XX indexVermont  




"An island in the western part of the county. It was chartered by this name to Benjamin Wait and others, October 27, 1789, containing 4,620 acres.  The name was altered to Vineyard, November 1, 1802, and again altered to Isle La Motte, November 6, 1830.  The settlement of this town was commenced about the year 1785. Among the early settlers were Ebenezer Hyde, Enoch Hall, William Blanchard, and Ichabod Fitch.  The town was organized about the year 1790.  There are no streams on the island. A marsh extends across it from east to west, which abounds with excellent cedar." 

Gazetteer of Vermont, Hayward, 1849.


      Isle-La-Mott, an island in Lake Champlain, 6 miles in length by two in breadth, its northern extremity, 8 miles south of the line of Canada, 1 mile west of Alburgh, and 1 1/2 mile east of Chazy in the State of New-York, was named, from a French officer, La-Mothe, La. Motte -- now its final e lost -- La-Mott.

      As early as 1609, Samuel Champlain visited the Lake, and between the above date and 1666, a fort was built on the island, and called St. Anne. At the latter date, an expedition of an important character under De Tracy, was fitted out and proceeded from this place against the Mohawks.

      The fort faced north and west at a point where good calibre could command the passage, and its settlement precedes that of any other part of the State by nearly a century. The French government and the English after them, held it with Alburgh and with North Hero, in which a block-house, nearly as far south as to include the island, and that kept an armed vessel in its view, was sustained up to nearly 1800.

      The proprietors procured a survey and allotment of said town or island, to be made in 1785, and certified in January, 1786, by John CLARK. surveyor. In 1788, William BLANCHARD, one of the original proprietors, settled on the island, and resided here till his decease. He was a Revolutionary soldier, and died in the year 1824, I believe. About the same time of his settlement, came also Enoch HALL, with two sons, Nathaniel and Elihu, -- all now deceased. Both these sons raised large families, -- sons and grandsons, who have served in various public trusts, with fidelity and satisfaction. Ebenezer HYDE, another of the original proprietors, and who was the principal actor in procuring the town organization in March, 1791, 24th day. His energy and business tact attracted the attention of his fellows, and readily they conferred on him the first office, for which they could give a legal vote, and by which he became the first selectman. Ichabod E. FISK was, also, another one of the early settlers, with a large family of eons and daughters. He was a prominent business man, a surveyor, a teacher, &c. His descendants still reside here, and occupy places of public trust, with good acceptance. Abram KNAP not only appears among the earliest settlers of the island, but his hardships and sufferings, as such, will scarcely find a parallel, having been compelled, in order to subsist a large family, to use the buds and tender leaves of the bass-wood tree to form a mucilage for nourishment, and from the bark fibre to make a sort of cloth for covering and wearing apparel. It is also worthy of note, that, when grain could be had by these early settlers, there were no mills for grinding, nearer than Whitehall (then Skeensboro), over 100 miles, or Chambly, 30 miles by water and 12 of land, while the only mode of conveyance was to paddle their canoe to Whitehall, which was a trip of from 2 to 4 weeks, or to proceed in the same manner to St. Johns, and then carry their grain 12 miles by land, on their backs. Indeed, every stratagem was forced upon them, and actually employed, in order to prevent a dissolution of the partnership between soul and body.

* The Island was chartered by Vermont, Oct. 27, 1779, to 99 proprietors, viz. Benj. WAIT, Gideon WARREN, Noah CHITTENDEN, Ebenezer WOODS, Thomas TOLMAN, Ithamar HIBBARD, William BLANCHARD, Jacob SMITH, Jacob WOOD, Samuel ALLEN, Samuel CLARK, Ebenezer ALLEN, Ethan PIER, Luther GILMORE, Cyrus CLARK, Joseph ROE, Stephen SAVOY, Jones GALUSHA, Elijah DEWEY, Jonathan FASSETT, Moses ROBINSON, Ebenezer WALLACE, Jr., John WHISTON, Levi HILL, Isaac WALLS, William ROBINSON, Joseph GRIFFIN, Isaac Hull WALLIS, Seth WALLIS, James HILL, John SAWYER, Jesse SAWYER, Isaac CLARK, John FAY, William HUTCHINS, Joseph LAWRENCE, Elisha CLARK, 2d, Hermon SAWYER, Daniel COY, John Ryon BLANCHARD, Benjamin COY, Caleb CLARK, Nathan FASSETT, Jedediah BINGHAM. Ephraim WOOD, John PAYNE, jr., Eboenezer WOODS, jr. Thomas BARNEY, Daniel ORMSBY, Nathan CLARK, jr , William BOOKER, Robert BLAIR, Stephen DAVIS, Alexander BRUSH, Jacob SALFORD, Elisha ASHLEY, William ASHLEY, Solomon ALLEN, Elisha CLARK, John OWEN, Daniel HERRICK, Gideon ADONIS, Jesse FIELD, Francis HERRICK, William SATTERLEE, Benajah LEONARD, Ebenezer HYDE, Samuel HERRICK, Stephen FAY, Stephen MEAD, Joseph FAY, Samuel ALLEN Jr., Thomas CHITTENDEN, Timothy BROWNSON, Ira ALLEN, Samuel ROBINSON, Joseph BULLEN, James MURDOCK, Solomon SAFFORD, James HAWLEY, John LEE, Jesse AVERILL, Joseph AUDRUS, Abner BLANCHARD, Elnathan HIGBY, Thomas BUTTERFIELD, Azariah ROOD, Jr., Joseph AGUID, David LACY, Samuel BARRET, John BURGETT, Jr., Abraham STEREOS, Charles CHAPIN, Jr., Thomas BRAINARD, Ashbel PATTERSON, and Capt. Abel DEMMICK. One Abram KNAPP settled on this Island and lived here is 1784, and died here in 1809; he was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, left descendants, all of whom have removed westward.
      Nathaniel WALES was the first representative, and held that trust for 3 years,-1791, '92, and '93. It is said that, in order to get to the general assembly, he "paddled his-own canoe" to Burlington, a distance of over 30 miles.

      Nathaniel Wales was representative, 1791, '92, '93; William UTLEY, 1794; 1795, none; William GOODRICH, 1796, '97; Daniel BAKER, 1798; 1799, none; ____ BAKER, 1800; Truman CLARK, 1801; Samuel FISK, 1802, and named the place Vineyard; Seth EMMONS, 1803, '04; John BORDEN, 1805-1810; William WAIT, 1811, '12; Caleb HILL, 1813; Charles CARRON, 1814; W. WAIT, 1815; J. A. CLARK, 1816, '17; Truman CLARK, 1818, '19, '20.

      The original forests were of various timbers and of mighty growth. Pine has been squared 80 feet in length, by 2 feet diameter, and log canoes dug out 4 feet broad. I have myself sold 12 cords of wood, free measure, with no bark on it, cut from one pine tree, I have cut one hemlock tree, -- the first 20 feet cut with saw, 11 sticks of timber, 7 by 9 inches, and 4 sticks 4 by 6 inches ; the next, 30 feet long, sawed 6 sticks 7 by 9 inches, and one 13 feet long saw-log; -- making 63 feet long good timber. The longest timber I have ever hewn, of hemlock, is a plate in my house, 83 Feet long, 8 by 10 inches. I have often measured hemlock trees, from the ground to the very top, 113 feet and 6 inches. The native timbers are white and red oak, also, cedars in great quantities, hemlock, birch, beech, elm, bass, maple, walnut, butternut, &c.

      The soil is rich and remunerative, particularly in fruit, which in 1868 was of $10,000 value, and over $2,000 value of fruit trees, are already contracted for spring-setting, this season. I have apple-trees covering over 4 square rods, from one of which, last fall, 44 bushels of apples were gathered.

      The inhabitants of the island are a mediocrity people; its religious opinions and devotions, of various forms, but principally Methodist Episcopal; it sustains a good select school, and two primary schools.

      Our Little Lady of the Islands, loves well our national freedom, and the patriotism of its inhabitants has been manifested on more than one occasion. In 1812 a requisition was made for a sergeant and 6 men, a detachment from the militia to enter actual service, -- headquarters at Swanton, -- to protect the frontier from inroads of the enemy. About 20 volunteered. Those who went and served their term, were Orlin BLANCHARD, Sergeant; Privates, Ira HILL, Harry WAIT, Minard HILLIARD, Coonrad DENIO, (Lewis) GORDON, and Amos HOLCOMB. The two last were mustered out again to support the Union. When menaced by Southern rebellion, its complement of men was made up of volunteers and substitutes, provided by and at the expense of the town, except on one call, when five were drafted, two of whom paid commutation and three deserted; of the deserted, one returned to the service voluntarily, and one was taken and put in service, the other chose to stay in Canada.

      In 1814, the fleet of the British came up the Lake as far as this place, -- ours retiring to Plattsburgh Bay. Capt. PRING, the British commander, landed on the west side of the Island, erected a battery, mounted 6 long 18-pounder guns, commanding the passage down the Lake, and claimed to exercise jurisdiction over the Island, and ordered the inhabitants to repair to his quarters with such teams and laborers, as they could furnish to assist in erecting big fort or battery, upon which they should he otherwise unmolested upon their parol of honor, to which summons some submitted, while others kept aloof.

      From this point the enemy's flotilla started on the early morning of the memorable 11th of September 1814, and paid respects to Cora. MCDONOUGH in Plattsburgh Bay.

      I have an aversion to writing biography, but, by the urgent desire of many friends, concluded to write something of myself, aware that others have the same privilege. My father's name was Caleb HILL; my mother's maiden name was Cynthia STRONG. They raised 12 children, of whom I was the second. They brought me to Isle-La-Mott, April 7, 1803. I was born in Granville, Washington Co., N. Y., Aug. 14, 1793, and have resided in Isle-La-Mott, since 1803. In 1812. my father was captain of the company of militia of the Island, and received orders for a detachment of 7 men from his company, and hoping that volunteers would he found, rather than have a draft, requested me to volunteer for 6 months actual service, which I did, and others also, to complete the number required. That service ended, I was enrolled as a minute-man. In 1813, we were ordered to the lines, when Col. MURRY came out, and burnt the barracks at Swanton. My father died Aug. 16, 1814. About the beginning of September 1814, the English flotilla appeared, landed, built their fortification, and demanded all material of war, and the submission of the inhabitants; upon which, I immediately collected all the public property, distributed to the company or minute-men, being 18 muskets, with the accoutrements and 500 rounds, fixed ammunition, officers, swords, &c., and with one assistant, conveyed them in the darkness of three nights, to Jedediah HYDE's, in Grand-Isle, where they remained safe, until the war closed, in 1815. While I was getting these articles secured, some miscreant informed -the officer, Capt. PRING, of what I was doing, and a strict vigilance was constantly maintained, until Sunday, one week previous to the battle of Plattsburgh. My mother was informed, by order of Capt. PRING, that unless I should appear at his fort and surrender myself, her premises should be cleared of all valuables, and the buildings burned to ashes. She immediately informed me. I told her I would go, and commenced arranging my dress. She having some doubts, looking right in my eyes, exclaimed, "For Heaven's sake, tell me, will you go and give yourself up and save us, or shall we all be destroyed?" My answer was, "No, never!" "Where will you go?" "To Plattsburgh, if possible." She then clasped her arms around me, declaring frantically, that I should carry her on my back, as she would not slacken her grasp. The recent death of my father, the care of such a numerous family, the anticipated destruction of all means of support, by the enemy, was an accumulated burden, beyond her powers, and yielding to her entreaties and tears, I promised her, that I certainly would go to the fort. Having arrived there (three miles distant), a strong guard of soldiers conducted me to the opening thereof, and gave notice that the man they had been in search of, had appeared. Capt. PRING, a large, dark complexioned officer, came out, and casting a downward glance, appeared surprised, at seeing before him such a child as my appearance indicated, being a light, small lad, weighing 88 pounds, light colored hair, no beard, although 21 years of age, in all respects, appearing like a lad of 14 years. He next said, "Young man, I understand that you have been employed in carrying away the public property from this place. Is it so!" I bowed assent. He then asked, "Why did you do so, after the very indulgent proclamation I had issued to the inhabitants?" I clumsily pronounced part of the word, with a slight shake of my head. He then asked, where I had put it, to which I made no reply. He then with a frowning aspect, said, "I am not to be contemptibly treated, I demand where have you deposited the guns, ammunitions and equipage, you have taken away." I answered, I took them away supposing he would get them, if left here, and should not tell where they were. He then said, "Young man, I will put you in irons and send you to Quebec." I answered, "You can do as you have a mind to." At this an officer put in my hand a small paper. I cast my eye upon it, and commenced picking pieces off one end and dropping them. The officer pushed a pen against my hand. I took no notice of the pen, other than to withdraw my hand from it. Both the officer and Capt. PRING turned into the fort, and I heard the following, spoken inside the fort: "I don't know what to make of that boy. He is either the damnest fool, or the damnest rogue, I ever saw." I then turned to leave, and parted the bayonets of the guard slowly with either hand, which guard was three ranks deep, and slowly walked out, and returned home. On the morning of the battle of Plattsburgh, by request of Col. Samuel MIX, then commandant of the regiment to which our company belonged, I went through, and ascertained he strength of, the British posts, two in number, in Chazy, opposite their fort on this Island.


      When I first came to this island (in 1852), I took pains to gather all the information connected with its early history, in my power, by questioning its oldest inhabitants, as to what they had learnt from their fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers. The result was, I found myself in possession of much pertinent and valuable information, which had never been made a matter of history. The most important items, thus obtained were penned down, all of which have since been lost-therefore, I have no materials to aid me now, other than my memory furnishes, with the exception of "Deming's catalogue of the principal officers of Vermont, as connected with its political history from 1778 to 1851,"

      Ichabod FISK taught the first school. The first representative, was Nathaniel WALES, 1791; the first town clerk, Abraham KNAPP, 1790; the first minister that ever preached upon the inland, Daniel BRUMLEY, whose circuit extended from Connecticut through to Grand-Isle County, embracing said county (not very definite.) -- this was about 1800, -- Ichabod FISK, Rev. Phineas COOK -- ANSON AND STRATTON also preached here, about this time. The first physician, Luther PLYMPTON, practiced here some time after 1800; the Second, Minus MCROBERTS, practiced medicine here, from about 1830 to 1837; the present resident physicians are Melvin J. HYDE and Bramar E. LENGFELD, allo. The first lawyers were Seth EMMONS, Solomon MORGAN and Samuel HOLTON -- who practiced from about 1800 to 1810. Later, Julius FISK was admitted to the bar in 1855, and was a resident till 1865; the present resident lawyer, Hon. Harry HILL, was admitted to the bar in 1866.

      The first person born on the island, was Laura BLANCHARD, daughter of William BLANCHARD, Sept. 17, 1792. The first death was that of a child of Abraham KNAPP, before 1800. The coffin consisted of a basswood log hollowed out, something like a sap-trough used in early times.

      As to the Isle-La-Mott marble, it is represented in the Victoria Bridge in Fort Montgomery, in the new Catholic cathedral at Burlington and many other public buildings in that city and in other places.* 

* [This marble is seen in the new Catholic cathedral at the head of St, Paul Street, Burlington. and in the new Congregational church on College Street, and the new Methodist church building on White Street. The colors are not only grey, but of all shades, from a light to a dark rose-brown, which at the right altitude of the sun, lights up with great beauty. We have seen the Imported stone of Italy for churches In our larger cities, but have never seen other as handsome building-stone; and which being native stone, has this advantage, It will not fade by effects of the climate, like the handsome foreign stones. In passing, one day last summer, we heard a middle aged gentlemen, s man of good appearance more than naval and evidently a stranger and a traveler, who stood looking at the cathedral, ask another man, "is that stone painted." – Ed]

      There are several extensive quarries here, also, of grey and black marble,-over 500,000 feet of marble have been sold annually from one of these quarries alone, during several years in succession, within the last 20 years.

      Soldiers who served in the Revolutionary war, were, Joseph WILLIAMS, who was wounded at the battle of Brandywine, and taken prisoner by the Americans, and, after having recovered from his wounds, joined our forces under Gen. Washington, and served during the remainder of the war; was present when Gen. Washington joined the Masonic Fraternity. He afterwards lived and died upon the Isle-La-Mott, and was buried with Masonic honors; William BLANCHARD, Ezra PIKE, Daniel BIXBY, Gardner WAIT, Elisha E. REYNOLDS, Nathaniel HALL, William WILSEY, Seth STRONG, John FADDEN, Henry SCOTT and Caleb HILL (grandfather to Hon. Ira Hill).

      Isle-La-Motte furnished 73 soldiers during the late rebellion, all of whom volunteered with the exception of 4 drafted-the town was in advance of its quota till the last call for troops -- most of the above named soldiers having volunteered during the early part of the war, and long before the "draft" came; 14 were killed in battle, and 4 died in hospital. Included in the number of enlisted men from this town, were 3 corporals, 10 sergeants, 2 lieutenants, 2 captains and 1 surgeon. Isle-La-Motte, certainly, contributed largely in proportion to her inhabitants, having less than 100 voters.


      William WAIT, 1821; 1822 none; Charles CARROLL, 1823,'24; William WAIT, 1825; Ezra PIKE jr., 1826, '27; Ira HILL, 1828; Harry HILL, 1829, '30; Charles CARRON, 1831, '32; Reuben PIKE, 1833, '34; Minus MCROBERTS, 1835; William DAWSON, 1836, '37; Enoch HALL, 1838, '30; Martin REYNOLDS, 1840; 1841 none; E. A. HOLCOMB, 1842, '43; Elihu HOLCOMB, 1844, '45; Hiram HALL, 1846; Simeon COOPER, 1847, '48; Dyer HILL, 1849, '50; Peter FLEURY, 1851; Dotes V. GOODSELL, 1852; Carmi HALL, 1853; Henry PIKE, 1854; Julius FISK, 1855; Peter FLEURY, 1856; Julius FISK, 1857; Ezra FLEURY, 1858; D. V. GOODSELL, 1859; N. S. HILL, 1860; Dr. Melvin J. HYDE, 1861, '62; S. H. PIKE, 1863, '64; E. R. GOODSELL, 1865, '66; Hiram FISK, 1867, '68.

      Oldest person deceased, Jesse DENNIS, aged 101; oldest person now living on the Isle-La-Motte, Mrs. GOULD, aged 97 years; she reads without glasses, and spins as much in a day upon the large or small wheel, as any of our " buxom lasses."

      An amusing anecdote is told by some of the old inhabitants here, relative to the first election of a representative for this town -- there being but 3 voters, they purchased a jug of rum for the occasion, and started for the polls, and of course each became a candidate, receiving at each ballot one vote, till at last, one, being on more friendly terms with the jug than the others, and perhaps becoming weary of the repetition of this state of things, or losing all ambition for office, voted for one of the others (Nathaniel WALES) who was duly elected by one majority.

[Says Mr. DIXON, -- the writer of the county chapter and historian for the town of Grand-isle, -- "I can only add, that Ebenezer HYDE, Enoch HALL and Nathaniel WALES were the first selectmen; William BLANCHARD first constable, and William UTLEY first justice of the peace." -- Ed.]


      In the history of Colchester, the writer of this article stated, that "The Isle-La-Motte, in the County of Grand-Isle, has the honor of being the first point within the limits of Vermont, where a civilized establishment and occupancy were commenced."

      It may be a matter of no essential importance, any further than the truth of history is concerned, whether the Isle-La-Motte, Brattleboro, or Addison (the three contested points on the subject), was first occupied by a civilized people. But a fact of this sort, so well settled in the early documentary history of that day, should not be banded down to posterity by one State historian after another, without correction, relying upon the statement of Dr. Samuel WILLIAMS on the subject, as conclusive, and indorsing his history as an authority too sacred for criticism or negation. Dr. WILLIAMS, in his Natural and Civil History of Vermont, vol. ii. p. 10, says: "But it was not until the year 1724. that any settlement was made within the bounds of Vermont. The government of Mass. then built Fort Dummer upon Connecticut river. * * * This was the first settlement. any civilized nation bad ever made in this Sate.*

[*It will be noticed that Dr. Williams claims that the settlement he speaks of was the building of Fort Dummer, and nothing more. He makes no claim nor mention of settlers coming in and taking up farms, -- which in fact was not the case for many years after the erection of the block-house called Fort Dummer.]
      Rev. Zadock THOMPSON, in his Civil History of Vermont, part ii. p. 16, also says:

“The first civilized establishment within the present limits of Vermont, was made in 1724, by the erection of Fort Dummer, in the south-eastern corner of the town of Brattleboro."
      Benj. H. HALL, in his History of Eastern Vermont, p. 104, states:

"That the first civilized settlement within the boundaries of Vermont, was made at Fort Dummer, in the south-east corner of the township subsequently known as Brattleboro, in the year 1724."
      Ex-Gov. Hiland HALL, in his History of Vermont, p. 3, just issued from the press, follows out the record also, by saying:

The first permanent occupancy, of any of the territory of Vermont by civilized men, was in 1724, when a block-house, named Fort Dummer, was built on the Connecticut river, at Brattleboro."
      Hon. John W. Strong, in his history of the town of Addison (vol. i. p. 2 of this work), relates that (March 26, 1690), Capt. Jacobus De WARM; was sent from Albany with 17 men, with a subsequent addition of 20 savages, to select some place at the pass (near Crown Point), and build a small fort. He then says:

" This he did, and built a little stone fort at Chimney Point, in Addison; this was the first possession or occupancy by civilized men in Vermont."

      The words of the above writers, respectively, are quoted to show that they very properly regarded the first erection of military defenses in the state, as evidence of a permanent occupancy and possession. Indeed, it is the only practicable way of occupying a country open to the hostile incursions of its enemies, and defending it against their conquest and possession. It was with this view that the little stone fort at Chimney Point, and the block-house on Connecticut river, were both erected for defense against the Indians; but it matters not whether they were intended as defenses against a civilized or savage foe. In this, or any other view of the subject, it is clear, that the little stone fort at Chimney Point has the prior claim, to the block-house called Fort Dummer, by 34 years, -- that having been built in 1690, and the block-house not until 1724; and were it not that the first occupancy of the State, by a civilized people, took place prior to either of the above cases, the words of Judge STRONG would be the true record, instead of the words of the four distinguished historians above named; for the evidence as to the building of these primitive defenses, and the time when, are as conclusive in the one case as the other, -- both being matters of record of the doings of the authorities in New York and Massachusetts and beyond question.

      But should it appear that the French at an earlier date than either, commenced an occupancy within the territory of this State, by the erection of a fort, upon a much more enlarged plan, for the same purpose-the purpose of holding and defending the country against their enemies, whether civilized or savage, all that has been written about the block-house, called fort Dummer and the little stone fort, on the subject of priority, terns out to be fictitious, and should stand corrected. It is not presumed that any one will claim that the French were not a civilized people.* 

[*Indeed Prof. Thompson in his history of Vermont (part iii.-p. 1. Addison), says "The first civilized establishment in Vermont on the west side of the mountain was on Chimney Point in the south-west corner of this township -- it was made by the French In 1731, the same year they built Fort Frederick, by a stone wind-mill which was built and garrisoned here as an outpost."]

      France was then, as she is still, the rival of Great Britain among the European Powers, not only in her population and national strength, but in her advancement in the arts and sciences- -- indeed they then formed the two great powers of Europe, both contending for the mastery and dominion of this country, bordering upon the lakes, and the St. Lawrence, and making Lake Champlain and the territory about it the central geld of their hostile plans and movements ; where their right to the soil was to be decided by force of arms. The French in the first place took possession of the country, and erected military forts to hold it for offensive and defensive war, with their savage enemies the Iroquois; and at a later date to hold the country for the same purpose, is their wars with the English. And during these wars the French, exclusively, had considerable settlements scattered along the shores of the Lake, from Canada to Ticonderoga -- mostly in the vicinity of their fortified posts -- and they remained untill the conquest of Canada was effected by the English; whereupon they returned to Canada to reside among their own people.

      As we have seen, the little fort at Chimney Point was built by the English in 1690, and the blockhouse on Connecticut river in 1724.

      From the following documentary history, it will appear that the French built fort St. Anne (afterwards called fort La-Motte from its builder) upon the Isle-La-Motte, (the Island taking its name from the fort) in the year 1665 -- being 25 years before the building of the little stone fort at Chimney Point by DE WARM; and 59 years before the block-house, called fort Dummer, was built on Connecticut river.

      The following extracts from the documentary history of N. York, will show how this matter stands -- to wit, (Doc. Hist. of N. York, vol. e, p. 59) –

“Of the first forts erected on the Iroquois river."

      "After having navigated the Lake St. Peters, (we) arrived at the mouth of the Richelieu, which leads to the Iroquois of the Mohawk."

      "The plan entertained at this first campaign was to erect on the route some forts; &c.  -- for this purpose, three advantageous posts were selected -- the first at the mouth of the Iroquois river: the second 17 leagues higher up at the foot of a current of water called Sault de Richelieu: the third about three leagues above this current."

      "The first fort, named Richelieu, was built by: Mons. de Chamblay -- * * The second fort, named St. Louis, was built by Mtons. de Sorels -- * * The third fort was fortunately finished in the month of October on St. Theresa's day, whence it derives its name. From this third fort of St. Therese, we can easily reach Lake Champlain without meeting any rapids to stop the batteaus."

      "This Lake, after a length of sixty leagues, finally terminates in the country of the Mohawk Iroquois. It is still intended to build there early next spring, a fourth fort, which will command those countries, and from which continual attacks can he made on the enemy, if they do not listen to reason." Doc. Hist. vol. i. p. 65.

      "Preparations were made for a military expedition against those with whom no peace could be concluded (the Mohawks ). Mons. de Courcelles, who commanded, used every possible diligence, so that be was ready to start the 9th January of the year 1666, accompanied by 300 men of the regiment of Carignan Salieris and 200 volunteers, habitans of the French colonies."

      "A more difficult or longer march than that of this little army, can rarely be met with in history, and it required a French courage and the perseverance of Mons. de Courcelles, to undertake it. --- In addition to the embarrassment caused by snow shoes, and the burthen which each one was obliged to carry (25 to 30 lbs of biscuit, clothing and other necessary supplies). it was necessary to walk three hundred leagues [out and back] on the snow  cross lakes and rivers, continually, on the ice, in danger of making as many falls as steps; sleep only on the snow in the midst of the forest, and endure a cold surpassing by many degrees in severity that of the most violent European winters."

      "The effects of the terror produced by his Majesty's arms on the hearts of these savages were apparent at Quebec in the month of May following, by the arrival of Embassadors from the Senecas, &c., -- these were soon succeeded by those of other tribes; among the rest by those from the Oneida and even by those from the Mohawk, so that the deputies from the five Iroquois nations wire almost at the same time at Quebec as if to confirm by one common accord a durable peace with France. But while this treaty was going on, "news came of the surprisal by the Mohawks, of some Frenchmen belonging to Fort St. Anne [The first name given to the fort built on the Isle-La-Motte.], who had gone to the chase, and of the murder of Senr. de Traversey, Captain in the Carignan regiment, and Senr. de Cheisy, and that some volunteers had been taken prisoners."

      "But means were adopted to derive advantage from this treachery; and Mons. de Sorel, Captain in the Carignan regiment, immediately collected a party of three hundred men, whom he led by forced marches into the enemy's country, resolved to put all everywhere, to the sword. But when only twenty leagues distant from their villages, he encountered new Embassadors, bringing back the Frenchmen taken near Fort St. Anne, and wino ware coming to offer every satisfaction for the murder of those who were slain, and new guarantees for peace, so that this captain (De Sorel) having returned with his troops there was no more talk but of peace, which they pretended to conclude by a general council of all the tribes who had at the time delegates at Quebec."

      "These treaties, however, had not all the success which was expected from them, and M. DE TRACY (then Governor of Canada) concluded that to insure their success, it was necessary to render the Mohawks, by force of arms, more tractable, for they always opposed new obstacles to the public tranquility. He wished, despite of his advanced age, to lead in person against these barbarians, an army composed of 600 soldiers drafted from all the companies, of 600 habitans of the country, and 100 Huron and Algonquin savages. Through the exertions of M. TALON, all the preparations for this war were completed by the 14th of September, (1666) the day fixed on for departure, being that of the exaltation and triumph of the Cross, for whose glory their expedition was determined on. The general rendezvous was fixed for the 28th of September, at Fort St. Anne, recently constructed by Spar. LA-MOTHE, Captain in the Carignan regiment, on an Island in Lake Champlain. Some of the troops not being able to come up in sufficient time, M. DE TRACY would not proceed before the 3d of October, with the main body of the army. But M. DE COURCELLES, impelled by his characteristic impatience for the fight, started some days ahead with 400 min, and Senors DE CHAMBLY and BERTHIER, commandants of the Forts St. Louis and Assumption, were left to follow M. DE TRACY, four days afterwards, with the rear guard. * * Vessels requisite for this expedition haed been prepared -- three hundred were ready; consisting partly of very light batteaux, and partly of bark canoes, each of which carried at most, five or six persons -- and two small pieces of artillery which were conveyed even to the farthest Iroquois villages, to force more easily all the fortifications."

      "After having destroyed the Indian settlement, burnt their palisades and cabins, destroyed their corn, beans, and other produce, and devastating she country along the Mohawk to Oneida, they planted the Cross, celebrated mass, sung a Te Deum, and set out on their return." 

      "Our excellent Prelate, who had his hands ever raised to Heaven, and had called every one to prayers during the absence of our troops, caused thanks to be given to God and the Te Deum sung on their return." It appears moreover, that Capt. John SCHUYLER in 1690, the same year the little Stone Fort was built at Chimney Point, by Capt. DE WARM, made an excursion into Canada with about 165 "Christians and Indians." He left Wood Creek on the 13th of August, 1690, and after penetrating into Canada as far as La Prairie, opposite Montreal, capturing prisoners, taking six scalps, destroying grain, 150 oxen and other cattle, burning barns and houses, and laying waste the country generally; set out on his return on the 23d of that month. He then proceeds with his journal as follows: 

"That day we traveled to the river Chambly where our canoes were lying."

"The 24th ditto we went as far as fort La-Motte."

"The 25th ditto we reached the Sand Point (Colchester Point,)where we shot 2 elks."

"The 26th ditto we came to the little stone fort, and from there sent a canoe with men to Albany to bring the news of what had happened to us."

"The 27th ditto we proceeded to Canahsione (Ticonderoga?) and there shot 9 elks.“

"The 28th ditto we reached Wood-Creek (Whitehall.)"

"The 29th ditto we have traveled to the little rapid above Saraghtoga."

"The 30th ditto of August we have arrived at Albany, under the command of Capt. John SCHUYLER."

     As evidence in support of the documentary history referred to in the foregoing extracts, it is proper to add that the ruins of old Ft. St. Anne very prominently remain upon the Island, and will continue to remain for ages to come, unless demolished by human hands.*
[*It is now over 200 years since the fort was built, and 179 years since Capt. SCHUYLER took possession of It with his men and prisoners, on his return from Canada. How long the fort was in use as a military post after that time, does not appear; but it seems most probable that it was kept up in connection with other posts along the Lake, until the close of the French war in 1760.]

     In August, 1868, the writer of this article, in company with a friend, visited the Isle-La-Motte, making it a special object in connection with our excursion to examine the ruins of the Old Fort. After crossing the ferry from Alburgh Point to the north end of the Island, we first drove down to the quarries of Messrs FISK and HILL, which lie near its southern extremity. The drive through the length of the Island, being some five or six miles, we found very pleasant as we passed over the smooth road, and enjoyed the beautiful lake scenery upon every hand; also the rich fields of grain and grass, and the almost continuous orchards laden with fruit. There is hardly an acre of waste land upon the Island; the farms for the most part are highly cultivated and farm residences improved by planting out shade trees about them, and along the highway. These, with the groves of wood and timber left for domestic use, and the apparent thrift and independence of the inhabitants, make the Isle-La-Motte, a charming little spot-it is the gem of the Lake.

     On our return to the north end of the Island, we struck over the ridge to the left near the residence of Capt. PIKE, and down the western slope towards the shore of the lake, in search of the old fort. Ira HILL Esq. where we called and dined on our return, had given us directions where to go after passing the ridge, and we soon came upon the site of the fort. The first objects that attracted our attention were a number of mounds, some 4 or 5 feet high, and 6 to 8 feet diameter at the base, of conical form, which were arranged in lines at right angles with each other, on the north and east sides of the fort; and on the south and west sides conforming to the shore of the Lake-though on the west side some of them have been partially and others wholly washed away by the action of the water at spring flood. The distance between these lines, as estimated by pacing it, is twelve rods from north to south, and fourteen rods from east to west; and there are 14 mounds remaining undisturbed by the water. They are constructed by laying up piles of stone at the desired distance from each other, in proper form and bight and covering them over with a thick coat of earth; which is now very compact and firmly turfed over. The one in the south-east corner of the fort is larger than an of the others, being some-what higher and about 12 feet diameter at the base, and has upon one side the appearance of a covered door-way fallen in -- showing this to be constructed with reference to some special purpose; either as an entrance way, or place of deposit of provisions or military stores. On the top of this mound, is a growing white pine tree, which measures six feet in circumference at the usual hight for cutting; which must have started and grown from a date subsequent to the use and occupation of the fort.

     Near the south-west corner are the remains of a blacksmith forge, with cinders and scrape of iron lying about; and towards the north side, within the lines, and near the center of the ground from east to west, are the remains of a well; which is now nearly filled up to a level with the ground. On the outside of the mounds are depressions in the ground, where the earth was evidently taken for covering them, and where the palisade that  surrounded the interior work, above described, was planted. The purpose of erecting the mounds seems to have been for raising a platform inside the palisade, on which the garrison could take a position sufficiently elevated to fire over the pickets.

     The site of the fort is upon a point of land with a wide gravelly beach extending around it, forming a beautiful and convenient strand for hauling up the canoes and bateaux, to almost any extent, of the war parties who navigated the lake at that early day. Indeed, as we look at the position, and contemplate the fleet of boats, which DE TRACY hauled up on this shore, sufficient to embark an army of thirteen hundred men, it not only shows the wisdom of his choice, in making this the point of rendezvous for his army, but presents a spectacle of peculiar interest. 

     The land where the fort stood, is an open plain, quite level, and some eight or ten feet above the low or ordinary water-line of the lake, the slope being gradual, and forming the wide semicircular beach. The grounds east of the fort, covering several acres, and extending to the foot of the ridge, show that they have been leveled and made smooth by artificial means, and were evidently fitted for parade and drill. Now they are covered with a forest of scattering trees, -- mostly oaks of large growth; are clean of underbrush, and covered as a lawn with soft thick grass, making a very pleasant shady grove.

     In view of the preceding historical documents and facts, which, so far as they are matter of record, are undeniable, can any one, especially our worthy and intelligent State historians, persist in claiming that the block-house in Brattleboro, or the little stone fort in Addison, were either of them erected and occupied by a civilized people, anterior to fort St. Anne on the Isle-La-Motte?


"At a meeting of the Commissioners of the Land Office of the State of New York, held at the Secretary s office in the city of New York, Feb. 13, 1790.

     His Excellency George CLINTON, Esq. Governor.
     Lewis A. SCOTT, Esq. Secretary.
     Gerard BUNCKER, Esq. Treasurer.
     Peter T. CASTMENS, Esq. Auditor.

“On the petition of Samuel MOTT and 90 other persons, inhabitants of a neck or tongue of land on the west side of Misissquoi Bay refered by a resolution of the assembly 13th inst to the commissioner of the land office for inquiry (this Board report) that on the 22d day of August, 1735, a claim was exhibited by this Board by Peter ALLAIR for himself and in behalf of Sir George YOUNG for the land in the said petition mentioned (in Isle-La-Motte, I think.) That on that day Peter ALLAIR in support of said claim proclaimed to the Board a minute of council of the late Colony of New York dated the 20th day of January, reciting the petition of Sir George YOUNG for a tract of land nearly opposite the house of John THOMAS on Long Island in Lake Champlain the south end of which tract lies nearly west of said Island to extend northly as far as may be necessary to lay the said road across in pro per form. A report of the council in favor of the petitioners and an advice to grant the prayer of the petitioners and a warrant of survey from Sir Henry MOORE, Governor of the late colony for surveying the same, dated the 20th January, 1769, with a plan of the survey thereof, the Board then adjourned the further hearing thereof until Friday the 4th of November the next. That on the 4th of November, the Board again met and at the instance of the said Peter ALLAIR postponed the further hearing of the said claim until the 2d day of January next."

     Nothing further was offered by Peter ALLAIR to substantiate his claim and the powers of the Board expired without their deciding on the subject.

     "That on this occasion the Board think proper to observe that by the said act above refered to it is among other things declared that nothing therein should be construed to enable any person to hold lands and obtain said grants (refering to grants founded) as such claims who are not already qualified by the laws of this State to hold the same; and that no such claim to any lands shall be allowed in virtue of any mandamus issued by the King of Great Britain while this State was a Colony, except such mandamus shall have been granted as a reward for services actually done and performed in this, then Colony now State of New York and was vested in a citizen previous to the 9th day of July 1776, who had located and obtained from the Government of the then Colony of New York an active part with the United States during the late war.  The Board do further respectfully report that no Caveat was entered by any person against the said claim of the said Peter ALLAIR in behalf of himself and said George YOUNG nor did any thing turn up in the course of the investigation thereof to induce this Board to believe that the land had been thus patented."

     Hence the board concluded the lands to be vacant and subject to the disposal of the Legislature.

      The above is the Report of the commissioners of the Land Office on the petition of Samuel MOTT and 90 other persons, referred to the Assembly on the 12th Feb., 1790. -- In Assembly, Feb. 20, 1790 -- Ordered that the further consideration of the said report be. postponed until the next meeting of the Legislature.

     "Deed of Samuel FISK to Henry HARDIE, 
      five eights of land-Isle-La-Motte -- 

     Know all men, that I, Samuel FISK of Isle-La-Motte in the County of Franklin State of Vermont-collector of taxes of and for the said town of Motte for the year 1797 -- by order of the law of this State, relating to surveying and collecting of rates and taxes in the several towns in the State-for and in consideration of $3.45 to me in hand paid before the delivering thereof by Henry HARDIE of St. Johns in the province of Canada, the receipt of which do hereby acknowledge have given, granted and sold . . . all rights of land situated in said town of Isle-La-Motte, viz. the original rights of Leroy HILL, John PAYN, jun., Ebenezer WOOD, jun., Gideon ADAMS and David LACY, -- the said Henry HARDIE being the highest bidder of the same at a public vendue, legally holden at the dwelling-house of Dan'l BAKER in said town on 17th of May, 1798, for the sale of the lands in said town belonging to delinquents of said rate or tax.

(Signed and sealed).

     Oct. 2, 1792. 
     "Agreement between Ira ALLEN and Ichabod E. FISH. 

     Witnesseth that said ALLEN has sold said FISH his original right on the Isle-La-Motte for 15 pounds -- eight pounds to be paid this day -- seven pounds one year from this date in neat cattle or wheat at said ALLEN's house, with interest. In case said FISH performs on his part, then said ALLEN obliges himself, his part &c., to give said FISH a deed of said lands, otherwise not, in witness thereof we have set our hand and seal, this 2d day of October 1792, in presence of
Lucy Allen.


     In Ira ALLEN's own hand, the following records:

"May 4, 1796 -- Ebenezer ALLEN of South Hero for 60 pounds deeded to Ebenezer FITCH five 50 acre lots in Isle-La-Motte, viz: lot 59, 96, 93, 79, 65, (free of all incumbrances deed recorded by Abner KNAPP, town clerk, 1st book of records for deeds in Isle La-Motte, p. 83 and 84.)

April 12, 1796, Eleazer FITCH of Chambly co.' -- for 60 pounds from George FITCH of Chambly, deeded 5 50-acre lots (the above). 

St. Johns Sept. 10, 1796 -George FITCH of Chambly co. for 50 pounds deeded to Henry HARDIE (said above) five 50-acre lots.

Gen. Assembly, Oct. 23, 1779, Act. . . . 
"Resolved, that the land described in said petition, be chartered unto Ethan ALLEN, Samuel HERRICK, Benjamin WAIT and Jonas FAYS, Esqs. and their associates, by the name of the two Heros [for the sum of 10 thousand pounds], Oct. 27. 1779, granted by the Legislature to Maj. Benj. WAIT and his associates, the Isle of Motte."

"The Vermont Historical  Gazetteer: 
A Magazine Embracing A History of Each Town, 
Civil, Ecclesiastical, Biographical and Military."
Volume II, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille & Orange Counties.
Including Also The Natural History of Chittenden County.
Edited and Published by Miss Abby, Maria Hemenway. 
Burlington, VT. 1871.
Page 554-563

Transcribed by Karima Allison 2004