Evarts Park

Evarts Park hasn’t changed much over the years. The pipe fencing rotted out and was replaced with chains and cement posts. It fronts on U.S. Rte. 5.

Evarts Park

Pavillion Hotel

The Pavillion Hotel was on the site of Damon Hall in Three Corners. It was replaced by Damon Hall in 1914.

Pavillion Hotel

Pavillion Hotel looking up Rt. 12 toward Four Corners


Hartland Round Barn

The original round barn was added onto twice, increasing herd size to 150 head. The round barn burned in 1978 and some Milking Shorthorns were lost. The replacement barn was a 100 stall tree stall facility, with attached heifer barn. It was located at Green Acres Farm, the home of Philo Withington in North Hartland.

Hartland Round Barn


Green Acres Farm

The Willard Cemetery

This document was compiled by Howland Atwood in 1991. Except for some minor typographical and editorial corrections, what follows is exactly as he filed it in the Hartland Historical Library.

The Willard Cemetery is primarily a private family cemetery, located on the left, part way up Mace Hill.  As in other cases, some neighbors were permitted to bury their dead there.  Byron P. Ruggles made his survey of the Quaker Willard Grave-yard in August 1907 and he recorded nineteen gravestones.  There are probably a few unmarked graves.   The oldest gravestone appears to be that of Betsey, daughter of James N. and Abigail Willard, who died in 1800.

The Willard farm was the one owned and occupied by Willis Curtis. Whether or not the land once extended as far up Mace Hill as to include the cemetery lane is not presently known, although it would seem likely that it did. The farm now extends up to the Cobb Hill road, up to the Cobb place, which was probably sold off from the original farm.   Just when the Billards came to that farm is not known either.

James Nutting Willard is not listed in Densmore’s Census of April 5, 1771 for Hertford (Hartland) in Cumberland County, Vermont, but his name does appear in the list of “Poles & Notable Estate of Inhabitants of Hertford” in 1778.  (Hertford was changed to Hartland by vote of the legislature in 1782).

James Nutting Willard was of the fifth generation to live in America.  His immigrant ancestor, Major Simon Willard emigrated from County Kent in England in 1634. Simon’s eleventh child, probably by his third wife, Mary Bunster, was Henry 2 Willard, who married, first, Mary Lakin of Groton.  Their second child, Simon 3 Willard was born in Groton, Mass. Oct. 6, 1678. He married Mary Whitcomb and they lived in Lancaster, Mass., where he died in 1706. On Dec. 12th 1706, his widow married Samuel Farnsworth and she was the mother of Samuel, David, and Stephen Farnsworth, the first settlers of Fort No. 4 or Charlestown, New Hampshire. Moses 4 Willard, the second son of Simon 3, was born at Lancaster about 1702 or 3 and along with his half-brothers, the Farnworths, also became an early settler of Fort No. 4, removing there permanently by May 1742.  Moses 4 Willard married at Groton, Mass. Sept 28, 1727, Susana Hastings.  They had four children.  Their second daughter, Susanna, married Capt. James Johnson.   She became the mother of Elizabeth Captive Johnson, who was born in Cavendish near Reading, Vermont, while Mrs. Johnson was a captive of the Indians.  The fourth child and only son was James Nutting 5 Willard of the fifth generation.

James Nutting 5 Willard married Abigail, daughter of Capt Ephraim and Joanna (Bellows) Wetherbee.  The children of James Nutting and Abigail (Weatherbee) Willard, the first six probably born in Charlestown, N. H.:

  1. James Willard, born April 30, 1762, died Dec 4th 1762
  2. James Willard, born Nov. 9, 1763
  3. Edward Willard, born Dec. 9, 1765
  4. Betsey Willard, born Oct. 28, 1767
  5. Abigail Willard, born Jan. 25, 1770
  6. John Small Willard, born Jan. 31, 1772
  7. Joanna Willard
  8. Susanna Willard
  9. Thales Willard

Since the last three children are said to have been born in Hartland, James Nutting Willard must have brought his family to Hartland later in the year of 1772 or early in 1773.  At least three of the James N. Willard children are buried in the Willard Cemetery, perhaps four or five.

Oliver Willard, one of the earliest settlers of Hartland was a first cousin of Moses 4 Willard, the father of James Nutting 5 Willard.

At some time in his earlier life James Nutting Willard became a Quaker and in his later years was usually referred to as Quaker Willard.  The farm dog population gradually increased up to the point that Quaker Willard thought that he must destroy some of them, but he first told his children that each one could select his favorite dog to keep.  So each child took a stand beside his favorite dog, saying, “Thee must not kill this one” and “thee must not kill this one” until there was only one left.  Mr Willard called the remaining dog to him and said “Hast thou no friend among the children? Thou shouldst have a friend; I will therefore be thy friend”.  So all the dogs continued to live.


Note:  the copy is not clear in many places, so some of this may be incorrect.

Lewis G., son of J. S. & C. Willard Died Oct 16, 1852 AE 19.
Nancy N., dau. of J. S. & C. Willard Died Oct. 12, 1852 AE 17.
Celendia W., dau. of John S. Jr. and Celindia Willard, died Sept 8, 1826 AE 7 years.

In Memory of James Willard Son of Mr.  Ed. & Polly his wife.  He died July 3, 1821 aged 2 years & 3 days.

Edw’d Willard Vt. Mil. Ref. War (A government marker) Since Edward was but 10 years old in 1775, he must have entered service towards the end of the war.

In Memory of Betsey Daughr. of James N. & Abigail Willard, died Sept. 29, 1800 AE 32 y. 11 m.
In Memory of Mrs. Abigail Willard, wife of Mr. James N. Willard, who died March 4th 1816, aged 76 years.
In Memory of James N. Willard, who died April 21, 1818 aged 83 years & 11 months.
Memento James Willard, died April 16, A. D. 1839 in the 76 year of his age.

In memory of Nancy, wife of John S. Willard, died Sept. 26, 1845 in the 75 year of her age.
John S. Willard  Died Mar. 16, 1852  AE. 80.

In Memory of John S., Son of John S. and Nancy Willard, aged 1 year, 9 months, and 26 days.

Thales Willard, died Sept 10, 1829 in his 56 year.
Thales Willard died 1839, aged 75. (Ruggles record [1907], this gravestone not found in 1991).

Edwin Smith, Died Sept. 27, 1828 AE. 23 years.
Susan Lane, daughter of Capt. Samuel & Amelia Whitney, died Aug. 8, 1833.

Eliza C., Wife of Martin L. Peterson, died July 1, 1828   AE 29 years.
(This gravestone is half imbedded in a large pine tree on its left.)
The Christian names were supplied by the B. P. Ruggles record.

Azubah, wife of Aaron Hunt Died Oct. 1, 1828  AE 52 years.

1940 Snow Storm

This picture is from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. It was taken in 1940 and is credited to  Marion Post Wolcott, 1910-1990, photographer.

This is the Cowdrey’s house.

Stone Culverts

Culverts are openings beneath roads and railroad lines generally constructed out of stone. They were used where a full fledged bridge was unnecessary.  Culverts originally were built to form a dry, hard surface over small streams. Later on with railroads crisscrossing farm lands animal underpasses were added. Most culverts are below the road surface. Hence, soil was built up over culverts reinforcing their stability and longevity. Culverts did not require maintenance on annual basis as does a bridge. Culverts range from stones slabs laid across a stream to walled and roofed openings.

Culvert Ellison Rd. beyond Poor Farm Rd. near Rockwood Farm. Photo by Steve Howard.



Large flat stone slabs were laid atop low stones. This allows water flowage underneath and creates a solid firm surface across the stream. Water softened earth on edges of either side of culvert were paved with flat stones.



‘It’s Been Here for 160 Years’: Hartland Church Steeple to Be Renovated

By Jon Wolper, Valley News Staff Writer
Published in print: Thursday, April 25, 2013, used with permission.

Jason Norris, who works for contractor Jan Lewandoski, measures the outside of the steeple of the Hartland Unitarian Church in Hartland Four Corners yesterday. (Valley News – Sarah Priestap)


Hartland – Since the mid-1850s, a white steeple has sat atop the First Universalist Society of Hartland’s white, wood-paneled house of worship building.

Yesterday, for the first time, it was taken down.

The move, accomplished by crane, is the first of several aesthetic and foundational restorations that church leaders plan to do to the steeple and building itself.

The renovations, which will include work on the church’s exterior and parking lot, began with a capital campaign launched in September, said Paul Sawyer, the church’s minister. At the time, he and others had one chief concern:

“Can we raise $100,000 in this little congregation?” he said.

Since the campaign kicked off, the congregation has raised $93,000. Recently, it was awarded a $20,000 grant from the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, as well as a $5,000 grant from the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation.

Jason Norris climbs down from inside the steeple after it was removed. (Valley News – Sarah Priestap)


The rest, though, has come from the church’s 103 members, as well as other supporters, Sawyer said.

“The community has been wonderful,” said Sue Taylor, who applied for the grants. “They’ve really supported this.”

The project, which will include restoration by Jan Lewandoski, who specializes in historical restorations, will cost about $50,000, Sawyer said.

The rest of the money will go to parking lot and exterior renovations, as well as other structural and foundational work, such as improving drainage.

“It’s really working on the bones of the building,” he said. “It’s been here for 160 years.”

At about 9:15 a.m., about 45 minutes after the 88-foot, 3,000-pound structure had been removed, a small group of church members gathered on the building’s lawn at Hartland Four Corners. In front of them, in a rare close-up, stood the steeple, its white paint heavily peeled and its highest point broken.

The jagged wood at the top of the steeple used to hold its cast iron weather vane, which was knocked off its perch during a storm a year ago. Church President John Osborne said it “shattered into a gazillion pieces.”

Yesterday, while the steeple was being taken down, a handful of small shards of wood, each with splotches of cracked, time-worn paint, broke off the structure. Osborne found one in the parking lot, and showed it to Taylor. He called it his “historical souvenir.”

Lewandoski said that the boarding on yesterday’s specimen had begun to rot. That wasn’t an issue, though, as the boarding acts as a cover – the framing, the guts of the steeple, hadn’t been harmed.

“They caught it at the right time,” Lewandoski said.


A miniature replica of the Hartland Unitarian Church is seen adjacent to the larger, more habitable version after the steeple was removed in Hartland Four Corners yesterday. (Valley News – Sarah Priestap)



Previous work on the steeple had been done both 20 and 12 years ago, Sawyer said. In the 1990s workers shored up the roof underneath the bell, he said, and a dozen years ago they fixed some rotting planks.

But that work was done with the steeple still intact. A 1994 photo of the restoration shows a man scaling the structure with a rope.

This time, of course, is different.

“All the sheeting’s going to come off,” said Sawyer, standing near the towering steeple with Lewandoski. “He’s going to make it last another 150 years.”

To celebrate the project, which does not yet have a set finish date, church members will hold a “Save the Steeple Celebration” on May 31. It will begin at 6 p.m. with a dinner and ringing of the church’s bell, which was built in 1834, according to Lewandoski, and then feature a talk from the restoration specialist at 7:30.

Digging Into Hartland’s Past: Archaeologists Detail [Aldrich] Cemetery Findings

By Ben Conarck, Valley News Staff Writer, Monday, April 15, 2013,
(Published in print: Monday, April 15, 2013). Used with permission.

Hartland — A team of archaeologists hired by the president of VTel to exhume a cemetery located on his 173-acre estate have unearthed fragments of Upper Valley history nearly two centuries old, but not without dredging up some new questions too.

The relocation of the cemetery, which occupied land purchased by VTel CEO and President Michel Guite, stirred up resistance from residents and led to a three-year legal battle over the rights of descendents to access the burial plot.

The case went all the way to the state Supreme Court, which sided with Guite in late 2011. Jerome King, a Hanover resident who has since died and whose family owned the property for 33 years, sued to prevent the unearthing of the cemetery where the ashes of his cremated parents were laid to rest.

[Although the cemetery move was controversial],  most of those in attendance expressed only fascination as Kate Kenny, an archaeologist with the University of Vermont team who helped lead the dig at what’s known as the Aldrich Family Cemetery, gave a detailed presentation of findings yesterday at the town’s library.

After going through the history of the Aldrich family, who settled their farm on the property in the early 1800s, and the subsequent history of the cemetery land itself after it left family hands, Kenny began to work through an inventory of items unearthed at the site, slide-by-slide, in a post-mortem of sorts that shed plenty of light on the lifestyle of 19th century Vermont farmers.

“This is kind of where it’s fun, where we start analyzing all the information, everything we’ve found,” said Kenny. “There’s maybe a little bit of CSI going on, but you use everything you can to try and reconstruct, and in this case, none of the coffins survived.”

Due to the type of the soil where the burial plot was located, Kenny explained, there were very few personal items recovered from the grave sites. But she added that was also due to the burials occurring in the earlier half of the 19th century, a time when people were rarely buried with their jewelry, or even in their own clothes.

Some of the later graves at the site had hardware from the coffins such as nails, screws and hatches, which clued archaeologists in on the types of coffins used there, during a time before bodies were embalmed prior to their burial.

“The cemetery is at the one tradition of burial and bordering another,” Kenny said.

As for the lengthy archaeological process, that too was complicated by outside factors. At one point in the presentation, the room erupted into laughter when Kenny explained what had led to delays by clicking to the next slide: an image of a burrowing creature standing on its hind legs with an expression that almost told of the critter’s satisfaction with its natural role.

Burrowing creatures apparently went to work all over the cemetery grounds, displacing earth and human remains in the process. Kenny said that once the crew found a part of a corpse that had been carried closer to the surface by a creature above a marked grave site, it had to stop digging with machines and start excavating by hand.

Going into the dig, Kenny said, she expected to find a maximum of 10 bodies buried there, which she did find, not to mention a family cat. But that’s where the unanswered questions come in.

“The thing is, I found 10 people, and the cat, but some of them were different people (then who she was expecting),” Kenny said.

While she has some “leads” on the two unidentified bodies uncovered there, Kenny couldn’t pinpoint exactly who the people were, despite employing all the research tools at her disposal.

After the presentation, John Crock, director of the UVM Consulting Archaeology program, said that he was reluctant to take up the Hartland job in the first place because of the controversy surrounding the cemetery. He said that it was presented to him by Guite as something that was going to be done either way, and he wanted to get involved “to do it right.” The UVM team received more than $70,000 for their work.

Les Motschman, a Hartland resident and treasurer of the historical society, said given the extent of the report and the work to create a new cemetery for the Aldrich family, it was clear a lot of effort went into the project.”

“Obviously, Mr. Guite spared no expense, so I think you have to hand it to him,” Motschman said. “It’s been a very controversial thing, and some people would try to do it at the least expense to just get it out of here,” he said.

Motschman described the new burial site as one meant to resemble an “old New England cemetery,” but there was just one thing giving away its true age: the grave markers.

“Except it doesn’t look like New England,” said Motschman, “Because it’s not native stone.”