BENCH AND BAR OF ADDISON COUNTY.
Early Independence of Vermont -- The Judicial System -- The Town Meetings -- Acts of Early Conventions -- The Council of Safety -- Court of Confiscation -- Superior Court -- Court of Chancery -- Probate Courts -- Courts of Insolvency -- Probate Judges of Addison County -- County Courts -- Justices of the Peace -- Judges of the County Court -- Supreme Court Judges -- Biographical Sketches.
IN the early history of Vermont there is so much of individual personal independence manifest that we are not surprised at a bold and fearless disregard of precedent, nor that a territory and people that presented the most notable example
page 130 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY.
of absolute independence of any one of the States in the Union should establish a State and conduct its affairs for fourteen years before she was received into the Union, with no help from others, admitting no allegiance to others, and no obligations save those assumed when her leading men signed that immortal document pledging their lives and fortunes to assist the older States to cast off the British yoke. In every department of government they were a law unto themselves.
The judicial system of Vermont grew from small beginnings, originating in the necessities of the inhabitants and expanding as the needs became apparent. No other State has had an experience like Vermont. A bone of contention to New York and New Hampshire; frowned upon by Congress and sought after by Canada, with no acknowledged government or authority over the territory, the inhabitants were led on by the supreme law of self-protection to provide some form of government, and after her declaration of independence in 1777, to enact laws and establish courts was a matter of no small moment, requiring men of great organizing and executive ability and of the soundest discretion and judgment.
The bulk of the population was bold and energetic men of fearless courage, undaunted by physical suffering, with very decided views of personal independence; " men of rude frankness and a generous hospitality, but withal impatient of even wholesome restraint and capable of fierce resentments." Many of them were unlearned, while others had been educated in the older States and were well adapted to lead in the affairs of a young and growing State.
The first attempts to establish any legal organization grew out of the town meetings, which were provided by the charters of all the towns, and in which the moderator was named and directed to call such meetings for the election of town officers. Owing to the trouble with the New York claimants of their lands the freemen in these town meetings appointed committees of safety and these town committees, called in some unexplained manner, met and constituted conventions, and these conventions, " desiring the inhabitants to meet by delegates," grew by the acquiescence of the people into a power " which established the State, ruled it for a brief period, and gave it in due time a constitution."
This outgrowth from the common wants and dangers grew into life and form by the imperious law of necessity.
Among the early acts of conventions and the first attempt at legal restraint it was voted to erect a gaol at Manchester for securing Tories, and the general convention which met at Westminster January 15, 1777, declared in a petition to Congress that the " convention of New York have now nearly completed a code of laws for the future government of that State which, should they be called upon to put in execution, will subject your petitioners to the
page 131. BENCH AND BAR.
fatal necessity of opposing them by every means in their power." In June following they established a board of town committees for the trial and punishment of persons " inemical to their country," but if found by the board to be worthy of death, they were to " imprison them in a common gaol or gaols within this State, there to remain without bail until a proper court shall be established in this State to try him or them."
In July, 1777, the " Council of Safety " was established as a temporary substitute for a State government in time of war. Their powers were only limited by the exigencies of the times and they exercised judicial powers. It is not clear just when or how justices of the peace were first appointed, but a list is found " of the justices of peace chosen and authorized by virtue of an act of assembly at Bennington June 17, 1778." March 17, 1778, the whole of Western Vermont was named Bennington county, and March 26 a Court of Confiscation was appointed for Bennington county; some special courts were previously appointed. The first record of higher courts of law is where a " Superior Court appointed by the Legislature of 1778 " is mentioned, but no such law in that year is now to be found. In February, 1779, the Legislature established a Superior Court, consisting of five judges with unlimited jurisdiction in all causes of action, with the following exceptions: " That this court shall not have cognizance of any action when the matter in demand does not exceed twenty pounds or the fine does not exceed twelve pounds, except by appeal." " That this court shall have no power to try any action or title of land for the year ensuing"[Note 1].
The times and places of holding this court were fixed to be at Bennington on the second Thursday of December next, Westminster on the second Thursday of March next, Rutland on the second Thursday of June next, Newbury on the second Thursday of September next.
In October, 1779, it was enacted " that in future the judges of the Superior Court shall be chosen in October annually by the governor, Council and House of Representatives, by their joint ballot," and at this same session the Superior Court was constituted a court of equity. It is supposed that the last session of this court was at Rutland in the spring of 1783, as it was supplanted by an act of June, 1782, by which it was provided "that there shall and hereby is constituted a Supreme Court of Judicature within and for this State, to be held and kept annually at the respective times and places in this act hereafter mentioned, by one chief judge and four other judges to be chosen by ballot by the governor, Council and General Assembly annually at their October session." The Supreme Court, until 1786, consisted of one chief judge and four assistants; from 1786 to 1815 it consisted of three judges; in 1825, 1826 and 1827 of four judges; from 1817 to 1850 of five, and from that time to 1857 of three Supreme Court judges and four circuit judges; from 1857 of six, until the law of 1870 created seven, as at present.
[Note 1]. Slade's State Papers, page 299.
page 132 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY.
Court of Chancery -- the October session of the Legislature in 1779 the Superior Court was made a Court of Equity. By subsequent enactments the judges of the Supreme Court were made chancellors, --and the "powers and jurisdiction of the Chancery Court to be the same as those of the Court of Chancery in England, except as modfied by the constitution and laws of the State," and two stated terms were to be held annually in each county, to commence on the days appointed by law for holding the County Courts.
Probate Courts. -- The first act establishing Probate Courts (by Vermont legislation) was undoubtedly passed June 17, 1778, but " the laws of that year were not recorded, and this first essay at legislation by the government of Vermont has been lost to succeeding generations."[Note 1].
Under date of October 20, 1778, a list of probate judges is given in Governor and Council, , vol. I, p.280, as follows: "Bennington district, Captain John Fassett; Manchester district, Martin Powel, esq.; Rutland district, Joseph Bowker, esq.; Newbury district, General Jacob Bailey; Hartford district, Paul Spooner, esq.;_______district, Major John Shephardson." In the various acts in regard to Probate Courts they are made Courts of Record and have a seal, and have special original jurisdiction of the settlement of estates and appointment of guardians.
Courts of Insolvency --These courts were established in 1876 and judges of probate given jurisdiction of the settlement of insolvent estates.
Judges of the Probate Courts for the County of Addison. -- At the organization of the county in 1785 John Strong, of Addison, was appointed by the Governor and Council probate judge, and at the next March election he was elected by the people, and after that by the Legislature till 1801 when he declined an election, and Darius Matthews, of Cornwall, was elected and held the office eighteen years. In 1819 Samuel Swift, of Middlebury, was elected and held the office by successive elections for twenty-two years. While he was judge of this court in 1824 a second district was formed of the ten northern towns in the county, named New Haven district, and Ezra Hoyt, of New Haven, was elected the first judge of the district. He continued in the office five years. Noah Hawley, of Vergennes, elected 1829 and 1830; Jesse Grandey, of Panton, elected 1831 and 1832; Adin Hall, of New Haven, elected in 1833 and 1834; Harvey Munsill, of Bristol, elected 1835, continued to hold the office by re-election annually till December 1, 1870; in 1870 J. D. Smith was elected and is the present incumbent.
In the district of Addison Judge Swift continued in office till Silas H. Jenison, of Shoreham, was elected in 1842, and was in the office six years; Horatio Seymour, of Middlebury, elected 1847, served six years; Calvin G. Tilden, of Cornwall, was elected in 1855 and continued to 1868; Samuel E. Cook assumed the office in the year 1868 and retained it until 1879, when Lyman E. Knapp received the election and now administers the office.
[Note 1]. Slade's State Papers, p. 287
page 133. BENCH AND BAR
County Courts on the west side of the mountain were first held at Tinmouth April 24, 1781. The law of 1782 defined the powers of County Courts and justices of the peace and gave to County Courts " power to hear and determine all crimes and misdemeanors not capital and which by law are cognizable before said court. And also to hear and determine all civil actions and suits between parties when the demand or matter in dispute shall exceed the sum of six pounds, and all suits appealed from justices' courts." In 1797 jurisdiction was given County Courts in all criminal matters of every name and nature except such as are made cognizable only in the Supreme Court or before justices of the peace, and all civil causes with the same exceptions.
Justices of the peace, so called, appointed by New York, were found in Vermont at an early day, but obtained little respect or favor from the true Vermonter. The first constitution provided that courts of justice shall be established in every county in this State, and that the freemen in each county respectively shall have the liberty of choosing the judges of inferior courts of common pleas, sheriffs and judges of probate. In 1778 it was resolved by the Governor and Council that the justices of the peace whose names have been returned to the governor, or that shall be hereafter returned, shall be commissioned for the year ensuing.
The law of 1782 gave to justices jurisdiction in criminal matters, when the fines or forfeitures are within forty shillings and the corporal punishment does not exceed ten stripes, and in civil actions (other than actions of defamation and actions where the title of land is concerned), when the debt or other matter in demand does not exceed the sum of four pounds, and in all specialties; notes of hand and settled accounts not exceeding six pounds; the last-named amount was afterwards raised to fifty dollars, then to one hundred dollars, and then fixed as it now stands; in criminal cases when the fine does not exceed twenty dollars (with special exceptions regulated by statute), and power to bind over for trial in County Court for greater offenses, and in civil cases where the amount in dispute does not exceed two hundred dollars.
Great confusion has existed and some misstatements have been published in regard to the first County Courts in Addison county and the offcers thereof; but the following explanation is gathered from the article by Hon. David Read, in Miss Hemenway's work, and the records of Governor and Council, by Hon. E. P. Walton: " By the act incorporating Addison county (October 18, 1785) the towns of Addison and Colchester were made half shires and the courts were to be held on the first Tuesday of March and second Tuesday of November. The act made special provision for the organization of the county by making it the duty of the Governor and Council to appoint the county offficers and commission them for the time being."
On the 25th of October, 1785, the appointments were made as follows (see Governor and Council, vol. III, p.91):
page 134 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY.
Judges of the County Court, John Strong, esq., chief judge; Ira Allen, Gamaliel Painter, William Brush and Amos Fassett, esq., side judges; Hon. John Strong, esq., judge probate; Noah Chittenden, esq., sheriff; and October 3, the Governor and Council.
"Resolved, That Hiland Hall, esq., be and he is hereby appointed one of the judges of the court in and for the county of Addison, in lieu of Ira Allen, esq., resigned."
The first term of court was held on the first Tuesday of March, 1786, at the house of Zadock Everest, in Addison, and at the March meeting three weeks later the freemen of the county elected under the general law of 1781 John Strong, chief judge; William Brush, Hiland Hall, Abel Thompson and Samuel Lane, side judges, and Gamaliel Painter, sheriff. At the first term Samuel Chipman, jr., was appointed clerk by the court. No State's attorney appears on record till March, 1787, when Seth Storrs was appointed.
The second term was held at Colchester, but before the time arrived for another session at Colchester, Chittenden county was organized (October 22, 1787), and courts were afterward held at Addison til 1792.
The law of 1787 reduced the number of judges of County Courts to three and made it the duty of the Legislature to elect the judges, sheriffs, judges of probate and justices.
The judges of the Supreme Court who resided in Addison county belonged as much to the whole State, so far as their judicial history is concerned; but their personal history and their social relations belong to the county of their residence, and a pardonable pride in their talents, their learning and their achievements justfies the special interest of their descendants and neighbors, and special mention of them in a county history. They were Enoch Woodbridge, from 1794 to 1800 inclusive (seven years), the last three years as chief justice. Joel Doolittle, 1817 to 1822 and 1824 (seven years); Samuel S. Phelps, 1831 to 1837 (seven years); John Pierpoint, 1857 to 1882 (twenty-five years), the last sixteen years as chief justice.
Hon. Enoch Woodbridge was a prominent citizen of the State from the early organization of its government after the Revolution, till his death in 1805. He was born at Stockbridge, Berkshire county, Mass., December 25, 1750; graduated at Yale College in 1774; entered the army soon after and was at Quebec with Montgomery, at the battles of Hubbardton, Bennington and White Plains; at the surrender of Burgoyne, and served until peace was proclaimed. He was soon after admitted to the bar, resided for a short time in Bennington county, and afterwards removed to Vergennes (about 1790). In 1794, at the first municipal election held in Vergennes after its incorporation, he was elected mayor of the city and served for several years in that capacity. He was repeatedly
page 135 BENCH AND BAR
chosen to the Legislature of the State, and in 1794 was elected by the Legislature as judge, and in 1798 as chief justice of the Supreme Court. He died at the age of fifty-five years, after a patriotic and useful career, lamented by all and without an enemy. At the first term of Addison County Court, after the settlement of Mr. Woodbridge in Vergennes, his name appears on the docket in two cases and the next year in thirty-four of the seventy-four entries. He represented Vergennes in the Legislature from 1791 to 1794 inclusive, and in 1802; was on the bench of the Supreme Court from 1794 to 1800 inclusive; he was a patriotic soldier and citizen; a learned and successful lawyer and upright judge
Hon. Joel Doolittle graduated at Yale College in 1799 and came to Middlebury in the fall of 1800 as the first tutor in Middlebury College. He was admitted to the bar as a lawyer in 1801 and remained in Middlebury. He obtained an extensive and successful practice in his profession until 1817, when he was elected an assistant judge of the Supreme Court and re-elected each year until 1823 and again elected in 1824. He was also a member of the old Council in 1815, 1816 and 1817, and a representative of Middlebury in the Assembly of 1824. In 1834 he was chosen a member of the Council of Censors and served as president of the same. He was attentive and studious as a lawyer, faithful to his clients, and faithful to the high trusts committed to him by the public. After he left the bench of the Supreme Court he resumed his practice and continued it, as his health permitted, until his death in March, 1841, at the age of sixty-eight years.
Hon. Samuel Sheather Phelps, son of John Phelps, a respectable farmer of Litchfield, Conn., was born May 13, 1793, graduated at Yale College in 1811, with credit to himself, though younger than most of his class, among whom were Hon. John M. Clayton, of Delaware, and Roger S. Sherman, of Connecticut. The following winter he spent at the Litchfield Law School. In the succeeding spring he went to Middlebury and continued his law studies with Hon. Horatio Seymour. During the War of 1812 he was drafted and ordered to the Canada frontier. He served in the ranks at Burlington and Plattsburgh until he was appointed paymaster in the United States service. On his return to Middlebury he resumed his law studies and was admitted to the bar at the December term in 1814. He continued an extensive and successful practice in Addison and other counties until 1831, when he was elected a judge of the Supreme Court, which office he held by successive elections until 1838, when he was elected to the United States Senate and served two terms to March 4, 1851. He then retired to private life, but was frequently called to act in important suits in Vermont and elsewhere, and on the death of Senator Upham, in 1853, Judge Phelps was appointed by Governor Fairbanks to fill the vacancy. As a senator he was considered a vigorous debater, a close and profound reasoner, and able to discuss the greatest questions of the day. As a lawyer and judge he was second to none in the
page 136 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY
State and to very few in the United States. At Washington, where he frequently appeared before the Supreme Court, he secured and held the very highest rank as a lawyer. He was associated with Daniel Webster and other leading lawyers in some of the most important cases coming before the Supreme Court. As a judge he was rapid in the dispatch of business, prompt to decide and unhesitating and firm in his opinions.
Hon. John Pierpoint. -- The father of John Pierpoint was David Pierpoint, descended from one of Cromwell's trusted officers, and born in New Haven, Conn., July 26, 1764. He married Sarah Phelps, a sister of the father of Hon. S. S. Phelps, late of Middlebury, Vt. David Pierpoint resided on a farm three miles from the village of Litchfield, Conn. John Pierpoint was the youngest son in a family of seven sons and two daughters. He was born at Litchfield September 10, 1805. In 1815, when ten years old, he went to Rutland into the family of his brother, Robert Pierpoint, afterwards senior judge of the Circuit Court of Vermont. Here he remained until he was prepared to enter upon the study of law, when he returned to Litchfield and attended a course of lectures in the celebrated law school of Judges Reeve and Gould. He returned to Vermont and continued his studies with his brother Robert until he was admitted to the bar of Rutland county. He first opened an office in Pittsford, Vt., and in 1832 came to Vergennes at the solicitation of a number of the leading business men of the place, and immediately secured extensive practice for a young lawyer, having about thirty cases at the first term of the County Court. In 1838 he married Sarah Maria, daughter of Hon. Villee Lawrence, of Vergennes,[ Note 1]. and all through the future of his life enjoyed a home which was the seat of refinement and cultured domestic happiness. " In his professional life he soon acquired the confidence of all the region round about and was the most trusted counselor of its people." More eloquent advocates at the bar were known, but the candor and integrity of John Pierpoint commended him to the judgment and approval of his clients, who soon learned that in preparation and thorough knowledge of his cases and a clear and forcible presentation of them he was worthy of their trust. " He was early known at the bar as an excellent lawyer, singularly terse and clear as a speaker, and of such uniform candor and integrity that what he said always carried weight;" but the contests of the forum or the strife of politics were not to his taste; he, however, accepted the office of mayor of Vergennes six years; of representative in the State Legislature in 1841; of State senator in 1855-56 and '57. In 1857 he was elected one of the judges of the Supreme Court, and in 1865 he was advanced to the chief justiceship, which position he held to the time of his death -- a longer term on the bench of the Supreme Court than was filled by any of his predecessors. He was first elected with great unanimity, and in all his
[Note 1]. She was a sister of Hon. Charles B. Lawrence, long chief justice of Illinois.
page 137 BENCH AND BAR
succeeding elections no vote was ever cast against him. It soon became apparent that he had found his true vocation, and following it with calm dignity, in a quiet, unobtrusive manner, he soon secured the confidence and affection of the bar and of the community at large, and it seemed clear that he was a born judge; that here he could exercise to great advantage the severe logic in which he delighted. He also had the peculiar gift of silence when silence was the highest wisdom. His success on the bench was not so much the result of great learning or an extensive knowledge of precedents, as in the fact that " he had always the qualities of the judge. He united together a strong sense of right and wrong, an intuitive faculty of weighing evidence and arriving at controverted truth, and the power of considering all questions in their true light, free from excitement, prejudice or preconceived opinions, with absolute fairness and an all-pervading charity. The early training of the Litchfield Law School, which dealt almost exclusively with general principles, had impressed itself strongly upon his mind. The logical application of established legal principles was his resource, as it was his peculiar strength in dealing with all questions, however difficult or complicated. As a purely technical lawyer he did not greatly excel, but on the merits of a case he was rarely at fault."[Note 1].
One of his associates on the bench [Note 2] has said: " He was the most often right of any man I ever knew. There were others more aggressive and more brilliant than he, but of all the men with whom I was associated on the bench, Judge Pierpoint was the wisest of us all." . . . " He was a just man, an honest man and a great man; " ennobled by his simplicity of character and his blameless life. Judge Pierpoint, after he had given to the duties of his position all of labor and strength that he had to give, went back to the home he loved so well and there awaited the inevitable. He died at Vergennes January 7, 1882, leaving a wife and three children, one son and two daughters -- H. V. Pierpoint, of Chicago, III.; Mrs. C. S. Cobb, of the same city, and Miss Nellie Pierpoint, now of Chicago. Mrs. Pierpoint died January 20, 1884. The funeral of Judge Pierpoint was attended by a large number of the bench and bar of Vermont and others from all parts of the State, testifying to the great esteem in which he was held. The bar of Vermont requested the privilege of erecting a monument at his grave, and a noble shaft of Vermont granite fitly marks the spot where rest the remains of John Pierpoint, chief justice of Vermont.
The first presiding judge of the County Court from 1785 to 1801, who was elected one year by the people and the remainder of the time by the Legislature, was neither a graduate of any college or law school, nor ever admitted to the bar, and yet during that time some of the strongest and brightest minds that have been the boast of Addison county practiced at the bar of that court, but have left no record of dissatisfaction with the court. In that day the stat-
[Note 1]. E. J. Phelps. [Note 2]. Judge Barrett.
page 138 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY.
utes were few and plain and the number of law books was comparatively few; the numberless decisions which are now so much relied on were unknown; perversion and delays of the law by technical objections found little favor, and the great duty of the judge was to mete out equal and exact justice in accordance with the great principles of law as gathered from the common law of England, adapting those principles to the peculiar situation of our new settlements and the circumstances of the inhabitants.
Hon. John Strong was born in Coventry, Conn., August 16, 1738. When he was seven years old his father removed to Salisbury, Conn., where John Strong grew to manhood and first settled. The Strong homestead lay next north of the Livingstone farm from which Montgomery at a later day bid adieu to his wife at her father's door, when he started on his fatal expedition to Quebec and never returned alive; long years afterward his remains were brought on a government steamer for burial in St. Paul's church-yard in New York City, and the steamer paused in her course to salute a gray-haired matron standing on the banks of the Hudson, with fresh and vivid memory of that bright morning when her young husband left her, full of life and hope, now the nation's honored dead. The view north from the Strong farm embraces a fertile valley with a beautiful lake in the center, on the banks of which the farm and house are located, which Thomas Chittenden (who was but eight years older than John Strong) occupied till he came to Vermont, to be its first governor. Strong married at twenty-one, moved to Addison, Vt., with his wife and three children, when twenty-eight years old, into a log house on the bank of Lake Champlain, which he had built the fall previous (1765) while on a prospecting tour. The trials and perils of his situation seem only to have strengthened his purposes and brought into play all the energies of his strong character. When the settlers had become numerous enough to hold town meetings the most important business was committed to John Strong, and from that time on to old age he almost constantly occupied positions of great responsibility, requiring the exercise of wise judgment, prompt decisions, firmness of purpose and determined perseverance. As a delegate to the general conventions, a member of the Legislature and of the Council for many years, he met the greatest men of that grand period of our history and proved himself equal to every emergency. The training in such a school might well supply the want of college teaching, and it is not strange that when Addison County was organized he was selected to the chief judicial office and found to be well fitted for the position. In 1801 he declined all further public positions, and died June 16, 1816, leaving an enviable fame as a true patriot, a wise statesman and an incorruptible judge. Judge Strong left a large family of sons and daughters: Moses Strong, of Rutland, and Luke Strong, of Vergennes, were lawyers; General Samuel Strong, of Vergennes, well known throughout the State, and several younger sons, have all passed away.
page 139 BENCH AND BAR
Hon. Joel Linsley was born in Woodbury, Conn., and settled in Cornwall at an early day, where he soon became a popular leader in town and a man of influence in the county. He was elected chief judge of the County Court 1801 to 1806 inclusive, and again in 1808-09. He had the reputation of being a man of solid worth, a bright and active mind, a benevolent disposition and very pleasing social powers.
Hon. Henry Olin was born in Shaftsbury, Vt., May 7,1768, coming upon the stage of active life after the exciting times of Vermont's first settlement and the Revolutionary War had passed. He settled in Leicester about 1788. His early advantages of education were limited, but a love for reading and study and a retentive memory were more than compensation for this loss. In his physical proportions Judge Olin was a man of great size, being of large frame and very fleshy. Mentally he was different from Judge Strong, and while he might lack the executive ability, the reticence and self-reliant power of his predecessor, he was equally famed for his sound sense, his sterling rectitude, his love of justice and quick perception of right, and excelled in conversational power, in a quick and ready wit, which made him a general favorite. He was for twenty-two years a member of the Legislature from Leicester; eight years assistant judge, and fifteen years chief judge of the County Court; State councilor in 1820-21; member of Congress in 1824, to complete the term of Hon. Charles Rich, deceased, and lieutenant-governor in 1827-28 and 1829.
Hon. Dorastus Wooster. was born at Derby, Conn., September 2, 1787. In 1805 he came with his parents to Cornwall. He began his law studies with Hon. Joel Doolittle in 1815 and was admitted to the bar in 1817 began the practice of his profession in Middlebury, where he continued during his life. In 1824 he was elected chief judge of the County Court, but the change in the judiciary system made in that year assigned a Supreme Court judge to preside in County Court. Judge Wooster afterward held the office of assistant judge for many years. He died January 11, 1855 respected for his integrity and fidelity to the trusts committed to him.
The following notices of some of the lawyers, now departed, who have graced the bar of Addison county, contain statements of facts drawn largely from Swift's History of Middlebury and valuable papers left by the Hon. Charles Linsley:
Samuel Chipman, jr., of Vergennes, the first lawyer who settled in Addison county and first clerk of Addison County Court, was one of six sons of Samuel Chipman, who moved from Salisbury, Conn., to Tinmouth, Vt., in 1775. Nathaniel, one of the most prominent men of his day, was the eldest of the six sons, and was educated at Yale College. Daniel, the notable lawyer and statesman of Addison county, was the youngest son, and was educated at Dartmouth. The other four had but a common school education. Lemuel and Cyrus became doctors; the other four, lawyers. Samuel, the fifth son, first appears on
page 140 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY.
record as admitted to the bar at the first term in March, 1786, of the Addison County Court, and appointed clerk at the same time. John A. Graham was admitted at the same time. Of the twenty-four cases on the docket, Samuel Chipman appears as attorney in twelve; his brother Nathaniel in five; his brother Darius in three, and Enoch Woodbridge, of Bennington county, in two cases. The most significant records, however, are the records of conveyances of real estate in Vergennes, which show him to have dealt largely in such property, and with great shrewdness; to have purchased such lots within the city limits as have since become the most valuable. He and General Strong bought the island on the falls and built a grist-mill; tradition tells of his sharp management in securing his full share of water power by removing rocks from the channel to his mill in the night time. He removed in 1803 to Madrid, N. Y., where after a few years he relinquished his professional business and engaged in farming. He was born December 20, 1763, and died in 1839, leaving a large family.
John A. Graham was admitted to the bar of Addison county at the first term held in the county, March, 1786, and his name appears as attorney in cases in that court for a number of years. He was born in Southbury, Conn., June 10, 1764; studied law in his native county in 1785; was very active in the affairs of the Episcopal Church, and went to England to secure the confirmation by the English Church of the Rev. Dr. Peters, as bishop of Vermont, but failed in his object, without fault on his part, as was thought by the people whom he represented. While in England on a second visit he published Letters on Vermont, and after his return a volume of his speeches and a work to show that Horne Tooke was the author of the Letters of Junius. He lived a few years in Rutland, then a short time in Washington, and then in New York City, where he resided until his death in 1841. He was a bold, energetic and sanguine man, and succeeded best in New York in the practice of criminal law.
Seth Storrs was born in Mansfield, Conn., June 24, 1756; graduated at Yale College in 1778, and taught for several years at Northampton, Mass.; after the Revolutionary War he studied law with Noah Smith, in Bennington. He was admitted to the bar in that county, and in 1787 removed to Addison and began practice there. Addison was then the shire town of the county and the prominent place, and Seth Storrs was the second lawyer to settle in the county. He was appointed State's attorney soon after his arrival and held the office for ten years. Mr. Storrs boarded in the family of John Strong, then chief judge of the county, and soon married Electa Strong, the daughter of his host. The courts were held in Addison. till 1792, when they were moved to Middlebury, and Mr. Storrs followed them the next year and opened a law office and secured a good practice, in which he continued for many years. He soon became a large landholder and interested himself in his farming and village lots; he also became deeply interested in the project of starting a college in Middlebury.
page 141 BENCH AND BAR.
Atter the charter was secured he gave the land needed for the college buildings, and his interest in the institution never abated. He was also a member and officer in the Congregational Church, and constant in his zeal and labors for its growth and prosperity. He was known as a good lawyer, a courteous and polished gentleman of the old school. He died at Vergennes while on a visit there, October 9, 1838, aged eighty-two years.
Samuel Miller was the first lawyer who settled in Middlebury, and was among the most distinguished of her citizens. He was born in Springfield, Mass., April 2, 1764; came into this State in 1785, and resided in Wallingford. He never had a collegiate education; this deficiency was, however, well supplied by superior talents and a thirst for knowledge which he early manifested. Independent of all external aids he set himself to work to build up a character and influence by his own native energies. Soon after he came into the State he entered upon the study of law in the county of Rutland. Immediately after his admission he settled in Middlebury, when the site of the village was almost a wilderness. Mr. Miller had a mind of unusual activity and vigor and of very quick and discriminating perceptions. He immediately entered upon an extensive practice in this and adjoining counties. While he lived he and Daniel Chipman occupied a similar rank and stood at the head of the profession in the several counties where they practiced. In his addresses to the jury Mr. Miller's enunciation was rather rapid, but his argument was systematic, clear and forcible. He was prompt and thorough in his business habits, as his rapid rise in his profession sufficiently showed. He was not inclined to enter into public life but was known and had an extensive influence through the State. He was elected a representative to the General Assembly in 1797 and was a prominent and influential member. His manners were courteous and gentlemanly and he was rather insinuating in his address. He was everywhere recognized as a gentleman. He was large minded and liberal in his support of educational and religious institutions of the town of his adoption. On the 7th of October, 1790, he was married to Rebecca, daughter of Hon. Samuel Mattocks. Mr. Miller died of a cancerous affection on the 17th of April, 1810, leaving a widow, but no children, surviving him.
Josias Smith graduated at Dartmouth College in 1789 and came to Vergennes early in 1791, and soon secured a large practice. In 1792 out of seventy-four entries divided among nine lawyers, Josias Smith had twelve, and the next year thirty-two out of the one hundred and fourteen new cases. His name appears on Vergennes records as holding important town offices. He was town clerk for several years, and was on committees of investigation and for settlement of disputed questions in which the town was interested. After the city organization he was elected mayor in 1810, but died the December following. Enoch D. Woodbridge, who was admitted to the bar later than Mr. Smith, became his partner, and the firm of Smith & Woodbridge was not only
page 142 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY.
widely known and their help sought as skillful and faithful lawyers, but their practice brought them a large income. Smith invested in real estate, but died too young to realize all his expectations. For many years after his death his name was often mentioned as a successful and popular lawyer.
Luke Strong, son of Judge John Strong, of Addison, was born in Addison August 6, 1768. His first deed of property in Vergennes was dated 1798 and he built the house afterward owned by Major John Thompson. In Dwight's history of the Strong family it is said he was " a lawyer at Vergennes and remarkable for his sagacity and integrity of character. Arrested in the midst of a prosperous career by consumption, he undertook to stay its progress by a sea voyage and by a residence for a time in Georgia and North Carolina, but to no purpose, and he came home to die, which event occurred April 5,1807. " The court docket of his day shows that he was attorney in a large number of cases. He married Lucretia Harmon, of Vergennes, and they had several children, only one of whom, a daughter, lived to maturity. Three of his grandsons made a fine record for their patriotic services in the War of the Rebellion. One of them, Richard S. Tuthill, is now United States attorney for the northern district of Illinois.
Hon. Samuel Hitchcock [Note 1] the fourth son of Noah and Mary Hitchcock, and grandson of David Hitchcock, one of the original settlers of Brimfield, Hampshire county, Mass., was born in Brimfield March 23, 1755. He fitted for college with Rev. James Bridgham, a graduate of Harvard University in 1776.
He was graduated at Harvard University in 1777. After his graduation he read law at Brookfield, Worcester county, Mass., with the late Hon. Jedediah Foster, and was, probably, admitted to the practice of the law at Worcester. About 1786 Samuel Hitchcock removed to Burlington, Vt., where he commenced the practice of his profession. He was the first State's attorney appointed in Chittenden county and held the office from 1787 to 1790 inclusive. He represented the town from 1789 to 1793 inclusive. He was a member of the convention of delegates of the people of the State of Vermont, held at Bennington January 10, 1791 to ratify the constitution of the United States, which had been submitted by an act of the Vermont Legislature passed October 27, 1790. The charter of the University of Vermont, which was granted by the General Assembly November 3, 1791, is said to have been drafted by Samuel Hitchcock, while the main features of it were furnished by another alumnus of Harvard University, the Rev. Samuel Williams, D. D., of Rutland. Samuel Hitchcock was elected one of the trustees from the start and continued to hold that office until his death. He was secretary of the corporation from 1791 to 1800, when he was succeeded by the Rev. Daniel Clark Saunders, D. D., president of the University. Dr. Wheeler, in his historical discourse, says that the creative mind of Dr. Samuel Williams and the reflective and profound mind
[ Note 1] By George F. Houghton, esq. in Miss Hemingway's work, Vol. 1 p. 590.
page 143 BENCH AND BAR.
of Judge Hitchcock had worked for the University of Vermont and in it. He was elected attorney- general of Vermont under the act of October, 1790 and was succeeded in 1793 by the Hon. Daniel Buck, of Norwich. Samuel Hitchcock and Lemuel Chipman, of Pawlet, were the presidential electors at large from Vermont at the second presidential election in 1793. Lott Hall, of Westminster, and Paul Brigham, of Norwich, were their colleagues in the first electoral college in Vermont, and all were appointed by the Legislature in 1792, and they cast the vote of Vermont at Windsor for George Washington and John Adams. In 1797 the second general revision of the laws was completed by a committee consisting of Roswell Hopkins, of Vergennes; Richard Whiting, of Brattleboro; Nathaniel Chipman, of Tinmouth, and Samuel Hitchcock (then of Vergennes). Samuel Hitchcock was judge of the District Court of the United States for the district of Vermont, and judge of the Circuit Court of the second circuit of the United States, receiving his appointment from President John Adams, and going out of that office when the judiciary act was repealed. Judge Hitchcock was married May 26, 1789, to Lucy Caroline Allen, second daughter of General Ethan Allen. In 1794 he removed to Vergennes, where he lived until 1806 (possibly 1805), when he returned to Burlington to reside. Judge Hitchcock's scholarship was of a superior order, and as a lawyer he ranked among the foremost in New England. He was endowed with a large measure of benevolence and admirable social qualities. As a conversationalist he was unrivaled for humor and brilliant repartee. His personal appearance was dignified and commanding. He had a light complexion and sharp blue eyes, and to a handsome person of medium size and height he added polished manners and a pleasing address. He died at Burlington November 20, 1813, aged sixty-eight years. In a letter some years since by General Grandey, he says: "Judge Hitchcock was a man of a high stamp of character in all respects, a leading and controlling mind among the strong and original minds of his day." . . . "The University of Vermont owes its paternity to Judge Samuel Hitchcock." Of the three sons of Judge Hitchcock who survived him but are now dead, Henry Hitchcock became the chief judge of the Supreme Court and the statesman of Alabama. General Grandey, who was his personal friend and acquaintance in Alabama, says of him: "He was the best known, the most beloved, the most distinguished, the ablest, the most worthy and the most popular man in Alabama during the last ten years of his life." Ethan Allen Hitchcock (probably born in Vergennes), a distinguished major-general of the United States army, wise in council and brave in war, as became the descendants of such ancestors. Samuel Hitchcock, the youngest son of Hon. Samuel Hitchcock, was educated at West Point, afterward resigned and studied law. He was a natural student, inheriting some of the admirable traits of hisparent. He died in the forty-fourth year of his age, of consumption.
Hon. Daniel Chipman, LL.D. [Note 1]. was born in Salisbury, Conn. October, 22, 1765.
[Note 1] From Swift's History of Middlebury.
page 144 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY.
He was one of six sons of Samuel Chipman, then residing in that place. In 1775 the father removed with his sons to Tinmouth, in Rutland county. Daniel there labored on his farm until November, 1783, when he commenced his preparatory studies with his brother Nathaniel, who was then in the practice of law in Tinmouth. He entered Dartmouth College at the commencement in 1784. Notwithstanding the short time he spent in his preparatory studies, by his confirmed habit of industry and his energy he graduated, in 1788, with a standing among the first in his class. He immediately commenced the study of law in the office of his brother Nathaniel, and in September, 1790, was admitted to the bar, and opened an office in Rutland. He soon had an extensive practice, regularly attending all the courts in the counties of Rutland, Bennington, Addison and Chittenden. In 1793, three years after he was licensed to practice law, he was chosen a delegate from Rutland to the convention held at Windsor, for amending the constitution. In the year 1794 he removed to Middlebury, still continuing his practice in the counties above named. In 1796 he was married to Eleutheria Hedge, daughter of Rev. Lemuel Hedge, a minister of Warwick, Mass., and sister of the late Levi Hedge, professor in Harvard College, then residing with her mother in Windsor. In 1798 and two succeeding years he represented Middlebury in the General Assembly, and in several other years previous to 1808. He was chosen that year a member of the council under the old constitution, and was annually elected to that body for several years. He represented the town also in 1812, 1813, and 1814. In 1813 he was elected speaker, and was distinguished for his promptness and decision. It was a time of high party excitement, the two political parties, Federal and Democratic, being nearly equal. The constitution provides that " at the opening of the General Assembly, there shall be a committee appointed out of the Council and Assembly, who, after being duly sworn to the faithful performance of their trusts, shall proceed to sort and count the votes for governor and declare the person who has a major part of the votes to be governor for the year ensuing, and if there be no choice made, then the council and General Assembly, by their joint ballots, shall make choice of a governor." Such committee had been appointed at this session, and some time in the evening, having completed the canvass, the Governor and Council came into the chamber of the House of Representatives to hear the report of the canvassing committee, and agreeably to the uniform usage on such occasions, the speaker resigned his chair to the governor, who was appointed chairman. The canvassing committee reported that there was no choice of governor by the people, and thereupon the committee of the two houses adjourned to an early hour the next day. On examination of the constitution the next morning, Mr. Chipman was satisfied that the report of the canvassing committee was conclusive; that the two houses had no power to canvass the votes or to act on the subject, otherwise than by a concurrent resolution to meet and elect a governor by their joint ballot.
page 145 BENCH AND BAR.
He therefore considered it would be highly improper, and indeed in violation of the constitution, for the House of Representatives to join the Governor and Council, to decide the question whether a governor had or had not been elected by the people. Having taken this view of the subject, he at once decided on the course to be pursued -- that he would not resign the speaker's chair to the governor, when he and the Council should enter the House, but retain it and continue to preside, and preserve order in the House, leaving the governor to preside in the Council. Accordingly, when the Governor and Council came in, he retained the speaker's chair, seating the governor at his right. This was so unexpected that there was profound silence for several minutes. At length a member of the House arose and addressed the chairman. The speaker called him to order, saying if he had a motion to make he must address the speaker. Several other members made the same attempt, but were immediately put down by the speaker. A member of the Council then addressed the chairman; upon which the governor, turning to the speaker, observed, " There seems to be great confusion." " There is indeed;" said the speaker; " but your excellency may rest assured that the most perfect order will be preserved in the House, over which I have the honor to preside." At length the Governor and Council, finding that the House of Representatives would not act with them, retired, and the two houses afterwards met by concurrent resolution, and elected a governor by their joint ballots. This incident in the life of Mr. Chipman, which produced some excitement at the time, we have copied from an account given by himself, not only because it is an illustration of his character, but because it is an event connected with the political history of the State. In the year 1814 Mr. Chipman was again elected speaker of the House, and the same year was elected a representative to Congress. He attended the first session, but, by reason of ill health, was unable to attend to his duties a great portion of the time, and during the next session was confined at home by sickness. The year following his health was so far restored that he again resumed the practice of law, and in the years 1818 and 1821 represented the town in the Legislature. In the year 1822 he published an essay on contracts for specific articles. It was highly commended by Judge Story, Chancellor Kent and other eminent jurists, met with an extensive sale, and added much to his reputation as a lawyer and scholar. In the preface to this work he urged the importance of having the decisions of the Supreme Court reported. At the next session of the Legislature, in the year 1823, an act was passed providing for the appointment of a reporter, and he was appointed to that office. Having published one volume of reports, ill health compelled him to resign it. In the preface to his volume he urged the importance of dividing the Legislature into two branches, by constituting a Senate. The Council of Censors having recommended this among other amendments, a convention was called for the purpose of considering it. In the mean
page 146 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY
time Mr. Chipman had retired from public life and invested considerable property, and built him a large house in a pleasant location in Ripton, and had fixed his residence in the refreshing and salubrious atmosphere of that place. Such was his anxiety to have this amendment adopted that he yielded to the solicitations of his neighbors and accepted the appointment of delegate to the convention, held in January, 1836, from that town. Mr. Chipman took a conspicuous part in the able and animated debate on that subject, and the amendment was adopted by a small majority. In 1846 Mr. Chipman published the life of his brother, Hon.Nathaniel Chipman L.L.D. formerly member of the life United States Senate, and Chief Justice of the State of Vermont. He afterwards published several smaller works, Memoirs of Colonel Seth Warner and Thomas Chittenden , first Governor of Vermont with a history of the Constitution during his administration, which are valuable publications. In 1850 Mr. Chipman was elected delegate to the Constitutional Convention of that year, and there made his last appearance in any public capacity. The journey to Montpelier proved too much for his advanced age and feeble health. While in attendance upon the convention he was attacked with sickness, from which he never recovered. He reached his home in Ripton in a feeble condition, and died on the 23d of April, 1850, in the eighty-fifth year of his age. We doubt whether there is, or ever had been, another man so familiarly acquainted with the early history and interests of the State. He was a plain man in his dress and address, and courteous in his manner. His addresses at the bar and elsewhere were eloquent from the power of his argument and the weight of his opinions, rather than from any polished oratory. It has been said of Mr. Chipman that he " was one of the ablest lawyers of his time, being at the head of his profession in this county during the most of his professional life; " that " he was a master of the common law; " that he " was a man of nice and quick perceptions, and of great skill in the examination of witnesses." " He was an original, bold and profound thinker and reasoner. His argument was rapid and earnest, clothed in language clear, vigorous and forcible. His candor and enthusiasm had great weight with a jury. The ease with which he could take a jury out of an intricate and tangled case and bring them to a clear and luminous view of the law and facts marked the hand of a master." The evidence seems conclusive that tradition is not at fault when she assigns to Daniel Chipman great intellectual powers, made available by intense application and industry, and trained to their fullest exercise by the force of surrounding circumstances and by association with strong men who were his peers in many respects, and by no means feeble antagonists in the contests of the forum.
Hon. Horatio Seymour, L.L.D., was born at Litchfield, Conn., May 31, 1778. He was the son of Major Moses Seymour and Mrs. Mary (Marsh) Seymour.His father was a respectable citizen of that place, was in the War of the Revolution, represented the town
page 147 BENCH AND BAR.
in the State Legislature much of the time from 1795 to 1812, and was town clerk for nearly forty years. The subject of this notice pursued his studies preparatory to entering college at New Milford under the tuition of his brother-in-law, Rev. Truman Marsh, then located in that place. He was graduated at Yale College in 1797. The following year he spent as an assistant teacher in the academy at Cheshire, Conn.; the second he spent in the study of law, at Judge Reeve's law school in Litchfield. In October, 1799, he came to Middlebury and continued his professional studies in the office of Hon. Daniel Chipman. In the spring of 1800 he was licensed to practice law, and, in competition with several distinguished and older lawyers, such as Daniel Chipman, Samuel Miller and others, entered immediately into an extensive practice, and rose rapidly in general estimation as a man and as a law. He did not seek to extend his practice to other counties, but in the county of Addison no other lawyer, we believe, ever had so extensive a business, or was engaged at the same time in so many causes in the different courts. While building his large and very expensive brick house, in 1816 and 1817, he expressed to the writer of this notice his regret to lay out so great an expenditure on a house, but stated, as some alleviation, that his income during those two years was suffcient to meet the expense. Notwithstanding his talents, which were of a superior order, and his thorough knowledge of the law, he was probably no little indebted for his success to his great popularity as a man. His career as a lawyer was uninterrupted until the spring of 1821. In the mean time, in December, 1800, the same year in which he was admitted to the bar, Mr. Seymour was appointed postmaster, and continued in the office for nine years, but for much of the time, on account of the pressure of his professional business, he committed the personal superintendence, with its income, to other hands. When the Vermont State Bank was established at the session of the Legislature in 1806, he was chosen one of its first directors, and continued in that offce until the branch at Middlebury was closed. In 1809 he was elected by the people a member of the Executive Council, and was annually re-elected for the five following years. In October, 1820, he was elected by the Legislature to the Senate of the United States, the duties of the office to commence on the 4th of March, 1821. At the close of his first term he was re-elected for a second. This of course was an interruption to his professional pursuits. At the close of his second term in 1833, he returned to the practice of law. This he continued until a few years since, when his infirmities forced him to retire from it. The corporation of Yale College, at the commencement in 1847, the fiftieth anniversary of his graduation, conferred on him the honorary degree of LL.D. Mr. Seymour was constitutionally diffident and distrustful of himself. So far from seeking for office, we think he never accepted one but with reluctance and through the solicitation of his friends. This trait undoubtedly influenced him in the discharge of his senatorial duties. He
page 148 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY
did feel called by a sense of duty, among so many distinguished senators so ready to speak, to make a display which his distrust of himself forbade. He was greatly respected for his sound but modest opinions, and his influence, though silent and unobtrusive, was generally recognized in the Senate. His intimate friends and associates were among the most distinguished men connected with the government, such as Adams, King, Clay, Webster and Marcy. But he did not often make any formal address in the Senate. It was otherwise when he acted in the capacity of an advocate. The rights and interests of his clients had been entrusted to him, and he had engaged for their defense, and no personal feelings could justify his neglect. In his addresses to the court or jury he made no attempts at display, but in his quiet and modest way poured forth a powerful and comprehensive argument, which his opposing counsel found it difficult to meet, and introduced points in the case which had not occurred to them. He had great ingenuity and tact in the management of his causes. In his intercourse with all ranks of men he made all honest men his equals, and treated them as such. He had great ingenuity and wisdom in accomplishing his purposes, and when circumstances required he could keep " his own counsel ;" but he had a scrupulous regard for the rights of all with whom he dealt, and had no forbearance for dishonesty or intrigue. By the interest he expressed in the affairs of all who needed his sympathy, and by his courteous and kindly treatment of all with whom he came in contact in every form of association, he secured not only the respect and confidence, but the personal friendship of all.[Note 1]. Mr. Seymour was married in 1800 to Miss Lucy Case, daughter of Jonah Case, of Addison; she died in 1838. Mr. Seymour died November 21, 1857, in the eightieth year of his age, leaving three sons and the children of a deceased daughter.
John Simmons was born at Ashford, Conn., September 16, 1775; graduated at Providence College, now Brown University, in 1797. He began the study of law with William Perkins, of Ashford, and finished his course with Seth Storrs, of Middlebury, and was admitted to the bar in March, 1801. He began and continued during his life the practice of law in Middlebury, particularly excelling as an office lawyer and counselor, and securing to an unusual degree the confidence of the community by his integrity, his practical wisdom, sound judgment and consummate prudence. Among many other offices of trust and responsibility which he ably filled was that of treasurer of Middlebury College, which he held from 1810 until his death. He compiled the first book of legal forms ever published in the State, entitled the Gentleman's Law Magazine, printed at Middlebury in February, 1804. He was also in fact the joint author, with Chester Wright, of an arithmetic called the Federal Compendium, published in 1800. As an honorable and moral citizen, deeply interested in the religious and educational prosperity of his town and county, he pursued a happy
[Note 1]. Swift's History of Middlebury.
page 149 BENCH AND BAR
and useful life. He was married in 1807 to Laura Bell, daughter of Harvey Bell, sr., and sister of Hon. Harvey Bell, late of Middlebury, and died June 9, 1829. His wife and five children survive him.
Hon. Enoch D. Woodbridge was the son of Hon. Enoch Woodbridge, and born in Bennington, Vt., May 16, 1779. He studied law with his father and was early admitted to the bar. He married, October 12, 1806, Miss Clara Strong, the second daughter of General Samuel Strong, of Vergennes. He was prominent and influential in public affairs in his neighborhood and the State, held many positions of trust by the votes of his fellow citizens, was repeatedly mayor of the city of Vergennes, and member of both branches of the Legislature. He was an able lawyer, a good citizen, a man of most kindly and generous disposition, true always to his own convictions of right." Mr. Woodbridge is reported to have been a sagacious lawyer, skillful in the conduct of his cases, thoroughly versed in the knowledge of his profession, and particularly so in all that related to land titles, in his day the source of many of the important suits in court. He was a safe counselor, a good advocate, and secured an extensive practice in Addison county and vicinity. In the early part of his career he was in partnership with Josias Smith, and the firm of Smith & Woodbridge had an extended fame and a large practice, which was continued successfully by Mr. Woodbridge for many years after the death of Mr. Smith. In his later years he retired from professional life and was succeeded by his son, Hon. F. E. Woodbridge, who is still in the practice. Enoch Woodbridge died in July, 1853, aged seventy-four years.
David Edmond was born at Woodbury, Conn., May 15, 1778, being the youngest son of Robert Edmond, who came to this country from Tyrone county, Ireland, and settled in Woodbury; he had a large family of boys and educated several of them at college, two of them at Yale, where David Edmond graduated with high honor in 1796, at the age of eighteen years. The remark of President Dwight to a citizen of Vergennes afterward, shows that the boy was father of the man. He pronounced him a wonderful scholar in the ease and rapidity with which he mastered his studies. David Edmond after leaving college studied law with his elder brother in Fairfield county, Conn., Judge William Edmond, who entered Congress in 1798 as a representative from Connecticut, one year before David Edmond was admitted to the bar in Fairfield county. Mr. Edmond came to Vergennes it is supposed in 1801, as he was "admitted a freeman" in town meeting in Vergennes March 23, 1802; was admitted to the bar of Chittenden county in February, 1802. He received his first deed of real estate in Vergennes in January, 1803; was elected to a city office in March, 1803, and from that time on held various offces of trust and responsibility, up to the time of his death, March 27, 1824. He was a representative from Vergennes to the State Legislature in 1808, 1809, 1813, 1814, 1815, 1817 and 1821. He was the State's attorney for Addison county in
page 150 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY.
1808, 1809, 1813, 1814, and 1819 to 1823 inclusive. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1814; mayor of Vergennes from 1819 to his death in 1824. Evidently he was one whom his fellow citizens delighted to honor, nor was his popularity confined to his own county. In 1816 an effort was made to secure his services as a representative to Congress. He felt it to be unwise to leave an extensive and lucrative practice until he had made provisions for his young and growing family, and did not encourage the effort. His name, however, was placed on the general ticket as one of the six members to which Vermont was then entitled; but the party to which he belonged was that year in a minority and their ticket defeated. Mr. Edmond was twice married; first, to Sarah Booth, who died soon after the birth of her second child. Her children did not long survive their mother. He was again married at New Haven, Conn., October 22, 1804, to Harriet Lavergne Ducasse, who long survived him and is still held in sweet remembrance by the older citizens of Vergennes for her intelligence and virtues [Note 1]. In 1810 Mr. Edmond and his wife both united by profession with the Congregational Church in Vergennes, and the records of the church show that he was not an inactive member. In a home where religious principles, refined taste and genial culture prevailed, it is not strange that domestic happiness found a permanent abode. Eight children survived him, only two of whom are now living: Miss Sarah H. Edmond and Mrs. Harriet Lavergne Coyle, of Washington, D. C. Mr. Edmond died in the forty-sixth year of his age, holding the love and admiration of his cotemporaries to a degree that few men ever attain, and that not from any struggle or effort of his, but from the inherent qualities of the man. In the suit instituted in 1817 by the Episcopal Society of Vermont to recover lands which the State had appropriated to the use of schools, and which was finally decided in the Supreme Court of the United States in 1823, Mr. Edmond and Daniel Webster were the attorneys for the State, and Mr. Webster was emphatic in his admiration of Mr. Edmond as a man and a lawyer. Tradition tells of a most elegant speech of welcome made to President Monroe, when he visited Vergennes in 1817 by Mr. Edmond upon the shortest notice, and the president's surprise that Vermont did not avail her self of the services of such a man in the national councils. Whenever a justice's court was held in Mr.Edmond's office (now the Farmers' National Bank) a crowd was sure to gather to listen to his eloquence. Hon. E. J. Phelps, whose father was cotemporary with Mr. Edmond,. characterized Mr.Edmond as " one of the most finished advocates that ever lived." Nature's endowment of talents of a high order, to which was added a rich and varied culture, adorned with all the social graces, combined to form a man whose like we may not look upon again. The following extract from the pen of Hon. Charles
[Note 1]. She was the only child of Jean Ducasse, who came to this country with La Fayette to aid in our Revolutionary struggle. He was a captain of artillery under General Gates, and died while on his return to France, when this daughter was about a year old. He married in this country.
page 151 BENCH AND BAR.
Linsley, a distinguished member of Addison county bar, and who knew Mr. Edmond, expresses the sentiment of his cotemporaries; he says: "Mr. Edmond was well educated and thoroughly grounded in the law when he came to Vermont. He was immediately employed in all the important cases. He possessed those rare and striking qualifications as an advocate and jury lawyer which captivate the crowd and steal away the hearts of the most acute and thoughtful listeners. He was of medium size, with a fine form and a countenance dignified and pleasing. With an eye dark and piercing when roused, but in conversation playful and sunny, every motion was easy and graceful and every look was genial and kind. You saw from the first he was no ordinary man. But one must have heard him address a jury -- he never wearied them; so long as he addressed them every eye was fixed on him with intense eagerness. He was always short, rarely exceeding an hour in arguing an important cause, but that hour was enough for him; for ere that hour was over the jury would be charmed and fascinated by a power they could not resist. His voice, soft and melodious in its lower tones, was capable of the deepest pathos, or, roused, could reach the grand and terrible. His language was carefully chosen, clear and plain; it flowed from his persuasive lips like flowing waters, sometimes running with a gentle current, then rushing forward with overwhelming force, compelling assent to his opinions. He never hesitated; seldom paused, never reconstructed a sentence. When the words passed his lips they were ready for the press. He was one of nature's orators and fascinated all who heard him. Though he was conscious of his great powers, he assumed no airs of superiority; was modest and plain in bearing and manner and a great and general favorite with his professional brethren." Martin Post was born in Rutland, Vt., November 11, 1778. As a self educated student he entered the law office of Seth Storrs for the study of the law. He was admitted to the bar in 1802. He practiced two years in Jericho, Vt., one year in Cornwall, and in 1805 returned to Middlebury. In 1808 he became the law partner of Horatio Seymour. He was county clerk in 1808-09, and five years (1804 to 1809) clerk of the General Assembly. He was an amiable man, a natural scholar, an easy writer, but long suffered ill health. He died in 1811, leaving a wife and three sons, his sons being all educated at Middlebury College and all fine scholars. His sons were Rev. Martin M. Post, long settled at Logansport, Ill.; Rev. Truman M. Post, D.D., settled at St. Louis, Mo., well known to many in Addison county as an eloquent preacher and able divine; Cornelius H. Post died soon after leaving college. Hon. William Slade was the son of William Slade, esq., of Cornwall, who was sheriff of the county for ten successive years, from 1801. to 1810; and was born at Cornwall, May 9, 1786. He was graduated at Middlebury College in 1807, having maintained a prominent standing in his class, and immediately entered upon the study of law in the office of Judge Doolittle. He was
page 152 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY
admitted to practice at the August term of the County Court in 1810, and immediately opened an office in Middlebury. He continued to practice with increasing reputation, especially as an advocate, until 1814. As a politician Mr. Slade was of the school of Jefferson and Madison. In consequence of the measures adopted by these administrations, in resistance of the encroachments of the British and French nations, who were engaged in an exterminating war, and followed by our war in 1812, party politics raged to an extent never since known. A majority of the people of this State had given in their adhesion to the Democratic party at the commencement of Mr. Jefferson's administration. But the parties were so nearly equal that the Federalists obtained the ascendancy for two years during the war. The struggle between the parties was arduous and exciting. Mr. Slade entered with his whole soul into the conflict, and became an active and influential partisan. He addressed with zeal and effect all political assemblages, and wrote much in enforcing and vindicating his political views. On account of his popularity as a writer and public speaker he became an acknowledged leader. The Democratic party in the fall of 1813 had established a paper called the Columbian Patriot; but the editor who had been employed not proving satisfactory, he was dismissed; and Mr. Slade, early in 1814, gave up his profession and became the editor -- a business which was congenial to his talents and temperament. He also established an extensive book-store and printing-office, and published several books. This business did not prove successful, and was continued only two or three years. But he occupied so prominent a position in his party that his friends were ready to give him any office which might be vacant. Accordingly he was elected secretary of State successively from 18l5 to 1822; assistant judge of Addison County Court from 1816 to 1821; clerk of the Supreme Court for the county from 1819 to 1823. After the failure of his printing and publishing business the offices which he held at home in 1823 did not satisfy his pecuniary wants, and he took the office of clerk in the Department of State at Washington in 1824. After the disorganization of the political parties at the close of the war, and during Mr. Monroe's administration, and when the election of a successor approached, towards the close of his administration, Mr. Slade attached himself to the party of John Quincy Adams, in opposition to General Jackson, as did most of the people of Vermont. When the latter came into office in 1829 and Mr. Van Buren had charge of the Department of State, Mr. Slade was removed in a manner that was not relished by the freemen of Vermont, as they were prepared to manifest at the first opportunity. He then returned to Middlebury and resumed the profession of law, and in 1830 was appointed State's attorney for the county. On the first vacancy in 1831 he was elected a representative in Congress. In this office he continued until 1843. The year following he officiated as reporter of the decisions of the Supreme Court, and in 1844 he was elected governor of Vermont, and continued in that office two years.
page 153 BENCH AND BAR
From that time to the close of his life Governor Slade was employed as corresponding secretary and general agent of the Board of National Popular Education. To this service Governor Slade zealously devoted all his time and energy. It required extensive correspondence in its various departments, numerous journeys and frequent public addresses. Governor Slade was characterized by persevering industry, and by a sensitive and ardent temperament, which were manifest in all his enterprises. They were exhibited in his political movements and in all enterprises which he thought tended to promote the reformation of society. They were exhibited no less in his religious character. When a member of college, in 1806, he consecrated himself to the service of religion, and united himself to the Congregational Church in Cornwall, his native place, and afterwards transferred his connection to the Congregational Church in Middlebury. His death occurred on Sunday night, January 16, 1859, in his seventy-third year.
Samuel Swift , L.L.D.. - Among the honored members of the Addison county bar the name of Samuel Swift, of Middlebury, was a prominent one from 1808 to 1875. His high position in the public favor came to him not so much for his achievements in the strict line of his profession, as for his sterling worth and ability -- his excellences as a man and his fidelity and usefulness in the various offices of trust bestowed upon him through a long life, from his earliest manhood to old age. He possessed a clear and logical mind, and was ever faithful to his high moral and religious principles. His sound common sense, cool judgment, stern integrity, and great self-control secured for him a warm place in the regard and esteem of the community where he was best known, and his faithful and wise performance of his public duties widened the circle of his influence and increased the number of his friends. Samuel Swift was born at Nine Partners, now Amenia, N. Y., August 2, 1782. He graduated at Dartmouth College in 1800 -- was trustee in Middlebury College several years -- was admitted to the bar in 1808. In 1813 he was appointed secretary to the Governor and Council, and in 1814 was bearer of dispatches from the governor to General Macomb, at the time of the memorable battle of Plattsburgh. The same year he was appointed county clerk and held the position thirty-two years. In 1816 he served the first of his six terms as representative of Middlebury in the Legislature. In 1819 he was elected judge of probate for the district of Addison, which then included the whole of the county, and continued in the office by successive re-elections twenty-two years. Judge Swift was a member of tile Constitutional Convention in 1829 and 1836 -- was senator for Addison county 1838 and 1839 -- assistant judge of County Court 1855, and twice re-elected. By request of the Historical Society he wrote the history of Middlebury, and of Addison county, which was published in 1859, and is the chief source of information to all writers on Addison county matters. Judge Swift died at Middlebury July 8, 1875.
page 154 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY
Robert B. Bates was one of the strong and brilliant men who adorned the bar of Addison county in the first quaarter of the century; men whose names are even now mentioned with an exulting pride by the older men of the county. Robert B. Bates was admitted to the bar of this county in June, 1813, and was in practice here fifteen or twenty years. Mr. Linsley has left the following sketch of him: "Mr. Bates was conspicuous as a member of the Legislature from Middlebury, 1823-25, and the four years next following. As a politician he was always a Whig and was naturally and strongly conservative. From his first appearance in the House he took a high stand as a popular and effective speaker. His reputation as an able lawyer had preceded him; he was placed on the most important committees, and during the six years he represented Middlebury he was one of the most popular leaders in the House. He did not speak often, but when he did he received the undivided attention of the whole House; the last three years of his sservice in the House he was elected speaker and made an admirable presiding officer. His style of debate was calm, grave and dignified. Few men had the art of stating a proposition in a more convincing and attractive manner, and any fallacy of his adversary was exposed with promptitude and vigor. With a clear and unclouded intellect, much gravity and firmness of manner and most persuasive eloquence, he could hold in breathless silence the undivided attention of the House. As a popular orator no man in this county could vie with him except Mr. Edmond. But it was as a lawyer that Mr. Bates was mainly distinguished. It was as a lawyer that nature had prepared him to shine. He had thoroughly studied his profession before coming to Vermont, but had no practice, Soon after coming to Middlebury he became a partner with the Hon. Daniel Chipman, then in a very large and lucrative practice. Mr. Chipman's health was for some years quite feeble and he was for two years in Congress. The ease and skill with which Mr. Bates took up and conducted this mass of important business, much of which was new to him, showed at once the range of his intellect and its adaptation to the law. It was seen that he was capable of grasping and mastering the most complicated cases and presenting them to a court and jury in a clear and luminous manner. The office was fully sustained and the company was retained in all the important cases in Addison and Rutland counties. Mr. Bates had not the easy flow of polished language which distinguished Edmond, or the nervous energy of Daniel Chipman, or the intuitive perception of the law of the case so striking in Judge Phelps; but in some respects he was superior to either of them. Self-reliant, calm and confident, his statements half convinced you that he was right, while his artful examination of witnesses elicited every word that could be made to tell in his favor, while the cross-examination of the adversary witnesses was most skillful. His points of law were well considered and stated with admirable clearness. But it was in his address to the jury that his power as an advocate was revealed. The jury were charmed
page 155 BENCH AND BAR
with his fairness and candor. What was wholly indefensible he yielded frankly and gracefully, but sought to weaken the force of what could not be denied. His argument was at once grave and serious, at the same time cogent, persuasive and forcible. A jury aways listened to him with attention and commonly with pleasure."
Samuel H. Holley was the son of Robert Holley, one of the early settlers of Bristol, Vt. Samuel Holley was born at Shaftsbury, Vt., but went to Bristol while young and attended the common school and later the grammar school at Middlebury. From there he entered the military school at West Point, where he graduated, and then returned to Middlebury and studied law with Horatio Seymour and was admitted to the bar in 1809. He soon after went to Shoreham and opened an office and continued his practice until the War of 1812 when he received a captain's commission and raised a company and was with them at Champlain, N. Y., in the winter of 1813-14. He resigned soon after and resumed his practice at Shoreham. Not long afterward he went to Bristol and continued his practice until 1821 when he moved to Middlebury and was law partner with Hon. Horatio Seymour three years. He did but little business in his profession after that, devoting his attention to the care of the large property he had accumulated. He seems to have been a lawyer of ability and fine culture, and had the confidence of his acquaintances. He was a justice of the peace twenty-four years; five years a member of the Council; nine years one of the assistant judges of Addison County Court, and for several years quartermaster-general for the State of Vermont.
Peter Starr, son of Rev. Peter Starr, of Warren, Conn., was born in Warren June 11, 1778. He graduated at Williams College in 1799, and after teaching a few years and studying law he was admitted to the bar in Addison county in 1805 and soon commenced practice in Middlebury, where he had a prosperous business. He was a sound lawyer and a reliable man. Great elements in his success were his wise counsels and his thorough and accurate business habits. He died in 1861, aged eighty-three years.
David K. Markam, son of Ebenezer Markham and grandson of Benjamin Kellogg, one of the first settlers in Addison county, was born at Shoreham in 1793; admitted to Addison county bar in 1819, and resided in Middlebury until 1823, when he removed to Louisiana and died there of cholera in 1833.
Hon. Charles Linsley "was born at Cornwall, Vt., August 29, 1795. His father, Hon. Joel Linsley, one of the earliest and most prominent settlers of that town, came there from Woodbury, Conn., in 1775. Rev. Joel H. Linsley, D. D., was a brother of Charles Linsley. Charles grew up to manhood in the county where he was born. He did not enjoy the advantage of liberal studies in early years, but seems to have acquired a good, plain education. He was first engaged in mercantile pursuits . . in Salisbury, and in 1818 entered into the
page 156 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY
business of selling goods at Middlebury in partnership with Benjamin Seymour. This, however, continued but a short time. In 1819 he commenced the study of the law in the office of Mr. Starr, in Middlebury, and after remaining there a year or two went to St. Albans and completed his course in the office of Mr., afterward Chief Justice, Royce. In 1823 he was admitted to the bar in Franklin county, returned to Middlebury and began the practice of his profession. Mr. Linsley remained in Middlebury, engaged exclusively in business at the bar, and commanding much public respect and confidence, down to 1856, a period of thirty-three years, comprising the prime of his life. In 1856, after a brief absence at the West, engaged in some railroad affairs with his sons, he was induced to remove to Rutland, where he formed a partnership with Hon. John Prout and entered at once into a very large business, more lucrative, probably, than any he had ever enjoyed. The next six years, the last of his active life, were its busiest. Besides his heavy practice, he held during the years 1856 and 1857, by appointment of the Supreme Court, the office of railroad commissioner, the first incumbent of that position after its creation. He was also collector of the district of Vermont under President Buchanan in 1860, and in 1858 he represented the town of Rutland in the Legislature, and took a leading and useful part in the debates and business of the session." The foregoing is taken from an address before the Vermont Historical Socicty by Hon. E. J. Phelps, in 1866. Mr. Phelps also speaks in high terms of the general popularity, the great legal ability, the sterling worth, the genial social qualities and the domestic happiness of Mr. Linsley, and says he was "honest, kindly, generous, true to his friends, in prosperity modest, in adversity brave, he was a Christian gentleman every inch." He died November 3, 1863. In the last years of his life Mr. Linsley was requested by the Vermont Historical Society to prepare sketches of the departed members of Addison county bar, and from the invaluable papers left by him and kindly loaned for this purpose, many of the facts in the sketches in this chapter are obtained, and many of the discriminating descriptions of character are copied in his words.
Hon. Horatio Needham was tile youngest son of Joseph Needham, a respectable farmer of Whiting, Vt., where Horatio Needham was born April 21, 1796. His advantages for early education were very limited, but in 1817 he commenced the study of law with Elijah Parker, of Brandon and completed his course with Hon. Samuel Holley, of Bristol. He was admitted to the bar of Addison County Court at the June term in 1821, and immediately afterward opened an office at Bristol, where he continued his practice for more than forty years, and to the time of his death in July, 1863. He was married February 9, 1826, to Miss Betsey Erskine, who survived him; he had no children. Mr. Needham commenced practice under discouraging circumstances-with no library and but little money; but he conquered success. His cases were well prepared, his counsel judicious, and he gradually gained the confidence of his
page 157 BENCH AND BAR.
neighbors and the esteem of his brother lawyers. One of them has said: " In his arguments to a jury he sought to win, and in his earnestness forgot himself.When thoroughly roused he spoke with freedom and force, and his strong common sense gave him weight with the jury. A clear head and great caution made him a wary and safe adviser." He was considered a man of integrity and thoroughly honest. His social qualities also contributed to his popularity. Possessing a retentive memory, he had large store of witty and amusing anecdotes, which he could relate with a drollery peculiar to himself. He possessed an amiable disposition, a cheerful and happy temperament well calculated to secure friends. In a modest and unassuming manner he held to the principles of the Democratic party and sustained the government in putting down the Rebellion of 1861, but was not an offensive partisan. He was town clerk of Bristol five years; selectman six years; representative to the General Assembly eight years, the last time in 1853, when he was elected speaker of the House; once a member of the Council of Censors, and twice a delegate to the Constitutional Conventions. Mr. Needham was a consistent member of the Methodist Church. He was a Freemason of high degree, and was buried with Masonic honors at Bristol in July, 1863.
Hon. Philip Tucker was born in Boston, Mass., January 11,1800; came to Vergennes in the year 1815 as a clerk of the Monkton Iron Company in the service of which company, as clerk and agent, he continued until the year 1830. In 1819 he entered upon the study of law with Hon. David Edmond and Noah Hawley, then leading lawyers of Vergennes. In 1825; he was admittcd to the bar at Middlebury and immediately commenced the practice of his profession, which he continued successfully during his life. On the 2d of May, 1825;, he was married to Mary C. M. McCloskey, of Boston, who still (1886) survives him. In politics Mr. Tucker was a Democrat, in a State in which there has not been a Democratic government since the year 1834; he was not, therefore, in the line of political advancement, although in 1828 he was a member of the State Constitutional Convention and in 1829-30 a member of the State Legislature. A student by nature and habit, his attainments in scientific knowledge and belles lettres were of a high order. In the year 1835 the University of Vermont conferred upon him the (honorary) degree of Master of Arts, as did also Middlebury College in the year 1842. In the year 1821 Mr. Tucker became a Freemason and advanced in due course to the highest degrees then conferred in the State. For many years he was the presiding officer of the local bodies at Vergennes. An indefatigable worker, he soon became a prominent leader in its affairs throughout the State, and held high official station in the Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter of the State. When the anti-Masonic crusade commenced against the order he was deputy grand master of the Grand Lodge, and the enemies of the order found him at the front with his face to his foes; with voice and pen he labored for his order, and soon
page 158 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY
became recognized as its acknowledged champion and the leader of the faithful. In doing so he sacrificed business and future prospects, but was not deterred from doing his duty as he understood it by thought of personal interest.After the controversy was over, in 1847, he was elected grand master of Masons in Vermont and held that office until his death. Mr. Tucker was distinguished as an able writer and an accomplished advocate, and by great independence in thought and action; his Masonic writings obtained for him more than a national reputation in that order, while his literary and professional labors commanded respect of his contemporaries. He died at Vergennes on the 10th day of April, 1861, and was buried by the Masonic Grand Lodge with the services of the order.
Edward D. Barber was born at Greenwich, N. Y., August 30, 1806. He was the son of Rev. Edward Barber, a Baptist clergyman. E. D. Barber graduated at Middlebury College in 1829 and entered heartily into the politics of the day, assuming the editorship of the Anti-Masonic Republican of Middlebury. By nature en earnest and enthusiastic man, he became conspicuous in his party and was, at a later period, a leader in the Freesoil section of the Democratic party. After his admission to the bar he secured a good practice and an excellent reputation as a lawyer in Middlebury; but his tastes were for a more active life, and his business engagements drew him away from his professional pursuits. He established the glass-works at Lake Dunmore, and the tinge of romance in his nature made the scenery and pursuits at Lake Dunmore a delight to him. He died August 23, 1855. He married Miss Nancy Wainwright, of Middlebury, in 1833, and left two daughters and a son surviving him.
Julius Beckwith was born at Monkton, Vt., February 10, 1821. In 1827 his parents removed to Middlebury, where he fitted for college and graduated in 1840. He studied law with Hon. Horatio Seymour and was admitted to the bar in 1843. He then visited the West, but on the application of Charles Linsley he returned to Middlebury, and entered into partnership with Mr. Linsley in 1844. This partnership continued until their office was burned in 1852 , when the partnership was dissolved and Mr. Beckwith opened an office and practiced successfully until his death on December 3, 1857. He was married to Miss Abby S. Wainwright, in 1847, who survives him. As a lawyer Mr. Beckwith acquired a large and growing practice and a fine reputation at the bar for so young a man. Socially he was the admiration of his acquaintances and the charm of the society which he adorned.
Samuel S. Woodbridge, son of Enoch D. Woodbridge, was a man of fine talents and high attainments. He graduated at Williams College and was admitted to the bar with flattering prospects. He married an amiable and accomplished lady of Vergennes, and began practice in the office of his father, but his course was terminated by death almost at the commencement of his professional life. He died August 25, 1834, aged twenty-seven years.
page 159 BENCH AND BAR
Dugald Stewart, although admitted to the bar and well fitted by nature's endowment and by his own acquirements to shine as a counselor and jurist, was not so conspicuous as a lawyer by reason of devoting his attention to other matters -- for many years county clerk and State auditor, and commissioner to secure from the general government the amount due the State of Vermont for moneys expended in the War of the Rebellion, in all of which he was successful. He is remembered not so much for his achievements as a lawyer, as for his sound judgment in affairs of business or of law, his great stock of common sense and his unswerving and conscientious integrity. He was an unassuming man, of such ability and worth that men deemed it an honor to be called his friend.
Noah Hawley was for many years an honored and trusted lawyer of Vergennes, noted for his candor and integrity. He died about 1831.When the probate district of New Haven was established in 1824 he was appointed register of probate and held the appointment five or six years, and was elected judge of probate in 1829 and 1830.
Robert Bostwick was a lawyer of Vergennes in the beginning of this century, of whom but little remains of record.
Martin Harmon son of Daniel Harmon, graduated at Dartmouth, 1793; was a lawyer in Vergennes for a short time till his early death, July 25, 1798, at the age of twenty-four years.
Harvey Bell, born at Middlebury April 9, 1791; graduated there in 1809; studied with John Simmons and Litchfield Law School; commenced practice at Middlebury in partnership with Simmons; State senator in 1836 and 1837; united with Congregational Church in 1835; practiced some years as partner of Judge Phelps. In May, 1841, became editor and proprietor of Middlebury Galaxy; the latter part of his life became a successful farmer; died in 1848.
Milo Cook, esq., son of Joseph Cook, was born in Goshen, Conn., June 2, 1783, and the next year went with his parents to Cornwall, Vt. He graduated at Middlebury College 1804; studied law with Samuel Miller, and admitted 1807; commenced practice at Williston, Vt.; in 1813 went to Middlebury and into mercantile business; in 1817 went south and taught till his death.
Amos Marsh came to Vergennes about 1795 and speedily obtained distinction as a man of learning and ability. He was born in New Milford, Conn., September 8, 1764. He was a member of the Legislature in 1796 and several years following; three years he was speaker of the House. He died at Saratoga Springs January 4, 1811, and was buried in Vergennes cemetery.
Many other lawyers have practiced in Addison county for a short time and aftenward achieved fame and reputation in broader fields. To enumerate them all with accuracy from memory is not to be expected. Since the removal of Seth Storrs from Addison in 1793, that town has had no permanent lawyer. In Bridport Calvin Sollace was known for many years as a sound and judicious
page 160 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY
lawyer and business man, commanding the respect and confidence of his acquaintances. In Bristol Joseph C. Bradley was an active lawyer for several years. Middlebury, in addition to those already mentioned, had Loyal Case, a son of Jonah Case, of Addison -- a brother-in-law and law partner of Hon. Horatio Seymour. Ozias Seymour, son of Horatio Seymour, a man well versed in law and master of his profession. Jedediah Bushnell, son of Rev. Jedediah Bushnell, of Cornwell, long recognized as a lawyer of abilty, was many years register of probate. George Swift, son of Hon. Samuel Swift, succeeded his father as county clerk in 1847 and is now an honored citizen of Detroit, Mich. Beaumont Parks, a graduate of Dartmouth College, admitted to the bar in 1811. Ripton for a few years claimed Daniel Chipman and George Chipman. Salisbury boasts of S. N. Briggs and John Prout, who afterwards removed to Rutland county, and John Colley. Shoreham for many years had the law services of Udney H. Everest, a son of Zadock Everest, one of the first settlers of Addison. Mr. Everest was a reliable lawyer of fair repute in the county. For about ten years Moses Strong, son of John Strong, of Addison, practiced in Shoreham, and was an able and sagacious lawyer, who achieved fame and wealth in Rutland after leaving Shoreham. Judge Hand, of Essex county, N. Y., was a native of Shoreham, but his professional life was passed in Essex county, the place of his triumphs and success. Vergennes had the first lawyer in the county in point of time, and has since had her full quota. Smith Boothe, for many years in active practice. William P. Brown, son of Phineas Brown, of Waltham, afterward entered business life in Alabama. John E. McVene, John Packer, Solon Burroughs, H. C. Lawrence, Levi Meades and C. M. Fisher, and the talented and lamented George R. Chapman, who died in the prime of his young manhood. Thomas W. Rich graduated at Dartmouth College in 1779; practiced for a time in Monkton and then moved to Vergennes, where he kept a hotel (now the Stevens House), till 1826, when be died at the age of fifty -two years. Nathan Haskins, born at Wethersfield, Vt., April 27, 1795; graduated at Dartmouth 1820; studied law with Asa Aldis at St. Albans and Noah Hawley at Vergennes, and practiced law at Vergennes from 1823 to 1831.While in Vergennes he published a History of Vermont, and was editor of the Vermont Aurora for three years. He afterwards resided at Bennington and Williamstown, Mass., and published Notes on the West in 1833, and something on the Bennington court controversy, and strictures on civil liberty as it existed in the United States in 1847 and1848. He died at Williamstown April 21, 1869.
The first County Court for Addison county was held on the first Tuesday in March, 1786, at the house of Zadock Everest, in Addison. The second term at the house of Captain Thomas Butterfield in Colchester, in November of the same year; then in March and November of each year at the house of Jonah Case, in Addison till 1792, when Middlebury was made the shire town, and the courts
page 161 MEDICAL SOCIETY AND PHYSICIAN
1792 and 1793 were held at the public house of John Deming, which stood on the ground now occupied by the Congregational Church in Middlebury. They were afterward held at the public house of Samuel Mattocks till 1798, when the first court-house was occupied. The site for a court-house was given by Gamaliel Painter, and the house was built by subscription of citizens of Middlebury and vicinity. It was used as a State-house for the meeting of the Legislature in 1800 and 1806. In 1814 the court-house was moved from its situation between the Addison House and the Wainwright House to its later location, and there used until 1833. The present substantial and handsome brick court-house was first used for the session of court at the December term of 1883. It was built by a county tax at a cost of $ 22,000. The present bar of Addison county is as follows: Bristol, W. W. Rider, L. S. Scott. Middlebury, L. D. Eldredge, H. S. Foote, L. E. Knapp, Thomas H. McLeod, James M. Slade, John W. Stewart, J. E. Stapleton, John C. Stapleton, Almon P. Tupper, Emerson R. Wright, Charles M Wilds. New Haven, Ira W. Clark, E. G. Hunt. Starksboro, A. M. Hawkins,. Salisbury, Charles E. Kingsley. Vergennes, George W. Grandey, F.E. Woodbridge.
Return to the Table of Contents