Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Stage Route and the Driver: Waterford, Vermont

Here is the schedule of the stage route from 1848, found in a guidebook to New England called "The Eastern Tourist." Note Waterford, listed as 7 miles from St. Johnsbury, Vermont, with 12 miles onward to Littleton, New Hampshire. Also see the final line, under the first chart: "Usual time from Burlington to Portland, 2 1/2 days."

Not only was Waterford a significant stagecoach stop -- it also included a family known for driving the stages. Here is the obituary for Charles T. Hill, who was born January 20, 1842, and died September 18, 1930; the Hill family lived where the Gingue dairy farm now is, and the little cemetery on the farm is called the Hill Cemetery. Some of the Hills are buried there, Charles was buried in the one in East St. Johnsbury, now called Grove Cemetery.
Well Known Stage Driver Passes Away in Waterford

Charles T. Hill, for 20 years a stage driver plying on routes between Hardwick and Lancaster and Lyndon and Island Pond and later a hotel owner in East St. Johnsbury passed away at his home in Waterford Thursday at the age of 99 years following an illness of less than a week. Mr. Hill, who was a life long resident of Waterford was born Jan. 20, 1842, the son of Ambrose and Louise Foss Hill. He was a descendant of a long line of stage drivers. He attended the public schools of Waterford and was united in marriage with Julia C. Young of Waterford, Nov. 15, 18874. To this union nine children were born, five boys and four girls, all of whom survive with the exception of one daughter.

The children who survive are George A. Hill of East St. Johnsbury, Miss Lettie E. Hill of Waterford, Wilbur C. Hill of St. Johnsbury, Miss Edna M. Hill of Riverside, Conn., Robert W. Hill of Gilman, Benjamin C. Hill of St. Johnsbury, Wallace S. Hill of Plainfield and Miss Elsie L. Hill of Waterford. He is also survived by 11 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Funeral services were held from his late home at 2 o'clock this afternoon. The Rev. E. E. Grant officiated. Interment was in the East St. Johnsbury Cemetery.
The site where I found this obituary also included a card of thanks from Mr. Hill's family members, and a poem that must have run in the newspaper in 1932:
           IN MEMORIAM
In loving memory of our dear,
dear father, Charles T. Hill, who
passed away Sept. 18, 1930.
Out on the sunny hillside
   Where granite marks the spot
Just two years ago dear father
   We placed you in the lot.
Not dead to us who loved you.
   Not lost but gone before,
You live with us in memory still
   And will forevermore.
                    Inserted by his children.
Finally, although no photos of the stagecoaches in Waterford have been found as yet, I located one this week that shows stagecoaches from sometime after 1865, in a parade in Bethlehem, New Hampshire:

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