David Pratt, from Salem, Mass., came to Bridport in 1777, and located upon the farm now owned by Mrs. Edrick Spaulding. He was a carpenter by trade and built most of the early frame buildings in the town. He served as lister in 1800 and has many descendants in town.
Daniel Hemenway, from Shrewsbury, Mass., located in Shoreham in 1783. Four of his eight sons settled in Vermont, and his brother Jacob was one of the original proprietors of Shoreham and Bridport. Daniel, as we have previously shown, served the proprietors as their treasurer, and his son Asa is recorded as their collector and surveyor. Daniel took up land in Shoreham, and built a log shop, which was afterwards used by his son Samuel, who settled there in 1792. Daniel died in 1794. One of his sons, Asa, was born in Shrewsbury, Mass., in 1750, and was present at the battle of Bunker Hill. He was in Bridport and vicinity as early as 1780, and in 1783 began the first settlement upon the farm now owned by Asa Hemenway, jr. He represented the town in the General Assembly at Rutland, Vergennes and Montpelier. After a few years’ residence on the farm above mentioned, he removed to the farm now occupied by Mrs. Robert W. Hemenway, and in 1800 built the homestead thereon, which was the first building in the township to acquire the dignity of papered walls. He married Rebecca Rice first; she died August, 1787; married, second, Sarah Nicholson, 1789, who was the mother of his nine children. He died in 1810. His sons were Jonas end Asa; the latter born in 1800, married January, 1821, and in 1871 appropriately celebrated his golden wedding; also in 1881 their sixty years of wedded life. His only son is Asa, jr. Jacob Hemenway, another of the sons of Daniel, settled in Bridport and his sons were Daniel and Caleb, and six daughters. Polly, daughter of Silas Hemenway, of Shrewsbury, Mass., first came with Daniel, her grandfather, to Vermont to visit her sister. Subsequently, February 17, 1793, she became the wife of Benjamin Miner, jr., a sketch of whom we have already given.
Elijah Grosvenor came to Bridport from New York some time between the years 1780 and 1790, locating upon the place now occupied by Frank P. Wood, where he reared a family. He was a mason by trade, and assisted in the construction of the Middlebury jail. The widow of his son John now resides here, while among the other descendants are Elijah and Edgar, sons of John, and Darwin, son of Edgar.
James Barbour, from Worcester, Mass., located in Bridport in 1782. He made the first thanksgiving party ever held in the town, and to which the whole population were invited, the said population then consisting of six families. Mr. Barbour and wife were Christians of the pure old Puritan stock, and consequently very staid and sober. On one occasion Thomas Ormsbee, a lawyer of Shoreham, Vt., reported that he saw Mr. Barbour and his wife out in their yard “pulling hair with all their might, and the old man had a butcher’s knife in his hand.” The church concluded that for so grave an offense they should be called to account. Accordingly they were arraigned before a meeting of the dignitaries, when the testimony developed the fact that it was the hair of a butchered hog they were pulling. Several of Mr. Barbour’s descendants now reside in the town, among whom are M. K. and D. C. Barbour.
David Doty was born in New Providence, N. J., in May, 1758, married Hannah Smith in 1787, and located upon the farm now owned by Sheldon Smith; but not liking the soil of that farm, he removed in 1790 to the farm now owned by his son, Captain David F. Doty, who was born July, 1798. His son, Ira S. Doty, lives with him.
Adonijah Rice, who was claimed the first white male child born in the town of Worcester, Mass., was one of the sixty-four original proprietors of Bridport who received rights of land according to charter, and it is claimed was the only one of the above grantees who passed their last days in town. On a stone in the village cemetery reads, “Adonijah Rice died January 20, 1802, aged eighty-eight years.”
Abel, son of Adonijah, settled in town; died July, 1800, aged forty-nine years. His three sons were Jonas, Joel and Asa. Jonas became owner of the farm where his grandfather Adonijah lived from 1786 to the time of his death. Joel, the next son, was a popular physician many years in town; represented the town many times, also a senator of Addison county. He moved West late in life and died at Madison, Wis. Asa, third son, is now living at the age of eighty-eight years. He always lived at the home where his father lived and died, his son, Jonas R. Rice, living with him. Abel H. Rice owns and lives at the home his father, Jonas, and his great-grandfather, Adonijah, lived and died upon.
Payne Converse, from Thompson, Conn., came to Bridport in 1793 among the early settlers. He brought with him twelve children; nine were sons; only three remained permanently located in town–Gardner, Hamblin and Alfred, all prominent men. Gardner C. was a surveyor, a justice of the peace and town clerk twenty-two years in all. Hamblin C. was prominent in all town affairs, selectman, lister, etc. Alfred C. was a blacksmith. Mrs. W. D. Hindes is a great-granddaughter of Alfred. Payne Converse located just east of the academy upon the farm now owned by E. L. Miner. F. G. Converse is a great-grandson.
Ephraim Stone, from Groton, Mass., made his first settlement upon a farm now owned by Aikin Dukett, in 1787, where he resided until his death in 1841, aged seventy-eight years. His son Philip, born in 1803, died recently, leaving two sons, Charles and Marshall.
Daniel Hamblin came to Bridport from Guilford, Conn., when there were but two families in the township. After the war broke out he returned to Guilford, enlisted in the Continental service and served till the cessation of hostilities, when he soon after returned to Bridport and located upon the farm now owned by J. T. Fletcher. His son Alexander, a noted hunter and trapper, succeeded to the homestead. Hiram E., son of Alexander, now resides in the town.
Isaac Barrows was the first settler upon the farm now owned by F. G. Converse. He came on from Connecticut and boarded for a time with Philip Stone’s family, six miles distant, whither he returned from his work every night. Bears were plentiful in those days, and in these daily journeys he killed several. Rufus Barrows of this town is a descendant.
Gray, Deacon Lamond
Deacon Lamond Gray was a descendant of Scotch ancestors who, in 1612, settled in the north of Ireland, near Londonderry. In 1718 the family of which John Gray was the head, with some forty other families, emigrated through Boston to Worcester, Mass. In 1743 the family settled in Pelham, Mass., where Lamond was born in 1753, the son of Daniel Gray. He was well educated, and for a time taught school in that vicinity. May 26, 1778, he was married to Isabel Hamilton, widow of Lieutenant Robert Hamilton, by whom he had two children, Robert and Isabel, the latter afterwards becoming the wife of Captain Jeremiah Lee, of Bridport. After his marriage Mr. Gray remained in Pelham about ten years, when he came to Bridport and purchased two tracts of land of one hundred acres each. One of the tracts so purchased included the land now owned by P. Elitharp, about a mile south of the village, and ran eastward to the wooded hill. The other hundred acres included the farm where Edward Shacket now lives. Thus Lamond Gray became one of the early settlers of Bridport, where he continued to dwell till his death in 1812, aged fifty-nine years. Being a scholarly man and a good penman, he was elected town clerk in 1790, and held the position many years, and was also a deacon of the Congregational Church. He had a family of three children, Joel, Daniel and Mary. Daniel graduated from Middlebury College in 1805, and soon after married Susannah Rice, by whom he had one child, Ozro P., born in 1806. Ozro learned the tanner’s trade when eighteen years of age, which business he subsequently carried on at Crown Point for a period of thirty three years, when he returned to Bridport, in 1865, locating where his widow still resides. In 1809 Daniel’s wife died, and in 1811 he married Amy Bosworth, by whom he had sons as follows: Rev. Edgar H., now of California; Melvin L., of St. Louis, Mo.; Daniel Manlius, of Columbus, Ohio; Fabius C., who died at Gallatin, Tenn., in 1847; Oscar B., of New York city, and Amander Gray, who died near San Antonio, Texas, in May, 1859. Daniel died in 1823, aged thirty-seven years.
Joseph Williams came into town about 1785; first settled on the farm now owned by Rodbert Hutchingson, where he carried on the clothiers’ trade by coloring and dressing home-made woolen cloth. He subsequently gave this business to his son Amasa, and bought the place where his grandson, F. A. Williams now resides, where he lived many years and died in 1847, aged eighty-one years.
Jeremiah Lee was an early settler in town; had a family of eight children. Two only were sons, Prosper and Gay W. He was a farmer; also a constable and collector of taxes many years. He lived on the place his grandson, Wilber Hamilton, now occupies. Mrs. Sarah Lee Hemenway is also a descendant. Captain Lee died in 1843, aged seventy-one years.
Crane, Jesse and Asa
Jesse and Asa Crane, brothers, came into town from Connecticut at an early date; both had large families, and some of their descendants are now prominently known as enterprising farmers and stock raisers, among whom are Julius J., Joseph R., Cassius P. and Byron W. Philip Searl came into town about 1791; was a farmer and lived where Oscar Kitchel now lives; was many years deacon of the Congregational Church, and reared a family of many children; died in 1852, aged eighty-four years. His son Gordon was at one time one of the leading merchants, and also a deacon of the same church as his father. He died in 1867, aged sixty-six years, and his son Charles the following year. D. C. Barbour is a descendant.
Artemas Wheeler was a settler in town, coming on from Worcester county, Mass., at an early date, with his family. His son Leonard lived many years in town near the village, where his son, E. M. Wheeler, now lives. Leonard died in 1872, aged eight-nine years. He was lawfully married five times. His last wife died some years previous to his death. In his younger days he was a shoemaker.
Zoroaster Fitch was an early pioneer, coming into town when all here was a wilderness. He selected one of the most desirable locations in town for his home, about a mile west of the village. He died in 1835, aged seventy-six years. A widow of his grandson now lives at the home and another grandson, William H., lives in town.
Ebenezer Allen was one of the old and respected citizens of this town, coming here at an early date from Tinmouth, Vt., and was married to a daughter of the noted Philip Stone. The name of “Allen” has passed away. He claimed to be a relative of Vermont’s hero, Ethan Allen. G. R. and S. Z. Walker are his grandsons. He was a stanch Mason, and died in 1875, aged eighty-seven years.
William Russell, an early inhabitant, located upon the farm now owned by his grandson, N. W. Russell, and raised a large family of children; only one is now living, Mrs. B. J. Myrick, who resides in town. But his descendants are numerous–probably would take the prize, if such was offered, for the greatest number. He died in 1829.
Myrick, William, Barnabas and Zenas
William, Barnabas and Zenas Myrick, the three brothers, were early prominent business men in town. William served as town clerk many years; represented the town in the State Legislature six sessions; was a judge, etc. Barnabas served the town as selectman, and in numerous other offices. He was killed by the fall of a tree in 1823. B. J. Myrick, in town, was his son. Zenas was a carpenter by trade; he also represented the town in 1828 and 1829. William M. and Charles H. Grandoy, of this town, were grandsons of Judge William Myrick.
Wicker, John, Plinney and Ira
John, Plinney and Ira Wicker, three brothers, came into town at a later date, perhaps in 1814. They were all mechanics and farmers. They built the house where F. G. Converse now lives, and kept a hotel, taking their turn in the management of the house, working the farm and working at their trades. John was the father of Mrs. A. H. Rice. The widow of Ira resides in town, a lady past eighty years. Roswell Mosley was an early settler in town, first commencing on the farm where F. D. Williams now resides, and subsequently removing into the south part of the town on the farm now occupied by his son, Royal Mosley. Stephen Baldwin, from New Jersey, came to Bridport at an early date. His three sons, Martin, Stephen, jr., and Obadiah, served in the War of 1812. Two of the children of Stephen, jr., now reside here – Elizabeth and Abigail.
Samuel Buck was born in Milford, Conn., October 29, 1767, and came to Bridport in 1790, locating upon the farm now owned by Joseph R. Crane, and afterwards kept a store where A. A. Fletcher’s house now stands. Mr. Buck, though possessed of considerable intelligence, had never been fortunate enough to have any educational advantages, and knew nothing of the science of penmanship. In making entries upon his books he used hieroglyphics of his own manufacture instead of English letters. One of his customers, it is related, upon settlement for goods, found himself charged with a cheese, which he denied having bought. Mr. Buck was obstinate, but when the customer mentioned the purchase of a grind-stone he exclaimed, “Oh! yes, that’s so. You see this ring here! Well, I put that down for a grind-stone, but forgot to put the hole in it.”
David Burwell, from New Jersey, came to Bridport in 1791, locating upon the farm now owned by J. T. Fletcher. He was a weaver by trade, which occupation he followed as long as age permitted him to labor.
Thomas Baldwin, also from New Jersey, located in 1788 upon the farm now owned by H. C. Burwell, a son of Allen.
Jakamiah Johnson came from the same place as above, 1794, locating upon the farm now owned by his son, Lyman H. Johnson. His widow, Anna, died in 1885, the oldest person then in the township, aged ninety-two years. Mitchell Kingman came from Canaan, Conn., about 1795, and located upon the farm now owned by J. C. S. Hamilton. Rev. Phineas Randall, a Congregational minister from Stowe, Mass., located in Bridport in 1795. He preached here and in adjoining towns several years, then removed to Weybridge, where he married Phoebe Goodyear, in 1798. His son Joel also settled in town. Henry Hall, from Rhode Island, came to Bridport in 1790, locating as the first settler upon the farm now occupied by Henry F. Hall. James Hamilton was born in Barre, Mass., and came to Bridport in 1795, locating upon the farm now owned by his son, Amos Hamilton, and the house he now occupies was built the first year of his father’s residence here. Michael and John Hamilton, brothers of James, came during the same year. Michael settled upon the farm now owned by Charles A. Landers; John upon the one now in the hands of his son, J. O. Hamilton. In 1804 John built a portion of the house now occupied by J. O., and which is still in very fair condition.
Isaac Pettibone, with his father, emigrated from Norwalk, Conn., to the eastern part of Middlebury, and subsequently, in 1795, removed to Bridport, settling upon the farm now owned by E. Jewett. Isaac was a hatter by trade, which occupation he followed here many years. His sons were Charles C. and Edwin S.; both have died and their widows have homes in town.
Graves, Increase, Rev.
Rev. Increase Graves was the first settled minister and received the ministerial lot allowed by charter, the same being the farm now occupied by H. N. Sollace. Calvin Sollace, born in Walpole, N. H., was a graduate of Middlebury College, studied law in Middlebury, and commenced practice in Bridport in 1814, and subsequently served as judge six years.
Jacob Stiles, from New Jersey, made the first settlement on the farm now owned by Mrs. Marion A. Pettibone.
Samuel Bixby came to this town from Thompson, Conn., in 1792, and settled upon the farm now owned by Elmer H. Bixby.
Nathaniel Elitharp was the first settler on the farm now owned by J. D. Brooks, locating here about the year 1791. Prosper and Halsey C. are his descendants.
William Braisted, from Sussex county, N. J., in 1786 first located upon the farm now owned by his grandson, William R. Braisted, a farmer who has represented the town in the Legislature, and held other town offices.
Phineas Kitchel, born in Hanover in October, 1763, removed to Bridport in 1798, locating upon the farm now owned by John Melvin. Here he carried on his trade as weaver, to which he finally added blacksmithing and carriage making. He died in 1853, aged ninety years. Joseph, son of Phineas, born in 1794, died in 1852. Oscar F. Kitchel is a descendant.
Benjamin A. Skiff, whose grandfather came from Sharon, Conn., in 1805, purchased the farm now owned by his son, Abel P. Here he kept a hotel perhaps twenty years; he died in 1815. Abel P., who is now eighty-five years of age, devotes his time to the culture of peaches, quinces, and pears.
Paris Fletcher was born in Woodstock, Vt., March 21, 1794, and at the age of sixteen years came to Bridport, and engaged with his brother James, who came here two years previous, in the saddle and harness-making business. Young Fletcher’s inclinations, however, were towards a more active and speculative life, and he soon became a general merchant, in which vocation he displayed the same ability and energy that characterized him in all ventures of his life, from shop-boy to bank president. Mr. Fletcher was held in the highest esteem by his townsmen, whom he served in most of the important town offices.
In financial circles his wealth and ability as a financier made him conspicuous. He was one of the original directors of the Rutland and Burlington Railroad, and held the offices of director or president of the Middlebury Bank for fifty years, or until advancing age compelled him to resign the position in 1877. He married Anna Miner, daughter of Benjamin Miner, in 1817, and Albert Fletcher, now of Middlebury, is a son. His latter years were spent in retirement in Bridport. He left the town substantial testimonials of his love and regard for it. He died February 27, 1880, in the eighty-sixth year of his age. Ira D. Fletcher, a merchant of Bridport, and J. T. Fletcher, are sons of James, who died here in 1881, aged ninety-one years. Thomas W. Fletcher is a grandson of Paris, and occupies the homestead.
James Wilcox, who was at Ticonderoga with Ethan Allen, located on the lake shore where E. H. Merrill now lives. Among his sons were Abner, Vilroy, Henry, and Anson. E. D. and Arthur Wilcox are sons of Abner.
Arunah Huntington, the donor of the munificent sum of $200,000 for the benefit of the common schools of Vermont, learned his trade in this town, as a shoemaker and a worker in leather, of Matthew Nobles during the years 1821 to 1825. Being an industrious, prudent young man, he taught school winters during his stay in town, where a few still retain his memory as being among his small scholars in their younger days. At this date, April, 1886, Bridport has living, in a population, of 1,168, twenty persons who are octogenarians, and one, Lyman Pease, has passed ninety years.