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In 1833, Perley signed an acknowledgement when William Titus of Wilmington paid off a mortgage Perley held. This was written in the margin of a book of land records on the page recording the mortgage. Original signatures aren't normally found in copy records, but this was the practice in Wilmington when mortgages were satisfied, and it's the only signature of his I've found.

Perley's father was a prosperous farmer, and the Bartlett children were evidently raised in relative comfort in the large, two-story house at the edge of Northborough that his grandfather Daniel had built. The boys probably had a modest, local education, allowing them to at least read and write. Perley wasn't the oldest son and apparently didn't learn a trade. Their nearest neighbor to the west was the family of his first cousin, Antipas Bartlett. Antipas' daughter became his wife. They were first cousins once removed - that was their closest genetic relationship. By way of multiple marriages between the Bartletts and two apparently different families of How's in Marlborough, Massachusetts, they were cousins many times over. Married just short of 22, Perley's future was in farming. He chose not to stay in his home town - not surprising given that this was common in his generation across New England. Only his oldest brother Jonas, who inherited the family farm, and sister Martha Hastings stayed in town. Perley moved probably first to Wendell, Massachusetts, about 1797, where his children Hannah and Lyman were baptized and he appears in the 1798 "Direct Tax" list there with a house and land.1 In February of 1801, Perley bought land in Wilmington, Vermont.2 Brother Joel and brother-in-law Antipas Bartlett, Jr., followed Perley to Wilmington, then settled in Dover, the next town to the north. Sisters Catherine and Elizabeth Clisbee also ended up in Vermont with their husbands, who were brothers.
     Perley was a "a prominent farmer in the old school."3 That term may simply mean that he still did things before the age of agricultural machinery. The Bartletts either had built or moved into a house now called "Crows Nest" on Sturgis Drive in the northwestern part of Wilmington. The property was 100 acres in "lot #3, second range of the 5th Division." This house, a large, Cape Cod style building with a gambrel roof, still stands and is said to have been built in 1803, probably because the Dickinson to Bartlett deed was recorded late in 1802. Since the sale was early in 1801, it's likely the house was built in the warmer months of that year, say Spring of 1801.
     Although not a particularly small house, it was not a spacious home for 12 people after the youngest son Perley was born in 1815, and so it likely remained until Hannah married about 1818. Curtis followed with his marriage in 1819 and Lyman in 1820. And so it was after children started leaving that the Bartletts moved to a much bigger house. This was in 1824, after another child had married and left home. Perley switched homesteads with William Titus. The Titus farmhouse also still stands on Woffenden Road just north of where the Deerfield River crosses Rt. 100, formerly known as the road from Wilmington to Dover. Woffenden Road is now a dead end, but once may have connected north to what is now Ralph May Road and then further north to what is now Sturgis Drive. It was known as the "old" road from Wilmington to Somerset, superceded by Ray Hill and Mann Roads to the west.
     Titus may have been having financial problems at this time. He mortgaged, in several pieces, his farm in 1818.4 He sold the eastern third of it to mortgagee Stephen Hinsdale in 1821.5 Seven days later, Hinsdale sold it to Perley.6 Titus paid off the mortgage on the western two thirds of the farm, including the house, in 1823 then sold it to Perley.7 What caused them to swich homesteads isn't apparent in the deeds. The Titus farm and Perley's part next to it probably had better fields for farming, given the more hilly locale to the north. After buying the Bartlett farm,8 Titus, on the same day, took out a mortgage held by Perley.9 He mortgaged it two more times in 1828, including one to his son Arnold.10 When he sold the farm to Arnold and his brother Alonzo in 1832, the Bartlett and Fitch mortgages were still attached.11
     The Titus house was laid out the same as the Bartlett house, but was a full story taller and may not have had a central chimney. By then he had maybe 4 or 5 of his children still living at home. It was here that Perley lived to his death in 1845.
     Perley served as a constable for Wilmington in 1818 and one of three selectmen in 1822 and 1823.12 He apparently was a captain in the local militia.13 Several years before his death he represented Wilmington at the Vermont State Constitutional Convention of 1843, his name found in this publication:

In the adminstrative account found in Perley's estate papers is a line item that says "Dr. Rockwell" was paid $7.00 for a "visit & advice."14 Circumstantial evidence leaves little doubt that this was William Hayden Rockwell, head of the Vermont Asylum for the Insane in Brattleboro. Perley may have suffered mental problems, perhaps delusions, shortly before his death. He is buried beside Lucy in the cemetery behind the Congregational Church, now called Restland Cemetery.
     On 17 February 1846, Israel Lawton, administrator of Perley's estate, sold 24 acres of the Bartlett farm to Carly Winchester.15 On 21 March 1848, Lucy sold her dower interest to Carly.16

Perley died without a will. An inventory of his estate was taken on 27 August 1845:

The homestead farm on which the deceased lived containing about one hundred & fifty acres $4367
Also ninety acres of land situated in Wilmington called the Somerset
[? in deeds, "Strickland"] lot $466

1 horse $70
9 cows $156.53
2 oxen $55.58
8 2 year olds $100
7 yearlings $57.38
2 carts & riggings $29.67
3 sleds $4
1 two-horse sleigh $6.33
1 one-horse sleigh $11.67
another two-horse sleigh $1.00
1 buggy wagon $40.
1 lumber wagon $3.67
[?], harrows $4.53
chains & iron bars $10.17
beetle & iron wedges $7.19
4 old axes $1.41
shovels .91
2 dung forks .99
1 iron rake .28
2 hoes .36
8 pitch forks $1.67
(more farming utensils, etc., to be added)

2 beds & bedding $18.59
2 bedsteads & cords $3.58
1 light stand $1.08
2 tables $2.28
2 bureaus $9.67
1 desk & bookcase $4.67
1 cupboard $2.33
1 chest $1.33
1 writing desk $1.50
brass & iron pan $5.67
table furniture $15.63
shic? tongs .50
2 mirrors $2.11
2 clocks 11.63
meal chest .80
2 meat barrels .93
8 pails .93
1 cheese press & apparatus 3.67
wine bags 2.27
tin pan .9
1 churn 1.25
1 cheese tub .54
2 butter trays .55
2 stoves & pipes 12.33
2 pair steel grids 1.08
22 chairs 13.50
1 sugar tub .86

total personal value= $168.72
homestead of 150 acres=$4360.00
one out-lot, pasture and wood lands of 90 acres=$483.00
real value= $4754.54 (less than the sum total of the above lands)

The estate was to be divided equally between 10 heirs (his children), but wife Lucy's dower thirds is also outlined in the estate papers (see Lucy's biography). All of his children except Elmer married and had families and are named in the papers.

children of Perley Bartlett and Lucy Bartlett:

i. Curtis R. b. abt 1795, bap. 7 January 1797, Northborough, MA16
ii. Hannah bap. 3 September 1797, Wendell, MA16
iii. Lyman bap. 7 July 1799, Wendell, MA16
iv. Avery b. abt 1801 (likely in Wilmington, VT)
v. Jonas b. 10 April 1803
vi. Lois b. abt 1805
vii. Lowell b. abt. 1808
viii. Elmer b. abt 1809
ix. Lucy, b. abt July 1811
x. Perley b. abt 1813

vital records sources: Perley's birth is in Vital Records of Marlborough, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 (Worcester:1908), 24; his marriage is in Vital Records of Northborough, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 (Worcester:1901), 77; his death date comes from his gravestone in Rest Land Cemetery, Wilmington.

1. database online
2. Town of Wilmington deed (hereafter TWD), 4:315.
3. Deerfield Valley Times (1900), 46, and notes in the Bartlett family file, Wilmington Public Library.
4. TWD, 6:173, Stephen and Joseph Hinsdale, east part; 6:271, David Rugg and Russell Fitch, west part, satisfied in 1823.
5. Ibid, 6:388.
6. Ibid, 6:382.
7. Ibid, 7:42.
8. Ibid, 7:45.
9. Ibid, 7:34.
10. Ibid, 7:395, Russell Fitch; 8:47, Arnold Titus, which was set up as collateral for a promissory note. The Bartlett and Fitch mortgages were satisfied in 1832 and 1833 respectively.
11. Ibid, 8:333.
12. Reunion of the Sons & Daughters of the Town of Wilmington: held at Wilmington, Vermont, July 3-6, 1890 (1890).
13. see note 3.
14. Windham County, VT, Marlboro District probate record, 10:431.
15. TWD, 10:462.
16. Ibid, 10:426.
17. see note 14, ?:?.
18. Vital Records of Northborough, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 (Worcester:1901), 16.
19., database online, Wendell, MA, Congregational Church records, 1783-1847, image 38 of mss p. 36.
20. Ibid, image 48 of mss p. 46.

all text and photographs © 1998-2020 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted