VHG Manchester, Bennington County, Vt.











The north part of Bennington County, including Manchester, was seldom visited by the white man previous to its permanent setュtlement. The French, who at all times from 1609, frequented the shores of lake Chamュplain, never explored, it is believed, the reュgions eastward of the lake, below the present town of Whitehall; while the routes by which the military and other excursions from New England, Albany and New York reached lake Champlain and Canada, led on the N. E. across the Green Mountains, or on the West, beside the banks of the Hudson.

Indian relics, found within the. limits of Manchester, attest the former presence, and permanent residence of the red man. Indeed the character of the country, with its pleasュant valleys, its adjacent hills and mountains, and its numerous streams, was such, we may


suppose, as to be well suited to his inclinaュtions and tastes.

The Charter of Manchester, given by Govュernor Wentworth, dated Aug. 11th, 1761, though much damaged is still in possession of the town. It conveys, the township in the usual form of the N. H. Grants, to 64 grantees, therein mentioned. The Grant, 6 miles square, was bounded thus: "Beginュing at the North East corner of Arlington, from thence due North by Sandgate six miles to the North East corner thereof; from thence due East six miles; from thence due South six miles to the North East corner of Sunderland; from thence due West by Sunュderland to the North West corner of Sunderュland aforesaid, being the bound begun at." Arlington and Sunderland had been charterュed a few days prior; Sandgate the same day. The other bordering county towns, were not chartered till a short time subsequent.

The grantees were, with few if any excepュtions, residents of New Hampshire, and no one of them, it is believed, ever set foot withュin the town. It is said that a small party from the East side of Dutchess County N .Y., soon after the date of the Charter, finding themselves accidentally within the valley of the Battenkill, and the present limits of Manchester, were so far pleased with the apュpearance of the country as to undertake its purchase. Be that as it may, previous to Dec. 11, 1764, the original grantees had transferred a large interest in the township to sundry individuals near Amoenia, N. Y. At a meeting of the proprietors of the town of Manchester, held in Amoenia, Dec. 11, 1764, we find only 21 of the shares not repreュsented: [Proprietor's Records, pp. 48.]

The first meeting of the proprietors, was held at the house of Capt Michael Hopkins, in Amoenia, Feb. 14, 1764, Samuel Rose, Moderator, and Jonathan Ormsby, Clerk. It was then voted to run out the limits of the town, and to lay out to each of the origュinal proprietors 100 acres; the surveyor to begin as soon as the 1st of May next. This 1st division of lots was made during the sumュmer of 1761. Most of the territory embraced in this division, containing nearly 7000 acres, was situated in the south and southwest parts of the town, and beside the west branch of the Battenkill, including the site of Manュchester village and Factory Point; Manchester village being mainly on lots No. 1, 2, 40, and 41, and Factory Point on Nos. 57, 58, 65, and 66. Most of' these lots were parallelograms, 160 by 100 rods, but a few were 320 by 50.

Feb. 4th, 1766, it was voted, at Amoenia, to make a 2nd division of 50-acre lots; and Nov. 6, 1771, a 3rd division, of the same size, to be laid under the superintendence of Martin Powell and Stephen Smith, with Jeremiah French, surveyor. Most of the lots of the 2nd and 3rd divisions were laid in the east, north and northwest parts of the township.

The proprietors first held a meeting at Manchester, April 22, 1773. Here it was voュted to lay out a village plot, as a 4th division of lots; but it was not run out till Oct. 7th, 1784. The plot contains 70 lots, of an acre each; the corner of the first lot begins "at a birch tree four rods north of the foot of the hill that is called Hogs Back," thence W. 10 deg. N. 7 lots, thence N. 10 deg. E. 10 lots.

The site of this plot had been cleared by the Indians, for an encampment, to which fact is attributed its selection for the proposュed village; though most pleasantly situated on the west bank of the Battenkill, it has never been occupied as a village.

A 5th division of 50 acre lots was voted Oct. 2, 1783. It appears that certain formュalities in regard to giving notice to the proュprietors were prerequisite to making a divisュion. These however were removed by act of the Legislature, Oct. 22, 1788, and the proュprietors authorized to divide the remainder of the township as they saw fit. In accord once with the provisions of this act, a 6th division was voted, the 1st Thursday of Februュary, 1789. The method of procedure, in this instance, was similar to what it had been aforetime; the choice was determined by chance, and each proprietor, in his order, alュlowed one day to select and lay his lot under the superintendence of a committee.

The 7th and last division of 50 acres was voted Sept. 22, 1802, and made under the, superintendence of Serenus Swift, Christopher Roberts and Simeon Hazleton.

Had the full amount of the previous divisュions been appropriated, little or nothing would have remained for a 7th division; but a part of the proprietors failed to claim their shares; yet their claims were recognized as soon as presented, and they were permitted to lay their shares in the previous divisions on any unoccupied lands. Most of the valuュable land was disposed of by the first three divisions; there is now very little land left worth surveying, yet negligent proprietors continue to "take up" their shares even to the present.




There is little doubt but that the first perュmanent settlement was made in the summer of 1764, and in the S. W. part of the town, on lands now owned by the Purdeys and Pet‑


tebones. It is said that Samuel Rose built the first house, on the farm now owned by Hon. J. S. Pettebone; doubtless in 1764 or 1765 as it appears that in the spring of 1765, emigrants on their way northward from Salュisbury, Ct., found no houses north of Manュchester. [ Swift's History of Middlebury, pp. 168.]

The first framed house was also built by Samuel Rose, in 1769, not far from the point at the foot of the hill, where the highway to Bennington approaches the Skinner-hollow brook. In 1768, the inhabitants were almost entirely from Dutchess County. A few however, came from Berkshire Co., Mass.

The towns of Vermont were generally setュtled by emigrants from other New England States, and particularly Connecticut. Manュchester, differing, in this particular, traces her origin to those coming from New York; yet it is doubted whether in the struggle to cast off the New York jurisdiction, Manchesュter was less disposed to assert the doctrine of "State Rights," or less zealous in the cause of state independence than her sister communities.

The S. W. and N. W. sections of the town, were at first most numerously occupied. At an early period, there was a small village on the main road a mile south of the Court House, near the present residence of Hon. M. Hawley; there was also a road for several miles, west of the present highway from So. Dorset to Sunderland. Along this, houses were once quite frequent; but which now, together with the road itself have disappeared altogether.

The FIRST TOWN MEETING was held the second Tuesday of March, 1766, Benjamin Johns, Moderator, and Stephen Mead, Town Clerk.

Dec. 3, 1778; it was voted to construct a MEETING HOUSE, 30 feet square, and a comュmittee from "towns indifferent," consisting of Maj. Jeremiah Clark, of Shaftsbury, Capt. Daniel Smith and Mr. Moses Robinson of Rupert, were appointed to select the site. The next June it was voted that the meeting house should be 40 by 36 feet, two stories and placed near where Christopher Roberts then lived not far from where Mr. E. L. Way now lives. It is said that the timbers were framed at that place and the contemplated 'raising' filed only for want of the framework which contrary to the arrangements was transported by night to the village. The building was erected probably in 1780, a few feet north of the present Congregational Church, and occupied by the Congregational society till 1829, when it gave place to a more convenient edifice.




In Sept., 1770, it was voted to instruct the representatives to endeavour to obtain the reュpeal of an act of the Legislature of 1779, making provisions for building a court house and jail at Bennington. Shaftsbury was first selected as the site for the county buildings, then Bennington, and afterward Manchester and Bennington. The committee on location for those to be erected at Manchester, were anxious to place them some where near the Baptist church at Factory Point, on land givュen to Timothy Mead for erecting the first grist-mill; but Mr. Mead refusing to have them built at that point, they were by the exertions of Martin Powell. who resided where the main road north to Dorset and the cross-road to Factory Point intersect, located on the hill north of Way's and Chamberlin's mills. The timbers were framed, but subsequently used, it appears, for a dwelling house. Partly through the exertions of Gideon Ormsュby, who resided in the south part of the town, on what is now called the Skinner farm, the county buildings were erected in 1787, on the present site of the Manchester hotel; the court house and jail were parts of the same structure; the expense of building the court house was defrayed by subscription, that of the jail by the State; the site of the jail has not been changed. A new court house was erected in 1822, by subscription, and repaired and enlarged, at the expense of the County, in 1849. Previous to the erection of the court house, the courts were held eithュer at the meeting house, the tavern stand of Eliakim Weller, or that of Jared Munson, situated where his grand son, Benjamin Munュson, now resides.

In 1783 the town was divided into 5 school districts. In 1787, the scarcity of a currency in those ante-bank times is evinced by fixing the prices of grain to be taken in payment of taxes.




In the controversy with New York, respectュing her claims to the New Hampshire Grants, Oct. 9, 1766, a committee was sent by the town to New York "to negotiate our affairs for the township of Manchester."

Aug. 27, 1772, the committees of the sevュeral towns assembled in convention at Manュchester. A reply to the reproachful letter of Gov. Tryon dated Aug. 11, 1772, was prepared and forwarded; this document, in a mild conciliatory manner, exculpates the "Green Mountain Boys" from Gov. Tryon's censure, and firmly maintains the justice of their cause, and rectitude of their intentions.


[Thomp's Vt. Part .II, pp, 25 Slade's State Papers, pp. 30.]


"There are," says the latter, "two propュositions which are the objects of our intenュtions. Firstly; the protection and maintainュing our property; and secondly; to use the greatest care and prudence not to break the articles of public faith or insult governmentュal authority."

Oct. 21, 1772, the committees again met at Manchester, when it was decreed, among othュer things, "That no person on the Grants should accept or hold any office under the auュthority of New York," and "all civil and military officers who had accepted under the authority of New York were required to suspend their functions on the pain of being 'viewed;' " also "that no person should take grants or conformation of grants under the government of New York."

In 1773, at the annual March meeting, the inhabitants of Manchester voted "that we will not pursue the getting the jurisdiction back to New Hampshire at the present;" it will be recollected that the King in council, July 20, 1764, had fixed the west hank of the Connecticut river as the boundary between New York and New Hampshire, which fact may account for the forgoing vote.

March 1, 1774, the Committees met at the tavern stand of Eliakim Weller (on the premュises long occupied by the Hon. Leonard Sarュgeant,) but the meeting was subsequently adjourned to Arlington. At this session the "most minatory and despotic acts of the New York assembly for the suppression and apprehension of the Bennington mob," were considered, and in reference thereto it was voted "that as a country we will stand by and defend our friends and neighbors who are indicted at the expense of our lives and fortunes."

Nov. 1, 1774, it was voted "it is our choice that authority act freely on the New Hampュshire Grants;'' which appears to refer to the increate government formed by the settlers.

March 12, 1776, Joseph Lockwood, Daniel Beardsley and Martin Powell were appointed a committee to act with the other committees upon the N. H. Grants with regard to the tiュtle of our land; at the same time Samuel Rose, Wm. Marsh and Eliakim Weller to corュrespond with the other committees of' Charュlotte county, Manchester being, under the New York jurisdiction, the south township Charlotte county. [Thomp's Vt. Part II, pp. 20; Probate records Manchester District, vol. I, pp. 1,) and not the northern town of Albany county, as conjectured in Slade's State Papers, pp. 42, note.





The first town record in reference to the Revolutionary war, appears Feb. 17, 1777. "It is our opinion that it is not best, at presュent, to raise a sum of money for a bounty for soldiers on the New Hamp. Grants." In 1777, Stephen Washburn, Elisha Tracy, Marュtin Powell, Gideon Ormsby, Thomas Bull, and in November 1777, Thomas Barney, Feュlix Powell and Jeremiah Whelply were selected as a Committee of Safety for the year ensuing.

July 15, 1777, the Council of Safety met at Manchester. This Council had been appointed by the Convention, convened at Windsor to discuss and adopt the Constitution, but which had been prematurely dissolved (July 2, 1777,) by Burgoyne's invasion. The Counュcil was to act during the recess of the Convention. The records of this body, prior to Aug. 15, 1777, are irrecoverably lost.

The meeting at Manchester was probably the first session of the Council, it was held at the tavern owned, and probably kept by William Marsh, standing on the spot now covered by the south wing of the Vanderlip House.

Thompson, in his entertaining work, 'The Rangers, or the Tory's Daughter,' has given at length a fancy sketch of this meeting, its members and proceedings. At this session, doubtless, were inaugurated the policy for confiscating the estates of Tories to defray the expenses of the war; this policy, which is attributed to the invention of Ira Allen, is believed to have had its origin in Vermont, and was subsequently productive of most imュportant results. In accordance therewith, large sums of money were raised; not less than $12,000 or $15,000 being paid in the township of Manchester for purchases of reュal estate.

The following, copied from the town recュords, are parts of a deed, from John Fasset, one of the commissioners of sequestration, to Samuel Pettebone, of the farm now occupied by Hon. John S. Pettebone.

"To all people to whom these presents shall come, greeting. Know ye that I, John Fasset, Com. of sale of confiscated lands &c. in the probate district Manchester, County of Bennington and State of Vermont, for and in consideration of 784 pounds, nine shillings to me in hand paid before the delivery hereof by Samuel Pettebone of Lanesborough in the County of Berkshire and State of Mass. Bay the receipt whereof I do hereby acknowledge in the name and behalf of the representatives of the freemen of the State have given &c,

* * * * : the aforesaid tract or farm being forfeited to this State by Samuel Rose by his treasonable conduct * * * *


Furthermore I do by these presents in my said capacity and for the representatives of the freemen of this State, covenant for ever to warrant and defend the above granted and bargained premises from all claims and demands made by any person or persons claimュing or demanding the same by, from or for the forfeitor or on any proprietorship under the grants of the government of New Hamp. State &c. , January 21, 1779."

It was also agreed to raise all the men posュsible, to oppose the enemy who were advancing toward Fort Edward. A company named the Rangers, was speedily formed and particュipated in the battle of Bennington. Disュpatches were sent from this Assembly to the Councils of Safety in N. H. and Mass., requesting them, in the most urgent terms, to send troops to their assistance. New Hampshire hastened to comply, by sending Gen. Stark with 850 men, who joined the Green Mountain Boys, collected at Manchester, to the number of 600, under the command of Col. Seth Warner. Cannon balls found in the south part of the village disclose the viュcinity, of Stark's encampment. Gen. Stark remained at Manchester till August 9th, when he moved forward to Bennington. The remnant of Warner's regiment, which was then only 130 men, remained at Manchester till August 15th, when they advanced to Benュnington, arriving just in time to decide the fate of the contest.

At a town meeting held Apr. 9, 1778, it was voted "that we make a rate of $4,50 for a bounty for nine men to guard our frontiers to the northward."

July 3, 1780 」1000 were voted "to raise men to support the northern frontier;" the same year 」431 were voted for the same purュpose, to be paid in money or provisions.

Feb. 19, 1781, provision was made for the payment of the volunteers in the three last "alarms." March 22, 1782, 」250 were voted to raise 10 men for the war.


LEGISLATURE, &c. Previous to the selecュtion of Montpelier, in 1808, as the permaュnent capital of the state, three sessions of the Legislature were held at Manchester. The first, Oct. 14, 1779. It convened at the tavern stand of Eliakim Weller. At this session, the resolutions of Congress declaring, among other things, it to be the duty of those who contended for the independence of Vermont to refrain from exercising power over those who professed themselves to be citizens of New Hampshire, New York, or Massachuュsetts, and that all violations of the tenor of the resolutions would be construed to be a broach of the peace of the Confederacy, were considered; in reference thereto, it was unanimously resolved by the Assembly, "That in our opinion, this state ought to support their right to independence in Congress and before the world in the character of a free and indeュpendent state."

The Legislature again met at Manchester, Oct. 10, 1782, and again Oct. 9, 1788, both of which sessions, it is said, were held in the before mentioned meeting house.

Col. Wm. Marsh, Lieut. Martin Powell and Lieut. Gideon Ormsby represented the town in the Dorset Convention, held Sept. 25, 1776; at an adjourned meeting of which held January 15, 1777, at Westminster, Verュmont was declared a free and independent State.

The first representatives in the Legislature were Gideon Ormsby and Stephen Washburn chosen March 1778.

The following is a list of those inhabitants of the town who have held the more importュant offices since the organization of the govュernment in 1778, with the number of elecュtions for each, and the last period of service.



Richard Skinner, 3 1822



Leonard Sargeant, 2 1847



Richard Skinner, 8 1828




Richard Skinner, 1 1815

Ahiman L. Miner, 1 1853




Joel Pratt, 3 1823

Myron Clark, 3 1830

John S. Pettebone, 2 1835




Martin Powell, 12 1793

Enoch Woodbridge 1 1786

Christopher Roberts, 6 1805

Richard Skinner, 7 1812

John S. Pettebone, 7 1835

Milo L. Bennett, 5 1828

Leonard Sargeant, 7 1851

Myron Clark, 4 1834

Loring Dean, 4 1841

A. L. Miner, 3 1848

E. B. Burton. 1 1849

H. K. Fowler, 3 1860




Jonathan Brace, 2 1785

Enoch Woodbridge, 2 1790

Richard Skinner, 13 1819

Anson J. Sperry, 2 1814

Calvin Sheldon, 5 1820

Milo L. Bennett, 3 1833

Leonard Sargeant, 3 1836

A. L. Miner, 2 1844

E. B. Burton, 1 1852




Josiah Burton, 3 1825

Gurdin H. Smith, 4 1841

Jasper Vial, 3 1858



Joel Pratt, 25 1827

Henry Robinson, 3 1831



A. L. Miner, 1 1840

Leonard Sergeant, 2 1854

E. B. Burton, 2 1857



Martin Powell, 1 1788

Christopher Roberts, 2 1799

Myron Clark, 3 1826

Major Hawley, 4 1848

John S. Pettebone, 1 1853

Josiah S. Thomas, 1 1857



Jonathan Brace, 1 1785

John White, 2 1799

Joel Pratt, 1 1820

Leonard Sargeant, 1 1827



Gideon Ormsby, 1 1786

Martin Powell, 1 1791

Isaac Smith, 1 1793

Elijah Littlefield, 1 1814

Joseph Burr, 1 1822

Elijah Collins, 1 1828

Leonard Sargeant, 2 1850

Lyman Harrington, 1 1843



Richard Skinner, 1 1818



Stephen Washburn, 1 1778

Gideon Ormsby, 17 1802

Martin Powell, 7 1794

Lewis Bebee, 1 1781

Tho's Bull, 1 1782

Timothy Bliss, 1 1783

Oliver Smith, 1 1786

Thomas Barney, 1 1788

Job Giddings, 3 1793

George Sexton, 2 1797

Jacob Odell, 1 1800

Robert Anderson, 1 1803

Nathan'l Collins, 2 1805

Andrew Richardson, 1 1806

Christopher Roberts, 1 1807

Joel Pratt, 6 1817

C. Chamberlin, 1 1812

Elijah Littlefield, 3 1819

Richard Skinner, 2 1818

Calvin Sheldon, 1 1820

Joseph Burr, 2 1824

J. S. Pettebone, 7 1842

Josiah Burton, 1 1823

Major Hawley, 1 1826

Leonard Sargeant, 4 1841

Aaron Baker, 7 1857

Elijah Collins, 1 1834

A. L. Miner, 4 1853

Solomon Bentley, 1 1845

Johnson R. Burrett, 1 1847

A. G. Clark, 1 1849

Amos S. Bowen, 3 1858

Darwin Andrews, 1 1852

Hiram S. Walker, 1 1854

E. B. Burton, 1 1855

Daniel P. Walker, 1 1856

Chauncey Green, 2 1860


A. D. 1861.


The township of Manchester is situated in a pleasant valley, strongly environed by the Green Mountains on the east, Equinox on the west, and Dorset Mountain on the north.

Mount Equinox is one of the grandest and most beautiful of the New England Mounュtains; its summit, which lies within the town, is 3706 feet above tide water, and 2915 feet above the village at its base. It is the highest point in the southern part of the state, and has recently been, made accessible by the construction of a carriage road. From its lofty height, as well as from Dorset Mounュtain, the prospect is magnificent. On bright days, the beholder discerns on the south and east the "monarchs of the vale," Greylock in Massachusetts, Stratton Mountain, Ascutュney, and Monadnock in New Hamshire, on the west and north the village of Saratoga, lakes George and Champlain, together with the numerous villages and hamlets, green hills and silvery streams on every side.

Geological surveys here, if we may except the recent State Survey of Prof. Hitchcock, whose work is not yet published, have been most meagre.

Granular quartz abounds in the east part of the town, and granular lime rock in the west, calcarious spar, stalactites, mica, feldュspar, specular oxyde of iron, and many other minerals are found.

The face of the township is generally hilly, with occasional rolling lands and flats. The town is well watered by the Battenkill which flows centrally through the township from north to south. Its chief tributaries here are, on the east, Bowen and Lyebrooks, and on the west, the West branch and Glebe brook.

About three-fourths of the township is used for agricultural purposes, the uncultivated parts being occupied by the mountains. "The soil is various, primitive, diluvial and alluviュal; the diluvial beds of sand being of great value in the manufacture of marble."

The soil is of usual fertility, and produces good crops of the common New England grasュses, roots and grains. The products of the farms are mostly appropriated at home with the exception of stock, butter, cheese and maple sugar which is manufactured in large quantities. The culture of wheat, once so extensive, has lately been almost entirely abandoned.

There are two villages and post offices. The north or FACTORY POINT is pleasantly sitュuated a little N. E. of the centre of the townュship; most of the village is built on the rollュing bluff north and east of the west branch of the Battenkill, though the southern part


extends beyond the stream; it contains about 450 inhabitants and 75 buildings, among which are several elegant residences, a Bapュtist and Episcopalian church edifice, a town house, 5 stores, a hotel, tin shop, several meュchanic shops, a woolen mill, tannery, grist mill, and 3 marble mills. This is the chief point of business in the north end of the county. About 1 1-2 mile south of Factory Point, at the base of Mt. Equinox, is the VILLAGE OF MANCHESTER; it contains about 350 inhabitants and 60 buildings, including a Court House, jail, school house, Congregaュtional church, the Burr Seminary, Bank, Telegraph office, 3 hotels, a store, a clothュing store, tin shop, and several mechanic shops. During the past few years this vil lage has been much frequented as a resort during the summer months; the beautiュtiful and magnificent scenery on every side, the pure and healthy atmosphere, the delightful retreats and defiles among the mountains, the crystal brooks with their romantic glens and picturesque cascades, the excellent highュways and the fine opportunities for trout fishing unite to render this a most attractive region.

The mercantile business is extensive enough to supply the wants of the inhabitants and to a considerable extent those of the surrounding towns. The first merchant in town was, probably, Col. Stephen Keyes, whose store was situated at the south part of the Village. Silas Goodrich, Martin Powell, Caldwell & Wynderse and Nathan Hawley were engaged in trade previous to 1800, near which date Joseph Burr opened a store which he continュued for many years. The first store at Facュtory Point was erected by a Mr. Scott, not far from the year 1800, and afterwards kept by Joel Pratt. Previous to the year 1800, Timothy Mead owned nearly all of the presュent site of Factory Point. A part of this land had been given him by the proprietors as a reward for erecting the first grist mill in the town, some time about 1780, on the west branch, where Clark's mill is now locatュed. Mr. Mead refused for several years to sell any part of this land, which comprised some 500 acres, Capt. Mead's premises were the only buildings on the present site of Factory Point previous to 1800.

There are at present in Manchester 6 pracュtising doctors; the number of the medical faculty who have resided in town have been quite numerous; among the earliest were William Gould, Lewis Bebee, Dr. Washburn, Ezra Isham, and Elijah Littlefield, prominent physicians for a long period.

There are at present 6 lawyers. Hon. Enoch Woodbridge, formerly chief justice, Hon. Jonathan Brace, (once Judge of the Supreme Court of Ct.,) Mr. Hitchcock, Truュman Squiers, Isaac Smith and Serenus Swift, were the earliest lawyers. Mr: Swift comュmenced his practice here in 1797, is in his eighty-seventh year, and is probably the oldュest graduate of Dartmouth College now livュing. The entire number of lawyers who have practised their profession in town is not far from 25.

The present population of the town may be stated at 1800. The prior enumerations have been as follows: in 1791, 1276; 1800, 1397; 1810, 1502; 1820, 1508; 1830, 1525; 1840. 1590; 1850, 1732.

The first male birth on record is Samuel Purdy, born Feb. 23, 1771. He was the grandson of Daniel Purdy, one of the earュliest settlers, who has 113 descendants now living in this and other towns in the county.





The BAPTIST SOCIETY was formed in 1781, Rev. Joseph Cornall, first pastor, and the first settled minister in town. Services were held at first in the upper story of a building near the present site of G. Wilson's marble mill, on Glebe brook. A church was afterュward built on the present limits of the Cemeュtery at Factory Point; this building was ocュcupied till 1833, when the present brick edifice was constructed. Since the organization of the society there have been 16 ministers; the average number of communicants prior to 1858 has been about 100; since 1858 about 200. The present pastor is the Rev. A. M. Swain.

The CONGREGATIONAL SOCIETY was formed in 1782, the church in 1784. The present church edifice was erected in 1829. The Rev. James Anderson officiated as pastor from 1829 to 1858; the present number of communicants is about 100. The present pastor, Rev. N. L. Upham.

First organization of the PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH in Manchester, (from the original documents, in the hand of the Rector, Rev. C. R. Batchelder.)


"Manchester, Oct. 4, 1782.

"These may certify that we whose names are underwritten, Inhabitants of the town of Manchester, in the Co. of Bennington, are professors of the Church of England, and do put ourselves under the pastoral care of the Rev'd Gideon Bostwick;

In testimony whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names:

Eleazer Baldwin, John W. Bostwick,

Arthur Bostwick, Charles Bulless,

John Hitchcock, Peter French,

William Drew, Jeremiah French,

Jabez Hawley, Moses Sperry,


Job Giddings, Sam'l French Jr.,

Henry Bulless, Nehemiah Lo [blotted]

Abel Bristoll, Reuben French,

Daniel Jones, Charles French,

Nath'l Bostwick, Elijah French,

Josiah Lockwood, Samuel French,

Joseph French, Benj. Purdy Jr.


"Manchester, Oct. 4, 1782.

"These may certify that Eleazer Baldwin, Arthur Bostwick, John Hitchcock, William Drew, Jabez Hawley, Job Giddings, Henry Bulless, Abel Bristoll, Daniel Jones, Nath'l Bostwick, Josiah Lockwood, John W. Bostュwick, Charles Bulless, Peter French, Jeremiュah French, Moses Sperry, Sam'l French Jr., are professors of the Church of England, and have put themselves under my care."

" Gideon Bostwick."

Duplicate copy from the original.

A. H. Bailey."


The Rev. Abram Bronson was the pastor for many years. The church was built in 1821. Present number of communicants about 60, present rector, Rev. C. R. Batchelder.

A SOCIETY OF CAMPBELLITES was organized, and a house of worship built, in the east part of the town, about the year 1845; the society at first quite flourishing, is now nearly disbanded.

There are several METHODISTS in town, but they have never built any church, and their services have been quite irregular.

BURR SEMINARY, located on an elevation some 60 rods west of the village of Manchesュter, was erected in 1833, partly through the munificence of Joseph Burr, for many years a merchant at Manchester. The institution was at first under the charge of Rev. Lyman Coleman, and John Aiken, Esq. It has been one of the most successful institutions of the kind in the State, and numbers among its forュmer pupils not a few honorandi et clari nomini. For more than 20 years the institution has been under the care of Rev. J. D. Wickュham and the late Wm. A. Burnham, Esq. The recent decease of Mr. Burnham is a heaュvy loss not only to the Seminary, but to the community and the cause of education. The corporation has recently received a valuable bequest from Josiah Burton of Manchester. It is now under the charge of Rev. J. D. Wickham.

There are 16 school districts in the town, including four fractions, in most of which winter and summer schools are kept in accordance with the laws of the State.







This transaction was one of the most wonュderful that ever occurred. Russell Colvin, a resident of Manchester, who had been partially deranged for many years, in 1812 suddenly disappeared from his family. Several years afterwards suspicions began to arise that Colュvin had been murdered by the brothers of his wife, Stephen and Jesse Bourn. A Mr. Bourn, uncle of Stephen and Jesse, a gentleュman of respectability; stated he had dreamed three separate times that Colvin came to his bedside and told him that he had been murュdered, and that he would lead him to the place where he had been secreted; this place was the former site of a small dwelling house, unュder which was a cellar hole for storing potaュtoes, and then filled up. This place had been mentioned previous to the dream; and when examined there was found a large knife, a pen-knife and a button. Colvin's wife describュed accurately two of these articles before seeュing them. A hat was found near the place where it was supposed the murder had been committed, which was said to have belonged to Colvin. Some decayed bones were found near the same place, which were at first supposed to be the remains of the missing Colvin, but subsequent examination proved that they were not of the human species. A quarrel was said to have arisen between Colvin and the Bourns just previous to Colvin's disapュpearance, and certain suspicious remarks of the Bourns in regard to the matter were reュlated. The public mind became intensely exュcited upon this subject. Jesse Bourn was arrested and the case legally examined. Jesse was about being released, when he stated that his brother Stephen told him last winter that he (Stephen) struck Colvin with a club or stone on the head and supposed he had killed him. Stephen Bourn was immediately arュrested in Lewis Co. N. Y., and brought to Manchester. Stephen denied the truth of his brother's statement.

The prisoners were tried October 1819, Judge Chase presiding. Gov. Skinner and Hon. L. Sargeant were council for the prisュoners. It was shown on the part of the State among other things, that Colvin and the prisュoners were seen together picking up stones just before Colvin's disappearance, and that they were quarreling. Lewis Colvin, son of the missing man, testified that while picking up stones, Stephen and his father got into a quarrel; that his father struck Stephen, and that Stephen knocked his father down with it club; that he (Lewis) run away and had nevュer seen him since. The jailor testified that Jesse confessed to him that he was afraid Stephen had murdered Colvin. Silas Merrill, a prisoner confined with the Bourns, testified that Jesse confessed to him that Stephen killュed Colvin, and that he, Stephen and their fathュer buried the body. There was also a written


confession by Stephen to Merrill, confessing the murder and giving full particulars; this document was rejected by the Court as eviュdence against the prisoners, but was introュduced by the prisoner's counsel.

The prisoners were found guilty and senュtenced to be hung Jan. 28, 1820. Jesse's sentence was commuted to imprisonment for life by the Legislature of 1819. The public generally acquiesced in the result of the trial. In December 1819, a Mr. Chadwick of New Jersey, who happened accidentally to see a published account of the Bourns' trial, wrote to Manchester that Colvin had been living with his brother-in-law in New Jersey, since April 1813, and soon after Colvin himュself arrived in Manchester.

Much of the testimony was undoubtedly fabricated while the confessions of the Bourns were obtained by acting upon the hopes and fears of the prisoners, and were of coarse wholly false. Few cases have become more famous than this; and it is quoted more freュquently, perhaps, than any other, to show the insufficiency of circumstantial testimony by the opponents of capital punishment.

The statement which has been made in connection with the recent arrest of Jesse Bourn in Ohio, that Colvin was actually murdered and that the Colvin who returned from New Jersey was a fabrication, got up for the purュpose of releasing the Bourns, is worthy of no credence whatever. Colvin was well known in the town, and on his return was recognized on every side by those who had known him intimately, some of whom are still residents of Manchester.

[For full account of this case, see Life of Lemuel Haynes, pp. 216. Harpers 1837. Deming's Remarkable Events, Middlebury, Vt. Journal House of Rep. Vt. Session 1819.]









Was born in Litchfield Co. Ct., May 30, 1778. Denied the advantages of a liberal education, during his minority he was engaged for some time as clerk in a store in New Haven, Ct. He attended the lectures of Judges Reves and Gould at their law school in Litchfield; came to Vermont in Sept. 1799 and soon settled in Manchester; in 1800 was appointed State's Attorney for the county of Bennington, which office he held till 1812; was Judge of Probate for the District of Manchester from 1806 to 1812; in 1813, elected a member of the thirteenth congress; twice represented the town in the Legislature; was chosen Speaker in 1818; elected Judge of the Supreme Court in 1815, and Chief Judge in 1816; in 1820 was chosen Governor of the State, and re-elected in 1821 and 1822; declining to serve longer as Governor, in 1823 he was elected Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, which place he held till 1829, when he retired from public service. While crossing the Green Mountュains in the Spring of 1833, he was thrown from his carriage, receiving injuries which occasioned his death, May 23, 1833, in the 55th year of his life. In person he was of ordinary form and stature; his eyes and complexion dark, and hair the deepest black. Intellectually his qualities were of that kind which gain the respect and confidence of mankind rather than immediate admiration; as a lawyer and judge he was noted for the clearness and force with which he presented his cases. He filled the highest places in the State with ability and dignity, and left a reputation of which the Town and State may well be proud.




Was born in Hempstead, L.. I., Aug. 11, 1772; came to Manchester at an early age, and began trade while in his minority. His capital at first was scanty; but he was exceedingly prosperous in business, amassing the most ample fortune ever accumulated in the town. In addition to his mercantile business he kept a broker's office which yielded large profits. He was noted for his accurate business habits; his fortune was the result of prudent management and economy, rather than lucky speculation. He twice represented the town in the Legislature, and was chosen a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1822; but differing from the instructions of the town in regard to the proposed alterations of the Constitution, he declined to serve. He gave, by will, as follows:


American Board of For. Missions, $17,000

" Home Missionary Society, 10,000

" Tract Society, 10,000

" Colonization Society, 7,000

" Bible Society, 15,000

Vermont Domestic Missionary Society, 5,000

Manchester Congregational Society, 5,000

" Literary (Burr) Seminary, 10,000

Middlebury College, 12,000

Williams " l,000

Dartmouth " l,000

N. W. Branch American Educational Society, 3,000




The validity of about half ($47,00) of these bequests was contested by the residuary legatees: the Supreme Court sustained the will in full, and the bequests were appropriated as above. Mr. Burr was never married. He


died April 14, 1828, in his 56th year; and his remains were interred in the Cemetery at Manchester, where his relatives have recently erected a monument to his memory.






Not the sculptured slab alone

Tells that Burr has lived and died;

Generous deeds his hand hath done

Nobler monuments abide


Founts of knowledge, springs of light,

Opened by his liberal hand,

Chasing ignorance and night,

Roll their waves o'er every land.


Gathered from the living trees,

Healing leaves on errands fly;

Rich the freight of every breeze,

Laden by his Charity.


Burr's is not the fleeting fame

Which the worldling leaves behind ;

Grateful hearts record his name









was born in Derry, N. H., Dec. 29, 1805. Trained to a life of toil, he, nevertheless, possessed a mind thirsting for improvement, and early in life, aspired to intellectual emiュnence. By industrious employment of seasons of respite from out-door avocations, the instructions of his father at home and occasュional attendance at the Academy in his native town, he acquired the amount of knowlュedge necessary to qualify him to take charge of a common school. In this employment, undertaken first when scarcely 18 years of age, he was uncommonly successful. Such was the reputation he acquired for tact and ability, that his services as teacher were greatly in demand. Indeed, the success which crowned his first labors in this employment, strengthened an early predilection and led him to resolve that teaching should be his life-work. For awhile he farther pursued his studies at the Teachers' Seminary at Andover, Mass. In 1835 he was invited to take charge of the Preparatory Department of the Burr Seminary, at Manchester. Not satisfied with ordinary attainments, he pushed resolutely on, until, though comparatively unaided, he mastered not only several modern languages, but also the Latin and Greek, sufficiently to be deemed amply qualified at length to take charge of the classical department in this institution an institution, by the way, of which it is not too much to say, that as a preparatory school for a collegiate course, it has been, for many years, without a successュful rival in the State.

Mr. Burnham remained to the close of his life, connected with the aforementioned inュstitution. He died May 8, 1860. While at the Teachers' Seminary, at Andover, Mr. Burnham attained to a settled Christian hope. From a child, however, he had known the Scriptures, and his associations had ever been strictly moral and correct. As a Christian he was very earnest, decided, active, exュemplary in all his work, and inculcating not only by word, but by the spirit with which every duty was discharged the doctrine he himself had so cordially and willingly emュbraced. As an instructor Mr. Burnham was unrivalled. Gifted by nature with a bright and vigorous intellect, quick discernment of character, and an almost intuitive judgment of the right, plain, practical and direct in his method, and ardently devoted to his callュing, we shall not, we feel assured, institute too high a claim in his behalf, if we characterize him as the MODEL TEACHER.

[See Wickham's Commemorative Discourse.]