The business of insuring property against losses by fire received
little encouragement in Vermont in the first quarter of the present century,
and it is not known that there were any companies or permanent agencies
in the State previous to 1825. In 1826 the Vermont Fire Insurance Company
began to issue policies. The headquarters of the company being at Middlebury,
Ira Stewart, of that place, was made first president. The capital stock
was $200,000. In 1825 the charter of the Ascutney Fire Insurance Company
was granted, its capital being $200,000. The office was placed at Windsor.
The Vermont Mutual Insurance Company, with its office at Montpelier, was
organized and began issuing policies in March, 1828, and by August 1, 1838,
had issued policies to the amount of $21,408,196. John SPALDING was the
president of the company. The year 1838 witnessed what may be termed the
beginning of an epidemic of county insurance organizations. Rutland, Addison,
Bennington, Windham, Windsor, and Orange counties all had a separate association
for the purpose of conducting the insurance business within their respective
limits. The first mention of Chittenden county appears in 1846, when George
A. ALLEN was one of the directors of the Vermont Mutual Fire Insurance
Company at Middlebury. In 1847 Carlos BAXTER succeeded ALLEN, and was followed
for the next few years by William Weston. Several local companies have
been organized in Burlington at different times, which were short lived,
and never performed business sufficient to deserve particular mention.
General T. S. PECK is at present engaged extensively in the issuing
of policies to protect life and property from the losses of destruction.
This agency was established in 1869, a few years after Mr. PECK's return
from a four years' service in the war for the preservation of the Union.
His first office was in the Bank block. The agency was begun in a modest
way, but has been constantly increasing in proportions, and now fairly
rivals any other agency in the State. The office was removed into a room
in the rear of the PECK block in 1871, and to the present rooms about two
years later. General PECK's success is owing to his unfailing fairness
towards the companies he represents, and also towards those who obtained
policies from his office. The aggregate assets of his companies are about
The agency now conducted by Charles P. FRISSELL was established
in 1846 by Salmon WIRES, the pioneer agent of Burlington. His office was
over the present drug store of R. B. STEARNS & Co. Mr. WIRES died in
1866, and Mr. FRISSELL came from Massachusetts under an arrangement with
the companies, and, though not as partner, went in with R. S. WIRES, son
of the deceased. In 1874 T. F. GRISWOLD and Mr. FRISSELL, under the firm
name of GRISWOLD & FRISSELL, succeeded R. S. WIRES. In 1882 Mr. FRISSELL
assumed entire control of the agency. For a number of years he has occupied
his present office over the Howard National Bank. The aggregate assets
of his companies are about $200,000,000.
The firm of WHITCOMB & FULLER (W. H. S. WHITCOMB and E. A. FULLER)
was formed in 1874, succeeding a line of firms which was started in 1859,
when the agency was established in Burlington. They represent the Equitable
Life Insurance Company, which has thus had an agency here for twenty-six
years continuously. The present firm assumed a general fire and accident
business in 1874, and have kept pace with the agencies representing their
companies throughout the State. Since 1874 they have paid out more than
$2,000,000 for losses and claims, from which no litigation has ever resulted.
The Vermont Life Insurance Company was projected when the success
of life insurance as a business was fully insured, the past having shown
the opportunities which were offered for the prosecution of a successful
issue. The charter was applied for and secured at the fall session of the
Vermont Legislature in 1868. The corporators were Torrey E. WALES, Lemuel
B. PLATT, Samuel HUNTINGTON, James A. SHEDD, Russell S. TAFT, Rodney S.
WIRES, Nathaniel PARKER, Jo D. HATCH, George F. EDMUNDS, Omri A. DODGE,
F. C. KENNEDY, and Lawrence BARNES, all prominent citizens of Burlington.
The capital stock was $50,000 in shares of twenty-five dollars each, payable
in cash. In January, 1871, this was increased to $100,000. Dividends to
stockholders were to be at the rate of three per cent. semi-annually. The
amount of claims paid by the company has been more than $1 00,000. The
business is confined to localities which possess the smallest proportion
of malarial influences, and is quite large in all the eastern States. By
this prudence in the selection of territory its death rate has been very
low. The company issues installment bonds, endowment, life, term life,
and savings endowment policies.
Life insurance dates back several hundred years. There are life
insurance companies in England to-day that are over one hundred and fifty
years old, and whose assets are counted by the millions of dollars, that
are still doing their work as faithfully and successfully as ever. The
history of life insurance in this country goes back to the year 1812. In
that year a company was formed known as the "Pennsylvania Company for the
Insurance of Lives," which is still in existence, but its business has
always been small. In 1818 appeared the "Massachusetts General Hospital
Life Insurance Company," which is still in existence with a small business.
The first official record of the business of life insurance which was ever
made in this country was in 1839. In that year "the New York Life and Trust
Insurance Company" reported to the comptroller of the State of New York
that it had paid six losses amounting to $6,500 and that it had 694 lives
insured. “The Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York" was organized
in 1842, and commenced to issue policies in the city of New York in 1843.
It was agreed that whenever a certain number had made application and paid
the first premium, the policies should be issued and should then become
binding; such was the beginning of that colossal company. It never had
a dollar of stock. Its growth at first was slow and its methods crude.
It borrowed most of its ideas from the English companies and there was
little or none of the elaborate and scientific detail which characterizes
life insurance companies at the present time. In 1850 six new life insurance
companies were organized, making some ten or eleven in all up to that date,
all of whom with one exception are still doing business. Among those last
mentioned are the National of Montpelier, and the United States Life Insurance
Company of New York. From 1850 to 1886, a period of thirty-six years, the
growth of life insurance has been something wonderful. There are now, according
to the reports of the “Spectator,” an insurance journal published in New
York, forty-three life insurance companies doing a legitimate business,
with assets exceeding the enormous sum of five hundred millions of dollars.
A still greater amount has already been paid by these companies to their
beneficiaries, and counting eight hours to the day, which are the usual
business hours of these institutions, and then counting three hundred and
thirteen working days to the year, they are paying in dividends, death
claims and natural endowments over fifty thousand dollars an hour. The
policies in force cover about two billions of dollars. The history of life
insurance in this country must necessarily be brief. Previous to 1850 it
was harder to find a man carrying a life insurance policy than to find
a head of four-leaved clover, and the proportion was about the same. Even
as late as 1860 such a thing as a man devoting himself to the business
of life insurance was almost unknown. The war and the flush times immediately
succeeding it gave a great impetus to life insurance, and during the decade
from 1860 to 1870 the older companies sent out traveling agents, and also
established general agencies, several of them with their headquarters in
Burlington. These in turn established local agencies both in this county
and also throughout their agencies, which sometimes included not only the
whole State, but also other States. On the first day of January, 1869,
the Vermont Life Insurance Company of Burlington was organized, with the
following officers: Russell S. TAFT, president; Rodney S. WIRES, vice-president;
Warren GIBBS, secretary. It started with a capital of $50,000, which was
afterwards increased to $i00,000. It issued its first policy to James A.
SHEDD, of Burlington, on the day of its organization. Its growth has been
steady and its management conservative. Its present officers are W. H.
HART, president; C. M. SPAULDING, vice-president; C. R. TURRILL, secretary,
and E. W. BUSHNELL, superintendent of agencies. The board of medical directors
are Doctors A. P. GRINELL, L. M. BINGHAM and John B. WHEELER. The executive
committee are Hon. Daniel ROBERTS, Jo D. HATCH, C. M. SPAULDING, J. A.
SHEDD and Edward BARLOW. The board of auditors are F. C. KENNEDY and Robert
ROBERTS. The home office, No. 176 Main street, Burlington, which was built
by the company expressly for the transaction of their business, is a model
of adaptation to the purposes for which it was intended. The following
life insurance companies have for short periods had general agencies in
this State with headquarters in Burlington: The Connecticut Mutual, represented
by E. W. BUSHNELL; the Charter Oak, by W. H. HART; the Continental of New
York, by Mr. EDGILY; the Brooklyn Life, by Rev. Mr. HAUGHTON; the Hartford
Life and Annuity, by Charles EATON; and the Massachusetts Mutual, by Charles
PIKHURST. The Homoeopathic Mutual of New York maintained a general agency
for Vermont, with headquarters in Burlington, from 1872 to 1879. They have
never since been represented in this State. The Mutual Life of New York
was for several years represented by Rev. Buel SMITH as special agent,
and the Phoenix of Hartford by George PETERSON. There are now only two
general agencies in this county, that of the Equitable Life Assurance Society
of New York, organized in 1859, and represented by W. H. S. WHITCOMB as
general agent, and the United States Life Insurance Company of New York,
organized in 1850, and represented by C. A. CASTLE as manager. General
T. S. PECK represents the National Life of Montpelier, and the Vermont
Life of Burlington as local agent. The National is also represented by
C. A. ALLEN, the Mutual Life is represented by Charles P. FRISSELL, and
the New York Life by L. F. ENGLESBY. All these companies are on a solid
financial basis and are steadily increasing in every element of prosperity.
In presenting the above facts it has been the aim to do justice to all
concerned. No important fact properly belonging to the subject has been
The accompanying table [omitted] is taken from “Walton's
Register” for 1811, and is not self-explanatory. A glance would impress
one that the county, in the early part of this century, had attained far
more importance than is usually ascribed to it. Considering the situation
and relative condition of the county at that period, the array of figures
is quite imposing. But on conversing with those who can remember the events
of so remote a time, one comes to the conclusion that there were thus early
no cotton factories with their scores of employees, nor extensive woolen
mills, nor nail factories. Distilleries there may have been, and probably
were, in abundance, either then or but little later; there were tanneries
that brought their owners a comfortable revenue for that day; and there
were numerous carding and cloth-dressing machines. But the manufactories
and their products were all of the rudest kind, and sales were limited
to a small area. The manufacture of lumber was one of the earliest and
most widely extended of the industries of the county, and receives particular
mention in a previous chapter. But the references in the table to the quantities
of linen, cotton and woolen fabric turned out annually undoubtedly includes
an estimate of what private families made for their own uses. The division
of labor had not then been developed to its present degree, and many of
the families then made all the cloth for home use, while blacksmiths made
their own nails. At that time wrought nails were exclusively used, and
though many were imported from Great Britain, no doubt there were blacksmiths
enterprising enough to make an extra shilling by entering into a modest
competition with the mother country. The largest tannery, probably, in
the county was that of Horace LOOMIS, on Pearl street. The stores did not
keep a large assortment of boots and shoes; but, as Captain LYON relates,
the shoes for each family were made by the itinerant shoemaker, the only
kind, who boarded with the family until his work was completed. These were
not necessarily in general use during the summer, as children, young men,
and even maidens frequently followed the fashion of the day and went barefooted.
The most extensive manufacturing was done on the north side of the
falls by Ira ALLEN. John A. GRAHAM, the first practicing attorney in Rutland,
in a series of letters written in 1797, mentions the “large mills, forges
and iron foundries” of Mr. ALLEN. About 1800, and for years afterward,
Daniel STANIFORD owned a distillery on the north side of pearl street,
just east from the present Winooski avenue, where he brewed ale, beer and
porter, and manufactured excellent gin. The distillery of LOOMIS &
BRADLEY has also been mentioned in a former page. Samuel HICKOK built a
brewery on the west side of Champlain street, which was burned. About 1837
George PETERSON rebuilt it and for years continued the manufacture of ale.
In 1871 it was taken by Ammi F. STONE, who ran it until 1878; he then practically
converted it into an establishment for bottling lager. These were the best
remembered of the early distilleries, though there were others-for instance,
one on the Shelburne road, about a half a mile south of the present poor-house,
operated by Elisha BARSTOW. This was within the memory of the oldest inhabitants.
A grist-mill, plaster-mill, oil-mill, and several similar concerns have
at various times been in operation on this side of the falls at Winooski;
but those that have continued by succession to the present are mentioned
particularly in a subsequent page.
Aside from the lumber interest, however, Burlington and vicinity
were not widely known for their manufactures. Until the year 1827, when
the Champlain Glass Company was formed, the town was rather agricultural
and mercantile than manufacturing. The account of that company given in
a former Page shows that at first it was an experiment, and not altogether
a successful one, until those who were with it from the beginning had profited
by experience. During the year 1835 several companies were formed and incorporated
with a view to building up the industries of the place, and indeed may
have awakened the spirit of enterprise that makes Burlington what it is
to-day. Three of these companies were as follows: The Colchester Manufacturing
Company, incorporated on the 9th of November, 1835, by Ezra MEECH, John
S. POTWIN, Ebenezer T. ENGLESBY, Samuel HICKOK, Alvan FOOTE, Sion E. HOWARD,
Sidney BARLOW, and Jabez PENNIMAN. They were empowered to hold property
to the value of $500,000; and to engage in the manufacture of cotton and
woolen goods. The first meeting was to be held in some public house in
Burlington. On the following day the Winooski Block Manufacturing Company
was incorporated, with power to erect engines and machinery for manufacturing
ships' blocks, and other ships' tackle and equipage, and to hold property
to the value of $100,000. The capital stock was $200,000. The first directors
were George P. MARSH, Guy CATLIN, John M. CATLIN, Uriah BLISS, and Peter
STUYVESANT. The Burlington Mill Company was also incorporated on the 10th
of November, 1835, by Samuel HICKOK, Luther LOOMIS, Henry MAYO, Timothy
FOLLETT, George MOORE, Philo DOOLITTLE, Sidney BARLOW, and Carlos BAXTER.
The purpose of the incorporation of this company was the manufacture of
cotton and woolen goods, and also the working of iron and manufacturing
of machinery, the purchase of mill sites and the erection of mills in Chittenden
county for the promotion of the manufacturing interests of the county.
They were to hold property, if necessary, to the value of $200,000. The
first meeting was to be held at the house of John HOWARD on the 8th of
December, 1835. About this time the Legislature was enacting laws for the
encouragement of those who were endeavoring to produce and manufacture
silk in the State. It is not, however, known that silk was ever manufactured
in this county.
PIONEER MECHANICS' SHOPS
The temporary disadvantages caused the town by the opening of railroads
through the State, mentioned in previous pages, were more than counterbalanced
by the permanent encouragement offered to manufacturers by the greater
facilities for transportation, which would have been impossible without
railroads. In the spring of 1852 Frederick SMITH and several other prominent
men in town received offers of land from Henry B. STACY and others, on
condition that it be used for a site of some large factory which should
restore the former prestige of Burlington and build up a manufacturing
center in the place of the mercantile prominence of other times.
The offer was seriously considered and resulted in the formation
of a company, on the 31st day of May, 1852, under the style of the Pioneer
Mechanics' Shop Company, for the purpose of erecting a suitable building,
or buildings, on land donated by Henry B. STACY, Henry P. HICKOK, Eliza
W. BUELL, and Nathan B. HASWELL, with steam-engines and fixtures for running
machinery in said building, the same to be rented to mechanics and manufacturers,
in convenient allotments, in such manner as to facilitate and invite the
introduction of new branches of mechanical and manufacturing industry.
The capital of the company was $30,000, divided into shares of $25 each.
The Legislature granted a charter to the company in November, 1852. The
first directors were Henry P. HICKOK, Frederick SMITH, T. R. FLETCHER,
Edward W. PECK, and Morillo NOYES.
In 1852 and 1853 the company erected a building on the east side
of Lake street, of brick, four stories high, 400 feet long and fifty wide,
divided into four apartments, each 100 feet long, with a heavy brick wall
between each; the machinery in the shops being driven by two heavy engines
in a building just east of shops. The southerly half of the building was
rented by CHENEY, KILBURN & Co., and occupied in getting out chair
stock for the chair manufacturers in Massachusetts, and afterwards in the
manufacture of chairs, finishing 600 daily.
The northerly half of the building was rented to various parties,
and occupied in the manufacture of sash, doors, blinds, furniture, machinery,
etc. The corporation having borrowed money required in the completion of
their buildings, and given a mortgage of their lands and shops to secure
the payment, were unable to pay the same and it was foreclosed, the property
of the corporation passing into the hands of Henry P. HICKOK.
On the 2d day of April, 1858, the shop was discovered to be on fire
near the south end. A strong south wind was blowing and the building was
totally destroyed, the loss being about $150,000. $8,000 being immediately
donated by the citizens for its reconstruction, was utilized by Lawrence
BARNES, who purchased the ruins and at once erected three brick shops,
two stories high, each one hundred feet long and fifty wide. These shops,
with others which were erected adjoining, were occupied by manufacturers
of furniture, doors, sash, blinds, shoe lasts, boxes, axe helves, wagon
spokes, iron castings and machinery, a large part of which found its way
to foreign markets. When the first building was constructed, overtures
for letting it were received with caution by people from other States or
vicinities who were not willing to trust to the faith of Burlington people
in the ultimate success of their enterprise. The result, however, justified
the confidence of the citizens of Burlington, for the works proved to be,
as one citizen has said, the nest egg from which all the manufacturing
interests, excepting the cotton interests, have been developed. A large
steam planing-mill was erected at the foot of College street, in which
large quantities of lumber were dressed and prepared for market. The shops
on Lake street were again destroyed by fire on the 21st of November, 1882,
and rebuilt. The loss from this catastrophe was about $100,000. The property
now belongs to J. R. BOOTH, a brief account of whose industry appears in
a subsequent page.
BURLINGTON WOOLEN MILL COMPANY
The Burlington Woolen Mill Company was incorporated for the first
time in the fall of 1835, at the time previously mentioned as the dawn
of industrial progress in Burlington. The original corporators were Carlos
BAXTER, George MOORE, Samuel HICKOK, Luther LOOMIS, Henry MAYO, Sidney
BARLOW, Philo DOOLITTLE, and Timothy FOLLETT. This company continued the
manufacture of woolen goods until 1851, when business was suspended and
the property sold by the sheriff to HARDING Brothers. They continued the
business until 1861. The present company was organized in 1862, and obtained
its charter November 5 of that year. The corporators of this company were
Charles L. HARDING, Arthur Wilkinson, John A. TURNER, Joshua STEVENS, Joseph
SAWYER, and F. C. KENNEDY. The capital stock was $200,000. Manufactured
here are broadcloths, moscows, fancy suitings, ladies' dress goods and
cloakings. The company make a specialty of indigo blue goods for uniforms
of city police all over the country, and for employees of railroad companies.
In 1881 the company added a $10,000 spindle-mill for making hosiery yarns
of the finest kinds, called the Colchester Merino Mill. One hundred and
twenty-five hands are employed here. In all the company employ 825 operatives,
and manufacture annually $1,000,000 worth of goods. The present officers
are as follows Joseph SAWYER, president; F. C. KENNEDY, secretary; Thomas
A. PATTERSON, treasurer; directors, Joseph SAWYER, A. J. ADAMS, Joseph
D. SAWYER, N. Dana TURNER, and F. C. KENNEDY. Mr. KENNEDY has the practical
management of the entire business.
Another department of the Burlington Woolen Company is the Winooski
Aqueduct Company, which supplies water by gravitation to Winooski. It has
a reservoir with a capacity for 5,000,000 gallons. When these mills were
started only fifteen sets of cards were used; twenty-five are now barely
sufficient. The mills cover two and one-half acres of land, and consume
every year 1,400,000 pounds of wool, making 800,000 yards of cloth.
BURLINGTON FLOURING MILL
The Burlington Flouring Mill was originally erected by the CATLIN
Brothers some time previous to 1830, and was operated for years by Henry
W. CATLIN as a custom mill. It finally came into the hands of the Woolen
Mill Company, who wanted the sole control of the water privilege, and for
fifteen years operated as a flouring mill by them. Unable to compete with
the roller process for making flour, it ceased running when that process
became general, and since then has been operated only as a custom grinding
mill. It is under the management of F. C. KENNEDY.
BURLINGTON COTTON MILLS
The general movement-of 1835 towards establishing the reputation
of Burlington as a manufacturing center, embraced within its scope the
manufacture of cotton. Indeed that was an object apparently thought of
before the rest, for a company under the name of the Winooski Manufacturing
Company was incorporated on the 7th of November, 1833, by Timothy FOLLETT,
Justus BURDICK, Dan DAY, and Guy CATLIN. It was empowered to hold real
property to the amount of $100,000, and purposed to begin the making of
cotton and woolen goods on the lower fall at Winooski. The first meeting
was held at the tavern of CADY & DOOLITTLE, on Water street, on the
first Monday of January, 1834. The enterprise soon came to its end, and
nothing of importance was done towards the manufacture of cotton until
1843, when a firm under the title of the Winooski Mill Company was given
a charter by the Legislature, and was organized the same year by the election
of proper officers, Joseph D. ALLEN being president. The capital stock
of the new company was $25,000. In 1853 the Legislature authorized the
increase of the capital to $75,000. Manufacturing was begun in a small
wooden building known as "the oil mill," on the west side of the road near
the south end of the covered bridge at Winooski Falls. The works were destroyed
by fire on the night of January 1, 1852, and in the following spring a
lot about twenty rods above the bridge was purchased and a commodious brick
and stone factory erected, 45 x 103 feet, in addition to the wooden structure
already standing, 34 x 84 feet.
In 1858 two brothers, Joel H., and Stephen GATES, had come to Burlington
from Brattleboro, and engaged in the manufacture of furniture in the old
Pioneer Shops, subsequently forming a partnership with Cheney KILBURN,
and styling the firm GATES, KILBURN & Co., of whom Mr. KILBURN and
Joel H. GATES went to Philadelphia in 1860, and established a branch house
for the finishing and sale of their products. Upon the death of his brother
in 1865, Joel H. GATES returned to this place, and the firm continued the
same business under the name of KILBURN & GATES. In 1869 they erected
the factory on Pine and St. Paul streets.
In 1876 the old cotton-mill company having failed, relinquished
the larger share of their business and property to the Howard National
Bank, in the interest of which Joel H. GATES was appointed to act as assignee.
In the following year the bank obtained absolute ownership of the mills,
and Mr. GATES continued to operate them as agent until 1880. Meantime,
in 1877, Cheney KILBURN had retired from the old firm of KILBURN &
GATES, Robert G. SEVERSON, of Philadelphia, succeeding him, and the firm
name was changed to Joel H. GATES & Co. in 1880 the firm closed out
their furniture business, and Mr. SEVERSON removed to Burlington. They
then purchased the cotton-mill property, immediately enlarged the buildings,
and removed the looms from the falls to the Pine street factory, so that
now all the spinning and carding are done at the falls, while the weaving
is performed in the new building. The works cover an area of about fourteen
acres, including the sites of six or seven tenement houses (some of which
contain several families), a large boarding-house, and the factories. At
present about 25,000 to 28,000 yards (fifteen miles) of cotton cloth is
manufactured every day, and shipped to calico printers in New York, Boston,
and other large centers. The firm employs from 330 to 350 hands.
As shown in the sketch of Lawrence BARNES in another part of this
work, he was unquestionably the man who by his energy, foresight and business
management, and by his disinterested efforts in behalf of the growth of
Burlington, really gave to it its importance as a manufacturing center.
Soon after the construction of the Pioneer Shops he began to send lumber
in boats from Three Rivers, in Canada, to Burlington, whence it was shipped
to different parts of New England. After the burning of the Pioneer Shops
he purchased the site and rebuilt the works. His first partnership was
formed in 1859 with Charles and David WHITNEY, of Lowell, Mass. Since that
time numerous changes have taken place, Mr. BARNES remaining until a few
months before his death at the head of the Burlington branch of the concern.
D. N. SKILLINGS and Mial DAVIS became interested in the business in 1862,
and offices were established at Boston, Detroit, Montreal, Ogdensburgh,
Albany and WHITEHALL. In the mean time an extensive trade in western lumber
had been added to that in lumber from Canada, and finally usurped all,
or nearly all, of the business. In 1869 Mial DAVIS withdrew from the firm,
to become a member of the firm of SHEPARD, DAVIS & Co., who purchased
the Canadian branch of the trade. From 1873 to 1878 Mr. BARNES had practically
retired from all portions of the business except that going with the Burlington
office, but in the latter year became a member of the stock company that
was then incorporated under the laws of Massachusetts, with Mr. SKILLINGS
as president, and Charles WHITNEY as treasurer. In 1880, upon the death
of the former president, Mr. BARNES was chosen to be his successor, and
continued to act in that capacity until his death. The business of this
company has grown without interruption from the beginning, lumber being
now shipped by them at the rate of from 70,000,000 to 100,000,000 feet
per annum. The office at Burlington is under the able management of D.
In 1869 the firm of SHEPARD, DAVIS & Co. was formed in Burlington,
and was known at Boston under the name of SHEPARD, Hall & Co. This
concern succeeded to the Canadian portion of the business of L. BARNES
& Co. The present stock company was incorporated on the 1st of September,
1878, under the name of the SHEPARD & MORSE Lumber Company, having
offices at Burlington and Boston, Tonawanda, N. Y., Ottawa, Ont., and East
Saginaw, Mich. The present officers and directors are Otis SHEPARD, president
and general manager, Boston; James MACLAREN, Buckingham, P. Q., George
H. MORSE, William A. CROMBIE and Horace B. SHEPARD. Messrs. MORSE and CROMBIE
are managers of the business at Burlington. It will thus be seen that the
company is under the most experienced and efficient management. They own
a dock front of 4,000 feet, at which from thirty to thirty-five vessels
can at the same time discharge their cargoes, and have twenty-five acres
of piling ground, with a capacity of carrying a stock of from 25,000,000
to 30,000,000 feet of lumber. Their planing-mill, 280 x 40 feet, with a
Corliss engine of 250 horse-power, was erected in 1868, and gives capacity
for dressing 30,000,000 of feet per annum. With other facilities in their
possession, this enables the company to dress a total of 40,000,000 of
feet a year. Nearly 600 operatives are employed, about 300 of them here,
and annual transactions are effected involving the handling at the several
places of business of from S0,000,000 to 10o,000,000 feet of lumber-the
trade extending over the entire United States, and largely in foreign countries.
The reputation of the city and the volume of its business have thus by
this company been greatly increased within the last few years.
H.R. WING and James A. SMITH came to this city from Niagara Falls,
N. Y., in July, 1852, and started the manufacture of lasts, boot-trees,
crimps, etc., in the old foundry building on the corner of Main and Battery
streets. This building, together with the stock of the occupants, was lost
by fire two years later. With the proceeds of their small insurance they
began to repair their injured fortunes, and in six months were again running
their machinery in the Pioneer Shops. Here again they suffered losses by
fire, but they removed to Winooski, and in ninety days were again selling
their goods in the old markets. When the Pioneer Shops were rebuilt they
removed into them, where they continued until they came into their present
quarters. G. F. WING had before 1852 opened a store and salesroom in New
York city, but he and James A. SMITH have been removed by death, leaving
H. R. WING the surviving active partner, though Mrs. J. A. SMITH retains
an interest in the business. They employ men both here and in New York
The firm of W. & G. CRANE was established in the fall of 1858,
the senior partner having come to Burlington in the winter of 1855-56,
to operate for Mr. BARNES the first dressing-machines in town. When the
partnership was formed the business was confined to the manufacture of
packing boxes, but was more and more engaged in the manufacture of lumber,
until the latter had entirely engrossed the activities of the firm. Pine
lumber is a specialty. Their business is exclusively wholesale, and gives
employment to from 100 to 125 men. Steam Mills are operated here for re-sawing
and re-dressing lumber; the dock and piling ground of the company gives
capacity for the handling of 60,000, feet per annum. In addition to this,
the firm owns one-half of the stock of the Vermont Shade Roller Company
at Vergennes; are associated in Muskegan, Mich., with E. A. POPE, where
about 46,000,000 feet are annually handled ; and own a half interest in
the retail lumber house of O. WOODS & Co., at Natick, Mass. They handled
15,000,000 feet of lumber here in 1885.
The firm of BRONSONs, WESTON, DUNHAM & Co. was formed in 1871,
and the buildings now used by them for planing and sawing lumber were erected
in the following year. About 100 to 150 men are employed, and 20,000,00o
feet of lumber is annually planed and sawed. A great deal of lumber that
does not come to Burlington is exported by this firm from Canada to the
East, South, and all foreign markets. The members of the firm are H. F.
and E. H. BRONSON, J. W. DUNHAM, A. WESTON and H. K. WEAVER. The Boston
office is at No. 75 State street. BRONSONs & WESTON manufacture lumber
at Ottawa, Ont., and J. W. DUNHAM & Co. are dealers in New York.
The wholesale manufacture of lumber by John R. BOOTH, of Ottawa,
was begun here in the spring of 1876 by U. A. WOODBURY, as his manager.
This establishment occupies the yards formerly possessed by C. BLODGETT,
Sons & Co., who started in 1855, though Mr. BOOTH is not their successor.
Mr. WOODBURY handles about 20,000,000 feet of lumber every year, besides
the manufacture of packing boxes, sash, doors, blinds, etc., which amounts
to about $150,000 per annum. Here is piling room for 15,000,000 to 20,000,000
feet of lumber. The buildings are the old Pioneer Shops, partly rebuilt
after the fire of 1882, which involved a heavy loss to Mr. BOOTH, and to
WING & SMITH, S. C. KIMBALL, BRINK & Co., and B. S. NICHOLS &
Co. The manufacture of sash and the business of glazing was commenced in
1878. The glass is imported from Germany and Belgium.
George R. HOLT began the manufacture of bobbins and spools for cotton,
silk and woolen in 1869. The several changes in the name under which the
business has been conducted are HOLT & HAWKINS from 1869 until 1873,
George R. HOLT until 1878, HOLT, BARNES & SKILLINGS until 1884, and
George R. HOLT since. He now does a large business, employing about 125
skilled operatives, and having a capacity for manufacturing 7,000 spools
and bobbins a day, which he ships throughout the United States.
C.C. POST began making fixtures for use in the manufacture of maple
sugar in 1869, when he invented the well-known Eureka sap spout, of which
he has sold more than 12,000,000 in all. He also makes the "common sense
" covered bucket, which is made to fit the tree, and all maple sugar making
The making of packing boxes and cloth-boards now carried on by POPE
& WATSON was begun in 1871 by Mr. MAYO, who sold out on the 1st of
January, 1875, to E. A. POPE. William G. WATSON was admitted to an interest
in the business in the spring following. About 10,000,000 feet of lumber
are cut in a year in this manufacture, and the product is sold all over
New England. The material chiefly used is pine and spruce. They conduct
a similar business in Muskegan, Mich., which is managed by Mr. WATSON,
while Mr. POPE is manager of this office.
MATTHEWS & HICKOK are also engaged in the manufacture of boxes
and cloth-boards, and are successors to MATTHEWS & DAVIS, who started
the concern in 1871. The present firm, composed of J. M. MATTHEWS and Horatio
HICKOK, purchased the business in 1875. They cut about 5,000,000 feet of
pine annually, turning out $200,000 worth of goods, and employing forty
hands. The goods are shipped principally to markets in New England.
In 1872 Albert TAFT and E. W. CHASE entered into co-partnership
under the name of A. TAFT & Co., and began the manufacture of doors,
sash, blinds, etc., in the Pioneer Shops. While the firm name remained
as it was at first, E. P. SHAW succeeded Mr. CHASE, E. J. MORGAN followed
Mr. SHAW, and W. A. TAFT bought out the interest of Mr. MORGAN. When W.
A. TAFT went out the name was changed to TAFT & MORGAN, which it remained
until 1879, when T. A. TAFT was admitted to an interest, and the name was
changed to TAFT, MORGAN & Co. On the 1st of January, 1884, W. A. and
A. C. TAFT succeeded to Mr. MORGAN's interest. The business was brought
from the Pioneer Shops to the present buildings on College street in 1877.
In 1872 the firm turned out about 100 doors a day, when they were doing
good work. They now have a capacity for making at least 400 doors a day,
while they confine their trade in sash and blinds to the local demand.
They employ about 100 hands. The principal home market is Boston, though
they export a great deal, especially to Australia.
E.B. & A.C. WHITING practically started a new branch of industry
in 1873 by the manufacture of brush stock, according to inventions which
they had patented. They turn out all kinds of brush stock, especially dressed
fiber, bristles, horse hair and tampico. Although they sell most of their
goods in the United States, they also ship considerably to foreign countries,
and part with their machines only to foreign purchasers. They employ from
twenty-five to thirty-five hands.
An important and promising industry is the WALKER & HATCH Lumber
and Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of solid and veneered hard wood
work, doors, sash, blinds, stair builders' supplies, and all kinds of house
finish. The business was started in 1874 by David WALKER and D. F. HATCH.
C. E. MACOMBER was admitted to an interest in the concern in 1882, and
the firm name of WALKER, HATCH & Co. adopted. The present stock company
was chartered on the 12th of August, 1885, with a capital stock of $50,000.
The officers are D. F. HATCH, president; David WALKER, vice-president;
Gilbert HARRIS, treasurer; C. E. MACOMBER, secretary, and F. B. HOWE, clerk.
At the time of the incorporation of this company they purchased the stock
and interest of the Burlington Spoke Company and the Winooski Lumber Company.
They make something of a speciality of the Stevens sliding blind, which
is one of the best inside blinds manufactured. The buildings, situated
on a five-acre plot on Winooski River, consist of a mill about 200 x 50
feet and three stories high, adjoining a saw-mill, boiler and shaving rooms,
offices and sheds, and twelve large kilns for the drying of lumber, heated
and arranged by the most approved methods.
W.F. Moulton has for a number of years been engaged in the manufacture
of patent eave troughs, improved Lemon drills, and lightning rods.
PORTER MANUFACTURING COMPANY
The PORTER Manufacturing Company, dealers in screen doors and window
frames of their own make, received a charter on the 8th day of August,
1881, with the following officers: C. M. SPAULDING, president; E. W. PECK,
vice-president; T. F. EDGAR, secretary and treasurer, and L. G. BURNHAM,
manager. The present officers are George D. WRIGHT, president; Elias LYMAN,
vice-president; Buel J. DERBY, treasurer; B. F. VAN VLIET, manager, and
W. H. H. CONNER, superintendent and secretary. The frames which this company
manufacture are the invention of E. N. PORTER, of Hardwick, and were originated
in 1879. The goods find a market in nearly every State in the Union, and
large quantities have been shipped abroad, even to Australia.
BALDWIN MANUFACTURING COMPANY
The BALDWIN dry air refrigerator was invented and first made by
Judson A. BALDWIN, of Shelburne, in 1880. In January of the following year
the firm of BALDWIN & WHITE was formed, and the business increased.
The factory was removed from the dwelling house of the inventor to the
upper story of his partner's cheese factory. From six to ten men were employed
and about 100 refrigerators were turned out the first year. In August,
1882, the BALDWIN Manufacturing Company was organized, which assumed the
business and patents, removed the factory to a location nearer the railroad
station, and increased their working force to about forty men. In May,
1883, the Blodgett planing-mill was leased at Burlington and soon after
occupied in connection with the Shelburne mill by the company. At the close
of the season, however, it was deemed expedient to consolidate the two
branches at Burlington, which, with all the attendant enlargements and
improvements in buildings, was accordingly done. Among the valuable improvements
added to the construction of the original invention may be mentioned the
"cold wave refrigerator," the patent lever wedge fastener, etc. The company
have had exhibits at all the leading fairs and expositions in the country,
notably at New Orleans, where they took two gold medals for different parts
of their exhibits. From seventy-five to 100 men are employed, and the factories
are running night and day. The present officers of the company are E. W.
PECK, president and treasurer; W. A. CROMBIE, vice-president; E. E. GREENLEAF,
secretary; Joel LINSLEY, manager. Directors, T. S. PECK, G. H. STORRS,
E. E. GREENLEAF, and Joel LINSLEY.
The Burlington Shade Roller Company, incorporated in March, 1883,
at that time succeeded to the business of R. M. PLATT, who had for several
years been manufacturing shade rollers at Burlington, after a number of
years in the same interest in Vergennes. The products of this industry
are rollers and slats for curtain fixtures. The annual sales are about
$60,000. The present officers and directors are: Directors, W. A. CROMBIE,
David G. CRANE, Clarence A. MURRAY, Samual A. DREW, Thomas ROSE, T. S.
PECK, and D. H. LEWIS, of Vergennes; president, W. A. CROMBIE; vice-president,
David G. CRANE; treasurer, Samuel A. DREW; secretary, George E. DAVIS.
J.W. JOHNSON & Co. are a new firm and engaged in a new business
for Burlington, viz., the manufacture of toboggans, which began in the
fall of 1885, under a patent of J. R. McCLARY, of Montreal, which they
have since purchased for the United States. During their first winter they
manufactured 1,500 toboggans, and have a fair prospect of turning out about
10,000 during the next year. They employ sixty men at present. They do
not confine themselves to the manufacture of toboggans, but make also all
kinds of gymnastic apparatus, etc.
The Venetian Blind Company was incorporated on the 2d of April,
1884, with a capital stock of $10,000. They make English and American Venetian
blinds and Hill's patent inside sliding blinds. The present officers are
W. E. MARSH, president; B. F. VAN VLIET, vice-president; C. R. PALMER,
secretary and treasurer; and George D. WRIGHT, manager. The present shop
was erected in the summer of 1885, and was well running on the 1st of September.
Mr. WRIGHT became the efficient manager of the business on the 5th of June,
The oldest (in business) carriage manufacturer in the city is H.
A. RAY, who began to make carriages and cutters here in 1857. He makes
a specialty of Concord side-spring wagons, and sells on an average 125
wagons and fifty sleighs per annum. He employs from twelve to fifteen men.
William SMITH first engaged in the manufacture of carriages in Burlington
in 1860. The present firm of William SMITH & Co. was formed in 1882
by the admission to the business of Alexander DEYETTE and J. H. TUTTLE.
They deal also in the Concord side-spring wagon. Their sales for 1885 amounted
to seventy-five new carriages. Ten hands are employed.
Jerry LEE purchased the business of Heman VICKERY in 1876, and has
carried on the work of manufacturing and repairing carriages and sleighs
since that time. He employs ten hands and carries on a business worth about
$8,000 a year, $4,000 of which is for new work.
The furniture establishment of Henry J. NELSON, taken together with
its predecessor, dates its origin back to the year 1834, when Charles L.
NELSON came to Burlington from Massachusetts and engaged in the sale of
furniture. He continued successfully at work in this line until 1860, when
his son, the present proprietor, assumed the control and management and
has remained proprietor to date. It is thus one of the oldest houses in
Vermont, and, like good wine, improves with age. He carries a large assortment
of common, medium and fine furniture, and has furnished the finest residences
in the city, besides the University buildings and other public buildings
and halls. His business amounts to from $60,000 to $75,000 per annum, and
he always carries a stock of $25,000. The building which he occupies is
entirely taken up with his business. It extends 52 x 90 feet. Mr. NELSON
makes a specialty of fine draperies, upholsterings, curtains, window-shades
and parlor goods. He would be classed among the mercantile interests but
for the fact that a part of the time he has engaged in the manufacture
of furniture at Winooski.
C.H. SAGER has been engaged in the manufacture of furniture and
picture-frames here since 1879, making the latter a specialty. He employs
Joseph LOWY, upholsterer, began business in Burlington in 1882,
and now manufactures all kinds of furniture to order, furnishing houses
and supplying window-shades, draperies, etc.
George A. HALL came here from Chester, Vt., and purchased the business
of C. C. ALLEN & Son in November, 1885. He suffered a considerable
loss from fire on the 26th of January following, and on the 1st of April
moved into the rink, where he has ample room to display his extensive assortment
of furniture. Mr. HALL carries a stock of draperies and lace curtains which,
with his other goods, amounts to the value of $10,000. He does a jobbing
business of parlor suits, lounges and students' chairs.
The extensive business of Edwards, STEVENS & Co., manufacturers
of machinists' tools, planing machines, circular saw-mills, mill gearing,
shafting, hangers, pulleys, wood-turning lathes, flour-mill machinery,
water wheels, and all mill and machine work, was practically developed
to its present proportions by Edwards & WHITE, who succeeded Mr. EDWARDS,
and were in turn succeeded by EDWARDS & STEVENS in 1858. In 1868 Frank
JUBELL was taken into the firm and the firm name of EDWARDS, STEVENS &
Co. adopted. In addition to their business as manufacturers at Winooski
this firm contracts for the construction and furnishing of circular saw-mills
and gristmills all through the country. About forty men are continually
employed, the pay-roll of the firm being about $1,000 a month. Most of
their manufactured goods are shipped to points in New England and Northern
In 1867 B. S. NICHOLS, who had for two years been in the employ
of the Burlington Manufacturing Company, purchased the machine manufactory
of J. P. FLANDERS & Co., who had been in the business in a small way
for several years before. Mr. NICHOLS began to enlarge the works, and in
1870 took into partnership F. G. COGGIN and L. S. WOODBURY. They went out
in 1878, and in the year following the present associate with Mr. NICHOLS,
William H. LANG, assumed an interest in the business. They now employ from
twenty to sixty hands, and make all kinds of water-works and mill machinery,
and, when required, turn out a remarkable steam fire engine. Mr. NICHOLS
bought the Pioneer Shops of L. BARNES & Co. in 1868, and afterwards
sold them to J. R. BOOTH in 1882. After the fire of 1882 they immediately
rebuilt the present works.
W.H. BRINK has been a brass and iron founder in Burlington for about
twenty-five years. He manufactures heavy castings and employs from three
to eight men.
The manufacture of portable galvanized ovens was commenced in the
year 1854 by BLODGETT & SWEET. The present firm membership is BLODGETT
& HOLDEN. The manufacture of these ovens has been carried on under
four several patents. No industry in the country can boast of a more extended
market than this. Their goods are found all through foreign lands, in England,
Austria and Turkey. "Every missionary going out under the American Board
takes one of the ovens with him." From 700 to 800 are sold annually. The
firm also deals extensively in stoves, ranges, furnaces, steam and gas
fittings. About twenty men are employed.
H.M. PHELPS & Co., granite finishers, are successors to the
business established by H. M. PHELPS in 1863. At that time he confined
his operations to the marble business, but gradually worked into a business
in granite, until now he deals in nothing else. In 1885 he took his son,
W. S. PHELPS, into partnership with him. They own and operate a quarry
at Barre, Vt., and have a business of about $45,000 per annum, chiefly
wholesale, employing about forty men. They make curbings, monuments and
pedestals. Their goods are shipped largely to the West, although a considerable
trade is springing up with the South.
The Burlington Manufacturing Company was incorporated on the 1st
of March, 1865, and Levi UNDERWOOD, Lawrence BARNES, Louis FOLLETT, B.
J. HEINEBERG, A. L. CATLIN, L. B. PLATT and Jo D. HATCH were chosen first
directors. Levi UNDERWOOD was made president, Louis FOLLETT, clerk, and
LAWRENCE BARNES treasurer of the new company. Nothing was done of moment
until 1870, when the company was officered nearly as at present. The capital
stock is now $200,000. Including the men employed in the quarries, no fewer
than five hundred or six hundred men contribute to the products of this
company. The present officers are T. E. WALES, president; C. R. HAYWARD,
secretary; L. BARNES, treasurer; and F. W. SMITH, agent. They are dealers
in Florence, Lepanto, French Gray, Empire Shell, Moriah, Italian and Black
marbles, and are also manufacturers of marble floor tiling in all grades.
They transact a heavy business, their trade extending to all parts of the
New England, Middle and Western States. Their western office, under the
management of E. R. BRAINERD, is situated at the corner of Michigan avenue
and Van Buren street. They draw largely from the quarries at Plattsburgh,
Port Henry and Catskill, N. Y., and Pittsford, Vt. They have completed
contracts for wainscoting and tiling government buildings in nearly every
State in the Union, among the finest being the Cook county court-house
in Chicago, the post-office buildings in New York, Chicago and Cincinnati,
the State houses at Indianapolis, Ind., and Springfield, Ill., court-house
at Dakota, the Lick Observatory at San Francisco, and two hotels - the
Palace and Baldwin - at San Francisco.
In 1868 WALKER Brothers began dealing in marble, granite and Isle
La Motte stone, and continued together until 1881, when the present proprietor,
L. A. WALKER, assumed the control of the entire business. He employs about
fifteen men, and does a business of about $10,000 to $15,000 a year. He
imports Scotch granites, handles Kingston flagging and curbings, but chiefly
works Barre granite. He has a considerable wholesale trade with the West,
and has a large retail trade in Vermont and Northern New York, producing
principally monuments, copings and building stone.
The business now in the hands of J. V. GOODELL was established by
GOODELL, HAYWARD and SMITH in 1875, under the name of J. W. GOODELL &
Co. In 1885 Mr. GOODELL succeeded to the interest of his former partners
and now has sole charge. He employs from fifty to 150 men, and transacts
a business amounting to $100,000 or $200,000 every year. He works Quincy,
Westerly and Barre granite, chiefly the latter, and deals also in all kinds
of foreign and domestic granites, doing a wholesale trade. He has yards,
buildings and all the facilities for a large business. His specialty lies
in fine carving, designing and statuary work, finishing copings, headstones,
building work, flagging and curbing stone. His goods are shipped all over
the country. He is the better enabled to turn out satisfactory work with
the aid of steam power and all the latest machinery.
About 1830 E. L. FARRAR built a pottery on the south side of Pearl
street, between Church and St. Paul streets, which was afterwards enlarged
by BALLARD Brothers and retained by them until 1874. The present proprietor,
Franklin Woodworth, bought it, and now does an extensive business, employing
from ten to twenty men. It is the only house of the kind in the State,
excepting one at Bennington. He manufactures jugs, jars, churns, lawn vases,
and stoneware and Rockingham ware generally, and has an income from the
business of about $40,000 annually. His wares are shipped to all parts
of New England and New York.
Francis LE CLAIR began the manufacture of brick in Burlington and
Winooski twenty-five years ago. The Burlington yards are on the Winooski
lower road. The business is worth about $12,000 per annum. He makes in
all about 2,000,000 a year, two-thirds of which come from the Burlington
yards. Thirty-five men are kept at work.
Henry GREENE has an extended trade in Northern New York and Vermont
in leather and findings, in which he has dealt for about seventeen years
in Burlington. For a number of years he sold hides, skins, pelt, lime and
hair, but of late has confined his business to leather and findings.
George W. LEE represents a good class of contractors and builders,
employing as he does from thirty to fifty men, and doing all kinds of joiner
work. He has been in engaged in Burlington since 1865. H. J. E. BAILEY
is also a contractor and builder, and employs about ten men.
James WAKEFIELD, maker of sails and rigging, awnings, tents, wagon
covers, flags, tackle-blocks, and tarred and manilla cordage, has carried
on the business in Burlington for twenty years. He employs four hands.
The Burlington Shirt Company was incorporated on the 16th of February,
1876. The product of this industry is made by the newest machinery, operated
by steam. From twelve to twenty-five hands are employed. The business is
worth at least $25,000 or $30,000 per annum. The trade is best in New England,
where they have earned a good reputation for the first class quality of
their goods. The prices of the shirts made vary from twenty-four to sixty
dollars per dozen. The present officers are as follows: Henry LOOMIS, president;
George F. POPE, vice-president; C. C. MILLER, secretary; and J. A. CLAPP,
treasurer and general manager.
William SCOTT, book-binder, has been engaged in this business in
Burlington more than twenty-five years. He does all kinds of binding and
manufactures paper boxes extensively. Ten hands are employed. That his
work is well done is attested by the fact that he is at present engaged
in binding G. G. BENEDICT's “Vermont in the Civil War.”
The Queen City Soap Works were started in 1876, and have steadily
increased in quality of work and volume of business from the first. The
works are now carried on by O. S. DODDS and Herald STEVENS, in a large
building erected for the purpose at 104 First street. They employ five
men; make "the best stearine candles in the market," and manufacture about
520,000 pounds of laundry and large quantities of toilet and castile soap
The firm of ARBUCKLE & Co., manufacturers of candies and cigars,
and wholesale tobacconists, are successors to D. A. VAN NAMEE, Thomas ARBUCKLE
having bought him out in 1870. The other members of the firm are Lester
BRAYTON and M. H. LANDON. This is the largest house of the kind in the
State, the trade extending throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and Eastern
The Brush-Swan Electric Light and Power Company, so named after
the Brush arc and Swan incandescent systems, was chartered on the 25th
of July, 1885, for the purpose of furnishing private and public lights
in Burlington and Winooski. The capital stock is $50,000. The plant is
operated by water power and is situated at Winooski Falls. A two mile circuit
is lighted without trouble. The company is now officered as follows: F.
C. KENNEDY, president, George W. WALES, clerk, and L. E. WOODHOUSE, treasurer.
T.A. WHEELOCK has been engaged in the business of plumbing in Burlington
for more than twenty-five years, and in the building he now occupies for
ten years. A. B. KINGSLAND became his partner in 1883, and the firm name
of WHEELOCK & KINGSLAND was then adopted. They have done as much as
$75,000 worth of work in a year.
The Champlain Shops, on the corner of Main and Battery streets,
are owned by W. J. VAN PATTEN. They include a main building which has a
frontage of two hundred feet on Battery street and fifty on Main, two stories
high, and the two-story building next east, which is occupied by the American
Milk Sugar Company, besides capacious engine and boiler houses, shaving
sheds and dry houses. The buildings are all constructed after the most
approved patterns, the main building being especially a model structure.
It is equipped with the Walworth automatic sprinkler as a guard against
fire, a system consisting of water pipes passing across the rooms at right
angles just below the ceiling, with automatic sprinklers at such intervals
that every ten feet square is guarded by a sprinkler. The shops represent
quite a diversity of interests, the entire premises being leased by J.
W. JOHNSON, who furnishes power and heat and sub-lets to various occupants.
The north portion of the main building is leased by WING & SMITH, manufacturers
of lasts; next to them is conducted the manufacture of toboggans by J.
W. JOHNSON and Co. The FERGUSON Manufacturing Company, engaged in making
the Ferguson bureau creameries, and cabinets for diamond dyes, as well
as picking boxes of all sizes and descriptions, also has quarters here.
In these shops also is carried on the manufacture of milk sugar, by a company
of Burlington capitalists under the name of the American Milk Sugar Company,
which promises to revolutionize the market for that product. The manufacture
of milk sugar was until recently confined almost exclusively to Switzerland
and the supply controlled with the effect of keeping up the price. The
discoveries of Prof. SABIN bids fair to increase the supply and cheapen
to the history of the present mercantile houses is taken almost verbatim
from the Free Press of July 1, 1885.]
Perhaps the most characteristic feature of the commercial growth
of Burlington is to be found in the history of its retail trade. While
its large manufacturing and wholesaling firms have done a great deal for
the prosperity of the city, it is the local tradesmen that show its steady
and permanent growth. The local tradesman has been well termed the business
barometer. And the progress of the retail trade in the city has kept steady
pace with the rapid growth and remarkable prosperity of its manufacturing
and wholesaling interests.
The retail business of Burlington may be said to have had its beginning
very soon after the settlement known as "Burlington Bay" was founded, with
a small and primitive store established by a settler bearing the name of
GRANT. Soon after, as the settlement prospered, it was found necessary
to increase its mercantile facilities, and Stephen KEYS, Zaccheus PEASLEE,
Thaddeus TUTTLE, E. T. ENGLESBY, NEWELL & RUSSELL, William F. PELL
& Co., and HERRING & FITCH set up in the general merchandise business.
There was also a saddler in town, Moses JEWETT, a tailor, Nehemiah HOTCHKISS,
and a cabinet maker, Justus WARNER. Soon after Nehemiah BRYANT went into
the business of making and mending shoes for the settlers, and Daniel WILDER
hung out his shingle as carpenter and joiner. Later on Stephen LAWRENCE
and Stephen PEARL, both representative men, entered the retail trade, and
helped largely to build up the rapidly growing village. William HICKOK
also opened a small store at "south wharf." The old firm of VILAS &
LOOMIS, doing business near the head of Pearl street, must also be counted
among our pioneer firms. Those whose memory does not extend so very far
back can easily remember the old store with its iron blinds and plain front.
Coming down to comparatively modern times we find the earlier generation
of retail dealers represented by more familiar names. In 1829 John and
Cornelius WICKWARE erected the building known as the LYMAN block, on the
corner of College and Church streets, and established in it a flourishing
dry goods trade. This was the second store erected on Church street, the
first being Sion E. HOWARD's store, near the site of the present opera
house. The LYMAN block was occupied successively by ED. W. INGERSOLL &
Co., John S. POTWIN & Co. and Joseph WAIT, for dry goods and general
country trade. The first extensive dry goods merchant to enter business
in Burlington was Elias LYMAN, who purchased the LYMAN block in 1844 and
established his business there. In 1848 Mr. LYMAN formed a partnership
with his cousin, Edward LYMAN, who is now the senior member of the large
dry goods house of LYMAN, ALLEN & Co.
In 1851 Mr. Noble LOVELY erected two brick buildings on Locust street
(now Elmwood avenue) north of North street, which were used for business
purposes. Within the next five years the retail business of Burlington
grew very rapidly, and many of the firms then established are familiar
now, either under the old firm name or that of their successors.
Previous to the year 1849 there was no railroad communication to
or from Burlington with any part of the country, and Troy, Albany and New
York were the markets for the produce of Northern Vermont and New York,
as well as for the goods and supplies in return for the inhabitants of
The communication being by water, through the lake, the Champlain
Canal and Hudson River, Burlington naturally became the principal receiving
and distributing point for the commerce of Northern and Northeastern Vermont,
and its early growth and prosperity up to that time was mainly due to the
trade which was carried on with the inland towns in those parts of the
State. In the earlier years the active men and firms who carried on the
business naturally located on PEARL street, which was the entrance into
town from the east and northeast, and it is but a few years since that
the old stores on that street, which were occupied by the successful business
men Harry BRADLEY, VILAS & NOYES, Luther LOOMIS, E. DEMING, MORSE Brothers,
Horace LOOMIS, Edward LOOMIS, and others, were torn down or converted to
other purposes. These, with Samuel HICKOK, an the west side of the square,
were the parties who controlled the trade in the early part of the century,
exchanging goods for the produce of the community and sending it to Troy,
Albany and New York. But as the State became more settled and population
increased, the business, especially in flour, iron, grain, butter, cheese,
and heavy goods, assumed more of a wholesale character, and to avoid the
expense as well as inconvenience of cartage, it drifted towards the lake,
and additional docks and wharves were built to accommodate it. The stores
on Pearl street closed up one after another, until the retail business
centered about the square, while the wholesale business was carried on
principally by J. & J. H. PECK & Ca., whose office was on the north
side of the square in the PECK block, with some of their lighter goods,
the bulk of them being stored and hauled at the north wharf and warehouses,
and by FALLOUT & BRADLEY, who built and occupied the STONE store now
occupied by VAN SICKLEN, SEYMOUR & Ca., and the warehouses on the south
The transportation inland was principally by teams of six to ten
horses on heavy canvas-covered wagons, coming as far as one hundred miles
in some instances, and the alder citizens will remember the large, fine
teams of Governor PAINE with tons of manufactured goods from Northfield,
of FAIRBANKS & Ca., of St. Johnsbury, loaded with their world-renowned
scales, of BURBANK & LANGDON, of Montpelier, and others crowding the
streets, returning with flour, iron, and merchandise, supplemented by the
elegant, well-matched six horse team and coach of COTTRELL & SHATTUCK,
far the United States mails and passengers.
To the wholesale trade of FOLLETT & BRADLEY was added a line
of boats to New York upon which the produce was shipped to market and goods
When the question of connecting Burlington with Boston by railroad
came up, these two firms became the active advocates of the routes, PECK
& Co. favoring the Vermont Central line and FOLLETT & BRADLEY the
Rutland line. It may be safely said that the early construction of these
two lines of railroad was in a great measure due to the energy, sagacity
and capital of these two firms.
The construction of these two railroads, especially the Central
line, by which the territory tributary to Burlington was put in close connection
with Boston, had the effect of diverting the wholesale trade from Burlington
and materially interfering with its business, and PECK & Co. gradually
retired from the general merchandise business, being succeeded by the junior
member of the firm, Edward W. PECK, at the old place, in such special branches
as the trade would warrant.
Judge FOLLETT's place was filled by Thomas H. CANFIELD and N. A.
TUCKER; the latter soon, however, retiring, when the business was carried
an by BRADLEY & CANFIELD several years, adding to it the forwarding
and transportation by water as well as the building of railroads. Subsequently
BRADLEY & CANFIELD admitted Solomon WALKER and John SMITH into the
merchandise department under the name of WALKER, SMITH & Co., and upon
the death of Mr. WALKER J. M. BISHOP purchased the estate's interest, and
the business continued under the name of BISHOP, SMITH & Co. for some
Meanwhile the business of Eastern Vermont having been diverted to
Boston and elsewhere by the newly constructed railroads, the transportation
by water to New York was correspondingly lessened, and BRADLEY & CANFIELD,
having become interested in the construction of railroads in the West,
sold out their boats and dissolved the firm of BISHOP, SMITH & Co.
Shortly after this the wholesale merchandise business was taken
up again by VAN SICKLEN & WALKER at the old stone store where it is
now successfully continued by their successors, VAN SICKLEN, SEYMOUR &
Co. O. J. WALKER, on retiring from the firm of VAN SICKLEN & WALKER,
opened up the business at the old PECK stand, associating with him his
brothers. Thus the wholesale business now is carried on as in 1849, at
the same places, but confined more directly to selling goods, and not entering
into the purchase of the produce of the country, which is now a specialty
All the members of the original firms are dead except Edward W.
PECK, who remains at his old desk, and Thomas H. CANFIELD, who has devoted
the later years of his life to building the Northern Pacific Railroad,
and has resumed the happy vocation of a farmer.