William L. (William Ladd) Chaffin.

History of the town of Easton, Massachusetts (Volume 3) online

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so vividly portrays. He makes a feeling allusion to the " chil-
dren of poverty," which must have been wrung from his own
hard experience. And in the light of his special sorrows, it is
truly pathetic to read these words : " If God pleases to with-
hold or take away the affection of children, never presume that
thy happiness is blasted because of such disappointment."

Mr. Campbell was fifty-seven years old when he was dismissed
from his pastoral charge at Charlton. Few ministers find a new
settlement after that age ; in these days, at least, their ripe ex-
perience and wisdom count little against the desire for younger,
fresher, perhaps brighter men. But Mr. Campbell was too dis-
couraged and heart-broken to seek another parish. We hear of
him for a little while at Cornish, New Hampshire, and it is said he
preached a year at Alstead, New Hampshire. He made his home
for some time with his brother, Capt. William Campbell, of Put-
ney, Vermont. There he might be seen walking on the street,
dressed in his small clothes, with silver knee and shoe buckles,
and wearing a cocked hat, — the same kind of costume he had
worn in Easton. He finally made his home in Stockbridge,
Vermont, preaching when he had opportunity. He was there
as early as 1802, for at that time he deeded a piece of land in
that place to his daughter Sophia.

One day a Mr. Littlefield, of Easton, was travelling on horse-
back in Vermont, and coming to a pond he stopped his horse



to let him drink. A short distance away he saw an old man
sitting upon a rock, fishing. He entered into conversation with
him, and when he told him that he lived in Easton, Mass., the
old man looked up with sudden interest, and with much feeling
said : " Easton was once my home. My name is Campbell ; I
used to preach there ; but they were cruel and drove me away,
and ruined me." Poor old man ! In the bitterness of his soul
it was a relief to ascribe to others the ruin that had been brought
upon him by his own family.

His cup was nearly full. His wife and one son and daughter
had disgraced him ; another son was feeble-minded. And now
to the darkness of his soul was added the darkness of bodily
sight ; he became blind ! What could be more deplorable } He
was once the pride of his father's heart, carefully educated, of
excellent gifts, with the prospect of a brilliant and happy future ;
and here he was at last, feeble, penniless, and blind, — failure
behind him, unhappy remembrances tormenting him. So he
dragged out his weary days to the end. Occasionally he
preached even after he was blind, being led into the pulpit by
some one, and having his hymns and Scripture lesson com-
mitted to memory. During these latter days he lived with and
was mainly supported by a grandson, Mr. William Demmond, in
Stockbridge, who had married Martha, daughter of Archibald
Campbell, Jr. The Rev. Archibald Campbell's wife died May
24, 18 14, and his lot must have thenceforth been a little easier.
Kindly death came at last to give rest to his troubled spirit, and,
let us hope, to open his blind eyes to the light of everlasting
day. He breathed his last July 15, 18 18, eighty-two years old.
His remains were placed by the side of those of his wife, on
Stockbridge Common. There are these two graves unmarked
as yet, still possibly able to be identified, but soon destined, we
fear, to be forgotten.

Of Mr. Campbell's family little further need be said. Of his
first child, Susanna, little is positively known, except that on
August 24, 1763, she was baptized by her father. The writer
of this history has corresponded with a person in Stockbridge
who knew the daughter Sophia, and who says the other daughter
"married a shoemaker and went west." This other daughter
must have been Susanna. The son Barnard was deficient in



intellect ; he knew enough to steal a horse, but not enough
to escape being hung for the theft. Two children, John and
Hannah, had the good fortune to die young, — John dying at five
years of age, and Hannah at three. Their remains, doubtless,
have mingled with the dust in unmarked graves in the old ceme-
tery in Easton. The son Archibald, before he was sixteen
years old, served for two short campaigns in the Revolution-
ary War in Rhode Island. He was guilty of gross immorality
at Charlton ; married, however, and had two children, — Bar-
nard, born August 17, 1788, and Martha, born March 22, 1792.
His wife then dying, he deserted his children, who were brought
up by the Rev. Mr. Campbell their grandfather ; and afterward
he enlisted in the army, serving under General Wayne. Accord-
ing to records at Washington, he is credited with such service,
but nothing shows that he received any pay. He is said to have
been last heard of in 1803. There was, however, in the Massa-
chusetts service from 181 1 to 1813, inclusive, an Archibald Camp-
bell, who occupied the position and secured the pay of Brigade
Quartermaster. The name is so uncommon that it seems quite
probable that this may have been the Archibald Campbell, Jr.,
of whom we are now writing. He disappears from the list of
paid officers in 181 3. The only other child was Sophia. We
are glad to be able to record, that, notwithstanding the eccen-
tricities and misdeeds of earlier days, she finally settled down
and married, and lived a penitent and Christian life. She mar-
ried Walter Pollard, who was in some military service, probably
that of 1812-1814. He died at Stockbridge, July 27, 1857, aged
83 years, the same age as Sophia. She outlived him and re-
ceived a small pension, and was also helped by the town. One
who was acquainted with her, and with whom the writer has
corresponded, says of her, " She was one of the nicest old ladies
I ever knew." By lowly repentance, and by a life of fruits meet
for repentance, she atoned for the past, and at last, with faith
in redeeming love, she joined the forgiven and the blest.

Thus closes the strange and sad story of the Rev. Archibald
Campbell and his 'wayward and eccentric family. While his
troubles began with his own misconduct, he was a man " more
sinned against than sinning." With the one exception named,
the writer, after the most diligent and patient search, has found



no stain upon his record, and no act that could cause him to
blush with shame. But his experience illustrates the inexo-
rable truth, so often and vividly developed in the writings of
George Eliot, that some early departure from the strict line of
rectitude may involve evil consequences that seem immensely
out of proportion to the error or guilt incurred, or to the
punishment originally deserved,

VVe cannot do better than to close this chapter with a poem
written by Mr. Campbell, and copied by him upon the last page
of the sermon from which selections have already been made.
It shows considerable poetic talent, and seems a fitting epitome
of his own sad experience.


In visions which are not of night, a shadowy vale I see.

The Path of Pilgrim tribes who are, who have been, or shall be.

At either end are lowering clouds impervious to the sight,

And frequent shadows veil through out each gleam of Passing light.

A Path it is of joys and griefs, of many hopes and fears,

Gladdened at times by sunny smiles, but oftener Dimmed by tears.

Green leaves are there, — they quickly fade ; bright flowers, but soon they Die ;

Its Banks are laved by pleasant streams. But soon their Bed is dry.

And some that Roll on the last with undiminished force

Have lost that limpid purity which graced their early source ;

They seem to Borrow in their flow the tinge of Darkening years,

And ev'n their mournful murmuring sound befits the vale of tears.

Pleasant that valley's opening scenes appear to Childhood's view, —

The flowers are Bright, the turf is green, the sky above is blew;

A Blast may Blight, a beam may scorch, a Cloud may intervene,

But lightly marked & soon forgot, they mar not such a scene ;

Fancy still paints the future Bright, and hope the present cheers,

Nor can we Deem the path we tread leads through a vale of tears.

But soon, too soon, the flowers that Decked our earthly pathway side

Have Drooped and withered on their stalks, and one by one have Died ;

The turf by noontide's heat is seared, the sky is overcast,

There 's thunder in the torrent's tone, and tempest in the Blast.

Fancy is but a phantom found, and hope a Dream appears,

And more and more our hearts confess this life 's a vale of tears.

Darker and Darker seems the path, how sad to journey on

When hands and hearts which gladdened ours appear forever gone !

Some Cold in Death, and some, alas ! we fancied could not Chill,

Living to self and to the world to us seem colder still.

With mournful Retrospective glance we look for brighter years.

But tread with solitary steps the thorny vale of tears.




Difficulties with the Mother Country. — Eastox Discourages


Liberty."— The "Lexington Alarm." — Enlistments in 1775.—
Enlistments in 1776. — Rhode Island "Alarms." — Enlistments
IN 1777 and 1778. — Easton Men at Valley Forge. — Later
Enlistments. — Continental Currency and its Depreciation. —
Tories. — Biographies of Easton Military Officers: Captains
Elisha Harvey and James Keith ; Colonel Ariel Mitchell ; Cap-
tains James Perry, Matthew Randall, Josiah Keith, Macey
Williams, Seth Pratt, and Ephraim Burr. — Brigadier-General
Benjamin Tupper and Major Anselm Tupper.

THE difficulties with the Mother Country which finally cul-
minated in the Revolutionary War date back eleven
years before that memorable struggle began. In 1763 the
colonies were fervently attached to England and the English
Constitution. In 1764, however, contrary to the judgment of
William Pitt and some of the liberal minds of England, it was
decided to levy taxes on the colonies in order to defray the ex-
penses of the long war which had just closed. This policy roused
the opposition of this country, our people taking the just ground
that taxation without representation was a dangerous form of
oppression. The colonists were not allowed to export their pro-
ducts to any country except England. Sheep-raising and weav-
ing woollen cloth were discouraged by an Act of Parliament
which forbade the exportation of wool, or even its transportation
across the line of one province into another. They were not
allowed to print a Bible, and none was printed here until after
the land became free. In this land of the beaver, no one could
be a hatter who had not served an apprenticeship of seven years.
The duties on imports were largely increased. What brought
the matter closely home to the people of Easton was the fact that
slitting-mills and forges, of which there were several here, were
pronounced by this same Act to be " nuisances."


And now, most odious of all, the Stamp Act, which had re-
ceived the royal sanction March 22, 1765, was on the ist of
November to go into effect.^ The act was not of itself espe-
cially severe. It merely provided that deeds, notes, marriage
certificates, and other legal documents should be written on
stamped paper, — the money for the sale of this paper going to
the Government. What caused the intense excitement about it
in the colonies was that it involved the unjust principle of taxa-
tion without representation. The excitement of course extended
to Easton. One curious indication of this — an indication also
that our townsmen were not entirely unanimous on the subject-
may be seen in the "Boston Gazette " of December 23, 1765.
It is as follows : —

"We hear from Easton, in the county of Bristol, that a certain justice
of the peace in said town in conversation said that he would not give
the price of his black dog to prevent the Stamp Act's taking pltce.
Accordingly he had the mortification to find his black dog shot the
next morning."

The Stamp Act could not be enforced in the colonies, and on
the nineteenth day of March, 1766, its repeal was reluctantly
signed by the king.

In 1767 new and severe taxes were levied. They were not to
be collected until the 20th of November. On the 28th of Octo-
ber the people of Boston, in town-meeting assembled, voted to
avoid the importation and use of a great number of articles of
British manufacture. They appointed a committee to secure
the co-operation of the other towns of the Province and of the
other colonies. Easton was appealed to, and made a quick
response by summoning its voters to town-meeting on the six-
teenth day of November, " to act their minds relating to the
Defeculty the Province labours under," etc. At this meeting a
committee was appointed to consider the best plan of action.
This committee, which consisted of Daniel Williams, Esq., Capt.
Benjamin Williams, Lieut. Matthew Hayward, Benjamin Pettin-
gill, and Henry Howard, made their report at an adjourned
meeting, which was held on the 7th of December. The follow-
ing business was enacted : —

1 See Bancroft's History of the United States, vol. v. p. 265 et seq.


" Whareas this Province labours under a heavey Debt in curd in the
course of the late Ware, and the inhabitance by that means must be
subjected to very Burdensum taxes, and our medeum very scarce,
chiefly Ocationd by the excessive Use of forrin Superfluities and the
Neglect of cultivating and improving the Natural advantages of our
own Country, — therefore Voted that the Town will take all Prudant &
legal measurs to Promote industry, Oeconeme, and manufactors, and
to lessen the Use of forrin Superfluities by industreously cultivating
and improving the Natural advantages of our own Country. The
above Was Voted Unanimusly." ^

The importation of British goods was thus greatly discouraged.
People determined to forego their use as much as possible.
Threadbare clothes became fashionable. The noise of spin-
ning-wheels and shuttles was heard in our homes. "Every day
the humor spread for being clad in homespun." One great sav-
ing was that made at funerals. A singular custom had prevailed
of giving away great numbers of mourning gloves, handkerchiefs,
ribbons, etc, to those who attended funerals. The following
from the " Boston Gazette" of December 14, 1767, will show how
Boston started a reform in this particular : —

"The practice of the Town relative to Funerals is to give Gloves
only to Bearers and Ministers ; to make Use of no other Mourning for
the nearest Relations than a Weed in the Hat for Men, and a black
Bonnet, Gloves, Ribbons, and Handkerchiefs for Women. Fifteen
Hundred or Two Thousand Pair of British-made Gloves have been
given or rather thrown away at one Funeral before the new practice
took Place ; and such Families in Boston as then expended ;^ioo
Sterling or ^150 Sterling on those occasions, now expend scarcely ^8.
What a Saving will there be to the Province in this grand particular ! "

In order to make up for the deficiency of imported goods,
associations of patriotic ladies were formed in many towns to
spin and knit and weave. These associations called themselves
" Daughters of Liberty." Sometimes they met at the house of
the minister, working the entire day, and leaving the results of
their labor as a gift to the minister's wife. In the Boston papers
of that period there were many accounts of such gatherings.

^ Old Town Records, vol. ii. p. 58.



One can easily imagine how animated must have been the
scene, where the busy hum of spinning-wheels and the lively
sound of many voices made music the whole day long. At
Bridgewater the Daughters of Liberty adopted the plan of
doing the work at home, and carrying the results of their labor
to the minister's house afterwards. Easton had its associa-
tion of these Daughters, and they adopted the same plan as
that of their sisters of Bridgewater. In the " Boston Gazette '.'
of October 24, 1774, was published the following interesting
account : —

" We hear from Easton that on Thursday the 13th Instant 53 of
the amiable Daughters of Liberty met at the House of the Rev. Mr.
Campbell, about One O'clock in the Afternoon, and presented Mrs.
Campbell with Two Hundred and Eighty Skeins of Cotton, Linnen,
Worsted, Woolen, and Tow Yarn, likewise some pieces of Cloth, Stock-
ings, 8zc. ; then they all Walked in Orderly Procession to the Meeting-
House, where a sermon was Preached suitable to the Occasion by
their Rev. Pastor ; and after Divine Service they return'd in the same
orderly Procession to the Rev. Mr. Campbell's House, where they
pleasantly regail'd themselves with Cakes, Cheese, and Wine, and then
they seasonably retir'd to their respective Families. The whole was
Conducted with the greatest Decency and good order ; every Counte-
nance indicated a Noble Spirit for Liberty and the promotion of our
own Manufactures."

The Provincial Congress of Massachusetts directed the
people of the Province to perfect themselves in military skill,
and each town to provide a stock of arms and ammunition.
Accordingly Easton at once called a town-meeting, and voted
the sum of twenty-four pounds sterling " to purchase a stock of
powder, bullets, and flints for the town." This was Novem-
ber 15, 1774. The two military companies of the town were
equipped, and there was constant practice in military drill.
Eliphalet Leonard, Jr., had begun the manufacture of firearms
at what is now called the Marshall place, and the need of the
two Easton companies in this particular was therefore readily
supplied. The conviction was daily growing stronger that war
was inevitable, and the winter was spent in making ready for
the emergency.



A.D. 1775.

The towns of the Province were urged by the Provincial
Congress to have men ready to take the field at a moment's
notice. In response to this appeal of the Boston Committee of
Correspondence, Easton took the following formal action : —

" At a Town meating of the inhabitants of the Town of Easton on
Munday the 3d day of April, a.d. 1775, the Town made choice of Mr.
Joseph Gilbert moderator for sd meating; then the Town voted to
Rais fifty minute [men], twenty-five out of each Military Company in
sd. Easton; then the town voted that the said minit men should be Paid
for the time they should be cauld fourth to action against an Enemie ;
then the meating Was Dismist."

No one foresaw how soon these men would be called into
active service. On the night of the i8th of April, 1775, eight
hundred British troops crossed in boats from the foot of Bos-
ton Common to East Cambridge, and about midnight began
their march to Concord to destroy the military stores which
had been collected there. Secret as the movement was, it
did not escape the vigilance of the watchful patriots. Signal
lights were hung from the tower of the North Church, and
Paul Revere and others hastened to spread the alarm to the
neighboring towns. The memorable fight at Lexington and
Concord, and the disastrous retreat of the British on the
19th are well-known incidents in our glorious Revolutionary

It was just past midday when a galloping horseman came
dashing through the town of Easton, bringing to our people
the starthng intelligence that the Middlesex farmers had fired
the first shot for Independence ! Messengers hurried imme-
diately to every part of the town calling the minute men to
arms, and before nightfall two companies, numbering respec-
tively forty-seven and fifty men, were on their way to the
scene of action. Late in the day the company commanded
by Captain Abiel Mitchell was seen marching, to the stirring
music of fife and drum, along the old Stoughton turnpike. It
is fitting that the names of our ancestors of Easton who took
part in the memorable struggle that made our country free.



should be handed down to posterity. The following is the
" Muster Roll of Capt. Abial Mitchell who was down at the
Alarm " : ^ —

Abiel Mitchell, Captain.

Jacob Leonard, Lieutenant.

Silas Kinsley, Ensign (died May 19).

Matthew Randall, Sergeatit.

Daniel Niles, Sergeatit.

Dominicus 'Record, Sergeant.

Seth Manley, Corporal.

Jonah Fobes, Corporal.

Benjamin Kinsley, Corporal.

Samuel Stone, Jr., Corporal.

John Mears, Drtcinmer.

Seth Watkins, Fifer.

Parmenas Ames.

William Adams.

William Lawson.

Jacob Phillips.

Silas Phillips.

Amasa Phillips.

Henry Howard.

Hezekiah Drake.

David Dunbar.

Noah Drake.

Nathaniel Packard.

Thomas Fling.

Joseph Hayward.
Isaac Lincoln.
Roger Conant.
Jonah Drake.
Zachariah Drake.
John Holmes.
Alexander Keith.
William Lindsey.
Nehemiah Randall.
James Randall.
John Randall.
Hopestill Randall.
Jonathan Harris.
Simeon Keith.-
Joseph Drake, y"^ 3d.
John Stone.
William Pratt.
James Packard.
Daniel Fobes.
John Woodcock.
Nathan Woodcock.
Oliver Phillips.
Ephraim Randall.

This company was mainly from the east part of the town.
Another, commanded by Capt. Macey Williams, immediately fol-
lowed, and going by the old Bay road took up their night march
for the scene of action. Their names are as follows :^ —

Macey Williams, Captain.
Josiah Keith, Lietitenant.
Elijah Howard, Ensign.
David Keith, Sergeant.
Jonathan Pratt, Setgeant.
William Randall, Setgeant.
Ebenezer Woods, Sergeant.
Clement Drake, Corporal.
Isaac Fuller, Corporal.
Seth Littlefield, Corporal.

Samuel Gilbert, Corporal.
Jonathan Keith, Drummer.
John Dunbar.
Francis Goward.
Marlborough Williams.
Seth Williams.
Jacob Allen.
Joseph Hanks.
John Woods.
Francis Woods.

^ State Archives, Revolutionary Rolls, vol. xiii. p. 16.

- Ibid., p. 160.


Daniel Woods. John Williams.

William Bonney. David Clarke.

Joshua Stearns. Edward Williams.

Edward Kingman. Ammiruhami Kimball.

Benjamin Kingman. Paul Lincoln.

Lewis Gilbert. Amariah Wood.

Amasa Record. Anthony Hayward.^

Ebenezer Bruce. Nathan Gibbs.

Nathaniel Gilbert. Seth Keith.

Phineas Allen. Stephen Thayer.

Lemuel Andrews. Thomas Drake.

Ebenezer Bisbee. Stoughton Willis.

Edward Keith. Zephaniah Lothrop.

Matthew Keith. Benjamin Merrifield.

Elijah Williams. John Dailey.

The battles of Lexington and Concord were over, and the
British soldiers had retreated to Boston before our two Eas-
ton companies arrived upon the scene. They remained in the
field from seven to eleven days, when it appeared that the
immediate emergency was over, and they returned home. It
was now the 28th of April. On the 4th of May a town-
meeting was held. It was voted that the committee of inspec-
tion should be a committee of correspondence also. These
" committees of correspondence and safety " were appointed
at the suggestion of that sturdy patriot Samuel Adams, and
they rendered efficient service in keeping the several towns
informed of the state of affairs, and in pointing out to them
the manner in which they could best aid the great cause of
liberty. The soldiers who responded to the Lexington alarm
having returned, enlistments of men for three and six months'
service were encouraged. The town voted at this meeting
to supply with blankets those who enlisted. The Easton men
who enlisted at this time were mainly in the companies of
Capt. Francis Luscomb, of Taunton, and Capt. Macey Wil-
liams, of this town. Some, whose names are given below,
were, however, in other companies. Captain Luscomb formed a
company, upon the muster-roll of which appear the following
Easton names :^ —

^ This Anthony Hayward was a slave, the property of Matthew Hayward.
'^ State Archives, Revolutionary Rolls, vol. xv. p. 57; Military Papers, vol. Ivi.
p. 141 ; Coat Rolls, vol. i. p. 141.




Matthew Randall, Lietitenant.
Seth Pratt, Ensign.
Daniel Niles, Sergeant.
Dominicus Record, Sergeant.
Seth Manley, Corporal.
Jonah Fobes, Corporal.
Samuel Stone, Corporal.
John Mears, Drjim 6r» Fife.
William Adams.
Simeon Burr.
Joseph Drake, y'= 3d.
David Dunbar.
Noah Drake.
Simeon Keitly. t
Isaac Lincoln,
William Lawson.
Oliver Lincoln.
Abiah Manley.
Samuel Manley.

John Woodcock.

Silas Phillips.
Amasa Phillips.
William Pratt, y^ 3d.
James Packard.
Ebenezer Phillips.
Hezekiah Drake.
Ebenezer Dickerman,
Daniel Fobes.
Henry Hovi^ard.

Online LibraryWilliam L. (William Ladd) ChaffinHistory of the town of Easton, Massachusetts (Volume 3) → online text (page 20 of 78)