HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF WHITING.
WHITING, one of the southern tier of towns of the county, is bounded north by Cornwall; east by Salisbury and Leicester; south by Sudbury, in Rutland county, and west by Shoreham and Orwell. It was chartered by Benning Wentworth, the royal governor of New Hampshire, under King George III, August 6, 1763, to forty-eight grantees.
The usual restrictions and reservations were mentioned in the charter, and the usual court favorites were remembered. The charter also says that the new town contained "by admeasurement 14,424 acres, butted and bounded " as follows: " Beginning at the northwest corner of Leicester and thence extending north 85° west, to the west line of Bridport, to a stake and stones; thence south by the lines of Bridport and Shoreham six miles and one hundred and twenty
Page 723 TOWN OF WHITING.
rods to a stake and stones; thence south 85° east, by the north side line of Sudbury, to the northeasterly corner, thereof; and thence north 4° west six miles and 120 rods, to the place of beginning."
Owing to the limited knowledge of the territory's geography at that time, and the changes that have been made in town boundary lines since, however, this record would give little accurate information to the modern reader. To the fact that five of the grantees bore the name of Whiting the town owes its title. Most of the grantees were residents of Massachusetts, and, as was the case in many other "New Hampshire Grants," doubtless had little intention of ever actually settling on their land, but merely interested themselves in the enterprise as speculators, and hence the trouble which subsequently sprang up between settlers and proprietors.
The surface of Whiting is quite level and comparatively free from ledges to obstruct cultivation of its soil, which varies considerably in different parts of the town. Otter Creek, forming a large part of the eastern boundary of the town, is the only stream of importance. It receives a small tributary from the south, while the western part of the town is drained by small branches of the Lemon Fair, which unite just over the line in Shoreham. In the southwestern part of the township is found a deep loam, cut occasionally by slate ridges, with a moderately rolling surface. The southeastern point, known as "Green Island," forms valuable meadows. A large part of this tract has a deep muck soil, while the residue is composed of marl interspersed with small tracts of loam. Throughout the central part of the town the soil is of a clayey formation, interspersed with loam and marl. In the eastern portion of this tract, however, there is a wide belt of deep muck lying between the intervals of the creek and the hard land, which is very valuable for the large amount of hay it produces, though much labor has been expended to bring it into its present condition. Owing to a heavy swamp lying east of the thoroughfare, which extends northward from Whiting village, and the stiff clay on the west, the land is unfit for purposes of high cultivation. The northwestern part of the town is more uneven, and is cut by a ridge of limestone extending south from Cornwall. The land is valuable here, its soil being made up of loam, slate, clay, and marl. The northeastern section, extending from the west bank of Otter Creek to just west of the road we have mentioned, is principally owned by F. G. Douglass, member of the State Board of Agriculture, and A. H. Hubbard. This is also valuable land, the soil being made up of muck, loam, and marl, while a large part is intervale.
The original timber in the southwest part of the town was beech, birch, maple, elm, and basswood, interspersed with black and white ash and butternut. In the southwestern part grew beech, maple, hard and soft pine, hemlock, black ash, and cedar. In the northern part of the town the hard land produced beech, maple, basswood, elm, black and white ash, pine, and hemlock; on the swamp land grew pine, cedar, black ash, tamarack, and balsam. Many of these
Page 724 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY.
varieties have entirely disappeared, while comparatively little of either variety remains.
Proprietors' Meetings. --- The first meeting of the proprietors of which we have any record was held at Wrentham, Mass., October 6, 1772, nine years after the charter was granted. Daniel Ide was chosen moderator and Benjamin Day clerk. It was then voted that "half of forty-eight rights, in quantity and quality, [be given] to fifteen of the first settlers of said town," on consideration that they get thirty-three other settlers to locate here within a period of five years, and John Wilson was appointed as a committee of one to procure the said fifteen settlers. A committee was also appointed to lay out said township, and not delay the time longer than the month of June next following. From the following certificate it appears that Wilson fulfilled his part of the agreement, viz.:
"These may certify that legal measures have been taken and certain pitches made in the township of Whiting, and confirmed by said proprietors of Whiting, the return made by John Wilson to me the subscriber.
" November 2, 1772. DANIEL POND, Proprietors' Clerk."
The second proprietors' meeting was held at the house of Jonathan Fassett, of Pittsford, Vt., May 27, 1783, when Elihu Smith was chosen moderator and Samuel Beach clerk. No one was allowed to vote without showing the clerk his deed or power of attorney. They then proceeded to vote that "they cheque out and make a draft of the first division lots," claiming that Wilson had forfeited his right to his title by not furnishing the stipulated number of settlers. At this point the following petition from settlers under the Wilson title was presented to the moderator :
" Whereas, a number of pretenders in the name of proprietors of Whiting have presumed to warn a proprietors' meeting of the town of Whiting to be holden at Jonathan Fassett's, Esqr., in Pittsford, on the last Tuesday of this inst. May, in order to chequer out said town of Whiting for a draft of the first division lotts, contrary to the minds of the first proprietors and settlers under them and the order of justice and equity,
" Now we want to know what business a parsel of pretended land jockeys have to lay out and chequer out a town that has been settled and incorporated these seven years ? By what authority or power, or in whose name you presume to do this we know not. The original proprietors we know, but who are you? Be you who or what you will, we advise you to take the counsill of the wisest of men, that is, to let alone contention before it is medled with.
"Now, in the name and behalf of the inhabitants of the town of Whiting, who are legally settled and lawfully possessed of the same, we strictly forbid you and publickly protest against your proceedings.
JOHN SMITH, Selectmen."
"Whiting, May 27, A. D. 1783. JOHN WILSON,
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Although jealousies and ill-feeling existed for years between these factions, the matter was practically adjusted on the 16th of October following the date of the meeting. The next proprietors' meeting was the first held in the town, convening at the house of Gideon Walker, June 8, 1784, Mr. Walker being chosen moderator. It appears from the records of this meeting that the proprietors, having previously settled one vexed question, had to encounter another of no less grave character. Encroachments were being made upon their charter limits on the right hand and on the left. They therefore made provisions for choosing a committee on the 12th of the following month, consisting of Ezra Allen, Samuel Beach, and Gideon Walker, to adjust these conflicting claims, by which Cornwall gained " all that portion of land lying west of the north part of Leicester " (Leicester's claim then extended some distance north of Salisbury village), and north of the present line of Whiting, embracing a belt of land from a half to three-quarters of a mile in width. Leicester and Salisbury also had a portion, so that Whiting was reduced from its original 14,424 acres to about 7,024 acres; but a considerable portion of that lost was swamp-land and then considered worthless. The proprietors, stung with disappointment at losing so much of their territory, resolved to secure to themselves the most valuable of the remaining land, and therefore caused the public lots to be located, so far as possible, in the swamps. Although at the time such a course could not but be regarded in an unenviable light, time has shown that, for the present and future generations, it has resulted more favorably than it otherwise would, for the reason that the land remained unleased until it became quite valuable on account of its timber.
Settlements.-- For a period of nine years after the grant of its charter nothing was done toward the settlement of Whiting. One of the conditions of the charter deed, however, was that the "grant must be improved and in possession in ten years from date, to a certain extent." Hence was rendered necessary the meeting at Wrentham in 1772, recorded above, and the agreement with John Willson. Willson effected a partial survey of the tract before the close of that year, and before the next August took actual possession, with several other families, among whom was that of Elihu Marshall. The latter located upon what is known as Walker Hill, and tradition has it that his was the first family to locate in the town. His house stood about a hundred rods east of the old Walker tavern stand. Willson located on the bank of Otter Creek, nearly east of the present Calvin Kelsey farm, or on the stage road about one and a half miles northward from the present Whiting meeting-house. The records, or rather traditions, that have been left of these early settlements-are meager and uncertain; but there is little doubt but that the full complement of fifteen families was in the town previous to, or soon after, the breaking out of the War of the Revolution. This latter event put a stop to migration, and
Page 726 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY.
those who had made improvements here left their possessions, either to take part in the great conflict or to seek localities more remote and less liable to invasion by the enemy. Immediately after the close of hostilities many of these settlers returned, bringing other families with them.
As we have intimated, much that is stated of the town at that early date is traditional, and hence very liable to error. It is certain, however, that the proprietors' records and other reliable sources show conclusively that twenty men, some of them with families, had begun settlements here as early as the autumn of 1783, viz., John Willson and family, Aaron Persons and family, John Smith and family, Jeremiah Parker, Jehial Hull, Ezra Allen, Ebenezer Wheelock, Jonathan Cormick, Charles Brewster, Joseph Williams, Jeremiah Williams, Captain Benjamin House, Aaron Holbrook, Alfred Hathaway, David Fisher, Preserved Hall, Jonathan Cook, Benjamin Andrus, E. Brown, and a Mr. Adams.
In 1874 the heads of families were as follows: Jeremiah Austin, Richard Day, Samuel Beach, Ebenezer Drury, esq., Gideon Walker, Aaron Beach, Thomas McNeill, and Jehial Smith. To these were added in 1785 John Branch, Ichabod Foster, Joel Foster, Benjamin Foster, Asa Hawes, Amos Palmer, Daniel Washburn, David Graves, John Branch, Shubel Branch, and Abel Branch, a bachelor, and probably a few others. In the three years immediately following, the additions, so far as we are able to learn, were as follows: Jehial Munger, Joseph Needham, Philemon Metcalf, Henry Wiswell, Job Hutchinson, Priest Remilee, Elijah Kirkham, Benjamin Andrus, Benjamin Rowley, David Brown, Esquire Brown, Elisha Barker, Stukely Stone, Elihu Ketcham, Christopher Stone, Josiah Stone, Aaron Mack, Ezra Cashman, John Jordan, and Jonas Hubbard.
According to this data there must have been at least fifty families in the town in 1788, and if we allow the average five to each family the population must have been 250 souls. In the year 1800 this number had increased to 404, while the grand list for 1806 was $7,668.
The locations selected by a few of these early settlers we have been able to trace as follows: Jeremiah Parker, upon the present Daniel Parker farm, about two miles west of judge Abel Walker's; Abner Smith, upon the farm now owned and occupied by judge Walker; Silas Adams, upon the farm owned by Allen Ketcham and occupied by Calvin Ketcham; Benjamin Andrus, upon the Deacon Stillman Brown farm, now owned by James McDonald; Esquire Brown, also upon the James McDonald place; Ezra Allen, in the first house south of Asahel Hubbard's; Ebenezer Wheelock, on the present Solomon Foster place; Samuel Beach, great-uncle of judge Abel Walker, upon the farm now owned and occupied by Thomas G. Farr; Ebenezer Drury, in the western part of the town; Aaron Beach, on the farm occupied by Calvin Ketcham; Ichabod Foster, in the northern part of the town; Joel Foster, upon the farm now owned
Page 727 TOWN OF WHITING.
and occupied by Daniel Holmes; Benjamin Foster, in the western part of the town; Asa Hawes, about a mile west of Abel Walker's, upon the farm now owned by George S. Walker; Daniel Washburn, in the southern part of the town, upon the Gustave Webster place; John and Abel Branch, upon the place now occupied by Frank Daniels; Philemon Metcalf, about three-quarters of a mile west of Abel Walker's, upon the farm carried on by Abel and George S. Walker; a Mr. Wiswell, upon the Calvin Ketcham place, and another of the same name where Judge Abel Walker now lives; Job Hutchinson, first house north of Asahal Hubbard's, on the place now owned by Laertes Needham; Priest Remilee, first house west of job Hutchinson's, now the Justin Goodrich place; Elijah Kirkham, on the old Dr. Mack place (he and his wife and child were drowned in Lake Champlain, their horse breaking through while attempting to cross on the ice); Benjamin Rowley, north of the central part of the town; David Brown, in the southwestern part of the town, upon the farm now occupied by George W. Lavounty; Elisha Barker, in the southern part of the town, upon the farm owned by A. N. Manchester, of Brandon, Vt., and occupied by Henry J. Hitchcock; Elihu Ketcham, in the house now occupied by Thomas Ketcham and owned by Allen Ketcham; Christopher Stone, where Clarissa Smith now lives, in the western part of the town; Jonas Hubbard, where Calvin Hubbard and F. G. Douglass now own.
In the spring of 1783 Gideon and Jesse Walker, father and son, came to Whiting and purchased of Elihu Marshall the improvements he had made on the banks of Otter Creek. Here they planted grain, cut hay, etc., preparatory to removing their families hither, which they did in the spring of 1784, from Rutland, using the ice of Otter Creek as a highway until they reached "Brown's Camp" near Miller's bridge, in Salisbury, which was on the old Military Road leading from Ticonderoga to Charlestown, or Number Four, N. H. Jesse Walker used to relate that for a period of three weeks he and his father subsisted entirely upon potatoes and English turnips, seasoned with a small quantity of salt, and all that time labored arduously in refitting the old Marshall log house for the reception of their family; and that on their return to Rutland they passed through Pittsford, where they procured a loaf of bread made of Indian meal and baked on a board before the fire, which he claimed was the sweetest morsel that ever passed his lips.
Gideon Walker was a native of Rhode Island, born in 1736; he married Rachel Foster in 1765, and, after residing in Rutland for a time, where he built the first grist-mill in the town, came to Whiting, as we have stated; and a part of the old farm is still in the possession of his grandson, Amos E. His six sons, Jesse, Levi, Amos E., James O., Gideon, jr., and Samuel V., all settled on adjoining farms. His daughter Rachel became the wife of Aaron Beach, brother of Samuel Beach, and their child, Norah, was the first born in the township. Gideon, jr., was massacred at the surrender of Fort Niagara, during the War of
Page 728 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY.
1812. James O. built a tavern in 1800, which is still known as the old Walker tavern stand, now owned by George S. Walker. Gideon, sr., served in the Revolution, receiving his commission as ensign from Governor Chittenden in 1781. When the British were going south toward Bennington, after the battle of Hubbardton, they impressed him and his four oxen into service. Before they reached Bennington he escaped, however; but his oxen "made beef for the British." He was chosen moderator of the first proprietors' meeting held in the town, which convened at his house. He took an active interest in public affairs, and died in 1793. His representatives now living in the town are two, grandsons, judge Abel and Amos E., and a great-grandson, George S. Walker. Judge Abel has been county judge two years, represented the town in the Legislature during the years 1839-40 and 1843 ; was a delegate to the convention to revise the constitution of the State; has been a justice of the peace about forty years, and has held all the offices in the gift of his townsmen. He has also done much law business, and has quite a local reputation as a public speaker. Whitfield Walker, a grandson of Jesse, was an able man, whose death in 1874, in his eightieth year, was greatly lamented. To a manuscript history of the town prepared by him we are greatly indebted for the material in this history of Whiting, while judge Walker has rendered valuable service in bringing the statements down to the present time.
Major Samuel Beach, who was the first representative of the town in the Legislature, first surveyor, and first delegate to the Constitutional Convention, was born in New Jersey. While still a child his parents removed to Virginia, and finally came to Vermont previous to the Revolution. He was in Castleton with Ethan Allen just before the taking of Ticonderoga, and was sent by Allen to rally the Green Mountain Boys. He started on his mission at day light, tramping through the wilderness to Rutland, thence to Pittsford, Brandon, Leicester, Salisbury, and Middlebury, and from thence to Cornwall, Whiting, and Shoreham, a distance of sixty-four miles, between the rising and the setting of the sun. The following day, at early dawn, he entered the fort by the side of Allen. His grandson, James E. Parker, has in his possession a pair of silk stockings worn by his grandfather on that memorable day; also the staff he carried on his weary journey, and a silk vest presented him by Washington, which has the general's profile woven in the silk in over thirty different places. He served throughout the war, either as a recruiting officer or in the line, and in his later years received a pension of $40 per month. He died at the age of about eighty years, leaving no sons; two daughters survived him, one of whom, a maiden lady, occupied the old homestead until her death, a few years since. After the war he received a major's commission in the militia, and was appointed county surveyor. Though having had only common educational advantages, even for that time, he was an extensive reader and was well acquainted with the early and progressive history of his country, and much more
Page 729 TOWN OF WHITING.
than an ordinary politician; but unfortunately for his prospects of success he adhered for a time to the fortunes of the elder Adams, and thus became unpopular in his town, which was thoroughly Jeffersonian and democratic. The monument marking his grave in the church-yard at Whiting village bears the following legend:
"Major Samuel Beach, died April 10, 1829, aged seventy-seven years. An officer in the War of the Revolution, and one of the few who, under Allen, surprised and took Ticonderoga."
Captain Joel Foster represented the town in the Legislature from 1797 to 1800, inclusive. The late Whitfield Walker has left the following estimate of his character: "He was a man of commanding talents and extensive reading for those early times. He was gentle and courteous in his bearing, humane and generous in his actions, full of sympathy for the sick and distressed, and always ready to relieve either their wants or sufferings, or both, as opportunity presented or necessity required. He was full of the milk of human kindness, and, like a Howard, was first in ascertaining and first in relieving the wants and sufferings of his fellow-townsmen, as far as his means or ability would permit. What he practiced himself he preached to others, and when his own means did not afford the full measure of relief, he was not slow in pressing others to action. He was in deed and in truth a philanthropist without dishonor and without peccability or meanness."
Henry Wiswell was the first carpenter in the town. He came from Meadway, Mass., and died here at the age of about seventy-five years, leaving several children.
Dr. Aaron Mack was the first physician in town. He was succeeded by Dr. Flagg, and he by the following: Asher Nichols, Russel Clark, Cyrus Carpenter, Isaac Ives, Franklin Branch, Hiram Seely, Seneca E. Parks, and William P. Wright. The latter, who is still in practice here, was born in Shoreham December 1, 1816, a son of Jonathan and Sally (Powers) Wright. At the age of twelve years he went to live with ex-Senator Dan S. Wright, of Whitehall, a relative, with whom he read medicine and remained until twenty-two years of age. In the mean time he attended a course of lectures at the Vermont Academy of Medicine at Castleton, and in 1838 graduated from the Berkshire Medical College at Pittsfield, Mass. He married Mary J. Fletcher, of Shelburne, May 12, 1841, and removed from Shoreham to Whiting in 1846.
Whiting, although a purely agricultural town and possessing less than half the area of its neighbors, has cause to be proud of the list of prominent men it can show, for it has furnished no inconsiderable contribution to the professions -- literature, medicine, politics, divinity, and art. One mayor of the city of New York it has furnished in the person of Aaron Clark, whose father, David, was drowned here in Otter Creek, in 1799, and two comptrollers of the State of New York, A. G. Flagg and Asher Nichols. Hon. Jesse Walker,
Page 730 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY.
"poet, scholar, and man of law," a cousin of judge Abel Walker, was judge of Erie county, N. Y. The father of Hon. Philetus Sawyer, United States senator from Wisconsin, and one of the wealthiest men in that State, was a blacksmith in Whiting, while other names equally prominent might be cited.
The first frame house erected in the town was built about the year 1788, by Dr. Aaron Mack, half a mile west of the old stage road, on the road leading from the north part of the town to Shoreham. It was antique in style, and doubtless to our modern eyes would appear grotesque, with gambrel roof and attic windows. Still, at that day it was considered quite grand, the height of architectural beauty. Following the example of Dr. Mack, others soon changed their log houses for more commodious structures. Among those who early adopted this innovation of style was Luther Drury, who erected a low frame house, 30 by 40 feet, in the northern part of the town, where he opened a tavern, the first ever kept in the township. Next in train, Deacon Jehiel Munger, a native of Brimfield, Mass., built a two-story house, the first of the kind in Whiting, its size being 30 by 40 feet. This was soon followed by one erected by Joseph Needham, differing from the former only in having a square instead of a gambrel roof. Both of these buildings are now standing, the first on the road leading from the meeting-house to Shoreham, the second on the " governor's right," in the southwestern part of the town. Stukely Stone, from Rhode Island, and I. Parks, from Massachusetts, a son of one of the original proprietors, soon after erected twostory buildings, both of which are now standing. They all show the marks of age, dilapidation, and decay, having been built previous to 1800.
In the petition or protest sent to the proprietors at Pittsford in 1783 it is intimated that the town had been incorporated seven years previous, and the protest is signed by Persons, Smith, and Willson, as selectmen. But no record of a town meeting is to be found previous to that of July 13, 1784, when Samuel Beach was chosen moderator, and John Willson, Eber Murray, and Gideon Walker were appointed as a committee " to lay out all needful roads." On the 24th of the following month another meeting was held, when Samuel Beach was appointed to "lay out settlers' lots," and Ezra Allen, John Willson, and Jehiel Smith "a committee to say how they should be laid," and to attest all bills brought forward. Jehiel Smith was appointed collector of taxes, and Samuel Beach treasurer. It was not until March 8, 1785; however, according to the town records, that a complete complement of town officers were elected, as follows: John Willson, town clerk; Gideon Walker, John Willson, and Ezra Allen, selectmen; Jehiel Smith, constable; Philemon Metcalf, grand juror; Joseph Merrifield, tithingman ; and Gideon Walker, Jonathan Conick, Curtis Smith, Ezra Allen, and Benjamin Pond, pathmasters.
At a meeting held on the 20th of December of the same year it was voted that "Samuel Beach attend the convention in Cornwall," and he was also ap-
Page 731 TOWN OF WHITING
pointed a justice of the peace. It was also "voted to choose a committee to look out a proper place as near the center of the town as may be for a place to bury the dead, as near as it may be convenient to the place where it will be the place for the meeting-house. Committee, Thomas Tuttle, Ira Haws, Samuel Beach, Jehiel Smith." Their report, choosing a location about a mile south of the present burial-ground, was accepted January 10, 1786.
The first mill erected in the town was a saw-mill, built by Jehiel and Moses Munger in 1803. It stood on a small stream, the power being adequate for its use only about three or four months during the year, and entirely insufficient to meet the wants of the inhabitants. Accordingly another mill was constructed, some fifty rods below the former, in the year 1812, and both were kept in operation during the spring and fall of each year, until 1830, or thereabouts, when both were abandoned on account of the insufficiency of water. In 1825 Andrew M. Baldwin built a mill in the northwestern part of the town, which possessed about the same advantages as the former, and which, like them, was, after a time given up as unprofitable.
Whiting village, located near the center of the town, on the Addison branch of the Central Vermont Railroad, contains the only post-office in the town. The village has two churches (Union and Baptist), one store kept by R. D. Needham, who has been here since the spring of 1878, a blacksmith shop, a blacksmith and carriage-shop combined, a school-house, and about sixty inhabitants.
The present town officers are Dr. William P. Wright, clerk; W. W. Needham, Daniel Holmes, and T. J. Ketcham, selectmen; Jay Wooster, constable; R. D. Needham, superintendent of schools; F. G. Wright, A. H. Hubbard, and C. F. Church, listers; C. K. Williams, overseer of the poor; and G. S. Walker, agent.
The inhabitants of the town of Whiting have always deserved the credit due to patriotism, and have performed their part in all the contests in which the country has been engaged. When the great Southern Rebellion broke out and volunteers were called for, the town came promptly forward with men and money to sustain the government. The following list of names shows the enlisted from the town in Vermont organizations, as far as they are known:
Volunteers for three years, credited previous to call for 300,000 volunteers of October 17, 1863:
P. A. Baker, C. W. Baldwin, C. Billings, N. Bissette, F. Hubbard, G. W. Labounty, I. Lafayette, O. Merritt, J. E. Parker, A. Smith, jr., D. Sweeneir, A. Sweet, E. Sweet, L. Sweet, J. Thomas.
Credits under call of October 17, 1863, for 300,000 volunteers, and subsequent calls:
Volunteers for three years. -- C. Cook, C. O. Foster, C. N. Hart, N. Hart, S. E. Jennings, P. Lafrance, D. W. Norton, W. H. Simonds, J. H. Wideawake.
Page 732 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY.
Volunteers for one year. -- E. Ayres, L. G. Barrett, G. H. Clays, S. Sawyer.
Volunteer re-enlisted. -- D. Sweeneir.
Enrolled man who furnished substitute. -- A. H. Hubbard.
Volunteers for nine months. -- J. B. Casey, G. Counter, S. Foster, V. Kelsey, D. L. Kilbourne, L. J. Needham, P. F. White, H. Williamson.
Furnished under draft. -- Paid commutation, W. H. Casey, D. A. Gale, J. H. Needham, H. Simonds.
During the few years subsequent to the settlement of the town, like all new colonies, there was less attention paid to religious matters than at a later stage of improvement. Still, the pioneers of Whiting sustained well their inherited predilections towards the Christian cause, and, when opportunity afforded, gladly heard the message of peace spoken by itinerant preachers, or at times attended meeting in Orwell, at the old Baptist Church. On the 19th of February, 1799, a Congregational Society having ten members was organized by Rev. Benjamin Worcester, and six days later a Baptist Society with twelve members was formed, a branch of the Orwell church. On the 1st of January, 1800, Rev. David Rathbone received and accepted the call of both churches in union, and was installed as the first settled minister. He was a lame man, who from his birth had not walked without crutches, and when he preached always sat. His reply to the call to settle here, under date of January 1, 1800, was as follows:
" To the Town of Whiting, Addison County, State of Vermont:
"Gentlemen. -- Having received your polite invitation and call to take charge of you under the character of a gospel minister, I can tell you sincerely, as far as I have the knowledge of my own heart, that I seek not yours, but you, and really wish you happiness and prosperity, therefore, viewing your central situation without a minister, also viewing your present union, and the desire of both denominations to have unworthy me for your minister, and wishing every circumstance according to my ability, I am compelled to accept of your call, and do in this way manifest my willingness to become your minister, wishing you to consider me a man full of imperfections, and one who will constantly need your prayers, councils, reproofs, and support, and shall consider myself yours in the gospel. DAVID RATHBONE."
On the 23d of the following October by his own request he was dismissed, though he continued to labor with the churches in 1804. In 1828 the Methodists commenced to have circuit preaching, but after a time became too feeble to sustain even this effort. On October 25, 1821, the Universalists organized a church under the pastorate of Rev. James Rabbitt, who ministered to them a quarter of the time for several years, and they now own one-quarter of the Union building. The Congregational Society has quite lost its organization,
page 733 TOWN OF WHITING
while the Baptists have sixty-one members, under the pastoral care of Rev. Joseph Freeman, who has been here about a year. Their first house of worship, and the first erected in town, was built in 1808, and rebuilt in 1841, so that it will now accommodate 200 persons. Its original cost was $2,500, though it present value, including grounds, is only $2,000. Three years after the building of this church, in 1811, the Union edifice was commenced, though it was not completed until 1823, costing $3,000, about its present value, including grounds. It is a comfortable structure, capable of seating 250 persons. Rev. Wilmont Mayhew was settled as its pastor about three years ago, and still occupies that position.
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