Arvilla (Spaulding) Record's Letter
Source: Alfred Cole and Charles F. Whitman, A History of Buckfield, Oxford County, Maine. (Buckfield, Me. : [s.n.], 1915), p. 518.
Aunt Arvilla (Spaulding) Record's letter was written when she was 85 to her relative, Mrs. Lydia E. Cole Douglass:Buckfield, Me., Sept. 10, 1888.My Dear Lydia:
It is but little that I know about the Spauldings but I am very glad to tell what I do know.
Old Grandfather Benjamin Spaulding moved his family from Chelmsford, Mass., here in the year 1778 or 1779. He was out in the French and Indian War. His family consisted at that time of six children, Patty, Rebecca, Benjamin (your grandfather), Leonard, Elizabeth and Esther. The next child he had after he came from the war was Abel, who was my father. I have surely been told that Grandfather Spaulding got in debt by being a surety on another man's bond and left his family in Massachusetts and came here, then nothing but all woods and no human beings but Indians. He came to hunt, as furs at that time, brought a great price. There were some inhabitants in a few places in this part of the country but not within many miles of where he built his camp, which was down by the river, on what is now called Capt. Record's intervale. He hunted here two years. In the room of his being afraid of the Indians, they were afraid of him. One of them stole one of his traps. He gave out word among them that if the thief did not bring it back, he would kill him. A few days after the Indian returned the trap, saying: "Here your trap Pauldin." I do not know where grandfather sold his furs but when he went back he paid all he owed anybody. Then he moved his family down here.
My father was then two and one-half years old. His older sister told me they lived in the camp on the intervale where one child, Stephen, was born. Then he took up land and moved up where I was born. He owned land from Sumner town line to the river at North Buckfield—all woods. In time he built a saw mill. I remember that mill. He built him a log house down near where the road is now. His youngest child, Thankful (Cushman)—Mrs. Cummings, who lives on Paris Hill, is her daughter—was born in that log house. When grandfather had arrived with his family, old Squire Buck had taken up land where Col. White lived and moved his family there. Old Nathaniel Buck had come too and had taken up land where Elisha, his youngest son, lived. Then there was some kind of grist mill at New Gloucester, so the people here had to do [sic] down there to mill and carry their grists on their backs, going and coming by spotted trees. If one settler got out of meal, the others supplied him till their own was gone. Moose were plenty and they were rarely out of this kind of meat. One time, grandfather had been to New Gloucester to mill and on coming home, found the other families nearly starved. He said: "Why did you not kill a moose?" Then he took his gun and went hunting for one. He soon came back with one he had killed a little back of what we call Elisha Buck's orchard, which furnished many meals for the hungry ones. He wanted to see people have some ambition and never lacked himself that quality. He was a small man in stature, but he had a big heart and was good to the poor. He gained in property fast, cleared up his farm and raised wonderful crops and a large number of cows. If a poor man come along who had a large family, he would give him half a cheese or a bushel of corn. I remember seeing such people take such things away on their backs. He would often let them have meal when they had no money, but if they had, he wanted them to get what they wanted somewhere else.
He knew what it was to be poor. He would not take medicine. He lived to be seventy-four and died of a fever. Grandmother Spaulding was one of the best women that ever lived. I lived with her from the time I was born until I was married and until she died, aged 77 years. I must say I never saw her appear the least bit impatient in my life.* * *
Grandfather Spaulding and all his sons were firm Universalists and they lived it. They realized that Christ was the true vine and we the branches.From Your Aunt,ARVILLA SPAULDING RECORD