XX indexVermont  




"A mountain township on the line of Massachusetts. Branches of the Hoosack and Walloomsack rise here. There are several fine fish ponds among the mountains; and some good land; but the lands in Stamford are generally too elevated for culture. The township was chartered in 1753."

Gazetteer of Vermont, Hayward, 1849.

By T. E. Brownell, esq.

       The town of Stamford is the middle one of the three towns which constitute the extreme southern limit of Bennington county. It was chartered by the name of New Stamford, but after the Revolution it dropped the New, and became simply Stamford. It existed at different times under two charters by New Hampshire. The first was given in 1753. This was surrendered and a new one issued in 1764. It appears that few if any settlements were made under the first charter. The original proprietors were somewhat scattered, some lived in Massachusetts, others in New York State, and a number in Connecticut. The first settlers took their deeds from owners living in these different localities and may be presumed to have emigrated from these States. Very few of the descendants of these pioneers are now living in town. An outlet opened by way of Adams into Massachusetts, and thence to the west, and some of the children of each generation until the present time have gone from their parental homes to seek their fortunes in other fields, many becoming prominent men and women in the world.

       Stamford is a mountain town, its only village being situate in a hollow which opens into Clarksburg on the south, and through Clarksburg into North Adams, Mass. A river which flows through this miniature valley joins the Hoosick at North Adams, and furnishes several of the largest mills of that place with valuable water power.

       The only manufacturing business done in town at present is the production of acid from wood for coloring purposes, and owned by WILMARTH & HOUGHTON. The population in 1830 was 563, in 1840 it was 662, and at the last census, 1880, it was 726. A few years ago the town adopted the town management of its schools under the law providing for this change from the district system as originally adopted by the State. The first settlers had originally to clear their farms of the timber of which a dense growth covered the whole town. In this way Stamford has always until recently afforded an ample supply of lumber for building purposes far and near. So thick was this forest that RAYMOND who built the first cabin lived afterwards two or three years without knowing of the existence of the mountains on the east of his home.

       Just how many served their country in the Revolution is not accurately known. William RAYMOND was in the French and Indian war, and his son Elisha served three years in the Revolutionary War. At that time there were no public roads in Stamford, and the only way to Bennington was on horseback by a path through the woods. The method of transmitting news was very imperfect, but probably the people of Stamford were notified of the impending Bennington battle in time to participate in it if they so wished, as messengers were sent to Pownal and Williamstown for recruits, and as most of the legal papers between its inhabitants prior to that period were executed before a Bennington justice; the military authorities of that place would not have left so valuable a band of stalwart yeomen as had then settled in Stamford, without an appeal to help them, and it is probable that a number, of its young men marched under Gen eral STARK when he went forth to meet the Hessians. We know that Jacob BROWN, who came to Stamford in 1795, entered the army in 1812. He also was in the Florida war, and acted as Indian agent in removing certain tribes from that place. He held the rank of major in the Mexican war and was killed by a bomb ell before Matamoras. General TAYLOR in a letter to the president said that "his loss is irreparable." General Grant in his "Reminiscences" makes this statement: "Major Jacob BROWN of the Seventh Infantry, the commanding officer, had been killed, and in his honor the fort was named. Since then a town of considerable importance has sprung up on the ground occupied by the fort and troops, which has also taken his name."

       Reference has already been made in this history of many who have gone out from Stamford into other and broader fields, and who have therein gained fame and riches. Although the annals of the past have more to do with the dead than with the living, yet because many of these men, by their genius and activity, have so identified themselves with the places which they now occupy and honor that there is danger of there being lost to their native town, so that the place of their birth shall know them no more, a brief mention of a few of the most prominent will not be without interest and benefit to those who shall read these pages.

       George MILLARD went to North Adams, Mass., engaged in manufacturing boots and shoes. He built up a large business and became quite wealthy. Many now living will remember him on account of the interest he had in the first project of the Hoosick Tunnel, and how much enthusiasm he exhibited when the cars first arrived over the Troy and Boston Railroad, thus uniting Massachusetts with Troy N.Y., in the winter of 1859. He afterwards removed to Bennington where he died soon after.

       C.T. SAMPSON succeeded him in the same business on Eagle street. This man helped clear up a farm in Stamford near Clarksburg line. At first he peddled shoes from a basket, but he gradually worked his way up into the boot and shoe manufacturing business, and is now one of the wealthy and leading men of that place.

       E.R. MILLARD and N. O. MILLARD followed SAMPSON on Eagle street, he moving his business to another portion of the town. One of them is still carrying on that business. They are the sons of S. C. MILLARD who was a justice of the peace in Stamford for twenty years.

       George R. DICKINSON left Stamford when young. After awhile he began to accumulate money, became interested in the paper-mills of Holyoke, and died at Springfield Mass. He left a large fortune.

       A.C. HOUGHTON commenced his career principally as a real estate operator at North Adams. He at once proved himself to be a most thorough and successful business man. He is now president of the Arnold Print Works, and has a controlling interest in several other important enterprises.

       These men all had courage and faith in themselves. No doubt circumstance is an important factor in every human career, but thought and action only can give to circumstances the force of events. These men might have remained and lived among their native hills, and there even their genius could have found an honorable if not so wide a field. Those men, who were content with the rewards of a more quiet life, and passed their days within the rural limits of their country home, and who now lie buried under the soil where they toiled so faithfully in life, may have had in their souls all the possibilities, which under given circumstances, would have made them men that the world calls great.

"Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield;
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke; 
How jocund did they drive their team afield;
How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke.

"Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, 
And waste its sweetness on the desert air."

       The religious belief of the early settlers of Stamford did not consist of a uniform creed. There were the Baptists and Universalists and in 1827, when the first church edifice was erected, there were many Methodists also. This edifice was a union house, all denominations joining in building it, but in 1853 the Baptists built themselves a new church and relinquished their claims upon the old. The Baptist Church was organized in 1799. The Methodist in 1851. The Universalists have no organized church, but are supplied with preaching occasionally from North Adams. The people are a church-going people in their habits, and the stated services of worship are well attended. Each denomination maintains its distinctive lines well marked, but cherish for each other friendly regard and Christian sympathy, awarding to each the privilege of being let alone within its own limits. 

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 XXVI. Page 502-505.

Transcribed by Karima, 2004
Material provided by Ray Brown