Benjamin Griswold came with his family to the town from the State of New York in 1787, locating on Bristol Flats, upon a part of the late Morgan estate. He remained only a few years, when he removed to Cambridge, Vt. His son Horace was the second child born in the township.
Eastman, Cyprian, Capt.
Captain Cyprian Eastman was born in Norwich, Conn., in 1749, and removed with his father to Beckett, and subsequently to Bennington county, where he married Rosannah Nehon, and soon after, in 1787, removed to this town, locating on the flats. He was chosen one of the first selectmen of the town, and at the organization of a militia company, in June, 1791, was chosen its captain, and was also one of the committee elected to lay out the first division lots and survey highways. He died of small-pox May 23,1798, aged forty-nine years, leaving a family of ten children.
Robert Dunshee came from New Hampshire in 1787. He first located in the southern part of the town, but soon after removed to a part of the late Morgan estate, on the flats, where he erected a two-story house. Here he carried on the business of a saddler and harness-maker several years, then sold his house to Lewis Miller and removed to the mountain road, near the “Little Notch.” At the organization of the town he was chosen one of its selectmen. He resided here until his death, of cancer, at an advanced age.
Henry McLaughlin, who figured extensively in the early transactions of the settlers, was born in Ireland, and came to America with Burgoyne, serving as drummer boy, and remaining with the army till it marched from Ticonderoga. For a few years following he engaged in teaching school at Williamstown, Mass. He married Mary Dunton, of Dorset, Vt., sister of Ezekiel Dunton, and soon after, in March, 1787, came to Bristol, and located upon the farm now owned by Dorus S. Parmelee. He was the first proprietors’ clerk, first town clerk, and one of the committee for laying out the first division, moderator of the first town meeting, and represented the town in the Legislature of 1793, ’94 and ’97. In 1800 he built the first brick house erected in the town, about a mile west of the village, which he kept for a time as a public house, and in which, in 1803, was opened the first post-office. In the spring of 1805 he re moved to St. Lawrence county, N. Y., though both he and his wife died in Bristol, while on a visit in 1813.
Munsill, Gordon, Capt.
Captain Gordon Munsill was born in Windsor, Conn., October 26, 1760, served all through the Revolutionary War, and soon after its close married Olive Carver, of Bolton, Conn., and came to Bristol with his wife and two children, arriving March 21, 1789. He had been in town the previous year, made some improvements and built a log house on his farm, purchased of Timothy Rogers, and now owned by E. C. Powell. He was appointed by the Legislature a collector of the first land tax in Bristol, was a selectman of the town seven years, a justice of the peace two years, and represented the town in the Legislature of 1796. He died on the old homestead November 15, 1807.
Judge Harvey Munsill, one of Captain Gordon Munsill’s eight children, long and favorably known in Bristol as a man of honor and ability, received his education in the district schools of Bristol, and at the Addison County Grammar School at Middlebury, and studied law with Hon. Daniel Chipman, of that town. Although reared a farmer, he inclined to the study and use of books. He succeeded to the ownership of the homestead, which he retained until about 1840. After the year 1820 he became prominently identified with the public affairs of the town, and his career as a public officer continued uninterruptedly from that date to a short time previous to his death. He was judge of probate for the New Haven district from 1836 to 1870; justice of the peace for over thirty years; trustee of the United States deposit money from 1838 to 1852; State senator for the years 1842 and ’43; deputy sheriff eight years, and county commissioner four years; represented the town in the General Assembly for the years 1829 and ’31; served as selectman three years; town clerk six months; constable two years; overseer of the poor one year; town agent thirteen years, and moderator of town meetings eleven years. He was appointed a captain in the First Brigade, Third Division, Vermont militia. As a Mason he was master of Libanus Lodge, No. 47, from 1828 to 1866, and held the charter during the anti-Masonic movement. He was a man of strong political convictions, always founded upon a basis of what in his best judgment seemed just and for the public good, and was not an ultra partisan; a frequent presider at political conventions, both Whig and Republican, and was active in matters of reform, especially temperance. He married Laura, daughter of Ziller Stickney, of Weybridge, Vt., March 10, 1818, and Harvey C. Munsill, of Bristol, is their only son. Judge Munsill never united with any church, but inclined to and supported the Congregational creed, and was a member of that society. In the observance of all the proprieties of life he was a noble and impressive example. He died April 11, 1876, full of years and covered with honor.
Munsill, Harvey C.
Harvey C. Munsill was born in Bristol June 22, 1824. He hired his father’s estate, and has been somewhat prominently identified with the civil affairs and business growth of the town. He married, October 1, 1851, Charlotte M. Holley, daughter of John D. Holley, of Bristol, and they have three children: Newcomb H., born July 14, 1852, fitted for college at Bristol Academy, entered Middlebury College, and graduated from that institution in the class of 1877, taught in the graded school of Wallingford, Vt., four terms, studied law with Veazey & Dunton, of Rutland, later with Judge Albert Hobbs, of Malone, Franklin county, N. Y., and was admitted to the bar of the State of New York, and is now a member of the firm of Beeman & Munsill, of Malone, N. Y. He married, in 1880, Mary, daughter of Orrin Moses, of Malone, and they have two children, Arthur H. and Edith.
Seraph L., the only daughter of Harvey C., was born May 17, 1863, and died August 20, 1865. Charles E. Munsill, the third and youngest of the family, was born May 27, 1867, and is now attending the Albany Business College. Mr. Munsill has been for the past four years town treasurer of Bristol; has held the office of deputy sheriff from 1851 to 1855; justice of the peace several years; moderator of town meetings several years; grand juror, and agent for the Vermont Mutual Insurance Company for twenty-six years past. He has dealt extensively in real estate and has made several creditable additions to the village plot of Bristol.
Dunton, Ezekiel, General
General Ezekiel Dunton, from Dorset, settled upon the farm now owned by Ezra Knowles, of New Haven. He held a commission as brigadier-general in the Vermont militia, and was at the battle of Plattsburgh. He served the town for many years as selectman, constable, representative and justice of the peace, and died here February 13, 1824, aged fifty-six years. He left two sons, Thaddeus, who went West, and Ezekiel K., who died September 20, 1837, aged thirty-four years. The latter was the father of Walter C. Dunton, ex-judge of the Supreme Court of Rutland, and William H. Dunton, also of Rutland.
Jonathan Eastman, who came to Bristol from Rupert, Vt., in 179l, was born in Norwich, Conn., in 1753. He removed to Rupert with his father, where he married a Miss Haynes, who bore him a daughter; and for his second wife a Miss Dean, who bore him five children. He was chosen as the town’s first justice of the peace, and first representative, in 1792, holding the former office seventeen years, and was again a representative in 1795; was town clerk eleven years and a selectman four years. He died December 6, 1816. Calvin, Oliver and Amos Eastman, brothers of Jonathan, were all respected residents of Bristol, the latter dying at a very advanced age.
Robert Holley, a native of New London, Conn., came from Hebron, N. Y., in 1795, and located on the east side of the highway, nearly opposite the place now owned by Joel Barlow. In 1808 he removed to the village, where he kept a public house several years. He served the town as constable and collector, represented the town in the General Assembly eight years; was a delegate to the constitutional convention in 1826; was a presidential elector, casting his vote for President Monroe, and was a justice of the peace twenty-eight years. He was the father of eight children, and died April 18, 1836, aged seventy-seven years. Mrs. H. C. Munsill, Mrs. Cornelia Smith, and Mrs. Titus B. Page are his grandchildren. One of his daughters, Samantha, married Dr. Joseph Needham, and several of their descendants now reside in the town. Samuel H., son of Robert, studied at West Point, was a lawyer and assistant judge of the County Court, and occupied the farm now owned by Frank Hines. He died March 21, 1858, aged seventy-five years. Willis R. Peak is a grandson.
Munson, Noble, Capt.
Captain Noble Munson, born in Westfield, Mass., in 1770, located upon the farm now owned by Elexice St. George. He was in the battle of Plattsburgh, and served the town for many years as selectman, representative, etc.