, on the 20th of August, 1761, gave a charter of the township of Springfield to Gideon LYMAN and sixty-one associates, the large majority of whom were residents of Northampton, Mass., and its vicinity. No one of these persons became an actual settler, it is believed.
At a meeting of the proprietors, held in Northampton, on the 19th of July, 1762, measures were taken to secure the ejectment of the first settlers from the lands which they occupied. This action resulted in judgment against "John NOTT and others," in the spring of 1764. NOTT and most of his associates, however, became permanent residents of the town. The first settler under the charter was John KILBURN, who is said to have purchased a right in 1761, and to have entered upon it shortly after. As the first allotment of land among the proprietors was made on the 21st of June, 1762, he could not have been in possession previous to that date. Simon STEVENS, a native of Canterbury, Conn., who had become familiar with this locality while in military service, returned in 1762 to make the spot on which he had encamped while on an expedition against Crown Point his home. To no one man, in those early years, was the town more deeply indebted. He enjoyed the confidence both of the proprietors and the residents of Springfield, and "by his example and individual efforts he did much to alleviate the wants and add to the happiness of the settlers." He early confessed his faith in Christ, and was a member of the Church of Christ from its organization in 178, until his death, in 1817.
The settlers came in very slowly, and were but a handful in number at the organization of the town, which probably occurred in the spring of 1764, though the only authentic papers extant bearing on the subject are two warrants among the "STEVENS papers," now in possession of Hon. Wm. M. PINGRY. They are as follows:
During that year a meeting "to choose town officers agreeable to the charter" was called on the 13th of March, at the house of Joseph LITTLE. George HALL was chosen moderator, and the meeting adjourned until the 26th inst. Of that meeting no record is extant, but the organization was probably then effected. No further record of town action is preserved until April, 1769, at which date the simplicity of the town organization indicates a scanty population. Two years later we have the first authentic statement of the number of inhabitants. By the New York census there were in Springfield, on the 16th of January, 1771, twenty-seven families, and a total population of one hundred and forty-one persons, seventy-five of whom were males and sixty-seven females. During this year a further allotment of land was made by the proprietors. The region previously open for settlement lay between the Black river and the Weathersfield line. This locality proved the most attractive to the new comers, and here for many years the population was the most dense. On the 21st of December, 1775, a form of agreement, preserved by the Association in New York, pledging its signers to unity of action and efficient endeavor to carry forward the measures of the Continental Congress, was returned from Springfield with fifty-one signatures. As the returns sent to the Committee of Correspondence were to include the names of those who refused to sign, and as no such were given, it is clear that every citizen of Springfield, at that date, was loyal to the cause of American liberty. The number of signers enables us to judge approximately the total population at that time, which could not have been more than two hundred and fifty.
By the first constitution of the State, each town having eighty taxable inhabitants within a period of seven years after the establishment of the constitution, was entitled to two representatives, and all others to one. Colonel John BARRETT was chosen the sole representative from Springfield, December, 1777. He had been a member of the convention which framed the constitution, and was apparently one of the most efficient members of the assembly, as his name appears often as chairman of important committees. No town record of elections to the general assembly has been preserved from this time until January, 1783, when the town chose George HUBBARD and Simon STEVENS. But there is found a list of the second general assembly in which the name of Lieut. Samuel SCOTT appears as the only member from Springfield. There could not, therefore, have been eighty taxable inhabitants previous to 1779, nor a total population of four hundred.
Labin KNIGHTS came to Springfield among the early settlers and located upon the farm now owned by his son Samuel, where he died at the age of seventy-six years. Labin's son Nahum, born here in 1805, married Sarah WILLIAMS, and reared nine children, four of whom are living. The house Mrs. KNIGHTS now occupies, on road 3, is said to be the first frame house erected in the town. It was built by John GRISWOLD, who kept an hotel and store in it for many years.
James RANDEL, one of the early settlers, came from Durham, N. H., locating at what is now called Spencer Hollow, where he took up a large tract of land. Solomon, his son, came with him, and died here Sept. 9, 1863. Smith K., son of Solomon, born here September 21, 1812, married Eveline HENRY, of Charlestown, N. H., and now has six children, as follows: George, Edwin. James, Abbie, Sarah and Elizabeth.
Seth WOODARD came to this town when a small boy, with Benjamin ALDRICH locating upon the farm now owned by Thomas MERRITT. In 1819 he married Hannah HOWE, daughter of Dr. Daniel HOWE, and located in the western part of the town, where he resided until his death. Mrs. WOODARD died December 28, 1881. Their daughter, Acsah W., still resides here.
Ezra PARKER came to Springfield at an early day and located upon the farm now owned by Cornelius HOGAN, and died here at the age of ninety years. His son Solomon also died here at an advanced age. D. Bowen PARKER, son of Solomon, now resides on road 71.
Solomon SHEDD came to this town, from Lunenburg, at an early day, locating upon the farm now occupied by Lydia and Mary A. SHEDD, on road 74. James, one of his seven children, born April 6, 1766, occupied the old homestead until his death. He married Rachel JOHNSON and reared fourteen children, two of whom, Lydia and Rosina C., are living. The latter is the wife of Oran GOULD, and resides in Ludlow.
Abraham LOCKWOOD, born in 1751, came to Springfield in 1768, locating upon the farm now owned by Seymour LOCKWOOD, on road 38, and died here at the age of eighty years. Only one of his children, David, residing at Springfield village, is now living.
William LOCKWOOD, from Providence, R. I., came to this town in 1768, locating at Springfield village, where he built the first mills. He owned a large tract of land in this vicinity, married Sarah WHITE and reared a large family of children. His son Benoia, born in 1764, married Mary WILLIAMS and settled at North Springfield. He reared a family of seventeen children, seven of whom attained an adult age. Only one, Rhobia L., of North Springfield, is now living. Benoia died in 1820, his wife in 1834.
Daniel GILL came to Springfield, from Rhode Island, in 1776, locating upon the L. Barry farm. He died a few years after, at Sing Sing, N. Y., while on his return from a journey to the west, leaving six children, -- John, Amos, Whitford, Betsey, Martha and Mary. Amos located upon the farm now owned by O. F. WOOD, where he died in 1847. Daniel A., son of Amos, born September 9, 1796, now resides on road 16, the oldest native born resident of the town. The house he occupies with his son, D. O. GILL, was built in 1799.
John WILLIAMS, from Providence, R. I., came to Springfield in 1780, locating upon the farm now owned by C. OLNEY, where he died at the age of one hundred years.
Capt. Abner BISBEE came to this town previous to 1780, located on road 8, and resided here until his death. Elisha, one of his seven children, born in 1780, married Mary GRANT, of Weathersfield, reared fifteen children, and died in 1841. His wife died in 1863. Elisha did a great deal of the town business, holding the office of justice of the peace, etc. His son Abner, born in 1806, now occupies the old homestead.
Lemuel WHITNEY was born in Leicester, Mass., in 1743. His father Joshua, was descended from John and Elinor WHITNEY, who landed in Boston in 1635. His mother, Mehitable WILSON, was of Scotch descent. He went with his father's family to Spencer, Mass., during his minority, and in 1778 to Tolland, Conn., where he lived two years. While living in Tolland, and also during the last years of his residence in Spencer, he engaged in the manufacture of saltpeter, which was used to make gunpowder for the American army. He, happily, received his pay, not in Continental currency, but silver. Owing to his occupation, he served less in the army than most men of his time. He was enrolled as a minute man, and served two terms of three months each in the field, being present at the surrender of Burgoyne. In 1780, being unable from lack of material longer to continue his saltpeter works, he decided to try his fortune in the new State, and first visited Spring field, Vt., in September of that year. It is related that after contracting for his farm he walked to Spencer, Mass., a distance of eighty miles, in one day. In December, 1780, he moved his family to Springfield and settled on the farm now owned by C. MILLER, where he spent the remainder of his life. He at once interested himself in the welfare of the town, taking a prominent part in all public affairs, especially in the formation and well being of the "First Church of Christ." His is the first name written on the church records, and he continued to take an active and prayerful interest in it through life. He gave it his moral support, his money, his work, and taught his children to do the same. There is still in the family a deed of two pews bought by his two eldest sons, in 1794, for which they paid £15 lawful money," "£3 10s. to be paid in building material, and the remainder in good wheat or neat cattle." The deed runs to the eldest son, Cyrus W., the second son not being twenty-one years old when the contract was made. Lemuel WHITNEY himself owned a pew in a more desirable location, but after his election as deacon, in 1801, he always sat in the "deacon's pew." When it is remembered for what wages men then worked, it will be seen that this was a large sum of money for two boys to raise for such a purpose. Most subscriptions of that kind were then paid in wheat or cattle, and Dea. WHITNEY often redeemed such offerings in silver, to the great relief of the parish and the minister, while he trusted to his own shrewdness to save himself from loss.
In March, 1781, Lemuel WHITNEY received private information that Shem KENTFIELD, an idle tavern lounger who fled from Charlestown, N. H., the autumn before, threatening vengeance on the town, had been seen in Springfield with two comrades, on his return to Charlestown. Mr. WHITNEY immediately took means to alarm the people of Charlestown, and raised a small company of men to pursue the traitors. For several days the people were on the alert and in much excitement. The three men first seen were taken in Charlestown and three others on Skitchawang mountain, but it was supposed that a much larger company escaped. KENTFIELD was sent to West Point, and being a deserter from the American army, was hanged. At the close of the war Mr. WHITNEY confessed that he had never seen KENTFIELD, as was supposed, but had his information from Dr. Abram DOWNER, who saw KENTFIELD, with whom he was well acquainted, near the Weathersfield line, and accused him of designs against Charlestown. KENTFIELD admitted the charge, said he had a company of fifty men, and proposed to kill DOWNER least he make public the plot. He was allowed to live, however, after making the most solemn promises of secrecy. KENTFIELD always believed DOWNER had been false to his promises, and died calling down frightful imprecations upon him. Lemuel WHITNEY married Thankful GRIFFITH, in 1769, a shrewd, keen, self-reliant woman of Welsh descent. Mr. SMILEY, the first settled minister in Springfield, used to speak of her in terms of highest praise, always ending his encomiums with: "She was a nice woman, a fine woman, a good woman, and a very notable house-wife." They had seven children, Cyrus, Benjamin, John, Lemuel, Sally, Joseph and Elijah, of whom the oldest and youngest only settled in Springfield, and are both remembered by the older citizens as worthy and honored men. Elijah succeeded to his father's office of deacon of the "First Church of Christ." Lemuel WHITNEY died in February, 1813, aged seventy years. His wife died in 1818, aged seventy-two years.
Thomas SMITH, from Grafton, N. H., came to Springfield soon after the close of the Revolutionary war, locating on road 6. He married Margaret LUTHER, whose father was also an early settler, and reared seven children, all of whom attained an adult age. He died at the age of seventy-one years, and his wife at the age of seventy-five years. Three of their children are now living, viz.: William, in Barre, Washington county; Ann (Mrs. A. TUTTLE), in New York State; and Sally, at North Springfield.
Perez WHITCOMB, from Leicester, Mass., came to Springfield about 1783, and located upon the farm now owned by his son, George C., and died here about 1850. George C. was born July 6, 1815, married Adelia MERRITT, of New York city, August 8, 1841, by whom he had one child, Sarah, who married L. S. ALLBEE. Mrs. WHITCOMB died September 8, 1859, and for his secand wife Mr. WHITCOMB married Juliette LOCKWOOD, November 7, 1860, a fruit of this marriage being three children, -- George S., Squire L. and Everett H., all living in this town. James L. WHITCOMB, son of Perez, was born in 1821, and now resides on road 60. He married Martha E. ROGERS, of New York city, and has had five sons, only one of whom, Oscar, is living.
Phineas and Theophilus BATES came to this town in 1790, locating upon the farm now owned by WHITMORE, on road 48. Phineas was born in Massachusetts, May 23, 1766, married Abigail LINCOLN, in 1789, and reared twelve children. Mr. BATES was one of the first deacons of the Congregational church and was a staunch Christian. He died Nov. 1, 1843, and Mrs. BATES died July 15, 1836. Six of their children are living, viz.: Abigail, in Cleveland, Ohio; Sybil, in Weathersfield, Vt.; Gracie, in this town; Nancy, in Portland, Oregon; Lydia, in Brattleboro, Vt., and Theophilus, in New York city. Theophilus BATES also remained here until his death.
James HEWEY came to Springfield, from Massachusetts, in 1790, locating upon the farm now owned by Isaac Ellis, where he died in 1833. His son Jeremiah, born in 1796, located upon the farm now owned by his son, L E. HEWEY. He remained there a number of years, then removed to the farm now owned by another son, John H.
Eli HASKINS, from Bolton, Conn., came to this town in 1792, locating on road 8, upon the farm now owned by his son, C. A. HASKINS. Here he carried on the business of tanning and shoemaking for a long time, his being the only tannery in this section. He died at the advanced age of ninety-four years. Six of his ten children are living, four in this town, viz.: Calvin J. William, Electa and C. A.
Loammi CUTLER, born July 1, 1763, came to Springfield about 1790, locating upon the farm now owned by Hosea BURBANK. Here he resided a few years, then purchased the farm now owned by E. B. CUTLER, where he died, October 22, 1837. Four of his children are living, namely: Lucy (Mrs. Lyman HULETT), at Springfield village; Judith Ann (Mrs. Joseph BUTTERFIELD), in Arlington, Mass.; and Enoch and Enos B., in this town. Loammi CUTLER, Jr., born here in 1792, married Maria HOUSE about 1818, and located upon the farm now owned by Foster WHITCOMB, though he subsequently removed to the southern part of Chester, where he died in 1867. Mrs. WHITCOMB died in 1878. His son Calvin D. now resides on road 41. He married Lucretia BATES, granddaughter of Perez BATES, and has four children, Davis H., Charles C., Susan A. (Mrs. George ALLBEE), and Elmer C.
Jacob WHITCOMB, from Massachusetts, came to Springfield about 1793, locating upon the farm now owned by Emerson E. WHITCOMB, his grandson. He reared a family of six children, two of whom, Ezekiel and Israel, are living, and died at the age of seventy-nine years. Ezekiel was born October 6, 1797, married Catharine DAVIS and has six children living.
"Open Ridge Place and Farm" is situated two and a half miles northeast of Springfield village on the main road leading to Claremont, N. H., and Windsor, Vt. The neighborhood is known as "Eureka" and in the early history of the town the section of the county road running through it was called "Eureka street," and was the only settlement in town. It comprised about forty dwellings, two stores and an inn, a saddlery, two smithys and other shops. This farm was purchased of Gen. Lewis R. MORRIS by Jonathan BARNARD, in 1793, and has been in the BARNARD family ever since. A farm adjoining, owned by Nicholas BRAGG, was purchased and added to the home farm in 1820. It now contains 300 acres of fine upland in a high state of cultivation, and has outlying pasturage in Ludlow and Cavendish, Vt.
It has always been considered the best hill farm in the town. The farm buildings consist of a two-story house and ell, with a large number of barns and outbuildings. The fine modern set of buildings known as "Open Ridge Place" were erected in 1876, and are located about forty rods south of the "homestead," on the main road. E. Wellman BARNARD, 2nd, a well known contributor to the press, and Vermont manager of the "Boston Evening Star,? also Vermont agent of Thomas Cook & Son, tourist and excursion managers, of London and New York, has an office at this place. The Boston & Northern Telephone Co.'s trunk line to the north passes through his office, and a special wire runs to the village and is connected with a private phone at that point, in the office of Dr. E. E. BLOOD, and with the central exchange. Several rooms in the residence have beautiful frescoed ceilings, and the office is a gem of fresco and landscape decorations,-the work of the celebrated artist painter Rod E. MILLER.
Thomas COOK came to Springfield, from Rhode Island, in 1795, locating on road 38, upon the farm now owned by H. H. HOWE. He married Betsey TURNER and reared seven children, none of whom are now living. He subsequently went to New York State, where he died at an advanced age. Mrs. COOK died in 1830, aged eighty-three years. Oliver, son of Thomas, born in Rhode Island, August 29, 1781, came here with his father, married Polly BRUCE, of Baltimore, Vt., in 1804, and settled upon the homestead now owned by his daughter, Mary Ann COOK. He ran one of the early saw-mills in town. Oliver reared eight children, Barna A., Selden O., Seymour O., Mary Ann, Franklin B., Charlotte R., Lewis E., and Susan B., six of whom are living. Selden O., born May 4, 1809, was a general merchant of Springfield village for many years and also carried on the manufacture of boots and shoes. His son, E. B., now carries on the boot and shoe trade. Selden O. died in January, 1882. His wife, Mary BATCHELDER, of Baltimore, died in March. 1872.
Jonathan B. WOOD came to this town, from Rockingham, Vt., about 1796, locating upon the farm now owned by his granddaughter, Mrs. M. A. FLETCHER, where he died March 19, 1804, leaving his widow with a family of five children. Jeremiah P. was one year old when his father came here, and resided upon the old farm until his death, March 29, 1871, aged seventy-five years. Two of his children are now living, Mrs. M. A. FLETCHER and Mrs. Dora L. DAMON.
Matthew PIERCE, son of Jonas, came from Massachusetts with his father in 1796, first locating in Weathersfield, where he remained a year, then came to Springfield, locating on road 9, where he resided until his death, June 16, 1835, upon the farm now owned by Mrs. J. E. JOHNSON. Jonas died June 27, 1819. John, son of Matthew, born August 29, 1794, married Abigail HAYWOOD, of Weathersfield, and reared four children, as follows: John C., died in 1835; Eunice A., now Mrs. Parkman DAVIS; Edson X., residing on road 5 ; and Mary J., widow of Henry O. WRIGHT. Edson X., married Mary BARRETT, of Weathersfield, December 19, 1849. He has held most of the town offices.
Ziba ELLIS, from Massachusetts, came to Springfield previous to 1800, locating upon the farm now occupied by L. G. ELLIS, and built the house now standing thereon about 1800. He subsequently sold the place to his brother Jeremiah, who came here in 1800, and removed to New York where he died in 1862, aged nearly ninety-two years. His son, Christopher, born here in 1807, lived on the old homestead until his death, in March, 1882. Jeremiah, Jr., born March 24, 1800, located upon the farm now occupied by his son Hiram, where he died December 15, 1856.
Thomas DANA was born May 18, 1779, came to Springfield about 1800, locating in the southern part of the town, upon the farm now owned by Silas CUTLER. Mr. DANA was a brick mason by trade, and built many of the brick houses in town. He also held most of the town offices, and died at the village, September 2, 1852. His son, Benjamin F., is now engaged in mercantile pursuits at the village.
John WHITE, Jr., born at Grafton, Mass., February 7, 1794, came to Springfield with his father, in 1801, locating at the village. He married Eusebia ATWOOD, of Chester, in 1830, and located at North Springfield, where he was engaged in trade. He represented the town in the legislature, held most of the other town offices, and died in 1872. He reared three children, Esther A., Marcella E. and Abbie L. Mrs. WHITE is now living, aged eighty years.
Nathan WHITE came here, from Massachusetts, about 1805, locating in the northern part of the town, upon the farm now owned by P. TOWNSEND. A few years after he removed to the farm now occupied by his son Levi R., and in 1826 he again moved, locating upon the farm now owned by his son, J. E., where he died in 1858. His widow, Olive PUTNAM, is still living, aged eighty-nine years.
Ellis M. EATON, born at Ashburnham, Mass., March 8, 1806, came with his father, Asa, to this town when about one year old. He married Betsey PARKER, daughter of Amos PARKER, and in 1830 removed to Rockingham, Vt., where he died April 22, 1844. His widow died here April 16, 1880. Three of their children are now living, Calvin M., Ellis M. and Leonard P.
Eaton FAIRBANKS, son of Edward, was born in this town February 8, 1808. He married Rebecca L. ROBINSON and located upon a farm on road 38, where he resided about thirty-eight years. He now resides in New York city, with his daughter Harriet, who married H. P. WILSON. Another daughter, Helen, married M. J. LEWIS, and resides on road 3.
Benjamin LEWIS, from Sterling, Mass., came to Springfield in 1808, taught school here several years, married Barbara G. STIMSON, and about 1812 located on road 43, upon the farm now owned by Lyman WHITCOMB. Mr. LEWIS was actively interested in founding the Reformed Methodist church here, and subsequently removed to Dewitt, N. Y., where he resided twenty-three years, then came back to Springfield and located upon the farm now occupied by his daughter, Martha A. DAVIS, where he died, April 20, 1877. Mrs. LEWIS died July 20, 1875. Four of their seven children are now living.
Abel S. SMART came to Springfield about 1810, from Hopkinton, N. H., and carried on the cabinet maker's business here a number of years. He died August 9, 1869. His son Joseph still resides here.
Shubael WHITCOMB, from Massachusetts, came to Springfield in 1812, locating upon the farm now owned by his grandson, William D. WHITCOMB. He reared a family of eight children, and died in 1848. Four of the children, Hannah, Lincoln, Henry and Abraham, are now living.
Jonathan ALLEN, from Middletown, Conn., came to Springfield, May 24, 1810, locating upon the farm now owned by his son Dennis B. He married Abigail BIRDSEY, March 7, 1810, and reared four children, as follows: Lucy M., Dennis B., Emily and Walter J. He died July 23, 1834. Mrs. ALLEN died August 23, 1855.
Aaron BISBEE, son of Elijah, was born here January 21, 1815, married Elvisa F. WARREN, of Brandon, Vt., January 21, 1844, and located upon the old homestead now owned by his brother Abner. In 1850 he sold the place to Abner and removed to the farm now owned by his widow. Mr. BISBEE was largely engaged in manufacturing in the State of New York, and died at Springfield village, September 14, 1882.
Samuel W. PORTER, son of Samuel, was born in Townsend, Vt., November 4, 1792, and came to Springfield in 1815. Mr. PORTER represented the town in the legislature of 1827-'28, was county judge from 1828 to 1837, a member of the council of censors and of the first senate in 1836-'37, and was town clerk a number of years, performing all the duties of that office with perfect regularity when eighty-eight years of age. He died August 11, 1882, aged over eighty-nine years. Mr. PORTER married Fanny, daughter of Hon. Mark and Ann (RUGGLES) RICHARDS, of Westminster, Vt., and reared four children, as follows: Helen Ann, who now resides here; Mark Richards, who died August 11, 1848; Frederick W., who also resides here; and Frances H., who married R. B. STEARNS, of Woodstock, and died January 5, 1865.
Benjamin RICE came to Springfield, from New Hampshire, in 1819, locating upon the farm now owned by F. Francis SPAULDING. About twelve years subsequent he removed to the farm now owned by N. P. WHITE, where he died in 1841. His wife died about 1864. Four of their children now live here, Orrin, on road 16; Mary Ann (Mrs. Solon PUTNAM); Rebecca (Mrs. D. GRAHAM); Matilda (Mrs. Jones GRIMES); and Charles H., resides in Boston, Mass.
George KIMBALL, from Temple, N. H., came from Springfield in 1821, locating at the village, where he carried on blacksmithing for many years, building the shop now occupied by his son George, and died here November 24, 1874.
George WASHBURN came to this town in 1823, and established a harness business, which he carried on until his death, November 7, 1866. He married Achsah WHITE, and had one child, Sarah M., who still resides here. Mr. WASHBURN was a life long Democrat and held the office of postmaster over twenty years.
George L. CUTLER was born here in 1825, upon the farm he now occupies, which is known as "Parker Hill Stock Farm." In 1852, Mr. CUTLER began the business of breeding Spanish Merino sheep, and is now one of the largest breeders in the State, owning a flock of over 800 head.
Abner FIELD, for something more than thirty years a resident of Springfield, was born in Chester, Vt., November 28; 1793, a son of Pardon and Elizabeth (WILLIAMS) FIELD. His education was limited, as he attended nothing but the common school, and that only a portion of the time, and a few of the last of the years of his minority he was an invalid. When twenty-two years of age he entered the store of Peter ADAMS, on "East hill," in the town of Andover, as a clerk, where he remained five years, and then went into business on his own account. After remaining there some time he went to Chester and went into the mercantile business with Nathaniel FULLERTON. In 1831 he moved to Springfield, and forming a co-partnership with Sylvester BURKE, opened the store now occupied by his son. Afterwards Josiah BARNES was admitted to the firm, which was then FIELD, BURKE & Co. February 16, 1832, he married Louisa, daughter of Daniel and Annah Lenthal (AMES) GRISWOLD, by whom he had four children, as follows: Walbridge Abner, born April 26, 1833; Cordelia Louisa, born October 16, 1834, died July 25, 1843; Fred Griswold, born January 1, 1842; and Isadore L., born August 31, 1835. It was largely through Mr. FIELD's instrumentality that a post office was established at North Springfield, and he was appointed the first postmaster. He was one of the incorporators of the Windsor County Mutual Fire Insurance Co., of the Springfield Savings Bank, and of the Bank of Black River, being for a number of years president of the latter institution. In 1835 and 1837 he represented Springfield in the general assembly, and was a senator from Windsor county in 1842-'43. He was quite generally regarded as a man of good judgment, with the courage to express his own opinions, as well as to form them. Walbridge A FIELD, the eldest son of Abner, graduated from Dartmouth college in 1855, having attended the preparatory school at Perkinsville, Springfield Wesleyan Seminary, at Springfield, and Kimball Union Academy, at Meriden, N. H. He served as tutor at Dartmouth college for two years, attended Harvard Law School, and studied law with Hon. Harvey JEWELL, of Boston, Mass.; was a member for a term or two of the Boston city council; was appointed and served for some time as assistant United States district attorney for Massachusetts, under Richard H. DANA, Jr. During General Grant's administration he was appointed, in 1869, assistant attorney-general of the United States, under Attorney-General E. R. Hoar, and resigned that position to practice law in Boston; was a member of the law firm of JEWELL, GASTON & FIELD, and afterward JEWELL, FIELD & SHEPARD. In 1876 he was elected to congress from the third congressional district of Massachusetts, received the certificate of election, but after a long contest was denied a seat, but was re-elected in 1878. In 1880, at the expiration of his-term in congress, he was appointed by Gov. John D. LONG one of the justices of the Massachusetts supreme court, a position which he still holds. Mr. FIELD married Miss Ellen Eliza McLOON, of Rockland, Me., October 4, 1869, by whom he had two daughters. Mrs. FIELD died March 8, 1877. In 1882 he married again, his second wife being Miss Frances FARWELL, of Rockland, Me. Fred G. FIELD, the youngest son of Abner FIELD, is a merchant occupying the store formerly occupied by his father. He represented his native town in the legislature of 1870 and 1872, and was a senator from Windsor county in 1880. July 2, 1872, he married Anna M. TARBELL, of Cavendish. Isadore L. FIELD, daughter of Abner, married Dr. D. J. BOYNTON, of Weathersfield, September 12, 1872. Dr. BOYNTON has given up his profession and is in the wood and lumber business.
Amasa WOOLSON was born at Grafton, Vt., in 1811, and came to Springfield in 1834, resided here two years, then was absent ten years, and in 1846 came back, and in company with DAVIDSON & PARKS commenced the manufacture of cloth finishing machinery, under the firm name of DAVIDSON, PARKS & WOOLSON. Mr. WOOLSON has also been president of the First National Bank since 1877.
Jonathan MARTIN, born in Richmond; N. H., May 11, 1807, came to Springfield in 1838, beginning work in the cotton mill as a foreman, and in 1848 was admitted as a partner, under the firm name of FULLERTON, MARTIN & Co., remaining in the business until 1865, when he retired. Mr. MARTIN is an active worker in the cause of religion, and represented the town in the legislature one year.
Frederick PARKS was born in Charlestown, N. H., and came to Springfield with his father, December 3, 1839, commencing the manufacture of cloth dressing machinery. He died September 28, 1877, aged seventy-six years. Mrs. PARKS now resides here, aged seventy-five years.
Charles SANDERS, one of the oldest business men of Springfield village, commenced the manufacture of furniture here in 1840, continuing the same until 1872, since which time he has dealt in furniture, on Park street.
Udney BURKE, now residing at Springfield village at the age of seventy-six years, came here in 1840, and engaged in mercantile pursuits with his brother Russell, continuing the same about ten years. He was also at one time one of the proprietors of the Vermont Snath Company, the firm being FROST, BURKE & Co.
Eli BURKE, from Westminster, Vt., settled in Chester in 1801, and from there removed to Andover and subsequently to Pomfret, where he died at the age of eighty-four years. Three of eleven children are now living, Dexter, in Sharon; Ora, in Barnard; and Sylvester in North Springfield. The latter came here in 1828, and in 1813 went into business with Abner FIELD, continuing the trade until 1831. He married Esther H. SHIPMAN, of Andover, in 1825, and has reared five children, as follows: Esther A., Elizabeth S., Lousa, Sidney S. and Amelia M. Two, Louisa and Sidney S., are living.
Judge Joseph W. COLBURN was born in Claremont, N. H., April 14, 1800, and came to Springfield about 1840, locating upon the "Mount Vale" farm. Mr. COLBURN enjoyed only the educational opportunities afforded by the district school, yet he became a thorough read man, and possessed considerable literary ability, being an eminent agricultural writer. He was State senator three years, 1848, '49 and ?50, assistant county judge four years, and was one of the founders of the Exchange Bank of Springfield, also its president, and when the bank was superseded by the First National Bank, was president of that institution, holding the position at the time of his death. He was also one of the council of censors in 1870. Judge COLBURN died February 17, 1871, leaving his widow, who still survives him, and one son, Robert M.
Daniel RICE, born at Dummerston, July 28, 1809, has been extensively engaged in the publishing business at Philadelphia, Pa. In 1844 he puchased a residence in Springfield, and now spends a large portion of his time here. Among the works Mr. RICE has published are "The History of the Tribes of North America," "The National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans," "North American Silver," "Boydell's Illustrations of Shakspeare," and numerous other works.
Jonas BUTTERFIELD came from Rockingham, Vt., to Springfield, in 1855, locating upon the farm now occupied by his widow and their son, J. M. He died in 1875.
Leonidas BARRY's dwelling, on what is known as the "Forest Home Stock Farm," was built by James M. LEWIS, in 1795.
Hon. Dudley HASKELL, late member of congress from Kansas, who died at Washington, D. C., December 16. 1883, was a native of Springfield, born here March 23, 1842, but removed to Lawrence, Kansas, in 1855. He received a classical education at Easthampton. Mass., and subsequently took a special course at Yale college and received a degree. He was elected to the State legislature of Kansas in 1872, and in 1877 was elected a representative to the Forty-fifth congress and served continuously until his death.
The First Church of Christ, Congregational, located at Springfield village, was organized by a council convened for the purpose, October 3, 1781, with sixteen members, Rev. Robinson SMILEY being the first pastor. The church building, a wood structure capable of seating 500 persons, was built in 1791. The society is now in a flourishing condition, with Rev. Thomas Mason BOSS, pastor.
The North Spring field Baptist church was organized by members from the Chester church in 1803. The first church building was erected in 1815, a portion of which is now used as a dwelling. The present brick structure was built in 1835, at a cost of about $3,500.00. It will seat 400 persons, and is now valued, including grounds, at $9,000.00. The society has 146 members, with no resident pastor at present.
The Second Advent church, located at North Springfield, was organized by its first pastor, Rev. H. F. CARPENTER, October 6, 1869. The society now has thirty-two members, with Rev. D. W. DAVIS, pastor. The church building, a wood structure capable of seating 200 persons, was built in 1856.
The Reformed Methodist church, located in the western part of the town, on road 42, was organized by George E. LEWIS, Benjamin LEWIS, W. B. CHITTENDEN, William KIRK. Benjamin ALDRICH and others, about twenty-five years ago (1883), the first pastor being Rev. George E. LEWIS, who still retains the position, the society now having about eighteen members. The church building was erected in 1840, will seat 200 persons, and is valued at $600.00.