CHAPTER XXVII
HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF 
ST. GEORGE

      ST. GEORGE is the smallest town in the county, lying about eight miles southeast from Burlington, and twenty-eight miles nearly west from Montpelier. It is bounded north and northeast by Williston, south by Hinesburg, and west by Shelburne. It was chartered by the royal governor of the province of New Hampshire, on the 18th day of August, 1763, and was supposed to contain the township area of 23,040 acres, bounded as follows:

"Beginning at the southeastern corner of Shelburne, a township this day granted, being a stake and stone on the northerly side line of Hinesburg, and from thence running east six miles to a stake and stone; thence turning off and running north six miles to a stake and stone; thence turning off and running west six miles to the northeasterly corner of Shelburne aforesaid, thence running south six miles by Shelburne aforesaid, to the southerly corner thereof, the bound began at."
      But upon surveying the several towns in this part of the county it was discovered --owing, perhaps, to a misapprehension as to the course of Winooski River-that the area was not sufficiently large to allow each town the whole number of acres designated in its charter; and as it happened, it fell to the lot of the grantees of St. George to suffer the misfortune of a considerable abridgment.

      The towns of Charlotte and Hinesburg were granted in 1762, and their boundaries marked. The year following the towns of Burlington, Williston, St. George, and Shelburne were granted, and as Winooski River, by the terms of their charters, was to form the north lines of Burlington and Williston, their boundaries were readily established, beyond dispute. But upon surveying those towns, such was the course of the river, it was found that the S. E. corner of Williston reached quite to the north line of Hinesburg, thus leaving a triangular piece some six or seven miles broad on the lake, and narrowing to a point at about ten miles back from the lake, which only remained to form the towns of Shelburne and St. George. And as Burlington and Williston had a few days' priority in the date of their charters over those of Shelburne and St. George, there was no alternative left to the two latter but to take what remained. St. George, unfortunately having the small end of the wedge, came near being crowded out entirely. As it is, however, it has an area of 2,200 acres.

      The name of the town is said to have been given in honor of the then reigning king of England. The pious prefix of the name would seem to indicate a high degree of reverence on the part of the proprietors who proposed the name for that august monarch; but had it been a few years later, when the burden of the stamp act and other kindred acts began to weigh heavily upon the colonies, they would, no doubt, have left off the Saint, and perhaps have substituted some other quite as significant title.

      When it was finally ascertained to what an extent the town was reduced by an actual survey, the proprietors-none of whom resided on their grant, determined to make the best of their misfortune; accordingly, they had the town laid out into thirty-acre lots, each proprietor having one lot, or thirty acres, instead of 360, as they would have had if it had proved a six-mile township; but as their charter was for a full-sized town, and the number of grantees sixty-four, it was very easy for any one unacquainted with the facts to compute the number of acres in a "right" to be 360; therefore their "rights" sold in the market for the same price as those of other towns.

      The names of the grantees who thus suffered and skillfully translated their sufferings to others are as follows:

Jesse HALLOCK, Samuel FARMER, Christian FARMER, John FARMER, Christian FARMER, Robert FARMER, Peter FARMER, Jeremiah LEMING, Thomas ELLISON, William ELLISON, Simon RANSOM, Shem RANSOM, Isaac SEARS, Jasper DRAKE, Joseph SACKET, Joseph SACKET Doctor, Francis SACKET, William BUTLER, John MANN, Thomas MANN, William MANN, Ermes GRAHAM, John JEFFRYS, Isaac UNDERHILL, Benjamin UNDERHILL, Henry FRANKLIN, Jona. COURTLAND, Uriah WOLMAN, Amos UNDERHILL, Richard WILLIK, Samuel WILLIK, Jacob WATSON, Benjamin FERRIS, Daniel PRINDLE, Joshua WATSON, Benjamin LEAMAN, Edmund LEAMAN, Richard LEAMAN, Richard TITUS, Isaac MANN, Isaac MANN, jr., Peter VANDERWORT, William HAYRIS, Magnes GURRAT, Robert LING, John Dervicos MURPHY, Edward Ferrol MURPHY, Jno. Deveeanose MURPHY, jr., Thomas WRIGHT, Caleb WRIGHT, John WRIGHT, Tim. WHITMORE, Benjamin CLAP, Benjamin CLAP, jr., Henry CLAP, Daniel QUIMBY, Jona. WAKE, Jona. QUIMBY, The Hon. John TEMPLE, esq, Theo. ATKINSON, esq., William HUNK, I. WENTWORTH, esq., John FISHER, esq.
      The surface of the town is uneven, but the soil is generally good, and is for the most part composed of gravel and loam, with a margin of clay along the western boundary. It is well adapted for cultivation, though the inhabitants direct their attention chiefly to dairying. There are no streams of consequence, and therefore no mills or mill privileges -- a deficiency not without its advantages; for the people are subjected to no expense for the construction and repair of bridges, nor loss by inundations. The town contains no village, no church edifice, no manufactories and no stores.

      The settlement of the town was begun in the year 1784 by the arrival of Joshua ISHAM and wife from Colchester, Conn. They settled in the western part of the town, and resided for some time in a house which Mr. ISHAM and a friend constructed in a single day, and in which Mrs. ISHAM lived for six months without seeing the face of another of her sex. Mr. ISHAM was drowned in Hinesburg Pond in December, 1837. Early in 1785 Elnathan HIGBEE and Zirah ISHAM, with their families, settled here; and within the next four or five years came Jehiel ISHAM, Reuben and Nathan LOCKWOOD, John MOBBS, James SUTTON, Wheeler HIGBEE and others. By the census of 1791, seven years after the settlement began, there were in town fifty-seven inhabitants.

      Jehiel ISHAM was one of the most active of the early settlers. He took an active part in the War of the Revolution, and after coming to this town became the father of numerous children, whose descendants are still here in good numbers. He died here in 1851, at the residence of his son, at the age of ninety-two years. His wife was Sarah MOBBS, who bore him a family of nine sons and four daughters, of whom only Amasa and Sophia are now living. Silas, his eldest son, whose death occurred but recently, kept the first and only tavern ever opened in town, being the same building now occupied as a private house by Edgar HINSDILL.

      James SUTTON and his brother Benjamin came early from Connecticut to Shelburne, whence, after a short residence, the former came to St. George. He finally died in Montpelier, whither he had gone on a business errand. His son Harry is still living in town.

      Reuben LOCKWOOD was a prominent resident of St. George for nearly sixty years, and removed to Irasburgh in 1856. At the age of twenty-eight years he represented St. George in the Legislature, and was subsequently re-elected nine several times. He also held the office of lister twenty-five years and that of selectman twenty-nine years; was elected town clerk in 1833 and continued in that office twenty-two years. 

      Lewis HIGBEE was born in St George in 1788. He was the first representative of the town in the Legislature and was re-elected to that position several times. Although possessed of no more than ordinary profundity, he had an inexhaustible fountain, it is said, of wit and sarcasm, which made him an undesirable opponent.

      The first child born in town was Martha, daughter of Joshua ISHAM, and afterwards the wife of Moses BLISS, of Shelburne. Lewis HIGBEE was the first male child. The first death is supposed to have been that of Heman HIGBEE, an infant son of Wheeler HIGBEE, September 17, 1791; while the first death of an adult was that of Rebecca GILMAN, June 22, 1797. The first marriage was that of Jacob HINSDILL to Hannah COOK.

      The first school-house was built soon after the settlement of the town was begun. It was made of rude logs, with a huge Dutch-back fire-place built of stones, and with greased paper as a substitute for window-glass. For a time the only text book in use was Dillworth's spelling-book. Amos CALLENDER, of Shelburne, is believed to have taught the first school. There is now and for many years has been but one school-district in town.

      The town was organized on March 9, 1813, at a meeting called for the purpose, presided over by Lemuel BOSTWICK, of Hinesburg. Jared HIGBEE was first town clerk; Reuben LOCKWOOD, Lewis HIGBEE and Levi HIGBEE, selectmen; and Sherman BEACH, first constable. The other officers then elected were James SUTTON, Sylvester ISHAM, Sherman BEACH, listers; Sherman BEACH, collector; Robert Pease, grand juror; Joseph ISHAM, jr., Henry ISHAM, Jared HIGBEE, highway surveyors; Levi HIGBEE, pound-keeper; Jacob HINSDILL, fence-viewer; Lewis HIGBEE, Jared HIGBEE, Reuben LOCKWOOD, grand jurors; and Sherman BEACH, James SUTTON and Levi HIGBEE, pettit jurors. In 1825 the officers were Horace FERRIS, clerk and treasurer; Reuben LOCKWOOD, Silas ISHAM, Horace FERRIS, selectmen; Horace FERRIS, Reuben LOCKWOOD, Sherman BEACH, listers; Nathan LOCKWOOD, constable and collector, and Richard H. OSGOOD, grand juror.

      The present officers are H. H. TILLEY, town clerk; R. O. CASTLE, M. W. HINSDILL and R. R. FORBES, selectmen, who are ex officio overseers of the poor; Edward ISHAM, treasurer; Orson W. ISHAM, constable; H. H. TILLEY, Rollin E. FORBES and Henry LAWRENCE, listers; Henry LAWRENCE, F. C. HINSDILL, and R. E. FORBES, auditors; Russell TILLEY, town agent; and R. O. CASTLE, superintendent of schools.


POST OFFICE

      The first mention found anywhere of a post-office in St George is in the year 1838, when George B. ISHAM was appointed to the office of postmaster. He has been succeeded as follows: 1842, by Reuben LOCKWOOD; 1846, Joel C. HIGBEE; 1852, Ira O. LOCKWOOD; 1871, William V. MOBBS; 1876, Norman ISHAM; and in 1882, the present incumbent, H. H. TILLEY.

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 666-670.

Transcribed by Karima Allison ~ 2004