Rev. Jedediah L. Stark


John White, Roanoke Island, Virginia, 1585, Dance Ring.jpg

Indian Dance Ring

John White, Roanoke, Virginia 1585 Detail


I have also been told, that among the broken hills back of where Joseph Goodhue now lives, was to be seen, not long after the commencement of the settlement of this town by civilized people, the remains of an establishment for the Indian dance. A circle trodden hard, so hard that it refused vegetation, was distinctly marked, and a substantial post was standing in the centre, with holes in the earth around it, supposed to be places for fire.


Lecture on the Early Settlement of Brattleboro'

Rev. Jedediah L. Stark


Little is known respecting this town, previous to the first settlements of our own people. Whether any of the original inhabitants of our country were located here, or if there were any, what they were called, is not found on our early records, and is not to be learned from tradition.


From the southern border of this state, to Long Island Sound, small tribes of Indians, whose names are handed down to us, were found on the Connecticut, almost as numerous as the towns now are. But if such tribes had their settlements through this region, and to a distance north of us, the fact is not found on the page of history. It would seem strange, however, if places so well fitted for their accommodation, as this and many other towns above us must certainly have been, should have remained unoccupied by natives of our country. Abounding, as the Connecticut is well known to have abounded, in earlier days, with fish; and affording, as its borders did, in many places afford land well suited to their cultivation of maize, they were, without doubt, scattered along none less above, than below us. Their absence from this state, when our ancestors first visited this region, may be easily accounted for, by the circumstance that the war, to which the Indian chief Philip had enlisted almost all the tribes of New-England, proved fatal to them. They were scattered from below us, and probably from this place and from above us, and became united with other tribes to the north and to the west of us; and their influence in the tribes by which they were adopted may, in part, have prevented the severity and the cruelty of those Indian hostilities, to which our frontiers were afterwards exposed, whenever war was waged between England and France, and of course, between the English and French colonies in America.


There are, however, circumstances which render it extremely probable that Indians once inhabited a section of this town about the mouth of the West River. I have been told, by eye-witnesses of the first credibility, that upon the slate rocks, on the south side of the mouth of West River, above the bridge, have been to be seen, and are now probably to be seen, images of deer, ducks, and other animals, carved by a skilful hand. I have also been told, that among the broken hills back of where Joseph Goodhue now lives, was to be seen, not long after the commencement of the settlement of this town by civilized people, the remains of an establishment for the Indian dance. A circle trodden hard, so hard that it refused vegetation, was distinctly marked, and a substantial post was standing in the centre, with holes in the earth around it, supposed to be places for fire.


But since the material for the gratification of curiosity on the subject of our predecessors upon this goodly heritage are so insufficient; it would seem not expedient to dwell upon it longer. I will, therefore, proceed to speak of the first settlement of our ancestors in this town.


When, a little more than two hundred years ago, the coasts of our country were, for various purposes, sought as a home by emigrants from Europe, they wisely selected for their settlements, the shores of the ocean, or the borders of large rivers. - They thus secured the advantage of easy transportation - they thus generally secured a more productive soil, and they were thus less exposed to danger from their savage neighbors. The French ascended far up the St. Lawrence - the Dutch extended their settlements far up the Hudson; and our fathers of New-England soon approached near where we now live upon the Connecticut.


So early as the year 1672, only 52 years after the first settlement in New-England at Plymouth, and only 37 years after the first settlement on the Connecticut, a township was granted to Messrs. Pinchon, Piersons, and their associates, on a spot called by the natives, Squakeag, but now called Northfield. The township was laid on both sides of the Connecticut, in width 6 miles, and in length 12 miles. Its length, was, however, afterwards, when the division line between New-Hampshire and Massachusetts was finally settled, very much reduced. Hinsdale in New-Hampshire, and Vernon in Vermont, took each a share of this township.


In 1673, settlements were commenced upon this grant by people from Northampton, Hadley, Hatfield, and other towns of the same neighborhood. In about 3 years, however, these settlements were, by the cruelties and the dangers of what is called Philip's war, broken up. The settlers returned in 1685, and remained till 1700, when, a little before Deerfield was destroyed by the French and Indians from Canada, this town was again visited and ravaged, and the people captured by the savage foe. In 1713, the inhabitants returned again, and soon became established in a condition to live comfortably and prosperously. - When it was found that the course of the French and Indians from Canada to the frontier settlements below us was up Lake Champlain, up Otter Creek, and down West River to the Connecticut, it was resolved by Massachusetts to build a fort above Northfield, for the protection of the towns below; and under the administration of Lieut. Governor Dummer, the fort in this town was built which bore his name. It stood upon a farm owned now by a Mr. Brooks, upon the west bank of the Connecticut, some more than a mile below the E. Village. It was erected in 1723, some more than 100 years ago. Its position was wisely chosen. Situated below the mouth of the West River, and where the mountains approach so near each other, the Indians could hardly pass the towns below unobserved and unexposed.


In 1716, the General Court of Massachusetts had granted 100,000 acres of land lying on the south-east corner of this state, on which, of course, this fort stood; and it was garrisoned and supported by Massachusetts. Whatever settlements were then commenced, were around and near this fort, and were evidently for the accommodation of the garrison, and were far from being permanent. Whether a garrison was, for several succeeding years, continued here without intermission, is not known; but so late as 1745, 25 years after the fort was erected, Gov. Shirley, of Massachusetts, writes to the board of trade in England, that in 1726, three years after the fort was built, Dummer made peace with the Indians, and fixed on this fort as the western post for trade with them. Shirley mentions further, that when the war commenced, which was in 1744 proclaimed by England against France and Spain, there were several thriving settlements near this fort, and that there was no other fortification of any description beyond it; for which reason, he persuaded the General Court of Massachusetts to continue its support of a garrison here. He also mentions, that soon after the commencement of this war, other forts were built, and other settlements were commenced to the north so far as No. 4, now Charlestown; but that the hopes of the people, that they should be able to continue in possession of their settlements, were disappointed. Small parties of Indians in ambush often attacked them, when occupied by the affairs of their farms, and troubles from the Indians soon became so great, that all the settlements above Dummer were, before the date of Shirley's letter in '48, scattered; and the forts were burnt, except that at No. 4, and even that had for several months been forsaken. The importance of fort Dummer was then manifest, as it was the frontier post for the protection of the settlements so near below us. It is ascertained to have been in the time of these troubles, that a Mr. Sargeants, a soldier in Dummer, was, about half a mile west of the fort, killed by the Indians, and his oldest son, Daniel, who was also a soldier, and who was with his father when the Indians attacked them, was taken and carried captive to Canada. This Mr. Sargeants, grand-father of Messrs. Elihu and Luther Sargeants, now of this town, owned the farm about a mile below the fort, which is now called the Root farm. He had three sons younger than Daniel, who, after their father's death, were sent to Springfield, Mass. for an education, - their names were Rufus, John, and Thomas. They all returned when grown to manhood, and Daniel returned from Canada; and they all, as will soon be more particularly noticed, settled in this neighborhood. It was about this time, or in 1745, that Mr. Phips was killed at Westmoreland, & that Nehemiah Howe, the father of that Caleb Howe who afterwards married the widow Phips, was taken prisoner. Caleb himself was, ten years afterwards, killed by the Indians near Bridgman's fort, and his wife was taken, and her children, from Bridgman's fort, and subjected to tedious captivity in Canada. About the same time, David Rugg, who with another man by the name of Baker, passing in a canoe down the river at Westmoreland, was shot. Baker escaped by landing on the opposite side of the river.


To show more fully the dangers and the troubles of the people in this neighborhood at this dreadful day, it should be mentioned further, that in 1746, at Bridgman's fort, a little below fort Dummer, Wm. Robbins and James Baker were killed in a meadow. Daniel Howe and John Burnham were taken prisoners. So filled was every place with danger, that the people were compelled to go to the mills under the protection of a guard. A company who went to Hinsdale's mill, under the protection of Col. Willard, discovered an ambush about the mill; but they were of sufficient strength to put the enemy to flight. In the autumn of 1747, Maj. Willard and Capt. Alexander wounded and took prisoner a Frenchman in Winchester, one of the Indians' associates in these horrid scenes of cruelty and wickedness. Soon after, the enemy burned Bridgman's fort, and killed a number of people, and took others and carried them away captive.


The next spring, that is, in 1748, a scout under Capt. Melvin, crossed the mountain to Lake Champlain. He was discovered by the French at Crown Point, and pursued. He escaped his pursuers, and returned by West River. He stopped with his men, report says, at the mouth of the Branch, so called, in New-Fane, where, at the deep water under the Branch bridge, they were occupied in shooting salmon, when the Indians, who were in ambush around them, rose suddenly upon them and killed six; the others escaped in confusion, and came at different times to fort Dummer. In June of this year, a Capt. Hobo, with forty men, on a scout upon West River, were surprised by a party of Indians, with whom they were in conflict three hours; when Hobo left the ground, three of his men having been killed, and four of them wounded. - The same party of the enemy killed two men and took nine prisoners, between fort Hinsdale and fort Dummer.


It does not appear, that any settlement had, previous to 1749, been attempted in this town far north, or west of the fort; and whatever settlements had been made around and below the fort, must, under circumstances like those which have been introduced to you, have been forsaken in despair.


But the peace of 1749, between England and France, gave peace to their colonies in America; and the Indian hostilities ceased of course, and our fathers had a short season of repose from their appalling dangers.


The result was, that their settlements were immediately extended up the Connecticut. The places before forsaken, were again occupied; and new families entered upon their new establishments.


It is understood that, at the time when the grant of this town was made, in 1753 to Brattle and his associates, Capt. Nathaniel Willard, commander of fort Dummer, owned what is now called the Dummer farm; and that his brother, Lieut. Willard, owned a farm upon the hill west of the fort. About this time, perhaps a year or two after, a man by the name of Mores, from Westminster, Mass., with his wife from Worcester, commenced a settlement upon the spot where Joseph Goodhue now lives. The father of this Mores, whose first name was Fairbanks, was a soldier in the fort. In two or three years after this man's settlement upon his farm, - where he had two children, both little girls, the elder of them about three years old, the younger of them about six months, - Fairbanks, at the fort, proposed on a Saturday evening to go and spend the Sabbath with his son. He went, and on Monday morning early, a band of Indians, who, as afterwards appeared, had spent the Sabbath in the woods back of the farm, beset his son's house and entered it. The elder of the little girls, frightened at the appearance of the savages, cried. One of the Indians struck her. Fairbanks, enraged at the abuse offered to his grand-child, attacked the savage. A fight ensued, and he and his son were killed. The woman with her children, who had by this time fled to a stack of hay, were found, and carried away captive. The Indians passed with them up West River, down Otter Creek, and down Lake Champlain to Canada. The woman and her children were sold to the French. The elder of the little ones died at St. Johns of the hooping cough. The mother, with her only remaining child, named Captive, returned, and built a log hut on the spot where she had lived with her husband, and remained there, till Wells and Arms, from Deerfield, made their purchase of the north half of the town in 1762; when she was persuaded, for some satisfactory consideration, to give up her claim to the meadow, and to remove from it. She moved to Putney, and lived with her father Kathan, at Kathan's ferry. She afterwards married a Johnson, of Putney, and moved with him to the shores of Lake Champlain, upon a spot where she well recollected having met, while in captivity, several hundred hostile Indians. Her daughter married a Hooker, of Putney, and moved into the state of New-York, where it is supposed she is still living, near Syracuse.


In the year 1756, or about that time, Thomas Sargeants, son of him whom the Indians killed west of fort Dummer, had married, and was with his family in the fort, himself a soldier there, his oldest son, Elihu, now living in this town, having been born there. He commenced, while a soldier in the fort, a clearing upon the Allen farm, so called, on the meadow upon the left, a little to the north of West River bridge. A horse of his was killed upon the spot, soon after he had commenced its clearing, by the Indians; who cut from the hams of the beast, meat for their savage use. Mr. Sargeants built a house, and moved upon this spot just before the peace between England and France, in the year 1760; for in the course of the first summer of his residence here, with his family, he was, in consequence of alarm given from No. 4, induced three times to move with his family down the river in a canoe to fort Dummer for security. He afterwards moved to Westminster, and live there one year, when he returned and settled upon the farm, which he redeemed from the wilderness, where his eldest son, Elihu, now lives. John, an elder brother, settled the farm, which he commenced when new, farther south than his brother's. Daniel, the oldest brother of this family, who had been a captive in Canada, began in Dummerston, where Peter Willard now lives; and Rufus, the only other brother, began on the farm next north of Daniel.


Not far from the time when Thomas Sargeants commenced his settlement on the meadow north of West River, one Alexander, a soldier in the fort, whose first son was born there, whose grand-son John now lives in this town; and Elias Wilder, established themselves on the north end of the meadow, the south side of W. River, below where Capt. Wells now lives. These men were, when Wells and Arms came into the town, induced to quit their farms, and take places for their residence elsewhere. Wilder planted himself upon the secluded spot on the north side of West River, now owned by Mr. Hadley. Alexander planted himself on the north side of the county road, near Dea. Sampson's.


All those of whom mention has been made, as the very first inhabitants of this town, were originally from the neighborhood of Worcester, Mass.; and were evidently led here with their families in consequence of their connection with fort Dummer.


These first inhabitants, to obtain meal for their families, were under the necessity of passing in canoes down the river to Hinsdale, or Northfield, for no mill could be found nearer. But as soon, or nearly as soon as the year 1760, a grist mill and saw mill were erected at the falls, where Holbrook's paper mill now stands; and a dwelling house was erected, on the spot where A. Van Doorn's dwelling house now stands, for the accommodation of the miller; and a Dea. Nichols lived there, in the service of a miller. Report says, that these mills and this house were built by order of Governor Wentworth; and the premises upon which they were erected, were understood to be the Governor's farm, which he reserved for his own use when he gave a grant of the town. This first grist mill did not stand long. It was, in 1767 or 8, washed away by a flood; and Stephen Greenleaf, from Boston, who purchased 800 acres, called the Governor's farm, including a large share of the land on which the E. Village now stands, and extending west so far as to include the mill stand now owned by Enoch Meriam, soon after he entered upon the possession of his purchase, in 1770, built a grist mill upon the spot where Thomas' mill now stands, and soon after, a saw mill at the falls above, on Whetstone Brook, where Meriam's mills stand.


After the settlement of the town had thus successfully commenced, and the condition of the people seemed to have the promise of freedom from alarm from a savage enemy, inhabitants began to flock in in hopeful numbers from various quarters. Wells and Arms, who had purchased the north half of the town, took residence here from Deerfield in 1762 - Benjamin Butterfield, Jesse Frost, a Mr. French, and a Mr. Hadley, from Mass., and a Mr. Whipple from Conn. planted themselves, between 1760 and 70, on the north of West River; and during this period, settlements extended over a large portion of the north half of the town.


The cenral portion of the town was, at this early day, considered unfit for settlement. The meadows through where the W. Village stands, and so westward, by the way towards Marlboro', were called Porgin's hole; and were accounted by the new settlers over the hill north, more fit for the residence of wild beasts, than of men. - Col. Church attempted, at an early day, a settlement where Mr. Adams lives. He cleared a small spot, and, the summer after, mowed, upon what is called beaver meadow, the young bushes and the coarse grass which grew upon a spot so uncultivated, and preserved them for the next winter's fodder. He took for the next winter's residence a log house, standing where Samuel Field now lives; and he traveled from day to day through the winter, on his snow shoes, across the hill back of where Esq. Reeve now lives, to his meadow for fodder for a cow, kept for his family's use. He, supposing that no other way to his farm could be hoped than across this hill; and finding it, or supposing it a sunken swamp, quit it, as not worth possessing.


So little value was placed upon the middle, and the southern, and the south-western parts of the town, that it was the last settled. Very few if any settlements were commenced on Whetstone brook, or south of it, except at its mouth, earlier than 1770. But about that period settlements were commenced in this quarter of the town; and they extended with rapidity, so that by 1780, in no more than ten years, there was very little land not occupied, and not in a way to be soon subdued to the purposes of civilized life.


This period must have been a very busy period in the southern and south-western quarter of the town; for during it, the axe was, for the first time, hurled at the forests on almost all the farms, which now yield their generous increase to those who have so recently entered upon their fathers' labors.


Many an interesting tale is told, by the few remaining, who came hither when the fair fields, all around us, were a wilderness. Many incidents are related by them, which are fitted to show to what inconveniences, and what dangers, the early settlers were subjected. We know little of the troubles and dangers of those who first settled upon the banks of the Connecticut, except what a savage enemy occasioned. If the wild beasts of the woods troubled them, the savage from the north troubled them so much more, that the smaller evils are not remembered, and are, therefore, not reported by them. The wolf, the bear, and the catamount, once traversed these hills, and prowled through all our neighborhoods for prey. And then moose fattened upon the shrubbery which our productive soil furnished in profusion. Nor were they readier to yield their possessions to men, who level the forest, and lay the fields open to the sun, and thus deprive them of their favorite haunts, than the Indian, who ranged the woods for his means of subsistence.


Our fathers, when they had prepared a field for the purpose, and had planted their corn, found the bear ready to take, uninvited, his share. And when the flocks and herds began to feed upon the hills, the wolf began to claim, or to take unclaimed, his tithe, and sometimes more than a tithe. A moose was killed, about the time when the settlements were first extended back from the river, near where Eber Putnam now lives. At the north-west corner of the town, where Oliver Carpenter now lives, when the wilderness was but just entered in that quarter, Jonathan Alexander, the first civilized resident in that neighborhood, was much disturbed by the ravages of bears. A hill in that region still bears the name of Bear hill. These ugly animals rifled his hog sty, that he was compelled for the safety of his younger swine, to give them the security of a pen adjoining his own house. But they were still not safe. He one night heard the doleful complaints of a pig. He roused from his bed, took his gun, and finding that his pig was gone, and hearing his plaints toward the hill back of his house, he followed whither the cries of the sufferer led him, and behold! a bear, with his prey holden fast in his cruel grasp. Alexander levelled his musket, & secured the bear for his own feast, and rescued the pig from the dreadful prospect of serving as a feast for the bear. The same man went, on some occasion, westward upon the hill to hunt these uncomely animals; but failing of his purpose, for that no bears were found by him, he had the good fortune to discover a moose, within the reach of his musket's power. He levelled and shot him, and was thus well furnished, for a season, with savory meat. The aged Widow Dunklee, who with her husband, settled early on the spot where she now lives with her son, went, with an infant in her arms, through the woods, and through a swamp west of Capt. Stoddard's, on a foot path, to a neighbor's for an afternoon's visit. Expecting her husband to attend her home, she staid till dark; when, thinking it inexpedient to wait longer, she set out with her child unattended, on her return. She did not forget, however, that wolves frequented that region, and when in the midst of the woods, and in the midst of the swamp, half a mile distant from a dwelling, she heard the frightful howls not far from her, to the north; and she heard the not less dreadful answers to these howls, from the south. Thoughts of her own, and of her child's safety, gave her strength and speed to reach her home sooner, than many of our modern fair ones would believe practicable.


Mr. Eber Church, who commenced the farm where Silas Reeve, Esq. now lives, turned, as was common in that early day, his young stock to range the wood for feed on Ginseng hill, so called, where Mr. Levi Goodenough now lives. No settlements were then commenced in that quarter. He went alone in the course of the season, to see how they throve. But returning, on the plain east of John Plummer's, he was pursued by a furious bear, and he was so closely pursued, that he ascended a tree for his safety. The bear still pursued him, and approached so near, that he applied the heel of his shoe to her nose for his defence; and he made the application with such force and effect, that the bear resolved on a retreat, and left him to proceed on his way unmolested.


About the year 1770, when settlements were first commenced in the southern and south-western part of the town, a Mr. Strother came from Vernon in the spring, and made sugar near where Levi Goodenough now lives. He erected a hut for his comfort and convenience, during the season of his labor. When after a few days' absence, he returned with his gun, loaded, in his hand; he, as he approached his hut, saw a catamount leap across his path, upon a stump. He cast his eye toward his hut, and there saw another, seated upon the top of it. He cautiously stepped aside, till he brought them both in a range with himself; and discharged his gun with that skilful aim, that he killed them both upon the spot.


One of the first settlers in the south-west corner of the town, was a young man by the name of Woodward, from the south-east part of Mass. His settlement was a little north of the road, soon after you begin to ascend from the brook by Cutting's distillery, on the way to Mr. Earl's. He had a fine field of corn, on which the bears, that were extremely numerous formerly in that part of the town, (a swamp, that is now called bear swamp,) ravaged most destructively. No method proved availing to prevent their injuries, but to watch the field by nights, with gun in hand. A young man by the name of Earl, brother of the elder Mr. Earl now living in that part of the town, came from the border of Guilford to assist Woodward one night, in the tedious business of preventing the bears from their nocturnal encroachments upon the corn field. They were both in the field till late in the evening; when, having discovered no signs of bears, they returned to the house for refreshment and rest. The house stood near the corn field; Woodward, imagining that he heard bears in the corn, went out again with Earl, and both passing in such a direction apart from each other, that they came around, not knowing it, face to face, and both of them moving very moderately, and very cautiously, they approached so near each other, that Earl observed Woodward; but in the corn, as he was, the night being dark, and affected, as he must have been, to agitation, by supposing himself among bears; he was too easily fixed in the conclusion, that what he saw was a bear and not Woodward; and besides, he supposed Woodward to be behind, and not before him. He, without reflection, levelled his musket with too sure aim, when, to his own grief and wretchedness, he found that he had given his friend a mortal wound. The fatal ball passed through Woodward's body from side to side just below the arms, and just within the bone of the back. He lingered three or four days in great distress, and then expired. His widow was married soon thereafter to Mr. Hezekiah Salisbury, of this town, and was the mother of Mr. Salisbury's numerous family.


Many more incidents, of the same character as those which have already been given, might be related. But these are enough to show you the condition of those who toiled to prepare for us that fair heritage, which the most of them were not permitted to enjoy. Few of them have lived longer, than to clear the fields, and to prepare the dwellings for the use of their children and their grand-children, or for some stranger, who comes in to reap where others have toiled.


Brattleboro Messenger, May 5, 1832 and May 12, 1832.


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Rev. Jedediah L. Stark


Rev. Jedediah L. Stark served on the Brattleboro' Lyceum committee which resolved on April 23, 1829, to find the most efficient way "to collect and compile a History of Brattleboro' and Vernon." The other committeemen were Rev. Jonathan McGee, Doct. John Locke Dickerman, Joseph Fessenden, Esq., Mr. Andrew M. Brown, A.B., and Edward Sanborn. Rev. Stark was also vice president of the Windham County Bible Society.


Jedediah Lathrop Stark was born in Bozrah, Connecticut, on March 6, 1793, to Joshua Stark and Olive Lathrop. He attended Brown University, and graduated with the highest honors in 1817, then studied Divinity with Dr. Park at Brown University, and later with Dr. Samuel Nott at Franklin, Connecticut.


Rev. Stark married Hannah Gager, daughter of Samuel and Hannah, on October 15, 1820, and commenced his pastorate in Brattleboro's West Parish. Hannah is described as "a noble, Christian woman, of rare virtues and unusual abilities." Although "always in very moderate circumstances," eight children were born, all in Brattleboro: Maria Hannah 1822; Samuel 1824; Martha 1826; Joshua 1828; Charles 1830; Sarah Jane 1832; Edward 1837; Theodore 1844.


In 1839 Rev. Stark removed to Canajoharie, Montgomery Co., New York, and served for three years in its village of Buel. In 1842 Rev. Stark moved to German Flatts, New York. He served as pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church in Mohawk, New York, preaching alternately at Mohawk and Fort Herkimer, often preaching a third service at Frankfort, New York. His constitution finally shattered by continual toil, Jedidiah Stark retired in 1858.


After suffering with fortitude and patience the pains of a complicated illness, his spirit passed peacefully away to the "realms of the blest," on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 18th, 1862, in the 70th year of his age. To the people in this vicinity, he was too well known to make it necessary, that his virtues, or his faithfulness as a man, as a christian, as a minister of the Gospel, should be described in any glowing panegyric. Naturally of a genial temperament, kindly and social in his manners, he was endeared by bonds of love to all who fully knew him; candid, open-hearted and cordial in the expression of his views and in the discussion of his opinions, he won the esteem and confidence even of dissenters. He possessed in addition to the christian graces of character, a mind strengthened by years of culture and studious application, which gave his thought a profundity not always appreciated. Those who have been favored with his ministrations, will long honor his memory, and profit by his teachings.


[Obituary from the Mohawk Register].


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Chloe Smith Hayes


Chloe Smith, Mrs. Rutherford Hayes (1762-1847), the competent and pious proprietress of the Hayes Tavern at West Brattleboro on the old Marlboro road, remembered the Rev. Jedediah Stark with fondness. Her diary entries repeatedly show a glancing concern for his safety in travel, as in this recording for Sunday, February 14, 1836:


"it is a blustering day now and then a solitary man is going to Meeting. I think Mr Stark cannot get there a little light snow that came yesterday is now on the wings of the wind and makes a great display they had but just broke out from of [off] the hill."


The West Parish was prospering two years before this snow entry, when Chloe Hayes records in her diary for March 24, 1834:


these are the names of those that have been examined in order to join Mr Starks Church Hariot Kingsbury - Miss Herie - Mrs Crosby Amy Briout - Caroline Fich - Thomas Crosby - Joud Plummer - Mayhew Chrosley Salmon Prouty Mrs. Knights - Mrs Storton - Mr James Salsbury Thomas Greenleaf Horton - Amos Putnam Dickerman Newton - Henry Field - Charls Chrosley Arrom Kelsey - Mrs Kelsey - Sylvia Putnam - Bedu Putnam - Widow Plummer - Belinda Neric Henry Stephens - Noney Woodbury - Henry Greenleaf - Richardson Mixer - Edward Clark - Welcom Carpenter - Mrs S. Putnam - Mary Field - Diantha Adkins - Russel Henry Elizabeth Crosby Maria Richardson Sophia Greenleaf - Charles Adkins John Adkins - Chester Heric - Sarah Heric John Ballard - Mrs Gerry James H."


Chloe's first diary entry concerning her pastor was on July 6, 1829: "then to Mr Starks - we converst much on the importance of governing children." An entry following February 11, 1834 reads, "Tuesday the meeting began - the day was fine a Prayer Meeting in the Morning - the exercisses of day began with a Prayer by Mr. Starke - ."


For December 11, 1836: "Mr Stark sermon to day was much on the observance of the Saboth his text in Acts where Paul went on the Sabboth by the river side where Prayer was wont to be made and spoke unto the woman that resorted there he said the Holy Sabbath had been kept as a day of sacred rest ever since the creation of the world where we see that descerated there we see all manner of vice whether in famlies Neighbourhoods or Comunities - - ."


Jan 1 1837 to day has been Communion 16 year since Mr Stark first broke the Bread and Poured out the Sacramental wine -


Chloe was distressed by the religious zeal of the day, which ended Rev. Jedidiah Stark's pastorate:


"Mr Stark is dissmist what a dismal state this Church and Society are in like sheep on a desolate barren rockey mountain infested with wilde beasts of every description without a sheperd to Protect them - oh now may we all fly to the great Sheperd and Bishop of Souls that he will appear for us nothing else but an Almighty Arm can save this Church from utter ruin


Mr Stark was dissmist the 24th of April 1839"


Mr James Salsbury died the 30th of May 1839 June the 2d had a letter from Emily they were well and contented think they shall be here the last of June Mr Stark was here to attend his funeral in about ten days after he left here with his family He and Mrs S came here the night before in the Morning a number came in Russel read the twentieth Chapter of the Acts of the apostal - he read till he was so affected he could read no more and gave the Book to Martha with a trembling voice she finist the Chapter then Mr Stark with a trembling voice Prayed then bid us farewell - it was a Solemn time - - - -


1840 - has come tho the snow was drifted and deep so deep that Stages could not get along and those that were journing and away from their families and wanted at home (Mr Starke) must stay where they happened to be -


Chloe's final entry concerning her pastor is for January 9, 1840: "Mr Starke set his face toward home - the weather is more mild, but the Snow very deep."


The original manuscript of the Chloe Smith Hayes Diary is in the collections of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center at Spiegel Grove, Fremont, Ohio. Director Watt Marchman thoughtfully prepared a typed transcript, and his work has been enhanced by the Curator of Manuscripts, Nan J. Card.


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Letter Of Reminiscence By "J. A. B."


I remember the minister, Mr. Stark, who was an old school Calvinist, stern in his theology and in his spirit, so rigid that many of the village people were driven out of his congregation to set up another and more liberal tabernacle towards the north end of the street, not far from the store where Lafayette Clark served his time with his father. As a child, of course, I knew nothing of the isms in religion, or of the church polity, but one circumstance illustrating the despotic temper of the pulpit in those days comes to mind as I write these lines. One Sunday, during the service, a horse was heard rampaging among the vehicles at the sheds, as if he were making mischief, and several people got up and went out to see what was the matter. Some, perhaps, made the incident an excuse for relieving themselves of the weariness of the preacher, who, fearing that the congregation might disperse before his homily was completed, spoke up in tones of authority: "There needn't any more go out!"


Vermont Phoenix, September 16, 1881.

From a letter signed by "J. A. B."


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