Organization of the Town of Bristol Vermont
|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 Griswold, and then for two years in a log house in the "Center District." At a meeting held at the latter place on March 1, 1792, it was "Voted, that two bushels of wheat be taken out of the town treasury to pay town expenses." Also, "Voted, that Jerusha D???? shall be carried off by the selectmen, firstly to her parents, and if she return from them, then carry her to the last place where they have gained a residence, and if there is no place where they have gained a residence, then carry her to the place of her nativity."
From the school-house the place of holding meetings was removed to the dwelling of Henry McLaughlin, which was the meeting place till 1797. After this meetings were held as follows: The house of John Ketcham till 1804; Noble Munson's till 1808; Oliver Eastman's till 1810; Robert Holley's till 1831; Methodist chapel till 1834; at the public house till 1848; school-house in Bristol village till September 3l,1857; and then the meeting was adjourned to meet in a room in the academy building in the village, the town having paid $600 towards the erection of the building for the "privilege of holding town and freemen's meetings therein." Here the meetings were held until "Holley Hall" was built, in 1884, at a cost of $11,300. The site for this fine structure was donated by Winter Holley and his daughter, Cornelia Smith, widow of Oliver A., a son of Charles L. Smith.
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 Scott, near where the old John Dunshee trip-hammer shop stood. The iron made here soon began to find its way to Troy, N. Y., in payment for goods. The third, built by Joshua Franklin, jr., Henry Franklin, John Arnold and Nehemiah Hobert, in 1802, was located on the north side of the river, in what is now Bristol village. This forge did a good business for many years, manufacturing bar iron. In June, 1809, it was burned, rebuilt, and again burned in 1816, rebuilt, and destroyed by fire again in 1823, when it was rebuilt, to be finally destroyed by the great freshet of 1830. The fourth forge was built in 1832 by Thurston and James Chase, Nathaniel Drake and George C. Dayfoot, on Baldwin Creek. It was allowed to go to ruin many years since. The fifth was located on the north side of the river, just east of the village, and as late as about 1855 was operated by Winter H. Holley. The sixth, located on the north side of Baldwin Creek, was built by Oliver W. Burnham, and had a brief existence. The seventh and last was built by Luman Munson, Bennet B. Dean and D. R. Gaige, near the old John Dunshee trip hammer shop. The business was discontinued between 1850 and 1860.
Soon after the year 1800 Elisha Fuller purchased of James Hair a site in Bristol village and erected thereon buildings for carrying on the business of cloth dressing. Subsequently machinery for carding wool was added, and the business was conducted by different parties down to 1830, when the great freshet swept everything off, and the mill was not rebuilt.
Addison Co., VT Townships
Addison Co., VT Records
Copyright 2004 - 2010 by Vermont Genealogy. All Rights Reserved.