About this document
| The Ephraim Webster discussed here is the father of the Asa Webster who is the focus of this site.|
| For a listing of family members see Ephraims family card|
| This document was written in 1847 by Henry, Ephraims son by his second marriage. Henry is, thus, Asas younger half brother.|
The history of the document itself is interesting. Written by Henry Webster in 1847, it was copied by hand by his grandson, Henry Willard Webster in 1908. That copy was retained by Henrys great-great-great-great granddaughter, Mrs. Bobbi Pond of Vermont.
In 1992 a copy of the account was procured from Mrs. Pond through her niece, an acquaintance of Susan Rudmin LeTourneau, daughter of Josephine Webster Rudmin and Dr. Joseph Rudmin. Josephine Webster Rudmin is a great, great granddaughter of Asa, also is a sister of Laura Webster Mekkelson then who typed out the 38 handwritten pages of the original and began making it available to other family members.
In 1999, Caronne Secord scanned the typed version into a character recognition program and sent the result to this site to be posted. In less than a decade, it went from an obscure document known only to a few, to an item posted on the Web and available to all.
Items in the document which are presented in square brackets, e.g., [Ephraim], are editorial insertions for clarity and are not found in the original. Further, some names have been made bold so that they will more easily serve as sign posts.
"A Few Historical Sketches of the Life of Ephraim Webster who died in New Chester, New Hampshire in 1803, likewise of each of his children, Twelve in number, Especially of one who spent some years among the Indians called the six Nations."
My father [Ephraim Webster] was one of the descendents of one of the early English Settlers of Massachussets. He was born in Bradford, Mass. in the year 1730. His parents were not of high standing in the world as regards prosperity. As far as I ever learned he was an honest upright man. He was put out as an apprentice to learn the taylors trade. After serving his time he married Phebe Tucker by whom he had ten children. He settled in New Chester, N.H. and followed his trade a number of years. Then he moved to Hampsted where he lived a few years, He than moved to Newberry, Vt. In that place he followed farming and was called to pass through many trials. Here his wife and infant child died, he was called to bid adieu to her who had been the companion of his youth. She had been a kind and tender mother. He was left with a family of nine children, the youngest was only two years of age. Those who have passed through the same trials know best the feelings of a person in that situation, but he who knoweth all things knows best. My father [Ephraim] did not remain single very long before he married the widow Sarah Wells of New Chester N.H.. She was my [Henrys] mother. She had been the wife of Henry Wells who was found dead in the road nearly on the line between Franklin and what is now called Hill formerly Andover and New Chester. He was returning home from Salisbury where he had been to the mill. He was supposed to have died in a fit of appoplexy. He left my mother with four small children, but to speak more of my father [Ephraim] after he married his second wife.
It was in the time of the Revolutionary war. The inhabitants had to be all the time on the lookout for fear of the British and Indians being so near the frontier settlements. There were but few inhabitants and part of those were tories which made it still more dangerous. The British and Indians would once in awhile pick up one of the inhabitants and carry them off to Canada. There were a few soldiers stationed there but not enough to effect much good in case of danger. There were also a plenty of friendly Indians about at that time and we did not fear them much. I have often heard my mother say that she feared more from American soldiers and from tories than from Indians. The inhabitants thought it best to appoint a committee on safety of whom my father was one, whose business it was to meet and consult about what was best to be done in case of danger or alarm.
One morning (as I have often heard my father say) soon after daylight he saw a man coming on horseback at full speed, when he came up he said the Indians were in the road eight miles off and were coming to burn the town. Just think, dear reader what the feelings of the inhabitants must have been in such a situation. There were not only the men and those well able to run, but there were the aged, also feeble women and their tender offspring to be cared for. My mother had one child six weeks old. My brothers wife had a babe only three weeks of age and she was not able to walk a step. There was not much time to spare inquiring what was to be done. The committee on safety met immediately and concluded to move all the women and children across the river to Haverhill (N.H.) where there was a fort. The whole town was soon in motion, every yoke of oxen and every cart was under way. They threw in beds and bedding, put in the sick and infirm, also women and children. Every boat was put into use and the day spent in moving. What furniture they had not time to carry away they concealed some in one place, some in another, and the same with what provisions they had. They drove their cattle. The women, children and beds were stored in houses on the other side of the river in a most confused manner, women weeping, children crying, some had food, some had none, some went in to the fort and some said they would take their chances. They said they would rather be tomahawked by the Indians than enter the fort with the regular soldiers. These things went on through the day, men still doing all they could to secure all that was possible. They set a guard over the boats in the river. The men went and determined to fight it out if occasion required, but what could thirty or forty men do against three hundred Indians? I have often heard my father say he expected to see all the buildings in ashes the next morning and such would have been the case had the Indians not been frightened and turned their course in another direction. They were on their way to Newbury. They made prisoners of two men who were out hunting. They inquired of them if there were any soldiers at Newbury. The men told them there were and it would not be safe for them to attack the town. The Indians then turned their course towards Royalton which place they burned.
After this my father sold his place in Newbury and moved to New Chester, N.H. where I was born. On this same farm my mother had lived with her first husband. The Congregational meeting house in the town of New Chester (now Hill) stands where my father lived until he was seventy-three years of age, and where he died August 18th 1803.
Having now gone through with a few facts although imperfectly put together
I shall now attempt to say something respecting each of my fathers children.
Samuel, the oldest was born in the year 1753. He lived with my father until he was old enough to learn a trade. He was then put out as an apprentice to learn the tanners trade. After he was twenty-one he worked at his trade a few years but not liking it he gave it up and began farming. After a certain time (I dont know what his age was) he married Elizabeth Pillsbury formerly of Newburyport, Mass. In the time of the Revolutionary War he enlisted in the service of his country. He underwent many hardships of cold and hunger. One thing he did worthy of remark (which probably no other man ever did except the one that was with him) was his officers wished to send word across from Colchester Point to Cumberland Head on Lake Champlain. I think they called it three miles. As there was no boats to be had the question was put by the officers who will volunteer to swim the lake with Samuel Webster? and a man by the name of Wallace volunteered to perform the act and in the cause of their country they swam the Lake together. I think it was in the month of November and the water was very cold, but their countrys cause was at stake. They removed their clothes and tied them in a bundle and put them on the back of their heads. It was so ordered that they reached the other shore safely, but my brother was so far exhausted and chilled that he could not raise himself out of the water and had it not been for the other man he would no doubt have sank to a watery grave. They each had a lot of land given them on Grand Isle as a present but they sold them for a trifle as they did not think them worth much in those days. They are now fine farms. After my brother was married he lived in Newbury and after the war he moved to Corinth at which place he experienced religion and became a Baptist preacher. He afterwards moved to Onion River now called Richmond. The country was new with few inhabitants. He had but little property and suffered many hardships. He took a small farm on shares and worked at farming and preached about in different places. After a few years he was able to buy a farm and moved to Bolten where he spent the remainder of his days and died Sept. lst 1826 aged seventy-three years, leaving a wife, four sons and two daughters. Another daughter (the oldest) died some years before her father.
My fathers oldest daughter Phebe married a man by the name of Skeets formerly of Connecticut and settled in the Town of Peacham, Vt. He was a farmer although he followed other business a part of the time. For a number of years he carried the mail from Montpelier to Lancaster. My sister lived to an advanced age and died in Peacham leaving four sons and five daughters.
My fathers second son [Asa]was brought up in the farming business. He also enlisted in the service of his country in the time of the Revolutionary War and suffered much hardship. Some few years after the war was over he became engaged to and expected to marry a very respectable young lady in Vermont and her father was moving to Upper Canada. He hired my brother to go with him and drive cattle. When he reached the place he liked the country so well and perhaps the young lady better he concluded to stay there, but before they were married and soon after reaching there the young lady died. Thus his expectations of future happiness were all cut off. He still remained in Canada and finally married a young lady by the name of Sally Baldwin formerly of Connecticut and they settled in Elizabethtown, Upper Canada. They had a number of children, how many I am unable to say. I have not seen him since I was thirteen years old, whether dead or alive I know not.
My fathers third son [Ephraim II] born about the year 1762. He was of a strong constitution and of a firm mind and good intellect. He was in every way able to go through what he afterwards had to encounter. When old enough he learned the shoemakers trade. When we lived in Newbury the Indians were often at our house. They brought furs and other things to exchange for rum and anything they wanted. My brother, whose name was Ephraim took a great fancy to them and often wanted father to let him go and hunt with them but never could obtain permission. After he was twenty-one years of age he worked out one year and then started out so he said, to seek his fortune. He went to Boston and stayed there but a short time. From there he went to Philadelphia by water, where he remained but a short time. From there he went to New York City, but his fortune was not there. It was no place to catch bears, no place to kill deer, no place for moss, no place to sleep in the open air with the leaves of the forest for a bed and nothing but the heavens for a covering, with wolves and catamounts for companions, or no place for the smokey wigwam. Of course his fortune was not there and his mind was not yet satisfied. From there I think he went to Albany but no place for him there. From there he took his gun and turned his course towards the wilderness. He fell in with some Indians and hunted with them. He slept in the woods on the cold ground rolled in his blanket with his gun in his arms. By this time perhaps he began to feel more satisfied than when in Boston or New York. One night as he lay sleeping in this way with no person within many miles he was awakened by the howling of a wolf nearby. The snow had put out his fire and had covered him thickly. He lay down and hated to be disturbed by his midnight visitor. He thought if the wolf insisted on a duel he would not be backward, but from choice he would defer it until daylight. The wolf came so near that he probably scented him. He howled and pawed up the snow and dug up the ground in a raging manner. He would sometimes go and then return again. It appeared he did not like to engage without his second. At length after much calling for help and receiving none, he left the place without a combat. My brother lay still till morning. Then he arose and went about his business. He wandered about from place to place till at length he fell in with what is called the six Nations at a place about one hundred and fifty miles west of Albany called Onondaga. It was in the wilderness, It was in the wilderness and inhabited only by Indians. Here he spent four years as the only white man, and at length found means of trading rum and ammunition with the Indians. One evening three Indians came to his shanty and got some rum, drank it and then went to the door and commenced conversing in their own language. He understood their language enough to know they were planning to kill him. They thought he had been there before and destroyed their wigwams. Imagine his situation, to undertake to run was sure death. After awhile having brought their plans to maturity, two of them came and sat down one on each side of him. One of the Indians held his arms and the other took the hatchet and told him he was going to sing his death song and kill him. But he understood the nature of Indians and while they were singing a thought came to him. He well knew the high esteem in which they held their chiefs. He made a motion for some rum, they said he might take his last drink. He took the cup and after naming over Brant Buller and other chiefs he drank a toast to each one. At this the Indian that held the hatchet threw it down and it was buried for ever with him and he threw his arms around his neck and wept like child, the Indian said you no enemy my brother. From that day their friendship was sealed, never more to be broken. I heard my brother say when he visited my father some years afterward that either of those Indians would go through fire and water for him. They would not do any business without his orders. My brother studied their language and when I saw him he could read or write six Indian tongues. He was often their interpreter at two dollars per day. He became their chief ruler so far that what ever he said or did was fixed as the laws of Meads and Persians. At one time he was hired at two dollars a day to take a journey through the wilderness (nine hundred miles). There was a treaty to be made between two tribes. He was to go in disguise as a spy, he was to attend every day and at night hide in some place and write all that happened through the day. Had they discovered that he was not an Indian his life would have been in danger. Before he started he painted his face and wore ear jewells such as only Indian chieftans wore. His cap was made large enough to cover his hair which, being light brown (not a good color for an Indian) his belt was of rich wampum. He selected forty-five Indians to accompany him and set out on his journey. I do not know how long they were going but he arrived in season to accomplish his business. While he was there they mistrusted him to be an Englishman. One day while he was sitting on the ground with his Indians around him a gentleman came to him and lifted his cap and looked at his hair but asked no questions. At another time a gentleman asked him to dine with him and he accepted the invitation. After dinner the gentleman locked the door and took his sword then told him to tell him whether or not he was an Englishman or an Indian or he would take his life. At this my brother drew his long knife which he had kept concealed until now. He stood firm and ready to stab. He looked the man stedily in the eye. The man put up his sword, opened the door and told him to go. After accomplishing his business he started for home and on the way was taken sick so he could not travel. The Indians made a sort of bier and carried him through the woods. One Indian ran ten miles at full speed to bring him good water, another ran five miles to bring him apples that grew in the woods. Their attachment was so great they would do any thing for him. He recovered from his sickness and finally arrived at Onondaga with forty of his Indians, five having died on the way home.
The reader will probably want to know if he had a wife. He married a squaw after their manner of marrying which is to marry for so many months (or moons, as they term it) when that time has passed the marriage contract is dissolved and each one is at liberty to marry the same or some one else. After he had been there a number of years the Indians sold their land to the State of New York. My brother had to do all the business and take the money and divide it among them. They reserved a square mile for him and certain other tracts to settle on themselves and they became more civilized. He married a white woman and had a number of children. He attended to farming but was continually trading with the Indians. When war was declared with England in 1812 a man was wanted to take command of a party of American Indians. No one was to be found more suitable than Ephraim Webster, accordingly he was appointed and serving his country through another campaign returned to his farm and lived there a few years after the war. He died very suddenly two hundred miles from home while on a tour to buy ginsing of the Indians. I have thus mentioned a few of the many occurences of his life. If a journal of the whole had been kept it would have filled a volume and been very interesting.
I shall now give an account of Polly the second daughter. She married a man by the name of Moses Carlten, a joiner by trade and moved to a place called Blue Hill Bay in the state of Maine. I have understood she had nine children and where they live I cannot tell. Whether she is living or not I have not heard as I have not heard from her these many years. Her oldest son Moses is a Baptist preacher and has been preaching in or near Hopkinton, N.H.
The next I shall mention is Parker, my fathers fourth son. He lived with father until old enough to learn a trade. He learned to be a joiner. After he was twenty-one years of age he worked at his trade in Newburyport Mass. and some in Portland. He accumulated some property and then went to Kenebunk, Maine and began to trade in goods. Afterwards he bought a share in a merchant vessel and went into the West India trade where he met with some loses. At one time he lost eight hundred dollars. It was when his vessel returned from a voyage and he entered the cargo as was customary and paid the duties but one of the sailors entered a complaint for some reason or another and Parker lost the sum I have mentioned. This did not discourage him. He went on with his business. He owned two stores then. After some years the embargo was laid on and trade became dull so he sold his shipping and hired eight hands and went to Upper Canada. They got out lumber and rafted it to Quebec at which he did a very good business. After living single more than fifty years of his life he married a woman of twenty-four years and had two children. He entered into partnership with another man and when they dissolved, they owed a large debt in Montreal and had one due them so large that the man collected it and ran away leaving him to pay the debt. This reduced his property. He died soon afterwards, leaving his wife and children in Canada. I know nothing more of them.
My fathers third daughter Susanah learned the taylors trade, afterwards she worked in Newbury and other places. She married a man by the name of Starkweather and they settled in Paulett Vt, where they lived a few years and had two children, Then they moved to Onondaga where my brother Ephraim lived. He was pleased to think he would have one sister near him (all his relations being at a distance) My sister had only been there six weeks when she died, and I know nothing more of her family.
Sally my fathers fourth daughter worked in Bradford, Mass and other places untill she married a man by the name Isaac Favor of New Chester, N.H. His father was one of the first settlers and Isaac was the first boy born in that town. When they were married his father gave him a farm in Alexandra. They lived there many years and had four sons and five daughters, the youngest daughter died quite young. They afterwards moved to New Chester on the farm where my father once lived and kept a tavern there a few years. From there they moved to New York State where my sister died.
I shall now speak of the fifth son whose name was Moses. He was the youngest one by my fathers first wife. He always worked at farming. He lived with father untill he was twenty-one. He married Rebekah Sargent Decenber 25, 1795. He bought some land in New Chester and there he settled and lived and died July 2nd 1845. He was a strong industrious and hard working man, of good moral character. He had five sons and five daughters.
Having written about the children of the first wife I shall now speak of those by the second who was my mother [Sara Colby Wells]. She bore my father four children, three sons, I being the youngest. She also had one daughter who died in infancy.
Ebenezer the first one lived with father untill he was twenty-one. He then hired out for one year. He then married I believe in the year 1802. The next year my father died and my brother lived on the old farm a few years, then he moved to Alexandra, lived there a year or two, then moved to the Town of Boscawen, N.H. and he is living at the present time. (Mar. 11, 1847) He has four sons and three daughters.
My brother John was born in the Town of Newbury, Vt. and was three and one half years older than myselfe. He lived at home untill he was sixteen, then was put out to learn the joiners trade. After that he worked about two years for himselfe and then married and settled in Newhampton near the seminary.
I shall now speak of my own life [Henry]. I was born in New Chester N.H. March llth 1784 where I lived under the care of my father and a tender mother untill I was ninteen years of age. When I was thirteen the diptheria prevailed, many children died with it, I was taken with it in November. My folks thought I would get over it in a little while and did all they could for me, but I grew worse and they had to send for a doctor by the name of Kelly. He gave me an emetic and other medicines. The next morning I could only speak in a whisper which continued four weeks. During all that time I kept my bed and was only moved by being taken on a sheet and placed on another while mine was being made. I was so low no one thought I could possibly live. One day it was almost impossible for me to breathe. All day the neighbors came in and went away and said I was breathing my last. My breath continued to grow shorter untill some time in the evening while my parents and the neighbors were standing by my bedside expecting to see me die in a few minutes, Providence ordered it otherwise. My breathing stopped and that caused a struggle. My father raised me up, I put my fingers down my throat as far as I could get hold of something and pulled it out and then dropped like one dead. My mother said I was dead but I came to and told them I was not. It was like a piece of tough skin four inches long and three fourths of an inch wide. From that time it kept coming out in small pieces, but the canker eat of a small vane in my head and I began to bleed at the nose from nine in the evening till after daylight. All this brought me still lower and they thought then I must surely die, but my throat kept clearing and my voice returned and I began to gain strength. After three months I began to go out a little. In the spring some boys were going on the mountain and asked me to go with them which I did. Being still weak I got tired up and it caused a hacking cough which I have always had since.
When I was fourteen my father let me go to tend a store for Ebenezer Kimball in New Chester. I was not able to endure much and was rather bashfull. I did not like the business. I only stayed one winter then returned home. From that time I worked some and attended school some untill I was nineteen, then being more healthy I went to work with my brother at the joiners trade. I commenced to work the first of May and worked untill haying time. I was then taken with disentary which prevailed very much that summer. I went home and stayed there untill after my fathers death which occured the same summer. (August 18, 1803) I then went to work with my brother again untill the next spring. After that I hired out to Ebenezer Evens for three months. In the fall I went to work for Jeremiah Graves in Meredith where I stayed untill the first of May, and was twenty~one. After that I started out in pursuit of employment and went to Kenebunk where I had a brother. Not finding business there to suit me I returned home. Soon after that I received word from Arron Smith of Tyngsborough Mass that if I would go there he would hire me. I went and hired out for one year. When that was over I engaged to work three months longer. At the end of that time I went to Boston and worked about three weeks. My health not being good I returned to New Chester N.H. In November I went to Merideth. While there I cut my hand so bad that it bled sixteen hours. My friends put on everything they could think of. I became very weak and felt like going to sleep. They finaly sent for a doctor. He sewed it and it finaly stopped bleeding but I was laid up for a while. In the spring I went back to Tyngsborough and was married to Rebeckah Farwell May 24th 1807. I was a little over 23 at that time.
I worked on a farm some and then returned to New Chester where I went to Housekeeping Dec. 7th 1807. I lived there till the following April then I moved to tend the toal bridg. I only lived there six months. I then moved into a house belonging to Mr. Sanborn. There our oldest daughter was born. We lived there untill Nov. l9th 1810, then moved back to tend the Bridge again. About that time the spotted fever broke out and was very fatal. The people were all terribly alarmed, I with the next. It were upon me so I thought I should die, I could scarcely eat or sleep. I got up one morning and could hardly walk with the burden upon me. I had slept but little all night. I hurried to the barn as fast as I could go, my trembling limbs scarcely able to carry me. As soon as I reached the barn I fell on my knees and cried out ìO wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this death?" My burden fell off instantly, everything looked pleasant and all was peace, I felt that I could rejoice.
December 27th 1810 our oldest son was born. The next April I worked for Samuel Green in Concord, I only worked there three months. Although he used me well I was discontented and returned home. Soon after this I bought a piece of land and put up a frame for a house, but not being able to finish it I tended the Bridge untill it was carried away with the ice and water in the spring of 1813. I then moved in a house where there were two other families. There our second son was born June 28th 1813. The next December we moved in our own house. There our third son was born March 31st 1816. I sold my house the same spring and moved in May to a house owned by Mr. Wells near Wells Mills in Hall. That was the cold summer. I planted corn but it did not ripen. In June I bought a piece of land with a brickyard on it. I worked in the yard untill haying time. I intended to go back in the yard after I cut the hay, but the day I finished I was taken sick with pluresy fever and was unable to do any more for many weeks. About this time I turned my attention to religion again and united with the Congregational Church, was chosen clerk of the church and remained in that office untill I left the place the next spring. I then moved in my own house. This was a time of scarsity of provisions. I paid thirteen dollars a barrel for flour and worked for Major Kimball five days for a peck of corn a day. This was a hard time for poor people. Many were obliged to live without bread. I found I could not get along without selling my land, accordingly I sold it that winter but lived in the house till the following summer, then moved in a house with the widow Sanborn. I lived there but a short time, then went in a house with Mr. K. Chapman. There my fourth son was born Dec. 5th 1818. Then I hired a house of Major Kimball where I lived about fourteen months. My mother died during that time in February, 1820.
I then moved to Newhampton and the next July went to Boston to work on the mill dam. I was gone only a few weeks. Soon after my return home my second daughter was born Sept. 20th 1820. I lived there untill January then moved to New Chester into a house belonging to L.R. Madison. The same winter I took a journey to Bolten Vermont and visited my brother. The next winter January 1822 I moved my family to Bolten, Vt. At that time I had six children and had neither house or home. I went in a house with John Sanborn. I had nothing to help myself with but my hands. I then went to work at my trade. My health was pretty good at that time. That summer I bought a cow also twenty acres of wild land, and in the fall bought a yoke of oxen and built a log house and moved into it in December. I then had a house of my own again. I still worked at my trade part of the time. Provisions were cheap and I found I could get along better than when in New Hampshire. Oct. 4th 1824 our youngest son was born. In the spring of this year I bought one hundred acres more joining mine and had a small log house on it. It lay in the Town of Richmond. In the summer of 1825 I moved on it and built a new log house and moved into it Dec 5th. On the 7th I was taken sick.
My circumstances at this looked rather discouraging. My house was very open, no chamber floor, not much provisions and but one neighbor near, I was very sick with inflamation on the lungs. From all appearances we must suffer, but the Lord was merciful. The People came from a distance and brought such things as we stood in need of. We suffered for watchers though, I had watchers thirty seven nights besides what my own people watched with me. Every one thought I must die, but the Lord carried me through. I was very weak and could help my selfe but very little. I was not able to work till middle of summer.
All this left me in debt. I owed the doctor a large sum and also owed some on my land, but they waited untill I regained by health and could pay. April 30th 1827 our third daughter was born. I still worked at my trade and on my land and built a barn. In June 1828 my oldest daughter was married and the same month my wife was taken sick with inflamation in the head which held on untill cold weather but she got over it after a time. April 6th 1830 our youngest daughter was born. In September 1831 we went to Massachusetts and visited friends. In the spring of 1832 I put up for myselfe a new house frame. The same month I was taken sick again and from that day to this (almost fifteen years) I have not been able to do a days work in a day.
The next fall I got so I could work a few hours in a day till I moved in my new house Nov. 22nd. Then I was confined to the house all winter. In the spring I was some better and wanted to do something for a living and commenced to peddle tin ware. I followed it that summer. The next spring Mar 8 my youngest girl died. My business did not agree with me and I sold out that summer.
I attended many meetings and July Second I with my wife was baptised by emersion and soon afterwards joined the freewill Baptist Church in Bolten. I attended meetings far and near in warm weather and took comfort as I thought in so doing, and as cold weather came on and I could not go out I had preaching at my house. When warm weather came on again I was able to go abroad but not to work so I kept along. In winter confined to the house and often to the bed.
In 1837 I had not been away from home till June 6th. I then rode about a mile from home on a visit. It was training day, just at night we had news that our second son was shot in a most shocking manner and probably would not live till we could get to where he was five miles away. Before we received the news I did not think it possible to ride two miles but one never knew what we can do till we go through it. When we reached him alive but dredfully wounded, a charge of powder and wad shot just below his left eye. He still lives but is entirely deprived of his sight. This laid me under the necessity of riding back and forth. My wife stayed there eighteen days. We spent the summer in this way. In the winter I was confined to the house again.
The following spring our second daughter was taken sick with inflamation of the brain and died May 11th 1838. She was sick only eighteen days.
In the spring of 1839 my third son was married. That summer my health was some better and I was able to work a little. In September we went to New Hampton to visit friends. In August 1840 I went to Bradford Maine (near Penobscot river) to visit my oldest daughter who went there eight years before. The next summer I was (better) but the following spring about the middle of May was again visited with a terrible sickness. I had the inflamatory rheumatism to such a degree I could not move hand or foot and the pain was most distressing. My feet and hands were very much swolen. I could not raise my hands to my head for six weeks. This with my old disorder was supposed to terminate my life very soon, but after a few weeks I began to be a little better. This was a summer of hardship for my wife. A few weeks after my youngest daughter was taken with the same disease and was not able to help her selfe any more than I. My wife had us both to care for. She did not have a nights sleep for ten weeks. She had no one to help her but a young girl a week and three days. Neither of us could lie in one place more than a few minutes at a time. Many painfull days and almost sleepless nights we passed. At length we began to gain a little. I gained very slowly. When winter came I could not get out of my chair without help. My daughter was taken with the same decease again that winter also scarlet fever. The reader nay well imagine my wife had a hard time of it during all this sickness but the Lord gave her strength to bear it. That winter I sold my farm in Richmond and made preparations to move once more and on Mar 18 1843 I moved into the Town of Jericho. I had not been out of the house for ten months untill that day, and when I came to ride it made me so faint I thought I should never live to reach the end of my journey. The distance was four miles. It was four years ago and I am still alive. The following summer I was able to go out but little and in the winter was confined to the house. For a few years past I have not felt the enjoyment in religion that I wished to feel. There seemed to be a dullness on my mind that I wanted to get rid of. I tried and tried to pray but did not feel relieved. I resolved to try once more and if I got no relief to give it up. This was March 25th 1844. I went into my chamber alone and prayed and soon the cloud seemed to clear away and I was rejoicing in the way of salvation by grace, I had such views as I never had before. It seemed to be hapiest day I ever saw. After a few weeks I did not feel just the same nor have I since. I think I felt willing to live or die as God should will.
When I was seventeen I bled at my lungs and have been subject to it ever since but never so much as in 1846. I was taken about the 20th of October. I bled every day and every night for ten days. A doctor was called but to no purpose. After ten days it abated for nearly a week then commenced again. Another doctor was called, he bled me and gave me medicine but it did not helpe me. It lasted once four weeks and brought me very low. After that it stoped and I gained a little strength. The reader will see my life has been one of hardship and sickness from my youthfull days up to this time. I am sixty three years old today March llth 1847.
I shall now write something of my mothers children by her first husband who the reader will remember was Henry Wells. Sally Wells the oldest was born August 1764. She lived with mother till she was old enough to go to work and afterwards married a man by the name of Henry Quenby and first settled in Orange but soon moved to New Chester to live with his father where she died a few years since leaving one daughter.
My mothers second daughter Hanah Wells was born May 1768. She also worked out then married a man by the name of John Tilton. They first lived in Bridgewater a few years then moved to Wheelock Vt. They lived there but a short time then moved back to Bridgewater a few years. Then they moved to Plymouth where she died leaving two sons and two daughters.
My mothers son Peter Wells was born in 1770. He lived with mother untill he was twenty one then married Hanah Blake of New Hampton. From there to Hebron, from there to Bristol, and there he died and left two sons and six daughters.
My mothers youngest daughter Polly was born May 3rd 1776. She married Arron Quinby, moved to Orange from there to New Hampton from there to Waitsfield Vt. and there died. She left two sons and two daughters.
Dear friend you who are in any way connected with the family who are named in this writing or in whose hands these few sketches my fall, please to accept the appology of the writer.
It has been my wish for many years past to see something in the way of history of the family come from more able hands than mine, but as nothing has been done in that way I have attempted to write a few lines though very imperfect. I do not feel myselfe capable of undertaking such a task as I never had but a partilly common school education. The reader will see at the first glance at these lines that I am no historian and never learned in the art of gramer and therefore I wish to be excused for not making use of that branch of literature and I doubt not the reader will find some bad spelling. I wish to be excused for all the imperfections the reader may find in these lines.
Henry Webster Jericho Vt.
Mar llth 1847
A true copy of the original, By
Henry Willard Webster
Grandson of the writer
Nashua July 20th 1908
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