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defined when he settled in what is now the quality in this outpost of New England little village of Sharon Valley; but Baltus people who had suddenly become their Lott proved a stubborn interloper, and neighbors with which they were powerless resisted successfully for several years all to cope. There was a leaven at work efforts to dislodge him. He finally ex- which was altogether too lively for the
acted a snug bonus for his squatter rights, narrow rim of Connecticut; and within a and took himself off. It was well to be
very few years after the settlement of rid of him at any price !
Sharon in 1739 this element poured in a “ Though the Dutch had the advantage tidal wave over the borders, and the of earlier establishment, there was some Dutchman of the Webutuck Valley awoke
one day to find himself a Yankee-lan- were lit by ever fresh expectation. Cerguage and all !”
tainly a race of pessimists never subdued There is the record, all too familiar in a country as New England was subdued. New England annals, of trials and disas- The day of flippant literature, at least, had ters in the first years of settlement. Very not arrived ; and probably an extreme in early there was the visitation of a myste- the opposite direction is the main thing rious “wasting sickness," or nervous which has contributed to deceive us — an fever," of which many died, and which unnatural solemnity being judged by them nearly ruined the whole enterprise. But the only appropriate form for anything this band of hardy men and their families attaining to the dignity of print. Even had come to “undergo the difficulties of formal documents, however, occasionally settling a wilderness country,"—to use the break through the stricture. For instance, phrase of one of their petitions to the colonial government - and they met all hardships bravely, and went forward 10
Doubtless in these early communities there was the full average of enjoyment and happiness, comparing them with vastly different conditions in modern times. Our vision of the old days in New England is apt to have a certain somber
CHRIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, BUILT IN 1813, AND RECTORY. Cast. If there seemed to be a twilight overspreading the land, as in the records of the first town meeting in Thoreau
says, and an allusion to the sun Sharon, “ To chuse town officers which shining, in some account of the time, he Being Dune the Inhabitance being met on says, gave a certain sensation of surprise, the uth day of December, In ye year this is doubtless owing, more than other- 1739,” can we believe that no joke was wise, to some obscure association which intended when “Nathl Skinner Jun Was the remoteness of a scene brings to our Chosen Leather Sealer?”; or that, when it minds. There is ample evidence, despite was“farther voted that Swin haven a Ring in some plausible showing to the contrary,
their Noses shall be accounted an orderly that those little communities of the early Creater," it was soberly adjudged by the Puritan days took life with zest and enjoy
"inhabitance" that these bejeweled citiment. There was with them an existence were welcome attractions in the of strenuous and hopeful endeavor, which, village, running at large? of itself, brings it rich rewards. Their days
The first meeting house was a tempo
rary structure of logs; but so early as the stirring exhortations. He was afterward, third year a permanent building was for a time, a chaplain in the army. erected. There have been few pastorates Adonijah Maxam, who died here in his in Connecticut more memorable than that native town in 1850, at the age of 97, of the Rev. Cotton Mather Smith, whose went through a series of remarkable ad. ministry in Sharon began in 1755 and ventures in the Revolutionary War. In continued till his death, in 1806. Parson an attempt on Montreal, under Col. Ethan Smith, as he was called, was no less emi- Allen, he was captured with others, innent for his good works than his learning cluding Allen, and sent to England. The and piety. His befriending of orphan vicissitudes of his escape, when he was children with substantial material aid was brought back to New York, still imprisan eloquent preaching, over and above the oned, make a thrilling tale. He again
4000 discourses, besides some 1,500 on joined the army, and, among other expefuneral and other occasions, which one of riences, went through the horrors of the his admirers estimated he had delivered. winter at Valley Forge. There is one The figures show a memorable achiev- tradition connected with his adventures, ment; but, when we reflect what a sermon on which written history-doubtless from was in those days, the vast aggregate is
a proper sense of dignity-has hitherto not without its appalling aspect. Sharon kept sileni. Maxam, it seems, was more was conspicuous for its fervor of patriotism noted for his patriotism and bravery than in the Revolution, and it had no citizen for his attractions of person. It is even more ardent or more stalwart than Parson hinted that he was the homliest man in Smith. The tidings of Lexington reached the State of Connecticut-which is saying Sharon just in time for him to announce a great deal ! Be that as it may,
the forthem from the pulpit, which he did with
lorn physical condition to which he was
reduced by stress of prolonged imprison- wildest mountain scenery. The township ment and neglect was such, it is said, as itself is a great rounded upland, with picgreatly to heighten whatever impression turesque peaks and wide outlooks, deshis presence made to the eye of the cending steeply on the east to the wooded, observer; and the story is that his captors rapid-flowing Housatonic, and on the actually had him exhibited to crowds in west to the placid meadows of the WebuEngland, as a specimen of the outlandish tuck.
In laying out the town there was Yankees—a race of Yahoos—they were found no site, even nearly central, for the trying to subdue.
village plot or borough. Tradition still One memento of the Revolutionary struggle preserved in Sharon is the discharge of Hezekiah Goodwin, with the signature and seal of Washington, under date of June 7, 1783. after his faithful services through the whole war. It is kept by his grandson, Mr. George D. Goodwin, who now, at the age of 86, is one of the few left who furnish a link with the past of Sharon.
It is a fact worth recording that it is only within two or three years that Mr. Goodwin has gained possession of this heirloom. It had been given up as part of the proof necessary to obtaining a pension for the veteran soldier ; but, that granted, the discharge was stubbornly held on to in the archives at Washington. and
now, after the lapse of the greater part of a century, it is
METHODIST CHURCH, at last in the hands of its
Built in 1835. rightful owner.
Another interesting document in the points out the upland plateau which the possession of Mr. Goodwin is the Com- settlers first selected. The situation finally mission of Lieut. Col. David Burr, signed chosen is upon the extreme western by Jonathan Trumbull in 1772.
border; and the choice is fortunate, The stretch of country surrounding except for the inconvenience of the townSharon, within a radius of a few miles, ship housekeeping, so to speak, for the embraces an unusual variety — between
location has great attractions. To the sylvan pastoral views, which recall Berket northward, in the distance,are the TaghkaFoster's English Landscapes, and the nics ; and three blue peaks, in a close
group to the eye, rise up from their three several states--Mount Riga, Mount Everett, or the Dome, and Bear Mountain. Ray Mountain is in the nearer view, and Indian Mountain, with a beautiful lake at the foot of its slopes upon each side. Silver Lake, or Mudge, if its not very euphonious, but historic name, must be given, is the only one of the four lakes in close vicinity to each other of which the aboriginal name is not preserved. Wequagnock, on the state border, is
We may picture to ourselves the Sharon of early times, when this wide mountain upland lay in its primeval state, and so large is the area still covered by forests there are many portions which differ little from the time when the bear and deer roamed through them, and when the Indians were warring, hunting and fishing, and, at times, castigating their fetish idol (kept in charge of an old squaw) whenever it was believed to have brought them ill luck in their endeavors.
Indian Pond from time immemorial ; but it was the Gnaden See of the old Moravians--their “Lake of Grace,” for the good work they accomplished among the Indians here. Their famous mission was established in the wilds almost as early as the settlement of the town. A monument to them and their work adorns the shore of the lake. There are many beautiful lakes in this vicinity; but I doubt whether there is another, even in the state, which can rival the great variety of charm pertaining to Wequagnock.
The same wide, long street remains that was laid out in 1739, but there is no little change in the aspect of the village since the day when it was voted that "Swin haven a Ring in their Noses shall be accounted an orderly Creater"—this shady avenue, with its handsome residences, and lawns, not left to the clipping of fourfooted residents. A few of the buildings date back within the first quarter-century; but there are elms which the settlers must have planted when they first came. Their great size we should believe indicated a