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Introduction:  This historical sketch about Chittenden County, Vermont has been transcribed, with little editing, from the 1871 source identified below.  It presents a glimpse into the county's history from it's earliest days through 1871 . . . 

Source: The Vermont Historical Gazetteer:  A Magazine Embracing a History of Each Town, Civil, Ecclesiastical, Biographical and Military.  Vol. I.  Abby Maria Hemenway.  (Editor).  "Chittenden County,"  Hon. David Read.  (Author).  Burlington, Vt. :  Miss Abby Maria Hemenway, 1871. 



      The county of Chittenden was incorporated by act of the legislature of  Vermont, Oct. 22, 1787.  It is bounded on the north by the counties of Grand Isle,  Franklin, and Lamoille; south by the county of Addison; east by Lamoille and  Wasington; and west by the west line of the state, and the southerly part of the  county of Grand Isle.  In all our local histories, so far as noticed, the county is  eroneously said to be bounded "on the west by Lake Champlain."  By statute [see  Revised Statutes of Vermont, 1839], the western boundary includes "so much of  Lake Champlain as lies in this state west of the towns in said county adjoining the  lake, and not included within the limits of Grand Isle."  The border towns, by their  charters, were bounded "on the west by the lake;" and it seems that the legislature  did not consider that they extended, by legal construction, to the west line of the  state--which passes along its main or deepest channel. 

      The county is situated between 44º, 7', and 44º, 42' of north latitude: and  between  3º, 41', and  4º, 14' of longitude east from Washington.  It has upon every  side an irregular outline, formed by town lines on the north, south, and east: with  an average length from north to south of about 26 miles, and from east to west,  including the waters of the lake, of 23 miles--and contains a land area of about 520  square miles. 


      A branch of the Abenaquis tribe of Indians, were the aboriginal occupants of  this section of the country, previous to its settlement by the pioneers; and, indeed,  they lingered upon their rightful soil, at the mouth of the Lamoille river and  thence north along the Missisquoi bay, for a long while after the French and  English had taken possession and commenced the settlement of the country to the  north and south of them.  They have not as yet wholly relinquished their claims  upon the country; and although they left it united themselves with the St. Francis  tribe, another branch of the Abenaquis, who reside at the outlet of the St. Francis  river on the St. Lawrence, they still claim an interest in the soil, and have  repeatedly, and within a few years past, sent their delegates tot he legislature of  Vermont, to seek some compensation for their lands. [1.]  What time they left and  joined their friends at St. Franics, is not fully known.  After the settlement of the  country, an Indian encampment and burial place were well distinguished near the  mouth of the Lamoille river, together with a mound of large size, where the  skeletons and bones of the race, buried in their usual sitting posture, were exhumed, and numberous arrow heads and other Indian relics found.  And near this  same place in Colchester, the remarkable urn or relic of Indian pottery, described  by Prof. Thompson, and now in the cabinet of natural history in the University of  Vermont, was also found [Thompson's History of Vermont].  If, however, the  Abenaquis made that specimen of pottery, constructed in such perfect form, and so  highly ornamented upon its exterior surface, there was a time when they far  excelled in that useful art.  The fact that this relic was found in the vicinity, affords  no very certain evidence that it was the work of that race; but there is strong  reason to believe that it must have been the work of a people far more advanced in  the useful arts. 

      It appears that the Abenaquis claimed the country along Missisquoi bay, and  sought to disturb the possession of the whites, as late as 1788.  By the kindness of  Henry Stevens, Esq., we have been furnished with a correspondence between Ira  Allen, who then resided at Cochester, and Clement Gorselin of Pointe au Roche,  Lord Dorchester, governor of the province of Quebec, and Lt. Col. John Campbell,  "of his majesty's service," respecting the proceedings of these Indians, at so recent a  date--being even after the county of Chittenden was incorporated; and the  settlement in question was then within its limits. 

      Gorselin, under date of Aug. 18th, 1786, writes to Allen to inform him that the  Indians claimed the land on Missisquoi bay, and threatened to drive off the people,  who had settled there, and destroy their possessions.  Allen replies, Aug. 23d, 1786,  that the French and Indians lost their claim in the French war, and the lands had  been granted tot he proprietors in 1763; that the Indians can have justice by applying to the courts in Vermont.  Moreover, that the governor of the state had  appointed Col. Eben. Allen of Grand Isle, to remove all unlawful intruders on the  frontier, with a military force. 

      Allen procures the deposition of John Waggoner and Wm. Tichout, "June 21, 1788, before Thos. Butterfield, justice of peace for the county of Chittenden,"  wherein they state among other things, that an Indian named Capt. Louis of the St.  Francis tribe, with about twenty men, came on to the Missisquoi river last October,  "and hoisted a flag on a pole, drew their knives, threatened several of the  inhabitants in a hostile manner, obliged the inhabitants to provide a dinner for  them, claimed a right to the land, and took in a hostile manner 10 bushels of Indian  corn from Waggoner, and about 15 bushels of potatoes from Tichout.  The Indians  also burnt and destroyed some fences; that in April last, the same Indians  threatened to dispossess the subscriber John Waggoner, unless he would pay them  one-quarter of all he raised on said land, as rent to them." 

      Allen enclosed the above deposition to Lord orchester, July 16th, 1788, and   writes him the account of a similar occurence about four years previous, when, he   says, "the settlers were so exasperated as to be about to drive out the Indians by   force, but had forborne on his request;" and asked the governor to take measures  to  prevent any further difficulty.  And on the 7th of August, 1788, Allen also writes  to  Col. Campbell on the same subject, remarking:  "If the Indians would behave he  had  no objection to their hunting and fishing on the land." 

      Col. Campbell thereupon addresses a letter to Sir John Johnson, "Bart., Supt.  and Inspector GEneral of Indian Affairs," dated, Montreal, September 5th, 1788, in  which he says, "that he had called the Indians before him, and they confessed they  had been on Missisquoi bay; and always travel with their colors and display them  at their encampment, wherever they happen to be, as a mark of their attachment to  their Great Father the King of England.  Though they had the mortification to find  Waggoner, Tichout, and others, on their lands, yet they neither drew knives or  committed any irregularities; confident that their father would do them justice  therein."  That "they were but 9 men, a boy, 11 women, and 8 children on the breast,  in number;" and that the Indians appealed to John Hilliker, neighbor to Waggoner  and Tichout, who was their interpreter, to prove what they had said.  Lord  Dorchester, October 11th, 1788, transmitted a copy of the above letter to Ira Allen,  for his examination.  Capt. Louis was styled the Abenaqui chief, in the foregoing  correspondence. 

      With the preceding there is a lease before us, from the papers of Mr. Stevens,  executed in 1765, by a number of these Indians, which establishes the fact beyond  question, that they were a branch of the Abenaquis tribe, or as they styled  themselves, "the Abenackque nation of Missisque;" who occupied, and, to some  extent, cultivated the lands, at that time, on the Missisquoi bay and river.  As the  lease is of historical interest, it is here given at length, except the formal  repetitions in it: 

  "Know all men by these presents, that we Daniel Poorneuf, Francois  Abernard, Francois Joseph, Jean Baptiste, Jeanoses, Charlotte, widow of the late  chief of the Abenackque nation at Missisque, Mariane Poorneuf, Theresa, daughter  of Joseph Madril, Magdalaine Abernard, and Joseph Abomsawin, for themselves,  their heirs, and assigns; do sell, let, and concede unto Mr. James Robertson,  merchant, of St. Jean, his heirs, and assigns, for the space of ninety-one years from  the twenty-eighth of May 1765, a certain tract of land lying and being and situated  as follows, viz:  being in the bay of Missisque on a certain point of land, which runs  out into said bay and the river of Missisque, running from the mouth up said river  near east, one league and a half, and in depth north and south, running from each  side of the river, sixty arpents, bounded on the back of the aforesaid bay and at the  end of the said league and a half to lands belonging to the Indians joining to a tree  marked; on the south side of the river said land belonging to old Abernard; and on  the north side of said river to lands belonging to old Whitehead, retaining and  reserving to the proprietors hereafter mentioned, to wit: on the north side of said  river five farms belonging to Peirre Peckinowax, Francaise Nickowiget, Annus  Jean, Baptiste Momlock, and Joseph Compient; and on the south side of said river  seven farms belonging to Towgesheat, Cecile, Annome Quisse, Innongaway,  Willsomquax, Jean Baptiste the Whitehead, and old Etienne, for them and their  heirs, said farms contain two arpents in front nearly, and sixty in depth. 

  "Now the condition of said lease is, that if the aforesaid James Robertson,  himself, his heirs, and assigns, do pay * * * * a yearly rent of fourteen Spanish  dollars, two bushells of Indian corn, and one gallon of rum, and to plow as much  land for each of the above persons as shall be sufficient for them to plant their  Indian corn every year, not exceeding more than will serve to plant one quarter of  a bushell for each family, to them and their heirs and assigns:  * * * * said Robertson to have the right to build thereon, and establish the same for  his own use, and to concede to inhabitants, make plantations, cut timber of what  sort or kind he shall think proper; * * * * In witness whereof, we have  interchangably set our hands and seals hereunto, this thirteenth day of June,  inthe fifth year of the reign of our sovereign lord, George the Third, king of Great  Britain, France and Ireland, and in the year of our Lord 1765. 
 

DANIEL POORNEUF,  [L.S.]
FRANCOISE JOSEPH,  [L.S.]
JEANOSES, [L.S.]
MARIANE POORNEUF,  [L.S.]
MAGDELANE ABERNARD, [L.S.]
FRANCOISE ABERNARD, [L.S.]
JEAN BAPT--,  [L.S.]
CHARLOLLE , [L.S.]
THERESA, Daughter of Michel, [L.S.]
JAMES ROBERTSON,  [L.S.]
Witnesses present: 
     EDWARD SIMONDS, 
     PETER STANLEY, 
     RICARD McCARTY. 

      The lease was properly autenticated, and "recorded in the English register, letter A, folio 179, in the register's office of enrollments for the province of Quebec.  George Powell, secry's regis't. 

      At the given date there was a Jesuit mission and church among these Indians,  who from their names were evidently baptised or christianized; and they continued  here up to the time of the Revolution, and some of them later. 

      It is evident that the French, before the conquest of Canada, were the first  civilized occupants of the county of Chittenden; and during the period of the  French wars, they and their Indian allies, made this point one of the chief  rendezvous of their hostile excursions against the English settlements, in the  valley of the Connecticut.  It was through here they generally led their captives  and carried their plunder--their usual route both in going and returning was along  Missisquoi bay and Winooski river; crossing the short carrying place between the  river and Mallet's by.  It was along here the suffering captives from Deerfield, in the  dead of winter in 1704, were led on their way to Canada--where the lad Enos  Stevens, son of Capt. Phineas Stevens the brave defender of Charlestown No. 4, and  father of Henry Stevens, Esq., our distinguished antiquarian neighbor--was carried  captive into Canada in 1748; and on the east shore of Missisquoi bay the year  previous, where Mrs. Jemima Howe, whose narrative is of school-boy notoriety,  found her young son Caleb, perishing with hunger.  In 1709, moreover, a skirmish  took place on Onion river between a party sent out from Mass. to watch the  movements of the enemy, and a party of French and Indians, in which Lieut. John  Wells and John Burt were killed; their surviving associates, however, drove the  enemy and pursued them to the lake, where another skirmish ensued, and several  of the French and Indians were killed in turn [Hoyt's Indian Wars and Hall's History  of Eastern Vermont].  These, with other incidents of a like kind, when brought to  mind, serve to contrast the present populous and highly cultivated condition of our  county, with the dark and savage wilderness that then brooded over it. 
 
 


      The first English occupants, who were known to settle in the locality, were  Ira Allen and Remember Baker.  They explored the country along the Winooski  river, int he fall of 1772; and came into the county to reside the spring following.   Baker brought his family with him; and Allen, being then a single man, resided in  the family of Baker--who was his uncle.  They made their pitch at the lower falls, on  the Winooski river; where, as a matter of security against the Yorkers and Indians,  who at that time they held in equal enmity, they constructed a block house or fort,  which they christened with the defiant name of Fort Frederick, and in which they  lived. 

      About the same time, two Germans settled on Shelburne point, claiming  under New York titles : "who" says Allen, "had the appearance of peaceable men,  and on their promise to behave, were suffered to remain undisturbed."  Prof.  Thompson speaks of these men, in his History of Vermont, by the name of Logan and  Pottier; and that "two points of land extending into Lake Champlain" were named  after them respectively.  We have before us the original field book of Ira Allen, of  his first surveys on Onion river, and the lake shore, in 1773--being the same yar he  removed into the country.  He scaled the lake shore that summer, from the mouth  of the Winooski river to the mouth of the La Plotte, at the head of Shelburne bay;  and in the course of his observations he calls Shelburne point Arkley point, and a  house then there Lodawick's house. 

      On reaching the point now known as rock point, he there takes observations  to the islands, &c., and says:  "to Arkley point is S. 15º W.--to Shugar loaf (Rock  Dunder?) is S. 24º W.--to Juniper island is S. 36º W."  He then passes along on the  beach "E. 29º S. 105 rods to station B.--to Arkley's point is S. 21º W.--to Shugar loaf is  S. 30º W., to Juniper island, east end, is S. 42º W.--to the Four Brothers, is W. 37º S."   When he had passed Burlington bay and came to Red Rock point, he speaks of it as  "east of Arkley point and had a rocky bold shore."  After sailing around it, and  passing along the beach he made another station 27, 30 chains south of a brook (Louis creek?), and from there, he says :  "to Arkley point, is N. 36º  41' W.--to  Lodawick's house is N. 77º  30' W.--Shurgar loaf and Juniper island are just to be  seen by Arkley point."  He then passes on, and took several more observations to  the house on the point, until he arrived at the mouth of La Plotte river, where he  terminated his survey. 

      If Logan and Pottier were the only persons on Shelburne point at that time, it  is not easy to see how Ira Allen came by the names, "Arkley point," and Lodawick's  house."  The north end of Shelburne point is known by the name of Pottier's point,  and where, it is said, Pottier lived.  Logan lived on a small point just north of Judge  Mench's old place; and this point still bears his name; but it could not be seen by  Allen in making the above survey. 

      At the commencement of the Revolution, about forty families had settled  upon the lake shore, and along the Winooski river, including the family of Mr.  Brown on Brown's river in Jericho.  Among those early settlers are the familiar  names of Thomas Pierson, Moses Pierson, Simon Tubbs, John Collins, Stephen  Lawrence, Frederick Saxton, Ira Allen, Remember Baker, Joseph Brown, Thomas  Rood, Samuel Messenger, Thomas Chittenden, John Chamberlin, Jonathan  Spafford, and Amos Brownson.  But on the defeat and fall of Gen. Montgomery at  Quebec, and the retreat of the American forces under Gen. Sullivan, from Canada,  in the spring of 1776, all except Brown left their possessions and fled south among  their friends for security.  The wisdom of this abandonment of the settlement,  during hostilities with mother country, was made manifest by the fate of Brown  and his family; who, trusting to his fancied security in the seclusion of his  position--so far from the lake and the ordinary path of the enemy--was taken by a  party of Indians, and carried into captivity.  It is not certin, however, that the  settlement would have been abandoned, had not the troops, who were stationed on  Onion river for the protection of the inhabitants, left their post, and exposed them  to the depredations of the enemy, without any means of defence.  These troops were  stationed at a block house in Jericho, on the river in the south west part of the  town, and were under the command of Capt. Fassett, then holding a commission,  and acting under the orders of Gen. Gates; who had his head quarters at  Ticonderoga.  Matthew Lyon (afterwards known as the "Lyon of Vermont") held a  lieutenant's command in the company, and it was said that he and the other  subordinate officers of the company, in view of their exposed and dangerous  position, induced the soldiers to desert it; which, however, Lyon always denied,  casting the blame on Fassett and the other officers.  Lyon went to Gates to make  report that the soldiers had all left; whereupon he with the other officers were  arrested, tried by a court martial, and cashiered for cowardice.  When Lyon was  afterwards in congress from this state, he was insulted by Roger Griswold of Conn.,  for wearing a wooden sword; which induced the personal affray on the floor of  congress between those gentlemen, that occurred in 1798; and resulted in a vote for  the expulsion of Lyon; but failing of a majority of two thirds, he retained his seat. 

      On the return of peace in 1783, Stephen Lawrence was the first to return with  his family, and during the same year most of the former occupants returned to their  farms, and brought with them many new settlers; and the very great fertility of the  soil, possessing all its native richness and strength, invited a rapid settlement of  the country.  At the end of eight years after the close of the Revolution (1791), the  population within the present limits of the county of Chittenden, was 3,875; and in 1800, it was 9,395; more than one-third of the present population of the county--it  being in 1860, 28,171.  It will be seen, however, that the ratable property of the  county has increased in a much greater ratio, than the population; for we find on  the first census, 1791, that the amount of ratable property returned was estimated  in the aggregate, at $50,675.72, about $13 to each person--man, woman, and child;  while on the last census, 1860, the ratable property is estimated at the sum of  $7,845,941, which is $278 to the person. 

      It may also be noticed with interest, that the number of persons to each  square mile in the county, in 1791, was 7 1/2; and in 1860, 54 1/5.  That the ratable  wealth to each square mile in 1791, was $97.45; and in 1860, $13,165.21.  In 1791,  Windsor was the most populous town in the state, containing 801 inhabitants--now  Burlington is the most populous, and contains 7,713 inhabitants; moreover, in 1791,  Vermont was a slave-holding state; having returned 16 slaves on that census; but it  was the last and only census that testified to the humiliating fact, that a resident  slave treads upon the soil of Vermont. 

      From the above figures we may plainly see how limited were the means of our  fathers, and how severe must have been their toil, to open the country and make a  beginning for the wealth and comfort of their children.  But it should not be  forgotten that they had a higher object than mere wealth and comfortable support;  they looked forward to the more important advantages of social progress and  political freedom; which have thus far been more than realized.  But the result of  the events that are now passing before us, must determine how much longer these  highest of earthly blessings can be enjoyed. 


TO PART TWO

 


 

 
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