Archive for March, 2012

Historically Speaking: Oliver Willard

Monday, March 12th, 2012

The Lull descendants don’t agree, but I think there is little doubt that Oliver Willard was the first settler in Hartland. He was here, at least by 1759, beating Timothy Lull by four years.

It was Oliver Willard who called upon Gov. Benning Wentworth in Portsmouth, N.H. and secured a patent for Hartland ( It was Hertford then) on July 10, 1761. Oliver immediately sent out a notice for the following meeting.

“Province of New Hampshire : Notice is hereby given to the Proprietors of Hertford on Connecticut River, That they Assemble at Fort Dummer on the last Wednesday in August next, First, To chuse a Clerk, also a Proprietor’s Treasurer, and to raise what Money shall be thought needful for the defraying the Charges of procuring the Grant of the Township; and to chuse a Committee to bound out the Town, and allot the same (if needful) and raise Money sufficient to defray the said Charges. Also to agree on a method for the calling their Meetings for the future, and to chuse the necessary Town Officers for said Town. Dated at Portsmouth, July 14, 1761. Oliver Willard.”

Who was Oliver and how did he come to be on this stage at this time? He was the 4th generation of Willards in North America, preceded by others who were instrumental in forming our country. Simon was the 1st to settle here from England, and was one of the ones to found the plantation of Concord, Mass in 1635. He had a long and illustrious life.

Next came Simon’s son, Henry (the 11th of 17 children) born in Concord in 1655. Henry provided 14 children to the Harvard, Mass area. One of these was Josiah, born in Lancaster about 1693. He was one of the first settlers of Lunenburg, a Captain in frontier service against the Indian enemy, and was commander of Fort Dummer in Brattleboro. He was an original proprietor in ” the township on the East side of the Connecticut River above Nothfield, commonly called Arlington”.

Our Oliver was his son, born in 1729 (7th of only 9) in Lunenburg, and was a Colonel at Forth Dummer by 1748. He was one of the grantees of Winchester and Westmoreland, N.H. He then settled in Hartland, Vt. where he was proprietor of the entire township and sold to the settlers. He took the side of New York in the boundary dispute.

Oliver’s son Levi was the first child born in Hartland, arriving in 1759. Poor Levi was unlucky in love. ” Levi Willard, the son of Col. Oliver and Thankful Doolittle Willard, was born at Hartland, Vt. and died at Sheldon, Vt. in Oct. 1839 ae 80. He went early to Montreal, E.C. espousing the British cause and being employed in the commissary department; engaged after the war in the Fur Company, and for several years led a wandering life among savages and trappers. “Traditions have it that previous to this he had married Jane Dailly of Montreal, said to be an accomplished Irish lady; but returning there had been informed of her unfaithfulness and departure for Hartland. Arriving there and finding the report confirmed, he walked his room in agony all night, and found in the morning that his hair had become prematurely gray, After this he taught school some time in Richford, Vt. but at length repaired to Sheldon, where a daughter resided, and there this unhappy man, from being first scholar in his class, (Dartmouth, 1776 ) descended to his grave in painful humiliation and obscurity.”

Information taken from the “Willard Genealogy” by Joseph Willard 1915,” In Sight of Ye Great River” and “Alumni of Dartmouth College by G.T. Chapman, class of 1804.

Reprinted from the Vermont Standard, “Historically Speaking” by Carol Mowry.

Historically Speaking: Letter to M. T. Densmore, July 3, 1859

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

This letter was written on July 3, 1859 from Adrian, Mich. to the author’s father J.R.D. (Densmore) in Hartland, Vt. A small portion of this letter is so important at this time, as we celebrate the 150th year since the beginning of the Civil War, that I wanted to pass it along for us to consider as we look back on that time. I am leaving out a great deal due to space but will include some of the personal thoughts of the author.

“Dear Father, It is a long time since I have written to you but I assure you it is not because I cease to think of you for I think of you every day and glad would I be if I could be with you and minister to you and comfort you for well I know how lonely you must be. I too am alone and desolate. Time does not efface the memory of the loved and lost and I cannot help thinking how different my circumstances might have been ” Of all the sad words of tongue or pen. The saddest of these it might have been”.

I find that I am growing old and my life is more and more desolate. My children will soon be grown up and gone and the place that knows me now will know me no more. I have only John and my youngest girl at home. Belle is with her grand mother and Marretta has gone to Ohio to spend a year with a cousin of mine who married and moved there about a year ago. ” (She has gone to learn typsetting at the newspaper where her cousin’s husband is editor and proprietor, called the Germantown Independant).

Skipping forward, we come to this “Tomorrow is the Fourth of July and people will get together and fire cannon and make patriotic speeches and tell about our glorious country, it’s liberty and freedom, when four million of our brothers and sisters are bought and sold and driven in chained gangs from market. At the same time our Supreme Court decides that a coulard (sic) man has no rights that a white man is bound to respect.

For my part I think that we as a nation should sit in sackcloth and ashes until this great wrong shall be abolished. I cannot think of celebrating the 4 with any kind of patience”.

The author then returns to family matters and finishes with “Write me as soon as you receive this and believe me as ever yours. M.T. Densmore”.

How astounded M.T. would be if he could come back and celebrate the 4th today in a country where blacks hold leadership positions all the way up to and including the presidency. C.Y.M.

Historically Speaking: July 4, 1807 Oration

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

From “An Oration Pronounced at the Meeting House in Hartland on the Fourth of July”, 1807 by Hosea Ballou, American Independence Hartland (Vermont_ July 6, 1807).

Last Saturday, the anniversary of our Independence was celebrated at the meeting house in this town, to the great satisfaction of the numerous concourse of people who attended on the occasion. The rising of the fun was announced by the discharge of the cannon.

At eleven o’clock, a very respectable procession was formed, preceded by the orator and Officers of the day, aided by Capt. Campbell’s company of Artillery, (who did themselves great honor) and marched to the meeting house, with locked arms, where the Declaration of Independence was read, and an Oration by the Rev. Hosea Ballou, well adapted to the occasion. The devotional parts of the exercise were composed of solemn prayer and singing, which were both fervent and patriotic. Vocal and instrumental music formed a part of the exercises of the day.

At half past 2 o’clock the procession again formed, and were conducted to a bower, where they partook of a generous repast, well provided for the occasion, by Mr. E. Campbell. After dinner, the following Toasts were drunk, accompanied by discharges of cannon, and cheers of martial music.

  1. The day we celebrate,- How animating to every friend of liberty is the remembrance of that glorious era; may the birth-day of equal liberty and the rights of man never be forgotten.
  2. The sovereignty of the People, - May it no longer be insulted by Aristocrats, Tyrants nor Traitors.
  3. The Constitution of the United States, - Like the golden lamp, may it never cease burning.
  4. The President of the United States, - Whose wisdom has conducted the ark of our safety through the storms and whirlpools of the contending powers, and hath moored us safe in the haven of peace and happiness.
  5. The Militia our only defense, - may they be, like the ancient Spartans, sufficient for our protection, without walls or fleets.
  6. The American Navy, - May it yet be able to set bounds to the present Tyrants of the sea.
  7. American Heroes …
  8. The Tree of Liberty …
  9. The Freemen of Vermont, - May their next election fill the several offices of State with men most noted for wisdom and genuine republicanism.
  10. Agriculture …
  11. The Agricultural Society of Vermont …
  12. Commerce and Manufacture …
  13. The State Bank of Vermont …
  14. The American Eagle, - May she soar above all contending parties, and carry with her the olive branch of peace.
  15. The Press -May it’s conductors be men of science and liberty, and it’s patrons whose of wisdom and harmony.
  16. Abolition of Slavery, - May the sons of Columbia be philanthropists in practice, and never abate in their indeavors (sic) to annihilate the practice of making slaves of the human race.
  17. The Western Territory …
  18. The Fair Daughters of Columbia, - May virtue form their moral character, modesty be their charms, and faithful republicans their husbands.

This being the first anniversary of this kind ever celebrated in this town, and the whole proceedings being attended with that harmony and regularity which rendered the day joyous, we think it well worthy the imitation of all good citizens.

Reprinted from the Vermont Standard,  “Historically Speaking” by Carol Mowry.

Historically Speaking: Roger Enos

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

One of the foremost leaders during the beginning years of what is now the State of Vermont was a man named Roger Enos. Roger lived in North Hartland, when it was still Hertford ,in a house on Dry Kiln Rd. The plank house was owned by Oliver Willard and then Zadock Wright but was confiscated as Wright “went over to the enemy”, a Tory. We have excerpts from a deed that Clyde unearthed.”in the Township of Windsor and Hertford in the County of Cumberland and State of Vermont for and in consideration of the Sum of Two Hundred and Seventy Pounds Lawful Money to me in hand paid before the (?) hereof by Roger Enos of Windsor in the County of Hartford and State of Connecticut and receipt whereof I do here by Acknowledge”. The deed says that it bordered property still owned by Oliver Willard and Willard’s mill dam, along both rivers and the “farm was forfeited by Zadock Wright by his Treasonable Conduct — Under the grant of the Governor of New York. In witness where of I have set my hand and seal this 20th day of October A.D. 1780 State of Vermont County of Bennington.”

One can only speculate about the reasons Roger might have decided to settle in Hartland, but I’m thinking it might have had something to do with the fine company that was already here. Enos was instrumental in the building of the North Hartland church with a Benjamin Waite of Windsor. This was an Episcopal Church that had been meeting in a barn prior to the erection of the building.

Roger was married in March 1763 to Jerusha Hayden of Windsor, Conn. and with her had five children. One was Jerusha Hayden Enos who married Gen. Ira Allen. They met at Castleton when Jerusha accompanied her father on Army business. Another daughter married Pascal Paoli who was one of the proprietors of Springfield, Ill. The Enos came to Hartland in 1779, settled Enosburgh in 1780, but there is no evidence that they ever lived there.

More glimpses of Roger : From Men of Vermont, History of Vermonters. “Enos, Gen. Roger - One of the few men in the secret of the Haldimand Correspondence, and Vermont’s military commander through that trying period, was born in Simsbury, Conn. in 1729, an adjutant in 1761, and a capt. in Col. Israel Putnam’s regiment in 1764. He also took part in the Havana Campaign of 1762. He was afterwards a member of the commission to survey lands in the Mississippi valley. He promptly took the part of the patriots at the outbreak of the Revolution and had command of the rear guard of Arnold’s expedition against Quebec. He left it, however, with a sizable detachment, in order to avoid starvation, as he claimed. He was afterwards court martialed under a charge of cowardness, in this action but was honorably acquitted.”

He had a long military career, served many terms in the General Assembly, was a trustee of the Vermont University, a member of the commission to adjust the trouble with New Hampshire and of the committee to consider resulutions of Congress for the admission of the state to the union.

After a long and illustrious life, Roger ran into money troubles and landed in debtors prison for 18 months, “disagreeably confined in the gaol in Woodstock in the County of Windsor” For most of his last 12 years he lived with his daughter, Jerusha Allen in Colchester , where he died in 1808 at the age of 79.

Pay special attention to your Hartland Tax bill. There will be a special opportunity to have your home and family recorded for the ages to come as we celebrate our 250th anniversary. CYM

Reprinted from the Vermont Standard, 2012, “Historically Speaking” by Carol Mowry.

Historically Speaking: News Clippings Tell The Story Well

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

In my last article, I decided to share some fun news clippings. Well, I enjoyed that so much that I decided to do it again. C.Y.M.

May 5, 1888

Stuck in the mud! Two gentlemen from Windsor and the same number of ladies came to this village Tuesday evening thinking as they said, ‘There used to be a dance here.’ Finding no dance here they started for home about 10 o’clock, and on reaching the clay ground through which the road passes near the house of S.W.

Davis (I don’t know where this is. C.Y.M. ); the horses, carriage and occupants went suddenly down into the clay porridge. The horses floundered and finally fell. The ladies stepped from the carriage into the mud and made for the uplands. S.W. Davis was called on for help. He was unable to do much. However, by the stimulus of a five dollar bill offered in case the carriage was extricated, but help was in vain. The horses were taken from the carriage and attached to another at H.S. Brittons hospitable roof. The weary, mud covered pilgrims resumed the march to Windsor. At this writing, Wednesday forenoon, the carriage, a double one, remains in the road where it went down. Last night only the body part and cover being visible.’ I don’t think I will ever complain about roads again.

Windsor County Hartland News 1897

Not withstanding all the precautions taken by George D. Wood of the American Poultry Farm on Hendrick Hill (on Rice Rd ) and the military preparations heretofore made for defending it against midnight invaders, as announced in the Journal not long since, the unprincipled and venturesome thief still prowls around the premises. On a recent night while ‘Jim’ Harwood, with two revolvers and a pig sticker in his belt, was watching out from the top of a tall tamarack tree that overlooks the poultry yards, and while proprietor Wood stood at the west attic window of the Henrick house with a loaded rifle and shotgun, a sudden commotion among the feathered tribes revealed the fact that someone was within the enclosure and laying unlawful hands upon them. ‘Jim’ stood on too insecure foundations in the tamarack tree to make it safe for him to use his weapons, but George, from the attic window emptied the contents of his firearms into the poultry yards without effect, so far as can be learned except to endanger the lives of some of his choice Buff Cochins. It is now proposed as we learn, to increase the armament of the hill by planting in the dark entry, so called, a sort of Kyler pass just above the poultry yard, a rapid firing Gatling gun that will sweep the road from that point to Lambs woods eastward.

Reprinted from the Vermont Standard, January 12, 2012, “Historically Speaking” by Carol Mowry.

Historically Speaking: Hartland Newsclips

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Sometimes it is fun to read old news clips. Each one isn’t long enough to do an entire column with so I will give you a couple to enjoy.

The first is Hartland, Vt. 1877.

A little excitement happened in District #6 in April. Mr. Sumner T. Lull, who lives on the Cady farm, received from the hotel “des tramps”, in Windsor, a lad named Charles Baker, about 15 years of age, to assist him on his farm. About two weeks ago they left him to go to church, when he went to Mr. Lulls desk, and took about fifteen dollars in money, and what clothes Mr. Lull had furnished him, and left.When Mr. Lull came home he learned the boy had been missing about two hours,and immediately started in pursuit, toward Hartland, with Mr. Charles Wilder at Hartland Four Corners, G.H. Thayer - who was not making soap- said he had seen the boy pass, as also did Mr. Albert B. Burk; Mr. Wilson Britton, Chairman of the Hartland Thief Detective Society, being busily engaged in his horse barn, did not see the boy pass - Mr. Lull then drove to the Pavillion Hotel, kept by Mr. R.L. Britton, who furnished him with a fresh horse and also started with him in search of the boy, in company with Mr. Eli Shepard, one of the Hartland detectives, they then proceeded up the track on foot, eight or ten rods to Mr. Gilson’s cooper shop, when Mr. Britton, becoming weary, returned, and as they came back to the depot they saw the boy who was immediately secured by Mr. Britton and Wilder.- Upon searching him, the money was found secreted in a handkerchief around his body; after consultation, they delivered the boy, to Mr. Lull, minus 62 cents, which “Roy” said was to go to the Detective Society. Now what does Mr. Lull do with the boy? Beat and pound him, as some would suppose, from what they have heard on account of a little trouble he had with a contrary and ill-disposed prisoner? He took the boy home and kept him about a week, and gave him good Christian instruction, telling him the evil consequences of such things, which, from his former experience with rogues, he was capable of doing. The boy may find other homes, but none better than the one he had at Mr. Lull’s. We hope the boy may ever find as good friends as he found at Windsor. A FRIEND TO THE UNFORTUNATE.

From the January 7, 1937 paper we have:

Three Hartland Men Injured in Falls
Hartland - The slippery conditions of the past week were responsible for several falls, the most serious of which was that of Leslie L. Lobdell, 72, who broke his hip and is in Windsor Hospital. Mr. Lobdell lives alone on his farm in the west part of town, beyond Jenneville, and has no telephone. Late Saturday afternoon he fell while coming from the barn to the house. He managed to crawl to the house where he sat by the kitchen fire all night. With the crooked handle of his cane he pulled the wood box to him and fed the fire. Then he got hold of a saw on the table, and sawed up the wood box for fuel. He was not found until about noon Sunday when his neighbor, Bernatchez, arrived. In the afternoon he was taken to the hospital.

Warren H. Henshaw fell while delivering milk, and struck a blow on the back of the head which made him unconscious for a time. He was picked up by Howard Claypoole, who found him lying in the road near Stammers place in Martinsville. He does not remember where or how the fall occurred, but was able to deliver his milk as usual the next day.

Jay G. Underwood fell on the ice Friday, and tore the ligaments from his lower rib. He was in Jenneville on his route near frank Norman’s where his car slewed dangerously and almost went over a bank. In shoveling some dirt under the wheels, he slipped and hurt his side. he managed to get home, and has been confined to the house since.

Take care everyone!!

Reprinted from the Vermont Standard, 2012, “Historically Speaking” by Carol Mowry.

Lucia Hazen Webster letter to her late husband, Part 3

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Here is another of the wonderful letters from Lucia Webster to her husband Dan, written after his death in 1943.

Dear Dan, Here in this south room where I sit evenings by the open fire, Dora and Irving were married at two o’clock this afternoon and now they are gone and all the guests have left. We had a happy day with only family here besides Marion, Emiline and the minister, Mr. Paige whom you liked when he called here last spring. All of us except Jack went to the first part of the church service to see Mary Margaret baptized so it really was Sunday to us, and the day was lovelier for that. The bride and groom went off together in Irving’s car after the boys had played some pranks on them and, according to what they told us, they did not know where they were bound or how long they would be away.

It was thirty seven years ago last May we started from my home and we knew just where we were going and even what train we would take back to Hartland. But we had not decided what we would do while we were in Boston. It seemed as tho we would better go to some entertainment Monday and we looked for a list of concerts, operas and shows. I did want to attend an opera but there was not any you cared for and Creator’s Band was to give a concert that afternoon. It looked interesting to us both and we found it as fine as we had expected.

Band music was one of your pleasures. How you would have enjoyed hearing the Grammar School Band here in Hartland play on the evening of Old Home Sunday and again when the town gave a surprise reception to James Miller and his wife on their Golden Wedding day.

Do you remember how in 1912 we went to Windsor and saw Sousa conduct his band an a whole afternoon’s concert at Kennedy’s arena. It was a treat that would never have come to as small a place as Windsor if John Philip Sousa and Mr. Kennedy had not been good friends. The band was going thru to an engagement that evening to some larger place, Hanover I think, and Mr. Kennedy persuaded his friend to stop over. They played to a large and very enthusiastic audience. When we bought our phonograph the first records we got were marches, one of them Sousa’s.

But you liked music of many sorts and came naturally by the liking, for Father Webster used to play the bass viol in the choir. There is a horn and a violin that either he or some other person in the house used. We have all three in a closet under the eaves. Among your play things I found an accordion and a harmonica and you used to tell of playing a Jews harp when you were a boy.

It is because you sang bass in the church choir that I first knew you. Mrs. Stuart found I could sing so she insisted on my joining the choir which Mr. Ed Jenkins led. There were half a dozen others always at practice. Julia Chase and Jennie Paige among them. Do you remember the day Jennie didn’t come to rehearsal and Mr. Perkins spoke his mind about the young man he had met in the store with her that afternoon?” He didn’t look very intelligent. He had a cigarette in his mouth.” Well, practice was all right - the choir could meet at the house where I was staying but church attendance was another matter and again Mrs. Stuart stepped in and asked you to see that I was transported. Although the walk was very short it was more than I could accomplish with a lame knee so you used to drive up to the door on your way and take me with you.”

Reprinted from the Vermont Standard, February 2, 2012, “Historically Speaking” by Carol Mowry.

Lucia Hazen Webster letter to her late husband, Part 2

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

As promised, I am giving you the second installment of a letter from Lucia Webster to her husband Dan after his death in 1943.

With all you cared for music it was astonishing that the radio didn’t seem good to you but I could never interest you in having one of our own and you often hated to go out to Sally’s to listen to theirs. It was a long time before I could find out what was wrong with it but finally I discovered you hated to hear all the strange (but to me most fascinating) sounds when one was hunting for the right station.

While the Ford Hour was to be heard on Sunday evenings we used to sit up for it and the two of us enjoyed it after the Comstocks had gone to bed. I could not always be sure whether you were enjoying the concert or enjoying my enjoyment but there was no question when Marion Anderson or Richard Crooks sang or there was band music. Then it surely seemed as good to you as to me.

I wonder how many times we had a neighborhood sing, sometimes at our house, once in awhile at John’s but more often at Sanford Shepard’s. Whenever Mr. Perkins came to visit at our house or Sanford’s (and even sometimes when he was not there at all) the Shepards and Websters gathered for a grand evening. We sang everything from rounds to hymns, sometimes as solos, sometimes as duets, often as a grand chorus. Sanford had paper-covered song books he had bought just for those sings and Mr. Perkins brought some of his, so we had a large number of songs from which to choose - and we sang until we were really tired out. But do you remember “The Little Bronze Button”? Mr Perkins always asked either Cora or me to sing it to the tune of “The Old Wooden Bucket” in memory of his brother.

If I could remember all you told me about the singing schools and the “singing conventions” you used to enjoy in your boyhood I’d be glad indeed. I think you told about Mr. Perkins or his brother going from one place to another to hold “conventions”, gathering together all who were interested in music, having a school for several nights, perhaps two or three weeks, then finishing with a big concert where the pupils showed what they had learned and some distinguished musician from outside had the leading part.

It was before John Randolph was born (1907) that Henry Ketchum had his choral - some things I remember to this day. The rehearsals, just like the singing school of older time, lasted some weeks and as a grand finale we gave a concert in the Methodist church with the Claremont band to assist. And before we were married Helen Dudley had a real singing school that we attended when she tried to teach us to “pulsate” and all you got out of it, or I either for that matter, was good wholesome fun.

Do you remember how you always loved to hear me sing “I am sitting on the style, Mary where we stay side by side”? You would stop everything to listen and I heard you telling the children once that it was the most beautiful song ever written. You did love simple happy music - bits from “Robin Hood”, Henry Lauder’s songs, “The Owl and the Pussycat”, and “Lassie O’ Mine”, for instance and music was a force in your life.

Then that afternoon in April when we took your casket to the church for the last service Della Merritt and Rebecca (Merritt) played on the piano and violin for you while friends were entering and again when they were leaving. Did you hear them play “Crossing the Bar”? Nothing could have been lovelier and nothing could have pleased you more.”

Reprinted from the Vermont Standard, 2012, “Historically Speaking” by Carol Mowry.

K.I.H.C.B. - Part 1 - Historically Speaking

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

A few years ago, Connie Tessier and I were going through some papers at the Hartland Historical Society when we came upon a packet of letters to “My Dear Lass”, signed with the above initials. Eventually we discovered that the initials belonged to one of the most outstanding women of the 19th (and 20th) century. Katherine Isabel Hay or Hayes lived in Hartland from infancy to the age of 12. She first married William Wilberforce Chapin, a missionary in India. They sailed with a cargo of ice in Jan. 1864 to Bombay. He died in India in March of 1865 and in Sept. she set sail alone for home. She then married Congressman Rev. Samuel Barrows.

There is a biography “So much in a Lifetime” by Madeline Stern and a section for her in the book, “We the Women; Career Firsts of the 19th Century America”. Isabel was the first woman to attend the University of Vienna Medical School (she had to learn the language, as well);the first to perform eye surgery in the U.S.; the first woman ophthalmologist and the first woman to work as a stenographer on Capitol Hill - for William Seward. She was a lecturer at Howard University and a pioneer penologist.

Isabel collaborated in writing “The Little Grandmother of the Russian Revolution with Alice Stone Blackwell and wrote a biography, “A Sunny Life”,of her husband. Samuel June Barrows was a pastor in Dorchester, Mass.- and edited “The Christian Register, a Unitarian weekly. In 1895 he was appointed by President Cleveland to represent the U.S. on the International Prison Commission.

Isabel’s father, Dr. Henry Hay was convinced to come to Hartland from Irasburg to set up a medical practice. The family lived in Hartland from 1847 to 1858. Because there were no boys for boys work, and because there were two older girls to help their mother, Isabel became the boy of the family. She did the boys chores and accompanied her father on his medical rounds. She was home schooled. She remembers her first day here, under a plum tree.

Tolstoy said to me this summer when we were visiting him in Russia (she learned Russian also). Whether I shall know myself for myself after death I know not. Nor do I, but I know the exact moment I knew myself for myself in this life. It was in the Fall of 1847, out under the plum tree in the garden. Our new home on the hill was our very own. We lived in it as long as we remained in Hartland and it was disposed of after my father’s death. It stood on a plateau that broke a beautiful hill which was crowned with a grove of beautiful pines. The view from the hill was exquisite. Mt. Ascutney was only 10 miles away and the valley of the Connecticut swept down toward the east. Beyond it lay the hills of New Hampshire, that ungodly state (I don’t make this stuff up. C.Y.M.) as it seemed to me as a child because they allowed liquor to be sold there and the vote was democratic. From that time the two things have seemed to me to go together.

One day while playing in the yard Isabel remembers, “A big man leaning on the fence broke into our fun by saying, ‘What game is that you are playing?’ I explained it to him and he said it was a very nice way to play for he had been watching us, though we had not seen him and, ‘Are you Mrs. Hay’s little children?’ he asked. ‘Run and tell your mother that Henry Ward Beecher would like to see her’. Mr Beecher had lectured the night before in Woodstock and stopped to call on my mother, with whom he had had a correspondence and who had heard him lecture the night before.”

Katherine Isabel Hayes

Katherine Isabel Hayes

To be continued.

Reprinted from the Vermont Standard, 2012, “Historically Speaking” by Carol Mowry.   Picture added by Brad Hadley from HHS archives.

Daniel Willard - Historically Speaking

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

150 years ago, on Jan 28, 1861, one of Hartland’s most famous sons, Daniel Willard was born in North Hartland. His ancestors were here at the very birth of this town.

He went to the church still standing in No. Hartland and attended school in a building on the green. At fifteen he taught in a one room school where he met Mrs. Samuel Taylor, who was to influence his entire life. She taught him to love books and he was ever after an ardent reader. Daniel attended a term and a half at Windsor High School and wanted terribly to attend Dartmouth College, but couldn’t afford it. He did attend Mass. State Agriculture College In Amherst for a time but had to give it up because of poor eyesight.

Running through the family farm were the tracks of the Vermont Central Railroad, and young Dan’s imagination was fired by the idea of piloting one of those shiny, wood-burning engines, especially the old Governor Smith which he never ceased to love.

At eighteen, Daniel got his first job on the railroad on a section gang at 90 cents a day, for 10 hours, on the Vermont Central. He soon went to the Connecticut and Passumpsic where he was a fireman. He weighed only 125 lbs but managed to feed the old engine the 10 to 12 cords of wood she consumed in a long day. At nineteen, he was an engineer on the line, respected by the men he worked with for his burning ambition and keen mind. He always had a good book in his pocket.

Soon after this he was lured to the level track and higher pay of a western road, the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway. This proved temporary and he went to the Minneapolis and Sault St. Marie which was being built. Here he became trainmaster and in fourteen years was superintendent. From here he went to the Baltimore and Ohio, then to Erie, then operating V.P. of the Burlington and Quincy then back to the B&O as President, a job he kept from then on.
Willard understood the problems of workers and fought for their interests. Against the desires of many another President he helped to get an 8 hour day. He remembered only too well the times he had fallen asleep and bumped a train in front of him when he had been forced to operate beyond the limit of human endurance.
Besides President of the B&O, he became Chairman of the Advisory Commission of the Council of National Defense in WW1. It was made of distinguished men such as Bernard Baruch and others and the War Industries Board.

Daniel fought off a serious strike and organized the RR Presidents to try to fight off government ownerships which worked for a while. President Wilson did take over while Willard continued his war job.
At the end of the war, the B&O had to be built up again from near bankruptcy and later fought the great depression. He was no longer a young man, but took on such jobs as member of the board of Johns Hopkins University and this self educated man finally became president of the board.

In 1937, the B&O held the “Fair of the Iron Horse”, a great entertainment and show of railroading past and present. That kept Willard from speaking at the Hartland celebration of the sesquicentennial of Vermont but he had not forgotten Hartland. In his last years he visited his old home and asked to see the old steep back stairs he had remembered from early boyhood.

Taken from unknown source… Maybe a speech. C.Y.M.

Reprinted from the Vermont Standard, 2012, “Historically Speaking” by Carol Mowry.