Addison County Vermont Biographies
Town of Cornwall
Town of Cornwall, Vermont biographies copied from the Vermont Historical Gazetteer, by Abby Maria Hemenway.
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SAMUEL INGRAHAM was born in Washington, Mass. With the spirit which animated every patriotic bosom at that period, he joined the army when only 16 years of age, in response to the first call for volunteers, after the massacre at Lexington. The company to which he belonged was stationed on one of the eminences in the vicinity of Charlestown, during the battle of Bunker Hill. Though panting, as he used to say, to take part with their comrades, they were not ordered into action. His company remained in the vicinity of Boston until the evacuation of the city by the British, after which they were employed in different localities, as their services were needed. Mr. Ingraham was in the service during the war, and when, at last, he was honorably discharged, received, as the writer has heard him remark "the balance then due for his services, in continental currency, so nearly worthless that, at the first place on his way homeward, where he could procure any food to satisfy the cravings of hunger, he paid $16 of his hard earnings — two months' pay — for two pounds of green cheese." Though Mr. Ingraham enjoyed but slight advantages for early education, his natural endowments were superior. Possessing quick discernment, wonderful retentiveness of memory, and an insatiable thirst for knowledge, he acquired extensive general intelligence; was often called to fill town offices; was a safe adviser; peculiarly social and amiable in all his relations; and lived and died an honest man, and humble Christian.
DANIEL FOOT came to Cornwall from Watertown, Conn., the year before the commencement of the Revolutionary war, but having been driven off by the Indians, he enlisted in the army early in the contest, and became connected with a company of mounted Rangers, which was often employed in extremely perilous service. He appears to have been a fearless man; fond of adventure, and always ready to encounter any danger to which his duty as a soldier exposed him. He used to relate that, on one occasion, after a severe skirmish, in which his companions were killed, or captured, or dispersed, he was reduced to the necessity of cooking his moccasins for food, supplying their place with others made from a part of his blanket. Being in the vicinity of Ticonderoga, when it was surrendered to Burgoyne, he and one of his comrades were despatched to warn the settlers of Cornwall of their danger, and aid them in escaping to a place of safety. After the war, Mr. Foot returned to his adopted home, and became a permanent resident, employed during a life, protacted to extreme age, in the peaceful pursuits of husbandry.
WILLIAM SLADE, ESQ., sometimes called Col. Slade, from having been a militia officer, came from Washington, Conn., in 1786. He was a man of strong mental powers, and great energy and decision. From his first residence in Cornwall, he bore a very active part in town affairs, and was always regarded by his fellow-citizens as qualified to fill any place in which his services might be required. The precise length of time he was connected with the army cannot now be ascertained, but it is known that he was one of the unfortunate prisoners on board the notorious Jersey Prison ship, and that by an iron constitution he was sustained through indescribable sufferings, which proved fatal to most of his companions. He was for several years sheriff of Addison county. He was an active politician, — was an especially stanch supporter of the opinions and measures of Madison, in respect to the war of 1812. He was known as a man of public spirit, and more capable than most men of forming an impartial judgment, in cases where his own interests were involved. He died in 1826, aged 73.
HON. JOEL LINSLEY was born in Woodbury, Conn., and came to Cornwall among the earliest settlers. He was formed, by nature, to exert a controlling influence in any community in which he might reside. He was appointed town clerk at the organization of the town in 1784, and held that office much of the time till near the close of his life. He represented the town several years in the State legislature; was assistant judge, and afterward chief judge of the County Court. In every office, his duties were discharged with marked ability, and to universal acceptance. Few men enjoy, with keener relish, the pleasures of social intercourse. Possessing an inexhaustible fund of anecdote and humor, and unusual conversational powers, he was the life of every circle with which he associated. The aged and the young alike found him an agreeable companion. To the unfortunate, he was a sympathizing friend; to virtuous indigence, a cheerful benefactor; and of any judicious scheme of benevolent effort, a munificent patron.
DEA. JEREMIAH BINGHAM was born in Norwich, Conn., in 1748. He first removed to Bennington, and resided till 1784, when he came with his family to Cornwall. It is not known to his children to what extent he was engaged in military service. They know only that he was connected with the quartermaster's department of the garrison at Ticonderoga, at the time of its surrender to Burgoyne. In this school he perhaps received the training which secured to him the systematic habits for which he was distinguished. He was, withal, a man of indomitable energy and, perseverance, as well as inflexible moral and religious principle. The writer recollects having been present at a meeting of the church, in which they were attending to the discipline of a son of Dea. Bingham. They were about proceeding to the final act of excommunication. They were slow to act, through deference to the father's feelings. Perceiving their hesitation, and understanding its meaning, the venerable man rose, his face suffused with tears, and when the emotions which had choked his utterance allowed him to speak, he said, "Brethren, I love my children, I suppose, as well as you love yours; but if I do not love my Saviour better than I love my children, I am not worthy to be called his follower. Go on, brethren, and do your duty."
Dea. Bingham was chosen first deacon of the Congregational church, soon after its organization, and continued to discharge the duties of the office until extreme age induced him to desire a successor. He was a model of promptness in supporting the gospel at home, and of liberality in conferring his benefactions on every meritorious object of Christian charity. He was, in a word, a happy illustration of the truth, "There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth." Having previously done for his family what he deemed proper, he left at his decease a considerable estate, to be distributed, by the directions of his will, for benevolent purposes.
Dea. Bingham was very fond of expressing his thoughts in writing, especially in rhyme, and his favorite poetry assumed the acrostic form. Of these poems, he has left enough to constitute a considerable volume. After a life of constant activity and usefulness, "he came to his grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in his season."
His tombstone marks 93 years.
DEA. DANIEL SAMSON came very early to Cornwall, and was, for many years, a colleague with Dea. Bingham in the deaconship. Though an equally efficient officer of the church, he was, in temperament, dissimilar. The former was excitable, while Dea. Samson was always mild. Like the "beloved disciple," his leading characteristic was affection. As a panacea for every jar and every difficulty, he would exhort his brethren to "love one another." He was easily moved to tears, and his tender entreaties, accompanied with tears, we may not doubt, soothed many a ruffled spirit, and hushed many a strife among brethren, which might otherwise have grown to formidable proportions. Possessing sound judgment, he was always a safe counsellor, as well as a most discreet member and officer of the church. Several years before his decease, Dea. Samson removed from Cornwall with his youngest son, and resided with him in Barre, N. Y., until he died in 1842, aged 84 years.
To the preceding sketches of the fathers we add notices of a few of the sons of Cornwall, who have served their generation with distinguished usefulness, and gone to their reward.
HON. WILLIAM SLADE, son of Wm. Slade, above mentioned, was born in Cornwall in 1786. At the age of 17 he entered Middlebury College, where he maintained a high standing with compeers, several of whom have since become distinguished in professional life. After he graduated he studied law and commenced practice, in Middlebury, in 1810. But legal practice appears to have had for him very slight attractions. In 1814, '15, and '16, he edited a political paper in Middlebury, called the "Columbian Patriot." While in this employment, he was appointed Secretary of State, and soon after called to various other civil offices. Indeed, it probably would not be exaggeration to say, that between 1816 and '46, he held a greater variety of civil tracts, in this State, and under our national government, than have ever been held by any other native of Vermont. His last political service was rendered in 1844-46, as governor of this Commonwealth. From this period to the time of his decease, he was Cor. Secretary and Gen. Agent of the Board of National Popular Education. He possessed versatility of character, which prepared him to fill these numerous and varied offices with credit to himself and with benefit to his country. Whatever the post assigned him, he always appeared equal to its demands. In his labors as editor and compiler, he exhibited sound judgment and discrimination. In his speeches while a member of Congress, he showed himself a fearless, as well as an able defender of the right, when arbitrary power menaced its subversion.
As Secretary of the Board of Education, Gov. Slade found his most congenial employment. Here his benevolence had full scope. As companies of female teachers were, from time to time, prepared for their chosen vocation, he accompanied them, with all a father's solicitude, to their several fields of labor; saw them properly located, and inducted into their work of enlightening and training the minds and hearts of the rising myriads of the West. In this, as a loved employment, he continued even after the destroyer had marked him as a victim. To this he clung with a grasp which was relaxed only by death. The crowning excellence of Gov. Slade's character was his ardent piety, which was best known to those most familiar with his daily walk.
The decease of Gov. Slade occurred in Middlebury, his place of residence, in 1859.
HON. ASHLEY SAMSON, son of Dea. Samson above mentioned, was born in Cornwall, and graduated at Middlebury CoIlege, with the class of 1812. He was an early member of the "Young Gentlemen's Society of Cornwall," and much devoted to its interests. He chose the legal profession, and passed through a thorough course of preparatory training. After a year or two of practice in Pittsford, N. Y., he removed to Rochester, where he prosecuted his professional labors until 1827, when he was appointed first judge of the court of that county, an office to which he was repeatedly called in subsequent years. He also served as a member of the State legislature.
Judge Samson possessed peculiar qualifications for the discharge of judicial functions; was too discriminating to be deluded by sophistry; too honest to exhibit undue favor. Like his venerable father, simple, amiable, and ever actuated by obvious Christian principle in the performance of duty, he lived to serve others rather than himself, and by his will, devoted a considerable estate almost wholly to benevolent purposes.
REV. REUBEN POST, D. D., was born in Cornwall in 1792. He finished his collegiate course in 1814; and after a year spent in teaching, passed through the usual course in the Theological Seminary at Princeton in 1818, and became pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in the city of Washington, where he continued until 1836, officiating also, a considerable part of the time, as chaplain to Congress. Having resigned his charge in Washington, he removed in 1836 to Charleston, S. C., and was installed pastor of a church in that city, with which he remained till his decease in 1857.
To the class of 1812, belonged also,
JOSEPH R. ANDRUS, born in Cornwall in 1791. After receiving his degree at Middlebury, he spent some time as a resident graduate at Yale College. His theological studies he pursued partly at Andover and partly with Bishop Griswold of R. I., from whom he received Episcopal ordination. He labored for a few years In different localities; his heart, meanwhile, being deeply interested in the cause of African colonization. To this cause he at length devoted his life, and sailed for Africa early in 1821, as the first agent of the American Colonization Society, accompanied by a colony of negroes. He fell a victim to the climate, July 28, 1821, only a few months after his arrival. While living, Mr. Andrus was held in high esteem for his Christian virtues. And his voluntary sacrifice of himself for the welfare of benighted Africa, will cause his name to be held in remembrance as one of her most earnest friends. When the gospel shall terminate her savage strifes, and stay the traffic in the blood of her children, — shall illumine her now dark abodes, and transform them into safe, and quiet, and peaceful homes; when the dwellers on her plains and in her vales shall sing in unison, the peans of thanksgiving to the Lamb that was slain for their redemption, — then shall the name of Joseph R. Andrus be repeated with admiration, and gratitude, and love.