Collection: History of Addison County Vermont

Bristol Vermont – Early Settlements

The first permanent settlement was not begun in the present town of Bristol till the summer of 1786, twenty-four years after the charter was granted. John Willard and the others who formed the committee we have previously spoken of were prosceuting the duties devolving upon them here, in 1785, about a mile west of Bristol village they came across a rude habitation occupied by a Dutchman named John Broadt, as he stated. He had made that place his home, with no other company than a dog, for twelve years, seeing in that time no human face till met by the said committee. He came from Unadilla, N. Y., a fugitive from justice. Word was sent to his friends, informing them of his whereabouts, and subsequently he received pardon for his offense and returned to New York, after which nothing was heard of him. Thus this man may properly be said to have been. the first white inhabitant of the town., though he did nothing towards clearing or improving the land, but subsisted like a savage by hunting and fishing. Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. choose a state: Any AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND...

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Bristol Vermont – Municipal

Bristol village occupies a commanding site upon an elevated plain- about one hundred and twenty feet above the bed of New Haven River, just after that stream leaves the wild ravine known as “The Notch.” Lying thus at the very base of Hogback Mountain, with South Mountain on the southeast, fine examples of the picturesque wildness of nature, nearly approaching grandeur, are ever present to the beholder, and in rare contrast to the fertile plains north and south, and the broad view sweeping westward to the Adirondacks of Northern New York. The village itself lies principally upon four streets, North, South, East, and West streets, respectively, extending in the direction their names would suggest. Near the center of the village they intersect, at which point is enclosed a fine park. The good water power afforded by the river here is utilized by several manufacturing interests, so that the village is equally renowned for its business capacity, beauty, and the fine view it commands. It has about twenty stores, four churches (Methodist Episcopal, Baptist, Adventist, and Roman Catholic), one hotel, a printing-office, coffin and casket manufactory, a photograph gallery, two harness shops, grist-mill, etc., an elegant town hall graded school, six physicians, two dentists, and about eight hundred inhabitants. In 1800 this site was almost an unbroken wilderness, there not being a framed house here and scarcely a barn. A...

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Bristol Vermont – Post Office

A post-office was first established in Bristol in 1803, with Thaddeus McLaughlin postmaster. The office was located in the first brick building erected in the town, by the father of Thaddeus, Henry McLaughlin, in 1800, and located about a mile west of the present village. Previous to this the mail matter for Bristol, consisting of a few letters and the Middlebury Mercury, was brought from Middlebury each week by the settlers themselves, who alternately shared in the task. In 1804 Jacob Cadwell was appointed postmaster, and the following year was succeeded by Isaac Cadwell, who retained the office until 1815, when he in turn was succeeded by Joseph Otis. Both Jacob and Isaac Cadwell kept the office in their house, a log structure used as a hotel, about four miles northeast from the village, on the Starksboro road. When Joseph Otis took the office in 1815, however, he removed it to the village, where it has been retained since. Fred Landon is the present...

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Bristol Vermont – Manufacturing Interests

At the head of the manufacturing interests of Bristol is the Bristol Manufacturing Company, which was originally established under the firm name of Howden, Daniels & Co., for the purpose of manufacturing coffins and caskets in a small way. This limited business steadily increased, and in 1867 the firm name was changed to Howden, Bosworth & Co., and on January 1, 1877, a stock company was formed under the title of the Bristol Manufacturing Company, with W. S. Howden, president, and D. Beckwith, secretary and treasurer. The original capital of $25,000 was subsequently increased to $46,000, while to the original business was added that of manufacturing sash, doors and blinds and general jobbing. The company has a fine water power and four buildings, with sheds, etc., embracing a sawmill, wood-factory, two finishing shops, dry-house, office, storage rooms, etc. The works employ from fifty to sixty hands, and the annual sales amount to about $66,000, and are constantly increasing. The goods are sold principally in New York and New England. R. D. Stewart’s grist-mill on South street, operated by W. I. Rider, has three run of stones and all modern improvements. The mill was partially destroyed by the freshet of 1869, a short time previous to which it became Mr. Stewart’s property, and he rebuilt it soon after. F. Greenough, blacksmith and wagon-maker, began business here in 1878. Octave Cushman,...

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Bristol Vermont – Mercantile Interests

W. H. Miller, dealer in clothing and furnishing goods, began business here in the sale of notions in 1876. In 1885 he went into his present business, taking the store then occupied by W. B. Dunshee. F. I. Ward, millinery, fancy goods, etc., began business in the O’Neil block in 1873, and removed to his present location in 1875, which was then built by Drake Farr, & Co. E. S. & S. D. Farr, stoves and hardware, began business in 1878, succeeding the old firm of Drake, Farr & Co. who built the the block. J. J. Dumas, dealer in sash, doors and blinds, etc., began business in 1881. Ridley & Varney are undertakers. In 1876 M. P. Varney began the business and J. J. Ridley became a partner in 1882. Bush & Patterson, dealers in groceries and provisions, crockery, notions, etc., became a firm in 1878, Edward B. Patterson buying the interest of H. C. Barnes, C. P. Bush’s partner. About two years the former partnership had existed where William E. Dunshee now is. The block they now occupy was built by Mr. Patterson in 1878. W. E. Dunshee, who began his mercantile career here in 1856, deals in groceries and provisions, though he formerly kept a general store. F. W. Nash began the boot and shoe business in the spring of 1884, as successor to M. S....

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Bristol Vermont – 1880 Town Officers

The present board of officers for the town is as follows: E. M. Kent, clerk; H. C. Munsill, treasurer; H. S. Sumner, W. R. Peake, and P. W. Chase, selectmen; E. S. Farr, constable; A. D. Searls, superintendent of schools; W. W. Needham, N. J. Hill, and C. W. Norton, listers; R. A. Young, overseer of the poor; and W. W. Rider, town...

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Bristol Vermont – Population Statistics

The following figures from the tables of the United States census reports show the population of the town to have fluctuated little, but rather to have been steadily increasing since the taking of the first census in 1791: 1791, 211; 1800, 665; 1810, 1,179; 1820, 1,051; 1830, 1,274; 1840, 1,233; 1850, 1,344; 1860, 1,355; 1870, 1,365; 1880,...

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Bristol Vermont – Ecclesiastical

The Bristol Baptist Church was organized by Elder Joseph Call, in 1794, with nine members. Rev. Thomas Tuttle was the first settled minister. The church building, erected in 1794, will seat two hundred and fifty persons, and is valued at $4,900, including grounds. The society now has one hundred and two members, with Rev. P. B. Strong, pastor, who was installed August 1, 1885. The present officers of the society are Daniel W. Durfee, Octavius Cushman and William Miller, prudential committee; J. J. Dumas and A. J. Averill, deacons; and Wallace Rider, treasurer. The Congregational Church was organized July 8, 1805, by Rev. J. Bushnell, of Cornwall, who at an early day occasionally preached here. David Ingraham, first deacon, continued to officiate until he removed from town in 1815. They had no stated preaching for several years, nor house of worship till 1819, when they built a house in connection with the Baptists and Universalists, each denomination to occupy in proportion to the amount paid for its erection. They occupied their share until 1837, when they built the present Congregational Church. Rev. Calvin Butler, ordained February 10, 1842, was the first settled minister, the society at that time having sixty-seven members. The church now has no regular pastor, and the building is leased to the Adventists. The Methodist Church of Bristol Village was organized in 1813, services being held...

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Bristol Vermont – Education

The Bristol Scientific Institute was established many years ago, and during the late war was changed to the Bristol Academy, which name it retained till March 2, 1881, when it was organized as the Bristol Graded School. The present building, erected in 1855, was removed a hundred rods to its present location about 1876. Mason S. Stone is principal of the academy, assisted by E. A. Hasseltine, Julia Barry, Hattie Bissonette and Miss Spencer. The town has nine school...

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Bristol Vermont – Secret Societies

Libanus Lodge No. 47, F. and A. M., was chartered January 13, 1859. It now has seventy-nine members, and meets the second Monday evening of each month. Its officers are as follows: H. S. Sumner, W. M.; S. W. Hatch, S. W.; A. A. Dean, secy.; H. B. Williams, treas.; C. W. Huler, S. D.; W. H. Prime, J. D.; E. A. Hasseltine, chaplain; C. W. Norton, G. W. Flinn, E. W. Smith, finance committee; J. R. Kilborn, 0. C. Crandall, stewards; H. P. Sherwin, tiler, and W. W. Needham, marshal. Gifford Chapter No. 23 H. C. Munsill, H. P.; M. S. Taylor, K.; H. S. Sumner, S.; S. F. Hasseltine, secy.; H. B. Williams, treas.; W. P. Chase, C. 0. H.; E. A. Hasseltine, P. S.; W. W. Needham, R. A. C.; G. W. Flinn, M. 3d V.; G. W. Smith, M. 2d V.; Jas. Dunton, M. 1st V.; A. E. Munson, E. G. Prine, stewards; W. S. Crampton, tiler. Convocation first Wednesday of each month. Number of members thirty-one. Munsill Council has fifteen members, with the following officers: E. A. Hasseltine, J. I. M.; S. Brunch, D. M.; A. E. Munson, P. C.; L. S. Crampton,...

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Bristol Vermont – Town Organization

In the issue of the Vermont Gazette for February 14, 1789, the following notification, or warning for the first town meeting in Pocock, or Bristol, was published: “These are to warn the inhabitants of Pocock to meet at the dwelling house of Justin Allen, in said Pocock, on the first Monday of March next, at 10 o’clock A. M., to act as follows: 1st, to choose a moderator to govern said meeting; 2d, to choose a town clerk; 3d, to choose selectmen; 4th, to choose a town treasurer; 5th, to choose a constable; 6th, to do any other business thought proper to do on said day. ELIJAH FOOT, J. P. New Haven, February 14, 1789.” Allen’s house was located about a third of the way up the steep hill, on the old Thomas Sumner place. Here the freemen of the town assembled at the appointed hour, and the legal organization of the town was effected by choosing Henry McLaughlin moderator, and then proceeding to elect the following town officers: Henry McLaughlin, clerk; Cyprian Eastman, Samuel Stewart and Robert Dunshee, selectmen; Amos Scott, treasurer; and Justin Allen, Constable. From this time down to 1854 the town meetings were held on the first Monday in March, annually, and since then upon the first Tuesday of that month. The second meeting, according to the records, was held at the house of Benjamin...

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Bristol Vermont – Early Manufactures

The first grist-mill built in the town was put up by James, William and John O’Brian about the year 1792. It was located west of South Mountain, upon the brook which still bears the builders’ name. This mill was a small affair, and was in use but a short time, though it was very valuable to the early settlers, until a more pretentious structure was built at New Haven Mills. Subsequently, in 1805, a grist-mill was built at Bristol village by Enos Soper, and which did service until September, 1849, when it was destroyed by fire. Henry and Enos Soper and Uriah Arnold next erected a stone mill in the eastern part of the village. Soon after the first gristmill was built, Amos Scott put up a saw-mill in the western part of the town, on New Haven River. At an early day the attention of the inhabitants was directed towards the practicability of manufacturing their own iron, from the ore afforded in the township. This idea was carried out, and in 1791 Amos Scott, Captain Gurdon Munsill and Cyprian and Amos Eastman built a forge near where Scott erected the first saw-mill. This enterprise, though continued but a comparatively short time, proved of great importance, not only to Bristol but to neighboring towns. Subsequently there were six other forges erected, as follows: The second, by Amos and Ebenezer...

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Bristol Vermont – Military

There were few among the early male population of Bristol that had not served in some capacity in the continental ranks. But as a town, it of course has no Revolutionary history. On the 7th of June, 1791, the first militia company was organized here, the “Tenth Company, Second Regiment, Sixth Brigade Vermont Infantry” Cyprian Eastman was elected captain and Benjamin Clapp lieutenant, positions of no little honor in those days. Another company, the “Light Infantry,” was organized June 1, 1808, which elected John Hilborn captain, and Jehial Saxton lieutenant. At the invasion of Plattsburgh, in September, 1814, sixty-six volunteers were present from Bristol. Fifty-one of these served in Captain Jehiel Saxton’s company, under command of General Strong. Ten were in Captain Jewett’s company, of New Haven. Ezekiel Dunton, who was then a brigadier general, took command of a small company as their captain, and John Howden, who was the general’s aid-de-camp, served in his company as a private. Robert Holley and Henry Getman served in a company from Charlotte, and Oliver W. Burnham served in Captain John Moulton’s company. In the late great war the town also bore an honorable part. The following list from the State records gives the names of all who went out from the town to serve in Vermont regiments: Volunteers for three years credited previous to call for 300,000 volunteers of October 17,...

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Bristol Vermont – Professions

W. W. Rider, the lawyer of Bristol, was born here in 1841. He studied law with Horatio Needham, was admitted to the bar in 1865, and has practiced here since. Dr. E. G. Prime was born in Bristol in 1843. He graduated from the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia in 1870, and from the Royal College of Edinburgh, Scotland, in June, 1882. He practiced one year in Glasgow, in Rutland two years, Boston one year, and has been in Bristol since. Dr. D. A. Bisbee, born in Brandon in 1852, graduated from the Michigan University in 1875, and came here in 1879. Dr. E. M. Kent, born in Lincoln in 1843, graduated from the University of Vermont in 1866, and has practiced here since. D. A. A. Dean was born in Monkton in 1857, graduated from the University of New York in 1878, and has practiced here since. Dr. George O. W. Farnham was born in Shoreham in 1859, graduated from the University of Vermont in 1883, and has been here since. H. A. Hasseltine studied dentistry with A. A. Rosseter, and began practice here in 1877. E. W. Shattuck studied in Bristol and at Lowell, Mass., and began the practice of dentistry here in...

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Bridport Vermont – 1786 Freeholders

That the reader may gain a more definite conception of the freeholders of the town, and the amount of money on which they were taxed at this time, we have herewith the grand list of 1786, from the original record: £ s. d. Alexander Osborn……… 12 0 0 Marshall Smith……….. 25 0 0 Phillip Stone………… 48 0 0 Samuel Smith…………. 26 0 0 Esril Hucker…………. 6 0 0 Isaac Chipman………… 9 0 0 Bijah Dunning………… 18 0 0 John Fisk……………. 31 0 0 ??? Rockwood…………. 5 0 0 John Nobel Bennett……. 27 0 0 Samuel Lewis…………. 57 10 0 Nathan Smith…………. 38 0 0 Moses Johnson………… 32 0 0 James Wilcocks……….. 11 0 0 Jonathan Viery……….. 6 0 0 Nathan Manley………… 9 0 0 The above is for improved real estate. On the opposite page of the old record appears the following, which alludes to the personal property and improved land of the persons named: Joshua Done, one head, £6 os od; two cows, two three year oalds, £l 0s 0d. Asa Hemenway, one head, £6 0s 0d; two oxen, one horse, two cows, £17 0s 0d; two three year olds, two yearlings, twenty-eight acres of land, £14 0s 0d. Solomon Moss [nearly illegible] one head two three yearlings, two cows, one hog, five acres of land, one hors, £21 10s 0d. John Barber, two heads, one hors, two...

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