situated in the extreme northeastern corner of the county, is a triangular
piece of land bounded on the north by Rochester in the county of Windsor;
on the east by Stockbridge, also in Windsor county, and on the west by
Chittenden. It derived its name from the town of the same name in Massachusetts,
from which a number of the first settlers immigrated hither. The history
of its origin is peculiar in the extreme. Governor Thomas CHITTENDEN chartered
the town on the 29th of July, 1781, to Josiah WRIGHT, Daniel KINNE, Samuel
WILCOX and nearly 130 others.
The original proprietors, who, from representations made to them, supposed
the territory of their infant town to contain land equal in extent to the
average township and a half, held their first meeting in Danby in December,
1781, and chose Daniel KINNE moderator, and Solomon STODDARD clerk; they
then appointed a committee who, pursuant to the purpose of the appointment,
laid out fifty-two and one-half acres to each proprietor, and a like number
of acres to each public reservation. In 1787, when another allotment of
forty acres to each proprietor was made, it was discovered that the towns
of Stockbridge and Chittenden had, as they charged, so over-reached , their
proper boundaries as to reduce Pittsfield to a mere gore, equal in extent
to less than an average township. They thereupon called another meeting
to be held on the 25th of September, 1787, at which they appointed
Asa WHITCOMB and Charles GOODRICH their agents to obtain redress from the
Legislature for the unjust encroachments of their neighbors. But their
efforts were fruitless; they were told that the land was there and they
must look it up, and after more than ten years of vexatious and expensive
litigation, they were defeated, and about 14,000 acres of their land was
lost to them.
The first town meeting was held at
the house of Daniel ATKINS, who then lived at the mills, and operated them
for Charles GOODRICH. There on the 26th day of March, 1793, the town was
formally organized by the election of the following officers: George MARTIN,
moderator of the meeting; town clerk, Thomas HODGKINS; selectmen, George
MARTIN, Stephen HOLT and Joseph ADAMS; treasurer, Daniel BOW; first constable,
Anthony WHITCOMB; sealer of leather, Daniel ATKINS; grand jurors, Stephen
HOLT and William DAVIS; .a pound-keeper, Daniel ATKINS; tythingmen, Jonas
STONE and Asa CALL; haywards, David DALY, Jacob JEFFERSON and Ebb DURKEE;
fence viewers, Daniel BOW; highway surveyors, Ebb DURKEE, Jacob JEFFERSON,
Jacob BOW; sealer of weights and measures, Daniel BOW.
The first men to effect a settlement
in Pittsfield were Daniel and Jacob BOW, who, in about 1786, cleared farms
in the southern part of the town, the former beginning on the farm now
occupied by Daniel AVERY and the latter on the present farm of Artemas
HUNT. In the same year Thomas HODGKINS settled in the northeast part of
the town on the farm recently owned by Royal TUPPER. He was the first town
clerk for thirteen years, and was also the first town representative. George
MARTIN came about this time to the Granville Farewell farm, both farms
being now a part of the town of Rochester. Stephen HOLT came soon after
to the farm recently occupied by John SAWYER. Among the other early inhabitants
were Lucius KIBBE, John GAINS, Dr. TUCKER, Ira HOLT and Woodward TUCKER.
David WALLER lived on the farm lately owned by Alden PINNEY; Alba DURKEE
commenced on the farm where Douglas LONG now lives; Amos JONES occupied
the farm of late called the Joseph DURKEE farm. Timothy DURKEE began on
what is now known as the GIBBS farm. Zaccheus BLOSSOM settled on the farm
formerly owned by Arlow LAMB. David DALY erected a house and small tannery
near the end of the bridge, below the mill, where Guilford PARMENTER now
lives. The farm now owned by H. O. GIBBS was begun by Nathaniel EDDY. The
first man to establish a residence on the site of the village was Uzziah
GREEN, who built a primitive log house between the Congregational parsonage
and school-house. Jonas STONE settled, the site of Andrew ELLIS's residence,
and Ebb DURKEE where Jonathan RANNEY now lives. David DURKEE cleared the
farm in later times occupied by R. GUERNSEY.
On the 4th of March, 1796, Benjamin
BLOSSOM, father of the late William R. BLOSSOM, moved here with his family
from Pittsfield, Mass., and occupied the house at the mills then owned
by Charles GOODRICH. He was a Revolutionary soldier. For ten years he operated
the grist-mill and saw-mill for Mr.. GOODRICH, in the mean time purchasing
thirty acres of land from him, embracing the present site of Dr. BRIGHAM's
house and barn. William R. BLOSSOM, who was intimately associated with
the interests of the town for a period of more than sixty-five years, was
the youngest child of Benjamin BLOSSOM. He was born in Pittsfield, Mass.,
on the 28th of April, 1789. He obtained such education as the district
schools of his home in Vermont could afford. From the time of his fourteenth
year until about 1807 he passed his summers in the employment of the landholders
of the neighborhood, and others who could give him employment, notably,
James GOODRICH and Zebedee SPROUT. In the summer of his eighteenth year
he worked for Stone & Eddy for thirteen dollars a month, constructing
the turnpike across the mountain. He camped out the whole of the time he
was engaged in this work. He became by degrees the owner of a farm of 150
acres, on which he erected a house. In 1866 he sold the farm for $3,000,
and moved on to the farm originally occupied by his father. At the age
of twenty-five years he joined a Masonic lodge at Stockbridge and held
various offices in it until the anti-Masonic excitement of 1828. He was
corporal of a company of militia men when he was eighteen years of age;
captain at twenty-five years. In 1817 he was elected town clerk, and remained
in that office until 1833. When he was twenty-seven years of age he was
appointed justice of the peace, and continued in that position for forty-five
consecutive years. He also held every other office in the gift of the town
except town treasurer. He was a delegate to a Constitutional Convention
convoked by the Council of Censors in 1828, and afterwards represented
the town in General Assembly five terms at two different periods. On the
6th day of June, 1822, he married Czarina COLE, a native of Randolph, Vt.,
by whom he had three sons and two daughters. He was a man of unusual capacity
and integrity. His death occurred on the 14th day of September, 1885, when
he had attained the age of ninety-six years, four months and sixteen days.
He was buried with Masonic honors. Orvis G. BLOSSOM, his son, and Czarina
ALLEN, his eldest child, are now residents of the town.
Another early resident of Pittsfield
was Erastus HOLT, father of Rufus HOLT. He was born in Hampton, Conn.,
on the 8th of September, 1777. He came to Pittsfield in 1798, and settled
in the northeast part of the town on the farm now occupied by William SWIFT.
He cleared the farm, built a log house, and the following year married
Sallie PARMENTER, of Pittsfield, by whom he had a family of nine sons and
three daughters. He achieved a wide reputation for his ability in acting
as attorney in law suits, although he was never admitted by the courts
to practice. He represented the town seven consecutive years at one time,
and eight at another; attended three constitutional conventions and was
justice of the peace for thirty-two consecutive years. When he tendered
his resignation, Esquire BLOSSOM observed that it would be accepted on
condition that Rufus HOLT would fill the vacancy.
The writer was fortunate in securing
an interview with William R. BLOSSOM a short time before his death, and
while his memory seemed to have lost none of its earlier vigor. When he
came to town in 1796 with his father, the country had not assumed the aspect
of civilization; the empire of nature had not been strenuously disputed
by man. The road over the mountain past Townsend's had been recently opened,
but was full of roots, stumps and almost insurmountable rocks. Another
road which was seldom traveled had been constructed between Pittsfield
and Rutland, past the present residence of Mr. CHAMBERLAIN; it was called
the Derby road. The village of Pittsfield was not yet. The large and umbrageous
elm tree which now casts its gratifying shadow on the village common, was
then a mere sapling. Mr. BLOSSOM and his brother Zaccheus, then boys, were
working for James GOODRICH clearing this tract. GOODRICH directed William
to cut down the tree, but was persuaded by the latter to leave it standing
because of its promise.
The industries were then exceedingly
rude and primitive. Jonas STONE ran a potato distillery on the site of
Andrew ELLIS's present residence, and continued it to about 1826. The product
of this distillery has been called poor whisky. STONE also made potash
near the distillery and shipped it to Boston. JUNE & HAYDEN at one
time ran an ashery back of the blacksmith shop of Frederick MORRILL.
The first store in town was kept about
1816, by John GOULD, who came here from Rutland, and traded across the
stream from the residence of Lyman PARMENTER. He did not remain long. While
there he was arrested and tried on a charge of perjury, but was acquitted.
The next store was kept by Drancis JUNE and Philotus HAYDEN, under the
firm name of June & Hayden. Their store, which was opened about 1830,
was situated on the site of Mr. LEWIS's house in Mill Village. After two
or three years they sold out to Spaulding & Hodges; Samuel SPAULDING,
of Brandon, attending to the business. Even as late as this, the modes
of life here and, indeed, throughout the State, were rudimentary. Mr. Blossom
related that while he was in the General Assembly, the law-makers of Vermont
were obliged to travel to Montpelier on horseback, and tile farmers thereabouts
would vie with each other like Niagara hackmen for the privilege of taking
the horses of senators and representatives to pasture on their farms for
a pecuniary consideration. That was when the old State house was in use.
About a dozen men, including William
R. BLOSSOM, started for Plattsburg during the War of 1812, but did not
reach there soon enough to participate in that celebrated battle.
The cold season of 1816 caused considerable
suffering in Pittsfield, as it did in all the towns which were cut off
by natural barriers from the centers of business activity. In the following
season the suffering was increased. Seed of any kind was scarcely procurable.
Money was scarce, people took wagons, articles of furniture, etc., out
of town to barter for provisions.
The first mills built in town were
erected about 1780, by Charles GOODRICH, of Pittsfield, Mass., who derived
his rights and privileges directly from the proprietors. They also gave
him the privilege of naming the town, which he did. The crank for the saw-mill,
weighing 200 pounds, was brought from Pittsfield on the shoulders of two
men. GOODRICH also built the first framed house in town, which was used
at once for a dwelling, a school-house and town hall.
The first tavern in town was that of
old Captain Daniel BOW, at the foot of the mountain just off the old turnpike
past Townsend's. The first one kept in the village stood on the site of
Mr. DINGMAN's present residence. Captain Elisha HOLT kept it for a short
time. The oldest house now in town is the Vose House, which was built about
sixty years ago for a man by the name of Caleb SPARKS. Asa GAINES followed
him for a number of years and until 1838 or 1839, when Penuel CHILD succeeded
him, and remained in business there for twelve or fifteen years, and was
followed about a year by James FURMAN. The next proprietor, Lyman GIBBS,
it is said, remained here as many as fifteen years. George ORCUTT also
kept the house for a short time. Albert VOSE, the present proprietor, has
been here since December, 1876.
The Green Mountain House was first
kept in the fall of 1874, by Rufus HOLT, he having converted it from a
private dwelling into a hotel. Justin SPAULDING kept it after Mr. HOLT
and was here nearly two years. James FLETCHER who remained six years followed
SPAULDING. Rufus HOLT again kept the house after April 1, 1884, until November
17th of the same year, when the present proprietor, William SHERBURNE,
commenced his term here.
The first postmaster of Pittsfield
was Daniel BOW, jr., who could not have received the appointment earlier
than 1825. His office was on what is now known as the Charles AVERY place,
formerly "the old Bow farm." Previous to the establishment of this office
the male residents of the town took turns once a week and went to Rutland
after their mail, often on foot, but more frequently on horseback. Asa
GAINES succeeded BOW about 1840 and kept the office a long time. The present
postmaster Amos GUERNSEY, received the appointment in August, 1885. C.
B. GEORGE, his predecessor, had the office five years. Ira HOLT also kept
it five years before that, and was preceded by T. C. HUBBARD.
This little town exerted herself nobly
in behalf of the Union during the late war, as the following list will
Volunteers for three years credited
previous to the call for 300,000 volunteers of October 17, 1863 -- Herman
D. Bates, co. C, 10th regt.; Frederick C. BENNETT, co. G, 5th regt.; Truman
O. BROWN, co. E, 2d regt.; Martin B. DAVIS, co. B, 11th regt.; Albert R.
FREEMAN, co. G, 5th regt.; James C. FREEMAN, co. B, 9th regt.; Christopher
C. GEORGE, Henry MINER, co. C, 10th regt.; James D. PARMENTER, Stephen
H. PRESTON, co. G, 5th regt.; Allen ROGERS, John L. SHANNON, co. C, 10th
regt.; Melville C. SPAULDING, 4th regt. band; Franklin B. SWAN, co. C,
Credits under call of October 17, 1863,
for 300,000 volunteers and subsequent calls. Volunteers for three years.
Oliver P. BLAISDELL, co. E, 8th regt.; Morton H. DAVIS, co. E, 2d s. s.;
Romain J. EGGLESTON, co. D, 5th regt.; Stanislaus FLANDERS, co. B, 9th
regt.; Stephen HARRINGTON, co. C, 5th regt.; Edric D. LEONARD, co. D, I
7th regt.; Edward S. LOVELL, co. B, 11th regt.; William H. MITCHELL, co.
F, 10th regt.; Austin S. PARKHURST, co. D, 17th regt.
Volunteers for one year. -- Charles
H. CHAMBERS, co. A, 8th regt.; Charles L. DOTY, Lucius T. GROUT; co. B,
11th regt.; James W. PARMENTER, 6th regt.; Lorenzo T. PARMENTER, CO. H,
6th regt.; Alliston E. SHEPARD, co. A, 8th regt.; John C. THOMAS, co. A,
Volunteers re-enlisted. -- William
H. BREED, co. A, 17th regt.
Not credited by name, one man.
Volunteers for nine months. -- Lucian
J. ARCHER, Lester L. BAIRD, co. H, 14th regt.; Oliver P. BLAISDELL, co.
H, 16th regt.; Willard W. BLANCHARD, John M. BROWN, co. A, 16th regt.;
Charles L. DOTY, Amos ELLIS, co. H, 14th regt.; Amos M. HALL, co. A, 16th
regt.; Albert NOYES, co. H., 14th regt.; Guilford PARMENTER, Darius RANNEY,
Robert C. WEST, Albert H. WHITNEY, co. A, 16th regt.
Furnished under draft and paid commutation.
-- Silas R. AVERY, Daniel BROWN, George L. NICHOLS, Alden PINNEY, Seth
The first church formed in Pittsfield,
the Congregational, completed its organization on the 17th of September,
1803. It owes its origin to the efforts of the Rev. Martin FULLER, of Royalton.
The first membership numbered sixteen persons, viz., Nathaniel STONE, Nathan
STONE, Levi PARTRIDGE, Asa GILBERT, Isaac EDDY, Betsey EDDY, John GAIUS,
Ruth GAIUS, Daniel BOW, Rhoda STONE, Molly BLOSSOM, Hannah GILBERT,
Molly BOW, Elizabeth DURKEE, Rebecca STONE and Lydia HAYDEN, some of whom
were residents of Stockbridge. Preaching was procured from various clergymen
by various means. Rev. Archibald CAMPBELL and Elder RICH were among the
most prominent of the early preachers. In 1820 the church and society erected
a neat little house of worship at a cost of $1,000, and occupied it as
it was until the year 1859. Then, through the instrumentality of the Rev.
Mr. SCOTT, pastor, the house was repaired and substantially rebuilt. Among
the pastors of the church have been Rev. Phineas RANDALL. who, in Ohio,
initiated and conducted to a successful termination a spirited revival.
Revs. John SUDDARD, Daniel O. MORTON, Daniel ROCKWELL, Asa PUTNEY, Samuel
SPARHAWK, Benjamin ABBOTT, J. B. CLARK, Mr. DUNCAN, Abel PATTEN, A. W.
WELD, A. S. SWIFT and J. B. CLARK the second time. There is no pastor in
the church at present. The officers s, are, Arunah ALLEN, deacon; Arunah
ALLEN and John G. ALLEN, church committee; Sunday-school superintendent,
John G. ALLEN. The church property is valued at about $3,000.
About the year 1805 Joseph CRAWFORD
began preaching the doctrines of Calvin in Pittsfield, and soon succeeded
in organizing a church. Meetings were held in private houses until Edward
ROLLINS, of the Christian denomination, came here and by his efforts virtually
disbanded the Methodist and organized there from a Christian church. In
a few years, however, the excitement of the new faith abated, the Methodist
organization revived, and erected a church edifice, which they occupied
until 1859, when the old house was sold, removed, and converted into a
town hall, its present use. A new edifice was at once erected on the old
site. In 1882, a spire was added to the building, and in the summer of
1885 was thoroughly repaired and refurbished. Rev. Ira BEARD was one of
the most influential of their pastors. Of late years the Conference has
sent Revs. Moses ADAMS, C. DINGMAN, A. T. FARLEY, W. S. SMITHERS.
The present officers of the church are C. A. BROWN, class leader; Lyman
PARMENTER, J. A. PARMENTER, and C. A. BROWN, stewards. George MCCOLLUM,
Sunday-school superintendent. The present membership of the church numbers
about eighty, and the average attendance at Sunday-school is about seventy.
The church property is valued at about $3,500, including the parsonage.
Fank DURKEE has been dealer in dry
goods and groceries here since January, 1881. Before that for nearly two
years he kept a store in the Vose House. His predecessor in the present
building, C. B. GEORGE, had traded here about three years. Prior to his
occupancy of the house, Ira HOLT, jr., had run a store in the same building
for eight or ten years. He bought of T. C. HUBBARD, who had carried on
the business four or five years, as successors to Ira BEARD. Beard was
here many years. His predecessors were J. O. A. BASS and "Perk" FLINT,
who traded under the name of Bass & Flint.
The building occupied as a general
store by C. B. GEORGE was built by him in the summer of 1881.
John ROCKWELL has dealt in groceries,
flour and meat since the fall of 1884.
The lumber business has been carried
on extensively for a number of years, and several saw-mills, notably those
of Dr. C. W. BRIGHAM and his son-in-law, George CHEDELL, Harris G. RANNEY
and A. C. Brown, still attest the relative importantce of this industry.
The legal profession is not represented
in Pittsfield. The medical profession is represented by Dr. C. W. BRIGHAM,
who came herein February, 1859, and whose biography appears in later pages
of this book. His associate, Dr. W. E. CHAMBERLAIN, was born on the 27th
of January, 1860o, at Stockbridge, Vt., was graduated from the medical
department of the University of Burlington in June, 1882, and after three
years experience in Winooski, Vt.; came to Pittsfield in August, 1885.
The following figures show the fluctuation
in the number of inhabitants between the years 1791 and 1880. -- 1791,
49; 1800, 164; 1810, 338; 1820 453; 1830, 505; 1840, 615; 1850, 512; 1860,
493; 1870, 482; 1880, 555.
Following is a list of the officers
of the town of Pittsfield elected in March 1885. -- Ira HOLT, jr., town
clerk; Josiah BABCOCK, A. J. ELLIS, H. O. HATCH selectmen; Ira HOLT, jr.,
treasurer; J. H. RANNEY, overseer of the poor; Frank DURKEE, first constable;
L. C. FULLER, L. E. TAYLOR, Lyman PARMENTER, listers; Dr. C. W. BRIGHAM,
G. D. PARMENTER, L. E. TAYLOR, auditors; L. BREED, trustee of public money;
Albert VOSE, M. ELLIS, O. G. BLOSSOM, fence viewers; Moses ELLIS, inspector
of leather; J. H. RANNEY, pound keeper; H. G. RANNEY, surveyor of lumber,
wood, etc, L. B. HOUGHTON, A. J. ELLIS, Seth WARREN, George NICHOLS, S.
A. HOWE, L. PARMENTER, petit jurors; G. D. PARMENTER. D. W. RANNEY, county
grand jurors; J. BABCOCK, town agent; George NICHOLS, sexton.
of Rutland County Vermont with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches
of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers
by H. Y. Smith & W. S. Rann
Mason & Co., Publishers 1886
Of The Town Of Pittsfield
by Karima, 2002
History of the Town of Pittsfield, Rutland County, VT., 1818–1882
Business Directory of the Town of Pittsfield, Rutland County, VT., 1818–1882
Vermont ~ Pittsfield
near Pittsfield, VT