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Centennial of Vernon (Rockville) June 28 to July 4 inclusive, 1908 online

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CENTENNIAL OF VERNON (ROCK VILLE)

JUNE 28 TO JULY 4 INCLUSIVE, 1908.

SOUVENIR PROGRAM CONTAINING HISTORY OF THE
TOWN, WITH EVENTS FOR THE WEEK, HALF
TONES OF MEMBERS OF COMMITTEES AND PROM-
INENT CITIZENS AND INTERESTING INFORMATION.



O L P HO M B W K B K

VERNON. A CENTURY OED, REJOICES AT THE PROG-
RESS ACHIEVED. ROCKVILLE, CO NN.. "LOOM" CITY.

PUBLISHED UNDER AUSPICES OF THE COMMITTEE
ON ADVERTISING, PRINTING AND PUBLICITY.



T. K. RADY & CO., I'RINTING.
ROCKVILLE, COXN.



COMMITTEE ON PRINTING,

Francis A. Randall, Harry C. Smith,

Geo. p. Wendheiser, Charles Backofen.



history compiled by
Harry C. Smith.



AUTHORIZED BY SPECIAL TOWN MEETING.



The Following Amended Resolution Authorizing the

Centennial Celebration by Vote of the Town Was

Passed at a Special Meeting Held Friday

Evening, Nov. 29, 1907.

Resolved — That the legal voters of the Town of Vernon
ill Town Meeting assembled do hereby declare themselves
in favor of an Old Home Week celebration, to be holden
during some week in the year 1908, which will appropriately
mark the One-Hundredth Anniversary of the Town of
Vernon, and that a committee, consisting of the Board of
Selectmen of the Town, the Town Treasurer, the Mayor of
the City of Rockville, the President of the Rockville Bus-
iness Men's association, and Hon. Francis T. Maxwell, rep-
resenting the manufacturing interests of the town, be, and
hereby are appointed a committee, with power to select
fifteen other residents of the town, representing its business
and professional interests, who together shall form a com-
mittee of twenty-two, and who shall have power to arrange
for, direct and carry out all plans for such celebration on
such dates as they shall select and which shall be considered
most appropriate from every standpoint. Said committee
shall also have power to appoint any and all additional com-
mittees and sul>-committees in their opinion necessary for
the celebration.

Resolved — That a sum not to exceed $2,000 be appro-
priated from the Town Treasury to be used for the expenses
incurred l)y the Old Home Week celebration during the
centennial )'ear of the town, and that the Town Treasurer
lie, and is lierel)y authorized to honor any and all orders
from the Treasurer of the General Committee for such
amounts that the committee shall need from time to time
not to exceed in the aggregate the amount appropriated by '
the town.

Resolved — That the City of Rockville be asked to do
what it can legally do to co-operate with the town, througii
the .Ma\i)r and Common Council, in making the celebration
a success.



GENERAL COMMITTEE.



CHARLES PHELPS President

THOAL\S F. NOONE Vice-President

J. C. HAMMOND, Jr Secretary

FRED. WOODH.\LL Assistant Secretary

PARLEY B. LEON.VRD Treasurer

FRANCIS B. SKINNER I'l^WCIS J. REGAN

PAUL BRACHE A. B. PARKER

JOHN H. ZIMMERMANN GEORGE P. \A-ENDHEISER

FRANCIS T. MAXWELL JOHN W. HEFFERON

FRANCIS A. RANDALL C. DENISON TALCOTT

GEORGE FORSTER CH.^RLES BACKOFEN

DAVID A. SYKES MORITZ KEMNITZER

CHARLES N. McLEAN H. H. WILLES

H. C. SAiITH




1 AfSIMILE OF ORIGIXAL DEED EXE( ITED I\ 172C KY Wlllfn SAMUEL GRAM
KE(AME THE I'lMU'lUETOK OK :,()0 A( HKS OF PKIMITIVE LA>DS, THEN
ROKJH AAD RIGGED, XMV UOtKVlLLE.



oi'MCiAi. i'Rnr;R.\.M— ( )i.i) hoaik wI':rk




MCW I'.XI'.I.ANI



THE NEW ENGLAND CO. was organized in 1836 by George Kellogg and
Allen Hammond, who built its first mill in 1837, which was 120 by 34 feet, three
stories and attic. This mill was destroyed by fire in 1841. During the fall and
winter following the men employed in the mill cut the timber standing on a lot
south of Fox Hill, and it was sawed at a sawmill standing where the American
mill machine shop is now located, and the mill was rebuilt.

In 1847 there was built an addition of 72 feet, making the present building 192
by 34. The stone building, 120 by 40 feet, two stories and attic, used for storage
and sorting wool, storage of yarn and drying of wool and yarn, was built in 1860,
as was also the office and wheel house.

The brick mill, five stories, 150 by 40 feet, was built in 1885, and machinery
therein started in 1886. In 1847 Mr. Kellogg, who had previously been Agent at
the old Rock Co., came to the New England Co., and Mr. Hammond went to the
Rock Co., and built the new Rock mill, so called: subsequently Allen Hammond re-
turned to the New England Co. and George Kellogg to the Rock.

The New England Co. was among the first, if not the first, in this country to
make fancy cassimeres, commencing to make them in its new mill in 1842. Allen
Hammond went to Worcester and learned designing of the elder Mr. Crompton,
the inventor of the Crompton loom at its first introduction in weaving.

The 'Company has always stood high in its products, having taken first
medals at the "World's Fairs" of Vienna, Philadelphia, Chicago, Paris and at Cin-
cinnati. The American Institute, 2 first medals Institute of State of Pennsylvania,
1 first medal Maryland Institute, Baltimore; first medal Hartford County, and
Connecticut State Fair 3 first medals.

The equipment of the Company consists of nine sets of cards, 114 broad looms
and the other necessary machinery for making fine fancy goods.

The mill is now largely making fine worsteds, using yarns made from the
finest Australian wools, which they buy, (the making of yarns being an industry
by itself), and make a great variety of fine worsteds, unsurpassed by any made
either in this country or abroad.

Mr. Allen Hammond died in 1864 and was succeeded by his son, A. Park
Hammond, the present Treasurer of the Company.

The present officers of the Company are :

ROBERT MAXWELL, President.

A. PARK HAMMOND, Treasurer.

GEORGE B. HAMMOND, Clerk and Bookkeeper.

FRANK EASTWOOD, Superintendent.




SK ifUlLDINC;. CITIZENS' BLOCK. M. E. CHURCH. MEMORIAL BUILDINi



UBXRY BUILniXG. THK ROCKVILLE




ESTERNI SUMUS,"
"We are but of yester-
day," wrote a Christian
of the early days, ad-
dressing the emperor in
defense of his faith and
practice. "Yet," lie add-
ed, "we have filled every place of yours,
cities and castles, islands and camps, the
senate and the forum."

The town of Vernon, which includes
the city of Rockville, seems but of yester-
day, as one recalls the numerous towns
which celebrated their bi-centennials, or
even cjuarter millenials, many years ago,
constituent parts of the ancient republics
which have been for more than two cen-
turies united in one colony and state of
Connecticut. The fame of Vernon, or
Rockville's life and prosperity has filled
many places near and far, and her manu-
facturing plants — giant woolen industries
— are splendid monuments of the sturdy
qualities of the fathers, which have de-
scended from one generation to another,
a perpetual reminder of her busy activi-
ties and the usefulness of the work she is
doing in the field of industrial progress.
Indeed, the history of the town tells of
high purpose, faithful endeavor and hon-
orable achievement in every generation
from the settlement of the town to the
present time. No chapter, however, con-
tributes more to the town's renown than
woolen manufacturing. It is this industry
which has built the town up and sent its
name and fame around the world.



\\'hen an infant in swaddling clothes
the town occupied a unicjue and conspic-
uous position in the woolen industry of
the countr}', which was then in its primi-
tive stage.

If Col. Francis McLean. one of the good
fathers of the town, a pioneer in the
woolen industry, the man who built the
first woolen factory of any size in the
town, a factory which was looked upon as
a nine days' wonder, could look in upon
the town today and see the large and
magnificent woolen manufacturing plants,
it is quite likely he would rub his eyes and
wonder if he weren't dreaming. Surely a
remarkable transformation has taken
place.

\^ hen Aernon was incorporated as a
town it was by no means a new settle-
ment. It had an interesting and not un-
important history. While a century has
passed since Vernon acquired political
recognition as a town of Connecticut, the
history of the town of A'ernon properly
begins with the settlement of the town of
Bolton. In 1800 there were 1452 inhai)-
itants in Bolton. In 1810 Vernon had a
population of 827, while Bolton's popula-
tion was but 700. It would be unjust in
giving an historical sketch of Vernon and
Rockville to omit reference to Bolton, for
the larger part of Vernon and Rockville
\vas for many years included in Bolton
township. The state of Connecticut bears
upon her seal the three vines which stand
for the first three towns. Hartford. Wind-
sor and W'eUiersfield. Bolton ami Xeruon



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VERXON - ROCK\"ILLE CEXTENNIAL CEEEI'.RATIOX.



were settled by persi:)ns from Windsor,
Hartford and Wethersfield, and the name
of Grant was prominent in the early days
of the town. Samuel Grant being the first
white settler in the villai^e of Rockville,
the transaction of the original deed cover-
ing the rough and rugged lands of Rock-
ville taking place in ilartford, April 29,
1726, being made to him by the agents of
the proprietors of the Bolton lands. The
settlement of Vernon dates back to 1716,
80 years after the settlement of Hartford
by Hooker and Haynes, of revered mem-
ory, and 77 years after the adoption of the
first American constitution at Hartford by
the planters of Connecticut colony. Bolton
proper was originally a part of the town
of Hartford. It went by the name of
"Hartford Mountains" and was some-
times called "Hannover."

Bolton township was a flourishing cen-
ter of population and enjoyed business
prosperity long before Rockville had a
beginning. Its early inhabitants took
pride in keeping up appearances. They
desired to lay out through the center of
the settlement a broad street or common.
The owners were to throw the land into
commons, and of course without charges.
A certain farm, owned by Samuel Grant
of Windsor, interfered with the carrying
out of the project. Being a non-resident,
he did not take sufTicient interest in the
improvement to induce him to give the
land. Samuel Grant's lack of public spirit
did not disturb the inhabitants, however.
They made him a proposition to exchange
his farm in Bolton for certain lands be-
longing to the proprietors of Bolton lands,
lying in the north end of the township.
lUounting his horse, he rode over from
Windsor to look at the lands. Arriving
at the western boundary he plunged into
the forest and clambered up the stream,
over rocks and through thickets, until he
reached the outlet of the pond. Idaving
prospected sufficiently, he worked his
way back to his starting point. He now
rode down to Bolton and oltercd to swap
his farm there of about 100 acres for 500
acres of the lands in North Bolton. No
time was lost in accepting his offer and
the writings were hastened with all due
diligence for fear he might regret his bar-
gain.



I'he men who made the proposition to
Samuel (irant weren't ([uite satisfied that
it would come to a successful issue. They
could not see what he could do with the
rough lands on Snipsic outlet, then con-
sidered practically worthless and of no
value. The transaction, however, was
fully consummated, as the facsimile of
the original deed in possession of the
Grant family, which appears at the be-
ginning of this article, attests.

It is questionable if Samuel Grant,
after becoming the proprietor of five hun-
dred acres of primitive lands, then rough
and rugged, now Rockville, foresaw what
the tumbling waters were to be made to
do, and what wealth they were to develop.
Undoubtedly he saw a future possibility
of grist and saw mills on his newly-gotten
streams, and shrewdly saw money in the
possibility. Being a pushing, aggressive
sort of man, once in the possession of his
lands, Samuel Grant packed his saddle
bags of a Monday morning, leaving his
kinsfolk in Windsor, rode bravely along
the forest paths, and hitched his horse at
the corner of Union and West streets. He
buckled right in and worked with a will,
erecting in the course of weeks a solid and
comfortable log house. The house was
afterwards replaced by a frame house, and
that by the one now standing on the old
site chosen by the pioneer.

Reference to the Grant family, who
took a conspicuous part in the early life
of Rockville, would be incomplete with-
out at least brief mention of Ozias, only
son of Samuel Grant. He was a man w ho
attracted marked attention. A miller by
trade, he was large and stalwart, and
usually wore the white linen cap of those
days, and is remembered by old people as
a man of simple and cjuaint manners,
whose foot made a great track in the sand.
He was pressed into the English army
and took part in the Quebec campaign
and the march on Lexington alarm. He
was a maker of queer speeches, some of
which are remembered and one of which
is as follows. When discussing the quali-
ties of the various kinds of wood, said he:
"A good yaller swamp oak for a mud sill
wdlUast for ages, but a real fat yaller pine
will last a good deal longer than a swamp
oak." A native of East Windsor, where



10



OFFICIAL PROGRAM— OLD HOME WEEK.




ROPKINS & COMPANY,



Hartford,



Connecticut



VERNON -ROCK\'ILLE CENTENNIAL CELEl'.RATION.



11



he was born in 17.i3, he ched in X'crnon in
1823 at the aije (if 'JO _\-ears. Ik- is hnried
in the ancient l)uryiny t^rcumd at \'er-
non.

Of ( )zias ,Grant"s six sons all hut one,
who was killed, settled down on the
original acres and built houses, three of
which are yet standing, viz., the one at
the corner of West and Union streets, the
main part of the homestead of Ozias
Grant, built in 1809 on the site of the
original log cabin, built by Samuel (irant,
the first house in Rockville. It is now
owned and occupied by Nathaniel R.
Grant, in whose possession is the original
deed. A cut of the house appears else-
where. For one hundred years the road
on the left in the illustration was called
Grant street. The homestead of Elnathan
Grant was probably built about 1782 by
Ozias Grant. It is still standing. The
homestead of Augustus Grant is over a
century old. It has passed out of the
family, but is still standing.

One of the most interesting periods
in the history of the town was reached
when, in 1762, on top of the hill, still
known to some as the "Old Meetinghouse
Hill," the first church in the town was
erected. As early as 1749 a petition
signed by eighteen of the inhabitants of
the north part of the town of Bolton was
sent to the General Assembly asking that
the privilege of a winter parish be grant-
ed. The people felt that they had just
cause for relief, as they lived from five
to seven miles from the meetinghouse,
and the roads were rough and traveling
anything but comfortable. This privi-
lege was granted and winter preaching
was enjoyed, meetings being held in the
schoolhouses and private residences un-
til room became cramped and the Eccles-
iastical society of North Bolton was
formed, in 1760. The territory of this
society was the same as the present town
of Vernon. When the town was set off it
was divided on the lines as established
by the two ecclesiastical societies.

The meetinghouse stood about half a
mile east of the present meetinghouse at
Vernon Center, halfway between the
Bamforth place, formerly the Hubbard
Kellogg place, and the Charles ( ). Dart
residence, a well-known inn during the



early da}'s of the town. Surrounded by
the original forest, vviiich, when summer's
sun was high, cast a grateful shade about,
it had a stately dignity, in spite of its
]5lainness. The building was a four- sided
one in the prevailing style of architecture
for country churches, without any steeple.
Slow [irogress was made in fitting the
building owing to the slender means of
the people. It remained without pews
until 1770 and was not plastered until
1774. The frame of the church was used
in the east wing of the old Frank factory
at Rockville. A slab — the thoughtfnlness
of Mrs. George Maxwell, marks the spot
where the church stood.

\^ernon was fortunate in the selection
of her first pastor. Rev. Ebenezer Kel-
logg, who was called Nov. 24, 1762, and
whose pastorate continued for a period
of fifty-five years. Affectionately known
as '"Priest" Kellogg, a scion of that sturdy
stock which has given many distinguished
men to the country, strong mentally, he
held his people with a vigorous hand. A
Puritan himself, his people became like
him, Puritans also.

The peculiar theology and religious
character of New England Congregation-
alism was indellibly stamped upon the
men who went from Vernon to Rockville
in 1821 to organize its business and plant
its institutions. With them the Sabbath
commenced with the setting of the sun
of Saturday, from their recognition of the
recorded fact that "evening and morning-
made creation's first day." Even the "di-
vinity that doth hedge a king" commands
hardly more attention than that wdiich
was paid to the minister in the early
days of the town. The very children were
taught to make obeisance to him as they
passed along the street. An atmosphere
of dignity and solemnity seemed
to emanate from his black clothes, high
stock and white cravat. Sabbath day
was universally honored. Civil guardians
restrained out-of-door disturbances of its
quiet, and "tithingmen," with their long,
slender wands gently touching suspected
boys or girls, prevented disturbances in
the sanctuary. One of the tithingmen
got to slee]) during the service in the old
church at Vernon Center one Sunday. He
occupied a rear pew under the gallery.



12



OFFICIAL PROGRAM— OLD HOMF WFEK.



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VERNON - ROCKVILLE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION.



13



His head thrown back and mouth wide
open, he afforded an opportunity for a
mischievous boy in the gallery to let
loose some of his pent-up mischief, and it
goes without saying that the boy was not
slow to make the most of the opportunity.
He dropped a well masticated quid of to-
bacco which landed well in the back of
the tithingman's throat. It was a some-
what rude and rather unpleasant awaken-
ing; but boys will be boys, and while the
tithingman felt somewhat cheap, it's quite
likely he wasn't caught napping again.

Tradition says that a tin peddler by
the name of Dean, who had been ped-
dling his wares up this way, desired to
get to his home in Stafford for over Sun-
day. Knowing how strict the people
were and with what horror they viewed
any desecration of the Sabbath, he in-
geniously made a dummy to represent a
man from bags which he had in his
wagon. When he reached the place where
Nathan Lanz now lives he was halted liy
one of the good fathers of the town, who
came rushing out of the house. With a
solemnity that would do justice to a dea-
con of those days, the tin peddler said,
"Keep away, keep away, I've got a small-
pox case here." It is needless to say that
the tin peddler was allowed to go on his
waj' unmolested. The good father of the
town who sought to hold him up went
back to the house quicker than he came
out.

About half a mile east of the spot
where Vernon's first meetinghouse stood,
on the road from Rockville to Bolton, is
an ancient burying ground — an acre con-
secrated for the burial of the dead. It
was laid out many years before the first
church was erected. Probably the site
of the church was selected partly because
of its proximity to the cemetery, but prin-
cipally because of its location on a high
hill. It was customary in the early days of
New England to select the most elevated
site that could be found. There are many
old gravestones there and several graves
without any stones. Tradition says that
the first body buried there was that of
a child who was killed by a fall from a
load of goods near the very spot. The
goods were being moved by ox team
from Bolton. The child was l)uried in



the northeast corner of the cemetery.
There is no place of burial where with
more peculiar fitness one may quote the
pathetic lines :

"Each in his narrow cell forever laid.
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep."
Once the center of the parish, time has
played strange pranks. It is today "far
from the madding crowd's ignoble
strife," removed from the haunts of men.
Few go there, except the curious and
those drawn by a desire to muse and be
alone. The writer spent one day there
a few years ago reading the numerous
quaint epitaphs. As we wander through
the old graveyard and pause to read the
uncouth rhyme, under the rudely carved
death's head on the frail memorial of one
of the early ])ionecrs, we are bidden :

"Behold and see as you pass by.

As you are now so once was I ;

As I am now so must you be.

Prepare for death and follow me."
.Many of the fathers of the town, men
who helped make history in the early
days and who lived godly and useful lives,
are buried in the ancient burying ground,
among them being tlie honored and saint-
ly Ebenezer Kellogg, \^ernon's first pas-
tor, who died Sept. 3, 1817. Less than
four months before his death he recorded
with his own hand the last admission to
the church during his lifetime, Eliza, wife
of George Kellogg. Following is the in-
scription on the stone erected in honor of
Rev. Ebenezer Kellogg :

Rev. Ebenezer Kellogg died
Sept. 3rd, 1817, in the S 1st year
Of his age, and .^.'^th year
Of his ministry in this place.

"In yonder sacred meetinghouse he spt-nt

his breath.
Now silent ; senseless, here he sleeps in

death.
These lips again shall wake and then de-
clare,
A long amen to li-uths they published
there."
With our fathers, religion and educa-
tion went hand in hand. As .soon as set-
tlements were made, first the meeting-
house was erected and almost sinudtan-
eously action was taken toward the erec-
tion of schoolhouses. A school societv



14



OFFICIAT. PROGRAM— OLD HOME WEEK.





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Online LibraryConn VernonCentennial of Vernon (Rockville) June 28 to July 4 inclusive, 1908 → online text (page 1 of 7)