PITTSFIELD, 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.


THE GREAT REBELLION

      This little town exerted herself nobly in behalf of the Union during the late war, as the following list will abundantly testify:

      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, 10th regt.

      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, 17th regt.

      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 L. WARREN.


ECCLESIASTICAL

Congregational Church

      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.


Methodist Church

      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.


MERCANTILE INTERESTS

      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 PROFESSIONS

      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.

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
Chapter XXXIV.
History Of The Town Of Pittsfield
(pages  719-726)

Transcribed by Karima, 2002



 
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