Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Waterford notes from Vermont Historical Magazine (added by J. Cross)


This town is pleasantly situated on the Connecticut river, lying along the 15 miles fall S. S. E. of St. Johnsbury, and 45 miles E. from Montpelier. The surface 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 by Messrs. Hale & Bracket. 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 west corner of the town, Waterford has no rivers, though it is well watered by numerous brooks and springs. Styles' pond, covering an area of about 100 acres, lies in the north part of the township.
Of the early settlement of Waterford, though probably attended with the trials and hardships incident to all early settlements, nothing has been handed down worthy of record. The town, by name of Littleton, was chartered Nov. 8, 1780, to Benjamin Whipple and his associates. The name was changed to Waterford in 1797. 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 east 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 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; Abel Goss, town treasurer. Population in 1791, 63; in 1800, 565; in 1810, 1289; in 1820, 1247; in 1830, 1358; in 1840, 1388; in 1850, 1412; in 1860 (see census table in county chapter, No. 3).
There being no valuable water power manufacturing establishments or central place of business, the occupation of the people has been confined exclusively to agriculture, and much of the business of the town goes to the adjoining towns of Barnet, St. Johnsbury and Concord; consequently the population has for many years remained nearly stationary, and the two little villages present to-day nearly the same appearance as do early days, when a rhyming son of Vulcan sang of his beloved village as
— "A very fine place,
Adorned with majesty and grace;
Situated under Rabbit Hill
With a tavern, store and a clover mill."

With this change, however, a beautiful church now stands in each village, and the clover mill has been changed to a starch mill, which suits the wants of the people quite as well, though it might grate a little in the poet's measure. In 1798, a
Was organized, consisting of 8 members — 4 males and 4 females. The Rev. Asa Carpenter, the first minister, was born Oct. 4, 1770, in Ashford, Conn. He graduated at Dartmouth college when about 25 years of age; studied theology with Rev. Mr. Burton of Thetford, Vt.; preached a short time in se­veral towns in the state as a missionary of the Connecticut Home Missionary Society; moved to Waterford in the fall of '07, and was ordained pastor of the Congregational church at its organization. He labored in Waterford until June, 1816, when he removed to Pennfield, N. Y., where he died in 1827 or '28. In 1818 the first Congregational Meeting House was built, and in October of the fol­lowing year, Rev. Reuben Mason was settled as pastor, and sustained this relation 5 years. Soon after the first, another meeting house was built at West Waterford, and meetings were held at the two houses until a church was erected in Lower Waterford in 1837. In Sept., 1825, Rev. Thomas Hall was installed; dismissed in 1830; reinstalled in 1834, and sustained his pastoral relation until January, 1844. During the interval of Mr. Hall's la­bors from 1830 to 1834, the pulpit was sup­plied by Rev. Messrs. White, Bradford and others. Mr. Hall was succeeded by Rev. Eben Smith, whose pastorate continued until Jan., 1848. Immediately after, Rev. Francis Warriner commenced his labors with the church; was installed in 1854, and sustained the pastoral relation till Oct., 1860, when he was dismissed on account of ill health, and Rev. Geo. J. Bard, the present pastor was ordained. In 1818, a meeting house was erected in the N. W. part of the town and occupied by the

Over which the Rev. Rufus Cheney was installed. How long he preached, or how long
the society remained in existence the writer is not informed, nor are the records of the church to be obtained. A religious society called
In Waterford, was formed on the 17th of May, 1824, consisting of over 100 members. The society has never had a settled minister, but has been supplied a portion of the time by different preachers. At the present time, and for a year past the society have occupied the Union meeting house in the upper village and have had preaching regularly on the sabbath by Rev. Carlos Mantin. Connected with the society is a sabbath school, furnished with a good library. The society is not as large, owing to death and removals, now as it has been, but at the present is prospering.

Born and educated in Waterford:
Clergymen. — Wm. H. Wadley,* Alfred Stevens,* Samuel A. Benton,* James H. Ben­ton, E. I. Carpenter,* Prosper Davidson, Thomas Kidder, Eben. Cutler,* Zenas Goss,* Samuel Hurlbert, Silas Gaskill, Philander Carpenter.
Lawyers. — J. D. Stoddard, R. C. Benton, R. C. Benton, Jr.,* Jacob Benton, A. H. Hadley, O. T. Brown, A. J. Hale, Jona. Ross,* E. Cutler, Jr.,* A. P. Carpenter,* Luther Kidder.
Physicians. — A. Kinne,* A. Farr, C. Farr, R. Bugbee, Jr., A. G. Bugbee, Frank Bugbee, N. S. Goss, Wm. Benton.
Representatives. — 1795, Jona. Grow; 1796‑98, John Grow; 1799-1801, Asa Grow; 1802-5, Jos. Armington; 1806, Silas David­son; 1807, Jos. Armington; 1808-16, S. Hemingway; 1817, Jos. Armington; 1818-19, Nathan Pike; 1820-21, Jacob Benton; 1822, S. Hemingway; 1823, Jonah Carpenter; 1824, S. Hemingway; 1825-26, Silas Davidson; 1827-29, S. Hemingway; 1830-32, Robert Taggard; 1833-34, J. D. Stod­dard; 1835, S. Hemingway; 1836-37, Lyman Buck; 1838-39, James Works; 1840-41, R. F. Rowell; 1842-44, Royal Ross; 1845-46 Dennis May; 1847-48, Joseph Ide; 1849-50, Barron Moulton; 1851-52, A. P. Bonney; 1858-54, Wm. Adams; 1855, Dennis May; 1856-57, J. D. Stoddard.
Town Clerks. — 1793-95, Selah Howe; 1796-1801, John Grow; 1802-5, S. Hemingway; 1806, Samuel Gaskill; 1807-16, S. Hemingway; 1817-23, J. Carpenter; 1824-41, C. Hemingway; 1842-57, L. S. Freeman.

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