XX indexVermont  




 "This town is on elevated land, at the north-east corner of the county.  Some of the head branches of West River have their sources here. The lands are too rough and high for much improvement . . . The settlement was commenced by William Utley and family, consisting of a wife and six children in June, 1769, emigrants from Ashford, Ct."

Gazetteer of Vermont, Hayward, 1849.

By Hon. George K, Davis

      LANDGROVE is situated in the northeast corner of Bennington county and is bounded north by Weston, east by Weston and Londondery, south by Londonderry, and west by Peru. It is six miles long from north to south, and about two miles wide in the northern part, and half a mile wide in the. southern part. Captain William UTLEY with his son, Asa, were the first settlers. They moved from Connecticut with their families in the spring of 1769, and stopped in what was then the town of Andover, now Weston. They there cleared a small piece of land and planted corn and potatoes, but soon went about two miles farther west and made another stand on a branch of West River now called the Utley Flats, supposing they were in the town of Bromley, now Peru. After remaining here a few years they discovered they were on a gore of land between Andover and Bromley. They then with about twenty others made application and obtained a charter from the government of Vermont in November, 1780 of all the lands lying between Andover, now Weston, and Londonderry on the east, and Bromley, now Peru, on the west -- 7,220 acres. They then proceeded to survey and allot the town, and establish the west boundary of the town between this and Peru. After the town of Peru became considerably settled the proprietors of that town became dissatisfied with the Utley line, as they called it, and claimed further east some more than two lots to the Munn line, which they claimed to be the original line. This was the occasion of considerable excitement and litigation between the proprietors of these towns. The inhabitants living on this disputed territory, all but two, purchased under Landgrove titles, voted and paid taxes in Land-rove. The two purchased under, and voted and paid taxes in Peru, and remained in this situation many years without any interposition of the towns until 1834, when the town of Peru by a vote caused all the inhabitants living on such disputed territory to be set in the grand list of that town, and enforced the collection of taxes, which immediately caused suits at law to be commenced to be defended by the towns.

      These suits were, however, discontinued by compromise between the towns, and in 1835 the Legislature of the State, by the request and joint petition of the towns, established the jurisdictional line a little west of the center of said disputed territory, which has ever since remained. The town was organized March 15, 1800.

      Clarksville, a small village in the middle of the town, contains one saw and grist-mill, blacksmith shop, post-office, and nine dwelling houses. The saw and grist-mill was built about the year 1850. It is now owned by the ABBOTT Brothers. There is one of the best water privileges in this section, and has always been used quite extensively in the manufacture of lumber and chair stock. Landgrove Hollow is a small hamlet of dwelling houses in the southern part of the town on the old stage road from Chester to Manchester. About the year 1820 Simeon LELAND opened a store in this place, and in a few years after a tavern known in old stage times as the "Leland Coffee House." About this time “Squire" LELAND established a line of mail stages from Manchester to Charlestown, N. H. This line was, without doubt, the most popular of any across the Green Mountains. Simeon LELAND was the father, and the old Coffee House the birthplace of the LELAND brothers, who with their sons have made a name as hotel keepers more widely known than any other family in this county. The old Coffee House is still standing unoccupied, and has been kept in repair by the LELAND family until recently.


      The number of school districts in town is three. They were organized 1st, April 1, 1820; 2d, June 30, 1821; 3d, September 26, 1827, and none have been added since.


      The only religious denomination in town is the Methodist. The people organized a society at an early date. Among the prominent members and leaders were Elijah WOODWARD, Robert G. CLARK, Robert PARK, and Joseph FARNUM. The church is at present, and has been since its organization supplied by circuit preachers. The present church building was erected in 1857. This church has always sustained a goodly number of members, and the society and Sabbath-school has always exerted a healthy influence in the community.

      Landgrove is noted in this locality not only for the enterprise and industry of its citizens, its well cultivated farms, its many tidy and pleasant homes, but also in a social, moral and religious point of view as being second to none of its neighboring towns.
West Branch Grange was organized October 8, 1874. It has ever been in a healthy condition, having a goodly number of members who meet regularly twice each month for social intercourse and discussion of topics relating to the best methods or farming, etc. They have a library of about forty volumes of choice literature which afford its members profitable reading.

      The first postmaster appointed by the government was Selah WARNER; he held the office until about 1860, when Henry L. RICHARDSON was appointed, who held until 1877. Warren W. WILEY held from 1877 to 1878, and from 1878 to the present time Mrs. R. R. WILEY has been the incumbent.


      Dr. Amori BENSON was born February 12, 1797. He was a resident of this town for many years, and the only physician of this and the adjoining town of Peru for a number of years. Being a man interested in all public affairs he was honored with the more important town offices, and was a justice of the peace nearly forty years, and one sought more generally than any other in town to decide differences of opinion arising between parties who could not themselves agree, and in the justices courts he was looked upon as a fair and impartial judge. He raised a large family of children, among whom can be named Amori, jr. and Darwin, who have each gained for themselves prominent positions in business circles. Darwin has for many years been treasurer of the Fitchburg Railroad system, and Amori occupying a prominent position under his brother. A daughter, Abigail, married Captain William ROBINSON, of Putney, who is an extensive paper manufacturer. Dr. BENSON had one son killed in the late war, and the pioneer himself died June 26, 1876, aged seventy-seven years.

      John MARTIN, the first permanent settler in the south part of the township, came from Warren, R. I. in 1801. He married Deborah WILSON of Bristol, R. I. She went with him on horseback to Vermont. At that time there were only footpaths across the mountains to Manchester and Chester. Provisions were carried on the backs of horses. Bears were so numerous that it was not uncommon to see one crossing the bridle path. John MARTIN erected the first frame house in town. He accumulated a large property, and died in 1843, leaving four children; William, who now resides in Chester; John, who went to New York at an early age, entered into mercantile business and died a millionaire in 1872; Nancy, who married Henry GODFREY and now resides in the town of Will, Ill.; James, who married Lucy GRAY, of Weston, daughter of the elder Dr. Henry GRAY, and grand-daughter of David CARPENTER, resided in Landgrove many years, holding the usual town offices and representing the town in the General Assembly and his county in the State Senate. He died in Londonderry June 24, 1887, leaving three sons; John H. MARTIN, a farmer of Richmond, N. H.; James L. MARTIN, a lawyer of Brattleboro, Vt.; and Joseph G. MARTIN, a lawyer of Manchester, Vt. James L. MARTIN removed from Landgrove with his father in 1868 to Londonderry. He represented the town several times, was speaker of the house from 1878 to 1884.

      One of the most wealthy of the early settlers was Barchias ABBOTT, who settled in town in 1797. He belonged to the Society of Friends, and was familiarly known as "Quaker" ABBOTT. He was several times elected to represent the town in the State Legislature, but never attended it. He held many of the important town offices, but never attended a town meeting. He died at an advanced age upon the same place where he had first settled. His son James lived on the old homestead and died there some years ago. Another son, Elias, settled in town near the old homestead, and following the example of his father accumulated a large fortune, and was considered one of the wealthiest men in town. Two sons of Elias still reside in town, James H. on the old homestead, and Warren W. near by. Both are respected and influential citizens.

      Gideon DAVIS and his son Gideon, jr., were among the early settlers. Gideon, sr. died in 1834, at an advanced age. Gideon, jr. was one of the most influential citizens of his time; he was justice of the peace for forty years, and represented the town many times. He died January 3. 1857, aged fifty-seven years.

      Daniel TUTHILL was the first town clerk, and lived and kept a tavern on the place now occupied by Leroy WOODWARD. He held the office of town clerk and selectman nearly all the time up to the year 1816, when he moved to Peru where, in company with his son Russell, he built the brick hotel now known as the "Bromley House," after which he moved west where he died.

      About the year 1807 Elijah WOODWARD moved to this town from Francistown, N. H. His son Ambrose, now at the age of seventy-eight years, has always resided in town. He has been its representative, and has held all the important town offices. A younger son, Charles, has always resided in town until a recent date when he moved to Massachusetts.

      David WILEY was born in Hillsboro, N. H., August 10, 1776, and moved to this place in 1797. He was a man that the people chose as their representative to the State Legislature fourteen different times, and was otherwise honored with various town offices during his long residence here. His son Warren W., following in the lead of his father, is prominent among his towns people, and has many times been elected to offices of trust and honor.

      Among the early settlers was David CARPENTER, who was born in Connecticut in the year 1759. He was in the Revolutionary War, was present and one of the guards at the execution of Major Andre. Soon after the war he settled in this town. His eldest child was the first recorded birth in this town. David CARPENTER never had the advantages of even a common school education, but although illiterate he was a man of such strong character and common sense that he was elected to represent the town and held most of its other important offices. He moved from this place to Keene, N. H., in 1807. Although he was a poor man when he came to this town, when he died, in 1845, he possessed a fortune of some forty thousand dollars.

      Asa, eldest son of Captain William UTLEY, died in this town August 8, 1837, aged eighty-seven years. Mr. UTLEY held the offices: of justice of the peace, town clerk, selectman, and various others for many years. Oliver UTLEY died in Manchester in 1856, aged ninety-one years. Peabody UTLEY, youngest son of William, served as colonel in the War of 1812. He was constable or selectman from 1801'to 1813. He went West and there he died. Asa and Henry UTLEY, sons of Ralph, grandsons of Asa, and great-grandsons of Captain William, the latter the first settler in town, reside on the old homestead and are the only living male members of the UTLEY family now in town.


      Volunteers for three years, credited previous to call for 300,000 volunteers of October 17, 1863: BENSON. William H., died October 10, 1862; BLOOD, Oliver; BOLSTER, Daniel; BOLSTER, Jared, killed at Savage's Station June 29, 1862; CHILDS, Samuel S.; DAVIS, Hymenius; DAVIS, Otis; DOWNING, Ezekiel; HARLOW, Dexter I.; HILLIARD, Gilbert G., died September 14, 1863; JENKINS, Amos L.; LYON, Albert, died February 23, 1862; PATTERSON, Abel H.; THOMPSON, John M.; WARNER, Carmillus T., killed near Cold Harbor June 11, 1864; WILEY, Henry E., killed at Savage's Station June 29, 1862. Credits under call of October 17, 1863, for 300,000 volunteers and subsequent calls; volunteers for three years: ALLEN, Hiram; JENKINS, Amos H.; PECK, Hiram H.; SHAW, George B. Volunteers re enlisted: CHILDS, Samuel S.; DAVIS, Otis A.; WARNER, Carmillus T. Volunteers for nine months BOLSTER, Alfred; CHILDS, Alfred; DAVIS, Hiram; DAVIS, Orgando; SPELL, Amos M. Furnished under draft; paid commutation: BARTON, Joseph C.; BATCHELDER, John G.; LINCOLN, Henry; MOORE, Frederick J.; ROWELL, Austin A.; STEVENS, James H.; WOODWARD, Herbert C.


History of Bennington County, Vt.
With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches
of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers.
Edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich.
Syracuse, N. Y., D. Mason & Co., Publishers, 1889.
Chapter XXXIV. Page 496-500.

Transcribed by Karima, 2004
Material provided by Ray Brown