One of my forebears was a Governor - my
great-great-grandfather Urban A. Woodbury - who served in that post
1894-1896. We know quite a bit about his adult life – Civil War
veteran, successful businessman, Mayor of Burlington etc – and that
he had a very large house in Burlington where he entertained
Presidents. But we know almost nothing about his humbler beginnings.
And we know little about his wife Paulina Darling’s background. They
both went to school in Morrisville and they were married in nearby
Elmore. But where were their homes? Where did they play as kids?
So, to the maps! The 1859 and 1878 maps (Walling and
Beers) are both filled with homeowners names. I started with the
1859 map since it captures the time just before Urban and Paulina
were married in 1861. Since Paulina was born in Morristown, I looked
for the "Darling" name in that town. Almost immediately I noted an
"I. Darling" just east of Morrisville village on a road leading
toward Lake Elmore. Paulina’s dad was Ira Darling. That same site
was labeled "E. Darling" on the 1878 "Beers" atlas map. This clue
helped, as she had two "E" brothers - Edward and Elial. Ira was
almost 80 years old in 1878, and the two brothers would have been in
their 30s – one of them could have been the homeowner "E. Darling".
There are several other Darlings on the 1859 map in Morristown, but
none with an "I" first name. At this point I had never seen the land
or the site. I was guessing – but with some confidence – that I had
found the mapped location of Paulina Darling’s childhood home. Some
time later I had some correspondence with another Darling descendant
who bought one of my 1859 map CDs. Rachel Laflin of Jericho said
that this was probably the site, and that the house was still
standing. When I visited the area this fall I was told by a recent
owner that this house was indeed the old Darling Farm. In fact, the
road is known today as Darling Road.
Now, what about Urban’s boyhood home? Where was it,
and is it standing today like Paulina’s house?
This puzzle has proven more difficult. The
future Governor was born in New Hampshire to Lucy W. and Albert M.
Woodbury and moved to Vermont circa 1840 as a toddler. His dad was
supposedly a "master builder" who lived on a farm in Elmore later in
his life. Urban enlisted in the Civil War service "from Elmore" in
1861. I looked over the entire Elmore 1859 map and found no Woodburys at all. Could family lore be wrong? I checked again and
then noticed – across the town line in the Town of Wolcott – the
entry "A.M. Woodbury". The location is very close to Elmore village,
less than a mile north, and quite far from the village center of
Wolcott. "A.M. Woodbury" is too unusual a name for that site to be
anyone’s home but that of my ancestor Albert. A different owner is
shown by 1878 (Beers atlas), so Albert must have moved on by then.
But where to?
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