XX indexVermont  




"The surface of this township is somewhat uneven, and the soil light and easily cultivated, producing good corn and rye. Its principal streams are the River Lamoille . . . Brown's River and Parmelee's and Stone's Brook . . . all which afford good mill privileges . . . Broadstreet Spafford and his two sons, Natah and Asa, came into this township from Piermont, N.H., in 1783, and began improvements. They soon after removed their families here.  A  Mr. Eastman started from New Hampshire with them, with his family, but died on the road, and was buried in a trough on the flats in Johnson. His family came to Fletcher."

Gazetteer of Vermont, Hayward, 1840.


By John A. UFFORD.*

Compiled from the town records, and from the accounts of the oldest inhabitants, as well as from the traditions in possession of the second generation ~
      Fairfax lies in the southern tier of towns of Franklin county, one township east of Lake Champlain, bounded by charter; "Beginning at the north-easterly corner of Westford, a township lately granted, from thence running westerly by Westford, as that runs, to the north-westerly corner thereof, which is also the south-easterly corner of Georgia; thence turning off northwardly, and running by Georgia aforesaid, as that runs, to the north-easterly corner thereof; thence turning off easterly, and running so far on a parallel line with the northwardly side line of Westford aforesaid, as that a straight line drawn from that period to the north-easterly corner bound of Westford aforesaid, shall include the contents of six miles square -- 23040 acres."

      Its surface is broken and hilly, affording excellent pasturage for flocks, and abundant crops of hay and grain. None of its hills can claim the name of mountains, though Buck Hill comes nearest. Over this passes the Fairfield road, making a rise and fall each way of one mile.

      Lamoille river, one of the largest in the State, runs through the southern part, emptying into Lake Champlain, in Colchester, near the southern line of Milton, and it was along its banks that the first settlements were made. Capt. Broadstreet SPAFFORD, the earliest settler, reported to his friends in New Hampshire concerning its fertility: "That a razor could be drawn through its soil without dulling it." It is now thickly settled on both sides by the enterprising farmer, and spanned by two bridges, one at the Great Falls, on the road from Fairfax to Cambridge, and the other on the road from Fairfax to Westford. There was the third bridge previous to the great freshet of 1830, by which it was carried off bodily. It was built about a mile above the Great Falls, and, in its course down the river, carried off the bridge at that place, and was broken to pieces in its passage over the Falls.

      Brown's river runs W. S. and empties into the Lamoille in Fairfax. It is a small river affording but little bottom lands in Fairfax, and spanned by 2 bridges, making 4 bridges -- three arched and one X-built and supported by thc town. There is one brook making from Westford, in the east corner of the town, but it has no mill-privilege. The second brook that empties into the Lamoille is Stone's brook, It rises in Fletcher, and runs through a broken country and has no bottom lands. It affords the power that drives the works of the SHEPARDSON's carding and clothing works, saw-mill, and furnace for casting, Great Brook rises in the southern part of Fairfield, and runs nearly south till it meets the Lamoille. Its banks are wide and its valley is noted for its productiveness Near its source is a saw-mill, built upon the farm now owned by Elijah STORY, and farther down is a saw-mill owned by Nathan BUCK, and in the village it carries quite an amount of machinery. A saw-mill and grist-mill owned by Damon HOWARD, and a short distance below the starch factory, chair factory, and saw-mill built by Julius R. HALBERT; neither of them running now; and below this is the carriage shop of WEAVER and HUNT, and the tannery of Henry STEARNS,

      Beaver Meadow brook rises in the north, part of the town early days, and runs south-westerly. There are no mills upon it at present, this stream is the famous Beaver Meadows of the early settlers. Cyrus LEACH and the late Stillman HOUGHTON on the farms now own them. These meadows were the main dependence of the early settlers for hay to winter their stock. The settlers from Cambridge and the eastern part of this town, would go, during summer, cut and stack the hay, and in the winter drive their cattle there for forage. They built a log-cabin, rude and rough, for their temporary residence. This was covered with loose bark, with a loft for sleeping, to render its occupants more secure from the intrusion of the unwelcome visitant of the forest. One or two men then took charge of the whole stock for a few of weeks, and then others took their places. They were some 7 miles from any inhabitant. Thus would pass the long and dreary winter, isolated from the busy affairs of the world, with but few incidents to relieve the dull monotony.

      It is related of one of the occupants of this cabin, who had a bushy head of hair, that one morning early, as he put his head out from thereof of his cabin to survey the things around, a large owl flew down upon him, and attempted to carry him away, thinking from the appearance of his head that it was an old hen. At the north part of the town is another brook which affords power for one saw-mill. It runs through a broken section, with no bottom lands in Fairfax, and besides these there are several smaller brooks running through fertile valleys, upon whose banks are the remains of several beaver dams, Yet distinctly to be traced, One of these, upon the farm of Albert UFFORD, exists nearly as perfect as when the beavers left, with only a narrow channel where the water has cut through. Upon the banks of those streams are found the arrow-heads of the Indians, showing them to have been hunting grounds.

      Fairfax is naturally divided into three separate parts. The south part, where the village is located; North Fairfax, including that portion lying north of Beaver Meadow brook and Buck Hollow, closed round by hills, through the center of which runs Great Brook, and each of these divisions has a post office, known respectively as Fairfax, North Fairfax, and Buck Hollow, The Plain, in early days, was quite a center of business having a store, hotel, etc., but is now simply a farming district. It lies south of the river Lamoille. The forests have mostly disappeared, and only scattering wood-lots, dotting the landscape here and there, remain to tell of their former grandeur. The varieties most common, are the maple, beech, elm, ash, basswood, of the deciduous varieties; the pine, hemlock, spruce, and fir, with some cedar in the swamps, of the evergreen varieties. The pine, which the charter so closely guarded, “reserving all that were fit for masts in our royal navy," has mostly disappeared; but the huge stumps, dotting the country, or trailed into fence, tell where once stood the evergreen pride of the Green Mountain State.


      Fairfax was granted is the third year of the reign of George III, August 18, 1763; by Benning WENTWORTH, Governor of the Province of New Hampshire, commander-in-chief of the forces of said Province, to Edward BURLING. Viner LEGRAFT, John LEGRAFT, Viner LEGRAFT, 2d, Christopher Codwain LEGRAFT, George LEGRAFT, William LEGRAFT, James LEGRAFT, James ARMSTRONG, Timothy MCCARTY, William PROCTOR, Corden PROCTOR, Thomas MILLER, Joseph HAVILAND, Paul MILLER, Christopher MILLER, Corden LEE, Thomas William MORE. Joseph SACKETT, Henry ARNOLD, Thomas SEYMORE, jr., Peter FARMER, Jasper Peter FARMER, Jasper FARMER, Jasper Jasper FARMER, Thomas GALLANDIT, Edgar GALLANDIT, Peter WALLAS, Thomas WALLAS, Elijah WALLAS, Peter Elijah WALLER, Joseph WILLMOT, Jasper SACKETT, Jasper SACKETT, jr., Peter SACKETT, Samuel DEAL, Samuel DEAL, jr., John MCKINNY, William NEWTON, Thomas NEWTON, Adam GILCHRIST, Adam GILCHRIST, jr., Jasper GILCHRIST, Edward AGER, Philip DOUGHTY, William WILSON, William DARLINGTON, Francis PHANBER, John SACKETT, George MILLER, George LESTER, Edward LESTER, Urich FIELD, Stephen DEAN, Nicholas DEAN, Thomas DRAKE, Benjamin HAVILAND, Peter TOTTEN, jr., Samuel HUNGERFORD, Hon. Richard WILBIRD, Esq.„ Daniel WARNER, Esq., Nathaniel BARREL, Esq., Joseph NEWMARK, Esq., -- in all, 63 proprietors.

      Not, one of the original proprietors ever made a settlement in the town, as I can ascertain. A tract, containing 500 acres, was reserved to his Excellency B. WENTWORTH, which was accounted two shares; and one share was granted to the Incorporated Society, for propagating the gospel in foreign parts; one to the glebe of the church of England, as by law established; one to the first settled minister of the gospel in said town, and one for the benefit of schools in said town, forever. The charter bears date, Province of New Hampshire, Aug. 18, 1763.

      The first recorded meeting of the proprietors was held in Arlington at the house of Elnathan MERWIN, inn-holder, Aug. 30, 1786.

      This meeting was warned by public notice, published in the Vermont Gazette of July 1786. James EVARTS was moderator, and Timothy TOOD, proprietors' clerk. The proprietors then proceeded to act upon the survey of the town, and the division of the proprietors' rights. This being in order, it was voted "To lay out, as soon as may be, one hundred acres on each right for the first division, the 'length of the lots to be twice the breadth thereof." I do not find the surveyor mentioned in the first division, but from the connection of the first with the subsequent surveys, infer that it was John SAFFORD of Bennington.*

[* James EVARTS was appointed surveyor. -- L. A. D.]

      This meeting then adjourned to meet at the house of Timothy TOOD, in Sunderland, the following Sept., 8th day. This was adjourned to the 15th, and again to the 8th of Nov.

      At the meeting of the 8th of November, a committee of three was appointed to examine the survey bills and bills of accounts for the survey of the first division. This committee consisted of John SAFFORD, Timothy TOOD, and Samuel HORSFORD. They reported that they approved of the allotments, and charges of the survey, which report was accepted. The proprietors then proceeded to determine the manner of dividing the lots among themselves, when it was voted "That the lots be numbered, and placed in a box, and each proprietor should then draw a ballot, and the number upon his ballot should be the number of his lot."

      The next consideration was ways and means to meet the expenses of the survey. To provide for this, a tax of 21s was levied on each right.

      The next consideration was to induce an early settlement of the town. To accomplish this they voted "That if any proprietor will settle any of the undivided land before the first day of May, which will be in the year of our Lord 1788, he shall have liberty to make a pitch, not exceeding fifty acres, where he shall please, with this proviso, that said lot shall not be more than eighty rods in breadth, nor nearer than eighty rods to the late allotments, unless it joins them."

      The next proprietors' meeting in Sunderland was adjourned to the house of James EVARTS, in Georgia, Sept. 4, 1787, at which no business was transacted. The next proprietors' meeting was warned by Noah SMITH, Esq., and was held at the house of Reuben MOULTON, inn-holder, in Castleton, Oct. 26, 1790; leaving a space of 3 years unaccounted for by any records. The proprietors at this meeting "voted to employ John SAFFORD, of Bennington, to complete the survey in the manner proposed to him last summer by the inhabitants of Fairfax, and by Noah SMITH, Esq." What this manner was, is not known. This meeting was adjourned to the court-house in Bennington, Nov. 25, 1790. Agreeably to the adjournment they met at the court-house, and adjourned to the house of Capt. Broadstreet SPAFFORD, in Fairfax, the second Thursday in June, 1791. At, this meeting Capt. Broadstreet SPAFFORD was chosen moderator.

      We must here pause a moment the better to obtain a true insight into the early settlement of the town. The original proprietors, knowing nothing of the country or the value of their rights, were glad to sell their lots even for small sums, and those who came on to settle took up the best locations, without regard to the number and division of their purchases. Other settlers, coming in, selected such locations as they desired, and held them as pitch-lots. This would have led to much confusion of titles, had not the proprietors obviated it by exchanges.

      The meetings of the proprietors were now held in town, and we may justly infer that the proprietors were-the inhabitants of Fairfax. Bearing this in mind we shall be prepared to understand the votes of the proprietors of the town at the meeting held at the house of Capt. Broadstreet SPAFFORD, the second Thursday of June, 1791. This meeting we have seen was organized by the choice of Captain Broadstreet SPAFFORD, moderator. Thomas RUSSELL was proprietors' clerk. The principal business transacted was the change of lots. Thus it was voted, "That Leicester GROSEVENOR have the hundred acre lot he has settled upon, in the right of John SACKETT, in lieu of his draft, it being lot No. 126 in the second division." Also, "That James CRISSEY have the hundred acre lot he has settled upon in the right of George WILLCOCKS, in lieu of his draft, it being lot No. 114 in the second division." &c.

      The next proprietors' meeting was held Aug. 2, 1791, at the house of Thomas RUSSELL, proprietors' clerk. At this meeting it was voted – 

"To allow John SAFFORD 5s. on each right of land surveyed by him in the 2d and 3d divisions, for extraordinary trouble over and above the price agreed upon between him and Judge SMITH, for completing the survey of said divisions, public rights excepted."
      This amount was to be paid in neat cattle by the 10th of September next, delivered at the house of Thomas RUSSELL, Esq.

      The remaining lots were then divided:

"Beginning with the 10th day of Sept., a number of days equal to the number of lots not then located, were marked upon ballots, Sundays excepted, and the proprietors drew each a ballot, and upon the day which came to him, he could locate his land; the one drawing the tenth having his choice first, and so on in -regular succession.”

      This meeting finished the division of the land in the town, and was the last of the proprietors' meetings.


      The first settler in this town was Capt. Broadstreet SPAFFORD. He came from Piermont, N, H., and commenced his settlement in A. D. 1783.

      He was accompanied by his two sons, Nathan and Asa, bearing upon their backs their provisions, their axes, and their trusty rifles, upon which they mainly depended for supplying themselves with food. They proceeded down the north bank of the Lamoille, blazing the trees to mark their road. They made their selection on the banks of the Lamoille, in the S. E. portion of the town, on the farm now owned by Harry MAXFIELD. 

      They commenced their clearings with the energy of men who know that their success depends upon their own industry, built themselves a cabin of logs, covered with the bark of the elm, with split basswood logs for the floor. The door of their house consisted of a blanket hung on pegs. Having thus completed their arrangements for living, they returned to New Hampshire for the winter, and in the spring removed their families to their new home. The next summer they were the only inhabitants in town; their nearest neighbors being in Cambridge, some 7 miles distant. The year following, Robert and Jose BARNETT settled near them, and the year 1786, Thomas RUSSELL. They were all kindred, or related by marriage.

      Their road was down the Lamoille river, by the way of Wolcott, Johnson and Cambridge.

      In the year 1787, Levi FARNSWORTH made the first settlement on the Plain, on the place now owned by Warren SOULE. He came from Charlestown, New Hampshire, bringing only his gun and axe, and commenced his clearing, building a log-house for his residence.

      During that year (1787.) Capt. Broadstreet SPAFFORD, on his way to Burlington to mill, when near the Great Falls, saw the smoke of a cabin, and making his way across the river, discovered in Mr. FARNSWORTH an old acquaintance. This was the first knowledge he (Capt. B.) had of neighbors south of him.

      In the Autumn of the same year, he (Mr. FARNSWORTH) returned to New Hampshire. In 1790 he moved his family to his new home. They moved by the way of Williston, and thence cut their road to Cambridge Borough there crossed the Lamoille, and proceeded down its north bank, by the road of Capt. SPAFFORD, and again fording the river just below Great Falls, cut a road to their new home about a mile distant. He was soon followed by his brothers and friends, Jasper FARNSWORTH, sen., Jasper FARNSWORTH, jr., Oliver FARNSWORTH and Joseph FARNSWORTH, all of whom settled on the Plain.

      The first settlement made in North Fairfax was by Joseph BEEMAN, sen. and Joseph BEEMAN, jr., on the farm now owned by Owen CAMPBELL, east of the brick-meeting-house. They came from Bennington in the year 1786, on foot, carrying upon their backs their provisions and utensils for opening their farms. They built a house of logs, covered it with elm bark, and floored it with basswood, cleared a small space for corn and turnips, and returned to Bennington in the Autumn. The following year they moved the family to their new home. Mr. BEEMAN drove up a cow, which was their main dependence for food. He brought his flour from Bennington, of which the first year be had some 300 or 400 lbs. This year he raised a patch of turnips, and a small quantity of corn.

      The winter following was a. season of scarcity. Many during the summer had commenced clearings, but had raised but very little grain of any kind. The nearest places at which provisions could be obtained, were distant 30 to 50 miles. Mr. BEEMAN returned to Bennington, in the fall, after provisions, leaving his family only a little flour, a quantity of maple sugar, and the cow. He was gone some three weeks, and we of the present day can only imagine the joy with which his return was hailed. He wintered his cow upon turnips and browse the first season, and made maple sugar to the amount of 300 or 400 lbs. The utensils were, troughs dug out of the basswood for "catching the sap;" and a three and a five-pail kettle for boiling. The boiling utensils of Capt. Broadstreet SPAFFORD, were a tea-kettle, a frying-pan, and a porridge-pot.

      His sons, Joseph BEEMAN, jr, and Beriah BEEMAN, came on with him, and became permanent settlers in the town. The following season, Hampton LOVEGROVE and Jacob STORY boarded with him, whilst they commenced settlements of their own. The settlement thus begun was soon increased by Gideon ORTON, Aaron HASTINGS, Shores UFFORD and others.

      The first settlement in Buck Hollow was begun by Gould BUCK and Abijah HAWLEY, who came from Arlington in 1791. They settled on land, purchased by Lemuel BUCK, of Arlington, of Elias JACKSON and Eleazer MARBLE of Salsbury, Litchfield Co., Conn. This tract contained 1400 acres, the original rights of John, CHRISTOPHER, James, VINER and William LEGROFT, was purchased for £100, and comprised the territory now known as Buck Hollow.

      They came with an ox-team, to the north-part. From there, they transported their families and goods to Buck Hollow, on a hand-sled. They were followed the next year by Jesse, George, Nathan, Zadock, and Joseph BUCK.

      The first improvement, made where the village now stands, was by a man named Joseph BELCHER, about the year 1787. He was a hunter, and had with him several dogs, a gun and an axe. He located near where the Fairfax-House now stands, built himself a log-cabin, and also one for his dogs; and they, not content to live together in peace, he built each a cabin.

      His settlement, being near the blazed track connecting the river settlements with the north part, was noticed by all who passed, and people in derision gave the assemblage of huts the title of "the city," which it bore for many years, and is frequently called by its title at the present day. In 1789, William MAXFIELD, Leicester GROSEVENOR and John ANDROS, made permanent settlements where the village is: Leicester GROSEVENOR settling on the old Elder BUTLER farm. Stephen ENGLAND, Esq. came, in about 1788, and located on the old claim of BELCHER. Some few years after, he opened a hotel, which was the first in the village. He soon after sold to Hampton LOVEGROVE, and the old stand yet remains a house of public entertainment.

      The first machinery built upon Great Brook, was by a man named BIDWELL, in 1792, on the spot now occupied by the tannery of Henry STEARNS. His was a log-building, with a fulling-mill, and tener-bars for fulling and drying the cloth, which was spun and woven by the industrious hands of the women.

      In 1806, Joseph BEEMAN, jr. built "a mill for grinding" on the spot where now stands the chair-factory. He also built a saw-mill.

      Josiah SAFFORD made the first improvement about a mill north of the village. Asa WILKINS made the first improvement in the N. E. part of the town.


      The first town-meeting was held at the house of Capt. Broadstreet SPAFFORD. The following is a copy of the certificate of warning:

"Cambridge, April 20, 1787.

"This may certify that the inhabitants of the town of Fairfax had a legal warning given out to them for a town-meeting, in said Fairfax, on the 22d of March, A. D. 1787, 

"To whom it may concern.
"AMOS FASSETT, Justice of Peace."

      Capt. Broadstreet SPAFFORD was moderator, Thomas RUSSELL, clerk; Nathan SPAFFORD, constable, Broadstreet SPAFFORD, 1st selectman, Robert BARNETT 2d, and Thomas RUSSELL, 3d.

      The records would indicate but six legal voters in town at this period, viz: Broadstreet SPAFFORD, Thomas RUSSELL, Nathan SPAFFORD, Robert BARNETT, Asa SPAFFORD, Jose BARNETT, who were all that took the freemen's oath. The remaining town-offices were vacant during the year following, either because the legal voters had honor enough in the offices already theirs, or else it was not at that time deemed necessary to fill them. The town meeting for the year following 1788 shows a large increase in the population, as well as in the number of offices.

      At this meeting Capt. Broadstreet SPAFFORD was chosen moderator; Thomas RUSSELL, town clerk; Nathan SPAFFORD, constable; Broadstreet SPAFFORD, Thomas RICHARDS and Silas SQUIRES, selectmen; Thomas RUSSELL, town treasurer; Thomas FULLERTON, Levi ANDROS, Broadstreet SPAFFORD, Thomas RICHARDS, Silas SQUIRES, listers; Francis FULLERTON, grand juror; Asa SPAFFORD, Leicester GROSEVENOR, surveyor of highways; Jesse BARRETT, pound keeper; Moses FLOOD, hayward; Thomas RICHARDS, Joseph THURSTON, fence-viewers.

      At this meeting it was voted to build a pound where the selectmen should fix the place. -- I think the place was never fixed.

      There was also a vote passed on swine, which shows the inhabitants to have been keenly alive to their own interests: "That swine should run on the common -- and the greater part of the town must at that time have been common -- if by their owner well ringed and yoked."

      In 1789 the school-lot was placed in the hands of the selectmen, to be leased by them for the benefit of schools. To meet the expenses of the town, it was voted to raise the sum of £3 lawful currency, or the worth of it in good wheat.

      The expenditures of the town must have been very small, compared with the present, if that sum met them all, and we have no reason to believe it did not.

      It was necessary to have some public place, upon which to post notices for town and freemen's meetings. The town therefore voted "to erect a sign-post, on which all notices should be placed, and which being placed there, should be a sufficient warning for all meetings." At the town meeting 1789, the inhabitants took into consideration the state of the roads, and voted "That all roads in future 'rid out should be 8 rods wide." This vote, I think, was never carried into effect, as I know of no roads in town measuring that width.

      There was also a committee, chosen consisting of Capt. Thomas RICHARDS, Daniel CLARK, Nathan SPAFFORD, Thomas RUSSELL and Francis FULLONTON, to petition the General Assembly, at its session in October, for a grant of a part of the highway, in the town, to build a mill or mills, on the Great Brook, and to agree with any person or persons to build such mill or mills on said Great Brook, as they should think best for the interest of the town."

      At a town meeting held at the house of Erastus SAFFORD, March 7, 1792, the first effort to divide the town was made. This failed, as have all subsequent moves made to that effect, which have been many.

      In the warning for the March-meeting of 1797, this article appeared: 

        "To see if the town will appoint a committee to hire preaching, and to give direction, in what way." This was not acted upon, and in 1798, a special meeting was called to see if the town would have the Rev. Silas S. BINGHAM settle in the town, as minister of the gospel, and if so, to choose a committee to treat with him. This was not done, but in the following year, 1799, at a meeting, at the house of Thomas STORY, it was voted “to give the Rev. Silas S. BINGHAM ten dollars to preach two Sundays, while the societies could be organized."

      The division of the minister's right of land caused some difficulty. In 1799 it was voted:

"To divide the minister's right, so that the North Society should have the first division, the South Society, the lot adjoining James BELLOW's land, and the Baptist people the lot that lies in the east part of the town; and the last division the first settled minister shall have, and that the lots shall be averaged, and the society that has the best lot shall pay back to the other society, so that each shall receive equal in value."
      This did not prove satisfactory, and in 18[?]7 James HOLMS being moderator, it was voted: "To appropriate the minister's rights of land in Fairfax, to the use of schools as the school right is appropriated."

      The following preamble, resolution and protest followed this vote:

    "Whereas, doubts in the minds of some have arisen, and may perhaps arise, in regard to the settlement of the Rev. Amos TUTTLE, in regard to his being by, and at the request of the major part of thc inhabitants, settled; Resolved, that we, the inhabitants of Fairfax agree that the said TUTTLE, on the 7th day of August last, was settled according to law, as the first settled minister in and by the major part of the inhabitants of said town, and thereby became vested in fee of the right of land granted to the first settled minister, as will more at length appear by the Charter of said Town of Fairfax "

     “The above resolution passed by a very large majority of the meeting, which consisted of more than 150 freemen.

      "Mr. Samuel GLADDING appeared, sad protested against the proceedings of the said town of Fairfax.

      "Fairfax, September 2, 1806.

      "Attest, ERASTUS SAFFORD, Town Clerk."

      Much difficulty existed at that early day in regard to the place for holding town-meetings, and the place was changed nearly as often as a meeting was called. In several consecutive town meetings, this vote was passed; “That sheep, swine and geese shall not run at large." but from its being passed so many times, I conclude that it was never carried into execution. In the year 1802, the inhabitants became fully alive to the danger of sickness, and from the ravages of the small pox, and the selectmen inserted this article in the warning for a town-meeting of that year: 6th, "To see if the town will give liberty for the inoculation of the Small Pox," and it was voted, "That the selectmen have liberty to license several houses for that purpose." This proved efficacious in staying the ravages of the disease, till a better remedy was at hand -- the vaccination for the cow-pox.

      The proceedings of the town meetings following, possess some interest, but as the town had now fairly begun its course of prosperity, I deem it unnecessary to mention more.


      Thomas RUSSELL, 1787 'till 1795; Erastus SAFFORD, 1795 'till 1802; Seth FORD, 1802; Erastus SAFFORD, 1802 'till 1807; Hampton LOVEGROVE, 1807 'till 1821; Erastus SAFFORD, 1821; Hampton LOVEGROVE, 1821 'till 1831 ; Nathan W. PERRY, 1831 'till 1833; CHURCHILL SAMPSON, 1833 'till 1844; Silas W. BRUSH, 1844 'till 1856; Elias H. WELLS, 1856 'till 1862; Samuel RANDALL, 1862.


      Thomas RUSSELL 1787, Josiah SAFFORD '88, Nathan SPAFFORD '89 and '90, James FARNSWORTH '91, Thomas RUSSELL '92, Jonathan DANFORTH '93-'95, Ross COON '96, Jonathan DANFORTH '97-'99.

      Joseph BEEMAN, jr., 1800-'04, Asa WILKINS '05 and '06, Erastus SAFFORD '07-'10, Benjamin GALE '11, Samuel UFFORD '12 and '13, Joseph HOLMES '14, Stephen HOLMES '15 and '16, Erastus SAFFORD '17, Samuel PARMLEE '18, Elias BELLOWS '19 and '20, Joseph BEEMAN '21, Luther B. HUNT, '22-'24, Reuben WOOD '26, Erastus SAFFORD '27, James FARNSWORTH '28, James BELLOWS '29, Joseph KINGSBURY '30, James BELLOWS '3l, Joseph LEARNED '32 and '33, Alanson WEBSTER '34 and 35, Alfred WHEELER '36 and '37, James BELLOWS '38, Lyman HAWLEY '39 and '40, James H. FARNSWORTH '41, Asa S. GOVE '42, Joseph LEARNED '43 and '44, Reuben DEWEY '45 and '46, Homer E. HUBBELL '47-'51, Anson SOULE '52 and '53, George BUCK '54 and '55, Albert UFFORD '56 and '57, Lucus KINGSBURY '58 and '59, Julius HALBERT '60, Homer E. Hubbell '61. 

OATH, FROM 1787 TO 1800.

     In 1787, -- Broadstreet SPAFFORD, Nathan SPAFFORD, Asa SPAFFORD, Thomas RUSSELL, Robert BARNETT, Jose BARNETT.

     I788 and 1789, -- Thomas RICHARDS, Leicester GROSEVENOR, Oliver ORTON, William MAXFIELD, Joseph THURSTON, James CRESSEY, William CHURCHILL, John ANDROS.

     1790, -- Joel WILSON, Deliverance WILSON, James FARNSWORTH, jr., David CHURCHILL, Oliver FARNSWORTH, Oliver STRONG.

     1791, -- Samuel DAWNER, Samuel CRESSEY, John Newbrel.

     1792, -- Ashel PORTER, Sheldon DURKEE, Geo. CUTTING, Oliver FARWELL.

     1793, -- Harris HOPKINS, Richard GROSEVENOR, Ephraim ROCKWAY, Collie FAY, Andrew STORY, Jedediah BEEMAN, Isaac SABINS.

     1794, -- Ezra ELLSWORTH, Daniel AYER, Ebenezer SAFFORD, James THOMSON, James WILSON, Jacob SMITH.

     1795, -- Moses CHADWICK, John MUDGET, Theophilus BLAKE, John FULLONTON, Thomas STICKNEY, Gamalael HOPKINS, Bradbury BLAKE, Jacob WARNER, Benjamin PETTINGIL, Joshua LARABEE, Simeon HALL, Benoni MUDGET, Allen MINOR.

     1796, -- John BLAKE, Nathan BUCK, Lewis SWEETLING, William CHADWICK, Joseph ELLIS, Josiah GROUT, Hezekiah WRIGHT, Ebenezer SMITH, Samuel TUBBS, James SMITH, Jabez SAFFORD.

     1797, -- Jonathan DOUGHTY, Parker CARR, Josiah FARNSWORTH, Joseph KINGSBURY.

     1798, -- CHURCHILL SAMPSON, Aseph BARRETT, Libeus DAYLEY.

     1800, -- Benjamin GALE. Samuel PARMLEE, Oliver PARMLEE, Jonathan PARMLEE, Moses PARMLEE.


      The Great Falls on the River Lamoille, are situated in the south-east part of the town. The valley above, which is wide and fertile, is here intercepted by a range of hills running N. E., and narrowed to a space just sufficient for the river and a road to pass on either side. Here, in the distance of 30 rods, the water attains a fall of 88 feet, not one continuous descent, but a series of small cascades, over which the waters leap and sparkle. The roar of the waters can be heard as the distance of 5 or 6 miles, and in the coldest days of winter, the vapor arising from them looks as though the nymphs of the Lamoille had there assembled, and, were boiling a huge tea-kettle for a social party. It is very picturesque as it is approached from the west; the Green Mountains, with old Mansfield rearing its head over all, stand out in relief for the back-ground. On either side, the hills are dotted with the flocks of the farmer, or covered with their native forests. And there is a simple quiet loveliness, that charms the beholder, and paints a picture which he ever afterwards delights to recall.

      These Falls afford an excellent privilege for manufacturers, but have never yet been improved to half their capacity. A ledge of rocks, passing across at the head, forms a natural dam of great capacity, which is much increased by an artificial data; built across the channel worn through the rocks by the wear of ages. By blasting through this ledge on either side, some 15 or 20 feet, a canal is formed for conducting the water to the driving of machinery, which floods will not carry off, nor rut destroy.

      The Great Falls came, in the division of the town, to the right of Joseph SACKETT. He made no improvement upon them, nor did he, as I can learn, ever see them. Failing to pay the state-tax, they were sold at the public vendue, at Esq. IVES', to James EVARTS. His purchase was surveyed the following year. The original Survey reads thus:

"August 5, 1791.

"Surveyed for James EVARTS, Esq., a piece of land covering the Great Falls, on the river Lamoille in Fairfax, containing about 48 acres, in the original right of Joseph SACKETT, which was sold at Esq. IVES' vendue, to pay state tax of 10 pence per hundred acres, &c.

"JAMES HAWLEY, Surveyor."

      In 1791, the first mill in town, was built at the Great Falls, by Judge Amos FASSETT, of Cambridge. It was a frame building, and the inhabitants from Buck Hollow, North Fairfax, Cambridge and Westford, turned out to raise it. In the same building were his saw-mill and grist-mill. Previous to this, the inhabitants had gone to Burlington and Vergennes for milling. From his hands they passed to Felix STEARNS, and from him to Asa WILKINS, and from him to his son, Daniel WILKINS. Whilst in his possession, a company of men from Boston came on for the purpose of buying the privilege, with the intention of establishing a large woo factory. Thinking his price exorbitant, however, the relinquished their design, and finally bought where the city of Lowell now stands

      CRANE & CRANDALL established the first clothing works at the Great Falls; but their building was carried off by the great freshet of June 1830. A woolen-factory was built on a small scale, and a few years afterward, burned.

      The Great Falls are now owned by S. N. GANT and J. M. BEEMAN, principally. S. N Gant built a new flouring mill, of 4 run of stone, in 1850. He also has a saw-mill and planing-machine, which do an extensive business. His logs are principally floated from the head waters of the Lamoille, and are chiefly spruce. J. M. BEEMAN has a saw-mill, planing-machine &c., which does an extensive business.

      SHEPHARDSON's Works, on Stone's Branch, about a mile N. E. of the Great Falls, were first started in the year 1810, by the erection of a saw-mill In 1828, a carding-machine was put in operation by the present proprietor, Deacon Ansel SHEPHARDSON. This did quite an extensive business, till 1848, when he erected a woolen marufactory, and removed his carding-machine into the new building. His machinery is driven by an overshot wheel 26 1/2 feet in diameter. He carries his water by a canal, some 75 rods, and over the road, which passes through the valley at a height of 35 feet. There is a blacksmith's shop in the place, owned by Benjamin KENFIELD, and a furnace for casting.


      The town was first divided into school-districts in 1796; but previous to this, schools had been carried on by private enterprise. -- "The first, taught in the south part of the town was by Jedediah SAFFORD, in the stoop of his father's log house. The second in that district, was taught by Harlow ORTON, in Capt. SAFFORD's new barn. They had school but five days in the week, Saturdays being taken to wash and mend the children's clothes, so that they could attend meeting on the Sabbath."

      The first school taught in North Fairfax was by David SEARS. These early schools were generally taught in private houses in the winter, and in summer, some barn was occupied for a school-house. I asked the oldest resident of the town, Beriah BEEMAN, to describe to me the old school-houses of the first settlers: "They," said he, “were built of logs, with a huge fire-place in one end, and a door in the other, on each side was one window. The desks were made by driving pegs into side-logs, and upon these placing unplaned boards.  The seats were made movable.”  This was a great improvement upon private rooms.  In these houses did the first generation of the town receive their education.  Here they opened their spelling-books, and testaments, and practiced at their copy-books -- becoming good readers, correct spellers and fair penmen. If by chance an arithmetic or a geography was obtained, the owners were prepared to become the leaders of the school, and were looked up to as prodigies in their circles, In asking old teachers the wages received, their reply was, but little more than board. The story still holds current, that one of these early candidates for schoolmaster's honors, on making application for a school, was asked his terms, and that he, looking at the wide mouthed fire-place, answered, "he thought he could cut the wood and teach the school for the ashes he could make."

      But soon the right of land belonging to the schools began to yield something of a revenue, so that in 1796, three trustees were appointed at the March meeting of that year, to take charge of the school-money. They were Thomas FARNSWORTH, Phineas PAGE and Theophilus BLAKE. The following persons, at the same meeting, were appointed trustees of schools, exercising the same functions as our committees of the present day, viz: Erastus SAFFORD, Asa WILKINS, Stephen HOLMES, Abijah HAWLEY, Elkanah LATHROP and Zepheniah HOLMES, showing that there were 6 school districts maintaining schools in that year. In 1811, the number of school-districts maintaining schools was 11, and the number of scholars returned was 466; showing a rapid increase in the early settlement of the town,

      In the year 1861 the number of school-districts making returns and sustaining schools was 17, and the number of scholars of all ages attending school was 475; showing but small increase in scholars for the half-century following 1811. This must be accounted for partly in the difference of the school-laws, the old law requiring all children between the ages of 4 and 18 to be returned, whilst the present law only requires those who attend school. Another reason is, that many of the young men emigrate early to the tempting West, and there settle, The first frame-school-house built, was in the village, near the stone-dwelling of the late Gen. GROUT.


      Though there had been many select schools taught in town; yet, previous to the year 1853, there had been no building erected or prepared for this purpose. This was a want sadly felt by the inhabitants, and in the year previous, 1852, the question of removing the Hampton Institution, then located at New Hampton, New Hampshire, to Fairfax, was agitated. This was first conceived by the Rev. L. A. DUNN, and Rev. H. I. PARKER. They brought it before the people of Fairfax, and entered into a correspondence with the Trustees of the Institution. The result was, that the Trustees guaranteed its removal, provided a certain amount of endowment should be raised, and buildings be erected for its reception. An estimate was made of their cost, viz: $10,000, and subscriptions immediately put in circulation. This was in the spring of 1852. The most active and indefatigable workers, in circulating the subscription, were J. H. FARNSWORTH, Reuben DEWEY, Silas W. BRUSH, Heman HUNT, and S. D. ALFRED. The amount was raised principally in Fairfax, though some in other towns gave liberally. Judge J. D. FARNSWORTH and J. H. FARNSWORTH gave the location, 4 acres of land.

      The buildings were planned by the Rev. L. A. DUNN. The committee chosen to superintend the construction was Heman HUNT, Damon HOWARD and Reuben DEWEY. The buildings consist of a centre building containing a large audience-hall, and surmounted by a dome, and two wings containing the recitation-rooms, libraries, reading-rooms and cabinets; making a front of 140 feet, with basements under the whole. The old Baptist and Congregationalist church, (the Congregational being bought out) was converted into the main building, receiving an addition of 20 feet in length. Active operations commenced in the spring of 1853, a large force being employed, Heman HUNT taking personal supervision of their construction, and they were so far completed, that a school was opened in the August following. The buildings were completed entirely the following June, 1854, at a cost of $10,680 -- a deficiency to be raised of $1100. To finish the buildings, it was necessary to raise this. The inhabitants had given liberally, and no more could be raised by subscription. In this emergency ten men, viz; S. D. ALFRED. Albert UFFORD, Heman HUNT, Damon HOWARD, Reuben DEWEY, Harry MAXFIELD, H. C. SAFFORD, L. A. DUNN, Franklin HUNT and Ira HUNT, entered into a bond to bear an equal share of the deficiency. These men had signed heavily upon the first subscription. They had also given liberally upon a second.

      Thus was the enterprise completed, and many teachers have gone from this Institute into the different States of the great West, where they have been faithful laborers in the field of knowledge.


      The first tavern kept was by Hampton LOVEGROVE, in North Fairfax, a few years after his settlement on the farm now owned by Harmon JOHNSON.

      The house had but one room at first, and quite small at that; but the year after he built an addition, and here entertainment was provided so that no one could complain, for “mine host" was a jolly soul, full of dry jokes and good humor, which did much to smooth over the roughness of frontier life, and make his house the favorite resort of the traveler. The next tavern was opened by Capt, Erastus SAFFORD. His house was composed of two rooms, and one of them covered on the floor by split and hewn basswood timber. His sign was "Rest for the heavy laden and weary traveler," written upon a piece of paper, nailed upon a board and stuck into a hollow stump before his door, and his establishment was quite a place of resort on account of the good cheer provided by his estimable wife. He did not keep up his sign many years, but his house remained the resort for many drovers, while Montreal was the great mart for the sale of cattle.

      There was also a tavern kept for a number of years, on the river near Capt. SPAFFORD's, by Robert BARNETT -- and Stephen England opened the first tavern in "the city," a small house with an addition of two small rooms on the back side. He sold to Hampton LOVEGROVE, and moved to the Plain. And a tavern was kept some years opposite the store-house of Gen. GROUT, by Bradbury BLAKE.

      In those early times the business was quite profitable: in later years there has been but one sustained, the Valley Hotel, whose proprietors have been innumerable. It was erected by Ira FARNSWORTH. Its present proprietor is Samuel Randall.

      The Fairfax-House was opened in the spring of 1882, by Mrs. WHITNEY. It is on the old stand first occupied by Stephen ENGLAND.


      The old ford of the Lamoille, a short distance below the Great Falls, was used for the few first years of the settlements.

      In 1792, at its session in October, the Legislature granted a lottery for the purpose of raising $500.00, to build a bridge over the Lamoille river in Fairfax. This was drawn, and the bridge built was the first one in the town, and stood about 20 rods below the present one, on the Fairfax and Westford road. The next bridge was over Brown's river, built in 1795, near where the present one is located on the Hartford road. They found a large hemlock tree at the right place, cut it down so that it should fall across the stream: this answered for one string-piece; another was then drawn across, and over these were laid cross-pieces of hewn logs. The old toll-bridge was built near the year 1820, over the Lamoille, on the spot occupied by the first bridge. It stood some 15 years.

      The first road in town was that marked out by Capt. Broadstreet SPAFFORD, and under-brushed, so that they could get through. After the settlement of Mr. BEEMAN in North Fairfax, a road was cut through to his place. For the first few years this was worked by cutting out the small trees, and dodging the large ones, A road was next opened in the same manner, from Georgia to the North part of the town, and from there to Buck Hollow.

      The first mail-route was through from Danville to St. Albans. A man by the name of TRESCOTT carried the post, as it was called at that time. He was succeeded by his son, Solon TRESCOTT. The mail was carried on horse back, the carrier having a tin horn, which he blew on big approach to the settlements. It was carried in saddle-bags, and he delivered the matter to the inhabitants, as he went along-being a sort of traveling post-office. The only paper he carried was the North Star, published in Danville. Fairfax is now a distributing office, and a daily mail runs from Georgia depot to it, and is announced by the whistle of the engine; and the man who should take only a village newspaper now, would be as far behind the times as he who took the North Star then, was ahead of them.

      The number of road districts now in town is 28, requiring 28 highway-surveyors.


      The first frame-house built in town was by Joel LEONARD in 1792, on the farm now owned by Thomas STORY; the first frame-barn by Levi FARNSWORTH, on the place now owned by Warren SOULE; Seth FORD, carpenter.

      The first frame school-house built was near the house of Gen. GROUT.

      The first single wagon brought into town was by Josiah BRUSH, in 1808; previous to this there were several two-horse wagons, and numerous ox-carts upon which people would visit about, but the most of traveling was on horse-back.

      The first company of volunteer cavalry organized in Franklin Co., was at the tavern of Hampton LOVEGROVE, about the year 1791. The company numbered some 60 men from the different towns.

      Seth POMEROY was Capt; Eldad BUTLER, 1st Lieut.; Damon BARLOW, 2d Lieut; Joseph BEEMAN, Cornet.

      The first doctor in town was Aaron HASTINGS. He settled in North Fairfax; frequently served as a lawyer, and is represented to have been a shrewd, active man. The next was Ross COON; of him I can get but little information. 

      The first mowing-machine was brought into town by Reuben HUNT, about 1855.

      The first town-hall was built in 1807, or near that time, and was occupied many years for preaching.


      The marriage was between Benjamin PETTINGILL and Nabby FORD. The guests were invited, and a dance was to come off in the evening. The conveyance was a heavy two-horse sleigh owned by Samuel SAFFORD. With this and a span of horses, harnessed, not with silver tips, but with rough harnesses, rope togs, and rope reins, he started early and carried in his partner. Then another young man took the team, and did likewise; and so on, till all were brought in. This was a turn-out of the first quality, in those early days.

      Men who live upon the farms where their fathers or grandfathers struck the first blow Harry P. SAFFORD, Cassius BUCK, Lyman HAWLEY, Aaron ORTON.

      Farms improved before 1800: Of the settlers in town previous to the year 1800, now living, there are Joseph KINGSBURY, able to be about and quite smart, (1861) aged 91 years; Taylor LAWTON, able to be about and smart, aged 83; Beriah BEEMAN, confined to the house, yet remembering well the events of the early time, 80 years of age; Thomas STORY, in his 75th year, remaining on the place his father bought and settled upon, with only 2 acres cleared; active and smart, managing his farm of 47 acres with the aid of a small boy; Zadock BUCK in his 89th year, able to move about without much trouble -- walked the last spring over Buck Hill, a distance of 2 miles; Hopkins SAFFORD, now in his 71st year, is the oldest man born in town, and, as near as I can make out, the first born in town. He lives on the land where his father first settled, though his brother, H. C. SAFFORD, occupies the homestead. Aaron ORTON ranks next, being a few months younger. Cyrus WELLS, 91 in May; Mrs. STICKNEY, 93; Rhoda PARMALEE, 84 years; Eunice OLMSTEAD, 82 years; Lavinia HOWARD, 80 years; Joseph LEARNED, 83 years -- living on the place which he first settled, -- his mind is still undimmed, able to do considerable work upon his farm.


      These marks were the own peculiar property of the individuals recording them. The ear was selected for marking, because it could be easily seen at some distance, and marks made upon it were not likely to become obliterated. This practice has now become nearly obsolete, but the record is quite interesting, and shows considerable ingenuity among the inhabitants in cutting some 141 different marks upon the ears of their cattle.

      The descendants of the first settlers cannot, even with the closest study, understand the toils and privations, hardships and shifts, which their parents and grandparents were obliged to endure in their first efforts to render the wilderness of Vermont the smiling land of plenty that it now is. I very much doubt if, of the generation now coming upon the stage of action, one in fifty could tell the mark their parents and grandparents used to identify their herds. I subjoin a few as specimens, also the date of their record:

      Sept. 10th, 1788, Erastus SAFFORD's is a crop off the right ear. Nov. 13th, 1790, Joseph BEEMAN, jr.'s mark is a slit in the left ear. --May 22d, 1793, Gould BUCK's mark is a crop, off the left ear, and a swallow fork on the right ear. July 6th, 1796, Samuel UFFORD's mark is a half crop the under side of both ears. June 17th, 1807, Amos TUTTLE's mark is a crop off the right ear, and a half penny the upper side of the same ear. Nov. 12th, 1807, Joseph PARMELEE's mark is a swallow-tail on each ear.

     Attest, HAMPTON LOVEGROVE, Town Clerk.


      The village contains 84 dwelling-houses, 2 hotels, 4 stores, 2 groceries, 2 carriage-shops, 2 blacksmith shops, 1 tin-shop, 1 marble-shop, 1 tailor's shop, 1 paint-shop, 5 shoemakers' shops, 1 tannery, 1 candy manufactory, 1 watch repairer, 2 lawyers' offices, 3 doctors' offices, 2 churches, 2 school-houses, 1 institution of learning, 3 milliners' shops, 1 saw-mill in operation and 1 idle, 1 manufactory of washing machines.

      The oldest established lawyer is Homer E. HUBBELL; the oldest established physician, J. H. FARNSWORTH; the oldest settled minister, L. A. DUNN; the oldest established merchant. S. D. ALFRED.

      North Fairfax has 2 churches, 1 saw-mill, 1 carriage-shop, l blacksmith's shop, 1 doctor. The Village, as I have described it, is as it stands at the present. In addition, there is a grist-mill of one run of stone, and a cabinet-shop. Formerly, the brothers FARRAR were quite extensively engaged in the manufacture of stone and earthen ware, -- they are now removed from town. Two of them, Eben and Stephen, were drowned on the St. Lawrence in 18-- by the burning of the steamer.

      Families which made early settlements, of whom none of their descendants, bearing their name, live in town, at present: The SPAFFORDs 3 families, settled at an early day; the BARNETTs, 3 families; the GROSEVENORs, 3 families; the CRESSEYs, 3 families; the PARMELEES, 5 families; the FARWELLs, 2 families; the FULLERTONS, 2 families; the HOPKINSONs, 4 families,

      CAPT. BROADSTREET SPAFFORD came from Piermont, N. H., in 1783, and was the first settler in town; at his house the first town-meeting was held. He was the first moderator of a town-meeting, and first selectman. He was buried in the burying-ground near where he first settled, -- no headstone marks his resting place.

      THOMAS RUSSELL, ESQ., settled in town about the year 1786, on the place, known as the Swift farm, now owned by Harrison A. HUNTER. He was the first representative, and several years proprietors' clerk; town clerk from 1787 till 1796; justice of the peace for many years; a teacher of the schools in the village during several winters; a stirring, active man, well calculated to be among the first to settle up a new country. -- He moved to Missisquoi Bay, where he died. None of his name now live in town.

      NATHAN SPAFFORD, son of Capt. Broadstreet, moved in with his father in 1783; was chosen first constable, and retained that office many years. Many of the deeds of the town are granted by him in virtue of his office, the lands being sold to pay delinquent taxes. He was two years representative; none of his name live in town.

      ROBERT BARNETT settled about the year 1786, in the south-east corner of the town, on the Lamoille; was selectman the first year the town was organized; in subsequent years filled several town offices. None of his name now live in town.

      LAVINIA HOWARD, was the daughter of John SMITH, who settled in 1794, -- she was then 13 years of age. In 1803 she married Marshal HOWARD, one of the early settlers. She is now living; at the age of 80 years, doing her housework without help. She has a large family mostly living in town.

      NATHAN MURRY, or, as he was more commonly called, old blind Murry, settled in the S. E. part of the town at an early day. He served in the Revolutionary War; enlisted in 1776 in Capt. Sopers' Co., Col. Reed's Reg., Mass. Line; in 1820, being 70 years of age, he applied for a pension, and showed the following schedule of property to the Court, viz. 1 old chest, 1 chairs, 1 old table, 1 three-pail kettle, 1 tea-kettle, and 2 spinning wheels; and further stated, that he was a cooper by trade, but from blindness was unable to work. His property was appraised by two old Revolutionary soldiers. The following is the appraisal:

   "We the undersigned, freeholders of Fairfax, have appraised the property of Nathan MURRY of Fairfax, and set the whole-to be worth the sum of nine dollars, as witness our hands.


Fairfax, Nov. 14th, 1820."

      Mr. MURRY died in 1846, aged 96.