Posted tagged ‘Mead Family’

New England Vampire Panic of 1793

January 30, 2014


New England Vampire Panic of 1793

Patty is still fixated on researching her genealogy with particular interest on the Revolutionary War and so far has traced her ancestry to five presidents, Eli Whitney and Buffalo Bill Cody but none of them are as interesting as her ancestor Timothy Mead.  She frequently talks to me about her ancestors and I struggle to pay attention except when she mentions Timothy; when she mentions him I perk up.  Actually, she had three ancestors named Timothy Mead in the Revolutionary War and they were grandfather, father and son.  This gets complicated because after Timothy Mead I died, his son known as Timothy Mead Jr. became senior to his son, Timothy Mead III.  This is where I usually get confused and tune out.  However, Timothy Mead Jr. was quite a character. 

Timothy Mead Jr. owned about 500 acres which was given to him by the town for his building a grist mill at Factory Point (Now known as Manchester, VT).  The town later asked for a portion of it back to build a courthouse but Timothy refused.  He was known to be miserly and cantankerous. 

In a period newspaper article entitled “The Colburn House Story” is the following account:  Shortly after the Revolution, tight-fisted Timothy Mead owned most of the land at Factory Point.  Cussed as he was, he liked a soft bed and a swig of rum as well as the next man.  So he set up Martin Mead in business.  And thus was born the first hotel at Manchester Center (VT).  On its site today is the Colburn House, equally renowed (sic) and a whale of a lot more comfortable.

Timothy had thirteen children one of which was Timothy Mead III.  Timothy Jr. was born in 1724 and was gored by an ox and died in 1802, so he was almost 80 years old when he died, probably beating his ox. 

His son, Timothy (FatTimothy) Mead III was 5’8” tall and weighed over 500 pounds.  He was 80 years old when he died near Rochester, N.Y. in August 1828.  He was interred in a coffin bound with iron hoops and lowered into the ground with a block and tackle.   I believe the following article pertains to Timothy Mead III:

Smithsonian magazine, the New England Vampire Panic of 1793

During the New England Vampire Panic in 1793, at his brother Jacob’s blacksmith forge in Manchester, Vermont, Timothy officiated at a public heart-burning ceremony which was attended by hundreds of people. This was the heart of Captain Burton’s first dead wife.  The Demon Vampire was still sucking the blood from Captain Burton’s then living second wife and needed to be appeased.  An early town history says. “It was the month of February and good sleighing.”  (What wasn’t mentioned in the article is that the affliction affecting people and attributed to vampires was most likely consumption or tuberculosis as it is known today.)



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