THE town of Mount Tabor is situated in the southeast corner of Rutland county, and is bounded on the north by Wallingford and Mount Holly; on the east by Weston (Windsor county); on the south by Peru and Dorset (Bennington county), and on the west by Danby. It was chartered August 28, 1761, by Benning WENTWORTH, of New Hampshire, under the name of "Harwick," to Jonathan WILLARD and sixty others; it contained 23,040 acres, and the usual reservations were made for the school, ministerial and governor's lots. The town lies principally on the Green Mountains and is generally of a rugged character. The west side includes the valley of Otter Creek, in which are some fertile and comparatively level lands. Otter Creek flows northward along the extreme west part of the town, and "Big Branch" flows northerly and' westerly across the town and empties into Otter Creek at about the center of the west line. Numerous other small streams exist in various parts of the town. A considerable part of the town is still covered with forest.

      This town was organized on the 17th of March, 1788, with the following officers: Gideon TABOR, moderator; John JENKINS, town clerk; John STAFFORD, John JENKINS and Gideon BAKER, selectmen; Jonathan WOOD, treasurer; Elihu ALLEN, constable and collector; Giles WING and John STAFFORD, listers; Beloved CARPENTER, Gideon TABOR, Giles WING, Jonathan WOOD, John STAFFORD and Gideon BAKER, petit jurors.

      At the date of organization there were seventeen freemen in the town, according to the recorded list, as follows: Elihu ALLEN, Gideon TABOR, Gideon BAKER, Matthew RANDALL, jr., Giles WING, Benjamin CORNWELL, Beloved CARPENTER, Jonathan WOOD, Stutely STAFFORD, Edward CORBAN, John STAFFORD, Elijah GARY, Jacob WHEELER, jr., Stephen HILL, Palmer STAFFORD, Samuel QUITMAN and Daniel SHERMAN.

      Gideon TABOR was elected representative of the town in 1788, according to a certificate which is extant, signed by John JENKINS as town clerk. A second town meeting was held on the 28th of May, 1788, at which it was voted that an estimation be made of the property at once; also a tax of five pounds to be made out and collected in grain, to defray the expenses of laying out roads, purchasing books and paying other necessary expenses.  The name of the town was changed from "Harwic " to Mount Tabor in 1803, the change being rendered desirable on account of there being a town named Hardwick already in the State, which led to confusion in delivering mail. The town did not have a post-office in its limits until within the past fifteen years; but depended on Danby and Weston for its mail. A part of Bromley (now Peru), two hundred rods wide, east and west, and six miles long, was annexed to Mount Tabor in 1805, and remained thus for twenty years, when it was taken off and annexed to Dorset. On that strip of land lived about fourteen families. About 1814 or 1815 a road was laid out through Mount Tabor from Danby borough to Weston, and about this date several families were located in the east part of the town; the first of these was Samuel FOSTER.

      The first proprietors' meeting was warned by William FOX, of Wallingford, and held in August, 1805, with William FOX as moderator, and Gideon TABOR proprietors' clerk. At this meeting it was voted to allot the town and that Jonathan PARKER, David STEEL and Gideon TABOR should be a committee to superintend the allotment. It was also voted to give to David STEEL a strip of land five hundred rods wide on the east side of the town for sixteen original proprietors' shares that he owned. The remainder was allotted in 1807. The governor's lot was situated in the southwest corner of the town.

      The town, with the exception of Steel's strip and the governor's five hundred acre lot, was run out into ninety-six lots  -- two lots to each proprietor's share, which were designated by ranges and numbers, and first and second division lots. The names of the original grantees of the town are as follows: Jonathan WILLARD, John HOWARD, William BUCK, Elijah FERRIS, John RENOLD, Thomas HUNTER, Nathaniel MARSHALL, David HUNTER, Ezekiel NAPP, Enos FULLER, Peter REYNOLD, Samuel HAWLEY, Abraham FINCH, Joseph CROUCH, Gabriel SHERWOOD, James PALMER, Lewis BARTON, Daniel HARRIS, Eli PARSONS, Nehemiah MESSENGER, Sarah LAMPSON (widow), John LAMPSON, Daniel HARE, William HARE, Anthony WOOLF, James CUTLER, Jacob LOMIS, John WENTWORTH, John CHAMBERLIN, Thomas WENTWORTH, Thomas MARTIN, John WALBRIDGE, Jonathan WILLARD, 3d, Samuel CANFIELD, Eldad VAN WORT, Hczckiah LOMIS, William FINCOURT, Ebenezer STRONG, John RICE, Beriah LOMIS, Abraham UTLER, Samuel ROSE, jr., Judah AULGER, Elisha SMITH, David AULGER, Joseph EAMES, Ebenezer EAMES, Cyrus AULGER, John AULGER, Ebenezer NAPP, Richard FOGESON, Richard TRUESDELL, John JOSLYN, Hendrick MINARD, Christian RAY, Samuel WILLARD, Asa DOUGLAS, Richard WIBARD, esq., Daniel WARNER, esq., James NEVEN, esq., Charles FOOT, John NELSON.

      According to the sketch of this town furnished by Gideon S. TABOR, for the Vermont Historical Magazine, about three thousand acres of the best part of the town, including the governor's lot, in the valley of the Otter Creek, was first settled, and titles obtained by "pitches" and vendue sales for taxes. It was ascertained in 1857, by running the town line between Danby and Mount Tabor, that parties claiming under Danby had crowded into Mount Tabor, ten rods at Danby borough, the center of said line, which takes about sixty acres of land, eight dwellings, the meeting-house and the old banking-house, all treated as being in Danby, and will virtually form Mount Tabor, "and remain so by acquiescence, unless an act of Legislature or a judgment of the court sets it right."


EARLY SETTLEMENTS

      Of the pioneers who came into this town and laid the foundations of civilization in the wilderness, a few words are merited. John SWEET came here about the year 1782, and settled on sixty acres of land at the foot of the Green Mountains, on the farm now owned by Martin FOLEY. He was "a staid and God-fearing man," and died about 1818. He had a large and respectable family, all of whom left the town soon after his decease.

      Gideon BAKER was in the town at the time of its organization; was one of its first selectmen and once represented the town in the Legislature. He lived on the farm now owned by J. B. GRIFFITH and occupied by I. G. SHELDON. He and his wife were prominent in the Methodist faith and many early meetings were held at his house. He died in 1824 and his wife in 1823; they had a large family, but none of them is living in the town.

      Walter TABOR came from Tiverton, R. I., to Danby, with his family about the year 1782 or 1783. He lived there about ten years, when he removed to Mount Tabor and located on the east side of Otter Creek on the farm now owned by John B. GRIFFITH. He became prominent in the town and held several offices; he died in 1806, after serving his country in the Revolutionary War. His eldest son, Gideon TABOR, was born 1762, and also served four years in the War of the Revolution, in which capacity his zeal for the cause did much to inspire a patriotic spirit. He came into the town about 1784, married Hannah CARPENTER, daughter of Beloved CARPENTER, one of the first settlers, and served as town clerk twenty-eight years ; he also represented the town in the Legislature most of the time for thirty years, and died in February, 1824. He had a family of eight children that arrived at years of maturity.

      Caleb BUFFUM moved into the town in 1815 and settled on the farm now owned by James CANARY and occupied by Amos WELLS (this farm was occupied by L. P. HINE, now of Danby from 1854 to 1863). He lived nearly forty years in the place and raised a large family of children. Later in his life he removed to Rutland, where he and his wife both died. He was an energetic and useful man and represented the town in the Legislature several years; he also held all of the town offices at different periods.

      Stephen HILL, whose name appears in connection with the town organization, lived until his death on the farm in the northwest part where George A. HADWIN now resides. His youngest son, Amos, also lived and died on that place.

      Stephen HILL, Gideon BAKER and Gideon TABOR were the only men who remained in the town from its organization until their death; and there is not a living representative of those who organized the town now living in it, except the Tabor family. James HATHAWAY was a sergeant in the Revolutionary army and long resided in the town; he died in 1826. Joseph MOULTON was in both the French and the Revolutionary Wars and died in 1815. In the War of 1812 Edward C. TABOR, Arden TABOR, Gideon TABOR and William COLSTON took part from this town, the former having been orderly sergeant.

      There was a school-house built of logs at an early date on the farm of Gideon TABOR, which was the first, or one of the first, in the town. Mr. Tabor taught there in the winter of 1808-09; this was the last session in that house. The town is now divided into four school districts. There is no church in the town, except the one mentioned as standing on the land appropriated by Danby. Benjamin SHAW, a Methodist preacher, came into the town at an early date, locating in the east part, and made an effort for several years to secure the ministerial lot; not succeeding he went away.

      The history of this town has been one of peace and general quietude; the inhabitants have given their attention to their farms and other industries, without attempting to distract themselves with the turmoil of the busy center s elsewhere. When the call for troops was issued to aid in suppressing the great Southern Rebellion, the town responded with the same patriotism that had distinguished it in the early wars. The following list shows the enlistments from the town in Vermont organizations as far as known : 

      Volunteers for three years credited previous to the call for 300,000 volunteers of October 17, 1863. -- Joseph AYRES, co. C, 10th regt.; Henry J. BAKER, Nathan F. BAKER, co. F, 6th regt.; Joseph BUFFUM, co. H, cav.; Elias E. COX, co. D, 7th regt.; John FORTIER, co. C, 10th regt.; John J. HOWARD, co. E, 2d s. s.; George A. KING, co. F, 6th regt.; Exes MINETT, co. E, 2d s. s.; Joseph  MINETT, co. A, 4th regt.; Eli A. MOERS, co. C, 10th regt.; George W. SHELDON, co. C, 11th regt.; Isaac A. SWEAT, co. D, 7th regt.; Abel B. TARBELL, co. E, 5th regt.; James M. TARBELL, co. E, 2d s. s.; Martin M. TARBELL, co. B, 7th regt.; Thomas J. TARBELL, Henry H. THOMPSON, Prescott W. THOMPSON, William A. THOMPSON, co. I:, 2d s. s.; Edwin THOMAS, co. C, 6th regt.; Lyman C. WELLS, Eli A. WILLARD, co. E, 2d s. s.; Calvin WHITE, co. B, 9th regt.
Volunteers for three years, Daniel H. LANE, co. I, 17th regt. 

      Volunteers re-enlisted. -- Elias E. COX, co. D, 7th regt.; Hiram GREELEY, co. E, 6th regt.; Martin M. TARBELL, co. D, 7th regt.; Eli A. WILLARD, co. E, 2d s. s.

      Furnished under draft, paid commutation, Asa L. WARNER. Entered service, William A. THOMPSON, co. I, 4th regt. 

      The following statistics show the population of the town at the various dates given, and indicate that this is one of the towns of the county which has a larger population now than at any previous time: 1791, 165; 1800, 153; 1810, 209; 1820, 222; 1830, 210; 1840, 226; 1850, 308; 1860, 358; 1870, 301; 1880, 495.

      Following are the names of the present officers of Mount Tabor: T. C. RISDON, clerk; James G. JOHNSTON, treasurer and overseer of the poor; D. C. RISDON, O. O. NICHOLS and E. L. STAPLES, selectmen; E. FOLEY, J. MINETT and N. E. NICHOLS, listers; D. C. RISDON, M. BARRETT and B. J. GRIFFITH, school trustees.


MANUFACTURING, ETC.

      The first manufacturing in this town was, undoubtedly the sawing of lumber in the mills that were early built on the streams for the accommodation of the settlers in the building of frame houses and barns to supersede their log structures. The first saw-mill in the town was built by Elisha LAPHAM, a Danby man, on the site of P. T. GRIFFITH's mill; this was burned and the second one erected within a few years afterward.

      N.E. NICHOLS's mills, located on "Roaring Branch," were built in 1862 and purchased by him in 1867. They manufacture, besides lumber, cheese-boxes and scoop-shovels, the manufacture of the latter having been begun the present year.

      P.T. GRIFFITH's mill, before mentioned, was erected on the site of a former mill owned by C. H. CONGDON, which burned.

      What was known as the "Greeley mill," which was built in 1840 on the branch, passed into possession of S. L. GRIFFITH, but is not now running. Griffith & Mcintyre’s mill (S. L. GRIFFITH and Eugene MCINTYRE) was built on the Big Branch in 1872, and has a capacity for cutting 20,000 feet of lumber per day. It is run by steam. Mr. GRIFFITH has another steam mill a mile above the "Greeley mill," on the site of an old mill built in 1854 by F. R. BUTTON; it was burned after coming into Mr. GRIFFITH's hands and he erected the present mill; it has a capacity of 2,000,000 to 3,000,000 feet of lumber per year; also manufactures lath and shingles. It will be seen from these statements that the lumber business is still one of the important industries of the town.

      The tanning business has received some attention here. A tannery was built on land owned by H. W. LINCOLN a little after 1840 and first operated by Henry G. LAPHAM and Levi BARRETT. They conducted it to about the close of the war, when Hiram LINCOLN took it for a year; he then took in John MATTOCKS and they continued it eight or ten years. Mr. MATTOCKS then had it alone a year or two. The establishment burned a number of years ago.


THE CHARCOAL BUSINESS

      This is by far the most important industry in this town and is carried on nowhere else in the county at large, except by the great furnace companies, to anything like the extent that it reaches here. The coal is burned from both hard and soft wood, spruce, poplar, birch, etc. The business is almost entirely in the hands of S. L. GRIFFITH and the firm of Griffith & McIntyre, before mentioned. It was begun by Mr. GRIFFITH in 1872, when he built six kilns. So important is the industry and so picturesque its surroundings that it has been written up and illustrated in one of the popular magazines. At the settlement, which has been given the name of Mill Glen, and where a little gathering of houses has existed since 1854, when Frank BUTTON carried on a saw-mill here, are located eight kilns of the thirty-five owned by the men named (either by Mr. GRIFFITH alone, or by the firm), and more than thirty families have settled down here, members of all of which are employees of Mr. Griffith. Two blacksmith-shops, a wagon-shop, a harness-shop, a shoe-shop, a store, two boarding-houses and a school, are conducted at this point and all substantially under the direction of Mr. GRIFFITH. At what is called "the Summit Job," Mr. GRIFFITH has ten kilns; this is located two miles farther up the mountain. In the vicinity of the Greeley mill he has four kilns, and four near the railroad depot.

      At another settlement called the "Black Branch job," the firm of Griffith & MCINTYRE have nine kilns, a blacksmith and wagon repair shop, and some twenty tenant houses; another school is located here. These schools are kept up principally by the children of the families engaged in the charcoal business. In the shops all the wagons and sleds, etc., used in the industry are made and kept in order, nothing being purchased outside except raw material.

      The product of this industry is enormous and consists of about 1,000,000 bushels annually. For its shipment forty cars are kept which were built for this express purpose. Twenty thousand cords of wood are burned annually, each kiln holding from forty to forty-five cords. The coal goes largely to the Washburn & Moen Wire Company, of Worcester, Mass., and to Senator William H. BARNUM, of Conn. The two men named keep about one hundred horses and eighteen yokes of oxen in service, and employ in all five hundred men.

      Mr. GRIFFITH has also a large farm on which he is making a specialty of raising blooded cattle and swine; of the former he has about sixty-five head and of the latter one hundred.

      The hamlet called Brooklyn is the only post-office in the town. It is located on the Rutland and Bennington Railroad, which skirts the western side of the town. Joseph I. SCOTT was the first postmaster here, and was succeeded by James C. KING in about 1875  O. O. NICHOLS was appointed to the office in the fall of 1885. A grocery is kept here by D. C. RISDON, who began the business in 1880.
 
 

History of Rutland County Vermont with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers
Edited by H. Y. Smith & W. S. Rann
Syracuse, N. Y.
D. Mason & Co., Publishers  1886
History of the Town of Danby
Chapter XXXII.
(pages 692-697)

Transcribed by Karima, 2002


Childs' History of the Town of Mout Tabor, Rutland County, VT., 1881-82
Childs' Business Directory of the Town of Mout Tabor, Rutland County, VT., 1881-82