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and Rollin happened to find it, and he promptly returned
it. Mr. Case proceeded to reward him, and, in doing
that, to leave on the boy's mind an impression that would
probably never be effaced. He said to the lad, handing
out 25 cents: " Here are I2>4 cents for your finding the
article, and 12 J/2 cents for your honesty in returning it."
In those days one of the pieces of silver money was one
stamped I2>^ cents, and commonly called ninepence. Such
a fatherly address of commendation of a good deed is
worthy of imitation by actual parents. This incident
suggests to my mind a remark I once heard the Rev.
James B. Cleav^eland, a man of rare wisdom, make in a
sermon on the training of children. He said that he had
found it efficacious in family government never aftenvard
to refer to any act of a child's misdoing, when once it had


been reproved, and then watch for opportunities promptly
to commend the child for good deeds, his theory being
that deserved praise incites to good behavior in the child.
His success in rearing quite a large family of children
tends to prove the soundness of the theory. He was
happily aided, of course, by his wife, whose beautiful
poem, " No Sects in Heaven," attracted such wide notice
and admiration. The probate judge in New Haven, and
another son, a young lawyer of great promise in New
Haven, who died a few years ago, were children of that
family. I know it will be said, it's blood that tells, but,
all the same, we know that training has largely contributed
to the production of many of the most respected and suc-
cessful of men.

Mr. Zenas Dyer, grandfather of Daniel T. Dyer, was
another man who took part in Carlton's setting-off pro-
ceedings. In 1 8 1 2 he built the house in which the grand-
son lives, situated on the north side of the old Albany
turnpike, near Farmington river, on an elevation com-
manding a fine view of varying scenery. Mr. Dyer used
the house for a time as a tavern, sharing with nearby
Hosford's tavern the entertainment of the extensive trav-
eling public. I well remember him and his son Daniel,
who many years owned and occupied that house; both
highly respected men. Daniel T., the only child of Dan-
iel, succeeded to the ownership of that house, and resides
there. He is the owner of some 500 acres of land, and
is an honored member of the democratic party, to which
party, if I mistake not, Zenas and Daniel belonged. The
present Mr. Dyer and his estimable wife, to whom I have
already referred, are royal entertainers. Numerically,
and in winsome manners, their children would delight the
heart of President Roosevelt, and they help to make up
a very happy family. Mr. Dyer's exhibition at the cen-
tennial of his grandfather's old tin lantern, which was a
guide to travelers seeking a good inn to tarry at,, attracted


much attention. I wish there were space in my already
over-full paper to speak of the other antique articles ex-
hibited. Permit me, however, to speak of " Uncle Sim's "
post-office, a little desk. He was long the mail carrier and
postmaster at the Center, and the contents of that recep-
tacle were often, particularly during the Civil War,
anxiously awaited by the people in that district. That
good man, Simeon Mills, like his brother, Ephraim, was
universally respected, none more so. His compensation
was but a pittance, his reward being mainly the conscious-
ness of a loving sei'vice rendered the people.

The last of the aged Canton men of whom I would
speak is Peter Ackert, half brother of Edward Ackert.
He is still living, at the age of 85 years, and now resides
in Southington. That honest-hearted man believed in,
and practiced rigorous economy and plain, simple habits,
devoid of every manner of ostentation. While resident in
Canton he always inveighed against the extravagance of
the times, and sighed for life on the frontier, where one
would not have " all this pride to support." Imagine the
amused amazement of his old acquaintances when he
appeared at the celebration, riding in an automobile. One
knowing his former antipathy to show of any kind would
not have suspected that he would even accept the treat of
a ride in such a vehicle. He was a much respected man.

Canton has not always had peace in its entire borders.
Some sixty vears ago action was taken for building a new
schoolhouse in the Center district, and a proposition was
made for a slight change in location. The rankest bitter-
ness was engendered over the matter, resulting, after a
sharp strife, in a division of the district into the North
Center and South Center. There was sufficient area for
two districts, perhaps, but the number of children and
families did not seem to call for it. Nothing, save anti-
slavery agitation in ante-bellum days, ever produced so
much alienation of feeling among the good people of that



part of the town, extending in its baneful effect to mem-
bers of the same church, and to near relatives. As a
youth I viewed the battle from the north side of the
dividing line. What intensified the feeling in that section
was the fact that a very prominent church member resid-
ing there, sided with the southerners in bringing about
the division. Of course he acted for what he deemed the
best interests of all concerned. As the affair is looked
back upon, the feeling gotten up between rational people
seems unaccountable and almost ridiculous. The moral
of the affair for country folk is, if you can possibly avoid
it, don't propose to change the location of your, school-
house, or church.

As might be imagined, my visit to my native town was
attended with some saddening thoughts. First was the
sight of that schoolhouse at North Canton, where fifty-
four years ago, I had passed a pleasant term of school,
as teacher of a delightful company of grown-up boys and
girls, my affection for whom was akin to that of a parent.
That house, so many years ago occupied for school pur-
poses, is now abandoned, windowless> and going to decay.
I wish it might be restored and put to some educational
or social use. I would be glad to join with some of my
good friends In North Canton and elsewhere, who, like
myself, spent happy school days there, in the expense of
such a restoration. The probably equally aged " con-
ference house " at the center presents a pleasing contrast.
The latter, in external appearance. Is little changed, be-
yond the substitution of large windows, addition of a
basement and a coat of paint. That house Is dear to me.
There I attended upper grade schools, there I cast my
first vote, and there spent two happy winters, honored as
the teacher of a quarter of a hundred and more young
ladies and gentlemen as scholars. Mr. Sears, In his his-
torical address at the celebration, kindly spoke of that
school as having more than a local reputation. The




me to copy the letter and also to print her photograph
in this little book, for which courtesy I feel greatly obliged
to her.

S. B.

"Hon. Sylvester Barbour, Hartford:

"Dear Sir: I have read with much interest your
recent communication to The Hartford Times, and I
wish to give myself the pleasure of saying to you, that I
greatly enjoyed the reminiscences, and the historic char-
acter of the paper as a whole. Your pleasant reference
to the D. A. R., and to my friend, Mrs. Dyer, are appre-
ciated, and I thank you for them.. It is such articles as
yours that make files of good newspapers of great value.
A hundred or two years hence, someone will pick up The
Hartford Times and read that article of yours; then he
(or she) will say, ' Well, I'm mighty glad to see that: it
tells me just what I wanted to know about Canton, about
D. A. R., and ever so many other things.'

" Next week Thursday, the Connecticut D. A. R. are
to hold a meeting in Center Church. The gallery will
be open to friends of the organization. I hope we may
see you there.

" Believe me, ver\' truly yours,


" 46 Park St.,
" New Haven,

" 24 Oct., 1906."

L Hartford Times, Aug. 15, 1907.


Judge Barbour's Tribute to the Hon. Rollin
Orestes Humphrey of Canton.

To the Editor of The Times :

It is pleasant, and fitting, too, to talce note of the
birthdays of those whom we respect, and especially so,
when such persons are our seniors, about whom we have
always known. I can't remember the time when I did
not know of my fellow-townsman, the Hon. Rollin Orestes
Humphrey, of Canton, and I think that most persons
liv^ing, who were born or have resided in or near that
town, can say the same as to their recollection. He has
always resided in that town, and was born there, August
16, 1827, and, therefore, in common understanding, he
will be 80 years old to-morrow, the i6th, though, in law,
he has attained that age today, the 15th. This proposi-
tion will surprise many, yet it is true. A familiar appli-
cation of that principle in estimating ages occasionally
occurs in case of a man admitted as a voter the day before
he nominally becomes 21. As on that immediately pre-
ceding day such man completes his minority, and, as, for
most purposes, the law knows no fraction of a day, at
the beginning of that preceding day, eo instanti, that in-
stant, the minority of the man is considered completed.
Accordingly, at the first tick of the clock after midnight
this morning Mr. Humphrey became 80.

As he was considered so much a part of Canton on
the centennial occasion, his. picture appeared prominently
in print. As he is so generally known in all this region,
in and outside of Canton, I think many of your readers


will be Interested in learning that he has rounded out four
score years, and is still in a good state of health. Though
much retired, his long familiarity with legal matters
makes him very useful in such legal business as he can
perform as well as a lawyer, and his services are much
in demand. His official honors in that town have been
many, including representing it in the general assembly,
and frequent jury service in all the courts. Presumably
he cast his first presidential vote for General Zachary
Taylor, in 1848, as he then became of an age to vote,
and was an ardent whig, though latterly a democrat.

By his marriage to Henrietta, the only daughter of
my uncle Harvey Barbour, he became my first cousin, and
by his subsequent marriage to Caroline Emma, only
daughter of the Hon. Ephraim Mills, of Canton, he be-
came my third cousin. Genealogists figure out a blood
relationship between us, also. Among my precious memo-
ries of school-teaching days, is that of having had the
last named lady as an adult pupil in a select school in the
" Conference house," at Canton center, more than 50
years ago, and among my mementos of that school are
the scholars' essays, copied by them for my preservation.
Two of this pupil's come to my mind, the subject of one,
expressed in Latin, in which language she was proficient,
" Vera Amicitia Semplterna Est," true friendship is ever-
lasting; the theme of the other, a beautiful poem written
near the close of the term, being the school, of which she
was a member. This subject gave her an opportunity
to refer to her teacher, and to those twenty-six excep-
tionally exemplary, diligent scholars, parting from whom
and among whom, at the close of school was painful to
teacher and scholars.

Barring lameness, Mrs. Humphrey is quite well, but
that infirmity very seriously interferes with social enjoy-
ments, of which she is so capable. People who know her
gifts and culture can the more deeply sympathize with



her in her enforced retirement. Her very dear njece,
Mrs. W. E. Simonds, and her first cousin, Mrs. Lydia
Griswold Humphrey are still living, with whom she has
delightful intercourse.

Of the six children of Mr. and Mrs. Humphrey, two
survive, a daughter, Alice, whose husband is in the patent
office at Washington [died May lo, 1908], and Rollin
O., Jr., in the employ of the Collins Co. They experi-
enced sore affliction in the death of two young children,
and a daughter, Emma, so much beloved by all who knew
her, as former wife of M. Stanley Neal, a much honored
and very highly respected business man in Collinsville,
and a daughter, Caroline Amelia, who died at the age of
seventeen, just as she was budding into happy woman-
hood, and of whom very flattering predictions of literary
attainment had been made by her teachers. They have
two grandchildren, Morris Humphrey Neal, aged 20, and
Kenneth Stanley Neal, in his 17th year, who, in view of
the over full professions, are wisely fitting themselves for
business careers, the fonner, already a student in the Wor-
cester Polytechnic institute, and the latter, just graduated
from the Collinsville high school, is to enter that college
the coming autumn.

It is to be hoped that the occurrence of this birthday

anniversary may be known among the neighbors and

friends of this honored couple, so that there may be

opportunity, by calls, letters and otherwise, to testify the

respect which is cherished for the pair. None of the

persons whose names I have mentioned is aware of the

preparation of this paper.

S. B.

Hartford, August 15, 1907.

[Hartford Times, Dec. 6, iqo6.]



Dedicated to Phcebe Humphrey Chapter, Daugh-
ters OF THE American Revolution.

LARGE families THE RULE.

Rev. Jairus Burt of the Old Center Church — Something

About the Old Physicians and Lawyers

of the Town.


To the Editor of The Times:

When, with some trepidation, a few weeks ago I
handed you a fifty-year reminiscent article, relating
mainly to Hartford, I had no thought of venturing to
offer anything further in that line; but, after your very-
kind (and I would say, too laudatory) comments on the
article, and your expression (speaking, of course, in a
general way) that " it is a pity not to have more of these
remin,iscences," I felt encouraged to present a second
article, relating chiefly to the affairs of my native town.
Canton. As some of my acquaintances, whose judgment
I respect, and whose candor I would not question, have
expressed themselves as interested in contributions of
such a sort, may I tender this further one, which, how-
ever, you may commit to the waste basket, if, in your
judgment, it isn't calculated to be of such general interest
as warrants your giving space for it. If, however, you
print it, I wish to dedicate it, as I did the second article,



to Phoebe Humphrey chapter of the Daughters of the
American Revolution. The dedication in that case, as in
this, is pursuant to an invitation of the chapter, signified
to me by its honored regent, Mrs. Dyer. If the history
these articles furnish is thought to have any value what-
ever for the archives of that association, I am pleased
to comply with the invitation, for the regent and some
others of the order are natives and residents of Canton,
and I greatly respect all the members.

In passing, I would like to express the great pleasure
I received, as, from the gallery of the Center church of
Hartford, I looked down upon the grand assembly of
the D. A. R. at their recent convention, and from the
addresses delivered, all of which were good. I was espe-
cially interested in that of Mrs. Cone, as I had well known
her late husband, J. H. Cone, and her father, John G.
Mix, and because she is a Hartford woman. Her admi-
rable address on Lafayette's visit to Hartford, was recited
from memory in a fluent, modest and very impressive
manner. And I hope it will not be thought by any of
that vast company of women invidious, if I single out
one other lady for honorable mention, namely, Mrs.
Kinney, state regent. In physiognomy and unassuming,
winning bearing upon the platform, she pleasantly re-
minded me of Secretary Taft. I hope, in making this
comparison, I may offend neither good taste nor the feel-
ings of that excellent woman, whom I so much respect
and admire. As I thus looked down upon that scene in
the church, where more than a half century ago I some-
times heard the sermons of the then pastor, the Rev. Dr.
Hawes, whose august presence was enough to inspire awe,
I thought what a terrific frown would have been upon
his face if, in his day of occupying that pulpit, such a
spectacle had been presented to his view. I fancied he
would have said. " Sisters ! this will never do ! Don't
you remember what St. Paul said, ' It is a shame for



women to speak in the church '? " Well, I don't hold a
brief, to defend Paul, nor am I out to condemn him. If
he meant that command for universal application, and
for all time, I should venture to say that, to that extent,
I doubt if he was inspired. My admiration of that pow-
erful logician is such, however, that I would rather believe
he meant the precept for sole application to the people
of Corinth, whom he was addressing, where the circum-
stances made such an injunction proper.

Perhaps the circumstances were, an adverse, hostile,
public sentiment, disregard of which might lead to riot.
If Paul looks down upon us, I doubt if he was shocked
on seeing his sisters speaking in most of the pulpits in
Hartford, on the Sunday following that convention, since
the audiences seemed pleased with, and edified by the
addresses, the brethren not excepted.


And, now, to resume my reminiscences, which will
center very much about Canton. First, I would speak
about the so-called learned professions, as represented
there; and, of course, the clergymen should have the pre-
cedence in mention. The present meeting-house at the
center, built by the Congregationalists in 1814, is in place
of one upon the same site, built in 1763. A mournful
calamity in connection with preparations for building the
present edifice was the death of a man very prominently
engaged in these preparations, Mr. Orange Case, killed
by the falling of a tree, designed for the frame of the
building. Rev. Jeremiah Hallock, born in 1758, was
pastor of the church at the time mentioned. He was a
very devout man, very deliberate and solemnly impressive
in his manner of speaking. In those days ministers, as a
means of usefulness, and of eking out a subsistence, took
young men, to fit them for college. Mr. Hallock did
this. He also carried on farming to some extent, thereby





utilizing the assistance of the students, who could thus
pay their way, in part. Mr. Hallock died June 23, 1826,
having been pastor of the church more than 40 years. He
left a son, William Homan, a man of massive frame and
kingly dignity. Everybody called him " Squire " Hal-
lock, and he was very prominent in Canton affairs, was
an ardent abolitionist, represented the town in the lower
house of the legislature in 1841, held the office of town
clerk when in the forties his house and most of the records
of the town were burned in the night time. [Should be
1838, as stated in later article on page 64, "Pepper
on Stove."] He left four children, Jeremiah, Wilham,
Sarah and Mary, the first named only, a very aged man,
is living, residing in New Hartford. There are no male
grandchildren, and this branch of Hallocks will soon be-
come extinct. Mary left a daughter, the only grandchild.

Rev. Jairus Burt.

Mr. Jairus Burt, an uncle of Federal B. Bridgman of
Hartford [who died February 10, 1908], succeeded Mr.
Hallock in 1826, and continued pastor till his death in
1857. He was an able preacher, influential in the councils
of his denomination, an ardent abolitionist, fearlessly
denouncing the evil of slavery. Actuated by patriotic
motives, a large portion of his congregation did not sym-
pathize with him in the agitation of the slavery question,
and the trials he passed through In consequence were very
great. Nothing but a sense of duty could have kept him
from resigning his charge.

In those days ministers' salaries in the country were
very small, but they were considerably supplemented by
occasional donations of provisions, and by an annual dona-
tion party in the winter, when the farmers would appear
with their loads of wood, affording fuel for the year, and
with divers articles for family use, and the good women
would appear, to cultivate acquaintance with each other



and the pastor and his wife. The occasions were so happy
that they were looked forward to with pleasure. Now and
then, of course, the minister would receive a wedding fee,
to hand over to the wife for her pin money (as I have
heard was the custom), though, considering the ability
of the newly-wedded pair, the fees were, presumably,
sometimes small. I knew one instance in which it was 25
cents. I doubt not the pay was sometimes an article other
than money, and just as useful. Mr. Burt passed through
a very sore family trial a few years before his death. His
only child, Jairus, died in his early manhood. It was
known in the parish that Jairus was seriously sick in Suf-
field, where he had been clerking, and that his father was
at his bedside during the week. Mr. Burt returned home
late Saturday evening; and when, on Sunday morning, he
appeared in his pulpit, a load was taken from the hearts
of his congregation, as they inferred the young man was
better. Mr. Burt had not been able to procure a supply
for his pulpit, and he conducted the services in the usual
manner, and at the close he announced that Jairus was
dead. This remarkable instance of calm self-control
under afflictive circumstances Avas equaled about the same
time, in the case of another very good man in that parish.
When the congregation met at the church on a Sunday
morning it was learned that Norman Case's daughter,
Fanny, the first wife of John Brown, had died during
the night previous, and that Mr. Case, who sometimes
made coffins, was at his shop making one for the daughter.
Mr. Burt preached a powerful sermon on the last Sunday
of his life, during that terribly cold month of January,
1857. The text was: "Who can stand before His cold? "
He went to his home from that service, performed a mar-
riage ceremony at his house in the evening, was soon after
taken with a chill, severe coughing, hemorrhage, became
unconscious on Tuesday, and died on Thursday, January
1 5) 1857. Quite naturally some would think he had a

Pastor Canton Center Cong-. Church, 1826—1857

Pastor Collinsville Cong. Church, 1843— iS

Born Dec. 6, 1807, Died Dec. 21, 18

Born Apr. 8, 1834.


premonition of his early death when he prepared and
preached that sermon. However that may have been, it
is to be said his aptitude for selecting suitable texts and
subjects for his sermons was remarkable. Among the
instances of this character, I remember, was his sermon
at the funeral of Daniel Merrill on the text: "What!
Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we
not receive evil?" In the affliction of the family, the
preacher would have them remember their great bless-
ings. Among its blessings to be remembered was the pos-
session of fine, promising children — four daughters and
a son. This son, Selah, later became an able clergyman,
is now, and for years has been, stationed at Jerusalem
under a government appointment, made upon the recom-
mendation of Senator Hawley, whose father had married
Mr. Merrill's widow. [Rev. Selah Merrill, D.D.,
LL.D., has been since transferred from the consulate at
Jerusalem to that, at Georgetown, Guiana. While at
Jerusalem he did much in archaeological research, and
discovered the Second Wall, outside of which Christ is
said to have been crucified.]

A fall of snow of great depth just before Mr. Burt's
funeral made it almost impossible to reach the church and
graveyard, a few rods distant from the house. Mr. Burt's
very dear friend, the Ktv. Charles B. McLean (Governor
McLean's uncle), pastor of the Congregational church
in Collinsville, preached the sermon. He was a preacher
of great ability, and one of the most benignant in spirit I
ever knew. I many times heard his father, the Rev.
Allen McLean, of Simsbur}', preach after he became
blind, in exchange with Mr. Burt. In giving out the

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Online LibrarySylvester BarbourReminiscences → online text (page 3 of 11)