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The two men partook of minor portions of food and water at the old French village. They then remounted for the balance of their trip. The remainder of the journey was expected to be leisurely. Esquire Garnsey explained “there is a long road that the French refugees had contracted to be cut. This old road joins the abandoned French settlement with Hornby.”


A strong storm had previously created a large blow down. Trees were scattered this way and that, some laying in the same direction and others lying across each other. The road was impassable. The ten acres of forest that surrounded the road was in the same condition. The Esquire led his horse and Grandfather around the wooden maze. They soon came upon the road again.


During the conversations on this leg of their trip Esquire Garnsey informed Grandfather that his house in Jericho was more a place of business. “I carry on the business of land sales and law there. My family and primary home are located in Norwich.”


Grandfather also learned that the Esquire was, additionally, involved in several other businesses and political activities. The conversation drifted back to Jericho, the Float Master and Mr. Aiken. This reminded Grandfather of the term that Mr. Aiken had used.


“Tell me Esquire,” prodded Grandfather, “what is a Vermont Sufferer? Mr. Aiken mentioned it just before my float accident.”


“Oh, that term!” Esquire Garnsey was, apparently, not to pleased with the phrase. He thought for a minute, as if to square away a complex story, and then spoke out.


“The ‘Vermont Sufferer’ story is rather confusing, and, depending on who you get the story from, it has different sides. It would appear that a group of families living in Vermont were being taxed rather unfairly. Well – – – unfairly according to them. There was an attempt to avoid the taxes through stubborn refusal to pay. They thought that their farms were located in New York. A few of the men ended up in jail but a few escaped by hiding. One of the escapees contacted the governor of New York and attempted to get the New York militia involved.”


Esquire Garnsey was quiet for a minute or so while he attempted to gather his facts. “The governor wisely side-stepped the issue. Finally, when the other men were released from jail, it would appear that they attempted to have New York annex the part of Vermont that was having the tax trouble. After some lengthy period of time the New York legislature, sick of the whole mess, decided to give these ‘Vermont Sufferers’ a large plot of land where Jericho now stands. It was divided up amongst them. Some of them cleared the land for farms and stayed. Some stayed for a time, sold out, and moved on. Others never moved there, they simply sold the land.”


© wtomosky