earliest things that were of interest to this town and residents of this
section of the Connecticut River Valley, in connection with its early
settlement, were the following incidents:
1704, March 5. -First Protestant Christian sermon ever preached in
territory which afterward became Vermont, at the mouth of Williams River
in Rockingham, by Rev. John Williams, an Indian captive from Deerfield,
Mass. From this the river has its name.
1735, January 15. -First charter granted to Rockingham, under authority of
King George II, by the Province of Massachusetts Bay to Palmer Goulding
and fifty-nine others. The name of the township under this charter was "
1752, December 28. -Second charter of Rockingham, under which present
titles hold, granted under authority of King George II, by the Province of
New Hampshire to Samuel Johnson and fifty-eight others.
1753, March 28. -First meeting of the "grantees", or "Proprietors", of the
1753, "In the spring. "-First three settlers, Moses Wright, Jonathan
Bigelow and Simeon Knight, came to town. They returned to Northfield,
Mass., "within a few months, driven back by the Indians."
1760, July 17. -The proprietors voted to assist Michael Lovell in building
the first sawmill.
1761. -"Last Wednesday of March."-First town meeting held. Rev. Andrew
Gardner moderator and Moses Wright town clerk.
1770, March 28. -Town voted its first salary to the town minister:
"Seventeen bushels of Indian corn be Delivered to the Rev'd Andrew Gardner
by the Overseers out of the Rent that Nathaniel Davis owes the Town."
1771. -First census taken showing "225 souls" in town.
1773, August 25. -Voted to build a small meetinghouse. Its size was to be
thirty-five by twenty-five feet, -"till the town be able to Build a
1773, October 27. -First church in town organized, and Mr. Samuel Whiting
ordained as its first pastor.
1774, December 12. -Town meeting held for the first time in the new
meetinghouse. They had been held in taverns and private houses until this
1775, March 12. -"About 40 good, true men" of Rockingham marched in a body
to Chester to dissuade Judge Chandler from holding court in Westminster
the following Tuesday.
1775, March 13. -From sixty-five to one hundred Rockingham citizens
marched to Westminster and took part in the "Westminster Massacre."
1785. -First toll bridge across the Connecticut River built by Col. Enoch
Hale. It was the only bridge across the river at any point until 1796.
1791. -Second census of the town taken, showing 1235 inhabitants.
1792. -Work upon the building of the Bellows Falls Canal commenced. It was
chartered the year before. It was finished in August 1802.
1798. -The second church in town (Immanuel) organized. It held its
services in the present old meetinghouse in Rockingham Village until 1816,
when it was moved to Bellows Falls, and the same organization is
1801, January 1. -First post office in town established at Rockingham
Village, with "Roswald" Bellows as postmaster.
1801, April 1. -First post office established at Bellows Falls, with Dr.
William Page, postmaster. He was one of the two charter members of the
Bellows Falls Canal Co., and Great-grandfather of the late Governor Page
1802. -First paper mill in Bellows Falls established by Bill Blake. He
built one in Alstead, N. H., three years earlier.
1809, February 4. -Rev. Samuel Whiting, first town minister resigned after
thirty-six years of service.
1812, May 12. -First great conflagration in Bellows Falls, with a loss
1817, January 1. -First newspaper established in Bellows Falls, "Vermont
Intelligencer and Bellows Falls Advertiser," owned by Bill Blake & Co.,
edited by Thomas Green Fessenden.
1817, February 16. -First Masonic meeting held in town.
1819. -First church bell in town presented by Gen. Amasa Allen to Immanuel
Church, and the village of Bellows Falls, the same in use now, cast by
Paul Revere & Sons.
1824. -There were only 58 buildings of all kinds in Bellows Falls and
North Walpole, including barns and out-houses.
Based on: The Connecticut River Valley in southern
Vermont and New Hampshire: historical sketches, Rutland, Vt.: Tuttle
Co., Marble City Press, 1929.