(Source: Gazetteer of Caledonia and Essex Counties, VT.; 1764-1887, Compiled and Published by Hamilton Child; May 1887, Page 368-370)
The surface of the town is generally broken, presenting that diversified scenery of mountain and valley so common to Vermont. The soil is fertile and well adapted to agriculture, especially to grazing, which has ever been the favorite pursuit of the inhabitants, and in which they have gained an honorable reputation. The valleys produce bountifully the usual varieties of grains and grasses, while the hills, arable to their tops and thickly dotted with maple groves, abound in rich pastures. The rocks are primitive and belong to the calcareo-mica slate formation, and there is a range of clay slate running north through the town from which superior specimens of slate for roofing have been quarried. There are also many specimens of a peculiar formation of granite, sometimes called nodular granite. It contains balls, usually a little flattened, scattered in it like plums in a pudding. These balls are usually about an inch in diameter, and are composed essentially of black mica, having the plates arranged in concentric layers with a very thin deposit of quartz between the layers. Except the Passumpsic which flows through the western corner of the town, Waterford has no rivers, though it is well watered by numerous brooks and springs. Stiles pond, covering an area of about 100 acres, lies in the northern part of the township.
In 1880, Waterford had a population of 815. In 1885 the town system of schools was adopted, and since that date its common schools have decreased from eleven to nine in number. These were taught during 1886 by one-male and twelve female teachers, who received an average weekly salary, including board, of $7.82, and $5.05 respectively. There were 153 scholars, fourteen of whom attended private schools. The entire income for school purposes was $1.452.32, while the total expenditures were $1,221.31, with Charles Ross, superintendent.
Waterford is a post-Village, located in the southeastern part of the town. It contains a church (Union), hotel, store, sawmill, tannery, blacksmith shop, and about thirty dwellings.
Lower Waterford is a neat little post-village, located in the southern part of the town, near the Connecticut. It is related that Mrs. Sawyer early gave it the name of “Pucker Street,” from the fancied idea that its people were a little too aristocratic in feeling. The village has one church (Congregational), two stores, a blacksmith shop, harness shop, and about thirty dwellings.
West Waterford (p. o.) is a hamlet located in the western-central part of the town. It has, aside from the usual complement of dwellings, a saw-mill, town-house, and wagon shop.
Waterford Hollow, in the northern part of the town, was formerly a village of considerable importance, having a church, store, hotel, oil-mills, saw-mill, etc., but now the business goes to St. Johnsbury East and Concord. Stiles' pond, located here, renders the locality a pleasant summer retreat.
George Ide's saw and shingle-mill, on Hall's brook, does a thriving custom trade.
George & Joseph Ide carry on the business of tanning and dressing glove stock, at the Upper village.
Tradition says that James Adams was the first settler. The exact time of his coming is not now known. Thompson dates the first settlement at 1787, but we find by the proprietors' records that a proprietors' meeting, held in Barnet in the fall of 1783, was adjourned to the house of James Adams, in “said Littleton,” which shows that Mr. Adams was here as early, at least, as 1783. The next settlers were Joseph and John Woods, who came as early as 1784 or '85, and settled on the Passumpsic river. Very soon after came the Pikes, who were the first settlers in the eastern part of the town. The first person born in town was Polly Woods, daughter of Joseph Woods. The first male born in Waterford was William S. Morgan. The town was organized in 1793. The first town officers were - Selah Howe, clerk; Peter Sylvester, Daniel Pike and Nehemiah Hadley, selectmen; Levi Aldrich, Luther Pike and Levi Goss, listers; Samuel Fletcher, constable; and Abel Goss, town treasurer.
The first saw-mill was built by Solomon Pomeroy, just below Mrs. Hibbard's brick house, at Upper village John Stiles built a saw-mill at the outlet of Stiles pond, in 1807, and also built an oil-mill here in 1818. The first hotel was built by Warner Call, nearly opposite the store at Upper village. Nathan and Dennis Pike built the Streeter tavern in 1823, and kept it for many years. The first school kept in the eastern part of the town was by Candace Billings, in Daniel Pike's barn. The first church was built in 1818, near the center of the town. It was a large two-story structure, with a gallery on three sides.
For suppressing the late great Rebellion, Waterford furnished 130 men. It also expended, in paying bounties to procure soldiers, $27,000.00; for the service of the selectmen and agents for recruiting, $515.14; for transportation and substance of volunteers, $40.04; and for correcting the militia roll of the town, $252.00, making the entire cost $27,807.54, all of which was paid without entailing a debt on the town.