EDEN, a lumbering town located in the northern part of the county, in lat. 44° 22′, and long. 4° 25′, bounded north by Lowell, in Orleans county, and Montgomery, in Franklin county, east by Craftsbury, in Orleans county, south by Hyde Park and Johnson, and west by Belvidere, was granted November 7, 1780, and chartered August 28, 1781, the charter deed reading as follows:
“The Governor, Council, and General Assembly of the Freemen of the State of Vermont: To all people to whom these presents shall come, Greeting : Know ye, that whereas Col. Seth Warner and his associates, our worthy friends, viz.: The Officers and Soldiers of his regiment, in the line of the Continental Army, have, by petition, requested a grant of unappropriated land within the State, in order for settling a new plantation, to be converted into a township : We have therefore thought fit, for the encouragement of their laudable designs, and as a consideration, in part, for their past meritorious services to their country; And do, by these presents, in the name and by the authority of the Freemen of the State of Vermont, give and grant the tract of land unto the said Seth Warner, Lieutenant-Col. Samuel Safford, and the several persons hereafter named, in equal rights or shares.”
Then follows the names of Warner and those who served in his regiment, seventy-two in all, and the shares each should possess, the document being signed by Thomas Chittenden, Governor of the State. Until 1828, the town had an area of only 23,040 acres, but on the 30th day of October, 0f that year 13,440 acres were annexed from Belvidere, so that the township now has an area of 36,480 acres, one of the largest in the State.
In surface, Eden is rough and mountainous, and made quite picturesque by numerous ponds and rivers. The principal elevations are Belvidere, Hadley, and Norris mountains. Belvidere mountain, situated in the northwestern part of the township, and partly in the town from which it takes its name, is an elevation of considerable height. Its rocky sides are well timbered, but at its summit there is a small open space affording an excellent view of the surrounding beautiful scenery, a view extending beyond the historic Champlain on the west, and to the White Mountains on the east. Tradition has it that there is a copper mine somewhere 0n this mountain where the Indians were wont to gather the metal. This tradition has never been verified, however, and probably has no foundation in fact. Mounts Hadley and Norris lie in the northeastern part of the town, and are elevations of no mean height. The surface of Mt. Hadley presents rocky, jagged, and, on the whole, quite picturesque aspect. There is said to be a small pond at its summit.
The soil of the township is mostly a fertile, sandy loam, which is irrigated by numerous streams, springs, and ponds. Of the latter, no less than nine are distributed thoughout the town. The principal of these, North Pond, lies alongside the road leading from Eden to Lowell, and is about two miles in length by a half mile in width. Two peninsulas jutting out from the north and south ends divide the sheet into two distinct bodies, which are connected by a narrow Strait, or channel. This pond was formerly much larger than it now is, owing to an artificial dam that was erected at its outlet. About the year 1803, this dam suddenly broke away, allowing the huge body of water to flood down the narrow outlet. This catastrophe, though destructive, is said to have been a grand and imposing sight. The resistless torrent swept away everything in its course, tearing from their foundations huge rocks and lofty trees. The Gihon river, with its numerous branches and tributaries forms the principal water-course, flowing a southerly direction into Hyde Park. There are several other good sized streams, however, many of which afford excellent mill privileges. Many acres of spruce, and hard wood timber are to be found in the town, though much has been cut, and many thousand feet are being cut each season. Of the many fine farms located throughout Eden, most are devoted to dairy farming; but the principal occupation of the inhabitants is lumbering, in its various branches.
In 1880, Eden had a population of 934, and in 1882, contained nine common schools, governed on the town principle, employing twelve female teachers, to whom was paid an aggregate salary of $575.50. There were 200 pupils attending common school, while the entire cost of the schools for the year, ending October 31st, was $662.17, with Edwin C. White, superintendent.
EDEN MILLS, a post village, located in the central part of the town, contains one church (Methodist), an hotel, two saw-mills, three clapboard and one grist-mill, two blacksmith shops and about fifteen dwellings.
EDEN (p. o.), a hamlet located near the central part of the town, consists of one store and half a dozen dwellings.
C. A. e’ E. C. White’s starch factory, located on road 7, was built by James Brown, in 1866. In 1869, it came into the possession of the present proprietors, and, with the exception of two seasons, has since been operated by them. The firm employs about four hands, and uses from five to twentyfive thousand bushels of potatoes per annum.
H. H. &, O. E: Newton’s saw-mill, located on road 12 , was built by O. E. Newton and James Brown, in 1874. Mr. Brown subsequently withdrew from the firm, and Henry H. Newton assumed his interest. The mill gives employment to about fifteen hands, and turns out from five to eight hundred thousand feet of lumber annually.
C. A. &’ F. F. White’s clapboard-mill, located on road 7, gives employment to three men, and manufactures about 300,000 feet of lumber per year.
Stearns & Moseley’s saw and grist-mill and butter-tub factory, located on road 27, was built by a Mr. Blake, in 1830. The property changed hands several times and finally was purchased by the present owners in April, 1881. They added the business of manufacturing shingles and butter-tubs, and also erected the grist-mill. The firm now employs eleven men in their saw-mill, manufacturing 500,000 feet of lumber annually. When the butter-tub factory is in operation it gives employment to fifteen men, and turns out from 50,000 to 75,000 tubs per annum.
White &. Whittemore’s saw and clapboard-mill, located on road 7, was built by the present owners, in 1868, the clapboard manufactory not being added until two years later, or in 1870. The firm now employs from six to nine men, and manufactures about 800,000 feet of dressed lumber and 200,000 feet of clapboards per annum.
William L. Ober’s saw-mill, located on road 32, was built a number of years ago by L. H. Noyes. In 1868, it was purchased by the present proprietor, and by him entirely rebuilt and furnished with improved machinery. Mr. Ober employs from four to ten men and manufactures about 600,000 feet of lumber annually.
Jonas T Stevens’s grist and saw-mill, located on road 22, was built by M. Mason, who carried on the business for a number of years. After several changes of proprietors, the property was purchased, in 1880, by Mr. Stevens, who instituted many improvements and repairs, so that the mill now employs about twenty hands, who manufacture r,500,000 feet of lumber per annum. Mr. Stevens also operates a planing-mill in connection with the saw-mill.
The first settlement in Eden was commenced in 1800, by Thomas H. Parker, Moses Wentworth, and Isaac Brown. The town was organized March 31, 1802, the meeting being held at the residence of Thomas H. Parker, where the following list of officers was chosen: Moses Wentworth, town clerk; Archibald Harwood, treasurer and constable; Isaac Brown, Thomas McClinathan and William Hudson, selectmen; Dada Hinds, Jedediah Hutchins and Jonas Joslyn, listers; and Eli Hinds, Jeduthan Stone and William Hudson, highway surveyors. The first justice of the peace was Thomas H. Parker, chosen in 1800, he being also chosen as the first representative, in 1802. The first physician was Dr. Eaton, father of ex-Governor Eaton, who remained here about two years. The first child born in the town was Eden, son of Isaac and Lydia Brown.
During the late war Eden furnished seventy-five men, nineteen of whom were killed, or died from wounds or exposure, received while in the service.
Religious meetings were held at an early date in the town, by itinerant ministers who held services in barns and private dwellings. Most of the early settlers were strong Calvinists; but Rev. Wilbur Fisk, a Methodist minister, finally came here, in 18 c8, and made many converts, since which time that denomination has been the strongest.
The Methodist church, located at Eden Mills, was organized by Rev. Wilbur Fisk, in 1823, with fifteen members. Rev. Schuyler Chamberlin was the first pastor. The first church building was erected in 1831, and gave place to the present edifice in 1864, a comfortable wood structure capable of seating 300 persons, and valued at $1,500.00, though its original cost was $2,000.00. The society now has sixteen members, with Rev. J. W. Hitchcock, pastor.
The Universalist church was organized in 1834. The society is now small.
The Congregational church was organized November 3, 1812, being the first church organized in the town. The first pastor was Rev. Joseph Farrar, who commenced his labors November 24, 1811, and was dismissed from his charge December 20, 1815. The society is now very small, with no regular pastor.
The Advent church has a small society, with Elder Albert Stone, pastor.