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Rev. Kellogg's Original 1800 Letter

This is the Rev. Ebenezer Kellogg's description of 1800 Vernon, dated September 6, 1800 as published in "Voices of the New Republic, Volume I." It retains as many of the original features as practicable in transcription from manuscript to print form. Neither spelling nor punctuation has been modernized or standardized. Original capitalization has also been retained. It is reproduced here with the publisher's permission.

» Return to Updated Text version with contemporary spelling and punctuation.

The Letter

Bolton (North)
Ebenezer Kellogg

Sir, In compliance with your request, I send you the information I have obtained & what I know relative to the history, geography &c. of the Society in which I live.

I wou'd previously observe that the town of Bolton, by its record at the time of the first settellers, was called Hartford mountaines. The first matter of record I find on the Town Books is the following, which I transcrible at large— "William Pitkin Esq. These are to desire you to run out & measure the sundry lines about the Lots in the mountain plantations, that thereby the said lots may be by you regularly bounded out, that no wrong may happen to the Settelers upon them. Hartford, Apr 2, 1719 James Wadsworth, John Hooker, John Hall, Hezh Brainard."

I-84 at Exit 66

The next thing recorded in sd records, is a deed of conveyance of land by John Bishop, in which the place of his abode is thus expressed— "Living at the place called Hartford Mountains, in the County of Hartford". Which deed was authenticated in July, 1719.

The next thing on record is, a deed of land given by "Abel Shaler in the town of Bolton." dated Ap1 26, 1721.

These I have mentioned are the first three things which stand recorded on Bolton Town records. By them it appears, that there was at least one settler in the town, as early as in the Summer of 1719.—And that the Town took the name of Bolton, sometime between that date & 1721. But as I did not design to give an account of the whole Town, (supposing the Rev. G. Colton will send you concerning the part of the Town in which he lives). I shall speak only of the Society in which I live.

North Bolton, in the County of Tolland, & State of Connectt is, in extent from N. to South 5 miles; & from E. to W. about 4: It is bounded N. on the town of Ellington—E. on Tolland & Coventry—S. on Bolton, & E. Hartford—& West on E. Windsor.

The tract of Land comprised in this Society, before ye year 1760, belonged to the towns of Bolton & E. Windsor—about 3/4 to the former. It was constituted an Ecclesiastical Society by the legislature of ye then Colony, at their fall Session, Anno 1760. And in 1789, the Windsor part of ye Parish by an act of the Gen1 Assembly of the State [at the] May session was anexed to the Town of Bolton.

The first planter in this Society, & indeed in ye town of Bolton, was one Stephen Johns, from England. He pitched down on a valley in the wilderness (as a daughter of his, who yet surviving informed me, in the year 1716; supposing ye land on which he settled to be in Tolland. He lived there several years before there were any other inhabitants on lands which fall in the bounds of this Society.

Some of the first settelers in this Parish were from Bolton— Coventry—Hartford & Windsor.

The first & present Gospel-Minister in this Society, was ordained on ye 24 day of Novbr 1762. There are at present in it 130 families—six School districts, & as many School-Houses; in which children are taught ye Rudiments of common learning the main part of ye year: By a Master four or five months in the cold seasons, at a price of 8 or 10 Dolls per month, exclusive of his board; By a Mistress the other seasons at the price of 4 Dolls & 50 Cts per month exclusive of board.

The land on the east part of the Society is mountanious; interspersed with valleys. Some ledges of rocks—considerably stony. The west part, in general, is level & not too much incumbered with stone. The wood & timber at ye time of the first planters were rather poor, except on the highland on the east part of ye Society, which were good— The groath on the other parts, principally, was low pitch or yellow pines intermixed with small black & white oaks & chesnuts, & many patches with shrub oaks.

This poor groath of wood at that time was occasioned by fire which for many preceeding years burnt over the lands. The Indians in their day, to procure feed for their game, or other purposes— & after them, the people of some adjoining Towns for pasture for their cattle; annually put fire to the woods, which killed the greatest part of the groath. The fires being prevented, in a few succeeding years, the groath of oaks, chesnuts, some walnuts & other kinds of wood overtop'd & mainly destroyed the smaller & less useful groaths, & became fine groves of wood.

Many groves at present stand thick with chesnuts of a good size, out of which are cut timber for rails & other uses, which furnish the fields with fence; & many loads of rails for market, which are annually transported to Hartford & Windsor, the distance of 10 & 12 miles, & sold from 4 to 5 Dols, per hundred. Posts for rail fence, both white oak & chesnut—some oak boards—ships planks & wood for fire, also annually are carried from this place to Hartford.

The groath of wood after curing & clearing (if suffered to grow) rather improves; & wood at present is in good plenty for fuel & other uses & if cut with prudence will continue so for ages to come— The common price of oak wood is one Dol. pr cord.

The soil in different parts of ye Society is, principally, of two kinds. The eastern part is generally a blackish dirt intermix'd with gravel & stone—some spots a little clay—It is natural for grass & good for pasture & mowing—also a good proportion of tolerable plow-land— The western part in general is of a loomy soil—interrnix'd in some places with gravel or sand.

Both parts of the Society, when new, or fertilized with manure, produce Wheat, from 15 to 20 Bhls per acre— But generally the old improved lands are sown with Rye,—which yield from 7 to 12 Bhls pr acre.

The year after the crop of Wheat or Rye is taken off, the fields are planted with Indian corn, & some potatoes—& the next year sown with oats & flax, & frequently stocked down with red clover or herds grass seed, or both together for mowing or pasture, which answer for one or other of these purposes three or four years—then it is usually fallowed for Rye &c. In this rotation ye arrable lands are generally cultivated by the farmers.

The produce of Indian corn per acre, is, in general, from 12 to 25 bushls. The quantity of flax annually raised, upon an average is a competent supply for home consumption. The moist & swampy parts & low lands near streams of water are improved for mowing and pasturing—The higher land in many places, when inriched with manure be an a good burden of excellent hay.

The principal manure used is, Stable & Barnyard dung-Plaster of Paris is made some use of, & has a surprising effect on warm dry land, in the production of red clover—Indian corn, & other grain—

The cultivation of land is with oxen—but oftimes with a horse or horses harnessed before them. The Plough made use of & preferred by the farmers, is what they call the Dutch Plough. It is constructed with one handle—its share rises high on the fore-end of the Chip or bottom piece is fasten'd on with an iron bolt which comes up thro' the beam; it has no Coulter. The harrows in use, are small timbers framed in a triangular form & set with iron teeth.—Ox carts are principally in use-There may be in the place 8 or 9 Ox Waggons. The latter are preferred for carrying loads to a distance; but accounted not so convenient for short movements on a farm.

Orchards are considerably numerous & improveing—Tis supposed there are made in the Society annually about 2600 barrels of cyder—price from 1 to 1 dol 50 cents per barrel.

This Society is well watered by many brooks, small rivulets & springs, which by intersecting yc roads, afford great convenience of water to most of the inhabitants. There is scarcely a Farm but what is accommodated with lasting water. The principal stream of water in the Parish, is known by the indian name of Hokkanum: It has its source out of a large Pond, called by the Indians, & still called Snipsick Pond. This Pond lies in the N.W. corner of Tolland, & near the N.E. corner of this Society. The greatest part of the Pond is in Tolland—It is about two miles in length, & half mile in breadth— The stream from this fountain takes its course westerly,& with considerable descent, in a serpentine manner runs over rocks & stones about a mile & half; & then turns a southern course on smoother ground, leaving the Parish by cuting a little on ye corner of E. Windsor—then enters the town of E. Hartford in Orford Society, & makes its way by many windings to Connecticut River, into which it empties near the meeting house in East Hartford.—This river in its general course may be from 20 to 30 feet in width; in common seasons.-It is remarkable for mill seats, & on which in its length, there are many mills & of various kinds. The next stream for bigness is called by its indian name, Tankkerrooson, on which stands several mills.

Wells which afford good water for all uses, are obtained by digging from 15 to 25 feet.

The Society is well accommodated with mills of the following kinds: 5 Grist mills-6 Saw mills—one fulling mill with other apparatus of the Clothiers business—one linseed-oil mill, one Cotton Factory for the spinning & twisting of cotton yarn built by & ye property of a Mr. Warburton, a few years since from England, who is of uncommon mechannical genius. This factory is now of considerable business & increasing.

There are 4 Stills work'd in this Society,—one of which is of large capacity—contains 8 [hdds?] principally used in distilling Gin from rye; the product of which the present year 1800 is 3,117 Galn. The others employ'd in distilling Cyder into Brandy.

The Butter & Cheese carried to market, annually, is conjectured to be, (I cannot obtain the exact weight) about 2,000 wt of each. Grains of all kinds, (but principally rye) that is carried to market may be about 1500 bhls. Pork that is marketed, yearly, is supposed to be about 15,000 wt or 75 barrels. Of sheeps wool we have a sufficiency for home consumption & some to spare.

Tis difficult, if not impossible for me to obtain exact information of these things; therefore with the aid of the oppinion of some others of the Society, I have stated as above-

There are 146 oxen in this Society, which with those that are younger subjected to the yoke, together with horses—tis supposed make about 80 working Teams.

Within 30 years past, the price of land has risen four double. There are but two taverns in the Society—

If the preceeding information will be of utility in any respect, it will be grateful to your humble Servt Ebenr Kellogg

N. Bolton
Septbr 6,1800

Simeon Baldwin, Esqr

[Addressed to]
[Summary Information] Simeon Baldwin Esqr New Haven

[Docket] Revd Ebenr Kellog
Bolton (North)
Read Febr 7, 1801

Sources

"Voices of the New Republic: Connecticut Towns 1800-1832, Volume I: What They Said" - by The Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2003. See page 373 for Kellogg's letter. Available at the Rockville Public Library.

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