Reverend Russell's Hidden Room



Francee Taylor Haff, whose family, the Gaylords, owned the Reverend Russell's house some time after the Russell family left, sent me the following exerpt from The History and Pedigrees of the House of Gaillard or Gaylord by William Gaillard.

"On the occasion of my visit, I passed a night at Hadley with Ma. Geo. H. Gaylord. This is the home in which the two English regicide judges, Whalley and Goffe, were so long concealed by the Reverend Mr. Russell. Mr. Gaylord gave me some items of information which he had from his father (Chester) concerning the owner of the old house, and manner in which the fugitives were concealed. Had there been a trap door, or any visible opening, it is easy to see that the stratagem would not have worked so effectually. Thinking these particulars to be worthy of record as matters of history, I have since requested of him a statement in writing, which I have subject.

"Hadley, Spet. 30, 1867 (or 1887)

Dear Sir - In compliance with your request I pen you a few lines of the Interior of the old house and the manner in which the judges were concealed. It would seem that before my father was born (Samuel), grandfather made a little alteration to the north or kitchen part as left by Mr. Russell, but what had been removed had been evidently rebuilt in pretty much the same old style. There were town stones in front and one to the rear, and the old cellar remained. The south, or main portion of the building remained apparently in its original state. Judged to be forty-two or forty-four feet in length and twenty feet wide, and no cellar underneath it. Pointing to the south, two large room below, between which was a front entry or hall with a very large old-fashioned chimney and flight of stairs. On the second floor were two large chambers, the walls of which he thinks were not plastered, being simply whitewashed. North of the chimney was a passage from one chamber to the other, the flooring of which was laid down, from the chimney to the north side, and the ends went under the partition, one or more of the planks were so laid, that they could be raised in such a way that could be passed down beside the chimney and then slipped back. My father, when a boy, had passed thro' this place very many times, and it was known as being the hiding place of the judges, whenever the officers came to search of them. The south part of the house was pulled down when he was about thirteen years old and the present building erected, which is a little south of the old one. In removing the stones from the old cellar to be used in building the new one, about four feet below its surface in one place the earth was loose, a flat stone was discovered with human bones and pieces of wood. The bones were carefully laid up, but some crumbled; the __ stone from its position when found would seem to have been on the top of the coffin. The bones, no doubt, were those of Geo. Whalley who had been buried there one hundred and twenty years before.

With kind regards of Mrs. Gaylord and myself, I remain as ever, your friend,

Mr. Gaillard Geo. H. Gaylord"