Major John Arms 1762

Interesting Historical Facts About One of Brattleboro's Pioneer Settlers.

Anything relating to Major Arms is of great historical interest in this town. He was one of the earliest settlers away from Ft. Dummer. He came from Deerfield to where the Retreat farm is in 1762, and died there March 6, 1770, leaving a widow, three daughters and two sons. His widow died March 7, 1793, in her 73d year.

He kept a well-known tavern at that place before his death, after him, his widow Susanna Arms, kept it, and after her their son, Josiah Arms. The house stood until it was removed a few years ago to make room for the present Retreat farm house. Major John Arms was the first sheriff of Cumberland county, and a foremost resident here while he lived. Many papers of his are very interesting.

His youngest son, John Willard Arms, was something of a poet. A sample of his poetry relating to the Westminster massacre is printed in Hall's "Eastern Vermont" at pages 234-5. Hannah, second daughter of Major John Arms, married Ebenezer Fox Aug. 23, 1778. Robert Goodenough married their daughter.

John Arms Goodenough and Mrs. Christopher D. Wallace, their children, have presented some papers to the Brooks library for preservation; among them is a short record of the family of Major John Arms and of his father, John Arms, and a scrap of a record of the family of John and Hannah Evans, and an autograph letter of Thomas Chandler of Chester, Judge of the inferior court of common pleas of Cumberland county, to the widow Susanna Arms, dated Dec. 25, 1770, relating to the will and estate of Major John Arms; and there is also an autograph copy by Micah Townshend, secretary of state, of an act of the legislature of Vermont pardoning John Willard Arms as a Tory at 15 years of age on his return to the state; and a poem of his in five stanzas, the last one of which is:

Then free from all this Care and Strife
Keep me, ye Sacred Powers divine,
And pleased when ye Demand my Life,
May I with joy that Life resign.

There is also among them an autograph letter from Elijah Grout at Newfane, Sept. 24, 1776, to Josiah Arms requesting anything sent to his house for Solomon (Phelps) or the writer be sent to Esq. Knoulton's immediately. This was in the early part of the Revolution, and whatever was expected to be sent would probably relate to the events of the times. Esq. Luke Knoulton lived on Newfane Hill and was the grandfather of Gov. Holbrook.

This is a valuable gift and the papers have been placed in a document file and entered on the catalogue where they are accessible and may be readily found.

They have also presented a pocket book which probably belonged to, and was used by, Major Arms and by an ancestor having the initials P. E., who was probably an Evans; and what would be called a house-wife, which was a kind of dressing case in which to keep articles for personal use, on which "Ebenezer Fox N. B." was wrought by Susanna Arms, eldest daughter of John Arms, who married Simon Willard.

Vermont Phoenix, August 18, 1899.


An Ancient Document.--Mr. Zenas Frost of this town, while looking over some old papers left by his grandfather, came upon a warrant of which the following is a literal copy.

To Corporal Jesse Frost [L. S.] In his Majestys Name you are hearby commanded to Warn all the Soldiers hearin Named to appear on tuesday ye thurteenth day of November next at Nine of ye Clock Before Noon at the house of the widdow Susanna Arms, Compleat with Arms and Aminition as ye Law Directs in Order for Vewing hearof fail not at ye pearel of ye Law and make Due Return of your Doings to me.

"Given Under my hand and Seale at Arms in Brattleborough this Eighth Day of October 1770 in ye tenth year of his Majestys Reign.

Benja. Butterfield, Capt.

"Notify ye Sargants

John Ellis, Nath'el french Jr, Benja. Buterfield Jur, Phillip Paddelford, Oliver Wells, Thomas Sergants, Josiah Armes, Jon't Wells, Wm. Rile.

Vermont Phoenix, February 2, 1872.

"A Parcel of Old Papers".







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