is watered by a river of its own name, by Otter Creek, and by a part of
Lake Dunmore. These waters are too sluggish to afford the town much water
power. The soil is of a sandy loam . . . The highlands are hard and fit
for grazing. There are in this town several beautiful ponds, which abound
in trout and other fish . . . The first settlement was commenced in 1773,
by Jeremiah Parker, from Massachusetts. The settlement, however, made but
little progress until after the revolution."
of Vermont, Hayward, 1849.
OF THE TOWN OF LEICESTER
Leicester is situated in the southern part of the county, and is
bounded on the north by Salisbury; on the east by Goshen; on the south
by Brandon, in Rutland county, and on the west by Whiting. The surface
of the town, except in the eastern part, is moderately level, declining
into low, marshy land along the Leicester River and a part of Otter Creek.
The most elevated points are the summits of Bald Mountain and Mount Pleasant,
the former taking up nearly the entire surface of the eastern part of the
town, and the latter occupying a considerable portion to the north. It
follows that the scenery is varied, and in many respects beautiful. Lake
Dunmore, extending south from Salisbury to nearly the center of the eastern
part of the town, is known far and wide for the sparkling beauty of its
waters and the grandeur of the grim and stately evergreens which stand
like sentinels upon its shores. East of this is another lakelet no less
beautiful, called Silver Lake, from the silvery whiteness of the sand which
glistens in its depths, and the limpid clearness of its waters. It rests
among the mountains fourteen hundred feet above sea level, and one thousand
feet higher than the surface of Lake Dunmore. Its diameter measures about
a mile. Little Pond, south of Dunmore, and Mud Pond, west of the same,
are small bodies, which do not detract from the beauty of the place. The
principal streams are Otter Creek, which forms a part of the western boundary
of the town, and Leicester River, which flows southwesterly from the center
of the northern boundary into Otter Creek. The soil is a rich, sandy loam,
interspersed with some flats of clay, and along the streams valuable tracts
of intervale, though towards the east, on approaching the mountains, it
becomes harder and less productive, and more adapted to grazing than cultivation.
The town was chartered by the royal governor of New Hampshire, Benning
WENTWORTH, on the 20th of October, 1761, to Aaron BROWN and sixty-six associates,
in seventy-two shares, to contain the regular township area Of 23,040 acres.
In common with the experience of the original grantees of nearly all the
towns in Vermont, the proprietors of Leicester failed to find the required
number of acres within the limits of their town. The first surveys were
naturally often grossly inaccurate. The same right was too frequently granted
more than once and to different persons. A controversy was in this manner
engendered with Salisbury concerning land titles, productive for years
of a bitter and litigious animosity. The gist of the difficulty, after
the elimination of all individual grievances, was briefly as follows: Previous
to the issuing of the grants of Salisbury and Leicester, Middlebury on
the north had been granted and its limits located, and Brandon, in Rutland
county, on the south, by the name of Neshobe, leaving a distance of about
eight miles between the two. This tract, probably from an imperfect knowledge
of the geography of the county, was granted to both Leicester and Salisbury,
allowing each an area of six miles square. Priority of charter would, as
a matter of course, have at once determined which should have the precedence;
but when it came to this it was claimed by Salisbury, whose charter bore
date nearly a month later, that the date of the Leicester charter had been
surreptitiously changed. Litigation followed litigation for about twelve
years, during which time one party would raise a crop and another claimant
clandestinely reap it, all tending to have a bad moral effect, and greatly
retarding the settlement of the town. But finally, on April 18, 1796, a
committee from this town, consisting of John SMITH, Benjamin GARFIELD and
Joseph WOODWARD, met a committee from Salisbury, and the affair was amicably
adjusted, the dividing line being settled upon as it now exists. Here ended
the controversy, restoring harmony and giving to each town about 16,000
For about thirteen years after the granting of its charter the town
remained an unbroken wilderness, uninhabited save by untamed beasts. As
early as 1774 Jeremiah PARKER and his soil, Jeremiah, jr., and Samuel DANIELS,
from Massachusetts, after having inspected the territory, moved their families
here. PARKER settled on a large tract of land, embracing the farm now owned
and occupied by Peter WILSON. They had for several summers previous worked
on the land and returned to their families in the fall. Jeremiah PARKER,
Jr., it is said, remained alone on his land one winter, for the purpose
of caring for his cattle, with no neighbor nearer than Middlebury or Pittsford.
Jeremiah PARKER and his son were captured by the Indians during the Revolutionary
War, and his son taken to Crown Point. The father was released because
of deafness. The family returned to Massachusetts until after the war.
Samuel DANIELS was killed during this period in a skirmish with Indians.
It is related by Leonard D. JENNY that during the progress of the first
town meeting Jeremiah PARKER, then an old man of seventy-five winters,
wagered a gallon of brandy with the young men, who happened to be engaged
in a leaping contest, that he could out-jump them all. The wager was accepted;
whereupon the old athlete leaped lightly over a string extended the height
of his head--and won the brandy.
Leonard D. and Ebenezer B. JENNY, both life-long and honored residents
of Leicester, are grandsons of Jeremiah PARKER. He was three times married,
and had six children by his first wife; after the lapse of eighteen years
following her death he married again, and had seven children by his second
wife, among them being Chloe, mother of L. D. and E. B. JENNY; then there
was an interim of ten years between the death of his second and the marriage
of his third wife. Chloe PARKER was but eleven years of age when her mother
died, and had never been to school, but the early and assiduous teaching
which she had received at home prepared her so well that she was capable
of teaching almost immediately after her mother died. The first school-house
stood south of the site of the present school-house in Jerusalem.
Captain John SMITH came before the organization of the town from
Whiting, and became the first representative in the State Legislature from
his adopted town. He lived on the Middle Road where the widow of William
ALDEN now lives, and was for a great many years a justice of the peace,
and was noted for his remarkably correct judgment on questions of law.
He was twice married. He ran a cider-mill on his farm.
Captain Thomas SAWYER, or "Colonel," as he was also called, although
prominently mentioned in the early records of this town, was more properly
a resident of Salisbury village, and used to raft his sawn lumber down
Leicester River to Otter Creek, and thence to Middlebury. To suit his convenience
he altered the course of Leicester River at its mouth. He entertained the
peculiar religious belief that the souls of men were re-embodied and placed
on earth again in a thousand years, and therefore refused to deed away
his property, merely giving a lease for nine hundred and ninety-nine years,
with how little consistency need not be observed. He was a soldier of both
the French and English and Revolutionary Wars. He lived almost on the southern
boundary of Salisbury.
Samuel DANIELS, mentioned before as being a contemporaneous settler
with Jeremiah PARKER, located on the farm now owned by his grandson, Augustus
DANIELS, in "Jerusalem." He had a large family. Mrs. Miles STORER, of this
town, and Harry DANIELS, of Salisbury, are also grandchildren of Samuel.
Joseph WOODWARD took up the farm which Colonel SAWYER had owned,
now owned by L. D. JENNY and Moses B. FERSON, and occupied by the latter.
He built the old barn still standing on the place, and part of the house.
He afterward kept tavern in the old red house on the east road now owned
by Frank CHANDLER, which in those days was a famous stage-house, but he
did not meet with success. John BULLOCK afterward kept a "still" and sold
whisky at that place.
John FIFE, a Scotchman, came to Leicester "when the country was
new," and married a daughter of Judge STRONG. He lived in "Jerusalem,"
on the farm now occupied by Mrs. GROSVENOR. The town line between Salisbury
and Leicester ran between his house and barn, bringing the former within
the town of Salisbury. He was taken away by the fatal epidemic of 1813.
Daniel FISH ran a cider-mill, and had an immense orchard on the
farm now owned and occasionally occupied by the widow of Stephen ALDEN.
He was a short, thick-set man, and lived to be nearly ninety years of age.
He died not far from 1830.
Benjamin GARFIELD settled, lived, and died on the place now owned
and occupied by Leonard D. JENNY, his first house standing a few feet in
front of the site of the present house. He had a family of six boys, Benjamin,
Joshua, Samuel, Salmon, Daniel, and one other. Samuel was six feet and
seven or eight inches in height. Benjamin, jr., built the house in which
Mr. JENNY now lives, in about 1815.
Peter WHITE was an early settler near the Salisbury line, on the
road leading to Lake Dunmore.
Aaron ESTY located on the site of the house now occupied by Luther
BARKER, near the Leicester River bridge, and ran a ferry there. The old
highway was on the west side of Otter Creek to this point. ESTY wrought
two pine logs into a boat which would transport horses across the stream,
and another for the accommodation of foot passengers. About the year 1814
or 1815 he sold out and made a visit to a son in Western New York, remaining
until he had passed his ninetieth year. He then came back and lived with
another son, John ESTY. He died July 31, 1844, aged ninety-eight years
and six months. Among his descendants still living in town are Mrs. Luther
BARKER and William ESTY, grandchildren.
Nathaniel COOK, of the family of Dr. Elkanah COOK, hereafter mentioned,
was a man of a military turn of mind. He lived on the farm now occupied
by George FIELD.
Joseph CAPRON settled very early on a tract of land since "pieced
up," but comprising the south end of the old Fish farm, part of the William
ALDEN place, and the farm of Edward PAINE. He was twice married and had
a large family of children.
Benjamin WHITMAN was an early settler on the farm now owned by Charles
FISH, about one mile south of Salisbury village.
John BARKER came to Leicester toward the latter part of the last
century, and located on the farm including the site of the present school-house
in "Jerusalem." Julius BARKER, his great-grandson, now lives on a part
of the old homestead. He died in 1818. He served in the Revolution and
War of 1812. His widow, Prudence, died on the 5th of December, 1846, aged
ninety-nine years and nine months, having attained the greatest age of
any person ever resident in the town.
Judge Henry OLIN lived in a house which stood just across the road
from the present residence of Mrs. Addie ARMSTRONG, south of the corner
of the road from the junction, and the north and south road in which it
Henry OLIN was born in Shaftsbury, May 7, 1768. He was a son of
Justice OLIN. His mother's maiden name was Sarah DWINNELL. His father as
well as his grandfather, Henry, was a native of Rhode Island, in which
State, at East Greenwich, his great-grandfather, John OLIN, the first ancestor
of the name in America, settled in 1678. Hon. Gideon OLIN, of Shaftsbury,
was an uncle of the subject of this sketch.
Judge OLIN settled in Leicester about the year 1788. His parents
followed some years later and ended their days in Leicester. His early
literary advantages were but moderate. On account of his unwieldy size
and awkward manner the people of his adopted town were not at first much
prepossessed in his favor. But his native wit, shrewdness and sound sense
soon rendered him a general favorite. He was chosen a member of the Legislature
Of 1799, and was twenty-one times re-elected. He was first chosen an assistant
judge of the County Court in 1801, which office he held eight, and that
of chief judge fifteen years, making twenty-three years of uninterrupted
service upon the bench. He was chosen a State councilor in 1820 and '21,
a member of Congress in 1824, to complete the unexpired term of Hon. Charles
RICH, deceased, and three consecutive years, from 1827, lieutenant-governor
of the State. His popularity at home rose so high that at one election
he had nearly the unanimous vote of his fellow townsmen for governor. In
politics he was a Jeffersonian Democrat and a modern Whig, and in religion
a zealous Methodist.
He removed to Salisbury in the spring of 1837, and died there on
the 18th of August following. His ashes repose in the graveyard in the
town in which he spent most of his life, and in whose affairs he bore a
far more conspicuous part than any other man has ever done. His father,
mother and first wife are all interred near him.
Judge OLIN was twice married, first in 1788, to Lois RICHARDSON,
one of a family of twelve children, who all lived to mature age, and were
all members of a Baptist Church in the east part of Cheshire, Mass. By
her he had nine children -- two sons and seven daughters -- who reached
mature age, and two sons who died in infancy. Among the former were the
celebrated Dr. Stephen OLIN, and Mrs. Moses WRIGHT, mother of Rev. Moses
Emory WRIGHT, who was born and reared in Leicester, and graduated at Wesleyan
University, Middletown, Conn., in 1853. Judge OLIN's second wife was a
Widow BARNUM, whose maiden name was Polly SANFORD. In physical proportions
the judge was almost gigantic. He was the oracle of the community, and
his conversation the charm of any company in which he happened to be. [Taken
substantially from Miss Hemenway's Vermont Historical]
Joseph SWININGTON, from Massachusetts, came to Leicester at an early
day, and settled on the place now owned by his grandson, George O. SWININGTON.
The dwelling house still standing on the place was built in 1801.
Leonard D. JENNY was born on the 23d of February, 1800, in the house
built by Jeremiah PARKER. His father, Ebenezer JENNY, bought the farm next
north of Samuel DANIELS, and after abiding there for a year or two sold
out and went to live with his father-in-law, Jeremiah PARKER, in "Jerusalem."
He had a family of eight boys and two girls, of whom only four boys are
living. Leonard D. JENNY married Helena M., daughter of David MERRIAM,
an early settler of Brandon, on the first day of June, 1836. They have
no children. He bought his present farm of L. C. REMELEE, in 1833.
Ebenezer B. JENNY, brother to Leonard D., was born June 15, 1804.
On the 15th of December, 1834, he married Sarah Ann KELSEY, of Brandon.
They have two children living, a daughter in Malone, N. Y., and a son,
Burt, in Bennington. On the 15th of December, 1885, they had a golden wedding,
which was as pleasant an affair as it is unusual.
Stephen SPARKS, from Connecticut, one of the earliest settlers in
Leicester, located on the farm now owned and occupied by his grandson,
George SPARKS, the title having never departed from the family. George
SPARKS, son of Stephen SPARKS, jr., was born on this place May 7, 1824.
Samuel RANNO, one of the substantial men of the town, came to Leicester
from Salisbury in 1852. He bought his present place in 1865. He was born
in Tunbridge, Vt., in 1809.
Though there are at the present day no physicians in town, there
have been practitioners here in the past who are still remembered for their
services. The first physician in town, Dr. Elkanah COOK, lived on the farm
now owned by George FIELD, a few rods north of Leonard JENNY's. He was
a self-taught, botanic physician of considerable skill; an upright and
estimable man. "He was a stout, resolute man, with but little education,
but possessed of sound judgment, and exercised considerable skill in bone-setting
and other surgical operations. There being no roads, he would take a pine
torch and travel through the woods to visit the sick at all hours in the
night, often the distance of six or eight miles, and no stormy weather
ever hindered him, Such hardships, however, destroyed his health. He died
August 27, 1815 aged seventy-seven years, but appeared much older."
Dr. BURR practiced some time here after Dr. COOK. He lived on the
east road. He was a very eccentric man and drank a good deal, but had the
good sense to suspend his practice while drunk.
Timothy ALDEN, though not a licensed physician, used to have quite
an extended ride in town.
Dr. William GILE, who served the town many years as clerk, had a
large practice here for many years. He lived on the same place occupied
before him by Dr. COOK.
The town of Leicester was organized on the 29th of March, 1786,
at a meeting held at the house of Captain Thomas Sawyer. The warning was
signed by Dr. Elkanah COOK, John SMITH, Thomas SAWYER, Asa BACON, Elisha
WHITE and Solomon BIGELOW. The following officers were then and there chosen:
Captain Thomas SAWYER, moderator; Ebenezer CHILD, town clerk; Captain
Thomas SAWYER, Captain John SMITH, and Ebenezer CHILD, selectmen; Eli BROWN,
constable; Joseph WOODWARD, Elias CHAMBERLAIN, John KEPNER, listers; Captain
John SMITH, Isaac SCOTT, Samuel KENDALL, Asa BACON, James LAFLER, Solomon
STORER, and Abel JOHNSON, surveyors of highways.
Owing to some technical defect in the method adopted in warning
this first town meeting, the General Assembly passed an act, October 22,
1804, at Rutland, to the following effect, that "Whereas, it has been represented
that the first town meeting of Leicester had not been warned comformably
to law, and the record of votes and proceedings had been so mutilated as
to render them almost useless," and that the record of the March meeting
for 1791 was lost, which may greatly confuse the public concerns and private
interests in said town,
that such first meeting be declared valid, that the selectmen, clerk, and
officers be declared then invested with due power and authority, and that
Salathiel BUMP and Reuben SEXTON, of Salisbury, be appointed a committee
to examine after oath the transcribed records of such meetings and certify
to their correctness."
At this same first town meeting the following questions were passed
to raise one shilling on ye pound for the purpose of mending the highway.
Voted to allow 3 shillings and 6 pence per day for [labor] on the highways
and 2 shillings for 1 yoke of oxen per day. Voted to desolve the meeting.
Recorded March 30th, A.D., 1786,
CHILD, T. Clerk."
At a meeting held on the fourth Monday of March, 1787, the following
was a part of the proceedings recorded:
to accept the Two roads lade through the town lade out by Capt. SMITH,
Capt. SAWYER, Eben'r CHILD, selectmen; one of the roads leads from Brandon
line by Capt. SAWYER's [This reference indicates that Captain Sawyer lived
at this early date within the defined limits of Leicester.] to the north
end of the town. The other road is from the north end of the town over
Leicester River, by the Island, as may appear by the Surveys."
The March meeting for 1788 was held at the house of "Ensign" Joseph
WOODWARD, John DAGGETT subscribing the records as town clerk. It was voted,
among other things, that the "town be divided into four districts for the
purpose of building pounds; "one pound to be situated "near Esquire SMITH's;
one near the cross-roads entering the road by James NICHOL's ; one near
Samuel KENDALL's, and one near Calvin CHAMBERLIN's.
These brief and unique extracts depict almost without explanation
the state of the community toward the close of the last century. All internal
improvements were incipient; everything was new; the roads, some of them,
were not completed, and were difficult to travel. The industry of the people
was devoted chiefly to the clearing of land, the improvement of farms and
of the houses of the inhabitants. The town, having no mill privileges to
speak of, has never been remarkable for the number of its factories or
mills. Stores abounded, however, in former days, even more than at present,
when communication with the larger villages is so easy. A Mr. LANGLEY kept
a store in "Jerusalem" in the early years of this century--"a pocket concern,"
as Leonard D. JENNY, our informant, describes it. He used to buy the greater
portion of his goods in Rutland. His system of book-keeping was peculiar,
consisting of a brief memorandum written with chalk on the wall of the
salesroom of all sales on credit, etc. One day when the wall was well filled
with these charges, and while Mr. LANGLEY was at Rutland replenishing his
stock, his wife, who had conceived the idea of house-cleaning, in a moment
of forgetfulness, washed off the marks. Of course there was something of
a scene when her "lord and master" returned and told her that she had undone
him. She made the best of the matter, and suggested the feasibility of
replacing the items from memory, which he accordingly attempted to do.
When he had finished he gazed a moment with extreme satisfaction upon his
work, and observed to his wife that, "although he had not been able to
remember all the debtors, he had remembered all the debts, and had charged
them to better men."
Benjamin MERRIAM had a store before 1820 at the Corners.
Captain John SMITH kept one on the east road for ten or fifteen
years, but finally removed to Forestdale and built the first furnace at
Of course a shoe shop was almost a necessity sixty years ago. Leonard
D. JENNY kept such a concern at the Corners nearly all the time from 1822
to 1833, and employed several journeymen there in the falls and winters.
His shop first stood on the site of A. E. STANLEY's present house, and
was afterward moved across the road.
Parley ENOS built a tannery as early as 1812, on the farm now owned
by Hiram CAPRON, and operated it until about 1830.
John BULLOCK had a "still" just south of the ENOS tannery, and ran
it from early days for many years. At first he made whisky, but after a
time cider mills and orchards increased to such an extent that he turned
to the manufacture of cider-brandy. In those days this drink was only twenty-five
cents a gallon. Mr. BULLOCK was quite a prominent man, having served some
time as the representative of the town. His still was operated without
a break until not far from 1840.
OF 1813 ETC.
The epidemic of 1813 was unusually severe in Leicester. The first
victim of the dread disease was a soldier of the War of 1812, who was on
his way home on a furlough. He was taken ill while in Leicester, and was
placed in the house and under the care of Dr. GILE. His throat and tongue
were terribly parched and swollen. He died within twenty-four hours. Jonas
BARKER died of it. Mr. WHITE, then town clerk (living on the east road),
and his wife both died of it, the husband, who died in the morning, surviving
his wife but a few hours. They left six children. The first one that recovered
from it was Joseph KNOWLTON. His case was exceedingly severe, but from
the beginning he refused to call a doctor. Everybody accused him of folly
and predicted a speedy and horrible death, but he recovered. From that
time the disease gradually disappeared.
The cold season of 1816 was another period of hardship. There was
a frost every month during the spring and summer. The "FIFE boys " planted
forty bushels of potatoes and dug thirty. It was too dry even for corn,
which the hogs refused to eat. Many families had hard work to make both
ends meet, but there was little positive suffering.
The town was scarcely settled enough when the Revolutionary War
broke out to furnish many men for the armies or many incidents for history.
The capture of Jeremiah PARKER and son, and the killing of Samuel DANIELS,
the only events, have been mentioned. Many of those who afterward made
the town their home, however, had borne an honorable part in the war, and
are still remembered as the first patriots of the United States.
A number of men went into the War of 1812 from here. Ebenezer JENNY,
father to Leonard D. and Ebenezer B., commanded a company from Leicester.
They took a boat from Burlington for the battle of Plattsburgh and were
becalmed and unable to reach the scene, even though they were almost within
view of the fight. A prayer-meeting was held here for the purpose of propitiating
the Deity and securing the success of the American cause. It is said that
those who would lie upon the ground and place their ear to the earth could
distinctly hear the thunder of the guns.
Although upon the outbreak of the Rebellion another generation of
men were creating history, they proved themselves not unworthy descendants
of the patriots and pioneers of earlier days. Following is a list of men
who enlisted from this town in Vermont regiments:
Volunteers for three years credited previous to call for 300,000
volunteers of October 17, 1863:
W. S. ALDEN,
A. ATWOOD, L. BAKER, B. A. BATES, E. F. BECKFORD, D. W. CARR, H. C. CARR,
G. O. DOW, P. E. DOW, B. N. DYER, E. G. ESTEY, J. H. ESTY, A. W. FLINT,
H. W. FLINT, J. FOLEY, J. W. G. GIBBS, R. W. HENRY, N. LITTLE, E. MATOT,
J. P. MATOT, O. PARTLOW, S. PARTLOW, M. H. POWERS, E. RENEAU, A. A. ROSSETER,
L. R. SAYLES, C. STANLEY.
Credits under call of October 17, 1863, for 300,000 volunteers,
and subsequent calls:
Volunteers for three years.--C. J. BROWN, L. M. GIBBS, G. JENNEY,
A. NORTON, H. T. PARKER, A. W. PERRY, W. F. SPENCER.
Volunteers for one year.--C. C. BUMP, D. E. GIBSON, T. H. GREEN,
H. MULLOY, P. H. MUMFORD, A. TREMBLEE, H. A. WAINWRIGHT.
Volunteers re-enlisisted.--E. F. BECKFORD, G. O. DOW, M. FOLEY.
Not credited by name.--One man.
Volunteers for nine months.--A. AUSTIGAN, W. AUSTIGAN, A. L. CASAVAN,
J. V. COLLETTE, H. LAIRD, J. MURRAY, S. PERE, W. POWERS, O. A. SAYLES,
W. SHAISE, C. TURNER.
Furnished under draft.--Paid commutation, L. E. BEACH, F. DOW, A.
E. STANLEY. Procured substitute, L. P. BARKER, A. MORSE, H. H. ROBERTS.
Entered service, C. MILES, W. H. NEWTON.
This town is not now ranked among the prominent sheep-growing districts
of the county, though in former days considerable care was taken in the
breeding and raising of sheep. Leonard D. JENNY used to keep ordinarily
about one hundred and fifty head; Adin A. and George SWININGTON as many
as six hundred; and Erwin BARKER and others raised them in considerable
numbers. But for eight or ten years past, owing to the dullness of the
wool market, and the increasing prominence of other departments of agriculture,
this interest has declined.
The following officers were elected at the March meeting for 1885:
A.E. STANLEY, clerk and treasurer; Darwin JOHNSON, C. BROWNSON,
M. O. OLIVER, selectmen; W. R. STICKNEY, constable; I. H. NORTON, superintendent
of schools; H. C. BROWNSON, William POWERS, I. H. NORTON, listers; H. N.
MORSE, overseer of the poor. A. E. STANLEY has been town clerk of Leicester,
without interruption, since the spring of 1857.
The following figures show the growth in numbers of the inhabitants
of Leicester from the first taking of the census to the last: 1791, 343;
1800, 522; 1810, 609; 1820, 548; 1830, 638; 1840, 602; 1850, 596; 1860,
737; 1870, 630; 1880, 634.
The first postmaster in the town was John G. PERRY, at the Corners,
who received the appointment about the year 1825; while Leonard JENNY had
his shoe shop there he often looked after the office for PERRY. Thos. D.
WITHERELL succeeded him not far from 1830, and remained two or three years,
being followed by Dr. William GILE. Rev. Mr. BARRETT then had the office
until his love for liquor unfitted him for the performance of any duties,
when he gave place to A. E. STANLEY. William C. DERBY followed Mr. STANLEY;
Mrs. D. P. PACKARD followed DERBY; Mrs. W. P. BUSHEY followed Mrs. PACKARD
in the fall of 1885.
The first postmaster at the Junction was Mr. KELLOGG, who received
his commission more than thirty years ago, The office and vicinity then
bore the name of Whiting Station. Before this office was established the
people whom it now accommodates were obliged to go to Whiting village for
their mail. L. E. HIGGINS succeeded KELLOGG, and held the office about
twenty years, being succeeded by the present incumbent, O. C. HUNTLEY,
The hamlet known as Leicester Junction was practically built by
J. E. HIGGINS. The principal cause of its existence is the limestone ledge
which crosses the town at this point. Here, as early as 1852, J. E. HIGGINS,
John B. MATOT, and L. P. WHITE built a lime kiln, and were before long
succeeded by J. E. HIGGINS alone. At his death the business was continued
in the name of the estate by CONANT & BASCOM, as administrators thereof.
John A. CONANT then managed the klin for a time and eventually took in
a partner, Charles DENNISON, who afterward controlled the interest alone.
The present proprietors of this kiln, J. W. BUELL, of ORWELL, and O. C.
HUNTLEY, who operate the kiln under the style of HUNTLEY & BUELL, succeeded
Mr. DENNISON June 1, 1883. They turn out on an average about seventy-five
barrels of lime per day.
In 1850 when John B. MATOT, father of E. L. MATOT, and Peter DUMAS
arrived at the junction, there were no signs of a settlement here. Civilization
had not asserted her empire over nature, and the woods had scarcely resounded
with the blows of the axe. The only house then standing in the vicinity
was the one now occupied by Ed. MCINTYRE, then inhabited by John MATOT.
Wilfred OSTERGUY came in 1853 and took charge of the lime kiln,
and has had the actual management of the business under nearly all the
In about 1862 L. E. HIGGINS ran a small store on the site of HUNTLEY's
Hotel, and remained until 1869. John REMELE had preceded him in a smaller
way, and J. E. HIGGINS had kept the same store a short time before 1862.
The only store now at the junction, besides the general store of E. L.
MATOT, is run by M. WHITE, who began in April, 1885.
The lime kiln of George O. SWININGTON was built by the present proprietor
and George BASCOM about ten years ago. Mr. SWININGTON almost immediately
purchased the whole concern. The kiln produces about twenty barrels of
Huntley's Hotel was built by L. E. HIGGINS about 1872 for a hotel
and post-office. In the spring of 1876 the present proprietor, O. C. HUNTLEY,
bought it, and increased his business. He keeps an excellent house, and
has a large custom from traveling men who are glad to pay for the privilege
of riding after good horses.
PAST AND PRESENT
Among the hotels of the past of Leicester, is the old inn of Joseph
WOODWARD in the house now occupied by Frank CHANDLER and occupied by Darwin
JOHNSON, already mentioned. John SMITH kept tavern, also, in the house
now occupied by his grandson, Dana L. SMITH, on the East street. The only
summer hotel in town is the Silver Lake House, situated on the shore of
the lake whose name it bears, owned and kept by Frank CHANDLER for a number
of years. Mr. CHANDLER understands his business and has won an excellent
The house at the Corners now occupied by W. C. BUSHEY and Mrs. Minnie
RANNO was originally built as a store. Oliver WRIGHT started to build it,
and before it was finished sold it to Dr. William GILE, who kept a hotel
in it for many years. Silas JOHNSON succeeded him about 1845, and remained
about four years. Jehiel GRISWOLD, his successor, stayed two years; Edward
FALES, about a year; Lucius CRAMTON, a number of years. Dr. GILE then came
back and lived in the house the rest of his days, but did not open it to
the public. In 1861 it was sold to Lemuel DERBY, and opened the same season
by his son, William C. DERBY, as a store, and continued until the spring
of 1882, when Emily H., wife of D. T. PACKARD, succeeded him. W. C. BUSHEY,
the present occupant, keeps a general store here, but does not keep a public
The Methodist Church of Leicester was organized by Rev. MITCHELL
in 1800. An association, called the Leicester Meeting-House Society, erected
a brick church in 1829, which now is used as a union church by all societies.
The St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church, located at Leicester Junction,
was organized by the present pastor, Rev. J. C. MCLAUGHLIN, October 1,
1881. During this year the church building was erected, costing $1,200.
It is capable of seating 250 persons, and valued, including grounds, at
$1,300. The society has now fifty members.
XXIV, pages 470-481.
of the Town of Leicester.
of Addison County, Vermont,
And Biographical Sketches
Of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers."
by H. P. Smith. Syracuse, N. Y.;
& Co., Publishers, 1886.
by Jan Maloy, 2002