is a mountainous township at the north-east corner of the county, and the
line of Canada, and watered by Missisco River and its branches. There is
some good land along the river; and the upland, though rough, affords good
grazing . . . The settlement was commenced in 1797; the town was organized
of Vermont, Hayward, 1840.
OF THE TOWN OF
BY REV. JAY
"The Governor's Council and General Assembly, and
Representatives of the freemen of Vermont, to all persons to whom these
presents shall come -- greeting:
Know ye that, whereas, it has been represented to us by our worthy friends,
Jonathan WELLS, Esq., and company to the number of sixty -- that there
is a tract of vacant land within this state which has not been heretofore
granted, which they pray may be granted to them, we have, therefore, thought
fit for the due encouragement of settling a new Plantation within this
estate and other valuable considerations us hereunto moving; and do by
these presents in the name and by the authority of the freemen of Vermont
give and grant unto the said Jonathan WELLS, Esq. and the several persons
hereafter named as his associates, viz* [*Names of grantees not received
in time for insertion.]
Together with five equal shares to be appropriated to public uses as follows
-- viz: one share for the use of a Seminary or College within the State,
one share for the use of the county grammar schools, Schools throughout
this State; one share for the first settled minister of the gospel in said
town, to be disposed of for that purpose as the inhabitants thereof shall
direct; one share for the support of the ministry; and one share for the
benefit and support of a school or schools within said town. The following
tract or parcel of land, viz: Beginning at the north east corner of the
township of Berkshire being in the north line of this State, then east
in said line six miles; then southerly on such point as to gain six miles
on a perpendicular from said line of this state; then west parallel with
said State-line to the south-easterly corner of said Berkshire ; then northerly
in the easterly line of said Berkshire, to the bounds begun at, will contain
the contents of six miles square and no more. And that the same be and
is hereby, Incorporated into a Township by the name of Richford and the
inhabitants that do or shall hereafter inhabit the said township are declared
to be enfranchised or entitled to all the privileges and immunities that
other towns in this state do by law exercise and enjoy:
To have and to hold the same granted premises as above expressed, with
all the privileges and Imprimis; that each proprietor of the township of
Richford aforesaid, his heirs or assigns, shall plant and cultivate five
acres of land and build a house at least eighteen feet square on the floor,
or have one family settled on each respective right or share of land in
said township, within the term of four years next after the circumstances
of the war will admit of settlement with safety, on the penalty of the
forfeiture of his grant or share of land in said town; and the same to
revert to the freemen of the State to be by their representatives regranted
to such persons as shall appear to settle and cultivate the same.
Secundo: That all fine timber suitable for a navy be reserved to the use
and benefit of the freemen of this State.
In testimony whereof we have caused the Seal of this State to be affixed
this 21st day of August, A. D. 1780, and in the fourth year of the Independence
of this State, and 5th of the United States.
This township which lies in the northern part of the State, upon
the Canada lane, is described in the charter to contain 6 miles square,
and no more; but surveyed by General WHITELAW of Ryegate, in 1795, who
ran the town lines, and most of the ranges north and south, making corners
from measurement, the south line varies from the charter, in following
Montgomery line to the Corner, which is some 150 rods south of Berkshire
corner, thus making more than 6 miles square; but the surface is uneven
and mountainous, and this township has not as much arable land as many
others of the same size; not more than three-fourths of it perhaps being
fit for agricultural purposes, the remainder is valuable only for the timber
which grows upon it. Yet, as a whole, the town is well calculated for farming.
Its soil differs in different places. It contains nearly all kinds, clay,
loam, muck, with a little sand and gravel, and is mostly rich and productive,
although little grain is raised. The farmers give their attention mostly
to raising cattle, and making butter and cheese, for which the town is
The hill-sides abounding in springs of water, are well calculated
for pasturage, as they seldom suffer from drought. The intervales and flat
land, yield usually a large growth of hay, and are reserved for meadows.
There are several small streams of water that flow from the mountains
in the north-easterly part of the town, on which there are numerous saw-mills,
besides those on the Missisquoi. The timber is hemlock, spruce, beech,
birch, bass-wood, ash and maple, from which a large amount of sugar is
Hugh MILLER and his wife, with 8 children and 3 sons-in-law, came
from Bradford, Vt., in March 1795, by some wilderness route, and found
their way to Richford. They commenced on Missisquoi river, on the flat
about 2 miles above the present village, in a wilderness where there were
no neighbors except wild beasts.
They arrived there in March, and the weather was so severe that
it was necessary to erect some shelter without delay; they cleared a small
patch of ground, left four blue beech staddles standing, for corners, withed
on poles, covered with boughs and blankets, and probably carpeted the cold
ground with the smaller boughs of the hemlock. Such was their camp.
Their sons-in-law were Theophilus HASTINGS, Robert KENNEDY, and
Capt. Benjamin BARNET, who married the three oldest girls, Hannah, Catherine
and Amy. The other children were three young men, James, Jacob and Daniel,
and two younger girls, Mary Ann and Ruth. Their camp was soon exchanged
for log-houses, with bark roofs, split basswood for floors and doors, and
skins grained for windows.
Wild game, such as moose, deer, and bears were plenty, and the rivers
furnished an abundance of fish, beaver, otter and other game. The deer
were easily caught in the winter. Deep snow would drive them into yards
where there was plenty of browse. The hunter, taking advantage of the crust
would soon secure abundance of them.
The first settlers slashed down the trees and trimmed off the limbs,
and in a dry time would set fires which would burn up the brush and small
stuff. They would then plant their corn among the logs, and usually raised
good crops this way. But no roads and no mills being near, they pounded
their corn in a samp mortar made by burning out a hollow in the end of
a log, and, with a spring-pole and pestle, pounded out their bread.
The Indians were hunting along the Missisquoi river and mountains
in winter, where moose, door and boars were plenty. They would freeze their
meat, and in the spring would pass down the river into Lake Champlain and
Sorel river to Caughnawaga to market.
James MILLER, sometime later, settled in Canada, about 3 miles up
the river, on the place now known as the "Bickford farm." Jacob married
Saloma NUTTING, daughter of Capt. NUTTING of Berkshire, and lived and died
in this town. Daniel married Anna POWELL, daughter of Rowland POWELL. He
was Custom House Officer, and had an affray at Hyde Park, in 1810, from
the effects of which be died, leaving a widow and 5 small children -- Patty,
Anna, Fanny, Madison and Marvin, all of whom are living except Madison.
Capt. BARNET and Robert KENNEDY moved to Canada about the time of the war
Hugh MILLER, on hearing of the death of Daniel had a shock of paralysis,
and lived but 20 days. He was buried on the hill near where he lived and
Theophilus HASTINGS, a strong and useful man, died with the nose-bleed,
at the seaside, leaving a widow and several small children, in destitute
circumstances. Seymor, son of Theophilus, was the first child born in town.
Mrs. Hugh MILLER was a Christian woman. She possessed great courage
and endurance. She was a doctress, and performed services beyond her own
family. She has traveled on snow-shoes, through deep snows in winter, by
marked trees six or seven miles to Trout river, in a midwifery case. On
another occasion she was called to visit the wife of William LEBARRON,
who lived on lot No. 56, near South Richford. It was an extreme case, no
doctor being near for counsel, her anxiety and responsibility was great,
and when deliverance came, she knelt down and thanked Almighty God.
C.M. DAVIS says, when a boy, he, with others, went to the river
bank, to see her with Edward LADD, whom she accompanied, safe over, the
night being very dark, and rainy, with heavy thunder and lightning, and
the river swollen, and they had scarcely reached the opposite shore when
the lightning struck a large hemlock and stove it into slivers. They were
uninjured, although they had but a moment before passed the tree. Much
more might be said of this good woman. She had no privilege of meetings
for about 7 years.
In 1802, Bishop HEDDING, that pioneer of Methodism, then a young
man on the Fletcher circuit, following the trail of the early emigrants,
by marked trees, and hunting up the lost sheep of the house of Israel,
preached the first sermon in town at her house. She survived her husband
10 years, lived with her son Jacob, and died in 1820. Her funeral was attended
in a barn and she was buried beside her husband on the hill before mentioned.
JOSEPH STANHOPE, SENIOR, and family, came from Guilford, Vt., to
this town in 1796, and commenced on the flats above and adjoining Hugh
MILLER. The family consisted of himself, wife and 6 children -- Sally,
Isaac, Joseph, Leverett, Mun, Ezra and Samuel The three last wore born
in this town. Joseph is still living on the old homestead. He and Samuel
are the only ones living. They got grain ground at Fairfield, which they
brought with them, but they soon. had to use the samp-mortar.
Col. Timothy SEYMOR of Hartford, Ct., the same year built a dam
across the river, above the present dam, and a saw-mill and grist-mill,
near where the present mills now stand. They made their mil-stones from
a granite found near by. Tradition says that after pounding out their bread
for more than a year, when they got their first meals, they made a pudding
and ate it with egg-nog, i. e. rum and eggs.
Mrs. STANHOPE died in. 1829, and was buried on the farm where they
first began. Mr. STANHOPE lived several years longer, and was buried beside
his wife. Their graves are now visible, being curiously marked -- with
white flint-stones in their native state, two at the head about as large
as a bushel basket, two at the feet the size of a peck, and covered along
from head to feet with smaller ones, all white as marble -- much better
than many others that have lost their identity.
DANIEL LOVELAND came to this town about the same time of Mr., STANHOPE,
and took a large tract of land near the falls, taking in the island, and
all of the land south of the falls on the river to what is called the Loveland
brook. He built a log-house on the rise of land above the interval, a few
rods west of the buildings now owned by H. D. FARRAR. After the saw-mill
was built he commenced a framed house, the first in town. But he left town
before it was organized, Jona JANES and Stephen BLAISDELL taking his place.
Mr. BLAISDELL came on the ice over the river, and probably others.
There was a road opened from the ferry at the lower end of the Island to
intersect with a Berkshire road, at a point near the farm of Henry MILLER,
but it did not continue long, the road being opened on the south side of
the river, that grossed trout river, taking the main travel by the way
of Enosburgh Center, up to about 1820, when a bridge was built across the
main river, to about 2 miles this side of East Berkshire.
In 1778, others moved into town, viz. Rowand POWELL and family,
Jared FARNHAM, Chester WELLS, Stephen CARPENTER and Daniel JANES, and several
young men nearly of age.
About this time the inhabitants were called to part with three of
their number. A young man by the name of BURBANK, living with Judge JANES,
was killed by the fall of a tree, and buried on the south bank of the mill-pond
where he was killed, near the house of William CORLISS. This was the first
death in town. The next was that of Plympton JANES, son of Jonathan, aged
8 years. The next was a boy by the name of Joseph HOOKER. Ho was sent to
the mill-pond for water and fell in and was drowned.
As many settlers were now moving into town, it was thought best
to have it represented. For this purpose Stephen ROYCE, father of Gov.
ROYCE, in a warning dated the 30th of March 1799, called a meeting to be
held at the house of Jonathan JANES. They met agreeable to the call, and
chose Stephen ROYCE moderator. The meeting opened, the town was organized
by the election of the following officers: town clerk -- Chester WELLS;
treasurer -- Jonathan JANES; selectmen -- Jonathan JANES, Daniel JANES
and Robert KENNEDY; constable and collector -- Theophilus Hastings.
The first freemen's meeting was held on the first Tuesday of September
of the same year. The vote was unanimous for the following officers --
only 11 votes being polled; for governor Isaac TICHENOR; for lieutenant
governor, Paul BRIGHAM: for treasurer, Samuel MATTOCKS. In that meeting
they elected Jonathan JANES their first representative.
|1803, No record.
||1845, No election
||1853 No choice
LIST FOR 1799.
Grey-lime was formerly made from a ledge in town, where there is
still a plenty of rock, but so hard to burn it has not lately been worked.
Copper has also been found in this ledge. A company was formed to work
it, and considerable labor has been expended there, but the ledge is hard,
and it costs more to get it than it is worth. A granite rock of sufficient
size to make the face-stones for the front side and end of the meeting-house,
was found on the ground where the house stands. No other ledge or stones
were near it, nor were there any of the same quality in town, or in other
towns near by. The question is, where did this rock come from? A geologist
lecturing in this house, said that the same quality of granite could be
found 45 miles N. E. of this place. There are four mineral springs in town;
one at the Center, one near the village on Caleb ROYCE's land, one on William
W. GOFF’s land, near the mill-pond of G. N. POWELL and E. S. LOCKE, and
one on the island, below the trotting park. This Island which lies in the
Missisquoi river near the village, contains about 100 acres of land. A
portion of it is used for a trotting-course. The fairs of the Franklin
County Union Agricultural Society are also held on it. CALKINS and GARVIN
have dug a canal 130 rods long, taking water out of the Missisquoi river
at the mouth of the Stanhope brook, making a fine water-power.
They have a saw-mill and tub-factory now running, and other machinery
soon to be added. This town never suffers much from. drouth. It abounds
in springs of water.
The meeting-house was built in 1842. It stands on the hill on the
north side of the river. A school-house large enough to accommodate meetings
was built at the center of the town -- an elevation of land, about two
miles south of the village. It is the center geographically, but not of
business. It is a farming district. Town meetings were formerly held there,
but lately at the village. A brick school-house was built on the ground
where A. W. SEARS' store now stands. It was burned in 1850. Joseph SEARS
kept the first high school in town there. The nearest post-office for this
town until 1817, was Enosburgh Center, at which time the mail route was
extended from Danville, Vt., over the mountains to this place, and mail
brought on horseback. "The North Star," a paper printed at Danville, was,
I believe, the first regular newspaper taken in this town. But the route
was soon changed from St. Albans to this town, which continues to the present
time. We have now three stage lines: a daily stage to St. Albans, another
to Sweetsburg, P. Q., and a tri-weekly one to North Troy and Newport.
There is a
post-office at East Richford, a small place on Missisquoi river and Canada
line. It is 5 miles above the village, on the road to North Troy.
Benjamin PUFFER, grandfather of William R. and John M. PAFFER, preacher
in the Methodist traveling connection, was the oldest man in town, who
died at the age of 98 years. The oldest man now living in town is William
GOFF, in his 80th year. (Feb. 1869.)
Richford Village lies in the northerly part of the town, contains
over 500 inhabitants, has a fine water-power, on which there is now a grist-mill,
saw-mill, a shop for sash, doors and blinds, a shop for butter-tabs and
pails, a wheel-wright-shop, a cabinet-making shop, a black-smith's shop;
and, on the east side, a bark-mill and tannery. The village is about equally
divided by the river. On the north side there are two dry-goods stores,
a drug-store, a grocery and provision-store, a boot and shoe-store; in
Union Block, a store for books and stationery, a printing-office, a lawyer's
office, a doctor's office, a masonic hall, a good templar's hall, a millinery
shop, &c., a meeting-house, a hotel, 2 harness-shops, and 2 shoemaker's
shops. On the south side of the river, in addition to what is before mentioned;
2 dry-goods stores, 2 groceries, a store for stoves and tin-ware, 2 blacksmith
shops, 2 hotels, a custom-house and town clerk's office a telegraph office,
and a union school-house, in which two schools are kept summer and winter,
and a select school, spring and fall.
Daniel LOVELAND, before mentioned, commenced near the Falls, where
he staid about two years. Judge JANES took his place. Dr. Amherst WILLOUGHBY
built the first store for goods, on the lot now owned by Mr. HARRIS, and
a distillery near the east end of the dam. David THOMAS and Samuel SHEPHARD
built a trip-hammer shop, and Peter BRAZEE a black-smith's shop on the
same side of the river. The first bridge was built across the mill-pond
near the dam. Daniel JANES built a house of boards and scantling, where
William CORLISS' house now stands. Samuel SHEPHARD built a log-house, where
O. J. SMITH's shoe-store now stands, and a framed barn nearby, on a hill.
Edward LADD built a small house where John DWYER now lives. Aaron F. STEWARD
built a house of scantling and boards, near the house of William GOFF.
A road was opened to the head of the rapids, now East Richford,
by boating 8 miles to Doctor GILMAN's place in Patton, then to North Troy.
By this route the trade for Glen, Sutton, Patton, and a part of Orleans
Co., passed this place to Missisquoi Bay and Montreal, to market. Nathaniel
RAINS built a tavern on the corner near the house of C. S. ROYCE, Esq.;
___ SPRING built a house where Caleb ROYCE now lives; Dea. Joshua SMITH,
next north, Caleb SANDERS and Samuel CALF, built houses on the same road.
Chester WELLS lived on the CARR lot; Eld. William ROGERS next lot north.
Jared FARNHAM lived on the farm now owned by C. S. ROYCE. Stephen CARPENTER
lived near where Alfred DAMON now lives. Samuel WHITE began on the east
side of the North Branch, on the interval above the bridge about 100 rods.
Samuel L'HOMMEDIEU, began on the road to Sutton, where George BROWN now
lives; Bradford JANES the next farm north, where George W. SMITH now lives;
John FRENCH next lot north, and Yankee Tom-SHEPHARD, -- as he was called
-- on the next lot, adjoining Canada Line. These places are not all in
the village proper, although it is but a mile and a half to the lines.
Settlers were now coming rapidly. Nearly all of the best lots of land were
taken up. All appeared prosperous. Land about the falls was high, Corn
sold for $3.00 per bushel, and other provisions in proportion.
But the times soon changed. In the spring of 1804 the freshet took
off the bridge and trip-hammer, and other damage was done. This was not
all; there was trouble about land-titles. Doctor WILLOUGHBY's store was
burnt. Judge JANES moved to St. Albans. Settlers moved away about as fast
as they had come in. Samuel SHEPHARD and BRAZEE went to Canada, WILLOUGHBY
to Berkshire, STEWARD to Vergennes, RAINS and SPRING to Ohio, others to
places of their nativity, and business run down (except a little sawing
boards and grinding grain). WILLOUGHBY's distillery and malt-house proved
a failure; not much loss to the town, I think.
The few settlers that remained, with large families, had to face
the storm. Attempts were made to revive business. Bradford POWELL, John
POWELL, and Horace JANES, of St. Albans, formed a copartnership in 1808,
for trade. They sold goods in a small store on the east end of the falls,
but did not continue long. Hard times and few customers could not support
it. Uri FOOT came on to the JANES place, sold goods for a while, and built
a new grist-mill, but soon failed up. About 1810, Edward COOK came into
town, built a house where E. H. POWELL now lives, and a shop for cloth-dressing
and carding wool, but the troublesome times of 1812, induced him to sell
out and move back to Canada. Hezekiah GOFF, Jr., took his place, and carried
on the business 2 or 3 years, and then sold to Ralph STEBBINS, of Sheldon,
who added to and fitted up a house, on the ground where Doctor HUSE lately
lived; but the war of 1812, and the cold season of 1816, nearly desolated
the town, very few inhabitants remaining, and they nearly starved for the
want of bread; not an ear of corn that was fit to roast, was raised in
town. Corn was worth, at the lake, $3.00 per bushel, and flour $16 to $18
par barrel, and no way to get it, but by making salts and potash out of
the trees. It was not possible for those with large families to supply
them with bread, and potatoes and milk supplied a share of the food.
In the spring of 1817, the third bridge was carried off by the freshet,
and there was no bridge that year. The pond was crossed in a boat in summer,
and in winter on the ice.
In 1818, Hezekiah GOFF built a bridge and warranted it to stand
15 years. It was so constructed that it dammed the river, so that it washed
off the road on the north side, where the Union block now stands, and was
no doubt the principal cause of carrying off the mills. In 1819, Hezekiah
GOFF died, leaving a widow; and 5 children. In 1820, Bradford POWELL died,
leaving a widow and 9 children, Two, leading men in town business, in the
prime of life, leaving 17 children to find homes among strangers. In 1822
the freshet took off the saw-mill, gristmill, clothing-works, and drain-bridge,
everything clean to the bare rocks. But the bridge below remained until
it was drawn out. By this freshet some were; nearly ruined, as to prospects.
It seemed to be almost the finishing stroke. [It would make a long chapter
to write all the troubles of these times.] Stephen BLAISDELL and Ralph
STEBBINS were the principal losers. In 1823, Enoch CARLTON, of Cambridge,
in company with Nathan PIERCE, traded in goods in the store-room of the
BLAISDELL house. PIERCE traded about 2 years, took what money and other
valuables he could handily carry and one of our girls, and left for Canada,
leaving a wife and one child. Several young men went to get them back,
but the most of them had the privilege of seeing the inside of Montreal
jail. In 1822, the town was resurveyed by Joseph BEEMAN, of Fairfax. The
proprietors held a meeting at the house of Stephen BLAISDELL, at the close
of the survey, and so arranged matters as to give good titles, and quiet
the settlers in possession of their lands. Soon after, Enoch CARLTON, with
his son-in-law, Alden SEARS, moved into town, gathered up what remained
of PIERCE's trade, built a store, brought on more goods, and had a successful
business. SEARS built a hotel, now the Union-house, and an ashery, which
he run for the business; but ashes soon failed.
He built a starch factory, which paid well for a while, till the
potato-rot prevented a supply of potatoes. He next tried to make whisky
in this factory, but grain was scarce, and he could buy whisky cheaper
than he could make it. The factory was turned into a wheel-wright's shop
where G. N. POWELL has made wagons for several years past. SEARS sold out
here, and went to California. In 1824, William GOFF moved from Sheldon
to this town, bought the falls of Stephen BLAISDELL for about $1000, and
all the land on the east side of main-street as far south as A. W. SEARS'
store, put in a run of stones, in the saw-mill previously built by Mr.
BLAISDELL, where he ground corn until the mill-stones were transferred
to a new grist-mill -- a small mill about 20 feet square, standing where
the saw-mill now stands. He next built a shop for cloth-dressing and wool-carding,
near the drain-bridge, and lived in the upper part until he moved into
the house where he now lives. He next built the present grist-mill, and
afterwards a starch-factory, which is now the tub-factory. John DWYER has
been the principal blacksmith for nearly 60 years. He now lives on the
place where he first began, and is about 84 years old. The 10 years of
reciprocity, no doubt, helped to advance the trade of this place. There
is an excellent farming country lying north of this village, whose trade
naturally comes here. Let us have reciprocity and a railroad, and trade
would be lively here. A new school-house is in contemplation, but a new
meeting-house is among the things of the future. The present generation
has a much better prospect pecuniary, than their fathers who have labored
Cyntha JANES kept the first school in town in part of her father's
house. Polly and Cyntha POWELL kept school in the STEWART house. A log
school-house was built on the rise of land on the north side of the branch
of the river. John STEARNS kept the first school in it. This was burned,
but another log house was built farther north, which remained for school
and meetings until 1819. Several now living graduated there: Elder Wm.
ROGERS preached there on the Sabbath. It was fashionable then to go to
meeting on ox-sleds. The old house had a Dutch back and stick-chimney.
School-boys would draw in logs of wood 5 or 6 feet long, pile them up 3
or 4 feet high, and make a blazing fire. The books used, were Webster's
Spelling-book, the American Preceptor and Third Part, Adam's Arithmetic
and Grammar, Geography, Morse's Abridgment. In 1822-3 two school-houses
were built in first and second districts, one on the corner near where
Edwin WHEELER now lives; the other in 2d district, on the ground where
A. A. BROWN's house now stands. There are now 9 school-districts in town;
the village district numbers about 175 scholars, in which a graded school
is kept, summer and winter, and a select school, spring and fall. C. G.
AUSTIN taught the high school this fall, (1868), having about 60 scholars.
A Union Sabbath school and Bible-class is attended on the Sabbath, at the
meeting-house, with very goad success. The first singing-school was kept
by Edward MORRIS, afterwards by Harvey and Thomas DURKEE, of Sutton. They
were sweet singers, but their voices have long since been silent in death.
South Richford lies in the S. W. corner of the town, and is a fine
farming region. A small stream of water runs through it, which empties
into Trout river. The first saw-mill and grist-mill was built by Hezekiah
GOFF, about the year 1802, near Montgomery line; but the business run down
while he was in the war of 1812. Afterwards David GOFF built a saw-mill
and grist-mill higher up the stream, where the road to Montgomery crosses
it. Other machinery for cloth-dressing, a turning-lathe, &c., were
run there for a while; but finally the larger streams near by took away
the custom. Some 15 or 20 families are united in a school-district here.
They have a good school-house, in which they sustain good schools; also
preaching on the Sabbath, a Sabbath-school and Sabbath-school library.
The first settlers were Asa MORRIS, Edward MORRIS, Rossel ALLEN,
Nathan ALLEN, Ira ALLEN, Levi ALLEN, James DWYER, and Hezekiah GOFF, before
mentioned. William LEBARON, began about the same time, (1802). Rossel ALLEN
moved back to Pomfret. Mr. DUNHAM took his place, and afterwards Samuel
FARRAR, father of Hon. Harvey D. FARRAR, of this village. Nathan ALLEN
was deacon of the Congregational church of East Berkshire, but a society
of Methodists being formed in his own neighborhood, he joined them and
remained in their communion to the time of his death. His widow is still
living, aged 85 years.
BY REV. B.
In the year 1802, Elijah HEDDING, afterward Bishop, on his way to
appointments in Canada, stopped and preached the first Methodist sermon
town, at the house of Hugh MILLER, as has been before said, I do not know
as there was any more preaching by the Methodists in the town till after
the war with England. Then they had occasional preaching supplied them
from the Fairfield Circuit by Isaac HILL, James and Samuel COVEL and ___
NORTHROP. The first regular appointment was by Salmon STEBBENS at the house
of R. WRIGHT; then by Fitch REED at the house of Dr. A. LUSK in 1825, Elijah
CRANE and Orville KIMNPTON of the Sheldon circuit, assisted by two English
missionaries from St. Armand, Matthew LANG and William SQUIRES, commenced
a series of meetings, from which quite a revival occurred; and a Mass was
formed and attached to the Sheldon circuit, viz. of Dr. Alvin LUSK and
wife, Rebecca GOFF, Rebecca CARR, Porter BLISS and wife, and within a few
days Jay POWELL and wife, making up eight members; and that same fall the
number was increased to 30 or 40. Jay POWELL (who with his wife are the
only members now remaining), was immediately appointed assistant class-leader.
Dr. LUSK was leader. In one year, Jay POWELL was appointed class-leader
and steward, which office he held for about 20 years. Oct. 5, 1827, he
was licensed to exhort by Rev. William TODD. Jan. 30, 1830, he received
a license as a local preacher from the presiding elder, John CLARK. The
31st day of August, 1834, he was ordained deacon by Bishop HEDDING. He
is still waiting with his harness on for the consolation of Israel, respected
and loved by the church as its spiritual father.
In 1842, the Methodist Episcopal church and the Calvinistic Baptist
church built a union meeting-house, which is now occupied by the different
religious bodies of the town. As the Sheldon circuit increased in membership
it was divided, and the Richford class was embraced in the Franklin circuit,
and when the Franklin circuit was divided this class was embraced in the
Berkshire circuit, and the next division left it in the Montgomery circuit.
In the spring of 1861, Richford was set off from the Montgomery circuit
and formed the Richford and East Berkshire circuit, with its headquarters
at Richford, and Rev. B. F. LIVINGSTON was sent to take charge. From that
time it has had a resident minister. In the fall of 1864 it had completed
its new parsonage. The following is a list of the ministers having charge
of this society since the class was first formed, with the date of their
pastorate: 1825-6, Elijah CRANE; 1827-8, William TODD; 1829-'30, Jacob
LEONARD; 1831-32, Benjamin MARVIN; 1833-34, Stephen Stiles; 1835-‘36, Reuben
WASHBURN; 1837-‘38, Alanson RICHARDS; 1839-‘40, Mr. GREGG; 1841, Mr. MCKELLAPS
1842-3, B. M. HALL; 1844-5, Hiram DUNN; 1846-7, John SAGE ; 1848-9, Myron
WHITE and John HASLEM; 1850-1, D. H. LOVELAND; 1852-3, Mr. TAYLOR; 1854-5,
Benjamin COX; 1856-7, J. S. MOTT and D. LEWIS; 1858-9, Alfred EATON; 1860,
Truman WILLIAMS; 1861-2, B. F. LIVINGSTON; 1863-4, Densmore AUSTIN; 1865-6,
S. DONALDSON; 1867-8, B. F. LIVINGSTON.
The membership of the Methodist church, including only those residing
in town, is over 90.
DENOMINATION IN RICHFORD
BY REV. A.
The first Baptist Church in this town was organized Aug. 12, 1802.
A council composed of delegates from St. Armand and Sutton, Canada, met
at the house of F. GIBBS in Sutton, and held the public services of recognition.
There were 5 male and 6 female constituent members, namely: J. FRENCH,
F. BROWN, F. GIBBS, S. CARPENTER, J. ROWE, S. FRENCH, R. GIBSON, L. GIBBS,
F. CARPENTER, C. SCOVILLE and N. CALF. The first members received into
the church at her first covenant, meeting, Aug. 21, 1802, were Thomas ARMS
and his wife, Martha ARMS. The first persons baptized in Richford were
Stephen CARPENTER and his wife, Florinda CARPENTER and Rhoda GIBSON. They
were baptized by Rev. William MARSH, pastor of the Baptist church in Sutton,
who previously, had occasionally preached in town. He and Rev. Jedediah
HIBBARD of St. Armand, who also made occasional visits here, were evidently
the first Baptist ministers that preached in the town. Rev. William MARSH
continued his labors with the church, a part of his time during the first,
and a part of the second year, of her history.
Dec. 18, 1803, the church called to the pastorate the Rev. William
ROGERS of Stanbridge, Canada. He accepted; and in March, 1804, moved into
the town and commenced a pastorate which continued for 45 years.
The present, or third Baptist church in Richford, was organized
July 16, 1851. The recognizing council was composed of delegates from the
Baptist Churches in Enosburgh, Montgomery, Fairfield, and St. Armand. There
were 14 constituent members; most of whom had previously been members of
the first or second Baptist churches in Richford. The first pastor was
Rev. J. C. BRYANT. He was succeeded in 1857, by Rev. A. BEDELL. In 1860
Rev. A. L. ARMS was called to the pastorate, in which capacity he is still
serving. He was ordained Feb. 17, 1853. Two others, to wit, G. W. ARMS
and William S. BLAISDELL, who formerly belonged with this church, are now
ministers of the gospel. In September last this church reported 67 members.
But few of these, however, reside in Richford.
June 22, 1867, a branch of this church was formed in St. Armand,
Canada, where a revival commenced in February of that year, and continued
for some 15 months. Most of the members reside here in the vicinity of
the pastor's residence.
Additions were made to the church from time to time, and for 20
years a good degree of prosperity was enjoyed. But in November, 1825, some
difference in doctrinal views between the members of the church, resulted
in the formation of a second Baptist church. An attempt was made in 1834,
to reunite the two churches, but without success.
This division left the first church in a weak condition; and the
additions being comparatively few, the constant diminution by death and
removal, &c., resulted in the extinction of the church. The last entry
upon the book of record bears date Feb. 5, 1848. From 1839 to 1842, Rev.
James ROCKWELL was assistant pastor. Three individuals, once members of
this church have subsequently become ministers of the gospel, to wit, John
STEARNS, Prosper POWEL and Albert STONE.
SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH
The Second Baptist Church, as intimated above, was formed in 1825,
or soon after. No records of this church being at hand, a few general Statements
from memory only can be given. She had an existence of about 15 years,
and enjoyed the labors of Rev. Prosper POWEL, James ROCKWELL, John SPAULDING,
Albert STONE, William ARTHUR and Wellington SORNBORGER. In 1842 this church,
in connection with the Methodist Episcopal church, erected the first meeting-house
in town. A good revival was enjoyed in 1842, and quite a number were added
to the church. But through the labors of Rev. Columbus GREEN and others,
the greater part of the members embraced the doctrines advocated by William
MILLER, in consequence of which the church became extinct in 1844.
BY REV. A.
In A. D. 1857-61, labors were bestowed occasionally in East Richford
and vicinity, by S. D. Adventist ministers, and a. small company soon became
believers. Since that time the friends in Richford met frequently with
the S. D. A. church in Enosburgh, and vice versa. In 1863, Elders A. S.
HUTCHINS and A. C. and D. T. BOURDEAU organized a S. D. A. church in East
Richford, of 13 members; appointed a local elder, clerk, and S. B. treasurer;
and the church set down their figures on systematic benevolence amounting
to $10.00 per year. Since then others have been added to their numbers;
and at present (1869) 24 in the organization, pay on S, B. more than $120.00
per year, which means are used to help in the furtherance of the cause.
They propose to erect a house of worship the ensuing season, and have pledges
already toward the enterprise amounting to nearly $800.00. This church
is favored from time to time with the services of Elders A. STONE and A.
Major Caleb ROYCE was an early settler of this town. He with his
wife were emigrants from Tinmouth in this State, where they were born and
lived until they removed to Richford.
The commission of Caleb ROYCE as Major of the third regiment in
the third division of Vermont militia, given and signed by Isaac TICHENOR,
governor, the 4th day of July, 1806, and also the commission of governor
TICHENOR of Caleb ROYCE as Justice of the peace, dated Nov. 5, 1808, are
now in the hands of his son, I. S. ROYCE, of this town. Major ROYCE held
the latter office until within a few years of his death, In August 1844.
Bradford POWELL was born in Brimfield, Mass., in 1775. His father,
Rowland POWELL, moved to Hartford, Vt., where he lived several years, and
then moved to Sheldon.
Bradford, then a young man, lived with Col. BOWDITCH of Fairfield,
worked days, and studied nights, and obtained a tolerable business education.
He came to Richford as early as 1799, and his name appears on the record
as one of the first listers. He surveyed the first and second divisions
of land for his uncle, Jonathan JANES, agent for the original proprietors
of said town. He commenced and cleared a farm in the bow of the river,
where the writer now lives. He married Clarrissa GOFF April, 1803. After
the freshet had carried off the bridge, and trip-hammer, and Dr. WILLOUGHBY's
store was burned in 1808, he moved on to the place where William CORLISS
He formed a copartnership with his brother John, and Horace JANES
of St. Albans, and commenced trade in a small store on the ground where
Alvin GOFF's house now stands. Goods came principally from Montreal, but
the embargo and war of 1812 broke up their trade. He was deputy collector
of customs under Solomon WALBRIDGE, Gov. C. P. VAN NESS of Burlington.
There were troublesome times on the line, stealing, plundering and smuggling
being the order or the day. On one occasion, for seizing a team, he had
every hoof of stock driven into Canada. A black horse was never returned.
A company of cavalry was sent here in October, 1812. The following
names appear on his book, Daniel WINCHESTER, David CURTIS, Josiah BENNETT,
Elisha HUTCHINS, Joseph WHITE, P. STRONG, Sargeant BURTON, and others.
Forage being scarce here, they were exchanged for a company of Infantry,
Jan. 8, 1813. The following names appear; Capt. MORRILL, Lieut. Rufus SIMONS,
Ensign BUGBY, and others remained during the winter.
There was a smugglers' road through North Berkshire, where a heavy
business was carried on. Two custom officers were not sufficient to stop
the trade over this road. Two soldiers at a time stood guard. On one occasion,
two sentinels were overpowered and taken into Canada, but hearing from
the commander of this department, Gen. FIFIELD, they concluded best to
give them up. Before the war was closed, there was an arbitration on the
line, to settle disputes about seizures, driving off cattle, &c., which
brought together a large number from both sides of the line, Gov. C. P.
VAN NESS and others, from this side, and lawyers from the other side, were
in attendance three days. During this time, as was customary, there was
a ring for wrestling, in which the champions from both sides engaged. It
was finally agreed to decide the war, each side to furnish its man. The
side whose champion was thrown was to be beaten. Mr. WARREN from Stanbridge,
and Jonathan SMITH of this town, were the chosen men. After two or three
hours' wrestling, Jonathan floored his antagonist. It was satisfactory
to all parties, and he afterwards wore the champion's belt.
After the war, the cold seasons, as before stated, commenced, and
some families had to live without much bread. The subject of this sketch
had 9 children to provide for, his health was poor and be had to mortgage
land which he never redeemed. His sickness was long and severe. He was
a member of the Baptist church, and died in hope of a better life, June
11, 1820, aged 45 years. His widow lived till Sept. 19, 1864, being 79
years of age.
Joseph Parker came to Richford in 1802, and settled on land south
of what is called the Parker pond. The county-road was laid and chopped
out from Berkshire, by this pond, through the geographical centre of the
town, to what is called the MACK place. About this time a few settled on
this road, viz: a family by the name of ADAMS, Phineas R. WRIGHT, Hibbard
DELANO, and Abner MACK. But hills were high and hard and the road was never
worked. Joseph PARKER moved into the North part of the town, on the place
where Edwin WHEELER now live. He died. May 7, 1823, aged 70 years. He was
town clerk, represented the town several times in the state legislature,
and was justice of the peace. He had five sons, Russell, John, Ariel, Sterling
and Chauncey. Russel lived to an old age -- about 96 years. John married
Betsey JEWETT; died at south Richford, leaving one child, John PARKER,
now living in Ohio; the widow married Andrew CUMMINGS; was the mother of
Elam CUMMINGS, a Congregational minister living in Highgate. STERLING was
a leading man in town business; died August 19, 1828, aged 47 years. Ariel
died a few years since aged 80 years. Chauncey is now living in town.
Ephraim CORLISS came to this town in 1804, and commenced on the
lot of land now owned by the Rev. William PUFFER. He married Abigal GOFF,
by whom he bad 12 children, all living except one, James, the eldest. He
worked hard and fared hard in the former part of his life. He was a worthy
christian man, and a member of the Baptist church. He died Feb 21, 1841,
aged 59 years. His widow is still living in town, aged and infirm, and
looking for that blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God,
and our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Dr. Wm. SAMSON was the first physician that settled in town. He
built a house where Charles S. ROYCE now lives, in about 1801. He practiced
here about 3 years and then moved to Berkshire, where he died. Dr. Alvin
LURK commenced practice in 1816. He lived in town until 1827. He had a
large practice and accumulated a handsome property. He spent the last years
of his life at East Franklin. Dr. John HUSE came to this town in the spring
of 1828. He was born in Sandown, N. H., in 1798. His father moved to Stratford
about 1808. He studied medicine at Lebanon, N. H., and attended medical
lectures at Hanover. He first commenced the practice of medicine at Enosburgh,
Vt., in 1826. He next went to West Berkshire, where he staid 2 years, and
moved to Richford in 1828, where he now resides. He has had a long and
successful practice, and has been town clerk about 15 years, and held other
town offices. He is aged and infirm, and now lives with his son-in-law,
Hon. Silas P. CARPENTER of this village. Drs. HAMILTON and SMITH are now
our regular physicians.
Hezekiah GOFF, Sen., came to this town in 1802, and began at the
south part of the town, where he built a saw-mill and grist-mill on a small
stream. He was a soldier in the war of the American Revolution. He lived
at South Richford until the war of 1812, when he enlisted for 5 years,
and took with him two sons, Seth and Jonathan, his sister's son, John PARKER,
now Col. PARKER of Essex, Vt., and Elias COMBS, a grandson, now living
While in the war his place ran down and he lost his land. He died
Fob. 1848, aged 95 years, his wife the mother of 18 children, died in 1815,
when he was in the war.
BY MRS. LAURA
Jonathan CARPENTER was among the early settlers of this town. He
was born in Rutland, 1784. His father moved to Berkshire when ha was quite
young, where he lived a while. He was soon obliged to rely wholly upon
his own exertions, and, therefore, apprenticed himself to a tanner and
shoe-maker, where by diligent application to business and study, be formed
habits which shaped his after life. He came to this town as early as 1800,
and in 1810, he married Patience ROGERS, daughter of Rev. Win. ROGERS,
and settled on a small farm bordering on Canada line, he built a rude log-house
in which he lived, and a small shop for shoe-making -- this was also made
of logs. His vats for tanning leather were made on a flat near a brook
without any covering excepting a few loose boards thrown over them and
covered with tan in winter to keep them from freezing. His bark-mill consisted
of a platform, or plank on the ground, on which a large slab of stone,
rounded, was turned around a center shaft by one horse. The bark being
thrown in the track of the stone was ground to sufficient fineness for
tanning purposes. Bu: the increasing demand for leather induced him to
sell his farm on the line, and remove to the Falls.
In 1826, he commenced business at the Falls, on the north side of
the river, on the site where O. J. SMITH's boot and shoe-store now stands.
In addition to his leather manufacturing, he built a store near the north
end of the bridge, where he did an extensive business, and also, an ashery
opposite on the bank of the river, where that part of Union Block, occupied
by L. ROUNDS as a store, now stands. He did a successful business, owing
partly to the fact, as he used to say, "that tanning would be good business
as long as children were born barefoot."
He was an enterprising and influential citizen, possessed of a sound
judgment, and scrupulously honest. He held nearly all town offices, justice
of the peace for 25 or 30 years in succession, town clerk a number of years.
He was the first mover in the cause of temperance in this town, and was
during his life a firm supporter of the cause. He was a believer in the
Christian religion, and died in the faith, Sept. 1859.
BY MRS. LAURA
Rep. Jay POWELL was born in Richford, March 7, 1804. His father,
Bradford POWELL, died when he was about 16 years of age, leaving 9 children.
Jay being the eldest, the care of the family consequently, devolved upon
him. At the time of his father's death, his estate, owing to cold seasons
and hard times and a protracted sickness of 3 years, was in an embarrassed
condition. He managed to provide for the smaller children until places
could be, found for them. He then went to work wherever he could find employment,
to raise money to pay the debts that were against the estate. Money being
hard to be obtained, ordinary labor would not command money, consequently
he was compelled to resort to any kind of labor that would bring money.
He stayed in the woods for months at a time, making ashes, the principal
source of raising money in those, times.
In less than 5 years he had succeeded in paying all debts against
the estate, and saved the property for the children. He married E. M. SMITH
in 1824; in 1825 he experienced religion and was one of 8 members that
formed the first Methodist class in town, of which he is now the only surviving
He was appointed leader of the class, afterward labored as an exhorter
for some time, and was finally ordained deacon in 1834, at Plattsburgh.
Ho never joined the conference, but labored on the plan of the circuit,
filling a share of the appointments. He never received any compensation
for his labor, but like most local preachers, labored with his hands during
the week, and preached on the Sabbath.
There being no settled Methodist preacher in town, he was often
called to attend funerals, which called him; away from his secular business
-- thus dividing his labors, when his growing family required his whole
attention. He never wholly gave up preaching, but for quite a number of
years preached but little, He was always zealous to promote the interest
of the church, yet at the same time liberal in his views.
He manifested, when but a boy, true moral courage and manhood, while
struggling under the weight of poverty with a view to better days. The
same decision of character which marked his youthful days, has through
life exhibited itself in the discharge of his moral and religious duties.
He has at times, held many important offices in town. During the last 10
years he has suffered much from congestion and loss of one lung. He now
lives on the farm where he was born, feeble in health, awaiting the call
of the Master, when he hopes to obtain a better life.
BY MRS. LAURA
Rev. William ROGERS was born at Hancock, Mass., June 6, 1773. His
father, Clark ROGERS, was a native of Rhode Island. He was a Baptist minister,
and the first settled minister of that place; no dates of his birth or
death are left.
Rev. William ROGERS was married to Susannah CARR, April 28-1791,
after which he resided in Hancock 5 years. He then removed to St. Armand,
P. Q, where he resided until 1804. He experienced religion when about 18
years of age, but did not make a public profession until after his removal
to the Province. About the age of 24, his attention was again called to
the subject, in a powerful manner. The nature of his exercises and emotions
are described by the following lines composed by him at the time:
ago, and some above,
Christ I fell in love,
I never knew before;
thy mercies give me more!
to God I then did make,
shame for Jesus' sake;
Alas! my vows I broke,
me under Satan's yoke.
my Lord has come again,
my soul quite free from sin;
in his redeeming blood,
I now can
praise a pardoning God.
into the once slain Lamb
to plead for rebel man.
the merit of his blood,
may praise a pardoning God.
~ Wm. Rogers
It was some time before he made a public profession. He entertained
doubts in regard to his fitness for baptism. He was the second person baptised
by immersion in St. Armand, and one of the seven that constituted the first
Baptist church in that place, and was appointed deacon.
His mind soon became exercised in regard to his duty to preach the
gospel The Baptist church in Stanbridge being destitute of a preacher,
solicited his services, and he was therefore damned to the work of the
ministry Sept. 1802, Elders Sam'! ROGERS, J. MARSH and J. HIBBARD being
present. He labored there until 1804 when he removed to Richford, where
he became pastor of the First Baptist Church, which at the time numbered
but very few communicants, but afterwards became a prosperous church.
He was a preacher of the old stamp. He enjoyed but few advantages
for literary culture, but Providence had given him that in greatest plenty,
which would be most useful to him in his condition in life. He was a man
of close observation, and accurate discrimination, he permitted nothing
to pass without his notice, and possessing a rare memory, he was enabled
to accommodate the knowledge thus obtained to the purposes of life.
His life was governed by fixed religious principles, and whatever
he believed to be right, that he dared maintain, and ever had the courage
to be true to his convictions, and express them boldly, even when such
a course placed him in opposition to his friends.
His ideas of reform were wholly upon gospel principles, he discarded
the idea of forming societies, or organizations other than church organizations.
enjoyed the confidence and respect of the community. He several times represented
the town in the State Legislature. He died March 9, 1851. His widow survived
him a little more than a year, and died at the residence of her eldest
son, who has since removed to Orleans Co., where he still resides the only
surviving member of the family.
Embracing A History of Each Town,
Ecclesiastical, Biographical and Military."
II, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille & Orange Counties.
Also The Natural History of Chittenden County.
and Published by Miss Abby Maria Hemenway.
by Karima Allison 2004