"This town lies in a mountainous country, but it has a valuable tract of land on Trout River, and good mill stream, a branch of the Missisco . . . Montgomery was granted March 13, 1780, and chartered October 8, 1789 to Stephen R. Bradley and others.  Capt. Joshua Clap, a respectable revolutionary officer, removed his family from Worcester County, Mass., into this town, in March 1793, and this was for two years the only family in town. Hon. Samuel Barnard, Reuben Clap and James Upham, Esq., all from Mass., were among the earliest settlers." 
 

Gazetteer of Vermont, Hayward, 1849.


HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF
MONTGOMERY

BY. N. W. CLAPP.

      This town, not being settled till long after the Indian wars and the Revolution, has but few of the romantic stories that grace the annals of towns earlier settled, and located nearer the great thoroughfares of Indian raids and foreign invasion. It lies upon the extreme eastern border of Franklin Co., lat 44° 52' and long. 4° 23'. It is 42 miles N. from Montpelier, 41 N. E. from Burlington and 25 E. from St. Albans. As originally chartered, it was in a square form containing 23,040 acres, or 36 square miles, bounded N. by Richford, E. by Westfield, S. by Lowell and Avery's Gore and W. by Enosburgh. In the year 1859 a tract, containing about 7000 acres from the town of Lowell and Avery's Gore, was- added to it on the south, embracing all the territory sloping in that direction from the mountains, the interests of whose inhabitants, from their local position, being identical with those of Montgomery. The township was granted Mar. 13, 1780, to Stephen R. BRADLEY, Rev. Ezra STILES, D. D., John GRAHAM, and others, but was not chartered until Oct. 1789.

      The first permanent settlement was made by Capt. Joshua CLAPP, a revolutionary officer of much respectability, who removed his family from Worcester Co., Mass. in the spring of 1793. He took up a large tract of land in the S. W. corner of the town, lying upon both sides of Trout River, and embracing what now comprises, in whole or in part, the farms of L. W. and L. D. MARTIN, A. G. WATKINS, H. H. RAWSON, Hon. R. HAMILTON, Isaac and Samuel HEAD, Caleb COMBS, and Levi JANES. His first house was a log or block hut upon the bank of the river, which afterwards gave place to the sightly and commodious mansion so long the residence respectively of Jockton GOODSPEED and Hon. Rufus HAMILTON. This house is still standing and in a decent state of repair. It is a two-storied square roofed building, occupying a very sightly position, and was the first frame-house built in town.

      About the year 1795, the Hon. Samuel BARNARD, Reuben CLAPP and James UPHAM Esqs., all from Massachusetts, moved into town and were the immediate successors of Capt. CLAPP, with the exception of a man by the name of COLLAR, who settled for a short time on a rocky hill, now included in the farm of N. W. CLAPP, and known from this beginning, by the soubriquct of "Collar Hill " to this day. He, however, soon left, leaving nothing behind but a small clearing and a log hut, the hearth-stone of which is still pointed out. Judge BARNARD settled on the farm now owned and occupied by Seth GOODSPEED, Reuben CLAPP on the farm now occupied by J. L. and N. W. CLAPP, and Mr. UPHAM on the one now occupied by James UPHAM, which last two farms have never passed out of the hands of their respective families.

      Very soon after this date there came into town, in rapid succession, chiefly from Massachusetts, Stephen and Jonathan GATES, Seth, John and Jockton GOODSPEED, Jonah and Zebulon THOMAS, Daniel BARROWS, Samuel LUSK, Jonahdab JOHNSON, Robert MARTIN and others, most of whose descendants are embraced in the present population of the town.

      The first town meeting was held and the town was organized, Aug. 12, 1802. Hon. Samuel BARNARD, first town clerk.

      Montgomery is a mountainous town, or rather is surrounded by mountains and hills on all sides, except the N. W. corner, which affords a passage for Trout River, forming in the aggregate a not very bad fac simile of a tray with one end broken out. Jay mountain, on the east, is by far the most lofty of the range-the Peak ranging next to Camel's. Hump in the State, in altitude. It is sometimes resorted to by pleasure-seekers, but the distance is found to be too far from civilization and carriage roads to have the pleasure amount to much. Occasionally the wolf, the bear, the deer, and, once in a great while, the moose makes his appearance here, but they are all fast passing away. All the brooks that rise on these hills, empty into Trout River, which is the only stream that passes out of town. The intervals on the banks of this river are very productive, and the hillsides make the best of grazing lands.

      Montgomery is celebrated for its rich pasturage, producing fine cattle, horses, and sheep, and its dairy products rank among the best. Another article it probably produces more of for export than any other town in the county, if not in the State, which is Timothy grass-seed. A considerable portion of its lands being newly cleared, very rich in vegetable matter and free from the seeds of weeds and other grasses, a crop of Timothy seed is rarely attempted that does not prove very remunerative to the proprietor In 1856 an Agricultural Society was formed in town for the mutual benefit of its inhabitants For three successive years it held its annual fairs, which were extensively attended and pronounced by all to be no mean displays of animals and agricultural products. On one occasion the town-team embraced over 100 pairs of fine red oxen and steers. In 1859 the neighboring towns of Enosburgh, Berkshire and Richford joined Montgomery in the enterprise, having received au appropriation from the legislature under the title of the Franklin County Union Agricultural Society. The fairs have since been held at East Berkshire.


CONGREGATIONALISTS

      There had been no church organization in this town previous to July 15, 1817. On that day a Congregational church was organized, Rev, James PARKER, officiating. The first pastor of the church, Rev. Avery S. WARE, was ordained Jan. 20, 1825. Previous to this the church had enjoyed but a partial supply of ministerial labors. Rev. James PARKER, Rev. Benj. WOOSTER, and Rev. E. J. BOARDMAN, bestowing occasional services.  Rev. Mr. WARE was dismissed July 7th, 1830.  After this, the Rev. Rufus CASE, Rev. E. W. KELLOGG, and Rev. John GLEED, officiated a part of the time. The present pastor. Rev. Sewall PAINE, began his labors here in March, 1842, and was ordained as pastor, Feb. 22 1843. The Congregational house of worship was erected in 1840.


METHODISTS

      The first organization of a Methodist Episcopal church in Montgomery, was in 1828. For a number of years previous to this time, clergymen of this denomination had occasionally preached in town and a few of the inhabitants had long been members of the church.

      The first "class" was formed in the summer of 1829, by Rev. Jacob LEONARD, of the following persons -- Thos. TAYLOR and wife, Mrs. Jonah THOMAS, Mrs. KELLEY, and Dr. Alvin LUSK, who was leader. In 1831 an extensive revival took place in town, and many of the converts were added to this church. Among the rest was Asa. WHEELER, Esq., who was afterwards, till his death, a very active and influential member and "class leader." One of the prominent characteristics of this Society, and one that should be mentioned to their credit, as showing their perseverance in well doing, is, that they have kept up a constant series of weekly, morning and evening prayer meetings with scarcely an emission for over 30 years. In 1842, they erected a neat and commodious house of worship, which they still occupy. The circuit to which the first "class" belonged, extended over 8 towns, employing but two preachers. It, has since passed through various gradations, the circuit being divided and sub-divided, sill in 1861, the Montgomery Society was made a separate charge and is now in a very prosperous condition.


UNION PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH

      "The Union Protestant Episcopal Church and Society" in Montgomery, was formed by 17 persons in this town in 1819. May, 17th, the same year the first meeting was held for the choice of parish officers. June, 23d, the parish was admitted into Union with the Convection of the diocese. Previous to this time occasional services had been held in anticipation of the organization of the parish.


EPISCOPALIANS

      As early as 1804 or '05, several children belonging to Montgomery were baptized by an Episcopal clergyman by the name of FAREWELL at a service held in East Berkshire. One of these children was Joel CLAPP, (the late Rev. Dr. CLAPP), at that time about 12 years old. He was afterwards confirmed by the Rt. Rev. Bishop GRISWOLD, at Sheldon, and commenced the study of theology. His name is gratefully remembered by the church in Montgomery for his untiring labors in their behalf; serving as lay reader while pursuing his studies, and becoming minister of the parish after his ordination, which took place in 1818. There were about 15 communicants in 1819, and in that year 40 baptisms are recorded. In June, 1821, Bishop GRISWOLD made his first visitation to Union Church. He stopped at the house of Mr. CLAPP's mother, -- preached from the steps to a goodly congregation, and administered the rite of confirmation for the first time in the place. In 1822, the Rev. Mr. CLAPP removed to Shelburne, and the Rev. Jordan GRAY took charge of the parish. His life soon became a mournful sacrifice to his zeal, being drowned in Trout river while attempting to ford it in a time of high water. From this time the parish was without a pastor till 1827, when the Rev. Mr. CLAPP again came to their aid; traveling the long way from Shelburne, 50 miles, every month to minister to the people of his native town. The Rev. Richard PECK became the minister soon after, and remained 8 years. His health failing in 1833, he retired, and the Rev. Louis MCDONALD became the minister, remaining 3 years. In 1838 the Rev. Josiah O. Bear came to the parish, remaining 2 ½ years, The Rev. A. H. CULL officiated in 1841, and in 1843 the Rev. E. H. SAYLES succeeded to the charge, remaining till 1850. The Rev. A. F. CADLE labored here for a short time in 1852, and in 1856 the Rev. J. A. FITCH was in the parish for nearly a year; but the church suffered much from lack of clerical services during many years. The Rev. A. H. BAILEY became the rector in 1857, but his removal in 1860 again left the church desolate and filled the hearts of the people with grief. Soon after this the Rev. Dr. CLAPP was called back to his native town, the field of his first labors, and gladness was universal, but death soon closed his toils and earthly career and left the church again without a pastor. In the Autumn of 1861, the Rev. E. JONES took charge of the parish and is still supplying it, in connection with East Berkshire. [This paper was written some six or seven years since. Rev. F. A. WADLEIGH is the present rector.] Although this church has much of the time been without a pastor, and never has enjoyed the entire services of one, being always connected with one or more neighboring parishes, it has always been opened for public worship by lay readers, who have officiated in the absence of clergymen.

      As early as 1827, an earnest effort was made to erect a house for public worship, and although it was at once begun, it was several years in progress, but was used in its unfinished state for the accommodation of the congregation. It was finished in 1835 and consecrated by the Rt. Rev. Bishop HOPKINS. As the inhabitants of Montgomery, in common with most Vermonters, when compared with those of other portions of our country, may be termed a church-going people; so, also, have they taken particular care that their children should reap the advantages to be derived from good schools. The town is divided into 12 districts, and the best of native or foreign talent is meant to be employed.

      The town abounds is "water-powers," and mills of all kinds are scattered over it; including 2 very respectable grist-mills -- 4 extensive establishments for the manufacture of butter-tubs and cheese-boxes, of which they turn out immense quantities yearly; and some 12 or 14 saw-mills, which supply the surrounding country with spruce, hemlock, and bass lumber. Our town supports two large stores; the enterprising firm of L. W. MARTIN & Co., being the proprietors of one-the other being the 84th Division of the New-England Protective Union, under the management of Elder Columbus GREENE. Both are apparently in a very flourishing condition.

      The Rev. Joel CLAPP was the first white person born in town, Sept. 14, 1793. He was educated -- studied his profession, and preached the first fast day-the first thanksgiving, and the first mother's funeral sermon preached in town. Of the present inhabitants John L. CLAPP, Esq., has lived in town 66 years, being the longest of any one individual. Miss Emily CLAPP is the oldest person now living in town that was born here, aged 63 years. Hon. Rufus HAMILTON an old resident of the town, has been for a long series of years a justice of the peace, and for a number of years assistant justice of the county court. Dr. B. W. FULLER, the senior physician in town, settled here in his early manhood, and has worn himself about out in being dragged over the hills and through the vales year after year, ever since. He has long been a justice of the peace, and held the office of town clerk for 20 years in succession. In 1848 he was succeeded by Joshua CLAPP, Esq., the present incumbent.

      FIRST SELECTMEN. -- James UPHAM, Elijah LEARNED, Stephen GATES.
      TOWN CLERKS. -- Sam'l BARNARD, two years; Henry MARBLE, 12 years; Rufus SMITH, 15 years: B. W. FULLER, 19 years; Joshua CLAPP, 19 years.

      The original grantees of the town were 64.

"The Vermont Historical  Gazetteer: 
A Magazine Embracing A History of Each Town, 
Civil, Ecclesiastical, Biographical and Military."
Volume II, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille & Orange Counties.
Including Also The Natural History of Chittenden County.
Edited and Published by Miss Abby Maria Hemenway. 
Burlington, VT. 1871.
Page 275-278.

Transcribed by Karima Allison 2004