One of the soldiers of Amherst was named Benjamin Kellogg, from Connecticut. It is said that while stationed at Crown Point he frequently visited the Salt Licks, near where the mansion of General John Strong was subsequently built, to procure venison for the officers of the army. It is believed that the clearings made by the French, and the promising character of the locality, made an impression upon his mind, and that when lie returned he told his acquaintances of the advantages of the place for settlement. He returned to his old hunting grounds in the fall of 1762, and likewise in the two succeeding years; in the latter year some of the Panton proprietors came with him. In the spring of 1765 Zadock Everest, David Vallance and one other settler came on and began a clearing about three miles north of Chimney Point. In September Benjamin Kellogg came back for his fall hunt, and with him came John Strong in quest of a home in the wilderness. The two last-named men visited the place where Everest and Vallance were at work, remained a few days and helped get in their fallow of wheat, and then traveled as far east as the site of Middlebury; they were probably the first white men to reach that locality. On their return to the lake Strong decided to build a house there, which he did with the help of the other men; he selected the site and cellar of one of the ruined French houses as the foundation. It was the first house built by an English settler north of Massachusetts. The party returned to Connecticut, and in February, 1766, Strong returned with his family, consisting of his wife and three children, Asa, Samuel and Polly, and in May Zadock Everest, David Vallance, John Chipman and six others, with their families, came on by way of Otter Creek; all of these but Chipman located in Addison and Panton.
It is not known just how many families settled in this town during the succeeding ten years and down to the breaking out of the Revolution; but in 1768, when Colonel Wooster came on to look for the land to which he supposed he had a title, he found five families on it – John Strong, Benjamin Kellogg, Phineas Spalding, David Vallance and one of the Pangborns. Some of these, according to General Strong, agreed to leave their lands, and others were sued by Wooster in the Albany courts. Then followed the historical controversy between the settlers and the New York authorities. Strong, Kellogg, Everest, and ten other Addison men were in Allen’s party who dispossessed Reid at the falls (Vergennes), for an account of which see Judge Smith’s history of Vergennes herein. When the men returned from the affair with Reid they found Wooster with the sheriff serving writs of ejectment on those living on his land; they were highly incensed that while they, had been engaged in driving the hated Yorkers from the lands of their neighbors, their own homes were invaded. They finally took Wooster and his sheriff, tied them to a tree, and under threats of the “beech seal,” forced them to promise to depart and not trouble the settlers further. The colonel left that locality on the following morning.
Of the part enacted in the Revolution by Addison men, but little can be said. At the time of the retreat of the Americans from their Canadian expedition in 1776, when the small-pox broke out among the soldiers, a hospital was built on the north side of the mouth of Hospital Creek, which incident gave the stream its name. The number of deaths here was so great that pits were dug into which the bodies were thrown without coffins. In the same year the Addison settlers aided General Gates in getting out timbers for his fleet, which was placed under the command of Arnold. This fleet was defeated by the British in October, when Arnold ran his vessels ashore in Panton, burning some and blowing up others. When Burgoyne made his memorable invasion in 1777 most of the settlers departed, those from Addison county going into Pawlet, Dorset and other towns then in Bennington county. In 1778 Major Carleton made his descent from Canada; he took thirty-nine men and boys as prisoners. Among them were Nathan and Marshall Smith, of Bridport; Benjamin Kellogg, and Ward and Joseph Everest, of Addison; Holcomb Spalding, two Ferrises and Mr. Grandey, of Panton, and Hinckly, of Shoreham. Says General Strong: “Grandey and Hinckly were liberated to take care of the women and children, these and other families having come back to their farms on the defeat of Burgoyne; all now abandoned the settlement except three families, and did not return until after the war. The prisoners were taken to Quebec, where they arrived December 6. Kellogg and a number of others died in prison during the winter. They all suffered unaccountable hardships. In the spring they were taken down the river some ninety miles. May 13, about midnight, eight of them made their escape. On reaching the south shore they divided into two parties, four in each. On getting opposite Quebec one party was betrayed by a Frenchman, and again taken prisoners. Three of them again made their escape that night – Ward and the two Smiths – and after being again taken by the Indians, and again escaping, pursued by the Indians fourteen days and nights, all their knowledge of the Indian craft and devices being put to the utmost trial, they finally succeeded in throwing off their pursuers and arrived in Panton, where they met three Americans, on a scout, from whom they got provisions; which was the first food they had tasted since their last escape, except such as they procured in the woods – in all, twenty days. The next day they stopped at Hemenway’s, in Bridport, (Hememway never left his farm through all the war.) After one day’s rest, they pushed on to Pittsford.”
With the close of the great struggle for freedom settlers felt that they Might confidently hope for security in their wilderness homes, and they accordingly began to return. New immigrants, also, attracted by the reports of the beauty of the country, came in rapidly, and Addison soon took the lead in the county. It is our purpose now to trace most of the early settlements of the town, with such other historical records as we have been able to secure. [The town records, show that the following settlers took the freeman's oath between 1790 and 1801]
In 1790 James Bates, Tonah Case, Z. Everest, Joseph Everest, Benjamin Everest, Ebenezer Merrill, Joseph Murray, John Newton, Ebenezer Picket, Seth Storrs, John Strong, esq., Samuel Strong, David Whitney, Timothy Woodford, Ebenezer Wright, Walter Bates, Azariah Bill, Jeremiah Day, Joseph D. Farnsworth, Levi Hanks, Lyman Hurd, Carrel Merrill, Simon Smith, Luke Strong, Bissel Case, Samuel Low, John Willmarth, John Strong, jr.
1791. – Jonathan Bills, Loudon Case, Timothy Pangborn, Theo. Andrus, Daniel Squier, Josiah Waterous, Isaac Buck, Isaiah Clark, Thomas Dexter, William Kimball, Samuel Pangborn, Joseph Pangborn, Otis Pond, Eli Squier, Aaron Warner, Daniel Champlin, Caleb Olin, Stephen Pangborn, Benjamin Payne, Gideon Seeger, David Vallance, John Vallance, Joseph Spencer, Henry Smith, Jesse Smith, Joseph Smith, Clayborn Robinson, Jabez Pond, Kilborn Morley, John Noble, Elizer Hanks.
1793. – Joseph Caldwell, William Everest, John Harris, William Meacham, Andrew Murry, Benjamin Reynolds, Enoch Sacket, Thomas Sanford, jr., Benjamin Southward, Jeremiah Adams, Philo Pickett, William Ellis.
1794. – Seth Abbott, Jeremiah Meacham.
1795. – Elisha Clark, William Merrihugh, Nathaniel Warner, Jacob McClan, Geo. Wright, Timothy Harris, James McClan, Ashur Ashborn, John N. Murry.
1797. – Stephen Day, Reuben Randal, Abel Wilmarth, John Cory, jr., David White, Ashbel Squier, Ebenezer Squier.
1798. – Robert Chambers, Israel Morley, Friend Adams, Peter Stickel, Ashbel Picket, Jacob Post, Asel Wilmarth, jr., Daniel Smith, John Post, Ebenezer Daniels, Wm. Mills, Asel Wright, Alvin White, David Pond, Reuben Randal, Simon Smith, Reuben Sacket, jr., Cyrus Strong, William Picket, James Stiles, Solomon Green, Peter Luis, Curtis Butler, John Harris, James Hoten, Ephraim Mills.
1799 – Luce Litchfield, Daniel Hasbrooks, Caleb Pratt, Benjamin Norton, Daniel Dewey.
1800. – William Dusenbury, Sterling Adams, Solomon Doud, Wm. C. Dusenbury, Alexander Ferguson, Francis More, Ebenezer Wright, jr., Zachariah Curtice, jr., John Herrimon, Roe Miner, Thomas D. Allen, Amos Smith, Jacob Travers, Daniel Wright, Aaron Merrill, Henry Cannada, Reuben Spalding, Brattle Butler, James Bushnel, John Fisher, Abraham Burrell, Timothy Burrell.
1801. – Stephen Armstrong, Bela Norton, Josiah Norton, Mitchell Kingman, Gilead Picket, Martin L. Crandal, Nathaniel Pangborn, Jacob Head, Nicholas R. Grinnells, Weaker Bartlett, Reuben Knickerbocker, Ephraim Jackson, John Doran and William Jones.
The names in the above list are spelled according to the record.
John Murray located upon the farm now owned by Judson Hurd. The Picket family located in the southwestern part of the town, on the lake shore. Jeremiah Day located near “The Corners,” but subsequently moved to Canton; among his descendants are Judson and George Day. Levi Hanks, father of William, located in the southeastern part of the town, near Asa Willmarth’s; Lyman Hurd, just south of Asa Willmarth’s; Simon Smith, in the northeastern part of the town; Samuel Low, in the eastern part of the town; Eli Squires settled in the northeastern part of the town. Isaiah Clark settled near the center of the town and had three sons, Lyman, Asahel and Isaiah, jr., and Lyman occupies the old homestead Asahel is represented by his sons Warren D. and Isaiah, jr., by his son George, and a daughter, Mrs. Byron Smith; Thomas Dexter, in the western part of the town; Otis Pond upon the place now owned by George Clark. Aaron Warner located upon a farm north of the present residence of C. W. Reed. Justus Smith, father of Byron Smith, lived and died about three-fourths of a mile cast of the meeting-house at the Center. Joseph Spencer lived in the northeast part of the town upon the farm now occupied by Joseph Barber, and had a son Joseph and a daughter Susan. Andrew Murray settled in the western part of the town. The Sacket family located in the northeastern part of the town; Jeremiah Adams and David White in the northeastern part of the town ; Robert Chambers in the western part of the town; Jacob and John Post in the neighborhood of the Willmarths; William Mills in the northeastern part of the town. David Pond settled upon the farm now owned by his son Alvin. Benjamin Norton settled in what is now known as “Nortontown.” John Herriman located in the southwestern part of the town, near Hospital Creek, which formerly bore his name.