Eldad Andrus first settled on the farm now occupied by Mrs. T. B. Holly, and afterwards exchanged farms with Zechariah Benedict, whose pitch lay in the west part of the town bounding on Lemon Fair. His first house was built a few rods east of the present buildings. He was taken prisoner in May or June, 1778, by Indians and Tories, and carried across Lake Champlain to the British camp, where he was held for several months. Meanwhile the Indians frequently visited his house, consumed his provisions, destroyed his young fruit-trees, and stole his mare and her colt. It is said that two years later the mare and colt returned, accompanied by another colt, the young beasts being so well matched as to make Andrus a valuable team. Having discovered a chance to escape, he fled the British camp, but soon perceived that he was followed by an Indian. Whereupon, securing a heavy club, he hid himself under a huge log over which his pursuer must pass, and at the opportune moment felled him to the earth, and effected his escape unmolested. Among his descendants now living in town are his grandson, S. S. Andrus, and great-granddaughters, Mrs. James Tracey and Mrs. O. A. Field.
Samuel Blodget pitched on a lot of one hundred acres on the old North and South road from Cornwall to Middlebury, which was destroyed some time before 1860. M. B. Williamson, R. A. Foot, A. M. Williamson, Mrs. M. M. Peet, and Mrs. Alberton S. Bingham are his grandchildren. He was taken prisoner at the same time as Eldad Andrus, and was bound to a tree and threatened with death. Upon making himself known to a British officer as a Freemason, this fate was averted, and it was reserved for him to be taken to Ticonderoga, “where he suffered all the abuse and tortures usual to captives, and was imprisoned on board an old vessel, which abounded with vermin and filth, until he obtained permission to go on shore and drive team and perform other duties which fell to the lot of captives. He was liberated in the fall, and returned to his family, who by this time had removed to Bennington or Arlington, where they remained until the announcement of peace.” He died on his original pitch in 1838, aged eighty-seven years.
Foot, Nathan, Dr.
Dr. Nathan Foot, from Watertown, Conn., made his first pitch in the extreme east part of the town, on the verge of the swamp. The farm is not now occupied, but was afterward owned by his son Nathan, and in 1862 and later by Maria Foot and William Turner. A few years after his arrival here he built a second log house west of the highway, and later still a framed house. He died in Charlotte in 1807. Mrs. William Turner is his great-granddaughter. These surveys were all made in 1774 by Judge Gamaliel Painter, of Middlebury.
Linsley, Joel, Hon.
Early in 1775 Hon. Joel Linsley, from Woodbury, Conn., made a pitch on a tract which he occupied the remainder of his life. His first log cabin stood sixty or eighty rods east of the building now occupied by Charles Benedict, which he subsequently built. He was a surveyor and became a large land owner. At the organization of the town he was chosen town clerk, and afterwards repeatedly elected, with the exception of two years, until his death in 1818. He represented the town several years in the Legislature; was assistant judge and afterward chief judge of the County Court. His popularity was owing no less to his sociability than to his business energy and capability.
Douglass, James Marsh
The same year James Marsh Douglass, from Cornwall, Conn., pitched in the south part of the town on a lot afterwards occupied by Elias Douglass, and later still by Eli Stevens. He probably remained here most of the time until 1784, when he brought his family from Connecticut. He owned about five hundred acres in different lots in this vicinity, and apparently intended to have his sons settle about him. He died, however, in 1790, and the estate was divided among his sons.
John Douglass lived on the place now owned by C. and C. E. Ward; Colonel Benajah Douglass on the place where his son N. B. Douglass now lives. N B. Douglass and his three children, James, Maria, and Lilian, are the only descendants in town of James Marsh Douglass.
William Slade came from Washington, Conn., to Clarendon, Rutland county, about 1780, and three or four years later removed to Cornwall and made his pitch on the land now owned and occupied by John Towle, where he continued to reside until his death in 1826, at the age of seventy-three years. Being of vigorous and energetic nature and withal a born politician, he took an active part in the management of town affairs, and was sheriff of the county from 1810 to 1811. He was a soldier of the Revolution, and was for a time on board the Jersey prison ship. He was a firm supporter of Madison during the War of 1812. His house was the birth-place of the Rev. Henry H. Hudson, the Shakespearean critic and student.
James and Nathan Campbell settled in 1793 on a lot embraced in the well known Benjamin Stevens farm, and remained there, each in a log house, until 1793, when they sold to Benjamin Stevens and removed from town. Stevens came to Cornwall from Pittsford, Vt. He suffered a cruel imprisonment of three years’ duration at Quebec during the War of the Revolution. He died June 16, 1815, aged fifty-three years. The site occupied by James Campbell was afterwards the house of Dr. Solomon Foot, father of Hon. Solomon Foot, and Dr. Jonathan Foot, a sketch of whose lives will be found in the chapters devoted to their respective professions.
Shadrach Norton settled in 1784 on the farm now owned by Charles Stevens. In 1787 Benjamin Hall bought of Joseph Plumb and located on the place now owned by J. M. Stevens. Three years earlier Barzillai Stickney settled on the next farm south. He was chosen constable at the organization of the town. The same year Daniel Scovel, from Cornwall, Conn., located on the farm now the home of Walter Atwood, where he died in 1813. His brother, Ezra Scovel, settled also in 1784 on the present farm of H. S. Scovel, his grandson David B. Woodruff made his pitch and built his cabin east of Ezra Scovel and near the swamp. In 1794 he sold to Lemuel Chapman, who lived there for some time. The place now owned and occupied by Douglass E. Searl was originally settled by Eliakim Mallory. It lies on the town line west of Mallory’s farm. Elisha Field, sr., bought one hundred acres of Eldad Adams, and in 1783 built thereon his log house. He was born in Amherst, Mass., in 1717, removed to Bennington in 1763, and thence to Cornwall in 1782. He died in 1791, in his seventy-third year. Franklin Hooker is his great-grandson. Elisha Field, jr., settled in 1790 on the farm now occupied by Mrs. L. W. Hall. He died at the age of eighty-eight years in 1852. Among his descendants are B S. Field and 0. A. Field, grandsons, and their children, all of this town. Ebenezer Newell owned a lot north of the Field farm, which he afterwards sold in part to Richard Miner and in part to Harvey Bell, a cloth-dresser, who removed to Middlebury.
Jacob Peck located on the east side of the road north of the Reeve farm in 1786, and remained there until his death in 1837, aged eighty-four years. He was born in Farrington, Conn., in 1753. He reared a numerous and respectable family and left many descendants, some of whom still reside in town. Captain Alanson Peck, his son, occupies a part of the old homestead; M. M. Peck, Henry T. Peck and Mrs. Henry Lane and Mrs. Anna Sanford are children of Alanson. Edgar Sanford, son of the last named, has grandchildren, thus exhibiting the remarkable co-existence of five generations.
William Samson, from Londonderry; N. H., at a very early date pitched on the farm afterward known as the Benjamin Sherwood place, now occupied by H. E. Taylor, and built his first cabin near the site of the present dwelling. He had a large family, was an early deacon of the Congregational Church, and died in 1798, aged sixty-six years. L. J. Samson, Curtis H. Samson and Mrs. R. S. Foot are his great-grandchildren.
In 1788 David Sperry came from Wallingford, Vt., where he had resided during the war, and settled on the farm now owned and occupied by William Delong. He came originally from New Haven, Conn and was a man of unusual ability. It was his custom, it is said, to wake his sons in the morning with the following roll-call:
“Daniel and Levi,
David and Lyman,
Heman and Dimon,
Ebenezer Peck and Harvey, turn out.”
Jared Ives, from Cheshire, Conn., settled in 1787 on the west side of the road, north of David Pratt. Enos Ives lived nearly across the road from him. John Rockwell, jr., came to Cornwall from Ridgefield, Conn., in 1784, and settled on the farm now owned and occupied by his grandson, S. S. Rockwell. He first built on the west side of the road. He gradually acquired an extensive farm, which, after his death at the age of seventy-one years, September 5, 1825, become the property of his son, John Rockwell, who conveyed the farm to his son, the present owner, over a quarter of a century ago. John Rockwell, sr., followed his children to Cornwall, and lived on the place now occupied by W. C. Wallace. He died September 9, 1825, aged ninety-two years.
Nathan Jackson located on the east side of the road nearly across from Jacob Ingraham, and followed his occupation of blacksmithing. He was a soldier of the Revolution, and prided himself on enjoying the personal confidence of General Washington.
Rufus Mead, brother of Ezra and Isaac, in 1786 bought of Abel Wright the farm now occupied by Mrs. W. W. Wright, and built, first at the base of the hill and afterward on the present highway. Of his sons, three, Hiram, Martin L. and Charles M., were graduated from Middlebury College, and another, Rufus, was for a number of years editor of the Middlebury Register.
Solomon Mead bought of Abel Wright in 1795 the farm now occupied by Azial Hamilton. From him the farm passed to Timothy Turner, Zenas Skinner, and Reuben P. Bingham. Silas Mead was located farther north on the present farm of S. S. Andrus.
Isaac Mead was an early settler on the farm now occupied by B. B. Rice. General Somers Gale afterwards lived on the farm. He was an influential citizen, and commanded a detachment at Plattsburgh in 1814. He was born in Panton in 1775; the family were driven to Fort Ticonderoga during the Revolution and obliged to stay there a while after its capture. His son, Dr. Nathan Gale, now resides in Orwell. Mrs. S. A. Sanford is his granddaughter, and Mrs. Charles H. Lane, a descendant one degree further removed.
Bingham, Jeremiah, Deacon
Deacon Jeremiah Bingham, who has already been mentioned, was one of the original members of the Congregational Church, and was chosen one of the first deacons. He was a soldier of the Revolution, and took an active part in the battle of Bennington, and was connected with the quartermaster’s department of the garrison at Ticonderoga before the surrender of the fort to Burgoyne. He was a man of indomitable energy and unusual intelligence, a thorough student of the Scriptures, and a conscientious believer in the truths therein inculcated. He frequently wrote poetry for his own edification. He died at the age of ninety-four years.