William Columbus Ferril.

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only living son, Charles H. Nettleton, is a well-known business man of Derby,
Conn., where he holds the management of the gas and electric light industry.

Another whose " Pastoral Days " in summer time were spent amid the
" Sumacs " of these rocky spurs was William Hamilton Gibson, the artist-
author. He was only in the full prime of manhood when his work ended and
he was laid at rest in the cemetery on the hill-side. So much of usefulness
seemed to be in store for him that we can but wonder at the edict that sum-
moned him to the last " Home-town." We remember those charming pict-
ures of the birds, the bugs and the beetles, and the "Mysteries of the Flow-
ers," from his deft hand, when this interpreter of nature's enigmas wandered
o'er the " Highways and Byways," or saw from his cottage door the sun drink-
ing the morning dew from the shining petals, or lingering over the western
hills, as if loath to leave these verdant lawns to the shadows of the night-
This " Master of the Pen and Pencil " sleeps near his friend and teacher " The
Master of the Gunnery," in that repose that awaits the call that shall welcome
them to a land fairer than day.

A student of nature's every phase, with a wonderful power of observation,
and philosophical instincts, his writings had a fascinating interest, while his
sketches were reproductions of his ideas and his lectures were more than in-
structive, — ^and it was not all the result of natural ability, but rather of careful
training and untiring industry. He was never idle, his vacations were merely


change of location, and meant, he said once, an increase of labor instead of a
respite, and it is doubtless true that his death was the result of overwork.
He was born in 1850 in Sandy Hook, a part of the town of Newtown — where
his mother's people resided, his father being a Boston man with a distinguished
ancestry. He learned to love Judea while a student of " The Gunnery," and
after establishing his city studio in Brooklyn, he came back each year, and was
as fond of her babbling brooks as if to the manor born.

About a mile from " The Green," the shaded roadway between the ledges
on the Litchfield road suddenly opens upon a grand panorama of green fields,
and miles and miles of peaks beyond, and here stands perched upon a rocky
knoll the Mitchell homestead. Near here Elnathan Mitchell built his log
house, about 1750. He was a great land holder, and had vast possessions in
all the towns round about. For one of his boys, Abner, he built this house in
1792. Abner married Phebe Elliott, and had sons Elisha, Elnathan and
Matthew. Elnathan kept this old home, and his grandson Elnathan now oc-
cupies it. Here Elisha Mitchell was born in 1793. He loved his books rather
than the fields, and became an LL. D., and was a professor of physics in the
University of North Carolina. He explored the highest peak of the Blue Ridge,
and lost his life in so doing, shortly before the beginning of the Rebellion.
The mountain was named Mt. Mitchell in memory of him.

Into this house Earle Buckingham moved with his wife, Helen Mitchell,
and here he died. He was a noted school teacher and one of the ''old-fashioned
singing teachers, who went about the churches in cold winter nights doing good
in the scale and clef manoeuvering." He was once a member of the state senate.

A mile north of the Mitchell house is an old-fashioned farm-house, where
Mrs. Abigail Ford died, three or four years since, at over one hundred years of
age. She was born a Logan, and her people lived a mile farther to the north-
east, where Matthew Logan took up his share of land more than a century and
a half ago. He had a large family of children who have all disappeared from
the vicinity, save one family. The old log house in which Seth S. Logan once
lived, was built for one of Matthew's sons. Seth Logan was a well-known man,
one of the good, big-hearted farmers who had a smile and a cheerful word for
everyone and whose hospitality was unbounded. One of the local leaders of
his political party, he had high aspirations, and was rewarded by being elected
comptroller of his state. At the end of his term of office his health failed and
he died soon after, universally lamented. None of his children till the old
farm, but his son, Walter S. Logan, a prominent lawyer of New York City,
makes this his summer residence.

Such, in brief, is the history of a community that has few parallels among
the Puritan towns of our state, and whose light, set under the bushel of relig-
ious conservatism, has shown with resplendent lustre all over our broad land,
and of whose future under the new conditions of liberal thought and the
genesis of modern civilization and development no one can prophesy. It is an
interesting problem of modern life, whether the influx of city style, manners
and mode of living will destroy the individuality of such rural towns, or
whether these influences will themselves be modified, and purified by the pure
lives and strong common sense of the country people and thus tend to arrest
the strained tension of city hurry and worry, and mould a better sentiment, a
truer, higher sense of duty and living, into the realms of commerce and mer-
cantile life. This old society of Judea presents to the student, fond of such
matters, a rare field for his investigations, and a summer study in these lofty
hills and in this charming society would be a never-to-be-forgotten oasis in
life's cares and work.



[Concluded from last number-]

The bitter feeling against the Tories was more intense during the
early stages of the war than at any other time. Those who did the least
thing supposed to be favorable to the side of England were stigmatized as
public enemies. On the first page of the Connecticut Courant was a list of
"Persons held up to Public view as Enemies to the Country." It included
names from other states as well as our own. Stephen Sears of Sharon and
Lieut. Ebenezer Orvis of Farmington were so published. Sears made a con-
fession before the committee of inspection which was accepted. In March, 1 776,
the Committee of Farmington voted, that Lieut. Ebenezer Orvis, Mrs. Lydia
Orvis and Hannah Andruss be " advertised in ye Public Gazette as Enemies to
their Country." They had persisted in using the prohibited and detested tea.
Later Mr. Orvis made a confession which was voted satisfactory.

At a meeting held in Farmington on December 12, 1774, the town voted
to approve the doings of the Continental Congress with only two dissenting
voices, those of Nehemiah Royce and ^latthias Learning. They were imme-
diately voted to be open enemies, and all intercourse with them was ordered to
be withdrawn until they retracted. It was even attempted to prevent Royce
from sending his children to school; but this was voted down. In March, 1775,
the committee voted " That ^latthias Leaming be advertised in the Public
Gazette for a contumacious violation of ye whole Association of ye Continental
Congress," and that the evidence against Royce
was not sufficient to justify such publication-
In May, 1777, however, we find Mr. Royce in
the Hartford jail as an inimical person.

^Ir. Julius Gay's paper on " Farmington in
the Revolution " gives us the story of this
Matthias Leaming. He inadvertently con-
veyed his real estate to his brother, who ab-
sconded and the property was confiscated.
This brother, Jeremiah Leaming, D. D., was
the Episcopal minister who went off with the
British at the burning of Norwalk, and is the
man before referred to who left the negro
Pomp. At one time a mob took his picturci
defaced it, and nailed it to a sign post head
downwards. He was put in prison and there
contracted a hip disease that made him a
cripple for life. Matthias petitioned the Gen-
eral Assembly in 1783 for relief, which was
denied. He finally had ^80 voted him, pay-
able in 1787, but before it became due the tombstone to mathias i.eaming.

In Memory of


Bcyound (bt nachof

iTliclifcofnian is Uainl\




treasur}' was bankrupt. In 1788 the prominent men of Farmington petitioned
the General Assembly to assist him in his old age and distress, but no action
was taken on said petition, and now, in the old cemetery at Farmington we
find a tombstone on which is inscribed, " In memory of ^Ir. Matthias Learning
Who bars got Beyond the reach of parcecushion, The life of man is vanity."

Judah and David Leaming of Farmington, in their petition for release
from jail, said that they were provoked to imprudent utterings by injurious
treatment involving " losses of clothing and wages," and the committee who
examined them said that their statement was true.

The Rev. John Smalley, of New Britian, was called a Tory because he advis-
ed his hearers that they were -not bound to keep the Continental Fast. He also
spoke reprovingly of fighting against the king, but afterwards he became a firm
adherent to the American cause.

An extract from a letter in the Courant shows the feeling against the
Tories in May, 1776. " By these miscreants the British prisoners are assisted
to escape. If these infernal enemies are suffered to proceed in their hellish
schemes our ruin is certain, but if they are destroyed the power of Hell and
Britain will never prevail against us."

Col. Joseph Barnum, whose son was captured by the British at Fort Wash-
ington and literally starved to death, was so exasperated that he took his gun
and went in pursuit of Tories to revenge on them the death of his son. He
soon saw an innocent Tory at work on his own land, took deliberate aim and
shot him, wounding him severely but not fatally.

In Jul)^ 1775, a brig owned b}'' Josiah Winslow a well known royalist of
Boston, with some 19,000 gallons of molasses on board was forced by a storm
into Stonington harbor. The people of Norwich captured it as a prize for the
use of the state. It proved a great comfort and luxury to the Continental
soldiers and was referred to as " tory molasses."

The Riflemen of New Milford compelled a Tory to walk before them to
Litchfield and carry one of his own geese all the way in his hand. At Litch-
field they tarred him, made him pluck his goose for his own coat of feathers,
and then made him kneel down and thank them for their lenity.

The members of the Church of England had their full share of trouble.
The most rabid of the Whigs believed that every Episcopalian was either an
open or secret Tory. In 1775, Waterbury voted to have two separate schools,
one for Presbyterians and one for the Church of England. In Watertown the
windows of the Episcopal church were demolished and the principal members
of that church were confined on their farms. In Cheshire they were prevented
from building a church. In Woodbury an Episcopal clergyman was fired at
from ambush. Later he went to Canada.

Rev. Samuel Seabury, a native of Connecticut and the first Episcopal
Bishop in the United States, was taken by about forty armed men at his grammar
school at West Chester, New York, and brought to New Haven in November
1775. He was carried in triumph about the city, escorted by a large number of
armed men who arranged themselves in front of the house of Capt. Sears and
there fired two cannon and made other noisy demonstrations, after which he
was placed in confinement. In his petition for release he states that on the
day of his arrest some forty armed men went to his house, ordered his wife to
open his desk, took his papers and all his money save one English shilling and


a few coppers. They insulted one of his daughters by running a bayonet
through her cap while on her head and twice through the handkerchief on her
neck. They also destroyed a quilt around which his family was at work by
cutting it in pieces with their bayonets. He was ordered to be removed by the
New York Committee of Safety.

At one period a gloom settled over the prospects of the colonists and the
Church party felt almost sure of a speedy triumph, some of the most enthu-
siastic met together at Waterbury, says Dr. Bronson, and determined in what
manner the farms of their opponents should be divided among themselves
after the subjugation of the country.

In July, 1776, the Episcopal clergy, whose duty it was to pray for the king
and for victory over all his enemies, met in convention and resolved that such
prayers " would draw upon themselves inevitable destruction." For a time all
public service was suspended and all of their churches closed save those at New-
town and Redding, which were presided over by Rev. John Beach. Mr. Beach
declared that " he would pray for the king till the rebels cut out his tongue."
Rev. X. A. Welton says of Beach, in the history of Redding, that " a squad of
soldiers marched into his church in Newtown and threatened to shoot him if he
prayed for the king, but when, regardless of their threats, he went on without
so much as a tremor in his voice, to offer the forbidden supplication, they were
so struck with admiration for his courage that they stacked arms and remained
to listen to the sermon."

A band of soldiers once took him to where an axe and block were prepared
for killing him, and one of them said, " Now you old sinner say your last
prayer." He knelt down and prayed, "God bless King George, and forgive all
his enemies and mine for Christ's sake." They let him go.

He was once shot at when in the pulpit at Redding, and the bullet lodged
in the sounding-board about a foot above his head. The congregation sprang
to their feet to rush from the church, but he soon quieted them and proceeded
with his discourse as if nothing had happened.

The Episcopal churches were not only closed by this order but their min-
isters after a time were mostly banished and the great majority of their people
had removed from the state. When they again began to hold public services
they generally omitted the prayer for the king or else omitted the Liturgy
entirely. The Rev. Matthew Graves, of New London, refused to omit the prayer
for the king and as a consequence he was driven from his church on Sunday
before he had time to divest himself of his suplice.

The Rev. Abraham Jarvis, of Middletown, who presided over the Episcopal
Convention of 1776, opened his church on Sundays, but an attendant says that
he " only read some chapters in the Bible and preached a sermon in his own
clothes, not daring to read the church service."

The northwest portion of Bristol and the adjoining portions of the town of
Burlington, Harwinton and Plymouth was a stronghold of toryism, and meet-
ings were held there of Tories from all parts of the state.

The Rev. James Nichols began his services in Bristol in 1773. He was the
last Episcopal minister that went to England for ordination. He was the
"designing church clergyman" before referred to in connection with seventeen
prisoners from Farmington, most if not all of whom were of his congregation.
It is said that he was shot at several times, also that he was taken from a cellar


at East Plymouth, tarred and feathered and then dragged in a brook. By
these and other acts he was banished to Litchfield. His records show that be-
tween the latter part of 1776 and 1781 he administered baptism in his cure on
five different occasions. In 1782 we find him again in charge of the church at

In the Burlington ledges, at the southwest part of the town, is a cave
known as the Tory den. Stephen Graves and his bride of about nineteen lived
in a log cabin in the southeast part of Hawinton, within a mile of this cave.
He was drafted, hired a substitute, and while his substitute was still in the
service at Grave's expense, he was again drafted. This he considered unjust
and freely expressed his opinion, thereby incurring the enmity of Capt. Wilson
and his company of Sons of Liberty. Soon after this he went to visit his
mother at Saybrook. He was pursued and arrested as a deserter, his captors
feasting at the taverns, making him pay all the bills. He came so peacefully
that they relaxed their vigilance somewhat and he made his escape. On reach-
ing home he hid himself without making his presence known until after his
pursuers had been there and his good wife had assured them that Mr. Graves
was in Saybrook on a visit. At one time Graves was tied to a tree and severe-
ly whipped. At another time it is said that he was hung to a chestnut tree
near his house but let down again before he was severel)- injured. Many of
his neighbors were Tories. For sometime he and several companions were
compelled to live at the Tory den, and each night the young Mrs. Graves went
through the dark and pathless woods, over rocky ledges, to carry them food.
The den was often resorted to for shorter periods of refuge. When at work on
their farms a band of Tories worked first one farm and then another, so that
they might protect themselves. If working alone, or when an overpower-
ing party of Sons of Liberty approached them, they would flee to the Tory
den. Their faithful wives were always on the watch, and would blow a horn
or a conch shell as a warning at the sight of any of Capt. Wilsons's men, or
other Tory hunters. These horns were a source of great annoyance to Capt.
Wilson, and he once presented his pistol to the head of a young girl that lived
with Mrs. Graves and threatened to shoot her if she did not tell him where
the noisy conch shell was concealed.

A Bristol Tory, by the name of Potter, was hung until nearly dead, and
one, Joel Tuttle, was hung to an oak tree on Federal Hill in Bristol, and left
alone to die. A Whig by the name of Hangerford cut him down, but the kind-
hearted Hungerford dared not render other assistance and left the Tory lying
insensible on the ground. During the night he so far recovered as to be able
to make his way to the Tory den. Many efforts were made to find this hiding
place, but its location was never known to any but the Tories until after the
close of the war.

Chauncey Jerome of Bristol, a very energetic and powerful man, was taken
by a crowd, his shirt pulled up over his head and then his uplifted shirt and
arms, with cords around his wrists, were tied to a limb of a tree, preparatory to
whipping his bare back. The rod was raised for the first stroke when by a
desperate effort the victim escaped and the blow fell upon the body of the
tree. With the shirt still hanging on the tree, the bare-back man was soon in
the house of his brother-in-law, Jonathan Pond, who stood at the door with gun
in hand forbidding any to enter. Mr. Jerome married the widow of his brother-


in-law, Moses Dunbar, (Dunbar's first wife was Jerome's sister), and while
driving to Hartford one day they stopped for lunch by the roadside before en-
tering- the city. Pointing to the place of execution, Mrs. Jerome remarked, "my
former husband lies buried under that tree." They removed to Nova Scotia
until after the war.

There seems no room for doubt that one of the greatest obstacles the
Patriots of the Revolution had to contend with was the Tory. In nearly if not
every battle we find in addition to the British regulars in uniform, one or more
companies of Tories in ordinary dress. The Tory, Col. John Butler, of Tryon,
New York, was in command of the four hundred Tories and Indians at the
horrible massacre of Wyoming, which was then a part of Connecticut.

Tory guides led the British Gen. Tryon at the burning of Danbury. He
made his headquarters of the house of the Tory, Joseph Dibble. This Dibble
was once taken out of his bed at night, by men in disguise, and ducked until he
expected to perish. Large Stores of provisions were in the Episcopal church
at Danbury, and in Dibble's barn. These goods were taken into the street and
burnt so as to spare said buildings. A white cross was marked on the Tory
buildings to signify " that the destroying angel would pass them unharmed."
The Congregational church and every house save those that had the mystic
sign upon them were destroyed. " The women and children fled from the jeers
of their comfortable Tory neighbors into lonely lanes, damp pastures and
leafless woods." A man by the name of Jarvis was one of these Tory guides.
He went to Nova Scotia for a time and returned to Danbury to live, but a
crowd soon surrounded his father's house, prepared to tar and feather him.
His sister concealed him in an ash oven until he could make his escape, never
to again set foot in his native place. Another of the Tory guides was Eli
Benedict of Danbury. He attempted to reside there again but was threatened
with a ride on a wooden horse and fled. Another of the Danbury guides was
Isaac W. Shelton. He joined the British on Long Island, and was at one time
confined in Hartford jail. After the war he lived in Bristol and acquired a
valuable property.

The Tories continually carried on an illicited trade between Connecticut
and Long Island. They carried off Tory recruits for the British, and Tory
families with large quantities of provisions that were sadly needed here, and
much of this work was done under a British flag of truce.

Rev. Dr. Mather and his four sons, of Stamford, were taken from the par-
sonage at night by eight Tories and carried to New York. One Sunday a party
of British troops, mostly Tories, took 48 prisoners, including Dr. Mather, from
the church at Darien, while they were singing the first hymn. They stole the
horses belonging to the church-goers, and robbed both men and women of
their valuables.

Lieut. Barber, of Croton, while taking a walk was shot through the body,
by concealed Tories, and died immediately. As to Benedict Arnold, I need
only mention his name.

The British and Tories, under Gen Tryon, burned Norwalk and Fairfield
in 1779, and the Episcopal clergyman of Norwalk and many Tories went off
with them.

New Haven was plundered under the guidance of William Chandler, a
captain of a Tory command, assisted by his brother Thomas. Besides robbery



and wanton destruction of property, aged citizens, women and children were
shamefully abused. The Rev. Dr. Daggett, president of Yale college, would
have been murdered had it not been for the interference of the Tory guide
Chandler, who was formerly one of Dr. Daggett's pupils. William and Thomas
Chandler were the sons of Joshua Chandler whose property in New Haven,
valued at ;^3o,ooo, was confiscated. In March, 1787, they attempted to cross
the Bay of Fundy to meet the Commissioners on Loyalists' Claims at St. Johns,
in hopes to obtain compensation for the confiscated property. They were
shipwrecked on the way, and William, the guide, was crushed to death between
the vessel and the rocks. The father landed but soon perished by a fall from
a precipice and others of the party perished from exposure.

The British agents long endeavored to make the United States, rather
than Great Britain, indemnify the Tories, but Dr. Franklin intimated that an
equivalent would be the British indemnification for ravages by their troops,
so the matter was dropped.

The many personal abuses and atrocious acts committed during the war only
show what a desperate struggle our people passed through. Families were
divided. Joseph Ferris of Stamford, a captain in the British army, was taken
prisoner by his brother-in-law. Zerubbabel Jerome of Bristol, and his sons
Robert, Thomas and Asahel, all four served in the Continental ^rmy, the latter
dying in the service. His sons Chauncey and Zerubbabel, Jr., were in the
Hartford jail together as Tories in 1777. His son-in-law, Moses Dunbar, was
executed for high treason. Stephen Graves, the Tory, was another son-in-law,
as was also Jonathan Pond, who defended Chauncey Jerome. His fourth son-
in-law, Joseph Spencer, cannot
be definitely placed on either

The father of Moses Dun-
i lar was a firm Patriot and they
were bitterly opposed to each
other, both in politics and re-
ligion. By such divisions many
descendants from Tory families
are eligible to the Sons of the

After the war most of the
absconding Tories returned and
and mingled with the people as
before. An exception to this is
found in a son of the Rev. James
Scovil of Waterbury. After
about sixty years residence in
New Brunswick, the grievances
of this son were as fresh and
sensitive as when first inflicted,
and he said that "no tempta-
tion that earth could present
would ever induce him to set

Online LibraryWilliam Columbus FerrilThe Connecticut quarterly (Volume 2) → online text (page 27 of 46)