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Ludlow: a century and a centennial online

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oak, near Oliver Button's house,^^ and the timber of the
old sold at vendue. The first reference to guide-boards
is in 1795, when it needed a committee of nine to erect
" way-posts."

We find but little in these days about warning people
out of town. Parties Avere instructed to take the matter
into consideration in '90, who three years later made pub-
lic the names of twelve persons who had signified their
intention to locate without the town's consent, and who
must leave within fifteen days. This course was very
likely taken in order that paupers thus once warned out
could be thrown upon the State for support.

The annals of the highways are very defective, so much
so that they can with the greatest difficulty be traced at
all. The roads from the present west school-house to
Ludlow City, and from L. Simonds's to Jenksville, are the
first mentioned. The old Cherry Valley road through to
J. P. Hubbard's, but not entirely as now, was laid out in
1782, and that from J. L. Mann's to W. G. Fuller's in the
same year. A highway from the east cemeter}'' to Miller
Corner was projected in 1784, and the same year one
across Cedar Swamp. The land damages for the piece of

^"Now Hubbard Duttou's.


road from the Congregational cliureh northward, in 1800,
were one shiUing per square rod. In 1793, a petition is
sent the county officers to lay out a road corresponding
to the route from Collins' Dejiot to Granby, as part of a
line which shall " commode the travil from the eastern
part of Connecticut to Dartmouth Colledge in New Hamp-

Respecting the bridges across the Chicopee a word in
passing may be necessary. It can hardly be presumed
that the one for which provision is made in the charter,^^
was on the Ludlow line. A memorandum of highway
survey bearing date of 1776 speaks of the north end of a
bridge which was probably at Wallamanumps. A fuller
account of the bridges at that point may be found in the
succeeding chapters. The first at Collins' was erected
within the memory of living persons.

Taking in survey the whole of the period we find that
it was a time of establishment. Across the trackless wild
of 1774 were marked the lines of travel. The embryo
neighborhoods of the earlier date had developed into con-
siderable communities, while other clusters of houses had
been formed elsewhere. The fertile slopes of the eastern
base of Mineachogue had been improved by the Daniels's,
Olds's, and Wrights ; the dense woods along Broad Brook
above had been invaded and appropriated by the Aldens,
then nearer than now kindred of John Alden and " Pris-
cilla, the Puritan maiden ; " and there are not wanting
those who trace the fairness of many a Ludlow maiden

" To the damsel Priscilla, the loveliest maiden of Plymouth."
The Lyons also had commenced a settlement where their
descendants now live and thrive, while the falls of Walla-
manumps already had constant admirers in those dwelling
near by.

i'-*See p. 15.


Initial attempts at manufacturing already had been
commenced. In the lay of a road we find reference to
" the saw-mill of Jonathan Burr and Company," after-
^Yards long known as the McLean privilege, what is left
of it being now occupied by AVarren D. Fuller. A mill of
some kind was also in operation in the extreme north part
of the town, or the " city." At the south-west corner,
also, there was a saw-mill at this period.

In municipal affairs, the people seem to have proceeded
much as others did at the same period, At first, the clerk
and treasurer w^ere separate officers, but the positions were
finally vested in one person in 1796, John Jennings then
wearing the double honor. Tax-collecting^for the year
seems at one time to have been intrusted to several
constables, but after a while this mode w^as unsuccess-
ful. The next method was by two collectors, one for
the outward and one for the inward commons. For a
single year, one man undertook the herculean task of col-
lecting for the whole district. It was probably the cus-
tom at the warning of some of the earlier town meetings
for the constables to notify the voters individually, but
this method became too troublesome, and after a wdiile
the town resolved to post notices in several stipulated
places : " the meeting-house and the houses of Joshua Ful-
ler, Capt. Joseph Miller, Gideon Beebe, Benjamin Sikes,
and Joel Nash's mill."

At the close of the period the deer and wolves and
bears must have been mostly driven away, but for a while
they were doubtless frequent. It is said that when the
first Lumbard was one day in the neighborhood of where
Lyman Graves now lives, he found a large bear and two
cubs. Killing one of the cubs, the old bear pursued him,
driving him to a well-known precipitous rock near by, on
w'hich he took refuge. Foiled in her attempt to avenge
the death of her young, she kept guard on the place


nearly a whole night, springing frequently from the ground
up the sides of the rock. Wolves were seen close by the
present residence of Ambrose Clough. But such days
passed away, and wdth them the beasts which infested the

As relics of these days are shown at the present time a
shoe W'Orn by Capt. Miller's grandchildren, and a shell
used for calling together the " men-folks," w^hose resonant
sounds (those of the shell, not of the men-folks) are said
to have been heard three full miles when blown at the
brink of the Chicopee.

• Passing these interesting reminiscences of this period,
let us turn our attention next to events a little later, re-
luctantly leaving the tentative days of the grandsires for
transactions occurring during the lives of the sires of our
present citizens. In the last decade of the century all
the districts received the full privileges of towns — a fit-
ting transition from older to newer days.


1800 TO 1828.



Source of civil institutions — Religion in the town in 1800 — The con-
troversy — A summary proceeding — Suggestive epistle — Exit Mr.
Steward — Thurber— Phelps — Union efforts — Hedding — His min-
istry — His sacrifice — A new comer — Fast-day services — Alexan-
der McLean— Difficulty— Moody — Johns — E. B. Wright— Sketch
— Acceptance of call — Ministr}'^ — Methodism in 1802 — Itinerants
— A class — How it died — Later efforts — Dr. Fisk — Isaac Jenni-
son — Church built — Repairs on old church — The store — Cemeter-
ies — The first hearse — Improvements — A dastardly proposition —
War of 1812— Muster at Hadley— The Horse Company— The
men of 1812 — Desertions — Almost an execution — A souvenir —
Schools — Districts — Musical — Log-cabins — Political — Post-office
— Wages — Potato crops — A scare — Another scare — Frost's corn
— David Paine's death — The Annibal excitement — Theories con-
cerning it — A sequel — '' Nick and Tarz}^ " — Town bounds — Pub-
lic lands — Roads — Bridges — Succession of bridges at Wallama-
numps — Put's bridge — Cooley bridge — The camels — The present
Put's bridge — Calkins' manufactures — Other enterprises — A still
— Glass works — AVallamanumps privilege — Putnam's scythes —
The Jenckes's — The Springfield Manufacturing Co. — Develop-
ment of the village.

The dependence of our civil upon our ecclesiastical in-
stitutions must always, in the final argument, be conceded.
While some may point to the successes of social institu-
tions and municipalities when freed from their primal or
forced association with religious theses or observances, the
candid inquirer will find himself faced by the fact that the


ecclesiastical invariably gives birth to the civil. In our ma-
turer times the church and state may thrive best without
formal interdependence ; but that very maturity to which
we may have arrived, really or seemingly, has developed
from the incipient supremacy of the church. Governmen-
tal laws and social restrictions, educational advantages and
commercial facilities, are traceable, surely and directly, to
the wholesome religious belief and usages of ancestral wor-
thies. Well indeed is it for our generation and those to
come, if we concede this principle. The state grows up
under the foster care and nurture of the church, finally to
go forth at its majority fully prepared for its mission.
Let not the child forget its nativity. We deem it no
object to seek some artificial title for the period we
enter. The establishment of the churches is an import-
ant epoch.

It will have been observed that the earlier ecclesiastical
references have left the religious affairs of the town in a
state of experiment. The Methodist itinerants, flying
evangels, have left their pointed message and sped aw'ay,
with no apparent lasting results. The little handful of
Baptists in the east part of the town have gone regularly
to their Bethel southward, but extend their influence
through an area very limited. The Congregationalists
have, it is true, a feeble organization in 1800, and a min-
ister of their order settled over the town ; but we have seen
how small were their actual numbers arid how dissatisfied
they were all becoming with their minister, who, though
learned and eloquent and pious, must have failed to com-
mend himseK to Calvinists of the Saybrook or Westmin-
ster schools. We shall see two of these three classes of
believers in the town thoroughly organized into successful
and useful churches before we lose sight of the period
whose outlook is before us.

Resuming the controversy 'over Mr. Steward where we


left it in 1800, the people seem still in earnest about the
cessation of his labors in the town.^ The next movement
appears to have been made by the friends of the pastor,
asking in 1801 for a reconsideration of the action just be-
fore taken, but the movement failed in securing a])proval
of the town, at least openly. Some sort of a truce must
have been made, however, for the incumbent is still here
in October, and foils by his influence, evidently, a move-
ment of the opposition " to hire a candidate to preach the
gospel." The "ins" are almost always better than the
"outs," and possession gave tenure another year, when
again the warrant bristled with the notes of war. The
presence of even an errant presiding elder would have
been welcome, doubtless, for things have come to such a
pass that the town fathers feel constrained to try a desper-
ate alternative, even "to see what the town will do rela-
tive to the Continuance of the Eev'^ Antipas Steward
among us in the manner in which he stays at present, and
to take such measures as shall be thought proper to Cause
M"" Steward to be Dismissed from any further care of the
Church and People in said town." They have stripped
from him his revenues, but an insatiate crowd demand
also his mitre, and go so far as " to choose a Committee of
live members to join a Committee of the Church or any
part thereof, to take the most effectual measures to re-
move M"" Antipas Steward from the Church and People in
this town." Two days later the troubled minister re-
ceived a suggestive note which has been preserved :

"To tlie Rev"'' Antiims Steward, Pastor of the Clih in Ludlow.

Rev. Sir

Whereas tlie Situation of the Pastor and Church in this place
is such as we Suppose need advice and counsel this is to Request you
to call a meeting of the Church to see if the pastor chh and town can

iSee p. 3L


agree upon a mntuall council to advise and direct us what is expedient

to be done in our present circumstances
Ludlow, Dec"' y* 8, 1802.

Timothy Keyes
Tyras Pratt
Jamks Kendall
Elisha Hubbard
Stephen" Jones
Moses Wilder
Leonard Miller."

The town committee was thus reinforced by Messrs.
Keyes, Pratt, Jones, Wilder, and Miller, probably from
the church, while John Jennings, Aaron Colton, and Tim-
othy Nash, appointed, for some reason withheld their sig-
natures. Of course there was little use to resist such an
appeal, and the council met in due time and dismissed
Mr. Steward in 1803, a little less than ten years from the
date of his installation.^

The Ludlow Israel seems to have tired of a king for a
season, for we hear of no attempts at settlement or prop-
ositions for protracted service for half a score of years.
Rev. Laban Thurber,^ over whose later career a cloud un-
fortunately rested, supplied a while in 1805 and 1806, and
Abner Phelps in 1808, the latter to "preach out" the
town grant of one hundred dollars, w hich he evidently
did to the satisfaction of some. The amount allowed
about this time was not to exceed five dollars per Sabbath
— not a severe restriction either, as monev was valued
then. A reluctance to grant money for the support of the
gospel is evident very soon, no doubt largely influenced
by the primal sounds of the cry for the dissolution of
church and state. We shall see that the influence of the
teachings of New England dissenters w^as beginning to be
felt, even in Ludlow, as early as 1810. A committee of •

^See Mr. Tuck's account of the proposed tests, Note VI.
^A Baptist.


tAvo from each religious denomination was allowed to sup-
ply preaching in that year, Deacon Stephen Jones and
William Pease representing the Congregational claims,
" Master " Samuel Frost and Uriah Clough the ^lethodist,
and Ezekiel Fuller and Abel Wright the Baptist, but with
no appropriation.

A singular state of things comes next to our view, in
glancing at the History of Congregationalism. For years
its people will welcome to their homes and hearts Method-
ist clergymen.

In 1810, or in the succeeding year, came " Elder Elijah
Hedding" to Ludlow. Appointed to the New London dis-
trict as presiding elder, he found it desirable to move from
his itinerant's home at Winchester, N. H., to some conven-
ient point in the central part of the field assigned. The
feebleness of the denomination in New England at the time
is evident from the fact that Mr. Hedding selected Ludlow
as his home. His oversight reached from New Hampshire
line to Long Island Sound, from Needham to the ridge of
the Green Mountains. Finding the ecclesiastical affairs
in so lamentable a condition in the town of his adoption,
he set himself to remedy the same. Paying no attention
to the unsuccessful designs of some to oust him from the
town by proposing to have bin; warned out as having "no
visible means of support," the good minister accepted an
invitation to preach in the meeting-house on a Sabbath
when he was home. Gaining the good-will of the people,
he supplied another Sabbath when at liberty, as his district
work occupied his time but eight Sabbaths in a quarter.
A very satisfactory arrangement was finally made whereby
Mr. Hedding supplied the desk every Sabbath at his com-
mand, fdling up some of the rest with the services of a
talented local preacher, Joshua Crowell of Ware. Under
this administration prejudices were disarmed very speedily,
and all brought into sympathy with the minister thus


uniquely combining the duties of presiding elder in the
Methodist church and stated supply in the Congregation-

This arrano-ement lasted as lono; as Mr. Heddino; lived
in town — a year. The friendship between the minister
and the people was of the warmest kind. His pure life
and godly sermons told in spiritual effect. The conference
session drew near, and with it the limitation of Mr. Hed-
ding's agreement. The people were suited, desired him
to stay, asked him to stay. It was a trial to him. On
the one hand were home and ample support, a satisfied
and loving people — on the other, a life of wandering, with
all the uncertainties and privations of the earlier itiner-
ancy. Yet he did not waver, but took his next charge
without murmuring.

In 1813 the war was raging against Great Britain, and
the people were in a state of excitement. All on the sea-
coast became nervous, and flocked to the inland regions in
troops. Among these refugees from the dangers of the
war with England was a small, bright-eyed man from
Provincetown, on Cape Cod, who strayed into Ludlow
in the Fall. After severe defeats in the north-west,
President Madison issued a proclamation for a day of fast-
ing. It so happened that the Provincetown stranger
arrived here at just about the day appointed for the fast
service. He inquired for a meeting, and was told that
there was no minister in the town and no service had
been appointed. He replied that he was a clergyman, and
would be pleased to conduct worship if the people so de-
sired. They gladly accepted the proposition, gathered
together and listened to a flaming sermon from a Metho-
dist local preacher on the fitting text : " The people of
Nineveh believed God and proclaimed a fast." Among
other good things he hoped that in the company there
were "no immoderate eaters and drinkers, no gluttons


or wine-bibbers." Such was the advent of Alexander
McLean into Ludlow.

So pleased were the people with the sermon and the
man, that arrangements were at once made for a trial ser-
vice of four weeks as minister. The towns-folks then
insisted that Mr. McLean should be hired for a year, and
he was engaged. Ludlow was henceforth his home.
His fac simile is here presented :

Under his administration, continued until 1816, matters
went on quite smoothly, at least for a while. True, there
were some who objected to the idea of a settled Methodist
preacher, but as the town managed the ecclesiastical affairs,
there was little room for objection. The causes of disquiet
are easily surmised.

In 1814 there was a great mortality in the town, num-
bers of homes being made desolate. Under the ministra-
tions of evangelists and Mr. McLean a powerful awakening
followed, " more extensive," says our informant, " than
ever was known in the town before." Large numbers
professed a hope in God. Of course a question of church
relationship arose. Intimately associated with this was
another. Mr. McLean was not, according to existent
church rules, competent to administer the ordinances of
baptism and the Lord's supper. Wordy altercations
between the parties followed, which were resultful in
alienation of feeling. The Congregationalists signed a
declaration of church relationship, and would no longer
atliliate with the town's minister. In 1817 his official
services seem to have terminated. Later in the year the
town again authorizes the three denominations to furnish
the pulpit supply, but with the proviso that the money
should be expended within the meeting-house. An un-


successful attempt to press a call to Mr. Eli Moody indicates
the presence of that gentleman a little after, while vet-
erans speak with animation of frequent supply from Rev.
Mr. Johns of South Hadley. In 1819, the society and
town unite in callins; one destined to bear a leadino- share
in the doings of the town for^early a score of years.

Rev. Ebenezer Burt Wright was born in Westhampton,
and graduated at Williams College in 1814. He pursued
theological studies at Andover, was licensed by the Salem
Association at Danvers, April, 1817. He was a young
man, full of fire and zeal, having a profound conviction of
duty and a lofty reverence for his exalted office, when he
came as a candidate to Ludlow. The people were pleased
with him, and extended a call, which, after earnest and
prayerful consideration, he accepted in fitting terms. The
character of the man, perhaps, could not be better shown
than by excerpta from his letter of compliance. " I regret
the disappointment that I may have occasioned by delay-
ing my decision so long ; but in a case of so great conse-
quence I could not presume. * * * My doubts are at
length chiefly removed. There is a God who reigns. I
have endeavored to ascertain His will ; and I dare not
proceed contrary to what His will appears to me to be.
* * * I hope God designs to make me (unworthy as I
am) an instrument of building up the kingdom of His Son
in this place ; most cheerfully do I devote myself to a
people in w^hose welfare I feel much interest. For you I
trust I shall heartily labor, and permit me to expect that
my labors will be constantly assisted by your fervent
prayers." He was ordained pastor, December 8, 1819.

The influence of such a man in the town could not fail
to be salutary in the highest degree. The little band of
church memljers, reduced to about half a dozen when Mr.
Steward left, had been, to be sure, increased by revival
influences and accessions from other towns. Yet, with no


organizer and leader, healthy growth was almost impossible.
Mr. Wright's ministry was well qualified to induce confi-
dence in the society — not only mutual confidence among
his own people, but a feeling of respect on part of the
scattering numbers of Baptists and slowly increasing
company of Methodists, as nvell as outsiders. When the
town has at length commenced the process of divorcement
from the church, we see from year to year the records of
the clerk referring, probably in accordance with the
verbiage of the day, and yet with real or fancied fondness,
to "Rev. E. B. Wright's society."

The life and career of Mr. Wright is within the memory
of many living, some of the chief actors in the events of
his ministry in Ludlow being still upon the stage of action.
We have not the liberty of so freely dilating upon trans-
actions so recent. His friends should lay away references
to the pastorate and pen down reminiscences for future
annalists. No one ever questioned his sincerity or purity.
The Wilbraham historian appreciatingly speaks of " that
saintly man, Ebenezer B. Wright."^ On two occasions,^
having been made acquainted with the real or imaginary
weakened financial ability of the town, he relinquished a
hundred dollars of his salary. Ilis honesty was proverbial
— at times almost leaning to credulity.

Over his life there seems to have come a shade of sor-
row. It is not for us to judge where responsibility rests
or rested. The story is simple enough, when stripped of
its explanations. He was human, and, not unlike others"
of his race, was charmed by the attractions of a worthy
lady in the parish, but one upon whom smile of wealth
and rank in position had not rested. There were objec-
tions presented by well-meaning persons, very likely
pressed beyond judicious limits. His mind was fixed upon

*Stebbin«' History, p. 150.
61823 and 1827.

($ /^. 52^<r-^.;gC^

KEY. E. B. WKinilT.



the alliance, and, baffled, finally reeled and tottered.
Borne aAvay to the care of skilled persons for a while, he
recovered and returned, but he returned to celebrate the
intended nuptials. The marital life was one of great hap-

Under the administration of Mr. Wright the Society
thus obtained that strength and position which has been
continued to the |)resent day. Let us noAv glance at the
history of Methodism during the same period.

It will be remembered that w^e left the interests of
Methodism at a very low state in 1800.'' The itinerants
had abandoned the field and left little to remind of labors
there save the good seed sowed, which, to all appearances,
was buried deeply. But those old itinerants knew no
such word as fail, and soon resumed labors in Ludlow.
Li 1801, probably on invitation of " Master " Frost, the
preachers were again invited here, and successfully.
Meanwhile the new cause had received accessions. In the
Fall of 1801 David Orcutt, perhaps the first class-leader
in the town, removed hither, and for seven years at least
meetings were held at Samuel Frost's. The circuit
preacher wdio organized the class was Henry Fames, and
March 29, 1802, was the date of founding. There were
about a dozen members. Augustus Jocel}^, the next cir-
cuit preacher, established a Sabbath appointment in Lud-
low and spent a considerable portion of his time here.

In August, 1802, occurred a notable event in the his-
tory of the movement — what is now remembered as an
"old-fashioned quarterly meeting." The place appointed,
of course the house of Samuel Frost,' being too small was
enlarged for the occasion by the addition of a rude shed,
covered with brush and tree branches. Preparations com-
plete, an audience was not wanting, for crowds assembled.

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Online LibraryAlfred NoonLudlow: a century and a centennial → online text (page 5 of 18)