Sylvester Barbour.

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convictions, whom he could not but respect ; it being true,
as was fitly remarked recently by Judge Harmon, in an
address made at the funeral of his friend, Governor Pat-
tison, of Ohio: "Sincerity and bravery will always win

And now, Mr. Editor, please permit me, in closing,
by way of pleasantry, to indulge in a little homely poetry,
making some contrast between 1856 and 1906:

Compared with time that went before,

Fifty years are but a mere span.
Yet, when we think the matter o'er,

In it, what wonders wrought by man!

In eighteen hundred fifty-six,

No telephone, no car on street,
Nothing but cry of " Fire! " to fix

The place for the firemen to meet.

No machine to do man's writing,

Save his old quill and metal pen ;
Poor woman could not do a thing

To help the weary business men ;


Now, where'er we go, we find her —

In shop, store, office, college, too,
Doing what God dfesigned her for,

Happy, finding something to do.

Then, it took a full week, and more,

To get news over the ocean;
Now, we get it from farthest shore

In a minute, under ocean.

" We call our fathers fools, so wise we grow.

No doubt our Mnser sons will [yes, can] call us so."

Hartford, July i6, 1906. S. B.


[Hartford Times, Editorial July i6, 1906.]


The letter of Judge Sylvester Barbour, which is
printed on page 3, goes back beyond the mernory of most
readers of this paper, for it begins with the day just fifty
years ago when Mr. Barbour passed his examination for
admission to the Hartford bar. His examination was by
R. D. Hubbard, long since gone over to the majority,
and of the lawyers of that time in Hartford, only two
survive, George G. Sill and Charles E. Perkins. The
examination was in what is now the office of Mr. Sill.
Out of the stores of recollections due to a long life, a
good memory and a wide acquaintance. Judge Barbour
makes a paper of lively interest, not least in his brief
characterizations of the men of the older days. Among
the older lawyers at that time, he speaks of Thomas C.
Perkins, second or third in a line of lawyers by descent,
which has continued through three later generations, and
who reminded him, in physiognomy and eloquence, of
Henry Clay; Isaac Toucey, afterwards senator and sec-
retary of the navy; William Hungerford, whom he con-
siders the most learned lawyer of the time; Francis Par-
sons, Charles Chapman and William W. Eaton. He
mentions Chief Justice Williams, who was then living,
and among the younger lawyers of his early days he
speaks of Richard D. Hubbard, William D. Shipman,
Henry K. W. Welch, Nathaniel Shipman, George S. Gil-
man and Lucius F. Robinson. He says much more about
the bar. Passing on to later times, he notes that not one
of the clergymen of 1856 is now living. He recalls many
old business men, who will prove well known to the older
readers; he notes thafDr. Gurdon W. Russell is the only
physician of 1856 now living; he tells something of the


height of the anti-slavery discussion at that time. In a
word, he takes the readers back to days which are merely
historical to most of them, and, in a perfectly simple way,
sets them forth, so that in place of mere names, there
comes something like a feeling of acquaintance, even to
those not yet old enough to have had personal knowledge
of many of these men, even in their later days.

It is a delightful letter, kindly observant, and aston-
ishingly young in spirit for a man who has practiced fifty
years at the bar. It is a pity not to have more of these
reminiscences, especially the professional ones which prob-
ably appealed most strongly to the writer, for they show
a gift at characterization which is rather rare and is worth
much indiscriminate cataloguing of details.

[Hartford Times, July rg, 1906.]


Poem by Hartford Lawyer — Judge Sylvester

Judge Barbour's verses were entitled " Salutation to
Canton," and he recited them just before the close of the
forenoon's exercises. There was a manifestation of
pleasure by the assembly, and personal appreciation by
several prominent ones on the platform at the delivery
of the salutation. The Times prints the poem in full:


Hail ! Canton, one hundred years old ;

From far and near we're gathered here,
Where we were born, as we've been told,

To celebrate thy natal year.

We've come to talk about that year.

When thou wert born, so long ago;
We've come to thank Simsbury, dear,

For so kindly letting thee go.

No one of us was living then,

As we so much regret to say,
Though some are more than three-score ten,

And glad to see this festal day.

We're proud to own thee our mother.

There's not a stain upon thy name.
As a town there's not another

More free from aught to cause one shame.

The older ones of our numbers

Well knew the staunch and upright men

Who acted as thy founders.

We revered them, we children, then.


And ever since our childhood days,
Scores upon scores of like good men

Have ruled thee in true, honest ways,

Would there were time to mention them.

Most of them have gone to their rest.
Their lives of faithful service o'er,

And we hope they're among the blest
On yon bright and heavenly shore.

May each coming generation

In like manner, in honesty,
Govern thee, beloved Canton,

During the coming century.

And may the next celebration,
To be held in two-thousand-six,

Be as joyous to thee, Canton,
As is this in nineteen-nought-six.

No one of us will be here then,
As none of us was at thy birth;

God grant us, then, a home in heaven,
As, one by one, we've passed from earth.


[Hartford Times, Oct. 15, 1906.]


Reminiscences by Judge Sylvester Barbour, in
Connection with a Sunday Ride to Canton.

To the Editor of The Times:

On a recent Sunday I took a delightful drive Into the
country, one that I can recommend to others, fond of
hill, dale, now and then a fertile field, wild scenery, and
beautiful views from mountains. I am sure Dr. M. and
his dentist companion would be delighted with it. I wish
I had the gifts of the former for describing it. One
should take the precaution, which I did, to have a horse
afraid of nothing, and controllable In all situations, for
the traveled part of the highway In many places is little
more than a good cart path, say eight or nine feet wide,
making it difficult for teams to pass on meeting, not to
mention the on-rushing, frightening automobile. Doubt-
less the highway was originally laid out of suitable width;
but as it costs less labor to maintain a narrow way than
a broad one, bushes, trees and rocks have been allowed
to occupy the major part of what land belongs to the
public, but the road, what there is of it. Is kept in good
condition. My friends ©ut there need not chide me for
this seeming criticism, for, as a country boy among the
hills, accustomed to assist In the repair of roads, I well
know what a great burden it Is for the taxpayers In
sparsely settled towns to keep their highways in repair.
A spin on the dirt road of the country must be very
pleasing to the city horse, accustomed to the hard pave-
ments. The undulations, though sometimes mountains,
must contribute to his comfort, in that different muscles
of the body are brought into use alternately. The



monotony of dead-level prairie travel is very fatiguing
to man, as I have learned from tramps upon it, and must
be so to the horse.

My drive took in my beloved native town, Canton;
the route out being the north wav, over Talcott moun-
tain, through that most quiet, restful little village, Wea-
togue, peopled in summer considerably by city folk; on
through West Simsbury, formerly known as Case's farms;
on over a winding elevation, down into that staid village.
North Canton, not much given to changes; thence around
another considerable elevation, to the dearest spot on
earth to me, the old house where I was born, on the rug-
ged farm connected with which my early life was happily
spent in hard toil, rendering such assistance as I could
to my parents, who were struggling to rear and support
a large family; thence down by more hilly, w^inding road,
a mile and a half to the old Treat Lambert house, so
called, in an older annex to which my father was born
(that annex having been removed In recent years), on
which mile and a half of lonely road there are but two
houses, a road we children traveled on foot, going to
school, most of us beginning such experience at the age
of three years; thence to and through Canton center,
where was built the first church in town, to a point in the
old turnpike road from Hartford to Albany (so much
traveled for transporting goods between those cities before
the days of railroads), near Cherry Brook railroad sta-
tion; thence on past the ruins of Hosford's tavern (from
Avhich a moneyed traveler mysteriously once disappeared,
heavenward. In the opinion of the late Congressman
Simonds, as expressed In a magazine article) ; on through
Canton village, formerly more generally known as Suf-
frage, for what reason I don't know, a village one would
readily recognize if he hadn't seen it for seventy-fiv^e
years; on through Avon, and over the mountain, up and
down which the late Charles F. Rustemeyer many times


drove his double-decker, four-horse omnibus, with never
a mishap; and thence through West Hartford and Eliza-
beth Park, home. I doubt if a more delightful drive here-
about can be found, for the enjoyment of the love of

A half-hour was most pleasantly spent in a call upon
each of three estimable ladies, beloved pupils of mine,
fifty-four years ago, in a select school I had the honor of
teaching in the little schoolhouse, near Adams's corner
— namely. Miss Martha Weed, her sister-in-law, Mrs.
Antoinette (Case) Weed, and Mrs. Sarah (Case) Vining.
Mrs. Weed lives with her brother, James, where their
father, Stanley Weed, long resided. I remember the
latter as an ardent, lifelong democrat, with whom, as a
whig boy, I had pleasant, instructive arguments (for he
was a man of great intelligence), during the few nights
T spent at his house. In those days teachers " boarded
around " considerably, a practice that gave the teachers
a chance to get acquainted with parents. In that respect
it is much to be commended, for it is about the only way
in which teachers can have the acquaintance which is so
beneficial to the school. The first three terms of my teach-
ing experience I boarded around, and I bear witness to
much enjoyment while being as royally entertained as
the means of the hosts would permit. In those days the
school teacher and minister were considerable personages
in the country. There was one little experience connected
with boarding around that I remember particularly,
namely, retiring to the fireless spare room on a cold, wintry
night, to receive a shock from the icy-cold sheets, equal in
benefit, though, I doubt not, to a cold-water bath, for
producing sleep. In those moments thus spent in com-
posing myself for sleep, I sometimes wondered if the last
human occupant of the room were not a dead one. I was
senselessly spookish about such things. My childish dread
of dead persons continued to haunt me somewhat In after



years. I remember with what quickened step I would,
when a child, go past a graveyard in the darkness of
night; how, for several nights, after attending a funeral,
I would bury my face beneath the bed covering, as if,
more effectually, to shut out the haunting face of the dead
one. Perhaps my horror, in the respect referred to, is
not common with children, and with older persons. Cer-
tainly a relative of mine was more sensible, of whom my
mother used to speak. His wife died, she' was laid out in
their bedroom, and, owing to limited sleeping accommo-
dations, he was seen to be making preparations for occu-
pying a bed in that room for the night. On being remon-
strated with for so doing, he said :

" Sarah never did me any harm while alive, and I
don't think she will now."

He retired, as contemplated, and soon gave audible
evidence that he had lapsed into sleep. Even now, it seems
to me, no amount of money could tempt me to pass
through such an ordeal. What more awe-inspiring than
the silence of the dead!

Stanley Weed was born November 30, 1 806, the year
Canton was set off from Simsbury, and died November 4,
1884. His son George, my pupil, was born April 7, 1835,
and died May 22, 1902. The latter's widow is tenderly
caring for her father, Mr. Everett Case. Mrs. Vining
makes her home at the General Ezra Adams house, with
her daughter, wife of Henry Adams, grandson of the
general. [Everett Case has since died.]

Mrs. Vining's father, Ruggles Case, was one of the
most respected citizens of Canton, a lifelong democrat.
He lived to an advanced age. About 1820 he erected a
shop. In which he established and for very many years
carried on blacksmlthing. I vividly remember watching
him many times, shoeing horses and oxen I had ridden and
driven there, a distance of three miles, to be shod. In
those days the blacksmith made his own shoes and nails, a


work largely done at the time of shoeing, and which kept
the by-standers dodging the particles of red-hot iron fly-
ing about while the iron was being hammered into shape
for use. Mr. Case's devotion to his business was so close,
intense and long-continued, that he became greatly bowed
in form. His shop still stands, somewhat aged in appear-
ance, but otherwise just as it was sixty-five years ago, when
I first began to visit it for the purpose I have indicated,
a grandson succeeding to the business. The old red
schoolhouse, formerly used for the lower grades of
scholars, near the blacksmith shop, was sold by the dis-
trict to Ruggles Case, and is now used by his son Henry
as a storehouse, across the street. A new schoolhouse
to take its place was erected in 1872, and the year before
the Methodists built an attractive wooden church, near by.
Mr. Pliny Case, a veteran blacksmith at the center, in
those days had his share of the town's patronage. He was
a staunch democrat, highly respected by everybody. His
widow (second wife), a very intelligent woman, for many
years a successful school teacher, occupies the homestead.
His shop which, till lately, like the one of the other Mr.
Case, remained unchanged in appearance, has passed into
other hands and has been renovated. There is nothing
significant in the coincidence of the names of these black-
smiths, for, in those days, a large percentage of the in-
habitants of the agricultural part of Canton bore that
name, so much so that it was sometimes facetiously re-
marked that a stranger coming into town and meeting a
man whom he did not know might pretty safely address
him as Mr. Case, and, if that name proved a misfit, call
him Mr. Barbour, a name common there then. Those
names are not so largely represented there now, though
the Cases are still quite numerous. There have not been
many millionaires among the Canton Cases, but in general
thrift and respectability they have not been excelled there.
Hard cases among them have been rare, so rare, that I



recall but one, and he was all right except that he was
dreadfully profane, though his profanity was confined
mostly to his oxen, in the breaking and handling of which,
notwithstanding, he was a splendid master. I shall not
be so impolite as to mention his name; perhaps some of
the older people out there can guess to whom I refer. It
ought to be said, however, that later in life he ceased the
habit referred to, and died in the Christian faith. Speak-
ing of oxen, there was a man there a half century ago.
Mr. Franklin Case, who excelled as a raiser and trainer
of that beautiful, sleek, red breed of cattle, the Devon-
shire. His strings of anywhere from 6 to 10 pairs, rang-
ing in age from yearlings up, at cattle shows, and on
other occasions on the street, were a delight to the eyes
and tastes of lovers of fine stock. Speaking of this ex-
cellent man, reminds me of a pleasant incident. On a
certain Sabbath, in church, at the close of the sermon,
upon the minister's invitation, Mr. Case stepped out of
one pew, and his wife-to-be from another, into the center
aisle, where after a brief ceremony, they returned to his
pew, thenceforth to walk life's way together till death
should, and did, sever them. Marriage is a contract, and,
ordinarily, contracts entered into on Sunday are not bind-
ing, but no one has been heard to question the validity of
a contract of this sacred nature, when entered into on that

A part of my mission that day was to call upon those
highly respected, aged gentlemen, so much noticed at the
celebration, Messrs. Chester Case and Everett Case. The
former is 95 years old this 9th day of October, and the
latter was 94 on the 14th day of last March. The former
retains much of the vivacity and enthusiasm of young
manhood, walking about town quite nimbly for so old a
man, and the latter, though infirm for getting about,
retains his mental faculties in full vigor. His words are
few, but witty, weighty and wise. His countenance indl-



cates a strong intellect and benignant character. Inter-
spersed with farm work, his occupation for many winters
was teaching school. These men are widowers, were old-
time whigs, afterward republicans, and voted for most
if not all of the presidential candidates of those parties,
ending with Theodore Roosevelt. [Both now dead.]

There are four other aged people in Canton whom
it was my privilege to call on on the Sunday of celebra-
tion week — Mrs. Lucia Case, widow of Franklin; Mrs.
Alfred F. Humphrey, daughter of that eminently good
man, Dr. Chauncey G. Griswold, whose salve has been
such a boon to society; Mr. Levi Case and Hiram Bar-
bour. Mrs. Case retains her physical and mental vigor
and marked business ability. Acting as a trustee under
the will of her brother, Seymour N. Case, well known in
Hartford fifty years ago, she has drawn numerous checks,
in assisting nephews, nieces, grand-nephews and grand-
nieces in getting a liberal education. Mr. Case was a
successful lawyer, and accumulated a large estate. Having
no family of his own, he could not have more wisely be-
queathed it. Mrs. Case's son, Hon. Benjamin F., is an
invaluable man in business and social matters in Canton,
and her four daughters, Lucia, widow of Miles Case, of
Braintree, Mass., Marion, widow of Mason Case of Can-
ton, Flora, wife of Mr. Rose, of Granville, Mass., and
Hattie M., wife of Daniel T. Dyer, of Canton, are in
like manner most highly respected and useful members
of society. The latter is the honored regent of that branch
of the Daughters of the American Revolution known as
the Phoebe Humphrey chapter, and is most active and
zealous in research concerning colonial and later ancient
history. Having had a hint from that respected organi-
zation, that such action on my part, in any paper of a
historical nature that T might prepare, would be welcome,
I modestly and respectfully dedicate this article to that
association. I fear, however, it is not deserving of such



a high honor. Mrs. Alfred F. Humphrey is nearly as
sprightly as when I first knew her sixty years ago. She
continues to well fill her place in church and society mat-
ters, and took in the celebration exercises with delight.
She is the last of her father's family. Her mother was a
sister of the Hon. Ephraim Mills. Her sons are well
known, highly respected business men in this county. She
makes her home with her daughter in the house erected
by Volney G. Barbour. [Lucia Case died Jan. 2d, 1908.]

Mr. Levi Case, though feeble, is still able to perform
a little light farm work. He makes his home with his son,
Asa L. Case, in a very ancient house, near the famous Dr.
Everest house. He is a very intelligent, strong minded
man; formerly taught school several terms, practiced sur-
veying, and is recognized as a safe authority on the ancient
history of the town. He began his political career when
Henry Clay was the idol of the Whig party, voting for
him for president in i 844, and has been a republican since
Whig days. He has voted at every presidential, state
and town election since he was made a voter, until two
years since, when he became too feeble to go to the polls,
though he did, however, vote for Mr. Roosevelt in
November, 1904. To talk with this man on historical
matters is like sitting at the feet of Gamaliel. Mr. Hiram
Barbour is in feeble health, and nearly. blind — lives with
his daughter in the famous Jesse Barbour house. The
latter was a shoemaker, and oft did I visit his shop at noon
time, for the repair of my boots, and, before I could
understand much about politics, I many times heard him
discourse on Jeffersonian democracy, as he at the same
moment was hurrying through my work so that I might
not be late at school. He was a disciple of Thomas
Paine, but it took an able logician to match him in argu-
ment on theology or politics. He was, withal, a very
good man.

There have been noteworthy incidents in the lives of


some of the early settlers In Canton, which I proceed to
relate. General Ezra Adams was prominent in the for-
mation of the town, and represented it several times in
the legislature. I feel honored in a relationship, resulting
from the marriage of a sister of my father to a son of
his. His descendants are quite numerous, and highly
respectable. His wife survived him a few years. Ac-
cording to a story I heard in my boyhood, and now con-
firmed to me by one of the oldest people in Canton, she
possessed some of the heroism of Israel Putnam. She
awoke one night, hearing some one in her cellar; she
arose, prepared herself to face the burglar, and, with
candle in hand, and, seemingly, her life in her hands, she
descended alone into the cellar, and, to her surprise, found
a poor neighbor there, helping himself to meat from her
barrel. In the well-known kindness of her heart, it can-
not be doubted she permitted the poor man to carry home
some food, but with the sharp injunction thereafter to
take the honest way to supply his wants, by applying to
her when needy.

Mr. Ephraim Mills, who was born in 1782 and died
August 7, 1863, was of an age to assist in the organiza-
tion of the town. In 1806, and did materially assist. In
connection with the Canton centennial celebration, a query
arose in my mind how it happened that the town came to
have its beautiful name. I never had heard, and, so far
as it has come to my knowledge, there has been nothing
said about it in connection with the celebration. I began
an Investigation and was Informed by Mr. Mills's esti-
mable daughter, Mrs. R. O. Humphrey, whose memory
goes back into the forties, that she had often heard her
father say that he suggested the name. But, why Canton?
It came from Mr. Mills's Interest In the Swiss people
and their ardent patriotism, and was suggested to his
mind by their territorial divisions into cantons. The
name appealed to him, partly because of its pleasant


sound, and its being so easy to speak and write. Mr.
Mills did not have the educational advantages of this day,
but, by his very studious habits he came to be a man of
rare intelligence. He had a great fondness for the natu-
ral sciences, anci his knowledge of philosophy, chemistry
and astronomy was extraordinary, and in historical mat-
ters he was an authority. He was the first judge of
probate of the district of Canton after the town became
a probate district in 1841. His daughter holds his com-
missions, signed respectively by Governor Chauncey F.
Cleveland, Governor Roger S. Baldwin and Gov^ernor
Clark Bissell. He three times represented the town in
the legislature. It has been the rule in Canton to send
a man to the legislature but once, so that the honor might
pass around, and some have died waiting for their turn
to arrive.

Mr. Rollin D. Lane, a Canton boy, early orphaned
by the death of his father, relates to me a pleasing inci-
dent in the life of another of those early Canton men,
Mr. Elam Case, grandfather of Benjamin F. Mr, Case's
family lost a little household article, of no great value,

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