a very mountainous, pentagonal shaped town, located in the northwestern
corner of the county, in 44º 47' north latitude, and in longitude
4º 19' east from Washington,* is bounded north by Avery's Gore, and
Montgomery, in Franklin county, east by Eden, south by Johnson and Waterville,
and west by Waterville. It was granted to a Mr. John Kelley,
of New York city, March 5, 1787, and chartered by Vermont, November 14,
1791, by the name of Belvidere. The town originally contained an area of
30,100 acres but was shorn of its limits November 15, 1824, when a portion
of its territory was taken towards forming the town of Waterville, and
again, October 30, 1828, 13,440 acres were annexed to Eden, so that Belvidere
now has an area of less than 20,000 acres.
In surface, the town is extremely broken and irregular, some of
the mountains attaining an elevation of from 2,000 to 3,000 feet, so that
for agricultural purposes it is of little value, though there are some
good farms found along the streams, where the soil is principally a clay
loam. To compensate for this deficiency, however, Belvidere has, aside
from a variety of wild and picturesque scenery, many thousand feet of valuable
timber standing in her forests. The manufacture of this timber into lumber,
and into manufactured articles—butter tubs, sap buckets, etc.,—constitutes
the principal occupation of the inhabitants, and is the source of the principal
exports of the town. The higher peaks and ridges of the territory are covered
with immense quantities of spruce and hemlock, while the lower portions
abound with maple, white and yellow birch, etc. The maple yields an excellent
quality of sugar, many thousand pounds of which find their way to market
annually. North Branch flows through the center of the town, from east
to west, affording many excellent mill-sites, several of which are utilized.
This stream forms the water-course of the town, and into it flow the waters
of Rattling, Basin, Mill, and several other brooks. All of the streams
are noticeable for their clear, cold water, and are quite plentifully supplied
The geological structure of the town is composed of rocks principally
of the talcose schist and gneiss formations. The former underlies the western
half, and the latter the eastern half of the township. The large bed of
schist is cut in several places by beds of steatite, or soapstone, many
deposits of which bid fair to develop into quarries of value. Gold in alluvium
is said to have been discovered in the extreme western portion of the town,
though in very small quantities. A bed of saccharoid azoic limestone also
exists, near the line of Bakersfield. Iron and led ores, too, have
been discovered in limited quantities, yet sufficient to warrant the belief
that mines of considerable value might be developed. Current tradition
has it that an Indian at one time took one of, the first settlers with
him upon Belvidere mountain, and there cut from a ledge a chunk of very
pure led ore, which he afterwards run into bullets. There were indications
from the cuts in the ledge, so it is said, that there were large quantities
of lead and that the Indian had frequently been there before to procure
it. The settler thought to mark the place with his eye and his route back,
so as to return, but the wily savage crossed and recrossed his steps so
many times on their return, that the man lost all traces of the spot containing
the treasure, and was never able to find the place afterwards.
In 1882, Belvidere had a population of 400, was divided into
five school districts, and contained five common schools, employing nine
female teachers at an aggregate salary of $430.10. There were 109 pupils
attending common school, while the entire cost of the schools for the year,
ending October 31st, was $466.10, with R.D.Whittemore school superintendent.
Belvidere, a small post village located in the southwestern part
of the town, on North Branch, contains one church (Christian), one store,
a saw and grist-mill, paint shop, etc., and about a dozen dwellings.
Belvidere Corners (p. o.) is a hamlet located at the junction of
roads 1, 2, 3, and 4. Joel C. Hodgkin's saw-mill, located on road 10, was
built by Mr. Hodgkins in 1877. The mill is supplied, with an excellent
water-power, employs twelve men, and manufacturers about 3,000,000 feet
of lumber per annum, This lumber is mostly spruce, and is marketed throughout
Vermont and Massachusetts.
J.C. Hodgkin's tub factory, located on road 10, was established
by Harris Dennio, in 1868, operated by him about three years, then sold
to Curtis Brown, and by him re-sold to Frank Lumbra & Co., and finally,
in 1876, came into the possession of Mr. Hodgkins. The gentleman employs
a number of hands, and manufactures about 40,000 tubs annually.
Brown & Fullington's saw-mill, and butter-tub factory, located
on Kelly brook, near road 13, was built by John Hunter, and, in 1880, was
purchased by L.M.Fullington, of Johnson, and is now operated under the
firm title as above. The saw-mill has the capacity for cutting 8,000 to
10,000 feet of lumber per day, and in the manufacture of tubs the firm
employs ten men, who turn out about 40,000 tubs per year.
Thomas W. Shattuck’s gristmill, located on road 16, was built by
Oliver Potter, and operated by him for several years, then was owned by
several parties in succession until 1864, when it was purchased by the
J.L. Squire's saw-mill, located on road 14, was built by Edmund
Potter, about the year 1850, and, in the autumn of 1880, was purchased
by Mr. Squires. The mill has a capacity of 4,000 feet of lumber per day,
but depends upon the supply of water, which varies.
It was nearly twenty years after the granting of its charter, that
the first settlement in Belvidere was commenced. The first settlers were
Nathaniel Hodgkins, Moody Shattuck, Timothy Carpenter, John Fletcher, and
others, in 1806, '07, and '08, who were joined by others so rapidly, that,
in 1810, the town had a population of 217. The first town meeting was held
March 21, 1808, pursuant to a warning issued by Sylvanus Eaton, justice
of the peace, March 7, 1808. John Holmes was chosen moderator of the meeting,
which was then opened in due form, and the following named gentlemen elected
as the first town officers: John Brown, town clerk; William Beal, John
Hodgkins, and John Adams, selectmen; Jonathan Perham, John Adams, and Lemuel
Warren, listers; NathanielHodgkins, first constable; David Chaffee, grand
juror; Jonathan Chaffee, Nathaniel Hodgkins, and Timothy Carpenter, surveyors
of highways; John Holmes and John Adams, pound keepers; John Perham, David
Chaffee, and Putnam Phelps, fence viewers; John Brown, sealer of leather;
Nathaniel Hodgkins, sealer of weights and measures; Abel Raymore, tythingman;
and Samuel and Jonathan Perham, haywards.
At a meeting held at the house of Enoch Dodge, on the first Tuesday
in September, 1808, the first ballot for electing a person to represent
the State in Congress, was taken, there being fourteen votes cast, ten
of which were for Ezra Butler, and four for Martin Chittenden. The names
of the voters were as follows: John Holmes, John Adams, John Hodgkins,
Tavish Pulsafur, Sherebiah Leach, Samuel Perham, William Beals, Enoch Dodge,
David Chaffee, Joel W. Perham, Jonathan Perham, Nathaniel Hodgkins, John
Brown, and Moody Shattuck, being in all probability all the legal voters
there were in the town at that time.
Nathaniel Hodgkins, from New Hampshire, came to this town in 1806.
Of his family of eleven children, two spent their lives in the town. Stickney,
the third child, was born in 1791, and was a resident of Belvidere from
1806, until his death, in 1864. He served in the war of 1812, took a leading
part in town affairs, representing his townsmen in the legislature of 1840,
and his death was generally lamented. He reared a family of fourteen children,
of whom Harriet, the seventh child, became the wife of Heman L. Fletcher,
in 1854. Mr. Fletcher died in the service of his country during the late
civil war, and his only son, Heman S., now occupies the old homestead,
on road 10. Joel C., the ninth child of Stickney, also resides on road
Moody Shattuck settled in the northeastern part of the town in 1807,
coming from Athens, Vt. He filled several of the first offices of the town,
represented his townsmen in the legislature several times, and served in
the battle of Plattsburgh, ranking as captain. His brother, Jeremiah, came
to Waterville soon after he located here, and subsequently removed to this
town, locating on road 14, where he followed the occupation of a farmer
and shoe-maker. Chauncey, a grandson of Moody, now resides in Waterville,
on road 7, and Thomas W., the eighth child of Jeremiah, born in Belvidere,
in 1812, still resides here, on road 16.
Martin Shattuck, son of Randall, the youngest son of Moody, was
born in this town in 1842, and resided here until twenty-two years of age,
then removed to Waterville to act as clerk in the store of E.H. Shattuck.
He subsequently engaged in mercantile pursuits for himself, and, May 12,
1871, removed to Eden, where he carries on business on road 21 corner 22.
Timothy Carpenter, from the southern part of the State, came with
his family to Belvidere in 1808, and located in the southern part of the
town, where he died in 1814, aged forty-three years. He had a family of
five children, all of whom resided in the town. Phineas, a grandson of
Timothy, born here in 1815, now resides on road 6, owning one of the finest
places in the town.
John Fletcher, who is one of the oldest citizens of the town, came
here with his father, Artemas, on an ox-sled, from North Adams, Mass. Shortly
after entering the town he located where he now resides, on road 13. He
is a pensioner of the war of 1812, having served at the battle of Plattsburgh.
Two of his children also reside in the town, James H., on the old homestead,
and Artemas, on road 11. Elias J., the youngest son of Artemas, served
in Co. H., 9th Vt. Vols., and died here in October, 1881, aged forty- six
David Chaffee, from Athens, Vt., came to Belvidere among the early
settlers, but, after a few years' residence here, he removed to Boston,
Mass. Alva, the second of his nine children, born in 1796, remained in
the town, continuing a resident until his death, in 1868. He reared a family
of nine children, and took an active part in town affairs. One of his sons,
Alva J., who now resides on road 10, represented the town in 1864, and
has filled other offices of trust. Nason, another son, represented the
town of Waterville in 1870, and held the office of high sheriff in 1874-'75.
Amos K. Whittemore, from Litchfield, N.H., located in Eden in 1802,
and from there removed to this town, in 1835, and subsequently took up
his residence in Bakersfield, where he died; in 1871, aged eighty-nine
years. He reared a family of fourteen children, two of whom, Lewis and
Robert D., now reside in the town, on road 17.
Norman M. Cheeney, the second son of Joseph Cheeney, an early settler
in Waterville, was born in 1820, and has resided in Belvidere about twelve
years, during which time he has held most of the town trusts.
Sylvanus Brown, from Orleans county, came to this town in 1838,
and located near the central part, where he died, in 1867, aged sixty-eight
years. Curtis, his third child, born in 1826, has represented the town
two years, held other town offices, and is reckoned one of the most expert
hunters in the State. He has killed upwards of one hundred bears during
his life, three of which he shot during the winter of 1882.
Charles B. Weston was born in Franklin county, in 1805, and came
to Belvidere in 1852, since which time he has been a resident of the town.
He represented his townsmen in the legislature of 1874, and has held most
of the other town offices.
Eugene L. Chappell, from Canada, came to Belvidere in 1857, being
the third to locate in that part of the town called the Basin, since which
time, with the exception of three years spent in the service of his country
during the late war, has resided in the town. He married Miss Amelia St.
John, in 1861, and has a family of three children.
The Christian Church of Belvidere — The first preaching in the town
was in 1810, when Elder Morris, of Hardwick, preached a sermon in the barn
of Timothy Carpenter. After the war of 1812, meetings were held under the
auspices of Elders Newland, of Hyde Park, and R. Dodge, of Stowe. The meetings
resulted in the organization of a church of the Christian denomination,
with the following list of members: Ebenezer Williams, Jerry Hodgkin, Chester
Chaffee, Eliphalet Carpenter, Jesse C. Holmes, Joseph Perham, Fanny Hodgkin,
and Nancy Russell. In 1851, a neat and substantial church was erected
at Belvidere village, where the society now meets, presided over by Rev.
R. D. Whittemore.
* As the
whole county is in north latitude, and in east longitude from Washington,
the terms north and east will hereafter be omitted.
of Lamoille and Orleans Counties, VT.; 1883-1884, Compiled and Published
by Hamilton Child; May 1887, Page 60-63)
was provided by Tom Dunn.
–1884 Belvidere Business Directory