XX indexVermont  




Irasburgh, the shire town of Orleans county, was granted by Vermont, February 23, 1781, to Ira Allen and sixty-nine associates. It then consisted of a tract of 23,040 acres, lying in lat. 44º 48', and long. 4º 42', bounded north by Coventry, south by Lutterloh (Albany), and east and west by unappropriated and unnamed lands. It is now bounded northeast by Coventry, southeast by Barton, southwest by Albany, and northwest by Lowell and Newport. 

       The surface of the township is diversified by gentle hills and valleys, forming a charming landscape. The soil is also various, and in general is easy to cultivate and produces good crops. Black river, the principal water-course, flows through the town in a northerly direction, receiving a number of small streams, but its current is generally slow and affords but few mill-privileges. Barton river just touches upon the eastern corner. The Passumpsic railroad also crosses the eastern corner. 

       In 1880, Irasburgh had a population of 1,064, and in 1882, was divided into twelve school districts and contained twelve common schools, employing five male and nineteen female teachers, to whom was paid an aggregate salary of $1,354.18. There were 401 pupils attending common school, while the entire cost of the schools for the year, ending October 31st, was $1,530.33, with George B. Rowell, superintendent. 

       Irasburgh is a post village very pleasantly situated near the center of the town on Black river, which stream here affords a very fair water-power for the extensive saw-mills of George W. Parker, the grist-mills of W. T. Morey, and another saw-mill. The village also contains two churches (Congregational and Methodist), courthouse and jail, two hotels, three stores, about fifty dwellings, and 250 or 300 inhabitants. In 1812, the legislature of the State passed an act constituting Irasburgh the shire town of the county, provided the inhabitants of Irasburgh would erect a court-house and jail at their own expense. The buildings were completed in 1816, as mentioned on page 173. This gave a new dignity to the town and proved a great impetus to the growth of the village. In 1830, The Bank of Orleans was established here, and the village bade fair to become the most important in the county. But the rapid growth of other villages, with their superior mill-privileges and facilities for transportation, gradually drew the business from Irasburgh until they are now far ahead of it. The bank was removed to Barton in 1875, and is now the National Bank of Barton. 

       W. T. Morey's grist-mill, located at the village, has three runs of stones, a smut-mill and corn cracker.  Mr. Morey does custom grinding and deals in meal, flour, etc. 

       William T. Brewster's saw-mill, located at the village, manufactures spruce, hemlock, and hardwood lumber, turning out annually about 200,000 feet, giving employment to six men. 

       George W. Parker's lumber-mill, formerly owned by the Boston Mill Co., are also located at the village. Mr. Parker manufactures spruce, hemlock and hardwood lumber, and shingles, also having planing and dressing machinery. He turns out 1,500,000 feet of lumber annually, employing eight men. 

       Bozille Laguness's carriage and blacksmith shop, located at the village, was built in the spring of 1873. Mr. Laguness manufactures wagons, carriages and sleighs, and does all kinds of blacksmithing work. 

       It is claimed that when the Allens wanted a new township granted they merely obtained a few bona fide proprietors, and filled up the required number of grantees with assumed names from some at that time distant point, paid the first grantees dues, and afterwards professedly bought up these claims. But be that as it may, previous to 1789, Ira Allen had received conveyances from all of the original proprietors, so that the whole township, except the public rights, belonged to him, subject to the conditions of the grant. When Jerusha, eldest daughter of Gen. Roger Enos, engaged herself to Gen. Allen the father of the affianced bride required, in accordance with the usages of these days, a marriage settlement for, his daughter. Thus very much as a matter of form and honorable custom, the township of Irasburgh, then a primeval wilderness, was deeded to her as such settlement, for, to use Mrs. Allen's own words, “she did not at that time consider it worth a rush.”  In 1792, he employed James Whitelaw, Esq., to survey the township, who completed the task in 1793. The township was laid out in 210 lots, each containing, according to the plan of the survey 117 acres. 

       According to the conditions of the charter, there should have been a family upon each respective right in the summer of 1797, in order to have the titles valid. But nothing appears to have been done by the proprietors towards making a settlement until the autumn of 1801, when a notice appeared in the “Rutland Herald,” warning the proprietors to meet at the dwelling of Ralph Parker, in Glover, on the 12th of November. This notice also appeared in the columns of Spooner's “Vermont Journal” and in those of the “Green Mountain Patriot,” signed by Ralph Parker, justice of the peace. At a meeting held in Glover, December 28, 1801, the proprietors voted that the account of James Whitelaw for surveying be allowed, principal and interest, and that a tax of $6.25 be assessed on each proprietor's share in the town. Roger Enos, Jr., was elected collector of said tax. None of the proprietors appeared to pay the tax, and December 25, 1802, Mr. Enos advertised the lands for sale, the vendue to come off March 4, 1803, at Glover, when all the lands, except the public rights, were sold at auction, and, March 14, 1804, deeded to Heman Allen.  In 1797, the legislature assessed a tax of three cents per acre on all the land of Irasburgh for the purpose of building roads, bridges, etc. Joseph Scott, collector, advertised the land to be sold at public auction for this tax, March 9, 1803, at the house of Royal Corbin in Craftsbury. The land was sold and again bid off to Heman Allen, who thus became owner by virtue of vendue deeds from two collectors, and was authorized to convey them by statute laws. Ira and Jerusha Allen had, previous to these sales, leased several lots to various individuals, some of whom were occupying them at this time. Hemon Allen was one of the trustees who collected the rents for them, and, after be became legal owner, caused occupants under such leases to quit-claim their lots to him, and again leased them in his own name. But it turned out that Heman Allen, Roger Enos, Jr., and Ralph Parker, Esq., were simply managing Jerusha Allen's business, so that in the end she became sole owner of the town, except the public rights. Settlers held their land under leases, and it was not until after Ira H. Allen, her son, came here in 1814, that any lands were conveyed by deed. Roger Enos, Jr., Jerusha Enos, and Jerusha Enos, Jr., the wife of Ira Allen, were the only original proprietors who ever resided in the town. 

       The first settlement was made by Caleb Leach, in 1798. He built a log house, into which his family moved that year, in the eastern part of the town on the Barton line. James Leach came soon after and located near Caleb. Levi Sylvester came in 1799, and located upon what is now known as the brick house farm. It was the custom for landed proprietors to give the first settler a lot of land in consideration for the hardships which the first pioneer must endure. This custom gave to Caleb Leach the easterly half of No. 108, as marked on the original survey. Mr. Leach's, and Levi Sylvester's families were the only ones in the town in 1800, the census showing a. population of fifteen. During this year Foster Page, Simon French, Orlando Bowley, Amos Conant and his son, Samuel, made settlements in the town. It is not known how many moved here during the years 1801 and 1802, the only records showing that any intended to settle being the dates of leases from Ira and Jerusha Allen to various individuals, some of whom settled here in 1803, '04 and '05.  Nearly every lot in the eastern and northeastern part of the town was leased during these years. It appears that the proprietors leased lots to men who had never seen them, because several of the lots leased in 1802, are wild and unimproved at the present time. Among those who took leases in 1802-‘03, were the Burtons, Morrills, Baileys, Curriers, Utleys, and Peter Thatcher, and some others who were residents of the town for many years. 

       February, 13, 1803, Foster Page, Caleb Leach, Levi Sylvester, James Leach, and Simon French signed a petition directed to Amos Conant, a justice of the peace, requesting him to issue his warrant, and notify all the inhabitants who were legal voters to meet and organize the town. The meeting was duly warned to meet at the dwelling of Caleb Leach, on Monday, the 21st of March. Foster Page was chosen moderator; Caleb Leach, Levi Sylvester and Foster Page, selectmen; and Samuel Conant, constable. Amos Conant was the first justice of the peace, in 1802. Caleb Leach was the first representative, in 1804. Ralph Parker built the first grist and saw-mill, upon the site now occupied by the grist-mill. These mills were built for the Allens, and remained in the family until 1869. During this year, 1803, Capt. James Richardson settled on lot No. 80. A few years after, roads were opened by his place—one from Amos Conant's northwesterly by Richardson's to Troy, and one from Burton's hill, by the Allen place northerly to Morrill hill, thence to Coventry and Derby. His buildings stood at four corners, where he kept the first tavern opened in the town. This, which was one of the most important points from 1804 to 1812, is now an old pasture with no road within half a mile. Later, a road was opened from Caleb Leach's to Parker's mills, passing a McFarland’s, who located on lot No. 113. Also one passing from Burton hill to Capt. Richardson's, passing this place, and another from Amos Conant's to McFarland's, making five corners. This place was thought, at that time, to be the place where the village would be located. Town and religious meetings were held here in 1810, when Eber Burton built a large frame house. A burying-ground was established on the hard, gravelly knoll on the top of the hill north of the road. The militia of the town held their annual June trainings at this place for several years, and it was the business center until the court-house was completed, in 1816. 

       Joshua Johnson, a native of Maine, was born in 1764, and came to Irasburgh in 1806, where he resided a great many years and reared a large family of children. During the war of 1812, he served in the American army. During his absence, a tory neighbor at one time attempted to drive off a fat cow from Mr. Johnson's farm, for the use of the enemy. Mrs. Johnson raised a window and pointed a gun at the intruder, warning him to depart, which he did. Mr. Johnson died in Albany, aged ninety-three years. 

       Joseph Kidder, born in Lyndeborough, N.H., April 7, 1780, came to Irasburgh in February 1807. He occupied a part of a neighbor's house for a few weeks, while he was constructing a log house of his own, to which, as soon as completed, he moved his family, a distance of three miles, upon the farm now owned by Freeman Metcalf. He was the first  permanent settler west of Black river, and, as near as can be ascertained, the twelfth or thirteenth family in the town. Mr. Kidder made the journey from New Hampshire, a distance of two hundred miles, with two yoke of oxen. Years after, Mrs. Kidder informed her daughter Mary (Mrs. Ware), that the summer after she came here, there was not a blade of grass about their dwelling, and that her brooms she manufactured herself, from hemlock boughs. Bears were numerous and troublesome, rendering it necessary to watch their stock at night. At the breaking out of the war of 1812, several neighbors who had settled near them, left through fear of the Indians, leaving this family alone. In 1836, Mr. Kidder sold out, intending to go west; but, in 1837, Mrs. Kidder died and he abandoned the project and purchased an adjoining farm where he died, in 1853. Two of his five children are now living, Mrs. Joseph S. Kidder, of Coventry, and Mrs. Mary Ware, of this town. 

       Ira H. Allen came here in 1814, and remained until his death, in April, 1866. The lands of the town belonged to his mother, and at her decease, in 1838, they came to him as the only surviving heir. In the management of the estate, which had for years previous to his mother's death devolved upon him, Mr. Allen exhibited those excellent traits of character which made him so popular. His mildness of manner, courteous and, gentlemanly deportment, made him accessible to the humble, and honored and respected by the exalted. In all his business transactions, he never gave any man reason to doubt his word, and oftentimes when he had promised to convey real estate for a stipulated sum, other parties would offer more for the property and the offer not be accepted. He took a leading part in town affairs, and his townsmen honored him with many positions of trust. He was town clerk in 1816 and 1817; selectman from 1820 to 1826, inclusive; town representative in 1818, '19, '20, '22, '23, '27, '35, '37, '38, and '40.  In 1822 he held the office of probate judge; represented the county in the council in 1828, '29, '30, '31, and '32; and was elected to the council of censors in 1848, and was also appointed aide-de-camp on the Governor's staff with the title of colonel. January 13, 1842, he married Sarah C. T. Parsons, of Highgate, a lady of great amiability and worth. She died February 29, 1844.   July 8, 1848, he married her sister, Frances Eliza. 

      Samuel H. Howard was born in Holland, Mass., in March 1813. During his childhood his father, Eleazer Howard, moved to Cambridge, Vt., where he remained about two years, then came to Irasburgh village where he followed shoemaking about ten years, then engaged in tanning, which occupation he followed until his death in 1852. Samuel H. has lived at the village since he was six years of age, being now over seventy. He was a member of the constitutional convention in 1870, and has been a justice of the peace for the past thirty-one years. 

       William Kidder, from Lyndeborough, N. H., came to Irasburgh in 1821, locating upon the farm now owned by his sons Charles and William. He accomplished the journey in twelve days with two yoke of oxen. He died on the old homestead in 1863, aged seventy-eight years. Seven of nine children are living, all in this town, as follows: Charles, William, Mrs. James Hancock, Benjamin A., Josiah, Mrs. George R. Bryant, and Faxson. 

       Ephraim Farrington from Westford, came to Irasburgh in 1822, and in 1823, located upon the farm now owned by Albert Alger. Seven or eight years later he sold out and purchased the farm where his son, Miles J., now resides, where he died, September 3, 1867, aged sixty-nine years. Three of his four children are living. 

       Stephen Bryant was born in Bolton, Mass., in 1774, and came from Weathersfield, Vt., to his town, in March, 1822, and engaged in milling at the village. Here he remained about two years, then moved to the place now occupied by T. Harlow, remained about two years, then sold out and returned to the village, remained there three years, then located in the southern part of the town where his son, George R. Bryant, now resides, and where he died, November 11, 1855, aged eighty-one years. He was the father of eight children, six of whom are living, three, George R., Abigail (Mrs. W. Edmonds), and Clarinda (Mrs. George Ordway), in this town. He was married November 15, 1805, to Miss Elizabeth Hoyt of Windsor, Vt. 

       Nathaniel Bryant, from Bath, N. H., came to Irasburgh about 1824, and settled upon the farm now owned and occupied by his grandson, Azro C. Bryant. He was the father of eight children, only two of whom are now living, Ira Bryant, on the old homestead, aged seventy years, and Mrs. Rosamond Morrill, aged seventy-six, in Union, Mich.  Mrs. Bryant died December 29, 1855, aged seventy-six years, and Nathaniel died June 3, 1862, aged eighty-two years. 

       Chandler W. Dewey was born in Piermont, N. H., September 14, 1800.  At the age of fifteen years his father emigrated to Waterford, Vt.  Here Chandler resided until twenty-four years of age, when he married Deigratia Buck, and the following year settled in this town upon the farm now owned by John Priest. Mrs. Dewey became the mother of twelve children, and died in 1851.  In 1852, he married Mrs. Lucinda Wood with whom he still lives, aged eighty-three years.  Mr. Dewey enjoys the confidence and esteem of his townsmen, and has been called by their votes to hold many of the offices in their gift, having been justice of the peace fourteen years. 

       Abel N. Hawley was born at Middlebury, Vt., February 10, 1799, where he spent the years of his early life. In 1822, he married Miss Eliza Hawley of Cambridge. She died in the autumn of 1831, leaving two sons. In April, 1842, he married Eliza Bissell, a cousin of Hon. Ira Allen, and located in Irasburgh.  In company with Albert W. Dow he commenced the business of harness and saddle-making, which they continued about three years. He then engaged in farming, following it until the autumn of 1881, when he retired from active life.   His second wife died in 1861, and in January, 1863, he married Mrs. Ann M. Bryant, who died in May, 1867. December 23, 1868, he married his present wife. Mr. Hawley has held many of the town offices, and at the age of four score years and four has his mental faculties unimpaired and his health well preserved. 

       David Webster, born in 1786, came to Irasburgh from Littleton, N. H., about 1830, locating on road 4, where his son, David H., now resides. The farm had been previously occupied but had no improvements, except a log house which Mr. Webster occupied about ten years. As was the case with most of the settlers, he had no means and purchased his home on credit, necessitating a long, hard struggle to support his large family of eleven children, subdue the forest, and pay for the farm. Patience and economy overcame all obstacles, however, and he gained a moderate competence. He was a steward of the Methodist church for many years, and died in 1849, aged sixty-three years. Albert A., his oldest son, settled here about the time his father did, upon a farm in the neighborhood, reared a family of ten children, served in several town offices, and died a highly respectable farmer about ten years since. Of the surviving children of David one son and two daughters reside in Boston, and one, David H., on the old homestead. 

       Henry Somers, from Huntington, Vt., came here in 1854, and located on road 24, where his son, H. H. Somers, now resides. He resided on the farm about sixteen years, then removed to Irasburgh village, where he now resides. Mr. Somers has held most of the town offices, having been overseer of the poor over twenty years, lister at least twelve years, selectman for the past ten years, and representative in 1865-‘66.  He has extensive farming interests in this and adjoining towns, owning over 450 acres of land. 

       During the late civil war Irasburgh furnished 104 enlisted men, twenty-four of whom were killed or died from wounds or disease contracted while in the service. 

       The Methodist Episcopal church, located at Irasburgh, was organized in 1835, Rev. N. W. Aspinwall being the first pastor. The first church building was erected in 1836, and was succeeded by the present structure in 1874.  It is a wood structure capable of seating 250 persons, and valued, including other property, at $4,200.00. Rev. A. B. Blake is the present pastor of the society. 

Stet: devolved

(Source: Gazetteer of Lamoille and Orleans Counties, VT.; 1883-1884, Compiled and Published by Hamilton Child; May 1887, Page  2882 to 2885)

This excerpt was provided by Tom Dunn.

Death Notices from 1850 to 1870, Orleans Independent  Standard Newspaper, Irasburg, Vermont
Marriage Notices from 1850 to 1870 in the Orleans 
Independent Standard Newspaper, Irasburg, Vermont
1850 US Census Records, Irasburg, Vermont
1870 US Census Records, Irasburg, Vermont