History of Addison County, Vermont

It was at the dawn of a bright era in our history that Addison county began her corporate existence. It was at a time when the people were beginning to look forward with hope from the dark days of the Revolution; when the joys of peace and freedom were just settling upon their hearths, and trade, finance and agriculture were emerging from the chaos formed by a long and bloody war. The act of incorporation provided everything in its power for the immediate establishment of the machinery of civil government, the towns of Addison and Colchester being made half-shires, and the time for holding courts.

Probably the first European to gaze upon the green peaks of Vermont was the French navigator, Jacques Cartier. On the 2d of October, 1535, he was conducted by an Indian chief to the summit of Mount Real, which now overlooks the city of Montreal, and there “in that bright October sun” was opened to his enraptured gaze the beautiful country for many miles around. Before him the mighty St. Lawrence, coming solemnly from an unknown land, rolled on majestically toward the ocean; the distant horizon was bounded by the lofty mountains of Vermont, crowned with perpetual verdure; while illimitable forests, robed in the gorgeous hues of autumn, were spread out before him in every direction. Donnacona, the Indian king who conducted him to the summit of the mountain, informed him that he might sail westward on the great river for three moons-passing through several immense lakes– without reaching its source; that the river had its origin in a sea of fresh water to which no limits were known. Far to the southwest, he continued, there was another great river1.which ran through a country where there was no ice or snow; to the north, there was an inland sea of salt water2. extending to a region of perpetual ice, while southward there were rivers and smaller lakes, penetrating a beautiful and fertile country, belonging to a powerful and warlike nation called the Iroquois-including within its limits the present territory of Addison county. Before we proceed to the narration of the historic events directly connected with this locality, however, we will turn back and briefly review the events which led to its discovery and subsequent civilized occupation.


1. The Ohio.
2. Hudson Bay

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