HYDE PARK VERMONT, the shire town, and geographical as well as political center of the county, lies in lat. 44° 37′, and long. 4° 26′, bounded northeasterly by Eden, southeasterly by Wolcott, southwesterly by Morristown, and northwesterly by Johnson. It has an area of 23,040 acres, its boundary lines being each about six miles in length, thus forming a square, which is set diagonally, north and south. No changes have been made in the territorial limits of the town since its original survey. It was granted by the State, November 6, 1780, and chartered August 27, 1781, to Jedediah Hyde and sixty-four associates, as follows:
“The Governor, Council and General Assembly of the Freemen of Vermont, to all people to whom these presents shall come, Greeting:
“Know ye, that whereas Jedediah Hyde, Esq., and his associates, our worthy friends, have by petition, requested a grant of a tract of unappropriated lands within this State, of 6 miles square, in order for setting a new plantation, to be erected into a township. We have therefore thought fit, for the due encouragement of their’ laudable designs, and for other valuable considerations, us hereunto moving, and do by these presents in the name and by the authority of the Freemen of Vermont, give and grant the tract of land hereafter described, and bounded, unto the said Jedediah Hyde, and the several persons hereafter named his associates, viz:
” William Dennison, William Ledyard, Elihu Marvin, John Lamb, Elisha Edgerton, Samuel Capron, Robert Hallam, Richard Deshon, Jr., Zacheus Lathrop, Frederick Tracy, Asa Waterman, William Latham, Jonathan Brewster, Charles Lamb, Hezekiah Edgerton, Ransford Rose, Richard Deshon, Samuel Lathrop, Jared Tracy, Simeon Thomas, John Dorrance, Theophilus Rogers, Daniel Rodman, Roger Enos, Jr., Elisha Marvin, William Read, William Whitney, Nicholas Fossdick, William Wattles, John McCn. Breed, William Hubbard, Elisha Bill, Lodwick Champlain, Elijah Bachus, Thomas Mumford, Solomon Story, Henry Billings, Joseph Woodbridge, Jabez Fitch, Henry Rice, Benjamin Talman, Thomas James Douglass, Ebenezer Basto, Zabaiel Rogers, Thomas Chittenden, Zebediah Varnum, Elisha Lathrop, Edward Latham, Ebenezer Witter, Peleg Hyde, Samuel Cardall, Daniel Coit, Christopher Lessingwell, Augustus Peck, Araunah Waterman, John Davis, Giles Mumford, Amasa Jones, Andrew Billings, Henry Woodbridge, Ebenezer Whitney, Erastus Rossiter, Joseph Smith, Jedediah Hyde, Jr., which together with the five following rights reserved to the several uses in manner following, include the whole of said township, viz : one right for the use of a Seminary or College, one right for the use of County Grammer Schools, in said State, lands to the amount of one right to be and remain for the purpose of settlement of a minister and ministers of the Gospel in said Township forever, lands to the amount of one right for the support of the social worship of God, in said Township, and lands to the amount of one right for the support of an English School or Schools in said Township, which said two rights for the use of a Seminary or College, and for the use of County Grammar Schools, as aforesaid, and the improvements, rents, interest and profits arising therefrom, shall be under the control, order, direction and disposal of the General Assembly of said State forever , and the Proprietors of said Township, are hereby authorized and empowered to locate said two rights, justly and equitably, or quantity for quality, in such parts of said Township, as they, or their Committee shall judge will least incommode the general settlement of said Tractor Township. And the Proprietors are hereby further empowered to locate the lands aforesaid, amounting to three rights assigned for the settlement of a minister and ministers for their support and for the use and support of English Schools, in such and in so many places, as they or their Committee shall judge will best accommodate the inhabitants of said Township, when the same shall be fully settled and improved, laying the same equitably or quantity for quality, which said lands amounting to the three last rights mentioned, when located as aforesaid, shall, together with their improvements, rights, rents, profits, dues and interests, remain inalienably appropriated, to the uses and purposes, for which they are respectively assigned, and be under the charge, direction and disposal of the Selectmen of said Township, in trust to and for the use of said Township forever.
” Which tract of land hereby given and granted as aforesaid, is bounded and described as follows, viz.: Beginning at the Northeasterly corner of Morristown, then North, thirty-six degrees East, in the line of Wolcott and Minden, six miles-then North, fifty-four degrees West six miles then South, thirty-six degrees West six miles, to the Northeasterly corner of Morristown aforesaid, then South, fifty-four degrees East, in the line of said Morristown six miles, to the bounds begun at and that the same be, and hereby is incorporated into a Township by the name of Hyde Park, and the inhabitants that do, or may hereafter inhabit said Township and declared to be enfranchised and entitled to all the privileges and immunities, that the inhabitants of other Townships within this State do and ought by the law and Constitution of this State, to exercise and enjoy:
“To have and to hold, the said granted premises as above expressed, with all the privileges and appurtenances thereto belonging and appertaining to them and their respective heirs, and assigns forever, upon the following Conditions and Reservations, viz. : That each proprietor of the township of Hyde Park, aforesaid, his heirs or assigns shall plant and cultivate five acres of land, and build an house, at least, eighteen feet square on the floor, or have one family settled on each respective right, within the term of four years next after the circumstances of the war will admit of a settlement with safety, on penalty of forfeiture of each right of land, in said Township not so improved, or settled, and the same to revert to the freemen of this State, to he by their representatives regranted to such persons as shall appear to settle and cultivate the same.
“That all Pine Timber, suitable for a navy, be reserved for the use and benefit of the freemen of the State.
“In Testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the State to be affixed, this z7th day of August, Anno Domini, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-one, and in the fifth year of our independence.
“THOMAS CHITTENDEN., “By his Excellency’s command,, “THOMAS TOLMAN D., Sec’y.”
The surface of the town is very uneven, and, in many parts, quite hilly, though there are no mountains. The lowest portion is reached near the southern line, at the Lamoille river, whence the surface gradually ascends northwardly, until many localities assume almost the character of a mountainous region. The village of North Hyde Park, located in the northwestern corner of the town, is, however, little, if any, higher than the village of Hyde Park, located at the southern line, upon a sand bluff, some seventy feet above the alluvium of the river. With the exception of a few sandy plateaus, the largest of which is in the eastern part of the town, crossed by the old Wolcott road, the soil away from the river beds is clay, and well adapted for wheat and grazing. This is generally speaking, as the usual variety of soil may be found interspersed with the clay ground-work. Trees of a deciduous nature predominate, the pines being found upon the rough side-hills and on the sandy flats. The sugar maple is very common, the original growth of this tree having been quite generally spared. The principal river is the Lamoille, which flows across the southern part of the town, then drops south into Morristown, to enter Hyde Park again in the southwestern part of the town. The other streams of importance are Green river and Rodman brook, though there are numerous minor brooks and streams, many of which afford excellent mill-sites. The most striking feature in the surface of the township is the cluster of ponds in the northeastern part. They vary in size from one to one hundred and fifty acres, and number about twenty. Great pond is the largest. Most of them are supplied by springs beneath the surface, and are the sources of brooks which ultimately reach the Lamoille river. A few have apparently neither inlet nor outlet, and are entirely surrounded by the primeval forest.
The geological structure of the territory consists of an immense bed of talcose schist, cut by a narrow range of clay slate, the latter extending through the whole length of the western part of the town, from north to south. Gold is said to exist in small quantities in the northwestern part. A bed of terre de seine has been worked in the gorge of the Green river, and deposits of ochre have been discovered in the same vicinity. Copper has also been found on the banks of that river, and a mining company was once organized to develop the ore, though nothing of importance was ever done. Sulphur and iron springs are found in different localities. At North Hyde Park a mineral spring of great strength exists, emptying into the Gihon river, a branch of the Lamoille.
In,1880, Hyde Park had a population of 1,715, and in 1882, was divided into fifteen school districts and contained fourteen common schools, employing four male and eighteen female teachers, to whom was paid an aggregate salary of $2,029.65. There were 528 pupils attending common school, while the entire cost of the schools for the year, ending October 31st, was $2,306.89, with H. M. McFarland, superintendent.
Hyde Park Village
It was originally intended by the proprietors that the village should be located where Albert M. Whitcomb‘s farm now is, on road 18 cor. 6, and the village lots were actually laid out at that point. Where the village now stands, the pine plain was laid out in acre lots, in the second division, and each proprietor was entitled to one village lot, and one pine lot. The town-house was first located at Centerville, and it does not seem to have been anticipated the principal business of the town would ever be located at the southwest corner. Its growth, however, can be accounted for in the fact that its site is located upon a fine plateau, elevated above the surrounding swamps, on the main thoroughfares of travel in all directions, and commanding fine views of hill and valley scenery.
In 1807, Nathaniel P. Sawyer erected a mansion at the head of Main street, which is yet standing, the oldest dwelling in the village. The next house was built in 1808, by Aaron Keeler, and is now occupied by his descendants. Soon after, in 1809, a house was erected at the western terminus of the village. Thus the growth continued gradually, until the establishment of the county seat at this point. The erection of the jail and court-house, in 1836, gave new life and importance to the growing settlement. Previous to this, a store had been kept for many years, by Oliver Noyes and his son, Breed, on the old Noyes place. There the post office was kept, the business rendezvous for several years, but in 1836, the trade was at the village. According to Thompson’s Vermont, there were in Hyde Park street, in 1840, twenty dwellings, two stores, three hotels, and several mechanic’s shops. There are now about sixty dwellings, one hotel, two churches (Union and Catholic), five stores, and shops of various kinds, besides the county buildings, town hall and academy building. The hotel, the American House, the best in the county, was built by a company organized for that purpose, in 1858.
The Lamoille Central Academy was organized in 1857. School was opened in the fall of 1858, taught by H. Henry Powers, now one of the judges of the supreme court of Vermont. Among the later instructors in the school have been H. B. Chittenden, who taught the school six years, and is now principal of Swanton Academy, H. M. McFarland, who had charge of the school three years, H. S. Wilson, now principal of People’s Academy, at Morrisville, and R. W. Hulburd, the present principal. The present board of trustees are Waldo Brigham, David Randall, E. B. Sawyer, George L. Waterman, and C. S. Page.
North Hyde Park
A post village located in the northwestern part of the town, boasts a very rapid growth. In 1859, there were no signs of a village on its present delightful site. The first settlers in the vicinity were David Wood, David Holton, Marvin Glasure, Daniel Bullard, and Joseph Ferry, who came there over sixty years ago. Previous to 1840, a saw-mill had been erected on the Gihon river, by Daniel Ferry, and at that time, 1840, the county road was laid out through the place, extending, as such, from Johnson, up to Orleans county, via. Eden, when the place was first called North Hyde Park, containing five or six families. Up to 1865, there were added to the place about fifteen dwelling houses, one starch factory, one store, and hotel, one church, and a blacksmith, wheelwright, and cooper shop. The village now has a good hotel, two churches (Union and Congregational), several manufactories, several stores, and about forty dwellings.
Centerville, a hamlet located in the central part of the town, contains one store, and about half a dozen dwellings.
Haskinsville, a hamlet located near the head of Green river, has one sawmill, and four dwellings.
Manufacturing and Industry in Hyde Park
The Lamoille County Bank, located at Hyde Park village, was chartered by the legislature in 1854, with an authorized capital of $75,000.00, and commenced business the following year, May 11, in the building now occupied by judge Small, with a paid up capital of $50,000.00. Lucius H. Noyes was made president, and Carlos S. Noyes, cashier. Previous to this the business of the county had been transacted principally with banks at Burlington, St. Albans, Montpelier, and Waterbury. Considerable opposition to the establishment of the institution was encountered at first, owing to the fact that some of the directors of the Waterbury bank were residents of this county. This opposition was of short duration, however, and the bank was s00n in a prosperous condition. July I, 1865, the bank was reorganized as “The Lamoille County National Bank,” and the capital increased to $150,000.00, with Lucius H. Noyes, president, and Albert L. Noyes, cashier. In 1868, the present commodious bank building was erected of brick, which is supplied with a fire-proof vault, secured by a time-lock. The president dying in February, 1877, his brother, Carlos S. Noyes, of Morrisville, was elected to the vacancy, and C. S. Page made vice-president. They, with A. L. Noyes, cashier, constitute the present list of officers. The board of directors is as follows : C. S. Page, A. L. Noyes, of Hyde Park , C. L. Noyes, H. H. Powers, P. H. Gleed, of Morristown, George Wilkins, of Stowe, and Henry Smiley, of Cambridge. The annual election of officers is held on the second Tuesday in. January. Of the first board of directors only George Wilkins, of Stowe, is living.
Vernon W. Jewett‘s wagon, carriage, and sleigh manufactory, located at Hyde Park, was established, in a small way, about 1876. In 1881, he built the commodious shop he now occupies. He employs seven hands, and during the season of 188z, he manufactured forty lumber wagons, in addition to much other work.
H. f. Lilley &’ Co.’s carriage manufactory, located on Church street, was established in 1860. The firm now employs several hands, and does a business of from $8,000.00 to $10,000.00 per year.
The Lamoille creamery, located at Hyde Park, was established in 1882, by Hinckley, Ayers & Co., of Boston, using the old starch factory. building. The factory uses the milk from 400 cows, though it has the capacity of using that of 600 cows. It is the only creamery in the county, and is superintended by H. M. Noyes.
C. J. Patch‘s saw-mill, located in the western part of the town, on the Gihon river, was built in 1879, by Peter Cox. It has the capacity for cutting 500,000 feet of lumber and a large quantity of shingles and clapboards per annum.
Orson Hadley‘s cider-mill, located on road 34, built in 1875, has the capacity for manufacturing sixteen barrels of cider per day.
Foss &’ Robins‘s saw-mill, located on the Gihon river, at North Hyde Park, cuts 600,000 feet of lumber per year, in addition to a quantity of clapboards and butter-tubs. The mill is also supplied with lumber dressing machinery.
Marquis D. L. Peck‘s clapboard and saw-mill, located on road 13, was built in 1868. It has the capacity for sawing 5,000 feet of lumber per day.
Hiram S. Haskin‘s saw-mill, located on road 9, built in 1881, has the capacity for cutting 15,000 feet of lumber per day, and is supplied with planing and matching machinery. Mr. Haskins has another mill on Great pond, rebuilt in 1870, which cuts 6,000 feet of lumber per day, and which has a clapboard-mill.
C. S. Page‘s saw-mill, located in the northern part of the town, rebuilt in 1881, saws 1,000,000 feet of lumber annually, employing eight hands.
Warren Brothers’ saw-mill, located on road 39, on Mill brook, was originally built by Samuel Wiswell, and rebuilt by Warren Brothers in 1879. It has the capacity for cutting 800 feet of lumber per hour.
Early Settlers of Hyde Park
Capt. Jedediah Hyde, after whom the town was named, explored the wilderness of northern Vermont, with his son, Jedediah, Jr., in 1781, or previously, as that is the date of the town charter, and surveyed the boundaries of the township. There is a tradition that the name of the town, in the first charter drawn, was Wilkes, but, in compliment to Capt. Hyde, who was principally instrumental in procuring the grant, a new charter was made before the copy was placed on record, and the name changed to Hyde’s Park. By common consent, or general usage, the “s” was gradually dropped from the name, until ” Hyde Park” became the universal manner of spelling and pronouncing it. The list of grantees was made up largely among the personal friends and acquaintances of Capt. Hyde, in Norwich, Connecticut, and vicinity. Many of them had distinguished themselves in the army and navy, and were generally men of intelligence and culture.
The first settler in the town was John McDaniel, of Scotch extraction, his name being a corruption of McDonald. In person, Mr. McDaniel was unusually large and commanding, being some six feet two or three inches in height, the very ideal of a backwoods pioneer. His name will long be held in remembrance in Hyde Park. He reached the town with his family, July 4, 1787, and immediately proceeded to erect a log house. This was, in the eyes of the early settlers, a handsome structure, being made of the best spruce logs, the bark peeled off, and the roof made partly of large shingles. The floors were of basswood planks, split and hewn. This elegant structure for such it then by comparison was located upon the farm now owned by Terrence Finnegan, about a mile west of Hyde Park village, on road 55. His house became the headquarters and the temporary home of those who came after McDaniel, he being almost a father to the growing settlement. When the Hubbells, the Joneses, the Taylors, and the Guyers, of Wolcott, came up to prospect and to effect a settlement, John McDaniel‘s house was their resting-place, until they could look about and commence fairly for themselves. So especially of the early settlers of Hyde Park. When Jabez Fitch arrived he was welcomed and treated with great courtesy and kindness. When their meagre stores of provisions were exhausted, as often happened to the settlers, especially during their first year, they supplied themselves at McDaniel‘s, who did not seem to calculate whether he should be paid, but considered only their necessities, trusting to their honesty. The old house was finally superseded by a more commodious structure, where Mr. McDaniel kept a hotel for many years. He died August 12, 1834, aged eighty-six years, and was interred in the old cemetery on the Hyde place. His only daughter became the wife of Gamaliel Taylor.
During the season of Mr. McDaniel’s settlement here he was joined by William Norton and family, from New York, and they were the first families to winter in the town. They were joined the next year by Capt. Hyde, Peter Martin, Jabez Fitch, Esq., and sons, and Ephraim Garvin. These pioneers were joined within a few years, by Aaron Keeler and family, Truman Sawyer, Hon. N. P. Sawyer, and others with their families. The first settlers suffered all the privations of a life in the wilderness. The nearest grist-mill was at Cambridge, eighteen miles distant. In 1792, there was a saw and grist-mill erected in the adjoining town of Wolcott, by Hezekiah Whitney. After the town was organized, in 1791, for a period of thirty years its growth was very rapid.
Numerous proprietors’ meetings were held all of them at John McDaniel‘s house up to the year 1814, the last record appearing with the date, “December 30th.” Nothing of especial interest to the reader appears in these records, the proprietors’ meetings seeming to have been held, as appears in their warnings, principally for “making further divisions of land,” and “raising money to defray the expenses thereof.” The original records were copied in a durable blank book, by Jedediah Hyde, proprietors’ clerk, Nathan P. Sawyer, justice of the peace and proprietors’ clerk, and by Aaron Keeler, town and proprietors’ clerk. The handwriting of the latter is unusually handsome, bold and uniform.
All of the written authorities, as far as we have been able to learn, have it that the town was organized in 1791 , but the first entry in book number one of the town records is dated March 31, 1794. At this meeting John McDaniel was chosen moderator, Jabez Fitch, town clerk, and John McDaniel, Peter Martin, and Aaron Keeler, selectmen. No other officers seem to have been chosen that year.
At a meeting held March 22, 1802, a tax of one cent on the dollar of the grand list was made, “for the purpose of securing a standard of weights and measures, guide-posts, sign-posts, and books for the records of said town.”
At a meeting held March 13, 1804, it was voted “that the town should be divided into three school districts,” and ” that the two-mile tree beyond the guide-board on the Eden road, should be the boundary line for the north district, and Mill brook the boundary line between the easterly and westerly districts.”
At a meeting held March 25, 1805, it was voted “that there be a committee appointed in each district to choose land for burying the dead, and make report of their choice of ground for that purpose by the first day of June next.” Thomas W. Fitch, David Clement, and Truman Sawyer were appointed as such committee for the eastern district, Jedediah Hyde, Oliver Noyes, and Darius Fitch, for the west district. The committee for the west district reported their choice of a quarter acre on lot No. 71, first division, ” on that part of the lot adjoining the main road south of the school-house.” The east district committee “selected on the third division, lot No. 17, and on that part now owned by Mr. Cyrus Hill, adjoining the main road,” and ” that one-quarter acre be sufficient,” also that ” Mr. Hill will convey the premises for the consideration of $400.00, provided the town will engage to hereafter maintain the whole of the expense that shall be rendered necessary to enclose the said ground.”
At a meeting held September 2, 1806, it was voted ” that the selectman be, and are hereby, requested and empowered to lease to Mr. David Brown the southerly half of the first division lot of the Social Worship Right (so called), in this town for the rent of nine cents per acre, payable annually on the first day of January, in wheat, rye, or Indian corn, the first payment to be made the first day of January, A. D., 1812 : said lease to run as long as grass grows and water runs, and that said Brown shall, on pain of forfeiture of his lease, clear, or cause to be cleared, and put under good improvement, five acres of said southern half of said lot, in two years from the passing of this vote.”
In 1819, at a special meeting, March 31st, the town voted to “hire preaching with the Social Worship money, and that Elder Jabez Newland, David Clemens, and Robert Hastings, be employed to preach it out, said money to be divided according to the different societies in said town.”
The survey of the road leading from Wolcott to Johnson, through Hyde Park, was recorded September 27, 1800. The survey of the road east of Darius Fitch‘s, leading from Hyde Park to Morristown, intersecting the road leading through Morristown and Stowe, was recorded September 27, 1800. The survey of the road leading from the main east and west road, to Morristown, was recorded October 1, 1800.
The first births in town were children of Capt. Hyde, Diadama, born June 17, 1789, and Jabez Perkins, born June 12, 1791. The first death was that of David Parker, who was killed by a log rolling upon him, about 1806. He was a son of Capt. Hyde‘s second wife, by a former marriage. The first minister who preached in town, was Lorenzo Dow. The first school was kept by Elizabeth Hyde, in Judge N. P. Sawyer‘s barn, about the year 1800.
John McDaniel, Capt. Hyde, Aaron Keeler, Truman Sawyer, and Jabez Fitch, served most frequently during the first years as moderator of the town meetings, or on the board of selectmen. For a few years, the election of officers comprised all the business transacted at the town-meetings, and this list was short, consisting of moderator, clerk, three selectmen, and constable. The meetings were held in private houses, the dwellings of Jabez Fitch, Darius Fitch, John Searle, and Oliver Noyes, serving as town halls, the latter being the usual resort from 1804 until 1818, when houses were used for the purpose until 1835, when a town-house was erected, “on the north side of the road, at the four corners, on land owned by Mr. Theophilus W. Fitch.” At a meeting held March 3, 1857, the following resolution was adopted:
Resolved, That the inhabitants do remove their holding of town and freemen’s meetings hereafter, to Hyde Park street, that the town vote to build a suitable building, or town hall, for the same-that there be room for a high school or academy in the upper story, for which the said village of Hyde Park agrees to contribute $500.00, and that said town borrow of the surplus fund a sufficient sum to defray the remainder of said expenses of erecting completing, and finishing said building. That the same be paid back to said surplus fund, in four annual installments, at such periods as the town may hereafter direct.
The vote on the passage of this resolution stood 107 to 100, in the affirmative. Much dissatisfaction was expressed at this action by those residing in the eastern part of the town, but the resolution was adopted.
During the late civil war Hyde Park furnished nine commissioned officers and 140 enlisted men towards suppressing the great Rebellion, twenty-nine of whom were killed in action, or died from wounds or diseases contracted while in the service.
The first public religious services held in the town were conducted by Lorenzo Dow, very early in the history of the settlement, probably about 1793. A Methodist preacher, Rev. Nehemiah Sabins, preached soon after, and formed the Methodist class. Elizabeth Hyde, daughter of Capt. Jedediah Hyde, at that time ten years of age, was first to join the class. The society now has a comfortable church at North Hyde Park, and at Hyde Park village, presided over by Rev. J. E. Bowen and Rev. Joseph W. Hitchcock, respectively.
St. Terrence Catholic Church
The St. Terrence Catholic Church, located at Hyde Park village, was organized in 1872, by Rev. Peter Savoy. The church building is a wood structure capable of seating 250 persons, built in 1872, at a cost of about $2,400.00.
There is also a Christian church at North Hyde Park, and societies of other denominations in the town, but neglect on the part of members to whom we had entrusted the collection of church statistics, forces us to omit their mention in detail.