Bristol  Vermont Business History

At the head of the manufacturing interests of Bristol is the Bristol Manufacturing Company, which was originally established under the firm name of Howden, Daniels & Co., for the purpose of manufacturing coffins and caskets in a small way. This limited business steadily increased, and in 1867 the firm name was changed to Howden, Bosworth & Co., and on January 1, 1877, a stock company was formed under the title of the Bristol Manufacturing Company, with W. S. Howden, president, and D. Beckwith, secretary and treasurer. The original capital of $25,000 was subsequently increased to $46,000, while to the original business was added that of manufacturing sash, doors and blinds and general jobbing. The company has a fine water power and four buildings, with sheds, etc., embracing a sawmill, wood-factory, two finishing shops, dry-house, office, storage rooms, etc. The works employ from fifty to sixty hands, and the annual sales amount to about $66,000, and are constantly increasing. The goods are sold principally in New York and New England.

R. D. Stewart’s grist-mill on South street, operated by W. I. Rider, has three run of stones and all modern improvements. The mill was partially destroyed by the freshet of 1869, a short time previous to which it became Mr. Stewart’s property, and he rebuilt it soon after.

F. Greenough, blacksmith and wagon-maker, began business here in 1878. Octave Cushman, blacksmith and wheelwright, has been in business here about twenty years. N. McIntyre, blacksmith and wagon-maker, has been here since 1867. J. H. Wright, carriage-maker, has been here since 1850. Ira T. Eastman and William Battles are harness-makers, the former having been here since 1865.

Mercantile Interests

W. H. Miller, dealer in clothing and furnishing goods, began business here in the sale of notions in 1876. In 1885 he went into his present business, taking the store then occupied by W. B. Dunshee. F. I. Ward, millinery, fancy goods, etc., began business in the O’Neil block in 1873, and removed to his present location in 1875, which was then built by Drake Farr, & Co.

E. S. & S. D. Farr, stoves and hardware, began business in 1878, succeeding the old firm of Drake, Farr & Co. who built the the block.

J. J. Dumas, dealer in sash, doors and blinds, etc., began business in 1881.

Ridley & Varney are undertakers. In 1876 M. P. Varney began the business and J. J. Ridley became a partner in 1882.

Bush & Patterson, dealers in groceries and provisions, crockery, notions, etc., became a firm in 1878, Edward B. Patterson buying the interest of H. C. Barnes, C. P. Bush’s partner. About two years the former partnership had existed where William E. Dunshee now is. The block they now occupy was built by Mr. Patterson in 1878.

W. E. Dunshee, who began his mercantile career here in 1856, deals in groceries and provisions, though he formerly kept a general store.

F. W. Nash began the boot and shoe business in the spring of 1884, as successor to M. S. Wilds, who had carried on the business over thirty years, and who built the block. Mr. Nash also carries on the dry goods and fancy goods trade in the same block, in which he succeeded G. P. Phalen in 1884.

N. F. Dunshee began the dry goods business in W. E. Dunshee’s block in 1883. In company with Willis Peak he formerly carried on the same business where W. H. Miller now is.

C. S. Bristol, jewelry and boots and shoes, began business in 1872 upon the opposite side of the street from his present location, to which he moved in 1873.

E. C. Dike, hardware, stoves, tinware, etc., began business here in 1869 as Dike, Bixby & Co.; he became sole proprietor in 1880.

S. W. Hatch, undertaking, furniture and carpets, began business in 1870.

C. P. Abernethy, grocery and market, began at his present location in 1884.

D. M. Strong, grocery and market, began business in his present store in 1883.

Dr. D. A. Bisbee, proprietor of the “Village Drug Store,” bought out Hiram Shattuck in 1880, who had been in the business here a number of years.

Dr. E. M. Kent, drugs and medicines, began business in 1872.

Peter H. Lander & Co., cigar-makers and dealers, in business here since October, 1884, employ twenty hands.

C.E. Smith carries on the photograph gallery, and sells picture frames.

J. Miller is a merchant tailor.

M.W., P.P. and J.S. Wilson established the Bristol Herald in May, 1879, under the firm name of Wilson Brothers. The paper is an eight column Republican sheet. They also do job printing.

The Bristol House was bought by Abram Gaige, father to T. B. Gaige, and rebuilt by him about 1820. He continued in the hotel business here until about 1834 or 1835, when he was succeeded by his son, D. R. Gaige, and Luman Munson. Among those who have acted as its landlord may be mentioned Samuel Eddy, William Rutherford, Ransom Taft, Partch & Post, and David Brown, the latter of whom sold to the present proprietor, J. J. Ridley, in February, 1871.


W. W. Rider, the lawyer of Bristol, was born here in 1841. He studied law with Horatio Needham, was admitted to the bar in 1865, and has practiced here since.

Dr. E. G. Prime was born in Bristol in 1843. He graduated from the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia in 1870, and from the Royal College of Edinburgh, Scotland, in June, 1882. He practiced one year in Glasgow, in Rutland two years, Boston one year, and has been in Bristol since.

Dr. D. A. Bisbee, born in Brandon in 1852, graduated from the Michigan University in 1875, and came here in 1879.

Dr. E. M. Kent, born in Lincoln in 1843, graduated from the University of Vermont in 1866, and has practiced here since.

D. A. A. Dean was born in Monkton in 1857, graduated from the University of New York in 1878, and has practiced here since.

Dr. George O. W. Farnham was born in Shoreham in 1859, graduated from the University of Vermont in 1883, and has been here since.

H. A. Hasseltine studied dentistry with A. A. Rosseter, and began practice here in 1877.

E. W. Shattuck studied in Bristol and at Lowell, Mass., and began the practice of dentistry here in 1881.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top