Vermont History and Genealogy

February 13, 2007

History of the Town of Granville

Filed under: Addison County, Granville, Vermont Counties, Vermont Towns — thedarwinexception @ 4:22 pm



THE town of Granville, situated in the eastern part of the county, is bounded on the north by the town of Warren and a part of Roxbury in Washington county; east by Braintree, in Orange county; south by Hancock, and west by Ripton and a small part of Lincoln. It was granted by Governor Thomas Chittenden on the 7th of November, 1780, and chartered August 2, 1781, to the following proprietors: Reuben King, James Lusk, Daniel King, Robert Graham, James Mead, Joseph Farnsworth, Justus Mitchell, John Stanford, John Stanford, jr., John May, Ira Allen, Daniel Beaman, Ebenezer Wright, Amos Crosbee, Isaac Pomeroy, Philip Olcutt, Jacob Sheldon, William Slade, Seth Banister, Elias Staples, John Cutler, Jesse Abbott, Solomon Banister, Thomas Wood, Thomas King, Sylvanus Walker, Aaron Graves, Thomas Bliss, John Hill, Daniel Haynes, Jonathan Moore, Gideon King, James Shaw, Daniel Russell, John McElwain, Isaac Roberts, William McDole, John Spear, Joseph McClintock, John McMaster, William Spear, James McClintock, John Hurlburt, jr., Narcissus Graham, Aaron T. Boge, Benjamin Scott, Isaac King, John Hurlburt, Joseph Graham, Phinehas Sheldon, Reuben Parsons, Benjamin Sheldon, Asaph Sheldon, Ezra Sheldon, Alexander Sheldon, Cephas Gillett, David Graham, John Graham.

As was usual in the settlement of towns in this State, the clearing of farms and rearing of homes was in fact effected not by the proprietors themselves, but chiefly by grantees under them. The town was originally called “Kingston,” from the numerous persons of that name among the proprietors; but owing to some local difficulty, a portion of the inhabitants, under the leadership of Isaac Parker, procured on November 6, 1833, a substitution of the present name for the old one. The township originally contained, it is said, the orthodox 23,040 acres, but on the 6th of November, 1833, was enlarged by the annexation of a part of Avery’s Gore.

The surface of Granville is almost entirely rough and mountainous, and for the most part composed of rocky soil which it is next to impossible to cultivate. Large tracts of timbered land attest, however, the proper worth of the town for industrial purposes. Through the center of the town a broad valley of excellent alluvial soil, drained by White River and its tributaries, extends to the north and south, and constitutes almost the only arable earth in the town. Many pleasing and romantic spots are found here, which are prevented from becoming widely known only by the mountainous barriers which lift their bristling shoulders on every side. The scenery about Moss Glen Falls is beautiful in the extreme. This cascade is situated on a branch of the White River, near the center of the town, where the waters are precipitated over a huge rock one hundred feet high, the lower falls of fifty feet being vertical. At the base the continual force of the falling torrent has worn a hole in the rocks ten feet deep. The glen which surrounds this fall is surpassingly beautiful.

Mad River rises in the northern part and flows north into Washington county, while several branches of the East Branch of White River rise in the western part of the town and flow east into Orange county. The soil of the tillable land is mostly a fine alluvial deposit, constantly enriched by washings from the highlands, distributed by overflows. The overflows, however, sometimes overstep their bounds and become freshets. The most destructive of these torrents occurred during the great storm of July 26, 1830. There had been an unusual fall of rain during the whole season, but on the third day previous to the flood–Saturday–at about three o’clock P. M., rain fell with unusual vehemence until Sabbath morning. At the close of the Sabbath the waters which had “overborne their continents” again began to retreat slowly and sullenly to their wonted channels. Early in the forenoon of Monday, however, the storm broke with redoubled fury, continuing until far into the night. Houses, barns, bridges and everything in the course of the mad torrent were swept before it, causing an incredible loss of property, though, happily, no lives were lost. The deep gulf at Moss Glen Falls, lying between the mountain on the west and the hill on the opposite side, was literally filled up by an immense mass of earth that had been undermined by the water until it made a land-slide, forming a dam that raised the waters above to a height of seventy-five feet above the normal course, as was proven afterwards by the drift-wood, etc., lodged in the tops of the trees. At about twelve o’clock this immense mass gave way, and the waters from the mighty reservoir formed by it came thundering down through the valley, carrying destruction with it. The inhabitants having betaken themselves to the higher land was all that prevented a great loss of life. The narrowest escape was that of David Wiley, in the eastern part of the town, whose house was swept away, while he and his family escaped death by clinging to a projecting rock, under a portion of which they took refuge until morning.

At a meeting of the proprietors of Granville (or Kingston) held at Windsor on the 28th of September, 1784, a vote was passed to give one hundred acres of land to each of the first women who should go with their families to make a permanent settlement in the town. The offer was accepted by Mrs. Daniel King, Mrs. Elizabeth Sterling, and Persis, wife of Israel Ball, grandfather of Joseph P. Ball, who was afterwards one of the most influential men in the town. Settlement thereupon rapidly increased. The first town meeting was held on the 8th of July, 1788, at the house of Israel Ball, at which Israel Ball was chosen moderator; Joseph Patrick, town clerk; Israel Ball, Asa Wood and Moses King, selectmen; Gideon Abbott, constable and collector; Joshua Beckwith, grand juror; Joseph Patrick and Joel Rice, highway surveyors. The meeting was then adjourned to the dwelling house of Daniel King, September 16, 1788, at which it was voted among other things to “pertition” the General Assembly for a land tax, and that said tax be two pence per acre.

Among the early officers Joseph Patrick retained the office of town clerk, with the exception of the year 1793, until 1832. He also held the office of justice of the peace thirty-six years, though Daniel King was the first justice. Joseph Rice was the first representative, chosen in 1807.

Israel Ball came before 1780 from Massachusetts and made his first pitch on the land in more recent days owned by Daniel Babcock and Eleazer Hubbard. He had four sons and three daughters. The boys were Levi, Ezra, Tyler and Rufus. Levi was a soldier in the Revolution and passed the greater part of his life in town. Ezra moved to Canada. Tyler lived on the place now occupied by his son, Joseph P. Ball, who has been more than forty years justice of the peace, and six times sent to the Legislature. Tyler died in 1828. Rufus Ball removed to Corinth and died there.

Joseph Patrick settled first on the place now occupied by Henry Jackson, and afterwards where Eleazer Hubbard lives, where he ended his days. Ira and Seth Patrick are his grandsons. Asa Wood made a settlement in “North Hollow.” Moses King located on the farm now occupied by Zeba Lamb. Ransom Beckwith settled in South Hollow, where Leonard Bean now lives.

Joel Rice, from New Hampshire, made his clearing on the road to Warren in “North Hollow,” on the place where his son, Denison Rice, and his grandson N. D. Rice, now live. Mrs. Rufus M. Hubbard was a granddaughter of Joel Rice. Daniel King settled on the farm now occupied by John A. Vinton. Thomas King’s residence was on the site now occupied by Zeba Lamb. Isaac Parker, already mentioned as being instrumental in the change of the name of the town, lived where Christopher C. Hubbard now lives. A. X. Parker, the present member of Congress from Potsdam, N. Y., is his son, and was born on that farm. Jonathan Lamb settled in “South Hollow” on the farm now owned by Augustus F. Vinton. His cousin, Amos Lamb, was the progenitor of nearly all of those bearing the family name now living in town. Peter Thatcher lived in “South Hollow,” where Frank S. Ellis now resides; Mrs. Ellis is a granddaughter of Thatcher. James Parker, brother of Isaac, established a residence on the present farm of Eleazer Hubbard. Eli Lewis located in “North Hollow,” on the place now occupied by Cynthia Goodenow; Newman Scarlet, on the place where A. N. Briggs lives; Nathan Sterling, on the farm now in the hands of Ira and Seth Patrick. He was what is called “a character,” and used to relate, among other canards, that he had bent his gun-barrel and shot quail around his hay-stack. Phineas Lee lived on the place now occupied by Royal Sturdevant. Enos Parker, a distant relative of Isaac Parker, settled where John McDonald now lives. Oliver Wood lived in “North Hollow.” Timothy Wade made his clearing on the land now occupied by H. J. Spear. Arna Hubbard came about 1830 to the place now occupied by Joseph Flint. His son, Rufus M., now a prominent citizen of the town, held the office of town clerk for seventeen years following 1867.

The early industries of the town were not very numerous nor very extensive. The inhabitants were busy clearing and cultivating their farms, building their rude log houses, and caring for their stock. Taverns were opened, indeed, agreeably to the hospitable nature of our forefathers; nearly every private house was not infrequently converted for a night into a home for the wayfaring man. About the earliest tavern here was kept by Eleazer Kendall in the house now occupied by Royal H. Bostwick.

It is not known positively who received the first appointment as postmaster, but one of the earliest incumbents was Uriah, son of Joel Rice. Succeeding him have been Warren Hayden, L. A. Abbott, A. W. Albee, A. G. Allen and F. B. Dimmick, who held the office from about 1868 to the fall of 1885, when W. S. Whitney received the appointment.

The only hotel now in town was built about ten years ago by the present owners, D. H. Whitney & Sons. L. L. Udall has acted the part of mine host since April, 1882. D. H. Whitney & Sons also own the only store building now open in Granville. Leckner & Udall, who own the stock, have been in the building since the opening of spring, 1882.

The principal industry in this entire vicinity is the lumber interest. Granville has no grist-mill, owing, no doubt, to the proximity of the excellent mill at Rochester. The saw-mills in town are the following: Tarbell’s saw-mill, in East Granville, built by the present proprietor, Daniel Tarbell, about 1855, which cuts, it is said, not less than 300,000 feet of lumber per year; W. S. Whitney’s mill, at “The Center,” which was almost rebuilt in the fall of 1885, and which manufactures about 300,000 feet of lumber, 150,000 cave-spouts, and large quantities of chair-stock, fork and hoe handles, per annum; the clapboard and circular saw-mill, on White River, owned by the Northfield Savings Bank and operated by A. S. & A. C. Ralph; D. D. Hemenway’s wooden bowl factory, situated at the village, erected in 1879 by R. N. Hemenway, and consuming 75,000 feet of lumber annually in the manufacture of wooden bowls; the shingle and clapboard-mill owned and operated by Newman D. Rice and Aldus Hill, established as a shingle-mill in 1879; (steam power has lately been added, greatly increasing the capacity of the factory); and the clapboard-mill of George Brooks and A. A. Hanks, in the north part of the town, started about three years ago.

In the War of the Rebellion, Granville, surrounded as she is by the “Old Gray Mountains of the North,” sent forth her hardy sons to aid in crushing the destructive forces which aimed at the dissolution of the Union. The following are the names of those who enlisted in Vermont organizations:

Volunteers for three years credited previous to call for 300,000 volunteers of October 17, 1863:

V. W. Albee, D. C. Bailey, O. Berean, J. Becotte, P. Burke, E. C. Butler, J. A. Cady, E. J. Chase, E. Clough, C. W. Cooley, W. O. Cochran, J. Devine, R. Devine, O. Dumas, D. Ellis, S. Garrow, E. W. Harvey, J. H. Highlen, C. L. Jones, J. Kerr, R. E. Lamed, J. Patton, P. P. Ripley, N. B. Stark, C. St. John, M. Stowe, A. Thurston, J. Tracy, H. Wood, M. Wood, H. P. Worcester.

Credits under call of October 17, 1863, for 300,000 volunteers, and subsequent calls:

Volunteers for three years.–J. B. Aldrich, H. A. Bacon, C. Bedell, E. Church, W. B. Cobb, W. V. Eastman, B. Edwards, A. A. Ford, J. H. Ford, J. Ingleston, O. E. Kennedy, H. J. Russ, C. Sherman, jr., C. St. John, jr., N. C. Swan.

Volunteers for one year.–S. Cronk, E. Dillon, G. W. Fisher, A. Kemp, R. Maxwell, S. Maxwell, H. T. J. Royce.

Volunteer re-enlisted.–R. E. Lamed.

Not credited by name.–Two men.

Volunteers for nine months.–M. B. Morehouse, W. Rhodes, O. T. Tucker, S. C. Webster, G. N. Wright.

Furnished under draft.–Paid commutation, N. A. Robinson, H. J. Smith, H. Wood, J. Wood, jr. Procured substitute, A. F. Vinton.

The town boasts of having no lawyers and but one physician, Dr. J. R. Hamlin, who came here three or four years ago, and has won an extensive ride. He practices homeopathy.

The town officers of Granville elected in March, 1885, are as follows: John A. Vinton, moderator; E. F. Briggs, town clerk; H. C. Hubbard, A. F. Kennedy, L. Webb, selectmen; S. F. Hubbard, town treasurer; George E. Wolson, overseer of the poor; E. F. Briggs, constable and collector; John G. Wolson, Henry E. Farr, L. Webb, jr., listers; R. J. Flint, E. F. Briggs, W. S. Whitney, auditors; S. F. Hubbard, trustee of surplus moneys; O. C. Briggs, W. S. Whitney, C. Dowdell, fence viewers; Allen J. Lamb, town agent; R. J. Flint, superintendent of schools; Fred A. Lewis, John A. Vinton, L. Webb, jr., road commissioners (the first ever elected in this town).

The following figures indicate the steady growth in population of the town from the taking of the first census in 179~1to the last in 1880:

1791, 181; 1800, 185; 1810, 324; 1820, 328; 1830, 403; 1840, 545; 1850, 603; 1860, 720; 1870, 726; 1880, 830.

The educational status of the town may readily be inferred from the statement that there are here ten school districts, and a well-attended school in each district.

Ecclesiastical.–The only active church organization now in town is of the Methodist Episcopal persuasion, and was formed in 1871 by the first pastor, Rev. W. J. Kidder. The original membership numbered only seven persons. In 1876-77 they erected a substantial house of worship at a cost of $2,446, which was burned in December, 1882. They now own the old Union meeting-house which was erected in 1838, and rebuilt in 1871. Rev. William H. Dean is now their pastor.

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