Vermont History and Genealogy

February 2, 2007

History of the Town of Middlebury, Vermont

Filed under: Addison County, Middlebury, Vermont Counties, Vermont Towns — thedarwinexception @ 9:58 pm


THE rapid settlement of the territory of the State of Vermont was long postponed by the fact that it was a thoroughfare of the war parties of the French and Indians on their way to the southward and eastward from Canada and Lake Champlain; and but little progress was made in that direction until the conquest of Canada by the English in 1760. Benning Wentworth was appointed in 1741, by the king of England, governor of the province of New Hampshire, and given authority to issue patents for lands to applicants, in any unoccupied territory. Under this authority he claimed the right to issue charters over what is now the State of Vermont. His first charter within its boundaries was for the town of Bennington in 1749, and in the next year this was followed by the charter of Pownal; about a dozen towns had also been chartered east of the Green Mountains; but no grants were made in the more dangerous western part of the State until 1761, in which year, the banners of peace having been uplifted over the territory of the ” New Hampshire Grants,” as this region came to be known, there was a rapid movement to secure charters to the territory, no less than sixty having been granted in the year named within the present limits of the Green Mountain State. Among the number was Middlebury, as well as eight other Addison county towns.

Among the residents of Salisbury, Conn., were a number of men who, with others, united for the purpose of procuring town charters of lands in this county and engaged John Evarts, of Salisbury, to act as their agent. Procuring the needed assistance, he came into the wilderness until he reached the region along the east side of Otter Creek, before he found unoccupied territory. Here he discovered that there was sufficient land to constitute three towns of the proposed extent–six miles square–between the “Great Falls” at Vergennes on the north, and Leicester on the south: hence he proceeded to survey the entire tract. He began at the head of the falls (which was fixed upon as a permanent starting point and boundary), laid out the town of New Haven and followed with Middlebury and Salisbury. Some of the original applicants agreed to take shares in two and others in all three of these towns, making out the requisite number of grantees in each instance. The charters of Middlebury and New Haven were dated November 2, 1761, and that of Salisbury on the next day. By the charters all of these towns are bounded west by Otter Creek, and extend where necessary up the slopes of the Green Mountains for the eastern boundary. The charters were made in the customary form, which is so well known that it need not be given here entire. It granted in this instance to those “whose names are entered on this grant, to be divided to and amongst them into sixty-eight equal shares,” a tract “containing by admeasurement 25,040 acres, which tract is to contain something more than six miles square.” The charter gives the boundaries as follows:

“Beginning at the southerly corner of a township granted this day by the name of New Haven, at a tree marked, standing on the bank of the easterly or northeasterly side of Otter Creek, so called, from thence running east seven miles, thence turning off and running south ten degrees west six miles and sixty-four rods, then turning off end running west to Otter Creek aforesaid; then down said creek, as that runs to the bound first mentioned,” and it “is incorporated into a township by the name of Middlebury.” It also provides “that the first meeting for the choice of town officers shall be held on the first Tuesday in January next, which said meeting shall be notified by Capt. Samuel Moore, who is hereby also appointed moderator of the said first meeting,” and that “the annual meeting forever hereafter for the choice of such officers for the said town shall be on the second Tuesday of March annually.”

The following are the names written on the back of the charter: John Evarts, Elijah Skinner, Elkanah Paris, Benjamin Paris, John Baker, Gideon Hurlbut, Ebenr. Hanchit, Deliva. Spalding, Noah Chittenden, Mattw. Bostwick, Thomas Chittenden, John Abbit, Moses Read, Saml. Keep, Elisha Painter, Ruluff White, Elisha Shelden, Jun., Moses Read, Jun., Matthw. Baldin, Lt. Jonathan Moore, John Benton, Nathl. Evarts, 3d, John Turner, Jun., Ebenr. Field, 3d, Saml. Turner, Zecheriah Foss, Ebenr. Field, Nathl. Flint, BenJn. Everist, Jeremiah How, John Read, James Claghorn, Lt. Mathias Kelsey, Daniel Morris, Rufus Marsh, Elias Read; Noah Waddams, John Evarts, Jun., Jona. Moore, Jun., Nathl. Skinner, Jun., David Hide, Jun., Thomas Chipman, Amos Hanchit, Saml. Towsley, John Strong, John How, Oliver Evarts, Russell Hunt, Capt. Josiah Stoddar, Bethel Sellick, Saml. Skinner, Capt. Saml. Moore, Hezekiah Camp, Jun., John McQuivey, Benjamin Smalley, Lt. John Seymour, Datis Ensign, Lt. Janna Meigs, David Owen, Charles Brewster, Theo. Atkinson, Esq., M. H. Wentworth, Esq.

The old governor looked after his own interest in the customary manner, as appears by the following, added to the foregoing signatures:

” His Excellency Benning Wentworth, Esq., a tract of land containing five hundred acres, as marked B. W. in the plan, which is to be accounted two of the within shares, one whole share for the Incorporated Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign parts, one share for a glebe for the Church of England, as by law established, one share for the first settled minister of the gospel, and one share for the benefit of a school in said town.

“Province of New Hampshire, Nov. 2d, 1761.
“Recorded in Book of charters, page 278.
To the sixty shares of the sixty applicants were added one each for the governor’s secretary, Theodore Atkinson; Michael H. Wentworth, nephew of the governor; the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel; a glebe for the Church of England, and for a school; making, with the two shares for the governor, sixty-eight.
The east line of the town was intended to run substantially parallel with the course of the creek on the west line; it will be seen that such is not the case, making the town, as shown by those boundaries, contain rather less land than the original survey contemplated.
The nominal rental of “one ear of Indian corn” for the first ten years was more in the nature of an acknowledgment of the sovereignty of the king than an actual payment; while the one shilling “proclamation money” was a permanent fee to be paid annually to the king: The fact that the governor of New York demanded a higher rent in his subsequent grants constituted one of the grounds of complaint by the Green Mountain Boys against the claims of that State in the historic controversy.
The town of Middlebury is bounded at the present time as follows: On the north by New Haven and Bristol; on the east by Ripton; on the south by Salisbury, and on the west by Weybridge and Cornwall. The surface of the town is, since the setting off to the town of Ripton of a large part of the eastern mountainous tract,[NOTE 1] either level, rolling or moderately hilly, except the portion which lies along the western slopes and ridges of the mountains; much of this latter is steep and almost unfit for tillage; some of it is good for pasturage and small portions of it for cultivation. The lands lying along Otter Creek and Middlebury River are substantially level. Northeast of the village of Middlebury is an elevation that has been known as “Chipman Hill,” from Daniel Chipman, who owned a portion of it and lived near its southern point. The view from this elevation is one of the finest in New England. This is the only elevation west of the mountains that is worthy of mention.
The principal stream is Otter Creek, which is also one of the largest in the State; it flows from south to north and now crosses the western part of the town, though originally forming its western boundary, as before stated. The falls in this beautiful stream (which merits a much more pretentious title than “creek”), situated at the village of Middlebury, are not only picturesque in themselves and their surroundings, but afford a magnificent water power which has been improved almost from the first settlement to the present.
[Note 1]. On the 11th day of November, 1814, the Legislature enacted ” that a tract of land in the County of Addison, described as follows, to wit: Beginning at the southeast corner of said Middlebury thence west on the south line of said town one mile, thence northerly to a stake in the north line of said Middlebury, one mile and a half from the northeast corner of said Middlebury; thence on said north line of said Middlebury, to the northeast corner thereof, thence to the first bounds, be and the same is hereby annexed to the town of Ripton, in said county, and the inhabitants that now do or hereafter may reside on said tract, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities with the other inhabitants of said Ripton.”
The other stream of importance in the town is Middlebury River, which rises in the mountains to the eastward in two branches, the principal one in the town of Hancock; the branches unite in Ripton; thence the stream descends the slope and joins Otter Creek near the south line of Middlebury. On this stream at East Middlebury are a series of falls, supplying several excellent water privileges; the Muddy Branch, as it is called, is the main tributary of the river, and its current has turned several mills.
The soil of this town may be said, in a general way, to rest upon a vast deposit of marble (limestone). Professor Hall has made the statement that “limestone, which, with comparatively moderate heat, may be changed into lime, exists in almost every quarter of the town.” Of these marble deposits he further says: “Marble of the finest texture and susceptible of a high polish is found here in an inexhaustible abundance. The soil indeed of the whole township appears to rest on a vast basis of marble. In more than a hundred places does the marble make its appearance above the surface. It is arranged in strata, somewhat irregular, and of different thicknesses, but all inclining more or less to the plane of the horizon. It is of various colors, from pure white to deep grey, verging to a black.” This subject will be further treated ,elsewhere in this work.
The soil of the town, as a whole, is not such as to award the agriculturist the greatest returns for his labor. There is little siliceous, vegetable, or other fertilizing substances in the soil itself
The first meeting of the proprietors of Middlebury was held at the dwelling house of John Evarts, in Salisbury, Conn., on the 5th of January, 1762, at which the following proceedings were had:
” 1. Voted and chose Samuel Keep clerk for said proprietors.
” 2. Voted and chose Matthias Kelsey, Ebenezer Hanchit and James Nichols selectmen for said town of Middlebury.
” 3.Voted and chose Jonathan Chipman collector for said proprietors.
“4. Voted to allow 10s to Matthias Kelsey for his cost and extraordinary trouble in the proprietors’ service.
” 5. Voted to raise 9s on each right, 6s in silver and 3s prock money, except those which have paid a 9s rate, which was granted when the props. of New Haven, Middlebury, Salisbury and Cornwall were jointly in company,–such to be exempted.
” 6. Voted to give Mr. Atkinson for his kindness and many good services, done for the proprietors, 300 acres in said township adjoining Governor Wentworth’s right of 500 acres, allowing a highway or highways through said land for the benefit of ye proprietors, in the most convenient place or places.
” 7. Voted and adjourned this meeting to the 2d Tuesday in March next, at 10 o’clock before noon at Capt. Samuel Moore’s in Salisbury.
“Test SAML. KEEP, Proprietors’ Clerk.”
This meeting adjourned until the 9th day of March, 1762, at the house of Captain Samuel Moore, in Salisbury, at which the following were the principal proceedings:
” 1. Voted and chose Samuel Keep Clerk.
” 2. Voted and chose Matthias Kelsey, Ebenezer Hanchit, and Charles Brewster selectmen for said town.
” 3. Voted and chose Jonathan Chipman, Collector.
” 4. Voted and chose John Evarts, Treasurer.
” 5. Voted to send Matthias Kelsey, to lay out 50 acres to each right in said township.
” 6. Voted to raise a rate 9s on each right.
” 7. Voted to give 6s per day to committee men.
” 8. Voted to lay out one acre to each grantee, as near the centre of said town as possible.
” 9. Voted and adjourned this meeting till ye 2nd Tuesday of October, at one of ye clock afternoon, at the house of Capt. Samuel Moore, in Salisbury.
” Teste SAML. KEEP, Clerk. ”
This last meeting was held on the day fixed in the charter for ” the annual meeting forever hereafter,” for the choice of officers; for this reason new officers were chosen, although the first election took place only two months previously.
The following records of three meetings, bringing the proceedings of the proprietors down to the year 1767, are inserted here in full for the same reason assigned by Mr. Swift-that no other record except the one from which he drew his information was then to be found, and that one was in a perishable book; and because of the interest that must ever attach to the earliest deeds of pioneers or owners of a region that has since grown into a populous community:
” At a meeting of the proprietors of the township of Middlebury held at the house of John Evarts in Salisbury, this 2d Tuesday of March, A. D. 1763.
” 1. Voted and chose Mr. John Evarts, moderator.
” 2. Voted and chose Saml. Keep Clerk.
” 3. Voted and adjourned said meeting till ye 4th Tuesday of instant March at 10 o’clock before noon, at the house of Capt. Samuel Moore, in Salisbury.
” Teste SAML. KEEP, Proprietors Clerk.”
” At a meeting of the proprietors of the township of Middlebury, held by adjournment at the house of Capt. Sml. Moore in Salisbury, this 22d day of March 1763.
” 1. Voted and chose Matthias Kelsey, Ebenezer Hanchit and Saml. Tousley selectmen for said
town of Middlebury.
” 2. Voted the next annual meeting, viz. ye 2nd Tuesday in March next, shall be holden at the house of Capt. Saml. Moore in Salisbury
3.Voted and dissolved sd meeting. Test SAML. KEEP, Clerk.”
” At a meeting of the proprietors of the township of Middlebury in the Province of New Hampshire, being legally warned and held at the house of Capt. Saml. Moore in Salisbury, this 4th Tuesday of March, A. D. 1763.
” 1.. Voted and chose Capt. Saml. Moore, Moderator.
” 2. Voted and chose Saml. Keep, Clerk.
” 3. Voted and chose John Evarts, Capt. Saml. Moore and Matthias Kelsey assessors.
” 4 Voted to lay out one acre to each right or share, as near the centre of the township, as conveniently may, with allowance for highway or ways, if needful, each highway to be 4 rods wide.
” 5. Voted to raise a rate of 20s on each right to defray the charge of laying out the first and 2nd divisions, (public rights only not to pay.)
” 6. Voted to give the whole of the above said 20s rate to the committee, that shall lay out the first and second divisions in said township, and produce a mathematical plan thereof by the first day of October next. Said committee to lay out all the public rights in said township. Said committee to collect said 20s rate. James Nichols and Benjamin Smalley appointed committee to lay out sd first and 2nd divisions.
” 7. Voted to raise a rate of 9s on each right to pay the back charge except such as have paid ye 9s rate, which was granted ye 5th of January, A. D. 1762
” 8. Voted and chose Benjamin Smalley, Collector.
” 9. Voted and chose Mr. John Evarts, Treasurer.
” 10. Voted that the treasurer pay to Mr. Benjn. Smalley the sum of 4s which is due to him for money he paid for said proprietors.
” 11 Voted and adjourned this meeting to the 2nd day of October next at 2 o’clock, at the house of Capt. Saml. Moore in Salisbury.
“Test SAML. KEEP, Proprietors Clerk.”
” At a meeting of the proprietors of the township of Middlebury, held at the house of Capt. Saml. Moore in Salisbury, this 20th day of December, A. D. 1763.
“1. Voted and chose Capt. Saml. Moore, Moderator.
“2. Voted and chose Saml. Keep, Proprietors Clerk.
“3.Voted and accepted the plan presented by Benjamin Smalley, as a mathematical plan of sd township.
“4.Voted that John Hutchinson and Samuel Moore, Jr., draw the lottery for the rights aforesaid.
” Voted and adjourned sd meeting till the annual town meeting in March next at the house of Capt. Sam’l Moore, in Salisbury.
“Test, SAM’L KEEP, Proprietors Clerk.”
There is no record of the annual March meeting in 1764.
” At a meeting of the proprietors of the township of Middlebury, legally warned and opened at the house of Doctr. Joshua Porter in Salisbury, this second Tuesday of March, 1765.
” 1. Voted and choses Mr. James Nichols Moderator for said meeting.
” 2. Voted and adjourned sd meeting to the house of Mr. John Evarts, forthwith.
house of Mr. John Evarts, forthwith.
“3. Opened sd meeting at said Evarts, and voted and chose Ebenezer Hanchet, John Evarts, and Sam’l Keep, Committee for said proprietors.
“4. Voted that, if any man or men, by the first day of May next shall appear and give sufficient bond to the proprietor’s Committee to build a good saw-mill, within fifteen months from this day in the township of Middlebury, he shall have any mill-place he or they shall choose in said township, viz: in the undivided part thereof, and also fifty acres of land adjoining said millplace, he or they to be at the cost of laying out said fifty acres, and build said mill so as to leave room for fifty acres, to be laid out to accommodate a grist mill, and proper place to set a grist mill, if the proprietors see fit to improve it.
” 5. Voted to lay out a third division, 100 acres to each grantee, as soon as may be conveniently done the ensuing summer.
“6 . Voted and chose James Nichols, Timothy Harris and Sam’l Keep, a committee to lay out said 3d division, and also to employ all needful help to assist in laying out the same.
“7. Voted to give 5s per day to each committee-man, so long as they shall be faithful in the service of laying out said 3d division.
“8. Voted to raise a rate of 10s. lawfull money on each right to defray the charge of laying out said 3d division, to be paid by ye firrst day of September next.
” 9. Voted and chose Ebenezer Hanchet, Collector.
“10. Voted and chose Enoch Strong, Jonathan Hall and Sam’l Tously assessors.
“11. Voted to raise 2s. on each right and give the same to any man or men, who shall, the ensuing summer, clear a cart road from the road last fall cut from Arlington to Crown Point, viz: from about ten or twelve miles beyond where No. 4 road crosses Otter Creek; said road to be cleared on the east side of said Creek, through the townships of Salisbury, Middlebury and New Haven.
” 12. Voted and adjourned half an hour.
” 13. Opened. Voted and chose Ebenezer Hanchet, Treasurer.
” 14. Voted to pay 6s. to Samuel Keep, for his paying the same sum to the printer for advertising this meeting.
“15. Voted and adjourned this meeting to the first Tuesday of December next at 2 o’clock afternoon at the house of Mr. John Evarts, in Salisbury.
” Test, SAM’L KEEP, Proprietor’s Clerk.
There is no record of a meeting held at the time of the above adjournment, or of the annual meeting in March, 1766.
” At a meeting of the proprietors of the township of Middlebury, legally warned, opened and held at the dwelling house of Mr. John Evarts in Salisbury, in Litchfield County, and Colony of Connecticut, the 7th day of April, 1766.
” 1. Voted and chose Mr. James Nichols Moderator for said meeting.
” 2. Voted that each proprietor that shall, the ensuing summer, repair to Middlebury, and do the duty agreeable to the directions of the charter for said township, so as to hold said right, that such proprietor or proprietors shall have thirty-five acres to each right or share in said township over and above his or their equal proportion with the rest of the proprietors in said township; provided he or they will be at the trouble and cost of laying out said thirty-five acres in good form in any of the undivided part of said township, reserving every convenient place or stream for mills, to be disposed of hereafter, as shall be thought proper, and also highways, if needed through each thirty-five acres.
” Voted and adjourned this meeting to the 2nd Tuesday of January next, at 2 o’clock afternoon
at this place. Test, SAM’L KEEP, Clerk.”
At the time of the adjournment above mentioned a meeting was held, and was further adjourned to the ” third Tuesday of April next,” at the same place. And the meeting held at that time was again adjourned to the third Tuesday of May following.
” SALISBURY the 3d Tuesday of May, A. D. 1767.
“Then the proprietors of the township of Middlebury met at the dwellinghouse of Mr. John Evarts in Salisbury, according to adjournment. Opened the meeting and adjourned to the 2nd Tuesday of October next, at 2 o’clock afternoon, at the dwelling house of Doct. Joshua Porter, Esq., in said Salisbury. Test, SAM’L KEEP, Proprietor’s Clerk.”
There was little progress made towards settlement between 1767 and 1773; this was owing to more than one cause, but chiefly, without doubt, to the disturbed condition of affairs with the authorities of New York and the then distant and unoccupied character of this territory. The Revolutionary War, also, almost entirely stopped the advance of settlements.
Until the spring of 1783 the proprietors’ records were kept in Salisbury, Conn.; after that date the owners of the lands, who were coming into their possessions, held their meetings and kept their records in Middlebury, as will appear.
The first one hundred acre division was laid out in two tiers of lots, the first (which was the easternmost) extending along at the foot of the mountain, and beginning at what was supposed to be the south line of New Haven [NOTE 1].In this eastern tier were laid out thirty-nine lots, extending southward not quite to the north line of Salisbury, and numbered from north to south, beginning with number one. The second, or western tier, began with number forty at the north end, and extending south to number sixty-six, which constituted the whole number of rights, except the governor’s reservation. This tier, having only seventeen lots, did not, of course, extend so far south as the first one. Each of these lots contains one hundred acres, with allowance for highways; the length east and west is called a mile (but showing three hundred and fifty rods in the survey), and the width fifty rods. According to Mr. Swift’s description, ” the course of the east and west lines is from the north ten degrees west of south, and parallel with the east line of the town. The north and south lines run east and west parallel with the north line of the town. Between numbers 53 and 54in the west tier was reserved a space of the width of two lots or one hundred rods, in which was laid out the first or one-acre division; the west line corresponding with the west line of the one hundred acre division, and extending east one hundred and twenty-four rods. This division is called the town plot, and has never been divided among the proprietors into one-acre lots.”
“The following boundaries may explain the position of this division in its present relation to other lands. Munger street passes through No. 40, the first lot in the west tier, about one-third of a mile from the east and two-thirds of a mile from the west end. This road, inclining to the east, passes across the northeast corner of No. 52, to the line between the tiers, and thence on that line to Darius Severance’s. The saw-mill on Muddy Branch, owned by Nichols and Wheeler, is on the west end of No. 47, and the road formerly leading from this mill southwardly to the dwelling house of the late Philip Foot is on the west line of the west tier. The same road still running varies little from the same line until it reaches the Centre Turnpike. The road leading from the late dwelling house of Abner Everts to the line of Salisbury is on the west line of the east tier, and the east line of the same tier passes through the village of East Middlebury; the building lots of David Olmstead and Kneeland being on the east end of lot No. 36.
“It seems that at the time this division was made, the Middlebury lands were not in very high estimation. Benjamin Smalley, who had been appointed collector of the ‘rate,’ assessed to ‘defray the charge of laying out the first and second divisions,’ sold in the summer following no less than twenty-four whole rights, on which the tax had not been paid, at from L2 1s L1 10s. each, and in his report stated, ‘that one hundred acres of each of the rights that hath been sold in the whole of this vendue, was put up first to be sold, as the law of the Province of New Hampshire directs, but none appearing to buy, the whole rights were sold at the prices set against each right.’
“The third, or ‘second hundred acre’ division, authorized at the meeting held in March, 1765, was never located by the committee appointed for that purpose, or by any other committee or agents of the proprietors; but each owner was authorized to locate his own lot by ‘pitching.’ Each proprietor accordingly surveyed his land in such manner and at such place as he chose.” This practice made great confusion, and the absence of the records containing theprincipal surveys of this division has made it difficult to ascertain correctly the location of many of these lots; but Professor Brainerd’s chart gives them as nearly as it is possible to do at this time.
In the year 1784 the surveyor-general re-surveyed the lines of the town, by which the south line of New Haven was moved about forty rods north of what had before been recognized as the north line of Middlebury. At the same time the north line of Salisbury was moved north upon territory which had been included in Middlebury. Among the lands cut off by this change was one hundred and seventy acres of the two hundred acre pitch of Judge Painter (see map), including his house. In April, 1785, the proprietors granted him the ” privilege of re-pitching land in lieu of what was cut off by said line.” In May of the next year he made his new pitch accordingly.
The first settlements in Middlebury which were intended to be permanent were begun in the spring of 1773. At that time most of the towns southward of this county had been quite numerously settled, and the inhabitants under the New Hampshire charters began to feel the requisite strength to successfully strive for their rights against the New York authorities. No grants had been made by the governor of that State within the limits of Middlebury, and there were no claimants under that title, although a number of the owners, among whom were Daniel Foot, Benjamin Smalley, Thomas Skeels and perhaps others, evinced a disposition to recognize the jurisdiction of New York; in deeds given by them about this time they described their residence as in “Middlebury, in the county of Charlotte, and province of New York.”
Benjamin Smalley, of Salisbury, Conn., was the first immigrant who brought his family into this town. In the spring of 1773 he took possession of his two hundred acre pitch at the mouth of Middlebury River, and built the first log house in town. He was soon afterward followed by the families of John Chipman and Gamaliel Painter, who had already visited the locality and selected places for settlement. The Chipman farm is now owned by Isaac Seeley. These early dwellings were of course rude log structures of the most primitive character. There were no saw-mills here then to supply boards for what would now seem to be absolutely necessary purposes; moreover, a log house could be erected in much less time than would have been required on a frame house, even had the lumber been at hand; and time was precious, when lands had to be cleared and the first seed planted. No road then existed farther north than Sutherland Falls, and at what time roads were opened into this town from the south is uncertain; from the falls named, the creek was used as a thoroughfare, by canoes and rafts in summer and on the ice in winter.
John Chipman had already, in the year 1766, made the first clearing in town, comprising seven or eight acres on his lot. In the spring of that year he started with fifteen other young men to prepare a home in the wilderness. They found no house north of Manchester. This company, some of whom were destined for New Haven, some for Panton, and some for Addison, started with cart and oxen conveying tools and other necessities. At Sutherland Falls they halted to build a canoe out of a large tree; thus they proceeded to their destination, a portion of the men with the oxen traveling through the woods. At Middlebury they loaded the canoe upon the cart and drew it around the bend of the creek on the east bank, until they arrived at the foot of the lower falls in Weybridge; there they again took the water-way and proceeded to Vergennes. Chipman had not at this time acquired title to any lands, the deed by which he did so being dated January 14, 1773. ” It is probable that when he reached the mouth of the Middlebury River, he followed up that stream to a place which promised well for a settlement and there pitched his tent.”
The above-mentioned families were the only ones permanently settled in the town the first year, 1773; but Eleazar Slasson began a clearing in that year on his two hundred acre pitch, directly west of home lot No. 36, and built a cabin. James Owen also began work on the same pitch, fifty acres of which he purchased of Slasson. Samuel Bentley made a beginning and built a barn on his one hundred acres north of Hyde’s and on the west side of Chipman’s Hill. In the same year Jonathan Chipman, who had received a deed from Thomas Chipman, his elder brother, of his whole right lying northeast of Colonel Chipman’s pitch and afterward owned by Freedom Loomis, and now by Smith Seeley, began a clearing. In 1774 Robert Torrance moved his family into the town and located on the west end of lot No. 33, where he afterward built a brick house in which he lived until his death; he also owned Nos. 31 and 32, lying next north. The same year Bill Thayer settled on fifty acres of Slasson’s two hundred acre pitch (which he had purchased), lying west of and adjoining home lot No. 34. Joshua Hyde returned here in 1774 from New Haven (the part now constituting Waltham),–where he owned land, and purchased two whole rights, embracing home lot No. 36 which he cultivated as to Robert Torrance; he purchased also Skeel’s two hundred acre pitch, lying west of and not far from the home lots; it is probable that his first settlement was made here in the previous year. William Hopkins built a cabin this year and made a clearing on the south part of Oliver Evarts’s two hundred acre pitch, east of the village site, near where Dr. Wm. Bass afterward lived, now occupied by Manfred Foot. About a mile to the southeast Daniel Foot, of Dalton, Mass., owned at least four or five home lots and as many second hundred acre lots; among these were No. 5, on the right of Nathaniel Skinner, and No. 6, on the right of Samuel Skinner, both west of and adjoining the home lots. In 1774 he built a house on No. 5, southwest of where he finally settled.
In 1775 Simeon Chandler began a settlement on the west end of home lots Nos. 37 and 38. Enoch Dewey also began a clearing, but did not remove his family hither, on lot No. 2 in the second hundred acre division, which was deeded to him by his father-in-law, Daniel Foot. Joseph Plumley began this year on a second hundred acre division on the right of Ebenezer Field, 2d; he died soon afterward, and the lot passed to the possession of Billy Manning, and later to John Simmons and Reuben Wright. John Hinman settled in the same year on a second hundred acre lot east of lot No. 14 of the same division, where Wm. Carr lately resided; he came from Wallingford. Samuel Bentley settled on the place where he had built his barn two years, earlier, and his father James Bently, located about the same time on the north part of the same pitch. Philip Foot, son of Daniel came in this year, while a young man, and made a clearing on lot No. 7 in the second hundred acre division, lying west of and adjoining home lot No. 56, owned by his father; he also owned No. 8. by his father; he also owned No. 8.
Eber Evarts, also a young man, and son of Nathaniel Evarts, began a clearing the same year on a second hundred acre pitch on the right of his father, occupied in later years by Colonel Joel Boardman, and now by Albert Boardman.
It is believed that the foregoing are all of the families who permanently located and began work in the town previous to the war.
As a considerable tract of territory now included in the town of Middlebury was formerly in the town of Cornwall and its settlement made under the jurisdiction of that town, it becomes essential to trace those settlements in order to complete the history of Middlebury.
The town of Cornwall was organized on the 2d of March, 1784, two years before Middlebury. In the records of a meeting held in September, 1788, is the following: “The report of the committee to confer with Mr. Foot about the bridge, was read: Voted to join with Daniel Foot, of Middlebury, to petition the Assembly for a lottery to pay Mr. Foot for his bridge over the creek and, if not granted, to petition for a land tax for the aforesaid purpose.” This refers to the first bridge built by Mr. Foot across the creek at the falls, and a tax was granted equally upon Middlebury and Cornwall.
Asa Blodget was probably the first settler in that part of Cornwall annexed to Middlebury; he was from Salisbury, Conn., and previous to the 27th of October, 1774, seems to have been the owner of the right of Zuriel Jacobs. On that date he pitched on that right “one hundred acres and seven acres for allowance for highways”; this embraced the large bend in the creek near the south line of the town. Blodget had settled on this land in the previous summer, near the creek, and furnished refreshment to the immigrants who came in by way of that stream, as nearly all did; there is none of his descendants now living in this section.
According to Dr. Merrill’s history of this town, Penuel Stevens settled on a strip of land near the creek, south of Blodget; he did not, however, own land there and did not return after the war. Theophilus Allen settled (probably in 1773) on an eighty-acre lot next north of Blodget. After the war he pitched the lot on which he lived and the hundred acres on which his brother David afterward settled; both of these were on the right of Nathan Benton. James Bentley, jr., located on a hundred and fifty acre lot, a part of which is now in possession of Charles W. Matthews; there he built a small house. Thomas Bentley settled on a lot lying south and east of the above, which is now in possession of Professor C. C. Mead. Returning after the war, he continued on the farm until 1793, when he sold to Hezekiah Wadsworth and removed away. Next south of Thomas Bentley, William Douglass settled, where his son James, and grandson of the same name, afterward lived.
In 1774 James Throop came from Whiting and settled on a lot next south and east of Douglass, and running to the creek; this farm has lately been in possession of Isaac Eells. In the spring of 1843 Alvan English lived on this place, and during a great freshet himself and son were drowned while attempting to navigate a raft in the creek to collect some floating rails. In the year 1774 James Bentley, sr., had also settled on the bank of the creek south of Throop.
Colonel Samuel Benton, who owned lands in other parts of Cornwall, took up his residence in 1775 on the bank of the creek, and probably in the house which James Bentley had built and which he for some reason had left. The foregoing were all of the settlers on this tract before the war.
In 1783 Asa Blodget returned to his possession and continued to live there until 1795, when he sold to Anthony Rhodes, and it has had various owners since that time. Theophilus Allen returned at the close of the war and lived on his lot until 1797, when he deeded it to Joshua Henshaw, from New Hartford, Conn. He lived there until 1800, when he removed to the village. James M. Piper now owns the farm. Allen has no descendants here. William Douglass came back in the fall of 1783, with his two young sons, to make preparations for the reception of his family. On the 19th of December of that year he was instantly killed, while chopping in the woods, by the fall of a tree. Mr. Douglass and his widow and children owned several tracts of land adjoining the home farm. James Douglass was the last of the sons who occupied the homestead after the death of the widow, and went south in 1822 and died there; his widow and father-in-law, James Bentley, lived on the farm until their several deaths. When Joseph Throop returned after the war he took possession of his farm, but died a dozen years later, and his widow married Eleazar Davis. The latter continued to live there until 1796, when the two lots mentioned were deeded to her sons, Dan and Samuel Throop. James Bentley, sr., built him a house after the war, on the bank of the creek and near the dwelling of Hop Johnson (elsewhere described), and after Johnson deserted his family, in 1789, Bentley lived with his daughter, Mrs. Johnson. She soon afterward married James Douglass, as before stated, and Bentley lived with them for some years. James Bentley, sr., died in 1829, aged ninety-three. James Bentley, jr., returned to his farm after the war; in 1788 he deeded fifty acres to William Donaghy, who built a house southerly from Bentley’s and lived there until 1795, when he sold it to Thomas and Ep. Spencer, who in turn transferred it to Dr. Willard and Ethan Andrus a part of this land was subsequently annexed to what is now the farm of Charles Matthews, and the house of the Spencers became the property of Julius Wilcox. His son Harvey removed the old house to another piece of land and lived in it until 1830. In 1831 Harvey Pritchard bought this and adjoining lands, repaired the house and lived in it; it is now the property of Henry Wilcox.
In 1793 Bentley deeded to Luther Wright, from Swanzy, N. H., a tract on the south side of this pitch, extending west from the creek to the land of Samuel Wright. The north lot is now a part of the James McDonald estate. The south lot has been reunited to the original pitch and is a part of Prof. Mead’s farm.
David Allen, brother of Theophilus, settled after the war on the farm next north of his brother’s, and continued to live there until his death in 1805, at the age of forty-three years; his widow married Elijah Keeler, and they owned the farm until their death.
Previous to the year 1796 Francis Garrett settled on a lot of ninety-two acres next north of the home farm of David Allen, built a log house and lived there until 1803, when he sold it to Daniel and William Campbell; the title to this property has changed hands several times; Asa Harris formerly owned the tract between the creek and the road, and his son built a house on it and lived there for a time. The house was subsequently removed and the land passed into possession of Marshal T. Shacket. West of the road John Stearns, son of Joseph Stearns, built a house a few rods south of the barn and lived there; this tract passed into the hands of Jacob W. Conroe.
Such is a brief account of the settlements in Middlebury previous to the Revolutionary War and the return of the pioneers to that portion of the town formerly included in Cornwal1. It seems a dry and unimportant chronicle; but it covers a period when heroic men and women came into what was then almost an unbroken wilderness, to endure hardships and privations which the present citizen of the thickly-settled community can scarcely appreciate, for the creation of homes for themselves and posterity; they laid the first, and hence the most influential, foundations of the later social and business fabric, and their descendants have enjoyed the fruits of their work.
Town in the Revolution—The unfortunate destruction of records before alluded to renders it impossible to give a connected account of the deeds and occurrences in this town during the progress of the Revolutionary struggle and the retreat of the settlers from their homes. In Judge Swift’s work he gives credit to Philip Battell for collecting reminiscences from a few old residents who are now passed away; and if others had seen the importance of such work many years ago, we might now be able, in spite of the loss of records, to inform the reader of what occurred here during that troubled period. As it is, we have only the work of Judge Swift, and those who aided him, to draw upon in this feature of our work.
It has already been stated that the inhabitants of this section were peculiarly exposed to depredations from scouting parties of Tories and Indians succeeding the retreat of the American army from the disastrous expedition into Canada in June, 1776, and especially after the defeat of Arnold’s fleet on Lake Champlain in the following October; it is not, therefore, improbable that some of the more timid of the settlers left their homes as early as that. But their fears were greatly enhanced when Burgoyne, with his formidable force and his blatant proclamations, came up the lake in the next summer. Dr. Merrill says in his history of Middlebury:
“Agreeably to advice from headquarters of our army at Ticonderoga, all the inhabitants of Middlebury and Cornwall, except Daniel Foot and Benjamin Smalley, removed in June, 1776. Some of them, on the Cornwall side of the river, did not leave one extreme of their farms till the Indians in search of booty were lurking in the other. Foot and Smalley, after being pillaged of most of their movable property, abandoned their homes in September of the same year. These two individuals, however, with their families, returned in the following winter and remained until the spring of 1778.”
It was the opinion of Judge Swift that this statement should really apply to the summer of the year 1777, and he was, doubtless, correct in his belief. The people here could not have been seriously alarmed as long as the Americans had control of the lake; this was the case until October, 1776. Until this time the British had no organized force south of Canada. The families of Americans at Crown Point, and in the towns of Addison, Bridport and Panton, fled for the first time when the news of Burgoyne’s advance reached them in 1777; after this, and, possibly, in some instances before, scouting parties roamed about through this region seeking supplies, stealing whatever they could carry away, and, doubtless, the inhabitants were often seriously alarmed for their personal safety; but it is not at all probable that there was any general destruction of property or capture of prisoners until the fall of 1778. “Whatever the correct date of the retreat may be,” says Dr. Swift, “it is true that on a sudden alarm most of the settlers fled from the country in great haste. The privations and hardships of their recent settlement in the wilderness were sufficiently appalling, but were fearfully aggravated by their being so suddenly banished from their homes into exile by the ravages of war.”
Continuing the narrative, we quote from Judge Swift’s account as follows: “Miss Olive Torrance, daughter of Robert Torrance, whom we have mentioned as a settler, is the only witness who had any knowledge of the events before the war, or during the retreat. The following is a part of her story as reported by Mr. Battell:
“Her father, she says, came to this country from Ireland in 1754, when he was eighteen years old. He became a resident of Woodbury, Conn., and married Sally Peck, of that place. He removed to Middlebury with his family with the first parties in 1774. They descended Otter Creek on a boat or raft, and made their beginning in a log house, which he had built on the spot where the family still live. She was then five years old.
“The retreat from the county occurred three years after, upon the invasion of Burgoyne. She thinks the removal was in August; it might have been in June or early in July. Her mother went out, before they left, among the garden vines, which were numerous and promising, regretting to leave them.
The state of apprehension had been previously such that one Evarts, belonging to that neighborhood, and then in a company at Ticonderoga, arriving and visiting at their house early in the morning, produced great agitation among them. As a further alarm was to be given, the men, before hoeing was finished, turned out and dug out six basswood canoes near the river, and decided not to go until further notice, when all were to be in readiness. When the final message came their goods were taken to the river, the raft constructed, on which the women and children were placed, and the journey commenced, Otter Creek being again their common highway. The party landed at Pittsford, where there was a military post, and Mrs. Torrance followed the train of women and children towards the settlement. She was carrying a child two years old in a sort of double-gown, brought over her shoulders, and in this plight saw a regiment of soldiers drawn up in front of her. She sat down by the way on a log and wept. A neighbor, Mr. Boardman, coming up on a horse, carrying an ox-yoke behind him, insisted on laying off his yoke and taking her instead, bidding her not to be down-hearted, but expect that things would turn out better than she feared. As they passed the regiment the colonel recognized her and called out: ‘My God, there’s Sally Peck! It makes a man’s eyes run to see you brought to this!’ The soldiers, at his instance, gave up their quarters to the women and children, brought them water for their washing and cooking, and made them as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. Many of them knew Mrs. Torrance as their townswoman, and sympathized with her and felt for the distresses of the people. Miss Torrance’s father joined his family the next day, bringing with him his stock of cattle. From this place the family went to Rutland, and from that place communicated with a brother-in-law in Richmond, Mass., who came on with horses for their party. The family was under the protection of an uncle in Litchfield for a time, and then joined her father, who was then employed, during the war, in one of the furnaces in Salisbury, casting ordnance for the army. He was absent eight years. He was employed seven years in the furnace, the eighth he took a farm. His cow he had sold on his flight at Rutland, his oxen in Connecticut. These were replaced by the produce of a cow bought in Salisbury, which by letting had multiplied with her issue to twenty-one, having but a single male in the number.
” The first child born in town, as Miss Torrance thinks, was with them on the raft. This was Hannah Bentley, the only infant among fifteen or sixteen children, and of course much noticed among them. Mr. Slasson, whose child is said by Dr. Merrill to have been the first born in town, lived in the immediate neighborhood of the Torrance family, after they came to town, and she is certain had no child born there.
“The first school-house was built of logs, before the retreat of the settlers, on ‘Tallow Hill,’ on the road leading from the poor-house to Jonathan Seeley’s.
Eunice Keep, daughter of Samuel Keep, the first clerk of the proprietors, was brought from Crown Point, where the family then resided, to teach in it. She had commenced her school, but left on the alarm. Miss Torrance had not begun to attend. After their return, a school, the second in town, was kept by Mrs. Torrance in their own neighborhood.
“Some kinds of provisions were left concealed by the inhabitants on their retreat. Sugar and flour, left by her family, she says, were taken from their storage under the floor, and consumed. Their pewter and other articles, buried for safe keeping, were also taken up and appropriated. The house itself suffered no injury, except, as she thinks, from a party of immigrants who had it for a shelter some cold nights, and took a board from the chamber floor for kindling-wood. Otherwise they found it as they had left it.
“The Story and Smalley families remained through the war. Mrs. Story’s cave, on the bank of the creek in Salisbury, Miss Torrance supposed to have been intended for a storehouse for goods only, rather than for the concealment of individuals. Mrs. Smalley told her of a visit from a scouting party of the enemy, chiefly Indians. An Indian took a milk-skimmer she was using, and put in his bosom, on which she complained to the commander, who compelled him to restore it. A part of the Foot family stayed at John Foot’s to secure the crops. They visited her mother’s garden after the family had gone and found the melons ripened by thousands. Thus far Miss Torrance.
“It is represented by all that the flight of the inhabitants was sudden and made in great haste. It was the common practice to dig into the ground and conceal such articles as they could not carry with them. The family of Daniel Foot, before they left, dug into the ground in a thick hemlock grove and built a large crib with poles, into which they put a half barrel of soap, such part of the furniture and other articles as they were compelled to leave, covered the crib with planks, and on the top of the whole piled hemlock branches, so as to resemble a large brush heap. On their return after the war they found their soap and other articles uninjured.
“While the British had control of the lake, probably in 1777, foraging and scouting parties, composed chiefly of Indians, made excursions into the several towns, appropriating to themselves such movable property as suited them, belonging to those who had left, or in the possession of those who remained. Daniel Foot had remained for some time after the settlers had generally left. A British party sent out to obtain supplies came upon him, seized and drove off his oxen, while he kept out of the way to avoid being captured. Other similar depredations were made. Several other persons remained in the different towns without other molestation until the fall of 1778. In the fall of that year two British vessels came up the lake with troops, designed, it was said, to march upon Rutland; but being, in some way, thwarted in their purpose, the troops, consisting of British, Tories and Indians, were landed on both sides of  the lake, and spread themselves in scouting parties over the whole region where settlers had located themselves. They destroyed all the buildings and other property they could find, and made prisoners of all the men who had the temerity to remain, and sent them to Canada. In Middlebury the whole population by this time had retreated, and none were taken prisoners. But all the buildings in the town were destroyed except the houses of Joshua Hyde, Bill Thayer and Robert Torrance, in the same neighborhood, in the south part of the town, to which probably their excursion did not extend. The frame of a barn of Colonel John Chipman, recently built of green timber, which they could neither burn or chop down, also escaped. It is still standing on the farm of Isaac Seeley, with marks of the hatchets on its timbers.”
Progress of Settlements After the War.- With the close of the great contest in 1783, and the beneficent reign of peace, the former settlers began to return to their possessions and new ones to come in. Benjamin Smalley and Jonathan Chipman returned with their families in April of that year and located on their possessions. Bill Thayer brought in his family and continued his possession of that part of the Slasson pitch, and occupied that and home lot 34 adjoining it, until 1793, when he sold it to Eber Evarts and removed to New Haven. Joshua Hyde came in and worked on his land until the following year, when his family, which had remained in Salisbury, came on. Daniel Foot, with his sons Philip, Freeman, Martin, Stillman and John, returned, and the next year Mr. Foot’s wife came in and joined him. Jonathan Chipman remained on the farm on which he first settled until January, 1790, when he sold it to Colonel Chipman and left the town. Benjamin Smalley soon replaced his log cabin on his home farm with a comfortable log house, and in 1792 deeded a part of the farm to his son Imri, and in 1794 the remainder to his son Alfred; the father resided with Imri until his death in 1807, at the age of eighty-two years; several years later his son removed west. He was succeeded on the place by William Huntington, and later by Michael Sanders and his son-in-law, Michael Ryan. This part is now owned by Hiram Sessions. In 1803 the Alfred Smalley part of the farm was purchased by Peter Foster, who lived there until his death, of the epidemic of 1812; his son Nathaniel owned the place several years, and it passed to possession of John Seeley, who still owns it.
Robert Torrance again took up his residence on home lot No.33, where he began improvements before the war; here he built the brick house which is still standing, the property of A. P. Tupper. He died in 1816, aged eighty years. The northern of his three lots, home lot No. 31, was set off to Silas Torrance, and in 1823 Noah Stearns began clearing the west half and Justus Hier the east half; this afterward passed to the possession of Chester Fenn; now owned by James Fenn.
Joshua Hyde settled on the home lots Nos. 35 and 36, which he owned, and bought fifty acres on the Slasson pitch adjoining these lots on the west; on the latter he built a two-story house, where he died in 1828, aged seventy-eight; his son Joshua, jr., continued in possession of the place until his death in 1843, at the age of seventy-five. Luman Hyde, son of Joshua, jr., then owned it until it was sold to the present owner, Hiram Sessions. Joshua Hyde, sr., was, according to Dr. Swift, “one of the most prominent and useful citizens in Middlebury.” Oliver Hyde, another son of Joshua, jr., bought a hundred acres of the Skeel pitch about 1831 and a small piece of home lot No. 38 from Mr. Champlin; on the latter he built his house; the farm subsequently passed to possession of his son Luman, and later to Hiram Sessions.
Simeon Chandler resumed possession of home lots Nos.37 and 38 after the war and lived there until 1798, when he sold the west ends of both lots to Joshua Hyde and removed from the town. Mr. Hyde gave this land to Paul Champlin, his son-in-law, who occupied it until his death in 1853; it is now in possession of O. P. Champlin.
Colonel John Chipman returned and began energetically the work of improving his farm. Where his first cabin stood he built a handsome brick house, in which he lived and furnished refreshments to travelers coming into the country; his house was for many years a resort also for parties from the village. He was a man of marked character; energetic, efficient and intelligent. He was elected sheriff for twelve years, 1789 to 1801, and held many town offices. In his later years, after the marriage of his daughter and death of his wife, he made his home with Freedom Loomis and his son, George C. Loomis, in the neighborhood of his farm; he died in 1829, aged eighty-four years. The farm was afterward purchased by William Y. Ripley; it is now occupied by Isaac Seeley. Colonel Chipman’s father was John, a brother of Thomas (one of the original proprietors) and of Jonathan Chipman, an early settler, and of Samuel, father of Hon. Daniel Chipman; there were also three daughters in the family of Jonathan Chipman, sr., one of whom, Victoria, married Judge Painter. Thomas Chipman settled on a hundred acre pitch directly south of his brother; he removed from the State in 1815. The place is now owned by Lochlin Wainwright. After the death of his father, Colonel Chipman’s mother married Samuel Keep, one of the proprietors and their first clerk; they had two daughters, one of whom (Eunice) kept the first school in Middlebury; the other was Hannah, who became the wife of Moses Sheldon, who lived and died in Salisbury, Vt. They were the parents of Samuel Sheldon and Oscar P. Sheldon; of the wife of Loyal Case, the wife of Austin Johnson and the wife of Samuel S. Crook. Samuel Sheldon was the father of the late Homer and Harmon A. Sheldon, merchants, and of Henry L. Sheldon, of Middlebury, and Horace W. Sheldon, of Salisbury. Colonel Chipman’s wife was Sarah Washburn, of Salisbury, Conn. Abisha Washburn’s other daughters married respectively Lemuel Bradley, Abraham Bethrong and Freedom Loomis.
Eber Evarts took possession, after the war, of his farm on the north line of Salisbury; he lived here until his purchase of a part of the Slasson pitch and home lot No. 34, when he sold it to Joel Boardman; it is now owned by Albert Boardman; he died in 1838, aged eighty-five. Abner Everts, who subsequently lived with his son-in-law, Frederic Leland, in the village, was a son of Eber.
John Hinman returned and settled on his lot, which he soon sold to Moses Hale, of Rutland; the latter lived on it until about 1797, when he deeded it to his sons, Moses, jr., and Hial. William Carr, jr., now owns the south half and Zuar Barrows the north.
Samuel Bentley did not return after the war, but sold his tract to Benjamin Risley, who came in 1784; he was moderator of the first town meeting, and in April sold his farm to Asa Fuller, of Rutland; the north half of it was soon afterward deeded to Elisha Fuller, brother of Asa; it is now occupied by the widow of Nelson Fuller, son of Abisha.
The sons of Daniel Foot, who returned with him in 1783, brought a number of cattle and remained through the succeeding winter to care for them; having no hay, the attempt was made to winter them largely on browse, and many of them died in consequence. After the war Mr. Foot removed his residence to the southeast corner of lot No. 6, of the second hundred acre division, and built the small house which was afterward superseded by the large one. Previous to 1790 he erected a large barn, designed partly for religious and town meetings, and about 1793 built the large house mentioned; the present dwelling of his grandson, Allen Foot, constituted a part only of that house. Daniel Foot, as before stated, had purchased large tracts of land in this town, and owned more than a thousand acres previous to the war. At an early day he deeded to each of his sons and his daughter, wife of Enoch Dewey, one or more tracts of land; in 1801, having disposed of the remainder, he started for Canton, N. Y., where he died soon after his arrival. He was a man of great industry and very enterprising, and his family has been conspicuous in the town.
William Hopkins, who had begun a settlement on the south half of Oliver Evarts’s two hundred acre pitch, east of the village site, did not return after the war, but sold his land to Captain Stephen Goodrich, of Glastenbury, Conn. In the spring of 1784 Captain Goodrich came in with his two sons, William and Amos, and took possession; the sons remained and worked on the land that season and in the following spring the father returned with his family. In 1785 other farms were settled about them–Kirby on his lot, Huston to the northeast, Johnson on the east and Parker on the south. Stephen Goodrich, with his wife and a sister, came on in 1785,with a cart and oxen, five cows and five or six hogs; the son stated that the milk that remained after they had used what was necessary from day to day on the journey, was placed in a churn on the cart, and the jolting motion churned it into butter. The brothers met the family at Pittsford, the cart was put on board a raft and floated down the creek; this was the favorite route in summer. A boat was built early and ran weekly between Pittsford and Middlebury, carrying freight and passengers. Hop Johnson’s was the point sought by travelers for Middlebury, but his accommodations were very meager. Old Mr. Blodget kept a tavern in Cornwall (the part subsequently annexed to Middlebury), which was also much frequented. The first grain they had ground after the family came in was taken by Amos to Salisbury, where Colonel Sawyer had just completed a mill on Leicester River, at Salisbury village. Amos went by way of the creek and Leicester River to within half a mile of the mill and carried the grain from there on his back. The first preaching they had was by an old gentleman “who came on account of the service of Mr. Foot.”
Stephen Goodrich and his son Amos continued to live on the farm on which he first settled until January, 1800. He had previously made an arrangement to exchange his land for the farm on which Judge Painter first settled on the south line of the town; fifty acres on which his house stood he deeded to William Bass, who had a few years before begun practice here; another portion he deeded to Daniel Chipman, and the remainder to Painter. In January he removed to the Painter farm and lived there until his death in September, 1823, aged ninety-three years. Amos afterward occupied the farm until his death in 1854, at the age of ninety. The farm is now owned by John Huston. Peter Goodrich, now living in town, is grandson of Amos.
William Goodrich, the other son of Stephen, settled about the year 1787 on a second hundred acre lot, extending from Otter Creek eastwardly, where he built a house and kept a tavern. In 1791 he purchased the west half of the second hundred acre division on the minister’s right, built a small house and lived there a few years. In that year his wife opened the first school kept in the neighborhood of the village; it was kept in her house or in a small schoolhouse on the opposite side of the road. At a later date he built the brick house used for many years by the Episcopal Society for a parsonage, and now owned and occupied by the widow of William F. Goodrich. In the mean time he filled the office of town clerk from 1797 to 1812, except one year. He died in 1812, aged fifty-seven years. William F. Goodrich has sons living in town who are farmers.
In 1785 Robert Huston, of Voluntown, Conn., settled on the north half of the Oliver Evarts pitch, about a mile northeast of the village. The farm is now occupied by Henry W. Hammond.
In the same year Ebenezer Johnson, from Wells, Rutland county, took possession of lot No. 10 of the second hundred acre division, east of the village; he continued there until 1794. The farm was afterwards owned by Josiah Stowell, of Mansfield, Conn., and from 1804 to 1812 was occupied by his son, Alfred Stowell, who built the house. It is now owned by E. J. Matthews.
Elijah Buttolph came in as early as 1786; he soon afterward married the widow of Joseph Plumley and occupied her farm, on which her husband had begun improvements before the war. He afterwards purchased other lots, and on the Plumley place built the house afterward occupied by his son Elijah, jr. The father died in 1835, aged ninety-four; the farm has recently been owned by Reuben Wright, and is now divided.
Abraham Kirby came from Litchfield, Conn., and settled here in February, 1786, on a lot which he had pitched in the previous March on the right of Rufus Marsh, next south of the Joshua Hyde pitch. John S. Kirby, Abram’s son, remained here through the season of 1785 and cleared a few acres and sowed it to wheat. Abram Kirby died in 1796. In 1790 he purchased for his son Joseph a lot lying next south of his own; Joseph settled his family here in January, 1792; now occupied by Clarence and Harrison Phillips. In January, 1791, Mary Kirby, daughter of Abraham, married Samuel Severance, son of Ebenezer, an early settler, and they settled on Hyde’s pitch, built a house and lived there six years.
In 1786 Benjamin Sumner, of Claremont, N. H., having secured a deed of the governor’s right, allowed its settlement by his son, Colonel William B. Sumner; he cleared and improved it, and built the large house still standing. In a later year it was sold to Jonathan Wainwright, and Colonel Sumner went West; he had, however, previously sold one hundred acres, which passed through several ownerships, and a small tract at the south end; the remainder is now owned by U. D. Twitchell.
In 1786 Jonathan Preston, of New Canaan, N. Y., made the first settlement on “Munger street.” He then took possession of home lot No. 42, and the next spring moved his family; this place he occupied until his death in 1809, at the age of sixty-three, when it passed into possession of his son Asa, and is now owned by John and Robert Manney. Asa Preston had two sons, Benham and Buell; the latter still lives in the town.
Nathaniel Munger and his son-in-law, Nathan Case, from Norfolk, Conn., began a settlement next south of Preston, on home lot No. 43, in 1787. Case was a blacksmith, and both of the men had a house on the lot. A few years later Mr. Case moved to No.12 home lot, where Dudley Munger had begun a clearing. Nathaniel Munger occupied and improved the place where he settled until his death in 1830. Edward Munger located on lot No. 44, next south of Nathaniel, in 1788 or 1789; a few years later he sold it to Alpheus Brooks, who occupied it until his death. Jonathan Munger about the same time began a settlement on No. 41; it was subsequently and for many years owned by Captain David Chittenden, and then passed to David Hooker; now owned by Edward Seeley. Edmund and Jonathan Munger removed to Ohio before the beginning of the present century. Previous to 1792 Dudley Munger, a brother of those named, had made improvements on No.12, which he
sold in the year mentioned to Nathan Case, and removed to No. 45, next south of Edmund Munger. On this lot Phineas Phelps had previously built a log house. Mr. Munger built the present two-story dwelling, and at an advanced age went to live with his son, Hiram Munger; the farm is now owned by Samuel N. Brooks. Reuben Munger, another brother, came here about 1789 and located on lot No. 40 of the home lots; he died there in 1828 at the age of seventy-two. Seymour Sellick, from Salisbury, Conn., settled on No. 46, which belonged to the original right of his father, Bethel Sellick; it adjoined Dudley Munger’s; the latter married Mr. Sellick’s sister. Both of these men built two-story houses, which were raised on the same day; the Sellick farm is now owned by William and Otto Moore. These seven families last named constituted the neighborhood of Munger street, and, as seen, came in within a short period and located within fifty rods of each other, their lots being fifty rods wide and a mile in length. The numerous Munger families were among the most respected citizens of the town. There was no permanent settlement made on home lot No. 47, next south of Seymour Sellick’s; but Philip Foot built a saw-mill at an early day on the west end of the lot, which was owned in later years by Nichols & Wheeler in connection with their chair factory.
Abel Case, brother of Nathan, settled early on home lot No. 48 and built the house now standing on it; he occupied the place until 1831, when he was killed by being thrown from his wagon.
As early as 1785 Hezekiah Wadsworth owned a second hundred acre lot north of the farm formerly owned by Deacon Simon Farr; he afterwards settled here and subsequently removed across the creek into Cornwall. The Wadsworth farm passed through several hands and is now owned by Louis Hope.
About 1790 Deacon Simon Farr settled on the farm south of Wadsworth’s, where he lived many years, and finally removed to New Haven. The farm was for many years in possession of the late Roswell Fitch and now owned by Chauncey Branch.
Martin Evarts settled on home lot No. 64 as early as 1788, cleared it up and built the house in which he lived and died; it is now owned by Gardner C. Cady.
Ebenezer Severance, from Northfield, Mass., came into town about 1790 and settled on the west end of home lots Nos. 16 and 17. He owned also the west end of Nos. 18 and 19 and the east half of No. 55. The three last-named lots were deeded to his son Samuel, who transferred to Kirby the lot on which he (Samuel) had settled. Samuel Severance settled on the east end of lot No. 55, and cleared up Nos. 18 and 19; here he resided until his death in 1851. The farm passed to his sons, Smith and Darius Severance. Enos Severance, another son of Ebenezer, settled on the west end of home lots Nos. 14 and 15, next north of his father; he died in 1842, and the farm has been divided.
Moses, another son of Ebenezer Severance, came in with his father and lived with him, caring for him in his old age, and remained in possession of the place until his death; the farm passed to possession of David E. Boyce. Numerous descendants of this family are among the prominent citizens of the town.
John Tillotson came to Middlebury from Long Island in 1784, and after working for a time for various persons he bought and built on home lot No. 29, but soon removed to No. 28, where Philo Achley had begun a clearing and built a plank house; he died there in 1855 at the age of ninety-three. The property is now owned by E. K. Severance. Tillotson’s brother Silas settled on lot No. 30, next south, now occupied by George Sessions; Silas Tillotson removed from town after several years.
Elijah Olmstead, of Bolton, Conn., owned in 1787 Lots 11 and 12 of the second hundred acre division, east of the governor’s lot. He settled on No. 12 and built the two-story house there. He sold it in 1814 to Colonel Eleazer Claghorn, who owned it until his death; it is now in possession of Mr._____Hunt. Lot No. 11 was purchased by Samuel Little, who with his brother James took possession of it, and each built a house on the north part. In 1796 Eleazer Barrows bought the whole lot, and lived there until his death in 1840, at the age of seventy-one; his son Lucius then took possession of the place, and died there, leaving in occupation his son Crosby, and his widow. Many descendants of Elijah Olmstead live at East Middlebury.
Abraham Vanduzer came to Middlebury in 1789 from Salisbury, Conn., with his son Harry and his eldest daughter. In 1793 he purchased the south half of the Slasson. pitch and settled there; he died in 1795, aged fifty-three. Harry Vanduzer began in 1794 a clearing on home lot No. 58, on the right of Noah Chittenden, and lived there. In the mean time Samuel Vanduzer had built a two-story house on his father’s homestead; in 1806 Harry, having purchased Samuel’s interest, removed to that place and lived there until 1825, when he removed to Oneida county, N. Y., where he died in 1829. The whole of the Abraham Vanduzer farm is now owned by the town, as a town farm and home for the poor. John Vanduzer, another son of Abraham, settled on the second hundred acre lot, on the right owned by his father and adjoining the Slasson pitch; he removed from the State in 1814; this farm is now occupied by Parsons Chatfield.
Rev. John Barnet, who was ordained pastor of the Congregational Society in 1790, was entitled as the first settled minister to a whole right; but he settled on home lot No. 57, which it was supposed would be established as the center of the town; this lot and the one south of it were united in one farm by Dr. Wm. Bass, and afterward owned by Smith K. Seeley. Cyrus Starkweather had begun a settlement on the lot afterward occupied by Mr. Barnet; he then located on the east half of the second hundred acre lot on the minister’s right, which he sold in 1793 to John Deming.
Moses Boardman settled about 1788 on No. 3 of the second hundred acre division and several years later sold it to Ichabod Morton, who lived there until his death. Mr. Boardman has descendants in the south part of the town.
Billy Munger settled about the same time on No. 1, east of Boardman; here he resided until his death in 1822, aged sixty-eight; this and the preceding lot were subsequently occupied by Ichabod M. Cushman and are now occupied by John Halladay.
Bethuel Goodrich settled about the year 1790 on lot No. 4, north of Boardman’s, and died there in 1829, aged fifty-three. The lot is now owned by Caleb Smith.
Elnathan Hammond, from Lanesborough, Mass., settled in 1794 on a tract of about forty acres next north of the Lucius Barrows farm, on the right of John Howe; this lot lay between the old and the new lines of New Haven, before mentioned, and extended east across the Muddy Branch, embracing the falls; this mill lot and privilege were subsequently owned by Isaac Gibbs, who had the marble saw-mill there; the property has lately been in the possession of the Cutter Marble Company. Mr. Hammond remained but a few years on this farm, and removed to that part of No. 14 next north of Robert Huston’s lot and there built a house; he died here in 1856, aged ninety-five years. His sons, William S. and Edwin Hammond, succeeded to the ownership and greatly improved the property; the part owned by Edwin is now in possession of George Hammond, and the other of Henry Hammond; the whole of the Robert Huston farm and other tracts have been added to the property, which is among the best farming sites in the town. John A. Hammond, another son of Elnathan, occupied the southeast corner of the governor’s right and owned other lands; a part of this estate is now owned by Frederick Hammond and part by Lucius Shawl.
Eleazer Conant, from Mansfield, Conn., purchased in 1794 the north half of the Hyde pitch and a part of the Risley pitch; in the same year his brother, John Conant, purchased of Elisha Fuller the Bentley lot; a part of the farm is now owned by George Chapman and Joseph Battell. John Conant remained on his farm until his death; it afterward passed through the hands of General Hastings Warren, Wm. Y. Ripley and Edward Muzzey; it is now owned by Joseph Battell.
In 1793 Abisha Washburn received from his son-in-law, John Chipman, a deed of the farm on which Jonathan Chipman first settled; in 1796 he deeded it to his son-in-law, Freedom Loomis, then of Sunderland, on condition of an adequate support for himself and wife during their lives. They lived here together, accordingly, and Mr. Washburn died in 1813 at the age of ninety-one. Mr. Loomis died in 1822 at the age of fifty-six, and was succeeded in the ownership of the place by his son, George C. Loomis. The property is now owned by Smith K. Seeley.
James Crane was the first settler in the north part of the east tier of home lots; he and his brother Jeremiah began in 1790 on different parts of lot No. 11; in the next year they brought in their families and Jeremiah remained on his farm until his death; the James Crane portion is now in the hands of Wakeman J. Mead. James Crane removed to the east half of lot No. 8 and died there in 1845; the farm is now owned by the widow of Joseph Fales and her son.
Nathan Case settled about 1792 on lot No. 12, where Dudley Munger had begun work, and died there, leaving the farm to his son Abel, who later removed West. The place is now owned by Wakeman, Sidney and Judson Mead. Home lot No. 51 was also owned by Nathan Case; this lot is now owned by Albert Gladding.
Darius Tupper, from Charlotte, where he first located in this State in 1794, purchased a tract of land just south of home lot No. 66, it being the north half of No. 23 and a part of a hundred acres set to Nathaniel Skinner. He there built a large house and for many years kept a tavern; he died in 1828 at the age of seventy-four. Amos Boardman had previously begun a settlement on this lot. After Mr. Tupper’s death the farm was divided among his heirs. A P. Tupper, attorney in Middlebury, is a grandson of Darius. The large house mentioned has been torn down and the farm is occupied by Silas Perkins.
Deacon David Boyce in 1814 had taken a permanent lease of the second hundred acre lot on the glebe right, and owned thirty acres on home lot No. 53; he settled on the latter and built the brick house there; the farm is now owned by E. Y. Boyce. David E. Boyce, whose name has been alluded to, settled on the farm formerly occupied by Ebenezer Severance, about the year 1844; he is one of the leading farmers of the town.
The foregoing constitute the settlements of most of those who came in at early dates, excepting those who located in the villages, which will be considered further on. There are many who settled at somewhat later dates, but whose definite locations cannot well be fixed, on account of the division and redivision of lots, the passage of the east road through the eastern tier of home lots, and other causes; moreover, it is the chief object to give the names of the prominent pioneers who laid the foundations of the town. The names of many others who have been prominent in this work will appear as we progress.
A few weeks since I expressed to Deacon Boyce my regret that Judge Swift had said so little in his History of Middlebury about the first settlers along the road between East Middlebury and Bristol. Deacon Boyce proposed to confer with the older residents of the neighborhood, who are fast passing away. The result of these interviews, and of many hours’ laborious searching of the records, is the following account, which I trust will be of interest to some.
The district under consideration consists of thirty-nine one hundred acre lots, each about 340 rods long and fifty-two rods wide, No.1 beginning within forty rods of the New Haven line and No. 39 ending within forty rods of the Salisbury line. The north and south highway from the church in East Middlebury to Cobble Hill passes somewhat tortuously through these lots; but at E. K. Severance’s and at the Lovett school-house it is just in the middle of the lots. The west line of the tier runs along the road on which Deacon Boyce lives, and along the road on which stands the ruin of the Torrance brick house. If the reader will keep the map of Middlebury open before him while reading, he will be able to follow the narrative more readily.
Home Lot 1.–Hiram Ladd was the first settler on home lot 1, and lived in the house recently occupied by Prince King. His father, Sampson Ladd, who lived just across the town line on the road between the Munger street school-house and Cobble Hill, bought part of the lot in 1798 and the remainder in 1799. The house appears to have been built soon after and occupied by Hiram, though owned by his father until his death in 1804, and by the heirs until in 1821. Hiram got a deed of the south half of the lot. In 1829 he sold to Asa Chapman and moved to Connecticut.
Home Lot 2.–was set off as a “school lot.” In 1802 the selectmen leased it to Nathan Lee, who cleared it and lived on it until 1817, when he sold it to Reuben Munger, one of the most extensive land-holders in the early history of the town. In 1824 Munger deeded the lease to Ebenezer W. Allen. C. H. Bain now lives upon the lot.
Home Lot 4.–John O’Brien, from Bristol, settled on home lot 4 about the close of the last century. In 1825 he sold the lot to Buel Preston, who lived there over sixty years until his recent decease. Mr. Preston built the house in which he lived; the old O’Brien house was on the opposite side of the highway.
Home Lots 5, 6 and 7.–A certain A. Murray is said to have lived at a very early date on the east side of home lot 5, where the remains of a cabin were recently to be seen. But there is no deed to him on record. Only one permanent settlement was ever made on home lots 5, 6 and 7. In 1796 James Andrews, of New Haven, received from Thaddeus Royce, who then owned the three lots, a deed of 110 acres on the east end of these lots. Andrews built a house about fifteen rods west of Timothy Boardman’s present dwelling. Andrews had long-continued lawsuits with John O’Brien, arising out of a destructive fire which had run from the premises of the one who kindled it on to the premises of the other. They were so impoverished by these lawsuits that they were both obliged to sell their farms. James Andrews in 1817 sold to Levi Smith, who lived there until succeeded by Timothy Boardman in 1824.
Linus Beach’s Pitch.-Directly east of these home lots Linus Beach in 1792 pitched a long, wedge-shaped lot running up to the mountain. Here he lived in the house now occupied by William Fales until 1822, when he was forced to sell his farm, and removed to the State of New York. He is still remembered by some of the older residents of that neighborhood for his goodnatured character, and for his long hair braided up into a pig-tail behind. This used to get caught under his coat collar as he rode horseback, and the peculiar bow he was frequently obliged to make to extricate his queue made a vivid impression upon the young people of that day. A well-authenticated story is told of him that ought to be preserved. In 1815 five wolves were discovered in the woods between his house and John O’Brien’s. All the men in the neighborhood turned out and surrounded the wolves. Those who had not guns provided themselves with clubs. As they closed in upon the wolves one of them was bent on going out, and came so close to Barnum Phelps that “he gave him a number of pelts with his cudgel and turned him back;” and they succeeded in killing the whole five. But it was on a Sabbath day that this famous hunt took place, and several of the participants were church members, among them notably good Brother Beach. They were in due time labored with and brought up before the church. Brother Beach, however, was incorrigible. “He won’t own up.” He claimed that he did it in defense of his family; that the wolves might have got away if they had waited over night, and that then his children wouldn’t have been safe out of doors. The difficulty was finally ended by Dr. Merrill saying that he thought they “ought to let Brother Beach go.”
Home Lots 8, 9, 11 and 12.–Judge Swift, in his History of Middlebury, described the settlements on these four lots. A few additional incidents, illustrating the character of the settlers and of those early days, ought to be preserved. Gideon Abbey, whose house is still standing on the east end of home lot 9, was a man of decided influence in the affairs of the town. He lived on this lot for forty-three years until his death, in 1840, at the age of seventy two. He was a famous hunter in those days, when deer and large game were abundant. One day, toward the latter part of his life, a man driving down from Bristol reported that he had seen a fat buck in the woods beside the road. This warmed the blood of the old hunter. He told his son and Sidney Mead to take the hound and start up the deer, while he would get down his old flintlock rifle, mount his horse and go around by the road to get a shot at the game. The boys soon found the tracks of the deer in the light snow, and after letting loose the dog, ran about a mile to the west to a clearing, now a meadow fifty rods southeast of the Munger street school-house. They got there none too soon, for as Sidney Mead emerged from the woods he caught sight of the deer standing still, broadside towards him, about ten rods away- a beautiful mark. He took aim and pulled the trigger; but unfortunately the priming had been wet by a piece of flying mud and the flint-lock only snapped. The deer started off on a run to the north. Just then Gideon Abbey was racing down the road to the west. There was no time to lose. When he saw his most favorable moment he swung himself from his horse, and with one foot still in the stirrup fired at the flying buck. The animal bounded forward a few rods and fell dead. It was the sixteenth deer the old hunter had shot at without missing a single one. But afterward the spell seemed to have been broken, for the next time he fired at a deer he failed to bring down his game.
Nathan Case was also a man of prominence, living on home lot 12 from 1792 until his death in 1844, at the advanced age of eighty-four. He was a great worker, always stirring about and always in a hurry. And he sometimes illustrated the proverb “The more haste, the less speed.” One morning in the busy season of haying his wife informed him that they were out of flour. He hurriedly saddled his horse and drove to the village. When he reached the village he found he had forgotten to bring the grain that he had come to get ground.
Home Lot 13.–Samuel Bridge was the first to settle on home lot 13. He bought one-half in 1792 and the other half in 1796. His house was located about fifteen rods west of the present dwelling of Heman Lovett. He moved away, however, in 1800, selling the southwest quarter to Nathan Case and the east half to Warren Gibbs. The latter lived for thirty-eight years in a house three or four rods north of Judson Mead’s present dwelling. Mr. Gibbs was highly esteemed by his neighbors, was a deacon of the Baptist Church, was particularly fond of children, being a frequent visitor to the school near by. One incident in his life illustrates the wonderful medical skill of the elder Dr. William Bass. Mr. Gibbs was afflicted the greater part of his life with epilepsy, being sometimes attacked when out in the field. At the age of sixty he was advised by Dr. Bass to learn to smoke, as a remedy for his ailment. The patient followed the prescription, and had no serious trouble from his disease during the remaining twelve years of his life.
Home Lot 14.–In 1795 Zephaniah Buss purchased home lot 14, and soon after settled upon it. The original house was a log cabin, that burned, and he then built the one still standing, a few rods south of the school-house, on the east side of the road. He had the reputation of being a “good manager” and a man of sterling principle, though he did not make a public profession of religion until over sixty years of age. He died in 1837 at the age of sixty- seven. His daughter was the mother of the present Deacon Boyce and of Elijah Boyce.
Home Lot 15.–In 1805 Bela Sawyer purchased the half of home lot 15 lying east of the highway, and about twenty-five acres of the adjoining part of home lot 16. After living for five years in a house now destroyed, he built ten rods farther north the larger structure now occupied by Samuel D. Austin. About 1824 he sold his farm and lived for several years in the village, where perhaps his fondness for music and his skill as a carpenter and joiner might find freer scope. But as old age came on he returned to the scenes of his early manhood. His daughter purchased for him the old Stevens house just north of the brook, on home lot 17, where he died in 1855, at the ripe age of eighty-two.
Home Lots 16 and 17.–In February, 1798, Roswell Stevens bought fifty acres, the south half of a “pitched lot” lying east of the home lots at the very foot of the mountain. He lived with his father on the lot for several years, near a famous cold spring that furnishes water enough to supply a small city. The spring is still called “Stevens’s spring”; and a lane running directly east from the red school-house, as though a continuation of the road, is still known as “Stevens’s lane.” Traces are still to be seen of the old road which led from the east end of this lane south along the east end of the home lots to the Stevens house. In 1805 he purchased of Daniel Chipman 123 acres lying between his former lot and the main highway and extending from the north line of home lot 15 to within sixteen rods of the north line of home lot 18. The north half of this purchase he sold the same year to Bela Sawyer, as above described; the south half he cleared and occupied for many years as his home farm, moving into a new house on the highway, on the site where C. Landon, jr., now lives. In 1822 Stevens sold his farm to Charles Hooker and moved to Huntington.
Home Lot 18.–In 1795 Brainerd Hooker purchased that part of the lot that lies east of the highway, and fifteen acres of a lot lying east of it, “pitched for Widow Coon,” as we are told in the old proprietors’ records. He purchased also in 1805 an adjoining strip of home lot 17, sixteen rods in width, on the road. The old Hooker house is, part of it, still standing, though no longer used as a dwelling; it is the first house south of the brook on the east side of the highway. Brainerd Hooker died in 1808 aged sixty-two; his son Charles occupied the farm until 1844, when he went West.
It is a fact worthy of note that nearly all the sons or grandsons of the first settlers have emigrated to other parts of the country. Of the twelve or more settlers already mentioned in this article, not one has left in this region a descendant bearing his name. This we attribute not to any lack of offspring, nor to any want of home attachment, nor to the hardships or poverty of the first settlers. On the contrary, they had most of them come here poor and had secured from the forest fertile and valuable farms and cemfortable dwellings. The sons, when they came of age, were disposed to do as their fathers had done–push on where wild land could be had for a nominal sum, and where in a few years they could attain to the wealth and comfort which their fathers had achieved. It was a part of the movement by which the sons of New England have spread themselves across the continent to the very shores of the Pacific.
Home Lot 19.–William Coon appears to have been the first settler on home lot 19. But in February, 1798, he sold to Warren Gibbs the part lying east of the highway, and the remaining eighty-five acres of the above-mentioned lot pitched for “Widow Coon,” his mother. Mr. Gibbs lived in a log cabin fifteen rods north of the house now standing on the lot, until in 1800 he moved to lot 13, as has been already noticed. He continued, however, to own the lot until about 1831, when he divided it among his children.
Home Lot 20.–Deacon Ebenezer Sumner in 1802 deeded home lot 20 to his son Samuel, who cleared it and resided on it for several years in the house now occupied by Charles Sullens. The south half of the farm is now owned by Charles Landon.
Home Lot 21.–was first settled by Daniel Beadle, who purchased it in March, 1825, of Alfred Wainwright. The house that he built, since destroyed, was on the east side of the road, just north of the present trout pond. The present house near the south line of the lot was built by Chandler Tillotson and was kept open as a tavern for several years by a Mr. Dean.
Home Lot 22.–James Sumner, another son of Deacon Ebenezer Sumner, began to clear his lot in 1811, though he did not receive a deed of the lot from his father until March, 1825. On this lot he resided with his family until his death in 1874, at the age of eighty-five. His son, Andrew J. Sumner, now owns the property and lives on the old homestead.
The great longevity of these early settlers deserves a passing notice. We have the ages of ten of those that are mentioned in these papers, ascertained mostly from their tombstones in the interesting little cemetery half a mile north of the old red school-house. The average age of these ten is seventy-five and one-half years. No wonder the sons could not wait to inherit the property of their fathers, and as a rule went off to seek their own fortunes!
Home Lots 23 and 24.–In April, 1811, Timothy Case, of Hebron, N. Y., purchased from Philip Foot home lot 24, and in 1812 added to his former purchase seventy-two acres off the west end of home lot 23. His house was on the west side of the road where Leroy Taylor now lives, but has been moved to the rear, to make way for a more recent structure. His son Timothy, jr., built and occupied the house on the opposite side of the road. In 1843 the father removed from town.
Home Lot 25.–Joel and Calvin C. Nichols purchased home lot 25 in 1818.
Joel built on the west side of the highway, where E. Fuller now lives, and Calvin on the east, where J. Grove now lives.
Home Lot 26.–The earliest settler on home lot 26 was a man from Brookline, Conn., by the name of Asa Collar. He purchased the lot in 1789, but sold out and moved away as early as 1801, so that but little is remembered concerning him. His dwelling stood west of the road a little north of the house now occupied by Allen R. Foote. In 1810 the lot came into the possession of Timothy Boardman, sr., who lived for several years in the house next south of the school-house.
Home Lot 27.-Martin Evarts owned the west half of home lot 27 from 1804 to 1827, and may have cleared it in part. At the latter date he deeded it to his son-in-law, Noble Foot, who soon erected the house now occupied by his son. On the east side of the road Ely Nichols purchased twelve acres in 1807 and built where A. H. Matthews now lives.
Town Organization.–Let us for a moment turn from the details of early settlements and note the first steps toward town organization. The first meeting for this purpose was held at the house of Daniel Foot on the 29th of March, 1786, where the following officers were chosen: Benjamin Risley, moderator; Joshua Hyde, town clerk; Thomas Hinman, constable. At the next annual meeting, March 28, 1787, John Chipman was chosen moderator; Robert Huston, town clerk, and Martin Foot, constable. At a special meeting held January 1, 1788, the first listers were selected in the persons of Jonathan Chipman and Robert Huston. Up to this time no other officers had been chosen; but at the annual meeting in 1788 the customary full list of officers was elected as follows: John Chipman, moderator; Robert Huston, clerk; Capt. Stephen Goodrich, Joshua Hyde and John Chipman, selectmen; Philip Foot, treasurer; Ebenezer Johnson, constable; George Sloan, Wm. B. Sumner and Wm. Goodrich, listers; Ebenezer Johnson, collector; Joseph Parker, leathersealer; Robert Torrance and Abraham Kirby, grand jurymen; Philip Foot, pound-keeper; Jonathan Chipman, Asa Fuller and Daniel Foot, tithingmen; John S. Kirby, Freeman Foot, Imri Smalley and George Sloan, haywards; George Sloan and Stephen Goodrich, fence-viewers; Gamaliel Painter, Jonathan Preston, Jonathan Chipman, Eber Evarts, Philip Foot, Robert Huston and Wm. B. Sumner, surveyors of highways; Daniel Foot, sealer of measures; George Sloan, sealer of weights; William Goodrich, Bill Thayer, Ebenezer Johnson, Robert Huston, Joshua Hyde and George Sloan, petit jurors.
A few brief extracts from the records of the freemen’s meetings in the earlier years will not be without value here. In 1788 a committee was chosen to “stick the stake for the meeting-house and pitch a place for burying the dead.” It is a significant fact that in most of the Vermont towns one of the very first measures introduced by the settlers was to make arrangements such as their circumstances permitted for religious worship. Early in 1790 a committee was appointed to procure preaching for this town, and it has already been stated that a church was organized in that year. It was also voted at the same meeting “to have one burying place as near the center of the town [Note 1]as land will admit.” Another vote changed this plan as follows: “Voted that there be one Burying Place at the North End and one at the South End of the town.”
We have already alluded to the settlement of Rev. John Barnet. In June, 1790, it was “Voted to give the Rev’d Mr. Barnet fifty Pounds L. money pr. year as a salary to commence at his settlement.” In the same month John Chipman, Daniel Foot, Capt. Stephen Goodrich, Gamaliel Painter and Joshua Hide (Hyde) were made a committee to fix on a place and draw a plan for a meeting-house and report.
In December, 1790, a committee divided the town into school districts, setting off the district in the south part, called “the south district”; one in the northeast part called “the northeast district”; one in or near the center called “the middle district.” This was the first division of the town into school districts, and the subsequent changes will be traced in our account of schools.
The question of where to locate the meeting-house, involved as it was in the discussion of what particular site should be fixed upon as the “center of the town,” i. e., the village, was a source of much anxiety.
September 7, 1790, “Voted Samuel Miller, esq. and Joshua Hyde be a committee to draw a conveyance between Philip Foot and Appleton Foot and the town of Middlebury, to convey land for said town for a common.
The above vote was passed, as it will be seen, in anticipation of the report of the committee “to fix the place to set the meeting-house,” which was made afterwards.
A meeting was warned at the request of eight citizens, December 22, 1791, “To see whether the town will fix upon the centre or place for a meeting-house, whenever they shall agree to build one, and see whether they will agree that a house large enough to contain the people, for several years, may be built there by individuals, without expense to the town at large, to attend public worship in, until a more proper meeting-house can be built. And the design is to give satisfaction to Mr. Barnett, who is uneasy in his present situation. His house, as he observes, is neither decent nor comfortable. He would prepare to build next summer, was he certain that his land would be near the centre.” This meeting was adjourned to the 29th of the same month, when a majority of the committee appointed for that purpose, Daniel Foot, Stephen Goodrich and Joshua Hyde, made their report as follows:
“We the subscribers, being appointed a committee to pitch on a proper place to build a meeting-house, and fix on a green, make the following report, viz., that it is our opinion that it be on the west side of the north and south road, in the corner of Philip Foot and Appleton Foot’s land,–provided they, the said Philip and Appleton, throw out a green twenty-four rods square, including the roads, and also four rods wide on the west side of the north and south road, from said green north, to where it intersects the road that leads to the falls.” Whereupon it was
“Voted to accept the above report, provided the said Foots lease the above described land to the town for the use of a green, as long as they shall want it for that purpose; and also voted that there may be a house built on said green, large enough to meet in for public worship on Sundays, for several years, by individuals, without expense to the town at large.”
March 1792. “Voted to lay a tax of two pence half penny on the pound, on the list of 1791,–said tax to be collected by the first day of January, 1793, in wheat at 4s 6d per bushel; fifteen pounds of said tax, when collected, to be appropriated to the use of making a road across the mountain beyond Seeley’s;[Note 1] and any person, that chooses to work out their tax on said road, may have the privilege, on condition that they do said work before the 15th day of June next, by the directions and to the acceptance of the selectmen, and a certificate of said selectmen of any person doing work on said road as aforesaid, shall answer on said tax.”
“Voted, that Mr. Daniel Foot build a house, suitable for the inhabitants of Middlebury to meet in on Sundays and to do public business on other days, after said house is completed suitable for to meet in as above described, then said town is to pay said Foot yearly the lawful interest of the sum that said house is worth in cash, providing the value do not exceed the sum of one hundred and twenty pounds; said interest to be paid said Foot yearly, as long as said town makes use of said house, for the purposes above mentioned.”
September 3, 1792. “Voted to raise a tax of three pence on a pound, on the list of the year, 1793, to be paid into the treasury of the town, by the first day of December next, in wheat at 4s per bushel, for the purpose of covering the bridge at the falls with oak plank, for procuring weights and measures for said town, and other incidental charges.
“Voted Capt. Stephen Goodrich and Gamaliel Painter, esq., be a committee to superintend the covering the bridge at the falls.”
The bridge, built by Daniel Foot in 1787, was covered with poles from a neighboring forest, which had probably much decayed, and the oak plank were designed to supply their places.
At a meeting at the house of John Foot, on the 9th day of December, 1794, notified on the application of twelve free holders,
“2, To see if the inhabitants of said town will reconsider the former vote of building a meeting-house where the stake was pitched. 3, to agree upon a place to build a meeting-house. 4, if no place can be agreed on, to choose a committee to fix on a place to build said house. 5, to see if the inhabitants will agree to lay a tax for the purpose of building said house. 6, to agree on a place or places for holding meetings this winter;” the following is the record of the proceedings:
“The 2d article with regard to re-considering the former vote of building a meeting-house, at the place where the stake was pitched, was tried and passed in the negative and of course the 3d and 4th articles fell. The fifth article was then taken up and passed in the negative.”
“Voted to meet at Samuel Mattocks’, until such time as the selectmen shall notify the town, that Mr. Daniel Foot’s house is convenient, and then at such place as they shall direct for public worship on Sundays.”
“Previous to the meeting held in December 1791,” says Judge Swift, ” the town and religious meetings had been uniformly held at Daniel Foot’s. He had built a large barn, just south of the place where his large house was afterwards built, for the express purpose of accommodating the meetings; and in this building Mr. Barnett had been ordained. During this time Mr. Foot had declined further to accommodate the meeting. For two or three years the town meetings had been, for some reason, held at Philip Foot’s and Appleton Foot’s, in the same neighborhood, and the religious meetings in the summer of 1793 were held in Deacon Sumner’s barn. During this time much excitement had arisen in relation to the place for the centre of town business. The people in the neighborhood of Mr. Foot, and in the south part of the town, were anxious to have the question settled by fixing the place for erecting a meetinghouse; while the people of the village, and the inhabitants north of it ‘played off,’ to use a familiar expression.
“The village had the advantage of an excellent water power, with mills on both sides. Mechanics and merchants had begun to crowd into it; the only lawyer and the only physicians in town had located themselves there; the Legislature at their session in 1791 had directed the courts of the county to be held there, and the population and business of the place were fast increasing. The inhabitants of the village therefore looked forward with confidence to the time when they would have such a decided majority of the votes as to control the decision of the question, and were not in a hurry to have it then settled. This will be readily perceived by the proceedings we have copied above. They were willing to take a lease of land ‘for the use of a green, long as they shall shall want it for that purpose.’ They would pay the ‘interest of the sum that’ the meeting-house to be built at the expense of Daniel Foot ‘is worth in cash,’ ‘as long as said town makes use of said house.’ And when it was voted to hold meetings at Mattocks’s, in the village, with an apparent intention to return, it was on such conditions as to render that event hopeless. On the other hand, it is said Mr. Foot, being dissatisfied with the delay in settling the question, declined further to accommodate the meetings, for the purpose of pressing the town to a decision. Mr. Barnett also, having purchased a lot directly opposite the place where the meeting-house was expected to be built, began to be uneasy. But the decision was virtually made. The religious meetings were never afterwards held out of the village. The town meetings were, for a time, held at Philip Foot’s and Appleton Foot’s. But at the annual meeting in 1796 the question was finally settled, and the meetings ordered to be held in the village ‘in future.’ ”
A list of freemen in the records for the year 1803 shows two hundred and four names.
Settlements on the Site of the Village.–The incoming of Abisha Washburn has been briefly noted. In 1774 or 1775 he attempted to secure the waterpower on the east side of the falls by building a saw-mill according to the vote of the proprietors; and although he failed to finish his mill within the “fifteen months,” it seems to have been conceded that the construction of the mill carried with it the water privilege and land contiguous. He did not bring in his family, but spent one summer at work on the mill; whether it was operated at all is unknown. He returned to Salisbury in the fall, and the oncoming Revolutionary War stopped further work at that time. Mr. Washburn was engaged by the Massachusetts authorities to prosecute the casting of cannon at Salisbury, and he did not return to Middlebury until the close of the war; in the mean time his mill, or whatever there was of it, was destroyed by Indians. In the spring of 1784 he returned and, with some aid from Colonel Chipman and Judge Painter, a mill was built and put in operation in 1785; this mill was swept away by the succeeding spring freshet. It was subsequently arranged between Washburn and Judge Painter that the latter should have the privileges of Washburn on the mill lot, and he accordingly pitched fifty acres, including the mill lot, and another fifty acres for Washburn south and east of his own; this latter Judge Painter soon purchased. These pitches embraced the whole of the village site east of the creek and south of Hyde’s pitch, afterward occupied by Freeman Foot. Mr. Painter soon afterward proceeded to erect mills, and in 1787 had in operation a saw-mill and the next year a grist-mill. The former was built on the rock at the head of the falls and the latter partly below it.
In the mean time, in 1783, John Hobson Johnson (or “Hop” Johnson, as he was commonly known) built a cabin at the head of the rapids on the west side of the creek, then in Cornwall, a little below the site of the railroad bridge abutment; here he maintained a ferry and supplied refreshment to travelers; about 1789 he left for parts unknown, his wife and children remaining in possession of his house and ferry.
After Daniel Foot discovered the defect in his title under the Weybridge charter, he purchased the right of pitching under the Cornwall charter and laid out one hundred acres, which included the whole of the falls on the Cornwall side and extended some forty rods south of them to “the old Weybridge corner.” In the same year (1784) he erected a large building for a saw and a gristmill; the first was put in operation in July, and the other in November, 1785. A few weeks earlier than this Colonel Sawyer had started his grist-mill in Salisbury, before which the Middlebury people had to take their grain up the creek to Pittsford. Mr. Foot soon gave up his mills to Stillman and John Foot, his sons, and in 1789 deeded them his mill lot and buildings. In 1786 Stillman Foot erected a dwelling house, and a few other small buildings were soon erected; Stillman Foot’s house, the oldest in the village, was burned in 1875, and the site remains vacant.
About the year 1791 John Foot sold his share of the Cornwall property to his brother Appleton, and in July, 1794, Stillman and Appleton divided their property in Cornwall and arranged the use of the water, which had previously been used in common; Stillman took the upper part of the falls extending to the bridge, and Appleton the privilege below and the land north of the road leading west across the college grounds; Stillman’s land extended up the creek south to Colonel Storrs’s land. Appleton Foot about this time built a house on the site of the large brick house now owned by Henry L. Sheldon and Carlton Moore. Stillman Foot had a grist-mill about where the woolen factory was built and a saw-mill farther up the stream. Appleton built a stone grist-mill and a saw-mill just below Stillman’s mills, which were burned in 1826. Other dwellings sprang up on the west side of the creek; James Bentley, sr., built a small house in which he lived after the war; what was known as “the Judd house” was built by Stillman Foot for his workmen, just back of the present bakery; and what was known as “the red house” was built in the present garden of the Phelps place; Simeon Dudley, who was employed in the building of Foot’s mills in 1785, had a shanty on the site of the Phelps house, in which he spent two years without chimney or cellar.
Colonel Seth Storrs, who had been in law practice at Addison, came to Middlebury in 1794; he purchased among other extensive tracts the farm on which he lived until his death; this embraced the land where the college stands, a large part of the graded school grounds, and extended south to the Judge Phelps farm. He lived first in the gambrel-roofed house built by John Foot on the site of the present brick house now owned by George C. Chapman; on the same site he built the handsome framed house which was burned in 1831. Colonel Storrs was a leading citizen outside of his profession and will be further alluded to in another place.
In 1787 Simeon Dudley was employed in the erection of Judge Painter’s mills and put up a shanty similar to that occupied by him on the west side, near the Addison House grounds; this was burned before it was finished. He then put up a more commodious house, which was purchased by Judge Painter, remodeled and prepared for his own residence. It was on ground which is now a part of the yard in front of Gardner Wainwright’s house. Judge Painter lived here until his new house was built in 1802. The latter has been recently remodeled by Gardner Wainwright and is one of the finest private residences in the town.
Relative to the surroundings of the village site at this early period we may quote from Judge Swift as follows:
“At that time the whole region was covered with a thick and gloomy forest of hemlock and pine, except small spaces about the mills and small tenements, which had been erected. At the first Christmas after his settlement Judge Painter invited the settlers to a Christmas dinner. Col. Sumner, who had just settled on his farm two miles north, Freeman Foot, who had built a house just north of the village, Stephen Goodrich and his sons on the Bass farm, the Foots and their workmen on the west side of the creek, and his own workmen, were the only near neighbors. But his invitations were probably extended further. Whatever the numbers may have been, the company, as is common in all new countries, probably had a merry time. Samuel Bartholomew, who resided in Cornwall, was a man of some eccentricities, and given to rhyming, on extraordinary occasions. He had early planted an orchard of sweet apples, which became a common resort for the young folks to buy and eat apples, and he was called the ‘Apple man.’ Among his eccentricities, he never wore shoes in the summer, except when he went to church, as he sometimes did in this village. On such occasions he carried his shoes in his hand until he arrived among the inhabitants, and then put them on and walked to the place of meeting. These incidents relate to a later period of his life. This entertainment being a proper subject for his muse, he composed the following doggerel verses on the occasion:
” ‘This place, called Middlebury
Is like a city without walls.
Surrounded ’tis by hemlock trees
Which shut out all its enemies.
The powwow now on Christmas day,
Which much resembled Indian play,
I think will never be forgotten
Till all the hemlock trees are rotten.’ “As soon as Judge Painter was settled here he adopted a judicious and liberal course for the furtherance of his aims to make it the site of the future village. His lands he offered on liberal terms to actual settlers and was untiring in his efforts to promote all of the interests of the place. His first deed of one acre was given to Simeon Dudley, which included the site of the Addison House; this was under date of September 10, 1788. No building was erected here, however, until 1794, when Samuel Mattocks built his tavern. In January, 1789, Judge Painter deeded to Benjamin Gorton a small piece of land adjoining the bridge, about where Mr. Alden’s store is now located. Gorton was uncle to Jabez Rogers and became largely interested with him in real estate operations. On the lot mentioned Rogers soon put up a building and opened what was probably the first store in the county; the mercantile interests which succeeded on this site, as well as in all of the other parts of the village, will be described a little farther on.
On the point of rock which extended farther into the creek at this place, Rogers built a separate structure, which was occupied for several years by Samuel Sargeant as a silversmith shop. This was removed at the time of the removal of obstructions for the free passage of water over the falls.
In September, 1789, Painter deeded to Samuel Miller a half acre lot, on which he afterwards lived; the year previous Miller had built an office, to which he added a front, and lived there until his death. Smith Beckwith now occupies this place. Samuel Miller was the first lawyer to settle in Middlebury and became one of the most distinguished citizens. (See later pages.)
John Deming, from Canaan, Conn., purchased of Judge Painter ten acres, extending north from the southeast corner of the Congregational Church to the north line of the mill lot, and west from the same bounds to the west line of the Horatio Seymour garden; then west to the creek. This is now owned by Philip Battell. Deming was a blacksmith, and built his shop where the Horatio Seymour house now stands, occupied by Philip Battell; the building he divided in two parts, one of which was for his family residence. While living here he was appointed by the town as tavern keeper; he accordingly began the business as best he could under his straitened circumstances. One night, according to Dr. Swift, his guests numbered twenty-five, and they all wanted breakfast the next morning, which must have caused consternation in the primitive hotel. In 1790 Mr. Deming built a large house where the Congregational church stands; this was the first two-story house in the village. He lived here until 1794, and also at a later period, and died at Crown Point in 1815.
In 1794 Samuel Foot took possession by purchase of the Deming place and occupied it until 1803. In 1797 he sold to Dr. Joseph Clark a small lot, on which he built a house and kept a tavern; the building has been removed and Colonel Lyman E. Knapp has built on the site. In the mean time Mr. Foot added to his possessions, on the west side of the Paper-mill road, a small tract extending northward. In 1799 he sold to William Coon the lot on which John Jackson now lives; the south half of the house here had been built and used for a school-house, and the north part was built by Hiram Seymour, a hatter from Canada, who carried on business during the War of 1812. The lot next north of this one Mr. Foot had sold to Jonathan Nichols, jr., who moved upon it a blacksmith shop, in which his father lived for a time; he afterward lived with his son-in-law, Billy Manning, and died in 1814, aged eighty-seven. Edward Eells,[Note 1] a silversmith, afterwards owned this lot and built the two-story house now occupied by Lucius Shawl. The land owned by Mr. Foot on the west side of the Paper-mill road he sold in 1802 to Hon. Horatio Seymour, and the premises connected with the tavern stand to Loudon Case in 1803; he then removed to Crown Point. Olcott White purchased of Loudon Case in 1807 a lot north of the church on which a building had been erected; this place is now owned by A. J. Marshall. Horatio Seymour finally became the owner of all the lands on the west of the Paper-mill road. Some of the earlier lots disposed of by him on that tract were the Seminary lot, appropriated by him in 1803, and now owned by Philip Battell; this lot he deeded in 1806 to the corporation of “Addison County Grammar School,” for use as a seminary site. In 1803 he sold to Benjamin Seymour the lot on which the latter built the small brick house now in possession of Abram Williamson; in this Benjamin Seymour lived until his death. In 1808 Martin Post purchased the next lot north of the seminary and built a small house; he died in 1811.
Having thus disposed of that particular locality we may return to the earlier settlements elsewhere in the village. Darius Matthews settled here as a physician in 1789, and the next year purchased of Judge Painter the lot next north of Samuel Miller’s (before described); in the same year he built a small house, which has been torn down; he lived here until 1797, when he bought the place now occupied by Professor Henry M. Seeley. Dr. Matthews died in 1819, aged fifty-three years. The first house built by Dr. Matthews was enlarged by a two-story front, a part of which was occupied by the owners, Curtis and Daniel Campbell, as a store until 1801; the latter then took in his brother, William Campbell, and the business continued for several years. In 1804 they purchased the lot of Judge Painter, where his miller’s house stood, and built a
brick store, in front of which Ira Stewart afterward erected another structure; these were torn down by John W. Stewart and a fine block erected, which was occupied as a store by Thaddeus M. Chapman; it was burned in 1880, and the beautiful block now standing was erected by Smith Beckwith and Gardner Wainwright; it is occupied by Beckwith & Co., for their large mercantile establishment, and is the finest block in the county. The Campbell house was purchased in 1807 by Dr. Merrill, who lived there until his death in 1855. Before the changes last noted, the Campbell brick store was bought by David Page, jr., and Luke Wheelock, and by them sold in 1812 to Noble and Ira Stewart; Page and Wheelock carried on an extensive mercantile business several years. Joseph Hough and Nathan Wood were also in trade on this site.
Dr. John Willard was the first physician to settle in Middlebury and came in 1787, residing first in a house built by Freeman Foot and afterward owned by Daniel Chipman. In 1791 he purchased a small lot north of the Addison House lot and built a house in rear of the bank building site. He lived here until 1797, when he sold to Samuel Mattocks and bought of Stillman Foot the lot on which Judge Phelps afterward lived. Some years later he built on the Cornwall road the brick house now constituting the residence of the widow of Charles Linsley. Dr. Willard died in Troy, N.Y., in 1825, aged sixty-six years.
In 1791 Elias Wilder, a hatter, purchased of Judge Painter the lot on which the Brewster brick building stands. In the same year Jabez Rogers, jr., purchased the next lot west of the Wilder lot and also the Wilder lot. Here he built a house, and in 1800 erected the two-story house for the accommodation of boarders attending the Legislature that year; this was removed to make way for the railroad west of the Brewster block; at a later date he built the large brick house now owned by John W. Stewart and occupied by Mrs. Batchelder. Rogers was one of the early manufacturers and had a brewery, a distillery and an ashery on the borders of the eddy; Lebbeus Harris, a dentist, and father of the late Dr. Nathaniel Harris, was associated with him for a time. Mr. Rogers died in 1816, and the elder Harris in 1816.
In the year 1793 the lot on which the town hall stands and extending to the creek, was purchased by Anthony Rhodes, who settled here that year as a merchant. The next year he purchased a small tract between the above and the south line of the “common” and built a dwelling house and a potashery; here he lived until 1796, when he bought three acres on the corner of the Cornwall and Weybridge roads; this land had been purchased the previous year by Nehemiah Lawrence, who had partly built the house that stood on the site of “the president’s house.” Rhodes finished the south part of the house for a store, and the north part for a residence. After a few years of business here, he built a store where the Episcopal rectory was afterward erected; he left the State in 1801. The lot which we have described extended north so as to include the premises of Dr. Eddy and M. L. Severance. William Baker, Ruluff and Benjamin Lawrence, Amon Wilcox and Dr. Z. Bass owned parts of this tract at different periods. Mr. Wilcox was an early settler and engaged in the tin, hardware and stove trade. Ep. Miller purchased in 1796 the premises left by Anthony Rhodes on the east side of the creek, and established a tannery there which he operated many years; he later built a large wood structure which was removed for the passage of the railroad, and a house which was removed for the site of the Baptist Church. Still later he purchased the farm and the beautiful site now occupied by Prof. Ezra Brainerd and built the brick house. He died there in 1850.
Lewis and Joseph McDonald came from Litchfield, Conn., in 1793, and purchased a small lot now embraced in the home premises of Philip Battell, where they erected a gambrel-roofed building and kept a store. In 1801 they closed business, having in the mean time purchased several pieces of land on the north side of the road running west from the college, forming a valuable farm. Joseph took this farm in the division of their property and worked it until 1828, when he returned to the village and purchased the house and lot on Weybridge street now owned by Orin Abbey; he died there in 1854, aged eighty-four. Lewis McDonald returned to the village in 1818 and purchased the house now owned by William H. Ellis; died there in 1839, aged seventy-two. Horatio Seymour purchased the lot where the McDonald brothers had been in trade and occupied the house as a residence. In 1816-17 he replaced it by the present large brick residence, where he resided until his death in 1857, aged eighty years. The old house was removed to the lot next south of the old Female Seminary and was for many years the residence of Ozias Seymour.
Samuel Mattocks, sr., built on the tavern lot, north of the tavern building, a two-story structure which became known as “the Green house,” in which he lived until his death in 1804 in the sixty-fifth year of his age. He also built on the Willard lot next north and in front of the Willard house a double store, the upper story of which served for a Masonic lodge room. In 1794 Samuel Mattocks, jr., built on the Addison House site a large structure, with necessary out-buildings, for tavern-keeping, where he continued until 1804, when he was succeeded by Nathan Rosseter, from Williamstown, Mass., Mr. Mattocks removing to the “Green house.” Loudon Case and Artemas Nixon succeeded in the tavern until 1812, when the latter leased it to Harvey Bell; he continued it until 1814, when he died, aged fifty-nine years. In 1816 the whole of these several structures was burned; but the site has always been occupied for a hotel, the further history of which will be traced on another page. Samuel Mattocks, who built the first hotel, as mentioned, held the office of sheriff in 1813-14 and was a useful citizen; he died in 1823, aged fifty-eight.
In 1790 William Young, a cabinet-maker, came to the village and purchased of Judge Painter the lot next north of that bought by Dr. Matthews, and built a house there; he also erected a shop where he carried on his trade until 1795. About this time Nathaniel Ripley also moved into town and in 1794 purchased the lot next north of Young’s, which in the following year Young purchased and added to his own. In 1792 Festus Hill, a carpenter, bought of Judge Painter the corner lot now occupied by a daughter of Hon. Peter Starr; he built a small house which preceded the one erected by Mr. Starr. Dr. Joseph Clark settled in the village as a physician in 1793, and purchased of Judge Painter the lot on the corner of Seminary street and the New Haven road, where he built and lived until 1796; he left the State in 1801.
Ruluff Lawrence, whose name has been mentioned, came from Canaan, Conn., in 1796, and purchased the lot where Dr. Clark first settled, where he began blacksmithing; Benjamin, his brother, joined him a few months later. After a successful business they closed and divided their property in 1804. Ruluff took the above-named lot and built the two-story house. He afterward bought the premises on Seminary street now occupied by the widow of Orson Goodno and the site of the Baptist parsonage adjoining. Benjamin took the lot on Weybridge street which has been described; he died in 1859, aged eighty-five. Descendants of these brothers are now living in the village.
John Stewart, father of Noble and Ira Stewart, was a Revolutionary soldier and died in 1829, aged eighty-three years; his wife died in 1847, at the age of ninety-five. The sons, Noble and Ira, had been merchants in New Haven previous to their coming to Middlebury, in 1812, and their purchase of the Campbell store, as before noted. Noble died in the midst of his usefulness, in 1814, at the age of thirty-seven. Ira continued the business for many years, and died in 1855, at the age of seventy-five; he was one of the leading citizens of the town and honored with many positions of trust; was twice elected to the Senate. His son, Dugald Stewart, also became a prominent citizen; held the office of county clerk and died in the enjoyment of the confidence and respect of the community. John W., another son, is still living and one of the leading members of the bar, ex-governor of the State and has been honored with many other responsible offices. (See biography in later pages.)
At the time Judge Painter deeded to Benjamin Gorton the small piece of land adjoining the bridge (1789), as before noted, he also sold him another piece twelve rods square about five rods above the bridge, on the bank of the creek, where it was designed to locate an ashery. The title to this and another small piece passed in 1798 to Samuel Clark, jr., Joseph Plumb and Jonathan Lawrence, who, under the firm name of Clark, Lawrence & Co., added another small piece of land and erected the building on the site of James M. Slade & Co.’s former store. There they carried on mercantile business and manufactured potash until 1802. The building was displaced after the railroad was built by the one occupied by Slade & Co., which was built by E. D. Barber and Lyman P. White; this burned in 1852 (February 21), with nearly all of its contents, including the libraries of Barber & Bushnell and Linsley & Beckwith, attorneys, the records of the Congregational Church and the records and files of the Probate Courts. Slade & Co. rebuilt on the site, and the building is owned by Jno. L. Buttolph.
In 1795 William Young removed to the lot now occupied by Mrs. W. W. Thomas, built a house, and continued his business of cabinet-making. He afterward sold out to General Hastings Warren, who had been his partner, and Mr. Young removed to Leicester; he was one of the founders of the Methodist Church and a respected citizen. General Warren had purchased also a lot on the corner now occupied by the Methodist Church; here he built a shop which was burned, and soon afterward its successor suffered a like fate. He then erected a brick shop, which was afterward occupied by James M. Slade as a dwelling. General Warren removed to Rutland late in life and passed the remainder of his days with his son-in-law, William Y. Ripley.
Hon. Daniel Chipman removed to Middlebury in 1794, and settled in practice of law. He selected for his residence the beautiful site now occupied by Prof. Ezra Brainerd. After his marriage he purchased the lot next north of the William Young lot, the house on-which Mr. Chipman fitted up for a residence; this house is now occupied by George Marshall. In 1802-3 he built on his first lot the large and handsome residence occupied by him until the fall of 1818, when it was burned. He then removed across the street and occupied the large building which had been erected for a law school. Later in life he became the owner of considerable real estate, retired from practice and settled in a large residence built by him in the town of Ripton, where he died April 23, 1850. A further sketch of Mr. Chipman’s public and professional life will be found in the chapter devoted to the bar of the county.
Several lots on the north side of Seminary street, on the Freeman Foot farm, were sold by him before he transferred the farm to Mr. Chipman and settled at an early day. An acre west of Mr. Chipman’s home lot was bought by Nathaniel Bishop, of Attleborough, Mass., on which James Sawyer had previously lived in a small house; this was divided into two lots, the west one being now occupied by Frank Bond and owned by Harry Langworthy; on the other half the brick school-house was built; another house has been built between these, and now occupied by Mr. Bond’s father. In 1798 Bela Sawyer purchased the lot now owned and occupied by Myron Langworthy; Sawyer built a small house, to which Mr. Langworthy has made additions. The next lot, now owned by Frank Bond (the house having been removed), was purchased by Nathaniel Ripley, who built the house that stood there. He died on the farm of his son, William Y. Ripley, in the south part of the town, in 1842, at the age of eighty years. In 1798 James Sawyer, a carpenter and father of Bela, purchased an acre west of his son’s lot; on the west half he built a small house and lived there several years. The east half was sold to Abijah Hurd, who built a house which was occupied for some years by his brother, Hinman Hurd; it was afterwards owned by Samuel B. Bent, who built new buildings on it, afterward occupied by Harry Langworthy. Mr. Bent was a manufacturer of cards, which business he carried on here until his death in 1857. The other half of this lot was owned for several years by Timothy Strong, a printer, who built a house there. It has since been owned by Dr. Merrill, Z. Beckwith, Dr. Hiram Meeker, and is now occupied by the widow of Judge Cook.
After Mr. Chipman became the owner of the Foot farm, the lots now owned by Chester Elmer and Ansel D. Stearns and that owned some years since by Mr. Garner on the New Haven road, were purchased early and occupied by different families. Until 1814 the land between Mr. Elmer’s and the Methodist Church lot was a smooth meadow, where general trainings were sometimes held. In the year last named Mr. Chipman opened through the lot a road and offered building lots for sale. One of these was purchased by Dr. Samuel Swift and he built on it his residence, which he occupied until his death in 1875.
Continuing the settlements under purchases from Judge Painter we come to that of Oliver Brewster, a tailor, who purchased in 1795 the next lot north of the Festus Hill lot and built a house, in which he lived until he left the State. In 1805 Captain Jonathan M. Young became owner of the lot and lived there many years; he was a partner with Adonijah Schuyler, under the style of Young & Schuyler, in mercantile business, when he first came here; he later owned the Appleton Foot grist-mill, was deputy sheriff and held other offces. In the War of 1812 he held a lieutenant’s commission; he died in 1854, aged eighty-two. In 1835 Asa Francis purchased the above lot and lived there a number of years; the lot is now owned by James E. Negus, the merchant tailor.
In 1795 Captain Josiah Fuller purchased the lot owned in later years by William Morton (who died in 1856), on the west side of Pleasant street, now owned by Thomas McClure, and established a tannery on the bank of the creek. The next year he purchased a lot on the opposite side of the street, where in 1801 he built a house; this was remodeled and subsequently became the residence of President Benjamin Labaree, now occupied by J. W. Martin. In 1806 Philip Davis, who was also a tanner, purchased both of these lots and carried on his business. In 1796 Thomas Archibald purchased the lot next south of Fuller’s creek lot and built a house; this has been demolished and the one now owned by Orlando Wooster built in its place.
The lot opposite the Congregational Church parsonage, which was in recent years in possession of Harvey Bell, was first purchased by President Atwater and sold by him in 1808 to Dr. Edward Tudor, who built the house and lived in it for many years. He afterward removed to the dwelling next north of the Catholic Church and died there. Mr. Bell purchased the place left by Mr. Tudor in 1818 and resided there until his death in 1848, aged fifty-seven years. His daughter became the wife of Rufus Wainwright. Mr. Bell was a prominent member of the bar and a respected citizen.
Daniel Henshaw, of Middletown, Conn., came to Middlebury about 1803, and with his brother Joshua early developed the real estate on both sides of the road on the south bank of Otter Creek, building stores, mills and dwellings; they were also engaged in mercantile business several years. Mr. Henshaw built in 1807 the three-story brick block used for the Middlebury branch of the Vermont State Bank, and afterward for stores and dwellings. He was a prominent man in the early history of the town. His fine residence was opposite the south park, where he lived and died in the oldest house in the village. He fitted up a room in which Episcopal church services were held from 1817 until the stone church was completed in 1827.
Levi Hooker came to Middlebury about the year 1801 with a stock of merchandise, and in 1803 purchased the lot on Pleasant street now occupied by Dr. M. D. Smith; this place was long occupied by Cyrus Birge. He also built successively three stores on the site of those owned by Joseph Battell and John L. Buttolph. Mr. Hooker was a successful business man and removed to New York State; Mr. Birge, also a merchant, removed to Washington.
Loyal Case purchased in 1803 the lot next south of Judge Painter’s house lot, now owned by Mrs. J. A. Wright. Mr. Case was a man of brilliant intellect and an educated attorney; but died almost at the beginning of his career, when but thirty-two years old.
Cyrus Brewster settled at an early day on the lot now owned by Mr. W. R. Phelps; it was at one time in possession of Joseph Dorrance, a hatter, who built the dwelling house there. It was afterward owned and occupied by William Slade.
William Slade was the son of William Slade, of Cornwall, who was sheriff of the county from 1801 to 1810, and was born in 1736. He graduated at Middlebury College in 1807 and studied law with Judge Doolittle; was admitted to practice in 1810 and took a high position in his profession and held numerous high offices. His public career is elsewhere described. He died in 1859, aged seventy-two years. His son, James M. Slade, was one of the prominent merchants of Middlebury, in the firm of Slade, Sears & Co., also of James M. Slade & Co. His grandson, also named James M., is now one of the prominent members of the Addison county bar and lives in Middlebury.
In 1796 Erastus Hawley, a saddler, purchased a half-acre lot on the corner, adjoining the former residence of the late Rufus Wainwright; here he built a two-story dwelling which has since been removed, and was long occupied by Nahum Parker, who carried on cabinet-making on the opposite side of the street. Mr. Hawley also built a shop south of his house for his own work. In the saddle and harness business he was associated for a time with Justus Foot. Mr. Hawley afterward sold his lot to Wightman and Asa Chapman, who removed the house and converted the shop into a store; after the firm dissolved Asa Chapman continued alone, and the store is now occupied by his daughter as a dwelling; the building stands next north of the Probate block. Mr. Hawley afterward built the house on the lot next east of his former lot, which is now owned by the widow of Jacob W. Conroe. After Mr. Hawley removed from town Justus Foot carried on the business, and in the mean time he had purchased the old jail building and removed it to the lot east of the hotel; he lived in it until his death in 1835. The premises passed to Calvin Hill, a successor of Mr. Foot in the harness business, and is now owned by John W. Martin. Captain Foot, in company with Daniel Chipman, built the Probate block, as it is called, which has been occupied by various offices and the Masonic lodge rooms; the county clerk’s office was here for a time and the lower floors used as stores and shops.
Hon. Joel Doolittle came to Middlebury in 1800 as the first tutor in Middlebury College; he was admitted to the bar in 1801 and gained an extensive practice; he was elected to a number of high offices, as elsewhere detailed. He died in 1841, aged sixty-eight.
In 1804 David Dickinson built the present ancient wooden structures on the upper side and north end of the bridge, owned by Henry L. Sheldon; the part nearest the creek was built somewhat the earlier of the two. In the first Mr. Dickinson carried on mercantile business for many years. These buildings have been since occupied by many different persons. Zechariah Beckwith carried on a commission business and general mercantile trade there a long time. Joseph Dyar, the jeweler and manufacturer of the Dyar clocks, occupied one room until his death; he died in 1851 from injuries received by a runaway team.
About the year 1801 Samuel D. Coe, an architect of repute, purchased the lot on which was the late residence of Gardner Wainwright; in 1815 it was purchased by Dr. Elisha Brewster, with the small house, to which Dr. Brewster added the front. He came to Middlebury from Hartford, Conn., while a young man and formed a partnership in the drug business with Dr. William G. Hooker, in the large center store built by Levi Hooker, before described; Dr. Hooker began the business as early as 1804, and when he removed to his farm surrendered the trade to Dr. Brewster. Not many years before his death Dr. Brewster erected the brick block and wooden addition on the north side of the common, still known by his name, and removed his business thither; he died in 1838 at the age of forty seven. Dr. Brewster was a prominent citizen, a
deacon of the Congregational Church and a liberal supporter of all useful institutions; from 1834 to 1836 inclusive he represented the town in the Legislature.
Daniel L. Potter came to the village from Litchfield, Conn., in 1811 and in 1817 purchased the place now owned by his widow, which was bought of Judge Painter in 1813, by Benjamin James, a cooper. Mr. Potter followed tailoring some years, but later engaged in farming. He was eminent in the order of Masonry, and died in 1859, aged sixty-nine years, much respected.
The first lot on the street leading south from the court-house was purchased by David Wells, a blacksmith, the father of Mrs. E. W. Linsley; it is now occupied by Edward Cushman. Mr. Wells built his house and shop about 1808, and continued his business until his death in 1825, at the age of forty-seven years.
As early as 1810 or 1811 Paul Reed erected the large building which is now the main part of the Pierce House; he kept a tavern here and was succeeded by Harry Moore. Mr. Reed died in 1836.
Captain Ira Allen, from Lebanon, N. H., purchased the lot now occupied by Dr. Sutton, and in 1814 built his shop for carriage-making, which trade he learned in Shoreham.
In the fall of 1807 David Page, jr., purchased twelve acres on the corner of the street under consideration and the one running into it from Pleasant street, and extending to the creek. Here he first built the house owned by Caleb Morton, son of Silas Morton, who was a carpenter here for many years. Several years later he built a house which stood on the site of the one now owned by Mrs. H. F. Hayden; this house was burned in 1828 and rebuilt by Asa Chapman. Mr. Page also built on the same lot the residence of Mrs. R. L. Fuller. Mr. Fuller was a tailor in early years, and later engaged in mercantile business in connection therewith. He died in 1857, bearing the respect of the community. On this same lot were erected the house now owned by Aaron Piper, formerly occupied by E. W. Lyon and Humphrey Smith; also that of David S. Church, who filled the office of sheriff for fifteen successive years; he died in 1859, from the result of an injury received on his head by a blow inflicted by a man whom he was attempting to arrest. He was a capable officer and a much esteemed citizen. The dwelling occupied by the late Horace Cranet and now by his son of the same name, was also built on this lot.
Timothy Matthews, a Revolutionary soldier and a captain in the War of 1812, came to Middlebury about the year 1800, and settled in the village, where he followed his trade of shoemaking many years. His son Eli also lived in the village and carried on blacksmithing; he died at the homestead of his son, E. J. Matthews, near the village. Charles Matthews, a farmer of the town, is another son of Eli.
Warren Moore came to Middlebury in 1808 and located where Charles W. Matthews now lives. He worked in the marble business down to about 1823. He was from Sudbury, Mass., where he was born August 24, 1797, and died March 18, 1884. He had a son, James D. Moore, who died in 1844. One of his daughters is Mrs. James Vallette, and another is Mrs. Charles W. Matthews; a third married E. J. Matthews.
To conclude this detailed account of settlements on lands derived from Judge Painter, we quote the following brief account of that eminent man’s career from Judge Swift’s work: “Any person who has read the foregoing details will perceive,” says Dr. Swift, “that the life and labors of the Hon. Gamaliel Painter are intimately associated with the history of the town, and will accord to him his common designation of ‘father of the town,’ and especially of the village. He was not a learned man, having had only a common school education. He was a plain man, slow of speech and of few words, and not eloquent in public addresses or private conversation. But he had sound judgment and common sense, on which his friends placed implicit and safe reliance. He had great wisdom–some would say cunning–in forming his plans and in adopting the means to execute them. Thus he became a leader in all important enterprises. He was among the earliest settlers, and from the beginning devoted what powers he had to the prosperity of the town. He personally surveyed and laid out lands and public roads. He was early called to this service in the neighboring towns, and in later years was employed in laying out some of the most important roads in this region. He early enlisted in measures designed to prepare the way to establish and maintain the independence and organization of Vermont as a State. He was the first delegate who ever represented the town in any public body, and was a member of the convention at Dorset in September, 1776, at which incipient measures were adopted to make a declaration of independence; also a member of the convention held at Windsor July 2, 1777, which formed the first constitution. He was the first representative of the town after its organization in 1788, in the Legislature of the State, and was annually elected the four succeeding and several subsequent years, until 1810, after which he was several years a member of the old Council. In 1785, at the time of the organization of the county, he was elected one of the first judges of the County Court. Before the end of the year he resigned this office, for the purpose of being a candidate for the office of sheriff, which for some reason he preferred, and to which he was elected. But in the seven succeeding years he was re-elected to the office of judge.
“After he removed to the village in the fall of 1787, he adopted his plans with appropriate measures to make it a respectable place of business, and the seat of the courts in the county. He early built mills and sold building lots to all worthy immigrants. As early as 1791, when the village was little else than a wilderness, standing on the lot that he had deeded to the county, he said to the bystanders, ‘This is the place for the court-house.’ Through his agency, as a member of the Legislature, his plans were accomplished and his prediction fulfilled. In the town he often officiated as moderator of the meetings, and in other offices and trusts. When the Congregational Society finally decided to build a church, he was appointed superintendent to adopt the plan and make the contracts for its erection, to which also he largely contributed. He was also appointed by the corporation to superintend the erection of the stone college, to which he also contributed liberally. He was a prominent promoter of our other literary institutions. By the charter of the college he was constituted one of the original trustees, and occupied that place until his death. In his last will, all his children having died, he gave all his estate, except an annuity to his widow during her life, to that institution; from which the college realized about thirteen thousand dollars.
“Judge Painter was born in New Haven, Conn., on the 22d of May, 1742. His first wife was Abigail Chipman, sister of Colonel John Chipman, who died April 21, 1790. By her he had two sons, Joseph, who died in 1804, at the age of thirty-four, and Samuel, who was drowned in the creek in June, 1797, at the age of twenty-five. His second wife was Victoria Ball, of Salisbury, Conn., who died in June, 1806, at the age of forty-six. By her he had one daughter, Abby Victoria, who died in December, 1818, at the age of twenty-two. His third wife, who survived: him, was Mrs. Ursula Bull, of Litchfield, Conn., a widow; and sister of Mrs. Tracy, wife of the distinguished senator from Connecticut. Judge Painter died in May, 1819, aged seventy-six years. The corporation of Middlebury College erected a monument at his grave.”
It now remains to bring the settlements on the west side of the creek down to a later date to complete this feature of the history of the town. The settlement of Stillman Foot has been alluded to, and his milling business; in addition to that he erected a small building on his mill-yard for a store and was supplied with goods by Daniel Henshaw, then of Albany; these were sold by Mr. Foot as partner of Mr. Henshaw. The venture was not a success, and in the fall of 1800 he deeded to Mr. Henshaw his house and lands and either then or later his saw-mill. In December of the next year he sold his grist-mill to John Warren and in 1801 went away. Mr. Henshaw took possession of the place in 1803 and also built a structure on the west side of the bridge, which was rented to various persons. On the south side of his lot he erected a building designed for a store and used as such for a time and later as a dwelling. It was burned and the brick block of George McCue built on the lot. He was also interested in the manufacture of paper at the ” Paper Mill Falls.” Mr. Henshaw and his family occupied an enviable position in the community and were prominent in the Episcopal Church.
About the year 1794 Jonathan Nichols, an intelligent mechanic, purchased of Appleton Foot some land and a water-power and built below Foot’s mills, successively a forge, trip hammer and gun factory. He was not very successful and the works changed owners, the forge and furnace being occupied by R. & J. Wainwright when they were burned in 1826. His brother Josiah was associated with him for a time and died in 1836. On the land purchased by Nichols was a small house to which John Atwater added a story in 1801. Captain Moses Leonard afterward occupied it until his death; it is now owned by John Sargent. Andrew Rutherford afterward added to the north end and lived there until he left town. He was a son-in-law of Captain Leonard; the latter was largely interested in the works at the falls and owned the Appleton Foot Mills when they burned; he died in 1853. Mr. Rutherford was a practical woolen manufacturer and built the factory on that side and operated it. Appleton Foot removed to Malone after selling his mills and died there in 1853.
Harvey Bell was one of the very early settlers on the west side and established the fulling and dressing of cloth, to which business he was bred. He built a small house and shop on land purchased of Stillman and Appleton Foot, on which now stand the brick house owned by L. R. Sayre and the large brick structure owned by the heirs of P. Murray; the latter was erected by Jonathan Hagar. Bell was associated with his brother and they added mercantile trade to their other business. In 1797 he sold out to John Warren, also a clothier, and removed to New Haven, where he carried on business a few years, but being unsuccessful he returned to Middlebury and bought the lot on Weybridge street formerly owned by Adna Smith, for some years sheriff of the county, and now owned by Horace Gorham. This lot had been sold by Nehemiah Lawrence to Jonathan Nichols, jr., before the annexation was made to Middlebury. On this lot Bell built a house, which was burned and rebuilt. In 1805 he purchased Amasa Stowell’s tavern lot and kept a public house; in 1812 he leased the Mattocks tavern property (the Addison House site), and died there in 1844, in the fiftieth year of his age. John Warren, who bought the clothing works, was very successful and accumulated a large property. He largely extended his operations; bought the Stillman Foot grist-mill in 1801, and about 1804 erected the large brick house on the Bell lot, now owned by Mr. Sayre. Still not content he attempted the establishment of a cotton factory at about the beginning of the War of 1812; after a heavy investment by adding to his mill buildings and in machinery, he was finally forced to relinquish the business; the mills were burned and Mr. Warren sold out his remaining interests and went to Massachusetts.
Captain Ebenezer Markham, who had been a merchant in Canada, and was held there as a prisoner during the War of the Revolution, was committed to the jail limits of Middlebury in 1795, on some debts in which he had become involved. In 1796 he started what is said to have been the first nail factory in the State; it was situated in a room at the end of Stillman Foot’s saw-mill.
During the first year of its operation he lived with his family in the factory. In 1797 he built part of a house on a lot leased of Mr. Foot, which premises subsequently passed to possession of Thomas H. McLeod. In the year 1800 he added to the building in anticipation of the legislative session and opened it as a public house, which he kept until his death. This building was burned in 1875, rebuilt by Mr. McLeod and again burned in 1883, and he has erected the block now standing. Mr. Markham died in 1813; his daughter was the wife of Mr. McLeod.
Samuel Sargeant, whose name has been mentioned, was a goldsmith from Worcester, Mass., and purchased the lot on Weybridge street now occupied by the widow of Harmon A. Sheldon, and also the lot next north of it; on the former he built a small house in which he lived a few years; this he removed to the Wilder lot and built in its stead a two-story house, where he lived until his death in 1847, at the age of eighty years. He continued his business until the infirmities of age prevented. James McDonald married his daughter and lived in the one-story house mentioned. William Flagg afterward purchased and lived in it until his death. It was finally torn down and John Flint bought and built on the site. On leaving the old house, Mr. McDonald purchased the lot where his widow now lives, removed the old house and built the present brick structure. Mr. McDonald was a successful merchant in what is now the Allen block, and was succeeded by Harmon A. Sheldon, who continued there until the completion of the Davenport building, to which he removed. In 1859 he built the brick store which he occupied until his death in 1870, aged fifty.
Thomas Hagar purchased in 1813 the lot and small house constituting the premises afterward occupied by Hon. Samuel S. Phelps, and built the large house now owned by and the birth-place of Hon. Edward J. Phelps. There Judge Phelps resided until his death in 1855, in the sixty-second year of his age. Judge Phelps attained eminence in the legal profession and was elected to high political offices. His public career is elsewhere described.
Jonathan Hagar, a leading man in many respects in the early part of the century, was born in Waltham, Mass., in 1778, went to Montreal about 1800 and opened a wholesale shoe store, going to England for his goods. In the War of 1812, rather than take the oath of allegiance to the government, he came to Middlebury, near where his parents had settled. On visiting near the lines he was arrested as a spy and imprisoned in Montreal for six months. After his return he engaged in mercantile business in 1812, which he soon changed to book selling, and continued the same until 1852. He was several years a member of the Legislature, and held many other prominent offices in town.
The lot between Mr. Dodge’s property mentioned and the Wilder lot, and which is now the property of Mrs. James M. Lamb, was formerly owned by General Hastings Warren, who built a small house there and sold it in 1815 to Nichols & Pierpoint, cabinet-makers, who built a shop on the lot. The present house was built by Russell Vallett, who owned the place in recent years.
In 1797 James Jewett began an apprenticeship in the cloth-dressing business with John Warren, whose career has been described. In 1806 they entered into partnership and purchased the carding machinery of Artemas Nixon, which he had established here in 1801, the first brought into the county. Mr. Jewett afterward purchased of Zelias Hall part of a lot which he had bought of Colonel Storrs and built a dwelling house; on the other part of the lot, now owned by J. J. Wilcox, Hall removed a blacksmith shop and fitted it up for a dwelling. According to Dr. Swift, the lands in this neighbor hood were largely purchased of Colonel Storrs, but most of the original settlers were only temporary residents. The first house on the lot now occupied by Prof. Parker, was built by Nathan Hubbard; from him George Cleveland purchased it and about 1814 enlarged or rebuilt the house; he came to Middlebury as early as 1806 and was in mercantile business for several years, and was postmaster for twenty years from 1809. He died in 1851, aged eighty-two.
Soon after the present Cornwall road was opened in 1803, Ethan Andrus, from Cornwall, built the house now occupied by Deacon George Porter, formerly the residence of his father, Deacon Cyrus Porter; the latter died in 1841, aged eighty-five.
In 1810 Jonathan Blinn, from Orwell,purchased the house built by Andrus, as above noted, and after living in it a few years sold it to William G. Hooker, and purchased the lot on the corner of the Cornwall road and the street running south, on which a small house had been built, and erected the present building, owned by Miss Nichols. He died there in 1832, at the age of seventy-one.
The foregoing account must close our description of settlements in the town, except as later details will appear in connection with the various industries and mercantile business of the present day; and the reader must admit that, through the patient labors of Dr. Swift and others, the account is vastly more complete than can now be compiled in almost any other town in the county. It gives a picture of the early settlements, manufactures, etc., as interesting as it is valuable. The men whose incoming and early labors have been thus chronicled, builded, perhaps, “better than they knew,” and gave to the village and town the needed impetus to render it in later years the most prominent in the county. The subsequent growth of the town and village, and the development and advancement of its educational, religious, and social character has been the work of later comers on the stage of action, the record of whose worthy deeds must be largely left to the future historian.
Roads and Bridges.–Almost the first public work of the pioneer in any locality is the opening of roads and the building of bridges; they are a prime necessity everywhere. The first pathways over which the early settlers passed were mere cuttings through the woods; and even these were preceded by the line of blazed trees. The first highways surveyed in this town, as far as known, were laid out in April, 1786, by a proprietors’ committee composed of Benjamin Risley, John Chipman, Robert Huston and Jonathan Chipman. The first road was surveyed eight rods wide, beginning at the south line of the town and running north on the west line of the west tier of home lots to the New Haven line. This broad highway running through what was intended to be the center of the town was designed as a sort of trunk road, with which the cross roads were to be connected. It was re-surveyed by the selectmen in 1788 as far as the Philip Foot farm, where the road to the falls leaves it. In September, 1789, the remainder was surveyed to the New Haven line; but it was never opened farther north than where the Nichols and Wheeler mill was located.
The second road was laid out six rods wide, from the south line of the town, near where Captain Boardman lived, and running northerly until it joins the first highway near Allen Foot’s residence.
The third road surveyed at that time was made four rods wide and began in the west line of the last-mentioned road, near the poor-house, and ran westerly by Jonathan Seeley’s to the bank of the creek near the three-mile bridge.
The fourth highway began where the last one terminated and ran along the east bank of the creek over the site of the village to the New Haven line; this road was made six rods wide northerly of the creek and four rods wide south of it.
The fifth road began at the Salisbury line, crosses the river near Jonathan Seeley’s and joins the third-mentioned highway; this is known as ” the Middle Road.”
The sixth is a six rods road beginning, as the record says, “in the west line of an eight rods highway and on a public lot” (probably the glebe lot), north of the Philip Foot farm, and running westerly to “the west line of the highway running from the falls to New Haven,” near the falls. In 1788 the selectmen laid out a road from near the Philip Foot place and running into the last mentioned near the farm now owned by William H. Cobb. In November of the same year they laid out what is known as “Preston’s Road,” running southerly through Munger street, and thence easterly to the line between the two tiers of home lots, and on that line southward; this road has been discontinued south of where Smith Severance lives. All of these roads, while they served the purposes of the inhabitants, with minor modifications, for many years, have been supplemented with others and more or less changed to their present condition.
The first bridge over the creek at the falls, subsequent to the one built by Mr. Foot in 1787, was erected in 1799; the first one on the site of the “three-mile bridge” was built in 1801, though it is probable a primitive crossing-place was made there earlier. The bridge at the falls was rebuilt in 1811, and again in 1823, when the old abutments of logs were replaced by stone, extended farther into the stream, and one stone pier built, the other portion being a wooden trestle; the result of making this part of the bridge on that plan was that in the freshet of 1832 the wooden portion was carried away. The other stone pier was then built and the bridge repaired. Except occasional repairs the bridge stood thus until 1835, when the present commodious and substantial bridge was built, which has been kept in good condition by necessary repairs since that date.
The Three Mile Bridge, as it is termed on account of its being about that distance from the village, was built, as stated, about the beginning of the century; but as it and the road leading to it were not much used in early years, the selectmen voted in 1815 to discontinue both. In 1822 a petition was issued by some of the inhabitants, and the court ordered a new highway opened, varying somewhat in its course from the former one. At the next meeting, in March, 1823, the selectmen were ordered to build the bridge and “repair the road to Cornwall, or build a new one.” This order was not very promptly executed and the town was indicted in consequence, and at the December term in 1824 was fined $284 and costs. At the next meeting the town laid a tax to pay this judgment, with which the road and bridge were constructed. The present covered bridge was built in 1836, and has been well maintained since that date.
During a period early in the century a great deal of interest was awakened in the building of turnpikes and the incorporation of companies for their management; almost a fever of enthusiasm followed and swept over most parts of the country. In this town the Legislature of 1800 chartered with others the “Centre Turnpike Company,” which was given the privilege of constructing a road from the court-house in Middlebury to Woodstock, with a branch to Royalton. This was a heavy piece of work and was not finished until 1808. In later years this highway was surrendered to the various towns through which it passed, the tolls not being sufficient to keep it in repair. In this town the surrender occurred in 1817, as far as the foot of the mountain, and farther east at a later date.
“The Waltham Turnpike Company” was incorporated in 1805 to build a turnpike from the termination of the one before mentioned to Vergennes. General Samuel Strong was the moving spirit in this company and held the most of the stock. In 1828, after a long struggle for profitable existence, the Legislature declared the highway a “free public road,” and the company surrendered its charter.
The numerous changes in the highways and opening of some later ones need not be traced here; it is sufficient to state that the town has, as a rule, maintained its roads in good condition for the travel of the community.
The War of 1812.–There is little to note of the history of this town succeeding the settlements before chronicled, until the approach of the War of 1812. In the mean time the inhabitants had passed through a time of great scarcity in the year 1790, and had entered upon the sufferings caused by the epidemic of the fall of 1812, to which reference has been made in noting the deaths of many of the early settlers. This epidemic of a species of fever continued through the year 1813 and into 1814 and carried away many of the prominent men and women of the State; its ravages were confined principally to adults. During the months of January, February and March, 1813, the deaths in Middlebury were forty-seven, in a population of 2,300, according to a statement of Dr. Willard.
In 1801 occurred the event which is of paramount importance in all new communities–the publication of the first newspaper. The name of the journal was the Middlebury Mercury, and Joseph D. Huntington and John Fitch were the publishers. A full account of this enterprise and its successors is given elsewhere in this work.
The events that led to the last contest with Great Britain and the details of the struggle are matters of general history, and need not be entered into here, except as that they bear local interest and significance. The following paragraph in regard to events that transpired in this town near the opening of the contest, is from Dr. Swift’s work: “Soon after the declaration of war in June, 1812 in pursuance of the act of Congress authorizing the president to call on the different States for detachments of militia to the number of 100,000 men, a brigade, consisting of four regiments, was called for from Vermont, under General Orms, of West Haven, and ordered into actual service, and was concentrated at Burlington. The men composing the brigade were designated by drafts, except when volunteers offered themselves. There were, at the time, five or six young gentlemen studying law in the office of Hon. Horatio Seymour, all of whom, as well as their instructor, were friends of the administration, and rather zealous supporters of the war; and, for that reason, the office was honored with the designation of the ‘War Office.’ Four or five of these were enrolled in the standing militia company then under the command, we think, of Capt. Joseph D. Huntington. The company consisted of seventy or eighty non-commissioned officers and privates, and about thirteen were to be taken from the number. When the company was paraded for the draft, the officers called for volunteers, and suggested the expectation that the young gentlemen who were so zealous for the war,–referring particularly to the law students,–would have patriotism enough to volunteer. But none offered themselves. When the officers retired to make the draft, and returned to announce the result, it appeared that, among others, the following law students were drafted,–Hon. Zimri Howe, of Castleton; the late Hon. Samuel S. Phelps, of Middlebury; Walter Sheldon, esq., and the late John Kellogg, esq., of Benson.
They complained that there had not been a fair draft; that they had been selected instead of being drafted; and consulted Mr. Seymour on the subject. He inquired whether they had any evidence of unfairness. When they replied that they had no available evidence, he advised them to shoulder their muskets and go to the war. Judge Howe was soon appointed secretary to Gen. Orms; Judge Phelps, after serving some time in the ranks, received from Mr. Madison the appointment of paymaster; Walter Sheldon, before the troops were called into service, was appointed a lieutenant, and served as district paymaster in the regular service. But Kellogg declined any promotion, and preferred to carry his musket in the ranks, which he did during the term for which the brigade was ordered into service. About the 10th of April, 18140, it was reported and understood that a part of the British fleet was seen off Cumberland Head, and their design was supposed to be to attack and burn the American fleet in Otter Creek, in and near Vergennes. On the request of Gen. Wilkinson of the United States army, Gov. Chittenden of Vermont immediately issued an order by a messenger to Colonel Sumner, of Middlebury, commander of a regiment in this county, to call out his regiment, and forthwith to march them en masse to Vergennes for the protection of the fleet. At the time there were few, if any, United States troops at that place. Three of the companies of the regiment belonged to Middlebury, viz., a company of light infantry, commanded by Capt. Samuel H. Holley; a company of cavalry, commanded by Capt. John Hacket, and the standing or flood wood company, under the command of Lieut. Justus Foot–the captain being for some reason absent. The order was received by them on Monday, the 12th of April, and promptly obeyed. The companies were ready to march as early as the middle of the afternoon of the day on which the order was received. Lieut. Foot’s company was, about that time, paraded on the common, and was dismissed under the order to meet at eight o’clock the next morning on the hill just south of Vergennes. A large part of the company, having left their ranks, were immediately on their way to to the place of rendezvous the next morning, each one looking out himself a place to lodge during the leisure hours he might have in reaching the place of meeting at 8 o’clock in the morning. Capt. Allen (who came into the town only a week before, a stranger to nearly all the company, and wholly without equipments or other preparations), and a few others, started too late to reach the place at the appointed time, and found the company quartered in a barn at Vergennes.”
The report which occasioned this alarm proved to be without foundation; no British fleet appeared. Governor Chittenden, who was at Vergennes in consultation with Commodore MacDonough, therefore issued an order on the 19th of April to Colonel Sumner to the effect that the commodore “will be competent to protect the flotilla under his command, after he shall get the galleys now on the stocks afloat,” and instructed the colonel, ” in the event of the galleys being launched to permit the militia under his command to return to their homes, except Captain William C. Munson’s company from Panton, who will remain until further orders”; and that the troops shall be held “in complete readiness to march on the shortest notice, without further orders, to meet any invasion the enemy may attempt.” This was evidence of the old Green Mountain spirit which had filled the State during the Revolution. On the 22d of April an order was issued to Colonel Sumner stating that the governor “has received intelligence that a regiment of the United States army at Plattsburgh had been ordered to proceed to Vergennes for the defense of the naval force”; adding, “Colonel Sumner will therefore, on the arrival of the troops, proceed to discharge the whole detachment under his command.” Four days later the order for discharge was carried out. Ozias Seymour related the following incident to Dr. Swift, relative to this particular period: “A few hours before the troops were relieved, Colonel Sumner called his officers to a council of war, to determine what should be done. Commodore MacDonough was invited to be present and express his opinion. The commodore, in reply to their inquiry, said, in substance: ‘Gentlemen, I am willing to compromise this matter with you. If you will take your militia home, I will take care of the fleet. I am vastly more in danger from your men than from the enemy.’ The occasion of this pleasantry, on the part of MacDonough, is said to have been that one of the militia men in a room occupied as a guard-house, directly under the commodore, accidentally discharged his musket, which sent its contents through MacDonough’s floor, passing near his person, as he sat at his table.”
In the month of May following, a British fleet, comprising a brig, three sloops and thirteen galleys, came up the lake from St. Johns, passed Burlington on the 12th and came to off Fort Cassin, at the mouth of the creek; a brisk fire was opened on the fort, with the purpose of opening a passage up the creek and destroying the American vessels before they were ready for active service. The fire on the fort was not, however, long continued, and was returned vigorously from the works; the fleet was thereby driven off and returned to Canada.
In the early part of September, 1814, the advance of the British under Governor Provost, of Canada, with 14,000 troops, led to the decisive battle of Plattsburgh. On the 6th of that month the advance of the British was met by a reconnoitering party of Americans, and a skirmish ensued, in which several Americans were killed. Great alarm and a general rally throughout the surrounding country followed. Messengers were sent to all parts of this State, and the spirit of patriotism was abroad.
“On the 4th of September,” quoting from Judge Swift, “General Macomb wrote to Hon. Martin Chittenden, governor of Vermont, giving notice of the near approach of the enemy, and said: ‘ Much is at stake at this place, and aid is actually wanted, as the garrison is small, and the enemy in considerable force. Under these circumstances, your excellency, I am sure, will not hesitate to afford us all the assistance in your power.’ Governor Chittenden, on the same day, replied: ‘I shall take the most effectual measures to furnish such number of volunteers as may be induced to turn out for your assistance.’ On the same day, also, he enclosed a copy of General Macomb’s letter to General Newell, of Charlotte, commander of the brigade in that neighborhood, ‘which,’ he says, ‘will show you the situation of our army at Plattsburgh, and the necessity of such assistance as can be afforded. I would recommend it to you to take the most effectual method to procure such number of volunteers as may be had for his immediate assistance from your brigade.’ Colonel Fassett, of the United States army, on the 7th of September, wrote to Governor Chittenden, saying: ‘I learn by Mr. Wadsworth that there is a considerable quantity of fixed ammunition at Vergennes, subject to your order. Can I have a part of it for the volunteers? Please inform me by my son.’ To which Governor Chittenden replied the same day: ‘If there is any [fixed ammunition] subject to my order, this letter may be considered a sufficient order for such part of same as may be wanted.'”
In every town of this region volunteers sprang to arms, and general military enthusiasm prevailed. The troops were not generally organized until they reached Burlington, where they met together and were detailed for passage across the lake. In Middlebury General Hastings Warren, whose name has already been mentioned, made the first direct effort to raise troops. As early as the 6th or 7th of September he appeared on the village common, with martial music, and solicited volunteers. In marching around the common forty or fifty men fell into the ranks, to whom others were added later. Those who for any reason could not volunteer, aided the good cause with liberal contributions of money. The following subscription paper is existent, upon which money was raised for the purchase of ammunition and supplies:
” MIDDLEBURY, September, 1814.
” We, the subscribers, promise to pay Daniel Chipman, Ira Stewart and Jonathan Hagar the
sums annexed to our names respectively, to be appropriated by the said Daniel, Ira and Jonathan,
as a committee, in providing those who shall turn out to defend the country against the invasion,
at the present alarm, with ammunition, arms, and other necessaries, and in their discretion to give
pecuniary aid to such as shall turn out who are needy, or their families.
Horatio Seymour $ 30.00
Joel Doolittle $ 10.00
Thomas Hagar $ 10.00
Eben W. Judd 20.00
Peter Starr 10.00
Lavius Fillmore 10.00
Milo Cook 10.00
W. G. Hooker 10.00
Luther Hagar 5 00
Jonathan Hagar 30.00
Elisha Brewster 5.00
Moses Leonard 5.00
Ira Stewart 30.00
Samuel Mattocks 5.00
William Slade,jr. 5.00
Daniel Chipman 30.00
David Page, jr. 35.00
S. S. Phelps 5.00
Haskell & Brooks 10.00

                _______                   $275.00
General Warren and his volunteers, with many others, did not reach the camp ground until the evening of Saturday, the day preceding the battle, and some not until next morning; others did not arrive until after the battle was fought. General Samuel Strong, of Vergennes, father of Samuel P. Strong, was placed in command of the Vermont volunteers. Major Lyman, of the same place, was appointed colonel. General Warren was first chosen captain of the Middlebury troops, but afterwards advanced to the rank of major, and performed the part of a brave and efficient officer. Captain Silas Wright, of Weybridge, as captain commanded the volunteers of that town and Cornwall, and after the promotion of General Warren the Middlebury men were placed in his or other companies. Jehiel Saxton, of Bristol, was captain, and Daniel Collins, of Monkton, lieutenant, of the troops of those towns; and John Morton, of Salisbury, was captain of the troops of that town. Dr. Zacheus Bass, of Middlebury, went on with General Warren as surgeon, and was employed in the Crab Island hospital in caring for the wounded after the battle.
In the battle the Vermont volunteers did not suffer severely. Dr. Swift quotes the wounding of James Riley, of Weybridge, from the effects of which he afterward died. Bethuel Goodrich was slightly wounded in the foot, and Dr. Bullard, of Weybridge, extracted the ball on the field. Major Lyman died from the effects of a fever contracted in the service, and was greatly lamented.
The number of troops who went from Middlebury is not known exactly, but is supposed to have been between one hundred and fifty and two hundred; among them was Dr. Swift, from whose work we have so often quoted, who then held the office of secretary to the Governor and Council, and acted in that capacity, which gave him exceptional opportunities for observation. Of the gallant MacDonough, with whom he was well acquainted, he speaks in the highest terms.
The following extracts from General Strong’s communications to Governor Chittenden show the condition of the Vermont troops before and after the battle; on the 10th (the day before the engagement) he wrote as follows: “I have been up the river this morning five or six miles, which was lined with the enemy on the north side. They have made several attempts to cross, but without success. This is the line that is to be defended. I have ascertained, to a certainty, the number of militia from Vermont, now on the ground well armed, is 1,812 from New York, 700; regular troops under General Macomb, he says, 2,000. He treated me very kindly.” “We have very strong expectations of 2,000 detached militia, ordered out by General Mooers, arriving soon.” “I hope you and our friends will send four or five thousand to our assistance as soon as possible.” September 11, Sunday, 7 o’clock, P. M., he wrote again: “We are now encamped, with 2,500 Vermont volunteers, on the south side of the Saranac, opposite the enemy’s right wing, which is commanded by General Brisbane. We have had the satisfaction to see the British fleet strike to our brave commodore, MacDonough. The fort was attacked at the same time, the enemy attempting to cross the river at every place fordable for four miles up the river. But they were foiled at every attempt, except at Pike’s encampment, where we now are. The New York militia were posted at the place, under Generals Mooers and Wright. They were forced to give way a few miles until they were reinforced by their artillery. The general informed me of his situation, and wished for our assistance, which was readily afforded. We met the enemy and drove him across the river, under cover of his artillery. Our loss is trifling. We took twenty or thirty prisoners. Their number of killed is not known. We have been skirmishing all day on the banks of the river. This is the only place he crossed, and he has paid dear for that. I presume the enemy’s force exceeds the number I wrote you. What will be our fate tomorrow I know not; but I am willing to risk the consequences attending it, being convinced of the bravery and skill of my officers and men.”
Nothing serious happened “on the morrow,” for the defeat of the British fleet was the signal for the retreat of the entire British army for Canada. A recruiting station was kept up at Middlebury during the whole of the war, and it is believed that about two hundred and fifty men from the towns of Addison county enlisted in the regular army.
Later General History.–The renewed reign of peace and the escapes from the ravages of the epidemic were soon followed by the advent of what is known as “the cold summer”–the season of 1816, and extending in its consequences into that of 1817. This was one of the most remarkable summers ever known in this country; severe frosts occurred in every month and snow fell almost in midsummer; crops were destroyed, and a scarcity ensued in some sections that amounted almost to a famine. But this locality was more fortunate than many others, being less affected by the extreme cold. A more detailed account of this remarkable period has been given in an earlier chapter.
But the inhabitants of Addison county were not of the kind to despair at ordinary or extraordinary adversities; their labors for the upbuilding of society, the improvement of farms, the establishment of manufactures, schools and churches progressed unceasingly; and this town was one of the foremost in advancement. The little hamlet of Middlebury, which in 1793 contained, according to the description of Jabez Rogers, only sixty-two buildings of all kinds, had increased in 1813 to three hundred and sixteen, among which were “fourteen warestores.” Middlebury College was becoming a well-known and successful institution of learning, with a spreading reputation extending far beyond the county. The period from 1810 to 1820 was one of particularly rapid growth in the village in all of its material interests, while at the same time the farmers of the town were transforming their homes into clear and tillable fields. The lumber industry was in early years one of considerable importance in this town. Before the opening of the northern canal to Whitehall, in 1823, lumber was drawn by teams the entire distance to Troy. Deacon David Boyce tells us that his father took three loads there in one season. With the opening of the canal and the great development of the lake commerce, markets were brought nearer at the various docks on the lake shore–a state of affairs that continued until the building of the railroad.
In the year 1826, when the population of the town was about three thousand, and again in the fall of 1841, the town suffered severely from a species of disease which induced puerperal fever. In the first-named year there were thirty-five deaths between January 1 and April 1, nine of them being caused by the disease mentioned, and removing many prominent women. In the other instance the mortality was scarcely less heavy.
Between the “Papineau War,” a predicted war with France, the “bank mania,” as it was termed, the approaching financial crisis, and the general activity in the political field, it was a stirring period from 1835 to 1838. The Vermont anti-slavery society had become of some importance in politics and held its second annual meeting in 1836 at Middlebury, with Samuel Cotting, a former manufacturer of wire screens, etc., here, as secretary. The local newspapers were over-burdened with political discussions, and the columns of the Middlebury Free Press and the Rutland Herald in particular bristled with invective. The Middlebury editor was characterized as “the restless, rattleheaded young man of the Free Press, late of the anti-Masonic party, but now hanging on the skirts of the Van Buren ranks,” while he in return speaks of the editor of the Herald as “Grandfather Fay.” Although Addison county, as stated in an earlier chapter, escaped the disastrous results of that era to a greater extent than many other localities, still new enterprises of a mercantile or manufacturing character were abandoned for the time. General Jackson finally signed the distribution bill by which a large sum of surplus revenue was distributed among the various States, giving Vermont nearly half a million dollars, a measure that for a short time caused a feeling of encouragement; but this was soon dispelled, and the remarkable financial “reign of terror” followed, the details of which have passed into general history.
The first locomotive engine ran into Middlebury on Saturday, September 1, 1849, from Burlington, and was welcomed by the ringing of bells, firing of cannon, and the prolonged cheers of a large crowd of spectators. The first train of passenger cars came in on the 19th of the same month. The first through train from Burlington to Boston ran on December 18, 1849.
The first telegraph office, the “Troy and Montreal line,” was opened in Middlebury February 1, 1848. The office was in the room over the present post-office and John W. Stewart was the first operator.
The railroad era in Vermont (if we may use the expression), occurring between the years 1840 and 1850, was one of importance in all sections. The inhabitants of the various towns had long felt the disadvantages arising from their lack of rapid and cheap transportation to distant and more important business centers, and the opening of the first railroad directly affecting this county in December, 1849, was a welcome event to all classes; the days of long journeys with heavily loaded wagons or sleighs proceeding slowly westward were ended forever; the lake transportation rapidly declined; wharves rotted away and warehouses were empty. Meanwhile the character of the agricultural interest underwent changes, and the present occupation of sheepbreeding and wool-producing gained a prominence that gives Addison county a name throughout the world.
Sheep Raising.–The reader has already learned of the general character of this very important industry throughout the county, in an earlier chapter; to such proportions has it grown, and such skill and knowledge of their business have the Addison county breeders shown, that no other locality in the United States can now boast so exalted a reputation as this for the raising of blooded Merino sheep. The first breeders of importance in this town were William S. and Edwin Hammond, who began in 1844, and the business is now in the hands of their sons, George and Henry. In Judge Swift’s work he says that “at this time (1855) the Messrs. Hammonds’ flock numbers four hundred, including lambs.” From that date on the Hammonds were indefatigable in intelligent efforts to improve their stock, and were very successful. In 1844 Edwin Hammond took up the breeding of what have been distinguished as the Atwood blood and did more, perhaps, than any other man in the county to improve that breed. It was Mr. Hammond’s opinion before his death (which occurred in 1870) that there were better sheep in Addison county than in any other part of the world. W. R. Remele was also an early breeder in Middlebury and contemporaneous with the Hammonds, and he and his son Charles are still prominently engaged in the work in the west part of the town. Albert Chapman has a flock of thirty or forty of the Atwood sheep, and his son, C. A. Chapman, has also a small flock which are noted for their excellence. S. W. Remele has a flock north of the village, and O. P. Lee and U. D. Twitchell have also been conspicuous in this industry. Among others who are engaged in breeding in the town may be mentioned J. E. Buttolph, J. L. Buttolph, J. Wilcox, J. A. Wright, F. M. Foot, F. A. Foot and E. G. Piper. None of these latter is breeding the Atwood sheep.
The Vermont Atwood Merino Sheep Club has its headquarters in Middlebury village, George Hammond being the present secretary; a fact which gives that breed of sheep a degree of prominence in this vicinity that it might not otherwise have gained. On the other hand Middlebury is also the headquarters of the Vermont Merino Sheep Breeders’ Association, with Albert Chapman as secretary; this is a powerful association and wields great influence in the industry. Middlebury consequently enjoys a reputation in this direction that places it among the foremost towns of the county.
The breeding and sale of blooded horses in this town has also received much attention, as it has in other towns of the county. In past years the Morgan and Black Hawk breeds of horses were raised largely hereabouts, as explained in an earlier chapter. Joseph Battell, of Middlebury, is the leading horse-breeder of the town and gives much of his attention to his fine stock farm. He is at the present time mainly interested in the Lambert blood, of which he is the owner of several noted examples.
The Town in the War of the Rebellion— A general account of the part taken by Addison county in the last great civil war has been given in an earlier chapter. Among the various towns of the county, none came forward with men and money to support the government in that struggle with greater alacrity and liberality than Middlebury. The quotas under the various calls for volunteers were promptly filled, and the welfare of the soldiers were watched with jealous care. In the first Vermont regiment of three months men, Company 1 was largely raised in this town and made up almost entirely of the old Middlebury Light Guards, formerly commanded by Captain Charles L. Rose. He went out with the company as first lieutenant and was mustered out with the regiment. The company was commanded by Eben S. Hayward; Oliver W. Heath, second lieutenant. The other officers of the company were as follows: Sergeants, William V. Meeker, Middlebury; James F. Bolton, Otis Abbey and Henry W. Bennett, of Middlebury; corporals, Oscar O. Boorsh, Wilson D. Wright, Middlebury; John Q. Adams, Addison, and Isaac N. Collins, Middlebury; musicians, John W. Taylor and Alanson L. Abbey, Middlebury.
The next company which was largely raised in Middlebury was Company B, of the Fifth Regiment, which went out under command of Charles W. Rose, of Middlebury; he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel of the Fourteenth Vermont Regiment on the 25th of September, 1862. The other officers of the company were Wilson D. Wright, of Middlebury, first lieutenant; he was wounded at Savage’s Station, June 29, 1862, and honorably discharged therefor August 23, 1862; Olney A. Comstock, second lieutenant, killed at Savage’s Station; Charles H. Williamson, of Middlebury, who went out as a private in Company B, was promoted to sergeant, then to first sergeant, second lieutenant of Company K, and transferred to Company B, March 25, 1863; promoted first lieutenant November 1, 1863. Company F, of this regiment, also received many recruits from Middlebury, but was mainly raised in Cornwall and Salisbury (see histories of those towns), and numerous other organizations were strengthened by volunteers from this town.
Company C, of the Seventh Regiment, contained a large number of Middlebury men, as shown in the subsequent list, and was commanded by Captain Henry M. Porter, of this town. He was a gallant and efficient officer and won rapid advancement; was promoted to major August 28, 1862; to lieutenant- colonel June 29, 1865, and commissioned colonel September 2, 1865. Charles McCormic, who enlisted as a private in this company, rose through the intermediate offices and received a commission as first lieutenant October 28, 1864. Isaac N. Collins, of Middlebury, enlisted as private in this company and was commissioned second lieutenant January 28, 1863; he resigned in October of that year.
Company E, of the Fourteenth Regiment, was raised almost wholly in Middlebury. Edwin Rich went out as its captain; Henry B. Needham as first lieutenant, and Andrew J. Child as second lieutenant; he was of Weybridge. For sketches of these regiments and others, the reader is referred to Chapter VIII.
The second company raised in the county (which it is proper to refer to here) was largely from Addison and captained by Solon Eaton. Amasa S.Tracy went out as first lieutenant of this company, which was, chiefly through his influence, transferred to the Second Regiment from the Third, to which it had been assigned. Colonel Tracy was promoted to captain of Company H, January 24, 1862; April 2, 1864, he was promoted to major, and to lieutenant-colonel June 17, 1864. He was wounded May 3, 1863, and October 19, 1864; received brevet-colonel April 2, 1865, for gallantry in the assault of Petersburgh, and mustered out with his regiment. Colonel Tracy’s military record is one that does him honor in every sense, and his services are appreciated by his fellow citizens at their true worth.
Lyman E.Knapp, at present town clerk of Middlebury, went into the service as captain of Company 1, of the Sixteenth Regiment, his commission bearing date of September 20, 1862; was wounded July 3, 1863, and mustered out August 10, 1863, at the end of his term of service. He then re-entered the service as captain of Company F, Seventeenth Regiment, and was promoted to major November 1, 1864; was wounded May 12, 1865, and April 2, 1865; December 10, 1864, he was promoted lieutenant-colonel, and mustered out with his regiment.
The following list shows the enlistments from this town in Vermont organization, as recorded in the State papers:
Volunteers for three years credited previous to call for 300,000 volunteers of October 17, 1863: O. Abby, J. Alexander, C. H. Bain, F. Baker, D. G. Bannor, E. D. Barber, D. Barrett, jr., J. Barrett, E. S. Bidwell, B. W. Billings, J. F. Bolton, P. Brady, L. J. Burton, J. Caffrey, P. Champagne, H. J. Carpenter, A. Carr, A. W. Chalmers, A. Chambers, R. W. Champlin, H. Clark, H. H. Cobb, C. Collins, I. N. Collins, L. Comstock, O. Comstock, J. Cox, J. Cummings, F. Cunningham, M. Cunningham, W. Daniels, W. Dewey, P. Donahue, P. Donnelly, M. Dudley, A. Durand, I. L. Eels, A. A. Enos, M. S. Fales, C. Ferris, E. M. Finney, D. Fitzsimmons, F. L. Forbes, P. Foer, J. A. Freeman, H. M. Frost, J. Galvin, M. Gilligan, H. E. Gilman, L. E. Gilman, F. Goodnow, W. H. Goodnow, J. Grace, J. W. Grant, A. R. Green, S. Hartley, O. L. Heath, E. M. Hosmer, E. Howe, C. C. Huntington, L. Hyatt, J. M. Hyde, J. Isabell, G. H. Jackson, J. W. Jackson, jr., O. Johnson, W. F. Johnson, W. Latimer, J. Manney, R. Manney, E. Marion, J. Marshall, W. Martin, W. Masters, C. McCormic, W. H. McFarland, J. McSorley, H. H. Moore, J. H. Morrison, N. Murdick, A. M. Nash, J. M. Nash, C. Noirell, J. Noland, C. O. Norton, B. Owens, E. B. Parker, J. E.Parker, H. E. Perkins, F. H. Piper, G. H. Piper, H.M. Porter, J. W. Porter, G. Portwine, H. M. Pottie, G. W. Randall, J. Roach, J. Roberts, T. Rodd, J. Rooney, C. W. Rose, W. J. Rose, P. Ryan, S. Severance, A. M. Shaw, A. C. Sherwood, A.Smith, D. H. Smith, J. Smith, W. Smith, J. St. Mary, P. Stone, J. Sullivan, F. L. Sumner, L.W. Sumner, F. Swift, E. Tatro, P. Taytro, G. C. Taylor, J. W. Taylor, W. Taylor, A. S. Tracy, J. Trudeau, J. L. Turner, A. F. Walker, J. Ward, H. C. Wheeler, A. Williamson, C. H. Williamson, E. S. Williamson, H. S. Williamson, J. T. Williamson, A. B. Wilson, D. O.Wilson, C. Wright, R. S. Wright, W. D. Wright, D. W. Yale.
Credits under call of October 17, 1863, for 300,000 volunteers, and subsequent calls:
Volunteers for three years.–M. W. Bentley, W. Bradley, J. A. Collins, P. Donahue, L. F. Dow, O. C. Gage, L. E. Gilman, A. Lacaille, R. H. Linsley, J. E. Nash, W. H. H. Parker, C. Pemberton, G. H. Ploof, H. J. Porter, W. Smith, G. F. Taylor.
Volunteers re-enlisted.–H. M. Adams, J. W. Adams, D. E. Barrett, J. Barrett, L. Barton, E. Bidwell, R. W. Champlin, C. A. Collins, P. Donnelly, I. L. Eells, A. English, A. Gaulin, H. H. Gilman, J. Grace, G. Greenleaf, E. Howe, J. M. Hyde, W. F. Johnson, W. Martin, W. Masters, C. McCormick, N. Murdick, A. M. Nash, J. M. Nash, H. E. Perkins, H. L. Perry, F. H. Piper, G. W. Randall, I. Scott, A. Smith, E. Tatro, H. Taylor, J. W. Taylor, A. Varney, N. Varney, H. S. Williamson.
Naval credits.–D. R. Wheeler.
Veteran Reserve Corps.–W. Daniels.
Miscellaneous, not credited by name.–Four men.
Volunteers for nine months.–O. Abbey, G. N. V. Abbott, D. W. Adams, G. W. D. Blazo, H. R. Brown, J Brunelle, C. Brush, C. Bruya, F. Bruya, C. L. Clark, W. B. Cobb, L. H. Cogswell, I F. Cotton, J. W. Donnally, T. Dutton, J. Farrell, L. Forbes, A. Fontaine, W. Galvin, H. C. Goodrich, C. Grant, Greenleaf, J. Haley, J. F. Haley, G E Huntington, M. C. Kendrick, J.W. Lawrence, A. M. Lee, G. E. Makinster, J. Marion, J. McCue, C. McGoldrich, J. McSorley, J. H. McWhirter, S. McWhirter, E. Mullen, P. Mulligan, H. B. Needham, A. Olmstead, E. J. Olmstead, W. H Olmstead, A. Palardy, P. Paydy, A. Peck, H. T. Powell, J. F. Powell, H C. Rice, E. Rich, C. W. Ross, C. C. Smith, T. Stapleton, L. St. Mary, H. Taylor, A M. Williamson, W. H. Wilson.
Furnished under draft.–Paid commutation, W. Brown, H. Crane, jr., M. E. Day, J. Fales, G. W. Hewett, S. S. Hill, H. R. Holder, W. J. Mead, H. H. Nichols, H. G. Peabody, A. J. Severance, E. C. Severance, M. T. Shackett, E. Vallette. Procured substitute, H. W. Hammond, W. S. Longworthy, F. N. Nason, L. D. Sessions. Entered service, O. W. Heath, N. Hyer.
In the town records the first notice of official action in relation to war measures appears to be under date of April 19, 1861, when a resolution was passed that Calvin Hill is a suitable person to act as agent for the town in distributing the State bounty.
On the 9th of September, 1862, it was resolved “that the town will vote a tax to pay a bounty of $50 to all town residents who enlist under Captain Rich, and are accepted and mustered.” This prompt and liberal action resulted in rapid enlistments.
At a special meeting held December 7, 1863, it was resolved that a bounty of $300 be paid to all who enlist from the town to the number eight, under the required quota in the then last call for 300,000; a tax of thirty cents was voted for this purpose.
On the 18th day of July, 1864, a call was made for 500,000 men, and if the number was not raised in fifty days a draft was ordered made. To avoid this draft the selectmen were authorized to enlist and secure credit for twenty-five men and pay such bounties as their discretion prompted; and to borrow money for the purpose at six per cent. interest, payable in ten annual installments. The selectmen were instructed to proceed with this work without any unnecessary delay. Re-enlistments under this call relieved the town from raising but very few men, and at a special meeting, held September 26, 1864, it was resolved to pay all such recruits $300 each.
On the 19th of December, 1864, another call for 300,000 men came from the president, which if not filled before was to be followed by a draft on the 15th of February following. The selectmen were again authorized to procure the necessary volunteers and to pay such bounties as were necessary to effect that result. For the sums necessary for this purpose the town borrowed funds and gave its bonds payable in five annual installments. The preceding list gives the number of volunteers under these various calls and the other particulars relative to volunteers from the town.
Since peace again settled over the land nothing has occurred to disturb the progress and growth of the town: and to-day there are few communities in the State that are more happily situated in all respects than this.
Present Town Officers.–Following are the principal town officen at the present time: Clerk, Lyman E. Knapp; treasurer, C. E. Pinney; selectmen, W. H. Allen, J. W. Halladay, Augustus Matthews; constable, M. A. Munroe; superintendent, Ezra Brainerd; listers, P. S. Severance, E. Vallette, G. L. Porter; agent, James M. Slade.
The following figures show the population at the dates given: 1791, 385; 1800, 1,263; 1810, 2,138; 1820, 2,535; 1830, 3,468; 1840, 3,161; 1850, 3,507; 1860, 2,879; 1870, 3,086; 1880, 2,996.
The site of the village of Middlebury possesses much natural beauty, and at the same time could scarcely have been much better adapted by nature as a point for the location of a thriving community. It is built on both sides of Otter Creek, from the immediate banks of which the land rises in gracefully rounded hills which stretch away on the east to the Green Mountains and on the west gradually become more level as the shores of the beautiful lake are approached. Otter Creek at this point is a beautiful stream which is fully entitled to rank as a river; it sweeps into the village with a graceful curve and placid surface until the head of the falls is approached, when the waters in tumult break over jagged rocks, which lash them into snowy foam. This descent supplies an almost unlimited water power, the utilization of which led to the selection of the site and has been one of the prime factors of its growth in later years.
Of the site in early years the following account is given in Judge Swift’s work:
“None but an enterprising and persevering population would have undertaken to build up a village where it stands. The thick hemlock and pine forest which covered it, as well as the soil, was uncommonly forbidding. The first settlements were made only with reference to the establishment of mills and the necessary dwellings for that purpose. The settlers were poor, and were induced to open in the forest only a sufficient space for the erection of their buildings, and perhaps gardens. The trees on the common on the east side of the creek were probably cut down in 1789, two years after Judge Painter moved here.
“Mr. Abram Williamson, of Cornwall, then fourteen years of age, came into the country, in March, 1790, and drove an oxen team loaded with the goods of the family, while the snow was melting. He states that the trees on the common were cut down and lying on the ground; that a passage for a team was opened through them; that when driving through his sled was several times fastened on the ends of the logs, and that he was obliged to get help to disengage it; and there was very little clearing about the village. At that time, he says, there were six or eight pine trees about Stillman Foot’s house, near enough to fall on it, if falling in that direction. There was no framed house at that time on the west side of the creek but Stillman Foot’s, and no other on either side, unless Judge Painter’s was such. Samuel Miller had the year before built his office, which probably was a framed building. Mrs. Williamson, his wife, daughter of Samuel Blodget, and granddaughter of Asa Blodget, says that the elder James Bentley lived on the ridge south of Davenport’s new house, with his daughter, Mrs. Johnson, wife of Hop Johnson, who had then left the country, and she recollects no other dwelling house on that side of the creek except Foot’s. Mr. Williamson states further that the stumps of the pine trees remained on the common many years after; that the young men in the neighborhood associated together and had a “play day” on Saturday afternoon, and one of their by-laws was that every man who got drunk should be subjected to the penalty of digging up a stump. By this means many of them were removed. But we can testify that several years after the commencement of the present century many remained. Mr. Williamson says also, that several years after he came into the country, probably in 1794, he was hired with his team, by Anthony Rhodes, to draw off and roll into the creek the logs on the land where Rhodes built his house, near Mr. Starr’s office.
“Horace Loomis, esq., of Burlington, in the spring of 1790, then fifteen years old, on his way to Burlington, where his father was beginning a settlement, passed through this village with a drove of sheep, cattle and horses. He states that the timber on the common was cut down, and that John Deming was then getting out timber for his new house; and he was told there was no frame house in the village.
“Mrs. Simmons, widow of John Simmons, esq., and daughter of Harvey Bell, senior, was only four or five years old when her father came to Middlebury, which she thinks was in 1791. She says there was then a grist-mill where Stillman Foot’s mills were, and that Appleton’s mills were built afterwards; that there was little clearing where her father built his house, or on the opposite side of the road to the creek, and that there were no buildings or clearing on the Weybridge street. The first school on the east side of the creek was kept by Samuel Southworth, the young man who was drowned in the creek in company with Samuel Painter, in June, 1797; this she thinks was the first district school. Lyman Pierce set up an opposition school, because Southworth taught the Assembly’s catechism. Pierce succeeded Southworth and kept in the same place. Salmon Bell kept a school two summers in her father’s shop on the west side, previous to the schools above mentioned. Miss Huntington kept a school in the court-house before Miss Strong came, and Mrs. Simmons attended her school there in 1800.”
“Mrs. McLeod, who came to the village with her father’s family in 1796, states (to Dr. Swift) that at that time there were nine families on the west side of the creek besides her father’s, and thirty on the east side; that Stillman Foot had a grist-mill where the north part of the woolen factory stands, and a saw-mill further up the stream on the rocks back of the factory dry-house; below these Appleton Foot had a stone grist-mill and saw-mill; and below these Jonathan Nichols, jr., had built and then carried on a forge and gun factory, which afterwards fell into the hands of Anthony Rhodes….Mrs. McLeod further states that when she came here the grammar school common was a hemlock swamp, and the academy was built in 1798; that the native forest still covered the land from the mills westward to Weybridge street, and that her father’s house was exposed from the fire in those woods. John H. Sherrill then had a store, erected by Jabez Rogers, and afterwards occupied by Benjamin Seymour.”
Benjamin Lawrence came to Middlebury in 1797, and informed Judge Swift that there was then no house on Weybridge street and the land was covered with woods; that Anthony Rhodes’s was the only two-story house on the west side of the bridge, and there were only five on the east side, including the old jail building.
Captain Thomas M. Fitch, who came here from Windham, Conn., in December, 1794, when he was fourteen years old, stated that Mattocks’s tavern was then built and Samuel Foot kept a tavern in the Deming house; those were the only two-story houses in the village. Stumps and logs still remained on the common, and there was a muddy hollow just north of the bridge over which “there was a bridge for persons on foot, and it was very miry near the Congregational Church, where there has been generally in the spring a spot of deep mire. Only about an acre was cleared on the lot where Mr. Chipman afterwards built his large house.” Captain Fitch was able to reckon up but about thirty-two dwelling houses of all descriptions in the village.
It is well known that Rev. Timothy Dwight, D.D., then president of Yale College, made several trips through this region, the first of which was in 1798. In his journal he wrote as follows:
“The township of Middlebury began to be settled about the year 1783. About 1794 the inhabitants began to build a village on both sides of the river, at the falls in the northwest part of the township. The number of houses when we were on the spot was perhaps thirty. Several of them were pretty buildings.” “Several mills had been erected at this place in 1798. A brewery had been established, several stores had been built, a considerable number of mechanics and several gentlemen in the liberal professions had chosen this spot as their residence. An academy was also nearly completed, which was intended to be the germ of a future college. Upon the whole the seeds of future respectability were already sown.”
These pictures of early scenes on and near the site of the present beautiful village may seem to indicate an almost primitive wilderness; but the site was, in fact, as far advanced as almost any other in this vicinity which had not been much longer settled. The young manufactures which have been described, and the first mercantile business held out what seemed to the inhabitants of that day suffficiently bright promise for the future. In any event they did not hesitate to invite the Legislature to hold its session for the year 1800 in the little village, and made Herculean efforts to provide such accommodations as would impress the members with the importance of the place. New houses were built, older ones enlarged, and all made preparations for the reception of guests. When the Legislature of 1806 met here, still more ample accommodations awaited the members.
A traveler named Edward Augustus Kendall made a tour through this State in 1807-08, and published an account of his observations, entitled Travels through the Northern parts of the United States in the years 1807 and 1808. In volume III we find the following, relative to Middlebury and vicinity, which is both interesting for these pages and of great value, as the old work mentioned is now scarce:
“Following Salisbury is Middlebury, which contains one of the principal villages in Vermont. A cataract of considerable volume, formed by the water of the Otter Creek, has afforded seats for numerous mills, and this, as has been before represented, is in most situations a sure foundation for a flourishing village. On this cataract, besides forges, fulling and flour-mills, and the ordinary works, is a saw-mill, applied to the purpose of sawing marble. All the surrounding rock is marble, and the mill, which has the river at its back, has a quarry at its door. Specimens are shown of white, gray and brown marble, of which the two latter are very pleasingly veined. The slabs receive a very high polish, and are well adapted for chimney-pieces; but they are also in demand for grave-stones, of which latter, some that are first fancifully engraved, are sold at forty dollars. The saw, which, in sawing timber, moves vertically, moves, in this marble saw-mill, in a horizontal direction. This application of the instrument originated with Dr. Judd, the present proprietor.
” Middlebury contains a college, or university, by which, at its commencement this year, degrees were conferred on seven students and others.”
In the Vermont Mirror of September 15, 1813, appears the following letter, which is pertinent to the subject under consideration:
“To the editor of the Vermont Mirror:
“In April, 1793, I came to Middlebury, and I counted every building in the village of Middlebury Falls, and found the number to be 62; and in the year 1813, I have counted them again, and find the number to be 316, of which 146 are dwelling-houses, 14 ware stores. The dwelling houses, which stood here in 1793, were chiefly log houses, and almost wholly mere temporary buildings built with small expense. There are now twenty dwelling houses in this village, either of which cost more than every building standing in 1793.
” Middlebury, 28th August, 1813.”
The little village began to grow and give promise of its future. In 1791 the population of the entire town was only 395. In 1800 this had increased to 1,263, and in 1810 to 2,138. This was a remarkable growth for that period and was not exceeded nor approached by that of any other town in the county.
Early in the century many of the older houses and business buildings began to give way for more commodious and pretentious structures. In Dr. Dwight’s records of his journeys made in 1806 and 1810, he says: “In both these journeys, and particularly in the latter, I found Middlebury changed into a beautiful town, consisting of about one hundred and fifty houses. The inhabitants had finished a large and handsome church. The private dwellings are generally neat, and in several instances handsome. The town contains a book-store, a printing-office, twelve or fifteen stores, belonging to merchants and druggists, and a great number of mechanics’ shops.” “At the same time religion had prevailed in this town more than any other in the State; and controls very obviously the manners and the character of the inhabitants, in a degree uncommon and delightful.” ” On the whole Middlebury is one of the most prosperous and most virtuous towns in New England.”
Between 1810 and 1820 the business interests of the village rapidly multiplied, as will be noted in our account of the mercantile and manufacturing industries further on. According to Dr. Swift, during this period Middlebury village “was the centre of mechanical and mercantile business to a much larger extent than afterwards. In no place were the mechanics especially more prosperous, and several were ruined by their prosperity.” The population of the town increased from 2,138 in 1810 to 2,535 in 1820, and all material interests were very prosperous.
Succeeding 1820 advancement was not rapid; indeed, there was almost a standstill, and particularly as the end of the third decade of the century was approached. Villages sprang up and maintained mercantile and manufacturing business which had previously been attracted to Middlebury; and the opening of the Northern Canal in 1823 created a heavy draft on the place, by building up important points along the lake; much of the trade of the northern and northeastern towns, which had been drawn to this village, went to Vergennes, on account of its navigation facilities. Between 1830 and 1840, according to the census, the population of the town decreased more than three hundred, of which the village lost its share; though during the succeeding ten years a fair rate of increase was shown, and it has been supposed possible that the census of 1840 was carelessly taken. When Dr. Swift published his work he requested David S. Church to make a census of the village, which showed a population of 2,070; but the town population of 1850 (3,507) has never been reached since. This condition might, as believed by sagacious men, have been changed had proper enterprise and liberality been shown in all cases to the development of manufactures, as the splendid water power and the shipping facilities secured by the building of the railroad would seem to have warranted.
Incorporation, etc.–One of the earliest demands upon the public in all young villages is to provide means for the extinguishment of fires, and such was the case in this village. As early as 1808 the Middlebury Fire Society was incorporated by the Legislature, a company was formed and an engine purchased. This first fire company was finally disbanded and the engine sold to satisfy a small indebtedness.
The next effort towards separate village government was made in 1816, when the Legislature passed an act incorporating the “borough of Middlebury with power to hold property for the use of the borough, erect public buildings, levy and collect taxes, make by-laws, appoint fire wardens,” etc. On the 7th of April, 1817, a code of by-laws was passed, which was signed by Samuel Swift as clerk, and Daniel Chipman, moderator. Ozias Seymour had acted as the first moderator, and Harvey Bell, clerk. Among the other early provisions the bailiffs of the place were directed to furnish each of the fire wardens with a staff, of such length and color as they think proper, so they might be distinguished in time of fires. The destructive fire which burned the hotel on the site of the Addison House, and other structures, no doubt stimulated the inhabitants to efficient action in this direction. On the 29th of April, 1818, a tax of one cent on the dollar was levied “for purchasing fire hooks,” etc. But the village was still small and the taxes necessary for the proper conduct of the village affairs were a considerable burden. The organization fell into disrepute and was finally discontinued.
The act of incorporation was revived in 1832 by the Legislature, and on the 2d of January, 1833, the government was organized by the selection of the following officers: Harvey Bell, clerk; Ira Stewart, Charles Linsley, J. Hagar, Lavius Fillmore, Elisha Brewster, Cyrus Birge and Zacheus Bass, trustees; James McDonald, treasurer; Wm. Sargent, collector. A most destructive fire had occurred on the 24th of March, 1831, in which were burned six buildings in the center of the village. This occurrence convinced the thoughtful people of the place that some kind of organized government, which should have the power to provide effective means for the extinguishment of fires should be established. The boundaries of the corporation were fixed as follows:
“Commencing on the east bank of Otter Creek at the lower falls near the east gate-post of canal to pulp-mill, thence running easterly to the northeast corner of said village as now established, thence southerly to a point where the turnpike and creek roads intersect, thence westerly to a ledge in the road a few rods south of the dwelling house of George Porter (to a bolt in the ledge), thence north to Weybridge line, thence east to center of Otter Creek, thence north to the place of beginning.”
At a meeting held on the 17th of April, 1833, a committee, consisting of Henry M. Nichols, Charles Linsley, Jacob Conroe, Adna Smith, Peter Starr, Riley Leonard, William Slade, was appointed to draw a code of by-laws. The incorporation was named “the Village of Middlebury,” and the usual powers given to its officers. For the year 1834 the following officers were elected: James McDonald, clerk; Nahum Parker, treasurer; E. B. Booth, collector, Ira Stewart, Charles Linsley, J. Hagar, Cyrus Birge, Z. Bass, Lavius Fillmore and Joseph Dyar, trustees. A fire company was formed and an engine, a small affair, purchased. In 1844 a tax of eight cents on the dollar was voted for “repairing apparatus attached to the fire-engine and the engine-house and to purchase a new fire-engine and hose, and to purchase a hearse.”
In 1845 E. D. Barber, A. R. Rising and J. M. Slade were made a committee to prepare by-laws “relating to the prevention and extinguishment of fires within the said village.” In the same year Samuel Swift, Ira Allen and James M. Slade were made a committee to inquire about the best way to prevent fires. It was resolved that this committee should report at a future meeting a plan for the organization of a fire company and on the expediency of remunerating the firemen for their services. On the 5th of March, 1845, the committee reported a by-law providing for the appointment of eight fire wardens, the organization of a fire company, etc. On the 26th of March of that year J. M. Slade introduced a bill assessing a tax to procure a fire-engine and apparatus, which, after being twice negatived, was finally, in February, 1846, passed, laying a tax to purchase an engine and ordering the trustees to proceed to the organization of a fire company. In April of that year Levi Peck was given authority to buy an engine, and on the 11th day of that month Mr. Peck and Mr. Piper were authorized to enlist a fire company. The engine was purchased in Waterford and received in January, 1847, and the company was enlisted, not to exceed sixty men. The engine purchased was what has always been known as the “Washington,” and is still in use.
The act of incorporation was amended in 1845, by a provision declaring that the streets and highways in the village should be regarded as “village highways and streets,” and gave the trustees exclusive control of the same, “with the grounds and walks,” and authorized them to “receive and expend for the purposes aforesaid, such portion of the ordinary highway tax assessed upon the inhabitants of said village and property therein, as may be assigned them by the selectmen of the town, which shall not be less than one-third.” In the next year the streets were surveyed and improved and most of them named.
The building and opening of the railroad through the village, as before described, awakened high expectations of future growth and prosperity that have since been only partially realized. The various industries of the place received, however, an impetus, the influences of which have continued to the present; and, as a whole, it must be said that this village can be classed with those that have been materially benefited by better transportation facilities. At a meeting held on the 27th of April, 1849, a communication was addressed to the railroad corporation demanding the construction of a bridge near the Episcopal Church, of the width of the street; this bridge has been maintained in good order since that time.
The question of building an engine-house was repeatedly before the village authorities between 1845 and 1856; but nothing was accomplished in that direction until January of the last-named year, when Harmon A. Sheldon and John H. Simmons were made a committee to ascertain the expense of building an engine-house and purchasing additional hose. Their resort recommended the erection of a building south of Brewster’s brick building, two stories high, thirty-two feet deep, twenty-four feet in front and sixteen feet in rear. This building was accordingly erected and is still in use. About $1,000 were expended at this time. In April, 1864, a committee was authorized to negotiate for the sale of the old Franklin engine (the predecessor of the Washington), and it was disposed of to C. G. White for $50. In 1880 it was voted to purchase a steam fire-engine which was offered the village for $1,500; this is now in effcient use and with the other engine and apparatus provides the village with ample means for the extinguishment of fires. In 1877 two reservoirs were built, one in front of the Addison House and the other in the rear of the jail; a third one has since been built. In 1881 the fire department was voted to be organized, with Darwin Rider as chief but this object was not effected. After one year, on account of absence of definite rules of instruction, no chief has been elected.
A village police force was established in 1866, when Justus Cobb was appointed “a police to act for the preservation of good order and the enforcement of law agreeably to the statute of the State in such cases provided.” Additional members have since been added and the force continued to the present.
Under the wise direction of the various village officers several revisions of the by-laws have been made, notably those of 1874 and 1884, and the streets, sidewalks, parks, and all public institutions and affairs have gone forward as rapidly as the necessities of the inhahitants seemed to demand, and at the same time a wise and conservative economy has been manifested which has kept the corporation free from any oppressive indebtedness. The growth of business, manufacturers, and the establishment of institutions will be traced in succeeding pages.
Town Hall.–Both the town and county buildings located in Middlebury village are now a credit to the liberality and enterprise of the inhabitants. The county buildings have been described in an earlier chapter. Previous to 1883 the old court-house was used for the transaction of town and village public business. But when the old court-house was supplanted by the new one it became necessary to provide a place for the town officers, etc. This situation of affairs led to the erection of the present handsome and commodious town hall. It was erected at a cost of a little more than $22,000, and about $1,000 were added in 1884 for finishing the basement; in this are the court-rooms, while a handsome hall for public meetings, amusements, etc., occupies the upper portion.
The Sheldon Museum, Archaeological and Historical Society.–This society was incorporated by the Legislature of Vermont in 1882, the vestry of St. Stephen’s Church, their associates and successors being the trustees. It is designed to collect and preserve everything indicated by its name. A leading feature is the collection of documentary history of the State, proceedings of Masonic, religious, and other societies, and local town history. The museum, is largely the result of the untiring and unselfish labor of Henry L. Sheldon, of Middlebury.
Present Officers.–Following are the names of the present officers of the village: Moderator, Loyal D. Eldredge; clerk, Henry L. Sheldon; treasurer, Charles E. Pinney; collector, Merrick A. Monroe; auditors, Smith Beckwith, George E. Marshall; water commissioner, Justus Cobb; trustees, James M. Slade, Thaddeus M. Chipman, Albert A. Fletcher, Julus M. Benedict, Loyal D. Eldredge, Andrew T. Marshall and Luther Farnsworth.
Middlebury Post-Office The first regular postal service in Vermont began in 1784, when the Legislature established post routes, with five post-offices, one each in Bennington, Brattleboro, Rutland, Windsor and Newbury.This service continued until Vermont was admitted into the Union in 1790.The rates of postage were first fixed in pennyweights and grains of silver, the single rate being about eight, eleven and fifteen cents, according to the distance. In 1797 the rates from thirty to four hundred and fifty miles were six, eight, ten, twelve and one half, fifteen, seventeen, twenty, twenty-two, and twenty-five cents. The single letter rate was reduced in 1845 to five cents; in 1851 to three cents, and in 1884 to two cents. Postage stamps were first used in 1851.
Following is a list of the Middlebury postmasters, with brief notes pertaining to the office:
Robert Huston was the first postmaster in the village, appointed in July 1793; he held the office about four years. It is not known where the office was kept; but he resided on the Hammond Hill, just east of the village.
Samuel Foot, second official, appointed in June, 1797, continued in office until 1800; office in the “Green store,” north of Mattocks’s tavern, near the site of the present bank; burned in 1816.
Horatio Seymour, December, 1800 to 1809; office in a store which stood between his later brick dwelling house and the Brewster block.
George Cleveland, October, 1809 to 1829; office kept in the Henshaw “Yellow Store,” site of Dyer’s block, where he was then trading; afterwards moved to the “Hooker” store, Merchants Row, and in 1815 to J. Hagar’s block, then just completed.
Calvin C. Waller, May 14, 1829, to 1836; office kept in the basement of the Vermont Hotel, in the northwest corner of the Allen block.
Erastus W. Drury, December 31, 1836, to 1842; office in the northerly addition to the Brewster block; the office continued in this place until the advent of William P. Russell to the office in 1857.
Charles Bowen, March 5, 1842, to 1845. Edward D. Barber, May 16, 1845, to 1848. Emerson R. Wright, October 9, 1848, to 1849. Asa Chapman, May 3, 1849, to 1853. Emerson R. Wright, July 20, 1853, to 1857. William P. Russel, May 20, 1857, to 1861; office in the north store of Brewster’s block, where he carried on the drug trade.
Justus Cobb, June 7, 1861, to 1874; office in the northwest corner of the Allen block.
Amasa S. Tracy, January 28, 1874, to 1881; office moved to Brewster’s addition, where it had long been located.
George Hammond, May 6, 1881, to 1885; office remained where it is still located.
Charles C. Peck, May 6, 1885, and at present in office.
Emerson R. Wright was the first presidential postmaster, appointed by Franklin Pierce in 1853. The salaries of the Middlebury postmasters for each decennial year are as follows: 1800, $36.96; 1810, $112.80; 1820, $598.36; 1830, $630.90; 1840, $638.88; 1850, $742.12; 1860, $947.65; 1870, $1,500; 1880, $1,700.
In the fall of 1793, the year in which the post-office was established in Middlebury, the Legislature passed an act granting to Nathan Bellows, of Poultney, “and his heirs and assigns the sole and exclusive right and privilege of running a stage or stages on the route from Rutland to Burlington,” “for and during the term of ten years.” “After the expiration of two years from the passing” of the act, he was required “to run his stage from Rutland to Burlington and back again to Rutland in every two weeks for the term of four years,” and after the expiration of six years, until the remainder of the term, he was required to perform the service every week, and he had the “liberty to suspend the running of the stage eight weeks in every spring and four weeks in every fall” during his whole term.
According to Dr. Swift, “Mr. Bellows had probably, at the time, the contract for carrying the mail on this route, and the act was probably passed with reference to the then present and prospective arrangement for carrying the mail, as well as to the condition of the roads, and the travel on them. For the first four years the mail was carried through the route once in two weeks, and for the last six years to 1803 once a week. When the stage did not run the mail was carried on horseback. In the fall of 1801 and some time after, a two-horse wagon for a stage was run by Mr. Wheelock, of Rutland, who also carried the mail, once a week, starting from Rutland, on Monday morning, and reaching Middlebury the same day; Tuesday it reached Burlington, Wednesday St. Albans, and the three following days returned to Rutland.”
The Press.–A considerable number of excellent newspapers have been started in Middlebury, only one of which has survived to the present time. The first paper issued in Middlebury was called the Middlebury Mercury, a weekly journal begun December 16, 1801, by J. D. Huntington and John Fitch. Their office was located at the south end of the bridge; but in February, 1804, was removed to the building erected by Jabez Rogers for a dwelling house; this building was removed to make way for the railroad in 1848. In 1806 Fitch retired from the business and Huntington continued it until 1810; a book-bindery and a small stock of books was added to the establishment, as was customary in early years. In the fall of 1802 these men published the first Vermont Register, which issued a number of pamphlets and other publications. In January, 1810 the Mercury was discontinued and no paper was published here until September, 1812. On that date Samuel Swift published the first number of the Vermont Mirror, which was continued by him and T.C. Strong until September, 1816.
The Columbian Patriot was first published September 1, 1813, by N. H. Wright, and was continued under that name about one year and the name then changed to National Standard. Later publishers were William Slade, J. W. Copeland and Copeland & Allen, until it was discontinued in March, 1831 when the office was burned.
The Christian Herald was begun by T. C. Strong, September 25, 1816; six numbers were issued, when the name was changed to the Christian Messenger. The paper subsequently passed to F. Burnap and was discontinued November 23, 1819. This was soon followed by the Religious Reporter, started by Copeland & Allen April 8, 1820, which met its death September 30, of the same year.
The Vermont American was begun April 16, 1828, by Ovid Miner, and lived until September 1, 1830.
Anti-Masonry found an advocate here in the Anti-Masonic Republican, which was launched October 23, 1829, by E. D. Barber; this paper was transferred to E. R. Jewett and was discontinued October 2, 1837, it having in the mean time been given the name Middlebury Free Press.
The Northern Argus was first issued by C. C. Waller, October 2, 1831; it passed to E. H. Washburn, and then, as the Vermort Argus, to H. & E. W. Drury, and later Goodale & Cobb; the name was again changed to the Argus ard Free Press and the publication continued by Barber & Russell, and discontinued by J. M. Stearns in 1841.
The next journal in chronological order was the American, the first number of which was issued November 15, 1821, by H. H. Houghton; this paper was the ancestor of the present Middlebury Register. Between the date of its issue and April, 1836, the office passed through the hands of O. Seymour and J. P. Wheeler, when it was taken by E. Maxham and the name changed to the People’s Press. In the spring of 1841 H. Bell purchased the establishment and assumed the publication on the 11th day of May. He continued the publication until his death, and it then retained his name for a few months, it having assumed the name of the Northern Galaxy in November, 1843; this name was changed to the Middlebury Galaxy in January, 1848. The last change of title occurred in January, 1850, when the paper came out as the Middlebury Register, which name it now bears. J. H. Barrett and Justus Cobb had arranged for the purchase of the office previous to Mr. Bell’s death; the publication took their names in April, 1849, and continued until Mr. Barrett withdrew in April, 1856. The following year it was published by Cobb & Fuller, and then by Justus and Rufus Mead. In April, 1859, Mr. Cobb sold his interest to Wm. J. Fuller, and the publication continued by Mead & Fuller. In 1865 Lyman E. Knapp purchased the interest of Mr. Mead, and the firm of Knapp & Fuller continued the publication until 1875, when Mr. Fuller sold his interest to R. M. Bailey, and the firm became Knapp & Bailey, who carried on the establishment until 1879. At this time Mr. Knapp retired and Mr. Bailey published the paper until December, 1882, when the Register company was formed and continues to the present time. Under this company E. H. Thorp has edited the Register. Mr. Thorp is a graduate of the University of Vermont, class of 1879, and is otherwise peculiarly adapted to the business of journalism. Under his able direction the paper is rapidly gaining in influence and circulation.
Several other journals which, for longer or shorter periods, succeeded in maintaining an existence in this town may be briefly mentioned. The Adviser was published monthly by the General Convention of Vermont from January, 1809, to December, 1815. The Repertory was an occasional publication which was issued by an association from April, 1812, to May, 1817. The Episcopal Register was begun by Rev. B. B. Smith in January, 1826, and continued three years. The Vermont Stock Journal was issued monthly by D. C. Linsley, beginning in January, 1857, and removed soon afterward to New York. The Addison County Journal was begun April 22, 1876, by Cobb, Fuller & Smith, who continued the publication until November 2, 1877, when Mr. Cobb withdrew from the firm; the paper was next published by Fuller & Smith, and was consolidated with the Register January 1, 1883.
Mercantile Interests.–Through the kindness of Henry L. Sheldon we are enabled to place in this work the following complete record of the mercantile business that has been carried on in Middlebury; the record has been compiled by him with great care and much patient labor and is correspondingly valuable:
The first merchant in this place is supposed to have been Jabez Rogers, and he was, according to the opinion of Dr. Swift, also the first in the county. He began business here in 1790 at the north end of the bridge where Cobb’s block now stands. He sold out to Sherrill & Co. in 1796, but traded in several places afterward. His store was twice burned, the last time on the site where he afterwards built a brick house, lately purchased by Governor Stewart.
Anthony Rhodes was the second merchant and occupied a building on the corner where the president’s house stands, and later where the brick Episcopal rectory stood; he was in business from 1793 to 1803. In 1794 Lewis and James McDonald were in business in a store which stood in what is now P. Battell’s garden; they were prominent citizens and successful merchants. Harvey Bell began trade in 1795 in a store in L. R. Sayre’s yard, near the Murray building. From 1796 to 1800, Sherrill, Sisson & Dibble carried on business, succeeding Jabez Rogers, on the Cobb site; this was one of the prominent early firms; and the same may be said of Curtis and Daniel Campbell, who were in trade from 1797 to 1801 in “the Merrill house,” just east of the Congregational Church, which was torn down in 1881. Clark, Lawrence & Co. were in business on Merchants Row in 1797, and in 1800 Samuel Sargent, whose name has been mentioned, worked as a jeweler at the north end of the bridge, over the water. David Dickinson began trade in 1801, and after 1804 went into his then new store, now owned by H.L. Sheldon; his first place of business was where J. McDonald’s house stands; Mr. Dickinson continued in business to 1826. Daniel & Wm. Campbell, a prominent early firm, began in 1801 in the Merrill house, and in 1804 removed to the rear Stewart brick store on the site of Beckwith & Co.’s block; the firm dissolved in 1813. Levi Hooker carried on business on Merchants Row from 1801 to 1810, when he was joined by James Hooker and continued another year. Pomeroy & Williams began the drug trade, and other goods, in April, 1803, in “the store adjoining the bridge” (where Dyer’s block now stands), and removed thence to the store before occupied by the McDonalds; they continued until 1808. In 1801 Ep. Jones succeeded Anthony Rhodes on the President’s corner and continued trade until 1810. In 1804 Samuel Mattocks began business north of the site of the Addison House; in 1808 he was joined by Solomon Williams, and the firm dissolved in December, 1810. In January 1805, Young & Schuyler (Jonathan M. Young and Adoniah Schuyler) began business on Merchants Row; in January, 1805, Schuyler retired, and in March succeeding bought out Young; in 1806 he removed to the south end of the bridge, opposite Henshaw; from 1812 to 1815 he was in the store of the Middlebury Manufacturing Company.
Joshua Henshaw began in 1805 at the south end of the bridge, and in October, 1807, occupied the new brick bank block, where George McCue’s new building now stands; about 1808 he was succeeded by his brother Daniel, who traded in the Markham store adjoining, and also the bank block.
William G. Hooker began business in 1804, and in 1809 became associated with his brother Edward on Merchants Row; he was succeeded by Hooker & Brewster (Elisha Brewster), in a building which is still standing on the bank of the creek, and continued until 1825.
David Page and Luke Wheelock began in 1807 on the site now occupied by Beckwith & Co.; after one year Wheeler retired. In 1812 they sold to Noble and Ira Stewart, who continued until the death of Noble Stewart in 1814; the business was continued, with some minor changes, until 1846–a long and successful mercantile career.
On the 11th of November, 1807, George Cleveland started in a store where Mrs. McDonald’s brick house stands; in 1808 he moved to the site of the Dyer block. In January, 1808, Stephen White & Co. began selling books, etc., one door north of the Congregational Church, and were succeeded in the next year by Mills & White; soon afterward Mills retired and Olcut White continued. William P. Herrick & Co. succeeded Jabez Rogers in 1809 on Merchants Row. Nathaniel Gibson began trade in 1810 where Cobb’s block stands, and also traded on Merchants Row, and finally closed in 1828. In 1810 Philip Davis began the boot and shoe trade on Pleasant street, south of the Mattocks tavern. Swift & Chipman (Samuel Swift and Samuel Chipman) carried on a book trade from 1810 to 1811, one door north of the Congregational Church. Chipman retired in May, 1811. Mrs. Goody sold millinery and dress goods in what is now H. L. Sheldon’s block, in 1811, and for many years.
In 1812 Jonathan Hagar began trade in the old Green store (afterwards the Vallett store); in March, 1815, he moved to his new brick block and in 1816 sold out to Zina Kellogg. In 1817 he bought out William Slade’s stock of books and continued as a bookseller until 1852, when he sold to Henry L. Sheldon, closing a long and honorable business career. Mr. Sheldon then located at No. 2 Merchants Row, sold out to L. W. Clark, sr., in 1853, who was then engaged in the same business, which he started in 1844, on Merchants Row, and moved to the Allen block; the father died in 1854 and was succeeded by his son, L. W., jr.
William B. Martin & Co. (William B. Martin and Parker & Hough) traded in 1812-13 probably north of the Addison House. In the same period Michael B. Latimer succeeded Daniel Henshaw, in the bank or Adams block, and in June, 1813, sold to Swift & Fillmore; this firm was composed of Samuel Swift and Flavius Fillmore, jr., and was located where Farnsworth is now in business; they added books to their stock, as before indicated. In 1809 and to 1812 McFarland & Leonard traded on the site of the Nichols block, south end of the bridge, and sold to Birchard & Higley. James Satterlee traded in 1812 on the college corner, but was closed out and then resumed business in 1817. Jonathan and Lemuel Barlow began in the Henshaw store, south end of the bridge, in 1812; the former retired after one year and Lemuel removed to the north store in Sheldon’s block, and continued until 1816. From March, 1813, to 1822, Luther Hagar traded at the south end of the bridge where is now the Dyer block. Samuel Mattocks and William B. Martin were engaged from 1813 to 1816 in the store north of the Addison House site. From 1813 to 1816 Benjamin Seymour sold general goods and hats on the site of the Cobb block.
Wightman and Asa Chapman (W. & A. Chapman) began in 1813 on the corner north of the court-house; they continued successfully until October, 1826, when Wightman retired and joined Francis Wilson in a store north of the Addison House; they continued until 1830; Asa Chapman and his sons have been continuously in trade to the present time.
Lavius Fillmore & Son (Lorin B.) sold general merchandise and books in 1814-15; they sold their books to Samuel Swift, and the other stock to Swift and Orin Shaw, who traded where the Buttolph block now stands. Hagar & Ripley (Thomas Hagar and Samuel P. Ripley) began trade in 1814 at the north end of the bridge; they dissolved in 1816, and Mr. Hagar moved to No. 4 Merchants Row. Michael B. Lattimer and Milo Cook traded from 1814 to 1816 in the Adams block where is now George McCue’s building. In 1815 Eliphalet Mitchell succeeded Nathaniel Gibson for about one year, and the latter joined Ira Stewart as the firm of Stewart & Gibson. Ira Stewart was next a member of the firm of Stewart & Matthews (Heman Matthews) from 1820 to 1826, when Matthews retired; from 1826 to 1829 Mr. Stewart was in the firm of George W. Root & Co. In 1815-16 Jonathan K. Barlow was in trade in Hagar’s new block, and sold to John Addoms; the latter moved to the north end of the bridge in 1817. William Meacham began in 1815 in the old jail building and the following year sold to Silas Barrett. He moved about 1818 to the store before occupied by the McDonalds. The store mentioned as occupied by Jonathan Hagar was used by Bassetts & Co. in 1815-16 and was sold out to Nicholas White in the latter year. George Bowen traded in 1815-16 on the site of Dyer’s block and sold in the latter year to R. B. Brown.
Joseph and James McDonald were in business in 1815-16 in a store where Horatio Seymour’s garden was located, which was afterward moved and used for a dwelling by Ozias Seymour; in May, 1816, Joseph succeeded to the business and moved to the north store in what is now the Sheldon block. James occupied the Henshaw store at the south end of the bridge and moved to the Allen block in 1822; he sold to Brown & Sheldon in 1843, after a long and honorable business career. The latter firm was composed of George M. Brown and Harmon A. Sheldon and continued until 1845, when Mr. Brown retired. Mr. Sheldon remained in the Allen block to October, 1852, and moved to the Davenport block, where he continued until his removal in 1859 to his own new brick store; here he continued a successful trade until 1870, when he died and was succeeded by Sheldon & Co., and in 1885 by his son, Dr. William H. Sheldon. The business career of this family has been one of success and credit in all respects.
Timothy Harris traded a short time in the Cobb location in 1816. From 1815 to 1817 Amon Wilcox sold stoves and hardware in the old Vallett store; he then removed to his own store across the street, where he continued for a long term of honorable trade, which closed in 1870. In 1816 R. & J. Wainwright (Rufus and John) began their long and successful business on Merchants Row, which continued until 1838. In 1816-17 Parker & Hough (Isaac Parker and Joseph Hough) were in trade in the stone store east end of the cotton factory; the firm was succeeded by Joseph Hough & Co., in which were associated Jonathan Wheelock and Nathan Wood; in August, 1818, Mr. Wood retired; in June, 1822, Mr. Hough retired, the business having been removed to what is now H. L. Sheldon’s block. In 1823 Mr. Wheelock sold out to William B. Martin, before mentioned, and in 1825 the latter was joined by Mr. Wheelock and the firm continued to 1879; at this time Mr. Martin went into business on the site of Cobb’s block and continued until October, 1831, when he sold to T. Harris; in September, 1829, Mr. Wheelock sold his business to Moses Seymour and A. V. Holley, who continued it until 1831; Harris continued in trade until 1833. Joseph Hough, who retired in 1822, as stated, went into trade in the Adams block in 1824 and sold out in the following year. In 1826 he operated the cotton factory and the store belonging with it; from 1826 to 1830 he was associated with Nathan Wood in trade.
Seymour & Linsley (Benjamin Seymour and Charles Linsley) began business in 1816 on the site of Cobb’s block and in May, 1818, Mr. Seymour retired, Mr. Linsley continuing the business. Nathan Wood, Aaron and Timothy Hall (firm of N. Wood & Co.) ran a store and the grist-mill from 1818 to 1825, and were succeeded by Nathan and David Wood. Mr. Wood continued alone and in different firms until 1856 and was one of the leading business men of the village.
Philip Heartt began trade in 1820 in the block on Mr. McCue’s present site; in 1822 he was joined by his son and in 1823 they moved to the old “Green store,” and continued to 1825, when the business was purchased by Horace Boardman, son of Joel; it is supposed that he failed about 1827.
Hastings Warren began trade in 1823 in the Henshaw store at the south end of the bridge, which he continued until 1828 and sold to Harris & Warren (Timothy Harris and William Y. Warren), who continued to 1831. Joseph Dyar was a jeweler in Smith & Sheldon’s block from 1822 to 1851; during this long period he earned an enviable reputation for integrity and uprightness. He manufactured clocks which are now highly prized.
The firm of Hooker & Brewster has been mentioned. They were succeeded by Elisha Brewster in 1823, and in 1832 the firm became Brewster & Fish, which continued to 1837, George H. Fish being the associate. E.W. Brewster then joined his father, Elisha, and they occupied his new block, where they continued until his death in 1838.
Charles Bowen was one of the leading business men from 1823 to 1845, when he traded in drugs, books and general goods in the Masonic Hall store; he subsequently changed his location several times before his closing about the date mentioned. Asa and Oliver Field were in trade in 1826 at the south end of the bridge.
In 1827 Zechariah Beckwith began mercantile business in the rear store of what was then the Dickinson block, where the barber shop is now kept; he later removed to the front store of the same block and to the Davenport block in 1852 (now the Battell block). In 1860 the business passed to Beckwith & Co., his son, Smith Beckwith, and G. S. Wainwright constituting the firm. During the career of Z. Beckwith, and from 1841 to 1846, Cyrus Dorrance was associated with him; and from 1850 to 1852 the firm of Z. Beckwith & Co. was composed of the senior and Charles G. Wainwright in the Masonic Hall store; this business was afterwards continued by Mr. Wainwright until 1854. The present firm of Beckwith & Co. is composed of Smith Beckwith and Gardner S. Wainwright; in 1883 the firm occupied their commodious and elegant new block, one of the finest business edifices in this section of the State, where they carry on a very large and successful trade.
In 1830 J. Nelson Rogers began trade in the N. Wood’s store, and in the following year the firm of J. N. Rogers & Co. moved to the H. L. Sheldon block; they were succeeded in 1832 by A. Manning. From 1828 to 1832 Ephraim R. Smith traded first in the Nichols block, which was burned in 1831, and then in the store north of the Addison House. Between 1828 and 1830 Moses Cutter carried on business on Merchants Row.
Martin H. Birge took the “Green store” in 1830; the next year the firm was composed of Cyrus and M. H. Birge, and in 1834 Cyrus Birge took the business alone. The same store was occupied until 1838, when the business was moved to Brewster’s block, and the firm became in 1845 C. Birge & Son. In December, 1846, the business was closed out.
The firm of Cutter & Rogers (George W. Cutter and Edward G. Rogers) succeeded Moses Cutter, and moved to the Wood store in 1830; the firm dissolved in 1831, and George W. Cutter continued until June, 1832. In April, 1833, Mr. Cutter occupied the brick store, site of Cobb’s block; in 1834 he moved to Nichols’s block, and continued until 1837. Samuel Sargent, 2d, occupied the factory store, with brick end to street, adjoining Beckwith & Co.’s store, in 1831 and 1832, and was succeeded by Cyrus Smith in July, 1832. From 1831 to 1835 Goddard & Hinsdill (Edward B. Goddard and Stephen Hinsdill) occupied the new store at the lower side of the south end of the bridge, built after the fire of 1831, and continued until 1835. Hinsdill then retired, and Mr. Goddard continued to 1836. Green & Waller (R. A. Green and Marshall S. Waller) were in the Masonic Hall store from 1830 to 1832, when in February they sold to Ketchum & Shaw (Joseph C. Ketchum and Calvin A. Shaw); in 1835 Mr. Shaw retired. Mr. Ketchum continued business until 1839. Nathan Wood commenced trading in the stone cotton factory in 1817. The next year he moved to the Wood store, where Sheldon’s brick store now stands, where he continued most of the time either alone or with several different partners until the store was burned in 1854. He then closed up in the Sheldon block opposite in 1856. He was a very prominent and successful business man. In 1833-34 Timothy C. Smith was in the north store of the Nichols new block, and was succeeded by George W. Cutter, as before noted. In the south store, during the same period, E. H. Johnson had a store, but was unsuccessful. Asa A. Francis took this store in 1834 to 1847, when his son was taken in as a partner. In the next year Parkhurst P. Francis, the son, continued alone; he was closed out in 1850. In 1836-37 Charles H. Doolittle was in the brick store, site of Cobb’s block, and was succeeded by George H. Fish. He continued the sale of drugs principally until 1840. In 1836 Alson B. Crane occupied the store east of the Addison House.
The firm of Slade, Sears & Co. James M. Slade, Thomas P. Sears and Mr. Birge) began business in 1835 in the store near the Phelps house, which was moved away. In 1843 the firm of James M. Slade & Co. was formed of Mr. Slade, Heman and Myron Langworthy, and did business at No. 3 Merchants Row until 1845, and then removed to a store on the railroad bridge, where a successful business was done until 1860, when Mr. Slade retired. In 1836 Joseph Andrus was in business in the Adams block; and from 1837 to 1839 Sidney Moody was in trade in H. L. Sheldon’s block; in August, 1839, he took in as a partner George O. Adams; the latter retired in April, 1840. In 1838-39 George H. Wicker & Co. (H. N. Wright) occupied the store vacated by George W. Cutter, in the Nichols block; the firm dissolved in March, 1839. In this same period, 1838-39, Walter S. Johnson traded with John Wood, in the Wood store, site of Sheldon’s store; Mr. Johnson then continued trade at No. 4 Merchants Row until 1840, when the firm was made A. & W. S. Johnson (father and son), and business continued until 1845, when Austin Johnson closed it out. Walter S. Johnson traded from 1846 to 1850 in the R. & J. Wainwright store and sold to Johnson & Wood, who continued to 1852. From 1839 to 1843 Timothy C. Smith traded in the store just mentioned as vacated by Wicker & Co. John Wood continued the commission business before alluded to as conducted by Nathan Wood, from 1839, for one or two years.
In the old Vallett store business was carried on by John Vallett, with his son Edward in immediate charge, from 1838 to 1846, the firm gaining an excellent reputation. This business was successfully continued by Edwin Vallett until 1872, a long and honorable record.
Artemas Nixon, jr., was in trade about two years in the Nichols block, in rear of A. Francis, from 1840. In 1842 Wm. P. Russel began the drug trade in the Brewster block, which was continued with some changes until 1870; his son E. P. Russel was with him one year. Dr. Russel was a successful and honorable business man, as well as an excellent physician.
Royal D. Farr dealt in stoves, etc., in 1842, on Merchants Row. In 1843-44 Russel & Gridley were in business in Brewster’s block; Gridley retired. Harrison C. Gridley was in the drug trade in 1845 in the Smith & Sheldon block.
Peck Flower (Levi Peck and William Flower) began business in August, 1844, and were succeeded in 1847 by H. Langworthy & Co. The “Co.” in this firm was J. M. Slade & Co., and the business was located in the Nichols block, where business continued until 1852. Mr. Langworthy then assumed sole control and continued in successful trade until 1868. Frank A. Bond then associated himself with Mr. Langworthy and continued until 1873, when Mr. Bond succeeded to the business, and soon built a new store. In 1881 he took as a partner his brother Edward E., and they still carry on a successful trade, and are among the leading Middlebury merchants.
Cyrus Russel sold groceries in 1843 in the Nichols block, over the water, and in 1845-46 Cyrus Birge and his son Henry were in trade in Brewster’s block, as before stated; during the same period William Nash traded in the Stewart store. Charles D. Nash began in the Nash brick block, site of Cobb’s block, in 1846, and in 1847 took in as a partner William S. Goodrich, who continued until March, 1849, when one year later Nash sold to James M. Gordon. He continued to 1853 and assigned to John Stewart.
Adams & Fuller began business in the Ira Stewart block in 1846, and in the same year Adams retired and Fuller sold to C. M. Simmons. In 1848 he sold to R. L. Fuller. Simmons soon took the business again and carried it on until he died in 1857. In 1848-49 Lorin Wainwrigh and Harvey B. Chapman did business in the old Chapman store, north of Masonic Hall; Chapman retired and Wainwright failed. From 1846 to 1849 Edwin C. Carpenter sold stoves, etc., on Merchants Row; he was killed on the railroad. In 1847 James McKeand carried on merchant tailoring.
Henry L. Sheldon began business in 1848 (May) in the Nichols block, over the water, and continued the sale of groceries, etc., until January, 1850. In 1852-53 he succeeded Jonathan Hagar in the book trade at No. 2 Merchants Row and sold to L. W. Clark, as before noted. Pitts & Harris began running the cotton-mill in 1849, and continued to 1852, when Frederick W. Harris retired and Hiram W. Pitts continued to 1872.
In 1850 Carpenter & Holton began as jewelers in the Smith & Sheldon block, and were succeeded by S. Holton; the latter has made several changes in location, and is still doing a successful business in the H. L. Sheldon block.
In 1851 James E. Negus began business as a merchant tailor, and has continued to the present time; he is now located in his own store and has earned an enviable reputation.
From 1852 to 1861 Jason Davenport sold stoves and hardware at No.1 Merchants Row; and William S. Lane dealt in clothing in the Seymour block and later in the Nash block from 1851 to 1856. From 1857 to 1860 Andrew Magovern carried on merchant tailoring, and in the first-named year Edwin R. Clay began dealing in millinery and fancy goods in Cobb’s new block at the north end of the bridge; in 1871 he removed to his own block at the other end of the bridge, where he is still in business. In 1857 Lyman Rockwood began trade in the Masonic Hall store and continued a few years. Henry W. Brewster began as a jeweler in Brewster’s block, south end, in 1859 and has continued a successful trade to the present time. Welch & Earl started in the hardware trade (Michael Welch and Charles D. Earl); in 1866 Earl retired, but again joined the firm in the next year; they continued in what is now the Smith & Sheldon building until 1870. Mr. Earl still continues in the business. Charles J. Soper did a merchant tailoring business from 1861 to 1880 in the Allen block and other places. Bliss Brothers (Edgar J. and Charles H.) were located in the old Hagar three-story store from 1865 to 1867.
From 1856 to 1859 Sidney and William S. Moody continued the drug business before alluded to as carried on by the former; they were in the Seymour block. From 1856 to 1860 William H. Remsen was in trade in the basement of the Allen block. Hiram W. Pitts and Harmon A. Sheldon sold flour, grain, etc., in 1856, and Solomon Parker was in the book trade in 1857 as successor to L. W. Clark, before mentioned. R. L. Fuller, deceased, was succeeded in 1857 by George C. Chapman and Nelson P. Barbour, to 1865, when Barbour retired. Chapman continued to 1868, when his son Charles joined him, in the Stewart block. In the next year Charles retired.
William Slade & Co. (Jennie Ford) did a millinery business on Merchants Row from 1866 to 1881, doing the leading business of the place. Mr. William Slade now deals in ladies’ fancy goods in the Slade store since 1881.
In 1865 William H. Fox began the boot and shoe trade, purchasing the business of P. P. Francis, who had in 1863 succeeded H. C. Wilcox at No. 2 Merchants Row; the next year he sold to N. P. Barbour. Mr. Barbour continued in successful trade to 1875, in the Davenport block. In 1865 John H. Simmons & Co. succeeded A. H. Copeland in the book trade in Brewster’s block. Amasa S. Tracy was the company, and they continued to 1870.
From 1867 to 1875 Leander R. Sayre was in the business in the basement of the Allen block; in 1866 Valentine V. Clay began dealing in flour and feed, in a three-story building between the creek and the railroad; in the same year Orin S. Dickinson succeeded Solomon Parker in selling books, jewelry, etc., in the Allen block. In 1867 Frank W. Soper & Co. began merchant tailoring in the Seymour block and continued to 1871, when the senior member retired leaving Henry Soper in trade, who was succeeded by Charles Ballou.
In 1868 Sheldon & Owen (Harmon A. Sheldon and Benjamin F. Owen) began business in grain, milling, etc., in the old Wood grist-mill on the north side of the creek. Mr. Owen later became connected with other business, as will appear. In 1869, for about one year, Orin S. Dickinson and Edmund D. Munger were associated in business in the Severance store, south side of the creek, over the water; Dickinson then retired and Munger continued to 1872, when he failed. Their stock was books, jewelry and fancy goods.
The firm of H. & M. Langworthy, which has been described, was succeeded in 1869 by Langworthy & Co. (Heman, Myron and Charles P.). From 1869 to 1871 John L. Barker & Co. traded in the Severance block. The drug business of William P. Russel, before noted, was taken by Frank H. Bascom & Co. in 1871, and about a year later W. M. Day succeeded in the store in the Brewster block, and continued to 1876.
Caleb Ticknor and William S. Goodrich began the milling business on the south side in 1869, and in the same year Chauncey L. Case and Norman F. Rider began the drug trade in the Severance block, continuing to 1875; Mr. Rider continued after the fire of that year, in the Case new store; he failed in 1877.
Thad. M. and Charles P. Chapman carried on business in the Stewart block from 1870 to 1875, and were succeeded by T. M. Chapman & Co. (Thad. M. and P. Fletcher Chapman and John Flint); the latter retired in April, 1877.
In 1870 and to 1872 Charles D. Earl and Valentine V. Clay were associated in the hardware trade, at first in the Seymour block and later in the Clay block; they sold to Clay, Wilcox & Hyde. Wilcox & Hyde were successors in 1870 to Amon Wilcox, then the oldest dealer in town, having been in business continuously from 1815; into this firm Mr. Clay came in 1872, in Lane’s new block, and continued until the fire of 1875, with a change of firm name to Hyde, Wilcox & Co., by which two other partners were admitted.
Harmon A. Sheldon, who has been mentioned as in trade from 1843, was succeeded in 1870 by Sheldon & Co. (Homer Sheldon, J. Wesley Lovett and Walter Goodnough), who carried on a large business in the Sheldon brick store. In April, 1876, Mr. Lovett retired, and in October, 1881, Homer Sheldon sold out to Dr. William Sheldon; the latter bought out Mr. Goodnough in April, 1885. The business is now conducted by William H. Sheldon, who is one of the leading merchants of the village
Rollin Birchard began in the furniture business in 1870, and sold out the next year to John B. Steele. In the same year Uriel D. Twitchell and Milton Brooks joined in the hardware trade in the Davenport block; Brooks retired the next year and Gideon D. Miner took his place. In 1871 John L. Buttolph and Gideon D. Miner took up this same business; in 1872 Miner retired and later in the same year Buttolph sold out to Farnsworth & Fletcher (Frank A. Farnsworth and Thomas Fletcher); in September, 1877, Mr. Fletcher retired and the next year P. Fletcher Chapman continued the business; the firm now carrying on this successful business is Frank Farnsworth & Co., one of the leading establishments of the place.
Justus Cobb sold books, etc., in his block in 1872-73. In the first year named Gideon D. Miner and Judson A. Wright (G. D. Miner & Co.) followed E. D. Munger in the jewelry and fancy goods business in the Severance block, continuing to the fire of 1875.
The business of E. Vallett, which has been noted, was continued in Vallett’s block from 1872 by Edwin Vallett & Co. (Elijah W. Bird) to January, 1877, when Charles E. Cardell took Mr. Bird’s place, but retired the following July. Mr. Bird joined with Thad. M. Chapman, as E. W. Bird & Co. in 1883, and continued as general merchants in the Vallett store and Merchants Row until 1885, when Mr. Chapman retired, and the business is now conducted by Benedict & Bird (E. W. Bird and Ransom S. Benedict).
William S. Alden began in the book and stationery trade in Cobb’s block, in 1873, and has continued to the present time, doing a large business. From 1875 to the fire of 1881 William W. Eaton sold clothing in the Tupper store and McLeod block. In 1876 George H. Plumley succeeded to the old William P. Russel stand and sold drugs and medicines to 1881, when he died. L. Hanaford succeeded him and is still in trade. Swiney & Sargent (Wallace W. Swiney and John H. Sargent) began the stove and hardware trade in Swiney’s store in 1875; and Henry R. Dodge began hardware trade in 1876 in McLeod’s new store, corner of Ellis Lane and Main street; he was closed out by the fire of 1883. B. F. Owens & Co. (J. Wesley Lovett) began trade in the L. J. Barker store, Slade & Barker block, in 1876; and in 1877 Henry Garlick and Alvin Williamson opened a market in H. L. Sheldon’s block, continuing to 1881.
B. F. Wales was associated with John Hyde in 1877 in J. L. Barker’s block. In 1878 Thomas W. Fletcher began as a merchant tailor in the Allen block.
In 1879 M. H. Reed began the clothing trade at No. 2 Dyer’s block; and in the same year Rollin Birchard & Co. (Mrs. R. Birchard and Norman F. Rider) began the drug business.
Charles D. Earl and George E. Barnum began a partnership in 1879 in Dyer’s block, in the hardware trade.
George E. Marshall began as a bookseller in 1882, and continues the business.
George C. Chapman, P. Fletcher Chapman and Julius W. Pitts, under the firm style of Chapman & Co., began merchant tailoring in March, 1884.
In September, 1883, Edward P. Cushman opened the dry goods trade at No. 3 Merchants Row.
Edmund L. Stowe was engaged from 1883 to 1885 in the gun and hardware trade in the McLeod block until the fire of 1883, and then in H. L. Sheldon’s block; he failed.
Whitmore & Porter were the first daguerreotype artists in town. They started June 28, 1843, in J. C. Huntington’s hotel, now the residence of L. R. Sayre.
This account of the mercantile interests of Middlebury (which is believed to be very nearly complete) is of necessity somewhat monotonous; but it is thought to be of great value in a work of this character. It indicates in a general way the degree of success attained by the various merchants, and also that the village has always been well supplied with business houses of all kinds. At the present time the stores are of a character creditable to the place, and the merchants are generally successful in their several lines.
Hotels.–Frequent allusion has been made to the old-time tavern which occupied the site of the present Addison House, the first of which was destroyed by fire. The present hotel was built by Nathan Wood in 1826 and in the following year was opened as the “Vermont Hotel.” It was subsequently occupied by various tenants until 1852, when the “Middlebury Hotel Company” was formed, took the house, and inaugurated extensive repairs. Other changes followed in the proprietorship down to 1865, when the present owner, Darwin Rider, took the house and has made it one of the popular hotels of the county. Mr. Rider has greatly improved the house in many ways; runs a free carriage to all trains; has a large livery in connection and very successfully caters to the wants of his numerous guests.
What is now known as the Pierce House, kept by F. W. Pierce since 1876, was formerly known as the “Middlebury Hotel”; the older part of the building was erected in 1811 by Paul Reed. Numerous additions and improvements have since been made under the various owners and proprietors, until now it is a large and home-like hotel, well managed and successful. Carriages are sent to all trains and a livery is connected with the house.
Of the old hotels of the village it will be interesting to note that the old Ep. Miller house, which was taken down to make room for the town hall, was converted into a hotel when the Vermont Hotel was burned in 1816, and used for that purpose twenty years. The dwelling house of L. R. Sayre was also converted into a public house in 1817, and used thirty years. The house built by Ebenezer Markham in 1788, on the corner now owned by Thomas McLeod, was used as a hotel about fifteen years.
Manufactures.–It has been often stated and is generally acknowledged that much of the life and growth of a village or city depends upon its manufacturing interests; and it is undoubted that the early prosperity of Middlebury was largely contributed to by its great water power and the various industries to which it gave rise. The early manufacturers of this town were many of them men of enterprise and possessed of a knowledge of their various callings which led to important results, as will appear. Most of the early manufacturing establishments of the town have been more or less minutely described in connection with our account of the settlements of the town; it remains only to allude more particularly to some of the more prominent and to those of modern times.
We have already partially described the early forge which was established by Jonathan Nichols. Considerable iron was manufactured here, the ore being brought principally from Crown Point, but partly from Monkton. (See history of that town.) The gun factory, which has also been mentioned, was established chiefly for the manufacture of guns for the government. Mr. Nichols and those who succeeded him had a contract for making a thousand guns, which contract was fulfilled, the arms being inspected by Major Orr, and received by the government in 1802. Elias Hall, a former employee of the factory, continued the business on a small scale for some forty or more years later. Josiah Nichols, whose settlement has been described, was employed in the triphammer shop with Daniel Pettibone and Ezekiel Chapman, and in 1799 or 1800 they discovered a process of welding cast steel, and in 1802 a patent was taken out in their names; this process was one of great importance and went into general use.
Lavius Fillmore, an architect of repute, came to Middlebury in the spring of 1806, under a contract for the erection of the Congregational Church. In the following February David Page, jr., established a mercantile business here, and soon afterward Page and Fillmore purchased of Judge Painter his mills and water power on the east side of the falls. Soon afterward Mr. Fillmore removed the old mills and built the more commodious stone mill and store-room. This mill was partially destroyed in its interior by the fire of 1854; but it was rebuilt in 1856 by H. W.. Pitts and H. A. Sheldon. The mill property has ever since remained in the Sheldon estate. The mill has been operated by several different persons; it is now being run by W. R. Rose, who leased it in August, 1885, succeeding Lorenzo Stowe.
Early in the century the manufacture of cotton goods for the home market attracted much attention in this country; prices on such goods were very high and foreign commerce was obstructed, rendering it particularly desirable that a supply should be provided here. As early as 1811 David Page began the erection of the stone cotton factory north of the grist-mill just described. He set up such rude machinery as he could obtain and manufactured some cloth before the close of the war, which then brought fifty cents a yard. John Houghton, who had been putting up similar machinery in New Ipswich, N. H., was employed for that purpose here. In the year 1817 Joseph Gordon came from Scotland, where he had followed the manufacture of cotton machinery, and, brought drawings with him; he built for Mr. Page twenty power looms, which are believed to have been the first power looms built in the United States, except six which were built the previous year in Rhode Island. Isaac Parkham, an ingenious mechanic who had been employed with Houghton, manufactured the iron work on these looms and machinery; he died in 1825, bearing an enviable reputation as a machinist. After the factory was completed Page and Fillmore divided their property, Fillmore taking the mill and Page the factory. Mr. Fillmore carried on milling largely and profitably during the war and later, when wheat was grown in large quantities. Of the factory Professor Frederic Hall wrote in 1821 as follows:
“It is one hundred and fifty feet in length, thirty-seven feet wide, six stories high at one end, and three at the other. The present proprietor, Mr. Joseph Hough, informs me that the building contains at this time (December, 1820) eight hundred and forty spindles for cotton, fifteen power looms, together with two wool-carding machines. The spindles produce a sufficient quantity of yarn daily for five hundred yards of sheeting.” This factory not long afterward passed to possession of Benjamin Marshall, of Troy, N. Y., and from him by will to the wife of Charles Carville, of New York. Mr. Marshall added largely to the capacity of the factory. It subsequently passed through the hands of various lessees or agents and finally to H. W. Pitts in 1849, who leased it and carried on the manufacture of heavy sheeting for several years.
The latest use to which the building has been put was as a marble-factory by the Cutter Manufacturing Company, which is elsewhere described.
The grist-mill passed into the hands of Aaron and Timothy Hall, of Keene, N. H., both of whom died, and it was operated by various persons under the administrators until the fire, as stated.
Of another factory Professor Hall wrote, and is quoted by Dr. Swift as follows: “On the opposite side of the river is another cotton manufactory, owned by Mr. John Warren, who communicated the following facts: The building is of stone, fifty-eight feet in length, thirty-two in width and forty in height, containing six hundred spindles, with all the necessary apparatus. They yield yarn enough daily for two hundred yards of sheeting. Adjoining this is a stone building, in which are eight power looms, weaving, on an average, one thousand yards of cloth a week. Under the same roof is a double fulling-mill, or two stocks on one wheel, which for twenty years past has fulled twelve thousand yards annually; also a double carding-machine, which cards from six to twelve thousand pounds of wool annually.” Speaking of this factory Dr. Swift says in substance, that it was the one into which John Warren converted his grist-mill about the year 1813. He enlarged the building, and among others erected at the north end a stone building, mentioned by Mr. Hall as containing his looms, and a wooden building over the shed at the south end, which was occupied as a tenement for his employees. In the summer of 1825 this whole establishment was consumed by fire. It was rebuilt by Mr. Warren, Stephen Hinsdill, of Bennington, furnishing a portion of the machinery. In 1835 the whole establishment became the property of Hinsdill, and he put in the requisite machinery, and converted it into a manufactory of satinet. In February, 1836, the factory took fire again, and the roof and upper part of the building, to the floor of the second story, and the wooden building at the south end were consumed. Not far from the same time the stone building at the north end tumbled down, for want of substantial foundation. The damage done by the fire was soon after repaired; but subsequently it was destroyed by fire.
In November, 1835, the “Middlebury Manufacturing Company” was incorporated by the Legislature, “for manufacturing cotton and woolen goods,” with a capital of $200,000. In the summer following sufficient stock was subscribed, and the company organized. In the fall of that year the company purchased of Hinsdill his factory, added new machinery, purchased a large quantity of wool, and prosecuted with all their means the manufacture of satinet; intending in the spring to enlarge their establishment for the manufacture of woolen goods. As there were no means of transporting their goods to market in the winter, a very large quantity had accumulated by the spring of 1837. By the time the goods could be got to market in that spring of untold stringency in the money circles, there was no market, and many of them were sold at half their cost; the loss was so heavy and the discouragement so severe that the stockholders abandoned the business. The factory remained idle until 1840, having later become extended by the purchase on the part of the company of the works formerly owned by Captain Moses Leonard and Andrew Rutherford. The grist-mill in the basement and the sawmill west of it continued in operation. In 1840 Jason Davenport and Oliver P. Turner, both practical manufacturers, leased the factory and part of the machinery, and carried on the manufacture of woolen goods with success and profit. Turner died in 1847, and Charles D. Nash became connected with Davenport; they and Nash alone continued the business until 1851, after which, until 1854, it remained idle; it was then leased to Mr. Davenport and Valentine Clay. After their term of operation the factory was purchased by Oliver Severance, who demolished it and built a paper-mill some fifteen years ago. This was operated to 1872, when it burned, and he and his associates built another, which was in turn burned in the fire of 1875. The establishment of Smith & Allen now occupies the site.
“At an early day,” says Dr. Swift in his work on Middlebury, “Rufus and Jonathan Wainwright, jr., sons of Jonathan Wainwright, of Salisbury, established themselves in the tin and iron business, on a small scale; and, having energy, they enlarged the business from time to time. Not long after the close of the War of 1812 they erected a furnace below the mills built by Appleton Foot, on the site of the former forge, for casting stoves and other articles. They purchased the store now occupied by Mr. Davenport for their place of business, and greatly enlarged it as their business increased. In the summer of 1826 their furnace was consumed by fire, with the neighboring grist-mill and trip-hammer shop. They then purchased the water power on the east side of the paper-mill falls, and erected there a new furnace and machine shop on an extensive scale. Their principal business was the manufacture of stoves’ which then went into all parts of the State and into Canada, where they had agencies for the sale of them. Rufus Wrainwright, some years before his death, withdrew from the concern and devoted himself to his farm, and by his labor and counsel, and liberal contribution from his large estate, to the promotion of every important interest; our literary and religious institutions and every important enterprise exhibit the effects of his large liberality.” This business was continued by Jonathan Wainwright until his death. In the mean time they had purchased the Judge Painter residence, now occupied by Gardner Wainwright,. which Rufus occupied until his death. They also built the large brick residence now occupied by A. J. Severance, where Jonathan lived until his death. The latter died in September, 1845, and Rufus in March, 1853. After the death of Jonathan Wainwright the furnace and machine shop were purchased by Jason Davenport, and the store which had been the place of business of the partners. Mr. Davenport carried on the stove and tinware manufacture on a large scale for that period. The manufacturing part of the business was long ago abandoned.
The Star grist-mill, on Mill street, is located in a building to which reference has been made, which was erected for Captain Moses Leonard in 1837,. for use as a woolen-mill. It was changed to a grist-mill about 1870 by Caleb Ticknor and William Goodrich. C. C. Peck purchased it from Goodrich and leased it to W. W. Chapman in September, 1885.
Great anticipations were once entertained of the future of the marble industry in this town. It can scarcely be said that they have been realized, although it is not yet a settled question whether the marble deposit here will not some time develop into one of great value; it is, however, the opinion of geologists and many experienced men that such will not be the case. The marble which has been taken from the quarries in this town is remarkably fine in texture, much of it of beautiful white or variegated color, and takes a fine polish; but it is believed by many that the very causes which operated to produce this fine texture, at the same time prevented the formation of large and flawless sections, which are necessary to successful working on a large scale. A great amount of labor and large sums of money have been expended in efforts to work the numerous quarries in this vicinity in successful competition with those of the Rutland district; but it must be admitted that thus far all of these attempts have resulted in failure, and to-day there is not a quarry in the county that is in operation.
In attempting to give a necessarily brief sketch of the very early marble industry of the town, we cannot do better than quote from Dr. Swift’s work. Therein he first quotes again from Professor Frederic Hall, writing in 1821, as follows: “proceeding down the creek on the west side, after passing two sawmills, two grist-mills, a clothier’s works and some other establishments of minor importance, you come to the marble factory. The marble in this village, which is now wrought on a large scale, and extensively diffused over the country, was discovered by Eben W. Judd, the present principal proprietor, as early as the year 1802. A building on a limited plan was erected, and machinery for sawing the marble (the idea of which had its origin in the inventive mind of the proprietor) was then put in operation. In 1806 a new and commodious building, two stories high, and destined to comprise sixty saws to be moved by water, was erected. In 1808 this enlarged establishment went into operation and has continued to the present day. The saws are made of soft iron, without teeth, and are similar in form to those which are used in sawing marble by hand in the large cities in Europe. The softer they are the longer they last.”
“The marble until lately has been obtained chiefly from a quarry situated within a few feet of the mill. During three or four of the last years much has been procured at the time of low water, at the bottom of the creek, immediately above the falls. It is raised from its bed partly by means of wedges, but principally by blasting.” “The marble, after being sawed into slabs, is manufactured into tomb-stones, currier’s tables, jambs, mantel-pieces, hearths, window and door caps and sills, side-boards, tables, sinks and various other kinds of furniture. These articles are transported to Montreal, Quebec, Boston, New York and even Georgia. The machinery has sawn annually from five to ten thousand feet since the year 1808.”
This was the first manufacture of marble on an extensive scale in this State, and the machinery for sawing on the plan described was first operated by Dr. Judd, forming the basis for the present enormous industry. In relation to Mr. Judd’s labors in this direction, Dr. Swift says in a foot note: “There is no doubt, we think, that Dr. Judd was the first to put in operation the machinery for sawing marble by water on this plan, now so extensively used through the country; and it is the general understanding that he invented the machinery. But it is now said that Isaac Markham, who was afterwards known as a very ingenious mechanic, and then only ten years of age, first conceived the plan, and exhibited a model to Dr. Judd, who built his first experimental factory for the purpose of trying it. This is now understood to be the fact by the family connections of Markham, and his mother, who was an observing and intelligent woman, often so stated in her lifetime. And it is thought that was the reason Dr. Judd did not then take out a patent for the invention. In 1822 he obtained a patent for machinery which he invented for raising and lowering the saws, as required in their operation. It is stated also on the same authority that about the same time two men were engaged secretly in contriving and building a picking machine. No persons were admitted to a sight of the machine, lest the secret should be discovered before a patent was obtained. But Isaac being a boy, was admitted without suspicion. When he went home he said he could contrive a better machine, and, with such tools and materials as he had, formed a model, which, it is said, was adopted by the men instead of their own. Dr. William McLeod, of Poultney, a son of Mrs. McLeod, mentioned elsewhere, and a nephew of Isaac Markham, in a letter to his brother, Thomas H. McLeod, of this place dated March 11,1859, says: ‘In the year 1806 or 1807, when I first came to Middlebury, or shortly after, while Uncle Isaac Markham was living at his father’s house, I frequently saw a model of what was called a stone saw-mill in a room he occupied as a shop. I also very well recollect of hearing the subject conversed upon in the family, and I feel confident by others also, for some time after, in reference to the machine or its principle having been taken or borrowed from his model and applied to a factory erected by Mr. Judd for sawing marble. I recollect hearing the subject of the invention of the picking machine conversed about at the time referred to. On another occasion, when uncle was employed in Waltham, Mass., he, in showing me the machinery of the factory, referred to the picker, and remarked to me that he was the inventor, and also referred to his being the inventor of the machine for sawing marble.'”
Mr. Judd was an ingenious and somewhat scientific man, and having been committed to the liberties of the jail here on a United States court judgment, began to look about for a means of livelihood. In the spring of 1803, foreseeing, as he thought, the importance of the marble industry, he obtained from Appleton Foot a lease for 999 years of the right to dig marble on any part of his lot between his house and the creek, and the privilege of erecting a mill. He subsequently obtained a title to the land there, occupied the house which stood on it until he erected the large three-story brick residence now owned by H. L. Sheldon and others. Dr. Judd afterward purchased the quarry of black marble on the lake shore in Shoreham, which is described a little further on, from which he took a large quantity of stone, transported it by teams to Middlebury and manufactured it. In 1820 he associated with himself his son in-law, Lebbeus Harris, and the industry became one of the leading ones in this section; agencies were established in some of the large cities and in Western New York, and the greatest promise of future magnitude seemed insured; but in 1837 the business was abruptly closed by the death of both the partners; Mr. Harris died in April and Mr Judd in September, at the age of seventy-six. The marble-mill was not operated afterwards to any extent; Nathaniel Harris, brother of Lebbeus, who had been connected with the industry, continued to manufacture marble on a small scale for a few years, but gave it up for the practice of dentistry. Daniel Judd, son of Dr. Judd, also continued in the marble business, and his son, E. W., is still carrying on the same business; but none of these latter men engaged in quarrying. The estate of Judd & Harris was settled, and Francis Slason bought the mill and works, operated them a short time, and gave it up. The mill had eight gangs of saws, and one of the quarries opened was about on the site of the Star grist-mill and another back of the cotton factory; another in the bed of the creek.
The principal quarries which have been opened and worked more or less in this town and vicinity may be briefly alluded to. The quarry of black marble in Shoreham, which was.opened in 1826 by Dr. Judd, was one of the most prominent in the county for a considerable period, and it is believed by many to still be of great value. It was purchased in 1878 by Henry L. Sheldon and Phelps Nash, and it has lately passed to the ownership of the Florence & Wakefield Marble Company, who purpose to develop it in the near future.
In the northeast part of the town, and near the northern limit of the white marble belt, is a quarry which was one of the earliest ones opened. Theodatus Phelps was one of the first operators here, and built a mill with an undershot wheel and a single gang of saws. He was succeeded by David Ralph, who did a large business in the sale of window caps, thresholds and grave-stones. Ira E. Yale and Abel Spaulding next worked the quarry, and then Isaac Gibbs, who added the business of burning and selling lime, using the refuse stone from the quarry. The property has since passed through the hands of Datus Garlick and A. J. Severance and the North Middlebury Marble Company, Mr. Severance having the superintendence; this company built an eight-gang mill. Next the Middlebury Marble Company was organized, chiefly of Boston men, and Henry C. Cutter acted as treasurer and had a large interest. Another reorganization was subsequently effected, forming the Cutter Marble Company, with Barney S. Snow, of Boston, as treasurer, and Mr. Cutter still retaining a prominent interest. The old cotton factory in the village was taken by this company and fitted up with machinery and facilities for manufacturing and finishing marble on a large scale. A new opening was made some distance south of the old quarry, and much beautiful marble was taken out; but for several reasons, the principal one being the active competition of more fortunately situated deposits, and the general difficulty of procuring large blocks of sound marble, which seems to prevail throughout the town, the business has never been very prosperous, and the company is now (1885) closing up its affairs.
A little southward of the quarry just described is what has been known as the Addison County Quarry, which has also had a life of vicissitude in the hands of various persons and companies. It dates back to the days of Judge Doolittle and Ruloff Lawrence. E. L. Ormsbee and Francis Slason were early interested in it, but little was done aside from digging a comparatively small hole. After lying dormant for years, the Addison County Marble Company was formed in 1866 with Wm. H. Ireland, of Boston, as treasurer, and about two years later A. F. Manley was made superintendent. Active work was begun and a large quantity of stock was taken out, much of which was very fine. This product was sawed at Belden’s Falls by the Belden’s Falls Company, which was organized chiefly to saw the marble from the quarry. A large mill was built and a branch railroad for hauling the stone. At the end of one year the contract was abrogated by the latter company because, as said, the Belden’s Falls Company demanded better terms, which the other company refused. They then began sawing the Pittsford marble and were sued by the Addison County Company. This company finally bought the entire property for about $35,000, which is said to have cost $100,000. The business was carried on for a time, but the litigation, the strong competition in Rutland county, and other causes, led to the temporary abandonment of the enterprise.
The Belden’s Falls Company also owned a quarry which had previously been unprofitably worked by Colonel Thomas A. Perkins, of Boston, and others, with Daniel Judd as superintendent. This property passed to the Addison County Company.
As bearing directly upon the question of the value of the Middlebury marble, at least that one quarry, and particularly for statuary purposes, it is but just to history to give place to the following, which was furnished by Wm. H. Ireland, and relates to the Addison County Quarry above described: “This quarry is located about one and one-half miles from the center of the town and was opened by the company in 1866. After working it about four years they developed one of the best and purest veins of statuary marble ever found in this country; its warm tint of a light flesh color, its transparency, freedom from lamination and close texture were acknowledged by all sculptors who had an opportunity of working it. The celebrated statue of ‘Liberty,’ made by Greenough for the Boston Latin School Association in 1870, and now situated in the lower hall of that building in Boston, was produced from this vein of marble, together with a number of portrait busts by the same artist. In letters to the treasurer of the company Mr. Greenough gives his opinion of this marble as follow:
NEWPORT, R. 1., l0th. Jan’y, 1870
Wm. H. Ireland, Boston, Mass., Treasurer Addison County Marble Co.
DEAR SIR:–Yours of the 7th inst. reached me yesterday, and I should have answered it immediately, but I was much occupied in receiving and placing the marble of my statue. Since working the two blocks which I received from your quarry I have been confirmed in the good opinion I first expressed to you of the valuable qualities of your marble, the only marble of this country that I am yet acquainted with fit for the purposes of sculpture. Marble used in sculpture is known by its quality and character. Its quality is rated according to its fineness and firmness of grain and freedom from spots. Its character depends upon its freedom from faults, such as cracks, sand holes and foreign substances. A marble may be of excellent character if second quality, or faulty character if first quality.
All the marble that I have seen brought from the Addison county quarry for the purposes of sculpture is of first quality, and the character of the blocks which I have used is perfectly satisfactory to me for color, texture and durability. The richness of its color is that of an old, well-preserved statue, and as I am assured it bleaches without softening in the sun, it seems to meet the requirement of one who said that “we ought to be born old and die young.” Its grain or texture is as fine as is desirable, and much resembles the “Pentelic” marble. It is admirably adapted to flesh, and receives a high polish.
In conclusion let me say that it is the only marble, native or foreign, that I should be willing to place out of doors in our climate. It is not the metallic ring and firmness under the chisel that gives me confidence in this respect, but from observing how sound it was in its native bed, where it had been exposed to the changes of the seasons for ages.
I remain yours very truly,
At a later date the artist wrote as follows:
NEWPORT, Jan’y 17, 1870
William H. Ireland, Esq.
DEAR SIR:– Since I wrote in reply to your question concerning the “color, texture and durability” of your marble, I have been working upon the statue, and am delighted to be able to say that highly as I thought of the marble in which the bust was executed, this last block quite exceeds my expectations; I have no hesitation in assuring you that I prefer it to any marble I have ever used, and as I have always worked in the best marble of Carrara and Serravezza, I cannot say more in its praise.
I would mention among the many valuable qualities of your marble its entire freedom from sand holes; a fault most frequent among the best Italian marbles, and one which has obliged me to throw aside many blocks. I have never yet seen one in Middlebury marble.
Yours very truly,
“It would seem that this valuable quarry of marble should be worked, if only for statuary purposes, as when last worked the vein was uncovered to a depth of forty feet and is three feet thick, from which statues and other works of art could be executed of any reasonable size.”
The Foot Street Quarry, as it is known, is about three-quarters of a mile farther south, in the same range of the marble deposit; it is about two and a half miles east of Middlebury village. This quarry was first opened by Wm. Barnes and Charles G. White, as superintendents for Perry Fletcher, John and Dugald Stewart, Rufus Wainwright, W. P. Nash and Phelps Nash, who purchased in 1859 a large tract of land. Two openings were made and some marble taken out of a nearly white color and good texture, but it was generally lacking in soundness. The quarry was operated to some extent for a few years and then leased to others. Work was finally abandoned as unprofitable. R. L. Wainwright is the present agent of the property.
An opening was made about 1850 a mile north of Middlebury by William Y. Ripley, but it was abandoned after one season of work, chiefly on account of unsoundness in the deposit.
The Toledo Company, composed largely of Toledo men, opened a quarry some twenty years ago directly east of the Addison County Company’s quarry; William Mulchahey, of Middlebury, was superintendent. It was operated two or three years, the product consisting of white, water-colored and clouded marble of a pretty good character; it was mainly sent west. This company rented a mill two miles north of their quarry, which was built by the Cheshire Marble Company. The Toledo Company was forced to abandon its enterprise as unprofitable.
The Cheshire Company was formed at about the same time as the Addison County Company, and opened a quarry and built a mill. It operated a few years and abandoned the business as unprofitable.
It will be readily seen by the foregoing pages that the marble industry in this county is now at a low ebb. What its future, particularly its distant future, may be is largely a matter of conjecture. Men of experience in handling marble and working quarries are confident that when the capital is forthcoming for more extensive and deeper workings, a deposit will be found outrivaling the best products of other localities, which now have a practical monopoly of the business; at the same time men of broad scientific knowledge, who have made this particular subject one of deep study, do not hesitate to express their belief that the marble deposit of this county is too much affected by unsoundness to ever be worked with much profit.
It must be admitted that the general manufacturing interests of the town have not improved since the early years as they might have done under a more liberal appreciation of their value to the town and to their projectors, and of the water power here. A few other minor establishments demand attention. In the fall of 1851 N. H. Hand purchased the former marble factory of Mr. Judd and established a pail factory, to which he added a saw-mill. When this factory was worked to its full capacity it was capable of turning out six hundred pails daily. The establishment within a few years passed into possession of J. M. Slade & Co. It has since passed through many changes which need not be noted, and is now owned by A. P. Tupper.
The Middlebury woolen mills were built in 1840 and were operated not long afterward by the Middlebury Woolen Company. In 1867 Chadwick Brothers took the property under a lease and have since carried on a successful business. They manufacture fancy cassimeres, which are sold in New York. In 1880 H. J. Chadwick purchased the factory.
In the fall of 1883 the Green Mountain Pulp Company was organized, at which time what is known as their number one mill was in process of erection at the falls a little below Middlebury village. The company was at that time also running one machine in the manufacture of wood pulp, where a rude structure had been erected to test the Cartmell patent wood pulp-grinder; this machine proved a success; the first wheel, which is still running, has been in operation about three and a half years, day and night, with little repairs. The company is now running eight of these machines, four in the number one mill, on the old paper-mill site before mentioned, and four in their new mill on the upper Weybridge falls; the first-named mill has a capacity of eighteen tons and the other of twenty tons of pulp daily. This is one of the most important industries of this section. The present officers are A. H. Fisher, president; A. N. Burbank, treasurer.
The firm of Smith & Allen (Clinton Smith and W. H. Allen) are architects, contractors and builders, and manufacture house finishing materials, sash, doors, etc. The firm was formed in 1875 and built their present shops in 1881. The court-house, town hall, Beckwith’s block, and many other of the finest buildings in the county were erected by this firm.
Henry Langworthy runs a foundry and machine-shop near the railroad track. Colonel A. S. Tratey, Wallace Dewey and Mersille & Hayes, carry on wagon-making to some extent, and T. Kidder and Solomon Lapire manufacture and sell harness, etc. Other industries will be noted in the account of East Middlebury.
Financial.–At the session of the Legislature which convened in Middlebury in 1806 a law was passed establishing a State bank, with two branches, one at Middlebury and one at Woodstock, and appointing directors. Daniel Chipman, Horatio Seymour and John Willard were the directors for this branch. Titus Hutchinson, of Woodstock, was chosen president, and Dr. William G. Hooker, cashier. All business was then done in the institution on the State credit, no capital being paid in. According to Dr. Swift, “the pecuniary condition and habits of the people were hardly adapted to the long continuance of a bank on such principles. It was an agricultural country, and too remote from market for readily converting its produce into money, which of course was scarce. The country was in debt, and punctuality was not to be expected from the habits of the people. The traffic was generally conducted, among farmers and mechanics, by an exchange of their respective production, and the foreign goods were generally paid for in the same articles. These were transported by the merchants to market twice a year, to pay for their goods. Notes were generally made payable in cattle or grain, or other specific articles; and, when payable in money, they were not generally construed according to their tenor, but according to the convenience of the makers if the patience of the creditor was not sooner exhausted. Notes taken to the bank for loans too generally received the same construction. But the Legislature, at their next session, established two new branches at Burlington and Westminster.
“The directors did what they could to supply their vaults with specie to meet the pressing demands upon them, by exchanging their bills for gold and silver, and by inducing persons wanting accommodations to refund their loans in specie. The Legislature also adopted various measures to keep up the credit of the bills and enforce greater punctuality. Among others to promote the former object, they passed an act at their session in 1809, and others afterwards, making the bills a ‘lawful tender’ in payment of all land taxes. And to promote the latter, at their session in 1810 they passed an act authorizing the cashiers, instead of the regular but slow course of law, forthwith to issue executions on all notes unpaid.”
But all efforts made to float the institution were unavailing and it was apparently approaching dissolution, when, in the summer of 1812, the banking house was entered by a false key, and a large amount of money, bills in sheets and other valuables stolen. No trace of the perpetrators of the crime was ever discovered; but the key was subsequently found crowded above a rafter in the attic of a house in the village. In 1813 the bank was closed by the Legislature, and agents appointed from time to time to properly wind up its affairs.
On the 10th day of November, 1831, a charter was granted by the Legislature to the “president, directors and company of the Bank of Middlebury,” with a capital of $100,000, to be managed by seven directors. Thirty dollars on each share was to be called in. The existence of this institution was limited to fifteen years. William Nash was chosen president and Joseph Warren cashier. Mr. Nash continued in his office during the life of the original charter, when he was succeeded by Paris Fletcher. At the session of the Legislature of 1845 the charter was renewed for fifteen years; other renewals have been made and in April, 1885, the charter was extended for twenty years. The institution has always been wisely and safely managed and now stands high throughout the county. In 1865 it was incorporated as the National Bank of Middlebury, with a capital of $200,000. In January, 1882, A. A. Fletcher was made president, Calvin Hill, being then and now the vice president. Charles E. Pinney was made cashier in April, 1885, succeeding John G. Wellington.
The Middlebury Savings Bank was incorporated November 12, 1836, and for about twenty years was a successful and well-managed institution; but an unfortunate investment in railroad bonds and other causes rendered the bank insolvent and it did not resume business.
Attorneys.–The town of Middlebury, being the county seat, has naturally been the residence of many of the ablest lawyers of the county and several who have gained a State or national reputation. Of many of these the reader will find sketches prepared by Judge J. D Smith in the preceding chapter on the bar of the county, among them being Samuel S. Phelps, Dorastus Wooster, Samuel Miller, Daniel Chipman, Horatio Seymour, William Slade, Joel and Charles Linsley, Edward D. Barber, Julius A. Beckwith, Dugald Stewart, Peter Starr and others whose brilliant talents won in past years high honors in law and politics. It remains for us here to pay brief tributes to other members of the profession, both dead and living, who have practiced here.
Beaumont Parks practiced here several years and removed to Indiana; he was admitted to the bar in 1811.
Robert B. Bates was admitted here in 1813 and practiced fifteen or twenty years; represented the town six years, three of which he served as speaker. He removed to Albany and later to New York, where he died.
Hon. George Chipman, son of Hon. Daniel Chipman, was admitted in 1821; practiced with his father at first and for some twenty years in all; was State’s attorney from 1827 to 1830 inclusive. After a short residence in Canada he returned to Ripton and was judge of the county from 1846 to 1849. He removed to Washington.
Erastus W. Drury was admitted to the bar in June, 1836. When he came to Middlebury, a few years earlier, he acted as editor of a newspaper, at the same time studying law; he was postmaster six years directly after his admission to the bar. He afterwards practiced a few years, principally with Charles Aiken; they both subsequently removed to Wisconsin.
Ozias Seymour, son of Hon. Horatio Seymour, graduated from Middlebury College in 1820; studied in the Litchfield Law School, and was admitted to the bar in 1824. He continued in practice during most of his life, a part of the time with his father. He was chosen State’s attorney for six years from 1839, and was a member of the constitutional convention of 1850. He died in this village in 1861.
William F. Bascom graduated from Middlebury College in 1838, and was for several years a tutor in that institution; he was afterwards principal of various literary institutions and also of the Female Seminary in this village; was admitted to the bar in 1855 and in 1857 removed to Minnesota, but returned to Middlebury in 1859 and resumed practice, which he continued four years.
The following are brief notes of the attorneys who are now in practice in Middlebury: John W. Stewart, son of Ira Stewart, graduated at Middlebury College in 1847, and immediately began study in the office of Hon. Horatio Seymour. He was licensed in 1849 and at once opened an office; he has ever since had an extensive practice. He has been honored with many high offices, the duties of which have been performed in a most efficient manner. He was State’s attorney three years from 1851, and has repeatedly represented his town in the Legislature. In 1870 he was elected governor of the State, and outside of political life has always occupied a very prominent position in the community. His interest in educational matters has ever been paramount, and he officiated for many years as secretary of Middlebury College.
Philip Battell came to Middlebury from Cleveland, Ohio, where he had been in practice and was admitted to the bar in December, 1839; he was a graduate of Middlebury College in class of 1826. He has not devoted himself to active practice in later years, preferring the pleasanter paths of literary labor and leisure. He has given much attention to local history and is, perhaps, the best authority in the county on such subjects; he may also be called the father of the Middlebury Historical Society. He is son-in-law of Hon. Horatio Seymour. Joseph Battell, a resident of the village, is his son.
Emerson R. Wright graduated from Middlebury College in 1838 and studied law with Edward D. Barber, and was licensed in 1842. He began practice as a partner of Mr. Barber, and soon after separated and continued practice alone. In his old age he has largely relinquished active business. He was postmaster under President Pierce.
Rufus Wainwright, son of Rufus, sr., before mentioned, was graduated at Middlebury College in 1852, having prepared himself at the Addison County Grammar School. He was admitted to the bar in December, 1856, and opened his office in the rooms occupied by Julius A. Beckwith, who was his brother in-law. Since April, 1870, he has held the office of clerk of the County Court.
Loyal D. Eldredge, born February 5, 1831, graduated at Middlebury College in 1857; studied law with William Nutting, of Randolph, Vt., and R. C. Benton, of Lamoille county; he was admitted there in November, 1859. He began practice in Grand Isle county as a partner of the late Giles Harrington, and remained there until October, 1862; he then came to Middlebury and was connected with the internal revenue service until 1867, when he became a partner with John W. Stewart; this connection continued until 1880. His present partner is James M. Slade. Mr. Eldredge was State’s attorney of Grand Isle county in 1861-62; senator in 1876-77, and assistant assessor of internal revenue for his district from 1864 to 1879, and from 1870 to 1874 was deputy collector. (For a record of the Eldredge family see history of New Haven herein.)
James M. Slade was born in Middlebury June 27, 1844; attended a course of lectures in the Albany Law School, having previously, in 1867, graduated from Middlebury College; he was admitted in December, 1868; was elected to the Legislature in 1874-75 and was secretary of civil and military affairs from 1870 to 1872; from 1870 to 1874 he was deputy collector of internal revenue, and State’s attorney from 1878 to 1882. Mr. Slade is a grandson of Governor Wm. Slade, and son of James M. Slade, and nephew of Hon. Wm. Slade, present consul of the United States at Brussels, Belgium.
Lyman E. Knapp was born in Somerset, Windham county, Vt., November 5, 1837; educated at Burr Seminary, Manchester, and graduated at Middlebury College in 1862. Studied law in Middlebury and admitted in 1876; practiced here since 1879. He entered the service of the country a captain of Company I, Sixteenth Regiment Volunteers; was subsequently captain of Company F, Seventeenth Regiment, and promoted to major, and from that office to lieutenant-colonel. He had been judge of probate for the Addison District since 1879, and town clerk since March, 1879; was clerk of the House in 1872; chairman of the Republican County Committee about ten years. He edited the Register for thirteen years, leaving it in 1879.
Henry S. Foote was born in New Haven, Vt., in 1837; studied law with Governor Stewart, after graduating from Middlebury College in 1857; was admitted to the bar in 1860; has been State’s attorney three consecutive years, and register of probate. Was a partner with Governor Stewart from 1862 to 1867, when he went to Providence for one year; from 1871 to 1882 he was in New York city, returning thence to this village.
A. P. Tupper was born in Middlebury April 24, 1835; studied law with Ozias Seymour, and admitted to the bar in about 1858. He practiced in East Middlebury until 1874, since which time he has been in active practice here.
Thomas H. McLeod was born in Elizabethtown, N. Y., March 3, 1823; studied law with Horatio and Ozias Seymour; was admitted in 1859; graduated at Middlebury College in 1854 and has ever since his admission practiced here.
Charles M. Wilds was born in Bristol in February, 1856; graduated at Middlebury College in 1875, studied law in Burlington, and was admitted to the Addison county bar in 1880; is now in the office of Governor Stewart.
J. E. Stapleton was born in Albany, N. Y., 1851, studied with Stewart & Eldredge, and was admitted in 1877.
Physicians.–In the preceding chapter devoted to the medical profession of the county will be found sketches of Drs. Wm. Bass, Zacheus Bass, Jonathan A. Allen, Oliver B. Norton; Ralph Gowdey, Stephen P. Lathrop, Charles C. P. Clark, Edward Tudor, Wm. P. Russel, and a few others whose prominence and ability have lent distinction to the profession in this town. Below we give brief notes of the present physicians of Middlebury:
Dr. M. H. Eddy was born in Winhall, Bennington county, Vt., January 25, 1833; was educated in the common and select schools, and graduated at Middlebury College in the class of 1860; he studied medicine at Harvard and the University of Vermont, and graduated in 1865. He has been in practice in Middlebury since 1866. He was delegate to the National Medical Convention in Chicago in 1877, from the Vermont State Society, and delegate to the State Medical Society of New York, and has received other similar professional honors.
Dr. Edward 0. Porter was born in Cornwall, Vt., December 12, 1836; educated in common schools, and at a high school in Troy; studied medicine with his father, Marcus 0. Porter, and at the Castleton Medical College; graduated in 1859. He practiced one year in Cornwall, and entered the army as assistant surgeon of the Fifth Regiment, and later held the same position in the Eleventh Regiment. He served the term and afterwards practiced in Cornwall until 1878, since which time he has been in practice in this town.
Dr. B. F. Sutton was born in Shelburne, Vt., in 1835; was educated at the Barre Academy and studied his profession in the medical department of the University of Vermont, graduating in 1860. He practiced in Alsted, N. H., and then in Stowe, Vt. After ten years at the latter place he came to Middlebury, and has been in practice here since.
Dr. E. P. Russel, son of Dr. Wm. P. Russel, was born in Middlebury July 27, 1840; educated at Burr Seminary and the Middlebury Academy; studied medicine in the University of Vermont, graduating in 1866. He began practice here and a year and a half later went to Council Bluffs, where he remained six years; he has been here since. He served as hospital steward in the First Vermont Regiment and was first lieutenant of Company E, Fifth Regiment, for three years.
Dr. M. D. Smith, homoeopath, was born in Addison, April, 27, 1848, and was educated at the common and select schools; he graduated at the Eclectic Medical College in Philadelphia in 1870; practiced in Pennsylvania until 1874, coming thence to Addison, where he remained to 1881. He then attended lectures in New York in Bellevue Hospital, and after the course practiced in West Cornwall; he matriculated at Hahnnemann College in 1883, graduating in 1884.
The Dental Profession.–Some of those who practiced dentistry in Middlebury in early years have been mentioned. Henry Kingsley was here in the business many years ago and before the late war, and followed it some twenty years. Nathaniel Harris practiced from 1843 to 1878. W. H. Kingsley was born in Brandon June 13, 1850; studied his profession in New York, and in Paris, France, and in this town. He practiced first in Europe and came here in 1876.
Dr. L. E. Mellen was born in Washington, N. H., October 18, 1848; studied in Hillsboro, N. H., and graduated at the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery in 1875; practiced in Keene, N. H., three years, and here since.
This pretty little village is situated in the southeastern part of the town on Middlebury River, its site (or the principal part of it) occupying lots 34 and 35 and the mill lot pitched by Joshua Hyde. Middlebury River runs through the village, the rapid descent of its bed at this point furnishing a most valuable water power. Many of the early settlements in this vicinity have already been sufficiently dwelt upon in preceding pages. The first utilization of the extensive water power here was the erection of John Foot’s saw-mill in 1790. In the following year he built a house for his miller, who was Nathan Carpenter, and he occupied the house with his family; he was father of Nathan and Gideon Carpenter, and his was the first family to settle here. Joshua Hyde and Eber Everts then owned the mill lot and they deeded one-half of it to Foot, who then lived on the west side of the falls in Cornwall, in consideration of his erecting the mill. Hyde soon afterward built a mill on what has been known as the upper dam. In 1811 Foot moved from New Haven, as stated in earlier pages, to the East Middlebury mill lot, rebuilt the saw-mill, and successively erected works for dressing cloth and carding wool, a grist-mill and a gambrel roofed house a little south of Mr. Farr’s tavern, in which he lived several years.
Ephraim Jones, who had previously erected for the Vermont Glass Company a large factory at Lake Dunmore in Salisbury, and desired to extend his operations, built at East Middlebury, in 1812, a little west of Farr’s hotel a large circular brick structure for manufacturing glassware. He also erected near by two dwelling houses for his workmen and another building for a store and office. At that period it was confidently expected that the extensive water power and other advantages would build up here a large manufacturing center; in this belief Mr. Foot built the large tavern, which has ever since been used as such. He kept it as a public house several years. This house was purchased in 1850 by Royal D. Farr, who has kept it ever since, but has recently turned the active management over to his son Frank. The manufacture of glass in this vicinity was not a great success, and its failure led to a cessation in growth at East Middlebury. Mr. Foot, however, after a period of idleness in his works, rebuilt his grist-mill and repaired his other establishments. He died in 1849 at the age of eighty-four years.
Daniel L. Sessions settled at East Middlebury in 1821; he was the father of Hiram and George Sessions, now prominent farmers of the town. Mr. Sessions and Norman Tupper gave Dr. Swift the following information of the place at that date:
“In 1821 there were ten dwelling houses and a somewhat larger number of families. At this time the number of dwelling houses, in the compact part of the village, is fifty. Some of the houses being occupied by more than one family, the number of families is larger.”
Darius Tupper, father of Norman Tupper, settled very early in Chittenden county and removed from there to Middlebury, and for some years kept a tavern on premises now occupied by C. P. Austin. His son Norman was a man of natural inventive genius and without doubt was the first to apply machinery to the manufacture of doors and window sash. He built a factory at East Middlebury in 1827, and set up machinery for this purpose, which was successfully operated; he was associated with Archelaus Tupper and Charles Nichols. The factory was run by different persons until 1852, when it was burned and A. P. Tupper, of Middlebury, rebuilt it, and it is now operated by Austin Peck. It is believed also that Mr. Tupper was the first person to graft teeth on a circular plate for a saw, and that he ran the first circular saw-mill in the world. Mr. Tupper died in February, 1880.
These and succeeding manufacturing operations kept up quite a steady growth in the village. In the year 1850, according to an enumeration by David S. Church, the population numbered four hundred and thirty. The following description of the place was written by Dr. Swift in 1850:
“At the upper dam are a forge and saw-mill, owned by Israel Davey. Next below is the tannery, owned by Horace, son of Perley Enos, who first established it many years ago, and a shop owned by David Olmstead, with machinery for boring, sawing, and turning timber for wagons, which he manufactures. On the south side of the river are a saw-mill, belonging to the estate of Norman Boardman, and a machine for sawing shingles, owned by George Champlin. Still lower is a shop owned by Kneeland and Waldo Olmstead, for the manufacture of wagons, and machinery for fitting the timber for them, supplied by water from the river by a tube. Next below this is a grist-mill owned by Norman Tupper, esq., built in 1850, and below this is a sash factory owned by Almon P. Tupper, and a factory for sawing and fitting barrel staves for the Boston market, owned by E. Hayward & Co. The three last-mentioned works are furnished with water conducted by a canal, without any dam across the river. ”
Among the early merchants at East Middlebury were Needham & Dennis (Levi Needham and Allen Dennis); our informant thinks they were the first to carry on a regular trade. They were succeeded by Alvin Johnson; he was followed by Alonzo Cook, Elias Persons, M. K. Day, and Perkins & Stearns (Rufus L. Perkins and Elliot N. Stearns), who built the brick store. They traded until Gustavus Perkins took the store, and he was succeeded by P. M. Champlin, Ezra Wood, and Wood & Manning; Smith & Downing, Partridge & Bush and William H. Eldredge also traded here and were succeeded by M. K. Day, and the latter by M. E. Day, the present merchant.
The store at the forge was kept by Israel Davey and B. S. Nichols, M. K. Day, S. G. Tisdale, Henry Persons, and possibly others.
J. C. Champlin began trade here in the brick store twenty-six years ago, and removed to his present building, which he erected in 1865; he has been in business continuously since his first start. Paul Champlin came here about 1777, and settled at East Middlebury on the farm now owned by O. P. Champlin; he died in 1853. J. P. Champlin is a son of Paul; Hiram H., another son, lived here and ran the mills built by John Foot from about 1828 to 1843. George Champlin also operated them for a time. Hiram went to Wisconsin and died there. John Champlin, living in the town, is another son of Paul. Walter Olmstead was an early settler where his son Waldo lives, in the village; Julius, a carpenter living north of the village, is another son. Luman Cogswell, father of Eber, now living here, was also a very early settler here.
The forge at East Middlebury was originally built by Roger Nobles; it stood about half a mile above the present one. This went to ruin, and the present one was erected, but the date of its building we have been unable to obtain; it was operated by Slade & Farr, and by Israel Davey and B. S. Nichols; it is now in possession of Andrew Williams and Mr. Nichols, with Hervey J. Nichols as agent. The ore used comes across the lake from Essex county, N. Y., and excellent iron is manufactured.
Perley Enos built a tannery here early in the century, which passed to his son Horace, as stated by Dr. Swift. Charles F. Partridge had it later, and built a saw-mill near by. He sold out to George Ladd and Mr. Gleason. They continued it a number of years, when it was abandoned. Israel F. Enos built another tannery many years ago, which went into the hands of Norman Tupper, who was father-in-law of Enos, and it was changed to a grist-mill. Enos ran the grist-mill until it was sold to Lewis Russell; it then passed to Spencer & Clough, then to Spencer alone, and from him to Levi Needham; he did not succeed in paying for it and it reverted to Spencer, and from him to W. L. Belknap, who built the present mill in 1879; it is now operated by Wallace W. Chapman under a lease. It is known as the Eureka mill.
S. G. Tisdale built his present saw-mill in 1880; there has been a mill on this site from the early settlement which has passed through various hands. E. J. Olmstead carries on wagon-making here, succeeding his father, who began in 1835.
Post-office.–The post-office of East Middlebury was established January 29, 1834, with Timothy Matthews, jr., as the first postmaster; in November, 1837, he was succeeded by Levi Needham, and he by O. P. Torrance in April, 1846; Mr. Needham again took the office in 1850, and was succeeded by Royal D. Farr in 1854. J. P. Champlin then had the office fourteen years, and was succeeded by M. E. Day, for eight years. The present postmaster is Julius A. Douglass, who has recently accepted the office.
The first schools in this town, like those of most of the new settlements in the county, were small as to numbers and scholars and their accommodations of the most primitive kind. The first school-house built, and the two first schools opened in town for children, were those mentioned in the statement of Miss Torrance, in the south part of the town, where the principal settlements then were. The first school in the neighborhood of the village was kept by Mrs. Goodrich, wife of William Goodrich, esq., about the year 1791. They then resided in a house on the rising ground east of Dr. Bass’s, and her school was a small school-house on the opposite side of the road. The first official act of the town on the subject of schools was a vote in December, 1790, to divide the town into four school districts. Votes were afterwards passed, from time to time, increasing the number and changing the boundaries of the districts. Some of these changes may be worth recording here: In 1792 what was known as the northwest district was divided into two. In 1796 it was voted that the middle and south districts be divided, if the selectmen think best. In 1810 it was voted “that the neighborhood of Samuel Wright be set off into a school district,” and the selectmen were given authority to “regulate the school districts where the people are complaining in said town.” In 1815 all that part of “Middlebury west of the creek” was made the “western village school district.” In 1822 a committee, previously appointed for the purpose, reported on changing boundaries of districts, so that there were nine in the town; in the same year district number ten was created. In 1829 a district was laid out between numbers two and eight, making eleven districts in the town. This number remained, with minor changes of boundaries, for nearly twenty years; in 1847 a new district was made by the division of number seven, and in 1850 the thirteenth was created by dividing number two. The number was afterwards reduced to eleven.
Addison County Grammar School and the Graded School.–The Legislature established a grammar school in Middlebury by an act passed November 8, 1797, under the corporate name of the “Corporation of the Addison County Grammar School.”
Full powers were granted to the corporation to acquire and hold the necessary estate, and for other purposes necessary for sustaining a permanent school; and to hold and use all the lands in the county reserved and appropriated for that use in the charters granted by the State. The trustees appointed by the act were Gamaliel Painter, Seth Storrs, Samuel Miller, Daniel Chipman and Darius Matthews. The trustees are authorized to add to their number; but the whole number is not to exceed twelve. A proviso is added to the act, “that the inhabitants of Middlebury, and such others as may voluntarily subscribe therefor, shall build and finish a good and sufficient house for said grammar school, of the value of one thousand dollars, by the next stated session of the Legislature, and shall forever after keep the same in good repair.” The inhabitants immediately set themselves to work to fulfill the condition, but did not limit their expenditures to one thousand dollars. The design was already formed to establish a college and provide a building which would accommodate such an institution, at least for a time. Accordingly a subscription was raised in this and the neighboring towns, and the wooden building afterward used for the college, eighty by forty, and three stories high, was completed in 1798, within the time limited by the act. It was divided into convenient rooms for students, with a public room for a chapel and other uses in the center of the upper story.
The land on which the building, together with the extensive grounds connected with it, was, in July, 1800, and previous to the charter of the college, deeded to the corporation by Seth Storrs, Darius Matthews, Appleton Foot, Stillman Foot, and Anthony Rhodes. Most of the land was owned by Colonel Storrs; but the grounds embraced small pieces belonging to the other grantors.
Rev. Jeremiah Atwater, of New Haven, Conn., was appointed principal of the grammar school, in anticipation of his becoming president of the college, when established. Until 1805 both institutions were continued in the same building, and President Atwater continued nominally principal of the academy, although the instruction was given by a tutor or other officer of the college. At that time the preparatory school was removed to the building erected for the Female Seminary, that institution being vacant in consequence of the death of Miss Strong.
The grammar school was a successful and most beneficial institution during its long existence; but the time finally came when it seemed desirable to supersede it by a school based on a little different system. On the 20th of February, 1867, a resolution was passed at a special meeting of the corporation of the school, in effect that the grammar school leave to district number four in the village all the real estate, and confer on the district the right to make such disposition of the building thereon as should be judged for its interest; that the district “shall within one year from May 1st next commence the erection of a suitable building for the purposes of a graded school and proceed with reasonable dispatch to its completion, and maintain a graded school, the higher department of which shall embrace adequate instruction in all branches taught in well-conducted academies and high schools. That the prudential committee of the district and an equal number of the trustees of the grammar school chosen by themselves from among their number, shall together constitute a board who shall have the joint management of the higher department of this school.” This committee was H. D. Kitchel, H. A. Sheldon, Dugald Stewart, John W. Stewart, and W. H. Parker.
The petition which led to this consolidation was dated October 16, 1866. In carrying out the plans of the new management the new building was projected. A committee was appointed, consisting of J. W. Stewart, Jason Davenport, Justus Cobb, Rufus Mead, J. M. Slade, Harry Langworthy, and Wm. P. Russel, to nominate a committee to report a plan; the latter committee were Harvey D. Kitchel, J. W. Stewart, E. Vallett, Calvin Hill, J. M. Slade. The committee of architecture was the same men.
The building was erected in 1868 and is a credit to the county in all respects; the cost of the building, grounds, etc., was about $33,000, which has been nearly doubled since that time by additions, furnishing, apparatus, etc. The old wood building formerly used for the grammar school was subsequently demolished.
C. D. Mead, A. M., is the present principal of the school, and is aided by an efficient corps of assistants, whose efforts give the institution an enviable standing throughout the State.
The following list shows the names of those who were members of the old grammar school corporation and the graded school, with dates of entry and retirement: Gamaliel Painter, 1797-1819; Seth Storrs, 1797-1837; Samuel Miller, 1797-1810; Daniel Chipman, 1797-1844; Darius Matthews, 1797-1819; Thomas A. Merrill, 1810-1855; Joshua Bates, 1820-1843; Wm. Slade, 1820-1826; Joel H. Linsley, 1820-l826; Peter Starr, 1826-1860; Jonathan Hagar, 1826-1855 , Samuel Swift, 1826-1867; Horatio Seymour, 1828-1857; Joel Doolittle, 1828-1841; Ira Stewart, 1828-1855; John Simmons, 1828-1829; Wm. Bass, 1828-1851; Benjamin Labaree, 1841-1865; Solomon Stoddard, 1841-1847; Charles Linsley, 1844-1858; Wm. Nash, 1844-1872; Solomon Jewett, 1844-1858; Wm. H. Parker, 1852; Wm. M. Bass, 1855-1866; George N. Boardman, 1855-1861; John W. Stewart, 1855; Julius A. Beckwith, 1855-1857; Joseph Steele, 1858-1872; H. A. Sheldon, 1861-1870; Dugald Stewart, 1863-1870; Edward H. Denison, 1863-1864; Charles Linsley, 1863-1863; Harvey D. Kitchel, 1866-1873; Henry Lane, 1869; Rufus Wainwright, 1869; Henry M. Seely, 1871; Edwin Vallett, 1871; B. S. Beckwith, 1874; Lyman E. Knapp, 1884; Wm. W. Eaton 1884.
Middlebury College.–The extended space already necessarily given up to the history of this important town renders it imperative to abridge our account of this college, the history of its earlier years being condensed from that of Judge Swift in the work from which we have so often quoted. The early residents of Middlebury were men who knew the great importance of prominent educational institutions in their midst, and efforts were made while the town and village were yet thinly populated to embody their intelligent ideas in permanent and practical form. As delineating the early steps in this direction, Judge Swift quotes from the Record of Travels of Dr. Dwight in this region in 1798, as follows:
“An academy was nearly completed, which was intended to be the germ of a future college.” “The evening of the 30th (of September) I spent in company with a number of gentlemen, in a consultation concerning this projected seminary, at the house of S. Miller, esq. They informed me that a college was already incorporated in the State, the intended seat of which was to be Burlington; that it had been incorporated some years and was liberally endowed; but that, for various reasons, which were specified, nothing material had been done toward carrying it into operation; that although some indecisive efforts had been made by the trustees soon after their appointment, all its concerns had for a considerable time been at a stand; that there was now less reason to expect any efficacious efforts from those gentlemen than there had been heretofore, as they themselves appeared to have relinquished both exertion and hope. The gentlemen then explained to me their own views of the importance of such an institution to their State; the propriety of making this town the seat of it; their own intentions, and the wishes of many respectable people in the State, who coincided with them in the opinion which they had expressed to me. When they had unfolded their views I frankly communicated to them my own; and have since had no reason to complain that they were disregarded. I will only add, that the local situation of Middlebury, the sober and religious character of the inhabitants, their manners and various other circumstances render it a very desirable seat for such a seminary.” In 1811, after his visits of 1806 and 1810, he makes the following record:
“The academy, which I have mentioned above, began to prosper from the time when it was opened; and was in the year 1800 raised by an act of incorporation into a college. From that time to the present it has continued to prosper; although all its funds have been derived from private donations, and chiefly, if not wholly, from the inhabitants of this town. The number of students is now one hundred and ten; probably as virtuous a collection of youths as can be found in any seminary in the world. The faculty consists of a president, a professor of law, a professor of mathematics and natural philosophy, who teaches chemistry also, a professor of languages and two tutors. The inhabitants of Middlebury have lately subscribed 8,ooo dollars for the purpose of erecting another collegiate building. When it is remembered that twenty-five years ago this spot was a wilderness, it must be admitted that these efforts have done the authors of them the highest honor.”
These extensive quotations will save the necessity of saying more relating to the origin of the institution. On the first day of November, 1800, an act was passed by the Legislature establishing a college under a corporation by the name of the “President and Fellows of Middlebury College.” Rev. Jeremiah Atwater, who had officiated as principal of Addison County Grammar School, was by the act constituted the “present president,” and Nathaniel Chipman, Heman Ball, Elijah Paine, Gamaliel Painter, Israel Smith, Stephen R. Bradley, Seth Storrs, Stephen Jacob, Daniel Chipman, Lot Hall, Aaron Leeland, Gershom C. Lyman, Samuel Miller, Jedediah P. Buckingham and Darius Matthews “the present fellows.”
Under its charter the college went into immediate operation, and two classes were received into the institution the same fall. The grammar school, for about five years, was continued in connection with it, under the same superintendence, and the members were instructed by a tutor. The first class in college, consisting of one member, Aaron Petty, was graduated in 1802. The graduating classes from this time continued to increase, and in 1805 consisted of sixteen, in 1808 of twenty-three, and in 1811 of nineteen, which were the largest classes to this period. Rev. Jeremiah Atwater resigned the office of president in 1809, and on the 26th day of September of that year was inaugurated as president of Dickinson College, at Carlisle, Penn. He continued in this office until August, 1815, when he resigned and established his residence in his native town, New Haven, Conn.
Rev. Henry Davis, D.D., as successor of President Atwater, entered upon the duties of the office in 1811, and resigned it in 1817. The classes under his administration for several years had increased, and in 1812 the graduating class consisted of twenty-six; in 1813, of twenty-nine; in 1814, of twenty-eight, and in 1815, of thirty. The other classes during this period were considerably smaller.
Dr. Davis was succeeded in the office of president by Rev. Joshua Bates, D.D., who entered upon his duties in 1818; he was a graduate of Harvard College and a man of great power. During the greater part of his administration the college was in a most prosperous condition. Nearly five hundred students graduated under him, many of them men who attained to eminence as theologians, statesmen, or men of letters, such as Stephen Olin, Solomon Foot and John G. Saxe; while in the class that graduated the year after Dr. Bates resigned, we find the names of Henry N. Hudson and Edward J. Phelps. In 1840 Rev. Benjamin Labaree, D.D., was elected president, at a time when the institution was suffering somewhat from the active competition of other noted colleges of the East. His long administration of twenty-six years was, nevertheless, eminently successful. The college had no funds at the beginning of its existence, and it was as late as 1841 before any systematic effort was made to raise a substantial sum. Previous to that, however, in 1800 $8,000 were raised by subscriptions of citizens, and the erection of the first stone structure for students’ rooms was begun and finished in 1816. In the fall of 1815 President Davis undertook the work of raising $50,000. A meeting was held at the hotel, which was addressed by him in eloquent terms, and before the meeting adjourned $20,000 had been subscribed. He met with such success that before the end of the following spring the whole amount was raised. The large legacy of Joseph Burr ($12,500), made at his death, and that of Judge Painter, who died in 1819, came to the timely relief of the institution. Other subscriptions were also made for the benefit of particular departments and a subscription was raised in 1833, under the administration of Dr. Bates, of $33,000, $15,000 of which were expended in erecting another stone building for a chapel and other purposes: this building was erected in 1836. After the inauguration of President Labaree the financial affairs of the college assumed a more settled and satisfactory aspect. $9,300 were subscribed from various sources between 1840 and 1848, and in the latter year one of $25,000; in 1852 another of $35,000. In 1853 a friend of the college offered a donation of $10,000 provided the further sum of $20,000 should be raised; this was accomplished and the whole devoted to the establishment of two permanent scholarships. A little later Joseph P. Fairbanks, of St. Johnsbury, gave the college $10,000, and various other sums have since been realized. In 1860 the structure known as Starr Hall was erected.
The presidents of the college since Dr. Labaree have been as follows: Rev. Harvey Denison Kitchel, D.D., elected 1866; retired 1873. Rev. Calvin Butler Hulbert, D. D., elected 1875; retired 1880. Rev. Cyrus Hamlin, D. D., LL. D., elected 1880; retired in 1885. Soon after the retirement of Dr. Hamlin, Ezra Brainerd, A. M., was elected president of the college, which position he now holds.
The associated alumni met for the first time at the commencement of 1824, and have held annual meetings since that time. Several literary and other associations and societies have been formed in the college at various periods, among which may be mentioned the Philadelphian Society, formed in 1804, and consisting of professors of religion; this society gathered a library of theological works. The Beneficent Society was formed in 1813 for the purpose of supplying indigent students with textbooks; it accomplished a great amount of good. In 1852 the Philomathesian Association was formed, with literary purpose.
The library was first established in 1809, at which time about $1,000 was raised by subscription of citizens; from that time to the present the library has grown steadily, and now contains over 16,000 volumes.
The following is a list of those who have occupied the offices designated:
Secretaries.–Seth Storrs, esq., from 1800 to 1807; Hon. Peter Starr, from 1809 to 1815; Hon. Samuel Swift, from 1815 to 1826; Hon. Harvey Bell, from 1826 to 1843; Rev. Lucius L. Tilden, from 1843 to 1851; John W. Stewart, esq., from 1851 to 1858; Rev. Lucius L.Tilden, from 1858 to 1862; Rufus Wainwright, from 1862 to 1881; Charles G. Wainwright, from 1881 to 1883; James M. Slade, 1883.
Treasurers.–Hon. Darius Matthews, from 1800 to 1803; Samuel Miller, esq., from 1803 to 1806; Hon. Samuel Swift, from 1806 to 1810; John Simmons, esq., from 1810 to 1829; William G. Hooker, from 1829 to 1830; Rev William C. Fowler, from 1830 to 1837; Hon. Samuel Swift, from 1837 to 1839; Hon. Peter Starr, from 1839 to 1842; Rev. Thomas A. Merrill, from 1842 to 1852; Julius A. Beckwith, esq., from 1852 to 1854; Rev. Joseph D. Wickham, from 1854 to 1855; Prof. W. H. Parker; Loyal D. Eldredge, present treasurer.
Faculty.–The present Faculty of the college is constituted as follows: Ezra Brainerd, A. M., president and professor of physics and applied mathematics; William Henry Parker, A. M., Baldwin professor emeritus of mathematics; Rev. George Nelson Webber, D.D., pro tempore professor of psychology, ethics, and political science; Henry Martyn Seely, A. M., M. D., Burr professor of chemistry and natural history; William Wells Eaton, A. M., professor of Greek and German; Charles Baker Wright, A. M., professor of rhetoric and English literature; Henry Edwards Scott, A. B., professor of Latin and French; Brainerd Kellogg, A. M., instructor in elocution; Professor Scott, librarian.
Ezra Brainerd was born in St. Albans, Vt., December 17, 1844; graduated at Middlebury College in 1864; was tutor in the college until the summer of 1866. He graduated at Andover Theological Seminary in 1868,and was then appointed to the chair of rhetoric and English literature in Middlebury College; this position he filled until 1880, when he was appointed to his present chair, taking the place of Professor William H. Parker, In 1886 he was elected president of the college.
Professor William Henry Parker, A. M., has been intimately associated with the educational interests of this region for more than fifty years. He was born in Washington county, N.Y., in 1809; was educated in Middlebury College, graduating in 1830. He taught two years in Bennington, which was followed by two years (1832-34) as tutor in Middlebury College. He was then two years in Andover Seminary, at the end of which term he taught twelve years in the St. Lawrence Academy, Potsdam, N. Y. In 1848 he took the chair of mathematics in Middlebury College, which he capably filled to 1881, since which date he is carried on the roll of the faculty as Baldwin professor emeritus of mathematics.
Professor Henry Martyn Seely, A.M., M.D., Burr professor of chemistry and natural history in Middlebury College, was born in Onondaga, N. Y., October 2, 1828. His preparatory education was obtained in Cazenovia, N. Y., since which he has graduated from the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale College; studied in the Mining School, Freiburg, Germany, and in the Heidelberg University; received the degree of B.Ph., and A.M., from Yale College in 1856, and of M. D., from the Berkshire Medical College, Mass. From 1857 to 1863 he taught at Berkshire, and after the latter date in the University of Vermont to 1867, since which date he has been connected with Middlebury College.
Female Seminary.–About the time of the establishment of the grammar school and the college, and before the latter was incorporated, the citizens of Middlebury further showed their devotion to the cause of higher education by taking steps towards the founding of a female seminary. Through the agency of Hon. Horatio Seymour, Miss Ida Strong, who had been educated at the then celebrated school of Miss Pierce, in Litchfield, Conn., was invited to establish a similar institution here. She did so, and at first opened her school in the court-house. It soon gained a high reputation and pupils came from all parts of the State. A few years later the school was removed to a room in Dr. Campbell’s house, which had been used as a store. The school rapidly advanced, and in 1802 a voluntary association was formed by the citizens to erect a suitable building for its accommodation. Mr. Seymour donated the land, and a subscription was circulated and the requisite funds raised. In the following season the two-story building, occupied in later years by Ozias Seymour for a residence, was erected.
Unfortunately the health of Miss Strong failed, and she died in 1804 at the age of twenty-nine. The school was closed until 1807, when Miss Emma Hart, from Berlin, Conn., was invited to take charge of the institution. Although but twenty years old she enjoyed an enviable reputation and made the school successful from the first. After two years of teaching it she was married in 1809 to Dr. John Willard. During the vacancy in the school above mentioned the Addison County Grammar School was removed into the seminary building; the lower story was divided into rooms and fitted up for the ordinary school exercises, and the upper room was now given up to Miss Hart’s school; she began with thirty-seven pupils. The male school was removed before the second winter. In the spring of 1814 Mrs. Willard opened a female school at her own residence. This school she afterwards looked back upon as the germ of the Troy Female Seminary, to which city she removed her school in 1821; it became one of the most successful institutions of the kind in the country, and Mrs. Willard occupied a position attained by few, if any other, women in the land, in an educational sense.
The school in Middlebury was next taught by Esther North, of Goshen, Conn., and several years later she was succeeded by Phebe Smith (who was before her marriage Phebe Henderson, of Bennington, and later the wife of Rev. Joel H. Linsley). The school was probably closed soon after 1814 and was not revived until 1827. In the mean time the building had been again given up to the Addison County Grammar School. A new association was formed, and the “Female School Association” was incorporated in October Of the year named. In the course of the year the association purchased the three story building which was erected by Daniel Chipman for a law school and refitted it for the school boarding-house. Among those who subsequently had charge of the school were Miss Ann H. B. Mahew, about one year; Mrs. Harriet B. Cook, widow of Milo Cook, to August, 1834; during her administration the school prospered exceedingly, and additions were made to the boarding house, and a new school building was erected in rear of the boarding house. Mrs. Cook was succeeded by Miss Nancy Swift, four years; in the spring of 1840 Rev. Lucius Tilden took charge of the school, assisted by Mrs. Tilden; in 1846 he was succeeded by Dr. S. P. Lathrop, who continued until 1849. For two years only temporary teachers were employed, when in 1851 S. W. Hitchcock, from Burlington, was employed; his health failed and he died in 1852. William F. Bascom succeeded in the school, assisted by his wife. In 1856 he relinquished the school to begin practice of law, and it was continued through the winter by Miss Eliza Merrill. On the 9th of March, 1857, Miss Agnes Gordon, assisted by competent teachers, took charge of the institution. She was followed by Rev. Harvey and Mrs. Leavitt, and they by Professor Nelson Z. and Mrs. Graves, who were the last teachers, and the school closed in 1869. In 1880 the property was sold to liquidate an old indebtedness.
The Congregational Church of Middlebury–This denomination was almost the only one known to the early immigrants to Addison county. The provision for and support of the gospel in this denomination constituted a large share of the business of many of the early meetings of the inhabitants. Some of the records relative to this subject are of deep interest. At the annual town meeting of 1788, only two years after the town organization, the following votes were passed:
“Voted to choose a committee to stick a stake for the meeting-house and pitch on a place or places to bury the dead.”
“Voted, that Mr. Daniel Foot’s house be a place to meet for public worship for the present.”
“Voted Daniel Foot, Benjamin Smalley, Abraham Kirby and Nathaniel Munger be a committee to procure preaching for the present year.”
January 1, 1789, “Voted that the town be divided into two distinct societies.” ” Voted that the committee that was appointed last March hire preaching for three months, as they, in their wisdom, shall think proper.” March 2, 1789, “Voted that we will try to procure preaching for the ensuing year. Voted that we will raise a tax of three pence on the pound to be paid in wheat at 5s per bushel. Voted that Benjamin Smalley, Abraham Kirby and Jonathan Chipman be a committee for the purpose of procuring some suitable person to preach in the town on probation for a settlement. Voted that we will meet one-half of the time at the north end of the town, and the other half at the south end of the town on Sundays for public worship. Voted that Captain Stephen Goodrich’s house for the north end and Mr. Bill Thayer’s for the south end for to meet at, at present. Voted to reconsider the vote passed last town-meeting concerning dividing the town.”
July, 1789, “Voted that the committee try to hire Mr. Parmelee, on probation five Sabbaths more, when he comes back. Voted re-consider the former vote that was passed, to meet one-half the time at the north end and the other half at the south end of the town for public worship, and will meet at Mr. Daniel Foot’s for said purpose.”
February 8, 1790, “Voted to have the Rev. Mr. Parmelee to preach for the term of six months on probation, if the situation of his family is such that they can be removed by sleighing, otherwise for three months in the town of Middlebury.”
March 11, 1790. Meeting warned “to see if they will raise a tax to pay Mr. Parmelee for preaching in said town for the space of six or three months. ” “Voted Samuel Miller, esq., moderator, and tried to get a vote for the above purpose, and it passed in the negative.”
Other proceedings of this character have already been mentioned. In 1793 it was voted “to hold meetings in the future in Mr. Ebenezer Sumner’s barn until such times as he shall fill it with hay.”
Rev. John Barnet was ordained as pastor of the church on the 11th of November, 1790, the church having been organized on the 5th of September preceding. The following persons composed the church at the time of its organization:
Daniel Foot, Elijah Buttolph, Moses Hale, Bethuel Goodrich, Abraham Kirby, Ebenezer Sumner, Simon Farr, Prudence Preston, Silence Goodrich, Abigail Foot, Sarah Farr and Deborah Buttolph.
From 1798 until the first church was erected, meetings were held in the court-house. In December, 1801, incipient measures were adopted towards building a church edifice. The proposed location was several times changed, and at a meeting in August, 1805, it had been decided “that the expense of building the house shall be defrayed by a public sale of the pews; “a committee of seven, including Judge Painter, was appointed “to draw a plan of a meeting-house, and expose the pews for sale by public auction,” twenty per cent. to be paid in money” and the remainder in neat cattle or materials for building.”
The first church was finally begun in 1806, but it was not finished until the spring of 1809; it was dedicated on the 31st day of May that year. In 1854 it was thoroughly repaired and partially reconstructed, and is now a handsome building, seating seven hundred and fifty and valued, with its grounds, etc., at $20,000. The church has over four hundred members and a large and flourishing Sabbath-school. The following pastors have served the church:
Rev. John Barnet, installed November 11, 1790; dismissed March 31, 1795. Rev. Thomas A. Merrill, D.D., installed December 19, 1805; released from pastoral duties December 19, 1842; died April 29, 1855. Rev. Samuel G. Coe, installed July 17, 1844; dismissed October 30, 1850. Rev. R. S. Kendall, installed April 14, 1853; dismissed July 7, 1856. Rev. James T. Hyde, installed June 10, 1857; dismissed November 4, 1867. Rev. E. P. Hooker, installed September 14, 1870; dismissed January, 1881. Rev. S. L. B. Speare, since June 1881.
The Methodist Episcopal Church.–It is uncertain just when Methodism was introduced into this town, but the first mention of the town as a circuit is in 1810, and it is believed that a society was formed here several years prior to that date. Rev. Ebenezer Washburn traveled in Western Vermont and was on the Vergennes Circuit in 1801. In later years he wrote as follows:
“At Middlebury I found a small and persecuted class. Our preaching was at the house of Lebbeus Harris; and in the midst of that village our average congregation was from twenty-five to thirty. Mr. and Mrs. Harris were deeply pious, and ready to greet the preacher with joy at his coming, and to render him every service and accommodation to make him comfortable and happy while he stayed.”
Mr. Washburn became a noted preacher and accomplished great good. Writing further of his early experiences here he said: “I have had stones and snow-balls cast at me in volleys. I have had great dogs sent after me, to frighten my horse, as I was peacefully passing through small villages. But I was never harmed by any of them. I have been saluted with the sound of ‘Glory, hosanna, amen, hallelujah,’ mixed with oaths and profanity. If I turned my horse, to ride toward them, they would show their want of confidence, both in their master and in themselves, by fleeing like base cowards.”
Mr. Washburn was succeeded by Joseph Sawyer, Henry Ryan (1800) Elijah Chichester (1802), William Anson, James M. Smith (1804), Samuel Cochrane (1805), Samuel Draper (1806), Dexter Bates (1809), and Andrew McKean. Rev. Phineas Peck was the first resident pastor, about 1810. Following is a list of those who were in full connection with this faith in 1809: Lebbeus Harris, Sarah Harris, Daniel Bigelow, Betsey T. Bigelow, Abel Knights, Nathan Alden, Barbara Alden, Thomas Carpenter, Aurelia Carpenter, Azuba Babcock, Sarah Weaver, Amelia Farnsworth, Chester Haskins, Hulda Fisher, Josiah Johnson, Joseph Johnson, Anna Johnson. Meetings were held for a time in the old block now owned by Henry L. Sheldon; in 1813 the first chapel was erected on the street leading to the old paper-mill. In 1837 the present neat church was built on the corner of North Pleasant and Seminary streets, at a cost of about $5,000. In 1880 it was repaired and frescoed at an expense of $2,800. We cannot spare space to follow the long list of pastors who have labored for the good of their fellows in this church. The present pastor, J. J. Noe, came in 1884. The membership is now one hundred and eighty. Prof. H. M. Seely is Sunday-school superintendent. Class leaders, H. D. Langworthy, J. Noland, J. W. Morse, W. J. Mead, Ira Pond, E. J. Boyce; stewards, H. M. Seely, A. F. Manley, W. S. Alden, O. F. Comstock, J. W. Mead, Charles H. Bain, J. R. Ford, P. Severance, George E. Marshall, J. C. Cady, Charles Cady, J. W. Lovett, Clinton G. Smith, O. P. Moore; recording steward, J. W. Lovett. A parsonage belongs with the church property.
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.–This society was organized in December 5, 1810, under the name of “The First Episcopal Society in Addison County.” The first signers of the association were Horatio Seymour, Joel Doolittle, William B. Sumner, Samuel Clark, Daniel Henshaw, Daniel Chipman, Lavius Fillmore, John Willard, Lewis Stearns, Eben W. Judd, Stephen Weston, Roger Haskell, of Middlebury; John A. Sumner, John Alexander, Luther Barnard, of Bristol; George Cleveland, Joseph Brackett, of Weybridge; Isaac Landon and William Kellogg, of Cornwall. The first services were held by Rev. Bethuel Chittenden, a brother of Governor Chittenden, in an upper room of Captain E. Markham’s public house. Services were afterward held in the court-house. In 1817 Daniel Henshaw fitted up one of his buildings for that purpose, which was used until the completion of the stone church, which was consecrated on the 14th of October, 1827. Rev. Philo Adams, S. S. Sanford, George Leonard and A. Baldwin were the pastors from 1811 to 1821. Benjamin B. Smith, afterwards presiding bishop of the United States, was the first rector from 1823 to 1828, under whose direction the church was built.
A chapel and vestry-room have since been added. Several very gifted preachers have served the church, which now has a membership of eighty-nine. Rev. Alva E. Carpenter is the present rector; he succeeded Rev. William J. Tilley in September, 1883. Albert Chapman is senior warden; Edwin Vallett, junior warden; Henry L. Sheldon, George C. Chapman, E. W. Judd, E. P. Russel, William Chadwick, vestrymen. The rector is superintendent of the Sunday-school.
Baptist Church.–This church was formed December 10, 1809, the first regular pastor being Nathaniel Kendrick, from 1810 to 1817. The society generally attended public worship in the court-house until 1838, when they purchased the building formerly occupied by the Methodists. This was refitted and occupied for several years. Subsequent to 1843 the church had become so reduced by the removal of members that the house was sold, and the society, as such, ceased to exist. At this time the Baptists had established a paper here, devoted to the interests of the church, and which was recognized as its peculiar organ throughout the State. It was ably conducted, but for want of proper support was soon abandoned. In May, 1879, the society was reorganized by its pastor, Rev. Charles Hibbard, with twenty-four members, since increased to over forty. Having no church building, public services were conducted in the court-house until 1882, when the neat new church was erected at a cost of about $8,000. Rev. Mr. Hibbard remained to June, 1883, when he was succeeded by Rev. A. De H. Palmer, the present incumbent. H. J. Chapman is Sunday-school superintendent. The deacons are J. B. Benedict and H. J. Chapman.
Roman Catholic Church.–The following brief account of this church down to about 1850 was furnished to Dr. Swift’s work by Timothy O’Flanagan: “The first missionary Catholic priest that came to this town was the Rev. James MacQuaide in 1822. He left here the following year, and we had none here until 1830, when the Rev. Jeremiah 0. Callaghan came as a missionary of the whole State–coming here occasionally–until 1834. Then the State was made into two missions, and the Rev. James Walsh came on this part of the mission and left in 1835. In 1837 Rev. John B. Dailey came here, and built the present brick church, which is sixty feet by forty, in 1839, and remained on the mission until 1854. Then the first and present Catholic bishop of this diocese, the Right Rev. Lewis Goesbriand, sent the Rev. Joseph Duglue.” He was succeeded by Rev. Father Cunningham, who officiated for about fourteen years previous to 1881, when Rev. E. R. Moloney came. Within a short time Rev. Henry Lane became pastor. The church has now about 180 families. A Catholic cemetery was established in 1883, embracing six acres, west of the college.
The First Universalist Church of East Middlebury.–This society was organized in 1849, and for a number of years was in a prosperous condition. Soon after the organization the society built the church still standing, and had at that time about sixty members, with Rev. C. D. Miller as pastor. From various causes the church declined, and no settled minister has preached here for a long time. At the present time Rev. Mr. Heath preaches one sermon each Sunday, and the church is attended by all denominations.
Freemasonry.–This ancient and honorable order has been represented in Middlebury for almost a century. Union Lodge No.2 was chartered in 1794, and by the Grand Lodge of Vermont in 1797. The charter members were John Chipman, Joel Linsley, James Bradley, Abraham Bethrong, Lewis McDonald, Abiel Linsley, Joseph McDonald, Thomas Tolman. The first officers were John Chipman, W. M.; Joel Linsley, S. W.; Lewis McDonald, J. W. The lodge prospered until the blight of anti-Masonry fell upon it, when it suspended, its last meeting being held May 3, 1830. It remained dormant until December 17, 1847, when it was revived with the following officers: Daniel L. Potter, W. M.; Jacob Dewey, S. W.; Gideon Carpenter, J. W.; John B. Copeland, treasurer; Allen Mills, secretary. The present officers of the lodge are as follows: W. H. Kingsley, W. M.; H. E. Smith, S. W.; A. J. Field, J. W.; C. E. Pinney, treasurer; Samuel Brooks, secretary; H. J. Nichols, S. D.; John M. Nash, J. D.; Thaddeus M. Chapman, marshal.
Potter Chapter No. 22 (originally Jerusalem Chapter) was chartered October 7, 1868. It met alternately in Vergennes and Middlebury, until Jerusalem Chapter went to Vergennes. The officers were Samuel Brooks, H. P.; Wm. P. Russel, K.; Charles J. Soper, S.; Henry L. Sheldon, secretary; John H. Simmons, C. H.; Lorenzo H. Stow, P. S.; Charles M. Waller, R. A. C.
The present officers are C. E. Prentiss, H. P.; B. B. Brown, K.; H. J. Nichols, S.; H. L. Sheldon, treasurer; Samuel Brooks, secretary; W. H. Cobb, C. H.; W. B. Bristol, P. S.; A. J. Field, R. A. C.
Middlebury Council No. 14 was chartered October 7, 1868, with the following officers: Henry L. Sheldon, T. I.; John H. Simmons, R. I.; Henry S. Putnam, P. C. At the last election, held in 1883, the following were elected: Edward S. Dana, T. I.; Lorenzo H. Stow, R. I.; Henry L. Sheldon, P. C.; Peter F. Goodrich, treasurer; William H. Goodnough, Rec. Mount Calvary Commandery No.1 was chartered February 20, 1824, with the following officers: Joel Clapp, E. C.; Samuel H. Holley, G.; Ezra Meech, C. G.; Daniel Chipman, P.; Justus Foot, S. W.; John M. Weeks, J. W.; Asahel Parsons, treasurer; Lebbeus Harris, Rec.
The present officers of the commandery are William C. Bradley, E. C.; George A. Kimball, G.; Frank N. Manchester, C. G.; Charles E. Prentiss, P.; William H. Cobb, S. W.; W. H. Kingsley, J. W.; Thaddeus M. Chapman, treasurer; Peter F. Goodrich, Rec.
Odd Fellows.–There is but one lodge of this order in Middlebury, and its records were all destroyed in the fire of 1875. Its name is Lake Dunmore Lodge No.11. The officers elected in December, 1875, were as follows:
James M. Slade, N. G.; Norman F. Rider, V. G.; William H. Cobb, secretary; C. E. Pinney, treasurer. The present officers are Charles E. Youtt, N. G.; H. A. Peck, V. G.; R. W. Pitts, secretary; C. E. Pinney, treasurer; George Langworthy, R. S. N. G.; A. B. Smith, L. S. N. G.; S. E. Meekin, R. S. V. G.; T. Kidder, L. S. V. G.; A. B. Colby, warden; N. F. Rider, R. S. S.; James Norton, L. S. S.; Henry Langworthy, I. S.; C. M. Foot, Con.
It will have been seen by the reader that very many of the leading men of Middlebury have been connected with one or both of these orders.



  1. Thanks a lot for sharing this with all folks you really recognise what you are speaking approximately! Bookmarked. Please also seek advice from my site =). We may have a hyperlink change agreement among us

    Comment by Gist — October 27, 2012 @ 10:42 am

  2. Thank you for a excellent writeup. It was a amusement bank account this. Look sophisticated to be able to much added reasonable from you! In addition, how can we connect?

    Comment by microsoft office 2010 keygen crack — July 5, 2013 @ 5:29 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: