Archive for the ‘People’ Category

The Yates Farm

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

The Yates Farm. Click picture for larger image.

The Yates Farm. Click picture for larger image.

The Yates farm was a brick cape style house located outside Four Corners.  It was later the home of  Mr. and Mrs. George Seldes.  Mr. Seldes was a well-known foreign correspondent and author.

Lady in a donkey cart

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

This undated photograph shows Geneva Merritt (1910-1982) riding through Hartland in her donkey cart.

Lady in donkey cart.  Click picture for larger image.

Lady in donkey cart. Click picture for larger image.

Jenneville School 1907

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

Jenneville School  1907<br />Click picture for larger image.

Jenneville School 1907Click picture for larger image.

Students:   Ralph Duncan, Allan Rice, David Rice, Helen Balch, Emma Sawyer, Freddie ~, ~Rice, Nellie Sawyer, Daisy ~
Winnie Davis   Teacher

Fitzgerald Wayside Spa and Garage, North Hartland

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

Fitzgerald Wayside Spa and Garage

Fitzgerald Wayside Spa and Garage

The Fitzgerald home is on the right.

The Fitzgerald home is on the right.

Bertha Chamberlain of North northhartlandvtpoHartland married Arthur Fitzgerald of Canada. Bertha became the postmistress of North Hartland and Arthur operated a garage next door. These pictures also show the Wayside Spa. The group of buildings were located along what is now Route 5.

Click picture for larger image

Click picture for larger image

The McArthur Farm

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Located about one mile from Three Corners on the Quechee Road is this brick Federal style house containing 6 Rumford style fireplaces. Probably built in 1805 by John Willard, the house was sold in 1872 to Johnson McArthur for $3,100. For over 50 years it stayed in the McArthur family. It was sold in 1926 to settle an estate. Johnson Amos McArthur and his wife, Marie Sophie Jones, are shown here. The house is now home to the Dr. George Little family.

The McArthur Farm

The McArthur Farm

This is from the writings of Louise Selling (contributed by Carol Little)

“Oliver Willard was one of the earliest settlers of Hartland, coming probably with a King’s Grand to the land which doubtless included this acreage, later known as lot #6 in the first range, since one of his descendants, sons or grandsons, was the first recorded owner: James Notting Willard. ”

“On Feb 1, 1794 James Notting Willard sold this plot of land to another James N. Willard, possibly his son, for the sum of 90 pounds. No buildings appear to have existed at that time.”

“Very likely James N. Willard began the construction of this house soon after he purchased the land. When he sold the land to his son John Willard on Feb 25, 1805 the value had increased to $1,000 which fact definately indicates that the house had been built sometime between 1794 and 1805.”

“John Willard seems to have falen upon hard times because on Mar 19, 1819 he was obliged to mortgage his property to William Jarvis of Weathersfield and lost the property to him five years later, Oct 2, 1824. William Jarvis sold it to William Ashley who paid up the $650 mortgage and paid $600 cash in addition.”

“Ashley however, kept the property only seven years, as he sold it to H. Woodward on July 17, 1833 for $1875.00. Whether land values boomed or whether new farm buildings were erected during the next 20 years, the estate became much more valuable and was next sold on Nov 22, 1854 for $4,000 to Theodore Gallup.”

“Theodore Gallup did not live many years to enjoy his farm as on Dec 28, 1869 his widow, Emeline, sold it to Mr. Harlow for $3350 who sold it three years later on Oct. 16, 1872 for $3100 to Johnson McArthur.”

“For over 50 years thereafter the farm belonged to one member or another of the McArthur family, coming to be known as the McArthur farm, a name which lingers to the present day. Within the family the ownership changed as follows: Johnson McArthur, grandfather of Dean McArthur who was born in the house and now resides in Hartland, sold to his son Leonard on March 28, 1895. Leonard died in 1926, leaving it to his wife, Minnie who sold it on July 7, 1926 in order to settle the estate to Ralph Beaton.”

“On June 30, 1934 Great Oakes was purchased jointly by Lara (Sara?) Varney and Louise G. Selling for $3500.” Apparently Selling and Varney named it “Great Oakes” .

“July 1, 1942 35 acres of pasture land was sold to the Rogers family for $500 leaving about 30 acres of land.” Louise G. Selling

The brook that goes by the property is still known today as the McArthur Brook.


Johnson Amos McArthur and Mary Sophia (Jones) McArthur

Johnson Amos McArthur and Mary Sophia (Jones) McArthur

Mrs. Ithamar Marcy

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Mrs. Marcy had a few pieces of pewter ware. There were two teapots. One she always used for hot water at mealtime. She also had a few pewter plates. For a number of years she had a skin cancer in the middle of her nose. She went to several cancer specialists, but to no avail. One day an herb doctor stopped there, examined it and said:

“If you’ll do just as I tell you I’ll guarantee I can cure it. You go out in the fields and gather a small bunch of red sorrel, press the juice out on something of pewter, nothing else. Make a poultice of it twice a day and put it on for six months and you’ll be cured.” She did just as he said and she was cured.

It was what is known as a spider cancer. It is quite possible the “herb doctor” was Dr. Nelson Gardiner. No one remembers but he was a local doctor who used herbs exclusively and was considered by some to be a “quack”. Dr. Gardner is buried in the Walker cemetery.

From Howland Atwood’s notes. Extracted from the Spring 2006 Hartland Historical Society Newsletter.


Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Henry Harding

Henry Harding

The Hartland Historical Society is the proud owner of surveying equipment owned by Henry Harding. We also have in our possession a note as follows,
“Washington Dec 14, 1857

Dear Sir,
Your of the 11th inst has been received and I have enclosed it to the Hon John B. Floyd my successor as Secretary of War.
Very Respectfully
Jefferson Davis
Henry Harding Esq
Hartland, Vt.”

Having a hand written letter from the President of the Confederacy got my attention and I decided to see what else I could find out about the recipient.

Henry was born and raised in the home now owned by Peter Gordon on the Brownsville Road in Hartland Four Corners. This beautiful brick home was built by his father, the second Dr. John Harding and his wife, Lucy Willard Harding with help from her Willard relatives. Dr. John and Lucy were married on Feb 27, 1820 and had nine children, some of which died in childhood, with Henry being number eight. Henry was born on Dec. 10 in 1837.

Henry Harding's home

Henry Harding's home

Henry’s obituary
Died October 23d, 1910
Henry Harding was born on December 10th 1837, at Hartland, Vt., where his father, Dr. John Harding, was a physician for many years.

He studied engineering under Mr. Job Atkins, a mining engineer of Richmond, Va., during 1859-60 and was afterward engaged on the construction of the Hudson River Railroad.

From 1865 to 1870, Mr. Harding was employed, under General Grenville M. Dodge, on the survey and construction of the Union Pacific Railway. He was also employed on the Adirondack, Housatonic, and Naugatuck Railroads, in charge of construction and in various other capacities.

From 1871 to 1895, he was engaged at intervals by the United States Corps of Engineers in charge of river and harbor improvements and other work, and was wont to recall with especial pride the construction of the fortifications of Fort Adams, at Newport, R.I. in 1871-73.

While in the employ of the Government, Mr. Harding contracted malaria, and, in 1895, he retired to his home at Hartland Four Corners, Vt. where he continued to live until his death.

Mr. Harding was a man of wide acquaintance and high reputation in his Profession, to which he was devoted, and, although living in a secluded country village, he kept well abreast of all the improved methods and was familiar with all the new instruments used in engineering work. At the time of his death, he was engaged as Engineer in charge of the construction of the new sewerage system of Windsor, Vt.

Mr. Harding was the embodiment of painstaking accuracy and scrupulous honor, and any work done under his superintendence was honestly constructed and fully served its purpose. He was of a genial and courteous manner, modest, kind-hearted, and drily humorous, an agreeable and interesting social companion. He never married, and is survived by several nieces and nephews.

Mr. Harding was elected a Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers on May 7th 1873.”

Although Mr. Harding’s health must have been impacted by the malaria, he did continue to be active in the engineering field as is indicated by the mention of the sewerage system in Windsor. We also have evidence of his activities from news clips of the time. C.Y.M.

1898 “ Civil engineer, Henry Harding was surveying in Plainfield Plain for water works last week.” “ Henry Harding, the distinguished civil engineer of this town, has put in two more of the Hodgkins patent double acting hydrolic rams, one being for Fred A. Rogers, the other for S.W. Clark of Plainfield Plain, N.H. Both of these rams are the No. 2 and each one delivers daily eleven barrels of water, and supplies both house and stock at barn by the introduction of a branch pipe to the latter. Mr. Harding is one of the best civil engineers in the state, having been actively engaged in the business since 1865. Now that he has settled down permanently here, a good opportunity is offered for obtaining surveys or advice regarding water supplies. There are two hydraulic rams now in successful operation in this village, one on the Steele, the other on the Daniels places.”
1900 “ Being at the Four Corners, Sunday, we made a brief call on Civil Engineer, Henry Harding, the sole owner of the John Harding estate. We found our friend had just put the finishing touches to a finely drawn plan of Hartland cemetery, for the better convenience of the officers of that association. It is an elaborate and beautifully executed piece of work, such as we should expect from this distinguished and experienced engineer. His library and working room has been much improved of late. New wallpaper of a light color and elegant pattern has been substituted for the old, dark paper, which gives the room a much lighter and more cheerful appearance. His library contains a vast number of works on all branches of civil engineering science, both ancient and modern. The Harding estate is easily one of the finest at the Four Corners village, and has never known an owner outside the family name”

1906 “ Mr. Harding is to superintend the construction of the new sewer to be built at Woodstock this season”

I have no idea why Henry was corresponding with Jefferson Davis in 1857 as this was before he became a student of civil engineering in 1859, but here again, we have an accomplished and interesting man who is a product of the Town of Hartland. C.Y.M.

Extracted from the Spring 2009 Hartland Historical Society Newsletter.

The Aldrich’s

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Isaiah Aldrich was the first settler on the land that we think of as containing the Aldrich cemetery. A beautiful place on Town Farm Hill Rd, it’s not hard to imagine the joy he must have felt at being able to live and work in this setting. Isaiah was the son of Noah 1, who was born in 1709 at Scituate, R.I., and he was born in Glocester, R.I. in 1749. Noah was a member of the Society of Friends at East Hoosuck, Adams, Mass. Isaiah had five children with his first wife, the third being Noah 2, born Jan 21, 1787 in Hartland. Noah and his wife, Lydia Herrick had eleven children. Two of these children are of special interest to us but we must not forget the larger family when we imagine life on the Aldrich farm. At some point Isaiah disappeared from the Hartland scene and we don’t know where he went, where he died or is buried. He was listed on a school list in 1823 as a head of a family, along with Noah for five students in the 11thSchool District. Isaiah did have a second wife and maybe they moved out of Hartland. At any rate, Noah stayed in Hartland and is listed on the school list of 1827 as having five school age children and in 1831 with four. His daughter, Rebecca appears to have owned the next farm up Town Farm Rd. with her husband, Jude Adams. In 1831 they are listed as having 1 school age child. Staying also in Hartland was his son Lorenzo who was born in 1817 and married Sarah Strank of Hartland in 1840. It seems that he most likely stayed on the farm settled by his grandfather and occupied by his father and mother.

Noah Aldrich 2 died Jan 15, 1848 AE 61. As they would not have been able to bury him in Jan. the gathering on the hill would have been at a later date, but as far as we know, his was the first Aldrich body to occupy that hallowed ground. There are three unmarked stones that we will never know the story of. They may be the bodies of still born children or they may not be Aldrichs at all. Perhaps someone who worked for them or someone they had taken in out of charity. The gathering for Noah 2 would have been substantial. Not counting friends, there was a large family in the area. How I would love to have a diary entry from that time, but unfortunately we have none that go back that far. The family provided Noah with a substantial stone and this verse:

“Unveil thy boson faithful tomb,
Take this new treasure to thy trust,
And give these sacred relics room,
To seek a slumber in the dust”

Imagine the sadness, two years later when two small daughters of Lorenzo died on March 28 and March 29, 1850. I have heard that they died from smallpox but can’t seem to verify that. One of the problems in research is that you get different information from different sources. I have 3 names for their mother. I have a genealogy listing her as Louisa, marriage record as Sarah and the gravestone says Laura. These were children # 3 and 5 in the Lorenzo Aldrich family. They eventually have nine children. There is also a fine stone for these children and the verse,

“We have wandered to regions more glorious far,
Mid flowers that never decay;
Unto him who did bless and receive such as thee
Bright spirits ye’ve soared away”

Moving on to the census of 1850 we find Jude and Rebecca living as neighbors of Lorenzo and Laura ( Laura in the census) with 12 members in their household, including Lydia, widow of Noah and 2 of Noah and Lydia’s children . Also two young Adams boys and a 77 year old woman that we know nothing about, as well as four individuals in their 20s. Hired help?? I wanted to make this out to be the poor farm but that didn’t happen until 1870. More mysteries.

Lydia dies in 1852. She is 61 when she joins her husband and grandchildren. It is June so the burial would have been prompt. The top of a hill in Vermont in June. How much closer to heaven can you get?? How they must have loved that land and that hilltop. Lydia’s stone got knocked over, broken and buried. However we do know its location and were able to expose the name Lydia with careful probing and hand digging. We know from Byron Ruggles that her verse is:

“Our Mother
Now gone from earth and it’s cares
To realms of bliss above
From grief and pain and trouble here
To meet a Saviour’s love”

In December of 1853 Jude Adams and Rebecca Aldrich Adams sold the Aldrich farm. All the lands were sold with the exception of the area designated as the “burying ground”. It was never intended that that special parcel ever be anything but a place for the dead to rest. The members of the Aldrich family never appear in a census of Hartland again but I must admit that I did not follow married children, particularly daughters, to see what paths they may have taken.
It is my understanding that many family members relocated in Illinois.

My thanks to Clyde Jenne, Hartland Town Clerk, Lori Bullock Sullivan, an Aldrich descendant from Burlington, Vt., Diane Bibby’s sister Hazel for a D.A.R. Descendants Database Search, Arthur Peale from West Hartford, a specialist in gravestone repair and cleaning and member of V.O.C.A. and our own records here at the Historical Society.
Carol Mowry, Editor

Extracted from the Fall 2008 Hartland Historical Society Newsletter.

Dr. John Harding, Sr. 1766 to 1814

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Dr. Harding’s native place was Sturbridge, Mass where he was born to John and Vashti Harding. His father was a farmer. I have not been able to procure much information in regard to the subject of my sketch prior to his 18th year (note: this would have been during the Rev. War years) He shared the educational and other narrow advantages of his day.

I find by Dr. Harding’s memorandum books and other papers that he concluded to adopt the profession of medicine for his life work at about the age of eighteen years. His preceptor was Dr. Jacob Corey of Sturbridge, Mass. Having obtained the medical education of the period he takes leave of his preceptor and fellow pupils in a farewell address at the request of the former. It was given June 16th 1788 so our young physician was a little over 21 years of age. “I am going forth into the world to obtain subsistence by the practice of medicine, expect to meet with troubles, trials, opposition; but be that as it may, I am determined to do for my fellow beings whenever opportunity offers, all that lies in my power in assisting nature in the restoration of health.”

Next we find our young physician moved by a spirit of enterprise and a desire to better his condition in company with his faithful life partner (Jemima Morse of Medfield, Mass ) and probably a few more friends in the year 1790, journeying
through and across the valleys and hills of our beautiful New England to the wilds of Vermont, more than 100 miles to the North.. Finally the chosen home is reached in Hartland. Very soon the young Doctor finds ample employment in attending
to the sick and caring for his family of children. His residence for the most part was at the George Marcy homestead one mile south of our West village. (still standing at the corner of County and Brownsville Roads ) Harding’s medical practice, I gather from his papers and hearsay, was partly old school or Allopathic, partly Botanic, with leaning to the latter as being the safer. He used the medicinal plants of this vicinity.

He was pleasant, lively and agreeable with a fair share of the lively wit and quick sense of humor that characterizes the sons and daughters of New England. I will here give an anecdote from an aged friend of the doctor and his little boys. He is just ready to start out on his horse to a patient, calls the boys and requests them to do a little piece of work, perhaps to hoe a small potato patch, something that looked rather formidable to the little fellows,” Oh no, couldn’t do it, didn’t feel well , were sick.” The doctor says nothing, rides away over the hill but very soon returns and finds the boys having a very good time for sick boys. He only says he concluded they ought to have some medicine and forthwith mixes the most nauseating and villainous preparation he could compound and duly administers the same. We know the medicines of that day were bad enough at best, and it is safe to say the boys were not sick again soon unless obliged to be.

He was afflicted with a lingering sickness in his last years and often visited the sick when he was really not able to do so. He was some relieved in his last years by his oldest sons studying and practicing medicine with him. (John Harding, Jr. was also a physician in Hartland, building and living in the house now occupied by Peter Gordon.)

Dr. Harding is buried in the Walker cemetery, near where he lived. The epitaph on his stone says “He was ever more solicitous of his patients, then for medical fee or reward.” By all appearances, a life well lived.

This was taken from a biographical sketch prepared by a grandson , E.B. Harding in Hartland in 1877.

Extracted from the Spring 2006 Hartland Historical Society Newsletter.

Reverend John Smith and the Underground Railroad

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Reverend John Smith

Reverend John Smith

Reverend John Smith, also known as “Lame” John Smith, was a Methodist Minister in Hartland for a few years (likely 1860-1862). Hartland was as part of the underground railroad and John Smith was involved in that. There are various tunnels and secret compartments in houses throughout Hartland but we do not know which ones John Smith was involved with other than to say the underground railroad as a whole.

He was friends with Taylor Groce and Solomon Northrup, the latter being a free man who was put into slavery and it took 12 years to win his case and free him. Harriett Beecher Stowe used Solomon as a basis for her book Uncle Tom’s Cabin and a movie was made called “Twelve Years A Slave”.

After leaving Hartland, Smith was involved with Groce and Northrup in the Underground Railroad in New York state.