"This is a good township of land, productive of wool, grain and other northern commodities.  The River Missisco passes through the town, and Black Creek, a branch of that river, gives Sheldon ample water power.  The village is a thriving place, both in its manufactures and trade . . . The settlement of Sheldon was commenced about the year 1790 by Colonel Elisha Sheldon, and Samuel B. Sheldon, emigrants from Salisbury, Connecticut.  The settlement advanced with considerable rapidity, and the town was soon organized." 
 

Gazetteer of Vermont, Hayward, 1840.
 



HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF
SHELDON

BY 
Dr. H. B. WHITNEY.*
[*Deceased.]


For early memories round me throng,
Old times, old manners, and old men. -- M. F. Topper.

      Upon the map of the State, a township of pentagonal shape will be observed occupying nearly the central portion of Franklin Co. That town, originally called HUNGERFORD, was changed to Sheldon, Nov. 8, 1792. It is embraced between 44° 54' N. 1st. and 4° 1' E. long. from Washington. Highgate, Franklin and Enosburgh bound it on the N., Fairfield and Swanton on the S., Enosburgh on the E., Highgate and Swanton on the W. It contains 23,040 acres, and is longest from east to west, being about 11 miles; and 4, at its widest part, north and south.

      There are no ponds, marshes or bodies of standing water, of the least extent, within its boundaries. The three principal streams are the Missisquoi, Black Creek and Tyler's Branch. 

      The Missisquoi derives its name from the Indian words Missi meaning much, and Kiscoo waterfowl, from the great number of cranes, herons and ducks, that frequented, and still frequent, this stream and its branches every season. Next to Otter Creek it is the largest and longest stream in the State; (it has the width but not the depth of Otter Creek;) it is about 80 miles long and drains a surface of 600 square miles. It enters the town about a mile south of the N. E. corner, and about the same distance below Enosburgh Falls. At the end of another mile, running a westerly course, it is joined by one of its principal tributaries -- Tyler's Branch. Continuing along, in graceful curves, gradually bending southward, it receives another and its largest tributary-Black Creek. Here there is a general angle in its course and it bends to the N. W., and after flowing a distance of 4 or 5 miles, making numerous curves and affording several fine mill-privileges, it enters the town of Highgate; coursing, in its whole distance through the town, nearly or quite 11 miles. To assert that it has as wild and picturesque scenery-of foaming rapids and dashing cascades-as some of our mountain streams would be incorrect ; but in placidity of surface, green, sloping banks, gentle windings and flowing, graceful scenery, it is unsurpassed.

      Black Creek, running through Fairfield, enters Sheldon on the south, and empties into the Missisquoi 2 miles below. It has a good water-power about a mile above its mouth, at Sheldon. village, which is thoroughly.improved.

      Tyler's Branch, a stream of less size than Black Creek, enters the town on the east. After running scarcely more than a mile northwesterly, it adds its waters to those of the Missisquoi. Unlike the two former streams, however, whose currents are moderate and waters scarcely translucent, Tyler's Branch has a rapid flow, with a rippling, ruffled surface, and its limpid depths are as puts and sparkling as the mountain springs from which it flows. Besides these there are manor streams emptying into the Missisquoi at different points, the principal of which are Goodsell and Morrow brooks.

      There are several mineral springs situated in the western part of the town, upon lands until recently owned by L. ADAMS, Esq. The principal, or most noted, was discovered nearly 50 years ago by Moses KIMBALL and Eleazer DRAPER, and has always gone by the name of Kimball Spring, but came not into high repute until lately. Its waters are now considered a cure for cancerous and scrofulous affections, particularly. It is now owned by C. Bainbridge SMITH of New York City. Mr. SMITH himself was cured of cancer on the tongue by use of the water, when all hopes .of relief from the medical faculty had left him. The waters have been analyzed by a New York chemist. The principal properties are chloride of sodium, carbonate of sodium, chloride of magnesia, carbonate of magnesia, chloride of lime, alumina, sulphate of lime, silica, carbonate of iron, carbonic sulphoric acid, carbonate of manganese and hydro-chloric acid. It has no unpleasant or peculiar taste common to most mineral springs; it is a clear, cold, soft, spring water.

      Three or four other springs have been "tubed" in the immediate vicinity, all with different properties, but neither of them has yet been analyzed. One of them is strongly impregnated with sulphur. It is believed that, when tested, they will prove valuable acquisitions.

      The Kimball or "Missisquoi ‘A' Spring," as it is called, has a rough temporary bottling house erected over it, where thousands of bottles are filled by improved machinery and forwarded to market.

      Mr. SMITH, the proprietor, has recently purchased additional lands about the springs, and intends, the present season (1867), to ornament the grounds around them and erect a large hotel, near by, for the accommodation of invalids and guests. The villagers, too, residing at a distance of two miles are preparing for visitors; and Mr. WRIGHT, the proprietor of the Central, has enlarged and is putting in order his house for guests.

      The surface of the town is pleasantly diversified by broad valleys and gentle rolling uplands. Bordering upon the Misssisquoi and principal streams are wide and expansive intervals appearing like one unbroken garden or field of cultivation. The quality of soil, too, is unsurpassed, if not unequalled -- a deep, rich alluvial. The uplands, receding gradually in most places north and south of ha Misssisquoi valley, are of a rich mellow loam and very productive. Perhaps one of the best evidences of the high estimation which is placed upon Sheldon, as a farming district, is the fact that wealthy men from the cities have here purchased farms, considering them valuable investments.

      The higher lands are timbered with ash, beech, birch, maple, oak, &c. In the vallies and bordering upon the streams, where they remain uncleared, are tracts of valuable pine and hemlock, with a mixture of butternut, elm, and other soft woods. The pine tract, originally and at present, predominates in the western part of the town, where the soil is lighter and less productive.

      Geologically there are three distinct general formations crossing the town in lines nearly north and south with strikes almost parallel. In the eastern and larger part, strata of slate, beds of chlorite, and considerable talcose slate abound. The central formation is similar to the former, having more of talcose slate. In the western part, marble formations exist, together with magnesian and silicious limestone, and strata of magnesium slate. It is in the eastern part of this formation that the mineral springs are situated, and it is plausibly apparent that the properties developed by Chemistry are stoutly and consistently substantiated by its elder sister-science Geology. The dip of the rocks, in the eastern part of the town, is from 75 to 80 degrees, in the north and west, 60 to 65.

      The town was originally called HUNGERFORD, from Samuel HUNGERFORD, to whom, with 64 others, it was granted, in 1763. HUNGERFORD resided in New Fairfield, Ct. Some of the other grantees lived in Greenwich, Ct. Among them was Uriah FIELD, or "Daddy FIELD" as he was familiarly called, an exemplary old quaker. In course of time he seems to have acquired, by purchase, the greater part of the town. It was of him and Timothy ROGERS, living in Ferrisburgh Vt., and who was one of the town's first surveyors that the SHELDONs bought, and gave it their name. Year after year, for nearly 20 years, did "old daddy FIELD" and his two sons, wearing their broad-brimmed hats and quaint suits of gray, visit Sheldon, riding all the way from Connecticut on horseback, to receive their annual pay, which was in part beef-cattle, which they drove to New York markets.

      The first of the SHELDONs that visited the town was Samuel B., or "Major Sam," as he was afterwards called. He and Elisha, Jr., and George were sons of Col, Elisha SHELDON. It was in 1789 that Major Sam first came to town. His object in coming was to look the township over and inspect the soil previous to purchasing. Instead of approaching as the early settlers afterwards did by the way of Fairfield, alone, unaccompanied by man or beast, he ascended the Lamoille to Cambridge; passed through Bakersfield, then an unfrequented wilderness, striking one of the branches that empties into Tyler's Branch, which he descended until he reached the point where the latter stream joins the Missisquoi, and, to him within the bounds of the promised land. It being nightfall, he stopped here until morning, and a large elm was long pointed out as the one beneath which be first slept; (distant many a mile from any habitation or human being save, perchance, the lurking red man,) with no covering or protoction -- nothing save a "portmanteau for a pillow."

      In the spring of 1790, George, the youngest son of Col. SHELDON, accompanied by a sturdy old Scotchman by the name of MAC NAMARA and his wife, together with several negro servants, came to town as "first settlers;" their only means of locomotion being a yoke of oxen and sled. From the town of Fairfield -- the nearest settled point for a distance of 10 miles, they marked trees for a road through the dense wood to the Missisquoi, Here, upon the north side of the river, opposite the outlet of Tyler's Branch, and scarcely more than a stone's throw from old elm beneath which Major Sam passed a: lonely night, the year previous, they constructed a log house -- the first built in town by white men, and upon land now owned by J. TOWLE, Esq.

      Here also was the first tree felled, the first ground broken, and the first seed planted.


"What could lure their steps
To this drear desert?
Bleak Nature's desolation wraps them round, 
Eternal forests, and unyielding earth,
And savage men, who through the thickets peer
With vengeful arrow."

      After the crops were harvested the negroes returned to Burlington to pass the winter. George also started for home in Connecticut, leaving MAC NAMARA and wife to keep watch and ward over matters at the settlement until the return of spring. The sufferings and sorrows of the lonely settler -- his trust and determination-have passed into tradition. Well does it illustrate the stern, unflinching character of the pioneer, and none more worthy than this resolute son of Caledonia -- it is this: on his way home George had requested a Mr. HAWLEY, living in Fairfield, to visit MAC NAMARA occasionally and see to him. HAWLEY agreed to, but failed to do so, even once. Early the next spring George returned, and, when be learned that HAWLEY had not seen him, he felt much concerned and hastened on. What was his astonishment when he reached the settlement, to find that MAC NAMARA's wife had died and that he had covered the body in a snow-bank near the house. She was afterward buried on the south side of the river, about a quarter of a mile distant, upon a "hemlock ridge," and there, alone, where no monument nor tablet marks the spot, and where the exact place cannot be indicated, for

"The gravestone is the seal,"

is pointed out the "bold, bald bluff" wherein lies buried the first known white person that died within the town's limits.

      Later in the spring, Col. SHELDON and his sons, Elisha, Jr., Maj. Sam. and son-in-law, Elnathan KEYES, together with their families and that of George, and their Negro servants, also James Herrick and James HAWLEY, arrived in town. While on their way, as near as can be ascertained, at the house of Daniel STANNARD, in Georgia, the first town organization took place. Col. SHELDON, Elisha, Jr., Maj. Sam. and James HAWLEY were appointed selectmen, and James HERRICK, constable. Settling at different points, all parties began in earnest the clearing of lands and growing of crops. Meanwhile others joined them and the settlement advanced, with considerable rapidity, so that, in 1796, 33 votes were cast for Samuel HITCHCOCK, M. C., and, undoubtedly, some did not vote.

      The St. Francis Indians were a cause of no little apprehension to the inhabitants for a number of years; even as late as the "last war." The Missisquoi and its branches abounding with their favorite trout, and the valleys and hills bordering affording much game, were to them a rich hunting-ground; to which, until within a few years, they tenaciously held claim. That large inland peninsula formed by the St. Francis, Missisquoi and Richelieu rivers, was particularly claimed and reluctantly yielded. Although they never did much injury to the settlers, they always appeared sullen and angry and threatened vengeance in case of war; especially upon the SHELDON's, for whom they Had an inveterate hatred, and on one occasion burned a barn of theirs filled with grain But succeeding years of peace and security ensued; and all thoughts of the tomahawk and scalping-knife have been forgotten; to be remembered only by the searching antiquarian, or the whistling plough-boy, as he exhumes at his feet the flint-beaded arrow and stone hatchet -- sad mementoes of a peculiar and unfortunate people, who have lived, flourished, and passed away,

"But their name is on your waters,
You may not wash it out."

      Wild animals of all kinds, common to northern Vermont, abounded in town at the time of its settlement. Of the larger, there were moose and bears, together with packs of wolves, and herds of deer. Wolves, in particular, were a great annoyance, for a long time. Whole flocks of sheep were sometimes destroyed by them in a single night. Fires had to be kindled about the barns, and lights hung in the yards to frighten them away. Retiring to the hills they would howl dismally through the night, while the hoarse sound of "wolves! wolves!" would be shouted from house to house. So bold were they, in some instances, that prints of their paws have been found upon the snow-covered window-sills in the morning. For many years wolf-hunts were organized, usually under the management of Capt. G. W. KENDALL, and generally successful. Bears were so common and fearless that travelers have been confronted by them and forced to take to the nearest tree. Such an instance is truthfully related of S. B. HURLBUT, Esq., late of Sheldon, deceased. When a young man, he had visited a neighbor, and, on his return home, just after sunset, passing through a wood, he encountered a bear, sitting in the foot-path in front of him, accompanied by her cubs. Although young HURLBUT was an unflinching Democrat of the Jackson school and could always substantiate his politics with sound argument, he could effect no "Compromise" whatever with this unconditional champion Of "SQUATTER SOVEREIGNTY." He, therefore, sought and climbed the nearest tree, where he hallooed "bears  bears! bears!" until the neighbors went to his assistance with lanterns, and bruin beat a hasty retreat. Moose were plenty, at first, but the permanent presence of the settlers forced them to take to other parts. The only' one ever known to have been killed in town, was shot by Geo. SHELDON, not far from the present residence of S. B. HERRICK, Esq. Deer never herded in more congenial places than here, as evidenced by the tenacity with which they clung to their old "runways." Long after a greater part of the forests had been cleared, and, until within a few years, they have been seen coming down from the eastern part of the county, where it is mountainous and wooded, revisiting former scenes; like the solitary canoe of the St. Francis Indian, that now and then is seen to descend the Missisquoi.

      What would we of to-day, sitting at our ease, think of going nearly 40 miles to get a single bushel of grain ground, or twice that distance, if we wished to send or receive a paper or letter; yet such was the ease with the early inhabitants. The nearest flouring-mill was at Plattsburgh, and post-office, at Middlebury. But a few years elapsed, however, before the enterprise of the inhabitants caused a better state of things to exist. In 1792 Major SHELDON built a saw-mill at the lower falls not far from what is now known as Olmsted's Mills, about 2 miles from the present village of SHELDON. It was built there on account of the great amount of pine lumber in the immediate vicinity, A few years later, in 1797, be built a grist-mill on the west side of the creek. In 1799, Israel KEITH built a furnace and forge, and for a long time a flourishing business was done; employing, much of the time, 100 men or more, to supply it with coal and iron. Quite an extensive ore-bed was discovered and worked not far from the present residence of Charles KEITH. On this account and the great amount of business done by the furnace company, iron was long called " Sheldon currency." In 1803 a carding-mill was built, and, the same year, a post-office established, Dr. HILDRETH was appointed Postmaster; date of commission, Jan. 15, 1803. Dr. H. was also first physician in town, and first tavern-keeper. The first store was kept by Benjamin CLARK, who afterwards sold out to SHELDON, KEITH and FITCH. The first fneeman's meeting was holden in the eastern part of the town, at the house of Jedediah TUTTLE; S. B. SHELDON was chosen representative; he was also first town clerk, and held the office till the time of his death, 1807. Since that the town clerks have been: Ebenezer MARVIN, from 1807 to '13; Chauncey FITCH, from 1813 to '15; E. H. WEAD, from 1815 to '16; Samuel WEAD, from 1816 to '18; E. H. WEAD, from 1818 to '19; Charles GALLUP, from 1819 to '20; Samuel WEAD, from 1820 to '32; E. B. PECKHAM, from 1832 to '35 Oliver A. KEITH, from 1835 to '41; Theophilus MANSFIELD, from 1841 to '43 ; A. M. BROWN, from 1843 to the present time.

      The first birth in town was a colored child; its mother, "Old Mary," was a servant of Col. SHELDON, who bought her in Connecticut where she was sold for the commission of some crime. The second child born was Harry DEMING, son of Frederick DEMING; the third, Louisa SHELDON, daughter of Geo. SHELDON. Although the early history of Sheldon has much of peculiar interest; there is no point, probably, around which so much of romantic and historic incident clusters, as in the immediate vicinity of the outlet of Tyler's Branch. Here, within the radius of a quarter of a mile, stood the elm, beneath which first slept Major SHELDON; here was built the first log-house and barn -- the latter of which was afterwards burned by the Indians; here was born the first white female child in town; here, too, was erected the first framed barn, which is still standing, owned by J. TOWLE, though much unlike the original, from much repairing; here, too, was a brick-kiln -- fragments of brick being still seen; here, also, the first death and first burial.

      Who first preached in town cannot definitely be ascertained, as there was no church, consequently no church record. Rev. Messrs. PARKER and WOOSTER, of the Congregational, and Rev. Stephen BEACH, of the Episcopal church, commenced preaching here about the same year, 1807. Rev. Mr. HILL, Methodist, preached here in 1812. These are the three principal denominations in town; and the only ones that have erected houses of worship, and that have, regularly, Sabbath and Sunday-School services. There are four church edifices in town; one each of the Congregational, Episcopal and Methodist, at Sheldon village, and one union house at East Sheldon, built mainly by the Congregational and Episcopal societies. The first church built was by the Episcopalians, in 1824. The present officiating clergymen, at the above churches, are Rev. Geo. B. TOLMAN, Congregational, Rev. Albert H. BAILEY, D.D., Episcopal, Rev. N. W. FREEMAN, Methodist. Rev. Mr. HIMES, a Baptist, preaches occasionally at the union house, East Sheldon. Although there is a small collection of houses at the latter place, there is but one village in town, -- commonly called Sheldon Creek; being situated upon Black Creek. Here there are 3 churches, a post-office, 3 stores, 2 hotels, 2 groceries, 1 grist-mill, 1 woolen factory, 1 foundry, 1 paper-bag mill, 1 sawestmill, 1 carriage-shop, 1 cabinet, 1 harness, and 2 blacksmith shops. Here, also, was located Missisquoi Bank, with which there is connected so much supposed mystery. It is a little more than a year since H. G. HUBBELL, for many years the cashier, disappeared, a defaulter to a considerable amount, and has not been heard from since. From its central position, the county conventions and nearly all gatherings, pertaining to county affairs, are here holden. A few years ago a strong effort was made by the town and its friends, for the removal of the county buildings to Sheldon; but the superior influence and wealth, and a better knowledge of "wire-pulling," gave them to St. Albans. In the western part of the town is the poor-house farm, owned, and its expenses paid, in proportion to the grand list, by the following towns: (each having the privilege of sending here their poor irrespective of numbers): Berkshire, Enosburgh, Albans and Swanton. The farm contains  about 300 acres; upon it are 17 cows and 90' sheep. The whole number of paupers, July 19, 1866, was 62 males 33 females 29; the list from each town at that time is as follows:

 
Males
Females
Grand List
Berkshire
3
1
 $4,048.17
Enosburgh
0
4
 $4,525.90
Fairfield
3
 $5,167.44
Franklin
5
2
 $4,068.01
Highgate
4
4
 $5,410.72
Sheldon
9
9
 $4,261.78
St. Albans
7
4
 $12,773.48
Swanton
3
2
 $6,067.59
      There is a school taught the present season by a Miss TRAVERS, at $1.50 per week; number of scholars 20. Altogether, for an establishment of the kind, it does credit to the towns having its charge.

      The roads in town are usually kept in good repair. Several fine bridges span the Missisquoi at different points; but the immense amount of teaming that passes over them, especially during the rains of Fall and Spring, cut them up badly. Probably there is no valley in Vermont -- I might say in New England -- where there is hauled, up and down, so much freight, produce, goods, &c., as in Missisquoi valley. To obviate or alleviate this in a measure, a few years since a plank road was built from St. Albans to North Sheldon, a distance of about 12 miles, costing $50,000. The bridge across the Missisquoi alone, cost $15,000. It has 4 arches, 5 piers, and is 640 feet long. For a number of years this was very much used by loaded teams; but the plank wore out and, not being replaced, the only resort was the old rough turn-pike. The thing most needed up the Missisquoi valley, is a railroad connecting the Vt. Central and the Passumpsic.

      The town is divided into 11 school districts, where schools are taught during the Summer and Winter. There is also a graded school at Sheldon-creek, in which there are three departments and as many teachers. The higher grade is under the charge of Miss O. S. SMITH and has been highly. commended, by state and town superintendents; it is attended by a goodly number of scholars from a distance.

      Dairying has long been the leading pursuit of the farmers of Sheldon. Introduced by James MASON, who might appropriately be styled the "father of dairying," in Franklin county at least, it has grown and developed from year to year to its present important scale. Fairfield may produce more butter, from its very much greater extent of surface, but all the production of cheese, Sheldon, no doubt, leads the State. It has been estimated that, upon an extent of territory 4 miles square, there are fed and milked nearly 1500 cows, or very near 100 to the square mile. There are 12 dairymen residing in the eastern part of the town, south of the Missisquoi, who milk from 35 to 100 cows each, and, when we remember that for each cow $50 is not an unusual average yield of the dairies, we estimate for 100 cows, $6000, and for 1500 cows $75,000. From this we readily perceive the pecuniary importance of the dairy, and the more encouraging is it to know that it cannot but prove as lasting as it is prosperous.

      Among the prominent professional men who have been townsmen, we may mention the names of Dr. S. S. FITCH, Ex-governor S. ROYCE, Hon. J. W. SHELDON, James S. BURT, J. J. Beardsley and others.

      The Franklin Republican, a weekly paper, was published here by J. W. TUTTLE, editor and proprietor, during the greater part of the years 1837, 38, 39. It was a creditable affair, and would compare favorably with some papers published in the State at the present time. The only vols. known by the writer to be extant, are in the possession of J. H. STUFFLEBEAU.

      The town of Sheldon is rich in traditions, but accounts of these are conflicting, uncertain, and the first inhabitants and the second generation, mostly, have passed away. We can only give a minor summary.

      As the town was unsettled during and previous to the Revolution, it had no "quota" to furnish; but among its settlers it had a goodly number of heroes. Among them were Col. SHELDON, Col. Elisha SMITH, Capt. Elisha SHELDON, Capt. Francis DUCLOS, Capt. Robert WOOD, and David SLOAN. During the "last war," especially at the time of the advance of the British upon Plattsburgh, the town was called upon and responded promptly, sending a company to the scene of action. The following is a correct account of the affair; Friday. Sept. 9 was spent in rallying the people and ascertaining who would go. Saturday morning, early, the company was organized and started on the march. Samuel WEND was appointed Captain, a Mr. WESTON Lieutenant, and John ELITHORP, Ensign. At sunset they had reached Sawyers' Tavern, on the western shore of Grand Isle, where they had to stop over night, failing to secure a crossing. Early next morning (Sunday) while they were procuring a boat, the British fleet appeared in sight, rounding Cumberland Head ; and the action commenced, lasting about two hours, when the British were defeated and dispersed.

      Having secured a boat, Capt WEAD's company crossed over to Peru, where they drew their arms and ammunition. During the night they were called upon to guard the prisoners confined on Crab Island. The next morning, they were ordered to Plattsburgh, where, when they arrived, news came that the British had retreated, and the company had orders to return home, which it did, after an absence of five days.

      Again during the "Radical war," or Canadian rebellion, of 1837-38, a company (volunteers) went to the border to aid in enforcing the neutrality laws. Their term of service was very short -- owing to the following incident: -- Sergeant F---s, now well known as Col. F----s, on arrival at headquarters, reported to General WOOL, and awaited orders. The General, wishing to ascertain if he could rely upon them, inquired whether they sympathized with the government or radicals. Sergeant F----s unhesitatingly and with enthusiasm replied: they were radical to a man. This was sufficient. The Gen. ordered them to "right about face and march home." Never, however, until the breaking out of the slave-holder's rebellion, in 1861, had the people in common with the whole north, a distinct and appreciative idea of war, as it is. But to each and all calls, Sheldon responded, fully and promptly and, in almost every engagement of the Eastern forces, from the opening battle of Big Bethel to the overthrow of the insurgents at Richmond, her sons bore an honorable part.

      The only advance made upon Sheldon, during the Rebellion, was Nov. 19, 1864. On that day about a score of “Rebel Raiders," or "robbers," led by Captain YOUNG, rendezvoused at Saint Albans having their "base" in Canada, but no very distinct lines of "retreat."  After robbing the banks, and shooting some of the unarmed inhabitants, they passed through Sheldon, on their return to Canada; a route so circuitous was not their plan;-they were wrongly guided. Being closely pursued by Captain CONGER's party they set fire to the bridge that spans Black creek, at Sheldon, to prevent their crossing, but the inhabitants extinguished the fire before it had done any damage.

      The raiders attempted to enter Missisquoi bank, but fortunately it was closed. Having appropriated to themselves horses and whatever they could find that they wished, they hurried on, passing along the road on the south side of the Missisquoi, until they entered the town of Enosburgh. Here they crossed the river at Enosburgh Falls, and rode rapidly towards Canada.

      Again, on Monday night, June 4, 1866, Sheldon was the scene of another armed gathering. About 800 Fenians, (some computed them as high as 1100) that had collected quietly and unobtrusively, in the town of Fairfield among its Irish residents, and which composed nearly the whole of the Fenian "right wing," passed through the town and village between the hours of 9 and 12 at midnight. They were accoutred and armed, and presented not a poor idea of war as it is.


THE SHELDONS

      The first settlers and proprietors of the town of Sheldon, were a branch of a popular stock in the early history of New England. Although purely English, and of English descent, they had not the bigotry of the Puritans, -- but were liberal; -- nor yet were they "tories," but determined and active patriots of the Revolution.

      Family tradition speaks of them as having a boasted heraldry. An escutcheon still extant, and used by some of the SHELDONs of the present day, as a seal, has the following devise and inscription : Upon the upper part of the bearing is The form of a shell-drake -- Statant; upon a bar crossing the design beneath, and resting upon a broad band, are two more in the same position but with smaller contour; -- and still beneath another like the two last. Encircling the whole underneath, is the motto -"Hope, Sheldon to the last."

      Tradition gives the origin, as follows: In the olden time a ship was wrecked upon an island, and all on board perished excepting one Hope SHELDON. Here he lived a long time subsisting upon the flesh of the Shell-drake (which were so numerous that they were easily taken) till at last he was rescued from the island 

"the loneliest in a lonely sea,"

and returned to his friends, From this alleged incident originated the above blazonry.

      Three brothers, Isaac, John and William emigrated to America very soon after the pilgrims -- precisely what year cannot be ascertained; but Isaac, the elder brother, had two sons, John and Isaac. The latter was born in 1629; a little more than 8 years after the arrival of the Mayflower. He had a son Thomas, born in 1661. Thomas was father of Elisha, born 1709; the latter is said to have been an eminent man, residing in Litchfield, Ct. He bad a son Elisha, known throughout the Revolution as Col. SHELDON.

      It was Col. SHELDON and his sons, Elisha, jr., Sam. B. and George, that purchased the township and first settled in it.

      COL. ELISHA SHELDON was born in 1741; he was generous-hearted, and of a martial spirit. At the opening of the Revolution, he gave liberally of his means, and offered his services to his country. Not long after its commencement he was commissioned colonel of a regiment of cavalry, and saw active service during the whole war. History speaks of him at different times, Ethan ALLEN, in the Narrative of his Captivity, speaks of being accompanied to Valley Forge-then Washington's headquarters -- after his exchange, by Col. SHELDON of the Light Horse. Among the papers also, of the traitor Arnold, (No. 10) found upon the person of the lamented Andre, wherein the former gave a list or description of affairs at West Point, is the following:


"COL. SHELDON's DRAGOONS on the lines, about one-half mounted."

      The regiment at that time, (Sept. 13, 1780) had been reduced so that it numbered only 142 men.

      Gen. Washington and Col. SHELDON were firm personal friends. During the dark days of 1777, when noisy malcontents were bent upon deposing Washington and instituting Gates -- Gates, the fugitive at Camden -- Col. SHELDON adhered to the support of Washington, and no where was the "Father of his Country" more welcome than at the home of Col. SHELDON, where he occasionally visited, during the early part of the Revolution.

      After his removal to Vermont. Col. SHELDON took very little part in politics or public affairs, preferring to live in peace and quiet, and of him it is remembered, whether in the field or at the fireside, that he was always the earnest patriot and courteous gentleman.

      He died while on a visit at big daughters, in St. Albans, 1805, and was buried in the old Sheldon burying-ground at Sheldon.

      SAMUEL BELLOWS SHELDON, second eon of Col. SHELDON, was born at Saulsbury, Ct., 1760. He had the sterling qualities combined, -- keenness of perception -- a correct judgment -- and courteous address. Although there was not as much of startling incident in his life, it is acknowledged -- and only just of him to say -- that he was the principal moving, governing character in the earlier settlement of the town. He possessed physical and moral courage in the highest sense,--as evinced by his early visit to the town when a dense wilderness. Another illustrative incident: During the first years of the Revolution, when the principal events were transpiring in Now England, and a spirit of war ran wild through the "colonies," Maj. Samuel, then a lad of about 15, importuned and pleaded with his father for permission to go with him to the front. To this the Col. always objected. One day, however, he made his appearance at camp. His father was not a little surprised, and reprimanded him sternly and warned him against a repetition of the offence, telling him he should be put into the front rank in case of an engagement.

      Through life he manifested much interest in military affairs, and took an active part in all of the military doings of his day. In fact, the immediate cause of his death was traced to a severe cold caught while addressing, bat in hand, a company of boys whom he had uniformed at his own expense. This occurred is 1807, and in him, the town lost her leading character, the popular and lamented Maj. Sam B. SHELDON.

      GEORGE SHELDON, the youngest son of Col. SHELDON, was born in Saulsbury, Ct., 1766. At an early age he showed an extreme fondness for the chase; and, although his parents enjoined upon him a closer application to his books, he often neglected their commands, and nothing delighted him more than, gun in hand, to range the bills and valleys about the picturesque Housatonic, in search of game. Perhaps the following incident will best illustrate his love for sporting: Wishing to suppress his natural trait, and create a desire for books, he was sent to school at Hudson, N. Y. Having not been gone many days, he made his appearance at home, having with him a hound which he had procured by exchanging for it a part of his clothing. Col. SHELDON, being most of the time with the army, their affairs alternated -- George, some of the time at work -- less at school -- much more on the chase. On one occasion, he had the honor of drinking wine with Gen. Washington. It was at his father's house; George was about 10 years old. In his 18th year he was sent to the West Indies, having in charge a lot of horses, shipped by his father to Havana. On its way out the vessel came near being wrecked,-so near, in short, that the horses and much of the cargo was lost. It was 6 months before he returned.

      In March, 1786, he married Joanna, daughter of Jacob SMITH, of Saulsbury, Ct.; here he followed farming until 1790, when he removed to Sheldon, with his family.

      Of the early inhabitants, there probably was no one of whom there is related so much of exciting, pioneer incident as of George SHELDON. But it would be out of place and only befitting a child's perusal to repeat the tradition and somewhat uncertain stories related of him. That he was a famous hunter, frequenting mountains and thickly-shaded glens, there is no doubt. Abundance of game, moose, boars, wolves and deer, fell at his unerring aim. But to state, as a fact of history, as some have done, that he did, on several occasions, shoot -- or in more correct terms murder -- certain Indians, is very much doubted, and lacks proper authentication. It is well known that the Indians burned a barn belonging to the SHELDONs, and caused them much anxiety, lurking about and threatening.

      George, who was as tall and athletic as any red-skin, and had an eagle eye, warned them of the consequences of disturbing the settlers -- him they feared, and, no doubt, but for him they would have caused much more trouble.

      To descend to particulars in his after years, is unnecessary; they have become as "house-hold words.” He quietly spent the evening of his days with his children, coming quietly and peacefully to its close in 1851.


HON. JOSHUA WILLARD SHELDON

      The following sketch we clip from the Vermont Transcript of March 16, 1866 -- we believe it is from the pen of Geo. F Houghton, Esq.

       "Hon. Joshua Willard SHELDON, elder son of Major Samuel Bellows SHELDON and Lucy (WILLARD) SHELDON, was born in Sheldon, Franklin Co., Vt., March 27, 1799. He died at Sheldon near the cottage where he was born; March 7, 1866, in the 67th year of his age. He studied law with Judge ROYCE at very and studied law with Judge ROYCE at SHELDON and subsequently at Saint Albans. He was admitted to practice at the September term of Franklin County Court A. D. 1822. Rodney C. ROYCE, Esq., formerly of Rutland, and long since deceased, and Hon. David READ, Recorder of the city of Burlington, wore sworn in at the same time. Mr. SHELDON commenced practice at SHELDON, in company with Hon. Augustus BURT, now of Highgate, and continued to practice about 5 years, and then dissolving the copartnership practiced alone. After practicing law a few years and until about 1833, be found the business too irksome and left the profession to attend to his large farming interests. He entered political life young. He represented the town of Sheldon in the General Assembly in 1824, '25 and '26, and again in 1834-'35. He was chosen a member of the Constitutional Convention from Sheldon in 1828. After which time he could not be persuaded to take any public office which would interfere with a proper attention to his private affairs and domestic duties.

      Mr. SHELDON, at the time of his death, was a widower, and leaves one son, and a large circle of relatives and friends to mourn his death. As a counselor, he had few or no equals. He was, in all his dealings, honorable, high-minded and just. He was always social and hospitable, and in his address and manners preeminently a gentleman. His funeral was largely attended on Saturday the 10th inst., when a suitable discourse was preached by the Rev. Albert H. BAILEY, Rector of Grace Church, Sheldon.

      The world stands in need of more such sterling gentlemen, as in his life-time was our worthy friend, the Hon. Joshua Willard SHELDON."


SHELDON-CONTINUED.
BY REV. GEORGE B.TOLMAN.

      THE CHARTER, (the precise date of which not being given to the foregoing account of the township of Sheldon, then HUNGERFORD,) is August 18, 1763. The original document now (1869) 106 years old -- worn, and a good deal patched, and yet in a very complete state of preservation, may still be seen at the town-clerk’s office.

      Among the privileges granted to the inhabitants of the township we find the following:

"The said town, as soon as there shall be fifty families resident and settled thereon, shall have the liberty of holding Two Fairs, one of which shall be held on the ____ day of ____, and the other on the day of ____. annualy; which Fairs shall not continue longer than the respective ____  following the said ____." [The dates here are none of them given.]

It also provides, that so soon as the above number of families should be in town, "A Market may be opened and kept open, one or more days in each week, as may be thought most advantageous to the inhabitants." Among the conditions annexed to the grant we find the following.

"That all white and other Pine Trees within the said township, fit for masting Our Royal Navy, be carefully preserved for that use, and none be cut or felled without Our special Licence"
 

      This also:

"That before any division of the Land be made among the Grantees, a Tract of Land as near the Centre of the said Township as the Land will admit of, shall be reserved and marked out for Town Lots! one of which shall be allotted to each Grantee of the Contents of one Acre, yielding and paying therefore to Us, our Heirs and Successors for the space of ten Years, to be computed from the date hereof, the Rent of one Ear of Indian Corn only, on the 25th day of December, annually, if lawfully demanded! the first Payment to be made on the 25th day of December, 1763."
      It provides, also, for the payment, after ten years, "yearly," of "one shilling, Proclamation Money" for every hundred acres " owned, settled, or possessed," and so in proportion for a greater or lesser Tract of said Land."

      The style of the Charter is as follows:

"Province of New Hampshire.
GEORGE The Third. 

"By the Grace of GOD-Of Great Britain, France and Ireland King, -- Defender of the Faith," &c., 

"To all persons." &c.

"Done by and with the advice of Our Trusty and Well-beloved Benning Wentworth, Esq., Our Governor and Commander in Chief of our said Province." Sealed and witnessed, the 18th day of August, in the year of our Lord Christ, one thousand seven hundred and sixty three, and in the third year of Our Reign," and signed by Gov. Wentworth, and attested by "P. Atkinson, jr., sec'y." 

On the back of the Charter, besides the names of the grantees, plan of the township and certificate of record, we find the following almost illegible minute by Mr. HUNGERFORD:

" Esq.’r.  ALLEN, please to Record this, and send it Back again By the Bairer, and also the Charter of Ferdinand which my Son Left with you some time ago.

"SAMUEL HUNGERFORD." 

      The Organization of Sheldon (Hungerford) took place in A. D. 1791-the month and day are not known. The following is the record in regard to it: 

      "In the year A. D. 1791 -- On application of a number of the inhabitants of the Township of HUNGERFORD, to Daniel STANNARD of Georgia, a Justice of the Peace within and for the County of Chittenden and State of Vermont, to warn a meeting, agreeable to the Statute, for the aforesaid inhabitants to meet and choose Town Officers, a Warning was issued by the said Daniel STANNARD, Esq., for the Inhabitants to meet at the dwelling-house of Elisha SHELDON, jun., at HUNGERFORD aforesaid, on the ----day of A. D. 1791; at which time and place the inhabitants aforesaid met in presence of said Justice, and proceeded to ballot,

"1st. To choose a moderator to govern said meeting; when Mr. Elisha SHELDON, jr. was elected, and took his seat.

"2d. Proceeded to the choice of Town Clerk, when Samuel B. SHELDON was chosen.

"3d. Elected Elisha SHELDON, Sen. and James HAWLEY and Elisha SHELDON, Jun'r Selectmen to govern the prudential Concerns of Said Town.

"4th. James Herric (k) Constable.

"The above officers were sworn agreeable to law, in presence of said meeting.

"Meeting adjourned without day.

Attest," [No signature.].

      The meetings of the inhabitants, both for the transaction of town business and for freemen's meeting, were held for some years at either one of two places: "The dwelling-house of Elisha SHELDON, jun'r, standing on the north side of the river, on the so called "Butler place," (now TOWLE's) toward Enosburgh Falls -- or, at "The dwelling-house of Dr. Benjamin B. SEARLS;" a "log-tavern" at the "Corners": oftener, it would seem from the records, at the latter place. At the first freemen's meeting recorded (1793) the whole number of votes cast for State officers was 45, as follows:

For governor -- Isaac Tichenor -- 45
For lieut. governor -- Jonathan Hunt -- 41
For lieut. governor -- Peter Shott -- 4 
For treasurer -- Samuel Mattocks -- 45

      Maj. Samuel B. SHELDON was the first representative, and first magistrate, (1791.)


REPRESENTATIVES.

      Samuel B. SHELDON, 1791; Elisha SHELDON, 1792-1800; Samuel B. SHELDON, 1801-'07; Ebenezer MARVIN, jr., 1808-10; David SANDERSON, 1812; Chauncey FITCH, 1813, '14; Stephen ROYCE, jr., 1815, '16; Samuel WEAD, 1817, '18; James MASON, 1819-23 ; Joshua W. SHELDON, 1824-20; James MASON, 1827, '28; Alfred KEITH, sen., 1829, '30; Levi HAPGOOD, 1831, '32; William GREEN, 1833, '34; J. W. SHELDON, 1835; F. W. JUDSON, 1836; Cyrus KEITH, 1837; J. J. BEARDSLEY, 1838; Alfred KEITH, sen., 1839; Alanson DRAPER, 1840, '41; Elihu GOODSELL, 1842, '43; Jacob WEAD, 1844; Lloyd MASON, 1845; 1846, no election; William GREEN, 1847-49; Alfred KEITH, jr., 1850, '51; Milton H. BLISS, 1852; F. M. MARSH, 1853; A. M. BROWN, 1854, '55; D. D. WEAD, 1856; Andrew DURKEE, 1857, '58; R. J. SAXE, 1859, '60; L. H. HAPGOOD, 1861; F. M. MARSH, 1862, '63; John F. DRAPER, 1864, '65; N. G. MARTIN, 1866, '67; William M. DEMING, 1868.


TOWN CLERKS.

      Samuel B. SHELDON, 1791-1806; Ebenezer MARVIN, 1806-13; Chauncy FITCH, 1813; Epenetus H. WEAD, 1814-16; Sam'l WEAD, 1816-19; Charles GALLUP, 1819-21; Sam'l WEAD, 1821-32; E. B. PECKHAM, 1832-35; O. A. KEITH, 1835-41; Theophilus MANSFIELD, 1841-43; A. M. BROWN, 1843, to the present time, 26 years.

      Richard A. SHATTUCK was constable from 1829 to 1868, with the exception of the years 1853 to '54 -- 37 years.


PROFESSIONAL MEN

      The following are remembered lawyers; Ebenezer MARVIN, Stephen ROYCE, jr., J. J. BEARDSLEY, Theophilus MANSFIELD. J. W. SHELDON, Augustus BURT, A. E. SEARLES and Bryant HALL.


PHYSICIANS.

      Benjamin B. SEARLES, Chauncey FITCH, (father of Dr. S. S. FITCH, of New York City, and brother of Rev. Dr. Ebenezer FITCH, the first president of Williams College,) ____ HILDRETH, Elisha SHELDON, F. W. Judson, A. M. BROWN, H. H. LANGDON, S. W. LANGDON, Charles P. THAYER, N. R. MILLER.
 

      Of others, prominent in the early history of the town, the following are mentioned: Eldad BUTLER, Col. CLARK, Daniel SMITH, John GALLUP, Daniel FISH, Elnathan KEYES, Gideon DRAPER, David FOSTER, Luke DEWING. Josiah TUTTLE. Asa BULKLEY and Capt. Francis DUCLOS. These were all enterprising business men, with a good common education, and, taken together, were in advance of most pioneers.

      Samuel WHITE, then a boy o£ 13 years, came to town with Mr. KEYES in 1797, and, with the exception of 5 years, has resided here ever since. Mr. KEYES, on coming to Sheldon, settled on the farm now owned by Mr. Albert OLMSTEAD, and within a quarter of a mile of which Mr. WHITE still (1869) lives.


FURNACE

      Among the earlier "institutions" of Sheldon, was a blast-furnace. This was built in 1798, by the brothers, Israel and Alfred KEITH, who came here for that purpose from Pittsford, Vt. It was located on the east side of Black Creek, just north of where HUNTER & Co.'s woolen factory now stands. The iron was made from the ore; and, as this was one of the first furnaces built in the State, the demand for the ware was quite active, and especially for the so-called "potash kettles." At that time one chief business, all through the country, was the manufacture of potash, and men came to Sheldon, sometimes, for a distance of 200 hundred miles for their kettles.

      The kettles were taken as fast as they could be produced -- parties often waiting for their "turn," and loading them while hot from the mould. They were very heavy, and of different sizes, holding, 45, 60 and 90 gallons each. Stoves and hollow ware were also made, for which there was great demand.

      The elder brother, Israel, it is understood, furnished the capital chiefly, while the younger, Alfred, managed the furnace; and much is said of his energy and skill in working it; so that his advice and aid were often sought for the benefit of other furnaces: and at one time the PARISHES, from Ogdensburgh, N. Y., who had built a furnace at Rossie, near Ogdensburgh, but had not succeeded in getting men who could work it successfully, came to Sheldon and offered Mr. KEITH the entire use of the furnace, and all he could make, if he would go over and run it for 3 months, and show them how to make iron. Mr. KEITH accepted their offer, and made a very, handsome thing out of it, besides showing his New York friends "how to do it."

      The furnace was operated successfully for many years, on its first location, and in 1822, '23, was re-built on the other side of the creek.

      The first school-house in town was built by Maj. S. B. SHELDON, on the west side of the Creek, where the present school-house stands. The first sohool-teacher in town was Miss Betsey JENNISON, of Swanton. The first framed house in town was built by Maj. SHELDON, on the ground where the house of H. CARLISLE now stands.

      THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH was organized in August, 1816: the precise date is not remembered -- and there are no records now in existence farther back than 1830. The meeting of the council for its organization was held in the school-house standing on the west side of Black Crack, where the present school-house on that side stands, The moderator was Rev. Benjamin WOOSTER, of Fairfield; the scribe, Rev. James PARKER, of Enosburgh.

      The following are the names of the original members:

      Samuel WHITE, Mrs. Diana WHITE, Samuel SHELDON and Mrs. Samuel SHELDON, Mrs. Isaac SHELDON, Bartholomew HULBERT, Mrs. Hannah HULBERT, Lucius COLTON, Mrs. Rebecca COLTON, Amos JUDD, Mrs. Sylvia Judd, Philo N. WHITE.

      Of these there are now (June, 1869) known to be living only Samuel WHITE, still residing in SHELDON, and, with the exception of an absence of 5 years (1830-35) his residence in town and connection with the church have been continuous from the organization.

      The clerks of the church have been: Samuel WHITE, 14 years; Alvin FASSETT, 5 years; Hezkiah BRUCE, 21 years; D. D. WEAD, 7 years, and is still (1869) clerk.

      The deacons have been : Samuel WHITE, 14 years; Alvin FASSETT, 5 years; John SHELDON, 34 years ; Hezekiah BRUCE, 5 years, and Samuel M. HULBERT, 10 years.

      John SHELDON and Samuel M. HULBERT are still the acting deacons of the church.

      Of  officers beside these, I find the following noticeable record: “Sometime in the summer of 1829, Alvin FASSETT was chosen moderator of the church." From this it would seem to have been -- sometimes, at least -- the practice in earlier days when the church was, for a lengthened period, without a pastor or stated supply, to formally choose some one of the brethren to act as permanent moderator in their church and other meetings- The more modern custom is, for one of the deacons to preside, without formal appointment.


MINISTERS

      For the first 10 years or more the church was ministered to by Rev. Benjamin WOOSTER, of Fairfield, and by missionaries sent out for short periods by the Connecticut Home Missionary Society. Mr. WOOSTER preached at Sheldon at different times, regularly, half the time, He must have done this for a number of years altogether -- three or four at least, according to the remembrance of deacon WHITE. Of missionaries the names of WILLISTON and ATWOOD, in particular, are remembered.

      Since 1830, the time to which the records now in existence go back, we find the names of the following ministers, as having supplied the church at different times, for longer- or shorter periods:

      James J. GILBERT, 1832-34; Phinehas KINGLEY, 1835-44; Preston TAYLOR, 1845-54; Calvin B. HULBERT, 22 Sabbaths in 1855; Charles DUREN, 1856-60 ; Charles W. CLARK, 6 Sabbaths in 1861; George B. TOLMAN, 1862-69, The last named is the first installed pastor the church has had, and the first settled minister in town. He was ordained and installed July 10, 1862. The sermon on the occasion was preached by the Rev. Nathaniel G. CLARK, D. D., then professor in the college at Burlington, and now (1869) secretary of foreign correspondence for the "American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions," Boston, Mass.; ordaining and installing prayer, by Rev. James BUCKHAM.

      This church and society aided largely, as is understood, owning the larger share in both the so-called "Rock" house, built in 1830, and the brick meeting-house still standing at the Corners, built in 1831; and more recently have built and own the new house standing on the west side of Black Creek, in which they now worship.

      The present membership of the church is 55. The aggregate of contributions made by the church and congregation during the last 13 years, or since 1856, for purposes entirely outside of the parish, is $2231.14, or an average, annually, of $171,54.

      The Rev, Calvin B. HULBERT, pastor of the Congregational church in New Haven, Vt, was born in Sheldon, united with the church here, and is still a member of it.

      In 1865, a very commodious parsonage was completed; built and owned by a few individuals of the society.


EPISCOPAL (GRACE) CHURCH
BY REV. A. H. BAILEY

      It does not appear that there were many among the first settlers in this town, who brought with them an attachment to the Protestant Episcopal Church.. The disposition to organize a parish here is said to have resulted chiefly from the influence and occasional ministrations of the eminent missionary in St. Armand, U. C., the Rev. Charles James STEWART, afterwards bishop of Quebec. This preparatory work may be reckoned as commencing about 1808.

      The actual organization was begun by a compact of association for the purpose, dated Aug. 12, 1816, and completed by the election of its first officers on the 17th of the same month, and by the recognition of the new parish by Bishop GRISWOLD on the 26th of the following month. Over 40 names, mostly of men, are subscribed to the compact, before any change of date, among whom are found “Stephen ROYCE, jr." (the late and lamented judge and governor,) then practicing law in this town, and his co-partner in the law, "Joel CLAPP" (afterwards the Rev. Dr. CLAPP.) One of the most valuable members of that period, and long after, was Madam Lucy [WILLARD], the widow of Major Samuel SHELDON.

      The parish had the ministrations -- generally in connection with some other parish -- of the Rev. Stephen BEACH, 1816-22; the Rev. Elijah BRAINARD a few months in 1823 ; the Rev. Joseph S. COVELL a short time in 1825 ; the Rev. Moore BINGHAM, in 1826--28; the Rev. Anson B. HARD, in 1830 and '32-'34; the Rev. Silas R. CRANE, in 1835-36; the Rev. Louis MCDONALD, in 1837-40; the Rev. John A. FITCH, in 1844-50; the Rev. Jubal HODGES, in 1853; the Rev. John E. JOHNSON, in 1855-59; the Rev. Robert W. LEWIS, in 1862-63; and the Rev. A. H. BAILEY, in 1865 to the present time.

      The number of reported communicants was 11 in 1816; reached its maximum 92, in 1834, and has since varied from 55 to 88 ; the present number being 71. Much of this apparent variation, however, is occasioned by reckoning here, at different times, communicants of adjoining towns, and again omitting them, when they had services in their own parishes. The present number, embracing only actual communicants within the limits of the town, may compare favorably with the past, if computed in the same way -- at least if the diminished population of the town is regarded.

      There have been ordained to the sacred ministry, from this parish, the Rev. Dr. CLAPP, the Rev. John A. FITCH and the Rev. Charles HUSBAND. The Rev. Ruel KEITH, D. D., a principal instrument in founding a theological seminary in Alexandria, Va., spent his last days with his brother in this parish, and his remains rest in the cemetery of this church.

      The church edifice was first erected of wood in 1824, and consecrated the year following; the larger part of the expense being borne by the elder Alfred KEITH, Esq. It was re-built upon the same frame, with a brick exterior, and being supplied with a bell and other furniture, was re-consecrated in 1853. A parsonage was purchased in 1865, and as organ in 1869.

      The church has been slightly endowed by the will of the late J. W. SHELDON, Esq. ($800,) and by that of the late Mad'm Ruth (DEAN) WAIT -- $500.


METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH

      In the year 1813 the Rev. Isaac HILL, a Methodist local preacher, came to Sheldon from Fair geld, and held meetings occasionally. Mr. HILL formed the first class of 7 members, vis: Jacob Saxe and Rowena SAXE, Hannah KEITH (wife of Alfred KEITH, Esq.), John POTTER, widow Axah DIMON, Mrs. DOWNY and Mrs. Stephen KIMBALL. Soon after Revs. Gilbert LYON and Buel GOODSIL, circuit preachers, came to Sheldon; and they remained 2 years, preaching in Sheldon and adjoining towns. They were succeeded by Rev. Daniel BRAYTON, in 1816, and a young junior preacher. A great revival of religion was enjoyed that year, and most of the first inhabitants of the east part of the town were converted, and joined the M. E. church.

      At that time there was no stated preaching by any other denomination. Some of those converts afterwards joined the Episcopal church, "Sheldon circuit" consisted of Sheldon, Franklin, and all the towns east, in Franklin county.

      The first house of worship in which the Methodists were largely interested, was built in 1830 as a union-house, at the Rock, so called, about 2 miles east of the village ; and, in 1831 a union-house was built at the east part of the town. Probably at that time there were as many members of the M. E. church, as at any time in its history.

      For several years previous to 1858, Sheldon and Franklin were joined as a circuit, and supported two preachers; and, afterward, Sheldon and Enosburgh. The expenses of the circuit for two preachers, in 1856, was $700.

      In the spring of 1858 Sheldon was set off from Enosburgh, and made a station, and undertook to support a minister, Rev. A. C. ROSE was appointed by the conference as the first preacher to SHELDON. There was no house of worship, and no parsonage. R. J. SAXE gave the use of a house the first year, and he and a few others raised a subscription for a church --which was built in the village in 1859, and was the first Methodist church-building in Sheldon. The society at that time was quite small and weak, financially -- probably about 60 members in town. Soon after a parsonage was bought, and the church now (1869) numbers about 100.

      Among the preachers who have been in Sheldon circuit, we find the following: In the year 1829, Wm. TODD and Jacob LEONARD-in the year 1893, Luman A. SANFORD and Stephen STILES. Jacob SAXE was class-leader from 1835 until his death in November, 1866, or 31 years.

      Of clergymen from the membership of this church, we find the following: Alfred SAXE (deceased 1842) and George G. SAXE (both sons of Jacob) Hiram MEEKER, Cyrus MEEKER and B. O. MEEKER, (brothers) Solomon STEBBINS, ____ BROWN and F. C. KIMBALL (local preacher) -- all ministers in the M. E. church.


MINERAL SPRINGS

      In Sheldon, the following are the principal mineral springs:   “The Missisquoi," 8 or 10 different springs within an area of half an acre; proprietor, C. Bainbridge SMITH, Esq., New York City. “The Sheldon;" proprietors, Sheldon Spring Co., S. S. F. CARLISLE, agent. "The Central;" proprietors, Green & Co. "The Vermont;" proprietors, SAXE & Co.

      The analysis of the Missisquoi A spring, ( he only one much used) is given, so far as published already.

      The ingredients are combined in the water forming: Sulphate of Potash, Carbonate of Magnesia, Chloride of Sodium, Carbonate of Lime, Sulphate of Soda, Carbonate of Ammonia, Silicate of Soda, Protoxide of Iron, Crenate of Soda, Silicic Acid, Carbonate of Soda, Crenic Acid, &c.

      Of the "Central" analyzed by F. F. MAYER, a prominent chemist of New York City, the following is the statement of the properties contained as a bi-carbonate: sulphate of lime, carbonate of lime, carbonate of magnesia, carbonate of iron, carbonate of soda, carbonate of potassa; chloride of calcium, sillicic acid, allumnis and phosphoric acid, organic matter, carbonic acid, fluorine, manganese, baryta.

      Of the "Vermont," analyzed by Henry KRAFT, a distinguished chemist of New York, the properties so far as discovered, are: Chloride of sodium, chloride of calcium, carbonate of soda, carbonate of magnesia, carbonate of iron, carbonate of manganese, phosphoric acid, silicate of alumina, sulphate of lime, carbonic acid, organic matter. In the sediment of the spring are found: Silica, alumina, calcium, magnesia, manganese, peroxide of iron, protoxide of iron, chlorine, fluoric acid, sulphuric acid, hydrochloric acid. The phosphoric acid, present in the "Vermont" and also in the "Central" is claimed to be an element of special medicinal value.

      Of these different springs, only the "Vermont" is new. This was discovered in 1867. The others have been known and used, more or less, for 50 years.

      They are located, with the exception of the “Central" quite near the banks of the "Missisquoi river, and are included within a distance of about 3 miles. They lie mainly to the north of the village; the farthest being about 2 1/2 miles distant from it. The "Central" is in the village. In connection with the "Sheldon" there is an elegantly furnished bathing-house.

      There are a number of other Mineral springs in different parts of the town, and in fact there is quite a strong impregnation of iron in very many of the springs and wells, in common family use, but none have been used medicinally, to any extent, except the above named. The water from each of these is bottled and sent to all parts of the country.

      The shipments of the "Missisquoi" particularly, have been very large-amounting, in 1868, to 14,792 boxes of 24 qt. bottles each.

      Of the "Vermont" during the months of August, September, October and November, 1888, there were 1650 cases of 24 quart bottles each.

      The specialty claimed for the waters of these springs is as a remedy for cancer, scrofula and other diseases of the blood, and many of the cases of benefit are very remarkable.

      In consequence of the celebrity which these springs have reached within the few years past, SHELDON has acquired considerable importance as a summer resort.


SUMMER RESORT

      For the two seasons past, a large number of visitors have been drawn to the town from all parts of the country, very much overcrowding the accommodations, in many cases finding board among the farmers, and riding a distance of 5 or 6 miles and back every day to the springs.

      To meet the want for better accommodations for visitors, and in view of the generally improved business prospects of the place, in consequence of the projection of the Portland and Ogdensburgh R. R. through it, quite extensive improvements have been undertaken, during the past year.

      The principal new buildings erected recently, or in process of erection, are the following: 2 stores, a grocery, a private hospital (by N. R. MILLER, M. D.), 10 private dwelling houses and 6 hotels. Beside these, many private houses and other buildings have been refitted and enlarged.

      The hotels in town are the following: The "New Missisquoi" near the Missiquoi springs; the "Sheldon" near the Sheldon spring; "Goodspeeds " and "Langdons," near the Plank Road Bridge on the north side of the river; the "Vermont" and the "Keith House" in the village, refitted ; the "Central" and the "Mansion" in the village; the "Valley House" south side of the river, below the bridge; and "Fish's," N. Sheldon.

      Of these the "Missisquoi" is the largest, containing in the part already erected, which is only one of the wings, 100 private rooms, and is finished and furnished in the style of the first class city hotels. Water and gas are carried to every room. The expense of furnishing, alone, is $35,000.


THE SCENERY

      The scenery of Sheldon and vicinity is fine and adds much to its attractiveness as a place for summer visiting. The surrounding mountain  view is varied and beautiful, from all parts of the town. About 15 miles distant N. E., in Canada is the "Pinnacle," a single bold spur from the Green Mountains, which is much visited, while "Dunton's Hill" only 2 miles north of "the Missisquoi springs, and to the top of which carriages may drive, gives a view which for extent and interest is hardly surpassed. Montreal and the mountain beyond may be distinctly seen in a clear day, 70 to 80 church steeples counted, and the whole country from the Adirondacks round to the most eastern ranges of the Green Mountains, in all its variety of scenery -- mountain, lake and river-is spread out as in a picture, before the observer. Grounds have recently been purchased for the erection of an observatory on this hill, by G. W. Simmons, Esq., of Boston, Mass.


IN MEMORIUM
BY HON. JOHN R. WHITNEY, OF FRANKLIN.

      Hiram Rawson WHITNEY, youngest son of the late Joel WHITNEY, Esq., and Lucy SHELDON his wife, was born in Sheldon, March 31, 1836, and died May 4, 1868.

      He early evinced an ardent love for books, and while quite young devoted much close attention to history and classic study, which made him familiar with the important events of the world, and great men of the present and past ages.

      His education was mostly obtained at the district school, and some three or four terms at Bakersfield academy, and one or two terms at a similar institution in Georgia; but his active mind was storing up knowledge by books at home, when not otherwise employed on the farm.

      He married the only daughter of Wade Hampden FOSTER, Esq., Sept. 8, 1859, who still survives him.

      He was confirmed in the Protestant Episcopal Church, May 26, 1863.

      He wrote an address after his health was so much impaired that it was with difficulty that he could deliver it, on the words of the immortal Lincoln: "Malice toward none -- charity for all," which was received by a large, appreciative audience, at Enosburgh Falls. This was his last public effort. From this time his health rapidly declined.

      Some 2 years before his death he moved into the village of his native town, and engaged in mercantile business, which was too much for his feeble health. His business was not as successful as he anticipated, and probably hastened his decline.

      Late in the year 1864 he made arrangements to publish a Small volume or his poems entitled "Heart Lyrics," which he inscribed to George F. HOUGHTON, Esq., of St. Albans -- "the Christian, the Scholar and the Gentleman" -- but the volume did not make its appearance until after his decease, causing his widow much anxiety and trouble. Only a limited supply were published. Ho also wrote and prepared the history of the town of Sheldon, published in Miss Hemenway's Vermont Gazetteer; but death put an end to his labors, and other hands had to finish what he so effectively commenced. He leaves an amiable widow, and two beautiful little girls, to cherish his memory, and mourn his loss.
N. Y. -- Ed.


 

"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 368-382.

Transcribed by Karima Allison 2004