Fri Jul 17 1863: Willimantic and Vicinity. No. II.--Over the River.
In accordance with our promise to give absent Willimantic subscribers some account of our village, with its improvements and surroundings, as it appears at present, we herewith furnish some impressions of our second trip, over the south side of the river.
On a pleasant summer morning we pass over the arched stone bridge, standing in the place of the old Iron Works bridge, formerly noticed, and under the railroad tracks at the south end of it, when we turn to the right and go up to Pleasant street, most appropriately named, by the late Asa Jillson, Esq. And here, at the outset, we are forcibly reminded of time's changes, and the multiform "improvements" in this vicinity, which have well nigh obliterated the old landmarks. In spite of ourselves, and of our efforts to "let the dead past bury its dead,' and look only at the things of the present, memory is busy with schoolboy scenes, and golden visions of other and younger years, which "fond recollection presents to our view." But, although we love to linger on the scenes of the past, especially the sunny days of childhood, (and who does not?) yet we have no such veneration for the past as to desire its return. No, the present, all things considered, is better than the past, and the future will be better than the present. Onward, is the motto of the age, and it is our motto. Onward with improvements in everything that will promote human welfare, physical, moral, mental and spiritual, until the dawning of the bright millennial day.
But somehow we can never go over the bridge in this direction without thinking of the "old road" that led up to the schoolhouse, with its delicious springs of pure cold water by the wayside, with the great overhanging trees and hemlock shrubbery on its high southern bank, and regretting its departure to make place for the real and practical, but not very poetical, iron rail. Who that ever traveled this road to and from the little old schoolhouse on the hill, does not recur to the loitering hours spent here in summer by the refreshing springs under the shade of the grand old trees, and almost wish, for a single day, to be "a boy again".
As we passed up, the morning train from Hartford came thundering along, passing over a part of the old road about which we had been meditating. We were so near that we recognized the countenance of a gentleman with whom we were formerly acquainted, who at the same time appeared to recognize us, and waved his paper containing the glorious news from the Army of the Potomac. The train moved on, and we awoke from our revery and began to look about us.
"Beautiful for situation" truly is the mansion which was the home of the late Asa Jillson, Esq. There is very little change in the appearance of the house or its surroundings that would be discovered from the road, except that the natural hemlock shrubbery in front has grown considerably since we were last here. In fact, the carriage road with its overarching trees looked so natural--so much as it did years ago--that we almost expected to see the familiar form of the original proprietor passing up or down the avenue. We remembered the pleasant hours we had spent here, years agone, when we were a teacher and "boarded round," mingling in a cheerful and sympathetic circle, and sharing the hospitalities of a refined home. And when we recollected that the then happy circle had been broken time and again, that the remnants of the family were scattered and not one left in Willimantic, and that this fine residence is now a boarding-house, we could not but indulge a shade of regret and muse on the changes that time brings--ah, how surely--to all families. The new residence recently erected by the Linen Company, just to the west of the Jillson mansion, for Mr. Conant and Mr. Reed, is a fine building, its elevated position commanding an extended prospect, while the grounds around it are laid out with taste. There are several equally desirable building lots to the west of this. The schoolhouse, were we learned our A, B, C, has been made over into a neat cottage, painted white, and is owned by Mrs. Goff. Just beyond, on the same (north) side of the road, is the new two-story dwelling house of Mr. Edwin Hall. It appears well, is on the most elevated ground about here, and the view north, over into the center of the village, is very fine.
The Alfred Young homestead, formerly owned by the late Capt. Zeph. Young and now by his brother Alfred, looks much as it did forty years ago, and all the surroundings bear the marks of little change. Passing up the old Middletown turnpike west, we come to the locality well known in former days as the "Hemlocks." When a boy we used to think it a singularly dark and "lonesome" place, occasioned by the dense hemlocks on both sides of the road. But the cutting and slashing have cleared up much that darkened the way, and its beauty and glory have departed. A short distance east of the brook, on the river side, Mr. Andrew Fuller has built him a house, in a very retired place. As we passed by we mentally exclaimed, "What could induce you, Mr. Fuller, to clear away all those beautiful groups of young hemlocks, which kind nature had spread so profusely all around your dwelling; and why trim up those tall evergreens, leaving them looking so barren and shadowless?" But tastes differ, and it is none of our particular business to question the taste of any one.
The cattle pound by the brooks has disappeared and Mr. Fuller on one side and Mr. Tracy on the other have greatly improved the appearance hereabouts. Over the brook and a few rods west, on the north side of the road, is the new and elegant residence of John Tracy, Esq. The house is a large, square one, plain, but tasteful and imposing, while the surroundings are appropriate, and the ground suitably adorned and well cultivated. The fine woods in the rear of the house, extending down to the Willimantic river, is a charming feature, especially in summer. The location is retired and quiet, and altogether it is one of the finest private residences in this place or vicinity. Our principal objection to the site would be that there is no "distance to lend enchantment to view" in any direction; the most extended outlook from the front being limited to the lowland and part of the hill beyond, extending hardly a mile. But it is pretty difficult to find all things just to one's mind in a building site.
Above, on the corner of the main and Lebanon roads, is the residence of Whiting Hayden, Esq., a fine, substantial building, in modern style and good taste. The dwelling of his son, James E. Hayden, is just south, on the Lebanon road, and is also a fine residence. We noticed on Mr. Hayden's ground a stand of the tobacco plant, and believe he cultivated to some extent last year, and successfully. Our antipathies against the "weed" are such that perhaps we had better not say much on the subject. From appearance we judge that Mr. Hayden is paying some attention to grape culture, the only one in the place, we believe, who is doing so.
The little cottage, that was, next west of Gen. Baldwin's residence, which is now owned by the General, has been altered into a fine two story dwelling, and is really a most desirable improvement. It is now the residence of the Rev. Mr. Bradford.
But we are spinning a long yard for the distance traveled, and will "dry up."
There have been no very recent improvements on "South Side"--one of the most pleasant locations in the village--except as above noted.
Going as far as the old red gate house, which looks quite "natural" though no gate extends across the highway to bar our further passage west, we tun a short corner, and over the river come down through the village, after a pleasant morning ride. W.L.W.
Fri Jul 17 1863: Capt. Bowen is reported by a paroled Prisoner from Winchester to be improving.
Fri Jul 17 1863: The War.
The war news may be comprised in a small space this week.
The rebel and Union armies at this writing confront each other near Williamsport in Maryland, on the banks of the upper Potomac. At last accounts Lee had not crossed the river, but had fortified his position and was, apparently, awaiting an attack. Unless he slips into Virginia, a great battle cannot long be avoided.
The particulars of the surrender of Vicksburg have been received. The officers and men were paroled.
We have taken over 27,000 prisoners, besides about 4,000 non-combatants, 102 field pieces, 20 siege guns, 50,000 stand of arms, ammunition, locomotives, cars, a few stores, and 67 stand of colors. 2,500 rebels have been killed within the works since the siege began.
Among the prisoners are Lieut. Gen. Pemberton, Major Generals S. Stevenson, Smith, Forney and Bowen; 14 Brig. Generals and about 150 Colonels. There were 5,600 men in the hospitals, half of whom are wounded. The stock of provisions was almost exhausted, and for days numbers had been eating mule flesh. Of ammunition for heavy guns they had a fair supply; but for field guns and musketry they were short.
On the 4th of July there was a fight at Helena, Ark. Gen. Prentiss in his official report says of it:
We encountered the enemy, 15,000 strong, under Gens. Holmes, Price, Marmaduke and others, on the morning of the 4th of July, and whipped them handsomely.
We have captured 1,000 prisoners, 1,2000 stand of arms and two colors.
Our total loss will not exceed 250.
The enemy's losses are very severe, not less than 2,500 in killed, wounded and prisoners.
There has been a successful Union Cavalry raid into North Carolina, by Col. Lewis. Railroad tracks were torn up and a large amount of confederate property destroyed.
John Morgan is on a raid with a force of 4000 mounted men in Indiana and Ohio, doing considerable damage.
It is reported that a battle has been fought between Gen. Johnson and Gen. Sherman in the rear of Vicksburg, and that we defeated the rebels, capturing 2000 prisoners.
It is also reported that Gen. Blair is in Jackson.
We have rumors that Port Hudson is captured.
It is quite probably that it is in our possession before this time.
The attack on Charleston has commenced, and Morris Island it is said has been captured.
The bird has flown. Gen. Lee has slipped away from Gen. Mead, as he did last year from McClellan, and crossed the Potomac with his whole army without serious loss.
Latest War News. Surrender of Port Hudson.
From rebel sources we have news via Mobile, to Adjutant Gen. Cooper, stating that the New Orleans Era of July 10th announced the unconditional surrender of Port Hudson on the 9th instant.
The Seige of Charleston.
Our forces are in possession of Morris Island near the City of Charlston and have captured all its batteries but Fort Wagner. The rebels acknowledge a loss of 300 men and 16 officers in opposing our landing. Heavy guns are being erected on the Island bearing on Fort Sumter.
Gen. Rosecrans Marching On!
Gen. Bragg has evacuated Chattanooga and retired to Atalanta. Gen. Rosecrans is pushing on.
Fri Jul 17 1863: The Eighteenth Regiment.Â—Capt. Bowen's Company.Â—Killed, Wounded & Prisoners Â– Sergt. Thomas Spencer of Willimantic, Co. H, 18th Regt., (Capt. Bowen's Company) in a letter to his wife, dated Richmond 5th; gives the following list of killed, wounded and prisoners in his company so far as he knew. Frank Harrington, of Coventry, reported killed, is living and unhurt, his friends having received letters from him dated at Bloody Run. He was in the thickest of the fight on the retreat, was knocked senseless by a shot which struck his gun and nearly destroyed it, and remained insensible sometime. His companions seeing him fall, supposed him dead.
Killed: Frank Harrington, Earl Ashley, Dennis Sullivan, Chas. A. Barber, Anson Fenton, Alfred C. Tracy.
Wounded: Capt. Chas. D. Bowen, through the right breast; Orderly Wm. Caruthers, through the body; Geo. T. Wilber, leg badly; Wm. Lewis and George Bliven, slightly.
Prisoners: Lieuts. Loomis and Lock in the Libby Prison.
Sergt. Thomas Spencer.
Corpl. John E. Barrows, Hezekiah Thompson, Thomas Jordan, Wm. H. Boyden, Seth S. Chapman, Wm. W. Perry.
Privates: Russell W. Adams, A. Apley, Henry Apley, E.W. Bingham, Moses Buchanan, George A Bull, Wm. H. Buckingham, N.W. Bennett, George Bliven, Chas. M. Brooks, John Carney, Jonathan S. Colburn, Amos G. Crandall, Wm. Dean, G.K. Eaton, Joseph Golding, Wallace W. Gurley, John F. Gager, Wm. Henry Hall, Patrick Heverin, George D. Harris, E.F. Harris, George Hays, Joseph Kenworthy, F.G. Lewis, Fred. Miller, Job Metcalf, L.H. Newcomb, Jas. Pilling, J.M. Perkins, Fred. Keplet, Origen Hall.
Fri Jul 17 1863: Powder Mill Explosion.--On Saturday morning about 2 o'clock, two of Hazard's powder mills in Scotland (East Hartford) containing about five or six tons of powder blew up with a tremendous explosion, causing great devastation in the vicinity. No lives were lost. Damages estimated at $30,000.
Fri Jul 17 1863: Raising. Â–On Saturday we noticed from our sanctum, looking over the "Hog-back," the frame of a new building going up. It is located a short distance from the Baptist meeting-house. Just east of Mr. S.F. Clark's house on the south side of the hill, and is on the land of Mr. Allen Lincoln, recently purchased of Mr. Jas. P. Howes. It is designed for two tenements, and is two stories with basement. Gen. Baldwin is building it for Mr. Lincoln.
Fri Jul 17 1863: Mr. Niles Potter, who has resided in Willimantic for thirty years, and also kept the hotel in the village some years, sold his farm at the west end of the burrough (near the cemetery) last spring, to Dea. Andrews, is about to leave Willimantic with his family to reside in Suffield, Conn., he having been appointed steward of the Connecticut Literary Institute located in that place. His principal object in going there is, we believe, to give his son the advantages of this excellent Academy. We regret to part with this family, who were for many years our kind and obliging neighbors and hope they may return to Willimantic to spend the evening of their days. Our best wishes, with those of many friends, accompany them.
Fri Jul 17 1863: Jane Taylor, of this village, recently from Tolland jail, where she has served a term for her thieving, propensities, probably finding her wardrobe rather dilapidated, the other day, laid violent hands on certain dry goods, belonging to Mrs. Mary Jane Hollingsworth of Chaplin, consisting of a bonnet veil, cloak, dress, skirts, parasol, &c., and made off with them. To this summary appropriation Mrs. Hollingsworth objected, and entered complaint against the said Jane Taylor, who was forthwith arrested and brought before Wm. L. Weaver, Esq., on Saturday evening last where she appeared, very sprucely attired in the borrowed plumage. She plead guilty and restored the goods to the rightful owner, was fined $7 and costs, and not having the wherewithal to pay up was sent to Brooklyn. Jane we are sorry to say, bears the name of being a very naughty girl.
Fri Jul 17 1863: Clark H. Griggs, of Chaplin, is one of the graduates of Amherst College this year.
Fri Jul 17 1863: For the Journal. Friend Weaver: For the information of many of the readers of your Journal, I will chronicle the demise of Elder Levi Hathaway of Lockport, Niagara Co., N.Y., aged 73 years, who departed this life on the morning of July 9, after a long and severe illness with a cancer. For many days and nights his sufferings were almost unendurable. Forty years ago Elder Hathaway traveled and preached in almost every part of Windham County and adjoining sections, securing thousands of friends who still cherish his memory. Forty-five years ago, while listening to his religious teachings of a liberal christianity, little did I think that I should live to see his black and glossy locks, bleached by the frosts of time, and those piercing eyes, dimmed by age, and at last, that I should stand by his grave in a distant land and see that manly form laid away in the tomb, while his "soul would go marching on."
He has gone to his reward and I doubt not but some beautiful angel spirit will pilot him away to a mansion prepared for him in the skies. Warren Clark.
Fri Jul 17 1863:Geo. Stocket of Greenville, has been bound over and committed to jail to await trial on a charge of manslaughter. In a fight on Sunday night of last week, Stocket struck Jeremiah Shey over the head with such force as to fracture the skull and cause his death.
Fri Jul 17 1863: The body of Lieut. Col. Merwin, of the Twenty-seventh Regiment, was buried in New Haven, on Wednesday the 8th, with appropriate and solemn ceremonies.
Fri Jul 17 1863: Gen. Robert O. Tyler, of this State, commanded the whole artillery force at Gettysburg during the great fight. General Tyler had a splendid horse shot under him, but he with his staff escaped injury.
Fri Jul 17 1863: James Delaney, about 10 or 12 years of age, was severely burned in New London on Saturday by the bursting of a flask of powder with which he was playing.
Fri Jul 17 1863: The Danbury papers report severe losses among the volunteers from the town in the 23d Regiment, in Gen. Banks' Department. Lieutenant Stone, A. Wheeler, O.E. Trowbridge and Charles Hart were all killed in a fight near Algiers, or have since died of wounds. Four companies of the 23d were taken prisoners.
Fri Jul 17 1863: George Bulcroft, who went from Winsted in the 29th Conn. Vols., seems to lead a charmed life on the battle-field. In the recent actions before Port Hudson he received one shot in his gun-strap, a second shot his cartridge-box to pieces, a third went through the stock of his gun, and a fourth took off a lock of hairs just over his left ear. He must have had a very sociable time of it while all this was going on.
Fri Jul 17 1863: The Norwich Bulletin says:
We are indebted to the kindness of Mr. W.G. Gleason of Co. H. Eighteenth regiment, through Mr. John Murray, for the following list of members of Co. H, Eighteenth C.V., at Bedford, Pa. July 1st, 1863:
Sergts., Geo. E. Jordan, Chester A. Tourtelotte, Albert S. Blish. Privates, Albert Backus, George Briggs--cook, John Grundy, James Carney, Wm. Lewis, Richard Johnson, Daniel H. Sweet, M.V.B. Farnham, Dwight C. Farnham, Geo. Herrick--teamster, Frank Maguire--drummer, Joseph Tracy--fifer, Otis G. Kenyon, Van B. Jordan. Wm. Miller, Wilber A. Gleason, John W. Webster, Dennis Sullivan, Thomas Connor, H.S. Harrington (before reported dead).
The Twenty-third Connecticut regiment, Col. Holmes, had a severe time of it while guarding the Opalousas railroad, within a few miles of New Orleans, but effected their escape from the rebel force, which was very large. The entire camp equipage, knapsacks and officers baggage of the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth regiments were captured at Bayou Bouef and Brashears.
Fri Jul 17 1863: A Tullahoma dispatch of the 8th says: Bragg yesterday retreated across the Tennessee and destroyed the splendid bridge at Bridgeport. Stragglers captured say the army is demoralized and crumbling as it recedes.
Fri Jul 17 1863: The rebels have retired from Helena. Gen. Oglesby has just arrived from Memphis, and says the terms of the capitulation of Vicksburg were, that enlisted men be paroled, while commissioned officers be retrained prisoners. Pemberton gives the number of men fit for duty at 12,000, and 6,000 in hospitals, but it is thought the number exceeds this 5 or 6,000.
Fri Jul 17 1863: Marriages
In Willimantic, July 16 by Rev. Mr. Bradford, Mr. Shubael Kingsley, of Lebanon, and Miss Emily Fuller of Mansfield.
In Willimantic, July 5, by Rev. E.D. Bentley, Mr. Gilbert S. Williams and Maria Wallen, all of Willimantic.
Fri Jul 17 1863: Deaths
In Mansfield, July 13, Geo. R. Dewey, aged 67.
Fri Jul 17 1863: List of Letters remaining in the Post Office at Willimantic, July 14, 1863.
Geo. Adley, Emma Houston,
Seth Brown, 3, Mary Mullen,
Jeremiah Brown, F.E. Stanly,
Walter Bingham, Ann Torry 2.
Albert A. Burnham, Augustine B. Tracy,
Charlotte Carter, Geo. A. Tracy,
Fri Jul 17 1863: At a Court of Probate holden at Hampton, within and for the district of Hampton, on the 13th day of July A.D. 1863. Present--Patrick H. Pease, Judge. On motion of David Greenslit executor of the last will and testament of Newton Clark late of Hampton; in said district deceased. This court doth decree that six months be allowed and limited to the creditors of said estate to exhibit their claims against the same to said executor and directs this public notice be given of this order by advertising in a newspaper published in Killingly and in a newspaper published in Willimantic, and by posting a copy thereof on the public sign-post in said town of Hampton nearest the place where the deceased last dwelt. Certified from Record, Patrick H. Pease, Judge. All persons indepted to said estate are requested to make immediate payment to David Greenslit, Ex.
Fri Jul 17 1863: The great secret of the superior health of the English is the greater amount of quiet sleep. The Americans, as a nation, are wearing out prematurely for want of rest. Dr. Trall.