Home > Uncategorized > History of the Town of Middlebury in the County of Addison, Vermont

History of the Town of Middlebury in the County of Addison, Vermont

Source: Samuel Swift, History of the Town of Middlebury in the County of Addison, Vermont (Rutland, Vermont: Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1971).

[page 200]

Freeman FOOT, another son of Daniel FOOT, was in possession of the south half of Hyde’s 200 acre pitch, as early as 1785; and made some additions, which extended his farm to the creek. In 1786 he built a house just north of the village, near the cellar, built by Ep. MILLER, which for seceral years remained uncovered, and on which Oliver SEVERANCE has built a dwelling house. In 1788 he was married to Silence CLARK, and took possession of his house, and continued to cultivate his farm until the year 1801. In the fall of that year he sold his farm, except such parts as he had sold for village lots, to Daniel CHIPMAN; and in the following winter or spring removed to the farm which his father had recently left. On this farm he resided until the time of his death, which took place in 1842, at the age of eighty-three; and the farm has since been owned by his son Allen FOOT. At the time of his purchase above mentioned, Mr. CHIPMAN deeded to Ep. MILLER, that part of the land which lies west of the paper mill road, and to Samuel MATTOCKS that which lies between that and the New Haven road. The large meadow purchased by MATTOCKS was owned until recently by Gen. NASH, who has now sold it in parcels to Oliver SEVERANCE and three others who have built houses on it.

[page 308]

At a meeting at the house of John FOOT, on the 9th day of December 1794, notified on the application of twelve free holders “2, to see if the inhabitants of said town will reconsider the former vote of building a meeting house, where the stake was pitched. 3, to agree upon a place to build a meeting house 4, if no place can be agreed on, to choose a committee to fix on a place to build said house 5, to see if the inhabitants will agree to lay a tax for the purpose of building said house. 6, to agree on a place or places for holding meetings this winter;” the following is a record of the proceedings:

“The 2d article with regard to re-considering the former vote of building a meeting house, at the place where the stake was pitched, was tried and passed in the negative, and of course the 3rd and 4th articles fell. The fifth article was then taken up and passed in the negative.”

“Voted to meet at Samuel MATTOCKS’, till such time as the selectmen shall notify the town, that Mr. Daniel FOOT’s house is convenient, and then at such place as they shall direct, for public worship on Sundays.”

Previous to the meeting held in December 1791, the town and religious meetings had been uniformly held at Daniel FOOT’s. He had built a large barn, just south of the place, where his large house was afterwards built, for the express purpose of accomodating the meetings; and in this building Mr. BARNETT had been ordained. During this time Mr. FOOT had declined further to accommodate the meeting. For two or three years the town meetings had been for some reason, held at Philip FOOT’s and Appleton FOOT’s, in the same neighborhood, and the religious meetings, in the summer of 1793, were held in Dea. SUMNER’s barn. During this time much excitement had arisen, in relation to the place for the centre of town business. The people, in the neighborhood of Mr. FOOT, and in the south part of the town, were anxious to have the question settled, by fixing on the place for erecting a meeting house; while the people of the village, and the inhabitants north of it “played off,” to use a familiar expression.

The village had the advantage of an excellent water power, with mills on both sides. Mechanics and merchants had begun to crowd into it; the only lawyer and the only physicians in town had located themselves there; the legislature at their session in 1791, had directed the courts of the county to be held there, and the population and business of the place were fast increasing. The inhabitants of

[page 309]

the village therefore looked forward with confidence to the time when they would have such a decided majority of the votes as to control the decision of the question, and were not in a hurry to have it then settled. This will be readily perceived by the proceedings we have copied above. They were willing to take a lease of land “for the use of a green, as long as they shall want it for that purpose. They would pay the “interest of the sum that” the meeting house to be built at the expense of Daniel FOOT “is worth in cash,” “as long as said town makes use of said house.” And when it was voted to hold meetings at MATTOCKS’ in the village, with an apparent intention to return, it was on such conditions as to render that event hopeless. On the other hand, it is said Mr. FOOT being dissatisfied with the delay in settling the question, declined further to accommodate the meetings, for the purpose of pressing the town to a decision. Mr. BARNETT also, having purchased a lot directly opposite the place where the meeting house was expected to be built, began to be uneasy. But the decision was virtually made. The religious meetings were never afterwards held out of the village. The town meetings were, for a time, held at Philip FOOT’s and Appleton FOOT’s. But at the annual meeting in 1796, as will be seen, the question was finally settled, and the meetings were ordered to be held in the village “in future.”

March meeting, 1795, “Voted that there be five selctment for the year ensuing; that they shall not have any compensation for their services.” The selectmen chosen were Joshua HYDE, Stephen GOODRICH, Nathaniel MUNGER, Ebenezer SEVERANCE and Daniel CHIPMAN, who were also appointed “a committee to examine the bridge at the falls and repair it, if it wants.”

“March, 1796, “Voted to receive that part of the town of Cornwall, and petition the legislature to have the same annexed to the town of Middlebury, which said town of Cornwall have voted should be annexed to said Middlebury.”

“Voted not to set off the westerly part of Middlebury to Cornwall.”

“Voted that the house of Samuel MATTOCKS be the place of holding town and freemen’s meetings in future.”

The annual March meeting in 1798, was notified to be held at Samuel MATTOCKS’, but was immediately adjourned to the Court House, that building having been finished about this time.

[page 438]

In every town in this section the standard was raised and the citizens gathered around it. The volunteers in the several towns were not generally organized, and did not meet together until they met at Burlington, where they were detained for a passage across the lake, or on the battle-field. When a smaller or larger squad had collected, they started forward, leaving the more dilatory to follow. In this town, Gen. WARREN made the first direct effort to raise volunteers. As early as Tuesday or Wednesday — the 6th or 7th of Sept., — he came on to the village common, followed by martial music, and invited all who were so disposed, to join him as volunteers. After marching once or twice around the common, forty or fifty men had fallen into the ranks, and the number was afterwards increased. When a dozen or two were ready to start with him, they marched for the field of battle, and others, as fast as they were ready, followed.

The patriotism on the occasion was not confined to the volunteers. The panic was universal. Those who were left behind exhibited their zeal by liberal contributions. The volunteers wanted ammunition, provisions and teams to transport them to Burlington, where vessels were engaged to convey them to the scene of conflict. A subscrip-

[page 439]

tion was accordingly circulated, in the hand-writing of Hon. Horatio SEYMOUR, in the following words, and subscribed by the persons whose names follow:

Middlebury, September, 1814.

“We, the subscribers, promise to pay Daniel CHIPMAN, Ira STEWART and Jonathan HAGAR the sums annexed to our names respectively, to be appropriated by the said Daniel, Ira and Jonathan, as a committee, in providing those who shall turn out to defend the country against the invasion, at the present alarm, with ammunition, arms, and other necessaries, and in their discretion to give pecuniary aid to such as shall turn out, who are needy, or their families.

Horatio SEYMOUR $30,00 Joel DOOLITTLE $10,00 HASKALL & BROOKS $10,00
Eben W. JUDD 20,00 Peter STARR 10,00 Thomas HAGAR 10,00
Milo COOK 10,00 W.G. HOOKER 10,00 Lavius FILLMORE 10,00
Jonathan HAGAR 30,00 Elisha BREWSTER 5,00 Luther HAGAR 5,00
Ira STEWART 30,00 Samuel MATTOCKS 5,00 Moses LEONARD 5,00
Daniel CHIPMAN 30,00 David PAGE, Jr. 35,00 William SLADE, Jr. 5,00
S.S. PHELPS 5,00 ______

The money thus provided was paid out for powder, bullets, bread and other provisions, and teams to convey the volunteers on their way. And one of the charges to this fund was–“One quarter cask of powder, which was used on Monday, 12th September, for rejoicing, $11.” The whole sum expended, however, was only $203,50; and the payments on the subscriptions were reduced in proportion.

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