HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF 
LUDLOW

      LUDLOW is an irregularly outlined town, lying in the southwestern part of the county, in lat. 43° 23' and long. 3° 43', bounded north by Plymouth, east by Cavendish and Chester, south by Andover and Weston, and West by Mt. Holley, in Rutland county. It was chartered by New Hampshire, September 16, 1761, to Jared LEE, Esq., and sixty-five others, in seventy-one shares, with an area of about 24,000 acres. October 16, 1792, however, 11,739 acres were taken from the western side of the town, towards forming the township of Mount Holly, in Rutland county.

      In surface, the town is diversified and pleasing. Upon the west it is bordered by the Green Mountains, containing within its limits the eastern declivity of a lofty summit known as the Center Mountain. In the eastern part is a lofty range of serpentine, containing the harder varieties of asbestos, talc and hornstone, and once, undoubtedly, formed the eastern barrier of a large body of water, whose waves rolled over the central part of Ludlow and all that portion of Plymouth extending from the line of Ludlow to the source of Black river. That such a collection of water once existed, and that it was drained by the wearing away of the serpentine range through a long course of years, is evident from traces of the action of water upon the rocks, many feet above their present level in the bed of the stream, and from the successive tiers of alluvial table-lands, which, at different heights, and successively increasing distances from the river, now furnish the most fertile land in the town. In the southern part of the village is a curious elevation of earth, whose formation can only be accounted for by supposing that at this point two streams once mingled their waters in the lake, forming an eddy, and depositing the gravel and soil which the autumn and spring rains would loosen from the surrounding hills. And, in fact, the conformation of the country about shows that once a stream came from the northwest, in what is now the channel of Black river, and another from the south between Center and South mountains and Bear hill in what is now the channel of Jewell brook, and mingled their waters at this point. This elevation, called the Hogback, is about seventy-five feet in height, forty rods in length from east to west, and with just thickness enough from north to south to admit a narrow foot-path upon its summit, and as steep as the earth and stones will lie, while on every side it stands perfectly detached from the neighboring hills, and surrounded by alluvial flats. Its composition is earth, pebbles, and small stones, all rounded evidently by the action of water, and without any of the angular points and sharp corners found on stones freshly detached from their native ledge, and arranged in regular strata consisting of alternate layers of earth, sand and pebbles, dipping at an angle corresponding with the sides of the hill. Below Cavendish village, in Cavendish, three miles below the point where the serpentine range crosses the stream, is another of these rocky barriers, which once dammed up the waters of Black river. The water has there worn its bed an hundred feet deep through cliffs of mica slate, for nearly a mile, leaving traces of its tremendous effort in the large and disjointed masses of rock and the rugged and overhanging cliffs which present themselves upon both sides of its channel throughout the whole course. Again, commencing at the head of the present rapids and passing off southerly through a portion of Chester into Springfield, through what is known as the gulf road, to the latter town, are traces of the ancient bed of the river, consisting of cliffs and large masses of stone, worn deep in various places, and presenting large and numerous cavities, evidently the result of the action of pebbles whirled by the eddies of the stream. The highest of the table-lands in Ludlow, of which there are three elevations, was undoubtedly formed by the lake while in its original form; and the successive disruptions of the serpentine range, before mentioned, and the barrier at the head of Cavendish falls, would easily account for the formation of the two lower tiers.

      Black river, with its tributaries, forms the only water-course of the town, and affords many excellent mill privileges. It enters the town from the north and flows a southerly and easterly course, passing into Cavendish about three miles from the southern boundary of the town. In the upper part of its course it widens into four large basins, known as the Ludlow and Plymouth ponds; the largest, in Ludlow, being nearly circular and one mile in diameter. This body of water has always been known as Ludlow pond; but in August, 1881, a party of about 150 met on its shore and re-christened it Rescue Lake. This name was given from the story of a little girl of Cavendish, who was lost in the woods three days, years since, and was at last found on a rock on the east shore of the lake, opposite Elias S. PINNEY's place. The little girl in relating her experience, said she slept one night between a black sheep and two lambs. This sheep, however, was supposed to have been a black bear with its cubs. In the northwesterly part of the town is Tiney pond, several hundred feet above the level of the river, and nearly half a mile in diameter. No stream supplies it, but a small rivulet passes from it, tumbling from one rock to another in its rugged course, until, after passing half a mile it empties into Rescue Lake. There is another considerable collection of water in the western part of the town, and several extensive bogs on both sides of the river, evidently once the bed of mountain ponds. The soil upon the river is alluvial, and throughout the town is fertile and well adapted for grazing and cultivation. The lumber is mostly hard wood, the varieties of maple, beech, birch and ash predominating. The declivity of Center mountain abounds in spruce and hemlock, and the two highest of the table lands were found at the settlement of the town, heavily wooded with pine of the largest size.

      The prevailing rocks in the geological formation of the territory are the different varieties of gneiss and talcose schist. In the northwestern part there is quite a ledge of quartz rock, while serpentine and steatite abound in the eastern part, where is found also beautiful specimens of verd antique marble. Gold exists in small quantities along Black river and other parts of the territory, while fine specimens of iron ore, in considerable quantities, are found.

      In 1880 Ludlow had a population of 2,008, and in 1882 was divided into nine school districts and contained thirteen common schools, employing two male and nineteen female teachers, to whom was paid an aggregate salary of $2,199.06. There were 522 pupils attending common schools, while the entire cost of the schools for the year, ending October 31st, was $2,618.06, with William W. Stickney, superintendent.

      LUDLOW, a post village and station on the Rutland division of the C. V. R. R., is beautifully located in the central part of the town, on Black river. It was incorporated December 21, 1832, and has about 1,500 inhabitants, five churches, (Baptist, Congregational, Methodist, Universalist and Roman Catholic), one academy, one graded and two district schools, a good hotel, two public halls, a weekly paper, a thoroughly equipped steam fire department, a cornet band of eighteen pieces, one Masonic and one Good Templar's lodge, three dry goods and general merchandise stores, three clothing, shoe, and gents' furnishing stores, two jewelry stores, one tin and stove store, one hardware, one furniture, and one crockery store, and one grocery, two drug stores, book store, and music store; it has also one woolen-mill, one doll-cab and toy manufactory, one listing-mill, two lumber-mills, two grist-mills, and the usual compliment of mechanic, millinery and blacksmith shops, etc. Aside from this it is surrounded by an industrious and thrifty farming community, and is, altogether, a lively and charming place.

      The Black River Academy, located at the village, was incorporated by the legislature in 1834. It has a fine building occupying a commanding situation near the center of the village, and for beauty of prospect is unrivaled by any place in the vicinity. The present officers of the institution are as follows: Hon. W. H. WALKER, president; Surry W. STIMSON and L. G. HAMMOND, vice-presidents; Hon. F. C. ROBBINS, secretary; and Alva F. SHERMAN, treasurer.

      WARNER & HYDE's job printing office, located on Main street, was established by Mr. WARNER about thirty years ago, and continued by him until 1879, when Mr. HYDE was admitted as a partner.

      Duane C. BARNEY's marble shop, located at the village, was established in 1867, where he has since done a flourishing business.

      The Ludlow Woolen Mills, J. S. GILL, of Boston, proprietor, operates 3,000 spindles, thirty-eight looms and seven sets of cards. They employ about 15o operatives and manufacture 150,000 yards of broad goods per year.

      The Ludlow House, H. L. WARNER, proprietor, is finely located on Main street. The building has lately been extensively repaired and is now a thoroughly good hotel in all respects. Good accommodations are offered summer boarders, who, with the facilities for fishing, hunting, drives, etc., find this a most desirable place to spend the summer.

      WHITCOMB & ATHERTON, millers and bakers, have their mill located on Jewell brook and their bakery on Main street. They do a business of about $100,000.00 per annum.

      John P. WARNER's machine shop was established in 1865.

      James ROBERTS's listing manufactory, located on Jewell brook, turns out about 900 pounds of listing per week.

      The Ludlow Toy Manufactory, located on Black river, was established by a stock company, in 1873, with William H. WALKER, president. The works employ about thirty hands in the manufacture of toy wagons, etc.

      William J. BARRETT's corn-hulling establishment, located on Pond street, was established by him in 1877. He hulls about 100 bushels per annum.

      Anson J. SAWYER's tannery, located on Jewell brook, was established by James B. HORR, about forty years ago, and came into the possession of the present proprietor in 1853. Mr. SAWYER tans about 20,000 hides per year.

      William S. LAWRENCE's saw-mill, located on a branch of Black river, was built by Jonathan CARPENTER in 1838, and came into Mr. LAWRENCE's hands in 1871. He manufactures about 300,000 feet of lumber per year.

      George D. PINNEY's granite works, located on road 16, turn out all kinds of monument and building work.

      The Freeman Stone Company was organized in 1876 by A. B. and S. D. FREEMAN, who carried on the business until 1882, when ex-Governor Redfield PROCTOR, of Rutland, became a partner. The works are located on Black river, about a mile and a half below the village, where the firm manufactures 2,000 gross of scythe stones and uses 2,000 tons of material per year, in the manufacture of soapstone goods, giving employment to twenty men.

      Paul D. SEARS's shingle manufactory is located on Snell brook. Mr. SEARS does a flourishing business.

      Joseph HARRIS's saw-mill and chair-stock factory located on Jewell brook, is operated by a forty horse-power engine and cuts about 100,000 feet of lumber per month.

      Eli P. KINGSBURY's saw-mill, located on Jewell brook, cuts a large amount of lumber per year.

      The settlement of the town was commenced in 1783-'84, when Josiah and James FLETCHER, Simeon READ, James WHITNEY and Ephraim DUTTON came on from Massachusetts and began clearings upon the alluvial flats bordering upon Black river. In 1791 the population had increased to 179 persons. The town was organized and the first town meeting held March 31, 1792, at the house of Stephen H. READ, when Jesse FLETCHER was chosen town clerk, and Peter READ, afterwards for many years pastor of the Congregational society, was elected representative.

      Jesse FLETCHER, born in Westford, Mass., November 9, 1762, married Lucy KEYES, of Westford, August 8, 1782, and came to Ludlow as above mentioned. From that time till his death he resided on the same farm in Ludlow, where all his fifteen children (except the oldest) were born. Charlotte, his first child, was born November 8, 1782; Stephen, born January 23, 1784, was killed by being run over by a sleigh February 18, 1790; Michael was born February 12, 1785, and died at Indianapolis, Ind.; Fanny married Dr. Calvin BLISS; Jesse, born September 21, 1787, died at Mount Clemens, Mich.; Elijah, born July 28, 1789, died in Lynchburg, Va.; Timothy, born March 10, 1791, settled in Lynchburg, Va., where he lived till the war of the rebellion, when he returned to the old homestead where he was born, and where he died August 5, 1870; Lucy, born June 25, 1792, married Dr. Richard WILLIAMS, of Newark, Wayne county, N. Y., and is the only survivor of Jesse and Lucy FLETCHER; Stephen, born January 10, 1794, died at New Orleans, La., August 17, 1818; Laura, born September 1, 1796, married Dr. Calvin BUTTON, of Newark, Wayne county, N. Y., and died there in 1844; Calvin, born February 4, 1798, married Sarah HILL, of Urbana, Ohio, who died in September, 1854, when he married for his second wife Mrs. Keziah Price LISTER, nee BUCKHURST. He was the eleventh of fifteen children, most of whom, it is remarkable, lived to receive an education and go out into the world. Under the teachings of an excellent father and of a mother of more than ordinary ability, he early learned those habits of industry and self-reliance which, coupled with upright principles, uniformly characterized his manhood life; while performing all the duties exacted from a boy on a New England farm he very soon manifested a great desire for a classical education. This desire was stimulated by the concurring advice of his mother and the witnessed success of his brother, as he had a few years before completed his college course. Depending on his own earnings for the means of obtaining an education he set about preparing himself for college. At his request his fathers gave him his time and he went from home. We next find him in Pennsylvania engaged in a brickyard; but his brickmaking shortly came to an end. His intelligence soon attracted the attention of a gentleman named FOOTE, by whom he was induced to go to Ohio. He studied law at Urbana, O., with Hon. James COOLEY, and ultimately became Mr. COOLEY's law partner. In January, 1821, Mr. FLETCHER settled in Indianapolis, Ind., where he practiced law successfully and held the office of State senator seven years. He died there May 26, 1866, his death resulting from a fall from his horse. He had a family of eleven children. Miles J., the twelfth child of Jesse, was born November 11, 1799, and resided in Marlboro, N. Y. Dexter, born June 5, 1801, died October 25, 2808; Louisa, born April 12, 1804, married Joseph MILLER, of Newark, Wayne county, N. Y., where she died. Stoughton A., born August 22, 1808, married Maria KIPP, of Newark, N. Y., August 25, 1836. She died in 1841, when he married for his second wife Julia BUTLER, February 20, 1844, and for his third wife, Mrs. Julia A. JOHNSON, of Chester, Ohio, and resided in Indianapolis till his death, in March, 1882. Stoughton A., son of Calvin, born in Indianapolis, Ind., in 1832, is a banker there and has a manufactory for building stationary engines and boilers, employing about 600 men. He owns the old homestead in Ludlow, which he occupies as a summer residence.

      The valley of the Black river in Vermont, beautiful and picturesque hills on either side, has no fairer spot than that on which is situated the old Jesse FLETCHER mansion near the eastern edge of Ludlow, as you cross the line of Cavendish. In the west the Green Mountains seen through the avenue of maple's which border the highway. The house is situated on the second of three successive bottoms of a primeval lake. It overlooks a meadow in front watered by a remarkable spring discovered by Jesse FLETCHER in 1783, a spring which has been neatly re-arranged with marble masonry by Stoughton A. FLETCHER, Jr., and dedicated with appropriate inscriptions to the descendants of the discoverer. Here was the home of Jesse FLETCHER and Lucy KEYES his wife, where they reared their fifteen children. The tall Lombardy poplars that once lined both sides of the roads are with one exception gone, but a great elm tree spreads over the western end of the mansion while stately maples cast their grateful shade over the roadway. One of the children (Lucy) is still living. The old mansion is the property of Stoughton A. FLETCHER, of Indianapolis, Ind. The grandson of Jesse and the son of Calvin, under whose generous hospitality the old place is a rallying point for the tribe of Jesse.

      Ephraim DUTTON, one of the first settlers, was born in Westford. He was a carpenter and joiner by trade and built the first house and first church in town. Mr. DUTTON reared a large family of children, none of whom are now living.

      The youngest, wife of Dea. SPAULDING, died in April, 1883. Lucinda, another daughter, married Ira W. ARCHER, in 1828, and reared six children, viz Sarah, Richard, Rosina, Selina, Victoria and Albert. Richard and Albert enlisted in the late war; Richard was killed and Albert died in a hospital, of disease. The four girls are living, Sarah and Rosina in Minnesota, and Selina and Victoria in Ludlow. Ephraim died at about the age of eighty years.

      Asher SPAULDING, a native of Massachusetts, came to Ludlow in 1795 and built a log house upon the farm now occupied by Baldwin SPAULDING. He died at Ackworth, N. H., of hydrophobia, contracted by skinning the body of a mad fox. Artemas, son of Asher, born here April 28, 1801, has been an extensive farmer and cattle dealer. Dexter, son of Artemas, follows the same business.

      Mrs. Sally H. MOORE, widow of Abel MOORE, resides with James POLLARD, upon the farm where she was born eighty-eight years ago. She has never ridden in a railroad car, stage, nor steamboat, never attended a circus nor Fourth of July celebration, and has indulged in only one picnic.

      Charles STIMSON, born in Mendon, Mass., came to Ludlow in 1799, at the age of four years, and has resided here ever since. His son, Surry W., born here, now resides at the village.

      Orrin BATES, one of the early settlers of the town, came here from Sturbridge, Mass., in 1800, and located about a mile south of Ludlow village. He reared a family of five children, four of whom are living, and died in 1816, aged thirty-seven years. Of the children, Norman resides in Chester, Warner in Sherburne, Cornelia in Plymouth, and Almira in Ludlow village.

      Thomas BIXBY, from Westford, Mass., came to Ludlow at an early date, locating upon the farm now owned by Calvin BIXBY, which has never since been out of the family possession. Calvin, who resides at the village, has reared a family of seven children, all but one of whom are living.

      Edward WILDER, born in Sterling, Mass., came to Ludlow about 1808, locating where Daniel COOLEDGE now resides. He died herein 1866, aged eighty-seven years. Four of his nine children are now living, viz.: Edward L. and Josiah S., of Ludlow, Isabel E. HOWE, of Manchester, N. H., and Lestina BROWN, of Afton, Iowa.

      Zachariah PARKER, born in New Ipswich, Mass., came to Ludlow in 1821, and still resides here, aged eighty-seven years, Charles S., son of Zachariah, born in Ludlow, carried on a mercantile business here about twelve years, and for the past twenty-five years has been an auctioneer.

      Darius GASSETT, a native of Massachusetts, came to Windsor county about ninety years ago, locating in Andover, where he remained the rest of his life. Darius, Jr., came to Ludlow about 1830, and now resides at the village.

      Leonard SEARS, born in Rochester, Mass., came to Ludlow, from Montpelier, in 1836, and has since resided here. His son George W. came here with him and has reared s family of five children.

      Parker PETTIGREW, one of the early settlers of the town, came here with his father, Andrus, when twelve years of age. His father kept the first store in the town, about three miles south of the village. Parker died at the advanced age of eighty-three years. Josiah W., son of Parker, has held most of the town offices, and is a highly respected merchant.

      Stowell HOWE, was born in Gardner, Mass., came to Ludlow, in 1850, and died here in 1873, aged sixty-two years. His widow and three children survive him.

      Thomas KENWORTHY, born in Lancashire, Eng., came to America about 1843, and came to Ludlow about 1859. He is a wool spinner and has worked in the mill here ever since he came to the town.

      Elisha JOHNSON, born in Middlebury, Vt., came to Ludlow, in 1851, and located upon the farm now owned by his son Elisha. He has held the office of selectman seven years.

      John L. BUCKMASTER, born in Shrewsbury, Rutland county, came to Ludlow in 1856. He is a farmer and dealer in "Yankee horse rakes," though he has been engaged in mercantile pursuits several years.

      Charles STIMSON, born in Massachusetts, came to Ludlow in 1802, locating on South hill, where he resided until about 1865, when he removed to the village. Surry W., son of Charles, has been high sheriff of the county twelve years, and has also been deputy sheriff several years. 

      Artemas SPAFFORD, born in Sterling, came to Ludlow when about twenty years of age, was town clerk thirty-one years, and died in 1862. William P., son of Artemas, has held the office of town clerk twenty-four years.

      The Baptist church in Ludlow. -- As early as 1806, there were thirteen Baptists in town. In 1819, a union meeting-house was built, now used for the Academy and town hall, and was occupied by the Baptists nearly one-half of the time, they being members of the churches in Andover, Cavendish, and Chester. April 18, 1825, the first Baptist church was organized, consisting of forty members, and the following year Joseph FREEMAN was ordained as its pastor. His successors were Elias HURLBUT, J. M. GRAVES and A. ALLEN, June 30, 1835, seventy-eight members, dissatisfied with the low standard of temperance prevailing, and despairing of effecting any reform in the old organization, withdrew, and formed the second Baptist church. In their covenant was this pledge: "We engage to use no ardent spirits except for medicinal purposes." Most of the remaining members of the first church subsequently united with the second, and the first ceased to be recognized by the Woodstock Association in 1837. J. M. GRAVES, the pastor of the first church, was among those who formed the second. Darwin H. RANNEY became pastor in 1836; William UPHAM in 1837,' J. M. GRAVES, a second time, in 1838, Baxter BURROWS in 1841; Nathaniel CUDWORTH in 1849; Ira PEARSON in 1853; John P. FARRAR, in 1872, J. A. Johnston in 1877; Lewis B. Hubbard, in 1881; and J. B. CHILD, in 1882. The following persons have served as deacons: first church, Moses MAYO, Andrew PETTIGREW, Luther HOWARD, Janna WILCOX, John PIERCE. Martin HOWARD. Second church, Janna WILCOX, Moses DODGE, Asa FLETCHER, Roswell SMITH, Samuel L. ARMINGTON, Abel A. BACHELDER, Ora J. TAYLOR, James PETTIGREW, John HULL, Alvah F. SHERMAN, John A. DENNETT. Present number of members, 191. The present house of worship was erected in 1840 at a cost of $2,000.00, and was repaired in 1878 at an expense of $1,800.00. It will comfortably seat about 400 persons. A pipe organ was purchased in 187_. The vestry, containing four rooms, was built in 1878.

      The First Universalist church of Ludlow is a brick structure, capable of seating 300 persons and valued, including grounds, at $5,500.00. It was built in 1837. The society now has forty-five members, with Rev. J. S. GLEDHILL, pastor.

      The Ludlow Congregatioual church was organized by Rev. Peter READ, its first pastor, September 25, 1806; with twenty-four members. The present church building was erected in 1840, a wood structure capable of seating 300 persons, and valued, including grounds, at $2,000.00. The society numbers 122 members, with Rev. R. B. GROVER, pastor.

      The Methodist Episcopal church, located at Ludlow village, was organized by Rev. N. F. PERRY, in 1872. The church building, a wood structure capable of seating 300 persons, is valued, including grounds, at $7,200.00. The society has eighty members, with Rev. Elihu SNOW, pastor.

      The church of the Annunciation (Roman Catholic), located at Ludlow village, was organized by its first pastor, Rev. J. C. McLAUGHLIN, with 290 members, July 23, 1876. The church building, capable of accommodating 400 persons, was dedicated July 23, 1876, and is valued, including grounds, at $500.00. The society has 200 members, with Rev. Henry LANE, pastor.

Gazetteer of Towns
Gazetteer and Business Directory of 
Windsor County, Vt., For 1883-84
Compiled and Published By Hamilton Child,
Syracuse, N. Y. Printed January, 1884.
Page 150-158.

Transcribed by Karima Allison ~ 2004