UNDERHILL, a mountainous town in the northeastern corner of the county, lies in lat. 44° 33', and long  4° 7', bounded north by Cambridge, and east by Stowe, in Lamoille County, south by Bolton, and west by Jericho and Westford. It was granted by the governor of New Hampshire, to Joseph SACKETT, Jr. and sixty four associates, in seventy one shares, the charter deed bearing date June 8, 1765, for which was paid $230.40, or one cent per acre. This area, however, was increased, November 15, 1839, by the annexation of about 12,000 acres from the town of Mansfield, the residue of which township was finally annexed to Stowe, November 11, 1848. Underhill derived its cognomen from two brothers of that name, large landowners under the original charter, and at whose house, in Dorset, Vt., the first proprietors' meeting was held.

       The territory thus bounded and described is, and perhaps ever will be, the most purely rural, possessing as picturesque, and at some points more sublime scenery, than is to be found in any other town of the county. Lying between the unyielding granite masses of the White Mountain range, on the one side, sixty miles distant, and the Adirondack wilderness on the other, with all the well known varied scenery lying between, it has a natural observatory in Mount Mansfield, the highest point of land in Vermont, towering high above this scene, affording a view that is unsurpassed probably by any in New England. Mount Mansfield, so called from its coutour resemblance to the face of humanity, penetrates the clouds to an altitude of 4,389 feet -- a few feet in excess of the highest of the Catskills. Popularly, its summit is likened to the upturned face of a giant, showing the Nose, the Chin, and the Lips, which, with a little sad of imagination, it is not difficult to trace. The Nose, so called, has a projection of four hundred feet, and the Chin all the decision of character indicated by a forward thrust of eight hundred feet The distance from Nose to Chin is a mile and a half: The nostril is discovered in a perpendicular wall of rock.

       The mountain is, moreover, not without the usual number of faces and resemblances to familiar objects, among the most notable of which is that described as the "Old Woman of the Mountain." She leans back in her easy chair, and her work has fallen into her lap, while she gazes out, in dreamy meditation, across the misty valley, in which attitude she was perhaps frozen by a spell of the rock Genii, ages behind the veil of the misty past At a point about one third the distance between the Nose and the Chin may be seen "drift scratches" upon the rocks, and the identical rock that formed them. Two bowlders of about thirty and forty feet in circumference lie near by, reposing against a firm barrier that doubtless wrenched them from their icy bed as they were recording the history of the iceberg epoch upon these tablets of stone, which record was to reveal to man the fact that even Mansfield's lofty summit was once beneath the ocean, and icebergs sailed majestically over it Now, one may stand upon this summit and gaze upon the remnant of that ocean the historic Champlain, decked with island gems, hemmed in by bold headlands of beetling, craggy rocks and gentle slopes of emerald meadow land, nestled at the feet of the cloud capped Adirondacks. Peering below, seemingly just at the base of the mountain, the eye rests upon the verdant hills and dales of Underhill, upon its murmuring rivulets and modest rivers, that lapse down through green browed hills, crumbling limestone cliffs and sunny intervales, now turned quickly by a mossy ledge, and now skirting a bit of native forest, until they lose themselves in the more pretentious Lamoille, soon to mingle with the blue waters of the charming lake. Quiet industry, pastoral contentment, out door luxury, and in door comfort are the characteristics that continually suggest themselves to the beholder, as he views the scene, or loiters among the valley farms or pleasant villages. No sooty factories rear their tall chimneys to belch forth their grime and filth, obstructing the view and poisoning the pure mountain air, while instead of the monotonous hum of machinery, is heard the lowing of the kine, the bleat of the lamb, and perhaps ever and anon a snatch of the milkmaid's happy song -- all betokening pastoral thrift, happiness, and contentment.

       Brown's River, with its numerous tributaries, flowing westerly into Jericho, forms the principal water course, though Mill River flows through a portion of the northern part of the town. The rocks forming the geological structure of the township are of the talcose schist and gneiss formation, the former extending from the west, comprising about two thirds of the township, the latter constituting the residue, or eastern portion. In the various rock formations that enter into these structures are found traces of gold and iron ore, though not in quantities to indicate the existence of any considerable deposit of either. The soil overlying these rocks is rich and varied, capable of producing a large percentage of the various fruits and grains grown in our northern latitudes, and also sustains large forests of hard wood, interspersed with spruce and hemlock, the spruce predominating.

       In 1880, Underhill had a population of 1,439, was divided into fourteen school districts and contained fourteen common schools, employing five male and fourteen female teachers, to whom was paid an aggregate salary of $1,130. There were 349 pupils attending common school, while the entire cost of the schools for the year, ending October 31st, was $1,5568.09, under the charge of Mr. J. J. MONAHAN, as superintendent.

       UNDERHILL FLATS (Underhill p. o.), located in the western part of the town, on the Burlington & Lamoille Railroad, is cut in two diagonally by the
town line, part of the village lying in this town, and part in Jericho. The portion in Underhill contains two stores, one church, a boot and shoe shop, blacksmith shop, and wheelwright shop, and about thirty dwellings.

       UNDERHILL CENTER, a post village located in the southern part of the town, two and one half miles southeast from Underhill Flats, contains two stores, one steam saw mill, two churches, two blacksmith shops, one hotel, one cider and grist mill, and about thirty five dwellings.

       NORTH UNDERHILL (p. o.), a hamlet in the northern part of the town, consists of about a dozen dwellings.

       Bicknell's saw mill, located in the eastern part of the town, on Brown's River, is leased by D. L. TERRILL, who manufactures common lumber, clapboards, shingles, etc., cutting 500,000 feet per annum, employing sixteen men and six teams.

       L. O. HORTON & Son's steam mill, located at Underhill Centre, is operated by a forty horse power steam engine, affording capacity for cutting 1,000,000 feet of lumber per annum, and gives employment to ten men.

       PARKER & PAINE's saw mill, located in a part of the town known as Pleasant Valley, is operated by both steam and water power, the engine being one of forty horse power, affording capacity for cutting 2,000,000 feet of lumber per. annum, and giving employment to twenty men and ten teams.

       The first meeting of the proprietors of the township of Underhill was warned by John SHUMWAY, a justice of the peace, and met in pursuance of said warning, September 12, 1785, at the residence of Abraham UNDERHILL, in Dorset, Bennington County, with Timothy BLISS as proprietors' clerk. Up to this time there had been no settlement made in the town, and nothing permanent was done in this direction until the following year, 1786, when Elijah BENEDICT and Abner EATON came on and commenced improvements. Mr. BENEDICT located at Underhill Flats, where he subsequently kept a tavern for a number of years. Mr. EATON located on the old post road, about half way between Underhill Flats and Cambridgeboro, where, five miles from any neighbor, be built a log house and commenced clearing the forest, a portion of his land being covered by beaver meadows, upon which grew quantities of wild grass, sufficient to support his stock, a yoke of oxen and one cow. As this settlement was commenced subsequent to the troubled times attending the Revolution, nothing out of the ordinary course of events occurred. Other pioneers came in from time to time, and Underhill gradually grew into what it still remains, a quiet rural town. Five years after the advent of BENEDICT and EATON, in 1791, there were sixty five inhabitants, while .at the taking of the next census, in 1800, it had a population of 212. The first town meeting of the inhabitants was warned by Jonathan CASTLE, a justice of the peace, of Jericho, February 23, 1795, to meet at the dwelling of George OLDS, on the 9th day of the following March, at ten o'clock in the morning. At this meeting, William BARNEY was chosen clerk; Caleb SHELDON, constable; Abner EATON, Archibald DIXON and Cyrus STEVENS, selectmen; Luther DIXON, Dexter WARD and William BARNEY, listers; Archibald DIXON, grandjuryman; Bernard WARD, tythingman; and Ebenezer BROWN and Dexter WARD, surveyors of highways. At a meeting held at the dwelling of George OLDS, on the first Tuesday of September, 1794, William BARNEY was chosen to represent the town in the general assembly during the following year, being their first representative. The first birth recorded in the town records is that of Polly, a daughter of Abner EATON, born December 24, 1791. The first death was that of Ira, son of Benjamen BUTTON, who died April 25, 1788. The first school house was built of logs, at North Underhill, soon after the first settlement, probably in 1787. The first church was built in 1804, upon the old highway, and near it was the old parade ground, at the south end of which, near the church porch, stood the whipping post, long since decayed,, as well as the barbarous law that sanctioned it. The first store was opened near here also, kept by a Mr. CAMPBELL. No vestige of the ruins of the old church is to be seen, and naught remains to mark the spot, save the old church burying ground.

       Elijah BENEDICT, born at New Milford, Conn., in 1741, came to Vermont previous to the Revolution, locating at Pawlet; but upon the breaking out of the war his sympathies were on the King's side, and he consequently had his property confiscated, and he himself was obliged, with a portion of his family, to flee to Canada, where he remained until after peace was declared, and in 1786, came to Underhill, located at Underhill Flats, upon the place now owned by the widow of Hiram G. BENEDICT. Here Mr. BENEDICT kept a tavern for many years, and became noted as a genial host. He was a kindhearted, benevolent person, quite religiously inclined. Meetings were held at his house for a long time, and here Lorenzo DOW preached the first two years of his pastorate. Elijah died in 1811, having had a family of five children. His wife died in 1814, at Peru, Vt., where she was visiting friends. Moses, the oldest son of Elijah, born April 4, 1764; married Lois PRATT, in 1783, by whom be had a family of six children, as follows; Samuel P., born. August 5, 1784; Elijah, born February 14, 1791; Elnathan, born in 1793, and married Clarissa THATCHER, of Ogdensburg, N. Y., where he died, March. 14, 1868, leaving one son; Julius R., born in 1796, and died April 5, 1843; Louisa, born January 17, 1805; and Hiram G., born March 9, 1808, married. Delana HURLBURT, July 4, 1839. He was a physician of extensive practice here, and died April 13, 1861, leaving five children as follows: Addison C., born September, 17, 1840, and enlisted October 17, 1863, in the 1st Vt. Cavalry for one year, re enlisted, and was mustered out June 25, 1865; Maria C., born February 25, 1842, married George LaSALLE; Marion S., born August 10, 1844, married William BURROUGHS; Wait M., born June 3, 1846, married Isabella STEVENS, enlisted March 13, 1865, in Co. G., 2nd Regt. Vt. Vols., and was mustered out of service July 15, 1865; and George H., born September 20, 1849, now resides on Main street, at Underhill Flats, occupying, with his mother, the old homestead Elijah BENEDICT, second son of Moses, married Katie WILLIAMS, of Jericho, and died September 15, 1842, his wife following him December 15, 1846, leaving five children, Henry S., George, Cassius B., Harriet and Louisa. H. S. BENEDICT, born February 15, 1814, married Martha BANCROFT, March 13, 1844, and had three children, Ellen M., born January 5, 1847, Mary J., born October 4, 1849, and Hiram H., born August 9, 1853. Hiram owns a farm and is a prosperous farmer on road 27. He has two daughters who have been employed as school teachers here for several years. George BENEDICT, born April 23, 181 5, married Melissa HALL, of Richmond, October 16, 1838. He graduated in medicine from the University of Vermont, and soon after located at Richmond, where he had a very successful practice, and died October 17, 1869, leaving two children, Eliza M. and George T. Eliza M. graduated from Mt. Holyoke Seminary, and is now teaching in St. Albans. George T., born October 31, 1842, married Emily J. WATSON, of St. Albans, November 21, 1864. He was for a number of years superintendent of the N. L. N. R. R., and located at New London, Conn. He afterwards occupied the position of general manager of the Cleveland, Toledo & Sandusky R. R., and died at St. Albans, in August, 1874, leaving a wife and one child.

       Jedediah LANE, grandfather of Asa L. LANE, of this town, with his family, was the fourth that located in the town of Jericho. He came from Killingworth, Conn., in 1786, and located at Jericho Corners, where he had purchased a large tract of land, upon which he erected a log house. He was the first representative from that town, and also the first selectman. Some time after his settlement here it was found that an error had been made in the survey of the township, and the new survey placed his house just over the line, in the town of Essex. Wishing to retain his town offices, he had his house moved back into Jericho again. Mr. LANE died in 1818, aged seventy-seven years, having had a family of ten children, whose aggregate ages amounted to 804 years. Stephen LANE, son of Jedediah, was the first male child born in Jericho, August 6, 1788. Cyrus, father of Asa L., was born at Killingworth, Conn., January 8, 1782, and died in Jericho. Asa L. moved into this town in 1845, locating upon road 20, and afterwards removed to road 30. He has been honored with most of the town trusts, and among them justice of the peace for a period of twenty five years.

       Jonas HUMPHREY, from Genesee County, N. Y., located upon the farm now owned by Nehemiah Story, at an early date. He married Caroline DIXON, daughter of Capt. DIXON, one of the first settlers of the town. His son, Clark, still resides here, aged seventy seven years.

       Adam HURLBURT, from Roxbury, Conn., settled upon the farm now owned by Charles Prior and C. L. Graves, in 1789. He subsequently made the first settlement on the farm now owned by his grandson, Waite HURLBURT, and which has ever since remained in the possession of the family.

       Eli WOODRUFF, a veteran of the war of 1812, was one of the first settlers of Westford, and subsequently removed to this town, locating upon the farm now owned by his son, Joseph R. WOODRUFF. This farm was originally settled by Abner EATON. The deed conveying it to him, the first recorded in the town records, is dated June 13, 1791. Joseph's father in law, Seth HUNTLEY, was the first male child born in the town of Bakersfield, Vt. He died in this town, August 20, 1862, aged sixty six years.

       Caleb SHELDON born at East Hartford, Conn., in 1756, came to Underhill in 1788, and located upon the farm now owned by his daughter, Mary S. SHELDON. He was twice married, first to Chloe BARNEY, who survived her marriage but four years, and second, to Mary CAMPBELL. Of his four children, three are now living, as follows: Nancy ROGERS, aged ninety four years; Emily P. HALL, aged seventy five years; and Mary S., aged seventy seven years. A large meteoric stone, weighing several tons, now lies about twenty rods from the house, where it fell in 1792.

       Abial ROGERS, born in Connecticut, in 1780, married Polly, a daughter of Dr. MACK, of Whiting, and came to this town in 1808, locating upon the farm now owned by Ziba W. CHURCH, where he followed his trade of saddler many years.

       Chauncey GRAVES, from Salisbury, Vt., made the first settlement on the farm now owned by his grandson, Tyler M. GRAVES. Ira, son of Chauncey, was five years old when his father came here, and remained upon the farm until his death. May 8, 1877, aged eighty two years.

       Isaac J. BOURN came to Underhill, from Jericho, in 1816, and purchased the farm now owned by Alvah MARTIN.

       Capt. N. M. HANAFORD, born at Enfield, N. H., in 1791, moved to this town at an early date, his family then consisting of his wife and three children, Edward, Allen W., and Riley, locating upon the farm lying between roads 32 and 33, now owned by Luke PROCTOR. After several changes of dwelling places, he finally located upon the place now owned by Dr. G. W. ROBERTS, where he died in 1862, aged seventy one years. He served in the war of 1812, as a fifer, and afterwards as drum major. He also held several town offices of trust. His family, at his death, consisted of his wife and eight children, four boys and four girls. Edward, the eldest son, married Fidelia BAKER, and has always lived in this town, following the trade of carpenter and joiner. He has held many of the town offices.

       Martin MEAD came to this town in 1807, locating upon the farm now owned by his son, Seth W. He reared a family of ten children, two of whom are now living here, Seth W., on the old homestead, and Simeon M., on road 28.

       Elmore HAPGOOD, son of Asa HAPGOOD, of Barre, Mass., was born October 24, 1787, and with his father moved to Fairfax, Vt, at the age of twenty-six years, where he married Rheuama SMITH, of Jericho, in 1813, as fruit of which union there was born to them twelve children, viz.: Martin E., Chloe, John, Emily, Hannah, Adeline, Franklin and Edwin, while four died in infancy. Martin E., the eldest, born in Jericho, October 3, 1816, moved to this town in May, 1837, and married Mary HANAFORD, February 15, 1843, and located at Underhill Center, on Maple street, where he has since resided. He has held several town offices, and represented the town in the legislature in 1876.

       Asa CHURCH, from Vershire, Vt., came to this town in 1808, locating upon the farm now owned by G. THORP, on road 28. After subsequent changes in residence, he finally located on road 44, upon the farm now owned by Cyrus PRIOR, where he died at the age of eighty four years. Of his family of twelve children, only one is now living in town, Z. W. Church, on road 31.

       Joshua MARTIN, born in Goffstown, N. H., came to this town in 1819, locating on road 42, upon the farm now owned and occupied by Mrs. Rebecca. B. MARTIN. Of his family of five children, Laura, James, Sybil, Joshua and Alvah, only one, Martin, now remains in town.

       John ATCHINSON, sire of the families of that name in this town, was born at North Adams, Mass., in 1794, and removed to Jericho while yet a young man, where he married Lydia PACKARD, and to them was born a family of ten children, eight boys and two girls, five of whom now reside in this town.

       Joseph KIRBY, born in Yorkshire, Eng., November 5, 1801, emigrated to this country in 1829, coming directly to Vermont, and located in Shelburne, where he remained three years, then married Miss Mary JACKSON and removed to this town, locating upon the farm where he now resides, on road 29. Their union was blessed with seven girls and four boys, of whom four of the girls, and two boys, William, on road 34, and Robert, with his father, now reside here.

       The Underhill Center Free Will Baptist Church, located at Underhill Center, was organized by Elders S. D. KENESTON and J. E. DAVIS, October 8, 1836, with twenty members, Elder DAVIS acting as their pastor. Their church building, a wood structure with seating capacity for 250 persons, was built in union with the Methodist church in 1850. Its original cost was $1,600.00, and is now valued, including ground, at $2,000.00. The society now has eighty three members, with Rev. J. B. COLLINS, pastor.

       St. Thomas Roman Catholic Church, located at Underhill Center, was organized by Bishop DeGOESBRIAND, in 1852, with fifty families. Their church building will seat 500 persons, is built of wood, and valued at $6,450.00. Rev. Thomas LYNCH was the first, and Rev. Maglorie PIGEON in the present pastor. The society has 1,000 members.

       The Congregational Church, located at Underhill Flats, was organized by the Congregationalists of the town in 1800, with twenty members, which number has since increased to 200. The first church building was erected, about the same year, and was succeeded by the present edifice in 1850. It is built of wood, cost $2,000.00, and is now valued, including grounds, at. $3,000.00. Rev J. D. Emerson is the present 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 256-10 256-16.

Transcribed by Karima Allison ~ 2004