After the division of the State into two counties, in March, 1778, no changes were made in the area of Cumberland county until 1781. The legislature of that year, however, divided it into three counties, viz.: Windham and Windsor counties, occupying about the same positions they do now, north of which the remainder of old Cumberland county was called Orange county. This latter tract nearly corresponded with the old New York county of Gloucester, organized by that province March 16,1770, with Newbury as the shire town. On November 5, 1792, the legislature passed an act to divide Chittenden and Orange counties into six separate counties, as follows: Chittenden, Orange, Franklin, Caledonia, Essex, and Orleans.  On the formation of Jefferson county, December 1, 1810, the name of which was changed to Washington county, November 8, 1814,  Orleans was shorn of a portion of its territory, the limits of which had been definitely fixed by the legislature of 1797; and again, in October, 1835, by the erection of Lamoille county, Orleans lost the towns of Eden, Hyde Park, Morristown, and Wolcott. 

     As now constituted, Orleans county is the central one of the northern tier of counties of the State, lying about midway between the Connecticut river and Lake Champlain, between lat. 44° 28' and 45° north, and between long. 4° 19' and 5° 4' east, bounded north by the Province of Quebec, of Canada, east by Essex county, southeast by Caledonia county, southwest by Lamoille county, and west by Franklin county. It is about thirty-three miles in length, and thirty miles in width from east to west on the Canada line, containing an area of 700 square miles, or 448,000 acres, divided into eighteen towns, as follows: Albany, Barton, Brownington, Charleston, Coventry, Craftsbury, Derby, Glover, Greensboro, Holland, Irasburgh, Jay, Lowell, Morgan, Newport, Troy, Westfield, and Westmore. 

     The physical geography of the county is diverse from that of any other portion of the State. Nearly the whole of its territory has a northern slope, situated within the " y " of the Green Mountains, the western range of which divides it from Franklin county, and with the eastern range lying upon its eastern borders. Between these ranges there is considerable high land, though precipitous cliffs and ledges are uncommon, except in the western part. Still, the scenic beauty of Orleans is unsurpassed. Points of beauty meet the eyes, turn which way you will, while the high altitude of most of the country and the pure mountain breezes that are wafted over it, render its climate proverbially healthful and exhilarating. 

     It is a singular fact that in the northern part of Green Mountain range, where the highest peaks are found, three rivers, the Winooski, Lamoille, and Missisquoi, flow through mountain passes not more than five hundred feet above the sea, affording good opportunities for roads, and other passes of a similar character are found, while in the southern part of the range no such passes exist, and in order to go from the eastern to the western part of the State, one is obliged to go over the mountains, it being not unfrequent for roads to pass over the range at an altitude of two thousand feet above the ocean. This facility of access that nature has provided is another point of value the county possesses, for there its imports and exports are not confined to shipment in one direction, but can be sent to any point with equal, convenience. From Hazen's Notch, in Westfield, to Jay Peak, the range is continuous, varying from 2,500 to 4,000 feet above tide water, the highest point in the territory being reached at the summit of Jay Peak, 4,018 feet above the ocean. The highest point in the eastern part of the county is Westmore mountain, in the northern part of Westmore, which has an altitude of 3,000 feet. Lowell mountain, in Lowell, is also a prominent elevation. 

     Jay Peak is worthy of more than a passing glance. Its summit cleaves the clouds at an altitude of nearly a mile above the ocean, affording a grand and extended view o'er the valleys of the St. Lawrence, Ottawa, and Lake Memphremagog. To the northwest the spectator beholds the level and fertile country surrounding Montreal, contrasting beautifully with the wild and rugged scenery at the north and northeast of him, where are seen thickly studded mountain peaks, prominent among which are Sutton and Orford mountains, Sugar Loaf and Owl's Head. Between Sutton mountain, in Canada, and the beholder, is the deep valley of the Missisquoi river, which, like the Winooski and Lamoille, winds its way through a valley about 3,500 feet below the summits of the mountains on either side. Seemingly near its base peep out the beautiful villages of Montgomery, Richford, Berkshire, Westfield, Lowell, Troy, and others. Hazen's Notch, which lies within a short distance to the south, is an object of interest, and gradually becoming more and more resorted to by lovers of grand and picturesque scenery. The fertile valley of the Missisquoi, which is confessedly one of the most productive as well as picturesque in the State, is within full view from the peak. The magnificent views thus afforded can, in a measure, be obtained from several other elevations in the county. 

     What is known as the upper valley of the Missisquoi, comprising the towns of Troy, Westfield, Jay, and Lowell, and a small portion of the Province of Quebec, lies between this western range of mountains, and the range of highlands dividing the waters of the Missisquoi from those of Black river and Lake Memphremagog. The western lines of Jay, Westfield, and Lowell, commonly extend a short distance over the summits of the mountains; but the east lines of Troy and Lowell do not generally extend to the height of land towards Black river and Lake Memphremagog. The length of the valley in a direct line from the Canada line to the south line of Lowell and the source of the Missisquoi, is about eighteen miles. The width of the valley from the summits of the mountains west, to the height of land on the east, is from six to ten miles. 

     Orleans also contains more picturesque streams and more beautiful ponds and lakes, some of which are possessed of peculiar charms and interest, than any other county in the State. The eastern and central parts are watered by Black, Barton, and Clyde rivers, with their numerous tributaries, the southern part by the Lamoille, and the western part by the Missisquoi. These several streams have courses as follows: - 

     Black river is formed in Craftsbury, by the united waters of Trout branch and Elligo and Hosmer's ponds, and taking a northeasterly course through Albany, Irasburgh, and Coventry, falls into South bay of Lake Memphremagog, in Newport. It is thirty miles in length and waters 150 square miles of territory. 

     Barton river rises in Barton. One of its branches originates in Glover, from the fountains of Runaway pond, and extends northerly into Newport village, while the other rises in two small ponds on the line between Sutton and Sheffield, and unites with the stream from Glover. Their united waters take a northerly course, and, just before reaching the north line of Barton, receive Willoughby river, a stream rising from Willoughby lake, in Westmore, and run westerly eight or nine miles through the southern part of Brownington and northern part of Barton. From Barton, Barton river continues a northerly direction, passing through the northeastern corner of Irasburgh, and eastern part of Coventry, into Lake Memphremagog, watering about 160 square miles of territory. 

     Clyde river has its source in Brighton, Essex county, and flows a northwesterly course through Charleston, Salem, and Derby, to Lake Memphremagog. Excepting a few short rapids it is a dead, still stream, until it arrives within a few miles of the lake. It passes through Pensioners pond in Charleston and Salem pond in Derby. It waters about 150 square miles of country. 

     Lamoille river formerly originated in Runaway pond, It is now formed by the union of several streams in Greensboro, and, after running southwesterly into Hardwick, pursues a northwesterly course till it falls into Lake Champlain, in the northwestern part of Cochester. In Johnson it is joined by Little North branch, and in Cambridge by Great North branch. The current of the stream above Cambridge is in general slow and gentle, but between there and the lake are a number of good sized falls. It is said to have been discovered by Champlain, in 1609, and called by him La Mouette, the French for mew, or gull, a species of water fowl that were numerous about its mouth. This name became corrupted into Lamoille. 

     Missisquoi river rises in Lowell, and, pursuing a northerly course through a part of Westfield and Troy, crosses into Canada, when it receives a large stream from the northeast. After running several miles in Canada it returns into Vermont, and taking a westerly course falls in Missisquoi bay, near the Canada line. Its name is derived from the Indians, and is spelled by various authorities in no less than twenty different ways. The river is seventy-five miles in length, and receives the waters from about 582 square miles of Vermont's territory. The falls on this stream in the northern part of Troy are exceedingly beautiful. The water precipitates itself over a ledge of rocks seventy feet in height, and above them projects a perpendicular rock over one hundred feet in height. 

     The principal lakes are Lake Caspian, in Greensboro, Crystal lake, in Barton, Willoughby lake, in Westmore, Seymour lake, in Morgan, and, last but not least, Lake Memphremagog, in Derby and Newport, extending north into Canada. Old Memphremagog has had its beauty sung by too many gifted pens for us to attempt an adequate description, and its hold on the affections of the public is too well attested, by the hundreds of tourists who visit it each year, to need such a description even were we equal to the task. The lake is about thirty-three miles in length and from two to four miles in width, covering an area of about seventy-five square miles, one-fifth of which lies in Vermont. Its scenery is unsurpassed in beauty, and though it has not the scientific and historic interest of the famous Champlain, it still has clustered about it legends of the hair-breadth escapes of smugglers, and the marvelous feats of Indians, hunters and trappers, enough to charm the reader of romance. The Indian words from which its name was derived were Mem-plow-bouque, signifying a large expanse of water.  From Prospect hill, about a mile southwest of the beautiful village of Newport, a grand and extensive view of the lake and its environs may be obtained. To the north lie its waters, reflecting like a mirror its beautiful surroundings of rocks and trees, with verdant headlands jutting into it, and islands dotted upon its placid surface. To the left of it Owl's Head is seen towering to the height of 2,749 feet above the surface of its waters, crowding close upon its western margin as if inviting one to ascend its rugged sides and from its summit view the picturesque surroundings. To the southeast, across and beyond the bay into which Barton, Clyde, and Black rivers empty their waters, is a lovely landscape, with the strongly marked outlines of Pisgah and Hor rising abruptly, arking the spot where Willoughby lake is located. To the south no mountains intervene to cut off the view, but the eye ranges over gentle eminences that in the dim distance rise above each other, and there is outspread a broad area of country teeming with the fruits of the husbandman's honest toil. 

     Willoughby lake, in Westmore, is another beautiful sheet of water. It is about six miles in length by one and one half in width, lying between two mountains, the one on the east called Mt. Pisgah, and upon the west Mt. Hor. The summit of Mt. Pisgah is 2,638 feet above the surface of the lake, and 3,800 feet above tide water, affording a view that is wild, picturesque, and beautiful. The waters of the lake, which in some places are several hundred feet deep, are unusually clear and transparent, and in consequence of the bold and romantic scenery and interesting surroundings, the lake is becoming a place of great resort. On the margin of its shallow portions are walls composed principally of granite bowlders and pebbles, which in some places are so uniform and well proportioned as to appear like artificial structures. Other lakes and ponds throughout the county are exceedingly interesting, and will be described in connection with the towns wherein they are located.


     The science of geology is ever an interesting study, and as related to this county it is exceedingly so, for here the record of the changes, or "foot-prints," that time has left in the succeeding ages since the earth was created, are numerous and well developed. Before mentioning the several rocks that enter into the formation of the territory, however, it may not be superfluous to briefly note the fundamental principals of the science.

     Among men of science, it has become the common, if not the prevailing opinion, that in the beginning all the elements with which we meet were in an ethereal, or gaseous state.  That they slowly condensed, existing for ages as a heated fluid, by degrees becoming more consistent -- that thus the whole earth was once an immense ball of fiery matter -- that, in the course of time, it was rendered very compact, and at last became crusted over, as the process of cooling gradually advanced, and that its interior is still in a molten condition. Thus, if the view suggested be correct, the entire planet, in its earlier phases, as well as the larger part now beneath and within its solid crust, was a mass of molten fire, and is known to geologists as elementary or molten. Following this came another age, in which this molten mass began to cool and a crust to form, called the igneous period. Contemporaneous with the beginning of the igneous period came another epoch. The crust thus formed would naturally become surrounded by an atmosphere heavily charged with minerals in a gaseous or vaporous condition. As the cooling advanced this etherealized matter would condense and seek a lower level, thus coating the earth over with another rock. This is named the vaporous period. At last, however, another age was ushered in, one altogether different from those that had preceded it. The moist vapors which must of necessity have pervaded the atmosphere began to condense and settle, gathering into the hollows and crevices of the rocks, until nearly the whole surface of the earth was covered with water. This is called the aqueous period. As these waters began to recede and the "firmament to appear," the long winter that intervened while the sun was obscured by the heavy clouds would cover the earth with mighty ice-floes and glaciers, forming what is known as the drift, or glacial period. A great difference also exists in the consolidation and structure of the rocks thus formed. The very newest consist of unconsolidated gravel, sand, and clay, forming alluvium. A little farther down we come to the tertiary strata, some of which are hardened into rock and others left more or less loose and soft. Next below the tertiary is found thick deposits, mostly consolidated, but showing a mechanical structure along with the crystalline arrangement of the ingredients. These are called secondary and transition. Lowest of all are found rocks having a decidedly crystalline structure, looking as if the different minerals of which they are composed crowded hard upon one another. These rocks are called metamorphic, hypozoic, and azoic. 

   The principal portion of the rocks of this territory are azoic, and known as talcose schist and calciferous mica schist, the former underlying the western portion, and the latter the eastern portion of the county. Both, however, are cut by beds and veins of other formations. Talcose schist proper consists of quartz and talc, though it was associated with it, as integral parts of its formation, clay slate, gneiss, quartz rock, sand-stones and conglomerates, lime-stones and dolomites. In Coventry there is a remarkable bed of conglomerate rock associated with the formation. In Newport there is much of the novaculite, the hone-stones from Lake Memphremagog being well known for their excellent sharpening properties. In Troy the rock contains many small rounded pebbles. Jay Peak is a coarse talcose schist, with numerous small, irregular masses of pure chlorite, and an irregular vein of white quartz. The rock is also often highly charged with crystals of magnetic iron ore, often so as to powerfully affect the compass. 

     The calciferous mica schist, which underlies so great a portion of the eastern part of the county is supposed to have originally been a limestone formation, charged with a good deal of silex, and perhaps with silicates and organic matters, and that in the process of metamorphism the carbonated or alkaline water with which the rock had been charged has dissolved and abstracted a good deal of the carbonate of lime and formed silicated minerals, such as mica and feldspar, which have more or less, and sometimes entirely, changed the rock into mica schist and gneiss. 

     In the region of the Missisquoi valley, extending through Lowell, Westfield, Troy, and Jay, are a long, narrow vein of steatite, clay slate, and serpentine. Extending through the central part of the county, from Lake Memphremagog south, are two large veins of clay slate and upper Heilderberg limestone, forming a dividing line between the two schist formations. In the eastern part of the territory, extending through Glover, Barton, Brownington, Charleston, Morgan, and Holland, is a narrow vein of hornblende schist. The extreme eastern part of the county is entirely granite, and in the southern part there is another large bed of the same rock, lying partly in the four towns of Greensboro, Glover, Albany, and Craftsbury, while small beds of the rock are found in a number of the other towns, affording an excellent building stone. 

     Small deposits of gold have been discovered in the region of the Missisquoi, though it is believed no deposits of value exist. Ores of iron and manganese are found in several places. Mountain manganese occurs in Coventry and Albany.  In Troy an immense vein of magnetic ore was discovered about 1830, and a blast furnace was constructed and the deposit worked for a number of years. The ore contains titanium and a trace of manganese, and is difficult to smelt unless mixed with hematite or bog ore. The iron is well adapted for making wire, screws, etc., having great strength and tenacity. Several beds of chromate of iron have also been found in the serpentine of Jay, Troy, and Westfield. Sulphuret of copper exists in small quantities in Newport, on a hill two and one-half miles southwest from the lake.

     Numerous evidences of the aqueous period are met with throughout the State, and evidence so conclusive that there can be no doubt that Vermont at least was once the bed of a mighty ocean. Perhaps the most positive of these are the many marine fossils that have been brought to light, for instance the fossil whale found in Charlotte, in August, 1849, and many others that might be mentioned. In this county are many deposits of marine shells found in connection with the beds of marl that are so plentiful in the southern and eastern parts. Ancient sea beaches, found in different parts of the county, also point to the same conclusion. They consist of sand and gravel, which have been acted upon; rounded, and comminuted by the waves, and thrown up in the form of low ridges, with more or less appearances of stratification or lamination. The manner in which they were formed may be seen along the sea coast at any time in the course of formation, as they have the same form of modern beaches, except that they have been much mutilated by the action of water and atmospheric agencies since their deposition. In Greensboro there is one of these formations, the top of which is 1,240 feet above the ocean. In the valley of Memphremagog there are several. One on the western side of the lake, in Newport, is 365 feet above Memphremagog, or 1,060 feet above the ocean. One or two are on the east side of the valley, in the southern part of Derby and in Brownington, at the heights of 279 and 579 feet above the lake, or 971 and 1,274 feet above the ocean. Craftsbury common, 1,158 feet above the ocean, is also a good specimen. 

     Evidences of the drift or glacial period are left here by hugh bowlders scattered over the county, by drift scratches and moraine terraces. Drift scratches are grooves or scratches worn in the rocks by glaciers, or vast rivers of ice, which, starting from the summits of the mountains, moved slowly down the valleys as far as the heat of summer would permit. Though they rarely ever advanced more than two feet a day, their great thickness and the weight of the superincumbent snow caused them to grate and crush the rocks beneath, leaving marks that ages will not efface. On Jay mountain are many such scratches, and also on the rocks in the valley of Black river.  Moraine terraces are elevations of gravel and sand, with correspondent depressions of most singular and scarcely describable forms. The theory of their formation is that icebergs became stranded at the base and on the sides of hills, and that deposits were made around and upon them, and that they would have been level-topped if the ice had remained, but in consequence of its melting they became extremely irregular. Good specimens of these are found in the southern part of  Westmore and in the eastern part of Greensboro. Huge masses of rocks were also carried along by these floating islands of ice, which, as the ice melted were dropped to the bottom of the ocean. One large bowlder in Greensboro, upon the farm of Alexander McLaren, is forty feet long, thirty feet wide and twenty feet in height. 

     Following these records, then, that old ocean has graven on the rocks and sands of Orleans county, it is not difficult for the mind to revert through the remote past, to the time when this portion of the continent was sufficiently submerged to allow the waters of the ocean to extend over it, forming a broad inland gulf, with the Green Mountain range for its eastern shore, and the Adirondacks for its western limit. The broad valley of the St. Lawrence would form the passage to this inland sea, or perchance only the higher portions of New England rose above the water. 


     The soil differs materially in different parts of the county, and in general is not inferior in fertility to any in the State. The cultivated lands of Holland, Greensboro, Craftsbury, Westmore, and a portion of Glover, have an altitude varying from 1,100 to 1,500 feet above the ocean, while on the rivers the altitude varies from 700 to 900 feet, the table lands between the streams being usually of a quality excellent for purposes of cultivation and grazing. In the talcose schist regions, where the rocks have very little carbonate of lime and decompose very slowly, the soil is deficient in lime, except on the intervale of drift soil. In the extreme eastern part of the territory, where the deposits are of a granitic character, the rocks decompose very slowly, yet sufficiently rapid to afford new materials of value to the soil. The portions of the county embraced in the calcareous mica schist region, where rocks of the limestone, clay, and horn blend formations are found interstratified, all of which are inclined to very rapid decomposition, the soil is constantly enriched by the addition of lime and other materials of the rocks as they disintegrate. In the northern part of the county the soil is generally a deep loam, resulting from drift agency, which brought it from regions of purer limestone in the north, and is thus rich in salts of lime and very highly productive. Troy, Newport, Coventry, Craftsbury, Derby, Charleston, and Holland, contain many thousand acres of this variety of soil. Grazing and stock-raising occupies the attention of many of the farmers, the interest in this branch of husbandry seeming to be steadily increasing. Large quantities of sugar are manufactured from the maple. A good idea of the staple productions may be derived, however, from the following statistics, taken from the United States census reports of 1870. During that year there were 196,456 acres of improved land in the county, while the farms were valued at $8,949,310.00, and produced 56,462 bushels of wheat, 3,017 bushels of rye, 54,589 bushels of Indian corn, 369,319 bushels of oats, 21,376 bushels of barley, and 38,796 bushels of buckwheat. There were owned throughout the county 5,184 horses, 14,125 milk cows, 1,961 working oxen, 22,432 sheep, and 3,636 swine. From the milk of the cows were manufactured 1,738,526 pounds of butter and 67,079 pounds of cheese, while the sheep yielded 110,476 pounds of wool. 


     The first agricultural society organized in the county depended upon a membership fee for a revenue with which to meet expenses. Several annual fairs, of one day each, were held on level fields adjoining the several villages of the county, the society selecting each year the village that afforded the most encouragement in the way of yards, pens, sheds, etc. Finally a company was organized which fenced in a fair ground and made a half-mile track about a mile southeasterly from Barton Landing. Horse-racing was introduced as an attraction, and an admittance fee charged. The attendance, however; did not prove sufficiently large to warrant a permanent financial success, so the enterprise was abandoned. For about a dozen years previous to 1867, no active society existed and no fairs were held. During this year, however, after considerable discussion of the subject through the papers, a meeting was called to "consider the advisability of organizing a county agricultural society." This meeting resulted in the formation of a society, with Hon. Josiah B. Wheelock, of Coventry, president; Zenas E. Jameson, of Irasburgh, secretary; and Hon. I. N. Cushman, treasurer, with a board of trustees, consisting of one member from each town. 

     The dominant feeling called for a fair that autumn, so with only about a month for preparation, a successful fair was held, on the old fair-grounds near Barton Landing, the receipts of which amounted to a sum sufficient to meet the general expenses, pay all premiums awarded, and leave about $130 in the treasury. The object of the society professedly was to promote agricultural interests, household manufactures and mechanic arts in the county. Accordingly, by advice of the directors, the secretary issued blanks to every school district clerk, asking questions the replies to which would give a very correct knowledge of the extent of all the products of the county, but only about seven hundred farms were reported. One item resultant, however, is worthy of mention: the average area of corn planted was less than one-half acre to each farm. 

     At the second election, Mark Nutter, of Barton, was chosen president, and the subject of a permanent location for the grounds was earnestly discussed. There were in the county, aside from the old fairground, a track and sheds enclosed as a trotting park on Indian Point, in Derby, and a track upon the grounds of Amasa Randall, in Craftsbury. While the directors were considering the respective merits of these localities, several citizens of Barton village, with commendable public spirit, organized a Fair Ground Company which offered to enclose a suitable plot with a high board fence, make a track and erect all necessary buildings, and give their use and control to the society for holding a two days' fair each year for five years. The proposal was accepted by the society, and the site chosen for the ground was upon the west side of the river valley, about three-quarters of a mile from the village, a spot easily accessible, always dry and pleasant, and so under the lee of the hill as to be sheltered from the westerly winds, yet elevated sufficiently to afford a charming view of one of the most picturesque and fertile valleys in Vermont, a part of whose fertility was obtained, and a great degree of notoriety, when Runaway pond took its mad course over it. 

     The fairs and races at Roaring Brook Park, for such it was named, gained an excellent reputation and were well attended; but after seven annual fairs were held, the society failed to make satisfactory terms for another. The Fair Ground Company, however, has continued the annual exhibitions until this time, constantly increasing their efforts to enlist the support and approval of the farmers of this county, and of the towns of Sheffield and Sutton, in Caledonia county. The expenses are paid from one treasury, though there are two full boards of officers. The president of the Fair Ground Company at the present time is Duncan McDougal.  J.C. Oliver, of Charleston, is president of the Agricultural Society, C. P. Owen, of Glover, secretary, and J. W. Hall, of Barton, treasurer. Among the attractions at different times have been two balloon ascensions and an oration by Horace Greeley. 


     With the exception of the manufacture of lumber in its various branches, this is not what might be termed a manufacturing county, and as the manufactures are spoken of in detail in connection with the respective towns wherein they are located, we will pass this subject with the following statistics from the census returns of 1870: There were then 106 manufacturing establishments in the county, operated by four steam engines and eighty-one water-wheels, giving employment to 251 persons. There were $229,775.00 invested in manufacturing interests, while the entire product for the year was valued at $403,825.00. 


     It was not until 1799, that the legislature established courts in Orleans county, making Brownington and Craftsbury half shires, courts being held alternately in these towns, meeting in March and August. John Elsworth, of Greensboro, was appointed chief judge, and Timothy Hinman and Elijah Strong assistant judges. On the 20th of November, 1799, they met at the house of Dr. Samuel Huntington, in Greensboro, and properly organized the county by electing Timothy Stanley clerk, and Royal Corbin, treasurer. From this day dates the independent existence of Orleans county. 

     The first session of the county court was held at Craftsbury, March 24, 1800, with Timothy Hinman, chief judge, and Samuel C. Crafts and Jesse Olds, assistants. Neither of these men, though they were educated, had been bred to the law; but on the second day of the session, Moses Chase was admitted to the bar, the first lawyer in the county.  Timothy Stanley, of Greensboro, was the first county clerk; Joseph Scott of Craftsbury, the first sheriff; Joseph Bradley, first State's attorney; and Ebenezer Crafts, of Craftsbury, first judge of probate.   Courts continued to be held at Brownington and Craftsbury until August, 1816, when they were held at Brownington for the last time, in the old town-house, the cellar of the house now occupied by Mr. Burroughs being then used for a jail. In 1812, the legislature passed an act constituting Irasburgh the shire town, providing the inhabitants of that town would erect a court-house and jail at their own expense. Nothing appears to have been done towards erecting the buildings, however, until 1815, when they were completed so that court was held there for the first time in 1816, where the supreme court still meets on the fourth Tuesday in May, and the county court on the first Wednesday after the first Tuesday in September, and first Tuesday in February. 

     In 1847, the old court-house was removed and a new one erected on its site, at a cost of $4,000.00, at the expense of the town. The first jail was built of logs or hewn timber, ceiled with three-inch hardwood planks. This structure did service until 1838, when it was taken down and a stone building erected on its site. This jail was eighteen feet square on the ground, two stories high. This building was after a time considered inconvenient and unsafe, so the legislature of 1861, authorized the county judges to borrow $3,000.00 for the purpose of erecting a new jail. Harry Hinman, Jonathan Elkins, and E. P. Colton were appointed a committee to erect the building. In 1862, the work was completed, giving the county a well-arranged granite jail 26 by 36 feet, two stories in height. 

     The county seems never to have been very prolific of crime, no serious outrages ever having disturbed the even tenor of its way.  On the 14th of June, 1846, a male child a year old was murdered by its mother, Hannah Parker, alias Stickney, by throwing the infant into the Black river, near the bridge that crosses the stream in the North neighborhood of Coventry. The women had been married once or twice, but there was considerable uncertainty as to the paternal parentage of the child, and as she had no home nor means of support, the child was an hindrance in the way of her procuring assistance or employment. These circumstances, it is supposed, overcame the maternal instinct and persuaded her to the murder of her offspring. She was arrested and committed to jail, and in due season was indicted, and, on the second trial was found guilty; but exceptions being taken to some of the rulings of the court, the judgment was reversed. After remaining in jail about eight years, she was allowed to go at large, the long confinement being regarded as severe a punishment as public justice required to be inflicted on an offender, who, in great weakness of mind and extreme desperation of circumstances, had committed crime. 

     Samuel Lathe was convicted of murder at Irasburgh, February 7, 1852, and sentenced to be executed after one year. His sentence was commuted by the legislature, in November, 1852, to fifteen years imprisonment, and he was finally pardoned by the Governor, November 24, 1856. 


(Source:  Gazetteer of Lamoille and Orleans Counties, VT.; 1883-1884,  Compiled and Published by Hamilton Child; May 1887, Page 163-188)

This excerpt was provided by Tom Dunn.