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      PLYMOUTH lies in the western part of the county, in lat. 43° 31', and long. 4° 19', bounded north by Bridgewater, east by Reading, south by Ludlow and Mt. Holly, and west by Shrewsbury. It was granted by New Hampshire, with an area of 25,600 acres, to Jeremiah HALL, John GRIMES and sixty-two others, by the name of Saltash, July 6, 1761. Although early divided and surveyed under this charter, however, the town was regranted by New York on the 13th of May, 1772, to Ichabod FISHER. The name of Saltash was retained until February 23, 1797, when it was changed to Plymouth. October 21, 1823, one square mile of the town was set off to Shrewsbury, in Rutland county, other than which no changes have been made in its limits.

      The surface of the town is bold and rugged, while deep eroded valleys and numerous transverse gorges render the scenery beautiful and picturesque. To the geologist is afforded ample opportunities for study, and the lover of the beautiful in nature meets upon every side with objects of interest and admiration. Very few, if any, towns in the State possess such a variety of mineral wealth, or abound in objects so replete with instruction, or so full of interest as those in Plymouth. Drift phenomena are abundant and interesting. Terraces of considerable magnitude, lateral and terminal moraines, drift and glacier striae, old river beds, extensive erosions, -- the extent of some of them being definitely fixed, by the existence of pot-holes 342 feet above the valley, upon the mountains, -- are all found in great perfection. Here, too, tertiary deposits, embracing brown hematite, kaolin, quartz sand, and manganese, are found to a considerable extent. Upon the western side of the ponds, beds of conglomerate rock abound, in which may be seen pebbles, imbedded in a chloritic matrix, that insensibly pass into talcose schist, the rounded pebbles gradually becoming flattened as though they had become softened and been subjected to powerful pressure. The flattened pebbles gradually spread out as the beds approach the north. At the distance of one mile from the spot where conglomerate rock abounds in great perfection, and to the north in the same beds, there may be found a rock which usually would be denominated talcose schist, in which there are apparently interstratified beds or seams of quartz. But no practiced eye would fail to discover by tracing these conglomerate beds that what appear to be seams of quartz amid strata of talcose schist, are in fact but the flattened pebbles of quarts that once helped to form the conglomerate from which the talcose schists were derived through the agency of metamorphism.

      The general division of the rocks, roughly stated, is as follows: From the west border of the town to the Black river valley, gneiss; through the valley, sacchcaroid assoc. limestone and quartz; from this point east the residue of the rocks is principally made up of talcose schist. There are, however, several small beds of steatite, granite, syenite and protogine. There is an alternation of talcose schist and limestone near the junction of the schist and the gneiss, and in the vicinity of the tertiary deposits. It is from these beds of impure limestone, or from some of them, that the material of which the beds of hematite are composed was obtained. The weathering of the edges of some of these limestones give unmistakable evidence of the existence of iron ore in them, which, by decomposition, becomes the oxyd of iron -- the material composing brown hematite. Beds and veins of specular iron ore, of considerable size, are also associated with the impure limestones, Isaac TYSON, Esq., of Baltimore, came here in 1835 and established works at what is now known as Tyson Furnace, and worked the ore for several years, but nothing is now done in this direction. Quartz sand, kaolin and manganese are found associated with the iron, and occur in beds nearly conformable with the beds of rock beneath.

      In the limestone regions of the northwestern portion of the town there are two caverns, near each other. The first is quite extensive, having in it some six or seven apartments, the largest of which is about thirty feet wide and fifteen feet high. Many persons visit this cave, and it well repays them for their trouble. Stalactites and stalagmites were once quite abundant in it, but now are mostly carried off by those who have visited it. Encrustation's of limestone, recently formed and now forming by the water that trickles down the walls, are abundant and some of the mammillary varieties are quite interesting. West of it, a few rods, is another small cave, which is rarely visited in consequence of the difficulty found in getting in and out of it. They are situated upon the hillside not far from the highway passing up Black river valley. They were evidently formed through the agency of running water, assisted by the rapid decomposition of the limestone in which they are situated. Some of this limestone has been sawed and used for marble, a portion of which is found to be one of the most durable marbles found in the State. It is of a mottled-gray color, of fine texture, and, although quite hard, is worked smooth with comparative ease and is susceptible of an excellent polish.

      Black river rises in the northwestern part of the town, and there is connected with it a rather remarkable circumstance. Several springs, far up the mountain, issue from the ground and form a small brook, called Split brook, which is the main stream emptying into Black pond, from which Black river takes its rise. In its course down the side of the mountain, Split brook strikes against a rock that divides the stream, one-half of which runs to the north, after reaching the foot of the mountain, and helps to form Quechee river, while the other runs to the south into Black pond. Black river runs south in a line with the rock strata, as far as Ludlow village, and along its banks are seen numerous outcrops of limestone. During the season of low water the stream disappears in the vicinity of Plymouth cave, and after running several rods through the fissures in the limestone, again appears at the surface. The river also passes into and helps to form Plymouth ponds-two beautiful sheets of water, each of which is about one mile in length. Between these ponds there is a conical hill, composed of gravel and numerous water-worn rocks and small bowlders. It appears to be unmodified drift, and doubtless is a terminal moraine, left there during the glacial epoch. There is good evidence that the valley of the river, from its source to Ludlow village, is one erosion, and that the occurrence of limestone beds gave rise to the existence of the valley.

      Numerous brooks are distributed over the territory, affording ample irrigation, and, together with the river, contain many excellent mill-sites, while they go far towards making up the pleasing landscape picture that the township presents. The soil of the town is usually good, yielding fair crops of grain and grasses.

      Plymouth, however, is principally noted for its gold diggings, the purity of the ore exceeding that generally found in California. During the year 1855, several who had worked in California, struck with the similarity of the rock formations and encouraged by the occurrence of gold in Bridgewater, commenced the work of prospecting in Vermont, and generally were able to "raise color," while in some instances nuggets of considerable size were found. During that season about $700.00 worth was obtained from all the diggings in the State, of which about $500.00 worth was from Plymouth. Darns were built, sluices were erected, and for a time there was a prospect that the gold fever would rage to an alarming extent in the town, which was so noted for the good health and industrious habits of its citizens. But upon the whole, gold hunting did not prove profitable that season, and during the two following seasons little or no gold washing was done in the town. In the autumn of 1858, William HANKERSON, a returned Californian, who had discovered gold in Plymouth in 1855, commenced digging with a fair prospect of success. He secured a claim at the Five Corners, and in digging over a space less than two rods square, extracted therefrom over $400.00 worth of gold. From that time up to the present, the interest in the diggings has fluctuated, though it looks at present more prosperous than ever.

      In 1880 the Plymouth Gold Mining Company, was organized, with Seth E. BROWN, president, John WHETHERBEE, secretary and treasurer, and J. W. WILDER, superintendent, with a capital of $50,000.00. This company owns about sixty acres of land at the Five Corners, where it has worked placer claims for two seasons with fair success, though the scarcity of water and large numbers of bowlders in the stream prohibits the working of the gravel to advantage. The two largest nuggets found on this claim were worth about $40.00 each, it is claimed. The company proposes soon to sink a shaft on one of their quartz veins that promises well at the surface, and if the vein proves good they propose to put up a mill and treat the ore at the mine.

      The Rooks Mining Company was organized under the laws of the State of New York, October 2, 1882, with its principal office in the city of New York, treasurer's office in Boston, Mass., and manager's office at the mines and mills in Plymouth. The company's property consists of about 400 acres of mineral land, embracing the valuable gold diggings on Buffalo, Reading and Gold brooks, on which placer mining has been conducted the past twenty-five years. The owners, prior to this company, were C. C. ROOKS, of Stonewall, Indian Territory, Joseph R. HARRIS and Anthony BLUM, of St. Lotus, Mo., Henry FOX, of New York city, and J. C. BLUM, of Towanda, Pa., who purchased this property in the spring of 1880 for the purpose of placer mining. While thus carrying on placer mining, a valuable mineral lode was discovered by Joseph R. HARRIS, whereupon Anthony BLUM, the mining engineer of the party, with a support of miners, immediately pushed forward the development of this new discovery, and now has about 400 lineal feet of underground work, showing the lode to be a true fissure. Its average width is about five feet, and it is well mineralized. The party under the management of Mr. BLUM erected an extensive plant of modern mining and milling machinery, for the purpose of mining, milling, and reducing the ore and refining the gold, and a gravity plane for conveying the ore from mine to mill, and dwelling-houses, etc., for the accommodation of manager and operatives of the property. As stated, the discoverers, developers and creators of this mine and plant sold to The ROOKS Mining Company, who are now operating the same under the management of Anthony BLUM and Prof. Henry FOX, and are receiving big returns from the ore they work, which yields an average of over $40.00 gold per ton.

      In 1880 Plymouth had a population of 1,075, and in 1882 was divided into sixteen school districts and contained sixteen common schools, employing two male and twenty-two female teachers, to whom was paid an aggregate salary of $1,451.93. There were 318 pupils attending common school, while the entire cost of the schools for the year, ending October 31, was $1,613.55 with Julia A. EMERY, superintendent.

      PLYMOUTH UNION, a post village located in the western part of the town, on Black river, contains one church (Methodist), three stores, the Vermont Liberal Institute, two hotels, two chair stretcher factories, the usual complement of mechanic shops, etc., and about one hundred inhabitants. Its name was derived from a union store once located here.
      TYSON FURNACE is a small post village located in the southern part of the town on the line of Ludlow. It contains one store, a hotel, a saw, clapboard, chair-stock and grist-mill, a school-house, public hall, blacksmith shop, cheese factory, and about seventy-five inhabitants.
      PLYMOUTH, a post village located in the central part of the town, contains one church (Union), one store, a blacksmith shop, school-house, and about forty inhabitants.
      FIVE CORNERS is a hamlet located in the eastern part of the town.
      Frederick A. BUTLER's saw, shingle, chair-stock and grist-mill, located on Black river, near road 3, has the capacity for cutting 5,000 feet of lumber, 5,000 shingles and about 10,000 chair stretchers per day, while the grist-mill operates one run of stones.

      John P. ALWARD's saw-mill located on road 28, cuts 80,000 feet of lumber and 10,000 lath per annum.

      PARKER & PIPER's steam saw-mill, located on Black river, was built in 1878. It gives employment to about twenty-five hands and manufactures 1,500,000 feet of lumber per year.

      FULLAM & ADAMS's saw-mill, located on road 28, is operated by a forty horse-power engine, and manufactures 600,000 feet of lumber per year.

      A. F. HUBBARD's saw and grist-mill, located at Tyson Furnace, manufactures 500,000 feet of lumber, 200,000 feet of clapboards, 500,000 shingles, and thirty car loads of chair stock per annum.

      HUBBARD & SCOTT's cheese factory, located at Tyson Furnace, manufactures twelve tons of cheese per year.

      A. A. SUMNER's saw and grist-mill, located on road 40, cuts 100,000 feet of lumber and butter tub stock per year. The grist-mill has two runs of stones.

      E. A. HALL's lime kiln, located on road 2, burns about 1,000 barrels of lime per year.

      S. S. F. PINNEY's saw-mill, located on road 1, cuts 200,000 feet of lumber yearly.

      George M. WHITNEY's chair-stretcher factory, located at Plymouth Union, turns out 1,000,000 chair-stretchers annually.

      P. P. & H. P. CRANDALL's lime kiln, located on road 2, burns 1,000 barrels of lime per year.

      Horace N. WARD's lime kiln, located on road 2, burns 500 barrels of lime per year.

      SANDERSON & SUMNER's chair-stretcher factory, at Plymouth Union, turns out two car loads of stretchers per month.

      MOORE & CLAY's saw and cider-mill, on road 2, cuts 200,000 feet of lumber and manufactures 500 barrels of cider per annum.

      John W PIERCE, on road 2, is engaged in the manufacture of pail-handles, butter-stamps, rolling-pins, lath, etc.

      Christopher C. HALL's line-kiln, on road 3, burns 1,600 barrels of lime per year.

      Henry F. PINNEY's saw and cider-mill, located on road 8, has the capacity for manufacturing 4,000 feet of lumber per day, and 500 barrels of cider annually.

      Lyman V PINNEY's saw-mill, located on road 10, cuts 40,000 feet of coarse lumber and 125,000 pieces of toy-stock per year.

      Francis H. COOK, on road 9, manufactures 200 gross of scythe stones per year.

      The settlement of Plymouth was commenced by John MUDGE, in 1777, and his son, William, was the first child born in the township. Mr. MUDGE was soon after followed by Aaron HEWETT and others; but the settlement was not rapid, there being a population of only 106 here in 1791. It is not known just when the town was organized, though it is supposed to have been in 1787, when Adam BROWN was elected town clerk. The first meeting recorded in the town records was held at the dwelling of Lieut. BROWN, in March, 1789, when the following officers were elected: Jacob WILDER, town clerk; Samuel PAGE, Moses PRIEST and John COOLIDGE, selectmen; and Ebenezer WILDER, Jonathan WILDER and Nathan JONES, Jr., listers. The first justice of the peace was Asa BRIGGS, in 1792. The first representative was Moses PRIEST, in 1795. The first marriage recorded is that of Adam BROWN and Huldah TEMPLE, September 18, 1789.

      John TAYLOR, from Carlisle, Mass., came to Plymouth in 1784, and located upon the farm now occupied by his grandson. Reuben TAYLOR. Mr. TAYLOR had a family of nine children, only one of whom, Mrs. Betsey COOLIDGE, of Rochester, Vt., is now living. Reuben TAYLOR, father of the present Reuben; born on the old homestead, held many of the town offices, and died in 1876, aged eighty-two years.

      Lieut. Bowman BROWN, from Lunenburg, Mass., came here some time previous to 1789, locating on the river road about midway between Plymouth Union and Tyson Furnace. Mr. BROWN was a lieutenant in the Revolutionary war, and was in service at the battle of Bennington. His son Thomas came to Plymouth with him and died here in 1839. Ten of his twelve children attained a mature age, and two, James S. and George, now are residents of the town.

      Jacob WILDER, from Lancaster, Mass., also came here previous to 1789, and held several of the town offices for many years. His son Calvin, born here, died in 1864. Calvin's son Seth is still a resident of the town.

      Moses PRIEST came here from Marlboro, Mass., at an early date in the history of the town. He was one of the first selectmen, first representative, and held the office of town clerk thirty-two consecutive years. His death occurred in 1857, at the age of ninety-six years. Three of his children now reside here, one, Nancy FOREST, being eighty-four years of age. She resides with her brother, James G., on road 28.

      Adam BROWN, the first town clerk, came here from Massachusetts at a very early day. His granddaughter, Mrs. W. H. SAWYER, now resides here upon the farm her father, Israel P. BROWN, occupied for more than sixty years. Israel died in 1867, aged eighty-six years.

      Asa WHEELER, an early settler, came here from Carlisle, Mass., and located about a mile from Plymouth Notch. Few of his descendants are now left in the town. His grandson, Cephas, resides on road 10.

      Lewis CARLISLE came here at an early day and located at the Five Corners, where his: son Lorenzo now resides. He reared a family of eleven children, seven of whom are now living, and died in 1875.

      Jonathan PINNEY, from Guilford, Vt., came to Plymouth at an early day and located at what is now known as PINNEY Hollow, upon the farm owned by Hiram BEDELL. He reared a family of eleven children, and many of his descendants now reside in the town. Horatio came with his father and died in 1845. Horatio's son, Henry F., born in 1819, has held many of the town offices, among which, that of justice of the peace for ten years. Another son, Solomon, came with Jonathan. His sons Lyman N. and Horatio E. now reside here.

      Ephraim MOORE came here among the early settlers, and located at Plymouth Notch, where his grandson, Ephraim, now resides. He reared a family of six children, and died in 1833. Joseph, son of Ephraim the elder, was born here in 1704, and like his father, held many of the town trusts. His death occurred in 1881. His widow now resides on road 16. Two of their sons, Levi B. and Milton G., are also residents of the town. The former is a merchant and the constable and collector for the town. The latter, residing on road 15, is overseer of the poor and 1st selectman.

      Luther FRANKLIN, from Guilford, Vt., was an early settler, locating at Pinney Hollow. He died in 1841, aged seventy-six years. Two of his daughters, Mrs. Hiram D. MOOR, whose husband came to Plymouth in 1833, and Percilla, widow of Joseph MOOR reside here.

      Stephen DIX came here with his parents, from Cavendish, at an early day, resided upon the farm now owned by his son Samuel, and died in 1867.

      Captain John COOLIDGE, a Revolutionary officer, from Lancaster, Mass., came to the town in 1791, and located upon the place now occupied by H. McWAIN, who married his granddaughter. He died March 23, 1822. Calvin COOLIDGE located upon a farm at Plymouth Notch, in 1801, and died there in 1833. On this farm Calvin C. was born, in 1815, and resided on the old homestead over sixty-three years. He held the office of justice of the peace twenty years, was agent for the town ten years, constable six years, selectman three years, and representative two years. He died December 15, 1878. His son John has held the office of constable and collector, has been superintendent of schools, selectman, and represented the town from 1872 to 1878.

      Isaiah BOYNTON, from Westford, Mass., came to Plymouth about 1795, and located on road 34, upon the farm now owned by Amos BOYNTON. He held many 0f the town offices, reared a family of ten children, four of whom are now living, and died in 1851, aged eighty-one years.

      Luther JOHNSON, from Chester, Vt., came here in 1800, and located about a mile east of the center of the town, where he reared a family of seven children, three of whom are now living, and died in 1838.

      Benjamin CARPENTER, from Springfield, Mass., came here in 1808, locating just north of Pinney Hollow, and died in 1879. His widow and four of their children now reside here.

      Rodolphus SPRAGUE, from Pembroke, Mass., came to Cavendish in 1799, and from there to Plymouth in 1809, locating where Hiram D. MOOR now resides. Here his father, Nathan, kept a tavern a number of years. Rodolphus was a veteran of the war of 1812, and drew a pension at the time of his death, November 29, 1881, aged ninety-two years.

      Alpheus EARLE came to this town, from Battleboro, Vt., about 1815, locating at the Five Corners. His widow and the only surviving one of their eight children, Alpheus N., now reside here.

      John STICKNEY, from Grafton, Mass., came to Plymouth in 1818 and died here October 16, 1846. John W. is the only surviving one of three children. He was born in Grafton in 1818, and has held all of the town offices except that of town clerk.

      Isaac GREEN, from Cavendish, Vt., located in the southwestern part of the town in 1817, reared a family of nine children, and died in 1853. One of his sons, Levi J., residing at Plymouth Union, has held most of the town offices, and represented the town in 1882.

      Willard EMERY, came to Plymouth, from Rockingham, Vt., in 1830 and located near Tyson Furnace, where he died in 1844. He left four sons, only one of whom, Charles, now resides here.

      Dr. Charles A. SCOTT was born in Cavendish in 1819, graduated from the Castleton Medical School in 1843, and located in Plymouth in 1844, where he has since been engaged in practice. He has twice represented the town in the general assembly and once in the State senate.

      Marshall WILLIS, a native of England, settled in Plymouth previous to 1785, and remained here until his death, rearing three sons, Marshall, Jr., Elijah and John. Marshall, Jr., has always resided in the town. He married Esther HADLEY and reared seven children, four of whom are living, though only one, J. H. WILLIS, in this town. H. O. WILLIS, son of James, carries on the blacksmith business at Plymouth village.

      John WARD was born in Springfield, Vt., September 3, 1803, married Salome MORGAN, of Cavendish, and came to Plymouth in 1835, locating on road 2, where his widow now resides. He died July 15, 1880. Six of their seven children are living, viz: Mrs. Sarah N. GILSON, in Brooklyn, N. Y., Eli N., in Wallingford, Vt., J. W., in West Virginia, and Horace H., Augusta C. and Ella A. (AYRES), in this town.

      Nathan HALL came to Plymouth, from Massachusetts, about 1795, and located on road 2, upon the farm now owned by his son, Nathan, Jr. He reared a family of seven children, all of whom, except one, Daniel, who removed to Wisconsin, settled in the town.

      Moses POLLARD was born in New Ipswich, N. H., February 29. 1772, married Abigail BOYNTON, and came to Plymouth in 1792, locating at what is known as the "Kingdom," where the ROOKS Mining Company have erected their works. Of his family of ten children, all attained an age of over fifty years, and five are still living. 

Gazetteer of Towns
Gazetteer and Business Directory of 
Windsor County, Vt., For 1883-84
Compiled and Published By Hamilton Child,
Syracuse, N. Y. Printed January, 1884.
Page 169-177.

Transcribed by Karima Allison ~ 2004