As Recollected By His Grandchildren
Belinda Elliot McLellan describes Rutherford Hayes---
Grandfather I recollect as a neat, fat, wholesome looking old gentleman; his face rosy and round - almost free from wrinkles. I think he had some little pride about his looks. I can remember seeing him stand before the glass to adjust his wig to the exact poise, and then with his hand brush down his coat collar and vest. He kept his hands remarkably white, and washed and washed them when soiled in the least.
I heard Grandmother once joke him upon so much washing and his speaking a little quickly for him "perhaps you don't wash enough". She looked hurt and replied a little sadly "perhaps not" - when he answered "I didn't say it was so. I only said perhaps." I rather think this was as near as they ever came to a quarrel!
Grandfather's laugh was a most uproarious one. His fat sides shook and his voice came hale and hearty from lungs that I venture to say had no tubercular deposits among them. At family prayer it was his custom to stand at the back of a chair, and his voice subdued and child like. One thing was remarkable about him. He always said he had enough of this world's goods to carry them through, and took no farther anxious thought about it. He believed in enjoying himself and taking the good of what he had.
Rutherford Hayes, Sr. was a man of about the same height and size as Governor Rutherford B. Hayes, in 1869. He had a very square step, which bordered upon a waddle late in life . . . His complexion was florid and his hair sandy . . . His temper was mild and uniform, and his manners courteous. He was fond of good living, and delighted above all things in a bowl of New Haven Oysters, and for many years made an annual visit to his old New Haven home, as much, perhaps , of the purpose of tickling his palate with the delicious bivalves, as of indulging his social and friendly propensities, which were strong and active. He was a good blacksmith, and I have often heard him extol that trade, saying that although it "was a smutty, black business, it brought white money". In the course of a few years, his sturdy blows on the anvil pounded out quite a snug little sum of silver, with which he bought the old homestead in West Brattleboro, and turned inn-keeper. In this new business, he was equally successful, being of a temperament well qualified for it, being materially assisted therein also by the industry and skill of Grandmother, and fortunate in the location of the inn. Hayes' tavern was famous the country round for good cooking, and the flip concocted there was something marvelous . . .
"I often think that if grandmother lived in our day, she would be an artist. In the latter part of her life, she took great delight in fancy worsted-work. Going into the garden, she would find a leaf, or bud, or flower, and place it before her as a pattern to imitate. Her industry was unwearied. Indeed, to me and my sisters, it was absolutely appalling. When a visit was expected from her, our work was duly prepared, and we were admonished to be very industrious, because grandmother did not like to see little folks idle. Ah, well! many a good lift did those visits give my mother, quilting bed quilts, and helping generally about fitting up the clothing for a large family. I spoke of her passion for worsted work. I have heard her say that on Saturday afternoon, she put it all into her work-basket and pushed it under the bed as far as she could, then taking her prosy knitting-work, she tried to get it out of her mind for Sunday!"
Charles Wells Hayes, "George Hayes of Windsor and His Descendants. (Buffalo, N. Y.: Baker, Jones & Co., 1884), ps. 38-39.
Characteristic lettering by Stephen Risley identify his stones---the "y" with the long tail called the elongated descender, the bent crossbar "H", the ear on the "r", the high barred "e", the distinctive "a" and the "m" that appears to be almost identical on his slates and on the Hayes Tavern sign.
Stephen Risley, Jr. carved over a hundred, mostly slate gravestones throughout Brattleboro. His shop stood on the north side of present Western Avenue, at the start of the Meadowbrook Road, from March 1806 until January 1811---only a few hundred feet from the Hayes Tavern. Rutherford Hayes bought the sign at auction, with its former years 1775 and 1791 still visible, and took it to Stephen Risley for re-painting for his tavern. The same design shows on both sides of the board.
The wildly disproportionate horse is quite possibly Stephen Risley's work, but it may also be by an earlier artist. If it is Risley's, then this sketch may be after an illustration that ran in the Brattleboro' Reporter during the 1808 season, advertising Fridays and Saturdays for the famous Morgan stallion Prince William standing at the Rutherford Hayes Tavern.
The simple geometric figure, with the curved lines framing an oval, at the top of the sign is an extremely stylized winged angel face, or the later soul face, such as appear frequently on slate gravestones in Brattleboro, and all over New England.
Stephen Risley, Jr. and his wife Polly arrived in Brattleboro some time after December 9, 1805, from East Hartford, Connecticut, where he was born in 1778. Stephen bought land from Nathaniel Blakeslee on September 30, 1806 for his marble shop, and sold it to Nathan White on January 19, 1811.
This stonecutter's shop was located fifty rods north of the popular Rutherford Hayes Tavern, in part of a wedge of land formed by three roads and lanes---the later Turnpike, now Western Avenue; the "north and south Mill-Road", named for the Israel Smith mill; and the "east and west Mill-Road", now called Meadowbrook Road.
and black top boots, holding a spirited steed.
Under the R. Hays, and evidently the remains of earlier decoration,
appear the dates 1775 and 1791"
Chloe was the daughter of Abigail Chandler and Israel Smith, who operated a mill on present Meadowbrook Road, along the Whetstone Brook. Chloe's grandfather and grandmother, Deacon John Smith and Elizabeth, are buried near the Hayes Tavern---
Smith ye Wife of Deacn
John Smith She Decd
Jany ye 12th 1778 in
ye 76th year of her
Seth Smith, Israel's brother and Chloe's uncle, operated another mill near the present Creamery Bridge. Seth's grandson was the famous mountain man, trapper, and explorer Jedediah Smith. Seth's neighbor to the east was Caleb Morgan, the brother of Justin Morgan, whose famed horses such as the stallion Prince William, stood at the Rutherford Hayes Tavern in 1808. Seth built this Cape style house in1774, that still stands along Western Avenue---
Home of President's Grandfather Contains Many Relics.
The old Hayes homestead in Brattleboro was built about 1790 by Rutherford Hayes, grandfather of President Hayes, who came from New Haven, Conn., in 1778 and located in West Brattleboro in the house where Mrs. Myron Thurber now lives. Upon its completion the house was first occupied as a dwelling, but in 1796 it was converted into a tavern and became a favorite stopping place for teamsters, stagemen and others. The barroom was in the northeast corner of the tavern and the bar was next to the partition between that room and the hall. A large hole was cut through the partitions behind the bar for the accommodation of the teamsters, who could thus get their drinks without freezing out the barroom frequenters by opening the door and allowing the cold winter air to rush in.
The license to Rutherford Hayes "by the honorable county court to keep a tavern or house of public entertainment," issued in 1796 by Richard Whitney, clerk, is in the possession of Mrs. Bigelow, but the oldest document of all of those which she holds is the deed to the land upon which the tavern was built from Israel Smith in 1783. Israel Smith was a lieutenant in the Revolutionary war, and he married a daughter of the original Rutherford Hayes. His work in and about the confines of Brattleboro forms a history in itself.
Another interesting paper kept by Mrs. Bigelow is that which gave Mr. Hayes the privilege "to shut up the road leading by his house from the pond to the village" on account of the turnpike road having been put in on the other side of the tavern. This road is still in existence and in excellent repair, it being the road running between Brattleboro, West Brattleboro and the town of Marlboro. The document was signed by Selectmen Waitstill Cross, Jahez Wood and Joseph Clark.
A certificate to keep a carriage, issued by G. Dennison, collector for the second district of Vermont, as long ago as when a carriage was an innovation and a luxury is still well preserved and shows that for the privilege of owning "a two wheel carriage called a chaise and a harness used therefor," Mr. Hayes paid $1, "this certificate to be of no avail any longer than the aforesaid carriage shall be owned by the said R. Hayes."
The Hayes family were scrupulous in their observation of Sunday and in all which pertained to Sunday, their observation beginning Saturday night, as is shown by one of the inscriptions on one of the invitations sent out for a card party at R. Hayes's hall on Saturday, July 4, 1807, the bearer being entitled to entertainment from 1:00 p.m. until sun setting.
The old swinging tavern sign was discovered a few years ago under the attic eaves. It is about four feet high by about two feet wide and bears on either side the inscription, "R. Hayes, Entertainment," with a painted picture of a jockey in yellow holding a spirited black steed whose proportions are grotesque in the extreme.
This sign was originally bought at auction and bears the date 1775, but this is barely discernible, as it was almost obliterated when a later date was painted over it.
Various articles of furniture with which the old house was furnished are still in existence, and are for the most part in excellent condition.
Among the other relics owned by Mrs. Bigelow and kept in the house, although not a Hayes relic, is a pewter platter, 18 inches in diameter and almost 200 years old. Its first known possessor was Mrs. Bigelow's great-great-grandfather, Colonel Seth Pomeroy, who fought in the French and Indian war and who was a brigadier general in the War of the Revolution.
A belief has been held that Rutherford Hayes, jr., the father of President Hayes, was born in this old Hayes homestead, or, as it was later called, the old tavern, but this is thought to be erroneous, for as nearly as his descendants who are now living can figure it out through the genealogical table he was born in the house in which Mr. Hayes originally settled when he came to West Brattleboro to live, the old house now occupied by Mrs. Myron Thurber. -- Springfield Union.
Polly Hayes was born on February 8, 1780 in Brattleboro, Windham Co., Vermont. She died on April 11, 1866 in Oneida, Madison Co., New York. Polly Hayes was "a woman remarkable for intellectual activity, religious devotions, broad interest in the progressive and benevolence of her children. 'Let Mother have the credit of teaching us the supremacy of spiritual religion' was her motto. . .
Polly Hayes and Honorable John Noyes were married in September 1804 in West Brattleboro, Windham Co., Vermont. Children were: Mary Jane Noyes, John Humphrey Noyes, Horatio Smith Noyes, Joanna Sarah Noyes, George Washington Noyes, Harriet Hayes Noyes, Elizabeth Frances Noyes, Charlotte Augusta Noyes, George Washington Noyes 2d.
"Your Aunt Polly Noyes died at Oneida, New York on the 11th inst, aged 86. She had almost no sickness; kept her bed but a day or two - suffering very little. She died as she lived, a good Christian woman."
Letter to Rutherford B. Hayes, April 18, 1866.
Dr. Arms D. Putnam and his wife Abigale Cobb Crosby remembered the neighboring Hayes Tavern. Abigail's older brother Henry Barrett worked for Rutherford Hayes, beginning at age ten in 1825, for two years before returning to Massachusetts with his parents Watson Crosby and Desiah (Desire) Bangs---
Both Dr. and Mrs. Putman remember well "Papa" Hayes as he was called, or Rutherford Hayes the grandfather of the late ex-president, and who died in West Brattleboro in 1836. The home of Mrs. Putnam's father, Watson Crosby, was just across the common from the Hayes place, and the two families were on the most intimate terms. One of her earliest recollections of Mr. Hayes, is hearing people tell how many "thumbs of rum" he had sold on such and such a day. He was then the tavern-keeper and in dealing out rum to his customers his habit was to put his thumb in the glass and gauge the amount to be sold for each sum by the height the liquid rose up on the thumb. She says he was always sure to put the thumb clear down so as not to give over-measure. He was that kind of man, close-fisted, but always as careful to give full measure as he was not to over-run. He was a jolly, pleasant old gentleman, keen and shrewd in observation, well-informed and fond of joking. A good many incidents of this kind have come down. His salutation as he met people was to rub his hands and say "Tell us some news." He would in return talk very interestingly and instructively. His wife, Chloe, Mrs. Putnam declares, was a very remarkable woman, having the "best judgment of any woman I ever saw."
Brattleboro Reformer, January 27, 1893.
Fashioned By The Blacksmith Rutherford Hayes?
A West Brattleboro Letter from the Old Hayes Homestead.
Six generations in direct line have lived upon or near the site of the house from which I write. It is a large, broad fronted homestead, looking directly down the main street of the pretty village of West Brattleboro, Vermont; watching with dignified satisfaction the sweeping curve which its position forces upon the road. It was built for the village inn by great grandfather, and according to hearsay was a most popular house. Great-grandmother Chloe Smith, at the mature age of seventeen, married Rutherford Hayes, a few year her senior, and one of the treasures of the house is her diary. On the opening page is written:
"My grandfather by my father's side was Deacon John Smith. His native place was Hadley. When Deerfield was destroyed by the Indians he was seven years old. In the morning he saw the smoke of the buildings that they had left burning. The inhabitants were carried captive to Canada. He (when he was married he went to South Hadley, where it was a wilderness) was an eminent Christian, and sustained that character to the day of his death. I have heard him say when he was converted it was a very dull time. After this was Whitefield's time. He used to speak of the great stir there was through New England--the first and second stir. It was not then called a revival but a stir. My grandfather did not marry till he was more than thirty. He said his uncle from Wethersfield, in Connecticut, visited at his father's and he slept with him. In the night he told him he had a daughter that would make him a good wife, and so it proved he married his cousin Elizabeth."
After reading that we went down into the meadow behind the house, to where ancient slate slabs mark the graves of Deacon John Smith and Elizabeth his wife. Six generations ago! and among the numerous offspring great-grandmother Chloe stands out in bold relief. "How well I remember," said my mother one day at breakfast, "a scene that took place in this room. Two guests were discussing, in loud tones, Lutherism and Calvinism. Grandmother left her seat at the head of the table, came toward the men, and striking the table with her hand said: 'Stop, every one of you, and without controversy; great is the mystery of Godliness.' The men laughed and obeyed," added the narrator: "but how terrified my little heart was."
Every thing was turned scripture-ward in those days. Her grand daughter came to show a pearl engagement ring, and met with the reply, "and be sure you have the pearl of great price;" while to a grandson bursting into the room with "Oh grandma, I'm engaged," came "I hope you are engaged in religion."
She was often sleepless, and during the night would repeat a long prayer, sing a hymn and then repeat the assembly's catechism, question and answer. Her eldest daughter inherited the same habit of wakefulness, and used to call upon her mother to sleep with her. One time coming on the usual demand she found her mother's patience exhausted. "You can't sleep! Sit up then, as I do, and say your own catechise."
Throughout the diary the verb know is spelt phonetically. One of her daughters once remonstrated with the result: "I know that it's know, but I like no better."
Her energy was phenomenal. Think of the balls to which all the country side used to come. The pies and puddings, meats and drinks that had to be provided. After all were served great-grandmother herself joined in the festive dance; and at daybreak---at least twice in her life---did she take advantage of "being up and dressed so early" to start off on horseback with her husband for Bainbridge, New York. Only one recreation did she allow herself, that was worsted work. Bringing in a flower from the garden, she would faithfully copy its form and colors upon her canvas; and so fascinating was this occupation that every Saturday night found her pushing her worsted work far under the bed, lest she be tempted to look at it on Sunday.
Looking again into the fascinating diary, we find that "Six daughters and three sons lived to marry and have families. None lived more that fifty miles from us till Rutherford moved to Ohio. In about five years he died, when he was thirty-five years old. His youngest child, Rutherford [General Hayes], was named after his father and grandfather. That branch of our family is but little known by the other connection---they have been at such a distance." The italics in that sentence are my own.
The story runs that down in the cellar of this house was a deep well, into which one of the grandchildren, John Pease, aged four, fell. He was rescued by the father of the present owner of the house, and lived to lay out a large part of our own Fremont.
In the antiquity room are many relics of long past days. There is the little trunk, not large enough for a modern doll, in which great-grandfather brought hither his sole earthly possessions; the cradle in which all his children were rocked, spinning wheels and cards, some of the famous worsted work, and best of all the old swinging tavern sign. The last was discovered a few years ago by one of the present generation, who found it under the attic eaves. It bears the inscription
with a gorgeous painting of a jockey in yellow small clothes and black top boots, holding a spirited steed. Under the R. Hays, and evidently the remains of earlier decoration, appear the dates 1775 and 1791. For more than one hundred years the old house has stood here, and to the initiated its doors open as freely and as widely as in the days of "auld lang syne."
L. E. K.
Reprinted from the Ohio newspaper, the Fremont Journal for October 4, 1889.
Lucy Elliot, Mrs. Isaac Marvin Keeler was a cousin and a devoted friend to President Rutherford Birchard Hayes.
By Martha Votey Smith
In the village of West Brattleboro, the main street, which follows in part the windings of Whetstone Brook, seems to come to an end where a large colonial house stands squarely in its way. As we reach it, however, we find that the street turns out for the uncompromising old house and goes on its way, almost grazing its front corner, and curious eyes may look in at the friendly windows so close to the sidewalk. One does not need to be told that the house was there before the street was extended. Indeed the street, then a road, formerly passed the other side of the house and at a respectful distance from it. When there was more need of a highway the other side, no one thought of moving the house that the roadway might be a straight one. It was too well-intrenched and too important. The owner swapped land for the roadway, the old road at the east of the house became a wide lawn, and the new road curved gracefully past the corner of the house, leaving a triangle of greensward in front. And there it has stood for 130 years, impressive as you approach it, yet democratic and neighborly as you pass it. There are still wide acres of meadow and pasture land belonging to the homestead, but the house itself is almost a part of the street. It has sheltered five generations of the same family, is still the cherished possession of one of them, and is a veritable treasure-house of interesting antiques.
From historic Hadley in Massachusetts had come, before the Revolutionary War Israel Smith, grandson of the John Smith who was killed by the Indians on Hatfield meadows, when "Five were kild and many horses and cattle slayne." The father of John was Lieut. Sam'l Smith, who came from England in 1634, and was a man of note in the Connecticut Colony and later in Hadley, where he was one of the pioneer settlers. Israel Smith, when he, in his turn, became a victim of the pioneering spirit, took with him to his new home in Vermont not only a wife and several children, but his father and mother, Deacon John and Elizabeth, who lie buried in the little meadow-cemetery east of the house. But this was not a Smith homestead. It was not built until young Rutherford Hayes came up from Connecticut to visit some friends in the new Vermont hamlet and fell in love with Chloe, Israel's sixteen-year-old daughter.
Rutherford was the son of Ezekiel Hayes and Rebekah Russell, and besides some interesting characters on the Hayes side his mother had a very distinguished line of ancestors. Her father, who had married one of the Connecticut Trowbridges, is spoken of as "the most conspicuous man in Branford, Ct." He was a deacon in the church, colonel of the militia, a judge, member of the General Assembly for forty-one sessions, and both clerk and speaker of that body. Her grandfather, Rev. Sam'l Russell, it was, at whose house in Branford seven ministers gathered one historic day, each one laying on the table one or more books saying "I give this for the founding of a college"---a day honored in the history of Yale College. The father of Samuel Russell was the Rev. John Russell who "gathered and for 33 years governed the flock of Christ in Hadley, til the Chief Shepherd suddenly but mercifully called him off to receive his reward," as recorded in his epitaph. It was this same John who concealed the regicides in his Hadley home and when they died gave them burial next his cellar wall. Of him it is recorded in the town history, "He feared not to do what he thought to be right."
Rutherford Hayes knew something of blacksmithing, and the new settlement in Brattleborough was very much in need of a blacksmith. They offered to build him a shop and send for his tools if he would stay. He refused at first, saying that "he came for a visit and did not care to stay in the woods." But before his six weeks' visit was over, he had fallen a victim to Chloe Smith's charms and decided to remain. A log shop was built for him near the foot of what is now Greenleaf street, then the only road to Marlborough. Rutherford and Chloe were married in 1779 and they occupied a house next to Israel Smith's, above the shop. Here four of their eleven children were born. In 1789, Israel Smith and all the younger members of his family moved to Bainbridge, N. Y., where he had received a grant of 640 acres of land from the state because he had espoused their cause in the controversy over the New Hampshire Grants.
It was about this same time that R. Hayes built the house where the road divided, the straight road going on over Meeting House Hill, and a sharp turn to the west was the road to Marlborough. The highway east of the house was changed to the west when a more direct route to Marlborough was needed. The house was built for an inn and the old sign which swung in front of it for many years is one of the cherished possessions of the family. It was called "The Big House" because of its size. The ball-room on the second floor was the only large hall in the region and many public meetings were held here as well as balls and card parties, and people came from neighboring hamlets to attend them. The young couples, who had no grandmother or maiden aunt to leave with the babies, used to take the infants with them and lay them out in rows on the two beds in the northeast bedroom reserved for that purpose.
The house was very substantially built, with two cellar walls three feet apart, and heavy timbers in which no dry rot has ever been found. Fourteen fireplaces were required to warm the house and there were two brick ovens, one in the dining room and one in the well-lighted cellar. In the cellar was an immense fireplace with a long crane and Dutch ovens for roasting meats and fowls. It was also provided with running water and a deep well and every convenience the period furnished for cooking the bountiful suppers served in the dining room above. Chloe was a famous cook and had usually a corps of helpers.
Of course there was a bar-room at the right of the wide hallway, and upstairs, opening into the ball room was a bar-cupboard where thirst could be quenched without descending to the bar-room The bar-cupboard is now a closet, but still retains the shelf over which the liquor was sold and the little corner shelf below the counter where the money-box was kept.
Capacious woodsheds, so necessary in fireplace days, were connected with the house by a gangway, from which opened a large milkroom. Under the milkroom was an ice-cellar. Also connected with the sheds were a carriage-house and barn, and near by a small "kettle-house" where maple sugar was made. When cook stoves took the place of open fires for cooking, a large kitchen was added, with pantries, a brick oven, and an arch or large brass kettle set in brick work where water was heated for laundry purposes. Another well was dug in the yard in 1820, forty-one feet deep, at an expense of $58.99, three shillings per foot for the first thirty-three feet, twelve shillings per foot for the rest of the depth. The bill for the same work would be somewhat larger at the present price of labor, and it would not be done by native Americans as it doubtless was then.
In "The Big House," Rutherford and Chloe Hayes not only entertained the traveling public but raised a family of 11 children and took their part in the community life. It is to "Grandmother Chloe" that her descendants trace their most valued characteristics. W. D. Howells, who married one of her granddaughters, once wrote of her, "She left upon the memory of many surviving children and grandchildren the personal impression of her strong and resolute character, and her rugged Puritan virtues, tempered and softened by aesthetic gifts amounting almost to genius." She was a person of indomitable energy and intolerant of idleness in others. Even the grandchildren had their tasks set for them when they came to visit her, and it is related of her that on one of the occasions when she had been catering to an all-night party, at four in the morning she said to her husband: "We're all up and ready and may as well start on that visit to Bainbridge." And start they did, on a horseback journey of more than two hundred miles.
Chloe was passionately fond of flowers and stole time from her care-filled days to cultivate them. She had skill in needlework of all kinds and an artist's love for fancy work, copying her designs from the flowers in her garden. She loved the work so much that on Saturday afternoon as the Sabbath hours drew on, "she was wont to put her worsted-work in her workbasket and push it as far under the bed as she could and get it all out of her mind for Sunday." One of her grandsons said "She knit more stockings, mittens, and gloves, wove more rag carpets, spun and wove more cloth, elaborated more wonderful rugs, lamp-mats and bags, than any woman of her generation." "She looked well to the ways of her household" and had all the other virtues ascribed to the ideal woman in the Proverbs. But above all else, and woven through her character was her devotion to her religion. A journal that she kept is of great interest, both as an accurate record of family happenings, for her spicy comments on current events, and because it reveals so much of her inner life. The loss of two of her journals that were sent to her son in Barbadoes has been a source of regret to her family. "Work, faith, duty, self-sacrifice, continual self-abasement in the presence of the Divine perfection--the old New England ideal was hers. It shaped character of unsurpassable uprightness and strength."
Nine of Rutherford's and Chloe's children married, had families, and scattered, and the old roof-tree welcomed them back--Noyeses, Elliots, Robbinses, Moodys, Bancrofts, Smiths and Hayeses. Polly, who married John Noyes, became the mother of the founder of the Oneida community, and grandmother of Larkin Mead, the sculptor, and the Mead in the firm of New York architects, McKim, Mead and White. Others of the Mead family had artistic ability. Eleanor Mead married W. D. Howells. But Chloe's most distinguished grandson was the Rutherford B. Hayes who became president of the United States. When President Hayes, during his term of office came to Vermont to celebrate the dedication of the Battle of Bennington monument, he spent a night in the Hayes house built by his grandfather whose name he bore. One of Chloe's sons was for many years an American consul at Barbadoes. Her diary reveals how she carries on her heart this distant son, for even when she had no reason to think he was on the ocean, in every gale of wind she was lying awake wondering if he were safely sheltered.
Not all of Rutherford and Chloe's descendants have achieved fame, but as writers, editors, ministers, physicians, business men, and home-makers, they have had a worth-while part in the making of American life through the sterling characteristics bequeathed to them.
Russell Hayes, the oldest son, remained at home and cared for Rutherford and Chloe in their old age. The house is now in the possession of his daughter. Many changes have been made in the house; the old woodsheds and barns disappeared, the ballroom was made into sleeping rooms, the bar-room became a parlor, the spacious stoop gave way to a piazza. Yet both within and without the house retains much of its former appearance, and the same maples shade it, now grown to great size.
Published by Charles R. Cummings, White River Junction, Vermont.
Martha Votey Smith was the second wife of Rev. Clifford Hayes Smith. Clifford Hayes Smith was born on August 17, 1856 in West Brattleboro and died June 12, 1948 in Proctor, Vermont. He was a Congregational minister, Dartmouth and Yale educated.
Clifford was a first cousin once removed of President Rutherford B. Hayes. His great-grandparents were Rutherford Hayes and Chloe Smith Hayes; grandparents were Linda Hayes and Samuel Elliott; his parents were Sophie Elliott and Samuel Smith.
Rutherford Hayes and Chloe Smith's son was Rutherford Hayes, Jr., who married Sophia Birchard on April 17, 1813 in Wilmington, Vermont. Sophia's child Rutherford Birchard Hayes became the nineteenth President of the United States.
By W. H. Bigelow, Of Chicago.
In February, 1778, there came to Brattleboro, from New Haven, Ct., a young man, just of age, a blacksmith by trade. The few settlers, wishing such a workman to locate among them, made a bee, shoveled away the deep snow, helped to build a shop, and in less than a month he was at work with his tools. Great results flowed from this hasty settlement of the young man---Rutherford Hayes.
We trace his ancestors back to George Hayes, who came from Scotland and was living in Windsor, Ct., in 1682, and subsequently in Granby, Ct. His grandfather, Daniel Hayes, was, in 1702, taken captive by the Indians, carried to Canada, and was kept a prisoner about 5 years. His mother was Rebecca Russell, great granddaughter of Rev. John Russell, who lived in Hadley, Mass., where he concealed the Regicides for many years.
Rutherford Hayes was born in Brandford, Ct., July 29, 1756, removed to New Haven with his father, Ezekiel Hayes, in 1773. In his new home, now the West village, he for many years worked at his trade, which he called a "dirty, black business, but it brought white money."
For some time he kept a tavern, joining farming with it, and during his passing old age he was a farmer in easy circumstances. As to his characteristics, he is described as a "round, corpulent, old gentleman, with an elastic, square step, medium height, with florid complexion, sandy hair, a cheerful temper, and friendly courteous manners." Capt. Dudley, now living, in his 82d year, an intelligent old gentleman of many interesting memories, recalls his hale, hearty laugh, accompanied usually with a noted rubbing of his hands, in the enjoyment of jokes and stories. Of him, one who remembers him well, says: "He was an honest, kindly, religious man, and may well be regarded by his descendants as a model." After he was seventy he became a total abstinence man, "fearing," he said, "that his example would be quoted against the cause of temperance." He died Sept. 25, 1836.
His wife, Chloe Smith, born Nov. 10, 1762, in Hadley, Mass., moved with her parents to Brattleboro when young, and was married (1789) in her seventeenth year. She matured into a noble, Christian lady. She was noted as a wonderful worker, and a great force of will. On a certain occasion she waited upon guests at a country ball, in their tavern, all night, and started in the morning on horseback for a visit to Bainbridge, N. Y. She made the journey with her husband, 200 miles or more, and back in health and strength. She is remembered by her descendants with affectionate admiration. She died Feb. 17, 1847. They had three sons and six daughters, whom the lived to see in positions of honor and usefulness.
Paper by William H. Bigelow, printed in Henry Burnham's Brattleboro, Windham County, Vermont; Early History, with Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Citizens. (Brattleboro, Published By D. Leonard, 1880) pages 67-68.
[Capt. Benajah Dudley, born in May, 1791, died on June 15, 1885, aged ninety-four years, one month, and ten days. Speaking with William Bigelow in his 82d year then, would be during 1873-1874, recalling Rutherford Hayes from at least forty years before.]
In this connection the following receipt, now in the possession of Mrs. Mary Hayes Bigelow, granddaughter of Rutherford Hayes, who occupies the homestead as a summer residence, will be of interest:---
R. Hayes, Dr. ______________
32 galls rum, _____________14________0___0
3 loves sugar, ____________2_________5___0
2 loves sugar, ____________1________10___0
1/2 doz'n pipes, ___________0________0____9
Rec'd payment in full.
_____________________________S. Holbrook & Co.
Extract from "Some Hayes Homestead History. Relics Of An Old Vermont House.".
Letter by Frederick W. Childs, Correspondent for the Springfield Republican, July 24, 1897.
[The "Dr." following "R. Hayes"---with the superscript "r" in the original bill---is the standard ledger symbol for "Debtor", as opposed to the "Cr." for "Creditor".]
Enoch Jacobs, who was born on June 30, 1809 in Marlboro, wrote a letter on his seventieth birthday which was printed in the Cincinnati Commercial, and reprinted in Brattleboro's Vermont Record And Farmer on July 31, 1879. Jacobs removed from Marlboro in 1827, eventually becoming a well-known Seventh Day Adventist. His letter describes Marlboro landmarks, and in detail the Rutherford Hayes Tavern---
Rutherford, the son of Ezekiel Hayes and grandfather of the President, was born in the year 1756, and died in this village in 1836 . . . He was also a blacksmith, and located here in 1778. He boarded in the family of Israel Smith, who lived in a red frame building then standing on the spot now occupied by the "Hayes Mansion." Israel Smith had a daughter, "Chloe," who afterwards became the mother of Rutherford Hayes, the President's father.
Glimpses of Old-Time Ways of Life---
Some More Appreciative Words of Brattleboro.
The Boston Journal Tuesday contained a two-column cut and an article by C. S. Forbes on "A President's Ancestral Home," or the Hayes place at the West Village. It is stated in this article that the late General Hayes was so charmed with the natural attractions and beautiful scenery of the Connecticut River Valley that he had about decided to make his permanent residence in Vermont, and before he left for Ohio had already planned to build a summer cottage at Wilmington which he expected to occupy this summer. The article says truly of the place and its settings:
The Hayes homestead is located at the head of a broad and well shaded avenue, running from the Vermont bank of the Connecticut river westward through the beautiful village of Brattleboro. The drive from the pretty passenger station of the Vermont Central railroad to the West Village is one of the most delightful imaginable. The region hereabouts is most picturesque and abounds in scenic attractions.
The traveler on alighting from the train has presented to his vision wood covered heights and green vales, with the swiftly flowing Connecticut sweeping in a graceful curve around the base of Wantastiquet mountain. To the westward rise a succession of shapely terraces crowned by handsome residences with well kept lawns and trim hedges. At frequent intervals along the highway are seen beds of brilliant colored flowers and foliage plants which the Village Improvement Society have placed here and there to beautify the town.
But I must not linger longer by the wayside to describe the attractions of Brattleboro---its leaf embowered streets and its winding avenues with evergreen hedges like an English courntry lane; its fair landscapes seen through parted boughs; its environment of forest and stream, of hill and dale, and its pleasant drives over excellent roads.
The grandparents of President Hayes were among the early settlers here, coming from Connecticut to Vermont in Revolutionary times. His grandfather was the village blacksmith and earned his living by the sweat of his brow. The industry of his ancestors earned them a competence, and toward the latter part of the last century a large and well built house was erected by the elder Hays and occupied by the family. This house stands today in substantially its original shape, and is still owned and occupied by members of the Hayes family. Its present owner is Mrs. W. H. Bigelow, a cousin of President Hayes.
It was here that Rutherford Hayes, father of the president, was born and spent his early life. His mother, whose maiden name was Sophia Birchard, was born in Wilmington. Their marriage took place in 1813. Beneath this roof the oldest brother and sister of President Hayes were born.
The Hayes mansion is a typical New England country residence. It is nearly square, with a large hall running through the centre, on either side of which are low-studded square rooms, with capacious fireplaces. The furniture and household furnishings are relics of Colonial days, many pieces of furniture having been in constant use for more than 100 years. I was shown a card table and chair, which were among the presents received by Mr. and Mrs. Hayes, the grandparents of President Hayes, when they were married in 1778. They are made of cherry, and seem to be as good as new.
It appears that the Hayes mansion was so capacious that its owner turned it into a tavern and became the landlord of the house.
I was shown the original license issued to Rutherford Hayes for the purpose of keeping a tavern. It read as follows:
I hereby cettify that Mr. Rutherford Hayes of Brattleboro, in the county of Windham and State of Vermont, is licensed by the Honorable County Court to keep a tavern or house of public entertainment from this time until the session of said County Court in June next.
Witness my hand at Brattleboro', this second day of July, A. D., 1796.
Clerk of Windham County Court
The Hayes Tavern was a very popular place of resort for the people residing within a radius of 50 miles, and may a ball and card party were given within its hospitable walls. The dancing hall occupied the entire front part of the second floor, and hundreds of youths and maidens have tripped across its polished floor to the music of the fiddle played by the village musician who constituted the orchestra.
There were card parties, too, in those days, but this mild form of dissipation was limited as to time, no card playing being allowed after sunset. One of the invitations to an Independence-Day card party at the Hayes tavern was shown me by Mrs. Bigelow. It is printed on the back of a ten spot of clubs, and contained the following printed in antique style.
It was doubtless a merry and patriotic party of guests that celebrated Independence Day on this date so many years ago, and the host little thought that he was destined to be the grandfather of a president of the United States.
A few years later the tavern was closed as a public house. After the marriage of the father of President Hayes in 1813 he opened a country store at Dummerston Centre, taking into partnership John Noyes, who subsequently became the head of the Oneida Community. Mr. Hayes prosecuted a successful business here until 1817, when he sold out and packed his goods in a "prairie schooner" and started for the west. He settled in Ohio and went to farming near Delaware, where Rutherford B. Hayes was born October 4, 1822.
Charles S. Forbes was a St. Albans, Vermont journalist who founded "The Vermonter" magazine in August 1895.
It is said that the "Reverends" of those days were punctual in their parochial calls at the hospitable home of Rutherford and Chloe Hayes. It was a rule of the house that whichever child had behaved in the most exemplary manner during the week was to have the privilege of bringing from the cellar and presenting to the parson a glass of wine. But the Hayeses were strict in their observance of Saturday evening as the beginning of the Sabbath. At sunset every Saturday night the wooden shutters were drawn, doors closed and the weary traveler knew it was of no use to call for refreshments at that hostelry.
Mary R. Cabot, "Annals of Brattleboro 1681-1895". In Two Volumes. (Brattleboro, Vermont: Press of E. L. Hildreth & Co., 1922). Volume I, p. 167.
Carolyn Lois Clark, Mrs. Hayes Bigelow, Proprietress
By Julia M. Park
Ghosts, if ever present, will be abroad the night that the 171-year-old Hayes Tavern goes up in smoke. Beautifully gowned ladies and their escorts who danced to fiddlers' music in a spacious ballroom; weary stagecoach travelers who stopped at the barroom for a hot toddy on a frosty night---these will be among the wraiths.
The decision to wreck and burn the important landmark built in 1789-90 by the grandfather of a President of the United States, marks progress in an age of automation. But, there are a few diehards, proud of their heritage, who sincerely mourn the necessity of destroying one of the few remaining historic sites in Brattleboro to make room for a wider highway.
Other communities---notably in Connecticut, Rhode Island and the Tarrrytown section of New York---make every effort to preserve early houses and public buildings, if necessary by moving them to new locations. Brattleborians, on the other hand, appear indifferent to severing ties with the past and, in this instance, in destroying a potential tourist attraction of considerable value.
Forty miles away, the tiny town of Weston (population under 500) has restored its old tavern, the Farrar-Mansur House, preserving its original bar and ballroom and furnishing it with heirlooms from the town's families to create a "museum of local history." Open six days a week through the summer, the place attracted between 13,000 and 14,000 visitors last year.
The so-called "progress" which first spelled the ultimate demise of Hayes Tavern at 411 Western Avenue actually started many years ago when a highway (now Route 9) was first built close to the colonial-style building and directly through the tavern's vegetable garden.
When Rutherford Hayes, blacksmith, built his tavern a decade or so after the Revolutionary War, no highway was contemplated at that point. Westbound travelers journeyed via the historic Boston-Albany Post Road which led south from Ames Hill and then northwesterly to Meetinghouse Hill at a point east of the tavern.
When persons living in the west part of the town and in Marlboro had business downtown, they likewise crossed meadowlands to Meetinghouse Hill to pick up a road leading to the east village. There was no Western Avenue then for that area was not surveyed until the 1820's. [Editor's note: Ephraim Nash surveyed the road leading from the West Village to the East Village in 1784].
When Rutherford Birchard Hayes, 19th President, visited Brattleboro in August, 1877, the year of his inauguration, he was an honored guest at the handsome Brooks House, opened only five years before. On the second night of his stay he expressed a desire to "go back to West Brattleboro to sleep in the old house my grandfather built, where my father was born and where I spent many days and nights in my youth." His wish was granted.
President Hayes was not the only distinguished descendant of Rutherford and Chloe (Smith) Hayes, who kept tavern in the place recently described as "that old, rundown building". A daughter, Polly, who married John Noyes, founder of the famed Oneida Community, [Editor's note: John Noyes and Polly Hayes' son John Humphrey Noyes was the Oneida founder] became the grandmother of Larkin Mead, the well-known sculptor; William B. Mead, architect, and Elinor Mead, wife of William Dean Howells, noted editor at Harper's Magazine.
Until the sale of the property about three years ago, members of the Hayes family had always occupied the place. The last to reside there was Hayes Bigelow, great-grandson of the builder, who died in April, 1936. His widow vacated the house the following year. The couple's only child, Lloyd (Bigelow) Kennedy, representing the fifth generation of the family to live there, died in 1952.
Many mementos preserved in the old house since its tavern days, which one historian points out "give evidence of the varied interest and rich historical associations of a distinguished family," are now in the possession of the Hayes Foundation, which maintains a museum and library in Fremont, Ohio. Among the items is the old tavern sign lettered "R. Hayes Entertainment 1791" and bearing the figure of a jockey in yellow clothes with black boots holding a "spirited steed".
The four-square hip-roofed house presented a quite different appearance when Mr. and Mrs. Hayes ran their tavern. The present front porch was added in 1840, the same year that the ballroom was converted into bedrooms. In 1885, the large ell at the rear was built and the windows of the main house were changed from sashes of 24 lights to the present ones of four panes.
The same central hall eight feet wide runs through the house and four rooms, each 16 feet square occupy the first floor, together with ante-rooms. In the so-called, "West Room," the handsome original panelling is intact. Traces of the old ballroom, which occupied the front half of the second floor was the largest one in this section and many public meetings, balls and other events were held there.
In addition to a barroom at the right of the wide hallway, a bar-cupboard was provided upstairs, opening into the ballroom. Later convertied into a closet, it still retains the shelf over which liquor was sold and a little corner shelf below the counter where the money-box was artfully hidden. Traces of the decorative wall stencilling on the cupboard walls are still visible.
A small fortress in the manner of its construction, the tavern was built with two cellar walls three feet apart and heavy adzed timbers which to this day show no apparent signs of rot.
Miss Cabot recorded the fact that 14 fireplaces were required to warm the place. (There are four fireplaces today and these have been altered and their appearance changed by the addition of mantels supported by iron brackets).
In the cellar was an immense fireplace with a long crane and Dutch ovens for roasting meat and fowl. Part of the solid brick fireplace wall still can be seen. The cellar was also provided with a deep well and every other convenience the period offered for cooking bountiful meals.
When he visited his ancestral home a few months after his inauguration, President Hayes noticed that hthere had been many changes in the "beautiful" building, but he found it still attractive. He and Mrs. Hayes were given a royal reception in the east parlor of the house, at that time occupied by Mary (Hayes) Bigelow and her husband, William H. Bigelow, parent of Hayes Bigelow. More than 500 attended and in the evening a second and larger reception was staged at the Brooks House while a band played "Hail to the Chief" from the old hotel balcony.
In his farewell remarks to the crowd gathered next morning to see the chief executive and his party board a special train, President Hayes said: "I hope that the beauty and prosperity of Brattleboro will continue to increase." He placed "beauty" first---and he was not regarded as an impractical man.
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.
In this town, on the 17th inst., of paralysis, Mrs Chloe Hayes, widow of the late Rutherford Hayes, aged 84. During a long life, the deceased has sustained its various relations with great fidelity--and, altho' the summons which called her from its duties was most sudden and unexpected to her friends, still they feel the comforting assurance it found her prepared. Mrs H. could count as her descendants, 11 children, 47 grand children and 35 great grand children---in all 93.
Rutherford Hayes Sr. was born on July 29, 1756 in Branford, New Haven, Connecticut. He died on September 25, 1836 in West Brattleboro, Windham Co., Vermont. Chloe Smith and Rutherford Hayes Sr. were married in 1779 in Brattleboro. Children were, Polly Hayes, Linda Hayes, Russell Hayes, Rutherford Hayes Jr., Clarissa Hayes, Sarah "Sally" Hayes, Abigail Hayes, Fanny Hayes, William Rutherford Hayes.
Rutherford Hayes Jr. was born on 4 January 1787 in Brattleboro. He died on July 20, 1822 in Delaware, Ohio. He migrated with his wife and children from Dummerston, Vermont to Delaware, Ohio in September 1817.
Sophia Birchard and Rutherford Hayes Jr. were married on 13 September 1813 in Wilmington, Vermont by Darius Hall, Justice of the Peace. Their children were---Lorenzo Hayes, Sarah Sophia Hayes, Fanny Arabella Hayes, President Rutherford Birchard Hayes.
Deacon Israel Smith came to Bainbridge about 1789 from Brattleboro, Vermont with his family and settled on Lot No. 76 on the east line of the county, opposite the mouth of the Unadilla. His farm lay on both sides of the Susquehanna, and was a little north of and partly adjoining that of Samuel Bixby. He continued to reside there until his death on June 7, 1811 aged seventy-three. Abigail, his wife, who died November 10, 1791 aged fifty, was probably the first female who died in the town.
His children were Deacon Israel, Jr., Simeon, Amos, Chloe, Sibyl, Clarina, Asor, and Abigail.
Deacon Israel, Jr. married Electa Church and settled on the southern portion of the homestead farm. He died there on January 27, 1837 aged seventy-two. Electa his wife died on February 23, 1841 also aged seventy-two.
Amos married Betsey Allason and settled at Colesville. He afterwards removed to Ashtabula County, Ohio, when that county was new, and died there. Chloe married in Brattleboro, Vermont, and remained there. Sibyl married Jared Redfield, who came as early as 1791 and settled on the west side of the river, opposite her brother Israel, and died near there on February 24, 1844 aged seventy-five.
Clarina married Asahel Bixby in 1793 and died on the place on which her husband settled, on May 22, 1847 aged sixty-four. Asor married Hepzibah "Hepsey" Smith and settled on the homestead. He afterwards removed to Afton where he died childless. Abigail married David McMaster and settled on the east side of and a little above the mouth of the Unadilla in Otsego County, and afterwards removed to Afton, where she died.