HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF 

WEATHERSFIED

      WEATHERSFIELD lies in the southeastern part of the county, in rat. 43° 23' and long. 4° 30', bounded north by Windsor and West Windsor, east by the Connecticut river, south by Springfield, and west by Baltimore and Cavendish. It was chartered by New Hampshire, August 20, 1761, to Gideon LYMAN, Esq., and sixty-one others, in sixty-eight shares, containing an area of 23,000 acres. April 8, 1772, it was re-granted to Gideon LYMAN and others, by the province of New York, with 20,000 acres. These areas were specified by charter, but the township really contains about 23,040, or an area six miles square.

      The surface of the town is quite broken and mountainous, though there are large tracts of level, arable land, while the numerous hillsides afford many excellent grazing farms. Ascutney and Little Ascutney mountains lie in the northern part of the town, the former lying partly in Windsor and West Windsor; Hawks mountain and Pine hill lie in the western part of the town, the former extending into Baltimore and Cavendish, while Golden, DOWNER's and Camp hills lie in the eastern and southern part of the township, all helping towards making up an exceedingly picturesque landscape. In the eastern part of the town, along the banks of the Connecticut, are located some of the best farms in the State. In the southeastern part of the township the river makes a bend, significantly called "the Bow," from its resemblance to an ox-bow. This encloses several hundred acres of the most productive land, once principally owned by Hon. William JARVIS, more familiarly known as Consul JARVIS. Here Mr. JARVIS was engaged in breeding Spanish Merino sheep, having one of the most celebrated flocks in this country. Black river waters the western section of the town, affording numerous privileges for mills and manufacturing establishments, while the meadows along its valley are remarkably rich and fertile.

      The principal rocks entering into the geological structure of the town are gneiss and calciferous mica schist, the former underlying the western and the latter the eastern part of the territory. The bed of Black river, for a considerable distance, is a solid mass of gneiss and mica slate, and upon either side of it are considerable elevations of the same material, interspersed with limestone quarries. Limestone also abounds in the northwestern part of the town. There are also in the western part beds of serpentine, lenguiform asbestos, tremolite, and crystallized sulphuret of iron. The asbestos is of a very superior quality. In the northern part are found quantities of granite of an inferior quality.

      In 1880 Weathersfield had a population of 1,354, and in 1882 was divided into thirteen school districts and contained thirteen common schools, employing three male and seventeen female teachers, to whom was paid an aggregate salary of $.1,483.53. There were 274 pupils attending common school, while the entire cost of the schools for the year, ending October 31st, was $1,701.13, with L. E. ROCKWELL, superintendent.

      PERKINSVILLE is a post village located in the western part of the town, on Black river. It derives its name from a Mr. PERKINS, a Boston capitalist, who, in 1830, purchased a small woolen factory here which he greatly enlarged, thus attracting other capitalists to improve the fine mill power and engage in the same enterprise. In 1835 a brick edifice, 110 by 46 feet, four stories in height, was erected for manufacturing cassimeres and satinets. In this there were eight full sets of machinery, moved by a water-wheel nineteen feet in diameter and twenty six feet long. When in full operation this establishment gave employment to 150 hands, and manufactured 750 yards of cloth per day. In November, 1839, however, this expensive building, with all its valuable contents, was destroyed by fire. The village now has two churches (Baptist and Methodist), two stores, one hotel, a cotton mill, tin shop, carriage shop, and about 250 inhabitants, while just across the river, in what is called the "lower village," there is a saw-mill, carriage shop, blacksmith shop, and about fifty inhabitants.

      ASCUTNEYVILLE, a small post village located in the northeastern part of the town, contains a church (Congregational), two stores, a grist-mill and about seventy-five inhabitants.

      AMSDEN, a small post village located in the northwestern part of the town, was so named in honor of Charles AMSDEN, who located there, coming from West Windsor, in 1849. It has one store, a grist-mill, saw and shingle-mill, blacksmith shop, two lime kilns, school house, and about sixteen dwellings.

      WEATHERSFIELD CENTER (p. O.) is a hamlet located in the central part of the town, containing one church (Congregational), a town hall, and about a dozen dwellings.

      WEATHERSFIELD BOW (Weathersfield p. o.) is a hamlet located in the southeastern part of the town. It has a church (Congregational), and about forty inhabitants.

      The Black River Valley Agricultural Society was organized in 1868, with J. M. ALDRICH, president, and E. M. DEAN, secretary. The fair grounds are located at Perkinsville, and have a race course and exhibition buildings, where annual fairs are held. The present officers of the society are E. C. ROBINSON, president, and F. H. NICHOLS, secretary.

      J. A. CALL's cotton mill, located at Perkinsville, came into his possession in 1873. The mill has eighty-two looms, employs thirty hands, and turns out 1,500,000 yards of cloth per annum.

      The saw and grist-mill wooden ware and carriage factory of M. G. ROBINSON, located at Perkinsville, was erected, with the exception of the saw-mill, by Mr. ROBINSON in 1883, upon the site of a factory which was destroyed by fire in January, 1883. Mr. ROBINSON employs about thirty hands, using 500,000 feet of lumber annually in the manufacture of his wares.

      The Windsor County Soapstone Company's soapstone quarries, located on road 40, were opened by J. M. BILLINGS about 1850. These quarries, which are said to be among the best in the country, are now operated by the above mentioned stock company. with D. C. GARDNER, superintendent, and turn out about 1,000 tons of soapstone per annum.

      William C. CRAM's carriage shop, at Perkinsville, was established in 1857. Mr. CRAM manufactures about thirty carriages and sleighs a year.

      The saw, grist and shingle-mills of Charles AMSDEN, located at Amsden village, were rebuilt by him in 1871. He manufactures 150,000 feet of lumber and 100,000 shingles per year. The grist-mill has two runs of stones and does custom grinding, and also grinds a large amount of western corn. Mr. AMSDEN also is engaged in the manufacture of a superior quality of lime, turning out 10,000 barrels per year.

      Oscar STREETER's butter tub factory, located on road 19, was established by him in 1882. He manufactures butter tubs and also does a general wheelwright and repair business.

      John P. KNIGHT's cider-mill, located on road 27, turns out 900 barrels of cider and 1,000 pounds of jelly per year.

      George R. SHERMAN's butter tub factory and general repair shop, located on road 12, was built for a woolen-mill, in 1828, and came into the present proprietor's hands in 1868. Mr. SHERMAN manufactures butter tubs, sap-buckets, sap-holders, and also does a general repair business. He has also a cider-mill which turns out 700 barrels of cider per year.

      HICKS Brosí. wooden-ware shop was established in 1875. They manufacture nearly all kinds of wooden-ware and also do a general repair business.

      ALDRICH & CROCKETT, located on road 62, are engaged in the manufacture of apple jelly.

      L. H. BAILEY's grist-mill, located at Ascutneyville, was originally built about one hundred years ago. In 1879 it was thoroughly repaired, and now has two runs of stones, doing custom work.

      The grantees of Weathersfield were principally from New Haven, Conn., and from' a report made by them in 1765, it seems that they had been "at great charge and expense in laying out the township into allotments," and further "that they had cleared and cultivated a portion of the lands which they owned, and erected a number of houses." This affords conclusive evidence that the settlement of the town was commenced between the years 1761, the date of the charter, and 1765. In a petition addressed to the lieutenant-governor of New York, on the 17th of October, 1766, they expressed a sincere desire to be protected while engaged in accomplishing the work incident to a pioneer settlement. The early history of this sturdy band, however, resembles that of most of the early settlements along the Connecticut, the settlers being men and women who were aware that their future lives were to be lives of toil and self-sacrifice, and for this reason they were prepared to grapple with adversity in whatever form it might appear. At the census of Cumberland county, taken in 1771, the town had a population of twenty souls, and in 1791 this number had increased to 1,146. The town was organized and the first town meeting held in March, 1778, when Benoni TUTTLE was chosen town clerk, and Israel BURLINGAME, representative, though there is no public record of the meeting extant. The first justices of the peace were Waters CHILSON and Joseph HUBBARD, in 1786.

      Galen DOWNER, one of the early settlers of the town, located in the northern part thereof, where he cleared a farm and subsequently operated a mill. He died in 1835. His son Samuel, born here in 1791, was a blacksmith by trade, and built the well-known DOWNER Hotel, now owned by his son Roswell. He died in 1838. Of his other sons, one is a Boston banker and another resides in this town.

      Amos ROYS, another of the early settlers, died here in 1827. His son Joel resided here about thirty-five years, then removed to New Hampshire, then to Reading, and finally to Ludlow, where he died in 1874. His son Franklin B. now resides in this town, on road 23.

      Seth GROUT came to Weathersfield, from New Hampshire, at an early day, locating in the western part of the town. His son Seth, born here in 1791, died in 1831. Three of Seth, Jr.'s, children are now living, Mrs. Emeline MITCHEL and Warren, in this town, and H. P. GROUT in New Jersey. Hezekiah GROUT, father of Seth, Sr., also came to Weathersfield at an early day. His wife was captured by the Indians and remained a prisoner at Montreal three years, when she was ransomed and allowed to return to her home.

      Levi FIELD came to Weathersfield, from Connecticut, some time previous to the Revolution, locating about two miles west of Ascutneyville, where he reared a family of seven children and was one of the first school teachers in the town. His son Levi H., born here, died in 1854. John P., son of Levi H., is now a resident of the town.

      William DEAN, from Connecticut, came to Weathersfield previous to the Revolution, locating in the northeastern part of the town, and was soon after arrested and taken to Albany for violating the conditions of the charter of the town in cutting down pine timber without a permit from the king's officers. He reared seven children, none of whom are living. Benajah, son of William, was born here in 1774, and resided in the town until his death, in 1864, occupying the farm now owned by his son-in-law, L. F. CABOT. Three of his nine children, Mrs. L. F. CABOT, Mrs. Avis NEWELL and Mrs. Minerva DIGGINS, all of this town, are living.

      Jonathan ALLEN came to Weathersfield, from Connecticut, at an early date, locating in the northwestern part of the town. Mr. ALLEN was a Revolutionary soldier and was present at the battle of Bunker Hill, where he had a portion of one of his ears cut off by a saber stroke, delivered by his commander for disobeying orders in shooting a British officer before the order to fire had been given. He died here in 1838. One of his six children, a daughter, is now living, at Newport, Vt. Jonathan, Jr., was born in this town and died here in 1845. Five of his seven children are living. One, Harvey G., resides on road 15.

      Alva CHAMBERLIN came to Weathersfield at an early date and located in the western part of the town, where his son Alva was born, in 1793. Alva, Jr., died in 1876. Seven of his ten children are now living, three, Mrs. Charles BARRETT, Mrs. Albert PRESTON, and Nathaniel A., in this town.

      John WILLIAMS came to Weathersfield, from Marlboro, Vt., locating about a mile from Perkinsville. His son Joseph R. was born here in 1788, and resided in the town until his death, in 1864. Mrs. Elizabeth H. NICHOLS is the only one of the latter's children now residing here.

      Varney FELLOWS, from Connecticut, came to this town soon after the close of the Revolution, locating upon the farm now owned by his grandson, Edwin P., the house he now occupies having been built in 1794. John, son of Varney, born in 1792, married Pauline SHEDD, of West Windsor, reared six children, and died in 1858. All of the children are now living.

      John DAVIS, from Connecticut, was an early settler in what is now Ascutneyville, where he died in 1840. His grandson, Daniel H., son of Daniel, resides on road 8.

      Clark, David, Henry and John TOLLS, four brothers, came to Weathersfield from Connecticut about 1770, locating in the central part of the town. Clark served in the Revolutionary war a short time, reared eight children, and died about 1830. His son, Henry 2d, was born here in 1782, reared eight children, three of whom are living, and died in 1849. He took an active part in public affairs, holding many of the town offices. His son, Henry P., born in 1815, resides on road 36, while another son, Warren J., resides on road 47. Clark TOLLS, Jr., born in 1787, died here in 1867. Three of his four children are living. Philemon and Benjamin TOLLS were also early residents of the town, the former being a deacon of the Congregational church for many years. Abner, son of Benjamin, and grandson of David, was born here in 1823, and resided upon the farm now owned by his son-in-law, E. F. CHAMBERLIN, where he died in 1880.

      Capt. William UPHAM, from Sturbridge, Mass., came to Weathersfield in 1772, locating near the center of the town, where he owned a large tract of land, and resided until his death, in 1812. His son Joshua, six months of age when he came here, was town clerk twenty-three years, justice of the peace forty-four years, and representative two years, and died in 1849. His grandson, Joshua, now resides on the old homestead, where Capt. William first settled.

      Asa UPHAM, born at Sturbridge, Mass., in 1736, also located near the center of the town, in 1772, and died here in 1828, aged ninety-three years. Asa, son of Asa, born at Sturbridge, in 1771, came here with his father, and was justice of the peace many years. He was thrice married, and reared eight children, seven of whom are living. One of his sons, Francis G., residing on road 12, is one of the present selectmen of the town.

      Caleb UPHAM, born here in 1775, reared a family of eight children, three of whom are living, and died in 1857. His son Joseph now resides near Ascutneyville.

      Josiah DARTT came to Weathersfield, from Connecticut, about the time of the Revolutionary war, locating near the center of the town. He took an active interest in public affairs, held most of the town offices, and died in 1829. Of his family of children, three attained a mature age. His son Erastus, born in 1792, reared seven children and died in 1851. Justus, son of Erastus, born in 1836, was a member of the legislature in 1874, '78 and '80, was elected a trustee of the Vermont University in 1878, and was a State senator in 1882, and is the present State superintendent of education. He now resides on road 8. Daniel, brother of Josiah, came here with the latter. He reared seven children, two of whom are living.

      Nathaniel STOUGHTON, from Windsor, Conn., came to Weathersfield in 1780, locating upon the farm now occupied by his grandson, John P. He built a log house which he occupied eight years, then built the house now occupied by John P. Mr. STOUGHTON held most of the town offices, acquitting himself with honor and ability. His death occurred February 6, 1815. Only one of eleven children, Mrs. Alice FRANCE, residing in Iowa, is now living. John, lather of John P., resided on the old homestead until his death in 1774.

      Hon. William JARVIS, son of Dr. Charles, was born in Boston, Mass., February 4, 1770. He was appointed consul and charge de affairs to Portugal, by President Jefferson, remaining at Lisbon nine years. He then came to Weathersfield Bow, where he purchased 2,000 acres of land, and died here in 1859. Mr. JARVIS imported at different times 3,500 Merino sheep from Portugal, and also a large amount of Holstein cattle and English bred horses. His son, Major Charles JARVIS, graduated from the University of Vermont, and also from the Harvard Law School. In 1862, he raised a company for the 9th Vermont Volunteers, of which he was elected captain, and was stationed at Newport Barracks. December 1, 1863, he was shot by a Confederate soldier, while on a private expedition for Colonel RIPLEY.

      John WARREN, from Northway, Mass., came to Weathersfield about 1785, locating in the central part of the town, where he reared six children, and died in 1855, aged ninety-three years. His son Luther, born in 1800, removed to Haverhill, N. H., where he engaged in the lumber trade, and at Hartford, Conn., in 1842. Two of his sons, Luther P. and Charles P., now reside in town.

      Nathaniel STREETER, from New Hampshire, came to Weathersfield about 1785, locating in the northwestern part of the town, where he died in 1831. John, one of his four children, resided here until his death, in 1849, and two of his sons are now residents of the town.

      Jonathan WHIPPLE, born at Grafton, Mass., in 1765, married Lydia LELAND and came to Weathersfield in 1789. Ormas M., one of his eight children, born in 1801, at the age of twelve years removed to Springfield with his parents, and at the age, of sixty-five years came back to Weathersfield and resided here until his death. Charles T., son of Ormas, now resides here. Jonathan held many of the town offices, and Ormas was a justice of the peace and represented Springfield in the legislature two terms. Charles T. served three years and ten months in the late Rebellion.

      James DIVOLL, from Lancaster, Mass., came to this town about 1790, locating upon the farm now owned by his grandson, John DIVOLL. Samuel, one of his three children, born in 1792, died here in 1877. Two of his sons, John and Joseph, now reside here.

      Joseph DANFORTH came to this town, from Chester, Vt., about 1790, locating at Weathersfield Bow, where he kept an hotel for many years. He died December 30, 1870, aged eighty-four years. His widow, residing with her daughter at Weathersfield Bow, is ninety-one years of age.

      Clark PRESTON, from Mansfield, Conn., came to Weathersfield in 1793, locating in the eastern part of the town, and died here in 1836, aged eighty-two years. Three of his six children are now living, the youngest, Albert, on road 4.

      Aaron HALL, from Grafton, Mass., came here in 1795, locating about two miles east of the center of the town, upon the farm now owned by William LITCHFIELD. Aaron, Jr., about two years of age when his father came here, died at Ascutneyville in 1855. Sherman HALL, son of Aaron, Sr., graduated from Dartmouth college, studied theology at Andover, and was a missionary to Indians twelve years. He afterwards located in Minnesota, where he preached twenty-four years, and died in 1879.

      John SQUIRE came from Salisbury, Vt., to Weathersfield, in 1799, locating upon the farm now occupied by his grandson, Horace R., where he reared five children, and died in 1835. His son Peter came with him to the town when ten years of age, and died on the old homestead in 1867. His widow, Ann C., aged eighty-three years, resides with her son Horace R.

      Artemas BILLINGS, from Northboro, Mass., came to Weathersfield previous to 1800, and died here in 1823. Of his six children two, J. M., of this town, and a daughter, at Ticonderoga, N. Y., are living.

      Zavan PERKINS came to Weathersfield, from Connecticut, in 1800, locating in the eastern part of the town, where he died in 1855. His son Paul K. now resides on road 48.

      Josiah NEWELL, born at Nelson, N. H., came to this town about 1800, locating near Ascutneyville, where he reared a family of eleven children. Josiah, Jr., born in 1797, died here in 1881. His family of five children are all living, and his widow resides with her son, Francis A., on road 5.

      Seth NICHOLS, from Massachusetts, came to Weathersfield in 1804, locating near the center of the town. In 1813 he removed to the place now occupied by his grandson, F. H. NICHOLS, where he died in 1868, aged ninety-two years.

      William MUDGETT came to Weathersfield, from Ware, N. H., in 18o6, locating about a mile east of the center of the town, where he died in 1831. His son Charles, who resides on road 60, has been a justice of the peace twenty years.

      Charles BARRETT came to Weathersfield, from Francistown, N. H., in 1817, locating near the center of the town, where he reared a family of seven children, and died in 1865. Two of his children, George, at Perkinsville, and Mrs. Mary PIERCE, of Springfield, Vt., are living. Mr. BARRETT was a public spirited man and held most of the town offices. George represented the town in the legislature of 1869.

      Rev. Baxter BURROWS, born at Petersham, Mass., in 1804, came to Weathersfield, from Chester, Vt., in 1820, and in 1828 married Lydia BOYNTON. In 1833 he was ordained as a minister, and has since preached in Vermont and New Hampshire, being now one of the oldest clergymen in the State. Mrs. Burrows died in 1871, and in 188o he married Mrs. Caroline BOYNTON.

      Samuel DAVIS came to Weathersfield, from Plymouth, in 1822, and reared a family of nine children, three of whom are living, though only one, Jonah, in this town. Jonah was born in 1809, and has followed blacksmithing fifty-six years.

      James W. GOLDSMITH, born at Saratoga, N. Y., in 1804, came to Weathersfield in 1821. In 1831 he married Paulina M. WARREN, daughter of Asa WARREN, and has reared a family of three children. Mr. GOLDSMITH has been a justice of the peace, town collector, and has held other offices.

      Elisha BOWEN came to this town, from Reading, about 1823, locating near Ascutneyville, where he reared seven children, five of whom are living, and died in 1854. His son, Henry S., is a merchant at Ascutneyville, and has held the office of selectman, etc.

      Samuel ALFORD, born at Woodstock in 1815, came to Weathersfield in 1836, beginning the harnessmakers business at Perkinsville. In 1846, in company with William M. PINGRY, he began to deal in real estate and lumber. After about six years Mr. PINGRY withdrew from the firm, and Mr. ALFORD carried on the business alone, amassing a fortune. He was one of the directors of the old Springfield Bank, and some years after the National Bank was established he became one of its directors. He died in 1881. His widow, Mary M. SLAYTON, of Woodstock, survives him. His son, Frank S., is now engaged here in the real estate business, etc. Another son, George, resides in Springfield, another in Boston, and a daughter resides in Brooklyn, N. Y.

      Samuel FAY, born in Reading in 1805, came to Weathersfield in 1837, locating upon the farm now occupied by Nathaniel CHAMBERLIN, where he died in 1879. Four of his nine children are now living, of whom C. M. is a merchant at Felchville, and Mrs. S. F. HAMILTON resides in this town.

      Hon. William M. PINGRY was born at Salisbury, N. H., in 1806, removed to Danville, Vt., in 1830, was admitted to the bar of Caledonia county in 1832. He practiced his profession at Waitsfield nearly nine years, when he located in Springfield, and subsequently in Perkinsville, where, with the exception of three years, when he was cashier of the White River National Bank, of Bethel, he has since resided. Mr. PINGRY has held the offices of State auditor, county commissioner, served in both branches of the legislature, has been assistant judge of both Washington and Windsor counties, and was a member of the constitutional convention of 1850. Mr. PINGRY has been a deacon of the Baptist church forty-one years, and superintendent of the Sabbath-school thirty-three years.

      Elroy C. ROBINSON was born in South Reading, January 30, 1844, and in 1868 removed to this town, where, by exercising an untiring energy and great executive ability, he has accumulated a handsome property, and ranks high in the estimation of his townsmen. He has held various offices of trust, being elected representative in 1882.

      Charles AMSDEN, born May 6, 1832, came to Weathersfield, March 20, 1849, to tend a grist-mill for John HOWARD. Two weeks later he purchased the mill, being then not quite seventeen years of age. During the following year Mr. AMSDEN married Abbie E. CRAIGUE, and also commenced to trade a little in the mercantile line in his mill. This business rapidly increased, so that he was soon doing a large business in the sale of general merchandise. At this time two dilapidated buildings stood where the village of Amsden now is; but Mr. AMSDEN, as his business enterprises increased, blasted away rocks, filled up frog ponds, etc., to afford a village site, and now has about twenty dwellings here, most of them occupied by his employees. He has here a saw and grist-mill, two improved lime kilns, a blacksmith shop, and a large store. He has been town treasurer eight years, represented the town in 1870-'71, and has held many other offices of trust. His only child is the wife of Charles E. WOODRUFF, of Woodstock.

      The Baptist church of Perkinsville was organized May 28, 1835, by a council of ministers and laymen from other churches. The society has forty-six members, with Rev. David BURROUGHS, pastor. The church building was erected in 1832, and used by the Episcopal and Congregational societies until the present church was organized. It is a brick structure, capable of seating 400 persons, and valued, including grounds, at $3,000.00. The society now has fifty-nine members.

      The Methodist Episcopal church of Perkinsville was organized by the Methodist conference in 1838, with 124 members, though Rev. Silas QUIMBY, the first pastor, had had a class here since 1835. The church building, which will seat 300 persons, and is valued at $2,000.00, was erected in 1836. The society now has thirty-one members.

      The East Congregational church of Weathersfield, located at Weathersfield Bow, was organized by an ecclesiastical council of Congregational ministers, April 11, 1838, the society then having fifty-seven members, Rev. Benjamin HOLMES being the first pastor. The house of worship was built in 1837, and is now valued at $1,000.00. The society has at present twenty-two members.

      The Ascutneyville Congregational church, was organized in 1869, with eighteen members, by a council of five ministers. The society now has twenty-three members, with Rev. M. H. WELLS, pastor. The church building, a wood structure valued at $2,500.00, was built in 1846. It will comfortably accommodate 250 persons.

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 241-250.

Transcribed by Karima Allison ~ 2004