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Granby lies in the southern central part of the county, in lat. 44º 35', and long. 5º 5', bounded northeast by Ferdinand and Maidstone, southeast by Guildhall, southwest by Victory, and northwest by East Haven.   It was granted by Benning Wentworth, the royal governor of New Hampshire, under King George III, October 10, 1761, to Elihu Hall and sixty-three others, in seventy equal shares, and under the usual restrictions of the charters of that day.   Its name was given, it is said, in honor of the Earl of Granby. The town was surveyed by General James Whitelaw, of Barnet, in 1785, with a result as follows:  “Beginning at Guildhall corner, thence running northwest between Victory and Granby six miles; thence northeast between East Haven and Granby six miles, to a large rock; thence between Guildhall and Granby six miles; and thence between Maidstone, Ferdinand and Granby, six miles.” 

       The surface of the town is broken and hilly, possibly mountainous. The soil is mostly of the granitic order, and better adapted for grazing, and growing the coarser grains and vegetables, than for wheat and corn, which require the selection of the best fields and a favorable season; and even then are more or less uncertain crops.  Rocks are abundant, affording an available material for fences; and there are some specimens of interest to the geologist. Good clay is very scarce, and of minerals nothing of practical importance is known. Cow Mountain pond in the southern, and Mud pond in the southwesterly part of the town, both rather small, are all the ponds known with any certainty to be within the limits of the town. Unknown pond, also small, near the northwestern corner of the town, is believed by some to be in Granby, and by others in Ferdinand. The streams, too, are small. Moose river, or Gaswell's stream, flows across the western corner of the town, from East Haven to Victory, and two or three of its branches rise in the southerly slope of Granby. One brook runs easterly through Guildhall to Connecticut river, and with Paul's stream and its branches drain the northerly slope of the town, and these streams afford a pretty good supply of water-power.  Of timber the white pine was quite plenty in the northern part of the town, but a considerable portion of the best quality has been cut. Spruce and balsam, however, are abundant, as a considerable part of the town has not yet been cleared, and hemlock, tamarack and cedar are found in a few localities A few elms also are found growing on and near the streams, while maple, birch and beech, are the principal varieties of hard wood. 

       In 1880, Granby had a population of 194.  In 1886 it had two school districts and two common schools. There were fifty-one scholars, taught during the year by four female teachers, to whom was paid an average weekly salary, including board of $5.47. The entire income for sehool purposes was $378.66, while the whole amount expended was $280.45, with Hettie W. Matthews, superintendent. 

       C.H. Stevens  Co., with office at St. Johnsbury, have two large steam saw-mills here on Moose river. The mills were built in 1880, and have the capacity for turning out 6,000,000 feet of lumber per year, and furnish employment for forty hands. John M. Allbee is superintendent. 

       Of  the early settlement etc., of Granby, we quote the following from Loomis Wells: “The proprietors of Granby appointed Lieut. Timothy Andrews their agent, September 1, 1783, to transact all and every matter whatsoever for and in behalf of said proprietors, as he shall think beneficial to bring forward the settlement of said township,” and a similar vote was taken October 1, 1787. A committee was appointed December 8, 1789, consisting of Nathaniel Herrick, William Amy, Joseph Herrick and Sherman Hemberly, to lay out and complete a road through the town, and Jonah Clark was appointed agent to give leases of tracts of land, not exceeding 150 acres, to each of twelve first settlers who will engage to settle and improve under the proprietors. 

       Guildhall, June 14, 1790:  The proprietors voted that Joseph Herrick and Benjamin Cheney, being the first settlers in Granby, that each of them have, as inducement for settling, two lots (ever); that is to say, the said Herrick lots No. 7 and 8 in the 5th range, and the said Cheney lots No. 7 and 8 in range 4, being the lots on which they have begun improvements, which is to include all grants heretofore made, provided that each of them pursue and prosecute their improvements as fast as could reasonably be expected.

       At a meeting held at Guildhall, June 21, 1791, the committee, appointed to lay out and clear a road through the town, of Granby, were directed to complete the same as soon as, possible. At the same meeting an offer was made to any person or persons that would build a saw-mill and grist-mill, and keep them in repair for ten years, should have the land on which they were built and 300 acres of public land. Provision was also made for supplying teams in making bridges, and  that the price of each yoke of good oxen so employed should be the same price per day as a man's labor, which was 5s. per day."

       The road was surveyed and completed in 1791, at a cost of  (???).  It was subsequently re-surveyed in 1810, as a county road, leading from Lake Memphremagog to Connecticut river, in Guildhall. 

      The first proprietors' meeting, as per record, held in Granby, was held at the, house of Joseph Herrick, October 27th, 1795. At this meeting they voted:

“That, whereas, the proprietors at their meeting holden heretofore have given as encouragement to the twelve settlers who shall first settle in said town a tract of public land, not exceeding 150 acres to each, and, whereas, the following persons have made improvement according to said vote, and are considered as settlers, and to hold and to enjoy, to themselves and heirs and assigns forever in fee, the lands as hereafter voted to them respectively, viz.: To Mr. Nathaniel Herrick lot No. 6, range 4th, containing one hundred acres, and the half of lot No. 5 in the same range, adjoining to the other, to him, his heirs and assigns forever.” 

       The names of the others and their allotments were as follows: Joseph Herrick (200 acres), Benjamin Cheney, Samuel Ward, Nathaniel Herrick, Jr., Robert Pike, John Crawford, Joseph Roberts, Jeremiah Harris, Charles Curtis, John Cook and Enos Cook.  It was also voted to extend the time for building mills two years from the meeting. The last entry upon the proprietors  record bears date April 19, 1802, when the meeting was adjourned one month, but here the curtain falls and the remainder of the page is blank paper. 

      After a careful examination of all within my reach that pertains to the first settlement, I have come to the correlation that Joseph Herrick and  Benjamin Cheney moved into the town in 1790 or 1791, probably the former. In the first book of town records, under the head of births and death and marriage, on page eleven, is the following: Herd Cheney, son to Benjamin and Eunice Cheney, born September 16,1791, the first child that was born in town.

       On page eight of the same book the, record says: Samuel Hart married to Susanna Herrick March 31, 1796 — also on page nine, “Anna Pike died July 13, 1795.” These are understood to be the first marriage, birth and death that occurred in town. 

      For about twenty years, up to 1810, the settlement appears to have gone on favorably if not prosperously, and there were twenty-four or twenty-six families in town. About 1810, for some cause, several families removed to Canada, some to Northern New York, and some to adjoining towns; and the famous 'cold seasons,' 1813 and 1818, produced a general stampede, so that in 1816 or 1817 there were but three families left in town, viz.: Nathaniel Bell, Zacheus Cook and James Waid, and they were hardly near enough to each other to be neighbors. After a year or two some who had removed to adjoining towns returned, and others moved in, so that in 1825 or '30, about the standard of 1810 for number of families were attained, and has kept along to the present time very uniform." 

       The first town meeting was held at the house of Joseph Herrick, on the 2d Tuesday of March, 1798, when Nathaniel Herrick, Jr., Robert Pike and Benjamin Cheney, were elected listers and selectmen;  Samuel Hart, treasurer; Zadock Herrick, constable; and James Morehead supervisor of highways. As thus organized the town continued to hold meetings and elect officers down to 1815, when the organization was abandoned and the records delivered to the county clerk. On January 10, 1822, the town was reorganized, and at the March meeting following was for the first time divided into school and highway districts. 

       To quote from Mr. Wells again: “Gen. Seth Cushman, of Guildhall, built the first saw and grist-mill, about 1810.  During the “cold season,” the grist-mill entirely run down. The granite mill-stones lay near the old mill site, and the people go out of town to, mill, and have for over fifty years. The saw-mill held out until 1826 or 1827. About this time Martin Joslyn built another saw-mill and sawed, a few thousand feet of boards, but the dam proved to be on a clayey foundation, and Joslyn failed in heath and financially, so the mill went to ruin without ever being inclosed or covered. About 1845, Gershom Carpenter built a saw-mill, near the main road on the same stream.” 

(Source:  Gazetteer of Caledonia and Essex Counties, VT.; 1764-1887, Compiled and Published by Hamilton Child; May 1887, Page 444-447)

This excerpt was provided by Tom Dunn.