is a mountainous township, the surface and soil of which are too broken
and cold for much cultivation . . . Thist own was granted in 1781 and chartered
to Abel Thompson and associates."
Vermont, Hayward, 1849.
OF THE TOWN OF RIPTON
Ripton, situated in the southeastern part of the county, is bounded
on the north by Lincoln; on the east by Granville and Hancock; on the south
by Hancock and Goshen, and west by Middlebury and Salisbury. The surface
of the town is mountainous in the extreme, the eastern part including some
of the loftiest peaks of the Green Mountains, while the western line is
stretched upon a spur of this range. The soil for the most part is too
rough for cultivation, although to the west and north there is a tract
of moderately level land and well-drained soil, on which are a number of
excellent farms. The soil of this tract is largely a sandy loam, with occasional
intervales of alluvial earth along the streams. Wheat, oats, rye, buckwheat,
Indian corn, potatoes, and hay are the principal products. The inhabitants
being denied, for the most part, the labors and the fruits of husbandry,
turn their attention to that industry which nature most encourages in Ripton,
viz., lumbering. Vast forests of hemlock, beech, maple, birch, spruce,
balsam, basswood, and ash, with a few pine, mantle the mountains and overshadow
the gorges and valleys of Ripton. Middlebury River, with its numerous tributaries,
furnishes an outlet to the melting snows of spring and the heavy rainfalls
of summer. This stream cannot be said to have a valley in Ripton. It rises
in Hancock and flows a due westerly course to the Otter Creek in Middlebury,
forcing its way through deep gorges and plunging tumultuously over gigantic
bowlders. A branch of the New Haven River has its source in the northern
part of the town and flows north into Lincoln.
The town was chartered by the State on the 13th of April, 1781,
by the name of Riptown, to Abel THOMPSON and fifty-nine associates. From
the name Riptown to Ripton was naturally but a few steps in graduation.
According to the charter the township originally contained an area of 24,000
acres, but this has been increased by annexation. In 1820, 6,200 acres
were taken from
Goshen and added to Ripton, and four years later 1,940 acres were
annexed from Middlebury. On the 29th of October, 1829, another small piece
was added from Middlebury, and again, November 1, 1832, 900 acres were
added from Salisbury. Ripton has now, therefore, an area Of 33,000 acres.
For a period of twenty years after the granting of the charter the
town was uninhabited by man. As late as 1800, when the town of Middlebury
had 1,263 inhabitants, Lincoln ninety-seven, Salisbury forty four, Goshen
four, Granville 185, and Hancock 149, Ripton had not been visited by the
smoke of a single cabin. The proprietors, or their grantees, in despair
of settling the territory without resort to some coup d'etat countenanced
the rumor that the first child born within the charter limits of the town
would be entitled to a right of land, whereupon Ebenezer COLLAR, who knew
what he was about, cut his way to the site now occupied by Oscar HURLBURT,
erected a temporary shelter, where on the 11th of November, 1801 he became
the father of a girl, whom he called Fanny. She afterwards became the wife
of Amasa PIPER, and is still residing in town. She has never received her
right of land.
About 1802, Asa, father to Ebenezer COLLAR, came to Ripton, and
settled near his son, at the Four Corners, on the place now owned by S.
About the year 1803 Thomas FULLER settled in that part of Goshen
which was afterward annexed to Ripton.
Among the other settlers who may be mentioned as early (i. e., who
were here some time before the town was organized in 1828) were Luman COGSWELL,
who located on the place now owned by Amherst NOBLE; William ELLIS, where
Philander GREEN and George DOW now live; Jonathan BROWN, who was an early
settler on the farm now owned by Peter MURRAY; Elijah BROWN, his brother,
who lived just west of him; John BROWN, who located on the place now owned
by his nephew, George R. BROWN, and Abraham FULSOM, who was the first settler
on the place now occupied by George L. YOUNG. FULSOM was fond of hunting
and used often to track deer in company with Benjamin HALE and sons. Parsons
BILLINGS located at an early day on the farm now occupied by S. B. HOWARD.
Willard ALDEN lived in the east part of the town, where Josiah EMERY now
owns. Noah BAILEY settled first on the North Branch, on the farm now occupied
by George J. HODGES. Orin BAILEY was his brother. Marshall MILLER lived
quite early on the farm now occupied by George RUSSELL. Benjamin HALE came
to Ripton from Cornwall (originally from Orwell) about 1810, and settled
on the place now occupied by Peter MURRAY, and owned by Sidney G. TISDALE.
Daniel HALE, his son, who lives in town now, was born on December 22, 1827.
On the 20th of November, 1872, he married Jane, daughter of Samuel HENDRICK.
Nathaniel MCQUIVEY was the first settler on the farm now owned and occupied
by his son Nathaniel.
The other early settlers, with their places of settlement, may be
mentioned as Orin BAILEY lived on the place which Joseph GEE now owns.
Thomas FULLER, jr., located on the farm on the turnpike, now occupied
by John HODGES. His father, before mentioned, lived with him. William ARNOLD
was an early settler on the place, now unoccupied, owned by Orin DANFORTH.
He and his son, William, jr., were blacksmiths. Schuyler TUEXBURY, [We
follow the spelling in the records.] brother-in-law of David HALE, settled
on the place now occupied by Duane P. MILLS. Silas MCWAIN located on the
turnpike, near the MCQUIVEY place. Daniel CHIPMAN came to Ripton from Middlebury
in 1828, and built the two-storied framed house now occupied by Mrs. Catharine
FISHER and Henry B. RIPLEY. He was born in Salisbury, Conn., October 22,
1765, and was the son of Samuel and Hannah CHIPMAN. A sketch of Mr. CHIPMAN's
life has been given in earlier pages. James MILES settled on the farm now
owned and occupied by Herman C. DAMON. Samuel COBB located on the farm
now occupied by David HALE. Samuel DAMON, father and son, lived on the
farm now occupied by George T. FISHER. Paul PRATT was an early settler
near the Four Corners. Lewis HUNTLEY settled on the place now occupied
by Abel G. CHANDLER, near the Four Corners. Benjamin DURFEE was an early
settler and located on the place where Josiah S. CHANDLER now lives, on
the North Branch. Calvin Pier located on the farm now owned by Amherst
NOBLE. Lucius ABBEY lived on the land now owned by Charles E. GEE. David
C. SHERMAN, father to Willie SHERMAN, was born in Warren, Vt., in 1816.
His father, Reuel SHERMAN, was a soldier of the Revolution. David C. SHERMAN
came to this town in 1845. Samuel H., son of Jabez HENDRICK, who was one
of the early settlers of New Haven and Middlebury, came to Ripton in 1838,
and in 1843 was elected first town representative. He served also in 1846
and '47, and is one of the most prominent men in town. Sylvester FISHER,
born in Bethel on June 25, 1811, came to Ripton at the age of twenty-one
years. He lived here at intervals only, until 1851, when he became a permanent
resident, locating on the Chipman homestead, where his widow now resides.
Settlement, however, increased so slowly that in 1825 there were
only eighteen families in town, and there was no effort at organization
until the first Monday in March, 1828, when the voters assembled at the
house of Calvin PIER. The wisdom of electing officers and organizing the
town was even then questioned by a number of the inhabitants. The question
being determined in the affirmative, the meeting proceeded to elect officers
as follows: Daniel CHIPMAN, moderator; Calvin PIER, town clerk; Lucius
ABBEY, Ethan OWEN, Nathaniel MCQUIVEY, selectmen; Daniel CHIPMAN, treasurer;
Jonathan BROWN, Ethan OWEN, Samuel BEEBE, listers; William ARNOLD, first
constable; Daniel CHIPMAN, grand juror; Jonathan BROWN, Lewis HUNTLEY,
William HUNTER, Benjamin HALE, surveyors of highways; James MILES, "tithingman";
John MAGANETY, "hog howard."
It was not long after this that industries of various kinds were
built up and Ripton became a town of considerable manufacturing importance.
In 1830-1831 George C. and Horace LOOMIS built a tannery, which in 1835
they sold to Thomas ATWOOD. Amos A. and Charles E. ATWOOD afterward operated
this tannery for a number of years. Charles E. ATWOOD was the proprietor
when the building was destroyed by fire in 1852 or '53. Norman Lewis and
son soon after erected a saw-mill on the site.
From 1830 to '40 there were as many as twelve saw-mills in town.
Daniel CHIPMAN, about 1835 built a saw-mill on the site now covered by
the mill of George A. BAKER. He also erected a grist-mill a trifle before
1835, which is now occupied by Winfield S. HUNTLEY as a butter-tub factory.
Hiram CHAMPLIN built a saw-mill near the present dwelling house of Dr.
POWERS. This impetus in the saw-mill business was caused by the high price
of lumber. In 1859 the price had depreciated and the old mills were allowed
to decay, though circular saw-mills were afterward erected in their stead.
In 1859 too, as we learn from the interesting sketch of Ripton contributed
by Samuel DAMON to the Vermont Historical Magazine, two large coal-kilns
were erected for the purpose of supplying the iron forge at East Middlebury.
The first framed house in town was a tavern. Abraham LACKEY kept
tavern very nearly on the turnpike, in the house now owned by Albert WHITCOMB
and occupied by John PIERCE. The next tavern stood on the site of George
A. BAKER's store, and was built by Ethan OWEN when the town was young.
Benjamin HALE, jr., bought it years ago and ran it while in company with
his brother Joseph. Seaver FLETCHER, Elias MATTESON and his son, Elias
H. MATTESON, also managed the business, the last named having charge when
the building, then called the Green Mountain House, was destroyed by fire
in May, 1877.
The first postmaster at the "Hollow" was Daniel CHIPMAN. His successors
in office have been Frederick SMITH, Seaver FLETCHER, Samuel DAMON, jr.,
Herman C. DAMON, and the present incumbent, George A. BAKER, who received
his commission four or five years ago. A post-office was established at
Bread Loaf Inn six or eight years ago, with Joseph BATTELL in office. His
deputy John HOUSTIN, manages the office.
The store now owned and conducted by George A. BAKER was built by
him, in the summer of 1879. He carries a large and varied assortment of
goods, and does an extensive and profitable business. C. S. ALBEE opened
his general store in the early winter of 1884-5. Before that he operated
the saw-mill in which he has been succeeded by W. S. HUNTLEY.
We have already seen that the oldest mill site in town is that now
occupied by the mill of George A. BAKER. The present mill, was built there
in 1868 by E. D. SHELDON. Mr. BAKER owns one-third of this privilege and
all the machinery and the building, and has had a controlling interest
in the business for a number of years. The mill has a capacity of cutting
4,000 feet of lumber, 5,000 feet of clapboards, and 10,000 shingles a day.
It is one of the finest mills in the county. The site of the extensive
mill of W. S. HUNTLEY is the old grist-mill site of Daniel CHIPMAN. The
present mill was built about the year 1873 by S. F. MATTESON, who after
running it for a time gave place to C. S. ALBEE. In the fall of 1884 he
sold it to the present proprietor. W. S. HUNTLEY also owns and operates
a large tub factory, which was built by George A. BAKER in 1878. The saw-mill
and shingle-mill now operated by Daniel C. BENTON was built by Perlin PADIE
in 1864. Willie SHERMAN's shingle-mill, on the North Branch, was erected
by Stillman HENDRICKS more than fifty years ago. The mill has been several
times rebuilt. The mill now operated by W. R. NEWTON was built by Newell
Culver in 1878. It was burned and rebuilt in 1885. The saw-mill now run
by John E. GOODRO, on the North Branch, was erected by Cornelius BILLINGS
in 1877. Mr. GOODRO came into possession about three years ago. The saw-mill
and butter-tub factory of Hiram I. SPOOR was built by its present proprietor
in 1876, and is operated by steam.
The coal-kilns in the north part of the town, successors to those
mentioned in previous pages, which now turn out about 9,000 bushels of
charcoal per month, are owned and operated by WILLIAMS & NICHOLS (the
East Middlebury Forge Company), who are the successors of T. M. CHAPMAN,
There are no lawyers in town. Henry C. POWERS, who was born at Rochester,
Vt., on the 17th of December, 1834, and came here in 1870, is the only
medical practitioner in town.
The town officers of Ripton elected at the annual March meeting
of 1885 are as follows: Loren H. BAKER, town clerk and treasurer; George
W. GILMORE, George A. BAKER, W. E. CUSHMAN, selectmen; William GALVIN,
overseer of the poor; Henry B. RIPLEY, first constable and collector; Arthur
BROWN, George J. HODGES, J. L. COOK, listers; E. C. GIBBS, J. S. CHANDLER,
H. I. SPOOR, auditors; Mintie POWERS, superintendent of schools; Samuel
H. HENDRICK, trustee of surplus moneys; O. S. KING, A. CUSHMAN, Albert
O. PLATT, fence viewers; H. I. SPOOR, C. E. BROWN, J. L. COOK, town grand
jurors; R. E. BENTLEY, pound-keeper; W. E. HOWARD, inspector of wood and
The following figures show the steady though gradual growth of the
town in population since the first census record of 1820: 1820, 42; 1830,
278; 1840, 357; 1850, 567; 1860, 570; 1870, 617; 1880, 672.
The town of Ripton, of course, is of too recent origin to have taken
part in the Revolution or in the War of 1812. The following residents of
this town did her honor, however, in the War of the Rebellion:
Volunteers for three years credited previous to call for 300,000
volunteers of October 17, 1863:
J. ADAMS, L.
ALDRICH, R. E. BENTLEY, M. BOYNTON, J. S. CHANDLER, A. CHANNING, H. C.
DAMON, E. F. DOWNER, J. DUQUETTE, T. DURFEY, A. ENGLISH, S. J. ENGLISH,
G. W. FARMER, E. M. FARR, G. W. FULSOM, J. GILLESPIE, O. S. GILMORE, W.
C. GOODELL, D. HALE, L. H. HENDRICK, W. H. KEEP, J. P. KIRBY, S. S. KIRBY,
J. LAUNDREE, R. O. LINSLEY, B. MAYNARD, L. W. MERRILL, L. B. NEWELL, W.
R. NEWTON, L. PLANKEY, P. PLANKEY, L. STONE, A. WHITNEY, R. WRIGHT.
Credits under call of October 17, 1863, for 300,000 volunteers,
and subsequent calls:
Volunteer for three years. -- E. B. KENT.
Volunteers re-enlisted. -- H. C. DAMON, E. M. FARR, G. W. FULSOM,
J. GILLESPIE, R. WRIGHT.
Volunteer for nine months. -- J. HALE.
Furnished under draft. -- Paid commutation, J. W. BRIGGS, J. CHAPMAN,
E. DOWNER, A. M. FISHER, J. E. GOODYEAR, H. KIRBY, F. J. LEWIS, L. LEWIS,
R. O. LINSLEY, H. B. RIPLEY, W. D. STOWE. Procured substitute, C. J. ROBBINS.
Entered service, S. SPOONER.
The Congregational Church of Ripton was organized very early and
continued without a meeting-house until about 1865 or '66 when they erected
their present house of worship. Their pastor, Rev. Moses PATTEN, came here
from Rochester, Vt., about three years ago.
The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1829, with a membership
of seven, and Rev. Nathan W. Stearns for their first pastor. It was reorganized
in 1849. In 1862 they built their church edifice at a cost Of $2,200. They
have no pastor at present.
XXX, pages 590 - 594.
of the Town of Ripton.
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
Page for look-up offers concerning this town.