Samuel Wells, Land Deed 1770

A Rare Find.

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.

[Written by Hon. Hoyt Henry Wheeler.]







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