Thursday, April 04, 2013


More stories about my 5x great grandfather Amos Upton from the book
The History of Norway [Me.]: Comprising a Minute Account of Its First Settlement,
Town Officers, Interspersed with Historical Sketches, Narrative and Anecdote
(Google eBook)
by David Noyes.

I think this is my favorite story about Amos: his cure for being struck unconscious
by lightning:

"Previous to 1800, Amos Upton had built a large one-story house, and in January
of that year Ward Noyes moved from Andover, Mass., into Mr. Upton's house,
and lived there until the next fall. In July there was a terrific tempest of lightning,
thunder, rain and wind. The house was struck by lightning at the easterly end of
the ridge-pole; the electric fluid ran down the rafter and other timbers, and went
almost over the whole house. Seven persons were knocked down by the shock,
and Ward Noyes was insensible for a long time; probably he never would have
recovered had it not been for the application of cold water, which by Mr. Upton's
direction was poured upon him by pail full—he having, a short time previous,
seen in a newspaper an account of its efficacy. Large spaces of thick forest were
prostrated by this wind, and considerable damage done otherwise."

Our pioneer ancestors often worked at various professions to earn a living. Besides
being a blacksmith and carpenter, Amos was a miller. His carpentry skills  came in
handy here as well:

"In 1801, Amos Upton built a grist-mill on a brook .about three-fourths of a mile
westerly of Fuller's Corner. It was rather a rudely constructed thing, as he did almost
all the work himself, even to the making of the mill-stones. His oldest son, Francis
Upton, afterwards owned said mill, and tended it for many years. In the drought of
summer there was not sufficient water to grind; but at other times it did considerable
business, and was a great convenience to the settlers in the northwest part of the town. 

Amos Upton, Jr., another son of Amos Upton, succeeded his brother Francis; he built
a new mill on the same stream, a little above the old one; and did considerable business
in grinding. Jonathan Swift, some twenty-five years age, succeeded Amos Upton, Jr.,
and afterwards built a new mill, which is still in operation."

Finally, in 1802 the citizens of Norway organized a Congregational Church and Amos was
involved in that as well:

"It appears that the church records were to be kept in the house of Amos Upton, who had 
previous to this time built himself a large house for that day, and for many years it was used 
as a place for religious meetings. He was a zealous professor, and spent much time in fitting 
his house with seats to accommodate those who attended meeting on the Sabbath. On Saturday 
afternoon he would bring in blocks and planks, or boards, and arrange seats in his long kitchen, 
in preparation for meeting the next day. Mr. Joseph Martin was a good singer, and understood 
the rules of church psalmody well for that early day. Occasionally a missionary would come 
along, and stop and preach a few Sabbaths with the church and people; and sometimes a 
minister was hired to preach a Sabbath or two, or a month, and once or twice for three months...

...Thus it appears that we were not entirely destitute of the preached word; and when there was 

no minister, the people assembled in Mr. Upton's house, and held what used to be called a 
Deacon's meeting; there would be a sermon read, (the writer has read many in our Sabbath 
meetings,) and prayers offered up by some of the more gifted members of the church, and 
singing, good enough. There were many good singers of the old school method of singing, and 
uncle Jo Martin (as we used to call him) would give us the pitch of the tune with his pitch-pipe, 
and we could make first-rate church melody of such tunes as Old Hundred, St. Martins, Wells, 
&c."- pp75-76

By 1802 Amos was 60 years old, an age far past the average lifespan in that era, but only
two-thirds of the way through his life. Thirty years later, at age 90, he would apply for his
Revolutionary War Veteran Pension.

I'll discuss that next.

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