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      THE township of Essex was among the New Hampshire grants, and was chartered June 7, 1763. The original of this document is now extant. It begins, "George the Third, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France and Ireland, king, defender of the faith," etc., and bears the official signature of "Benning WENTWORTH, esq., our governor and commander-in-chief of our said province of New Hampshire," and the countersign of "T. ATKINSON, junr., secretary." By the terms of the charter the township was to contain 23,040 acres, or to be six miles square, and was to be divided into seventy-two equal shares among as many grantees named in it, none of whom probably ever set foot on the territory thus granted. The reservations made in the charter were the governor's right, two shares; one share for a glebe for the Church of England; one share for the incorporated society for the propagation of the gospel in foreign parts; one share for the first settled minister of the gospel; and one for the benefit of schools. Each of these reservations contained 330 acres, save the governor's right, 500 acres. The charter also gave permission to hold two fairs annually, and a market to be kept open one or more days in each week, as should be advantageous to the people, when there should be fifty families resident in town. There is no record, oral or written, that either of these English luxuries were ever enjoyed by the people of the town. The name of the town perpetuates that of some earl or baronet of England with whom the grantees were associated or familiar.

      The first settlement in town, of which history or tradition gives any account, was made early in the spring of 1783. Previous to the Revolutionary War emigrants came to this and adjoining towns with a view to settlement, but the opening war sent them all away to join in the battle for liberty and independence. Samuel SMITH, and William, his brother, Jonathan WINCHELL, Dubartus WILLARD, and David HALL are believed to have been the first settlers of the town, and came here about the same time. They chose for their homes what has proved to be the richest and most productive portions of the town, the rich alluvial valleys of the Onion River, so called from the abundance of wild onions that grew upon its banks, and Brown's River. Here they built the first log houses, felled the first trees, and planted the first seeds. A little later, Lemuel MESSENGER, Samuel, Joseph and Jeremiah SINCLAIR, brothers, settled near each other in the same locality. Further down the Onion River, Joshua STANTON settled upon the “governor’s right," occupying about four hundred acres of it. About the same period Joel WOODWORTH settled on Brown's River, and kept what is believed to have been the first “tavern." This “tavern " was located a short distance east of the bridge, near Joshua WHITCOMB's. A little group of Lombardy poplars marked the spot for many years, but they have now disappeared. Further down the same river, Samuel, Amos, Timothy, Ira and Elias BLISS were the first settlers and gave that locality the name of "Bliss street" and "Bliss school district," which it still retains. Their descendants are numerous, the families large and prominent in social life, in church and town affairs; public spirited, and liberal promoters of whatever tended to advance the prosperity of the town. Adjoining these farms were those of Abel CASTLE, father, and Marshall, his son, the eldest of a very large family. "Uncle Abel," as the father was familiarly called, lived and died on the farm where he settled, leaving as many children and grandchildren as he was years of age at his death, ninety-five. Marshall died advanced in age, leaving a good record as a good Christian man and citizen. He represented the town in the “General Assembly” and held important offices of trust in town. Other members of this family located in Jericho, and some of them were among the early emigrants to the "West." Still further down the river, James PELTON, William BLOOD, Daniel LITTLEFIELD, who was town representative two years and held other important town offices, Samuel BRADLEY, Alvin BASSETT, John HALBERT, William INGRAHAM, Nathan and Jabez WOODWORTH, James KEELER, James GATES, Gideon CURTIS Robert REYNOLDS, Elijah and Samuel BIXBY, and David HAMILTON were among the early settlers. Mr. -HAMILTON was for many years deacon of the Congregational Church and prominent in its affairs. Later in life he removed to Burlington, where he died. On the west side of the river Stephen BUTLER settled in 1794, and near him Caleb OLDS. And these were the only settlers between Brown's River and "the Center" for many years. North of what is called the Center the early settlers were Captain Morgan NOBLE, Colonel Stephen and Levi NOBLE, Nathaniel BLOOD, Ezra WOODWORTH, Mr. BRYANT, Mr. FOLSOM, Daniel HOBART, Andrew MORGAN, Betly HATCH, John GRIFFIN, Averill NOBLE, Ezra SLATER, Jonathan and Thomas CHIPMAN, Peter HOBART, Mr. HAZELTON, Joshua BATES. Colonel NOBLE kept a store at a very early day in the house now occupied by Mr. NICHOLS. Andrew MORGAN held the office of town clerk for many years. On the road leading north from “Page’s Corners " to Westford, David TYLER, Israel JOSLIN, and later his brother Benjamin, and Branscom PERRIGO were the early settlers. Mr. Benjamin JOSLIN came into town when eighteen years of age, lived and died on the homestead now occupied by Captain Gilbert MORTON, who married his daughter. Mr. JOSLIN was a straightforward business man, for many years a prominent member of the Methodist Church, and a liberal contributor to the building of its church edifice. In the northeast part of the town Ezra BAKER, and his son Solomon, Henry SLATER, Henry KELLY, Asa BRIGHAM, Russell KELLOGG, and later, Nelson, his son, Zadoc BELLOWS, and later his son Amasa, and Silas McCLELLAN were among the first settlers. In the western part of the town, familiarly called the “Lost Nation" on account of somebody having been "lost" there and found after a long search, Samuel ATHERTON, Moses PARSONS, David and Childs DAY, and Alonzo STEVENS were among the first settlers. Samuel ATHERTON located upon the farm afterward occupied by his son Asa, who was born in 1800 and lived to see one of the largest families in town grow up to man and womanhood and taking part in the active duties of life.


      The warning for the town meeting, at which the organization of the town took place, was dated Jericho, March 10, 1786, and was signed John FASSETT, assistant. The meeting was held March 22, 1786, at the house of Dr. Elkanah BILLINGS, in the south part of the town. The day named in the charter for the organization was July 12, 1763, and John BOGART, jr., esq., was to call the meeting, and "is hereby appointed moderator." No reason is assigned for the change in time. The record of this town meeting shows that Dubartis WILLARD, or "Barty" as he was familiarly called, was chosen moderator; Elkanah BILLINGS, town clerk; Dubartis WILLARD, Justin DAY, and Joel WOODWORTH, selectmen; Samuel SMITH, treasurer; Abraham STEVENS, constable; Solomon STANTON, Elkanah BILLINGS, and Samuel BRADLEY, highway surveyors. The only vote passed at this meeting was "to raise seventy pounds lawful money for the purpose of repairing roads in said town, to be wrought out on said roads at six shillings a day for each man who works in September; and four shillings a day for each man who works-in the month of October; and three shillings a day for each yoke of oxen." At the annual meeting in 1787 Samuel BRADLEY was chosen town clerk, and he held the office continuously for five years; Jonathan WINCHELL, Abraham STEVENS, Samuel SMITH, selectmen; Joel WOODWORTH, treasurer; Justin DAY, constable; David THOMPSON and David DAY, jurors; Abraham STEVENS, Joel WOODWORTH, and Dubartis WILLARD, fence viewers, and William THOMPSON, sealer of weights and measures. In 1788 Samuel BRADLEY, Simon TUBBS, and Dubartis WILLARD were chosen listers, and Steven NOBLE, and Captain McNALL were chosen tythingmen, officers whose duty it was to take care of the naughty boys at church and other meetings, and preserve order generally. The last tythingman who officiated in that capacity was Daniel DUNLOP, as late as 1843. The selectmen of 1788 were Colonel John CHILDS, Timothy BLISS, esq., and Captain Morgan NOBLE; Justin DAY, treasurer; Steven NOBLE, constable; Joseph ELY, pound-keeper; James THOMPSON, and John LAWRENCE, haywards -- an office which in later years was conferred upon the newly-married couples in town. In 1789 Joel WOODWORTH, esq., Peter PIXLEY, and Abel CASTLE were selectmen; Dubartis WILLARD, constable. Barty held the office two years. One of the two votes passed at the meeting was "that said town raise three pence on the pound on the list of 1788 to be paid in wheat, to defray town charges, said wheat to be collected by the first day of December, 1789." This commodity seems to have been lawful tender for town services in those days. There was little money in circulation: In 1791 a similar vote was passed raising five pence on the pound and fixing the price of wheat at five shillings per bushel. In 1794 the tax raised was one penny half-penny on the pound, to be paid in wheat at four shillings a bushel, or money. In 1797 the number of tax-payers in town was 125. There were only three persons that had a list of six dollars and fifty cents. In 1810 the number was 165. The State tax of that year was one cent on the dollar of the grand list. The amount raised was $180.96, showing a grand list of $1,806.90. The only person who paid a tax of over four dollars was Abraham STEVENS. His tax was $4.55. In 1819 the number of tax-payers was 155. The town tax was two cents on the dollar. The amount raised was $312.80 and the grand list was $1,580.02. Mr. STEVENS was the largest tax-payer, his tax being over eight dollars. In 1886, one hundred years after the organization of the town, the grand list is $9,40493. There was no State tax, but the town tax was one hundred cents on the dollar. Two paid a tax of over two hundred dollars each, and five over one hundred dollars each. Quite a large number paid taxes of twenty dollars and upwards. This heavy taxation was occasioned by bonding the town to the sum of twenty thousand dollars in aid of the Burlington and Lamoille Railroad. The officers of the town for this year were CLARK W. BATES, George BUTLER, and William HUNTER, selectmen; J. W. R. NICHOLS, town clerk-who has held the office continuously for twenty-three years; George H. BROWN, treasurer; E. D. BAKER, constable; S. G. BUTLER, E. H. TYLER, and J. K. WARNER, listers and assessors.

      On the 2d day of September, 1794, supposed to have been the “first Tuesday," the first "freemen's meeting" was held. At this meeting forty-eight votes were cast for governor, of which Thomas CHITTENDEN had thirty-six. On the 30th day of December of the same year the first votes for representative to Congress were given, of which Noah SMITH had thirty-six. The "freemen's meeting" in 1797 was held at the house of Russell KELLOGG, and the number of votes cast was sixty-eight, of which Gideon OLIN, for governor, had thirty-four. In 1799 the meeting was held at the house of John KNICKERBOCKER. The whole number of votes cast, seventy-nine, of which Daniel CHIPMAN had thirty. In 1795 the number was fifty-one; in 1796, fifty; in 1800, sixty-five. These votes indicate that the settlement of the town was not rapid. At its organization there were probably fifty families, for such was the requirement of the charter. In 1790 the population was 354; in 1800 it was 729; and at the expiration of one hundred years from its settlement it is 2, 111; and the number of votes cast for governor was 423.

      The division of the town into seventy-two equal shares was nominally recognized by the early settlers, but as the population increased and new claims were staked out by new comers, it was found that infringements had been made upon the claims of others. One settler had overlapped his neighbor, or two settlers claimed the same share. To remedy this growing inquietude, under the law of the Legislature for this purpose, the first recorded meeting of the proprietors and land owners was called, "to meet on the second Monday of October, 1804, at the dwelling house of Samuel FERRAS, in said Essex, at nine o'clock in the forenoon," for the purpose of organization, etc. At this meeting Simon TUBBS was chosen moderator; Nathan CASTLE, proprietors' clerk; Samuel BUELL, treasurer; and Stephen BUTLER, collector. It was voted to survey the town and divide the same into severalty, agreeable to the special act of the Legislature. It was also voted "that the survey should be made as near agreeable to the former allotment and lines as may be consistent with an accurate survey, and that each claimer shall be quieted agreeable to his bounds where there are no interposing claims"; in which case the committee appointed to carry the vote into effect were "to determine the premises according to their best judgment and discretion." Abraham STEVENS, Timothy BLISS and John JOHNSON were the committee. Under this action of the proprietors the rising rebellion was quieted, and a map of their survey was made by John JOHNSON, which, in a very dilapidated condition, is still in existence. The largest claim recognized by this committee was that of Thaddeus TUTTLE, who seems to have been a large speculator in real estate. He was wont to enforce his claims for rent or pay by threats of law and writs of ejectment, and sometimes found a determined settler who successfully resisted his claim. At one time he put up a sign forbidding persons taking wood from his land. Some wag who seemed to understand the nature of Mr. TUTTLE's claims, wrote under it,

"Thief threatening thief will do no good;
You stole the land and we'll steal the wood."


      The first settlers of the town seem to have been anxious to locate their "meeting-house" as near the exact "center" of the town as was possible, and hence in town meetings they discussed the subject and directed the question to be determined by "admeasurement." The result did not quite satisfy the people, and by general consent the location now called "the Center" was fixed upon, which varies a few rods from the actual measurement. What is now the "Common" was covered with a heavy growth of pines, part of which had been prostrated by a tornado. The work of clearing it was immense. It was done by a "bee," so called, in which the people of the whole town participated. The huge logs were piled up, those of them that were not wanted for lumber, and burned. Some time about the year 1800 the first building was erected at the Center, and stood on the southeast corner of the Common. It was built by Samuel PELTON. In 1804 Mr. PELTON leased of David MORGAN the right to flow land on Alder Brook, and built a saw-mill on the bank west of Lysander WOODWORTH's. This brook, so called from the immense grove of alders on its bank, was then a very small stream, quite shallow, emptying in Brown's River, in the northeast part of the town. Mr. PELTON diverted this brook from its natural course, carrying the water in a flume to a reservoir dam a few miles below the present gulf cross-way. In this saw-mill some of the lumber used in building the meeting-house was prepared. At this time there was no gulf, but in the great freshet of 1830 the brook became a mighty power, swept off bridges, dams and mills, cut for itself a new channel well toward a hundred feet below the original bed and forced its way over all opposing obstacles until it mingled its waters with the Winooski, many miles away, in an entirely opposite direction from its original mouth. This was one of the most destructive calamities the town ever witnessed, and from which the "Center" never recovered.

      The second house erected at the Center was the one occupied by Joel WOODWORTH as the first "tavern" in town. It was brought from its former location and rebuilt upon the north side of the Common, the site now occupied by the hotel. It was built of pine logs nicely hewn and set up endwise. Here it was again used as a "tavern," and kept for many years by Stephen BUTLER, and after him by his son, B. B. BUTLER. At a later period a two-story front was erected and previous to and during the War of 1812 it was a noted place of resort. Its spacious hall, a large one for those days, was used for singing-schools, an occasional festive event, and by the Masonic fraternity. Sixty years ago an addition was made, converting it into its present form. For some years these were the only buildings at the Center. Between the Center and "Butler's Corners" there was only one house. South of the Center the whole distance to the Winooski in one direction and Brown's River in another, was thickly covered with huge pine trees, which the timber mania of later years swept off, without regard to the "reservation of timber for the royal navy," mentioned in the original charter of the town. North was an extended swamp through which by a narrow foot-path the people of the north portion of the town came to "meeting" on horseback or on foot. Clearing, draining and cultivation has converted this swamp into a fertile intervale bordering Alder Brook. On the southwest corner of the Common lived David CLARK and after him Mr. Humphrey and then F. W. JOYNER, who established a tannery and shoe shop and carried on a large business for many years in both these departments. Mr. JOYNER was an enterprising, public-spirited citizen and contributed liberally to those public enterprises which tended to build up the village. To his public spirit the people are indebted for the beautiful maple shade trees which so handsomely adorn the east side of the Common. The northeast corner of the common was occupied for many years by a wheelwright shop by Harry ALDRICH and by a blacksmith shop by Henry BLISS. The northwest corner was the residence for many years of Richard SAMSON, and when he retired from the hotel, about 1832, it became the homestead of B. B. BUTLER, where he lived for many years and died. Near the southeast corner was the residence of B. F. TAYLOR, where he followed the occupation of blacksmith. "Brother TAYLOR," as he was familiarly called, was very zealous in Christian work, was a "local preacher" for many years in the Methodist Church in Westford and Essex, and died at Essex Junction. In 1819-20 the store on the corner was built by B. B. BUTLER, for the young merchant, Thaddeus R. FLETCHER, who, with a capital of $400 borrowed of his brother, commenced the mercantile business. He was very successful ; being the only merchant in town for many years, soon purchased a building lot and built for himself what was in that day a very fine residence, and a large store also on the opposite side of the street, both of which are now occupied by George H. BROWN. Here Mr. FLETCHER conducted a large and flourishing business for many years, accumulating large wealth. Later he removed to Burlington, where he died. Meanwhile the "corner store" was occupied by Loren TYLER, and the competing merchants made business lively. Mr. TYLER's residence was on the south side of the Common, where he died after a very successful career in mercantile life. He was a good citizen and business man, an active member of the Methodist Church, contributing liberally for its support. At a later period Nathan LOTHROP settled upon the place now owned by Mr. LESTER, built the house now occupied by him, had a store and blacksmith’s shop on the opposite side of the street, and was engaged for many years in the manufacture of "wrought nails," the only nails then in common use. Mr. LOTHROP afterwards built the house now occupied by Mrs. POWELL, and resided there when he died. He was an active business man, and a prominent member of the Congregational Church, perpetuating his memory as one deeply interested in its prosperity and perpetuity, as well as in the spread of the gospel elsewhere, by devoting a large portion of his accumulated wealth to both objects. Meanwhile other persons, business men and farmers, located in and near the Center, and at one period in its history there were two stores, three blacksmith’s shops, three shoemakers, a tannery, a saw-mill, one hotel, tailor's, cooper's and wheelwright's shops and a potash manufactory, and it was the principal business center of the town. But since the advent of the railroads it has become the village of churches and public buildings. There are now four churches, Congregational, Baptist, Methodist and Universalist, each of which has sufficient capacity to accommodate all who habitually attend Sabbath worship. A large town hall, the upper story of which is a Masonic hall, the Essex Classical Institute and the boarding-house connected with it, comprise the public buildings. The town business is all transacted here. At the present writing there is one store, a hotel, a blacksmith’s shop and two millinery and dressmaking establishments. The men of public spirit and enterprise, who gave tone and vigor and form to the moral, religious and educational interests of the Center village, and to a large extent the whole town, have all passed away. The mantle of Elijah has not fallen upon the shoulders of Elisha.


      The first settlement of Page's Corners, so named for Colonel Samuel PAGE, by whose enterprise it was made the business part of the town for a considerable period, was made by James BLIN and John and Stephen REED, probably not far from 1790. John REED kept tavern on the northwest of the four corners, and after him Curtis HOLGATE on the southeast corner. Samuel FARRAR was his successor. In a part of this house last occupied by Adonijah BROOKS, a store was kept by Bazel STEWART in 1795. The first post-office in town was established at these Corners, and Ralph RICE, who was one of the first general merchants in town and was largely engaged in the manufacture of potash, which he marketed in Montreal, was the first postmaster appointed by Postmaster General Gideon GRANGER. He declined to accept the office and Samuel FARRAR was appointed in his stead. In a few years the post-office died out for want of support. The expense of transporting the mail once a week on horseback was not met by the receipts. For nearly twenty years there was no post-office in town. In 1825 or '26 it was re-established at BUTLER's Corners and Roswell BUTLER was appointed postmaster. His compensation for the year 1826 was $9.96. Albert STEVENS, Truman POWELL and David TYLER succeeded him in the office until 1838-9, when it was removed to the Center and Irad C. DAY was appointed to the office. Just previous to the War of 1812 Samuel PAGE, an active, energetic business man, located here and gave it the name by which it has since been known. He kept a tavern for many years on the place since occupied by his descendants, established a blacksmith’s and wheelwright's shop, in which he did a large and flourishing business. For many years almost the entire business of the town was transacted here. The annual town meetings were held here from 1805 to 1821, when they were permanently located at the Center by vote of the town. Mercantile and manufacturing business was carried on quite extensively. Two taverns were in active operation and were liberally patronized. A saw-mid was built near here about 1800, among the first in town and did a good business spring and fall. In the time of the “embargo" these Corners were the scene of many exciting smuggling scenes. The "Brooks Tavern" was thought to be the "headquarters" of the "smugglers." Custom House officers were very active and various devices were resorted to "to elude their vigilance, and occasionally they were lucky enough to seize some small article as a reward for their assiduity. But the growing business of the Center became the attraction, and one after another of the business enterprises of the Corners were abandoned, and it is now a farming community.


      The extensive water power at this place was utilized at an early day. It was named Hubbel's Falls, from a man who was one of the first settlers. The first dam was made by Abraham STEVENS across the locality known as Rock Island. The first saw-mill was built by John JOHNSON and Daniel HURLBURT; later William WARD put in a carding machine joining the saw-mill. Later another dam was built, probably upon the site of the present one, by Mr. TICHOUT, and the mills by John BRADLEY and Michael SINCLAIR. Here was located the carding and manufacturing works of Joshua HAYNES, a grist-mill and a saw-mill, and a little later Roswell BUTLER built a hemp-mill which bid fair to be a very lucrative business enterprise when the terrible freshet of 1830 swept the whole away. The foundations of the grist-mill and carding works alone were left standing. All else was a wreck. Soon after this calamity the dam was rebuilt and a paper--mill was put in by Mr. CULTURE, since which with various improvements, additions and changes in management the business has been continued in the name of HUNTER & SHILAND. A few years later a large saw-mill was built just below the bridge by S. A. BROWNELL, and a new grain and flouring mill between that and the paper-mill by other parties. Among the first settlers here was Abraham STEVENS, who at the age of sixteen years enlisted in the army and served under Colonel Seth WARNER. He was in the campaign of Quebec, and in the attack upon that place was only a short distance from General MONTGOMERY when he fell, mortally wounded. He served through the whole Revolutionary War. Immediately upon its close, after spending a year in Burlington and being married, with his bride he took up his residence in the year 1784 in a log house which stood some distance from the highway leading to the junction, opposite where Mr. FOLSOM now resides. Here he located his "soldier's right" of one hundred acres of land, and in 1799 took possession of his new-found house, which was for many years a landmark in that vicinity, now gone. Mr. STEVENS was at one time the proprietor of a thousand acres of land, comprising probably the whole of what is now known as Essex Junction. He was an industrious, enterprising man, much respected and honored in town, holding several important offices of trust and responsibility. The square and compass on his tombstone indicate that he was a member of the Masonic fraternity and was buried with the honors of that ancient and honorable institution. The only surviving member of his numerous family is Byron STEVENS, who was born in 1799, and is probably the oldest native resident of the town living. The first building of any note erected at this place was a "gambrel-roofed house" built by one LONG and located on the site now occupied by the junction House. It was occupied by Albert STEVENS, son of Abram, as a tavern. It was torn down to make room for the brick house which now forms a part of that hotel. It was a noted stopping place for the weary and thirsty traveler to and from Burlington, and was one of the line of taverns between Westford and the city -- BOWMAN, PAGE, BUELL, TYLER, STEVENS. At a later period it was occupied by Henry STANTON. A post-office was established here about 1850 under the name of Painesville, in honor of Governor PAINE, then railroad magnate of the State, and Mr. STANTON was appointed postmaster. Later, the name was changed to Essex junction and it was made a post-office money-order and a postal-note office. From an early day this part of the town has been quite prominent in its manufacturing establishments, but since the inauguration and completion of the three lines of railroad which form their junction there, it has grown quite rapidly in its business population. At the present time nearly one quarter of the inhabitants of the town are within the limits of what is known as Essex Junction. It has not drawn to any extent from the population or wealth of other portions of the town, but as a railroad center it has attracted business men and wealth from outside, and stimulated the employment of capital and labor in developing the almost unlimited resources of its splendid water power as well as improving business in all other directions. It is now the business center of the town. Occupying the water power at the present time are a paper, flouring and saw-mill and butter-tub factory. There are three stores, two groceries and a meat market, a drug store, a clothing establishment, two hotels, a marble shop, blacksmith’s shops with sundry other smaller industries incident to every village, and a brick manufactory of over a million capacity per annum. The public buildings are two churches, and a large two-story brick school building, in which three schools are kept during most of the year. The village has in it some men of public spirit and enterprise who have contributed largely to its prosperity.

      The intervening territory between the Center and the junction was settled about I800 by the DAY brothers, seven in number; David, familiarly known as “Uncle David," was a soldier of the Revolution, a sergeant under General Lafayette in the company armed and equipped by him. He was a sterling patriot, and ardently attached to both General Washington and Lafayette. His eye would flash and his countenance light up with quick resentment when any imputation was cast upon the honesty, integrity or patriotism of either of these men. The peculiar manner in which he uttered his favorite expression "by the laws" indicated his readiness to enforce his opinions if necessary. The sword he carried in the war was presented to him by Lafayette, and is kept as an invaluable relic in the family.

      At Butler's Corners, one mile from the Center, the town voted in 1801 to erect a "sign post" and a "pair of stocks." The first was a place for posting up "notices," "warrants," etc., and the latter was a device for the punishment of offenders against law and order. These "Corners" were a place of considerable business at one period. For many years there was a store, a tavern, a blacksmith’s shop and a lawyer's office here, all doing a lucrative business. The best blacksmith in town was located here, George WHITNEY, a man of intelligence, mechanical genius, industry and ability, who was honored by his townsmen with several important town offices which he filled with ability. He was a zealous Methodist, and late in life abandoned mechanical pursuits for the itinerant ministry in that church. Later he retired from public life and in ripe old age passed on to the land beyond.


      The greater portion of the early settlers came from Connecticut and Massachusetts, and had been taught in their native homes to reverence religion and its institutions. Hence, when they became fairly settled in their new homes, and had organized themselves into a body politic, we find them providing for the worship of God on the Sabbath. Missionaries connected with the Connecticut Missionary Society came into town and held meetings in houses and barns in different parts of the town. But this occasional preaching did not satisfy the people. They desired a pastor to dispense the word of life regularly from week to week, to live and grow up with them. And they desired also a permanent place for such ministrations. With this purpose in view a town meeting was legally warned, and held July 6, 1795, at which it was voted "to hire preaching in town on probation for settlement," and "to raise the sum of thirty pounds lawful money, to be paid into the treasury on or before the first day of May next" for the above purpose. Timothy BLIN and Joshua BASSETT were the committee "for hiring the above said preaching." On the same day the town appointed Martin POWELL, of Westford, Stephen PEARL, of Burlington, and Noah CHITTENDEN, of Jericho, "a committee for the purpose of sticking a stake on a spot whereon to build a meeting-house." In 1796 a similar vote was passed, and the "meetings were held one-half of the time at Samuel BUELL's and the other half at Deacon MORGAN's." In 1797 the town voted to have Mr. PRENTICE to preach for the term of three months and "raise sixty dollars in money and forty dollars worth of wheat, at sixty-six cents per bushel, or the value thereof in money, the same to be raised on the list of 1796, and paid to the committee to hire preaching," which committee consisted of Timothy BLISS, Samuel BUELL and Joshua BASSETT. The warning for this meeting is recorded and was held April 11, 1797, at the house of Russell KELLOGG. On the 21st day of September following another town meeting was held at the dwelling house of Samuel BUELL, when it was voted that "under the existing laws of this State we find ourselves unable to continue Rev. Mr. STODDARD in the ministry in consequence of laws being altered and not yet extant," and a committee was chosen "for the purpose of forming an ecclesiastical society in said town." No report is on record of any action of the committee. The vote of the town meeting proved to be premature. The law "not yet extant" was a law authorizing voluntary associations to be formed in each town, for the support of the gospel, and provided that every legal voter should be considered to be of the religious opinion of the majority of such society, and should be required after one year's residence in town to pay for the support of the gospel to such society, unless he should procure a certificate signed by the minister, deacon or clerk of the congregation to which he belonged, stating that he actually did contribute to the same object in such church or parish. This certificate was to be recorded in the town clerk's office, and as the majority in town were Congregationalists, we find those who did not agree with them recording these certificates of membership as contributors to the Protestant Episcopal or Methodist Churches, thereby securing themselves from taxation for the support of the gospel in this town. In December, 1798, another town meeting was held at the dwelling house of Samuel BUELL, at which the town voted "to raise the sum of one hundred dollars for the purpose of hiring preaching," and this is the last vote of the kind on the town records.


      The subject of building a "meeting-house" was one of the articles in the warning for the annual town meeting, March 4, 1800. It was held at the house of Samuel BUELL, and a committee, consisting of Jonathan CHIPMAN, Samuel SMITH, Abram STEVENS, Timothy BLISS and Samuel BUELL, was appointed to "draw and circulate subscriptions, and to affix a spot or spots of ground whereon to erect a meeting-house." At an adjourned meeting the town voted to receipt the subscriptions thus made, and at another meeting voted "to build a meeting house within twenty rods of where the stake is now stuck, on the most convenient spot of ground." The town records show a contest of opinions on the question of location, and after several attempts to reconcile the differences, the town meetings were abandoned and a "society for building a meeting house" took the matter under their consideration, upon which the location was fixed where the present brick church now stands. At a meeting of this society, held January 25, 1801, it was voted "that said house when erected should be applied to the use of the Congregationalists in said town." Thereupon the Baptists were allowed by vote to withdraw their subscriptions if they desired. At the same time the society was "divided into four classes," and a committee of one from each class was appointed "to superintend in providing his proportionate part of materials for building a meeting house." By the terms of the subscription three quarters was to be paid in grain and one quarter in money, within the year. Abram STEVENS was appointed for the west, Samuel RICE, for the northwest, Samuel BRADLEY, for the northeast, and Stephen BUTLER, for the southeast. Timothy BLISS was appointed "a committee to provide a superintendent over the whole building," and together with the society committee he was directed to survey four acres around the meeting-house "stake" for a green or common, and divide it into four parts, and proceed to clear the ground. In the spring of 1803 the meeting-house was built. The "raising" was an event of the most absorbing interest; men, women and children were all present. If our information is correct, no liquor was allowed to be used on the occasion. The children were kept at a proper distance, the women prepared the lunch for the men. It was a town picnic. Under the direction of Billy BLISS, master workman, it went up without accident. The last timber was raised the second day. It was two stories in height, forty by fifty feet in size, plainly finished, without portico or cupola. No cut nails were allowed to be used in its construction save in the lathing. It had three entrances, north, south, east. It stood upon the site of the present brick edifice. Entering from the west, there is no "lobby," where we may exchange salutations or lay aside our outer garments. We are in the house of God. Directly in front is the high pulpit, and underneath is the "deacon's pew." On the right and left are the high-backed, square pews. There is a gallery on three sides, with the same high-backed pews in the background. The western front gallery is occupied by the “singers." The lighting of the house is done by the great luminary of heaven shooting its rays through the numerous windows, and it was heated in the same way. Stoves were little known, and fire-places were not to be thought of in church. It was nearly 1820 before the meeting-house was warmed by artificial heat, and then by a box or sheet-iron stove of small capacity. On this consecrated ground, within the walls erected by this labor and self-denial, our fathers and grandfathers and their families devoutly worshiped God. On each successive Sabbath day they came hither, men, women and children on horse-back, on foot, with ox teams from all parts of the town, and sat under the droppings of the sanctuary morning and afternoon. In 1839-40 the present brick church was erected nearly upon the foundations of the old, which was removed to give it place. The building committee were B. B. BUTLER, Ira BLIN, Nathan LOTHROP, and A. J. WATKINS, and it was built by their subscriptions largely. When completed the pews were sold to different members of the church and society. Within the last eighteen years the inside has been entirely changed. The basement, which for many years was used for town meetings and other public purposes, has been converted into a neat and commodious vestry and the audience-room been newly seated, papered, carpeted and painted.


      On the 3d day of October, 1797, the Congregational Church was organized. The first members of the church were Timothy BLISS, Daniel MORGAN, Joshua BASSETT, Morgan NOBLE, David KELLOGG, Samuel BRADLEY, Samuel BUELL, Stephen BUTLER, Zeniah BLISS, Eleanor KELLOGG and Rachel BUELL. A feeble band it would seem to human view, but they were strong and unyielding in their religious integrity, men and women of prayer and Christian zeal and activity, forming the bone and sinew of the church in all the trying dispensations of its existence. They were strong and unwavering in their attachment to Congregational polity, faith and doctrine. The council which organized the church was composed of Rev. Alexander GILLET, of Torrington, Rev. Publius V. BOGUE, of Winchester, Conn., missionaries of the Connecticut Missionary Society, and Rev. Ebenezer KINGSBURY, then pastor of the church in Jericho. Rev. Mr. GILLET was moderator, and Rev. Mr. KINGSBURY, scribe. After accepting a confession of faith, covenant and articles of practice, they were pronounced a church of Christ agreeable to the gospel, and completed their organization by choosing Rev. Mr. KINGSBURY as moderator pro tem., and Stephen BUTLER, clerk.

      In 1802, April 1, at a town meeting duly warned and held, the first ecclesiastical society was organized "agreeably to the law of this State." The form of this organization was very brief: "We, the subscribers whose names are underwritten, do by this instrument agree to form ourselves into an ecclesiastical society, and to be governed agreeably to the laws of this State in that case, made and provided, for building meeting-houses and settling ministers." This document contains the autographs of all the prominent and influential citizens of the town at that time. The organization exists at the present day, with some slight modifications. In 1803, March 26, an agreement was entered into between the "first ecclesiastical society" and a number of Baptist brethren "who have Rev. David HURLBUT preaching with them," by which the two societies agreed "to unite in one society, and to settle the said Mr. HURLBUT as their minister over the united society, for such term of time as they shall continue one society." The conditions of the agreement were that each shall have a right to separate whenever either shall think they are able to support a minister themselves, and reserving the rights of discipline without interference; and the two societies were to share equally in supporting the minister. Under this agreement Rev. David HURLBUT became the "first settled minister of Essex," and entitled to "the reservation of 330 acres of land," which was made in the town charter to that person; but in consideration of the union, as is supposed, on the 5th day of October, 1803, Mr. HURLBUT deeded to the "First Ecclesiastical Society of Essex," all of the ministerial reservation save one hundred acres. The "union" continued one year, when it was dissolved by mutual consent. Soon after this Rev. Asaph MORGAN was invited and accepted a unanimous call "to settle in the work of the gospel ministry among us," and the society voted to " give him a salary of $200 for the first year, and to raise $13.34 annually, until it shall arise to $266.67 and then rest-one quarter in money, the other in cattle or grain in the month of January annually." The society also gave him a deed of the lot of land on which he resided during his pastorate. He was ordained August 15, 1805, and remained pastor of the church nearly twenty-three years. He was dismissed at his own request, June 25, 1828, and died at St. Albans October 5, 1828. His remains were brought to Essex for interment, and "the faithful pastor and able devine" sleeps with the people to whom he was so ardently attached and among whom he spent his entire ministry. During the continuance of his pastorate the Congregational Church and the Ecclesiastical Society connected with it comprised a large majority of the principal families in town, and for more than twenty-five years this church was the only place of public worship in town.

      In 1817 or 1818 the first Sabbath-school in town was organized in connection with the Congregational Church. Two schools were started in different portions of the town. They were held only in the summer, and the scholars were incited to commit Scripture to memory by the use of blue and red cards with a passage of Scripture upon them, as prizes. In 1821 the schools were united in the meeting-house, and Rev. Mr. MORGAN preached a sermon to the children, who were seated together in the body pews of the church. This was the first "children's day" observed in town. More recently it has become one of the institutions of the church in connection with the Sabbath-school. Since its organization the Congregational Church has aggregated nearly 600 members; 178 were added during Mr. MORGAN's pastorate. By deaths and dismissions its numbers have reached a small figure. Its present pastor is Rev. William F. ENGLISH, a graduate of Hartford Theological Seminary.

      The Second Congregational Church was organized at Essex Junction June 29, 1851, by a council representing the churches in the Chittenden County Conference. The number of members at its organization was twenty-two. This church joins with the first church in sustaining a pastor laboring in both parishes.

      The Baptist Church was organized November 5, 1801, with five members. January 16, 1803, it took the name of the "Baptist Church of Christ, of Essex," and in the same year Elder David HURLBUT became the first pastor. The meetings were held at different places in town during the succeeding years, and there were five successive pastors up to 1823, when Chester INGRAHAM, a native of Essex, was licensed to preach October 29 of that year, and became its sixth pastor. He was ordained an evangelist May 6, 1828. He was pastor of the church eighteen years, and under his ministry it was largely increased in numbers. He was afterwards pastor of the Baptist Church in Burlington. He was a man of good native abilities, but of ordinary education, thoroughly earnest in his work, sound in doctrine and full of zeal in church work. He died in this town. In 1827 the first Baptist church edifice was erected on the site of the present one, B. B. BUTLER and Marshall CASTLE contributing the land on which it stood. In April, 1839, this house was destroyed by fire. The present one was immediately erected upon the same foundation, and dedicated August 12, 1840. Several years ago a vestry was placed under it, and the grounds around it have been made attractive and pleasant by grading and setting out trees. Since its organization the church has received 420 members, and its pastorates have averaged three years.

      The Second Baptist Church was organized at Essex Junction by Rev. J. A. LEAVETT as a mission church in 1873, and recognized as an independent church in 1879. The church edifice was built in 1875.

      In December, 1829, the first Methodist class was formed, seventeen being present. Among the members of this class were Henry COLLINS, or “Uncle Henry," who was for a long period of time the only Methodist in town, Amasa BRYANT, J. D. BERRY, Reuben BARRETT, George WHITNEY and their wives. Peter DORSET was appointed leader of the class. This was the nucleus of the church which was afterward organized in accordance with the discipline of that body. In 1838 Essex became a permanent appointment, giving name to the circuit with which it was connected. In 1839 the present house of worship was built, Joseph Fairfield, Loren TYLER, George WHITNEY, and Benjamin JOSLIN and others contributing thereto, and upon its completion very generously deeding it to the church, after receiving from the members about one-half the cost. In 1866, in connection with the Congregationalists at the junction, the Methodists of that locality joined in erecting the Union Church edifice which they now jointly occupy. Since it organization this church has received a membership of 443, and the pastorates have averaged one year and seven months.

      In 1857 the Universalist Church was organized by Rev. Joseph SARGENT, who was its first pastor. The church building was erected in 1859. The prominent members of that society at its organization were Samuel THRASHER, James H. DELANO, Peter BLOOD, Erastus and Joshua WHITCOMB, Julius and Gilbert SHAW. These men contributed liberally in its construction; all save two have passed away. The Universalists had representatives among the earliest settlers of the town. John KNICKERBOCKER, who settled on the farm occupied by Jason HUNT, was a leader among them. Their meetings were held at his house, and it was at this place that Joshua BABBITT, a minister of that persuasion, was ordained in the afternoon of the same day in which Rev. David HURLBUT became "the first settled minister in Essex."


      The early settlers of the town, though none of them were educated in the higher acceptation of that term, appreciated the importance of education as a necessary element of their prosperity-and hence we find them at an early date making provision for the education of their children. In April, 1796, the first school district was organized by vote of the town. It embraced all the northeast part of the town, "extending from Westford south line, on the east of Brown's River, up said river to Alder Brook, and thence to the east side of said town." The first school in town was taught by one John FINCH, an Englishman, who came along with the tidal wave of emigration and taught the young ideas of the town "how to shoot," in a log house near Jericho line. The second school-house was in the district whose limits are above described. At a later period, as the population increased, the town was divided into four and then into six districts. School-houses were erected in different portions of the town. At the present day there are twelve districts, with as many school-houses. In 1805 there were three hundred and twenty scholars in town, over four and under eighteen years of age. In 1813, the number was four hundred and twelve, and the number is little more than that to-day. From 1819 to 1826 a trustee for each district was appointed annually by the town, in town meeting, and the trustee thus appointed had the entire management of the school in his district. In 1828 the town appointed. Rev. Asaph MORGAN, Rev. Chester INGRAHAM, David KELLOGG, Dr. Harmon Howe, B. B. BUTLER, and A. J. WATKINS as superintending committee to examine schools and teachers. And such a committee was appointed annually by the town until 1833, thus carrying into practical effect the "town system" of schools. In these schools the common branches were taught. "Dilworth and Webster," "Pike and Adams," "Murray and Morse" were the text books in use. And they served their purpose well. But the leading men of the town were not satisfied with these schools. The progress of the age demanded others more efficient and more advanced. And hence when, in 1830, it was proposed to build a school-house at the Center, where hitherto there had been only temporary ones, through the enterprise and public spirit of a few individuals, notably B. B. BUTLER and F. W. JOYNER, who contributed the larger portion of the expense, a second story was added to the stone building then being erected, which was occupied as a high school or academy for many years. It was not a very imposing building in its architecture, nor did it add much to the attractions of the village, but it answered the intended purpose. It was the beginning of higher school education in town. Rev. J. S. EDGERTON, Hon. Henry J. RAYMOND and Miss Andalusin LEE were among the teachers. The writer calls to mind many who attended school in this building, who received here their first inspiration for a higher education, and who have since occupied prominent places of trust and confidence in professional, public and civil life. A few years since this venerable landmark of school days was demolished to give place to a more modern structure.

      In January, 1808, “The Essex Library Society" was organized under a constitution, the preamble of which declares that "a public library is of the greatest benefit, as it enables all concerned to acquire literary knowledge and thereby become better citizens and more useful members of society." This constitution has the autograph signature of eighty prominent citizens of the town. Under this organization quite a large library was accumulated. It consisted largely of works by the prominent theologians of the day, sermons, discussions on the prophecies, history, biography, travels, and a few choice works of fiction. It was well patronized by the people, old and young. The books were read around the blazing fires upon the hearthstone, and had an educating power which has not yet lost its influence upon the descendants of those who inaugurated it. For many years it was a prominent institution, but as other matters attracted the attention of the people, the library was neglected, and its books are now kept as relics of a past age.

      In November, 1853, the Chittenden County Institute was chartered with corporators in nearly every town in the county. The starting-point of the enterprise was the suggestion that Deacon A. J. WATKINS and Samuel DOUGLAS were disposed to endow an institution of learning for the higher education of the young. Following out this intimation a charter was procured and the first meeting of the corporation was held at the town hall November 24, 1853, at which the following corporators were present: Essex, Rev. J. D. SANDS, Rev. Isaiah HUNTLEY, Dr. Marcus SWAIN, Deacon A. J. WATKINS, Alonson BLISS, John FAXON, Dr. J. W. EMERY, S. H. BLISS, Daniel MORGAN, D. C. LITTLEFIELD, Ira BARNEY, Dr. L. C. BUTLER, S. G. BUTLER, George GATES, A. B. HALBERT; Jericho, Anson FIELD, John LYMAN; Williston, H. Chapin; Colchester, J. E. Rhodes. The following were chosen officers of the corporation: President, Dr. Marcus SWAIN; vice-president, John LYMAN; secretary, S. G. BUTLER; treasurer, A. J. WATKINS; executive committee, Dr. J. W. Emery, Dr. L. C. BUTLER, S. H. BLISS, John ALLEN. In order to raise funds for the building, subscriptions were circulated and very cordially responded to, mainly among the Congregationalists and those outside of any church organization. During the following year a brick building forty by sixty feet was erected on land donated for that purpose by Deacon A. J. WATKINS. In August, 1855, the school was opened under the charge of Henry BUCKHAM, of the U. V. M., as principal. The pupils numbered one hundred and twenty-five. At a later period thy building was remodeled inside, an addition made to it, and it was made in part a boarding-school, under the charge of Asa ANDERSON, as principal. Still later the building, with nearly all its contents, was destroyed by fire. It was immediately rebuilt, its friends again subscribing liberally for that purpose. The school was interrupted only for a short time and has been in progress ever since. The history of this school, now known as Essex Classical Institute, from its inception to the present time, is the history of the progress of education in this town. Students have been graduated from it into all the walks of life. Some have become prominent as teachers; some in the professions of law, medicine and theology; and some in the ordinary employments of life. It is among the best established and permanent institutions of the State. Just previous to his decease Hon. T. R. FLETCHER, who was for many years a merchant and citizen of Essex, but later of Burlington, gave to the institution the sum of $10,000 as an endowment. The sum was invested in real estate under his direction, and yields an annual income equivalent to six per cent., which can only be used for the support of the school. At a later period his daughter, Mary FLETCHER, donated the sum of $2,000 to the corporation, which was appropriated to the purchase, repairing and furnishing the large building near the institute for a boarding-house, and is now used for that purpose.

      Among the natives of the town who have been liberally educated are Samuel, son of Deacon Samuel BUELL, who died when about to enter upon the preparation for the ministry, in 1819, after his graduation; Irad C. DAY, son of David DAY, who was eminent as a lawyer in town for many years and afterward at Muscatine, Iowa, where he died; Franklin BUTLER, eldest son of B. B. BUTLER, who was for many years pastor of the Congregational Church at Windsor, Vt., afterward agent of the American Colonization Society, and later editor of the “Vermont Chronicle” and “Vermont Journal,” and died at Windsor May 22, 1880; John E. HAMILTON, son of Deacon David HAMILTON, who taught school in Williston for a time, then went to Oswego, N. Y., where he was at one time mayor of the city, superintendent of schools in the city, and principal of the high school; Sanford HALBERT, son of John HALBERT, who became a minister of the Methodist Church, was for a time editor of the “Northern Christian Advocate,” and now resides in Buffalo, N. Y., where he is engaged in secular business; Henry E. BUTLER, D. D., youngest son of B. B. BUTLER, who was for seventeen years pastor of the Congregational Church in Keeseville, N. Y., and now of the Congregational Church in Jacksonville, Ill.; Milton R. TYLER, son of Daniel TYLER, who was at one time principal of the Chittenden County Institute, judge of probate in Orleans county, and afterwards city judge of Burlington, and is now practicing his profession of law in Minnesota; D. Sherwood KELLOGG, who is a graduate of the medical department U. V. M., and is now practicing medicine in Plattsburgh, N. Y.; and Walter FREEMAN, son of Walter, who engaged in business West and died there. These were all graduates of the University of Vermont. In addition to these there are several persons who have been long-time residents of the town, and become identified with its associations and interests, who are also graduates and have received an honorary degree from the U. V. M. Among these are Silas C. FREEMAN, of the class of 1820; John R. HERRICK, D.D., son of Russell HERRICK, who for thirteen years was pastor of the Congregational Church in Malone, N. Y., then professor of theology and biblical literature in the Bangor, Me., Theological Seminary, then pastor at South Dudley, Mass., later president of the Pacific University, Oregon, and now president of the Dakota University, Vermilion, Dakota; George F. HERRICK, brother of John E., who was ordained as a missionary of the American Board of Missions in Turkey, and was for a time a member of the Bible Translation and Revision Committee in that country, is now connected with its schools and college, and resides at Marsovan; Edward P. BUTLER, son of Dr. L. C. BUTLER, who is now pastor of the Congregational Church in Lynn, N. H., one of the largest churches in the State Asaph M. BUTLER, son of B. B. BUTLER, who was for many years principal of the high school in Georgia, Vt., and of the academies in Franklin and Peacham, one of the professors in the New Hampton Institute at Fairfax, and for some years the efficient secretary of the State Sunday-school Association, and died September 20, 1883; Miss Laura Ann DAY, daughter of Horatio DAY, who was a graduate of Oberlin College, Ohio, and for many years has been a missionary of the A. B. C. F. M., in South Africa. None of them -- men and women -- can be accounted great in the sense of wielding influence in the world, or in occupying stations of distinguished honor in the world's estimation, but they are mentioned with pride as representatives of the town of Essex, in positions which are beyond comparison more elevated, important and commanding, in which their influence is broadening and deepening toward the ocean of eternity beyond.


      The first physician located in town was Elkanah BILLINGS. The first town meeting was held at his house, and he was the first town clerk, but how long he was here, or what were his qualifications as a physician, it is not possible to ascertain. Dr. GARLICK and Dr. SPELMAN succeeded him, the latter locating at "Hubbel's Falls." He is spoken of as an excellent physician, though quite eccentric and skeptical in his religious sentiments. Dr. Pearly WARNER located in the eastern part of the town, and was the ancestor of Dr. Benjamin F. WARNER, who was for many years a practitioner of the botanic system of medicine. He resided on the farm now occupied by C. H. NICHOLS, where he died. Drs. Truman POWELL and John PERRIGO were successively located at Page's Corners. In 1809 we find the latter mentioned in connection with a claim upon the town for attending upon one Larkin GREEN, and that is all the information to be obtained of him. Dr. POWELL was quite noted as a physician and was contemporary with Drs. POMEROY and COLE, the older class of physicians. He spent his declining years at Essex junction, where he died. Still later Dr. Mason MEAD began practice at Page’s Corners and afterward removed to within a few rods of the geographical center of the town. He was a very successful practitioner, moderate and very deliberate in his motions, too slow to satisfy the JOHNS who were his contemporaries, but he was well posted in his profession, safe and generally accurate in his diagnosis of disease and in the application of remedies. He removed to Plattsburgh, N. Y., in his later life, where he died at a good old age. Later still Dr. Harmon Howe located at Page’s Corners. He was an excellent practitioner, a thorough student, kind hearted, sympathetic and a good citizen. He died, after a few years' practice, in the midst of the brightest prospects for future usefulness and eminence in his profession. After him came Dr. John W. EMERY, who located also at Page’s Corners, where he resided for many years. Dr. EMERY was quite the antipode of Dr. MEAD. He was wide awake, energetic, ambitious, well posted in professional knowledge. His practice was extensive in this and adjoining towns. In later life he went West and spent the evening of his long, busy and laborious life with his children at Paw Paw, Mich. Following him was Dr. Marcus SWAIN, who was a student of Dr. EMERY. He located at the Center, and enjoyed largely the confidence of the people in his practice. Later he removed to Westford and thence he went West, residing and continuing practice at Waupon. Contemporary with them was Dr. Simon TUBBS, who was a student of Dr. Truman POWELL. He occupied the old homestead near Page’s Corners, where he died in 1859. He had the reputation of being a well-read physician, but his practice was limited. He was honored by his fellow-citizens with positions of trust and responsibility in town affairs and served faithfully and well. Dr. Ira HATCH was also a resident physician of the town. He removed to Swanton, Vt., where, after many years of successful practice, he died, leaving as a legacy to his heirs a noted preparation of his "Dr. Ira HATCH's Febrifuge." Succeeding these were Dr. H. N. CURTIS, a good man and a successful practitioner, who later removed to Jericho and thence to Canada, where he died; and Dr. J. M. WORK, who removed here from Huntington, and after a few years' practice died. Both of them were located at the Center. Upon the departure of the one and death of the other, Dr. L. C. BUTLER, a graduate of the Vermont Medical College at Woodstock in 1843, then just returning from a two years' residence in Philadelphia, in attendance upon the hospitals there, located at Page’s Corners, establishing an office at the Center. Dr. BUTLER received the honorary degree of M. D. from Dartmouth College. Several years later Dr. C. M. FERRIN, a graduate of the medical department U. V. M. at Burlington in 1865, and hospital surgeon in the Eighth Regiment of Vermont Volunteers in the late war, removed from East St. Johnsbury to Essex junction, and they are at this date, 1886, the permanent, resident, active practitioners of medicine in town.

      The legal profession was represented fifty years ago by David B. Webster, who located at Butler’s Corners and occupied the present residence of Murray FAY. He was not in town many years, and was followed by Irad C. DAY, a son of David DAY, and a graduate of the U. V. M., who located at the Center, to which place he removed the building occupied by Mr. WEBSTER as a law office. Mr. DAY was thoroughly posted in his profession, a good citizen, highly respected and honored. Litigation was more common in those days than now, and Mr. DAY had a very successful practice. Later he emigrated West and died. A Mr. HUNTOON succeeded him, but soon left under a cloud connected with the post-office department. Then followed Jesse CARPENTER, who remained in town several years, and was a fairly successful lawyer. Upon his departure West there was no lawyer in town for many years. Jacob MAECK was for a time a resident lawyer in town, but he soon removed to Burlington, where he became a leading lawyer at the bar. At this date, 1886, the legal profession is represented by M. A. BINGHAM, who resides at Essex Junction. For the first fifty years of its existence the town was unrepresented by any member of the legal profession. Litigation was comparatively unknown. The second fifty years was the era of law suits, long, bitter, uncompromising. The "appletree" and the "sheep" suits are among those which have passed into history as illustrating the tenacity of such contests.


      The Revolutionary soldiers who lived and died in this town were Samuel BRADLEY, Stephen BUTLER, David DAY, Gideon CURTIS, Wm. INGRAHAM, Jonathan BIXBY, and Thomas CHIPMAN. The first four named were pensioners. Mr. BRADLEY was in the battle of Bennington, and was distinguished for his courage and coolness in the hour of battle. He was one of the first deacons of the Congregational Church; pious and exemplary and regarded as a peace-maker by all who knew him. He held several important offices in town. Mr. BUTLER enlisted at the age of nineteen years, being then a resident of Litchfield county, Conn., and served until the peace of 1783, when with his entire family, the youngest two years old, he emigrated to Vermont and settled in this town. He was town treasurer for many years and held other offices of trust and responsibility. All these Revolutionary soldiers were true patriots and lovers of their country.

      In the War of 1812 Essex furnished a number of men, who as volunteers were in the battle of Plattsburgh. Quite a number who volunteered to go were unable to reach the battle-ground for want of transportation. Among those who were in the battle were Colonel George TYLER and Ensign, afterward Colonel, Samuel PAGE. Colonel TYLER commanded a portion of the militia under General STRONG. They were encamped near Salmon River, awaiting orders to march. The order soon came, and they took up the line of march in quick time. Observing some delay and flagging in one of the companies, General STRONG rode up to Colonel TYLER and with some spirit accosted him: "Why all this delay?" Colonel TYLER replied, "I've got a d--d coward on my left." "March on and leave him then," was the command. Colonel Samuel PAGE was one of the company of United States soldiers stationed at Swanton in 18o8 to guard the frontier, to intercept smugglers and seize contraband goods. On one occasion, with a squad of men at Windmill Point, he discovered a boat loaded with potash in full sail for Canada. He ordered them to "heave to" or he should fire into them. They did so and surrendered their valuable cargo. Threats of recapture were made and sixty men were ready to carry the threat into execution. The little squad determined, prepared themselves for the encounter and resolved to sell their lives as dearly as possible if attacked. But orders came to sail the vessel into Burlington, and saved the contest. In 1812 Colonel PAGE was one of the first to volunteer in defense of his country, leaving his newly-married wife and pleasant home to mingle in the strife and bloodshed, then quite likely to be fierce and prolonged. But a single defeat ended the war. Colonel John PARKER, who was for many years a resident of Essex, was in the battle of Lundy's Lane under General Winfield SCOTT.

      The following names have been sent to the editor as being the names of a part of the men from this town and Jericho who formed one company, and were present at the battle of Plattsburgh. We disclaim responsibility for mistakes in spelling:

Captain Joseph SINCLAIR, Samuel STRONG, Calvin WHITE, Samuel PAGE, Eli SMITH, Henry BLISS, Daniel HAMILTON, William ALLEN, Daniel LITTLEFIELD, Harry HURLBURT, Elijah COLLINGER, Elin HAMILTON, Cormon SINCLAIR, David PINO, Orange BUELL, Walter Fairmon, Charles HAPGOOD, Enoch FRENCH. E. BLISS, Amos BLIN, Daniel BLISS, Nathan BARNEY, Uriah BRIGHAM, Martin HYDE, Nathan WOODRUFF, David HYDE, Adolphus KNOWLES, John THOMSON, John BASSETT, Daniel HOORKIN, John JOYNER, Samuel STANTON, Hazen SINCLAIR, Samuel PATTEN, Petiah BLISS, Moody BLOOD, Israel BLOOD, Ira WHITNEY, William PARKER, Benjamin F. HOLBROOK, Benjamin TUBBS, William BURNETT, John BLOOD, Joseph CHAMBERLIN, Jacob MILLER, Luther FREEMAN, Nathaniel BLOOD, jr., Hiram BARNEY, Charles McARTHUR, Ezra GALUSHA, David SINCLAIR, Joseph EWERS, Matthew MARVIN, Jonathan WOODRUTH, Asaph WOODRUTH, Eli WHEATON, Theron BRADLEY, A. WHEATON, Ebenezer THOMSON, John HILL, H. DAY, David TYLER, Chester HENDERSON, Hermon N. HURLBURT, Henry KELLEY.
      In the war of 1861-5 this town had representatives in nearly every regiment that was raised in the State, and in a large proportion of the hard fought battle-fields. Some were buried upon the field of victory they helped to win. Some carry the evidence of their valor in the wounds they received. Some passed unscathed through all the perils of camp, battle and prison. Essex had four representatives in the First Vermont Regiment. The whole number of men furnished by the town during the continuance of the war was 140. Of this number twenty-six died from diseases, and seven were killed in battle; nine were taken prisoners, one to die in Andersonville and one in Salisbury prisons; eight deserted, but none of them were natives of Essex; thirteen were wounded. One was elected captain at the organization of a company; two secured that honor by promotion ; several were made lieutenants and sergeants in the same manner; many of them held minor positions; most of them were privates, and the large majority were not subject to draft on account of age. The amount expended by the town for bounties and attending expenses was $37,567, equivalent to nineteen dollars for each inhabitant of the town, more than one hundred dollars to each voter, or nearly eight hundred per cent. of the grand list of 1865. At the close of the war the town directed the preparation and publication of a "Memorial Record" which was written by L. C. BUTLER, M. D., and contains a complete history of the part taken by her citizens in the war. A copy of this "Record" was placed in every family in town. By the generous liberality of Hon. Josiah TUTTLE, a "Memorial Tablet" of Vermont marble was placed over the entrance of the town hall, on which is inscribed the names of the dead soldiers, and the following inscription:
"In grateful remembrance of the brave soldiers of Essex, who lost their lives in the service of their country during the war for the preservation of the Union."


      The town of Essex has always been more specially noted for its agricultural than for its mechanical or manufacturing industries. Its smaller streams, like Alder Brook, were, early in its history, utilized in running saw-mills spring and fall, but the Onion River, at Hubbel's Falls, was its principal water power, and has always been the center of its manufacturing industries. The manufacture of carriages and sleighs was for many years a large and prosperous industry at Page’s Corners by Colonel S. PAGE, at Butler’s Corners by M. WOOL, and at the Center by Harry ALDRICH. Other minor industries were carried on, such as the "tailor," the "shoemaker," the " blacksmith," the "tanner," etc., etc., but most of them have been rendered unprofitable by modern improvements and have been discontinued for other pursuits. The face of the town is diversified. The northern and eastern portions are hilly though not mountainous. The southern, central, and western are more nearly level, sinking in some parts to a swamp, soft and wet. There are no mountains or natural ponds in town. On the south the Winooski forms the boundary line. The eastern portion of the town is watered by Brown’s River and its tributaries. It is extremely tortuous, running many miles in its circuit to make one in length. In its passage through the town it does not afford a single fall sufficient to make a mill privilege of any value, though they are found both above and below. On the borders of these rivers the soil is a rich alluvial mould. In other parts of the town there is more of the clay formation, with a rich deposit of muck in certain localities. In general the soil is rich and exceedingly productive. There is scarcely any land but what may be cultivated, or is well adapted for grazing purposes. The attention of the people is hence directed mainly to growing stock and the products of the dairy; and these are the leading industries. The advent of the railroad was thought by many to be the forerunner of destruction to all the industrial pursuits of the town and the State; but the result has proved otherwise. They have been stimulated rather than depressed. The dairy interest has improved. Prices have ruled higher. The people are brought into more immediate competition with those who have long enjoyed the monopoly of the market, and prices of dairy and farm products. So far from injuring or depressing the business interests of the town, the railroads have developed our resources, opened new avenues of trade, and brought the great centers of trade and population within speaking distance of rural districts and population. The evidences of it are seen in the increase of population and business, the improvement of the farms, the introduction of new implements of farm work, the increase of production of all farm products, and in the general thrift and public spirit which is everywhere manifest.

History of Chittenden County, Vermont 
With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches 
of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers
Edited By W. S. Rann, Syracuse, N. Y.
D. Mason & Co., Publishers, 1886
Page 568-592.

Transcribed by Karima Allison ~ 2004

Essex section of Hamilton Child's "Gazetteer and Business Directory of  Chittenden County, Vt. For 1882-83."
Tombstone listings from the Mountain View Cemetery in 
Essex VT.
Tombstone Listings from the Village Cemetery in Essex Junction, VT
VT GenWeb  Project ~ Town of Essex, VT