Dr. John Wilson's House In Newfane


Dr. John Wilson, Thunderbolt House, Williamsville, Newfane, Vermont.jpg

Thunderbolt House In Williamsville

Also Called "The "Dunklee Place"

Photograph About 1913


Dr. John Wilson purchased this house from David Read (Reed) on October 11, 1826. It stood on the north side of the road from Henry Wheelock's Tavern to the William H. Williams general store, nearly opposite the Charles H. Cune store, which building was in later years Oscar L. Sherman's general store.


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Dr. John Wilson

"Thunderbolt And Lightfoot"

Daguerreotype About 1842 By T. Covil


Newfane land records deeds describe Dr. Wilson's dwelling house, barn, horse shed, shop, and woodpile shelter. When these combined lots were finally sold, the place was five rods and twenty-three links deep and three rods and eight links wide, or ninety-four feet by fifty-three and a half feet.


General Martin Field, Dr. John Wilson, John H. Merrifield House, Williamsville, Newfane, Vermont.jpg

General Martin Field, Dr. John Wilson, John H. Merrifield House

About 1901


Dr. Wilson also purchased a parcel of land adjoining this house directly to the east, from Gen. Martin Field of Newfane---


Martin Field was the Newfane town treasurer from 1819-1825, and this fragment from his ledger dated September 27, 1824 shows Dr. John Wilson given an order for two dollars for caring for the town pauper called "Mr. Goodell"---


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Sept 27th 1824

Signd Do [Ditto] Dr Wilson 2 Dollars for Doct [Doctoring] Mr Goodell


Dr. John Wilson's expense accounts, recorded by clerks in the William H. Williams store ledgers, provide extensive and lively information concerning Dr. Wilson's lumber and shingle business, the medicines he bought and prescribed, his patients' names, when he hired horse and wagon.


And his purchase of an elaborate electrical apparatus which he used to treat Capt. Seth Briggs in West Dummerston. Medical interest in electrical treatments spiked in 1824, primarily due to the immense popularity of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley's gothic romance, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.


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Dr. Wilson sold this house on February 2, 1835 for $800 to Dr. Orville Poole Gilman and to several other gentlemen who tendered their promissory notes for an interest. Dr. Gilman sold his interest to John Newman of Newfane on July 24, 1835.


These transactions were completed during the land speculation fever, just before the Bank of England precipitated the Panic of 1837 in order to punish Andrew Jackson for his patriotic recalcitrance in resisting usury. Something went awry amongst the assorted investors in this scheme, and tempers flared.


Dr. Orville Poole Gilman physically attacked a prominent lawyer who was involved in the negotiations---Jackson Newell, Esq. of Wardsboro---and apparently reconsidered remaining so long in Newfane.


Joel May, Jr. later discussed his financial commitment to Dr. Wilson---in the Windham County Court House. Tradition says that at one point during a hearing, Wilson seized some ledger evidence and leaped from the court-house window. This case finally went to the Vermont Supreme Court and everything was resolved.


Dr. John Wilson also sold his bond to Dr. Orville P. Gilman for $1,000, stating that he would no longer practice in Newfane and its surrounding areas. Dr. Gilman "was a man of fine physique, with large overhanging brow" who "held advanced views of practice and frequently defended them by forcible and original arguments".


The two witnesses to this were Silas Dexter and Mariah Dexter.


Gilman Orville Pool, M.D. Jaffrey, N.H. Daniel & Mary (Stickney) (#30) Salem #11 Almira (Butler) #835 Salem May 16, 1863 57y8m1d
Gilman Orville Wardsboro,VT. Orville P.(#187)& Almira B.(#835) Washington,D.C.Julia E. Washington,D.C. June 6,1968 34y2m10d
Gilman Almira B. Hinsdale,NH. Josiah & Fanny Butler Salem Village Wid.of Orville(#187) Salem Oct.17,1872 61y0m9d
Gilman Elvira Atcherson Salem Orville P.(#187)&Almira B.(#835) Salem Village Salem (South Village) July 16,1874 31y11m18d
Gilman Charles O.T. Wardsboro,Vt. Orville P.(#187) & Almira B.(#835) Salem Village Harriet ( Blinn) Salem,So.Village Feb.22,1875 34y5m9d
Gilman John B. Salem,N.Y. Orville P.& Alvira B. W.Pawlwt # 10 Jennie B. West Pawlet,VT. Sept.2,1905 53y6m28d
Gilman Benj.Brodie Salem,N.Y. Orville P.& Almira B. Ft.Edward,N.Y. Single July 28, 1906 61y0m0d


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Dr. John Wilson, Captain Thunderbolt is a pictorial history of Thunderbolt's life and career in Boston and throughout Windham County, including eyewitness accounts and descriptions of his appearance and activity.


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