the shire town of Orleans county, was granted by Vermont, February 23,
1781, to Ira Allen and sixty-nine associates. It then consisted of a tract
of 23,040 acres, lying in lat. 44º 48', and long. 4º 42', bounded
north by Coventry, south by Lutterloh (Albany), and east and west by unappropriated
and unnamed lands. It is now bounded northeast by Coventry, southeast by
Barton, southwest by Albany, and northwest by Lowell and Newport.
The surface of the township is diversified by gentle hills and valleys,
forming a charming landscape. The soil is also various, and in general
is easy to cultivate and produces good crops. Black river, the principal
water-course, flows through the town in a northerly direction, receiving
a number of small streams, but its current is generally slow and affords
but few mill-privileges. Barton river just touches upon the eastern corner.
The Passumpsic railroad also crosses the eastern corner.
In 1880, Irasburgh had a population of 1,064, and in 1882, was divided
into twelve school districts and contained twelve common schools, employing
five male and nineteen female teachers, to whom was paid an aggregate salary
of $1,354.18. There were 401 pupils attending common school, while the
entire cost of the schools for the year, ending October 31st, was $1,530.33,
with George B. Rowell, superintendent.
Irasburgh is a post village very pleasantly situated near the center
of the town on Black river, which stream here affords a very fair water-power
for the extensive saw-mills of George W. Parker, the grist-mills of W.
T. Morey, and another saw-mill. The village also contains two churches
(Congregational and Methodist), courthouse and jail, two hotels, three
stores, about fifty dwellings, and 250 or 300 inhabitants. In 1812, the
legislature of the State passed an act constituting Irasburgh the shire
town of the county, provided the inhabitants of Irasburgh would erect a
court-house and jail at their own expense. The buildings were completed
in 1816, as mentioned on page 173. This gave a new dignity to the town
and proved a great impetus to the growth of the village. In 1830, The Bank
of Orleans was established here, and the village bade fair to become the
most important in the county. But the rapid growth of other villages, with
their superior mill-privileges and facilities for transportation, gradually
drew the business from Irasburgh until they are now far ahead of it. The
bank was removed to Barton in 1875, and is now the National Bank of Barton.
W. T. Morey's grist-mill, located at the village, has three runs
of stones, a smut-mill and corn cracker. Mr. Morey does custom grinding
and deals in meal, flour, etc.
William T. Brewster's saw-mill, located at the village, manufactures
spruce, hemlock, and hardwood lumber, turning out annually about 200,000
feet, giving employment to six men.
George W. Parker's lumber-mill, formerly owned by the Boston Mill
Co., are also located at the village. Mr. Parker manufactures spruce, hemlock
and hardwood lumber, and shingles, also having planing and dressing machinery.
He turns out 1,500,000 feet of lumber annually, employing eight men.
Bozille Laguness's carriage and blacksmith shop, located at the
village, was built in the spring of 1873. Mr. Laguness manufactures wagons,
carriages and sleighs, and does all kinds of blacksmithing work.
It is claimed that when the Allens wanted a new township granted
they merely obtained a few bona fide proprietors, and filled up the required
number of grantees with assumed names from some at that time distant point,
paid the first grantees dues, and afterwards professedly bought up these
claims. But be that as it may, previous to 1789, Ira Allen had received
conveyances from all of the original proprietors, so that the whole township,
except the public rights, belonged to him, subject to the conditions of
the grant. When Jerusha, eldest daughter of Gen. Roger Enos, engaged herself
to Gen. Allen the father of the affianced bride required, in accordance
with the usages of these days, a marriage settlement for, his daughter.
Thus very much as a matter of form and honorable custom, the township of
Irasburgh, then a primeval wilderness, was deeded to her as such settlement,
for, to use Mrs. Allen's own words, “she did not at that time consider
it worth a rush.” In 1792, he employed James Whitelaw, Esq., to survey
the township, who completed the task in 1793. The township was laid out
in 210 lots, each containing, according to the plan of the survey 117 acres.
According to the conditions of the charter, there should have been
a family upon each respective right in the summer of 1797, in order to
have the titles valid. But nothing appears to have been done by the proprietors
towards making a settlement until the autumn of 1801, when a notice appeared
in the “Rutland Herald,” warning the proprietors to meet at the dwelling
of Ralph Parker, in Glover, on the 12th of November. This notice also appeared
in the columns of Spooner's “Vermont Journal” and in those of the “Green
Mountain Patriot,” signed by Ralph Parker, justice of the peace. At a meeting
held in Glover, December 28, 1801, the proprietors voted that the account
of James Whitelaw for surveying be allowed, principal and interest, and
that a tax of $6.25 be assessed on each proprietor's share in the town.
Roger Enos, Jr., was elected collector of said tax. None of the proprietors
appeared to pay the tax, and December 25, 1802, Mr. Enos advertised the
lands for sale, the vendue to come off March 4, 1803, at Glover, when all
the lands, except the public rights, were sold at auction, and, March 14,
1804, deeded to Heman Allen. In 1797, the legislature assessed a
tax of three cents per acre on all the land of Irasburgh for the purpose
of building roads, bridges, etc. Joseph Scott, collector, advertised the
land to be sold at public auction for this tax, March 9, 1803, at the house
of Royal Corbin in Craftsbury. The land was sold and again bid off to Heman
Allen, who thus became owner by virtue of vendue deeds from two collectors,
and was authorized to convey them by statute laws. Ira and Jerusha Allen
had, previous to these sales, leased several lots to various individuals,
some of whom were occupying them at this time. Hemon Allen was one of the
trustees who collected the rents for them, and, after be became legal owner,
caused occupants under such leases to quit-claim their lots to him, and
again leased them in his own name. But it turned out that Heman Allen,
Roger Enos, Jr., and Ralph Parker, Esq., were simply managing Jerusha Allen's
business, so that in the end she became sole owner of the town, except
the public rights. Settlers held their land under leases, and it was not
until after Ira H. Allen, her son, came here in 1814, that any lands were
conveyed by deed. Roger Enos, Jr., Jerusha Enos, and Jerusha Enos, Jr.,
the wife of Ira Allen, were the only original proprietors who ever resided
in the town.
The first settlement was made by Caleb Leach, in 1798. He built
a log house, into which his family moved that year, in the eastern part
of the town on the Barton line. James Leach came soon after and located
near Caleb. Levi Sylvester came in 1799, and located upon what is now known
as the brick house farm. It was the custom for landed proprietors to give
the first settler a lot of land in consideration for the hardships which
the first pioneer must endure. This custom gave to Caleb Leach the easterly
half of No. 108, as marked on the original survey. Mr. Leach's, and Levi
Sylvester's families were the only ones in the town in 1800, the census
showing a. population of fifteen. During this year Foster Page, Simon French,
Orlando Bowley, Amos Conant and his son, Samuel, made settlements in the
town. It is not known how many moved here during the years 1801 and 1802,
the only records showing that any intended to settle being the dates of
leases from Ira and Jerusha Allen to various individuals, some of whom
settled here in 1803, '04 and '05. Nearly every lot in the eastern
and northeastern part of the town was leased during these years. It appears
that the proprietors leased lots to men who had never seen them, because
several of the lots leased in 1802, are wild and unimproved at the present
time. Among those who took leases in 1802-‘03, were the Burtons, Morrills,
Baileys, Curriers, Utleys, and Peter Thatcher, and some others who were
residents of the town for many years.
February, 13, 1803, Foster Page, Caleb Leach, Levi Sylvester, James
Leach, and Simon French signed a petition directed to Amos Conant, a justice
of the peace, requesting him to issue his warrant, and notify all the inhabitants
who were legal voters to meet and organize the town. The meeting was duly
warned to meet at the dwelling of Caleb Leach, on Monday, the 21st of March.
Foster Page was chosen moderator; Caleb Leach, Levi Sylvester and Foster
Page, selectmen; and Samuel Conant, constable. Amos Conant was the first
justice of the peace, in 1802. Caleb Leach was the first representative,
in 1804. Ralph Parker built the first grist and saw-mill, upon the site
now occupied by the grist-mill. These mills were built for the Allens,
and remained in the family until 1869. During this year, 1803, Capt. James
Richardson settled on lot No. 80. A few years after, roads were opened
by his place—one from Amos Conant's northwesterly by Richardson's to Troy,
and one from Burton's hill, by the Allen place northerly to Morrill hill,
thence to Coventry and Derby. His buildings stood at four corners, where
he kept the first tavern opened in the town. This, which was one of the
most important points from 1804 to 1812, is now an old pasture with no
road within half a mile. Later, a road was opened from Caleb Leach's to
Parker's mills, passing a McFarland’s, who located on lot No. 113. Also
one passing from Burton hill to Capt. Richardson's, passing this place,
and another from Amos Conant's to McFarland's, making five corners. This
place was thought, at that time, to be the place where the village would
be located. Town and religious meetings were held here in 1810, when Eber
Burton built a large frame house. A burying-ground was established on the
hard, gravelly knoll on the top of the hill north of the road. The militia
of the town held their annual June trainings at this place for several
years, and it was the business center until the court-house was completed,
Joshua Johnson, a native of Maine, was born in 1764, and came to
Irasburgh in 1806, where he resided a great many years and reared a large
family of children. During the war of 1812, he served in the American army.
During his absence, a tory neighbor at one time attempted to drive off
a fat cow from Mr. Johnson's farm, for the use of the enemy. Mrs. Johnson
raised a window and pointed a gun at the intruder, warning him to depart,
which he did. Mr. Johnson died in Albany, aged ninety-three years.
Joseph Kidder, born in Lyndeborough, N.H., April 7, 1780, came to
Irasburgh in February 1807. He occupied a part of a neighbor's house for
a few weeks, while he was constructing a log house of his own, to which,
as soon as completed, he moved his family, a distance of three miles, upon
the farm now owned by Freeman Metcalf. He was the first permanent
settler west of Black river, and, as near as can be ascertained, the twelfth
or thirteenth family in the town. Mr. Kidder made the journey from New
Hampshire, a distance of two hundred miles, with two yoke of oxen. Years
after, Mrs. Kidder informed her daughter Mary (Mrs. Ware), that the summer
after she came here, there was not a blade of grass about their dwelling,
and that her brooms she manufactured herself, from hemlock boughs. Bears
were numerous and troublesome, rendering it necessary to watch their stock
at night. At the breaking out of the war of 1812, several neighbors who
had settled near them, left through fear of the Indians, leaving this family
alone. In 1836, Mr. Kidder sold out, intending to go west; but, in 1837,
Mrs. Kidder died and he abandoned the project and purchased an adjoining
farm where he died, in 1853. Two of his five children are now living, Mrs.
Joseph S. Kidder, of Coventry, and Mrs. Mary Ware, of this town.
Ira H. Allen came here in 1814, and remained until his death, in
April, 1866. The lands of the town belonged to his mother, and at her decease,
in 1838, they came to him as the only surviving heir. In the management
of the estate, which had for years previous to his mother's death devolved
upon him, Mr. Allen exhibited those excellent traits of character which
made him so popular. His mildness of manner, courteous and, gentlemanly
deportment, made him accessible to the humble, and honored and respected
by the exalted. In all his business transactions, he never gave any man
reason to doubt his word, and oftentimes when he had promised to convey
real estate for a stipulated sum, other parties would offer more for the
property and the offer not be accepted. He took a leading part in town
affairs, and his townsmen honored him with many positions of trust. He
was town clerk in 1816 and 1817; selectman from 1820 to 1826, inclusive;
town representative in 1818, '19, '20, '22, '23, '27, '35, '37, '38, and
'40. In 1822 he held the office of probate judge; represented the
county in the council in 1828, '29, '30, '31, and '32; and was elected
to the council of censors in 1848, and was also appointed aide-de-camp
on the Governor's staff with the title of colonel. January 13, 1842, he
married Sarah C. T. Parsons, of Highgate, a lady of great amiability and
worth. She died February 29, 1844. July 8, 1848, he married
her sister, Frances Eliza.
Samuel H. Howard was born in Holland, Mass., in March 1813. During
his childhood his father, Eleazer Howard, moved to Cambridge, Vt., where
he remained about two years, then came to Irasburgh village where he followed
shoemaking about ten years, then engaged in tanning, which occupation he
followed until his death in 1852. Samuel H. has lived at the village since
he was six years of age, being now over seventy. He was a member of the
constitutional convention in 1870, and has been a justice of the peace
for the past thirty-one years.
William Kidder, from Lyndeborough, N. H., came to Irasburgh in 1821,
locating upon the farm now owned by his sons Charles and William. He accomplished
the journey in twelve days with two yoke of oxen. He died on the old homestead
in 1863, aged seventy-eight years. Seven of nine children are living, all
in this town, as follows: Charles, William, Mrs. James Hancock, Benjamin
A., Josiah, Mrs. George R. Bryant, and Faxson.
Ephraim Farrington from Westford, came to Irasburgh in 1822, and
in 1823, located upon the farm now owned by Albert Alger. Seven or eight
years later he sold out and purchased the farm where his son, Miles J.,
now resides, where he died, September 3, 1867, aged sixty-nine years. Three
of his four children are living.
Stephen Bryant was born in Bolton, Mass., in 1774, and came from
Weathersfield, Vt., to his town, in March, 1822, and engaged in milling
at the village. Here he remained about two years, then moved to the place
now occupied by T. Harlow, remained about two years, then sold out and
returned to the village, remained there three years, then located in the
southern part of the town where his son, George R. Bryant, now resides,
and where he died, November 11, 1855, aged eighty-one years. He was the
father of eight children, six of whom are living, three, George R., Abigail
(Mrs. W. Edmonds), and Clarinda (Mrs. George Ordway), in this town. He
was married November 15, 1805, to Miss Elizabeth Hoyt of Windsor, Vt.
Nathaniel Bryant, from Bath, N. H., came to Irasburgh about 1824,
and settled upon the farm now owned and occupied by his grandson, Azro
C. Bryant. He was the father of eight children, only two of whom are now
living, Ira Bryant, on the old homestead, aged seventy years, and Mrs.
Rosamond Morrill, aged seventy-six, in Union, Mich. Mrs. Bryant died
December 29, 1855, aged seventy-six years, and Nathaniel died June 3, 1862,
aged eighty-two years.
Chandler W. Dewey was born in Piermont, N. H., September 14, 1800.
At the age of fifteen years his father emigrated to Waterford, Vt.
Here Chandler resided until twenty-four years of age, when he married Deigratia
Buck, and the following year settled in this town upon the farm now owned
by John Priest. Mrs. Dewey became the mother of twelve children, and died
in 1851. In 1852, he married Mrs. Lucinda Wood with whom he still
lives, aged eighty-three years. Mr. Dewey enjoys the confidence and
esteem of his townsmen, and has been called by their votes to hold many
of the offices in their gift, having been justice of the peace fourteen
Abel N. Hawley was born at Middlebury, Vt., February 10, 1799, where
he spent the years of his early life. In 1822, he married Miss Eliza Hawley
of Cambridge. She died in the autumn of 1831, leaving two sons. In April,
1842, he married Eliza Bissell, a cousin of Hon. Ira Allen, and located
in Irasburgh. In company with Albert W. Dow he commenced the business
of harness and saddle-making, which they continued about three years. He
then engaged in farming, following it until the autumn of 1881, when he
retired from active life. His second wife died in 1861, and
in January, 1863, he married Mrs. Ann M. Bryant, who died in May, 1867.
December 23, 1868, he married his present wife. Mr. Hawley has held many
of the town offices, and at the age of four score years and four has his
mental faculties unimpaired and his health well preserved.
David Webster, born in 1786, came to Irasburgh from Littleton, N.
H., about 1830, locating on road 4, where his son, David H., now resides.
The farm had been previously occupied but had no improvements, except a
log house which Mr. Webster occupied about ten years. As was the case with
most of the settlers, he had no means and purchased his home on credit,
necessitating a long, hard struggle to support his large family of eleven
children, subdue the forest, and pay for the farm. Patience and economy
overcame all obstacles, however, and he gained a moderate competence. He
was a steward of the Methodist church for many years, and died in 1849,
aged sixty-three years. Albert A., his oldest son, settled here about the
time his father did, upon a farm in the neighborhood, reared a family of
ten children, served in several town offices, and died a highly respectable
farmer about ten years since. Of the surviving children of David one son
and two daughters reside in Boston, and one, David H., on the old homestead.
Henry Somers, from Huntington, Vt., came here in 1854, and located
on road 24, where his son, H. H. Somers, now resides. He resided on the
farm about sixteen years, then removed to Irasburgh village, where he now
resides. Mr. Somers has held most of the town offices, having been overseer
of the poor over twenty years, lister at least twelve years, selectman
for the past ten years, and representative in 1865-‘66. He has extensive
farming interests in this and adjoining towns, owning over 450 acres of
During the late civil war Irasburgh furnished 104 enlisted men,
twenty-four of whom were killed or died from wounds or disease contracted
while in the service.
The Methodist Episcopal church, located at Irasburgh, was organized
in 1835, Rev. N. W. Aspinwall being the first pastor. The first church
building was erected in 1836, and was succeeded by the present structure
in 1874. It is a wood structure capable of seating 250 persons, and
valued, including other property, at $4,200.00. Rev. A. B. Blake is the
present pastor of the society.
Gazetteer of Lamoille and Orleans Counties, VT.; 1883-1884, Compiled and
Published by Hamilton Child; May 1887, Page 2882 to 2885)
was provided by Tom Dunn.
Notices from 1850 to 1870, Orleans Independent Standard Newspaper,
Notices from 1850 to 1870 in the Orleans
Standard Newspaper, Irasburg, Vermont
US Census Records, Irasburg, Vermont
US Census Records, Irasburg, Vermont