- Published on Thursday, 22 September 2011 12:33
In connection with the notice of the Vermont Medical College, sketches have been given already of three resident physicians of the town. To these are added sketches of several others in the present chapter. Still other resident physicians, not namedhere, yet well deserving mention in a history of the town, are necessarily passed by for the present.
DOCTOR STEPHEN POWERS.
Thomas and Walter Power, two brothers, were born in Waterford, Ireland. They came to this country somewhere near the year 1680. They married two women named Benney, supposed to be of East India extraction. In Ireland the name of the family was Power, but these two men, on coming to this country, added an s to their name, making it Powers. For two generations after the Powers brothers settled in this country, little or nothing is known of the history of the family. Benjamin Powers, of Old Hardwick, Mass., was a farmer. He had a large family of children, and among the number was Stephen Powers, who was born in 1735. Stephen, after he became old enough to think for himself, resolved to take up a different pursuit in life from his father's, and therefore asked to be permitted to study medicine. The father consented, and Stephen set to work resolutely to learn his profession. There were few facilities in those days for the study of medicine, as compared with the present day; but Stephen was diligent and faithful, and took eager advantage of what means fell in his way to fit him for his profession. Among the chief of these was the privilege, whenever he could secure it, of riding with old practitioners when on their visits to the sick. After he had finished his studies, he went to Middleborough, Mass., and there began the practice of medicine. After having become fairly established in business,
(p. 349) he married Lydia Drew, of Halifax, Mass., daughter of John and Sarah Drew, born in the same year with himself.
He had been following his profession a few years, when men's mouths became full of talk about a new State, a little way in the northwest, which presented a grand opening to men of enterprise and spirit. Dr. Powers determined to see this new State for himself, and if half was true that was told of the lands there, he thought it might prove a good country for him to settle in. He mounted his horse, therefore, and started for the new country. His course took him directly to Woodstock, where the lands had not yet been taken up to any extent. This was in the year 1772, in which year is dated his first purchase of land in this town. It consisted of a tract of ninety acres, lying between Quechee River and "Mount Tom," so called. He said, in making the trade, he would take all on the mountain side worth having. He added to this purchase other tracts of land, so as to make the whole amount to some three hundred acres. Having completed his stay in the country, and done all that was advisable for the present, he returned to Middleborough. In 1774 he moved his family, consisting of wife and five children, up into the wilderness.
The names of these children were, first, Susanna, born December 14, 1760, the most beautiful of the family, bright and intelligent; of great assistance to her father; could mix and prepare medicines as well as he, and even administer them; was cut off early in life, dying of a fever, December 2, 1777; second, Mary, born March 2, 1766; then Stephen, born August 6, 1767, married Sally Perry; John Drew, born November 17, 1769; Lydia, born March 15, 1772. There was another member of the doctor's family who deserves particular mention. This was a negro slave, whom he brought with him, named Christopher Molbone, or Melbone, but commonly known as Cato Boston, for whom he paid twenty pounds, old tenor, equivalent to about one hundred dollars. Cato was purchased in Old Middleborough, just before the family moved from there to Woodstock, and was then about ten years old. He grew up with the children in the family, was always full of mischievous pranks, and for exhibitions of lying and idleness was not excelled by the best specimens of the Carolina negro. He did service after a fashion in Dr. Powers's family for many years, and when the War of 1812 broke out, en-
listing in the service, he went away from Woodstock, and was never heard of afterwards.
Prior to moving up into the new country, Dr. Powers engaged to have a log house built, to be ready for him when the family arrived at Woodstock; but as this was not the case, he put up, for temporary accommodations, "a shanty with crotches set up and poles in and a bark covering,"  where the family remained till the house was ready to receive them. This house was located on or near the site of Lewis Pratt's house, on the Common. Moses Carpenter took up a farm back on the hill, on which Joel Burbank afterwards lived. The Indian trail ran up and down the river. Often would Mrs. Powers, when the doctor was absent for a day or two, take her children and go up to Mr. Carpenter's, through fear of the Indians; first hiding her household valuables among the logs in the woods, and there stay till the doctor returned. This log house served the family five years. But Mrs. Powers's health was not very good, and she thought if she could get away from the low ground on the river, and live on the hill, she would be better. The doctor therefore built the house where Harvey Lockwood afterwards lived, and moved his family into it. This house was raised the 5th of September, 1778. After occupying it a few years, he gave it up to his son Stephen, and built a house on River Street, just a little back from Mr. Boyce's house, and dug the well on the grounds which is still in use. In this house Dr. Powers was living at the time of his death, November 27, 1809. Lydia, his wife, survived him nearly fourteen years, and died, August 29, 1823, at the house of her son, John D. Powers, aged eighty-eight. The battle of Bunker Hill was fought June 17, 1775. Dr. John D. Powers, then a lad six years old, always asserted that he heard here in Woodstock the roaring of the cannon at this battle. Dr. Stephen Powers, who was aware of the military movements going on, went down country a short time before the battle took place, and was present on the battlefield while the engagement was going on, and assisted in dressing the wounds of such as had been hurt.
Mr. James Slayton used to relate that, when he was a boy and his parents lived in West Windsor, he had a fever-sore on his leg, and Dr. Powers was sent for. There being no roads at the
 Titus Hutchinson.
time where the doctor was to go, he must needs take his line of direction by marked trees; and, as the snow was four or five feet deep, he could travel in no way except on snow-shoes. There was, indeed, plenty of practice for the doctor, and besides that, plenty of work for him, outside of his profession, of the hardest kind, and to be performed amidst the various difficulties that beset life in a new and wild country. This, however, only made it the more agreeable business to him.
Dr. Powers was in height about six feet, of good proportions, black eyes and hair, and of dark complexion; frame active and vigorous, and capable of enduring great fatigue. For dress or personal adornment he did not care much. Among his articles of apparel he had a pair of trowsers, — or, more properly, breeches, — made of buckskin, which he wore right along, down even to the close of his life. From the nature of the material, he made handy use of this garment in sharpening his surgical instruments when he would perform an operation, or at other times; so that, for this and other reasons, the breeches, in the end, came to be quite soiled.
In politics the doctor was always a stanch Whig; everywhere, at all times, and at all hazards stoutly maintaining the cause of his country. In his special calling as a practitioner of the healing art, his name was widely known, and his reputation stood high, even among the learned in his own profession. A physician once went to Dr. Nathan Smith, of Hanover, then at the head of the Dartmouth Medical School, and stated some case he had in charge, which he did not very well know how to treat. He remarked that he had followed such and such treatment in the case. "By what authority?" asked Dr. Smith. "By the authority of Dr. Stephen Powers," was the answer; to which Dr. Smith said, the authority was good enough.
About the year 1792,—certainly not in that year, — Captain Richardson and Dr. Powers started for Ohio together, to look over that part of the State called New Connecticut. They made their explorations and then returned home, fully persuaded that some day they should go out there to live. This, indeed, never came to pass for either of them, and would have been any but a wise course at their time of life. Captain Richardson died in 1799, but in 1805 Dr. Powers seems to have fully made up his mind to go out to Ohio and take up a new farm. To this end,
he furnished his two sons, Stephen and John, with horses and money, and started them for the West, to look up some good lands. The young men were gone several months, looked the country over thoroughly, placed their horses on board a boat, and sailed down the Ohio a piece, and, having made as complete an examination as the case, in their judgment, required, returned to Vermont. On reaching home, the doctor asked them what success, and how they liked. The young men answered, "We think we can do as well to stay here, if not better." "I am disappointed," said the doctor, "for I expected you would like, and we should all be going out there together." The sons, therefore, both stayed in Woodstock; John, the younger, never leaving the place, but Stephen going out to Cincinnati to live, some years after.
Dr. Stephen Powers left two daughters, Lydia and Molly. Lydia married Dr. Robert Paddock as his second wife, and moved to Barre. She had four daughters: Mary, Abbie, Lydia, and Susan. She died, April 23, 1815, at the age of forty-three years. Three of her daughters, namely, Mary, Abbie, and Lydia, married Congregational ministers. The fourth, Susan, married a farmer, and went to Michigan. Molly, Dr. Powers's second daughter, was married to Jason Richardson, and had by him five sons, namely, Noah F., John Drew, John Powers, Origen D., and Israel P., and two daughters, namely, Susan and Lydia. After the death of her first husband, in 1805, she was married, a second time, to Oliver Williams.
Stephen Powers, Jr., had a family of nine children, namely: Jason R., Benjamin Franklin, Philander, William P., Stephen, Sarah L., Susan, Hiram, and J. Sampson, all born in the old house on the hill, which was built by Dr. Stephen Powers, in 1778. The father of these children, through going security for unreliable parties, lost not only the homestead farm, but almost everything else he had in the world; and, collecting what he was able to save from the wreck of his property, resolved to move westward with his family, all of whom were now (1817) grown, with the exception of Hiram and J. Sampson; also, Susan, who died in Woodstock in the year 1810.
Jason R., the oldest son, emigrated to the "Holland Purchase," in the western part of New York, in 1814, where he bought a farm, upon which he remained until the year 1845, when he
removed to the neighborhood of Cincinnati, and died there in 1849 of cholera, at the age of sixty-three years. Benjamin and Philander left Woodstock for the West in the spring of 1816, Benjamin locating in Cincinnati, where he edited one of the pioneer newspapers of the city, and practiced law some years; finally removed to Troy, Ohio, where he remained until his death in I860, at the age of seventy-two. Philander proceeded farther West the same year, 1816, to Missouri Territory, where he was joined three years later by bis brother William. They settled in Monroe County, where they died within a few weeks of each other in the year 1834.
Leaving Vermont in 1817, the family spent the winter with Jason in the Holland Purchase. In the spring of 1818, a few days before the family were expecting to resume their journey westward, Stephen cut his foot badly, and was obliged to be left behind, and his mother remained with him. The father, taking the other three children, Sarah, Hiram, and J. Sampson, pushed forward for Cincinnati, the place where the family expected to stop, reaching that city the 5th day of May. The mother and Stephen did not join the family there until the following October. In the interval Stephen Powers, the father, had died on the 29th day of August. He had always been a remarkably healthy, athletic man, never knowing sickness, till the one overtook him which occasioned his death. His wife survived him six years, and died on the 17th day of March, 1824.
The children, Stephen, Sarah, Hiram, and J. Sampson, remained in Cincinnati. Stephen became a bookkeeper for John Groesbeck, with whom he was afterwards associated in the pork business, in which he continued until a stroke of paralysis obliged him to lead a quiet life. Finally he removed from Cincinnati to Dayton, where he died in 1854. Sarah married, in 1822, William R. Morris, who became a wealthy lawyer. She died in 1861, at their country seat near Carthage, Ohio. J. Sampson remained in or near Cincinnati, and was still living in the fall of 1873, being then the only survivor of the nine children comprising his father's family.
The brother Stephen rented Colonel Isaac Bates's farm — a piece of land northwest of the city — in November, 1818, where Hiram Powers stayed with the family till 1820, when a protracted spell of fever and ague induced him to go into the city,
if by any means, to use his own language, be migbt "shake off tbe shakes." His brother Benjamin's connection with the most prominent newspaper in the city secured for him an easy situation with Colonel Andrew Mack, who had assumed the proprietorship of the Cincinnati Hotel, located on the northwest corner of Broadway and Front streets. This, at the time, was the most aristocratic hotel of the city, and, in addition to the public bar, kept a reading-room, in which Hiram found employment. "Truth obliges me to deny the statements so frequently seen in print of Hiram's having been obliged to 'struggle for existence' in the strenuous manner the penny-a-liners have repeated. I do not remember the time when we two boys, then 15 and 14 years of age (all the others grown up), were not well fed, clothed, and amply provided for in every particular. His great struggle occurred when upon dissolving his connexion with D'Orfeuille he was unable to obtain the means he had left accruing in that person's hands, and was obliged to apply to strangers for the funds witb which to go to Italy."  Hiram remained in this reading-room until almost seventeen, when he left for the produce store of a Mr. Keating, on Main, south of Columbia Street. Here he stayed till the proprietor died or failed in 1823, when Luman Watson, a clock manufacturer, employed him as collector. He traveled through Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, till the winter season rendered the roads impassable, when Mr. Watson told bim to go into the factory to see what he could do there, if anything, till spring would allow him to resume his collecting tour. Into the factory Hiram went, and there he stayed; for, much to tbe surprise of every one in the shop, he began to make clocks, not only after the styles they had there, but with improvements, as though this trade were one in which he had received thorough instruction. There came next a second opportunity for Hiram to exercise his rare mechanical genius. An organ had been ordered by D'Orfeuille for the Lower Museum, of which this Frenchman was proprietor, the Upper Museum being carried on by a man named Letton. This organ was a reed instrument, and was to play tunes when turned with a crank. The head workman undertook the job, but when it came to fixing the reeds and turning the crank for some music, "the tunes wouldn't grind worth a rush." Such a failure was likely to imperil the
 Letter from J. Sampson Powers, September 27.
reputation of the establishment, and the master was in despair, but at this point Hiram came forward, and taking the job in hand, finished up the organ, so that it proved an entire success. Letton, the proprietor or manager of the rival museum, was not to be beaten by an organ that could only grind out tunes to crank-pressure, and ordered one which should run by internal machinery, be wound up like a clock, and play many tunes, and have besides some automaton figures. Watson was doubtful; Hiram insisted he "could make the thing go; knew he could," and the organ was undertaken. It was decided that the figures should represent six boys and as many girls, arranged in graduated sizes on each side of the organ. At certain parts of the tunes there was to come in a ringing of bells by the girls, followed by a blowing of trumpets on the part of the boys. As Letton wished the figures to look handsome, Hiram proposed to fit them out with waxen heads and hands, done in the best style. He went to Professor Locke, who gave him the proper proportions for the composition of the wax, and, having provided himself with the proper material, copied from living children the waxen faces and hands required for the figures on this organ. The affair, when completed, proved a great success. Such a piece of mechanism had never been seen west of the Alleghanies, and people flocked from far and near to see it. Among the number was D'Orfeuille, who witnessed with chagrin the completeness of the instrument, and remarked to Nathan Guilford, who had induced him to come and take a view of it, "Why, those heads must have been brought from Europe; nobody in America could make them!" Guilford replied, "They were made by a boy, sir; a boy in this town, sir, working in Luman Watson's clock-factory." "What's his name, Guilford?" "Hiram Powers," was the answer. "Let's go and see him," responded D'Orfeuille; "I don't believe, yet, those hands were made here." "Nonsense," said Guilford; "Watson's is only a few doors from my office, and I have often watched him at work."
This led to Hiram's acquaintance with D'Orfeuille, though he did not leave Watson's for the museum till nearly three years after this time. D'Orfeuille came to Cincinnati about 1823, perhaps before that, but Hiram did not go into the museum till 1829. About the year 1827 he became acquainted with an elderly Prussian by the name of Eckstein, who taught him to
model, and, what was more important, how to make the moulds with which to take casts from his models after their completion. D'Orfeuille would occasionally give Hiram an order to execute; but in the year 1828, having had a group in wax "knocked into pi" by careless transportation, in his distress he called upon Hiram to see if damages might be repaired. Viewing the remains, which consisted of a decapitated John Quincy Adams, a noseless Charlotte Corday, and the ruins of other personages of note, whose mutilated effigies were mingled in a very promiscuous manner, Hiram concluded the best thing he could do would be to make something new out of the fragments. "So after due deliberation something startling was agreed upon, and taking the head of Lorenzo Dow (then an eccentric, celebrated Methodist divine) I determined to convert him into the King of the Cannibal Islands; — D'Orfeuille meantime to make his body, 'a fit body to fit head.' Returning home with Dow's head, I thrust my hand into the hollow, bulged out the lanky cheeks, put two alligator's tusks into the place of the eye teeth and soon finished my part of the work. A day or two afterwards I was horrified on beholding large placards on the city walls announcing the arrival of a great curiosity, the actual embalmed body of a South Sea man eater, secured at immense expense! et cetera. I told D'Orfeuille his audience would certainly tear down his museum, when they came to know how badly they were sold, and resolved myself not to go near the building: but to my astonishment the figure drew immensely, and this led to my being duly installed as inventor, wax-figure maker and general mechanical contriver for the establishment." 
Hiram was nearly twenty-five years old when he beheld for the first time in his life a bust in marble, Canova's Washington, which was on exhibition in Cincinnati for a few days. He gazed in perfect silence upon it for a long time, and then exclaimed, "That is what I shall do." How well he carried out this saying the cultivated world bears witness. D'Orfeuille sometimes closed his entertainments by lectures on natural history. Hiram executed so perfect a figure, the size of life, representing that gentleman standing with a frog in his hand, with uplifted finger as though about to illustrate his topic, that visitors who were acquainted with him would frequently greet it with, "Good day, Mr. D'Orfeuille."
 Hiram Powers.
As might be expected, Hiram was subjected to adverse criticism sometimes. How he silenced one of his critics the following incident will show. This was S., who had made disparaging remarks upon the waxen D'Orfeuille, and Hiram thought it fair to try his hand at paying him back. A favorite comedian of the day, named Henderson, had achieved great popularity in the
character of "Manworm." Hiram informed S. he was at work on a wax figure representing the comedian in this character, and
when it was completed, he wished to submit it to his judgment before placing it on public exhibition. This compliment to his
critical taste pleased Mr. S. highly, and when informed that the figure was ready and awaited his criticism, in company with
D'Orfeuille and one other person he climbed the ladder to the museum loft, where Hiram executed all the wonderful
contrivances which made the institution so popular, and found the figure poised in the attitude which the actor assumed when
pronouncing the words, "If you don't repent," etc. After surveying the figure a moment, said S., "This is very like, certainly;
very like, indeed, — does you credit, Powers. But," resumed S., after pausing a moment and examining a little further, "I'm
sorry to say you've failed in the eyebrows; not drawn down enough," at the same time turning towards Hiram. "Look again,"
said Hiram. "Why, really," said S., "it is astonishing how this thing improves on inspection," and seizing the solitary candle,
held it so the blaze came just under the tip of the statue's nose, when to his horror the nose elevated itself in the air, and from
the supposed statue burst the exclamation," Devil, S., —don't burn my nose!" The unlucky critic dropped the candle and
disappeared down the ladder as fast as possible, amidst a chorus of laughter from those left behind, and was never heard
afterwards criticising "Powers's errors."
On the 1st of May, 1832, Powers was married to Miss Lizzie Gibson, daughter of James Gibson, of Cincinnati. He remained
with D'Orfeuille until 1835, when, despairing of ever being paid by that person what he owed him, he determined to go to
Washington, where he spent two winters, and modeled the busts of President Jackson and many other prominent men of the
day. Though his skill as an artist gained him many warm friends and many patrons, yet he never would have been able to
realize the cherished wish of his heart — a residence in Italy — had it not
(p. 358) been for the assistance of Nicholas Longworth, of Cincinnati, and William C. Preston, of South Carolina. Availing himself of
their timely aid, he left Cincinnati August 29, 1837, for a lifelong sojourn in Italy. 
DOCTOR JOHN D. POWERS. Dr. John D. Powers married, for his first wife, Sally, daughter of Sylvanus Raymond, by whom
he had four sons, namely: Caspar, died aged two years; Volney, died aged ten years. Volney and his mother both died in 1811,
of the spotted fever. John Drew, born January 6, 1806; Thomas E., born November 14, 1808. To speak more fully of the
father, Dr. John D. Powers was born November 17, 1769, in Middleborough, Mass. He came with the rest of the family to
Woodstock, when they first moved hither, in 1774. He therefore received only such training and education as could be
obtained in this wilderness during the first years of its settlement. While his brother Stephen chose to be a farmer, he
concluded to follow his father's profession, and began the study of medicine under the father's care, rode with him, and thus
soon picked up ample information in the various branches of the healing art to qualify him for a practicing physician. We find
him established in his profession as early as 1793, for it is preserved in memory that he visited patients during the course of
that year, and was present at the bedside of Mrs. Marsh, first wife of Hon. Charles Marsh, in her last sickness and at her death,
in June of that year. Somewhere about the beginning of the century, the doctor got possession of the house at the head of the
Park, in which he lived to the end. The doctor, like his father, always rode horseback to visit his patients. He began this way of
traveling when no other mode was known or practicable, and he kept it up after time and the growth of the country had
wrought various changes in the ways of doing business, and the old methods had gone out of credit. Consequently, while his
brother physicians traveled about in the chaise or elegant buggy, more commonly still in the comfortable little gig, Dr. Powers
plodded along on horseback, with his saddlebags behind, rejoicing over the discipline of early life that had
i The facts given in the above sketch of the family of Stephen Powers, Jr., are taken from a letter I received from J. Sampson
Powers some twelve years ago (now October, 1886). In the notice of Hiram Powers I have preferred to limit myself to the
matter furnished in this letter concerning that distinguished man.
(p. 359) kept him thus far, and ever should keep him, from falling into the effeminate ease of modern times. It is pleasant to recall his
figure as he jogged on over the road while visiting his patients: a man of middling size, but compact frame; complexion light,
like his mother's, and lips firmly compressed; the reins held in the left hand, and sometimes a willow switch resting carelessly
on the right shoulder; and so the doctor acted his part. During the last few years of his life he mostly gave up practicing
medicine. Some time after the death of his first wife, he married a second time, choosing a Mrs. Houghton, a widow with three
daughters, then living in Barre, whose maiden name was Abigail Robinson, and she was from Shrewsbury. Her three daughters
were taken into the doctor's family, and lived with him till they were married. The eldest, Augusta, was married to David
Bronson; Louisa was married to Benjamin F. Kendall; and Abigail to Solon Danforth, of Barnard. Dr. Powers had, by his
second wife, three children: Mary and Susan and Calvin Robinson. Mary died when she was about twenty-two years old;
Calvin Robinson, in 1877; Susan is still living. Dr. Powers himself, the father, died in 1855.
DOCTOR THOMAS E. POWERS.
Thomas E. Powers, subject of this sketch, and the son of Dr. John D. Powers, was born in this village, November 14, 1808. His
early education he obtained chiefly in the district school of the village, but in addition to the time thus spent in the common
school, he was sent for a short while to the academy in Royalton. It being decided at length that he should follow his father's
profession, he entered the Dartmouth Medical School, and having remained the due length of time, graduated in 1827. He
then went into his father's office to further pursue his studies, and soon after, as partner with him, he began the practice of his
profession. After a few years, however, he went to Hartland to live, but remained there only about one year, and then came
back to his native town once more, where he continued to reside up to the close of life.
The practice of medicine was not agreeable to Dr. Powers, and be gradually withdrew from it, till, in the latter part of his life,
he had given it up altogether. Other fields of activity suited his temperament better. The stirring scenes of public life he pre-
(p. 360) ferred to the quiet of the sick-room, and in preference to the management of difficult cases of disease, sought rather the
management of public affairs, for the successful conduct of which he in due time proved himself qualified in a high degree. In
the year 1850 he was elected representative from this town to Montpelier, and received a reelection for the two following
years, and again in 1855 and 1856. Upon becoming a member of the House, he was elected speaker, and justified the choice of
his supporters by proving himself one of the best presiding officers the House ever had. During this time also, and indeed for
many years previous, he gave all his energies to the cause of temperance in this State; and, in connection therewith, in 1852,
he took in hand the editorial management of the "Vermont Standard." In the year 1857 he was appointed by the governor to
superintend the rebuilding of the State House at Montpelier. The manner in which he discharged this important trust is shown
so minutely and fully in the record as to supersede the necessity of dwelling further on that point here. In 1862 he was
appointed by the United States government assessor for the second district of Vermont, and remained in this office nine years,
this being the last public trust of any kind which he held. Dr. Powers died in this village, December 27, 1876.
Endowed by nature with great abilities that fully made up for any lack of education, Dr. Powers possessed an intellectual force
that must needs be felt wherever he moved, and in whatever department of life he saw fit to exert himself. Few men have ever
lived in this State so influential as he in the popular assembly. Here, indeed, was the field in which he most delighted to
display his varied energies, and he did not find many among his associates and rivals who cared much to meet him there.
Fertile in expedients, swift to see the best point of attack, self-reliant, with physical strength to back up all the forces of his
mind, it is no wonder he was so formidable in debate and held such sway over the popular mind. Yet this resolute will, and
the lavish exercise of it in all the transactions of life, wrought one unfavorable result for Dr. Powers that may be named here. It
caused the rough features of the man to appear too constantly before his fellow-citizens. It was sometimes whispered, indeed,
that within this harsh outside was hidden, after all, a kindly heart; that many were the charities done in secret, which, if
(p. 361) known and related, would reveal susceptibilities for good which the doer of them was not credited with possessing.
BENJAMIN PERKINS, PHYSICIAN AND SURGEON.
All the information thus far obtained concerning Dr. Benjamin Perkins is contained in the following notice, taken from the
number of Spooner's "Vermont Journal," issued November 20, 1786:—
"Benjamin Perkins, Physician and Surgeon, Most respectfully informs the public that after a regular course of study in the
various branches of the science of physic, and receiving proper recommendations from the faculty, he has been in the practice
for five years past in Connecticut. Favorable opinion of the Constitution and the privileges of the State of Vermont has
inclined him to become an inhabitant of the same, and proffers his best services to the public.
"Said Perkins is now living at the house of Mr. Benjamin Russ in Woodstock. "Nov. 14, 1786."
DOCTOR LYSANDER RICHARDSON.
Lysander Richardson, son of Captain Israel Richardson, was born in New Salem, Hampshire County, Mass., on the 30th of
March, 1763. At the age of fourteen he enlisted as waiter to his father, who was in service in the Revolutionary army. When
Burgoyne invaded the States from Canada, in 1777, both father and son were summoned to the field; but the captain being
sick, Lysander had to go without him. He joined another lad named Joseph French, and the two took their knapsacks on their
backs, shouldered their muskets, and marched alone from New Salem to Stillwater, — a good long road for boys of their age
to travel. They stayed till Burgoyne had surrendered and the campaign was over, and then returned home.
In the year 1781 Captain Richardson came and settled in Woodstock, bringing all his family with him. On looking round to
see what was best to be done, the family concluded that Lysander should study medicine. Dr. Stephen Powers was the
physician of the town at this time, and looked upon the neighborhood as his own, and was extremely jealous of any one who
might think of intruding on his domain. Still, he would take
(p. 362) Lysander as a pupil on one condition, namely: that after he had obtained his license as a physician he should not practice
within ten miles of the doctor's house. When, therefore, he had finished his studies and become a doctor, Lysander
remembered his bond, and did not practice in Woodstock, though wishing it very much, but went to Barnard and set up in
business there. Possibly he was the first physician to settle in that town, but others can tell better whether this be so or not. It
must have been about the year 1786 when he went to Barnard. Of course he put up at the tavern of Benjamin Stebbins, and
soon made the acquaintance of Silas Tupper and Aaron Barlow, at that time selectmen and men of influence in the town; and
the fact of his being the son of the wealthiest man in Woodstock was no bar to his preferment in the minds of the good people
among whom he had come to live.
How he prospered in business at Barnard is not known; but he did not remain a great while in that town, returning after a time
to Woodstock, where he was married to Miss Lois Ransom, on the 8th of May, 1787. Soon after his marriage he went to live
on Hartland hill, occupying the farm which originally belonged to the Hurlbuts, and overlooked Beaver meadow. Here was a
fine situation and a good farm, which the captain bought of Josiah Hurlbut.
In 1789 Captain Richardson bought a farm of thirty-seven acres, situated at the easterly end of the modern Pleasant Street. On
this farm Dr. Richardson settled and remained till 1793, when he leased the place to Jacob Wilder, and moved to Pittsford, to
enter once more upon the practice of his profession. He stayed in Pittsford one year, and then returned to Woodstock again. It
is reckoned by some that here Dr. Richardson made a mistake; not so much, perhaps, in leaving Pittsford, as in coming back to
Woodstock. He should have thrown himself on his own resources and stuck to his profession, wherein he was capable enough
of getting a living. But whatever faults can be charged upon Captain Richardson, his father, lack of parental affection was not
one of them. The captain, moreover, possessed ample means himself, and liked to have his sons near him, — not altogether to
their advantage, perhaps.
The doctor being settled once more on his farm, nothing occurred henceforth very eventful in his life, except that he was
(p. 363) pestered with lawsuits. These in various ways proved matter of serious import to the doctor, especially on one occasion, when
he was imprisoned in the new jail because he had been good-natured enough to lend himself as bail for a friend. While thus
shut up he was frequently visited by his family; and his son Chauncey, then about five years old, vividly recalls his youthful
sensations when once his father drew him through the port-hole of the prison door into the cell where he was confined. In
May, 1800, Dr. Richardson moved, with his family, to the farm near South Woodstock, owned and occupied in after years by
his son Chauncey, where he spent the remainder of his days, dying the 3d of April, 1813, aged fifty years. His wife died at
Riga, N. Y., October 18, 1847, aged eighty-two years.
Note. — Dr. Richardson's library of medical works consisted of at least one book, embracing "Lectures on the Materia Medica,
as delivered in 1761, by William Cullen, M. D., Professor of Medicine in the University of Edinburgh." It was published at
Philadelphia, in 1775; is a portly quarto, printed in large, handsome type, and still in fine preservation. On the fly-leaf is
written: "Lysander Richardson, his Materia Medica Bought in the Year 1786." Lysander disposed of it, the following year, to
Dr. Stephen Powers, from whom it descended to his son, Dr. John D. It is still quite an interesting book to read.
DOCTOR STANDISH DAY.
Standish Day was born in Connecticut, in the year 1765. His father was Benjamin Day, who lived first in Colchester, then in
Hebron, Conn., and removed from the latter place to Royalton, Vt., in the year 1774, and died there in 1811, at the age of
Standish Day accompanied the family in the removal from Hebron to Royalton. Nothing is known of his early life and
education, except that he first studied medicine with Dr. Parkhurst, of Lebanon, and afterwards finished his studies, it is
supposed, in Hanover, possibly under the care of the celebrated Dr. Nathan Smith. He first married Priscilla Pierce, sister to
Dr. Parkhurst's wife, but she died in a short time after the marriage. In 1788 he was found employed in some way in the service
of Windsor County, and, as hard money was not to be had in those days, nor bank-bills either, he received his pay in an order
(p. 264) county treasurer, issued in accordance with an act passed by the Assembly of the State, October, 1787. This order was used as
circulating medium fourteen years, and finally lodged in the hands of Benjamin Swan. It reads as follows : —
"No. 219. Windsor County, Dee. 23, 1788.
"The County of Windsor acknowledge themselves indebted to Mr. Standish Day in the Sum of Twenty Shillings lawful
Money, which I promise in Behalf of said County to pay the said Standish Day or Posessor on demand.
"By order of the County Court. "Geo. Hough, County Treasurer."
This order is further indorsed thus: — "March Term, 1802. "The Clerk agreeable to Custom, — is directed to Draw A new
order for the Amt. of the within order.
"Jesse Williams, Assistant Judge."
And so, in old times, currency like this served its turn as well as greenbacks do to-day, so long as it was not necessary to
On the 15th day of May, 1791, Dr. Day bought of Dr. Stephen Powers a piece of land on what is now River Street, embracing
one acre, and here built him a house the same season. The next year he married Deborah Sturtevant, and as the date of the
marriage has been given incorrectly in two publications, a copy of the certificate is here added, taken from the original entry,
in the handwriting of Jesse Safford, who tied the knot: —
"1792, July 15th then joined in Maraige Doct. Standish Day and Deberough Sturtevant boath of Woodstock.
"Pr me Jesse Safford, Justice of Peace."
This Deborah Sturtevant was the daughter of Dr. Josiah Sturtevant, of Halifax, Mass. Her mother's name was Lois. At the
breaking out of the Revolutionary War, Dr. Sturtevant did not take sides with the colonies, but remained loyal to the king, and
therefore the Whigs of the neighborhood determined to mob him. Some of his friends informed him what was going on, and
advised him, if he wished to escape tar and feathers, to withdraw
(p. 365) under cover of night. Accepting the advice, he packed his saddlebags with medicines, made ready his horse, and then secreted
it, equipped with the saddle-bags, in a grove back of the house. To this spot he withdrew at nightfall, and mounting his horse
started for Boston. But he was observed, and shots were fired after him, causing the horse to start suddenly forward and the
saddle-bags to fall off behind. He reached Boston in safety, but was there taken sick and died three weeks after having fled
from his home. His death was recorded thus by his widow : —
"August 18, 1775. My dear husband departed this life in the 55th year of his age at Boston, where he was drove by a mad and
deluded mob for no other reason than his loyalty to his Sovereign. God forgive them and grant that his death may be sanctified
to me and the children for our Souls everlasting good. "Lois Stubtevant, Halifax, Mass."
The saddle-bags above mentioned were picked up by a neighbor, who carried them to the widow, and demanded a dollar in
payment, which was granted. It so happened that some years afterwards this same man settled in Woodstock. Meanwhile
Deborah Sturtevant made a visit to Woodstock, also, to see her sister, Mrs. Nathan Perkins, and here becoming acquainted
with Doctor Day was in due time married to him. Not long after the marriage our neighbor of saddle-bag memory called one
morning on Dr. Day to settle an account. By a singular chance he was led all unconsciously to relate the story of his winning
the dollar so easily from a tory's widow in Halifax. The doctor heard the story through, then quietly took the man's bill, and
charged the dollar in the account.
Being married and comfortably settled, Doctor Day applied himself to business, and proved faithful in his profession. He
succeeded in gaining a fair share of practice, though the neighborhood was then well supplied with physicians. There was Dr.
Stephen Powers, together with his son John D. Powers. Then Dr. Lysander Richardson practiced some. Dr. Shadrach Darbe
lived in one of the small houses on the west side of the Common. In the south part lived Dr. Stephen Drew. But, working
among them all, Doctor Day succeeded in establishing himself in a good business, and was on the way to thrive and
(p. 366) prosper, when he was taken sick in the summer of 1799. After an illness of several weeks, he died on the 19th of August. He
was buried in the cemetery on the hill that overlooks the Flats, and the following is his epitaph : —
"A thousand miles by night and day I've travelled weary on my way To heal the sick; but now I'm gone A journey never to return."
Doctor Day had five daughters, of whom one only, Polly, still survives; married to Luther Cross, and now residing in
Montpelier.  In 1864 the house lot on River Street, with its queer-looking house, an ancient landmark, passed into the
hands of Solomon Woodward, and soon after the old house was torn down. But the pine-tree still remains. Fast Day, the 10th
of April, 1822, early in the morning, Polly Day was wandering through the swamp behind Mrs. Richardson's house, and near
the foot of Mount Tom. There she found a pine-tree, which was but a little plant standing on a stone, and the roots spread
over the top and down the sides of the stone into the ground. She begged the plant of the owner of the land, and with the help
of her brother Barnes she set it out, that morning, on the spot where it now stands. People told her she could not make a pine
-tree live there; but she persevered, and one day, during the dry part of the summer that followed, with her own hands she
brought fourteen pailfuls of water up the high bank of the river and poured round the roots. Thus the tree lived.
DR. JOHN BURNELL.
John Burnell, M. D., was born at Chesterfield, Mass., October 13, 1778. No account has been obtained concerning the first
settlement of the Burnell family in this country. The earliest among the ancestors of Doctor John Burnell, of whom we have
any record, bore the name of John, which has been handed down in the family ever since. Nor has it been ascertained when
this John was born or when married. His wife was Mehitable Edmonds, born in the year 1695, whose lineal ancestors were of
the little band that landed on Plymouth Rock seventy-five years before. He died in 1744, leaving a son Joseph, then nineteen
years of age, who married in time one Hannah Tucker, born in
 November 30, 1871.
(p. 367) 1726. The children of this couple were five in number, the oldest of whom was John Burnell. His wife's name was Mary
Bannister, born October, 1751. He resided in Chesterfield; was a farmer in very moderate circumstances, but of highly
respectable character. His family consisted of eight children, of whom Doctor John Burnell was the fourth.
The boyhood of John Burnell was spent on his father's farm, in the hard work that commonly fell to the lot of farmer's boys in
those days. But, as he was naturally of a somewhat indolent disposition, he began early in life to form plans for acquiring an
education as a means of supporting himself, believing that for the purpose of gaining a livelihood he should find intellectual
pursuits more congenial than bodily exercise. He was free, also, to confess that in addition to this he had an ambition to attain
that higher sphere of life in which, as it appeared to him, they moved, who, in the common language of the day, "lived without
work." He had an idea that if he could qualify himself for a schoolmaster and be employed as such, he should be happy, and
indeed, as he once related, "I felt not a little proud at the beginning of my school keeping to be called Master Burnell, like
Doctr Opdike Underhill in the Algerine Captive, who, when he was anticipating the future honors of keeping school, would
place himself by the forest and cry,'Master Underhill,' and listen to the echo among the trees, to see how pleasing such a title
would sound." In pursuance of this idea, when about eighteen years old he began teaching school in his native town, and
elsewhere in the vicinity, as a chance might offer, or the best place be secured. He seems to have been quite popular and
successful as an instructor of youth. Nor was he wholly lacking, in the mean time, in studious habits, or in the desire to make
large gains in knowledge; yet, as he would sometimes regretfully say in after-life, too much time was spent in the trivial pursuit
after pleasure, too much attention given to acquiring the art of shining in society.
In 1805 he went to Northampton, and began the study of medicine with Dr. Henry Frink, at the same time taking charge of the
high school in that village, in the conduct of which he gave great satisfaction, and won the esteem and friendship of many.
Northampton was then not less a place of great attractions to young people like Burnell than it is at the present day, and it is
true he did not turn away altogether from the charms
(p. 368) of its society; but after a brief experience he found, on reflection, that, with his narrow means, indulgence in these things was
not helpful to his present circumstances, nor likely to favor his prospects in the future. At the end of his career in
Northampton, he found that upon applying all his income for keeping school, and selling horse and saddle, to pay current
expenses, he was still a hundred dollars in debt, besides his tuition, with about forty dollars in his pocket, retained to meet the
emergencies of the hour.
His studies with Dr. Frink being at length finished, he went with a fellow-student to Middletown, Conn., to obtain a license to
practice from the Connecticut Medical Society. Before the committee of examination he read and defended a dissertation on
"Animal Heat," and received at the close of the examination the desired license, signed by Dr. John R. Watrous, president of
the society. In 1808, it being the same year he obtained his license, he came to Woodstock and settled in this village as
resident physician, boarding at first in the family of Dr. Joseph A. Gallup.
For a time after Dr. Burnell's first establishment in Woodstock, his prospects were somewhat clouded, and his trials not a few,
though the discipline he thus received did him no harm. He came to this town under the patronage and upon the invitation of
Dr. Gallup, and it was generally understood that he was to take the doctor's business from his hands, who at that time was
largely engaged in mercantile pursuits, and possibly thought it might be a good arrangement to commit to some younger
physician a portion of his medical practice. But while some disappointment and trouble awaited Dr. Bumell in this direction,
his merits, though unobtrusive, were soon recognized in the community, and brought him friends; and this gave him sufficient
business to make him contented to remain here. In truth, the occasion was near at hand when he would be called upon to put
forth, in the exercise of his profession, all the skill and all the energies he possessed.
In the month of January, 1811, the spotted fever broke out in this village. While that fearful epidemic was extending its ravages
throughout the State and in other parts of New England, it is remarkable how many and how conflicting were the opinions
expressed by eminent physicians concerning the real character
(p. 369) of the disease and the best method of treating it. However, though the doctors disagreed, the suffering community judged and
acted in the matter as men are apt to in such cases, esteeming him us the wisest and best physician who was the most
successful in treating the patients entrusted to his care. Dr. Burnell was then too young in the profession to have any written
opinion of his on this subject carry much weight, and if he had any theories concerning the fever, kept them mostly to himself;
but the cases committed to his charge were numerous and managed with great success, whereby his reputation was increased
and his practice much extended. Some two years later, when the epidemical lung fever visited this community, his business so
increased that he could not attend to it all in person; and thereafter, till into the decline of life, his practice continued veiy
That he might improve himself in his profession, Dr. Burnell attended the course of medical lectures in the institution
connected with Dartmouth College for the years 1821 and 1822, receiving, at the end of the second course, the regular degree
of M. D. In 1835 he was honored with the degree of Doctor of Medicine from Castleton Medical College. Nor should his
connection with the medical societies of Windsor County and of this State be passed over. Dr. Burnell always felt the greatest
interest in the advancement of medical science as opposed to quackery and empiricism, and for promoting that object he
regarded these associations as of the highest value. While yet young in practice, he united with a few others of like
circumstances and feelings with himself, for the purpose of forming an association for mutual improvement in the profession.
After many difficulties they succeeded, with the assistance of older practitioners, in obtaining an act of incorporation for the
Windsor County Medical Society. This society went into operation in January, 1813, soon grew in numbers, and has been
actively sustained down to the present day. Dr. Burnell never lost his interest in it, and from its beginning till the time of his
decease he most of the time filled some office in the society. After the establishment of the Vermont Metlical Society he gave
this institution, in like manner, his warmest sympathy and encouragement; but after a series of years it became well-nigh
extinct, and for a time was no longer an acting society. In the year
(p. 370) 1841, chiefly through his agency and the efforts of one or two other physicians in the same neighborhood, it was revived, and
for the two succeeding years he was elected president of the same; nor has the society gone back since that time, but is still
flourishing and doing an active work.
Dr. Burnell had a truly scientific mind. His perceptions were clear, his faculties ingenious in their working, while all this varied
activity of the mind was regulated by a sound judgment. He attached such value to theories as he thought they deserved, which
was usually not much; yet he did not disregard them wholly. In medical science the field of speculation seemed to have for
him no great charms; he preferred to travel along the line of well-established fact, where he could see his way clearly, rather
than commit himself to untried courses, and trust to the last chance of coming out right in the end. He never wrote much,
which may have been one reason why he speculated so little; and as oratory was not his forte, he might not have attained
much success in lecturing on medical themes, had he felt any ambition to try this department of the profession. Yet he never
lost his zeal and relish for study; and great as had been the progress, during his own life, in medical science, he still kept
abreast of the profession, even after he had mostly given up active work, making it his aim to be familiar with the changes
going on and the discoveries made or claimed to be made in the theory and practice of medicine. 
The place where Dr. Burnell appeared to the best advantage, and was best known, was in the sick-room. Standing by the
patient's bedside, he was in his proper element, his bearing being always pleasant on such occasions, so as to render his
presence welcome to patients of all ages and descriptions, not excepting the children whose ailments he might be called to
look after. Sometimes he did not see through a case so quickly as another might; he saw incorrectly sometimes; yet his
conclusion, formed from a careful study of the symptoms exhibited by the patient, was apt to be as sound and just as the case
permitted. His own cheerful disposition was a great help to him in his practice, as it was a comfort likewise to the sick. Many a
weary moment has he enlivened for his patients by the recital of some curious
 The same was Dr. Benjamin R. Palmer's opinion, as expressed about the year 1845.
(p. 371) incident in his own experience, or some amusing anecdote, connected, oftentimes, with the particular remedy he was applying
in the case before him. His information, indeed, was not confined to matters belonging to his profession, but embraced ample
stores outside of that, — treasures of various kinds, which he had the rare faculty of bringing forth in a manner agreeable even
to the sensitive nerves of the sick.
In June, 1816, Dr. Burnell was married to Ann Collins, oldest daughter of Charles Marsh, Esq., of Woodstock. By her he had
one child, Mary Leonard, born April 21, 1820, died August, 1841. She was a young lady of many personal graces and of very
attractive manners, and her death was much lamented by all who knew her. A few years after this sad event, Dr. Burnell
himself was taken with his last sickness, which proved very painful and protracted, yet he bore it all with exemplary fortitude,
and finally died Sabbath morning, June 20, 1817, having sustained to the end the character of a scientific physician, an upright
man, and a consistent Christian. Mrs. Burnell, the widow, removed about the year 1854 to Angelica, New York, where she
died, the 25th day of August, 1855.
DOCTOR STEPHEN DREW. Very little material is at hand for a sketch of Doctor Drew. He was born in Scituate, R. I., April
23, 1766; came to Woodstock in 1786, and very soon after coming to the town must have begun the study of medicine under
Doctor Stephen Powers. Perhaps he entered upon his studies about the same time with Lysander Richardson; but whether he
was subjected to the same limitations and conditions in the matter as were imposed on Lysander, is not related. It is not
understood that he received any medical instruction beyond what he obtained from Doctor Powers, and after getting his
license he settled down to practice in South Woodstock, being located not quite six miles from the house where Doctor
Powers lived. He must have become established as a physician about the year 1790; and it is reasonable to infer that he soon
enjoyed a fair amount of business, as we find him by the years 1792, 1793, buying lands in the south part, and soon after that
getting married and building houses. He continued the leading physician in South Woodstock for many years, and kept a good
practice till near the close of his life.
(p. 372) The honorary degree of Doctor of Medicine was conferred on him by the Vermont Medical College, at the anniversary
exercises of that institution in June, 1842.
Doctor Drew, through all his long career as an active business man, sustained most agreeable relations with a wide circle of
acquaintances, and deservedly enjoyed the confidence of all who knew him. He is described by those who had familiar
friendship with him, and could best appreciate his true character, as having been a man of unquestioned integrity and sound
moral principles, of frank and unassuming deportment, and as possessing a kind and benevolent heart. The genuineness of the
esteem in which he was held by the community was shown by the deference and respect exhibited towards him through his
years of health and usefulness, and the kind offices which his neighbors with anxious and loving care rendered to him in his
last sickness, and by the general sorrow which his death occasioned.
Doctor Drew was married March 15, 1795, to Miss Elizabeth Williams, daughter of Captain Phinehas Williams, of
Woodstock. He died November 6, 1842. His wife survived him twenty-two years, and died the 27th day of November, 1864.
Their children were Eliza A., born February 2, 1796, died March 10, 1842; Oliver W., born January 11, 1798; Henry C, born
February 24, 1800; married Mrs. Frances Snow, occupied the old homestead, and died September 18, 1871; had one son,
who studied medicine, was married, settled in Connecticut, and died there soon after his marriage; Susan D., born March 9,
1802; Abigail S., born March 20, 1804; Mary Ann W., born November 2, 1807.