PLAINFIELD is a small town situated in the southeastern part of
the county, in latitude 44° 14' and longitude 4° 35', and is bounded
northerly by East Montpelier and Marshfield, easterly by Marshfield and
Harris Gore, southerly by Orange and Barre, and westerly by Orange, Barre,
and East Montpelier.
Before the annexation of Goshen Gore it contained very little waste
land, and its surface was moderately hilly. The timber was mainly hard
wood, interspersed with spruce and hemlock in some locations, and most
of the farms have beautiful sugar orchards, from which large quantities
of maple sugar are annually made. A tract containing about 9,600 acres,
the original town of Plainfield, was granted to Gen. James WHITELAW, of
Ryegate, James SAVAGE, of New York, and William COIT, of Burlington, October
23, 1788. The line between the townships of Truro and Kingsboro, chartered
by New York, passed through about the center of Plainfield. In 1773 Samuel
GALE attempted the survey of one or both of these townships; but learning
the fact, probably from a hunter whom he met, that Ira ALLEN, with a party
from Colchester, was in pursuit of him, acting upon the principle "that
discretion is the better part of valor," suddenly decamped, and surely
escaped being sealed with the leech seal.
In 1874 the town was enlarged by the annexation of Goshen Gore,
a parallelogram three and one-half miles long by one and one-half miles
wide, lying along the eastern boundary of Plainfield, containing 3,000
acres. This gore is mountainous and unfit for cultivation. It was included
in the New York township of Truro, but formed a part of the town of Goshen,
in Addison county, until 1854. Dr. Dudley B. SMITH measured its highest
peak, to which he gave the name of Mt. Truro, and found it 2,229 feet above
Plainfield station, and about 2,984 feet above the sea. This commanding
peak is covered with forests, and its magnificent views are only obtained
by such as mount the tree-tops.
The Winooski river has a course of about one and one-fourth miles
across the extreme northern corner of the town. Great brook, which rises
in Harris Gore, enters Plainfield at its southern corner, and flows north
through the town into the Winooski at Plainfield village. The township
is well watered, having other numerous streams and springs. There is a
medicinal spring on the banks of Great brook, in the southern part of the
town, said to be efficacious in healing cutaneous diseases. The waters
of this spring are similar to those of the famous Montebello spring of
The rock formations in Plainfield are calciferous mica schist underlaying
about one-third of the western part of the town, and granite in the remaining
WHITELAW, SAVAGE, and COIT deeded their territory, then known as
St. Andrews's Gove, to Ira ALLEN and Gamaliel PAINTER, who employed as
their agent Col. Jacob DAVIS, who made the surveys and gave warrantee deeds
in his own name. This was recognized by ALLEN and PAINTER up to 1799. A
litigation was commenced by Mr. DAVIS against Mr. ALLEN in the County Court
at Danville, when, in 1804, DAVIS recovered $2,500, and a part of the town
was set off to him on the execution, and DAVIS conveyed it over again to
the settlers to whom he had before given deeds. About the same time the
University of Vermont recovered $15,000 of Ira ALLEN, and the remainder
of the town was set off to that institution. Two years previous, in 1802,
Ira ALLEN had quitclaimed his rights in the town to Heman ALLEN, of Colchester.
In 1807 Heman ALLEN purchased the claim of the university. By deeding his.claim
to James SAVAGE, of Plattsburgh, N. Y., Mr. ALLEN, as the attorney for
SAVAGE, was enabled to bring suits of ejectment against the, settlers,
which were decided in his favor in 1808. This compelled the settlers to
pay for their lands the second time. But the laws of Vermont gave them
their betterments, and one-half the.rise of their lands besides.
In 1880 Plainfield had a population of 728 souls. In 1887 it had
seven school districts and six common schools, taught during the year by
two male and eleven female teachers, at an average weekly salary, including
board, of $9.75 for the former and $5.50 for the latter. There were 201
scholars, three of whom attended private schools. The value of all the
school buildings, including furniture, is $4,365. The amount of money raised
for school purposes on the grand list was $884.06, while the entire expenditures
were $1,283.66. Miss Bertha E. CHAMBERLAIN officiated as superintendent.
PLAINFIELD village is located in the extreme northern part of the
town, at the confluence of Winooski river and Great brook, and is a station
on the Montpelier & Wells River railroad. This pretty little village
was incorporated in 1867, and includes a small portion of Marshfield. It
contains two churches (Methodist and Congregational), one hotel (Plainfield
House), and several manufacturing establishments, the leading ones of which
are T. M. BATCHELDER & Son, chair stock, and the grist-mill of H. E.
CUTLER. There are also two lawyers, two doctors, seven or eight stores,
the usual number of mechanics and artisans, and about eighty or ninety
dwellings, sheltering a population of about 450.
Seth FREEMAN, of Weldon, N. H., and Isaac WASHBURN, of Croydon,
N. H., came as explorers to Plainfield in the fall of 1791, and encamped
the first night by the side of a hemlock log. WASHBURN chose the location
at the four corners, near the residence of L. Cheney BATCHELDER, and FREEMAN
selected his pitch near the site of the Freeman school-house. Next year
they returned and made clearings on these pitches. They returned again
in 1793, and others also made clearings; but only Theodore PERKINS, his
wife, and Alden FREEMAN, a widower, who boarded with the FREEMANS, remained.
Theodore PERKINS and wife, Martha (CONANT), were from Bridgewater, Mass.,
but came to Plainfield from Pomfret, Vt., March 10, 1793, and located on
a pitch in the southwestern part of the town. In 1794 Mr. PERKINS sold
his claim to Joshua LAWRENCE, and removed to Montpelier. In 1798 he went
to Kentucky to look after a tract of several thousand acres that he inherited.
He wrote back that his claim was good, and that he was coming back for
his family, but was never heard from after. His friends thought he was
murdered. His wife removed to Lyme, N. H., in 1800. Their son Alfred, born
in December, 1793, was the first white child born in Plainfield.
Isaac WASHBURN moved his family onto his claim in the spring of
1794. Polly REED came with them and afterwards married Benjamin NILES.
Isaac WASHBURN and Isaac, Jr., removed to Lisle, N. Y., in 1812, and thence
Seth FREEMAN was the patriarch of the family. He added by purchase
130 acres to his pitch, which made a tract of 430 acres. This he divided
with his brothers Alden, Ebenezer, Edmund, Isaac, and Nathan.
Lieut. Joseph BATCHELDER made a pitch of 650 acres in the southwestern
corner of the town, commenced a clearing upon it in 1792, and settled with
his family permanently in 1794. His daughter Polly, born July 26, 1795,
was the first white female and second child born in Plainfield. In 1795
Lieut. BATCHELDER's brother Moulton settled on the BATCHELDER pitch.
Theodore PERKINS, Isaac WASHBURN, the FREEMAN brothers, and the
BATCHELDERS were the first four families that settled in Plainfield. The
first death in town was that of Justus, son of Rev. Jonathan KINNE, March
The first marriage was that of Alden FREEMAN and Priscella WASHBURN,
daughter of Isaac WASHBURN. Isaac FREEMAN taught the first school. Capt.
Jonathan KINNE built the first framed house in town, in 1794, and moved
into it in 1795. He was the first minister of the gospel. Isaac WASHBURN,
Jr., kept the first tavern. Miles, brother of Isaac WASHBURN, built the
first blacksmith shop in town. Later, in 1803, he built a house and the
first blacksmith shop in the village. Ebenezer BENNETT was the first tanner.
The first merchant was Joseph KILBURN, in 1803 or 1804. Thomas VINCENT
was the first town clerk. Bradford KINNE was the first representative.
Amherst SIMONS, from Windham, Conn., was the first physician, in 1801.
The first lawyer was Charles ROBY, in 1812.
J.M. BATCHELDER & Son built their extensive mills in the village
of Plainfield, on the Winooski river, in the summer of 1877. The river,
and steam as auxiliary, furnishes the ample power. They manufacture hard
and soft wood lumber, chair and cab stock, and shingles. In this leading
industry of their town they use annually from 2,000,000 to 3,000,000 feet
of lumber, and employ a force of thirty men.
Plainfield grist-mill was built by J. M. BATCHELDER & Son, and
is connected with their manufactory. In 1882 Mr. H. E. CUTLER, the present
proprietor, purchased this mill, which is furnished with two runs of stones,
and is run by water-power. Mr. CUTLER does custom grinding, besides a large
amount of his own stock. The grinding capacity of the mill is 600 to 800
bushels per day.
Nelson J. SANBORN's steam carriage manufactory and repair shops,
in the village of Plainfield, were built by Sanborn & Yaw (E. E. YAW)
in the spring of 1884. He manufactures carriages, wagons, and sleighs to
order, and does jobbing and repairing in his line. Mr. YAW retired in the
summer of 1888, and now Mr. SANBORN conducts the business alone.
Olin L. TILLOTSON's butter tub manufactory was built in the fall
of 1884, by O. L. and C. F. TILLOTSON, brothers. The motive power is steam.
Mr. TILLOTSON employs six men, and turns out annually from 800 to 1,000
Solomon BARTLETT, brother of Hon. Josiah BARTLETT, whose name appears
as the second signer of the Declaration of Independence, emigrated to Hanover,
N. H., from Brookfield, Mass., in 1790, or a little later, and a few years
after removed to Orange, Vt., and later to Plainfield, where he died. He
was married four times, and was the father of seven children. His sons
Chauncey and Levi settled in Plainfield. Chauncey married Mehitable CURTIS,
and their ten children were Benoni B., Joel, William C., Sarah, Chauncey,
Thomas P., Levi C., Henry, Mark P., and Susan B. Four are living. William
C. married Clarissa HOWLAND, and three of their four children are living.
Sarah (Mrs. E. K. GLADDING) has eight children that are living. Chauncey
married Nancy PITKIN, and two of their four children, Frank P. and Truman
H., are now living. Thomas P. married three times, first, Rosalinda CHADWICK,
second, Martha R. PAGE, and third, Daphne E. BROWN.
Levi BARTLETT, son of Solomon, married Nancy BATCHELDER. Of their
six children, four are living, viz.: Mary J. (Mrs. D. M. PERKINS), who
resides in Marshfield, and has four children ; Solomon, who married Abbie
REED, and has one child; Joseph, who married Clara HUTCHINSON, and had
six children, five of whom are now living ; and Edward J., who married,
first, Mary NYE, who was the mother of his only child. His second wife
was Harriet KIDDER.
Elder James PERRY, son of Elijah, was born in Barre, Mass., May
19,1756. He married Esther TINKHAM, June 20, 1779, who was born in Barre,
Mass., February 8, 1759. They emigrated to Woodstock, Vt., about 1785,
and came to Plainfield ten years later and settled on the farm where their
grandson, Daniel A. PERRY, now lives. Their children were Isaac, born February
4, 1781; Sarah, born April 15, 1783; Elijah, born September 17, 1785; Hannah,
born December 20, 1787; James, Jr., born September 1, 1790; Stephen, born
January 20; 1795 Daniel, born February 10, 1798; and William, born April
13, 1800. All are deceased. Elijah married Abigail BATCHELDER, July 10,
1808, and resided on the old homestead. Their union was blessed with five
children, viz.: Elijah M., born November 14, 1809; Daniel A., born October
20, 1812; Abigail N., born October 26, 1816; Hannah C., born September
6, 1819; and William J., born June 25, 1825. Of these, Daniel A. is the
only survivor. He was born on the homestead where he now lives, which has
been in the possession of the family since the settlement of Elder James
PERRY in 1795. Daniel A. PERRY married Dulcena FREEMAN, of Plainfield,
February 27, 1834. Their children are Theresa A., born October 21, 1835,
who married P. G. CAMP, and resides in Barre; James M., born February 28,
1838, who married Alma MARTIN, is a merchant in Barre, and has a family
of four children; Altezerah L., born February 25, 1841; William A., born
August 24, 1844, who married Olive AYERS, has five children, is now town
clerk and treasurer of Barre, and was postmaster about eight years; Courtland
E., born February 29, 1848, married Viola REED, and is blessed with eight
children; and Theron C., born November 28, 1853, married Cora A. MILLS,
of Orange, and has three children. Stephen, son of Elder James PERRY, married
Alice BATCHELDER, of Plainfield. Their children were Abalana, William W.,
Stephen A., Henry O., C. L., Charles C., and Fannie A. Those living are
Stephen A., in California; Henry O., in Plainfield; and Fannie A. (Mrs.
William RIPLEY), in Burlington, Vt.
Jeremy STONE, one of the pioneers of Plainfield, came from Ward,
Mass., in 1796. He married Abigail DAVENPORT. Their children were Ira,
Rev. Jesse, of Maine, Jeremy, Mrs. Hiel P. CHAMBERLIN, and Mrs. Marian
(STONE) TARBELL, and several others whose names we do not have. Ira STONE
was. born in Plainfield, September 14, 1812, and was twice married. His
first wife was Abigail N. PERRY, who was the mother of his two children,
Emily A. and Truman, both deceased. His second wife was Julia PITKIN BANCROFT.:
Mr. STONE represented Plainfield in the legislature in 1882, at
the age of seventy years, At that session there was but one older member
in the House. He now resides in Plainfield village, but has always been
a farmer. Six of the children of Jeremy STONE are yet living, the eldest
aged eighty-six years, and the youngest sixty-seven years.
Jesse MARTIN, who had served as a soldier in the Revolutionary war,
came to Montpelier (now East Montpelier) from Francestown, N. H., in the
autumn of 1800. In the following spring he settled on Maple hill, in the
town of Marshfield, but eventually made his last and final residence in
Plainfield, where he died November 3, 1832, aged eighty-one years. His
children were James, William, Jesse, Allen, Mary, Ebenezer, and Joshua
B., none of whom are now living. Joshua B. Martin married Betsey SHEPARD,
and settled in Marshfield, where he resided until the close of his life,
in February, 1878, aged seventy-eight years. Their children were Willard
S., George F., Laura, Caroline M., Nancy, Henry H., Howard P., and Ellen
A. (Mrs. W. J. BATCHELDER).
Hon. Willard S. MARTIN was born in Marshfield, Vt., January 26,
1827. He remained in his native town until 1860o, when he removed to Plainfield
and settled on the fine farm where he now resides. He has been an extensive
dealer in live stock, and is now giving his attention to raising fine stock.
Judge MARTIN is a staunch Republican, and is not without political honors.
He has held many of the town offices, and has been a justice of the peace
many years. He represented Plainfield in the popular branch of the legislature
in 1864-65, was president of Washington County Agricultural society two
years, and a director of the National Bank of Barre a number of years.
From 1874 to 1878 he served as associate judge of Washington County Court,
and was a state senator in 1882.
Judge MARTIN commenced his active life with a common school education,
but by his course of reading, and his contact with men in his political
and social relations, he is practically educated, and ranks with the well
informed men of the day. He has been fairly successful in financial affairs,
and has met with few reverses. The only heavy losses that he has sustained
were occasioned by others, whom his generous impulses prompted him to trust
and aid. He possesses quick and sincere sympathies, and is always ready
to help the worthy unfortunate. His sterling integrity and character have
won him the esteem and friendship of all his large circle of acquaintances
He united in marriage with Fanny, daughter of Orlando F. and Cecilia LEWIS,
of East Montpelier. Their children are K. Alice, born July 10, 1862, graduated
at Goddard Seminary, in Barre, in 1883, and is a teacher; Willard S., Jr.,
born January 28, 1868, who is now a student at Goddard Seminary; Orlando
L., born April 28, 1872; and Edgar L. and Arthur R., twins, born March
24, 1876. Arthur is deceased. The parents of Mrs. MARTIN, Orlando and Cecilia
LEWIS, had seven children, viz.: Mary, Christna, Fanny (Mrs. MARTIN), Lucy,
George W., Rev. J. JAY, and Orlando, Jr. Rev. J. Jay LEWIS has been pastor
of the South Boston Universalist church, of South Boston, Mass., for twenty
Parker PAGE, from Goffstown, N. H., came to Marshfield about 1805,
and settled on a farm where he spent the remainder of his life. His wife
was Polly MELLEN, and their six children are all deceased. Daniel, brother
of Parker PAGE, also settled on a farm in Marshfield, about 1810, where
he died in 1828. He married Rebecca FULLER, and they had eight children,
viz.: Mark M., LOVINA, Seth F., Daniel B., Ira F., Nathaniel C., J. Parker,
and Clarissa F. Mark M. married, first, Betsey STEVENS, who bore him four
children, viz.: Mary, Martha, Walter B., who lives in Plainfield, and Wilbur.
His second wife, Hannah BEAN, bore him five children, three of whom are
living, viz.: Laura (Mrs. George WELLS), Cora (Mrs. Henry DUNBAR), and
Ada (Mrs. Fred PERRIN). Lovina married Thomas HUTCHINSON. Their children
are Augusta and Clara (Mrs. Joseph BARTLETT). Seth F. married, first, Cynthia
FULLER. Of this marriage only one child, Mrs. Sidney BEMIS, is living.
His second wife was Alma AYERS, and their children are Fred, Frank, Bushrod
P., Arthur, Viola, Sarah, and Flora. Daniel B. married Aurora CLARK. Their
children are Sarah, De Witt, Alson, William, and Albert. Ira F. married
Eunice BANCROFT. Their children are Mason T., Josie M., Annie L., Emma
R., Dan I., and Alice P. Nathaniel C. was twice married. His first wife
was Lucinda WATERMAN, who was the mother of ten children, seven of whom
are living, viz.: Mark, J. Orvis, Maria L., Alonzo W., Ann E., Rebecca,
Nat. D., Willie S., Lovina, and Mary. J. PARKER married Eliza PERCY. Their
children are Lucy, Leonora, Frank P., Aram, and Willie. Clarissa F. married
Cotton W. ALVORD, and they had no children.
Newell GREELEY was born in Canterbury, N. H., in 1804, and was a
distant relative of the late Horace GREELEY. When be was seven years old
he came -with his mother and two younger sisters to Marshfield, Vt., where
he afterwards resided and was a farmer. He died October 20, 1851. He married
Miranda CATE. Their children were Arcllelaus, Ambrose N., Stephen, and
Webster. Ambrose N. GREELEY, the only one now living, married Ellen M.
PARKS, March 19, 1859. Their children were Elmer ELSWORTH, who died in
infancy, and Gertrude L. Mr. GREELEY is a mason, and with his wife and
daughter resides in Plainfield village.
Silas SKINNER, son of Giles, was brought to Plainfield by his parents
when he was but three years old, and always resided here except one year
spent in Croydon, N. H., where he married Betsey POWERS. Their children
were all sons. Edward R. lives in Tunbridge, Vt.; Silas W. settled in Lathrop,
Mo.; Josiah died at the age of seven years; and Nathan and Ezekiel live
in Plainfield. Nathan married Philena W. HOOKER, of Peacham, Vt. Their
children are Hartwell A., born September 12, 1854; Effie P., born February
6, 1856; Hiland H., born June 15, 1858, and is engaged in the postoffice
in New York city ; Eva S., born February 13, 1861; Minnie E., born August
8, 1865; Mittie P., born January 19, 1869; and Blanche H., born February
16, 1872. Mr. SKINNER is an enterprising and successful farmer, and has
given all his children an opportunity to gain a good education.
Sullivan B. GALE, son of John and Rebecca (BOUTWELL) GALE, was born
in Barre, February 20. 1816. He learned the tanners' trade of David FRENCH,
in his native town, and was employed at his trade by others until 1838,
when he bought the tannery of James FARMER, at Plainfield, which he conducted
until he sold it in 1867. Several years later he was again its owner, and
continued the business until 1886. He then disposed of it and retired from
active business. Mr. GALE has been married twice. His first wife was Margaret
FRENCH, of Barre, who was the mother of four children, three of whom are
now living, viz.: Eutheria (Mrs. Stephen SPENCER); Rev. Sullivan F., who
married Elizabeth FELT, of Temple, N. H., and is now a missionary at Jackson;
Fla., sent there by the American Home Missionary society; and Gertrude
(Mrs. George DODGE), of Berlin. He married, second, Laura W. BAILEY, of
Berlin, by whom he had nine children, five of whom are living, viz.: Mary
(Mrs. J. O. SHERBURNE); Dr. Fred P., who married Mary NEVINS, of Cabot,
where he is settled in the practice of his profession; Charles B., who
is in Florida; and Laura and Burton, who reside with their parents.
Hon. H. E. CUTLER, son of Jacob, was born in Orange, Vt. In 1874
he engaged in farming in Marshfield, which he continued until he purchased
the grist-mill he now owns, and removed to Plainfield village. He is a
man of good abilities, sound judgment, and great energy. He is appreciated
in his town, in which he takes an active interest, and has served as justice
of the peace, lister, selectman two years, and is now representative in
the state legislature.
The Revolutionary soldiers who resided in Plainfield were Lieut.
Joshua LAWRENCE, John BANCROFT, Solomon BARTLETT, and Moses REED.
Plainfield furnished sixty-eight soldiers in the late war of the
Rebellion, five of whom deserted, one was killed in battle, two died of
wounds, eleven died of disease, twelve were discharged before term of enlistment
expired, and thirty-seven served their term or were discharged at the close
of the war. Ten drafted men paid commutation and one sent a substitute.
The Congregational church of Plainfield was organized at the house
of Capt. Jonathan KINNE, November 13, 1799, under the name of "The Church
of Christ in Plainfield," by a council composed of Rev. Richard RANSOM,
of Woodstock, Rev. John RANSOM, of Rochester, Rev. James HOBART, of Berlin,
Dea William WOOD, of Woodstock, and Capt. Peter SALTER, of Orange. Dea.
Judah WILLEY, Henry TAFT, and Joseph STERLING, of Barre, were invited to
join the council. The church thus organized contained six members, viz.:
Capt. Jonathan KINNE, James PERRY, Esther PERRY, James BOUTWELL, BOUTWELL,
and Judith BATCHELDER. Capt. KINNE was the preacher until 1826, but was
not ordained or recognized by his ministerial brethren, because he disbelieved
in infant baptism. In 1829 Rev. Joseph THATCHER became the first settled
ordained pastor. The first house of worship was erected, of wood, in 1819,
and the present one, of the same material and on the site of the first
one, in 1854. The church now has a membership of fifty-four, with Rev.
W. T. SWINNERTON, pastor. The present church edifice was built at a cost
of $2,400. The church property, including buildings and grounds, is valued
at $4,000. The house will seat 200 people. Seventy children attend the
The Methodist Episcopal church of Plainfield was organized by Rev.
Nicholas SNEATHEN, in 1801. He was a very able man, and was chaplain of
Congress in 1812. He came to Seth FREEMAN's and attached nearly all the
people in the southern part of the town to the Methodist church, including
Dea. James PERRY, who became a Methodist preacher and the first that resided
in town. This church at its organization was a part of Barre circuit, and
had no pastor stationed here until David KILBURN came in 1812, and again
in 1825. In 1819 a house was built of wood in the village, for the Methodist
society, with an agreement that when they had no preacher "any other Christian
denomination such as Calvinists, Anti-Baptists, Freewill Baptists, Friends,
so-called, Universalists, etc., who had a preacher might occupy it." The
parsonage (the Asa WASHBURN place), including fifteen acres, was given
to this church by judge KINNE, in 1820. This was afterwards sold and another
bought in the village. In 1852, when Rev. Peter MERRILL was pastor, the
church edifice was sold to the Baptists and removed, and the present church
was built at a cost of nearly $1,600. The church now has a membership of
158, under the pastoral care of Rev. C. H. FARNSWORTH. The church will
comfortably seat about 275, and the entire church property is valued at
$5,000. In addition the church has a fund of $1,600, bequeathed by the
late Elijah BATCHELDER. The Sunday-school has 200 scholars and an average
attendance of 110. Mr. H. Q. BERRY has been its superintendent the last
The Church of the Restoration was organized in 1840, by Rev. Samuel
H. TABOR, who was the first pastor and remained three years. In 1841 the
present house of worship was built, of wood, at a cost of $1,770, above
the foundations, and when supplied-with furniture and a bell the entire
cost was $2,300. The estimated value of the church property, including
grounds, at the present time, is $2000. The church edifice will comfortably
seat 350 persons. The church is now without a regular pastor, but has an
occasional supply. The Sunday-school has thirty scholars.
Of Washington County, Vt. 1783-1899,
and Published by Hamilton Child,
By William Adams.
Journal Company, Printers and Binders.
N. Y.; April, 1889.
by Karima Allison, 2003
History by Cora Copping