SHELBURNE, a small lake town in the southwestern part of the county, lying in lat. 44° 23', and long. 3° 49', bounded north by South Burlington and a portion of Williston, east by St. George, south by Charlotte and a portion of Hinesburgh, and west by Lake Champlain, was chartered by New Hampshire, August 18, 1763, to Jesse HALLOCK and sixty four associates, receiving its name in honor of a noted nobleman of the English Parliament, the Earl of Shelburne, who favored the claim of New Hampshire to the disputed territory of Vermont, and opposed the claim of New York. According to the charter, the territory was to have an area of 23,500 acres, or a tract a little over six miles square; but owing to a blunder on the part of the surveyors, it was shorn of a large portion of its possessions. Two parties were employed to survey the lake towns, one party commencing at the south, working north, and the other commencing on the north, working south, and met at Burlington and Shelburne. The party on the north surveyed Burlington, and that on the south surveyed Shelburne, neither knowing precisely where the other had fixed their boundaries. In consequence, they lapped over each other's survey, and Burlington having been chartered a month previous to Shelburne, held her claim by priority of charter. A portion of Pottier's Point formerly belonged to Burlington, but in 1794, considerable alteration was made in town lines by the Legislature, and the whole of the Point was declared to belong to Shelburne. Again, November 9, 1848, a portion of this town was set off to St. George, so that instead of the original 23,500 acres granted in the charter deed, it has only the very moderate possession of 14,272 acres, a little over half of what it should have. Various controversies, many disputes and much litigation in the town sprung out of the surveyors' lines, caused by there having been two surveys of the town made, and some holding their title according to one survey, and others by the other. The first was made in 1775, by Silas HATHAWAY, under instructions from Ira ALLEN, who assumed the ownership of a large part of the town. This survey was made and the boundaries fixed by chain, with no particular regard paid to the points of the compass, measuring so many rods and fixing a corner. In 1798, the township was surveyed by Ebenezer COBB, by order of the town, under direction of the selectmen. In this survey the boundaries were fixed by compass, and the consequence was a variation from the last, caused mostly by variations in the surface of the earth, as by measuring over an elevation with a chain would necessarily make a shorter line than on a level. But these conflicting claims and controversies have long since been adjusted, and the inhabitants, so far as land titles are concerned, are dwelling in peace and harmony.

       In surface, Shelburne presents a scene of quiet rural beauty, picturesque in the extreme at some points, though it possesses no rugged mountains to lend their grandeur to its loveliness. The land, generally level, is, however, gently rolling, enough to pleasantly break the surface into long, sweeping curves.

       The broken indenture of the lake shore forms two points of land, designated by the names of the first two settlers of the town -- POTTIER's Point, and LOGAN's Point. The former projects into the lake, forming between it and the main land, Shelburne Bay, a narrow arm of the lake some four miles in length, and only cut off from the main channel of the lake by this point, which at its conjunction with the main land is quite wide, but after a short distance is suddenly narrowed, until it becomes a narrow neck of land of uniform width, abruptly terminating in a bold promontory several feet in height. At several points in the interior a beautiful view of the Adirondacks on the west, and the Green Mountains on the east, may be obtained, their bold summits, white with almost perpetual snow, forming a fitting frame for the lovely scene of pastoral beauty that lies between them. Not only in beauty does Shelburne excel, however, but also in richness and fertility of soil, which varies from stiff clay to a fine sandy loam, producing in abundance the grains and grasses grown in this latitude, while in the western part of the town fruit growing is largely carried on, and found to be a very profitable business. La Plotte River and Cogman's Brook, with their tributaries, are the principal streams. The former enters the town from Charlotte, on the south, and flows north into Shelburne Bay, affording power for two mills at Shelburne Falls. The name of the stream, tradition has it, was originated in the following interesting manner: A band of Indians, on one occasion, to the number of some 200 or 300, assembled at the mouth of the stream, on the farm now owned by A. J. BURRITT, where they concealed their canoes in the willows lining the shore, and then passed east through the country, plundering and taking prisoners as they went. During their absence their canoes were discovered by the whites, riddled with holes, and replaced in the same position as when found. On the approach of the Indians, the whites, from their concealment close by, opened fire upon them, and the Indians, in their surprise, rushed for their canoes and pushed off into the water. Their frail vessels, of course, soon filled and sank, leaving the red fiends floundering in the river, where they were rapidly dispatched by the white men. From this time the stream has been called La Plotte, or The Plot, in commemoration of this event. Several arrow heads have been dug up in this vicinity, also bullets, supposed to have been shot during the Revolution. Shelburne Pond, located in the eastern part of the town, is a handsome sheet of water, covering a little over 600 acres, and contains some fine specimens of the finny tribe. It. is much resorted to by pleasure seekers during the summer season. The Rutland Branch of the Central Vermont passes through the western part of the town from north to south, with a station at Shelburne village. The geological or rock structure of the town is composed of beds or veins disposed in parallel ranges extending in a north and south direction. Beginning on the west, along the lake shore, the rocks are of the Utica slate formation, next to which is a large bed of the Hudson River goup, followed by a bed of red sand rock, the residue of the township being composed of Eolian limestone or marble. Several quarries of the latter have been opened, affording a very good variety of marble, though none are worked at present.

       In 1880, Shelburne bad a population of 1,096, was divided into eight school districts and contained eight common schools, employing one male and ten female teachers, to whom was paid an aggregate salary of $1,373.50. There were 242 pupils attending common school, while the entire cost of the schools for the year, ending October 31st, was $1,61.4.64, under the charge of Mr. Leslie GREGG, as superintendent

       SHELBURNE, a post village and station on the Vermont Central Railroad, is very pleasantly located near the center of the town, and contains one church, several shops of various kinds, one store, and about twenty five or thirty dwellings.

       SHELBURNE FALLS, located on the LaPlotte River, about one mile south from the railroad station, has a good, durable water power, contains about thirty dwellings, one flour mill, one sawmill, one shingle mill, and a blacksmith shop.

       J. E. WHITE's cheese factory, located on road 30, was established by a stock company in 1871, and purchased by Mr. WHITE in 1877. He does a very successful business, manufacturing cheese from the milk of from 300 to 400 cows.

       The Shelburne Flouring Mills, located at Shelburne Falls, and owned by D. L. SPEAR, do the custom work of Shelburne, and adjacent towns. Mr. SPEAR is also an extensive dealer in flour and feed.

       HARRISON's cider mill, located on road 3, manufactures twenty five barrels of cider per day during the season.

       The Shelburne carriage shop, located on road 18, is under the management of George MILLER, and does both sale and custom work of all kinds. 

       J. B. DUBUC's blacksmith and carriage shops are located on road 27.

       Shelburne saw mill, located at Shelburne Falls, owned by BARTLETT & Co., does custom sawing amounting to about 150,000 feet annually. It also does planing, and manufactures hemlock and pine shingles.

       BALDWIN & WHITE's refrigerator manufactory, located on road 30, employes from fifteen to twenty men. Many of these useful articles are manufactured each year. Their sales amount to about $15,000 annually.

       The Champlain Transportation Co's., ship yard, located upon the eastern shore of Pottier's Point, in Shelburne Bay, affords the finest protective harbor for wintering crafts on the lake. At this yard were built the following well known lake steamers: "Gen. Green," "Winooski," "Burlington," "Saranac," "United States," "Ethan Allen," "Boston," "Adirondack," "Vermont," and other smaller vessels. The ship yard is connected with Burlington by telephone.

       Five years after the charter of Shelburne was granted, in 1768, two Germans, John POTTIER and Thomas LOGAN, commenced a settlement here, the first attempted in the town. They came on from Quebec and located upon the points of land extending into the lake which have since respectively borne their names, Pottier's and Logan's Points. They were associated in getting out oak timber for the Quebec market, and in 1775, they took a raft of timber to Quebec, sold it, and on their return the commanding officer at Montreal sent a sergeant and two privates to protect them through the Indian settlements. They had proceeded by boat as far as the south line of Canada, where they encamped for the night. Here a conspiracy was entered into by the guard, by which two of them were to murder the Germans for their money, the third promising to keep the secret, bound by a solemn oath. The deed was committed and the money procured; but the conscience of the third soldier would not be quieted, so after several year's silence he disclosed the committal of the act The two were tried, condemned, and executed, while the third was severely punished by whipping for not disclosing sooner. The bodies of the murdered Germans were buried on a small island a short; distance from the mainland, which has since been known as Bloody Island, while the point upon which the deed was committed has been designated as Bloody Point.

       In addition to these two men, POTTIER and LOGAN, somewhere in the neighborhood of ten families settled in the town previous to the Revolution; but who they were, or what ultimately became of them, except in the one instance of Moses PIERSON and family, is not known. Most certain it is, however, that they all left the locality soon after hostilities against the mother country were commenced. Moses PIERSON, above mentioned, purchased 1,000 acres of land lying in the southwestern part of the town, in 1769. Here, upon what has since long been known as the MEECH farm, he built a block house, and at which occurred Shelburne battle, or the siege of Shelburne block house, as follows: In 1777, Mr. PIERSON had harvested a large crop of wheat; but hearing of the approach of the British and Indians up the lake, he fled, together with his neighbors, to another part of the State. In March of the following spring he returned with his family, under the protection of a company of fifteen armed men, commanded by Captain SAWYER, to thresh out his grain. During the progress of this work they were attacked in the latter part of the night by a party of Indians and Tories. A sharp skirmish ensued, lasting about two hours; but PIERSON and his party, being entrenched in their block house, withstood the attack, and finally succeeded in driving the besiegers off, after killing a number of them. How many cannot be known, as they threw the dead and fatally wounded through a hole in the ice and. retreated. Several of the besieged party were wounded, and two, Barnabas BARNUM and Joshua WOODARD, were killed. During the progress of the desperate encounter the house was twice set on fire, but extinguished by some of the party going out and throwing on water and returning safe; but in a short time it was fired a third time, and no water left to extinguish the flames. Fortunately, Mrs. PIERSON had made a barrel of beer the previous day, and this was taken to extinguish the flames a third time. A number of gold coins were found near the spot in 1877, which are supposed to have been buried with some body at that time. Ziba and Uzal, sons of Moses, young men at this time, aged respectively seventeen and fifteen years, were actively engaged in this affair. An infant daughter, afterwards the wife of Nehemiah PRAY, was lying in bed at the time and fortunately escaped unharmed, although several balls were found, after the action, in the bed on which she lay, and several passed through the head board of the bedstead. Uzal afterwards married Dorcas FRISBIE, of Connecticut, and had a family of nine children, two of whom are now living -- Mr. Smith F. PIERSON, and Mrs. Lucina D. SMITH, at Shelburne village. After the party had secured the wheat they left the town, considering it unsafe to remain longer, and Mr. PIERSON and family located in Orwell. His two sons, Ziba and Uzal, were afterwards captured in Shoreham by a scouting party and taken to Canada, where they made their escape after a few months, and finally reached home after much privation and suffering. After the close of the war, in 1783, Mr. PIERSON returned to Shelburne with his family, re occupying his former residence, and died there July 23, 1805. Ziba located on a farm in the southern part of the town, accumulated a large property, held many of the town offices, and died suddenly of apoplexy, November 1, 1820, aged sixty years. Uzal came to his death by a fall from a wagon, June 11, 1836, aged seventy-two years. Mr. PIERSON was joined during the year 1783, by William and Caleb SMITH, Rufus COLE, Thomas HALL, HUBBELL & BUSH associated on Pottier's Point, Richard SPEAR and Gershom LYON. In 1784 and 1785, Daniel BARBER, Daniel COMSTOCK, Aaron ROWLEY, Capt. Samuel CLARK, Benjamin HARRINGTON, Israel BURRITT, Joshua REED, Timothy HOLABIRD, Sturgess MOREHOUSE, Remington BITGOOD, and Jirah ISHAM located and became residents. In the three following years, Dr. Frederick MEACK, Phineas HALL, Keeler TROWBRIDGE, Samuel MILLS, and probably others came, and soon after Bethuel CHITTENDEN, Benjamin SUTTON, Rosel MINER, Nathaniel GAGE, Ebenezer BARSTOW, Robert LYON, James HAWLEY, Frederick SAXTON, Asahel NASH, Hezelkiah TRACY, Asa LYON, John TABOR, Robert AVERILL, Joseph HAMILTON, and several others became residents, so that in 1791, the population of the town was 389.

       On March 29, 1787, the first town meeting was held, and the town organized by the election of the following officers: Caleb SMITH, town clerk, and also chosen to represent his townsmen in the legislature; Aaron ROWLEY, constable; and Moses PIERSON, Timothy HOLABIRD and Dudley HAMILTON, selectmen.

       Frederick MAECK was the first physician, and the only one here for several years. The Doctor, who was an able physician and safe counselor, practiced here for nearly forty years, dying June 30, 1826, aged sixty one years. His son, Frederick, born in 1800, died on the old homestead, in 1869, where his son, John V. S., still resides. John has two sons, Fred W. and Walter, making four generations that have occupied the old house. Isaac C. ISHAM, the second physician, came here in 1810, and located near the center of the town. He was a plain, unassuming man, but an able physician, following his profession to the close of his life, July 1, 1829, aged fifty-eight years.

       The first saw mill was built at the Falls, by Lazel HATCH, in 1784. But the bottom of the dam, which was imperfectly constructed, being of light soil, was soon carried away by high water, after which the work was abandoned.

       The first dwelling other than a common log house was a block house built on Pottier's Point by HUBBELL & BUSH, in 1784. The first framed house was built by Lazel HATCH, near the saw mill erected by him, a small building about twelve by sixteen feet, in 1784. The second framed house was built by Benjamin HARRINGTON, in 1789.

       The first settlement commenced at Shelburne Falls was by Ira ALLEN, in 1785, then a resident in the town of Colchester at Winooski village. A rudely constructed log bridge was built across the river, a dam constructed, and a saw mill erected on the north side of the stream, and a forge on the south. In 1786, a dam was constructed at the lower end of the falls, and a grist mill put in operation the next season. Clothing works were erected between the grist mill and saw mill, and put in operation in 1789, by David FISH, which was purchased by Samuel FLETCHER, in 1805, and owned and occupied by him until his death, April 23, 1862, since which time it remained unoccupied, and in the spring of 1862, was swept away by a freshet, as was also the old stone building formerly used as a grist mill.

       A store was standing on Pottier's Point in 1781-'82, but the exact date of its construction, or its proprietor, is not known. Tradition claims one to have been built previous to this, on Smith's Point, near the present residence of William PARTRIDGE.

       During the war of 1812, Commodore McDONOUGH's fleet was anchored in Smith's Bay, the winter previous to the battle of Plattsburgh, and he and his staff boarded at the house of Levi COMSTOCK, Sr., now owned by N. R. MILLER, on road 28.

       Capt. Daniel COMSTOCK located here in 1783, upon a farm in the western part of the town, on a point which has ever since borne his name. Mr. COMSTOCK was an honest, upright man, and filled many offices of trust, and died, highly honored, January 11, 1816, aged seventy four years. He had a family of six children, three sons and three daughters, Zechariah, Levi, Elisha, Clarinda, Lucy and Abigail. Levi settled near the lake in 1784, was town clerk for many years, justice of the peace, and held various town offices until his death, May 10, 1847, aged eighty one years. He had two children, Levi and Lucia. The latter died at the age of thirty six years. The former, Levi, was born in 1793, and now at the age of eighty nine years, is the oldest inhabitant of the town. His daughter, Lucia, occupies the old homestead, and has a family of three children, Clinton L., George C., and Fanny M. Elisha COMSTOCK, son of Daniel, occupied the old farm after his father's death, and from him it reverted to his son, Hezekiah.

       Richard SPEAR, from Braintree, Mass., came to Shelburne in July, 1783, and located upon the farm now owned by his grandchildren, O. S. and Mary M. SPEAR, widow of E. A. SPEAR. Richard died here, March 19, 1788, aged fifty two years. He had a family of ten children. Asahel, the eighth child, born March 5, 1778, died April 30, 1849. He married Betsey SAXTON by whom he had a family of three children, two sons and a daughter, of whom Orson S., the second child, was born October 27, 1808, and married Susan PETTINGER, of Essex, N. Y., October 11, 1848. She died five months after marriage. Edwin A. SPEAR, son of Asahel, and brother to Orson S., was born August 12, 1817. He married Mary M. BARSTOW, a sister to Hon. J. L. BARSTOW, in September, 1849. He lived on the old homestead jointly with Orson S., until his death, January 1, 1873, leaving six children. Elhanan W. SPEAR, the youngest child of Richard, was born July 17, 1781, and married Louisa SAXTON, January 24, 1808, who died April 19, 1809, leaving a daughter, Julia. Elhanan then married Anna CALLENDER, June 4., 1811, by whom he had eight sons and three daughters. Orville A., the youngest, was born June 15, 1832, and now resides on the place settled by his grandfather in 1783. Orville married Myra HAVENS. November 1, 1875, and has one daughter, Anna C. Elhanan died February 1, 1869, aged eighty eight years, leaving five sons and one daughter to mourn his loss.

       Aaron ROWLEY located here in 1784. His son, Aaron R, was born here, October 28, 1786, and was a resident until his death, October 4., 1866. He had a family of six children, four sons and two daughters, two of whom, Mary and Erwin S., are now living in the town. Erwin S. has two sons, Fred E. and Henry N., residing on road 26.

       Israel BURRITT, a captain in the Revolution, settled in Shelburne in 1784. By his first marriage he had a family of five sons and five daughters. Garrad, the seventh child, born October 19, 1789, was at the battle of Plattsburgh. By his second marriage, to Eliza R. PECKHAM, Israel had two children, Lucia who died in 1835, at the age of four years, and Andrew J., who now resides on road 19. He married Clarissa A. LAKE, in 1859, and their family consists of two children, Charles G. and Frances E.

       Asa R SLOCUM, born at Hubbardton, Mass., in 1767, located on the north line of Shelburne, at an early day, where he followed farming until his death, in 1830, aged sixty three years. He had a large family of children, one of whom, George N., is now living on road 34 in South Burlington.

       James HAWLEY came to Colchester with Ira ALLEN, as his millwright, and erected the first mills in Winooski village, and subsequently built the first mills in Swanton, Vt., and in Shelburne. He finally settled in this town and died here in 1813. He was the father of thirteen children, three of whom died in infancy, while the others attained an extreme old age.

       Col. Frederick SAXTON was one of the earliest settlers in Burlington, having located at the head of Pearl street in 1783, where he continued to reside until 1792, when he sold his farm to Col. PEARL and removed to this town. He located here upon a point of land a short distance from Comstock's Point, which is now owned by Horace and Edward SAXTON, his great grandsons. Here he resided until his death, by accidental drowning, April 28, 1796. He had a family of three sons and four daughters, all of whom spent most of their lives in this vicinity. Horace, the second son, represented the town in the legislature during the years 1835-'36.

       Ebenezer BARSTOW, born in Canterbury, Conn., in 1756, was a sergeant in Col. CANFIELD's regiment of Connecticut Volunteers during the Revolution, and received a sergeant's pension from the government. Soon after the close of the war he came to Shelburne and settled upon the farm now owned by his grandson, Gen. J. L. BARSTOW. He had a family of thirteen children, eleven of whom arrived at maturity. He died March 30, 1834, aged seventy eight years. His wife died in 1824. Heman, the second child, born in 1790, married Laura LYON in 1814, and had a family of ten children, four sons and six daughters. John L., the youngest son, was born in 1832, married Laura MAECK in 1856, and entered the Union army in 1861, was soon after made Major of the 8th Regt, Vt. Vols., was appointed general by the State legislature in 1864, and in 1880, was elected Lieut. Governor of Vermont, and is now (July, 1821) candidate for Governor of the State. His family consists of two sons, Fred M., and Charles L.

       Asahel NASH, son of Phineas Nash, of Wyoming, Pa, was born December 29, 1750. He was at Wyoming during the massacre, July 3, 1778, and soon after left there, migrating northward, first to Berkshire County, Mass., then to Essex, Vt., and finally to Shelburne. John, his seventh child, was born here June 13, '1796, married Amy PAYNE, December 14, 1817, and both are now living here, the oldest couple (though not the oldest persons) in town. John had seven children, of whom Elbert H., born March 7, 1831, is the youngest. He married Jane M. HILTON, December 3, 1856, and has one daughter, Mary J., born December 6, 1858, who married H. S. WHITE, November 13, 1878, now residing on road 1.

       Asahel NASH, Jr., was born September 6, 1794, and married Betsey FULLER, May 16, 1816, their union being blessed with eleven children. Edgar and Louisa C. were the eighth and ninth children, and now live in the house erected by their father, and on the land once owned by their grandfather.

       Hezekiah TRACY, born in 1745, came and settled in Shelburne in 1790, upon the farm now owned by his grandson, Guy, and built the house now occupied by him. He had a family of eleven children, six sons and five daughters, one of whom, Erastus, born in 1783, and died in 1856, had three sons, of whom Guy, born in 1810, was the oldest. Guy has two sons and four daughters living.

       Benjamin SUTTON came to Shelburne about 1792, and located upon road 9. He had a family of fourteen children, twelve sons and two daughters. Byron, the eleventh child, lived and died on the old homestead, and his eldest son, James B., now resides there. James B. was born September 10, 1832, married Abby SLOCUM June 16, 1858, and has a family of three sons and two daughters.

       Francis BLAIR, from Williamstown, came to Shelburne in 1796, and located upon the farm now owned by Levi S. BLAIR. He was the father of ten children, seven of whom are now living. Levi S., the fourth son, was born September 7, 1807, and has always resided on the old homestead. He married Ann M. CONNER, November 25, 1835, their union being blessed with two children, George E. and Dorcas C. Dorcas married Abel D. WHITNEY and has one child, Anna M. George is married and has a family of two children Nellie L. and Anna M.

       Rosel MINER came to Shelburne in 1794, and settled upon the farm now owned by his grandson, Martin L. MINER. He had a family of six sons and five daughters, of whom the eldest, Samuel, born in 1783, had a family of four children, the result of a union with Azuba BOYNTON, who died in 1834, when he afterwards married Patience BOYNTON. One of these children was Martin L., mentioned above. He was born in 1813, married Clarinda CROSSMAN in 1838, and has a family of two children, Charles E. and Aurelia A.

       Nathan WHITE, born at Middleborough, Plymouth County, Mass., February 15, 1763, died at Burlington, Vt., January 26, 1826. He was a descendant of Peregrine WHITE, the first child born of English parents in America, and was five years in the army with Washington; was at West Point when it was surrendered by General ARNOLD, and was present at the execution of Major ANDRE. He came to Burlington in 1791, and during that and the following year manufactured brick near where Henry P. HICKOK now lives. In the winter of 1793, he moved his family to Burlington, using an ox team, and was eighteen days performing a journey of 263 miles. In 1797, he bought a farm in this town, on Pottier's Point, and moved his family herein the fall of 1799, where he spent the remainder of his days as a farmer. He had three sons, Robert, Andrew and Lavater. Robert, the eldest, born September 5, 1787, died December 20, 1872, leaving three daughters, Elizabeth P., Mary H. and Laura C. Elizabeth married Elijah ROOT, in 1831, and had one daughter, Maria L., who married Charles L. HART, in 1856. Maria L. has but one son, Fred R., who now resides with his grandfather, Elijah ROOT. Mr. Root is now seventy four years of age, and for fifty four years has been in the employ of the Champlain Transportation Company. He was local inspector of steam vessels from 1838 to 1881.

       Charles RUSSELL, an early settler in Hinesburgh, upon the place now owned and occupied by his grandson, Russell A. COREY, came to Shelburne about 1855, locating on road 9, where he now resides.

       The Methodist Episcopal Church, located at Shelburne village, was organized by the Rev. Henry RYAN, in 1800, the society beginning with four members, and Mr. RYAN pastor. In '1833, the first church edifice, a brick building, was erected. This was used until 1873, when the present stone edifice took its place. It will seat 300 persons and is valued at $26,000. The society now has 140 members, with Rev. J. W. BENNETT, pastor.

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 254 - 256-7.

Transcribed by Karima Allison ~ 2004