Rev. William Wells Farm 1794
Burnside Military School 1860
Along Upper Dummerston Road
Near Present Whitney Place
Linden Lodge 1915
The future Upper Dummerston Road apparently ends at Col. Samuel Wells' house and the barn to its north in this early map. The first bridge across the West River was built in 1795, near Col. Wells' house---eleven years after this Holland survey was run.
The Original Deed of the Southwest Corner of Brattleboro.
A document of unusual historical interest and value has just been presented to the Brooks library trustees, it being no other than the original deed of partition of 5400 acres of land comprising the southwest corner of Brattleboro. This is the tract or territory which was mentioned and described in a historical article on "Brattleboro school districts," printed in The Phoenix of January 16 last. In that article it was said of this tract---
After Judge Wells acquired the New York title to the town in 1766 he sold and deeded 5400 acres in the west part of the south half to William Smith, Thomas Smith and Nicholas William Stuyvesant of the city of New York. The tract extended from near the top of the hill west of West Brattleboro to Marlboro and from the centre line to Guilford. They laid it out into lots covering the lots in the five ranges in the south half of the town from numbers five to 14 inclusive, with a tier of four lots end to end 200 rods long and 80 wide to the east of them, and divided the lots among themselves by partition deed. William Smith was chief justice of the province of New York.
The document in question, which has now so fortunately come to light, is the deed of partition by which these three owners, William Smith, Thomas Smith and Nicholas Wm. Stuyvesant made a division of the 5400 acres of land among themselves. On one sheet of the parchment composing the deed is a plan or drawing of the territory showing how the lots were arranged and divided, this drawing corresponding with one which had been made from the description of the tract in the article in The Phoenix. At the time this article was published it was presumed that this deed was not in existence. But when the publication came to the notice of Mr. John A. Goodenough of West Brattleboro, then in Florida, he knew that he had the deed in his possession, and embraced an early opportunity to show it to parties interested and to present it to the library trustees as stated. The deed came to Mr. Goodenough from his father, Robert Goodenough, and was presented to him by Capt. Wm. Holton, who is supposed to have been the agent for the three owners. It is written on two large sheets of parchment, besides the drawing mentioned, and is a genuine "indenture," showing where the corresponding document was cut off. Underneath the plan is written:
A plan of five thousand four hundred acres of land, lying in the Township of Brattleborough and County of Cumberland, belonging to William Smith, Thomas Smith, and Nicholas Stuyvesant, Esqrs., laid out in one hundred acre lots, each lot being one hundred and sixty rods in length and one hundred rods in width, except the four east lots, which are but eighty rods wide and contain one hundred acres each.
The parchment is well preserved, and the writing for the most part is as distinct as when it left the pen. Although of great historical value, no land titles depend upon the instrument.
The deed bears the date "24 August, 1770".
Vermont Phoenix, May 22, 1891.
William Smith was Chief Justice of the Province of New York from 1763 until 1782, when he returned to England, and from thence to Quebec. His brother was Dr. Thomas Smith.
William and Dr. Thomas Smith were the sons of that Judge William Smith of New York City, who in the summer of 1741, condemned eighteen black slaves to burning at the stake.
William and Thomas' paternal uncle---John Smith---was the closest friend to Rev. Jonathan Edwards during his youthful days in New York. Jonathan Edwards' horror of burning at the stake drove him to pen his masterful "execution sermon" entitled "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God".
"The original plan of the town of Brattleboro, as granted by the Crown through his representatives of Cumberland County in the state of New York, dated June 25, 1766, is on file in Albany, New York, in the Colonia Manuscript Land Papers, 1766, Vol. XXI, p. 81.
In the town clerk's office in Brattleboro is on file a sketch of the plan, and attached to the sketch is a typewritten report in considerable detail giving boundary lines as follows: "548 chains west from where Venters brook enters the Connecticut river north 400 chains east 590 chains to the Connecticut river, thence following river to point of beginning." Reservations are made for church, minister and school-teacher, these reservations being in the northwestern corner and extending south. The southwestern part is blocked off into five ranges of fourteen lots each. Each lot contains one hundred acres. The balance of the grant is marked "Samuel Wells and associates."
Samuel Wells of this town,
a Judge of Cumberland
County Court & a Member
of the Assembly of the
Province of New York,
who departed this Life
the 6th of Augt 1786,
the 55th year of his Age.
His Friends, the Stranger and the poor have lost
A kind Companion and a gen'rous Host:
When he fell---the Statesman fell,
And left the World his Worth to tell.
Miss Anna Johnson, a nurse who was at the Lodge, was awakened by smoke about 1 o'clock and notified the housekeeper. A telephone message was sent to the fire station on Elliot street and the four men who sleep there went at once to the scene with the automobile truck. Fire Chief Frank Streeter entered the building to ascertain the location of the fire and when he reached a room on the second floor in the west part of the ell the flames were breaking through the ceiling. He rushed to the attic, but it was so full of smoke that he was unable to enter. He then telephoned to his house and asked that an alarm be given from box 26. By that time fire had broken through the roof. The fire spread rapidly and the roar of the flames could be heard throughout the Lodge. . .
When the fire reached the dining hall there was a constant popping of window glass, with which the hall was largely enclosed. When the work of removing the furniture was completed as far as possible there was nothing further that could be done except to watch the consuming progress of the flames. . .
The main part was built by Col. Samuel Wells in 1772 and it was the oldest building in this section of the state. The joints of the timbvers were of the old-fashioned morticed type fastened with wooden pins and such nails as were used were hand made of wrought iron.
Brattleboro Daily Reformer, February 4, 1920.
The original cupboards and wainscoting at Linden Lodge were still intact, and one room showed the massive timbers in their original design. Much care was apparently taken with the shutters to protect against outside invasion---that is, they were "Indian shutters". Fairbanks Moore was slain in the immediate area in 1757, five years before Samuel Wells arrived and built his first log house to the west of Linden Lodge.
The Rev. Jedediah L. Stark of the First Congregational Church at West Brattleboro, in his "Lecture On the Early Settlement of Brattleboro", describes the settlement of the land near the north end of present-day Cedar Street---
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.