XX indexVermont  





      VERSHIRE is situated a little southeast of the center of the county, in latitude 43° 57’ and longitude 4° 41', and is bounded north by Corinth, east by West Fairlee, south by Strafford, and west by Chelsea. The township was granted November 7, 1780, and chartered August 3, 1781, to Capt. Abner SEELYE, and sixty-four others, with one right for the support of a college, one right for a grammar school, one right for the first settled minister, one right for the support of "social worship," and one for the support of town schools. A condition of the grant was that each right should be settled, five acres cultivated, and a house at least eighteen feet square built on it "within three years next after the circumstances of the war will admit of a settlement with safety."

      The territory originally contained 21,961 acres; but October 23, 1811, a mile square was annexed to Corinth.

      The town was first called “No. 7," afterwards "Caley Town," and it was also at one time called Arlington, which name it retained but a short time, when the present one was substituted. It was also for a short time called Ely.

      The first meeting of the proprietors was warned July 22, 1783, to be held August 28, next ensuing, at the residence of Lenox TITUS. At this meeting: Ebenezer WEST was chosen moderator and Jonathan MALTBY proprietors' clerk. No business of importance was transacted, and the meeting adjourned to, September 4, 1783, at which time it was voted to lay out a 100-acre lot to each proprietor, also lots to fill the requirements of the charter, and one. for a mill. The claims of several proprietors, who had already pitched a location, was established. Many of the original proprietors never came to the town, and no record is extant of their having transferred their claims; but some of the settlers did quit-claim their rights of land and give a warranty deed, which fact leads one to suppose that their names were fictitious. Amos MATSON was moderator of the first town meeting, which was held August 27, 1783, at which Andrew PETERS was chosen town clerk, Theodore WOODWARD, constable, and Ebenezer WEST, John WOODWARD, and Lenox TITUS, selectmen., This is in accordance with the existing records, although a claim is made that Jonathan MALTBY was the first town clerk, and that the papers containing the. record of his election were burned.

      The surface of the town is very hilly and broken, producing a picturesquely beautiful landscape, the whole territory being eminently composed of hill and dale. The soil for the most part is fertile, even on the hillsides, producing large crops of the grains and vegetables indigenous to the climate, also furnishing pasturage for goodly sized flocks and herds. But little swamp or wet lands prevail. The Ompompanoosuc river, with its two branches, furnish the principal water-course of the town, while rippling streams, sparkling in untrodden places at their sources, penetrate the innumerable valleys, making it one of the best watered towns in the county. Two distinct ranges of hills extend east and west through the town, also one on the west side running northerly and southerly. The north side of the town is in many places several hundred feet high. The most marked precipice is Eagle Ledge, the southern face being a bare rock reaching to an almost perpendicular height of more than 200 feet. The Vermont copper mines, in the southeasterly part of the town, are in another ridge, which runs through the town, nearly parallel to the first, and south of it. Another ridge, on the west side of the town, next to Chelsea, extends nearly the whole length of that side, and forms the water-shed which divides the waters which flow into White river from those which flow into the Connecticut. The rocks entering into the geological structure of the territory are of calciferous mica schist formation, with a bed of copper and iron pyrites in the southeastern part.

      VERSHIRE (p. o.) is a small hamlet located near the central part of the town, and contains one church, a school-house, two stores, blacksmith shop, and twenty-five or thirty dwellings.
      ELY contains the houses of worship of the Methodists and Roman Catholics, and a town building occupied by the Adventists. It is composed of about 100 houses, store and works of the copper mining company, recently in the hands of S. M. GLEASON, as receiver. Since the failure of the company, in June, 1883, there has been a continual exodus, until now not one building in ten is occupied. The postoffice was discontinued October 31, 1887.
      In 1880 Vershire had a population of 1,875 souls. In 1886 the town had ten school districts and eight common schools, employing six male and ten female teachers, to whom was paid an average weekly salary, including board, of $6.01 and $4.05 respectively. There were 208 scholars, twelve of whom attended private schools. The entire income for school purposes was $1,040.79, while the total expenditures were $1,073.36, with Oscar BECKWITH, superintendent.

      Henry MATTOON's saw-mill was built by Willard and John RICHARDSON about the year 1838, and was purchased by Mr. MATTOON in 1883. He manufactures about 150,000 feet of lumber, 150,000 shingles, and 25,000 lath per year.

      L.E. ALLIS's grist-mill was built by Nathaniel MATTOON and Willard RICHARDSON, about 1839, and was purchased by William ALLIS in 1885. It has three runs of stones, and does custom grinding.

      It is not known when or by whom the town was first visited; but Lenox TITUS, one of the original grantees, arrived in 1779, and found located here a "squatter" named Irenus KNIGHT, who was the first settler. The first white child born in town was Rosanna TITUS, December 31, 1780. The first marriage was that of Nathan WEST and Martha TITUS, July 16, 1787. The first .death was that of Anna, wife of Thomas WEST, March 1; 1788.

      The PAINE family, to which this sketch relates, is descended from Hugh de PAYEN, the Crusader, through William PAINE, of Suffolk, England, who emigrated to Watertown, Mass., in 1635. Jesse PAINE, the first settler, on Paine hill, in this town, was a native of Foxboro, Mass., from whence he removed to Mansfield, where he enlisted and served in the Revolutionary war. He located in Plainfield, N. H., with his wife and two children, previous to 1788, and came to Vershire in 1791. He was the pioneer in that part of the town where he settled, and lived to the extreme age of ninety-two years, rearing a family of fifteen children, all of whom lived to maturity except the youngest. One son, Warren, resides in Barre, at the age of eighty-six years. 

      Capt. Robert PAINE, son of Jesse, was born in Vershire in 1799, married Lucia PATTERSON, and passed his life here. He was captain of the Vershire rifle company, and a justice of the peace. He reared two sons and two daughters, viz.: Azro, Charles E., (the present first selectman, who has served on the board of selectmen seven years,) Ellen (Mrs. Orrison MALTBY), Philanda (Mrs. Uriah COLBURN), and one daughter who died in infancy.

      David PAINE, another son of Jesse, was born in-Plainfield, N. H., in 1788, was a Plattsburgh volunteer, lived to the age of eighty-two years, passing most of his life in Vershire. Earl and Edward PAINE, also sons of Jesse, were prominent mechanics here. Isaac was the father of Col. M. K. PAINE, of Windsor. Sophia, daughter of Jesse, married Benjamin BATCHELDER, and had seven children, of whom Clarinda married Sylvester GODFREY. Charles E. PAINE married Sarah COLBURN, and has one daughter.

      Moses NORRIS came from Northwood, N. H., to Vershire, in September, 1799, boarding the first season with his sister and her husband, Paul DAVIS, on the farm next south from the lot on which he located, and where, about 1807, he built a part of the house in which his son Alfred now lives. He served three months in the War of 1812, was an industrious farmer, a member of the Methodist church, and passed his life upon the farm he had wrested from the wilderness. He married Sally, daughter of Timothy WEYMOUTH, and they had a son and a daughter, Polly and Alfred, both of whom have always resided on the old farm. Alfred has lived seventy-nine years in the same house, where he was born in March, 1809. He has served as selectman six or seven years, represented the town in 1861-62, with no candidate in opposition. He married Cynthia DURGIN, who bore him one son, Henry, and one daughter, Caroline, both deceased. Alfred NORRIS's farm of 400 acres is one of the best in town, and it is a remarkable fact that it is still owned by the son of the first settler.

      Elias LATHROP was born in Norwich, Conn., February 18, 1763, located in Chelsea about 1790, having passed several years in Canaan and Lebanon, N. H. Rufus LATHROP, his brother, preceded him to Chelsea. Elias served in the Revolution, and when a boy of fifteen years saw Burgoyne's troops soon after the surrender. He was the musician for the first training in Chelsea, where, having no fife, he led the company by whistling. He married, in Chelsea, January 12, 1797, Dorcas BOHONON, by whom he had nine children, four of whom are living, viz.: Olive, widow of Peter BRAGG, Hiram, Warren and Lodicy (Mrs. LONG), Mr. LATHROP came to Vershire in 1806, bought the land and cleared the farm where his son Hiram now lives, where be remained until his death at the age of eighty-eight years. Warren has always resided in this town, where he is engaged in farming. His first wife was Rosetta BARKER, and his present wife is Nellie ALDRICH, who was born in Stanstead, P. Q.

      John DIMOND, son of Ephraim DIMOND, of Ipswich, Mass., came from Londonderry, N. H., in 1795, and bought about 200 of land in Vershire, comprising the present farms of C. W. POWERS and C. C. REYNOLDS. He married Lydia CHAPMAN, by whom he had five daughters and four sons, viz: Mary, Lydia, Sylvia, Celia, Anna, Ephraim, Israel, Joseph, and John P. He was among the Plattsburgh volunteers from Strafford, and is said to have been the first who mined for copper where the Ely mines now are. All of his children removed from Vershire except Celia and Israel. The latter married Lucinda, daughter of Captain Phineas KIMBALL, of West Fairlee, spent his whole life in this town, dying here in 1872, aged seventy-two years. He was a farmer by occupation. Of his family of two sons and one daughter, the eldest son, Lorenzo, died while en route to California in 1850; Ethan, the only one of the family in Vershire, was born in 1832, has served as selectman five years, lister, auditor, postmaster at Ely two years, and has ever been a successful farmer. He married Laura J. CARLTON and has two children, a son and daughter, twins.

      Jonathan MALTBY, born July 10, 1746, came from Hebron, Conn., to Vershire, in 1783, was one of the first settlers in town, and located on the place now occupied by Danford BLANCHARD. He was the first proprietors' clerk, the first inn-keeper in Vershire, and owned a large amount of land. He died in 1801, and his widow kept the tavern many years afterwards. They had four sons and four daughters. Jonathan MALTBY, Jr., settled on the farm southeast from his father's, now owned by his grandson, W. F. MALTBY. Josiah and Jesse removed to Illinois. George W. passed the most of his life here, serving in various town offices, and died at Post Mills. Jonathan, Jr., married Susannah HOSFORD and .reared fourteen children, all of whom attained adult age. George W., the youngest, is the only one now living, and he has served many years as justice of the peace.

      Jacob CHURCH located in Vershire as early as 1797; Asa and David at an earlier date. They probably came from Willington, Conn. Lemuel, son of Jacob, lived on road 16, near the head of Ompompanoosuc river, erected the buildings now occupied by Truman JOHNSON, in which he kept hotel. He went with the Plattsburgh volunteers in 1814, lived to be seventy-seven years old, married twice, and reared a family of five children, all of whom attained maturity. Jacob Church, 2d, eldest son of Lemuel, was an extensive farmer in the district known as "Eagle Hollow." He also engaged in lumbering, and served as selectman and in other town offices. His wife was Maria SHAW, and their children were Freeman, George A., Hiram G. and Eunice A. Freeman served in the late war.

      Elisha PRESCOTT came to Vershire from Sanbornton, N. H., about the year 1800, and located in the Western part of the town. His son William was about nine years of age at this time, and came here with his father. Elisha served in the war of the Revolution.

      Rev. Stephen FULLER, the first settled minister in this town, was born in Mansfield, Conn., December 3, 1756. He was graduated from Dartmonth college in 1786; studied theology with Asa BURTON, D. D., of Thetford, and was ordained pastor of the Congregational church of this town, September 3, 1788, and so continued until his death, which occurred in New Haven, Vt., April 12, 1816, in the sixtieth year of his age. Mr. FULLER married Phebe THURSTON, of Hollis, N. H., by whom he had a family of seven sons and three daughters. Mrs. FULLER lived to the great age of ninety-two years. Most of the children removed from town. His son Sewell lived here for many years, but died in Bradford in 1883. His son Cyrus now resides in town.

      Lenox GILMAN was born in Vershire, April 10, 1803. He married Lois E. CHURCH, of this town, and reared a family of two sons and two daughters. He was one of the substantial farmers of the town, always took an active interest in town affairs, and held many positions of trust and responsibility. He was selectman, lister, town clerk, justice of the peace, and also represented the town in the legislature. He died October 16, 1880. Of his children, Lucy died at the age of eighteen; Sarah C. married Obed K. ROBINSON and resided in this town till his death; Alden C. died in this town in. 1870; Joseph H., who formerly resided in Corinth and in Bradford, now lives in this town. He was constable in Corinth for eleven successive years, and deputy sheriff for many years.

      Rufus BLANCHARD came to Vershire from Acworth, N. H., about 1807, and settled in the northern part of the town. He married Amie KEYES and reared seven children, three of whom are now living, Rufus, Jr., and Danford, in this town, and Mrs. Sabrina CARPENTER in Fairlee. Rufus died in 1840. Rufus, Jr., was born in 1817, and has always resided in town. He was engaged in trade about fifteen years, and has always taken an active part in town affairs.

      David CARLETON, a native of Bradford, Mass., enlisted at the age of sixteen and served four years in the Revolution. He settled in this town about 18 16, where Ethan DIMOND now lives, coming from Hopkinton, N. H. He died at the ripe age of eighty-four years, having reared two sons, George and Ira. S., and five daughters. The sons passed their lives in this town, Ira S. upon the original homestead. The latter married Mary MOREY, daughter of Joshua, and reared five sons and two daughters, all of whom are living, Laura J. (DIMOND) and Oscar in this town. One son, Jerome, served in the 1st Mass. Vols., in the late war, and now resides in San Francisco.

      John GODFREY, a soldier of the Revolution, came from New Hampshire and located in this town. His son John, born in Vershire, removed to Thetford when nineteen years old and bought the land now occupied by Carrol GILLETT on road 1, in that town, which was then unbroken forest. Here he cleared .up the farm, married Sarah WALLACE, and reared seven children. He went with the company from Vershire to take part in the battle of Plattsburgh. Sylvester GODFREY, son of John, Jr., married Clarinda BATCHELDER, of Vershire, and now resides in Thetford. He served three years in Co. E, 11th N. H. Vols.

      Captain Richard SMITH, son of Ebenezer and Abigail (STEELE) SMITH, was born in Cabot, Vt., January 31, 1820. In early life he was a farmer, but later engaged in the manufacture of tin ware at Barton and Tunbridge, being in business four years in the former and six years in the latter town. At the breaking out of the war he assisted in organizing Co. E, 2d Vt. Vols., of which Company he was elected captain, serving in the first battle of Bull Run and through the Peninsula campaign. He was discharged in August, 1862, and returned to Tunbridge, soon after being appointed deputy marshal, in which capacity he served two years. At the time of the Fenian raid in 1865 he was chosen major of the regiment raised for its suppression. He twice represented Tunbridge in the legislature and once in Constitutional convention. Locating in Vershire in 1881, he was chosen representative from this town in 1886-87. He has been twice married, first to Frances J. HALL, of Cabot, who bore him three sons and one daughter, and second to Lida ROBERTS, of Williamstown, by whom he has one son.

      John STACY, who served in the Revolution, a tailor by trade, located in Orange before 1798, where he spent most of his life, held many town offices, reared four sons and four daughters, and died at Burlington at an advanced age. Capt. Charles H. STACY, his eldest son, kept hotel at Orange, later removed to Corinth, and to Vershire in 1831, where he located on the farm still owned by his son James R., dying here in 1865. He was the father of eight children, of whom Horace and James R. are living. The latter has been .selectman and justice of the peace several years. Horace has been engaged in the book business in the west for many years. H. B. STACY, the second son of John, became a publisher in Burlington, and was United States consul to Russia.

      Richard W. BARRETT, of English descent, was born in Chili, South America, in 1835, and removed to England when a child. He came to this country when fourteen years of age, and in 1855 settled in Vershire, and was one of the first engaged in opening the Ely mines. He was general superintendent of the mines and invented a self-acting railioad switch. He is at present engaged in. farming, and has been town clerk for ten years. treasurer, justice of the peace, notary public, lister, and selectman.

      David T. BANKER was born in Lyme, N. H., in 1821, and removed to Vershire, with his parents, at an early age. He has four children Frank and Mrs. C. E. DOUGLASS in this town, Charles R. in California, and Mrs. Loren K. MERRILL in Bradford. Mr. BANKER is a farmer and resides on road 39.

      The First Congregational church of Vershire was organized July 14, 1787, the first church organized in the town, and Rev. Stephen FULLER was the first pastor. The first church building, a wooden structure, was built in 1802, and did service until 1836, when the present building, also of wood, was erected. The society now has forty members, under the pastoral charge of Rev. Evan THOMAS. The Sunday-school has forty-five members.

Gazetteer Of Orange County, Vt. 1762-1888.
Compiled And Published by Hamilton Child,
The Syracuse Journal Company, Printers and Binders. 
Syracuse, N. Y., 1888.
Page 492-498.

Transcribed by Karima Allison ~ 2004