There are two Gores in Caledonia county by this name. The largest
contains 7839 acres; lies in the northwest part of the county, is bounded
north by Wheelock, east by Danville, south by Walden, and west by Greensboro.
The smaller Gore contains 2828 acres, and lies in the southwest corner
of the county.* These Gores derive their name from the town to which
they formerly belonged. By a singular act of the legislature, these two
Gores in Caledonia county, and one still larger in Addison county, 70 miles
distant, containing 13,000 acres, were incorporated into a town, by the
name of Goshen; chartered Feb. 1, 1792, to John Rowell, Wm. Douglass, and
65 others, and re-chartered to the same, Nov. 1, 1798. The inhabitants
of the part of the town in Addison county, organized March 29, 1814. The
Gores in Caledonia county were severed from the town of Goshen by the legislature
in 1854. There have been frequent petitions by the inhabitants of the larger
Gore in this county to become organized into a town, the first being presented
to the legislature in 1835; but an organization has never been granted.
larger Gore in this county, being most accessible to East Hardwick, as
a place of business and post office address, is distinguished from the
other, by “Goshen Gore, near Hardwick.” This tract of
land lies sloping from the valley of Lamoille river, rising to form one
limb to the fork of the Y.
The first settlements were made by Elihu Sabin and Warren Smith
in 1802. Smith did not settle permanently. Sabin built a frame house which
he occupied until his decease, some 41 years. Other settlements were made
soon after that of Sabin, by Reuben Smith, Elisha Shepard, Reuben Crosby,
Thomas Ransom, Azariah Boody, Ephraim Perrin and Andrew Blair. Improvements
were made about the same time by several other transient residents. Although
the settlement of the place was at comparatively a late date, the hardships
incident to new settlements had to be encountered. Supplies of grain and
necessaries had to be procured in a measure from adjoining towns; the method
of transportation frequently upon their backs, and the method of payment,
generally, by day's work. The frosty season of 1816, and others which,
occurred previously, was severely felt. Mary Sabin was the first child
born. Freeman Smith was the first male child, and Edmund Barker and Betsy
Sabin, the first couple married.
The western portion of the Gore, towards Lamoille river, comprising
about two-thirds of the territory, is improved by resident occupants. The
number of families is over 40. The soil is a mold, in some parts black,
in others reddish; but little clay or loam. It is strong and well adapted
to grass and English grain; the timber chiefly maple, birch, spruce and
fir. Two or three farms on the eastern extremity, adjoining Danville, have
been under improvement since 1805. James Clark and Thomas Young made the
first improvement there.
The eastern portion is chiefly unimproved and mountainous, but well
timbered. In the northern part, there is a pond covering about 80 acres,
the outlet, of which finds its way to the Connecticut river. A steam saw
mill was erected by this pond in 1856, by T. G. Bronson. Bronson died in
1857, and the mill passed into the hands of others - Hawkins & Ross,
present proprietors. Nearly 1,000,000 feet of lumber is manufactured at
this mill annually, which is principally drawn to St. Johnsbury, and used
in the manufactory of E. & T. Fairbanks. About a mile west of this
pond is a "beaver meadow”, also called “Blueberry Meadow," where vestiges
of the labors and dwellings of this sagacious animal are yet to be seen.
A stream arises from this meadow, called Gore Brook, which empties into
The first saw mill was built by G. W. Cook, on a stream which is
the outlet of a pond in, Wheelock. This mill was burnt, and another built
by William Shurburn on the same spot. The second was burned, and the third
was built by Enoch Foster in 1833, which is still in operation. There was
also another built in 1840, by Levi Utley, on the Gore brook, leading from
The first meetinghouse, first public house, first gristmill, first
physician, and first lawyer, are among the things that never were. The
first school was kept by Barilla Morse, in Reuben Crosby's barn, in 1812.
Judith Chase, Betsy Sabin and Lucretia Washburn were the next succeeding
teachers. Mrs. Andrew Blair sent her girl to the first school, and paid
the tuition with a pink silk handkerchief. “Schoolmarm know'd I had it
and she wanted it to make her a bonnet." (Good old Mrs. Ann Blair's
testimony.) The first frame school house was built in 1823. In 1834
a second school district was formed.
A Freewill Baptist Church was organized here in August, 1841, and
Elder John Garfield ordained pastor. It consisted originally of 12 members;
upwards of 50 have since belonged to it. Two of their quarterly meetings
were held here. In 1855, H. W. Harris became their minister, who was succeeded
by Elder Geo. King, ordained pastor of the church in 1857. Elder King has
left the place, and the church is now supplied only by itinerant ministers.
In 1850, this church “Resolved themselves into a society for the purpose
of aiding superannuated ministers and poor widows and orphans, and to do
all they could for their aid and support.”
Born in Dudley, Mass., in 1772, died in “Goshen Gore, near Hardwick,”
July 9, 1843, aged 71. He was one of the 26 children of Mr. and Mrs. Gideon
Sabin, commemorated in the Hardwick History (No. 8, p. 324).
As has been before mentioned, he was the first permanent settler
of this Gore. A generous-hearted, worthy man, talented for his day and
opportunities, energetic and persevering, he had the respect of all the
settlers of the neighboring towns, and was, for about 20 years, a justice
of the peace. He was, moreover, distinguished for uncommon muscular strength,
in so much that the history of the Gore is not without an example of the
courage and prowess requisite for a hand to hand mortal combat.
Once on a time, well verified it is said, Sabin did face the foe
in a single-handed struggle for life. It appears that he had caught a cub,
whose cries brought forward the bear robbed of her young, whom Elihu unflinchingly
smote with the breech of his gun; the bear was dispatched, and so was the
breech of Elihu's gun, Lest, however, it may be said, in cavil, that sudden
desperation which has been known to give supernatural strength, nerved
our hero's arm, we have a more deliberate feat with which to crown our
point - the prodigious strength of Elihu Sabin - a feat of no thrilling
moment, a plain, practical test, however, evincing not less arm - strength
in the man. A living witness testifies that he has seen Mr. Sabin knock
down with one blow of his fist, a two year old bullock, striking him between
the fore shoulders, and breaking a rib. Can the state show a stronger man?
From Connecticut, came into the Gore in 1807, and lived entirely
alone 8 years in a log but, which he constructed by the side of a large
rock, which served the purpose of fire-place, and one end of his apartment.
It is said all the bedding which this man had, “was a rag coverlet and
a second-hand great coat which Mrs. Sabin let him have.” Finally, his affairs
prospered, and one of his neighbors, a good old lady, told him he must
get married, and “picked a wife out” for him, Miss Polly Cheever, whom
he married, and then built a frame house. This wife died in a few years,
and he married the second time to Maria Cutler, and reared a numerous family.
He justly merited the reputation he obtained, of being a remarkably honest,
hard working man; was rather tenacious in. his opinions and prejudices,
but not forward to assert them. He died in 1859.
One of the first settlers, accumulated a handsome property, but
becoming partially insane, meditated self-destruction. For this purpose
he made his escape from his house, and seated himself upon a large rock,
where he remained till his limbs were frozen. But by a change in the weather
the process of thawing, much more painful than freezing, commenced. This
led him to creep to the house, but he lived only a few days. He died in
From Warren, N. H., was another of the early proprietors. He died
Jan. 80, 1860.
Came into the place about 1820. An excellent variety of potato,
extensively known as the Stevens potato, was propagated by him from the
balls. He died in 1859.
Had the Olympic races come down to our times, Mr. Blair, according
to report, might have, become a successful competitor for a crown. It is
current that he once ran down and captured a fox, and was overheard holding
a parley with the captive, whether the thing was done fair. But, unlike
the Olympic races, not having an impartial judge to decide the points,
the fox seemed to dissent from his victor's boast of fair play. “Now,”
says Mr. Blair, “if you think the thing was not done fair, we'll try it
again.” Whereupon the fox was let go, and was allowed to have a few rods
the start, when Blair took the track. Away went the fox - away went Blair;
one for life, the other for victory, Over hill, over fence, over brush,
till Blair caught the breathless trophy, a second time, in triumph.
Mr. Blair was one of the pioneer settlers. Andrew M. Blair, Esq.,
son of Andrew Blair, was late a member of the Wisconsin state senate.
* Goshen Gore the lea was
set off to Washington Co. Ed.
** The people, for the most part,
are not dissatisfied with their present situation, being exempt from the
demands of the tax-gatherer, and the expenses incident to a town organization.
Offered by Tom Dunn, October 2002