CHAPTER XXIV
HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF JERICHO

By J. S. Cilley, A. M.

      THE town of Jericho, lying in the central part of Chittenden county, bounded north by Underhill, east by Bolton, south by Richmond and Williston, west by Essex, was granted by New Hampshire to Edward BURLING and seventy-five associates on the 7th of June, 1763. The township consisted of 23,040 acres, and was divided into seventy-two shares. The charter was witnessed by Benning WENTWORTH, governor and commander of the Province of New Hampshire, and signed by T. ATKINSON, secretary. By the terms of the charter the grantees were to have and to hold the territory granted, with all the privileges and appurtenances thereto belonging, they and their heirs and assigns forever, on conditions in substance as follows: (1) Every grantee shall plant five acres within five years for every fifty acres granted, and shall continue to plant, cultivate and improve his grant, under penalty of forfeiture to the grantor. (2) White and other pine trees fit for masts in the royal navy shall be kept for that use, and none shall be felled for other purpose except by permission, under penalty of forfeiture. (3) A tract of land as near the center of the township as may be suitable and convenient shall be marked out and reserved for town lots, one of which shall be allotted to each grantee, to the contents of one acre. (4) Each of these shall pay annually for ten years the rent of one ear of Indian corn. (5) After the expiration of ten years there shall be paid one shilling proclamation money for every one hundred acres any one may own, and the rents shall be paid in the council chamber at Portsmouth, or to such officers as may be appointed to receive the same. How much the conditions were respected by the grantees, or how long they were complied with by the purchasers of the soil, we may not know; certain it is, however, that about the year 1776 the few that dwelt among these hills had but little respect for the power that imposed the conditions, and ere long they had no fear of his authority in executing them.

      The surface of the township is quite uneven, and the great variety of hill and valley, meadow, pasture and woodland, brook and river, gives great beauty and interest to the scenery. There is nothing of special importance attached to the mineral productions of the town, save as they furnish the farmer solid material for fences and enable him to act the part of a wise man in building his house upon rock. There is great variety of soil in Jericho; some parts of the town have rich, productive soil, and afford the husband rich returns for care and labor; other parts handsomely remunerate labor; while others present no attractions to him who must eat his bread in the sweat of his face, though they may charm the eye of him who loves the woody hill or rocky height. Jericho is indeed a goodly town, rich in the character of its inhabitants, though that be somewhat varied, as are the products of the soil. The homes of most of the people give evidence of thrift and plenty, and some of even luxury, while nothing indicates that one should hesitate to come down to Jericho from any other part of the country for fear of falling among thieves and being stripped of raiment.

      But we turn from the view of fine meadows, cultivated fields, green pastures, pleasant homes, and abundant harvests and give our thought to the primeval forest, the log cabin in the wilderness, the scanty fare and the severe trials and hardships of the first settlers of the town, one of whom, Joseph BROWN, with his wife and children, came to Jericho in 1774. Having suffered all the fatigue and privation incident to so great an undertaking, coming as they did from Massachusetts, they settled at last in the north part of the town, building a log house just south of the river that now bears his name, on a spot near the road that leads from the present residence of Hiram DAY toward Underhill Flat. There was then no other settlement nearer than those of Roderick MESSENGER and Azariah ROOD, who came to Jericho in the same year as Mr. BROWN, and pitched their tents on or near the banks of the Winooski, some six or seven miles from him.

      Hardly had Mr. BROWN begun to secure for himself and family something of supply and comfort, when British domination caused the Revolutionary War, and sent the Indian to dog the steps and terrify the hearts of the pioneers of Vermont. A young man, GIBSON by name, had been hospitably entertained by Mr. BROWN for some time, and at length, going to pursue his work in hunting, had fallen into the hands of Indians. He told the Indians if they would let him go, he would lead them where they could get a whole family of white people. The Indians, having agreed to his proposition, were led by the base betrayer of those who had sheltered him to the house of Mr. BROWN. At noon of a day in September, 1780, six savages entered the house and took Mr. BROWN, his wife and two children then living with them but not their own, as prisoners. A man by the name of OLD was residing with Mr. BROWN for a little time, who, seeing the Indians enter, jumped from a window and ran for life and freedom, pursued by the tomahawks of the Indians. He escaped, but with such powerful exertion and terrible fright as to cause great protrusions of his eyes from their sockets, and it is said they never regained their normal condition. When the sons of Mr. BROWN returned home at night from a hunting excursion they were taken prisoners by six other Indians lying in wait for them and led in pursuit of those first taken. All were taken to Montreal, where they suffered with cold and hunger and in various ways, until their escape and release in 1783. The sons, Joseph and Charles, fled from British service and imprisonment in the spring of that year, and returned to the place where were the ashes of their home burned by the savages who had torn them from it, and at once began to build another home. To this the father and mother came, when they had been released upon the declaration of peace. Nor yet were the days of privation and suffering passed; for three weeks at one time the family lived wholly upon the juice of cornstalks obtained by wetting and pressing them. But better days were in store for them, and ere long plenty and comfort were the reward of labor and manly endeavor. The descendants of Mr. BROWN have been quite numerous and many of them have lived and died in the immediate vicinity of his home, and some still remain to bear his name with the honor which has always been accorded to it in the history of the town.

     Soon after the return of this family other settlers came in quite rapidly. Prominent among them was Nathaniel BOSTWICK, who built near Mr. BROWN the house long owned and occupied by Joseph KINGSBURY and subsequently by Josiah BASS. In process of time his son Arthur built and long occupied the hotel near by, and called by his name. Since his occupancy great additions have been made, and it is now a large, pleasant, commodious and well-kept house under the direction of L. M. DIXON, and is a remarkably fine place for summer resort. In beauty and sublimity of view few places, if any, surpass this. Clark BOSTWICK, son of Arthur, lives but a few rods from the house built by his grandfather, and he is the only one of the name now in town-a true man and a good citizen. A half-brother of Clark, Samuel B., will long be remembered by those who knew him well. He was a graduate of the University of Vermont, a fine scholar, an eminent minister of the Episcopal Church, a Christian gentleman. He died but a few years ago in Sandy Hill, N. Y.

      In 1776, the inhabitants being warned by Ira ALLEN for the Council of Safety, Roderick MESSENGER, of whom we have already spoken, went with his family in a canoe down Winooski River with a view of reaching Lake Champlain to embark on transports sent to pick up and bear away the fleeing inhabitants. After much difficulty his object was accomplished, and during the war his family found support and safety in different places in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York. Mr. MESSENGER returned and was employed by the Council of Safety in defense of the settlements on the "grants" at a blockhouse on his farm in Jericho, which was occupied as a military post until the approach of Burgoyne, when the company stationed there went to meet the enemy at Hubbardton and Bennington. After the war Mr. MESSENGER again occupied his farm, and was postmaster and news-carrier for the pioneers. Here he lived to advanced age, an industrious and respectable farmer and a good citizen.

      Azariah ROOD, the other of the three settlers of 1774, died in 1795, but left to fill his place his son, Thomas D., who served the town in various official positions, and proved himself an energetic man, ready and decided in action, firm and wise in council.

      The town was organized March 22, 1786, at which time was held a meeting warned by John FASSETT, judge of the Supreme Court. At this meeting James FARNSWORTH was chosen moderator; Lewis CHAPIN, clerk; and Peter McARTHUR, constable. At another meeting, June 13, 1786, Azariah ROOD, Joseph HALL and Jedediah LANE were chosen selectmen.

      A register of freemen was begun in 1785 with six names, and about the same number were added in 1786. On the 29th of November, 1786, Jedediah LANE was chosen representative.

      Lewis CHAPIN, the first town clerk, was born September 30, 1755, and in the year 1786, in company with his brother Ichabod, he purchased a tract of wild land in Jericho, on which was what is now the "Green," at the center of the town, and the cemetery just south of it, both of which he gave for public use. Lewis CHAPIN and his brother Benoni were soldiers in the Revolutionary War, and thus faithfully served their country. Coming to Jericho, Lewis built a log house near the southeast corner of the lot given for a cemetery, in which he lived until able to build the large and commodious house a little south of the former, where his grandson, Milo H. CHAPIN, now lives. This house stands on a beautiful spot, commanding an extensive and beautiful view, and is proof of the sound judgment and good taste of the builder, as well as the present owner, shown in its care and preservation. Mr. CHAPIN was an earnest Christian, a strong supporter of religion, and a MESSENGER of good to the poor.

      Jedediah LANE, the first representative of the town, was a man of considerable wealth. He owned a large amount of land at and in the vicinity of Jericho Corners, had a family of ten children, five of whom, Jedediah, jr., Lovicy, Lydia, Cyrus and Stevens, settled in Jericho. Among the descendants of these five are those who have at various times filled almost every town office, and have represented the town in the State Legislature. Particularly noticeable among them all are Lucius L. and Edgar H., sons of STEVENS, the first of whom was an intelligent and excellent farmer, the last an active and successful merchant. Both have been representatives of the town, and the last named has been a member of the Senate and assistant judge of the County Court. In the business interests and improvements of the town both were deeply interested and eminently useful; and the town has suffered a loss in their removal, one to Winooski, the other to Burlington.

      David T. STONE, born in Connecticut, October 9, 1769, came to Jericho about 1791, and purchased land on Little River, three miles east of the Center, and there settled. On the 29th of September, 1792, he married Thankful SMITH, who lived a few miles away, and immediately they started on their wedding trip for his cabin in the wilderness, on the bank of the river -- a fashionable trip in those days. Their furniture was neither elaborate nor costly, but having made a table of a plank supported by legs inserted in holes bored through it, it seemed good to Mr. STONE, upon retiring for the night, to tie it by a rope to the ladder leading to the chamber, lest through fright from its own looks it should flee and leave no support for their breakfast. So life had its mirthful side even then in the forest. Mr. STONE had two sons and a daughter. The sons, Hiram and Harvey, lived upon the land purchased by their father, many years side by side; but at length Harvey moved to Swanton, where he still lives. Hiram died April 3, 1874, in the town and near the home of his birth. They were noble, intelligent, Christian men, an honor to the town, and strong pillars of support to the church. None of the name now lives in Jericho, save Deacon Isaac C. STONE, son of Hiram, a much respected citizen, elected representative of Jericho in 1884. Gaius PEASE, a man of about the age of Mr. STONE, and coming to Jericho at nearly the same time, became a near neighbor and fast friend of him, as did also George BUTTS, before many days. These three were the first settlers in this part of Jericho, and all, by industry, economy and fair dealing, acquired a competence for their families, and what is better still, transmitted a good name to their posterities, some of whom still bear and preserve it.

      Of the many incidents that took place during the early days in town of these pioneers, we mention the following: At night of a harvest-day a hunter and his dogs had by close pursuit driven three bears to find refuge in a tall tree standing near the house of Mr. PEASE. Being unable to shoot them on account of the darkness, or otherwise to dislodge them, those at the tree sent for help to Mr. STONE, who came from the field with pitchfork in hand, ready for action. Strong, active and full of courage, he determined at once to climb the tree and dislodge the brutes. Accordingly, fastening a band around his waist, and attaching thereto the pitchfork, he began the ascent of the tree, whose first branch was thirty feet from the ground, and ere long gained the desired position, and with the cry "Stand from under," he pitched the bears from the tree, two of which were killed by men and dogs as they came tumbling down, while the third escaped.

      These men, STONE, PEASE and BUTTS, believed in exact justice to deserving men, as was shown in the treatment of one CASEY, a hired man of Mr. PEASE. For some offense, real or supposed, CASEY took a son of his to the woods at night, and after a dreadful whipping left him tied to a tree until his screams brought a neighbor to his relief in the early morning. Next day notice of the case was given to "Billy" YOUNG and a Mr. PROUTY, executors of the law in this case, who appeared at the abode of CASEY the next night, and with the "beech seal" and rawhide well laid on sought to change the spirit of the savage to milder form, while David and George stood by to witness that the conviction was sufficiently deep to produce genuine conversion, and Gaius stood at a little distance, peering through the darkness to be satisfied of the same fact. These men were law-abiding citizens, but in this case could not wait the coming of tardy justice -- and perhaps they were right.

      John LYMAN, from Salisbury, Conn., settled in Jericho soon after the Revolutionary War, in which he had been a brave and faithful soldier. He was a man of deep thought, sound judgment, and Christian character. It is said that "he was a mighty hunter and an accurate marksman, and that perhaps his skill as a hunter, his erect stature, dark complexion, and small black eyes, justified the idea of a deacon in a certain place that Mr. LYMAN was the Indian preacher sent to supply their pulpit the next Sabbath after his coming to the place." He was positive in his convictions, firm in his purposes, and not to be turned from his pursuit of the right course when once his opinions had been deliberately formed. These characteristics of the father were prominent in his children, two of whom, John and Daniel, honored, beloved and useful citizens, spent their long, prosperous and happy lives in Jericho, dying but a few years ago. Charles, a son of Daniel, worthily bearing the honored name of his father, is the only descendant now living in town.

      David and Jedediah FIELD, brothers, came to Jericho from Guilford, Conn., about 1797, and were among the most honored of the early settlers. None of the children of David, of whom he had seven, is now living; and Erastus, son of Jedediah, is the only member of his family still a resident of Jericho. He has held most of the town offices, being justice of the peace thirty years, and having been representative of the town. He is a man of great wealth and highly respected. He is eighty-eight years old.

      But want of time and space forbid extended mention of all the earlier settlers of the town, among whom are prominent, besides those already mentioned, Martin CHITTENDEN, John LEE, Caleb NASH, Benjamin DAY, Polli C. PACKARD, Jesse GLOYD, Jesse THOMPSON, James MARSH, Isaac BENHAM, Oliver LOWRY, Truman BARNEY, Truman GALUSHA, Nathaniel PLINY, Lemuel BLACKMAN, Elias BARTLETT, Hosea SPAULDING, Timothy BLISS, all honorable men, to some of whom we may have occasion to refer hereafter. Nor are these all. Compared with many men of these days and in this country, the early inhabitants of Jericho were very peculiar men. They had a high sense of honor, respect for their word of promise, considering it as valid as a bond, believed in fair dealing and honest work; they were industrious, frugal, economical, paid their debts, trained well their children, honored their wives, and in action were true to their convictions both religious and political. Peace to their ashes.

      It will not be amiss, perhaps, to refer again briefly to the first meetings and first officers of the town. I find by reference to the town records that at a town meeting, March 12, 1787, "David STANTON was chosen tavern-keeper," and March 20, 1788, "Azariah ROOD and James FARNSWORTH were chosen committee to hire a candidate, and voted that we will raise money to pay a candidate for preaching two months." On the 28th of September, 1789, "Town tax was granted to pay Mr. Reuben PARMELEE for preaching the past season, £6, 5s. 10d." September 7, 1790, "Chose Martin CHITTENDEN representative, and voted to give Mr. Ebenezer KINGSBURY a call to settle in the ministry." November 18, 1795, "Chose Noah CHITTENDEN, esq., superintendent to take care of and superintend the building of a meeting-house." March 8, 1798, "Voted that the pole now ready to be raised be the town sign-post." March 2, 1801, "Voted to give liberty to the town to set up the small-pox next fall under the direction of the selectmen." It is presumed that the town made a profitable speculation from this "set up" by the selectmen, and that they did the work faithfully.

      The office of town clerk, first given to Lewis CHAPIN, was at length conferred upon Jonathan CASTLE, and he was soon succeeded by Lewis CHAPIN, and he again by Jonathan CASTLE. These two men evidently believed in “rotation in office." CASTLE rotated CHAPIN out, then CHAPIN rotated himself in, until finally, in 1798, Thomas D. ROOD obtained the office; but Mr. CHAPIN “turned the table" upon him in 1802, and afterward held the place for many years undisturbed. The records show that in 1801 James A. POTTER was chosen representative; Martin CHITTENDEN, in 1802; James A POTTER, in 1803 and 1804;

      Thomas D. ROOD, in 1805; James A. POTTER, in 1806. Mr. POTTER believed in rotation too, and so did the people. At the election of Mr. POTTER in 1806 there were five candidates, and the election was made on the second ballot by one majority. The successor of Mr. POTTER in 1807, was Salmon FAY.

      Having now found the people active and earnest in their political action we turn our attention to their means of communication in regard to roads, bridges, etc., and to their progress in agriculture, manufactures, science, art. With the removal of the forest, and the coming of the plow, the hoe, the scythe and the rake, the sowing and the reaping, and with the slow but ever-increasing advent of new settlers, there came also the beginning and the gradual increase of roads, in the making of which the people seem to have been guided by the directions of nature and the dictates of reason ; and therefore, in but few instances, I think, have there been any material changes in the places of roads as first laid out. From the nature of the soil in most parts of the town, and from the character of the localities of the roads, they were, as a general thing, easily made, and have been easily kept in repair. Some of the roads in town are remarkably good, affording easy and exceedingly pleasant drives. Especially so is that along Little River, and that in the valley of Mill Brook, that along the bank of the Winooski, and again that extending from Jericho Corners to Underhill Flat. Some of the cross roads, however, extending from valley to valley, are by no means inviting to the traveler, but they seem to justify the expression that "the longest way round is the nearest way home." Of this character is the road extending south from the house of Martin V. WILLARD to Nashville, on Mill Brook. It is in surface rough; in height, prodigious. Again, looking upon the beginning of the road leading from the home of Milo DOUGLASS, on Little River, northwest, toward Underhill Flat, we may be reminded of "such getting up stairs I never did see." The ascent of the hill is dreadful, the descent, terrible.

      The streams of water flowing through the town are small; consequently, though there are many bridges, there is none of very extended dimensions, the length of the largest being not more than sixty feet, probably.

      Early in the life of the town, while agriculture flourished, various mechanic arts obtained vigorous growth, and manufactures of lumber, leather, cloth, potash, starch, and even whisky and cider brandy sprang into being. On Little River, just above the settlements of STONE, PEASE and BUTTS, there was a saw-mill operated by Daniel HALE; afterwards by Joseph BUTTS, then by Samuel ANDREWS, since and now, by Edgar BARNEY. On the same river, about one mile from the center of the town, there is a building used many years ago by Ephraim STILES as a fulling-mill. In it there was also a carding-machine, and later on, wool carding was the principal business of the shop. It is now used by Lyman STIMSON, an old and respected citizen, as a carriage and paint-shop. On Mill Brook were some mills and shops doing considerable business years ago, but they are doing very little now. At North Jericho, which forms a large part of the village called Underhill Flat, there is a steam saw and gristmill owned and operated by Hon. Buel H. DAY and Edward S. WHITCOMB, jr. Near this mill they also have a large cheese factory in successful operation. There is another factory of the same kind in the valley of Mill Brook, about one mile and a half south of the Center. As there is no water power at the Center, there is entire lack of any extensive manufacturing interest in that place, and so it has been from the first, though there was long ago a tannery near by, and a manufactory of potash of some importance. But these fell into disuse long ago.

      At the Corners, a pleasant and flourishing village in the southwest part of -the township, on Brown's River, there are several fine mill privileges. Hence the most important and useful manufactures have flourished here from the first; though at one time, long ago, there was here a most destructive establishment, a whisky mill, destructive alike of corn, rye and men. Here Hon. David FISH successfully carried on the business of tanner, and boot and shoemaker for several years, but his works have perished and he himself lives only in the respectful remembrance of neighbors and friends who survive. Here also a mill for carding wool was early established, and has been generally managed by sons of Truman BARNEY, who in his day was the owner of much land and other property in the village. Martin MEAD, who runs the carding-machine this summer, worked in the same mill and at the same business sixty-three years ago. Near this mill and on the opposite side of the river Eugene CURTIS has a saw-mill and a planing-mill, and is doing a fair amount of business. Just above this, on the same side of the river, is a mill belonging to L. B. & F. HOWE, of which special mention will be made hereafter. A little further up the river is a building used long ago and for many years as a grist-mill. Some eight or ten years ago it was converted into a chair factory, and having been much enlarged by the owner, Henry M. FIELD, it did a large and prosperous business for a while; but soon Mr. FIELD gave up the enterprise and moved West. A few rods above this factory are mills belonging to Anson FIELD. At this place the manufacture of wood pumps and water-tubing was begun by Simon DAVIS about the year 1840. They were then made in a crude manner and bored by hand with a "pod auger." Soon machinery was introduced for turning and revolving in a lathe while boring. This slow process continued for many years, but about the year 1863 new and improved machinery was built, and the business was so increased that several thousand more pumps and many miles of tubing were made and sold every year. The property changed hands several times, and finally in 1875 it was purchased by Anson FIELD, the present owner, who built most of the improved machinery, and who has since added much to the property by the erection and arrangement of buildings and other facilities. Mr. FIELD has also purchased a large tract of timber on Mansfield Mountain, which supplies his saw-mill and shops with lumber. This is the only industry of the kind in Vermont, and the goods manufactured are sent all over New England and to other parts of the country. FIELD's pumps and water-tubing are widely known and highly appreciated. Too much honor cannot be accorded to Mr. FIELD for his great contribution to the business interests of the town. Still further up the river is a mill operated by Thomas BUXTON. He has arrangements for grinding corn, oats, etc.; for sawing, making shingles, hoe handles, fork handles and the like, and is doing good business.

      Twenty-one years ago L. B. HOWE, one of the most thorough and enterprising business men in the town, in company with F. BEACH, another thorough man in business, bought the grist-mill which was built, owned and run for several years successfully by James H. HUTCHINSON. The partnership continued for five years, at the end of which time Mr. HOWE became sole owner, and so remained until a few years ago, when his son, Frank, became a partner. Desiring to do more and better business than they had facilities for doing, Mr. HOWE and son determined to make large and important additions to their works, and began to do so in June, 1885. Beginning at the foundation they have carried on the work to its completion with the most satisfactory and gratifying results. The works are called "The Chittenden Roller Mills," and they are the first and only mills of the kind in the New England States. The main building is forty by seventy feet on the ground, with a wheel-house .adjoining, eighteen by fifty feet. In this department are four water-wheels, two of which are used for feed work, and the others for the new flouring machinery. All the floors of the mill from the basement to roof are filled with machinery of perfect and even artistic design. In connection with this system of milling wheat, there is here a new system for manufacturing cornmeal on rollers, which is far superior to the old system. A new process of reducing buckwheat by rollers has been discovered while operating this machinery, and certainly it is a great improvement.

      The machinery for these mills was furnished by the Case Manufacturing Company, of Columbus, O., and the manufacturers claim it to be the finest line of machinery ever sent out of Columbus. In placing it in the mill no pains or expense has been spared to make it first-rate in every particular. The superintending millwright having built twenty-seven mills of this system, declares this to be one of the best. The water-wheels, shafting, pulleys, gears, and all machinist work, over twenty tons' weight in all, were furnished by EDWARDS,. STEVENS & Co., of Winooski, Vt. The basement and first story of the main building are of stone; the second story, fourteen feet high, is of wood, the walls being six inches thick. The roof and sides are covered with iron. The working capacity of the mills for a day of twenty-four hours is estimated to be the production of sixty barrels of flour, seventy-five barrels of table meal, forty barrels of buckwheat, fifteen hundred bushels of meal and feed. The whole establishment in form and finish is an ornament to the village and an honor to its builders.


ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY

      The religious denominations in Jericho are Congregational, Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian and Universalist. Nine persons united to form the first Congregational Church, March 31, 1791. Rev. Ebenezer KINGSBURY became pastor of this church soon after its organization, and remained such until May 17, 1808. Meetings were held in private houses until 1797, when the first meeting-house, a large wooden structure, was built in the middle of the "Green," around which the village of Jericho Center now stands. This house was demolished in 1835, and the "Brick Church," now standing on the north side of the "Green," took its place. In 1878 this house was thoroughly repaired and extensive changes were made in the interior. It is not often that in either town or city there is found a church edifice more appropriate in design or finish than is this; and so long as it stands as now, it will continue to show the good judgment and excellent taste of Hon. Edgar H. LANE, under whose careful and faithful supervision the work was done. 

      In 1809 Rev. John DENNISON succeeded Mr. KINGSBURY as pastor, and he was followed by a long line of noble men and excellent ministers, most of whom had short pastorates. Rev. Austin HAZEN, an able minister, beloved by the people at large, closed his pastorate of this church in the summer of 1884. He was pastor for twenty years, and was succeeded by Rev. J. K. WILLIAMS, a man of ability and excellent spirit, who is the present pastor.

      The second Congregational Church, located at the Corners, was organized in 1826, and reorganized in 1874; and the church building having been thoroughly repaired was re-dedicated in 1877. The building was erected by aid of the Baptists, and was used in part by them from 1826 to 1858, when they built a good church of their own. Rev. D. B. BRADFORD is the present pastor of the Congregational Church, and Rev. Mr. COOMBS of the Baptist. Both are good men and able ministers. There are two Methodist meetinghouses in town, one at the Corners, the other at North Jericho. At the latter place there is also an Episcopal Church, in which service is held most of the time. There is a Universalist house at the Center, now seldom used. So there are in all seven houses for public worship in Jericho.


EDUCATIONAL

     Soon after the settlement of the town, and upon the necessity of the case, Jericho was divided into thirteen school districts, which remain about the same, and with no material changes in their limits. Some of the school buildings are poor, but most of them are good, and especially so is that at the Corners. It has two stories, each story high from floor to ceiling, is about sixty-five by thirty feet in extension, is pleasant and convenient, being divided into two rooms on the lower floor, with a hall above. As it is kept in good repair and handsomely painted, it is an ornament to the village and an honor to the town. The people of Jericho have always been blessed with good opportunities for common school instruction, but whether they have always fully and wisely improved them it is not for the writer to say. He will say, However, that he fails to see generally, either in the quantity or quality, any marked improvement in modern teaching over that of former years. It is presumed that Jericho is not alone in this regard.

      In 1825 an academy was built at Jericho Center, but did not go into successful operation until the spring of 1827, when Simeon BICKNELL, A. M., took charge of it and remained the principal for five years. He was a good scholar, a fine teacher, an excellent disciplinarian, a cultured gentleman. Under his charge the school stood second to none in Northern Vermont, and was patronized largely and widely. With promise of larger reward, Mr. BICKNELL went from Jericho to take charge of an academy in Malone, N. Y., and with, his going the glory of Jericho Academy began to fade away. Nevertheless it held high rank among the academies of the State for several years under Principals E. J. MARSH, John BOYNTON, James T. FOSTER, and others. But its light went entirely out in 1845, and the building now stands a reminder of departed glory, but dear to those taught therein, who may still look upon it. And it is pleasant to remember that some of the most prominent men of the State and the nation received their academic training here. Among these are A. B. Maynard, an eminent lawyer of Detroit; George BLISS, of Jericho, afterward member of Congress from Ohio; Hon. John A. KASSON, Charles A. SEYMOUR, Hon. L. P. POLAND, men of national reputation; nor would I fail to mention the name of C. C. PARKER, of Underhill, who became in due time an eminent minister of the gospel, but is now gone to his reward. Besides these, very many men and women that have been and still are useful members of society, were educated wholly or in part at Jericho Academy. Its life though short was not utterly in vain, in further proof of which we will give in addition the names of -- a part of those who fitted here for college -- names of those we knew and remember : George Lee LYMAN, Edwin, George, James and John BLACKMAN, Paraclite SHELDON, Whipple EARL, Torrey E. WALES. Most of these were graduated from the University of Vermont, and all have made good and honorable records in their various pursuits and callings.


PROFESSIONAL, ETC.

      The first physician in Jericho was Matthew COLE, but his residence here was short. The first to practice medicine permanently in town was Dr. Eleazer HUTCHINS. He settled here in 1791 or 1792, was an energetic man, a good physician, and was surgeon of the regiment raised in this section engaged in the battle of Plattsburgh. He died in town in February, 1833, aged sixty-seven years. The second physician permanently settled in town was Dr. George HOWE. His settlement was in 1810, and his practice extended over a period of nearly fifty years. Dr. HOWE was a fine man in look and manner, cordial in his intercourse and benevolent in spirit. His skill secured him a large practice and his character gained him universal respect. He died in 1857, aged seventy-six years. Dr. Jamin HAMILTON was the third prominent physician. He settled at the Center, and for many years did a large and successful business, by which he gained both wealth and honor. He moved from Jericho to Albany, N. Y., several years since and died there. After these physicians came B. Y. WARNER, F. F. HOVEY, C. W. B. KIDDER, A. C. WELCH and George Lee LYMAN, all of whom were skillful practitioners. Dr. Dennison BLISS, a man of good native ability, and with a skill that promised the fullest success, having practiced a few years in fulfillment of the promise, because of failing health retired from practice, but still lives in town. And others there were of whom we cannot speak. The physicians now in active practice in town are A. F. BURDICK, A. B. SOMERS, E. P. HOWE, and F. H. CILLEY, all of whom are able and successful practitioners. Dr. BURDICK lives at North Jericho, Dr. SOMERS and Dr. HOWE at the Corners, and Dr. CILLEY at the Center.

      It is said that Martin POST was the first lawyer in town, but his stay was short and nothing of importance can be said of him. The most eminent lawyers of early times who lived in Jericho and began practice here were Jacob MAECK, David A. SMALLEY, E. R. HARD. All these going to Burlington, still held high rank at the bar of Chittenden county, and Mr. HARD still holds it. Mr. MAECK and Mr. SMALLEY long since passed away. C. S. PALMER, who went from Jericho to Dakota some four years ago, gained here a good practice and a fine reputation as a lawyer; and L. F. WILBUR, who moved to Burlington in the fall of 1882, was inferior to none in legal ability and successful practice. Mr. WILBUR is emphatically a self-made man, and has been eminently successful in his profession. M. H. ALEXANDER, a young man of promise, is the only lawyer now practicing in Jericho. But higher in honor than any other, pre-eminent in knowledge of the law, administering it as a member of the Supreme Court of the State for many years, and finally elected governor, was Hon. Asahel PECK, who spent the last years of his life on a farm in the south part of Jericho, and died there a few years ago. The farm was not especially attractive to Mr. PECK because of its position or the promise of abundant harvests, but the quietness of the place and the supervision of the farm seemed to gratify and delight him.

      Passing thus from the beginning to the present we have found vast changes in some respects. From the largest portion of the town the forest has been removed by the hand of toil, and abundance has taken the place of want. It would be well, perhaps, if some of the primeval forest were still standing. Quite a portion of the town was originally covered with large. beautiful pine trees; especially fine were these in the south part of the town upon lands owned by Hon. Noah CHITTENDEN, Jesse THOMPSON and others. Perhaps the following incident may show the reason of their early removal. Messrs. CHITTENDEN and THOMPSON, neighbors, were in the woods on a certain day, looking over their lands and talking of their possessions, when Mr. CHITTENDEN, pointing to a beautiful pine one hundred feet high, said, "Mr. THOMPSON, the day will come, I believe, though you and I may not live to see it, when such a tree as that will be a dollar in cash!" The reason is found, then, in their high estimate of money, or low estimate of pine.

      From very small beginning in number, there is now a population of about 1,700, with a grand list of $9,585. At the Center of Jericho there has been very little change in affairs for the last fifty years. As then, so now, there is one store in that place, and that the same as then. The proprietors are JORDAN Brothers, who are doing extensive business. Aside from this there is no important business enterprise, though the place is beautiful for situation. North Jericho is a place of considerable business. Here besides the kinds of business before mentioned, are two stores, one of general merchandise, L. C. CHAPIN, proprietor, the other a drug store in charge of Dr. W. S. NAY, a practicing physician. There is here also a tin-shop of some importance, and a good meat-market. It is a beautiful place, gradually improving in interest and beauty. From the time of the first settlement the Corners has been the chief place of business, as it is now, and in this respect there has been slow but constant improvement. In addition to what has been already said of business, there are here now two boot and shoe shops, a harness shop, a wheelwright shop, three blacksmith’s shops, a tin and hardware establishment, a butter market, two jewelers, a printing office, two dry goods stores, a large grocery and boot and shoe store, and milliners' shops.

     Such is the town of Jericho at the beginning of the second century of its history. The first century has been marked by a steady growth in wealth, in intelligence, in social and moral elevation and in religious interest. May it be the privilege of the historian of the second century to record much greater growth, higher exaltation, and wider and deeper interest.

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 623-636.

Transcribed by Karima Allison ~ 2004


Jericho section of Hamilton Child's "Gazetteer and Business Directory of  Chittenden County, Vt. for 1882-83."
Tombstone listings from the Castle Cemetery in Jericho, VT
Tombstone listings from the Jericho Center Cemetery, in Jericho, VT