The Mill at Water Quechee (Sumner Falls) - 1885

In the last issue of the newsletter, we talked about the Ottaquechee Woolen Mill and as this is a related article, I thought it might be of interest. I don’t know the story about the “mulish obstinacy” but it sure shows that Hartland knows how to give a party. This is from the Vermont Journal, Windsor, Vt. on October 3, 1885.

“Wednesday of this week was a day long to be remembered in Hartland. Never since   the Connecticut valley was settled has the region around Sumner Falls been so densely packed with men, women and children. There were at the least calculation 2000 people on the ground, and many good judges think that too low an estimate.

The occasion of this great gathering was in honor of the Newton brothers of  Holyoke, and  in celebration of the victory they have gained over the mulish obstinacy of the Ottaquechee Woolen Company. After discussing various methods by which the town might   give expression in some unmistakable way to the prevailing sentiment, it was  decided to hold a grand town picnic. That picnic has been held, and more complete success never attended a human undertaking. By the princely generosity of the Newtons in supplying the substantials, supplemented by endless varieties of cake and pies of Hartland make, the tables, nearly an eighth of a mile in length were literally loaded down, and after the thousands had been fed the tables still looked as though other thousands might be accommodated.

The Newtons arrived by mail train, which let them off at the crossing near the grounds, from which place they were escorted to the tables by a procession of citizens headed by the Hartland band, which, by the way, performed excellent service through the day.

After leaving the table, W.R. Sturtevant, one of the citizens committee, mounted the band stand and called the vast multitude to order. In reply to comments given out by the master of ceremonies, W.R. Sturtevant, the first speaker called upon was Rev. W.L.Noyes of Hartland, he being followed by Rev. B.M. Tillotson of Woodstock, Hon. E.M. Goodwin of Hartland, and S.M. Pingree, Esq. of Hartford. E.C. Emmons of Taftsville, Henry Safford of   Hartford, A.A. Martin of Hartland, and Rev. Graham of Plainfield, N.H.

One of the speakers, E.C. Emmons, made honorable mention of the names of David   H. Sumner, Solomon Emmons, Frederick Freeman, Russell Freeman, John Burnham and   several others, as veterans of Sumner’s Falls who were engaged in active business there 40 years ago. We would gladly report, in substance, all the speeches, but the nearness of the time of the Journal’s going to press will not admit of this, but we can say they were all able and appropriate, and it is doubtful if better after dinner speeches were ever heard in  town.

And now by the authority of the great meeting here reported, as well as by the late special town meeting, which exempted their property from taxation with only one dissenting vote, the Journal welcomes the Newtons to the town of Hartland.

Reprinted from the Hartland Historical Society Newsletter, Summer 2008.

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