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.
AND COUNTY BUILDINGS
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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.
FIRST SETTLED BY THE WHITES
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
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:
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
September 10, 1771.
* * * * * 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.
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. * * * * * *
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,
most obedient servant,
Duane, New York."
"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:
January 3, 1775.
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.
and Business Directory of
County, Vt. For 1882-83
and Published by Hamilton Child
At The Journal Office, Syracuse, N. Y,
by Karima Allison ~ 2004