Portrait from the History of Newbury, Vermont, 1902.
This rather gloomy looking gentleman is Peabody Webster Ladd, a curiously named 19th century resident of Orange County, Vermont. During a long life that extended nearly nine decades, Ladd's name grew to be a familiar one in the town of Newbury, where he was prominent in church and civic affairs. A former justice of the peace, Ladd warrants inclusion here on the site due to his brief tenure as Associate Judge of the Orange County Court in the mid-1860s.
One of thirteen children born to Joseph and Sarah (Ring) Ladd, Peabody Webster Ladd was born in Haverhill, New Hampshire on August 15, 1805. His education occurred in schools local to Haverhill and in 1826 he left New Hampshire for Vermont. Settling in the town of Newbury, Ladd established himself as a blacksmith and later entered into both tinsmithing and hardware merchandising, following these occupations "till old age."
Peabody W. Ladd married in August 1827 to Elizabeth Lowell Johnson (1805-1880), a resident of Massachusetts and a cousin of famed poet James Russell Lowell. The couples fifty-three year marriage saw the births of five children, John Johnson (1828-1889), Mary Elizabeth (1830-1894), Ezra (1832-1856), Hallam (1834-1842) and Harriett Luella (1842-1861).
Early in his Newbury residency, Ladd proved himself to be a man of great heart, when he took as an apprentice young Alvi Tabor Twing (1812-1882). Ladd took a shine to Twing and after introducing him to the Episcopal church paid the young man's way through college. Twing later became a minister and later advanced to become Secretary of the Protestant Episcopal Committee for Domestic Missions.
In the years following his settlement in Newbury the name of Peabody Ladd grew to be prominent, as he became a justice of the peace, a longtime church chorister and for fifteen years served as town Sunday School superintendent. In 1863 he was selected as a member of the Orange County Temperance Society's executive committee and from 1865-66 was Associate Judge of Orange County, serving alongside fellow judge James Hutchinson Jr.
Ladd continued to be an active citizen in Newbury well into his eighth decade, being acknowledged as a man
"Of clear head and sound judgement, and held decided opinions upon all matters of town, state and national interest, as well as upon mechanical, economic, moral and scientific questions, which he never hesitated to express, without regard to whatever others might think or say."Widowed in 1880, Peabody Webster Ladd continued to reside in Newbury until his death at age 85 on June 30, 1891. A burial location for both Ladd and his wife remains unknown at the time of this writing.