XX indexVermont  




"Shaftsbury lies between the Battenkill and Walloomscoik Rivers; it has no large streams. Some tributaries of each of these rivers rise here, which afford several mill privileges. West Mountain lies partly in this town and partly in Arlington. It extends into Shaftsbury about three miles and is about two miles in width.  This mountain is timbered with chestnut, oak, maple, birch, etc. The soil is generally of a good quality and, in the southwestern part, is probably not exceeded in fertility by any in the State. The timber on the highlands is mostly chestnut and oak. The minerals are iron ore, of an excellent quality, and a beautiful white marble, which has been extensively quarried. 

      "The settlement of the town was commenced about the year 1763. Among the early settlers may be mentioned Messrs. Cole, Willoughby, Clark, Doolittle, Waldo and several families of Mattisons.  The Hon. Jonas Galusha, late Governor of Vermont, came into this town in the spring of 1775.  During the revolutionary war he was made captain of one of the two companies of militia in this town, and the other was commanded by Captain Amos Huntington.  Capt. Huntington was taken prisoner at the battle of Hubbardton, and set to Canada, after which the two companies were united, under the command of Captain Galusha, who fought at their head in the Bennington battle. 

      "The Baptists are the most numerous religious denomination, and they have two societies. The town gives name to the Baptist Association in this section of the State, it being called the "ShaftsburyAssociation," and is one of the first formed in the State. The Rev. Caleb Blood was, for many years, a zealous and successful preacher of the gospel here. He removed to Boston about the year 1807." 

Gazetteer of Vermont, Hayward, 1849.


      IN the county of Bennington the township of Shaftsbury occupies a central position, so far as it is possible for any of the towns to be central. Of the civil divisions of the county four occupy a similar situation: Shaftsbury, Arlington, Sunderland and Glastenbury; and of this central block of four Shaftsbury is in the southwest corner. Its bounding towns are Arlington on the north, Bennington on the south, Glastenbury on the east, and New York State on the west.

      Shaftsbury, like the major part of the county towns, is somewhat mountainous, but less so than many others, thus being more easily cultivated. Therefore the town ranks with the best agricultural and cattle growing districts. In population it stands fifth in the county, being exceeded only by Bennington, Dorset; Pownal and Manchester. One hundred years ago Shaftsbury was second in the county in point of population, being outnumbered by Bennington only. More than this the town has always been considered one of the most important divisions of the county; important at an early day because of its being a large town in which were enacted many of the stirring events that gave prominence to the county; important because it was the place of residence of some of the most active and determined patriots that led the opposition to New York claimants, and important because here also were living some of the most obnoxious Tories to be found upon the grants, and such that gave the local leaders the greatest trouble in keeping them in subjection. Many were punished, and more lost their lands by confiscation. During that period the most prominent points in the locality were Bennington, Arlington and Manchester. The central part of Shaftsbury lay about half way between Bennington and Arlington, and was on the direct route of travel between these points; and while by far the greater part of the proceedings of the State, civil and military, were transacted at Bennington and Arlington, Shaftsbury seems to have come for a full share of attention in the protection of her loyal, and the punishment of her inimical residents. In fact during that period Shaftsbury may be said to have made two distinct historical records, the one general and the other local, to each of which it is proposed to devote some attention. But before so doing we may turn briefly and see how the town came into existence.

      The township of Shaftsbury was chartered by Benning WENTWORTH, governor of the province of New Hampshire, on the l0th day of August, 1761, on the same day upon which the other towns of Dorset, Rupert and Glastenbury were similarly granted. The grantees or proprietors under the charter numbered sixty-one persons, none of whom it is believed ever became permanent residents of the town, but sold their right to other persons who were desirous of making for themselves a home in the then new country; but a sorry time these adventurous pioneers had of it for many years, and not a soul of them but wished himself and family back to the homes they had left. As chartered this town contained thirty-six square miles of land or its equivalent in acres, twenty-three thousand and forty. The provisions and conditions of the grant were not materially different from those of the other towns, and needs no reproduction here. The general form of the charters may be seen by reference to the history of Manchester, in which the charter of that town is copied from the record. As is already stated this town was chartered in 1761, but its settlement did not begin until two years later or in 1763. Among the first families to locate were some whose surnames may be recalled: SPENCER, COLE, CLARK, WILLOUGHBY, DOOLITTLE, WALDO, BURLINGAME, ANDRUS, DOWNER, BEARDSLEY, MATTISONS and others whose names will be incidentally mentioned as this narrative progresses.

      The most interesting and by far the most exciting events of Shaftsbury's history occurred during the first twenty-five years of its existence, and those during the period of the controversy between the people holding under the New Hampshire Grants and. the claimants under the New York charters; and of the number of the town's residents who were prominently identified with those events none were more notoriously conspicuous than John MUNRO, the justice of the peace of Albany county, under the New York organization of the territory. Munro was a rank Tory, sent, it is believed, by the New York authorities to reside in the disputed territory for the express purpose of sowing seeds of dissension among the loyal people of the grants, and drawing them, if possible, to favor the New York interests. MUNRO lived in the western part of the town, close to the State line (a precautionary measure perhaps). He was clothed with the power and authority of justice, the better to carry out his schemes and give the color of lawful authority to such acts of aggression as he was prompted to perpetrate. One of these acts, and probably the most prominent one, for most of the Tory work was done sneakingly, was MUNRO's capture of Remember BAKER of Arlington, his attempt at carrying the prisoner to Albany, and the final rescue by the Bennington party before Hudson River was crossed. After this MUNRO remained rather quietly at his home for some time until Burgoyne came down the Hudson, upon which he sought the British protection, and his property was confiscated and sold to maintain the government of Vermont.

      When the Dorset convention, held in July, 1775, voted to give Seth WARNER command of the regiment of Green Mountain Boys, that body also selected the subordinate or company officers, and among these David GALUSHA, of Shaftsbury, was chosen second lieutenant of the fourth company, a part of which was from this town. There appears to be no reliable record or even tradition concerning this company other than the fact of its having been raised in the towns of Pawlet and Shaftsbury, and that William FITCH of the former town was captain, and David GALUSHA lieutenant.

      One of the most prominent and loyal men of the times was Jeremiah CLARK of Shaftsbury. Jeremiah CLARK was born in Connecticut in 1733, came to Bennington in 1767, and quickly made his pitch in the western part of Shaftsbury, where he dwelt for half a century. He served as major, and took part in the battle of Bennington with a son sixteen years of age; was one of the committee which warned the Dorset convention of January 16, 1776; served on the Council of Safety in 1777-78 as councillor in 1778-79-80, and chief judge of Bennington county in 1778 In the last capacity he passed the death sentence on David REDDING, the first man executed in Vermont. Major CLARK died in 1817, aged eighty-four years. John BURNAM was the associate representative of Major CLARK in the Dorset convention. He lived formerly at Bennington, but subsequently at Shaftsbury; at the latter place engaged, it is believed, in merchandising. He was something of a lawyer, the first in the county, and as such he defended David REDDING on his trial for inimical conduct. John BURNAM and Major CLARK also represented Shaftsbury in the adjourned Dorset convention held September 25, 1776.

      In the convention at Windsor in January, 1777, this town seems not to have been represented, but at the adjourned meeting at the same place in June following Major CLARK and Gideon OLIN were the representatives of Shaftsbury. Gideon OLIN came to the town in 1776, his native place being Rhode Island, where he was born in 1743. He too was a major in the militia service under Colonel HERRICK At a later period, 1793-94-95 and 1796, he was one of the governor's council; he represented Shaftsbury in the General Assembly for fifteen years, but not in consecutive sessions; was seven times speaker of the house; assistant judge of this county in 1781, and thenceforward for twenty years, with the exception of the years 1798-99; in 1807-08-09-10 was judge of the county court; was twice elected to Congress, serving from 1804 to 1807. He died in Shaftsbury in 1823. Another of the old pioneers who made a good record during the Revolution and subsequently was Captain Jonas GALUSHA who had command of a company from 1777 to I780, both himself and men participating in the Bennington battle. He represented the town in 1800; was councilor during the years from 1793 to 1798, and again from 1801 to 1805; was sheriff of the county from 1781 to 1786; judge of the courts from 1795 until 1806, excepting two years; and finally was governor of the State from 1809 to 1812, and again from 1815 to 1819.

      It would seem, too, from the record of proceedings of the old Council of Safety that even at that early day Shaftsbury had at least one manufacturing industry as the following order will show:


"Sir: This day received yours of 6th instant, dated at Manchester, requesting this council to furnish you with shoes. We have taken the same into consideration, and do hereby recommend to you to take some leather out of MARSHE's tan-yard at Shaftsbury, and make mogasons to answer the present purpose until shoes can be procured. You are to make application to Captain FITCH or the person who has care of the yard. The leather is to be appraised and returns made to this board.


      The above order was dated September, 1777, and the statement that a tan-yard was operating in the town at that, and even an earlier time, would seem to be confirmed by a further order dated October 3, 1777, in reply to a request from Colonel HERRICK for shoes for his men, the part of the order being as follows: "Shoes can be had at Shaftsbury as we are informed that there is some made there. Upwards of thirty pairs are ready, which you can send for at any time."

      That the ancestors of the present highly respected families bearing the surname of BOTTOM were in the town at least as early as 1778 is demonstrated by President CHITTENDEN's order dated January 22d of that year, which order reads:

"To MR. BOTTOM of Shaftsbury

"Sir: You will please to deliver Christopher ROBERTS three sheep which you have in your custody, supposed to be the property of this State, his paying you reasonable charges for their keeping, etc."

      Certain of the present generation of the BOTTOM family are quite prominently noted for the fine grade of sheep which they raise in Shaftsbury, there being no better found in the county; and not only in the raising of sheep and cattle are the representatives of this family prominent, for within the township there are no citizens more public-spirited or progressive, whether in public or private life than those now bearing the family name of Bottom.

      Again in May, 1778, when the governor and council were organizing the militia regiments west of the mountains, the town of Shaftsbury was represented by a company of which Abiather WALDO was captain, and John SUNDERLAND was ensign. And the name of another old settler of the town is brought out by the proceedings of the grovernor and council at their February session of 1779, when it was "voted and resolved that Widow WRIGHT be released from paying the rent of the farm she lived on last year. The same entered on her petition to this council and sent back to the said widow at Shaftsbury." At the fall election of 1778 the representatives elected for the town of Shaftsbury were Major Gideon OLIN and John MILLINGTON.

      In 1780, when the board of war was making provision for the maintenance and support of the army, each town was called upon to raise thirty pounds of salt pork for each man furnished. From a list showing the number of men raised in each town it is seen that Shaftsbury then had eighteen militia men in the service (being outnumbered only by Bennington with her twenty-four men], and that according to this number Shaftsbury was required to provide the board with five hundred and forty pounds of this article. This of course does not represent the total number of men furnished by Shaftsbury for the militia service, as it was not unusual for calls to be made at the beginning of each year's campaign, or at any other time when their services were required. In 1781 the town was called upon, as were other towns, to provide thirty-one more men for service in Colonel HERRICK's regiment, and in response to this request a meeting of the freemen was assembled at which Major Gideon OLIN presided in the capacity of moderator. Raising men and means at this period of the war was quite difficult, and while the town was by no means lacking in patriotism or loyalty, it was found necessary to offer a bounty for recruits for the service. The proceedings of the meeting above referred to as shown by the records were as follows:

"1st. Voted unanimously to raise a bounty and our quota of State troops for the ensuing campaign on the list of the polls and the ratable, estate of the town.

"2d. Voted to repose, and do hereby repose the trust of enlisting our quota of troops for this campaign in the hands of Captain William DYER, Captain Jonas GALUSHA, Captain B. LAWRENCE and Lieutenant David GALUSHA, and to allow one dollar in hard money for enlisting each man.

"3d. Voted to give Mr. John OLIN and Peter MATTISON twenty shillings each for collecting said tax in the compass of Captain GALUSHA's company, and David CUTTER thirty shillings for collecting in the bounds of Captain LAWRENCE's company; and they are hereby appointed for said purpose.

"4th. Voted to give twenty dollars to each soldier and twelve shillings more for bounty.

"5th. Voted a tax of seven hundred dollars in hard money or Continental at the current exchange, to be raised forthwith for the above purpose."

      The towns were required to raise other things than men and money for the purposes of the campaign. By a law passed in October, 1780 the quota of provision set for Shaftsbury was 12,559 pounds weight of flour, 4,186 1/2 pounds of beef, 2,093 1/4 pounds of salted pork, 354 bushels of Indian corn, and 177 bushels of rye. This was a considerable drain upon the resources of the struggling inhabitants of the town, but as the like assessment was made upon all the towns of the State then organized, and in proportion to population and paying ability its severity was felt no more in this than any other locality. To raise the provisions required another freemen's meeting was assembled, the subject discussed, and a resolution voted as follows: "That each man be assessed his equal proportion according to his list of the beef, pork, corn, flour, and rye. The meat to be delivered at Captain WALDO's, the flour and grain at Captain GALUSHa's, innkeeper.’’  Further provision was made for the raising by the town of eighty-seven bushels of wheat, from the avails of the sale of which barrels were to be purchased. And it was further provided that, "if any person or persons shall neglect to bring in his quota of provisions, the selectmen shall issue their warrant against the estate of such person to the amount of a sufficient sum of money to purchase said provisions together with the damages for such neglect or neglects." There were of course some delinquents in the payment of this extraordinary tax of money and provisions, but generally they were promptly brought in. To facilitate their delivery three persons were appointed a committee to receive the provisions from the inhabitants, each of whom should store whatever he received at his own house except in one instance. These persons were Ichabod CROSS, Bliss WILLOUGHBY, and Freegift COLE, the latter to store whatever provisions he should receive at the house of Parker COLE.

      The events of the year 1782, so far as the town of Shaftsbury was concerned, were important only from the fact that the governor and council held a meeting then at the house of Captain David GALUSHA, commencing on March 7th and continuing but a few days. The most important event of this meeting was the return of Jonas FAY and Ira ALLEN, the agents of Vermont, who had been sent to represent the interests of the people of the State in their proceedings relative to admission to the United States. These worthy persons made their report to the assembled council at the home of David GALUSHA on the 8th of March, 1782. This was the only meeting of any of the representative bodies of the State in this town of which there appears any authentic record except, possibly, the meeting of the land commissioners, of which body Major Gideon OLIN was chairman, and which meeting was held March 15, 1788. Turning again, and but briefly, to the proceedings of the freemen of the town in 1782, it is found that at one of their meetings it was voted to choose a committee of three, Gideon OLIN, David GALUSHA, and Nathan LEONARD, "to inform his excellency of the forwardness of this town in raising his cota (quota) of provisions the last year and the disadvantages which we seem to labor under in the present year of collecting our cota on account of the current report that so great a number of other towns which did the last year so much neglect to collect their cota. And said commissioners make report to the selectmen of this town."

      No further events of particular importance occurred in Shaftsbury or the adjoining towns during the continuance of the war, and when that was closed by the final treaty of peace, and even before, the militia on the frontier were permitted to return to their homes and turn their attention to the improvement and cultivation of their farms and lands which had been neglected during the period of contention. In the negotiations that were then being carried on looking to admission to the Union of States, the people of the town were deeply interested, but their action was mainly through discussions of the questions of the day with their fellow men.

      It is possible that some of the older residents of the town have a traditional remembrance of what is known in history as "Shay's Rebellion in Massachusetts" and the prominence that was given to Shaftsbury in connection with that insurrection. Without explaining the nature or cause of that disturbance, for it did not affect the people of this region directly, mention only will be made of the incident that occurred in Shaftsbury, and that as stated in the Vermont Gazette of May 7, 1787:

"Messrs. Printers. -- 

As many unfavorable allegations have been spread abroad to injure the good people of Vermont, relative to their harboring the insurgents from Massachusetts, the following transaction may serve to show our disposition not to encourage factious and rebellious fugitives who have fled from justice: On Monday se'n night (April 30), about one hundred of the rebels from Massachusetts, who fled from justice, met at Captain GALUSHA's in Shaftsbury, in convention, to agree on measures for continuing their opposition to that government. The authority of Shaftsbury, being alarmed at such an illegal collection, immediately met and demanded of the insurgents the occasion of their meeting. A committee consisting of a Colonel SMITH, (who was appointed their president) and four others, were chosen to make answer to this demand which was, ‘that they were driven from their country, and had convened with a view of concerting measures whereby they might return and enjoy their properties;' and on being duly questioned they produced two letters, one from SHAY and one from another of their principals, encouraging them to hold out and be spirited in their opposition for a few weeks longer and they might be assured of relief. Judge (Gideon) OLIN, who acted as principal on the part of the authority, conducted with a spirit truly patriot and noble. He informed them that if they were met for the purpose of petitioning the legal authority of Massachusetts for pardon and leave to return that their proceedings would be deemed highly commendable, but if their views were hostile and their business was to concert plans for committing depredations and continuing their opposition to that government they must disperse immediately, for no such unlawful assembly would be allowed in Vermont. Colonel SMITH answered that the hope of any advantage by petitioning was at an end. The sheriff of the county (Jonas GALUSHA) who had been previously notified, was present for the purpose of dispersing them in case they refused to withdraw. The rebels plead for leave to be by themselves for a few minutes which was granted, after which they dispersed, and proceeded immediately to White Creek, in, the State of New York, where we have understood there was a considerable body collected, who sat in convention from day to day without opposition."

      This was the last connection in which the town of Shaftsbury was prominently mentioned. At that time and for many years thereafter it was second in point of population in the county, and its farming classes, even to this day, have been acknowledged to be as thrifty, progressive and rich as can be found anywhere in the section. It is something remarkable that a township situated in the county as this is should have acquired a population in 1791 of two thousand persons; and another singular coincidence is that from that to the present time the aggregate population has never varied more than one hundred and sixty, either above or below the figures of 1791. The greatest population was reached in 1870 as shown by the census of that year, while the least number was found in 1840, there then being 1,835 inhabitants. And there has been during this hundred years or so but little floating or transient population, and this in spite of the fact that Shaftsbury has had as many milling industries as almost any town in the county. The older residents of the town will easily remember when it was impossible to travel a mile along any of the water-ways of this locality without finding a mill of some sort, generally a saw-mill, in full operation; but these have nearly all gone, and scarcely any are to be found; and with them has also gone the greater part of the workable timber with which the town was formerly abundantly supplied. The milling industry is generally understood to bring to any locality a large transient population, who, when the timber is exhausted, go to other parts; but in this town the majority of the mills have been owned and operated by residents, and that industry made auxiliary to agriculture, or at least carried on in connection with it.

      From the time that Vermont was admitted to the Union until the breaking out of the War of 1812, the peaceful arts of the people of this town remained undisturbed, and when that war came the people were in a prosperous condition and well able to meet any demand that was made upon them for men and means. The sentiment of the people during and prior to that struggle was, in this community as in every other, divided, and the champions of "war" and the advocates of "peace" were earnest in their respective causes. At the April election in 1813 the main issue seemed to be confined to the contest over the councilors of the State, the nominees on the one side being called the "peace ticket," while opposed was the "war ticket." The result of that election in Shaftsbury showed eighty-three for the former and one hundred and fifty-three for the latter. Thus was the loyalty of the town shown during the second war with Great Britain; and that notwithstanding the fact that the Bennington News-Letter, the Federalist's organ in the county, estimated that the expense to the town for that year's campaign would amount to the gross sum of $1,838.

      The loyalty of the town was again tried and proved during the disastrous war of 1861 and 1865, commonly known as the War of the Rebellion. The roster of the town's soldiery in that war is unnecessary here, being found in the regimental and company rosters in the military chapter, but it is not out of place to state that Shaftsbury was required to furnish for the service one hundred and forty-two men, while in fact it did provide and send five more than that number, or an aggregate of one hundred and forty-seven.

      The principal business and trading point of Shaftsbury lies in the south part of the township, and is known by the name of South Shaftsbury. The village, if such it may be termed, for it has no corporate existence, is a post station on the line of the Bennington and Rutland Railroad, and has a population of perhaps two hundred and fifty persons. But this population is much scattered, the houses reaching from the vicinity of the Eagle Square Company's works up the hill to the high ground. The Square Company have their buildings some rods below the railroad station and on a level with the tracks in order to facilitate the shipment of their products, while the village proper occupies the high ground further to the east, and at the latter place the mercantile business of the village is transacted. But to take from South Shaftsbury the industry known as the Eagle Square Manufacturing Company would reduce the place to the standard of the average country cross-roads settlement.

      The immense business that is now carried on under the name of the above corporation had its inception in a little industry founded by Silas HAWES, who soon after the close of the War of 1812 took the old and worn out steel saws from the many mills of the town and vicinity and began forging them into joiners' squares. Being quite successful from the outset Mr. HAWES procured a patent to protect his product and process. Therefore it is to the credit of this town that here lived and operated the first manufacturer of steel squares in the United States if not in the world. Stephen WHIPPLE was the blacksmith of the village, and in his shop (now William H. Whipple's grist-mill) was a trip-hammer operated by water-power. On the anvil and with WHIPPLE's hammer these squares were worked into proper forms. When finished they were supplied to the numerous peddlers who traveled the country, and thus found their way to ready markets, bringing a retail price of some six or seven dollars which would now seem to be a fabulous sum for that commodity. Factories were soon built in other localities but all of them for a time at least under the HAWES patent, as that brand was found stamped on their manufactures.

      Mr. HAWES went out of the business about 1828, after which George BRIGGS and David ALLEN continued the manufacture. Others were connected with the industry from time to time, and material improvements were made in the machinery used in making and finishing the squares. Among those who had to do with developing and perfecting the machinery was Judge D. J. GEORGE, and it was he who founded the Eagle Square Company, and became its president at the time of its incorporation in 1864. For five years before the company was incorporated the business was carried on under the name of the "Eagle Square Company," but as a partnership; and this partnership concern also added to the manufactures that of bedsteads, and this latter is now the leading product of the establishment. The department devoted to the manufacturing of sash and doors was added permanently in 1877, although something had been done in that line before.

      The capital stock of the Eagle Square Company that formed in 1864 by incorporation was $30,000, but when the name was changed and the Eagle Square Manufacturing Company was brought into existence the stock was increased to $60,000. The company owns large tracts of timber land in various sections, and on these they have mills for sawing into proper sizes for work. In addition to this large quantities of timber and lumber are purchased from other mill owners. The works of the company at South Shaftsbury include numerous buildings, brick, stone and frame, and these with their yards cover an area of some five or six acres. Better than that steady employment is furnished to about eighty men, while some twenty or twenty-five men are also employed by the company in cutting and getting out materials at the saw-mills.

      The manufacture of bedsteads is the chief occupation of the company at the present time, there being more men employed in this department than any other, and the annual production amounting to thirty or thirty-five thousand. Only about twenty men are employed in the square department. The present officers of the company are Edward C. GALE, president; William C. MATTISON, vice-president; Frederick L. MATTISON secretary and treasurer. The company is now doing a large and successful business.

      Aside from the small village of South Shaftsbury the only other hamlet worth mention as such is that known as Shaftsbury Center, which, as its name indicates, occupies a position in the central part of the township. Its business interests are exceedingly small, and but three public buildings are or have been situated here, the old town hall, the Baptist Church and a school-house.

      In the matter of church societies and edifices the township of Shaftsbury has been as well supplied as any in the county similarly situated and conditioned, and in this connection the town has another prominent first event-the founding of the first Baptist Church society between the Green Mountains and the Hudson River; in fact the first Baptist Church in Vermont. The First Shaftsbury, or as it was otherwise called the West Church, was constituted in 1768. The name West Church was given it from its location in the west part of the town, but it was in fact in the southwest part, not more than a mile from the Bennington town line, and near North Bennington. The Second or East Church of the Baptists was constituted in 1780; the third in 1781, and the fourth in 1788. One of the first preachers of the Baptist Association in Shaftsbury was Rev. Caleb BLOOD, who removed from the town in 1807 and went to Boston. Isaiah MATTISON was a minister of the association, and officiated in the town from 1804 until 1844. The only church that now remains to the Baptist people of the town is that at Shaftsbury Center, which has been used by the society since 1894. In 1780 the Shaftsbury Baptist Association was formed in the town. This was the first in the State, although others were formed soon afterward. The Second Baptist Church lost its existence in 1839, and the third received many of its members. This is the church of that denomination that survived all the others, and here it was that Rev. Caleb BLOOD officiated. Others who preached there at an early day were Isaiah MATTISON, Elim GALUSHA, Samuel SAVORY, Daniel TINKHAM, Cyrus W. HODGES, Wareham WALKER, Harmon ELLIS, J. W. SAWYER, Israel KEECH, Lansing BAILEY, and Arthur DAY. The present pastor is Rev. G. R. Wilkins.

      In the village of South Shaftsbury, near the "four corners," stands a stone building that was erected by the people of the vicinity who had accepted the teachings of Universalism. The church was built in 1836. The society was not very long-lived, and the building has not been used for Universalist services in many years, but is opened occasionally for election purposes or the trial of some important law suit.

      The best attended religious services of the township are those held at the Methodist Episcopal church at South Shaftsbury, this society having been organized in 1872, by Rev. S. W. CLEMONS. So far as membership is concerned, the Baptists, perhaps, have the lead in the township, but the Methodist Society is rapidly increasing. The present pastor is Rev. HITCHCOCK.

      The records of the earliest town meetings of the freemen of Shaftsbury appear to have become lost, possibly were not preserved, but the other records are as well kept and intelligible as can be found in any town in the county. The first deed in the town is found to have been recorded in 1779, by Thomas MATTISON, and that officer's name thereafter appears as clerk up to 1784. In the latter year, by a warning dated March 4, Gideon OLIN, Bliss WILLOUGHBY, and Charles SPENCER, selectmen of the town, a freeman's meeting was assembled and the following officers chosen: Moderator, Bliss WILLOUGHBY; town clerk, Jacob GALUSHA; selectmen, Bliss WILLOUGHBY, Major Gideon OLIN, Thomas MATTISON, Captain Amos HUNTINGTON, and David MATTISON; constables, Nathan WHEELER and Lemuel BOTTOM; listers, Ebenezer WILLOUGHBY, Samuel HOUSE, Nathan WHEELER, and Lemuel BOTTOM; listers, Ebenezer WILLOUGHBY, Samuel HOUSE, Nathan WHEELER, and Jacob GALUSHA; town treasurer, Nathan HUNTINGTON. The representative of the town in the General Assembly, elected in the fall of this same year, was Major Gideon OLIN.

      For several years next succeeding this there appears to have been but very little change in the officers of the town. But there is one circumstance in connection with one of the officers of the town, that of clerk, that is somewhat singular, and that in the fact that in more than one hundred years of time there have been but four incumbents of the office, although it has been continuously represented. As near as can be ascertained Thomas MATTISON was the first clerk, and held up to 1784, when Jacob GALUSHA was elected, and served in that capacity until March, 1825, (over forty years), and was then succeeded by Hiram BARTON, who was clerk from March, 1825 until October 6, 1880, (about fifty-five years). Myron BARTON, son of Hiram, next succeeded, by appointment first, and subsequently by election until the present time.

      Among the old records there appear some strange resolutions, one of which at least that was passed in 1787, to this effect : "That none of the public money be applied to the maintenance or support of any school within the town taught by a woman." From this it is safe to presume that the sentiment of the "town meetings" has undergone a radical change during the last one hundred years, for there is hardly a district school in the town, or county, for that matter, that is not now taught by one or more of the gentler sex.

      The town of Shaftsbury is now, or was in 1877, laboring under an encumbrance of about $53,000 of indebtedness, for the great part of which town bonds are extant. In 1888 it was voted to raise $1.50 on the grand list to meet the expenses of the ensuing year.

      The present town officers, elected March 6, 1888, are as follows: Moderator, Solomon HOWARD; clerk, Myron BARTON; selectmen, 1st, George P. MONTGOMERY, 2d, Milo PIERCE, 3d, S. Warner MUNROE; treasurer, Nathan BOTTOM; overseer of poor, Simeon DEAN; first constable and collector, Frank H. MLATTISON; second constable, Charles C. GORDON; listers, Myron BARTON, George E. BUCK, Myron CLARK; auditors, Byron F. MATTISON, W. P. MONTGOMERY, George A. BRUCE; trustee, George P. MONTGOMERY; fence viewers, Milo MATTISON, L. J. BARTON, Richard MATTISON; grand juror, Solomon HOWARD; inspector of leather, Paul TAFT; pound keepers, Solomon HOWARD, Otis HOWARD, Russell STONE; town agent, George P. MONTGOMERY; superintendent of schools, George P. MONTGOMERY; representative to General Assembly, (elected in September, 1888), H. Merle BOTTOM.

History of Bennington County, Vt.
With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches
of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers.
Edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich.
Syracuse, N. Y., D. Mason & Co., Publishers, 1889.
Chapter XXV. Page 436-447.

Transcribed by Karima, 2004
Material provided by Ray Brown

Shaftsbury Baptist Association

Baptist Missionaries to Upper Canada

Baptist Missionaries to Lower Canada

Early Shaftsbury Settlers

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Shaftsbury Births 1857 ~ 1900
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