Guildhall, the county seat of Essex county, lies in the southeastern part of the same, in lat. 44º 32' and long. 5º 18', and is bounded on the northeast by Maidstone, east by the Connecticut river, southwest by Lunenburgh, and northwest by Granby, containing an area of 19,477 acres. It was chartered by Governor Wentworth, of New Hampshire, October 10, 1761, to Elihu Hall and sixty-three others, residents of New Haven county and vicinity, in Connecticut. Their first proprietary meeting was held at New Haven on the last Wednesday of October, 1761. The first deed was given by John Blakeslee, Enos Todd, Giles Dayton, Samuel Mix, David Thorpe, Joshua Ray, Gershom Todd, Titus Tuttle and John McClure to John Hall, 5th, and dated November 2, 1761; the second, by Daniel Mackey to John Hall, 5th, dated November 6, 1761, but by whom the name of Guildhall was given to the town is not known. 

     On the plains and intervals of Guildhall the soil is fertile and is easily cultivated; on the hills, strong, and better adapted to grazing. Dairying, and stock raising is an important industry. The town is well watered. The stream formerly known as Spaulding brook rises in Granby, flows through Maidstone and thence through the southeast corner of Guildhall to the Connecticut. As the first mills were built upon this stream, the modern name of Mill stream is more appropriate. Burnside brook heads in Granby and turns just east of Burnside mountain or west of Hubbard hill, uniting with Mill stream.   Wallace brook drains the central, and Catspaw brook the western part of the town.  Cow mountain, in the western part of the town, received its name from the fact that a hermit negro, called “Old Bacchus,” who lived in this vicinity, appropriated to his own use another man’s cow, for which he suffered the dire consequences. The summit affords a fine prospect. 

     In 1880, Guildhall had a population of 558.  In 1886 the town had six school districts and six common schools, taught during the year by eleven female teachers, who received an average weekly salary, including board, of $5.50. The entire income for school purposes was $919.68, while the total expenditures were $966.99, with L.A. Grannis, superintendent. 

     Guildhall village, the county seat, enjoys a pleasant location in the northeastern corner of the town. It has a courthouse, jail, two churches  (Congregational and Methodist), three stores, a grist-mill, saw-mill, last factory, blacksmith shop and about thirty dwellings. It is connected by a toll bridge with Northumberland, N. H.

     John B. Parker’s, grist and saw-mills were purchased by him of Lafayette T. Moore, in 1880. He cuts about 3,000,000 feet of lumber and grinds, about 10,000 bushels of grain per year, employing forty five men. 

     John E. Bean's last factory turns out 400,000 lasts per year. 

     In the spring of 1764, David Page, David Page, Jr., aged eighteen, Emmons Stockwell, aged twenty-three, Timothy Nash, George Wheeler, and a Mr. Rice, started out from Lancaster, Mass., with twenty head of cattle, to make a settlement in the wilds of the Connecticut valley. On the 19th of April they arrived at Lancaster, N.H., and pitched their camp on both sides of the Connecticut, upon land since called the Stockwell place. Thus was the settlement of Guildhall begun. They owned lands on both sides of the river in common for some time, clearing off and planting seventeen acres with corn the first season. On the 26th of August this corn stood twelve feet high.  On the following morning it was frozen through and completely ruined. David Page, Sr. brought his daughter Ruth, then seventeen years of age, to the new settlement, probably the first white woman to ever set foot in either Guildhall or Lancaster. She performed the duties of housekeeper for the settlers, and finally became the wife of Emmons Stockwell. The Indians were then quite numerous, and their house was a general resort for them, as Mr. Stockwell traded with them quite extensively. His authority with them was great and was never disputed, the tapping of his foot upon the floor being sufficient to quiet them when most rude. Mr. and Mrs. Stockwell reared a family of fifteen children their third child and first son, David Stockwell, being the first white male child born in the town.  When the youngest of the fifteen children had attained the age of twenty-one years, not a death had occurred in the family.  Mrs. Stockwell lived to her eightieth year, and could then count 130 descendants then living. 

     Enoch Hall, Micah Amy and James Rosebrook located here in 1775, and became permanent settlers. Eleazer Rosebrook and Samuel Paige joined the settlement in 1778. David Hopkins, Reuben Howe and Simeon Howe came in 1779. 

     At a proprietors' meeting, held in 1777, it was voted that they would “locat & lot the township of Guildhall."  A committee was appointed, who came on here for the purpose, but were driven off by the inhabitants, on account of the exorbitant expense incurred. 

     At this early day the township lines were not well defined, so that in the early records we find Maidstone men figuring as citizens of Guildhall, and inhabitants of Guildhall as citizens of Lunenburgh.  On March 15, 1799, there were twelve settler's lots occupied, in Guildhall, by eleven settlers, as follows:   Lot No. 1, Colonel Ward Bailey, the land now being occupied by the village; lot No. 2, James Rosebrook, the land afterwards owned by Alva Ditson, Greenleaf Webb, Charles Webb, John Dodge, John Emery and David Hunt; lot No. 3, D. Hopkinson, upon lands afterwards owned by A.M. Blount, and including a part of the Haskell and Long places; lot No. 4, Samuel Howe, upon lands since owned by E.R. Webb; lots Nos. 5 and 6, Eleazer Rosebrook, since owned by Stevens Ames and H.N. Allen; lots Nos. 7 and 8, Jonathan Grout and Edward Buckman, since owned by R.N. Allen, Joseph Small and Charles Benton; lots Nos. 9 and 10, Reuben and Simeon Howe, since owned by Anson Fiske; lot No. 11, George Wheeler, since owned by John Smith; lot No. 12, Benoni Cutler, since owned by John and George Boyce, Horace Hubbard and Zed Wood. 

     Abner Osgood and Ward Bailey were granted 300 acres of land for building the first mills in 1779.  Benoni Cutler bought these mills and tract of land, so the stream was called Cutler's Mill brook.  Oliver Hancock was the first founder and blacksmith in the town, and was voted ninety acres of land for “extraordinary ingenuity."  Doctor Gott appears to have been the first physician, about 1785, and Zadock Sampson the second, in 1790. Colonel Ward Bailey built the first mills at the falls on the Connecticut, in 1786 or 1787. He also  built, in the Revolutionary times, a block-house, which stood near where Mr. Cobb has since lived.  It afterwards became the first jail in the county. The first school also was kept in this house, in 1778, by M. Bradley, known as “Old Master Bradley." 

     James Rosebrook, who joined the settlement about 1778, was styled “The Old Duke."  He had the reputation of telling a larger story than any other person in town. Being in company with several men at one time, a Mr. B?? said to him: “Mr. Rosebrook, as a number of us were passing along the road the other day, we saw an immense egg lying on the ground. It was so large as to obstruct travel, so we were obliged to remove it. It took four men with levers, to roll it out of the road."

  I have no doubt of it,” instantly replied the old Duke, “I haven't the least doubt of it, for I saw the bird that laid the egg, when she flew over, and she was so large that she darkened the sun for two hours!”
 
 

(Source: Gazetteer of Caledonia and Essex Counties, VT.; 1764-1887, Compiled and Published by Hamilton Child; May 1887, Page 449-452)

This excerpt was provided by Tom Dunn.



 
Guildhall, Essex Co, VT
Guildhall Community Profile 
Cemeteries Extracted from " A History of Guildhall, Vermont"  1886
Various Genealogical Records and Bio Sketches of  Families and Individuals Extracted from "A History of Guildhall, Vermont" 1886
Guildhall, Vermont ~ from Wikipedia