OF THE TOWN OF BOLTON
BOLTON is an irregularly-shaped, mountainous township lying in the
extreme eastern part of Chittenden county. It is bounded on the north by
Underhill, on the east by Waterbury and Duxbury-towns in Washington county
on the south by Huntington and on the west by Richmond and Jericho. The
surface of the town is very much broken; high hills and rocky ravines,
mountains and gorges are everywhere. The town always reminds one of the
landscapes of the Yosemite region; here, indeed, is the "wild pomp of mountain
majesty." A part of Camel's Hump, one of the highest peaks (4,088 feet)
of the Green Mountains, lies in Bolton. Other peaks in town are Bone Mountain
in the eastern, Stimson's Mountain in the central, and Robin's Mountain
in the western part. The highest hill is Blueberry Hill, in the extreme
eastern part. These several mountains are separated from each other by
deep gorges running at right angles to each other, through which numerous
brooks tumble along. Pinneo Brook, short and noisy, rises in the western
part of the town, flows a southerly course, and unites with Winooski River
near the town line. Joiner Brook rises in the northern part, flows a southerly
course between Bone and Stimson's Mountains, and reaches Winooski River
not far from the center of the town. Duck Brook -- so called from the wild
ducks that formerly made their nests in the wood along its banks -- rises
in the northwestern part of the town, flows a southerly course of about
four miles, and joins Winooski River in the western part of the town. It
is fed by numerous cold springs, and far-famed for trout, as are also the
other brooks in the town. Preston Brook rises in Huntington, flows a northerly
course and pours into Winooski River. Mill Brook rises in the northern
part of the town, and takes an easterly course into Jericho, furnishing
fine water-power to several saw and shingle-mills. These streams, with
other minor ones, are short and rapid, and, in the spring when the snows
melt, frequently swell to mountain torrents. There is one small pond in
the township, Sanborn Pond, lying a little north of Blueberry Hill. The
largest stream of water in Bolton is Winooski River, which flows westerly
through the southern part of the township. Bolton is somewhat noted for
the winds that pass through the valley of Winooski River and around the
mountains. To this fact it is owing that in summer it is always four or
five degrees cooler in Bolton than in the surrounding towns. Bolton is
also celebrated for her bears, and Bruin has probably been more extensively
slaughtered here than in any town in the State; hundreds have been killed,
and still there is a sufficiency remaining, and nearly every year the flock
of some farmer suffers. Only a few years ago the bears came down from the
mountains and slaughtered ten sheep in one night within half a mile of
the village of West Bolton. This was, however, an unusual raid, and some
people suggested that the bears should not be too much blamed in this case,
as they were tracked to Washington county, and it might be after all, county
jealousy or "sectional prejudice" that made Bruin turn a border ruffian.
Although Bolton has been denominated the land of "boulders and bears,"
and the business to-day to a great extent is lumbering, the town is no
wilderness. The soil is, indeed, rocky, but it is good, and there are many
fine farms, especially along Winooski River. Both hard and soft woods grow
in the town, there being many large tracts of spruce and hemlock. All the
grains and fruits of our climate are raised in good quantities.
The principal highways in Bolton are as follows: A road running
through the entire township, keeping close to Winooski River, being the
old turnpike leading from Burlington to Montpelier; a road running through
the "Notch," as it is called, from West Bolton and meeting the first mentioned
road at a point two miles north of Bolton Station; a stage road running
westerly from West Bolton to the village of Jonesville, in Richmond. The
town is crossed by the Central Vermont Railroad, which keeps close to Winooski
River. There is one station called Bolton.
Bolton was chartered June 7th, 1763, by Benning WENTWORTH, colonial
governor of New Hampshire, to Thomas DARLING, and seventy-one associates.
The original grant was thirty-six square miles, or 23,040 acres. The original
charter is now in the possession of Joseph SMITH, of West Bolton. The following
is an exact copy from the "first book of town records" "Province of New
the Third By the Grace of God of Great Britain France and Ireland KING,
Defender of the Faith, &c. To all Persons to whom these Presents Shall
come, Greeting: Know ye that we of our special Grace certain knowledge
and meer Motion for the due Encouragement of settling a New Plantation
within Our said Province by and with the Advice of Our Trusty and Well-beloved
Benning WENTWORTH, Esq., Our Governor and Commander in Chief of our said
Province of New Hampshire in New England and of our Counsel of the Said
Province, have upon the Conditions and Resolutions hereinafter made, Given
and Granted, and by these Presents for us Our Heirs and Successors do give
and grant in equal Shares unto Our loving Subjects Inhabitants of Our Said
Province of New Hampshire and Our other Governments and to their heirs
and Assigns forever whose Names are entered on this Grant to be divided
to and amongst them into Seventy-Two equal Shares all that Tract or Parcel
of Land situate, lying and being within our Said Province of New Hampshire
containing by Admeasurement 23,040 Acres, Which Tract is to contain Six
Miles Square, and no more out of which an Allowance is to be made for High
Ways and unimprovable lands by Rocks Ponds Mountains and Rivers One Thousand
and Forty Acres free according to a Plan and Survey thereof, made by Our
Sd Governor's Order, and returned into the Secretary's Office, and hereunto
annexed butted and Bounded as follows, Viz. Beginning at the southeast
Corner of Jerico on the northerly side of Onion River (so Called) from
thence Easterly Running up said River so far as to make Six Miles on a
Line Perpendicular with the Southeasterly line of Said Jericho, from thence
Running Six Miles Northerly upon a Parallel line with the line on the easterly
Side of Jerico from thence Running westerly about Six Miles to the Northeasterly
Corner of Said Jerico, from thence Southerly by Jerico to where we Began.
same be and hereby is Incorporated into a Township by the Name of Bolton
and that the Inhabitants that do or shall hereafter inhabit said Township
are hereby declared to be Enfranchised with and Intitled to all and every
the Priviliges and Immunities that other Towns within our Province by Laws
Exercise and Enjoy. And further that the said Town as soon as there shall
be Fifty Families resident and settled thereon shall have Liberty of holding
Two Fairs one of which shall be held on the ____ and the other on the ____.
Annually which Fairs are not to continue longer than the respective ____
following the said ____ and that as soon as Said Town Shall Consist of
Fifty Families a Market may be opened and kept one or more Days in each
Week as may be thought advantageous to the Inhabitants. Also that the first
Meeting for the Choice of Town Officers agreeable to the Laws of our Said
Province shall be held on the Twenty-Seventh Day of July next which said
Meeting Shall be Notified by Mr. Thomas DARLING who is hereby also appointed
the Moderator of the said first Meeting which he is to Notify and Govern
agreeable to the Laws and Customs of our Said Province, and that the annual
Meeting forever hereafter for Choice of such Officers for the said Town
shall be on the second Tuesday of March annually.
and to hold the said Tract of Land as above expressed together with all
Privileges and Appurtenances, to them and Their respective Heirs and Assigns
forever upon the following Conditions viz.
every Grantee his Heirs or Assigns Shall Plant and cultivate five Acres
of Land within the Term of five years for every fifty acres contained in
his or their Share or proportion of Land in said Township and continue
to improve and Settle the same by additional Cultivation, on Penalty of
the forfeiture of his Grant or Share in the said Township and of its reverting
to Us our Heirs and Successors to be by us or them Regranted to such of
Our Subjects as shall effectually Settle and Cultivate the same.
all white and other Pine Trees within the said Township fit for masting
Our Royal Navy, be carefully preserved for that use and none be cut or
felled without our special Lisence for so doing first had and obtained
upon the Penalty of the forfeiture of the Right of such Grantee his Heirs
and Assigns to us Our Heirs and Successors as well as being subject to
the Penalty of any Act or Acts of Parliament that now are or hereafter
shall be Enacted.
before any Division of the Land be made to and among the Grantees, a Tract
of Land as near the Center of the said Township as the Land will admit
of, shall be reserved and marked out for Town Lots, one of which shall
be allotted to each Grantee, of the Contents of one Acre.
and paying therefor to Us, Our Heirs and Successors, for the space of Ten
Years to be computed from the Date thereof the Rent of (one) Ear of Indian
Corn only on the Twenty-fifth day of December Annually if Lawfully demanded
the first payment to be made on the Twenty-fifth of December, 1763.
proprietor Settler or Inhabitant Shall yield and pay unto Us, Our Heirs
and Successors yearly and every year forever from and after the expiration
of Ten Years from the above said Twenty-fifth of December namely on the
Twenty-fifth day of December which will be in the Year of Our Lord 1777
one Shilling Proclamation Money for every Hundred Acres he owns Settles
or Possesses, and so in proportion for a Greater or lesser Tract of said
Land, which Money shall be paid by the respective Person above said their
Heirs or Assigns in our Council-Chamber in Portsmouth or to such Officer
or Officers as shall be appointed to receive the same ; and this to be
in Lieu of all other Rents and services whatsoever.
whereof, we have caused the Seal of our Said Province to be hereunto affixed.
and Commander-in-Chief of our Said Province the Seventh Day of June, In
the Year of our Lord Christ one Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty Three
and in the Third Year of Our Reign
Excellencys Command with advice of the Council.
of New Hampshire June 7 1763 Recorded in the Book of Charters Page 437:438.
" Pr T.
ATKINSON Junr Secy."
The Charter has the following endorsement, and a list of the grantees:
Following are the names of the grantees:
Benning WENTWORTH Esq., A Tract of Land to contain Five Hundred Acres marked
'13. W.' on the Plan which is to be accounted two of the within shares.
share for the Incorporated Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in
for the Gleeb of the Church of England as by law established.
for the first settled Minister of the Gospel and one share for the Benefit
of schools in said Town.
of New Hampshire June 7 1763. "T. ATKINSON Jr Secy."
George BUNNELL, Josiah BROADWELL, Nathaniel BUNNELL, John BUNNELL,
Alexander SIMPSON, William BROADWELL, Thomas DARLING, Isaac CLARK, Henry
BROADWELL, Bethual PERSON, Ezekiel JOHNSON, Joel OSBORN, Israel WARD, Jacob
MERRILL, Lawrence WILSON, David WARD, Thomas MILLIDGE, Ebenezer COE, Seth
BABBITT, Ebenezer HAULBART, Samuel HINDS, Wilber CLARK. Elisha FRAZEE,
Nathaniel COGSWELL, Daniel COGSWELL, Crowell WILKINSON, John MCGILIVER,
Enoch BEACH, Seth CROWELL, jr., Stephen DAY, George DAY, Paul DAY, William
DARLING, Thomas DAY, esq., Stephen MOORE, Nathan WILKINSON, Alexander CARMICHAEL,
Isaac TUTTLE, Stephen TUTTLE, Jonathan WILKINSON, Christopher WOOD, Daniel
WOOD, Thomas OSBORN, Gilman FREEMAN, Thomas KINEY, John JOHNSON, Ephraim
HAYWARD, Philip HATHAWAY, Thomas THROOPE, Elisha WEAK, Benjamin COE, Richard
MINTHORN, Benjamin DAY, Matthias CLARK, Joseph WINGET, Joseph WARD, David
SAMSON, Timothy DAY, Samuel AVERILL, Partridge THATCHER, esq., Hon. Richard
WEBARD, John DOWNING esq., Daniel WARNER, esq., Colonel Joseph SMITH, Peter
GILMAN, esq., Zebulon GIDDINS.
The area of the chartered tract remained the same until October
27, 1794, when a part of the town of Huntington was annexed to Bolton;
but, titles being questioned and law suits resulting, the same was re-annexed
to Huntington on the l0th of November, 1808. Another change was the annexation
of a part of Bolton to Richmond, on the 25th of October, 1804.
It appears that the Indians found Bolton an excellent hunting and
fishing ground; their regular trail from Connecticut River to Lake Champlain
led through the town and there was generally an Indian village in the adjoining
town of Richmond. A number of small arrow-heads, such as are used in killing
birds, have been found in town.
The first white man to visit Bolton was John BARNET, who, with a
party of twenty-four, set out to explore the country from Connecticut River
to Lake Champlain. Following the Indian trail along Winooski River, he
passed through the town into Richmond, where the party was attacked by
Indians and Tories, and Mr. BARNET killed. On the 10th of May, 1770, the
first proprietors' meeting was held at the house of Samuel CANFIELD, of
New Milford, Conn., at which time Samuel AVERILL, of Kent, was chosen proprietors'
clerk. There were other meetings, but the Revolution interrupted surveys
and settlements. However, soon after the close of the war Robert KENNEDY,
Amos PALMER, Peter DILSE, Daniel PINNEO, Augustus LEVAQUE and others, came
into town and began to chop down the forests. A considerable settlement
was soon established, and the first census, taken in 1791, showed eighty-eight
inhabitants, which number had increased to 219 in 1800.
Samuel BARNET, of Newbury, Vt., one of the early settlers of Bolton,
was one of Washington's guards during the War of the Revolution. At the
close of that struggle he came to Bolton, built a little log cabin, and
began to make a clearing. Soon after his arrival crops suffered greatly
from frosts, and it was with difficulty that he raised sufficient corn
and turnips for his sustentation. He was present at the battle of Plattsburgh
and died about four weeks afterward, aged sixty-eight years.
John KENNEDY, one of the first settlers in town, was born in Massachusetts
and when a young man came to Newbury, Vt. He was with Ethan ALLEN at the
bloodless reduction of Ticonderoga, and received $80 as his share of the
prize money. During his twelve-month service in the continental army he
became personally acquainted with General Washington. After "the wars were
all over," he returned to Newbury, but soon purchased lands in Waterbury,
Vt., where he worked one summer, harvesting his corn and putting it in
a crib. He then returned to Newbury, and on coming back in the spring found
that his corn had been stolen, and the title to his lands claimed by others.
Upon this he came to Bolton, where he continued to reside until his death,
John SABIN came at an early day with his family from New Hampshire
to Duxbury, Vt., and soon removed to Bolton. He had a family of eight children;
many of his descendants are now living in town. He remained in town until
his death, when he was seventy years of age.
John BONE, a native of France, was one of the very first settlers.
While clearing his land he boarded with Augustus LEVAQUE. He was killed
about 1798 by falling from a precipice on Bone Mountain (named after him),
400 feet in height. John MORSE came from Massachusetts to Waterbury, Vt.,
in 1782, and removed to Bolton the next year. He lived in town the remainder
of his life, had five children, and was a well-to-do farmer. R. J. MORSE
is his son. Joseph, Samuel and Asa LEWIS came from Bradford, Conn., about
1802, and bought farms in town. Asa was at the battle of Plattsburgh. He
was very eccentric, and figured connectedly as a farmer, a poet, a soldier
and a Methodist. His death occurred in 1835. Moses L. Colton came to Bolton
when it contained but few families and little business. He built the first
saw-mill at West Bolton, and continued in the lumber business until his
death, in 1850. He was one of the first men in town affairs, being representative
six years and justice of the peace twenty-five years. He came originally
from New Hampshire, and married Susan POND, of Jericho. E. N. COLTON, of
West Bolton, is his son. Jonathan BOHONNON came early from Connecticut
and settled in this town. His farm was on the "Notch Road." He was twice
married, and lived in town until his death, which occurred some twenty-five
years ago. Elijah HINCKSON was another pioneer of Bolton, living at the
junction of the "Notch" and River roads. He was widely known as a bear-hunter,
having killed more than sixty in his day. He died in town in 1860, in his
seventy-second year. Merrill FELLOWS came to Bolton "when the town was
new," and engaged in lumbering. In 1830 he erected a saw-mill. He was a
soldier in 1812 and witnessed the battle of Plattsburgh. He died in Richmond
about twelve years ago. Solomon FAY came to town at an early day from Ohio.
He carried on a farm at West Bolton, where P. F. WEBSTER now resides. He
died twenty-five years ago. Asher HALL was still another early cultivator
of the earth in Bolton. He was twice married, his first wife, Chloe SMITH,
leaving him two children, sons. His second wife was Hopa LYMAN, by whom
he had four daughters and five sons. Mrs. Joseph SMITH, of West Bolton,
is his daughter.
The first birth recorded in town is that of James BLAIR. The record
Blair, Born in this Town July the third one Thousand Seven Hundred and
Ninety-one. Bolton, Febu'y 27, 1792."
The first town meeting was held on the second Tuesday in March,
1794, at the house of James MOORE. At this meeting Samuel BELL was chosen
moderator; Jabez JONES, town clerk; Francis JOINER, William ROGERS and
Samuel BELL, selectmen, and Robert KENNEDY, constable. The first representative
of the town was Jabez JONES, elected in 1794. The first justice of the
peace was Stephen ROYCE, who held the office from 1794 to 1805. The first
settled minister in town was Rev. William L. HURLBURT. The first hotel
keeper was James MOORE, who came from Connecticut and for a number of years
kept a locally famous hostelry. The early settlers of Bolton were sturdy,
hard-working men, and engaged in both lumbering and farming. Saw-mills
of their own they had, but patronized the Jericho tanneries, distilleries
and asheries. The first settlements in town were effected along the sinuous
Winooski; while the region of the "Notch" was next in time and prominence
was early opened and the road worked. The settlers suffered much from the
cold season in 1816, and but lightly from the epidemic of 1813.
The building of the Central Vermont Railroad, which crosses the
town from east to west along the northern bank of Winooski River, added
much to the business interests of Bolton, about 300 workmen being employed.
C.P. & G.W. STEVENS's lumber-mills at Bolton Station were established
five years ago by the present owners. The firm do a business of $15,000
per annum, employing twenty-five hands and cutting 1,000,000 feet of lumber.
Packing-boxes, spruce clapboards and winding-boards are also manufactured
and shipped to all parts of New England, besides which the company have
a large retail trade.
J.G. TOMLINSON's butter-tub and cheese-box factory, at West Bolton,
was established eight years ago by Mr. TOMLINSON. He employs five hands,
doing a business of $2,000 per annum, and some years manufacturing as many
as 12,000 butter-tubs. He saws also large quantities of rough lumber, for
which his market is Burlington. He cuts in all from 75,000 to 100,000 feet
G.W. GILES's circular saw-mill at West Bolton was put in operation
by himself seventeen years ago. He employs four men and cuts 500,000 feet
of lumber a year. He also manufactures boxes, cuts chair stock, and does
Nathan GILES's estate's saw and shingle-mill, located at West Bolton,
cuts 100,000 feet of lumber every year, the market being Burlington and
Winooski. Basswood furniture stock and shingles are also cut. The business
was founded six years ago. G. A. PEASE is manager.
E.N. COLTON & Son's circular saw and shingle-mill at West Bolton
cuts 300,000 feet of lumber a year, turning out from 800,000 to 1,200,000
shingles. In 1824 the business was established by Mr. COLTON's father,
and continued by him until 1847, when he was succeeded by the present senior
proprietor. His son, H. J., assumed an interest in the concern in 1882.
From six to twelve hands are employed.
D.W. TRACY's circular saw-mill on joiner Brook cuts 200,000 feet
of lumber annually. Whitcomb & Willard built the first mill on this
site. Mr. TRACY purchased the property in 1872 and has since operated the
F.W. HALL, of West Bolton, keeps a general dry goods and grocery
store. He began business eight years ago, and carries a full line of merchandise.
He also deals in lumber and hides. His store is the only one in town and
he does a large business.
J.F. WHALEN, of Bolton Station, deals in watches and clocks, and
does all kinds of repairing.
Bishop's Hotel, at Bolton Station, was a public house forty years
ago. The present proprietor, Solomon BISHOP, purchased it of Julius HODGES
twenty years ago. The house accommodates thirty guests. H. H. BISHOP is
the manager, and many city boarders stay with him during the summer season.
Post-Offices. -- The post-office at Bolton was established
in the first quarter of the present century. As early as 1824 James WHITCOMB
was postmaster, and in 1829 was followed by Almon WHITCOMB. The successive
incumbents of that position since his retirement in 1836 have been as follows:
Joseph SMITH, 1836-53; A. SMITH to 1854; E. W. BATES to 1858; J. M. BATES,
1859; E. W. BATES to 1861; C. E. WHITCOMB to 1865; E. R. MORSE to 1868
Mrs. Sarah BISHOP to 1871; Dan SHAW to 1877; E. W. BRUCE to 1881; James
F. WHALEN to and including the present. Soon after 1850 the increasing
population of the town, and the consequent inconvenience occasioned to
the inhabitants of the western part of the town, demanded the establishment
of a separate office at the little village of West Bolton, which accordingly
took place by the appointment of F. D. COLTON. His consecutive successors
have been: Moses L. COLTON from 1855 to 1862; R. HARRIS to 1867; B. M.
MORSE to 1870; Smith A. HALL to 1872; H. WEBSTER, 1873; R. HARRIS to 1875;
C. C. STEVENS to 1877; R. HARRIS, 1878; F. W. HALL to 1886; and the present
official, G. A. PEASE.
The present officers of the town are as follows: F. J. WHALEN, clerk
and treasurer; E. M. STEVENS, constable and collector; John PHILLIPS, P.
L. TOWERS, T. B. WHALEN, selectmen; F. W. HALL, superintendent of schools;
T. S. McGINNIS, town agent. Bolton adopted the town system of schools some
six years ago, being among the first in the State to manifest its desire
to remain in the van of intellectual progress. The system has given great
satisfaction and reduced the number of schools from six to five. The total
cost to the town of its schools for 1855 was $683.48. The school directors
are: F. W. HALL, J. H. SMITH, E. H. SABIN, C. F. SABIN, John PHILLIPS and
M. V. HAYDEN, the first named gentleman being chairman.
The Baptist Church of West Bolton. -- This church was organized
on the 16th of February, 1848, with forty-three members, as the Second
Baptist Church of Jericho, many of the members living in that town. In
1862 a Baptist society was formed in connection with the church, and until
1875 the organization was known as the Baptist Church and Society of West
Bolton. In 1875 the church was chartered under the laws of Vermont as the
Baptist Church of West Bolton. The following pastors have served the church
in the order named: Revs. W. S. HURLBURT, H. C. LEAVITT, L. L. WOOD, L.
B. STEELE, W. S. HURLBURT, A. A. DAVIS and P. C. ABBEY. The officers of
the church are: Otis B. CHURCH, of Underhill, and Rufus HARRIS, deacons;
E. R. DAVIS, F. W. HALL and Hobart PEASE, committee on finance; E. R. DAVIS,
treasurer;. Mrs. R. W. GILE, collector; Mrs. Rufus HARRIS, clerk; Mrs.
Fred FULLER, superintendent of the Sabbath-school. The church now has sixty
members and the Sabbath-school forty. The church edifice, a pleasant wood
structure, was erected in 1867 at a cost of $3,000, and will seat 250 people.
The church is at present without a pastor.
of Chittenden County, Vermont
and Biographical Sketches
of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers
By W. S. Rann, Syracuse, N. Y.
& Co., Publishers, 1886
by Karima Allison ~ 2004
section of Hamilton Child's "Gazetteer and Business Directory of
Chittenden County, Vt. For 1882-83."
of the 1927 Flood in Bolton, VT
from East Bolton Cemetery, Bolton Vt
from West Bolton Cemetery, Bolton Vt
Vermont ~ "The Land of Boulders and Bears"
USGS Maps of Bolton, Vermont