VHG Milton, Chittenden County, Vt.




                                                     MILTON.                                                           839









The township of Milton lies on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain; and is the N. W. corner town in Chittenden Co.

It is bounded N. by Georgia, in Franklin Co., E. by Westford, S. by Colchester, and W. by Lake Champlain. A sand-bar extends from the S. W. corner of the town to South Hero in Grand Isle Co., which renders the lake fordable between the two towns a con­siderable portion of each year. In the years of 1849 and 1850, there was a toll- bridge or turnpike built on this sand-bar at a cost of $25,000, which renders the commu­nication between the two towns tolerably good at all seasons of the year.

The town was chartered by New Hamp­shire to Albert Blake and 63 others, June 8, 1763, and contains about 28,000 acres.

[Grantees of Milton,—for which we are indebted to the Vermont antiquarian, Mr. Stevens:— Samuel Rogers, James Wilmott, Jr., Isaac Silvester, Isaac Rogers, Josh. B——, Josh. Kirkbird, Wm. Proctor, Alex. Moore, Peter Cone, John Imlay, Josh. Haviland, James Haviland, Tim. Mc'Carty, Carden Lee, Samuel Dodge, John Burroughs, James Bur­roughs, Wm. Burroughs, Wm. Popplerdorf, Jr., Josh. Zabrisker, John Zabrisker, Richard Cornwall, Daniel Bates, Thomas Liscum, Wm. Smith, Wm. Smith, Jr., Jacob Smith, Thomas Willet, John Willet, Ralph William Miller, Josh. Royal, Benj. Lintott, William Ferguher, Richard Sharp, Richard Evans, Samuel Kemble, Michael Duff, Paul Miller, Paul Miller, Jr., Christopher Miller, Thomas Shreave, Philip French, Philip French, Jr., Adolphus French, Henry Franklin, Benjamin Underhill, David Buckley, Benjamin Blagge, John Bogie, John Gifford, John Gifford, Jr., George Wood, John Turner, John Turner, Jr., Alexander Baker, Joshua Huckins, Henry Dickenson, Hon. Richard Wilbird, John Downing, Esq., Daniel Warner, Esq., Samuel Emerson, Jr., Maj. Richmond Downing.—Ed.]

Besides the 500 acres reserved to Governor Wentworth, four rights were reserved to public uses, among which, one for the use or schools, and one for the first settled minister of the gospel. The name of the town, it is supposed, was given it in honor of the dis­tinguished poet of that name.

The town was first settled by William Irish, Leonard Owen, Amos Mansfield, Absalom Taylor and Thomas Dewey, in February, 1782.

Among the other early settlers were Gid­eon Hoxsie, Enoch Ashley, Zebediah Dewey, Elisha Ashley, John Mears and others.

Tradition informs us that the first settlers suffered many hardships and privations, but




840                         VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.


probably not more than usually fell to the lot of other first settlers in other towns in Vermont.

The town was organized March 25, 1788, and Enoch Ashley was the first town clerk. It was represented in the Legislature the same year by Aaron Matthews, who was also the first justice of the peace. Gideon Hoxsie was afterwards town clerk about 40 years, and a justice of the peace over 30 years.

The surface of the town is somewhat uneven the eastern quarter being from 1 to 300 feet above the general surface of the rest of the town. Cobble Hill in the south, and Rattle Snake Hill in the north part, are elevations of 400 or 500 feet above the adjacent plains, and afford fine prospects of the surrounding country and Lake Champlain.

The soil is much diversified, consisting of sandy pine plain, clay, muck, loam and alluvial. About one-half of the surface of the town was originally covered with a dense growth of white pine timber; which tended greatly to retard agricultural pursuits in the early part of its settlement.

Many of the early settlers turned their attention to cutting the pine timber and preparing it for the Quebec market; in the shape of square timber and 3 inch plank or deal; which were floated to Quebec through the waters of Lake Champlain and the rivers Sorel and St. Lawrence, where they seldom received more than sufficient to pay for manufacturing and transportation. After the Champlain Canal was completed in the State of New York, much of this pine timber found its way to the New York market in the shape of spars and sawed lumber, where it seldom brought more than cost.

After the pine timber had been nearly all disposed of as above stated, the inhabitants turned their attention more to agricultural pursuits; and Milton has now become one of the best farming towns in the state.

It is watered by the River Lamoille, which passes through the town in a circuitous course from N. E. to S. W., and many smaller streams which empty into the Lamoille and Lake Champlain. They furnish a great amount of water power, which is but partially used at the present time. There are also a great number of living springs of pure water gushing from the sandy banks, which afford abundance of water for our pastures. There are two considerable ponds here, one called "Long Pond" in the N. W. part, which is about one mile long and from 20 to 60 rods wide; at the bottom of which is deposited a large bed of marl. The other is in the elevated. N. E. part, of smaller size, in which are found several kinds of small fish.

The Vermont and Canada Railroad passes from south to north through the easterly part of the town, and has a depot near the village of "Milton Falls."



was the first lawyer that settled in Milton. He came here as early as 1802, and pursued his profession with signal ability and credit from that time till 1827, when he moved to Burlington, where he resided till his death. He was a member of Congress from 1831 to 1839, and for many years a member of the Corporation of the University of Vermont, and took a great interest in the welfare of that institution. He died at Burlington, Vt., December 11, 1844, aged 68 years, much esteemed and respected for his many virtues.



a lawyer of distinction, settled in Milton in 1824, and pursued his profession till 1852. He was elected a representative of Milton four years in the Legislature, and one year elected to the state Senate, while he lived here. He was accidentally killed at Zanes­ville, Ohio, on the 10th of November, 1852, while there on business.


A French Canadian by the name of Shovah died here in 1857, aged 103 years. When he was 100 years old, he shouldered half a bushel of grain and carried it on foot two miles to mill, and returned with the flour in the same manner on the same day with apparent ease.

John Mears, one of the early settlers, died here February 8, 1861, aged 96 years.


There are in this town 14 school districts, and about 700 scholars between the ages of 4 and 18 years. There are in Milton 4 meeting-houses, 5 stores, one paper-mill, 1 woolen factory, 4 saw-mills, 2 grist-mills, 1 tannery and 2 taverns.

We are indebted to the History of Vermont by Mr. Thompson, for some of the historical items in the foregoing.




                                                     MILTON.                                                           841







The Congregational church in Milton was organized Sept. 21, 1804, by the Rev. Lemuel Haynes and James Davis.

The following names are on record as constituting the first members, viz: Leonard Brigham and Lovice his wife, Edward Brigham, Aaron Carpenter and Hannah his wife, Moses Bascom, John Bascom, Linus Bascom, Chloe Smith, Daniel Smith, Eliza Smith, Rhoda Church, Elijah Herrick, Jabez Hyde and Mary his wife. The Church was occasionally supplied with preaching till Sept. 23, 1807, when Joseph Cheeney was constituted their pastor by a council com­posed of Rev. P. V. Bogue, Rev. James Parker and Rev. Benjamin Wooster and their delegates.

Mr. Cheeney was dismissed for the want of adequate supply by a council convened Feb. 11, 1817, composed of Rev. Messrs. Daniel Haskel, Ebenezer H. Dorman and Asaph Morgan and their delegates. After the dismission of Mr. Cheeney, the church was destitute of a pastor for several years: the pulpit being supplied for the greater por­tion of the time by Simeon Parmelee, D. D., Rev. John Scott and Septimeus Robinson, till Sept. 28, 1836, when Rev. James Dough­erty was installed over them. Worthington Smith, D. D., preached the sermon; and the said Dougherty remained their pastor till July 5, 1848, when he resigned, and the relation was dissolved by council on that day. In October of the same year, the church secured the services of Rev. O. T. Lamphear, who continued with them one year.

Jan. 1, 1850, Stephen A. Holt was ordained over the church; and dismissed Nov. 6, 1851, on account of failure of health.

After which, Simeon Parmelee, D. D., preached to them two years, who was suc­ceeded by their present supply, Rev. George W. Renslow, who commenced his services February, 1855.

The first house of worship was mostly built by Judge Noah Smith in the east part of the town, called the Falls, and was by him given to the Congregational church and society, together with land adjoining for a cemetery, in the year 1806 or 1807. The second meeting-house was built in 1825, a few rods north of the first, and was burnt down in 1840; the present church was erected in 1841, upon the site of the latter, and is not distinguished for its architectural elegance, or its superior adaptation to the purposes of religious worship.

Previous to the ordination of Mr. S. A. Holt, the meetings were held alternately in the east and west parts of the town. Since that time the church and society in the east part have supplied their desk the whole time, and the members in the west part have been organized into a church by themselves.

The Congregational church in Milton was never large. I cannot find more than 300 names upon its records. The present num­ber of resident members of the first church is 33. This church and society have always scrupulously cancelled their pecuniary obligations to their ministers.

March, 1861.



have a large and respectable society in Milton, which is supplied by itinerant preachers alternately at the west and east parts of the town. The meeting-house in West Milton was built about the year 1831, and thoroughly repaired and modernized at considerable expense in 1859; and is now the most elegant and commodious public edifice in town, and is furnished with a fine bell of rare tone. It is occupied one-half of the time by the second Congregational church and society, and the other half by the Meth­odist society.


There was formerly a society of Baptists in Milton, but there are now but few of that persuasion in town.


The Universalists have been supplied with occasional preaching at the east part of the town during the last 10 or 12 years.






Joseph W. Allen, the fifth son of the late Hon. Heman Allen, was born in Milton, Vt., on the 17th of Jan., 1819. From his early childhood he was distinguished by a most generous and amiable temper, ever ready to yield his own interests for the benefit or pleasure of others. He graduated at the University of Vermont in August, 1839, and soon after entered upon the study of law. He was admitted to the Chittenden County bar in May, 1843. He practiced in Burling‑




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ton for several years, and then removed his office to Milton, and afterwards to Richmond.

As a lawyer, his professional knowledge was extensive, profound, accurate. His bearing towards his brethren in the profession was always generous and scrupulously courteous. Though he possessed wit and humor, he seldom used them to the annoyance of an opponent. His pleadings at the bar were without display, simple, earnest, logical. He was always listened to by the court and jury with marked attention.

During the last years of his life, in connec­tion with his legal studies and practice, he edited and carried through the press, two important works, viz. "Fell on Guaranty" and " Reeve's Domestic Relations."

His death, from congestion of the lungs, occurred at Richmond, March 15th, 1861, at the age of 42. At a meeting of the Chitten­den County bar, called the. day after his death, resolutions were adopted expressive of their appreciation of his character; one of which is as follows:


"Resolved, That as a man of scholarly cul­ture, of sound legal knowledge and of a noble generosity, we, his fellows and friends, deeply lament his untimely death."

But the character in which his personal friends deplore him most, and which will most frequently recall his memory, is that of the man. They will think how meek and gentle he was, how unpretending and modest, how true and steady in friendship, how gen­erous to his friends, how wise and playful in mirth, how ready to counsel and how willing to oblige. These were the traits of character which drew to him the hearts of all who knew him well.







Up to the year 1859 the few Catholics of Milton Falls used to be visited occasionally by the priests of Burlington. In 1859 Mr. Joseph Clark granted the use of the town hall for a mission. At the end of the mission the Rt. Rev. Bishop of Burlington proposed to build a church, towards which object Mr. Clark also contributed very liberally. Whilst the church was building, the Rt. Rev. Bishop attended to the spiritual wants of the con­gregation. The church was ready for use in the fall of 1859, when the Rev. F. Picart was appointed resident pastor. In the spring of 1860 the Rev. Francis Clavier, of St. Albans, took charge of the congregation. Owing to his exertions the church was finished in 1863. In February, 1866, the Rev. M. Pigeon was appointed resident pastor. The Catholic population of Milton are composed of French Canadians and Irish, and number about 100 families.










'Twas a cold raw day,

And adown Broadway,

Two newsboys wandered alone.

With a hungry look,

How they search each nook,

For waste in the gutter thrown.


"Oh, here, Billy, see!"

(Cries Tommy in glee)

"You can't guess what I have found."

Then wiping the dirt

On his coarse brown shirt,

Turned his treasure round and round.


"Half a Peach, Bill, taste,"

And in noble haste

The starving boy turns, to reach—

See his beaming brow,

"Bite bigger, Bill, now,

'Cause you didn't find any peach.*


Ye misers who roll,

And entomb the soul

For a living grave of gold,

Go learn from that boy,

Of a nobler joy,

Of a wealth on earth untold.


Ye shall raise your wail,

From the dark, dark vail,

'Neath the gleam of God's dread frown;

While that simple word,

By the angels heard,

"Bite bigger, Bill," wins a crown.


* Newsboy.







God is God—nor further can we knew,

Man was, and is not; but the direful blow

Which drove from Eden, though it crushed the soul,

Left noble fragments of that perfect whole.

No single sunbeam lights the rising day,

One thread of silver forms no milky way;

But mingled millions melting into one

Pour forth the galaxy and gild the sun,

So would we gather from the paths of life

No thorns and thistles of its cursed strife,

But here a gem, and there a blooming flower;

Here grains of wisdom, there of truest power.

Yes, gather always where we may or can,

These broken fragments in one perfect man.

                                               LIEUT. HUNTING.




                                                  RICHMOND.                                                        843






An oasis upon the sand,

An island in the sea,

A place of refuge from despair,

To which my thoughts can flee.


A sunbeam breaking through the cloud

So generous, warm and free,

The brightest page in life's dark book

That I may hope to see.


The wandering spring-bird when it comes,

And finds its favorite tree,

Shows not more joy than I must feel

When I remember thee.







The pride of festive hall was there,

No fairer flower e'er bloomed;

The gentlest angel of the air

To dwell on earth seemed doomed.

A radiant tear was on her cheek,

Her bond-soul was not free,

She loved the chains too well to speak;

My lady wept for me.


Transfixed and thrilled with deeper love,

Transfigured too she seemed;

No holier light in Heaven above

Than from her pure soul beamed;

With tender thoughts her sweet face glowed,

She prayed on bended knee,

Then heaved a sigh—the pearl-drops flowed:

My lady wept for me.














The town of Richmond is situated in the central part of Chittenden County, Lat. 44° 24', Long. 4° 4'; and bounded northerly by Jericho, easterly by Bolton, southerly by Huntington, and westerly by Williston.

This town had no charter as a town, hav­ing been formed out of the contiguous parts of other towns, viz: Huntington, Williston, Bolton and Jericho. From the four contig­uous fragments it was formed and incorpo­rated by act of legislature in 1794, as a town, to which was given the name it bears.

Richmond lies on the Winooski river, within 13 or 14 miles from its mouth, and about 55 miles from its source. The river carries off the waters from 970 square miles and flowing at a moderate pace over its broad bed, bearing its rich freight of deposit gathered from a thousand hills to enrich the soil along its borders. After receiving the additional waters of the Huntington river, which forms a junction with it at Jonesville (a village in Richmond) they flow on smooth­ly a plural river through the broad interval meadows, made by the alluvial deposits of their mingled waters as they wend their way among the clustering hills to the lake.

I know but little of the geology of the town. Igneous and stratified rocks are ap­parent in various parts; principally, I under­stand, they are of the primary formation. They have an easterly dip of from 36°, in­creasing in some places until they become vertical.

Bowlders are found here from the lower members of the red sand-rock, and are in­stantly recognized as resembling those along the lake shore by any one acquainted with the formation. Some of them found in this and adjoining towns will weigh several tons, and are found resting on the talcose slate formation.

As to minerals, in the south-east part of Richmond on flats formed by beaver dams, on which David Robbins, a Revolutionary soldier, settled, bog-iron ore has been found, which has been dug to some extent and man­ufactured into iron of a good quality,

Near the ore bed one Sears erected a forge on Huntington river, but it was carried off by a flood soon after.

I am informed that the state geologists have never examined the deposits of bog and mountain ore in this vicinity, although specimens have been left with the town clerk, agreeably to their advertisement.

A few years ago Col. Rolla Gleason, while digging muck in a swamp near the top of Bryant hill, struck on some hard, bony sub­stance, and on getting it out of the mud and examining the same, it proved to be the fos­sil remains of an elephant's tusk.

It was presented by Col. Gleason to the University of Vermont, and can be found by the curious in its museum.

As to the soil, the intervals along the Wi­nooski river in Richmond are composed of deep, rich alluvial deposits, are very fertile and considerably extensive. The soil in the hilly and other parts of the town is fertile. and well adapted to grazing, and many of the farmers keep large dairies. In some parts the soil is clay; others, gravelly loam; in others, marl.