CHAPTER III.

FIRST SETTLEMENT IN THE TOWNSHIP.

In the month of May, 1748, a scouting party of eighty men, under charge of Captains Melville and Stevens, started from Forts Dummer and No. 4 for Crown Point, to search the country for signs of Indians.  After passing up Black River and reaching the main branch of Otter Creek, the party separated, Captain Melville and his soldiers directing their course for Crown Point, while Captain Stevens and his company held their way along the east bank of the river. After passing down the river a short distance, the Captain and his men turned eastward in hope of striking the valley of White River. Having traveled down the banks of a certain stream, which they crossed in one day thirty-five times, they reached its mouth, and found it to be "the Quarterqueeche."  [1] Such was nearly if not quite the first time this part of Quechee Valley was ever trodden by the foot of a white man. After the charter of Woodstock was issued in 1761, surveying parties must have passed over the ground some time, but all records of their surveys and their doings in this town, if any were made, have perished.  There is a tradition that a man named Ensign Richardson, wishing to remove from the low country into the wilderness, made his way up this valley and looked over the lands in Woodstock before a blow had been struck here for civilized life. The part of the town where the Green now is, he described as a savage-looking spot, being what they called a "spruce hurricane."  After taking the bearings of the country very carefully, he concluded Woodstock was no place for him, as it was so far from any road and so much out of the world that no human being, except possibly an Indian, would ever live here.

However, Ensign Richardson's calculations were premature. About the time Elbridge Gerry, Timothy Pickering and Caleb

1 See N. Hamp. Hist. Soc. Col., vol. v.; Hall, East. Vt., p. 43.  Capatin Rogers, who commanded the expedition against the St. Francis Indians in 1759, in his narrative calls Quechee Falls "Watrock Quitchey Falls." Grahame, in his Sketch of Vermont, calls the river, "Wasserqueeche."  In the Land Records of Woodstock it is commonly called "Waterqueeche."

[p. 10] Strong were members of Harvard College, another student was there, not destined to act so high a part in the nation as they acted. His name was Timothy Knox.  As the story runs, some disappointment came over him, growing out of a love-affair, in consequence of which he forsook the college and put himself in exile.  Pushing for the wilderness of the northwest, he struck Connecticut River, and, following up the stream, made his way finally to this point of Quechee Valley, and being satisfied with the looks of the country, concluded to stop here.  According to his own statements this was in the year 1765. The nearest settlements at the time were in Hartland and Hartford, whence he could obtain any needed supplies; but his own neighborhood he had wholly to himself.  Near a spot on South Branch, formerly called Beaver Meadow, he built a hut, to serve as a place where he could stow his furs and traps and find lodgment for the night. This hut stood at a point about five rods from the dwelling-house on the road leading to South Woodstock, recently occupied by Horace F. Dunham.  Here he kept his lodge in the vast wilderness, spending his time in hunting, fishing and trapping, and for a period of three years was the sole inhabitant of the township. [1]

But the time had come when this wilderness was to be left no longer to the sole occupancy of Timothy Knox.  In the summer of 1768, steps were taken at length for a permanent settlement in the town.  On the 28th of June, "in the eighth year of his Majesties Reign," Oliver Willard deeded to Andrew Powers four hundred acres of land in Woodstock. This land is described in the deed as embracing "lots No. 95, 96, 97 and 187, Joyning the Governors farm and the North Line of the Said Township," a description given in accordance with "a map formerly made of the subdivisions of the township."  It is much to be regretted that this map, and in fact all the early maps of Woodstock, have been lost.

People are still living who very well recollect Andrew Powers.

1 C. Richardson, Vt. Standard, Oct. 18, 1861.  Knox once told Benjamin Sanderson that all the good a college course ever did him was to save him, once upon a time, from being impressed in the British navy. While he was in college, a press-gang made an inroad upon Cambridge and carried off several young men, himself among the number. He was released, however, as soon as it was known that he belonged to the college.  Knox was married in time and had a large family. He died a town pauper.  John Hurlburt furnished the shroud, Nathaniel Smith made the coffin, and John Sanderson dug the grave; and such was the end of the first resident of Woodstock.

[p. 11] He came originally from some part of Massachusetts, and lived in Hartland some years previous to his settlement in this town. While living there he must have been largely in the employment of Oliver Willard, and in truth the above-named four hundred acres of land he took from Willard in payment of a long-standing account against him.  Soon after the purchase, Powers proceeded to make settlement on his new land, and sold portions of it, besides, to five active young men, who began forthwith to take up and improve their farms. Who these five young men were can be only surmised; but three of the number, beyond much doubt, were William and James Powers, sons of Andrew, and James Sanderson.  Nor is it at all improbable that the movement itself was organized and pushed forward by Oliver Willard, as a help towards securing a patent of the town. By general consent, the first one in this colony to stick his stake and take possession was James Sanderson, of whom it will be proper to give a few particulars.

James Sanderson was the son of Benjamin and Elizabeth Sanderson, and was born in Leicester, Mass., in 1746. [1] He married Sally Powers, probably the daughter of Andrew Powers, and lived for a while in Hartland. In the fall of 1768, he built him a brush cabin on Blake's Hill, near the spot where Richardson's red tavern afterwards stood.  Into this cabin he moved with his family, consisting of wife and one child six weeks old, [2] on the first day of December, the same year, drawing all his worldly effects on a hand-sled. To the modern mind, the prospect before him must have been a dreary one; but this man's family wants were few, his frame also was hardy, and doubtless the labors of the summer had secured a supply of provisions sufficient to last till spring. Then he was a great reader, and it is not impossible that in some measure he availed himself of this resource against the intense loneliness of his first winter in Woodstock.

In the spring another family moved into the town; but what family this was, no one has related.  Then came James Herwood or Harwood from Hartland, and took up the farm near George Brewster's place, and his was the third family that settled in the town. During the year 1769, other settlers were added to these, including chiefly Andrew Powers and his colony of five "helthy

[1] Washburn's Hist. of Leicester, p. 400. [2] Benjamin, born on the Simeon Willard farm, in Hartland.

[p. 12] well young men with their families," as he describes them in a letter addressed to the proprietors of Pomfret. In the fall of 1769, James Sanderson left his bush shanty on the hill and built a log house in the bank on the border of Blake's meadow, facing a little northwest. [1] This house stood on the line of the railroad, as now graded, half-way between Blake's barn and the north line of the Blake farm. Its exact site is marked, or was recently, by a clump of bushes some four rods below a large elm-tree standing on the bank.

William Powers, son of Andrew, was a large landholder in Woodstock.  His own home farm, which he occupied for some ten years, embraced the meadow lands on the farm now owned by Benjamin S. Dana, and the farm below that, together with the northerly slope of Blake's Hill.  His house, a log hut, stood on the hillock on the east side of the road, fronting the old barns below Mr. Merrill's new house.  He came to be regarded as something of a prosperous man in the town. Below him, about a mile, his brother James cultivated, and probably occupied, land in the vicinity of the old Gallup farm.  Lying on Quechee River, and just above Nathan Cushing's place, was a farm occupied and worked by Joseph Call, probably the farm afterwards owned by Joseph Darling. He married Mary, the sister of James Sanderson, and lived in Hartland previous to settling in Woodstock.  Andrew Powers lived, it is supposed, somewhere on the site of Nathan Cushing's farm, [2] but nothing can be said with certainty on this point. He was a very lazy man, like his cousin Abraham, and a superficial manager.  All the land he bought of Oliver Willard in 1768 passed, five years later, into the hands of Benjamin Emmons, who received from Willard a deed of it, as vacant land, under the patent of 1772.  In March, 1770, John Sanderson came from Leicester, Mass., and settled on Sunnyside, taking up and improving the farm now in possession of Charles G. Fitch.  The northeast corner of his land touched the southwest corner of Joseph Call's land, which is nearly all we know of the position of Call's farm, as no deed of it has been discovered on record.  Sanderson's first house, built of logs, stood beside the road on the line of the hedge that now incloses Mr. Fitch's house.  A well was in front of it, still in existence, and said to be the first well dug in the town.  John Sanderson was a patient, laborious man;

[1] C. Richardson. [2] Robert A. Perkins.

[p. 13] rather slow, but faithful, and a useful citizen. He served for many years as the general sexton of this community, and died in 1819.

West of John Sanderson's farm, and adjoining it, came the farm of Ebenezer Call, who married Elizabeth, sister of John and James Sanderson.  This farm bordered on Quechee River, and on a "larg Broock Commonly Called and known by the name of Pomfret Broock." Not much of anything is known about this first settler, beyond the fact of his owning and cultivating for a while the piece of land above described, and then taking up more permanent quarters in the southeast part of the town.  He had a large family, took very little part in civil affairs, and seems to have lived and died like other men.

Abraham Powers, brother to Dr. Stephen Powers, first settled on a tract of land embracing a portion of Beaver Meadow, the spot known in these latter days as the residence of Deacon Boyden.  But he owned other lands in Woodstock, and was the first to clear and cultivate a little patch of ground on the farm afterwards the home place of Phinehas and Jesse Williams.  Here, among other freaks of a lazy man, he planted a hill of corn on a decayed stump of a tree, and then, during a visit soon after to his old place in Massachusetts, he could boast to his neighbors that he had corn in Vermont growing ten feet high. In fact, Abraham Powers had the name of being the laziest man in Woodstock, and in consequence, scandalous stories were told about him, to the effect that to keep peace in the household he would water his own sap, by this innocent cheat saving himself the labor of gathering more sap at the trees.  In his latter years he moved up to Bridgewater, on North Branch, and died there in 1806.  A little removed from this group of settlers lived Ebenezer Dike, whose farm lay towards the southeast part of the town.  Dike was rather advanced in point of education over his neighbors, and enjoys the distinction of having been called upon under the New York government to take the first census of Woodstock, in 1771.

These ten men thus named and described were the first to invade this wilderness, and plant and establish homes for themselves and their descendants. The aspect of the country at the time must have been singularly wild, yet remarkably attractive.  Wherever the eye turned to survey the prospect, there appeared

[p. 14] an unbroken forest, stretching far and wide till it was lost in the distance.  Every valley was filled, and every hill and mountain covered to the top with a dense growth of trees, made up chiefly of maple and beech, sprinkled with evergreen and a few oaks.  The meadow land on South Branch, up to about where Timothy Knox built his shanty, was little better than a rough spruce swamp, where the gloom and darkness were so deep that noonday there seemed like night. [1] Through this swamp the brook found its way to the river by a very winding channel, which, in times of flood, spilled the surplus waters in various directions to find the lower level of the main stream. [2]

At the foot of Mount Tom [3] was a swamp grown up chiefly with evergreen, but the white pine, a comparatively scarce tree in this part of the valley, grew with remarkable luxuriance on the lowlands at the confluence of North Branch and Quechee River. [4] On these same lowlands was a cleared space, occupied some time in the history of this valley as an Indian camping ground. This cleared space was a short distance below Mr. Billings's present farm-house.

Along with the dense forest that spread thus luxuriantly, over every portion of the valley of the Quechee, there went also an abundant supply of water. Every hillside was laced with rivulets, and every meadow refreshed with copious streams, while the traveler never toiled far to find a perennial spring.  The sight of these full streams and rivulets, enlivened as they were by an abundance of mountain trout, made the hearts of the early settlers glad, but now dry and stony beds mark for the most part the courses of even the larger ones, which, before the forests were so wasted, furnished an ample supply of water-power for grist-mills, saw-mills and tanneries. [5]

[1] Betsey Herwood. [2] The present direct course of the brook through "Hutchinson's meadow" is due in part to Job Lyman, who had the channel straightened in 1818. [3] Mount Tom, so called in deeds drawn as early as 1772. [4] Nathan Howland, who, with the help of Major Hoisington, cleared this part of the flat about 1776, used to speak in strong terms of the tall and splendid pines he found here, especially of one which measured at the butt four feet through. [5] A notable example is found in the brook which crosses the road to Bridgewater about three miles above the village, and near C. F. Lincoln's. One of the first saw mills in town was erected on this brook by Phinehas Williams and Jabez Bennett, and was in successful operation for years. Here also Elisha Royce carried on, for a still longer period, large and flourishing tannery works. The brook is now nearly dried up. (See page 44.)

[p. 15] In the midst of scenes like these the infant colony started during the years 1769 and 1770.  It was a little abreast of the wave of civilized life, but that wave was pressing on fast from behind and soon swept by, on its way west and north.  The colony suffered most annoyance and mischief from the attacks of wild beasts of various kinds, which swarmed in the woods; but the great terror of the forest was the red man.  For though he was never known to invade this valley after it was settled, yet the inhabitants were always on the lookout for him, as he might be upon them at any moment.  Indeed, for several years the few settlers of the neighborhood were accustomed to withdraw at nightfall to "a great island," formed by the arms of the Quechee, and situated in the lowland a little above Mr. Cushing's house. In this way they reckoned themselves less exposed to surprises, and better able to defend themselves, if attacked unawares at any time. [1] But they were never disturbed in their retreat, and the valley continued free at all times from the inroads of the savages. In fact, it probably never was much of a thoroughfare for the Indians at any time.  In passing through this, section of the wilderness from the westward, after going up the valley of the Otter Creek, they crossed the mountain at the headwaters of either White River or Black River, and then followed down the beds of these streams to the Connecticut.  Possibly one reason why they neglected this valley was that the river furnished no supplies of salmon or shad.  It may be mentioned, by the way, that in historic times one native Indian has lived and died on the banks of the Quechee. This was Captain John Vincent, who had his hut in Sherburne, near Josiah Wood's tavern.  In Revolutionary times he took sides with the settlers, and for services then rendered was pensioned in his old age by the State.

In the fall of 1770 occurred an event in connection with the survey of Pomfret which greatly disturbed the little colony of settlers in this town. Already, in 1761, Pomfret had been surveyed by Theophilus Chandler, but in 1770 a new survey of the township was made by Samuel Payn. In making this survey Payn passed below the present south line of Pomfret about one

[1] There is an accurate description of what seems to be the very island here spoken of contained in a deed of the same from William Powers to Joseph Barrett. Land Records, vol. ii., p. 258.

[p. 16] hundred and fifty rods, until he came to apparently the south line of the first tier of hundred-acre lots in Woodstock.  Along this line he ran the true south line of Pomfret, as he supposed, and within the space thus taken off from the north part of this town he laid out two lots to Robinson and Waldo, numbered 62 and 63 on his map.  The dividing line for these two lots passed between the houses of Seavy and Sherwin, in old times John Fletcher and Nathan Fletcher.  At first, this proceeding caused a great deal of confusion and alarm with Andrew Powers and his companions. For Payn had thus taken into the limits of Pomfret nearly the whole of Powers's purchase from Willard, and consequently the settlers in Woodstock under that purchase seemed on the point of losing their lands, with all the improvements resulting from the labor of three summers.  Powers, therefore, at once petitioned the proprietors of Pomfret that he and the other settlers to whom he had sold might retain their lands upon condition of acknowledging themselves citizens of that town.  This petition was granted by the proprietors at a meeting held in Pomfret, Conn., December 25, 1770, but a resurvey of Woodstock, which must have been held about this time, pushed Payn's new south line back to the old point, and restored matters to the order in which they stood before this survey was made. [1]

Another event of interest that occurred about these days was the taking of the first census of the town. This was done in accordance with orders from Governor Dunmore, of New York, issued the 16th of January, 1771, directing the sheriffs of Cumberland and Gloucester counties to take an enumeration of the inhabitants in their respective bailiwicks. [2] The person appointed to furnish the census of Woodstock was Ebenezer Dike, and, according to the returns he made, there were found to be ten heads of families in the town; namely, Andrew Powers, Abraham Powers, William Powers, James Herwood, James Sanderson, Joseph Call, John Sanderson, Ebenezer Call, James Powers, Ebenezer Dike; and the total number of inhabitants was forty-two. Nineteen out of this number were still under the age of sixteen.

[1] See Appendix III. for Powers's letter.  Also, for a full discussion of the disputes that arose between Pomfret and Woodstock about the true dividing line between the two towns, see History of Pomfret, by Hosea Doton. [2] Hall's Eastern Vermont, p. 187.

[p. 17] Ten years had now passed away since Governor Wentworth issued the charter of Woodstock, and still the township remained little better than an untried wilderness, occupied by a few squatters.  It has not been ascertained that any additions were made to the settlers during the year 1771, neither were the prospects of the settlement at all encouraging at this time, but during the next year great and important changes took place, which put a new face upon matters, and established the social and civil interests of the township on a permanent foundation.  Several settlers came in that year, prominent among whom was Joab Hoisington, and as Hoisington was a man of considerable note in his day, a brief sketch of him before he came to Woodstock will not be out of place.

Joab Hoisington was born in Farmington, Conn., September 19, 1736.  His father's name was John, and his mother was Sarah Templer, of Wallingford. In 1763, in company with Steel Smith and Benjamin Bishop, both of the same town with himself, he took boat and journeyed up Connecticut River in search of adventure and a new home in the wilderness.  The company landed on the meadow north of the present village of Windsor, and Smith, leaping ashore, cut the first tree cut in that township. [1] During the following year Smith, with his wife and four children, made the first permanent settlement in the town, Hoisington and Bishop following not long after him. Hoisington became a large landholder in Windsor, and took an active part in all measures for promoting the interests of the town.  His house stood on what was known in early times as "Hoisington Brook," on the spot where the Edward Forbes house now stands.  His farm extended south to the Otis house, so called, which is in the centre of the village, next to Mr. Merrifield's store.  One sad event connects Joab with the early history of Windsor.  He and another citizen by the name of Bartlett went into the swamp, which is watered by Pulk Hole Brook, to hunt deer.  Going in different directions, they lost sight of each other, and Hoisington by mistake shot and killed his companion. The event cast great gloom over the new settlement.  They had to send to Charlestown, N. H., for a coroner, and after a careful examination Hoisington was acquitted of all blame.  One other fact may be mentioned in connection with Joab's life in Windsor.

[1] Rev. E. Hutchinson.

[p. 18] On the 21st of September, 1768, the church of "Cornish and Windsor" was organized, of which Hoisington was one of the founders.  At the same time ten citizens of Windsor signed a bond, running for five years, to secure to Mr. Wellman, the pastor, his annual salary.  First in the list of signers stands Joab's name.

In 1771 Hoisington began to make arrangements for moving into Woodstock.  He bought large tracts of land of Jonathan Grout and Oliver Willard; the tract he bought of Willard embracing a thousand acres, more or less, and covering that part of the town afterwards called "The Green." On this tract he settled with his family in the spring of 1772, setting up his log house exactly on the site of Major Churchill's corner.  Out of this log house has grown what there now is of the village of Woodstock. His brother Asahel came from Windsor about the same time, and settled on land he purchased of Joab in the south part of the town.

In company with Joab and Asahel came John Hoisington.  He received from Oliver Willard a deed of two "hundred-acre lots," bounding Joab's farm on the north and east.  One of these lots embraced the eastern half of Pleasant Street, together with the adjoining slopes; the other took in a part of Marsh's meadow lands, including the Fair Ground and Mr. Marsh's original purchase.  For the site of his log cabin John picked a spot on the edge of the plain, "about ten rods up stream of the present Brick Meeting-house." [1] This spot was a good one, as it commanded a fine view of the farm, was in full sight of Joab's cabin, and bordered on the river, where was an excellent fording place, securing him easy access to his meadow lands. In front of his house passed " the old town road."  This road led from Hartland, and coming down the hill over the site of the stone house built by Mr. Blake, it then crossed the ravine near Mr. Hewitt's, and followed up the high bank of the river to the old Court-house stand, just above which a ford existed for many years. [2]

This John Hoisington is supposed to have been Joab's father.

[1] Titus Hutchinson.  After Hoisington the house was occupied by Elijah Bailey for a few years. In 1796 it was spoken in deeds as the "old house," and Mrs. Hazen recollects playing about the ruins when a child.

[2] Woodward R. Fitch, Vermont Standard, May 6, 1864; Land Records, vol. ii., p. 402.

[p. 19] He took no active part apparently in organizing affairs in the town and giving life to the new settlement. That he was poor may be inferred from the fact that at town meeting, 1779, his "Pole " was released from paying the town rates for 1773. [1] In 1781 he disposed of the balance of his farm to Charles Killam, after which we hear no more of him in Woodstock.

The spring of 1772 may be set down as the time when social and civil order were at last established in Woodstock.  The town government was not indeed organized till one year later, bat all the necessary steps to that end were completed at this time, and all disputes and fears about titles to lands in the township were quieted by the issue of a patent to Oliver Willard under the seal of New York. A few signs of life began to appear among these wilds, and now and then a traveler could be seen passing along the highway, either alone or with wife and family, his worldly substance wrapped in a blanket, seeking a stopping-place for the night.  To accommodate such wayfarers, and so furnish entertainment for man and beast according to law, Joab Hoisington took out a license as tavern-keeper in Woodstock, from the Common Pleas Court of Cumberland County, at the June Term, 1772.  Joab, therefore, was the first innkeeper, and his house on Major Churchill's corner, the first tavern in the town. It has not been positively ascertained, but it is apprehended that during this spring the people of the township met for the first time to take part in public affairs.  On the 24th of March an act had been passed by the Colonial Assembly of New York, for erecting a more convenient court-house and gaol, and for enabling the inhabitants to elect supervisors and other county officers in and for the County of Cumberland. By the provisions of this act the judges and justices of the county were directed to meet at the court-house in Chester, on the first Tuesday of the following May, and form into convenient districts such parts of the county as were not erected into townships.  At the meeting thus held eighteen districts were formed, of which "The 3d District comprehends such parts of Woodstock and Bridgewater as lye in the county and extends west to the County Line."  The election of supervisors and other officers was held Tuesday, the 19th of May, according to the warn-

[1] In Town Meeting, April 3, 1779, "Voted that John Hoisington's 'Pole' be released from paying the town Rates, AD. 1773."

[p. 20] ing posted in various parts of the county, [1] and it is altogether likely the "3d District " took part in that election. It was now going on the fifth summer since a beginning had been made in settling the town, and the inhabitants would not willingly forego this first opportunity granted for organizing into at least some show of political life.  Moreover, the question of changing the county-seat from Chester to Westminster was under eager discussion at this time, and was causing considerable strife among the people of Cumberland County. And further, the settlement had received into its numbers this spring, in the person of Benjamin Emmons, a man who never let slip an occasion for pushing forward the interests of the town.

Benjamin Emmons was one of eight brothers who settled in Hinsdale and Chesterfield, N. H.  These were all healthy, active men, with large and powerful frames, fitted in a high degree to endure and overcome the hardships of border life.  Several of the brothers served in the provincial army during the French and Indian war, and it is related how one of them, named Dyer, won a bet made between the colonels of an English and a Colonial regiment as to which could bring forward the man superior to all others in muscular strength.  To test the matter Dyer Emmons took a cannon weighing eight hundred pounds, carried it six rods, and threw it over a stone wall. The Englishman pitted against him could not do this, and so lost the wager to his colonel, which was a barrel of rum. [2] Of these eight brothers three came into Vermont. Solomon pitched his tent in Windsor in 1763, and how he lived and what were his fortunes is related elsewhere.  Abel married the sister of Simon Davis, and he and Simon settled in Chesterfield in the spring of 1762.  Abel did not come to Woodstock till 1780, but Simon Davis came about the same time with Benjamin Emmons and settled on North Branch, taking up the farm next above Oliver McKenzie's.  Benjamin Emmons was married to Elizabeth Smith in Chesterfield, November 18, 1765. [3] He moved from Chesterfield to Woodstock in April, 1772, "when his daughter Bethany was three months old," and she was born the 3d of January that year. [3]

[1] One of the original handbills, with an abstract of the divisions, set up in various parts of the county for the people to read, is now in possession of Hon. William M. Pingrey. [1870.] [2] Dr. Lewis Emmons. [3] Town Records of Chesterfield.  October 20, 1870.

[p. 21] Benjamin Emmons settled on the farm now owned and occupied by Henry E. Vaughan, where he continued to reside the whole period of his stay in Woodstock, including thirty-five years.  His land purchase of Oliver Willard, made at the time of his coming into the town, embraced about seven hundred acres in the immediate vicinity where he settled. This covered all the land deeded by Willard to Powers in 1768, and much more besides, but the title to the part once held by Powers did not need even a quitclaim from him, and he still looked to Willard for that long-standing balance of account.

Also in the spring of 1772, Jonathan Kingsley first came to Woodstock to look up lands. He surveyed and purchased lot No. 1, in the Church tract, so called, lying about two miles southwest of the court-house, and was the first settler in what is now known as School District No. 9.  But he did not take possession of his land till the year following his survey and purchase.

About this same period Benjamin and Phinehas Sanderson, following their brothers James and John, moved from Leicester, Mass., to this town. Phinehas took up land in the south part, adjoining the farm now occupied by Chauncey Richardson. [1] Benjamin bought of James Herwood fifty acres lying to the east of Joab Hoisington's farm, it being the spot now occupied by William King. He built the house William still uses, planted an orchard, and lived a very peaceful life.  These Sandersons were grandchildren of John Sanderson, housewright, who lived in Watertown, Mass., many years, and represented that town in the General Court for the years 1711 and 1712. About 1725 he moved to Leicester, was selectman of that town for the years 1732-1740, and died about 1750. [3] He had a son Benjamin, six of whose children were among the very first settlers of Woodstock. These were the four brothers Benjamin, John, James, and Phinehas, and their two sisters Elizabeth and Mary, married, respectively, to Ebenezer and Joseph Call.

Sylvanus and Joseph Cottle, who led the van of the Cottle family in their advance upon this wilderness, must have explored the town this year and pitched their lands, selecting for a site the

[1] Phinehas sold out afterwards to Deacon Andrew Smith, and moved in time to Bridgewater.  Andrew Smith came from Lyme, Conn.  He was a wheel-wright, and learned his trade of Richard Ransom, in Lyme. He came to Woodstock and bought a farm just west of where the Lockwoods now live, and then after a while Phinehas Sanderson's place.

[2] Washburn's History of Leicester.

[p. 22] ground now or recently owned by Shubael Fletcher and R. T. Hopkins, in the South Part. The family of the Cottles was a large one, and all its members settled in the same neighborhood, and the family itself exercised great influence through the town for many years. After Joseph and Sylvanus left Martha's Vineyard, where the family were residing at the time, and came to Woodstock, the rest soon followed, including the parents, four sons and one daughter.  John took up the farm recently owned by Marshall Worcester, and Edward adjoined him on the north.  Jabez and Warren were the first settlers in what is now the South Village, and owned nearly all the land the village covers.  Jabez was a Baptist preacher for many years and was highly respected. [1] Some time during the year 1772-73, John Strong and Benjamin Burtch, Jr., moved into the town from Hartford. The two picked for their home the place on North Branch which has since been the residence of the Houghtons, Colonel Dana and Salmon Thompson, and were the first to take up land in that part of the town. They lived in remarkable unanimity all the while they dwelt in Woodstock, occupying the same house most of the time, eating at the same board, and holding all their property in common.  Yet Burtch was the one who farmed the revenues of this joint concern, and was the recognized property-holder, as is seen from the fact that in the Grand List for 1787, Strong's name is not found, though he was one of the listers; but Burtch's name is there, and he stands highest on the list of any one in the town. [2] But on the other hand, in all civil and political matters, and in all movements that aimed to advance the interests of the town, Strong was from the first one of the most influential men in the settlement. He came originally from Lebanon, Conn., and was born in that town the 5th of September, 1723.  Nothing is known about his history till 1769, when he moved to Hartford, Vt., where three of his brothers had settled before him. For the period of his stay there he acted as town clerk, and also was innkeeper for some of the time. This business, indeed, Strong seemed peculiarly fitted for, and from the traditions which have come down, he must have opened a tavern at his dwelling-house on North Branch very soon after coming into Woodstock.  He

[1] Chauncey Richardson. [2] Another queer piece of evidence is this, that Dr. Stephen Powers, in his account-book, heads all his charges against Strong thus: "John Strong, alias Benj. Burtch, Dr."

[p. 23] proved to be one of the most prominent and useful among all the early settlers of the town, and besides took an active part in many of the scenes that led to the independence of the State and the nation.

It has been mentioned already that Simon Davis moved into the town at some period of the year 1772-73. [1] He settled on Pomfret Brook, just above Oliver McKenzie's house.  But in those early days the meadow land in that neighborhood was not reckoned worth much, being swampy and deemed unhealthy; the highlands were preferred for residence and for cultivation.  He put up his house on the side of the hill, facing easterly, at the foot of which flows the brook. The old orchard, still left there, shows where the house stood.  The road then ran a somewhat different course from what it now does. Passing up Sunnyside by John Sanderson's house, it turned to the right at Charles Killam's place, now Charles H. Blossom's.  It then swung over the meadow in a westerly direction, crossing the elevated plateau on which Nathan Howland built his first dwelling-house; and thence descended along a pathway still remaining to show the course it took, and crossed over to Burtch's stand.  Passing by this, it ran northerly much as it now does, for some distance, then bending a little to the left it swept over the site of Oliver McKenzie's house, and so crossed the brook and ran along the hillside through the orchard back of George Chedel's now dwelling-house.  When the Royalton and Woodstock turnpike was afterwards laid out, the road was straightened and made to take its present track.

Up to the present time, Timothy Knox had continued still hovering on the outskirts of the settlement, evidently with no ardent desire as yet to come down to the trials and confinement of civilized man.  But becoming enamored of Miss Abigail Dike, he concluded to leave his wild life, bought a farm of fifty acres on the hill just east of the village, and settled down to poverty and a large family. [2] On the farm he selected and occupied for many

[1] Simon Davis was a tall, strong-built man, with a gruff voice and with harsh ways; but he was a kind-hearted man for all that.  His wife was a sort of doctress, and attended to much of the neighborhood practice for years. [2] Knox was the best marksman to be found in these parts. He had a smooth-bore rifle, the cherished companion of his many years of wanderings as a hunter.  In his old age the people got him to come down to the Green and exhibit his skill in shooting at a mark.  The mark was a card of gingerbread set up too far off for any other man to hit.  Knox drew on it, and put a ball through the centre.

[p. 24] years is an extensive quarry of granite, still known as "the Knox ledge." Thus something even more durable than a monument of brass seems likely to perpetuate the memory of our first inhabitant.