XX indexVermont  




      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 Newbury.

      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 part.

      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 to Indiana.

      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 6, 1796.

      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 tubs.

      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 years.

      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 Sunday-school.

      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 thirty-five years.

      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.

Gazetteer Of Washington County, Vt. 1783-1899, 
Compiled and Published by Hamilton Child,
Edited By William Adams.
The Syracuse Journal Company, Printers and Binders.
Syracuse, N. Y.; April, 1889.
Pages 435 - 443

Transcribed by Karima Allison, 2003

Plainfield History by Cora Copping