Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cavendish Semiquincentennial: Salmon Dutton

Salmon was born in Westford, Mass in 1743 and married Sarah Parker. At the time of his marriage he was employed as a land surveyor. In 1768 he served in the French and Indian Wars under Captain Leonard Whiting, who would later move to Cavendish. Also a veteran of the Revolutionary War, he was a member of Colonel William Prescott’s regiment. Once located in Cavendish, he was chosen as an officer for the town’s militia.

When the Duttons moved to Cavendish, in 1781, it was a good fit since most of Sarah Dutton’s brothers and sisters were already here. Like Coffeen before him, Dutton was a Universalist and found freedom of his religion here in the sparsely settled land. He was exempted from the Cavendish Church Tax because he “did not belong to the sect of the preacher.” He and his sons, and many others in 1802, dissented from the action of the town in voting four cents on the dollar to build the church. In 1812, Salmon subscribed $7,500 (one-third money and two-thirds labor or materials) to build the “Cavendish Academy.”
Dutton first settled on what we now refer to as “White’s Hill,” not far from where the Cavendish Depot stood next to the railroad tracks. At one time, the toll road, or turnpike, turned off the Cavendish Gulf Road and went over this road, then called Dutton Hill. The community below, he named Duttonsville.

In 1788, Dutton built a house on what we is now the Cavendish Green. This building was the village tavern and also offered guest rooms. When the stagecoach reached the top of Dutton Hill (now White’s Hill) on the Green Mountain Turnpike, the driver would blow several toots on his horn, according to the number of passengers he carried, to alert the Innkeepers so that the proper number of places might be set at the table.

Salmon died in Cavendish on May 27, 1824 at 80 years of age. His grave is in the Cavendish High Street Cemetery and gravestone inscription reads: “In memory of Salmon Dutton who died May 27 a.d. 1824 in the 81st year of his age. His only aim as life’s brief span he trod. The good of man and glory of his God. He was the original owner of this ground and Of that on which is the adjacent village now stands and was the founder of same.” Sara died on March 7, 1831 (age 83 years) and is buried next to her husband. Her gravestone inscription reads, “They aim like his who sleepeth by thy side, To whom in life thou wast a faithful bride.”

Next week’s post will feature Leonard Proctor and the Shunpike.

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