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WEST RUTLAND

     This little village is what constitutes the business center of the "west parish" of the town and is situated about four miles west of Rutland, on the line of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company's railroad. The richest marble deposits in the county lie in the slopes of the hills near the village; hence it has become a very important shipping point. The names of the pioneers in this vicinity and their early deeds have already been described. The village itself boasted little mercantile or manufacturing prominence until William BARNES and his associates developed the marble industry. A few of the early settlers in this vicinity, who have not been mentioned, were Samuel DENISON, who came from Lyme, Conn., in 1744; he died in 1825, and was the father of William DENISON, a shoemaker of West Rutland; the shop of the latter was located where Artemas WARD now lives. Ashbel LEE settled early in Whipple Hollow and died in 1830; he has no descendants in the town. Seth MOSES located about three miles north of West Rutland, where he was one of the first settlers; he died in 1801; one of his sons was Elnathan MOSES, who died in 1825. Daniel GIDDINGS settled on what was known as "Giddings Hill," and had sons, Silas, Chapman and Elijah; they were all farmers. Avery AMES settled two miles west of the village and died at the age of eighty years; he had sons, Matthias, Hiram, Charles and Avery; the first named went to Castleton to live and the others removed west. The BLANCHARDs were pioneers in this section; Benjamin has already been noticed as having built the first mill for James MEAD at Center Rutland; Stillman kept a store at West Rutland as late as 1820.

       The venerable Artemas WARD remembers the place as far back as 1820; he is a son of Jabez WARD (mentioned among early settlers in a previous page), and was born in 1800. The oldest business structure in the place is the store now kept by William H. WOODWARD, where mercantile business has been carried on for seventy years. John W. HARRIS had a store there as one of the first; John T. DUNCAN, his brother-in-law, then kept it. For a number of years there was no other trade here. Francis SLASON had a store for many years. (See biography of Charles SLASON in later pages of this work). Mr. SLASON succeeded a Mr. BRISTOL, for whom he had formerly acted as clerk. A tavern was kept where Hiram SMITH's house stands by Ephraim BLANCHARD, and afterward by Jacob GATES, Elijah CORBETT and Jonathan C. THRALL; it burned while in Mr. THRALL's possession. William DENISON, already mentioned as a shoemaker, was a sort of natural mechanic and worked a good deal at marble-cutting long before there was any regular quarrying done here. Slabs were dug out, split and then hewn down to an even thickness for the gravestones that are still to be seen in the old cemetery. Gardner TRIPP and William F. BARNES's father dug out marble in this primitive manner, according to Mr. WARD's memory, sixty-five years ago. Roswell MERRILL was an early blacksmith, as was also Seth GORHAM; the latter was a prominent citizen and much respected. Benjamin FAY, a brother of William, the publisher, was a shoemaker in 1820, and William BARNEY made harness. There has been a post-office here since early in the century; the first postmaster remembered by Mr. WARD was Francis SLASON; he was succeeded by Asa PERRY. Mr. SLASON's store was in the vicinity of the old church east of the present village, and when Mr. PERRY took the office it was moved over to the west part; later it was again changed to its former location. Reuben SMITH was postmaster for a time, and, succeeded by P. L. GOSS, James L. GILMORE and J. E. LEONARD, the present incumbent. (See later pages).

       The village, as stated, grew but little until William F. BARNES brought his energy and enterprise to bear upon it; the building operations and the growth of the marble industry have combined to make it an active little place. The present mercantile business of the place is as follows:

       William H. WOODWARD began business as a general merchant in 1866 in the old building described; he succeeded NORTON & ROBINSON, and they followed R. WATKINS & Co. F. A. MORSE has dealt in drugs and fancy goods since 1867. The general mercantile business of Parker & Thrall (William THRALL and C. A. PARKER) was begun in 1877 by PARKER & MEAD; R. R. MEAD followed, and were succeeded by the present firm. WHEELER Brothers (F. L., W. W. and T. B. WHEELER), began a general business in 1881, succeeding J. S. TUTTLE; J. T. FREEMAN and Charles LISCOMB kept the store still earlier. L. CONNIFF, dealer in drugs and fancy goods, succeeded E. W. LIDDELL a year ago. W. T. SEPP has sold dry and fancy goods since 1878. The Barnes House, built by William F. BARNES, has been kept by Michael OLVETTI since April, 1885; there were numerous changes in the proprietorship of the house since its erection.

It is probable that West Rutland will be connected with Rutland village by a street car line ere long, which may add to its future prosperity.


SUTHERLAND FALLS
(PROCTOR)


   The facts here stated relative to the early settlement and industries of Sutherland Falls are derived from a manuscript written by the late K. S. HUMPHREY and kindly furnished us by his widow. Mr. HUMPHREY gives credit in the manuscript for assistance from D. C. POWERS, M. P. HNMPHREY, Samuel BUTLER and D. B. HUMPHREY, the greater part of whose early lives were spent in that vicinity. We have condensed the language of the manuscript, adhering only to the facts stated.

       The first mention of Sutherland Falls was made by James CROSS, who conducted a scouting party of twelve Canada Mohawks from what was then called Fort Dummer to Lake Champlain in the year 1730. The reference by him was to the effect that on May 6 they passed two great falls, which are believed to have been Gookin's and Sutherland Falls. Eighteen years later Captain Eleazer MELVIN, of Concord, Mass., made the same journey and in the record of his travels speaks of passing "the great falls." Of the early settlers at this point, it is quite probable that John SUTHERLAND was the first to take up a permanent abode. He built a grist-mill which stood on the site now occupied by the air-compressing machinery of the Vermont Marble Company, and a saw-mill that stood a few rods north of the old lower mill; both of these buildings were destroyed by the great flood of July, 1811; the saw-mill was, however, rebuilt and operated by Messrs. POWERS & GOOKIN, then of Center Rutland, until it was destroyed by fire in 1828. Little is known of Mr. SUTHERLAND's early life, and the date of his settlement cannot be definitely determined; but it was without doubt as early as 1766 or 1767. There was surveyed and laid out to Sutherland, April 1, 1779, 109 acres of land on the east side of the creek, and a few years later, in 1786, another lot was surveyed to him by "Joseph CRARY, county surveyor," containing "116 acres of land in D township seventy-five acres on the original Right of John BEALS and forty-one acres on the Right of Deborah STONE."

       It is probable that the nearest settlers to Mr. Sutherland at the time of his arrival were Gideon COOLEY, who located in 1767 on the farm now owned by S. G. LOVELAND and James MEAD, just west of the site of Center Rutland. Mr. SUTHERLAND was an outspoken Tory and in sympathy with the New York government in the famous controversy, and thus incurred more or less animosity from his few neighbors. Mr. HUMPHREY writes: "He was on ordinary terms with his neighbors and carried on his grist-mill; but it cannot be denied that tradition has given him the name of being selfish and grasping; one story being that at the time of the battle of Hubbardton, when so many of the settlers left their homes and sought protection at Bennington, they were forced to leave their swine roaming at large. They branded the animals and turned them into the woods. On their return they found some of the hogs in Mr. Sutherland's pen."

       Mr. SUTHERLAND at one time owned all of the land on the west side of Otter Creek from the Pittsford line to the land now owned by R. C. MEAD. He died about the year 1808, leaving one son, Peter SUTHERLAND, who is reported as being a somewhat visionary person and lacking his father's shrewdness and business capacity. After the flood of 1811 the business at the falls was partially crippled and the grist-mill site was sold to R. M. POWERS, who rebuilt the mill. Peter SUTHERLAND still carried on the wool-carding business established by his father and also built a forge for the manufacture of bar iron. The carding-mill stood a little southeast of the grist-mill, and near where the water first comes through the tunnel. The forge stood across the gulf south of the structure that contains the upright shaft for transmitting power. The wool-carding business was abandoned when Peter SUTHERLAND left the place, and the forge passed into possession of Francis SLASON, then to Eliphalet LEONARD and subsequently to the HUMPHREY brothers. Mr. HUMPHREY's account of the great flood is to the effect that it was by far the most disastrous ever experienced in this part of the State. It carried away the grist-mill and saw-mill and destroyed all other property that came within its reach. The water came up over what was then the roadway, just above the sluice or tunnel, swept down through where the coping shop and the air compressing building now stand and carried everything before it. The water was deep enough so that a man swam from near the west end of the bridge westerly to where the road turns to the north. Water rising to the same height now would overflow the railroad track and run through the rock cut west of Myron C. WARNER's house at a depth of six feet or more. The bridge was swept away and was subsequently built farther down the stream.

       John SUTHERLAND built the first framed house at the falls; it stood a little south of the covered bridge, and was occupied by the SUTHERLAND family until Peter removed from the place, about the year 1820. Richard M. POWERS settled in early life just north of the falls, where he owned a large tract of land -- the greater part of which, with his residence, was a little way inside of the Pittsford line; but he at one time had some interest in the mills at the falls and was a man of prominence in the community. He was for many years a member of the Pittsford Congregational Church, was much respected and died in 1847. His children were Richard, drowned in the Winooski River soon after the battle of Plattsburg, in 1813; John, who died in early manhood; Lucy, who married Daniel SMITH and settled in West Rutland; Daniel C., who lived for many years on the south part of the POWERS farm; he learned the blacksmith trade and for many years carried on a shop, which has been converted into a dwelling. He sold this property to his brother in 1850, and removed to West Rutland, where he was foreman for William F. BARNES, for some years, in a marble quarry. Later he lived a number of years in Illinois and finally returned to Pittsford and died suddenly in the winter of 1882. Amanda POWERS died in 1870; Mary, wife of Eben GOODRICH, lives in Ohio; Sarah married N. S. WARNER, and died in 1881; Melinda died in 1 882 in Ohio; Polly married Burr CHAPMAN, of West Rutland, and died many years ago; Charles lived some time just north of the Beaver Pond on the "Back road," but sold out to his younger brothers and removed to Chittenden, where he passed the greater part of his life. He died suddenly in 1881, while living with a daughter near Forestdale. He was an eccentric man, a strong abolitionist, and entertained exaggerated ideas upon religion; Nicholas M. learned the carpenter's trade with Abraham OWENS, of Pittsford, and in later life became a successful bridge builder, having erected the bridge at Havre de Gras, Md., and many other noted structures. He is now living in Clarendon. J. C., familiarly known as "Cooley," lived in the house purchased of Daniel C. during most of his life. He died suddenly in the summer of 1881, making the fourth death in the family children in that year, three of whom dropped dead instantly. The youngest of the family is Artemas C., who lives on the homestead, and in late years built a fine dwelling on the site where his father built his first house nearly a century ago.

       The CHATTERTON family were prominent among the early settlers of this section of the town. Isaac, father of Leverett and grandfather of G. H. and J. T. CHATTERTON of a later generation, settled a little south of the falls on the east side of the creek as early as 1783 or 1784. Leverett was his only son and lived and died on the homestead. His daughters were Polly, who married Robert GILMORE, and died in West Rutland at the great age of ninety-three years; Chloe, who married Silas SMITH, of West Rutland, and died about 1848; Charlotte, who married Morris REYNOLDS and died about 1849. Isaac CHATTERTON was a member of the Congregational Church from 1788 to the time of his death; both himself and his wife, as well as his son, lived to more than -ninety years of age. Leverett CHATTERTON built the stone house on the homestead; he was born in 1784 and died in 1878.

       Joseph HUMPHREY was one of a family of fifteen children and was born in Winchester, N. H., his father being Colonel William HUMPHREY, a Revolutionary officer. Joseph, one of the pioneers at Sutherland Falls, left home when fifteen years old, and started from Winchester in 1784, alone, barefoot and in his shirt sleeves, with an axe on his shoulder, to make a home for himself. He arrived in this neighborhood and began work at whatever he could find to do, making his home with and working for Isaac CHATTERTON for some time; he also worked a year for the man who had the contract for building the old stone jail in Rutland village. This was soon after his arrival, at least within a few years of that event. He worked too for John SUTHERLAND, and finally bought of him sixty acres of land, embracing the territory where R. S. HUMPHREY lived and extending south to the MEAD farm and easterly to Otter Creek. When this purchase was made in 1793, there was a log house on the place, which had been abandoned long enough for a sumach tree to grow in the fireplace to four inches in diameter. Two years later he brought his young wife into the wilderness to share his burdens; her name was Hannah PARMELEE, whose parents resided in Pittsford. The moving was made on an ox sled at one load, the bride riding behind on horseback. Her two younger brothers accompanied to return the steers, and Mr. HUMPHREY relates the circumstance of hearing them in their old age narrate the incidents of the trip and particularly of the supper in the little log house. Some bread was brought with the load from Pittsford, and a ham, while some corn meal had been laid in by the husband to start upon; these were brought out or rather down, for the ham had been hung on the side of the great chimney; a Johnny cake was baked in a skillet before the fire, some of the ham fried and the table spread. The furniture consisted of three chairs and three knives and forks. These were shared by the bride and her two brothers. The husband brought in a wooden block to sit upon, and used his jack-knife to both whittle out a fork and cut his food. In this way they made a beginning. This little incident supplies a simple picture of the beginning, made by hundreds of the pioneers of the town. Indeed, if is a brighter one than would be afforded by the experiences of a majority of the early settlers. 

       The children of Joseph HUMPHREY were William, born in the log house, died in 1863; Diana, Mercy, Willard, Adaline, died when five years old; Moses, died in infancy; Moses, the only one now living; Joseph, died in 1849; and Ashbel, died in 1862. William inherited the homestead, and made several purchases in addition thereto. He was a respected citizen. 

       The manuscript of Mr. Humphrey mentions the name of Fayette VAUGHAN as a resident at the falls for many years; he was in charge of the store for a period and left it to become a salesman in the marble yard, removing to Rutland in 1870 or 1871. He was instrumental in advancing the school interests at the falls, having purchased of D. B. and R. S. HUMPHREY the old stone w school-house, which he converted into a dwelling. In 1866 the people of the school district felt that a larger school-house was needed and erected what is known as the two-story school-house. The history of this district is briefly as follows: Previous to 1836 there was no school district at the falls; the so called HUMPHREY farm belonged to District Number 10, while all north of his farm and south of Pittsford was considered a part of the south, or Kingsley District of Pittsford. When Moses and Willard HUMPHREY began business, in 1836, a new district was formed and numbered fourteen, including all of the territory south of the Pittsford line to Joel M. MEAD's farm. They began an attempt to secure the erection of a school-house for the new district by subscription, and but for the financial crisis of that immediate period, the project would undoubtedly have been consummated. But the work was perforce stopped when the building was about half finished. Children were growing up who needed educational privileges and yet lived nearly two miles from a schoolhouse, and a place was also much needed for religious meetings, which purpose it was anticipated the school-house would serve when completed. At this critical time William HUMPHREY borrowed $240 on his own account (a large sum in those days for a man of limited means) and finished the school-house. The first use it was put to was for a religious meeting in October, 1838. In consideration of Mr. HUMPHREY's outlay the district conveyed to him all its title in the house, and he kept it insured for many years and in good repair at his own expense, besides paying his regular assessments. When the subject of building a new school-house was agitated in 1865, the old building had passed into the possession of D. B. and R. S. HUMPHREY; they offered it to the district for the amount of their father's first investment, but the offer was declined, and they sold it to Fayette VAUGHAN, as stated. The new building was located about twenty rods south of the old one, the site being donated by the HUMPHREY brothers, with certain conditions in the deed. The cost of the present building was about $4,600, it having been erected when prices of labor and materials were high.

       In later years, and since the enormous development of the marble interest of the Vermont Marble Company, the hamlet at Sutherland Falls has grown considerably, the employes of the company serving to furnish a large population. Signs of improvements are seen on every hand, and the beautiful spot may be destined to become the site of a prosperous village in the not distant future.
 



CENTER RUTLAND

       The falls and the excellent water-power on Otter Creek about two miles west of Rutland village led to the gathering there in the early years of quite a manufacturing business and considerable population. These falls were originally embraced in the lands owned by the pioneer, James MEAD, and were for a time known as "Mead's Falls." Early in the present century the falls and considerable surrounding territory passed into possession of William and Richard GOOKIN, and for many years were quite commonly known as "Gookin's Falls." Within the past forty years the present name of Center Rutland has been given to the place.


       Here James MEAD's first grist-mill was built, as already detailed. William and Richard GOOKIN came here from New Hampshire. They were energetic and enterprising men and soon improved their possessions at the falls and applied their valuable water-power in the operation of several successful manufacturing establishments. On the south side of the stream they erected a fulling-mill and also a grist-mill. A paper-mill was built by them on the site of the present blacksmith shop of the Vermont Marble Company, which, with the grist-mill, stood on the north side. The paper-mill did quite a business for a number of years; writing paper and other varieties were manufactured and several teams were kept on the road gathering rags and selling the product. Mr. GOOKIN also erected the store building now occupied by SHEDD & Son and kept a store there.

       Richard GOOKIN died in comparatively early life. His wife was Mary FAY, daughter of William FAY, the Rutland publisher. He had one son, William Fay GOOKIN, who removed to Port Henry, N. Y. William GOOKIN died in 1865. His children were four daughters, two of whom, Eleanor and Mary, married George H. BEAMAN; one, Agnes, married Carlton A. MONGER, and Annette married Wallace W. SLASON. His son, Hiram N., was for a time associated with his father in his business operations, and with others, and subsequently went to New York and thence to Florida, where he died of consumption. He had two other sons -- Frederick Y., now living in Chicago, and Samuel, the eldest, who died at Center Rutland at forty years of age, of consumption.

       A communication received from the venerable George H. BEAMAN, most of whose life has been passed at Center Rutland, pays the following tribute to the character and energy of William GOOKIN.


"By the purchase in early years of the century of the falls still bearing his name and a large portion of the land on which is built the village on the north and east side of the creek, and by the erection of a saw-mill, grist-mill, paper-mill, large carding-machine and cloth-dressing establishment, the store now occupied by F. W. SHEDD, and by the introduction of such mechanic shops as were then deemed necessary to a country village, Mr. GOOKIN gave an impulse to the business of the place that it has never entirely lost."
       The paper-mill property passed from Mr. GOOKIN to his son, Hiram N., and Ambrose L. BROWN, and was operated by them until it burned; it caught fire from slacking lime. The other property at the falls was purchased by Dr. James B. PORTER and Wallace W. SLASON, and William F. BARNES acquired an interest in it soon afterward, which led to the introduction of the Porter family into the marble industry. They built a marble-mill adjoining the grist-mill; but after a few years operations they failed and assigned to Samuel GRIGGS. He employed Captain William GILMORE to manage the business temporarily, until the entire property passed into possession of Dr. James PORTER. It was carried on by him and as a part of his estate after his death, until sold to the late John B. PAGE. With the latter Charles CLEMENT became associated and later took the entire business and controlled it until it, with most of the other property at the falls, came into possession of the Vermont Marble Company.

       Ralph PAGE was one of the pioneers in business at this place, and his sons, Thomas and D. R. PAGE, were associated with him for some time and afterwards carried on the business. Ralph kept a store and the "old Page Tavern," which is still standing, and died there; he also carried on a distillery in early years.

       Jacob N. and Ezekiel L. BAILEY were also conspicuous in the community early in the century; they were carpenters and built the houses where they lived. Whitman B. HASKINS and Zera MEAD lived there and operated the fulling-mill of William GOOKIN for a period, probably under a lease.

       Captain William GILMORE, now living in Rutland, was another early merchant and manufacturer at the falls. He and Charles CLEMENT purchased the property on the south side of the creek and erected the second marble-mill at this point. Mr. CLEMENT was then doing a mercantile business in the old PAGE store, where he had been located for several years; and had previously been in trade two years at West Rutland. Mr. CLEMENT sold the store to William H. LISCOMB and John OSGOOD, who finally closed out the business. In 1862 Mr. CLEMENT purchased Captain GILMORE's interest in the marble-mill, and continued it in company with his son until it was transferred to the Rutland Marble Company; later it passed to the Vermont Marble Company.

       In the store building now occupied by F. W. SHEDD & Son, which was erected and used for mercantile business by the GOOKIN brothers, William Y. RIPLEY began trade in 1837, having exchanged a farm with Thomas PAGE for the house in which he lived and died, and purchased the stock of goods in the store. Evelyn PIERPOINT joined him for one year in this business, after which Mr. RIPLEY carried on the store several years, when he closed out his stock and John CRAMTON occupied the building and began the manufacture and sale of tinware. The store was subsequently occupied by J. Brigham PROCTOR, and others, and now by Mr. SHEDD and his son. Of the RIPLEY marble industry at this place we have elsewhere spoken.

       With the centralization of trade and manufactories at East Rutland and the development of the marble industry at West Rutland, much of the former activity of Center Rutland has disappeared. The grist-mill, now operated by the Vermont Marble Company, the marble-mill of the same company and the mill of RIPLEY Sons, constitute the present manufacturing interests of the place. Besides the store of Messrs. SHEDD, H. C. HARRIS carried on mercantile business in a large store in' what was formerly the Methodist Church building; he began trade here in 1882. P. H. DOLAN is the present postmaster.
 
 
 

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 Rutland
Chapter XIX.
(pages 445-453)

Transcribed by Karima, 2002