BY DR. A. BENSON.
Landgrove is in the N. E. corner of Bennington Co. It is 6 miles in length from south to north, the south end for about half its length, being about a half mile wide, the north end about 2 miles wide.
Capt. William Utley, with his son Asa, were the first settlers. They moved from Connecticut with their families in the spring of 1769, and stopped in what was then the town of Andover, now Weston. They there cleared a small piece of land and planted corn and potatoes; but soon went about two miles farther west, and made another stand, on a Branch of West River, now called the Utley Flats, supposing they were in the town of Bromley, now Peru. After remaining here a few years, they discovered they were on a gore of land between Andover and Bromley. They then with about 20 others, made application, and obtained a charter from the Government of Vermont, in Nov. 1780, of all the lands lying between Andover, now Weston, and Londonderry on the east, and Bromley, now Peru, on the west — 7220 acres. They then proceeded to survey and allot the town; end established the west boundery of the town between this and Peru. After the town of Peru became considerably settled, the proprietors of that town became dissatisfied with the Utley line, as they called it, and claimed further east some more than two lots, to the Munn Line, which they claimed to be the original line. This was the occasion of considerable excitement and litigation between the proprietors of these towns. The inhabitants living on this disputed territory all but two, purchased under Landgrove titles, voted and paid taxes in Landgrove. The two purchased under and voted and paid taxes in Peru, and remained in this situation many years without any interposition of the towns until 1834, when the town of Peru by a vote of the town, caused all the inhabitants living on said disputed territory to be set in the grand list of that town, and enforced the collection of taxes, which immediately caused suits of law to be commenced to be defended by the towns. These suits were however, soon discontinued by compromise between the towns; and in 1835 the Legislature of the State by the request and joint petition of the towns established the jurisdictional line a little west of the centre of said disputed territory, which has ever since remained the the permanent and peaceable jurisdictional line between the towns.
The town was organized March 15, 1800; Daniel Tuthill, first Town Clerk; Asa Utley, David Carpenter and Joshua Dale first Selectmen; Joseph Holt, first Constable; David Carpenter, first Representative. John Thomson is the oldest man now living in town, aged 86. He says he was born the first day of the week, first day of the month and first day of the year. He has resided here since 1839.
DAVID WILEY, Esq. second oldest man aged 84, was born in Hillsboro, N. H., Aug. 10, 1776, and removed to Landgrove in 1797. He has represented the town more than any other man, ss. he has been Representative 14 years — the last in 1850, — and has held the office of Justice of the Peace, Selectman and many town offices the most of the time since the town was organized.
The Utleys the first settlers, and original proprietors have all deceased.
WM. UTLEY was born in Windham, Ct., February 1725, and died March 17, 1790. His widow, Sarah, survived him, probably more than 20 years, and the date of her death is uncertain, but she was supposed to be aged 93. They were buried on the farm where they first commenced; but there is no monument, or mark, showing the spot, and no person now living can point out where their ashes repose.
ASA, oldest son of Wm. Utley, died in this town Aug. 8, 1837, at the age of 87 years. Esq. Utley was appointed Justice of the Peace the first year it was organized and held that office probably more than 30 years, and also held the office of Town Clerk, Selectman and various other town offices.
OLIVER UTLEY, died in Manchester, 1856. aged 91 years.
PEABODY UTLEY, youngest son of Wm. Utley, served as Colonel in the war of 1812 soon after the close of the war left this town and went to the West where he soon after deceased.
Among the other early settlers in this town was DAVID CARPENTER. He was born in Connecticut in 1750, was a poor boy; bound out to service at an early age; but as he became older, dissatisfied with his usage, and determined to live; stole his indentures from his master's desk and hid them under a stone on the premises, (where after he became of age he returned and found them safe) and left. He soon after joined the Revolutionary army; was present and one of the guard at the execution of Maj. Andre, and soon after the close of the war settled in this town. His first child was born here, Aug. 26, 1787, (the first birth on record in this town.) He never had the advantages even of a common school education; but by his own exertion learned to read and write sufficient to keep his own at-
198 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
counts; (inteligable however, only to himself ) represented the town; was Justice of the Peace, and held important offices in town. He left this place in 1807 and went to Keene, N. H., where he died in 1845. Although he came to this town a poor man, while here he accumulated property to the amount of $40,000, is asserted by his children.
GIDEON DAVIS and his son GIDEON Jr. were among the early settlers. Gideon Davis, Sen. died in 1834. at an advanced age, Gideon Jr. has several times represented the town; held the office of Justice of the Peace more than 35 years, and was among our most influential and useful men. He died Jan. 3, 1857, aged 73 years.
REUBEN HOLT an early settler, died March 2, 1836 in the 92nd year of his age, probably the oldest man at his death in town. Reubin Holt, Jr. was elected Town Clerk in 1817, which office he held until his death, Nov. 25, 1836, aged 61.
BARACHIAS ABBOT, considered at the time of his death the wealthiest man in town, settled in 1797. He belonged to the Society of Friends, and was much respected by his fellow citizens. Hence, Friend Abbot was several times elected Representative, though he never attended the Legislature; and was also elected and served in many important offices in town, but never attended a town meeting.
JOHN MARTIN, the first permanent settler in the south part of the township came from Rhode Island in 1801; commenced in the wilderness; accumulated a large property, and lived and died where he first commenced, in 1843, aged 63.
The No. of School Districts are three. The first, as they are now numbered, was organized Sept. 6, 1827; the second, June 30, 1821, and the third, April 3, 1820. It seems these two first had each a school house and supported schools some years before the date of their organization, as we find them, from the record of their first meeting, raising money "to repair the old school house." District second erected a very convenient school house in 1857. District third erected a school house in 1822.
The only organized denomination of Christians in this town are Methodists. Their Church was organized at an early day. — Among the prominent members and leaders was Joseph Farnum, who died in Londonderry in 1852, aged 78; Robert Parker in this town May 28, 1840, aged 58; Robert G. Clark in Bethel, March 1860, aged 76, and Elijah Woodward in this town June 25, 1853, aged 65. The church is at present supplied, and has been for most of the time since organized, with circuit preaching — Rev. JAMES H. STEVENS formerly preached on this circuit; now resides in this vicinity, and occasionally preaches. They have a meeting house, erected in 1857, the first built in town. There are also a few Congregationalists, Baptists and Universalists here.
The stage road laid out by Commissioners appointed by the Supreme Court was completed about 1820. It leads from Chester to Manchester, passing through the South part of Landgrove and intersects with Peru turnpike about 5 miles to the west of this town. — SIMEON LELAND ESQ. soon opened a store on this road; a few years after a tavern, and established a line of mail stages from Manchester to Charleston N. H. Before rail roads in Vermont, this line was perhaps the most popular of any across the Green Mountains. Esq. Leland was the father of the 'Leland Brothers of New York City' who were born here. He died in Chester a few years since. About this time a Post Office was established here. SELAH WARNER has been postmaster for the last 28 years.
Landgrove is watered by two branches of West River. One running through nearly the centre is called the Utley Branch, on which there is a saw and grist mill with other machinery, doing a considerable business. Near the east line at a small village, called Clarksville there is one store kept by D. W. Roby, and a black smith's shop by L. M. Bailey. On the other Branch running through the south part of the town, is one saw-mill with some other machinery attached. This place is called Landgrove Hollow. Here also is the old store and tavern erected by Esq. Leland.