BY GEORGE J. BOND.
This town lies in the southeasterly part of Bennington Co. It contains 10,240 acres, granted and chartered by Vermont to William Williams and 27 others, Feb. 23, 1781, and was organized Mar. 18, 1833. In regard to the first settlers, there is nothing positive. There is little doubt, however, that it was Samuel Hollman, who moved in between the years 1812 and '15, and commenced to clear a lot at the extreme easterly part of the town. In the year 1820 a Mr. Haskell and Stephen Morton moved into town; but Morton soon after left. In 1824 Joseph Crosier commenced in the southwesterly part, and may be regarded as the first permanent settler. A story is told by the oldest inhabitants that the wife of Mr. Haskell having been deprived of fire by a driving rain-storm, set out through the woods 6 or 8 miles to the place where her husband was laboring, and arrived home the next day with the means to replenish her fire; thus furnishing an illustration of the conveniences of early settling. The number of inhabitants in 1820 was 9; in 1830 there were 40. In 1830 Joseph Eames settled, and was for many years the leading citizen. About this time John Tanner also moved in and took up large tracts of wild land.
No regular church has ever been established in this town, nor has there ever been a settled minister. But a portion of public money is yearly devoted to religious instruction, and ministers from other towns are employed. The oldest person living is Chloe Welds; the oldest deceased, David Eames.
VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
After the organization of the town in 1833, there seems to be a space of some years filled merely by the business routine of the town. In 1842, a tannery was built, which has been kept in operation ever since. A wash-board and clothes-pin factory was built in 1846. In 1848 Solomon Rich, one of the leading citizens, was accidentally thrown from his waggon and killed. At a period previous to this, a difficulty had arisen in regard to a tract of land, lying between this town and Wilmington, each town claiming it as their right. A petition was handed into the Legislature and the Surveyor General was instructed to adjust the line; which, however, for some reason he failed to do. A committee was afterwards appointed, but, for some reason never fully understood, they also failed to act. In 1852 Isaac T. Wright, of Castleton, Edward D. Barber, of Middlebury, and John F. Deane, of Cavendish, were appointed a committee to settle the matter, who after hearing the case, decided in favor of Searsburg.
Nothing of note seems to have transpired since that date until the present time. The population in 1860, as nearly as can be ascertained by a brief reckoning, is 235. In regard to its mineral resources, there is abundant evidence of iron among the hills; but no geologist has ever visited this town, or if so, he has left no record of his discoveries.
But little need be said in regard to the present appearance of the town. The brevity of the growing season and the length and severity of the winters prohibits agriculture on a large scale; although the soil, (setting aside the rocks,) is of rather a superior quality, and the more hardy agricultural productions may be cultivated with succees. Farming, on this small scale, constitutes our chief employment for summer. Lumber and shingles being in good demand, their manufacture furnishes ample employment and ready pay for the winter months. In this way the inhabitants, by a fair degree of labor and economy, are enabled to obtain a good livlihood.