WAITSFIELD lies in the western part of Washington county, in latitude
44° 11' and longitude 4° 15', and is bounded northerly by. Moretown,
easterly by Northfield, southerly by Warren, and westerly by Fayston. It
was chartered February 25, 1782, to Roger ENOS, Benjamin WAIT, and others,
in all numbering seventy, by the legislature of Vermont. The charter
was signed by his excellency Thomas Chittenden, then governor. The township
was then supposed to contain 23,030 acres; but by an actual survey made
in 1788 it was found to contain 23,850 acres. November 7, 1822, four tiers
of lots were annexed to Northfield from the east side, and again in 1846
six lots more, an aggregate of 8,310 acres, and diminishing the area of
Waitsfield to 15,540 acres. The tract set off to Northfield lies on the
easterly side of the mountain, and all business matters are more conveniently
transacted by its inhabitants at Northfield village than at any point in
The first proprietors' meeting was convened June 30, 1788, in Windsor,
but the record shows no transactions of importance. The next meeting was
held in Woodstock, June 2, 1789, and eight of the proprietors were present,
viz.: Zebulon LEE, who represented seventeen shares; Benjamin WAIT, five
shares; Joel MATTHEWS, three; John MARSH, five; Ezra JONES, three; William
SWEETZER, three; Anthony MORSE, one; and Reuben SKINNER, three; making
a total of forty shares. The remaining thirty shares were sold at auction
for taxes, and nearly all were bid off by Gen. WAIT, at (pound sign),
10s. per lot.
The first permanent settlement in the town was made in 1789, by
Gen. WAIT and his family. At this time the General had no neighbors nearer
than ten or twelve miles in any direction. In 1790 the legislature granted
a petition to tax all land in town 2d. per acre, for the purpose of building
mills and constructing roads and bridges. From the funds thus raised a
saw-mill and grist-mill were at once commenced and soon finished, by John
HEATON, where the little village of Irasville now stands.
The soil of Waitsfield varies, but is generally a strong, deep,
rich, and mellow loam. The extensive intervales along Mad river, with the
adjoining uplands, are divided into many excellent farms, and the highlands,
though rough and broken, have a good soil and make excellent farms. The
highest summit in the range of hills in the eastern part of the town is
Bald Mountain. From these hills picturesque and unobstructed views of the
surrounding country and distant peaks are obtained.
Mad river enters Waitsfield from Warren, flows entirely across the
town rear its western boundary, and parallel with it, and falls into the
Winooski in Moretown about seven miles below Montpelier. Its tributaries
in Waitsfield are Mill brook and Shepard's brook from Fayston, and Fay's
brook and Pine brook from the east.
There is nothing peculiar in the geology of this town. It is underlaid
entirely with talcost schist. There is a small bed of serpentine near the
northeastern corner, and one of steatite near the center of the town.
The leading industry of the people of Waitsfield is farming, and
the staple productions are butter, cheese, maple sugar, and live stock.
The farmers of Waitsfield are justly celebrated as breeders and growers
of fine horses and cattle, and are not excelled by any town in the county.
The town was organized March 25, 1794. Moses HEATON was the first
town clerk. The first freeman's meeting was held in September, 1795. There
were then but twenty-seven legal voters in the town, and they elected Gen.
WAIT to represent the town in the legislature. The first church (Congregational)
was organized June 27, 1796.
Waitsfield had a population in 1880 of 938 souls. This town is organized
under the town system, and in 1888 supported six schools, which were taught
eighteen terms by two male and thirteen female teachers, at an average
weekly salary of $7.08 for males and $7.31 for the females. The whole number
of scholars in attendance was 218. The entire income for all school purposes
was $2,019.33. The amount paid teachers, including board, was $1,536.95.
The entire amount expended for all school purposes was $1,946.20, with
H. N. BUSHNELL, superintendent.
WAITSFIELD (p. o.) village is situated on Mad river, and is so located
that it is the commercial center for both Waitsfield and the adjoining
town of Fayston. Its nearest railroad station is at Middlesex, and it has
the benefit of a daily stage. The village contains about a dozen merchants
and dealers of all kinds, one hotel, a grist and saw-mill; three church
edifices (Congregational, Methodist, and Universalist), a good school,
three physicians, one lawyer, one photographer, the usual complement of
mechanics, and about 250 inhabitants.
IRASVILLE is located at or near the junction of Mill brook with
Mad river. It is a thrifty hamlet, containing one shingle-mill, one saw-mill,
one store, a blacksmith shop, and about 125 inhabitants.
PALMER Brothers' grist and saw-mills were purchased by the firm
in 1886. The grist-mill, with three runs of stones, does a large and flourishing
business. The saw-mill turns out annually about 270,000 feet of clapboards
and about 256,000 feet of other kinds of lumber.
M.L. RICHARDSON's saw mill, located on Mill brook, manufactures
about 400,000 feet of lumber per year. This mill was built by Ira RICHARDSON.
Fred Parker's shingle-mill at Irasville was originally built for
a woolcarding-mill. Mr. PARKER purchased the property in 1882. He manufactures
about 1,200,006 shingles per year.
Elmer O. TRASK's saw and shingle-mill is located in the northern
part of the town. Mr. TRASK has owned the property since 1882. He turns
out from 600,000 to 800,000 feet of lumber, 300,000 to 500,000 feet of
clapboards, and 75,000 to 100,000 shingles annually.
James S. NEWCOMB's carriage shop is located in the village of Waitsfield,
where he and his son conduct the business of carriage making and general
George W. OLMSTEAD's butter tub shop, established in 1884, is located
in the village. He turns out about 400 butter tubs per year, and does a
general repairing business.
Gen. Benjamin WAIT, the first inhabitant, and after 1788 the owner
of more than half of the township of Waitsfield, and in honor of whom the
town received its name, settled here in 1789. The following sketch of him
we extract from Thompson's Gazetteer of Vermont:
the first inhabitant of this town, was born at Sudbury, Mass., February
13, 1737. He possessed a firm and vigorous constitution, and early manifested
a disposition and talent for military enterprise. At the age of eighteen
he entered the service of his country, under the brave Gen. Amherst. In
1756 he was taken by the French, carried to Quebec, and from thence sent
to France as a prisoner. On the coast of France he was retaken by the British
and carried to England. In the spring of 1757 he returned to America, and
in 1758 assisted at the capture of Louisburgh. During the two succeeding
years he aided in the reduction of Canada. After the submission of Canada
he was sent, by the command at Detroit, to Illinois, to bring in the French
garrison included in the capitulation. He left Detroit December 10th, and
returned on the first of March following, having performed this difficult
service with singular perseverance and success. At twenty-five years of
age he had been engaged in forty battles and skirmishes; and his clothes
were several times perforated with musket balls, but he never received
a wound.. In 1767 he removed to Windsor, in this state, and constituted
the third family in the township. He acted a decided and conspicuous part
in favor of Vermont in the controversy with New York. In 1776 he entered
the service of the United States as captain, and fought under the banners
of Washington till the close of the war, during which time he had been
raised to the rank of colonel. After this he was made a brigadier-general
of militia, and way for seven years high sheriff of the county of Windsor."
He is described as a man of over medium height, straight as an arrow,
stout, and with a very light complexion. And from what knowledge we gain
we think he had a mind and will of his own. Tradition has it that the commissioners
appointed to locate the state capital, finding Waitsfield near the geographical
center of the state, stuck their stake for that purpose where the village
now stands; but Gen. WAIT declared, "He would n't have his meadow cut up."
He resided in Waitsfield thirty-three years, until the time of his death,
June 28, 1822, aged eighty-five years.
The following sketch of Jennison JONES, Esq., is by Rev. P. B. FISK,
in Hemenway's Gazetteer:
Esq., was born in Claremont, N. H., January 1, 1777, and removed in early
life to Waitsfield; where, he resided until his death. He enjoyed only
the common school advantages of those days, but was one of those ‘self-made
men,' for which this country has been noted. As a young man he was a very
successful teacher; He filled nearly every town office with perfect acceptance
when in the prime of life, represented the town in 1827-28, and was especially
interested in the history of the town, and accurate in dates and figures.
He married, December 26, 1802, Miss Philany Holmes, and reared a large
family. He died December 22, 1852, aged seventy-five years."
Matthias S. JONES, Esq., was born in Claremont, N. H., April 12,
1778, and removed to Waitsfield at an early date. He was one of the more
prominent men of the town, and held many of its offices of trust and responsibility
-- was justice of the peace more than thirty years, town clerk for half
that period, and represented the town in the legislature in 1825, '26,
and '27. He was married twice, first, August 28, 1807, to Betsey JOYSLIN,
of Waitsfield, and second, May 26, 1836, to Mary PRENTICE, of Weathersfield.
He died June 25, 1851. He reared a numerous family, all by the first marriage.
One son, L. W. JONES, became a successful merchant of Waitsfield, and was
a man of decided public spirit.
Edwin JONES, M. D., was born in Waitsfield, June 3, 1825, studied
medicine with Dr. D. C. JOSLIN, attended one course of lectures at Woodstock,
and graduated at Pittsfield, Mass.; practiced a few months at Orange, Vt.,
and at Vershire and Strafford the remainder of his life. October 18, 1852,
he married Mary A., daughter of Rev. Elisha BROWN, of Montpelier, and died
precisely two years later, at Strafford.'
Hon. Hiram JONES, another son of Matthias S. JONES, was born June
26, 1808. He was educated in the common schools of his native town, and'
made so good use of the scanty means afforded him for improvement that
at an unusually early age he was called by his appreciating townsmen to
fill many important places of public trust. He represented his town in
the legislature of 1840, '41, and '42, was assistant judge of the County
Court from 1855 to r857, and besides he almost continually served as justice
of the peace. October 6, 1835, he married Laura L., daughter of Hon. Jason
CARPENTER, by whom he had six children, only three of whom are now living,
viz.: Charles E., Walter A., of Waitsfield, and Hiram E., of Cedar Rapids,
Levi WILDER was born in 1772, and came from Shelburne, Mass., to
Waitsfield, in 1792 or 1793, and settled on the farm where his son Orcas
C. now lives. He was three times married, first to Lavinia SKINNER, second
to Clarissa SKINNER, and third to Bernice BATES. He was the father of ten
children, three of whom are now living, viz.: Levi C., in Minnesota; Orcas
C., as before mentioned, on the homestead in Waitsfield; and Ann (Mrs.
HARRINGTON), in Moretown. Mr. WILDER died in 1855. He was captain of militia
and active in the interest of his town. Capt. Orcas C. WILDER was born
in Waitsfield, in 1828. He served as captain in the war for the Union,
and participated in the battle of Gettysburg. He has since taken an active
part in town affairs, served as selectman, and in all has been lister about
ten years. He married Mary E. HOLDEN, and they had seven children, viz.:
Alice M. (Mrs. Orville H. RICHARDSON), of Montpelier; Fred F., who resides
in Minneapolis; Levi O., Enos E., Allen F., Josie C., and Roy J., who reside
with their parents.
Dea. Moses FISK, from Shelburne, Mass., came to Waitsfield in 1795,
and settled in the north part of the town, on the farm where Charles EDDY
now lives, and where he resided until about 1810, when he removed to a
portion of the farm now owned by Dea. E. A. FISK. He reared a family of
twelve children, eleven of whom arrived to mature age, and three of them,
Perrin B., Hawley, and Joel, became noted ministers of the gospel. Dea.
FISK died February 5, 1847. His son Amos was born in Waitsfield, in 1806,
and resided in town most of his life, dying in 1880. His wife was Joanna
BARNARD, and their children were Fidelia J., who died at the age of twenty-two
years; Carrie S. (Mrs. Orrin H. JOSLIN) ; Rev. Pliny B., who resides in
Dakota; and Dea. Edward A., who resides on the homestead in Waitsfield.
He served his country in the late war.
Jonathan PALMER was a pioneer of Waitsfield. He came from Hill,
N. H., and settled in the northeastern part of the town at a very early
day. He reared a family of nine children, none of whom are now living.
He died in this town. His son Jonathan was born in Waitsfield, in 1804,
where he resided until his death, in 1869. His children are Jonathan H.
and Mrs. Laura DAVIS, of Moretown; Julius I. and John W., of Waitsfield;
and Mrs. Emeline BROWN, of Warren. Aaron Palmer, another son of Jonathan,
and his sons Moses, William, and Hiram, all reside in Waitsfield. Moses
and William are active business men.
David BUSHNELL, of Saybrook, Conn., came to. Waitsfield about 1797,
and settled in the eastern part of the town, where he cleared a farm. He
died in 1861. Of his eleven children, all of whom lived to rear families,
only his son Pardon is now living (1888). He was born in 1808, and always
resided in Waitsfield. He represented his town in the legislature of 1859
and '60, and has served his town as selectman and overseer of the poor.
In 1835 he married Miss Elmira WOODBURY, of Baltimore, Vt., and they had
born to them six children. Those now living are Milo A., in Waitsfield
; Frederick O., who served in the late war, in Worcester, Mass.; and George
and Oscar, who reside in Thompsonville, Conn.
Jedediah BUSHNELL was born in 1797, and resided about one mile below
the village, on Mad river, where he was located in 1830, at the time of
the great freshet. He afterwards removed to the farm where his son Henry
N. now lives. He was interested in the affairs of the town and held numerous
offices. He married, first, Abigail TAYLOR, and second, Naomi JOSLIN, and
by both marriages was the father of nine children, five of whom are now
living, two, Henry N. and Elvira (Mrs. Walter A. JONES), in Waitsfield.
Henry N. BUSHNELL was born in 1838. In August, 1860, he enlisted into Co.
H, 6th Vt. Regt., as a private, and was mustered out of service in July,
1865, with the rank of captain. He was in twenty-five engagements, which
covered a period of about fifty days' fighting, and escaped with but one
slight wound, and in his whole term of four years' service he was sick
less than one week. He represented Waitsfield in the legislature of 1872-73,
and has served as selectman and lister.
William WAITE was born in Waitsfield in 1797 and died there in 1886.
He held most of the offices in the gift of his townsmen. He married, first,
Persis GRANDY, and second, Laura CARROLL. His three children, all by the
first wife, were Harvey M., William A., and Susan. Harvey M. and William
are still living, and in Waitsfield.
Samuel SAVAGE came to Waitsfield from Weathersfield before 1797.
He was a man of influence in town affairs, and reared a family of eight
children. Matthew C., son of Samuel, was born in 1808, and died in Waitsfield
in 1880. His wife was Catherine E. DUREN, of Middlebury, and they had born
to them nine children, seven of whom are living, three, Lucius D., Edward
M., and Alfred W., in Waitsfield. Lucius D. SAVAGE enlisted into the Union
army May 7, 1861. He was wounded at the battle of Savage Station, was taken
prisoner June 29, 1862, released from prison July 30, and discharged November
29, 1862. Since then he has been prominent in town affairs, has served
as lister, selectman, and member of the school board six years, was census
enumerator in 1880, represented Waitsfield in the legislature of 1884,
and was minor vice department commander, G. A. R., in 1880 and '81.
Job HOUSE, from Abington, Mass., came to Waitsfield about 1798.
He resided a few years in New York state, but returned to Waitsfield, where
he spent the remainder of his long life, dying at the advanced age of ninety-four
years. Three sons and four daughters grew to maturity, four of whom are
now living, and all reside in Waitsfield, viz.: Jason, Nathan D., Edwin,
and Lucy N.
Joseph JOSLYN, son of Joseph, was born in Massachusetts. He emigrated
to Waitsfield in 1798, and located on a farm in the wilderness in the eastern
part of the town, where his youngest son, Alfred, now lives. He cleared
a few acres, built a log house, and in 1800 married Miss Betsey CHAMBERLIN,
of Weathersfield, Vt., and brought his bride to the home he had prepared.
They occupied the log house many years, but eventually built a fine frame
house, in which he resided until his death, aged nearly ninety years. Mr.
JOSLYN was the eldest of a family of twelve children, and had born to him
by three marriages thirteen children, eight of whom are now, living. The
four children of the first wife are all living,. (November, 1887,) the
sum of whose ages, is 336 years, viz.: Jennison, who resides in his native,
town, aged eighty-seven; Luke, of Waterbury, aged eighty-five; Hiram, of
Berlin, Wis., aged eighty-three; and Betsey, widow of Thomas WILDER, in
Morrisville, Vt., aged eighty-one. His second wife, Nancy SPALDING, of
Plainfield, N, H., was the mother of three children, of whom one is living.
The third wife, Abigail TAYLOR, bore him six children, three, of whom are
living. Alfred the youngest, as before mentioned, resides on the homestead,
and in the house built by his father.
Lyman FISK, son of Moses, born in Waitsfield in 1801, was a cooper
and farmer. He resided during his whole life in Waitsfield, dying in 1884.
He was a deacon of the Congregational church over forty years, was selectman,
and held other positions of trust and responsibility. He married Mary POFFORD,
of Moretown, and they were parents of five children, all now living, viz.:
Rev. Perrin B., in Mount Dora, Florida; and four daughters, Augusta (Mrs.
H. B. CROSS), Mary E., Anna B., and Hattie C., in Montpelier.
Capt. John CAMPBELL, from New Boston, N. H., came to Waitsfield
about 1802, and settled on road 32, on the farm where John WATERMAN now
lives, and where he resided until his death, in 1852. He married Lois WHITNEY,
of Morristown, and they had nine children, all deceased. Capt. CAMPBELL
was a prominent man. He kept a public house many years, and was rough in
exterior, but possessed good abilities and sound judgment. Col. John CAMPBELL
was also a prominent man in Waitsfield. He, too, kept a public house, and
was colonel of the militia, and filled acceptably several town offices.
He died in 1880.
Huzzial GLEASON was born in Langdon, N. H., in 1802, and came to
Waitsfield in 1819, where he resided until 1828. In 1827 he married Miss
Emily RICHARDSON, of Warren, and located on a farm in the eastern part
of that town, where he resided the ensuing forty-two years, when, feeling
the infirmities of approaching old age, he sold his farm and returned to
the village of Waitsfield, where he now resides. Mrs. GLEASON died in 1882.
Mr. GLEASON has been a public spirited citizen, and identified with the
general welfare of the society of which he has so long been a worthy member.
He held the office of selectman five consecutive years, and for three at
another time, was overseer of the poor and justice of the peace, and also
a deacon of the Congregational church of Warren. His three sons are R.
J. GLEASON, the present postmaster and clerk of Waitsfield; C. J. GLEASON,
a prominent lawyer and business man; and L. P. GLEASON, a prominent merchant
and manufacturer, of the firm of L. P. GLEASON & Co., who reside in
Montpelier; and one daughter, Emily, who resides with her father Richardson
J. GLEASON was born in Warren in 1828. He was appointed postmaster July
11, 1861, which office he still holds. He has been clerk of the town since
1855, and treasurer the past twenty years. He married Mary L. MATTHEWS,
of Waitsfield, and their children are Herbert C., a leading merchant of
Montpelier, of the firm of L. P. GLEASON & Co., and three daughters,
Mary E., Jennie M., and Louise R.
Joseph JOSLYN, a native of Leominster, Mass., came to Waitsfield
from Weathersfield, Vt., about 1809. He reared seven sons and four daughters,
all of whom lived to raise families of their own, and all at one time resided
in Waitsfield. He settled in the eastern part of the town, where he died
at the age of sixty-six years. His son William was the leading physician
of Waitsfield for several years. He came to this town in March, 1810, where
he died in 1834, aged fifty-four years. Three of his six children are now
living, viz.: Stephen P. JOSLIN, of Waitsfield; Hubbard JOSLYN, of Derby
Line; and Mrs. Harriet JONES, of Barton, Vt. Stephen Y. JOSLIN was born
in Newport, N. H., in 1808. February 6, 1837; he married Ruth PITKIN, of
Montpelier, and settled where he now lives, and is one of the most successful
farmers of the town. Mr. and Mrs. JOSLIN had born to them two sons arid
five daughters. Those now living are Oramel S., Orrin H., and Sophia P.,
in Waitsfield; Mrs. Amelia WARD; in Johnson, Vt.; and Mrs. Dora W. CRANE,
in Middlebury, Vt. Cyrus JOSLYN, son of Joseph, was born in Weathersfield,
Vt., in 1796, and was twelve years of age when his father removed to Waitsfield.
In 1824 he married Calista CAMPBELL, and reared nine children to maturity.
Those now living are Gilman C., in Minnesota; and Roena L., Minerva M.,
Betsey M., David O., and Edward O., in Waitsfield. Cyrus JOSLYN was town
clerk and selectman, and a prominent citizen. He died in 7866. Mrs. JOSLYN
died in 1887, aged over eighty-five years.
Among the early settlers of Waitsfield was John BARNARD, who came
from Shelburne, Mass., about 1791, and settled on and cleared the farm
where his grandson, Rufus H., and his great-grandson, Orlo L. BARNARD,
now live. He was one of the first deacons of the Congregational church
of Warren. Deacon BARNARD was blessed with three children, viz.: Rufus,
Lydia, and Cynthia. Rufus was two years old at the time his father located
in Waitsfield. He married Jemima KELLOGG, of Brookfield, and settled on
the homestead. Five of his ten children are living, viz.: Orlo, of Dakota;
Milo, of Geneva Lake, Minn.; Lucius, of Galesburg, Ill.; Lucinda (Mrs.
BURR), of River Falls, Wis.; and Rufus H., before mentioned, who resides
on the homestead. Rufus H. married Mehitable, daughter of Benjamin LINFIELD,
of Randolph, who bore him three children, Orlo L., Mary J. (deceased),
and Cynthia (Mrs. Frank A. SAWYER), of Clinton, Mass. Orlo L., great-grandson
of John the pioneer, married Emma BLAKE, of Northfield, whose children,
O. Eugene, Cynthia E., Mary V., and Milo W., are the fifth generation sheltered
by the "old roof-tree."
Orange SMITH, M. D., was born in Brookfield, January 27, 1796. He
graduated at Randolph Academy, studied medicine with Dr. Daniel WASHBURN,
graduated from the Medical department of the University of Vermont, and
also took a course of lectures at Dartmouth College. He commenced practice
in Starksboro, but soon removed to Williston, and about a year after settled
in Waitsfield, where he remained until near the time of his death, in 1863.
He was a skillful physician, and an influential and prominent citizen.
Henry DANA was an early settler and located in the southwestern
part of the town, on the farm where John FERRIS now resides. Only two of
his numerous family are now living, viz.: purvey in Iowa, and Samuel in
Waitsfield, whose six sons, Chester S., Edwin H., Samuel J., Henry F.,
Stillman F., and Wesley E., all served in the war for our Union, returned
with an honorable discharge, and are still living.
Joseph WALLIS came to this town from Weathersfield, Windsor county;
with his father, Jonathan, at an early date, and settled in the eastern
part of the town. He married Mary CHURCH, and reared four sons and one
daughter. He died in 1860, at the age of seventy-seven years. Three of
his children are living, viz.: Otis in this town; Chapman in Worcester,
Mass.; and Mrs. Maria CUSHMAN in Manchester, Conn. Otis was for eight years
engaged in railroad bridge building, and has served his town as selectman
Hon. Roderick RICHARDSON, Sr., was born in Tolland, Conn., in 1779,
and in early life removed to Waitsfield. By trade he was a saddler. He
was for many years postmaster of the town and the owner of the principal
store and was assistant judge of Washington County Court two years. He
married Anna DAVIS. Two sons and two daughters were born to him. The youngest,
Hon. Roderick RICHARDSON, Jr., a man of enterprise and wealth, was for
many years a leader in the business of Waitsfield. He was born August 7,
1807, at Hartford, Conn., but obtained all his schooling at the common,
school in Waitsfield. He was representative in 1837,'38, '39, '50, and
'51, senator from Washington county four years, and assistant judge one
year,, elected by joint assembly. He was an earnest Episcopalian, having
united. with the church in 1853.
Hon. Ira RICHARDSON, son of Ira and grandson of Lemuel, was born
in. Waitsfield, October 6, 7816. His father was a native of Massachusetts,
and an early settler in Waitsfield. Mr. RICHARDSON received his education
in the common schools of his town, and had as many days at hard labor in
his youth as he had days at school. Thus equipped for the active duties
of life, he married Harriet CHAPMAN, of Fayston, who became the mother
of six children, five of whom grew to maturity, viz.: Calvin C. and Ira
E., who reside in Minneapolis, Minn.; Clarence M. and Meriden L., of Waitsfield;
and Orville H., of Montpelier. Mr. RICHARDSON was one of Waitsfield's most
prominent business men as well as one of her most reliable citizens. He
was extensively engaged in the manufacture of lumber, was a dealer in merchandise,
conducted a tannery, and managed all of his large and complicated business
successfully. He also took an active part in public affairs, and received,
as the testimonials of the high appreciation or his townsmen, the prominent
position of representative in the state legislature two terms, and from
the county of Washington the positions of senator and assistant judge of
its courts. In early life Mr. RICHARDSON cast his political influence with
the "old line" Whig party, and at the organization of the Republican party
he marched in its ranks, where he did efficient service. He was an active
member of the Methodist church, a large and cheerful giver, and was always
foremost in aid of the charitable associations and societies and every
enterprise for the public good. He died in 1877.
John S. POLAND came to Waitsfield from Langdon, N. H, about 1820,
and settled on the farm where his son Thomas D. now lives. In addition
to farming he was engaged in manufacturing lumber. He married, first, Lucy
DUNSMORE, and second, Julianna STODDARD. Six of his twelve children are
now living. He died about 1848. Thomas D. POLAND, before mentioned, resides
on the paternal farm. He was previously in the lumber business, but is
now giving his attention to the cultivation of his farm. Another son, Benjamin,
and a daughter, Susan (Mrs. P. T. CARROLL), reside in Warren. On the homestead
in Waitsfield the iron works and hoe manufactory, of Messrs. RICE &
SELLICK were built at an early date, but were swept away in the freshet
Russell DREW, a native of Connecticut, emigrated to Fayston from
Charlotte in 1822. In 1848 he removed to Waitsfield, and located where
he now lives. He is a farmer. His daughters, Mrs. Julius J. PALMER and
Mrs. Josiah HOLDEN, also reside in town.
Garinter HASTINGS was born in Swanzey, N. H. He removed from his
native town to Charlestown, N. H., and thence to Waitsfield, in 1823, locating
in Irasville. He subsequently kept a public house about a mile below Waitsfield
village. He married Hannah Olcott, of Rockingham, and they had thirteen
children, twelve of whom married and reared families. Those now living
are Hon. Jonathan H., Yorick C. W., and Mrs. Fannie O. CAMPBELL, who reside
in Waitsfield; Julius P., of Bedford, Mass.; and Mrs. Maria A. Dart, of
Clinton, Mass. Hon. Jonathan H. Hastings was born in Waitsfield in 1824.
In 1848 he married Ellen M. MERRIAM, of Johnson, Vt. Their children are
Lucy H., wife of J. W. GREGORY, a lawyer residing in Waitsfield; Mrs. Abbie
M. JOSLYN, of Minneapolis, Minn.; and Lewis E., of Indianapolis, Ind. Mr.
HASTINGS, on account of his good judgment and rare business qualifications,
has been closely identified with the interests of Waitsfield, and has held
nearly every office in the gift of his townsmen, besides that of deputy
sheriff twelve or fourteen years, sheriff of Washington county two years,
state senator in 1869 and '70, and assistant judge of the County Court
from 1880 to 1884, inclusive. He represented his town in 1862 and '63,
and has been a director of the Waterbury National bank about thirty years.
Amos HADLEY removed from Pomfret, Vt., to Warren, about 1826. He
resided there only a few years, and then settled in Waitsfield, where he
spent the remainder of his life. He died January 22, 1887. Only two of
his eight children are now living, viz.: George in Morrisville, Vt, and
Moses E. in Waitsfield.
John WATERMAN was born in Royalton, Vt., in 1813, and removed to
Waitsfield about 11826. In his early life he followed the occupation of
carpenter, joiner, and wheelwright, and has been selectman and lister of
Thomas PRENTIS, from Weathersfield, Vt., settled in the eastern
part of Waitsfield, in 1827, on the farm now owned by Nathan BOYCE. Besides
giving his attention to his farm he found time to take part in town affairs.
His townsmen called him to fill the office of selectman, and elected him
to represent them in the legislature in 1832 and '33. Mr. PRENTIS died
in 1877, at the advanced age of ninety-two years and six months. Five of
his eight children who arrived to mature age are now living, viz.: Joseph
C., Cheney, Roxy (Mrs. Orvis JONES), Susan (Mrs. Lyman PRINDLE), all of
Waitsfield; and Mrs. Lucia NOYES, of Michigan.
Elijah BERRY, of Vershire, settled in Moretown about 1837, where
he resided the ensuing seventeen years. He then removed to Waitsfield,
where he spent the remainder of his life. He married Clarissa HOLTON, of
Thetford, and three of their children now reside in Waitsfield, viz.: George
A., Leonard C., and Julius E.
George W. OLMSTEAD, born in Elmore, Lamoille county, in 1837, is
a farmer, carpenter, and manufacturer of butter tubs. Mr. OLMSTEAD has
held the offices of deputy sheriff and collector of town taxes.
William MCALLISTER was born in Brookfield, Vt., in 1804, and settled
in Waitsfield in 1837. He conducted wool-carding in the building in Irasville
now occupied by Fred Parker as a shingle-mill. He also kept a "tavern"
at Waitsfield village several years. His sons Ziba H., Wesley G., and William
W. reside in Waitsfield.
Dr. James M. VAN DEUSEN was born in Middlebury, Vt., in 1822. He
graduated from the Castleton Medical College in 1849, and began the practice
of medicine in Warren in 1850. In 1868 he removed to Waitsfield, where
he still practices his profession. In 1851 he married Jennette E. BOYCE.
Their children are Ella F. (Mrs. Leslie REED) and Fred E., both residing
in Omaha, Neb.
The number of soldiers in the war for the Union credited to Waitsfield
by the government is ninety-five. The number of different individuals who
were in the service is eighty-seven. Ten died of illness, and eight were
killed in action. Several died after they were discharged, from effects
of the wounds they received and diseases contracted while in the service.
Of the eighty-seven who went from Waitsfield, four were captains, two were
second lieutenants, three sergeants, eleven corporals, fifty privates,
seven sharpshooters, four cavalrymen, two batterymen, one on the signal
corps, one surgeon, one hospital steward, one musician, and one served
in the navy Most of these belonged to the famous "Vermont Brigade" of the
6th Corps. The town paid bounty for nine months' men, $575; for one year's
men, $2,700; for three years' men, $6,202; for substitutes, $700; subsistence
of volunteers, $18.10; transportation of soldiers, $38.50; services of
selectmen and agents, $199.53; total, $10,433.13.
The Congregational society was formed under the old law, in 1794,
and a committee was appointed to lay out a meeting-house and yard. The
site chosen is now known as "The Common," near the center of the township,
and contained nine acres. Five acres of this site was the gift of Ezra
JONES, Esq., on condition that "if the town should move the center from
that place" the property would revert to his estate. When, therefore, the
meeting-house was occupied at the village, and the town meetings were held
there, his heirs took possession of their property. The remainder, containing
four acres, is still a common. All the voters in the town, under the old
law referred to, were members of this society, unless they filed with the
town clerk the declaration of "that they did not agree in religious opinion
with a majority of the society." This law was repealed in 1807.
Waitsfield Congregational church was organized June 27, 1796, by
a committee from the churches in the vicinity, Rev. Ebenezer KINGSBURY,
of Jericho, presiding. The church then had eleven members. The first pastor
of this church, Rev. William SALISBURY, was installed in 1801, and the
first meeting-house was erected in 1807. It was constructed after the pattern
of its contemporaries, with the usual box pews, high pulpit towering over
the deacons' seat and supplied with the necessary sounding-board suspended
directly over the preacher's head, and the spacious gallery, surrounding
three sides, without paint inside, and destitute of any means of warning
for several years. The expense of building was met by the sale of the pews,
and the committee of construction recommended that a certain portion of
the money be paid at the beginning to meet the expenses for "glass, nails,
and rum for the raising." In 1845 a new church edifice was built, of wood,
a little east of the village, and in 1874 it was taken down, and the present
beautiful and convenient edifice in the village was finished in 1875, which
has a capacity for seating comfortably 250 persons. The estimated value
of the church property, including grounds and buildings, is $10,000. The
membership is 140, with Rev. Elisha S. FISK, pastor. The Sunday-school
numbers 150 scholars.
The Methodist Episcopal church. -- About 1804 the itinerant preachers
of the Methodist Episcopal denomination occasionally preached in Waitsfield
It was sometime this year that Vershire circuit was divided and the new
"Barre circuit" was formed, which included Barre, Plainfield, Middlesex,
Montpelier, Northfield, Williamstown, Washington, Berlin, and Orange, and
probably Moretown and Waitsfield. If the towns last named were not then
included, they were subsequently. About this time (1804) a Methodist class
was formed in Waitsfield, and the society has since been regularly supplied
with ministers, at first no oftener than once in from four to six weeks.
Among the early preachers may be named Wilder MACK, Abel HEATH, John CUMMINGS,
and Nathan HOWE. Their first meeting-house was built in 1834. This was
repaired, painted, and a spire added in 1853. In 1845 the circuit of Barre
was abolished, and Waitsfield and Warren became a station, and in 1868
Waitsfield became a separate charge. The present house of worship was erected
of wood in 1870, at a cost of $4,700. It will comfortably seat an audience
of 300, and with the grounds and all other church property is worth $5,500.
The membership is 111, with Rev. George O. HOWE, pastor. The Sunday-school
is especially flourishing. Its officers number seven, teachers sixteen,
and 150 scholars. The church edifice has recently been repaired, and the
church is in a prosperous condition. The Young People's Society of Christian
Endeavor embraces both the Methodist and Congregational young people, and
is doing good work.
The Universalist society. -- This society was formed December 30,
1830, soon after the dismissal of Rev. Mr. CHANDLER from the pastorate
of the Congregational church, by quite a number of the prominent men of
the town who entertained liberal doctrinal views. They organized by electing
Hon. Roderick RICHARDSON, moderator; Cyron BURDOCK, clerk; Roderick RICHARDSON,
Daniel THAYER, and Matthias JONES, prudential committee. Rev. Mr. FULLER,
who had held service with them as early as 1826, was their first preacher.
They held their meetings in school-houses and wherever they could find
suitable places. In 1836 this society, with the newly-formed Baptist society,
united in building a good substantial brick meeting house in the village.
The Universalists owned nearly three-fourths of it. The house will comfortably
seat 250 persons. The present pastor is Rev. Perry MARSHALL. During the
pastorate of Rev. C. C. THORNTON, who officiated from 1856 to 1862, a Sunday-school
and Bible class were organized.
The Baptist church existed only from its organization, in 1835,
until the time of the excitement of Millerism, when it was broken up.
The Protestant Episcopal church was organized by the efforts of
Hon. Roderick RICHARDSON, in 1853, with fifty-two members, and the installation
of Rev. John E. JOHNSTON as rector. They repaired and occupied the Universalist
house, which that society was until 1855 not then using, and continued
to hold services.
The Wesleyans organized in 1853, with ten members, and increased
to forty-four. They have an interesting Sunday-school, maintain their organization,
but hold no service.
Of Washington County, Vt. 1783-1899,
and Published by Hamilton Child,
By William Adams.
Journal Company, Printers and Binders.
N. Y.; April, 1889.
by Karima Allison, 2003