Vermont Historical Gazetteer
A Local History of
ALL THE TOWNS IN THE STATE
Civil, Educational, Biographical, Religious and Military
THE TOWNS OF WINDHAM COUNTY,
WITH HISTORIES OF
SUTTON IN CALEDONIA COUNTY, AND BENNINGTON IN
ABBY MARIA HEMENWAY.
MRS. CARRIE E. H. PAGE,
Pages 727 – 728
This village derived its name from William H. Williams, in early years the owner of the larger portion of its business interests. It doubtless owes its origin, and, in a large degree, its subsequent growth, to the natural advantages afforded by the stream upon which it is situated. The development of these advantages commenced at a very early date, as the natural result of their being more available than any other to the inhabitants of the village on the hill.
Referring to the town records we find that the first conveyance of mill property was made in 1790, in October of which year John Wheeler sold to Winslow & Jones, a grist mill and saw mill standing where Hovey's saw mill now does. This property frequently changed hands till it came into the possession, soon after 1800, of Wm. H. Williams, who built the first carding mill in 1810, and operated it until his decease in 1866, when it was bought by S. M. Hovey and converted into a mill for the manufacture of lumber and chair stock.
During the war of 1812-15 a small woolen factory was erected near the carding mill, by William H. J Williams and Hezekiah Robinson, but was run but a few years.
In April, 1794, Thomas and Darius Wheeler purchased the privilege now owned by A. L. Simson, and built, during that or the following year, a fulling mill and an oil mill. These mills were sold by the Wheelers, in February, 1801, to Wm. H. Williams, who continued the business until his death. The mills were entirely swept away during the great freshet, September 23, 1815, but were immediately rebuilt. This property was purchased in 1874, by H. H. Hoyt, who put in a circular saw and other wood-working machinery.
A grist mill was built, near the site of the present mill, about the year 1786, by Ebenezer Morse. Wm. H. Williams, built the present mill in 1839, and retained it till 1864, when it was purchased by D. B. & D. J. Lamson. It was now owned and operated by G. B. Lamb & J. H. Merrifield.
Amasa Lincoln came to this village in 1817, and built a small tannery in which he continued business till 1840. It was subsequently enlarged and operated by different parties till 1876.
The building now used by Wheeler & Morse, in the manufacture of butter tubs and kegs, was built by Ephriam Hall, Jr.
The manufacture of wagons and sleighs was commenced here, in 1858, by H. H. Hoyt, who built, the same year, the carriage shop now standing. Geo. W. Dickinson purchased an interest in the business in 1860. In 1872 Mr. Dickinson became sole proprietor and has since continued the business.
A. M. Merrifield erected a steam mill here in 1890, and gives employment to 15 men, in the manufacture of chair stock.
Merchants from 1814 to 1891:
Wm. H. Williams & D. W. Sanborn, Huntington Fitch, Wm. L. Williams, H. F. Houghton & Lucius Walker, John R. Blake, C. H. Cune & Francis Goodhue, Jason, Duncan Jr., Henry Wheelock & John A. Merrifield, H. N. Miller & George Clark, Abel S. Ward, Martin Perry & G. L. Howe, S. H. Sherman, O. L. Sherman, Abel S. Ward, John D. Blake, Amherst Morse, J. H. Merrifield, C. E. Park.
Chas. K. Field came to this village in March, 1826, engaged in the practice of law, remained two years and then removed to Wilmington. Returning in 1855, he remained till 1861, when he sold out to Kittredge Haskins, and removed to Brattleboro. Hon Hoyt H. Wheeler, formerly of the Vermont Supreme Court, and now U. S. Judge for this state, commenced the study of law with Mr. Field, in this village.
Mr. Haskins remained here in the practice of his profession till September, 1862, when he enlisted and entered the army. In the fall of 1863 he removed to Brattleboro.
Geo. W. Davenport opened a law office here in May, 1865, and remained till January, 1867.
Dr. Simon Taylor, son of Rev. Hezekiah Taylor, was the first physician to settle in this immediate vicinity. He commenced practice here in 1813, and died in 1818. Dr. James Cutler came here about 1817, but remained only a few years. Dr. Sewall Foster came the same year, and remained till 1823, when he removed to Shefford, P. Q., where he became highly distinguished as a physician, and received many political honors. Dr. John Wilson settled in this village about the year 1820, and remained till 1835, when he sold out to Dr. Orville P. Gilman, and removed to Brattleboro. Dr. Gilman remained but a short time. Dr. Elihu Halladay practiced here from about 1833 to 1838. Dr. C. S. Blakeslee came in May of the latter year, and soon built up an extensive and successful practice. He removed to Brattleboro in 1882. Dr. H. B. Chapin came in 1856, and remained in this village and vicinity about fifteen years. Dr. Geo. II. Harvey located here in 1873, and Dr. John Heard in 1874. They were followed by Dr E. S. Weston, who sold in 1881 to Dr. P. P. White.
The following is a list of the persons who have been postmasters at this place, together with the respective dates of their appointment:
Charles K. Field, appointed P. M., May 20, 1826; Jason Duncan, Jr., Nov. 30, 1826; Charles W. Joy, April 16, 1838; Horatio N. Miller, June 28, 1847; John A. Merrifield, July 9, 1851; Henry F. Houghton, Aug. 27, 1853; Oscar L. Sherman, Oct. 18, 1856; Gardner L. Howe, July 20, 1861; Charles E. Park, Sept. 13, 1865; Albert N. Sherman, Sept. 23, 1885; Charles E. Park, June 24, 1889, who is the present incumbent.