As a whole, the county has an excellent, productive soil, varying from a fine alluvial deposit to clay and sand, with very little of its territory unfit for purposes of cultivation. The staple products are wheat, rye, Indian corn, oats, barley, buckwheat, potatoes, and the various products of its herds and flocks. Some idea of the extent of its products may be formed from the following statistics, taken from the census report of 1870, though the report for 1880, when tabulated, will doubtless show a material change in many of the figures. During that year there were 218,670 acres of improved land in the county, while the farms were valued at $14,783,045.00, and produced 46,426 bushels of wheat, 11,804 bushels of rye, 163,597 bushels of Indian corn, 286,615 bushels of oats, 14,381 bushels of barley, 21,768 bushels of buckwheat, and 333,858 bushels of potatoes. There were also in the county 4,977 horses, 21,941 milch cows, 1,014 working oxen, 17,041 sheep, and 4,809 swine. From the milk of the cows was manufactured 1,761,543 pounds of butter, and 1,374,387 pounds of cheese, while the sheep yielded 87,256 pounds of wool, or about five pounds to the fleece, providing each sheep was sheared.


      As early as 1819, a society existed in Burlington, called the "Chittenden County Society for Promoting Agriculture and Domestic Manufactures," of which Martin CHITTENDEN was president, and Charles ADAMS, secretary. The first fair held was during the following year, 1 820, near the present Oslo E. PINNEY residence, and an address delivered at the Court House Square. Fairs, however, were held here by the Chittenden County Agricultural Society, as it was called, in the years 1843 and 1848, inclusive, and one was advertised for 1849, but not held, and in 1857, 1858, and 1862, since which time they were held in Essex. At these fairs the agricultural and mechanical products of the county were exhibited, several hundred dollars expended in premiums, etc., and were in all respects a success; but it finally became apparent to those most actively interested in the promotion of agricultural interests in the county, that an association founded on more extended principals should be inaugurated. Accordingly, in 1881, a society called the Lake Champlain Agricultural and Mining Association was contemplated by them, and stock issued for $25,000.00, in shares of $25.00 each, $20,000.00 of which was taken up, when the State Society took the balance and are to hold their fairs in union with that association. 

      Accordingly, pursuant to a vote of the corporators, who had decided to call the association The Champlain Valley Association for the Promotion of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts, and in accordance with a published notice, the first meeting of stockholders of the association was held in the city court room, Saturday, May 6, 1882, the State Society being represented by its Secretary, Mr. N. B. SAFFORD. The meeting was called to order by Mr. Henry LOOMIS, president; G. G. BENEDICT, from the committee to report by laws and to present nominations for directors, reported that the committee appointed on the part of the Champlain Valley Association had held a joint meeting with the committee appointed for a like purpose by the State Agricultural Society, and had prepared the series of by laws then presented. The report of the committee was accepted, and the by laws, ten in number, were duly adopted. He further reported that the State Agricultural Society had selected seven gentlemen, and the committee of the Champlain Valley Association seven, for directors, and that for the fifteenth member of the board the committee unanimously agreed upon Hon. John Gregory SMITH, and in accordance with that action the committee nominated the following list of fifteen gentlemen for directors: LeGrand B. CANNON, John Gregory SMITH, Henry CHASE, Henry G. ROOT, James A. SHEDD, Crosby MILLER, George HAMMOND, John W. CRAMTON, Lemuel S. DREW, Frederick M. VanSICKLEN, Urban A. WOODBURY, Sidney H. WESTON, Buel J. DERBY, Louis H. TALCOTT, and Albert G. PEIRCE.

      On Wednesday, May 10, at an adjourned meeting, the following officers were elected: President, LeGrand B. CANNON; vice presidents, H. G. CRANE, George W. HENDEE, Hervey SPENCER, A. WILLIAMS, Timothy HOYLE, George HAMMOND, Frank W. WITHERBEE, H. G. BURLEIGH, John W. STEWART, John L. BARSTOW; secretary, E. F. BROWNELL; treasurer, Cyrus M. SPAULDING; general superintendent, James A. SHEDD; auditors, S. H. WESTON, L. H. TALCOTT; construction committee, James A. SHEDD, H. G. ROOT, F. M. VanSICKLEN; executive committee, H. G. ROOT, J. Gregory SMITH, Henry G. CHASE, F. M. VanSICKLEN, Albert G. PEIRCE.

      The directors, we understand, are now (May, 1882,) taking measures for the purchase of the grounds, erection of necessary buildings, etc. Thus the Society starts out, under the best auspices, and bids fair to become one of the most extensive and useful in this part of the country.


      As the manufacturing interests are spoken of in detail in connection with the several town sketches, it would be but needless repetition to give the subject more than a passing glance at this point. A comparison of the present facilities, as therein set forth, with their condition half a century ago, however, will teach one that the history of Chittenden County, in this respect at least, has been one of sure, steady improvement; a course, too, which has not ended, but only begun. Many portions of the territory which fifty years ago, yes, twenty five years since, were either considered unworthy to bear the point of a plowshare, or covered with the gnarled trunks of the primeval forest, now are the site of extensive factories, where the whir of the loom or the steady stroke of the mechanic's busy hammer are heard constantly. And let us here prophesy that, he who looks upon the county a quarter of a century hence, will behold as marked an improvement during that time, as he who now takes a retrospect of the one just passed. The principal manufactures are that of lumber in all its various branches sash, doors, blinds, wooden ware, etc., woolen and cotton cloths, marble and granite, machinery, and dairy products. According to the United States census report of 1870, the county had 300 manufacturing establishments, operated by thirty one steam engines, and one hundred water wheels, giving employment to 3,451 people. There were $3,760,520.00 invested in manufactures, while the manufactured products for the year were valued at $6,537,230.00, nearly double that of any other county in the State.


      At the organization of Addison County, as previously mentioned, courts were appointed to be held alternately at Addison and Colchester; and after the establishment of Chittenden County, Colchester was still retained as the shire town, although all causes pending in the supreme court were tried in Addison County. On October 21, 1788, however, an act was passed restoring the supreme court to Chittenden County, "with all actions and appeals from this county, pending in the county of Addison, to be heard, tried, and determined in said court, to beholden at Colchester," and fixing the stated terms of the court on the first Tuesday of August annually. The supreme court held two annual sessions in Colchester, commencing with the August term, 1789. At this and the succeeding term, Nathaniel CHIPMAN presided as chief justice, and Noah SMITH and Samuel KNIGHT as assistant justice; and at the third term, held at Burlington, Elijah PAINE was chief justice, and Samuel KNIGHT and Isaac TICHENOR assistant justices. The county court held six terms at Colchester, commencing with the February term, 1788; the first four terms (embracing the years 1788 1789), John FASSETT, Jr., of Cambridge, presided as chief justice, and John WHITE, of. Georgia, and Samuel LANE, of Burlington, assistant justices; John KNICKERBOCKER, clerk; Noah CHITTENDEN, of Jericho, sheriff; Samuel HITCHCOCK, of Burlington, State's attorney. John McNEIL, of Charlotte, was judge of probate, Isaac McNEIL, register, and Stephen LAWRENCE, of Burlington, county treasurer. The next four terms of the court, the last two held at Burlington, at the inn of Gideon KING (1790 and 1791), John FASSETT, Jr., presided as chief justice, and John WHITE and John McNEIL, assistant justices; Martin CHITTENDEN, clerk; Stephen PEARL, sheriff, Samuel HITCHCOCK, State's attorney for 1790, and William C. HARRINGTON for 1791; Col. John SPAFFORD, county treasurer. The county still retained its original limits, which extended over the counties of Grand Isle, Franklin, Lamoille, and parts of Washington and Orleans, and was divided into three probate districts, with Matthew COLE, of Richmond, Jonathan HOYT, of St. Albans, and Timothy PEARL, of Burlington, were appointed judges of probate, in their respective districts.

      The first jury trial in the county, after its organization, was at the February term of the court, 1788, being an action of trespass quare clausum fregit, in favor of John COLLINS vs. Frederick SAXTON; in which case David STANTON, Jonathan BUSH, John DOXY, Alexander GORDON, John MARTIN, John CHAMBERLIN, John FISK, David WHITCOMB, David WARREN, Eben BARSTOW, William SMITH, and Allen HACKETT were empanelled as jurors.

      By a special act of the legislature, passed October 27, 1790, the courts were removed from Colchester to Burlington, fixing the session of the supreme court on the fourth Tuesday of August, and the county court on the last Tuesday of February, and last save one in September. The county officers continued the same up to the February term, 1794, when Martin CHITTENDEN took his seat as one of the assistant justices in place of John WHITE, and Solomon MILLER was appointed clerk, which office he held for the next eighteen years in succession, (save the year 1808, by William BARNEY,) to his credit, as a very accurate and efficient officer. And until 1794, the same judges of the supreme court presided.

      In the meantime, Chittenden County had been circumscribed in its limits by the erection of Franklin County on the north. Soon after this division, it seems that there was a controversy on the subject of locating the county town and buildings. To settle the question, a special act of the legislature was passed. November 4, 1793, "appointing Thompson J. SKINNER and Samuel SLOAN, of Williamstown, and Israel JONES, of Adams, in the commonwealth of Massachusetts, a committee to fix on the place for holding county and supreme courts in the county of Chittenden; and to stick a stake, for the place of building the court house." The decision of this committee resulted in the permanent establishment of the courts and courthouse at Burlington, where they still remain, and where the supreme court meets on the first Tuesday in January, and county court on the first Tuesday in April, and the third Tuesday in September. The probate districts were changed so that the county now constitutes one district. The United States circuit and district courts also hold their sessions here on the fourth Tuesday in February.

      The first sessions of the courts at Burlington were held in a room in the southeastern part of the house of Capt. KING, at Burlington Bay, as it was then called, being a settlement at the lower end of the present Battery street. The room used was about 16x20 feet. The portion of the room allotted to the judges was railed off with boards, and within, upon a slab, into which round poles had been inserted for legs, sat the justiciary of the county. Here courts continued to be held until the summer of 1796, when a court house was erected on the center of Court House Square, and a jail near the northeast corner, on the ground now occupied by the Strongs block. In 1802, a court house was erected upon the site of that now occupied by the Fletcher Library building, which was used until .1828, when it was destroyed by fire. During the same year, another was erected in its place, the present library building, a two story brick building, forty six feet wide and sixty feet long. The lower story was occupied for offices by the county clerk and sheriff, and for jury rooms, the upper for a courtroom. The town united with the county in erecting the building, and $1,500 was subscribed on condition of having the basement thereof to the sole and exclusive use of the town for town purposes, and was used by them for holding town meetings until 1854, when the town hall was built, since which time, until devoted to the uses of the library, it was used for housing fire engines and apparatus. This building was used as a court house until the present court house was completed, an elegant structure of cut and hammered stone, two stories in height, with a mansard roof, which cost between $50,000 and $60,000, and was commenced in 1871, and completed in 1873.


      Those who, from age, infirmity or otherwise, are unable to support themselves, and are so unfortunate as to be obliged to rely upon public charity for sustenance, are cared for, in conformity with the laws of the State, by the towns wherein the applicants reside.


      A company was incorporated November 1, 1843, for the purpose, and with the right, of building a railroad "from some point on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, thence up the valley of Onion River, and extending to a point on the Connecticut River most convenient to meet a railroad either from Concord, N. H., or Fitchburgh, Mass." Stock was subscribed for the enterprise, and in the spring of 1847, work upon the construction of the Vermont Central Railroad was commenced. Various financial difficulties and controversies with other enterprises of a like kind followed, delaying its completion until 1849, when, in November of that year, the first train of cars passed over it. Its final route was decided upon as follows: commencing at Windsor, it follows the Connecticut River to the mouth of White River, thence up that stream to the source of its third branch; thence, reaching the summit in Roxbury, and passing down the valley of Dog River, it enters the Winooski valley, near Montpelier; and thence, continuing in the Winooski valley, near Montpelier; and thence, continuing in the Winooski valley, its terminus is reached at Burlington, a distance of 117 miles.

      On the same date that the above charter was granted, November 1, 1843, another charter was issued to the Champlain and Connecticut River Railroad Company for the purpose of constructing a railroad from some point at Burlington, thence southwardly, through the counties of Addison, Rutland, Windsor and Windham, to some point on the western bank of the Connecticut River." The route fixed upon was from Bellows Falls to Burlington, a distance of 119 1/2 miles, passing through portions of the valleys of Williams and Black Rivers, upon the eastern side of the Green Mountains, and along the valley of Otter Creek and valley of Lake Champlain, upon the western side. The first meeting of the stockholders was held at Rutland, May 6, 1845, with Timothy FOLLETT, of Burlington, chairman, and L. BROWN, of Rutland, clerk, at which it was voted to open subscriptions for stock, June 10th, of that year, which was accordingly done. On November 6, 1847, the legislature changed the name of the corporation to the Rutland & Burlington Railroad Company, and subsequently it was changed to the Rutland Railroad Company. The first blow towards its construction was struck during the month of February, 1847, in the town of Rockingham, near Bellows Falls, and in two years and nine months it was completed, and opened through, December 18, 1849.

      The Vermont and Canada Railroad Company was incorporated by the general assembly, October 31, 1845, and amended and altered, November 15, 1847, giving a right to build a railroad "from some point in Highgate, on the Canada line, thence through the village of St Albans, to some point or points in Chittenden County, most convenient for meeting, at the village of Burlington, a railroad to be built on the route described in the acts to incorporate the Champlain & Connecticut River Railroad Company, and the Vermont Central Railroad Company." The route decided upon was from Rouse's Point to Burlington, a distance of fifty three miles, passing through the towns of Colchester, Milton, Georgia, St Albans, Swanton and Alburgh. Ground was broken for its construction early in September, 1848, in the northern part of Georgia, and completed and opened to the public early in 1851.

      By the subsequent organization of the present Central Vermont Railroad Company, however, these roads all came under its control, and are now operated by the same, as different branches of the Central Vermont Railroad. The company has its principal office at St Albans, with the following list of officers: J. Gregory SMITH, president; J. W. HOBART, general superintendent; J. M. FOSS, assistant general superintendent; A. ARNOLD, superintendent central division; I. B. FUTVOIE, superintendent northern division; Jesse BURDETT, superintendent Rutland division; E. A. CHITTENDEN, superintendent of local freight traffic; and W. F. SMITH, general passenger agent.

      The Burlington and Lamoille Railroad Company was organized February 24, 1875, under the general laws of the State. Its construction was commenced in May of that year, and was finished and opened for traffic, July 2, 1877, extending from Burlington to Cambridge, a distance of thirty five miles. The track between Burlington and Essex junction is not used by the company at present; as arrangements were made with the Central Vermont Company, by which their line is used to that point. The first list of officers were: William B. HATCH, of New York, president; N. Parker, of Burlington, vice-president; E. W. PECK, of Burlington, treasurer; D. C. LINSLEY, of Burlington, general manager. The present officers are: D. C. LINSLEY, president; C. M. SPAULDING, vice president. E. W. PECK, treasurer; G. L. LINSLEY, general manager; and L. Barnes, N. PARKER, D. C. LINSLEY, Morillo NOYES, C. M. SPAULDING, and G. L. LINSLEY, of Burlington, and Josiah TUTTLE, of Essex, H. M. FIELD, of Jericho, L. F. TURRILL, of Underhill, H. F. WETHERBY, of Cambridge, William B. HATCH, of New York, George W. HENDEE, of Morrisville, and Waldo BRIGHAM, of Hydeville, directors.


      During the latter part of the last century, when Chittenden County was but a youth, its first newspaper was issued; since that time, except for short periods, it has not been without a live, energetic sheet. Two papers are now published within its limits, conducted in a manner that would do discredit to no publication or locality.

      The Burlington Mercury, published at Burlington, was the first publication ever issued in the county. It was a small sheet, published weekly by DONNELLY & HILL, from 1797 to 1799, when it was discontinued, and for the next two years none was issued.

      The Vermont Centinel was then commenced by John K. BAKER, the first number appearing Thursday, March 19, 1801. The above name was retained until December 6, 1810, when its title was changed to Northern Centinel, a new volume being commenced December 13, 1810, with its new title. Two years later, December 10, 1812, the word "Northern" was dropped, and the new volume commenced as The Centinel. A year later, January 14, 1814, a figured heading appeared upon the paper, bearing the title Northern Sentinel; the old name resumed, but with modernized spelling. This figured heading was retained throughout the year; then dropped, and the plain title of Northern Sentinel resumed. This name it retained until 1830, when it was changed to Burlington Sentinel, a title it retained until June, 1872, and then changed to Burlington Democrat.

      Mr. BAKER, the founder of the paper, relinquished its publication on the 12th of October, 1804, in favor of Josiah KING; but Mr. BAKER's services were retained as assistant editor. Mr. KING retained the proprietorship of the paper only one year, having relinquished it October 11, 1805, when its publication was resumed by its founder, and printed by him "for the proprietors" (the names of whom we are unable to give), until the beginning of the following April, 1806, when it passed into the hands of Messrs. Daniel GREENLEAF & Co. It was considerably enlarged in size by them, and much improved in its general appearance. The name of the publishing firm was, a few weeks later, changed to GREENLEAF & MILLS, the firm consisting of Daniel GREENLEAF and Samuel MILLS. The partnership between them, however, was dissolved in October of the same year (1806); and the Sentinel, with its printing establishment, became the sole property of Mr. MILLS. It continued under his proprietorship until January 1, 1818, when he retired from the printing business, having sold out his interest in it to his brothers, Ephraim and Thomas MILLS. The Messrs E. & T. MILLS remained the publishers of the Sentinel until January r, 1835, when they sold it to Mr. Nahum STONE. After publishing the paper about two years, Mr. Stone sold his interest to Sylvanus PARSONS, who retained it only about one year, then sold it to Azro BISHOP. BISHOP retained the proprietorship of the paper some two years, then sold out his interest to Dana WINSLOW. WINSLOW continued its publication about three years, then sold it to George Howard PAUL, who published it several years. Not being fortunate, however, in his pecuniary affairs, Mr. PAUL failed, and his property, including the Sentinel establishment, passed into the hands of an assignee, by whom the paper was sold to John G. SAXE, Esq. This was in the year 1851 Mr. SAXE continued to publish it until 1855, when he in turn sold out to Douglas A. DANFORTH, who continued the sole proprietor of it for several years. During the latter part of 1859, he sold a half of his interest in the paper, and the large job printing establishment connected with it, to E. Marvin SMALLEY; and it was published by them, under the firm name of DANFORTH & SMALLEY, during the year 1860, and until March, 1861. Mr. SMALLEY then sold his interest in it to William Henry HOYT, who also, a few weeks later, purchased from Mr. DANFORTH his interest in it, and thus became its sole proprietor. On October 1, 1861, the firm was changed to W. H. & C. A. HOYT & Co., who in turn sold the property to William EATON. Mr. EATON continued the publication until 1868, when it was discontinued. In 171, it was recommenced by Harry C. FAY, and continued by him one year, when it was sold to Albion N. MERCHANT, of Champlain, N. Y., in June, 1872. Mr. MERCHANT removed the paper from Burlington, changing the name to Burlington Democrat, and it was issued as such for a time from Providence, R I., and finally changed to the Rhode Island Democrat, and as such is still published.

      The Burlington Gazette, a weekly, published by HINCKLEY & FISH, was commenced September 9, 1814, and continued until February, 1817.

      The Repertory was next commenced, a weekly, published by Jeduthan SPOONER, its first issue appearing October 1, 1821, and was continued but a short time.

      Burlington Free Press was first issued June 5, 1827, by Luman FOOTE. Its establishment met with great favor in the community, and being conducted with great ability, it soon became one of the most influential papers in the State, a position it still continues to maintain. Mr. FOOTE continued its publication alone, till the latter part of February, 1828, when Henry B. STACY, who had had the practical business of printing the paper under his charge almost from the issue of its first number, became associated with Mr. FOOTE as editor and proprietor. By them jointly it was edited and published till January. 1833, when Mr. STACY became sole editor and proprietor, and so remained till July, 1846. At that time DeWitt C. CLARKE became its owner and editor. From the commencement of the paper until April, 1848, the Burlington Free Press had appeared only as a weekly sheet; but at that time, telegraph connections having been formed between Burlington and New York, by the way of Troy, Mr. CLARKE started a daily paper entitled the Daily Free Press, which was issued as well as the weekly. On the first of April, 1853, the Free Press was purchased by Messrs. George W. and George G. BENEDICT, who enlarged and greatly improved both weekly and daily. In July, 1868, it was transferred to the Free Press Association, and issued as a morning and evening paper, and in January, 1869, the Times, a morning paper, was united with it, and the name changed to THE DAILY FREE PRESS AND TIMES.

      The Iris and Burlington Literary Gazette was commenced by WORTH & FOSTER, in 1828, and continued about one year.

      The Green Mountain Repository was published by C. GOODRICH, during the year 1832, and by Z. THOMPSON, in 1833. It was issued monthly, at $1.25 per year.

      The Green Mountain Boy was commenced by RICHARDS & Co., in December, 1834, and continued by them until March, 1835.

      La Canadien Patriot, by _____, was published a short time in 1839.

      The Milton Herald, published at Milton, Vt., was commenced in 1843, and continued until 1845 or 1846.

      The True Democrat was commenced in 1843, by Nathan HASWELL, and suspended after a short time.

      The Liberty Gazette, published by C. C. BRIGGS, was started in July, 1846. In 1848, it was taken by E. A. STANSBURY and L. E. CHITTENDEN, who changed its title to the Free Soil Courier and Liberty Gazette, and continued it until 1851, or 1852, when it ceased to exist.

      The Liberty Herald, by, was commenced in 1846, and continued only a short time.

      The Burlington Courier was commenced by E. A. STANSBURY, in June, 1848, and continued by him until June 24, 1852; when it was taken by Guy C. SAMPSON, who run it until 1854, when it was discontinued.

      Vermont State Agriculturist, by Casper T. HOPKINS and D. W. C. CLARKE, was commenced July 1, 1848, and continued about two years.

      The Commercial Register was commenced in 1851, by Nichols & Warren, and published about two years.

      The Crystal Fount, a temperance paper, was started by James FRAME, in 1852, though but one issue was ever printed.

      Burlington Times, daily and weekly, was commenced by D. W. C. CLARKE, May 18, 1858, and continued by him till October 10, 1860, when it was transferred to BIGELOW & WARD. Mr. WARD withdrew from the firm, January 19, 1861, and BIGELOW continued the paper until 1869, when it was united with the Burlington Free Press to form THE DAILY FREE PRESS AND TIMES.

      The Vermont Watchman, a weekly, was commenced by Capt. John LONERGAN in 1868, and continued through two or three issues.

      The Independent, by A. N. MERCHANT, was started in 1871, and continued a short time.

      Home Hours, a monthly published by BENEDICT & Co., in 1872, was continued but a short time.

      The Souvenier, monthly, was commenced by A. N. MERCHANT, in 1873, and continued a short time.

      Vermont Medical Journal, bi-monthly, by J. M. CURRIER, was issued a short time, beginning in 1873.

      Vermont Statesman, by Charles Pomeroy BUTTON, was commenced in 1873, and run about three months.

      Archives of Science, a quarterly, was commenced by J. M. CURRIER, in 1874, and continued a short time.

      THE BURLINGTON CLIPPER, a weekly, was commenced by C. S. KINSLEY, March 26, 1874, and is still continued by him, a lively, energetic publication, rapidly increasing in popularity.

      The Witness a monthly, published at Winooski village, by WILSON Bros., was commenced in 1875, and continued about two years.

      The Vermont National, commenced in 1875, was published only a short time, by the National Publishing Co.

      The Burlington Review was commenced by H. W. LOVE, in 1878, as a weekly, and he soon after established a branch paper in Rutland, where the Review was published until a short time since, and where he still issues the Rutland Review.

      The Sunday Crucible, a weekly, was started by R E. CHASE & Co., May 25, 1879, and continued until July 27, when it was changed to the Vermont National, and published by Pratt & CHASE, from August 1st, until December 26th, when it was discontinued.

      THE VERMONT AUTOGRAPH AND REMARKER. -- This paper may perhaps not be worthy of mention except as a curiosity. It is a small sheet, with a limited circulation, printed with a pen, by James JOHNS, of Huntington. It has been issued from time to time for many years, and its files contain much valuable historical matter.

      So far as we have been able to learn, this forms a complete list of all the newspapers ever published in the county. All of them, unless especially mentioned as otherwise, were published and printed at Burlington.


      The territory embraced within the present limits of Vermont, previous to any settlement by Europeans, was claimed as a hunting ground by several tribes of Indians who were hostile to each other, consequently it was often the scene of their savage wars, and constant invasion prevented its being made their permanent home. Indeed, it was Champlain's nominal purpose to help the Canadian Indians in their war with those in the region of the lake, that first brought him upon its water.

      The Iroquois, or Five Nations, was a powerful confederacy composed of several tribes of Indians, who had planted themselves in Western New York, on the shores of Lakes Ontario and Erie, and were the inveterate enemies of the Canadian Indians. Champlain started from Quebec with about one hundred of the Canadian Indians, in 1609, and proceeded up the lake to the vicinity of Crown Point, where, on the western shore, as they had expected, they met a large party of Iroquois, who defied them. But, when Champlain, at a single fire of his arquebus, killed two chiefs and mortally wounded another, and another Frenchman fired from another quarter, they fled in alarm, ending the first battle fought on Lake Champlain.

      The origin of the Indian cannot be determined by history, nor will calculation ever arrive at a probable certainty. Some writers have declared that they were indigenous, whilst others maintain the opinion of their migration; and both classes, with perhaps a few exceptions, consider them the extreme of human depravity, and outcasts of the world. Now, while we do not dispute this sentiment entirely, let us, in justice, glance at the other side of the question. Criminations have been thrown upon them, they have been driven from their possessions, then in turn driven from others they had obtained, and thus, over and over again, the quietness of their dwellings has been interrupted by insolent invaders. But above all, dissipation, introduced among them by their civilized neighbors, has plunged them still deeper into wretchedness and barbarity. They are human beings, fashioned, like you and I, in the "image of their Creator." Might they not, then, had other treatment and circumstances been brought to bear, be other than the degraded people they now are?

      A branch of the Abenaquis tribe of Indians were the aboriginal occupants of this section of the country, previous to its settlement by the whites; and, indeed, they lingered upon their rightful soil, at the mouth of the Lamoille River, and thence north along the Missisquoi Bay, for a long while after the French and English had taken possession and commenced the settlement of the country to the north and south of them. Still, as we have stated before, neither this nor any other locality in the State, seems to have been the red man's permanent home; at least not within historic times. But Vermont, was rather a territory to which all laid claim, and was used in common as a hunting, fishing, and battle ground, by the St. Francis tribe on the north, their principal settlement being at Montreal, or Hockhelaga, as it was then called; the Narraganset on the east, their principal settlement on the Merrimac River, N. H.; the Pepuquoits on the south, inhabiting the northwestern part of Connecticut; and the Iroquois, or Mohawks, as they were commonly called, on the southwest, their principal settlement being at Schenectady, on the Mohawk River, N. Y.

      In several localities throughout the county, however, there has been found indubitable proof that the Indians have, at some period, resided here in considerable numbers, and for many years. In Shelburne, on the eastern side of the mouth of the river, a field of about twenty five acres was found by the early settlers, which showed undoubted evidences of having been cleared and cultivated for a length of time, as there were no stumps of the original timber. This clearing was in a square form, and had a heavy growth of the original timber on all sides, and two large trees of the original growth left standing in the center. There were numerous heaps or piles of stones on the field, which must have been carried there, probably for camp fires, as there were no stones in the soil This clearing was evidently abandoned by the savages a number of years before any settlement was made by the whites, as it was covered with a thick growth of small trees, unlike the surrounding timber, apparently of about thirty years growth. Arrowheads, flints, and other articles were also found in large numbers, which was conclusive evidence of its having been occupied by savages for many years.

      Near the mouth of the Lamoille River, in Colchester, also was found the remains of an Indian encampment and burial place, together with a large mound, where the skeletons and bones of the race, buried in their usual sitting posture, were exhumed, and numerous arrow heads and other Indian relics found, among which was the famous "Indian urn," found by Capt. John JOHNSON, in 1825. This urn, which is now in the museum of the University of Vermont, is about eight inches in height, and will hold about four quarts, is highly ornamented, and shows a considerable degree of skill in pottery. Its antiquity is attested by the circumstances in which it was found, it being covered with a flat stone, over which a large tree had grown, and had been so long dead as to be nearly all rotten. A similar vessel, but much larger, was found many years ago in Bolton. But these researches, however interesting they may be to the antiquarian, can only lead to conjecture. The Indian history of Vermont must ever remain as obscure as that which relates to the origin of the race itself.


      In 1664, as mentioned on page 35, M. de Tracy, then Governor of New France, entered upon his work of erecting a line of fortifications from the mouth of the Sorrel to Lake Champlain, and during the following year extended the works up the lake. There is no direct evidence, but some circumstances which would seem to indicate that fortifications of some kind were erected upon Colchester Point, at, or about this time. When the locality was first settled, at least, it is claimed there were remains of fortifications of some sort, and the ruins of other works and buildings to be found upon the Point. Some of these remains are still visible; and it is represented that when the first settlers came on, they then had the appearance of great antiquity. Upon the old Porter place, an old chimney bottom and the remnants of the walls of some buildings were then there. Various relics, such as leaden bullets, partially decayed materials of iron, and pieces of silver and copper coin, have also been found, all tending towards the theory that during this extension of the old line of fortifications, one was established at this point, though there is no written or traditionary account to this effect.

      Should this hypothesis be correct, then, the first settlement of Chittenden County dates back to a very remote antiquity. The first English settlers, however, who settled in the territory, were Ira ALLEN and Remember BAKER. They explored the country along the Winooski River, in the fall of 1772, and came into the country to reside the following spring. BAKER brought his family with him; and ALLEN, being then a single man, resided in the family of BAKER, who was his uncle. They made their pitch at the lower falls on the Winooski River, where, as a matter of security against the Yorkers and Indians, they constructed a block house or fort, which they christened Fort Frederick, and in which they lived. These were followed by other settlers from time to time, until there were about forty families in the county at the breaking out of the Revolution; but they left for localities of greater security, however, in 1776, all except Joseph BROWN and family, who had settled on Brown's River, in Jericho. The attack on BROWN's house, his capture by the Indians, etc., are spoken of in connection with the sketch of that town; indeed, it is not necessary to speak of the early settlement and settlers at this point only in a general way, as the details are given in the sketches of the various towns wherein they located. Suffice it to say, then, that on the return of peace, in 1783, Stephen LAWRENCE was the first to return with his family, and during the same year most of the settlers returned to their farms, bringing many new settlers with them, who were in turn joined by others, until at the taking of the first census, in 1791, the county had a population of 3,875.


      Except in the instances already mentioned, no settlement was made within the present limits of the State of Vermont, owing to its distance from the English settlements on the seacoasts, and from the French on the St. Lawrence, until 1724. In 1716, however, Massachusetts granted a tract of land, in the southeastern part of the State, containing more than one hundred thousand acres, upon which, eight years later, the settlement of Fort Dummer was commenced. At this time the fort was supposed to be within the limits and under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts; but a controversy soon after arose between New Hampshire and Massachusetts, relative to the boundary line between these States, or Provinces, as they then were, which, after a long and tedious struggle, was adjusted, March 5, 1740, when King George II. determined that, "the northern boundary of the province of Massachusetts be, a similar curve line, pursuing the course of the Merrimac River, at three miles distance, on the north side thereof, beginning at the Atlantic Ocean, and ending at a point due north of Pawtucket falls ; and a straight line drawn from thence, due west, until it meets with his Majesty's other governments." This line was run in 1741, and has ever since been admitted as the boundary line between Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

      By this decision, and the establishment of this line, the government of New Hampshire concluded that their jurisdiction extended as far west as Massachusetts had claimed and exercised, that is, within twenty miles of Hudson River. It was also well known, both in Great Britain and America, that the King had repeatedly recommended to the assembly of New Hampshire, to make provision for the support of Fort Dummer; and Fort Dummer was located upon the west side of the river, thus proving that the jurisdiction of New Hampshire extended west of the Connecticut; but how far west had not been particularly inquired into, the twenty mile line from the Hudson being taken for granted, and silently acquiesced in by the King.

      The land lying between the Connecticut and New York was the most fertile and productive in the State, and it soon began to attract the attention of pioneers. Accordingly, Benning WENTWORTH, then governor of New Hampshire, in 1749, made a grant of a township six miles square, located twenty miles east of Hudson River, and six miles north of the Massachusetts line, to which, in allusion to his own name, he gave the name of Bennington. During the following four or five years he made several other grants east of the Connecticut River. But in 1754, the breaking out of hostilities between France and Great Britain put a stop to all these operations, and no other grants were made until after the close of the war. During its progress, however, the New England troops cut a road through from Charlestown, in New Hampshire, to Crown Point, N. Y., and were frequently passing through these lands, and thus many became acquainted with their rare fertility and agricultural possibilities. The war was closed in September, 1760, by the taking of Montreal, and the whole of Canada became annexed to Great Britain. During the following month King George III. acceded to the throne of England; and to his obstinacy, bigotry, and perhaps ignorance, is owing the troubles that sprang up between New Hampshire and New York, indirectly leading to the subsequent revolt, in 1775, by which England lost one of the finest countries upon which the sun ever shone.

      Applications for grants were rapidly made to Governor WENTWORTH, so that in the year 1761, not less than sixty charters were issued, granting as many townships of six miles square, and in two years more the number amounted to one hundred and thirty eight. The territory began to be known by the name of the New Hampshire Grants, and the number of actual settlers soon grew to be quite large. The forests began to disappear, giving place to large fields of grain, and all gave token of a prosperous, happy future. But a dark day dawned upon this peaceful scene. A proclamation was issued by Gov. COLDEN, of New York, April 10, 1765, giving a copy of an order issued by George III., in council July 20, 1764, stating that "the western bank of the Connecticut should thereafter be regarded as the eastern boundary of New York," and notifying his Majesty's subjects to govern themselves accordingly.

      This had been brought about by the jealousy and cupidity of New York, who had just awakened to a knowledge of the richness of the territory. Their whole claim was based upon an old charter issued by Charles II., in 1664, making an extraordinary grant to his brother, the Duke of York, containing, among other parts of America, "all the lands from the west of the Connecticut River to the east side of Delaware Bay." This grant was entirely inconsistent with the previous charters, which had been granted to Massachusetts and Connecticut, and neither of them had ever admitted it to have any effect, with regard to the lands which they had settled, or claimed to the west of the said river.

      Although the settlers of the grants were alarmed and displeased at this change, they had no idea it would amount to more than a change of jurisdiction, and supposed their titles to lands would be perfectly secure. But, ere long, new grantees began to appear, with charters issued by the authorities of New York, who ousted, or attempted to, the original grantees. But in this they found a difficult task. The settlers of Vermont were a bold, hardy people, law-abiding, but possessing a peculiarly acute sense of justice, and sturdy in defending their rights. Their allegiance to King George III. soon became merely nominal, as they obeyed only the mandates of their own conventions and town meetings. The New York claimants would come on, present their claims, and oust those already occupying the land, if possible, while they in turn would be driven off by the settlers, leading to much violence and outrage on both sides. One party was called "land pirates" and "land thieves," while the people of the grants were, in turn, stigmatized as "rebel " and "outlaws."

      In these scenes of violence and opposition, Ethan ALLEN placed himself at the head of the settlers of the Grants. Bold, enterprising, and ambitious, wielding the pen and the sword with almost equal facility, though rash and indiscreet, withal, he soon made himself and his "Green Mountain Boys" a foe whom the Yorkers learned to respect, in point of arms at least. His grave, marked by that tall Tuscan shaft in a Burlington cemetery, is now visited by hundreds each year, who thus pay their tribute of respect to the memory of the bold, patriotic, yet rough mountain hero. Associated with ALLEN were Seth WARNER and Remember BAKER, in courage and bravery not a whit behind their leader. BAKER has already been spoken of as one of the first settlers of this county, coming here with his uncle, Col. Ira ALLEN. His useful life was unfortunately brought to a sad end, during the early part of the Revolution, while in a skirmish with Indians near St. John, in August, 1775. WARNER was cool, firm, steady, resolute, and fully determined that the laws of New York, respecting the settlers, never should be carried into execution. At the beginning of the trouble, when an officer came to take him as a rioter, he considered it as an affair of open hostility, and defended himself, attacked, wounded and disarmed the officer, but, with the spirit of a soldier, spared his life.

      We will relate one instance to show something of the spirit of the times: A Scotchman, by the name of Will COCKBURN, was sent out by New York parties to survey their claims, and from the following extracts from a letter written to his employers, in 1771, it would seem that he at least met with difficulties:

ALBANY, September 10, 1771.

ôSIR:  * * * * * After being the second time stopped in Socialborough, by James MEAD and Asa JOHNSON, in behalf of the settlers in Rutland and Pittsford, I have run out lots from the south bounds to within about two miles of the Great Falls [Southerland Falls, on Otter Creek.] I found it in vain to persist any longer, as they were resolved at all events to stop us. There have been many threats pronounced against me. Gideon CONLEY, who lives by the Great Falls, was to shoot me, * * * * * and your acquaintance Nathan [Ethan] ALLEN, was in the woods with another party blacked and dressed like Indians, as I was informed. Several of my men can prove TOWNSEND and TRAIN threatened my life, that I should never return home, etc.

"The people of Durham [now Clarendon] assured me these men intended to murder us if we did not go from thence, and advised me by all means to desist surveying. * * * * * I found I would not be allowed to go northward, as they suspected I would begin again, and therefore intended to convey us to Danby and so on to the southward, and by all accounts we should not have been very kindly treated I was advised by no means to go that road. * * * * * On my assuring them I would survey no more in those parts, we were permitted to proceed along the Crown Point road, with the hearty prayers of the women, as we passed, never to return. * * * * * *

"I have not been able to fix Kier's location, and Danby people have been continually on the watch always. * * * * * Since I have been here, several have visited me, asking questions, no doubt to be able to know us, should we venture within their territories, and at the same time warning us of the danger, should we be found there. Marsh's survey is likewise undone, as I did not care to venture myself that way. I shall be able to inform you more particularly at our meeting, and am,

ôSir, your most obedient servant,
"James Duane, New York."

      COCKBURN was the second time stopped by MEAD and JOHNSON, at Rutland, and by other parties threatened with death, and their threats appear to have prevented him from making further attempts under the patent of Socialborough The next summer, however, he was found, with a number of his assistants, in this county, at Bolton, and was arrested by Remember BAKER, Seth WARNER, and others, who, after breaking his compass and chain, took him and his party to Castleton for trial before a court of the settlers, where he was finally released.

       "Beech sealing" was a favorite mode of punishment awarded the obnoxious New York officials. This consisted of tying the victim to a tree and administering a certain number of lashes with a beech gad. The last chastisement of this sort was inflicted on one Benjamin HOUGH, who occupied land under the odious title of Socialborough, and for a long time had been looked upon with disfavor by the Green Mountain Boys; but at last he was invested by New York with the power of a magistrate, and attempted the duties of his office. He was subsequently formally served with a copy of a resolution of the convention at Manchester, on April 12 and 13, 1774. certified by Jonas FAY, clerk, by which it was declared that whoever should, in the then situation of affairs. "until his majesty's pleasure in the premises should be further known," presume to take a commission of the peace from the New York government, should "be deemed an enemy to their country and the common cause." He was also verbally warned to desist from the further exercise of his official authority, and threatened with punishment if he persisted. To these warnings he paid no heed, but continued as active and troublesome as ever. The indignation against him became very great, and it was resolved to make such an example of him as would not only effectually silence him, but deter others from the commission of like offences. He was accordingly seized by a body of his neighbors, placed in a sleigh, and carried about thirty miles, to Sunderland, where he was kept for three days under strict guard, until Monday, January 30, 1775, when, the leading Green Mountain Boys being assembled, he was brought to trial, the court appointed for the purpose consisting of Ethan ALLEN, Seth WARNER, Robert COCHRAN, Peleg SUNDERLAND, James MEAD, Gideon WARREN and Jesse SAWYER. His judges being seated, he was put upon his defense, which being held insufficient, he was found guilty and sentenced "to be tied to a tree and receive two hundred lashes on the naked back, and then as soon as he should be able, should depart the New Hampshire Grants and not return again till his majesty's pleasure should be known in the premises, on pain of receiving five hundred lashes." This sentence was read to him from a paper by ALLEN, and was immediately put into execution, after which he was given a pass to depart to New York, which read as follows: 

"SUNDERLAND, January 3, 1775.

"This may certify to the inhabitants of the New Hampshire Grants, that Benjamin HOUGH hath this day received full punishment for his crimes committed heretofore against this country, and our inhabitants are ordered to give him the said Huff free and unmolested passport towards the city of New York, or the westward of our grants, he behaving as becometh. Given under our hands the day and date aforesaid.


      Thus the people of the Grants struggled on until the breaking out of the Revolution, when the greater and common trouble consumed the lesser. On the 24th and 25th of September, 1776, one of the conventions of the Green Mountain Boys was held at the house of Cephas KENT, in Dorset, at which it was resolved "to take suitable measures as soon as may be, to declare the New Hampshire Grants a separate district. This was the germ which soon expanded and grew into the free and independent State of Vermont -- the only State in the Union, except Texas, which was admitted by petition of her people. The delegates to this convention from Chittenden County were Col. Thomas CHITTENDEN, of Williston, after whom the county was named, and who subsequently became Vermont's first governor, and Lieut. Ira ALLEN, of Colchester. The close of the war found Vermont an independent State, to which Yew York relinquished all right and title upon payment of $30,000. Thus ended "the trials that tried men's souls'' -- trials which nerved the Green Mountain Boys to declare and maintain their independence, and to emerge a free and sovereign State.

Gazetteer and Business Directory of 
Chittenden County, Vt. For 1882-83
Compiled and Published by Hamilton Child
Printed At The Journal Office, Syracuse, N. Y, 
August, 1882.
Pages 50-67.

Transcribed by Karima Allison ~ 2004