Ferrisburgh Vermont Biographies

The following facts have been ascertained concerning the early settlers, with the assistance chiefly of R. E. Robinson, before quoted:

Abel Thompson came to Ferrisburgh in 1778, and settled on the farm now occupied by D. M. Tappan. He afterward held many offices of trust, was the first justice of the peace and first representative. He built the first house on this farm, and afterward sold to Daniel, son of John Marsh. On a hill not far from the dwelling of M. Tappan is a marble slab bearing the following inscription: “Abel Thompson, born in 1741, died in 1808; settled in Ferrisburgh, 1778.

As early as when the city of Vergennes contained but three houses, John Field located on the place now occupied by George W. Kellogg, erected a log house in 1780, and not long after replaced it with a block-house. He had fourteen children. He died November 19, 1827, in the sixty-second year of his age; his wife Frances died March 13, 1843, in the seventy-seventh year of her age.

Timothy Hatch, from New Hampshire, was one of the early settlers in the west part of the town. He had a family of eight children. He died in the War of 1812, and in that struggle his eldest son, Martin, was wounded.

John Marsh came to Ferrisburgh at an early date and settled in the vicinity of Marsh Hill. His son Daniel two years later located on the same place formerly settled by Abel Thompson.

Archibald Collins, born in 1764, in Guilford, Conn., married Rhoda Bates in 1787, and soon after settled in the east part of Ferrisburgh, on a farm still in the hands of his descendants. He died in 1842. He was the father of eleven children, of whom Elias D. Collins, sr., is the only one remaining in town. Archibald Collins was a tanner and shoemaker.

William Webster settled early in the southwest part of the town, near Button Bay, where George C. Spencer now lives. His father was captured by the British at Arnold’s Bay, in Panton, and taken to Canada, whence he never returned.

The vicinity of Basin Harbor was first settled, before the Revolution, by Platt Rogers, who came from Dutchess county, N. Y. Here he was joined by Jared Pond, whose grave is still to be seen on the farm now owned by the Winans estate. According to the inscription on his stone, he died in 1817. Platt Rogers brought with him a female slave named Millie, who was followed by another slave, her lover. He agreed with Mr. Rogers that after a certain period of labor he and his affianced should be set free. In pursuance of this agreement they were freed, and married, afterward living happily for years in a house built for them by Mr. Rogers, on the place still known as “Negro Orchard.”

James I. Winans, after fulfilling an agreement with the government for the survey of Northern New York, settled at Basin Harbor with his brother. They were ship-carpenters, and built the first steamboat that ever plowed the waters of Lake Champlain. It was commanded by James I. Winans. The widow of Martin Winans, son of James I., now occupies the old homestead.

Stephen Beach, from Connecticut, settled on the farm now owned by his son, Allen P. Beach. He had a family of nine sons, two of whom died in infancy, after which not another death occurred in the family for sixty-two years. Steven Beach died in 1859, aged eight-two years. It was on this farm that the family of John Field removed their goods at the time of the battle of Fort Cassin.

James Blakely, from Essex county, N. Y., first cleared the farm now owned by David Brydia, and built the first house and barn thereon.

Obadiah Allen, a blacksmith, was the first settler on the farm of Putnam Allen, which has never left the possession of the family. The present stone house replaced in 1835 the old block-house built there more than a hundred years ago.

Nathan Walker settled in 1790 on the farm now owned and occupied by his great-grandson, J. O’Walker, the farm having ever remained in the family. Nathan died October 19, 1823. His son Obadiah was born November 2, 1770, and died January 13, 1813. Zurell, son of Obadiah, was born May 27, 1801, and died January 13, 1873. He represented the town in 1832, ’33 and ’34, was State senator in 1848 and 1849, justice of the peace twenty-five years, and town clerk thirteen years.

Joseph Rogers, from Danby, Vt., settled on the farm now occupied by Mrs. Susan N. Rogers. He was a Quaker. In 1811 he moved and repaired the house still standing on the place, which was originally built near its present site by Timothy Rogers; though if the shade of the departed Timothy were now to view his lasting handiwork on earth, he would scarcely recognize this house, which has suffered the changes of time and improvement. Henry Rogers, son of Joseph, was born in 1804, and died in 1875, having passed all his life but two years on this homestead, and having borne a prominent and active part in the affairs of the town. His widow, Susan N., and daughter, Phebe H., now occupy the farm.

Benjamin Carpenter, from Shaftsbury, located on the farm now owned by Daniel B. Collins. He had three children. He was living in Shaftsbury at the time of the difficulties between Ethan Allen and the “Yorkers,” and left for Brandon, where he stayed until the trouble was over. Luther Carpenter, his son, now living here, was born in town on the 25th of March, 1795, on the farm now occupied by his nephew, Oren Carpenter. His sister Lucy, born May 19, 1804, the widow of Wheelock Thompson, now lives with her niece, Lucy Day, in Addison.

Luther Carpenter is the oldest man in town. He married Lydia Ann Davis on the 7th of December, 1836, who is living with him yet. In the fall of 1836, perhaps in honor of his approaching marriage, his fellow townsmen sent him to the Legislature. They have had two children, one of whom, Mrs. Eliza A. Collins, now lives in town. The other, a son, was born in 1840 on the 9th of January, and died on the 22d of the same month.

Elnathan B. Beers, from Trumbull, Conn., came to Ferrisburgh after a brief residence in Monkton, and settled in the east part of the town. He died in Monkton at the age of eighty-seven years. His son, Ransom Beers, now lives in town.

Robert Hazard, from Rhode Island, came here very early and settled on the farm now owned by Ezra A. Hazard. He built the house which now stands there. The old log house which stood formerly on the bank of the creek, west of the present building, was put up by a Mr. Chase. Robert Hazard, it is thought, built the only grist-mill now in town, and operated it for years. He went to Canada early in the present century and returned in 1816. His son, Thomas Hazard, was the father of Rufus Hazard, now living in Ferrisburgh village, who was born June 15, 1808, in Oxbridge, near Toronto, Canada. For more than thirty years he carried on the farm now occupied by Isaac Mosher. Of his three brothers, Robert is dead; Seneca lives in Ferrisburgh, and Dennis, the youngest, lives at Charlotte Four Corners.

Alvin Ball, from Bennington, Vt., with his two brothers, located south of where George E. Ball, his grandson, now lives. Although without property when he arrived, he acquired in a few years a handsome competence. Of his six children, Ansel, Alvin, and Stephen are now residents of the town.

Joseph Burroughs settled at an early day on the farm now occupied by the widow of Joseph Burroughs, his grandson. He had two children, Ethan and Betsey. Ethan built the house now standing on the place in 1811.

Jonathan Locke, from Providence, R. I., was an itinerant settler here in early days. He lived for a time on the farm now owned and occupied by George G. and R. E. Robinson.

Jonathan Keeler came to Ferrisburgh from White Plains, N. Y., and settled in the south part of the town. He was a carpenter and joiner, and aided in the erection of many of the houses now standing here. He had a family of eight children, and died in 1842, aged seventy-eight years.

Noah Porter, from New Hampshire, located in 1780 near the site of the depot in the village, and soon after purchased forty acres of land in the west part of the town, near Fort Cassin. He was a soldier of the French and Indian and Revolutionary Wars, and originally came to Ferrisburgh for the purpose of hunting and trapping. His descendants, some of them, are living in town now. George W. Porter is his grandson.

Daniel Nichols was an early settler in Vergennes and lived afterward on the place now occupied by his grandson, Joseph R. B. Wilkins. He died in 1847, aged seventy-five years.

Thomas R. Robinson, a Quaker, from Newport, R. I., settled in Vergennes in 1792, and after a few years’ residence there removed to the farm now owned by G. W. Latham, being the old Nathan Keese place. He had two children, Abigail and Rowland T. Abigail married Nathan C. Hoag, and had a family of nine children. Rowland T. became a prominent man in town; was an early and uncompromising abolitionist. In 1857 he was appointed town clerk, and that office has never been out of the family, his son George G. being the present incumbent. His eldest son, Thomas R., was born in 1823, and died in 1853. The second, George G., was born March 4, 1825, and is unmarried. The youngest, Rowland E., was born May 14, 1833; married Anna Stevens, of East Montpelier, in 1870, and has three children, Rachel, Rowland T., and May. Thomas R. Robinson’s wife was Charlotte Satterly, of Ferrisburgh. They had two children, William G., now a physician in New York, and Sarah, wife of William Harmon, of Shelburne.

Timothy Dakin, from Quaker Hill, Conn., came to Ferrisburgh in 1792, locating on the farm now owned by his children, Isaac and Judith, both in the evening of life. He was a shoemaker.

Stoddard Martin, a carpenter and joiner, came to Charlotte from Lanesborough, Mass., as early as 1791, when he was four years of age, and remained there until after his marriage, when he took up his residence in Ferrisburgh. He served the town as justice of the peace for fifty years, and arranged a court-room in his hotel, in which all the justice’s business was transacted. He died in his eighty-fourth year. He married Abigail Squier, of Charlotte, by whom he had fifteen children, of whom five are living, viz.: Solomon S., now of Madrid, St. Lawrence county, N. Y.; Medad, of North Ferrisburgh; Leonard, of Birnham, Wis.; John W., of Middlebury, and Carlos C., also of North Ferrisburgh. Stoddard Martin married a second time, his second wife, Olive Wheeler, taking with him the matrimonial oath when he was in the seventy-fourth year of his age. She survived him four years. He built the Martin Hotel, as will appear in a subsequent page.

Albert W. Meade came from Stamford, Conn., and settled on the farm now owned by his son Albert W., jr. He was a blacksmith.

Robert Sattley (spelled also Satterley) settled at an early day on the bank of Little Otter Creek, where Robert P. Sattley now lives, choosing that location that he might the more conveniently carry his grain to mill at Crown Point by boat. He had a family of six boys and six girls. He died in 1844. He came originally from England, having been impressed into British service and brought to New York city in 1770 on the ship Ambuscade, where he left the ship without asking leave of the British powers that were.

John Marsh was the first settler on the place now owned by John Birkett. Joseph Birkett, of English birth, came to Ferrisburgh in 1802, and in 1816 married Martha Beers. He died in 1854, aged seventy-five years. John and Joseph Birkett and Mrs. Martha Byington are his children.

Loren Orvis, said to have been the first settler in the town of Lincoln, settled at an early day on the farm now owned by his son Lorenzo. He had a family of nine sons and four daughters, Lorenzo being the survivor of them all. Loren Orvis died October 5, 1859, aged ninety-one years.

Charles Newton, from Dutchess county, N. Y., settled in the west part of the town in 1800, on the place now owned by John Newton.

Russell Rogers, from New London, Conn., came to Middlebury soon after the Revolution with his father, Jabez, and in 1812, removed to Ferrisburgh, He died at Vergennes in 1858, aged seventy-four years. He was a brick-mason. His son Jabez now lives in the southeast part of the town.

Benjamin Warner came to Ferrisburgh in 1802 and settled on the farm now occupied by the widow of Benjamin B. Warner. He had a family of five children, and died in 1838, aged sixty-eight years.

John Gregory, a native of North Carolina, and a soldier of the War of 1812, came to this town in 1814, settling on the farm now owned by James Gregory. When a boy he ran away from his father’s home in North Carolina. He was twice married, and had a family of twelve children. He built the first house on the homestead, which is standing yet.

As early as 1794 William Gates was mine host in the old tavern still standing near the residence of Dr. Cram.

Allen Adams came to Starksboro from Connecticut, and afterward removed to Charlotte. In 1816 he came to this town, and located on the Keese place, so called. He had six children. James, his only son, lived for years where George M. Adams now lives, until his death in 1870. Allen Adams lived until he was ninety-one years of age.

Charles Hawley settled near the lake shore in 1810. His son Daniel was born in 1811 and died in 1878. Charles had a family of eight children. During the battle of Plattsburgh his family remained hidden for two days in the swamp, burying their goods in the driftwood.

The following reminiscent statements were given the writer by John W. Martin, of Middlebury, the owner of the hotel property here, and a son of Stoddard Martin, before mentioned. It is all given, notwithstanding the risk of repetition. Of the early settlers whom he remembers are Theophilus Middlebrook, who lived in the southwest part of the town and was town clerk for many years, and Abraham Rogers, who lived in the east part of the town, about two miles south of Martin’s Hotel. Noah Porter lived toward the lake, in Porter’s Borough. Joseph Burroughs lived about half a mile southwest of Theophilus Middlebrook. His brother Stephen lived in the same neighborhood. Joshua Barnes lived on a back road about two miles from the old stage road. Cornelius Hurlburt lived near him.

Ashbell Fuller was father to the second wife of Stoddard Martin first.

Wing Rogers was a very eccentric man. When his wife had company that he did not like he would take a cart-load of pumpkins up-stairs and roll them down again, bursting open the door, and making it impossible for any visiting to be done. Every door in his house had a little glass window in the center for a ‘meek-hole.” One of these old doors now swings in the Martin Hotel. Rogers lived about a mile and a quarter south of the hotel.

John Huff lived at the time of his decease near the depot on the Ball farm. He married Alvin Ball’s widow when he was an old man.

Ira Tupper lived west of the main road about one and a quarter miles from Vergennes. His son Absalom occupies the same place now.

Simeon Miller lived at North Ferrisburgh, where some of his descendants are living yet. His family were noted for their peculiar given names. It is related that when Seneca Hazard was a lad he was living with Thomas Robinson, who at one time entertained some Quaker Friends from Philadelphia, and in the course of their visit he called to Seneca somewhat in the following manner: “Now, Seneca, I want thee to give the names of the Miller family.” which the lad reluctantly responded: “Old Sim, Young Sim, Daniel, Jack, John and Sally; Pop, Almi, Sheldon and Harry,” to the no little amusement of the Friends.

George Gage lived in the west part of the town about a mile from Ira Tupper’s. Solomon and William Kellogg, brothers, lived on Basin Harbor.

Sylvester Jaquesways, a large, fleshy man, lived about two miles south of the hotel. He worked out. Benjamin Ferris lived in the east part of the town. Solomon Dimick lived in Porter’s Borough. Stephen Fish lived near where the Robinson brothers now live, on part of the old Keese place.

John Fraser lived at Fraser’s Falls, near the Center.

William Beard lived west of the Center.

William Walker, father of Zuriel, lived west of the Center two miles.


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