"One of the chief towns in the county. It is situated high above the great rivers and the ocean, yet we find it of good alluvial soil, delightfully encircled by evergreen mountains. It abounds in iron ore, manganese, ochre and marble. The streams are numerous and afford excellent mill sites. The products of the soil consist of all the varieties common to New England. Great attention is paid to the rearing of sheep. There are in Bennington a great number of cotton and woolen factories, a very extensive iron foundry, two furnaces, a paper mill, flouring mills, etc . . . On the borders of this town, about six miles west of the court-house, the gallant Stark, with a small band of "Northern Yeoman," celebrated for their bravery, gained an important victory over the British August 16, 1777. The fame of that battle is as imperishable as the mountains which overshadow the ground.

        "The first settlers were purchasers under the original proprietors, and came from Massachusetts. Samuel Robinson of Hardwick, Mass., who had been a captain during the French war, on his return from Lake George to Hoosic Forts, while proceeding up Hoosic River, mistook the Wallomscoik for that stream, and followed it up to the tract of country now Bennington. Here he and his companions, finding they had lost their way, encamped over night, and in the morning changed their course, and pursued their way to the forts. Captain Robinson was much pleased with the country, and returned to his family with a determination to begin a settlement upon it. He accordingly repaired to New Hampshire, made purchases of a considerable portion of the rights, and then sought for settlers. 

        "The first emigration to the town consisted of the families of Peter Harwood, Eleazar Harwood, Leonard Robinson and Samuel Robinson, Jr., from Hardwick, and of Samuel Pratt and Timothy Pratt, from Amherst. The part, including women and children, numbered about twenty.  They came on horseback across the mountain, by the Hoosic Forts and through Pownal, bringing on their horses all their household goods, and arrived in the town the 18th of June, 1761. Rev. Jedediah Dewey, of Westfield, Mass., removed to this town, and became pastor of the church in 1763, and continued so until his death, in 1778." 
 

Gazetteer of Vermont, Hayward, 1849.
 
 


“Vermont Once No Man's Land”
by
Merritt Clark Barden
1927

      The Town of Bennington (named for Benning WENTWORTH) was ordered surveyed June 3rd, 1749, 20 miles east from the Hudson River, and was surveyed in November, 1749, 24 miles east of the Hudson River, the west bounds being from a stake and stone N. 10° east 6 miles.  A continuation of this lane was surveyed in 1760, and in 1761 Rupert and Pawlet land proprietors received their grants from Benning Wentworth.  On the New York side of these grants, in 1761, 25,000 acres of land were granted by New York to Alexander TURNER of Pelham, Mass., and others, which was called the "Turner Patent."  In 1761, Alexander TURNER built a log house on the site of the "Old Ondawa Hotel," Salem, N.Y.  In 1762-3 seven families came from New England, settling mostly on White Creek Flats, and the Turner Grant was called "White Creek." Many other families came from Rhode Island and Connecticut these produced good soldiers in the Revolutionary War.  Alexander TURNER built a log inn in 1756, and the same year 12,000 acres of his Patent were sold to Rev. John THOMAS, who brought a colony of 300 United Presbyterians from Monagan County, Ireland, who settled upon this land by lots; which is today (1927) represented in the old white church of Salem, N.Y., and the place was known as White Creek.

      In 1773 (the year his son James died) Alexander TURNER built the first store in Salem, on the Fitch and Beanie site.  Alexander TURNER soon died and his widow married Capt. John WILLIAMS; hence the WILLIAMS control of what was left of the Turner Patent, which became known as the New Perth, and the land "New Hampshire grants" became "No man's land," both New York and New Hampshire claiming the territory; both making grants of the same land, which became a personal quarrel.  Many of the Tories were driven out of their rendevous (being the New Perth - "Hebron").  For redress they tore down log houses, burned Reuben NOBLES' grist mill, broke up stones for grinding corn and wheat, and the fight was on, which terminated in our National Freedom.

      The few remaining Tories were driven out; among the last were Charles HUTCHINSON and family, who lived in the north part of the Town of Pawlet.  His home was burned and he was driven four miles south to the New Perth.  This was in the town of Hebron, over the Vermont line from West Pawlet.

      The same day John REED was driven out of Rupert (house burned) by a party headed by Seth HANNON and Reuben NOBLES, whose grist mill was burned the night before.  John REED settled in the New Perth.  In the Highway surveys of the Town of Pawlet is this: "Beginning at the line between the State of N.Y. and the State of Vt., near the log house of Tory REED."  Marks of the old house with cellar depression remain.  The line of the old discontinued highway is plainly visible and the State line remains the same as first surveyed.  This is down the State Line about one mile south of the West Pawlet Depot in the Town of Hebron, N.Y.  Hence, the "New Perth," and probably Hebron, the north bounds of the Turner Patent, from which came the Chamberlain, Munson, Monroe and other sections, as Capt. John WILLIAMS collected land rents about these bounds in the Town of Hebron, until the farmers bought off the claim of John WILLIAMS of Salem, N.Y.

      Was this "No Man's Land" vacated as Dr. Henry SHELDON says it was when BURGOYNE came down Lake Champlain and which has gone into our State history?  We think not.

      Vermont Revolutionary Rolls says: "Isaac WEBSTER wounded at the Battle of Hubbardtown was brought to his home in Rupert."

      Noah SMITH, Paymaster, lived, died and was buried in Rupert.  No mention of his going away.  He was a brother of Gov. Israel SMITH, who once lived in Pawlet, Governor of Vermont. 

      Martin SMITH (our great-great-grandfather) removed his wife and young children to a place of safety.  But we find him, with his two sons, Stephen and Calvin, in Capt. Enoch EASTMAN's and Theon NOBLES' Companies of Rupert men.

      Seth HARMON removed his young son Seth, Jr., wife and daughter Nancy to a place of safety, but we find him serving in same Companies above; Nancy being the grandmother of my wife and whom I knew many years).  And it was Seth, Sr., who headed the party that drove out the Tories.  Vermont history says both of the above men vacated the premises, which is very wrong, few of the able-bodied men showed the "white feather."

      The HERRICK Rangers, organized at Pawlet, was recruited with many men from the Town of Rupert (Martin SMITH was at this time in the Town of Pawlet - the line has been changed).

      Copt. John NELSON, Sr., with sons John, Jrs., and Moses, owned land in Rupert in 1768 and lived there through the War; all served in Rupert companies, our grandfathers. 

      Was Rupert vacated?  No, never!

      John MUNSON, our great-great-grandfather, bought 1,000 acres of the Chamberlain purchase (Hebron proper); fought in the Revolutionary War, his wife and children hiding in a swamp while British soldiers passed from Skenisborough (Whitehall) to the Battle of Bennington - family history.

      Benning WENTWORTH became disheartened and wanted the Green Mountain boys to give up the fight; to this they would not listen.  They established the line as it is today (1927), taking over all the claims of the Duke of York from this line to the land which banks the western flow of the Connecticut River; hence, to the bend of the River.  They had planted the seed which germinated in that resolution adopted at the Convention held at Westminster Jan. 16th, 1777, and we subjoin the Dorset Convention Sept 25, 1776, from which the Council of Safety exercised all the functions of government, executive, legislative and judicial, until Vermont was admitted to the Union of States in 1791.
 

“Vermont Once No Man's Land”
  Merritt Clark Barden, 1927.
 
 


Bennington Historical Society 

Bennington, Vermont 1896 - 97 City Directory

Bennington, Vermont History and Lore

National Register of Historical Places - Bennington, VT