OF THE TOWN OF
by J. J. Monahan
THIS is a mountainous town situated in the northeastern corner of
Chittenden county. It is bounded north by Cambridge, east by Stowe, the
boundary line being the highest elevation of land on Mount Mansfield, on
the south by Bolton and Jericho, and west by Jericho and Westford. It was
originally granted by the governor of New Hampshire to Joseph SACKETT,
jr., James SACKETT, Peter SACKETT, Joseph SACKETT, Edward EARLE, James
JAMISON, Com. LAW, jr., esq., Jonathan DAYTON, jr., Jonathan HAZZARD, Andrew
ANDERSON, James ANDERSON, John YEATS, James SACKETT, Tertius, Samuel SACKETT,
John SACKETT, David MATHEWS, Andrew TEN EIKE, William SACKETT, Joseph SAVAGE,
Daniel VOORHIS, Michael BUTLER, Samuel WALL, Joseph BULL, Jeremiah ALLEN,
John FREEBORN, Peter ALLEN, William ALLEN, Robert FREEBORN, Samuel BROWN,
Carey DUNN, William SANDS, Benjamin UNDERHILL, Henry FRANKLIN, Bishop HADLEY,
James HORTON, sen., Sylvanus HORTON, Maurice SALTS, Louis RIELEY, James
REED, Peter TEN EIKE, jr., Isaac ADOLPHUS, Samuel JUDEA, Myer MYERS, Solomon
MARACHE, Jacob WATSON, Joshua WATSON, Sylvanus DILLINGHAM, John DILLINGHAM,
William BUTLER, Robert MIDWINTER, John MIDWINTER, Darrick AMBERMAN, Joseph
HOLMES, John COCKLE, Jonathan COPELAND, Uriah WOOLMAN, John SEARS, Hon.
John TEMPLE, Theodore ATKINSON, esq., Mark H. G. WENTWORTH, Dr. John HALE,
Maj. Samuel HALE. The charter was dated June 8, 1765, for which the sum
of $230.40 was paid. The original township contained thirty-six square
miles, to which was annexed in November, 1839, about twelve square miles
from the town of Mansfield. The original proprietors were warned to meet
at the dwelling house of Captain Abraham UNDERHILL, at Dorset, then in
the county of Bennington, on the 12th day of September, 1785. The warning
was issued by John SHUMWAY, justice of the peace. Major Gideon ORMSBY was
chosen moderator, and Timothy BLISS clerk. It was voted to make a division
of the township in lots of one hundred acres to each right, with an allowance
of four acres to each lot for highways, and the lots to be 160 rods long
and 104 rods wide. Nathaniel MALLARY, Augustin UNDERHILL, and Captain Thomas
BARNEY were appointed a committee for that purpose, with power to select
a suitable surveyor. On the 11th of November, 1785, the committee made
a report which was accepted, and that survey constituted the first division
of town lots.
On the 13th day of January, 1790, a second meeting of the proprietors
was held at the house of Thaddeus Munson, of Manchester, in the county
of Bennington. Augustin UNDERHILL was elected moderator and Daniel ORMSBY
clerk. It was voted to make a second division of lots of one hundred acres
each in said township, from the best part of the undivided land, and Major
Gideon ORMSBY, Augustin UNDERHILL and Captain Thomas BARNEY were appointed
a committee for that purpose. This committee reported on the 9th day of
November, 1790. On the 14th of February, 1803, a meeting of the proprietors
was held at the dwelling house of David BIRGE, on the premises now owned
by John WOODRUFF, in Underhill. Captain Daniel CLARK was elected moderator,
and Barnard WARD clerk, and Luther DIX collector. At this meeting William
BARNEY was chosen to run out the third division of town lots, and on the
fourth Monday of December, 1803, the survey made by him was adopted.
The first settlers in this town were Elijah BENEDICT and Abner EATON
in 1786. Mr. EATON located in North Underhill and resided there to the
time of his death. The first deed executed in town was from Thomas BARNEY
to Caleb SHELDON, and dated August 25, 1789. The first child born in town
was Nancy SHELDON, daughter of Caleb SHELDON, on the 10th of September,
1787. Town meetings were held in North Underhill from 1794 to 1832. Here
were located a church, tavern, store, and school-house. The school-house
was built in 1787, and the church in 1804. William BARNEY was elected the
first town representative in 1794. Colonel Udney HAY represented the town
from 1798 to 1804, and was one of the Council of Censors in 1806, at the
time of his death. He was a Scotchman, and was highly educated; whether
he resided in Vermont prior to settling in this town is unknown. It appears
from the State papers of 1780 that Colonel Udney HAY, then department commissary-general
for the Northern Department of the Continental army, had made application
to Governor Chittenden to obtain supplies for the troops of this department.
His communications were submitted by the governor to a committee
of the council, and after the same were fully considered the committee
made a report on the 2d of November, 1780, by its chairman, Matthew LYON,
stating "that they have examined said papers, and also conferred with Colonel
HAY thereon, and find that he is appointed by the Continental commissary-general
to purchase provisions in the New Hampshire grants;" "and that it is the
opinion of your committee, that Colonel HAY by coming to this State and
making application to the Legislature thereof, has missed his instructions;"
"and that it is further the opinion of your committee that (considering
the embarrassment the State lies under), with regard to the claims of other
States, and the jurisdiction assumed over it; considering also the large
supply of provisions already granted for the troops to be in the service
of the State the year ensuing; should we suppose this State could be called
the New Hampshire grants (which is by no means admissible), the Legislature
of this State ought not to undertake to supply Colonel HAY with the beef
required. Signed, M. LYON, Chairman."
Nevertheless Colonel HAY was not prevented from buying beef and
other supplies. He is described in Vol. II, “overnor and Council,”as a
"gentleman and imposing man, rather of the Matthew LYON cast." "He was
opposed to the constitution and to the administration of Washington and
John Adams, and continued to the end a politician." He settled in this
town at the close of the Revolutionary War, on the farm now owned by Thomas
Jackson. His last resting place is unknown, but is supposed to be in the
cemetery at North Underhill.
George OLDS, Caleb SHELDON, Barnard WARD, David BIRGE, Oliver WELLS,
and Chauncey GRAVES were Revolutionary soldiers. Elijah BIRGE was a captain
of a militia company raised here, that formed a part of the regiment commanded
by Lieutenant-Colonel Luther Dixon at Plattsburgh in 1813. Colonel DIXON
was one of the early settlers. He possessed great strength physically,
and was noted as a brave and resolute man. While his command was at Plattsburgh,
Governor Martin CHITTENDEN issued a proclamation ordering the militia back
to Vermont, which was dated at Montpelier, November 10, 1813, and dispatched
an agent to the camp at Plattsburgh to distribute the same. Colonel DIXON
looked upon it as an attempt to incite insubordination in the camp, and
ordered that the agent be flogged, which was properly done by a detail
from Captain BIRGE's company. On the 15th of November an answer was drawn
up and signed by Colonel DIXON and all of the officers in his command,
and duly forwarded to the governor. Coming from troops in the service,
in the history of that war cannot be found a similar communication to the
governor of any other State. [The extracts from this answer, given by Mr.
Monahan, we take the liberty of omitting, as both documents appear in full
in previous pages.-ED.)
Colonel DIXON, after his return home, was sued for causing the arrest
of the governor's agent at Plattsburgh on that occasion, and was compelled
to pay $1,000 in settlement of the matter. Afterward two or three attempts
were made in the Legislature to reimburse him, but without success. George
MARSH had the matter before Congress at the time of Colonel DIXON's death,
but no definite action was taken on it. He held many important offices
in this town, and was liked by all who knew him. He went to live in Milton
in 1834, and died there in December, 1846, at which place he was buried.
Three of his sons are now living, L. M. DIXON, proprietor of the Dixon
House at Underhill, a noted summer resort, Dr. L. J. DIXON, of Milton,
one of the most prominent physicians of Northern Vermont, and Judge L.
S. DIXON, of Madison, Wis., one of the judges of the Supreme Court of that
State for sixteen years; and one daughter, Susan BOSTWICK, of Jericho,
wife of I. C. BOSTWICK.
Elijah BENEDICT, born in New Bedford, Conn., in 1741, came to Pawlet
before the Revolution, but, sympathizing with the king, his property was
confiscated, and he was obliged to flee to Canada, where he remained until
after peace was declared, and in 1786 came to Underhill, and located on
the farm now owned by George H. BENEDICT.
Jonas HUMPHREY came from Genesee county, N. Y., at an early day,
and settled upon the farm lately owned by N. STORY. He married Caroline
DIXON, daughter of Captain Jared DIXON, one of the first settlers in town.
His son, D. C. HUMPHREY, still resides here, and is eighty-two years old.
Adam HURLBUT, from Roxbury, Conn., settled upon the farm now owned
by Charles Prior and C. L. Graver, in 1789. He subsequently made the first
settlement on the farm lately owned by his grandson, Wait HURLBURT.
Eli HURLBURT, a veteran of the War of 1812, was one of the first
settlers in Westford. Afterward he removed to this town and located on
the farm now owned by his son, J. R. WOODRUFF. The deed to him was from
Abner EATON, and dated June 13, 1791. He died, aged seventy-nine, on the
farm now owned by his daughter, Mary A. WOODRUFF.
Caleb SHELDON was born at East Hartford, Conn., in 1756, came to
Underhill in 1788, located on a farm now owned by his daughter, Mary S.
SHELDON, where he died about 1800.
Jason ROGERS, born in Connecticut, came to Underhill in 1800, and
settled on the farm now owned by Charles E. TRUELL, and lived there until
his death. His son, Abial ROGERS, also came from Connecticut and located
on the farm now owned by the estate of the late Deacon Z. W. CHURCH, in
1808, where he carried on the business of saddler for several years, at
which place he died, aged eighty-four. H. A. ROGERS, son of Abial, now
resides on the farm formerly owned by John STORY, at which place he is
doing business as a harness-maker.
Chauncey GRAVES came from Salisbury and made the first settlement
on the farm now owned by his grandson, Tyler M. GRAVES. Ira, son of Chauncey
and father of Tyler M., was five years old when he came here, and remained
on this farm until his death, May 8, 1877, aged eighty-two years.
Isaac J. BOURN came to Underhill from Jericho in 1816, and purchased
the farm now owned by Alvah MARTIN at Underhill Center, and lived there
until he died.
Captain N. M. HANAFORD was born at Enfield, N. H., in 1791, and
moved to this town at an early date, and always lived near Underhill Center
up to the time of his death, which occurred in 1862, aged seventy-one years.
He served as fifer and also as drum-major in the War of 1812.
Martin MEAD came from Rutland in 1807, and located on the farm now
owned by Seth W. MEAD. He had a family of ten children, three of whom are
now living here,-Martin, Seth W., and Simeon M. MEAD.
Asa CHURCH came from Vershire in 1808 and located on the farm now
owned by Thomas REEVES. After subsequent changes he finally located on
the farm now owned by Cyrus Prior at Underhill Center, where he died at
the age of eighty-four years. He had a family of twelve children, but none
of them is now living.
Joshua MARTIN was born in Goffstown, N. H., and came here in 1819,
locating on the farm now owned by James SHEEHY, at Underhill Center.
Timothy BURDICK came from Rhode Island, enlisted in the regular
army in 1812, served five years, and after he was discharged located in
Underhill, clearing up the farm now owned by Martin FLYNN, on what is known
as the Irish Settlement road, at that time a wilderness. He was a man of
energy and determination, for no other would have attacked a wilderness
to lay out a farm, and be as successful as he was. He died at Underhill
Center in 1875, aged eighty-five years, and was buried in the cemetery
Underhill. Two of his daughters reside at Underhill Center, and a son,
Dr. A. F. BURDICK, went to California in 1849, resided there for three
years, and returned to Underhill, where he has resided ever since.. He
is a successful practitioner, and has administered to the wants of the
people in this and adjoining towns about thirty years.
The principal villages sixty years ago were North Underhill, underhill
and Underhill Center, and ranked in size in the order named. The oldest
person living in town is Ira DICKINSON. He served a term of enlistment
in the regular army prior to 1812, and was one of the volunteers from this
town who went to Plattsburgh and participated in that battle. He is a pensioner,
and is now (1886) ninety-two years of age. He has a splendid memory, and
loves to converse and relate incidents which transpired before and during
The manufactures in Underhill in early times were very limited.
In 1825 TOWER & OAKS built a starch factory, run by a steam-engine
of ten horsepower. From that time to 1850 they manufactured large quantities
of starch, and a number of other mills were built, but they have all gone
to decay. Several saw-mills have been operated in town, which supplied
the wants of the people up to the time of the opening of the Burlington
and Lamoille Railroad, which took place in 1877. Five miles of the railroad
bed is in this town.
From that time to the present there has been a great demand for
lumber here, and, as a consequence, one water-power and three steam mills
have been put in operation, requiring a force during the busy part of the
season of about 250 men to supply and operate them. Three of these mills
manufacture clapboards and one shingles. Nearly five millions of feet of
lumber were shipped from the railroad station here during the past year.
Underhill relies on agriculture more than manufacturing. It is a fine town
for dairy purposes, shipping each year about 60,000 pounds of butter. During
the last season L. F. TERRILL & Son shipped 15,000 bushels of potatoes
from this station. Underhill is not a wealthy town, but may be classed
as a prosperous farming community. It is purely rural, possessing good
land and on the whole the finest scenery in Vermont. Two valleys traverse
it north and south, and one east and west. It has a natural observatory
on Mount Mansfield, the highest point of land in Vermont, affording a view
that is probably unsurpassed by any in New England. The altitude of Mount
Mansfield is 4.389 feet. It exceeds the highest of the Catskills. Imagination
has pictured out the upturned face of a giant, showing the forehead, nose,
lips and chin. About one-third of the distance from the nose to the chin
may be seen drift scratches upon the rocks, and the identical rock that
formed them -- two bowlders of about thirty and forty feet in circumference,
lying near by, deposited there from icebergs that passed over when the
lofty peaks of Mansfield were beneath the ocean; Brown's River rises on
the side of Mount Mansfield, flowing in a westerly direction through Underhill
and Jericho, uniting with Winooski River in Essex.
The schools of this town are managed on the district system and
divided into fourteen districts, having an attendance of about four hundred
pupils and at an average yearly cost of about $1,600. There were two academies,
the Bell Institute, located at Underhill, and the Green Mountain Academy,
located at Underhill Center, that were once flourishing schools, each having
about one hundred scholars; but the old-fashioned Vermont academy has gone.
It evidently received its death-blow from the State Normal Schools, in
other words, the old academies, scattered all over Vermont, have been legislated
out of existence. So to-day a person so poor that he cannot afford to send
his children away to school must be contented with what little can be learned
in the district schools. Education cannot be as good in general as it was
when nearly every town had its old-fashioned academy. Vermont now enjoys
the privilege of class education; that is, those who can maintain their
children away at school have an advantage they did not possess in the old
academy. It is true the education of to-day is more aristocratic, but is
the State as well off as when children all stood equal as far as opportunity
went, in the old academy?
The following were college graduates from Underhill: Elon O. MARTIN,
who settled as a Presbyterian minister in Lowndes county, Ala., at which
place he died; Charles PARKER, Congregational minister, who died a few
years ago at Waterbury; Wm. RICHMOND, for several years principal of the
High School at St. Albans; Henry THORP, a teacher in California the last
fifteen years; Ebin BIRGE, Congregational minister, who has recently died
in Chicago; Gay H. NARAMORE is a lawyer in New York city; Frank FARRELL
is a lawyer at Fort Dodge, Iowa; Seneca HASELTON, lawyer, and has been
city judge at Burlington for ten years; Frank WOODRUFF, Congregational
minister, and now professor at Andover Theological Seminary; Charles DUNTON,
Methodist Episcopal clergyman, now principal of the Troy Conference Academy
at Poultney; E. H. LANE, lawyer at Mamatte, Minn.; C. G. CHURCH, real estate
agency at Watertown, Dakota.
Lawyers have never succeeded in this community. In 1821 a young
man named BACON tried to practice law here for a short time, but gave it
up and left the town. SAWYER & BEARDSLEY stayed longer, but were not
successful. Others have located here, but have not found it a good place
to practice. The people of Underhill never had much litigation. Physicians
have had better success. Among the physicians who lived in this town, now
dead, were Hiram G. BENEDICT, A. C. WELCH, H. BURROUGHS, Samuel DOW, Jesse
MAY, and G. W. ROBERTS, at Underhill Center. A. Y. BURDICK and W. S. NAY
are the physicians who are now in practice here.
The Congregational Church was organized in the town in December,
1801, by Rev. Ebenezer KINGSBURY, of Jericho. The original members were
Adam HURLBURT, James DIXON, George OLDS, Carey MEAD, Herman PRIOR, John
COLEMAN, Daniel CLARK, Eleanor DIXON, Judette MEAD, Abigail BIRGE, Rachel
WARD, Lydia DIXON, Permit PRIOR, and Veelea MEAD. Rev. James Parker, who
was ordained in 1803, was the first settled minister. Rev. Simeon PARMELEE,
who died at Oswego, N. Y., aged one hundred years and six months, officiated
in this church for many years. Its membership now numbers about one hundred.
Rev. J. K. WILLIAMS is the present pastor.
St. Thomas (Roman Catholic) Church is located at Underhill Center.
The church edifice was built in 1856. Rev. Thomas LYNCH was the first,
and Rev. J. GALIGAN is the present pastor. Its dimensions are thirty-two
feet by ninety feet. The organization has about one thousand members.
The Freewill Baptist Church, located at Underhill Center, was organized
in 1836 by Elders S. D. KENESTON, and J. E. DAVIS, with twenty members,
Elder DAVIS acting as their pastor. The church has a seating capacity for
250 persons, and was built in union with the Methodist Society in 1850.
It has no settled pastor at present.
There are two stores at Underhill Center, one owned by D. L. TERRILL,
and the other by G. A. TERRILL; and two stores at Underhill, both owned
and managed by L. F. and George E. TERRILL, under the firm name of L. F.
TERRILL & Son. All of these stores are doing a flourishing business.
The Custar House at Underhill, T. S. WHIPPLE, proprietor, and the
Mountain House at Underhill Center, G. W. WOODRUFF, proprietor, are model
hotels, and furnish the best of accommodations to the traveling public.
Cyrus BIRGE was the first postmaster, receiving his appointment
in 1825. The office was then at North Underhill. There are now three post-offices,
with the following postmasters: North Underhill, F. J. ROBINSON; Underhill,
J. J. MONAHAN; Underhill Center, Samuel DAVITT.
The town has no organized fire department.
In the War of the Rebellion Underhill is credited by the adjutant-general
of Vermont with furnishing one hundred and fifty-seven men as having entered
the service. Only six men were drafted during the war, in this town. Soldiers
from here served in nearly all the Vermont regiments, batteries and companies
of sharpshooters. Twenty-one went in the Thirteenth Vermont Volunteers
-- all in Company F. Of the one hundred and fifty-seven men twenty-four
now live in the town. Those of the rest who are not dead are scattered,
many far away. In a few years all will be gone.
L.H. BOSTWICK Post No. 69, G. A. R., was organized December 12,
1883, by the old soldiers from this town, Jericho and Westford. The post
was named after Lieutenant Lucius H. BOSTWICK, of Company F, Thirteenth
Regiment Vermont Volunteers, who died in Washington, D. C., in 1863, and
has on its rolls the names of seventy-eight men. The first officers were
L. F. TERRILL, P. C.; J. J. Monahan, S. V.; W. W. WHEELER, J. V.; A. C.
HUMPHREY, adj.; A. W. TERRILL, Q.-M.; A. F. BURDICK, surg.; F. D. GILSON,
chap.; W. H. HILTON, O. D.; William BURROUGHS, O. G. The present
officers are J. J. MONAHAN,. P. C.; F. D. GILSON, S. D.; William
BURROUGHS, J. D.; P. D. MATHEWS, adj.; S. M. PALMER, Q. M.; S. A. WRIGHT,
chap.; A. F. BURDICK, surg.; J. LESSOR, O. D.; A. H. SHERMAN, O. G.
Custer Camp No. 7, Vermont Division, Sons of Veterans, was mustered
here February 7, 1884, and the first officers were George E. TERRILL, captain;
H. L. COLGROVE, first lieutenant; F. S. PALMER, second lieutenant The present
officers are H. L. COLGROVE, captain; H. H. HALE, first lieutenant; F.
S. PALMER, second lieutenant. There are fifty-seven members, all uniformed
and armed the same as the National Guard, and well drilled. The headquarters
Vermont Division Sons of Veterans are in this town, having the following
division officers: Colonel, George E. TERRILL, Underhill; lieutenant-colonel,
John E. FOX, Burlington; major, Orvice B. LEONARD, Brattleboro; chaplain,
E. T. GRISWOLD, Bennington; adjutant, Fred E. TERRILL, Underhill; Q. M.,
H. L. COLGROVE, Underhill; insp., P. C. ABBOTT, St. Johnsbury; must. officer,
J. M. NASH, Middlebury; judge advocate, Henry BARROWS, Brandon.
L.H. BOSTWICK, W. R. C. No. 19, was organized March 15, 1886, with
Susie A. TERRILL, president; Mary C. BURDICK, S. V.; Helen HUMPHREY, J.
V.; Hattie L. PALMER, secretary; Maria C. LUSELLE, treasurer; Helen WRIGHT,
chap.; Lucy J. PRIOR, con.; Estelle MOREHOUSE, ass't.; Amanda McDANIELS,
guard; Mary LESSOR, ass't; with some twenty members. Thus it will be seen
that the soldier element of Underhill, while enjoying the blessings of
peace, has every means of enjoyment, as well as the opportunity of recalling
the stirring memories of days long gone.
In conclusion, many things could have been said of as much interest
to our people, for the subject cannot be exhausted, as what I have already
written; but time and space forbid. It is a very difficult thing to always
procure accurate information on the subjects embraced where records are
defective, and errors may appear in what I have written. If so, I hope
the same will be overlooked, for they are not intentional.
of Chittenden County, Vermont
and Biographical Sketches
of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers
By W. S. Rann, Syracuse, N. Y.
& Co., Publishers, 1886
by Karima Allison ~ 2004
||Doran Cemetery, Underhill,
Thomas Cemetery, Underhill, VT
Settlement Cemetery, Underhill, VT
||North Underhill Cemetery,