WOLCOTT VERMONT, located in the eastern part of the county, in lat. 44° 34′, and long. 4° 31′, bounded northeasterly by Craftsbury, southeasterly by Hardwick, southwesterly by Elmore, and northwesterly by Hyde Park, was granted by the State, November 7, 1780, and chartered to Joshua Stanton and sixty-one others, August 22, 1781, as a township of 23,040 acres. Its name was given in honor of Maj-Gen. Oliver Wolcott, one of the original proprietors. The names of the other proprietors were as follows : Joshua Stanton, John Fellows, Matthew Mead, Aaron Comstock, Samuel Middlebrooks, Isaac Lewis, Clap Raymond, Abijah Taylor, Levi Taylor, Ozias Marvin, Gamaliel Taylor, Jonathan Pynoger, William Chamberlain, David Phelps, Jedediah Lane, Joseph Cook, Thomas Phillips, Roger Lane, Samuel Lane, James Waterous, Samuel Lee, Theodore Sedgwick, William Bacon, Paul Dewey, Peter Parrit, Jonathan Pettibone, Abraham Stevens, Benjamin Seyley, John Adams, Zachariah Fairchilds, Lemuel Kingsbury, Stephen Lawrence, Elizabeth Stanton, Joshua Stanton, Rufus Herrick, Seth Austin, Joel Baulding, Benjamin Durkee, Giles Pettibone, Judah Burton, Solomon Tyler, Hezekiah Lane, William Dean, David Crocker Dean, William Goodrich, John Sedgwick, David D. Forest, Derrick J. Geois, Ezra Fellows, Gad Austin, Sylvia Morgan, Elisha Taylor, William Fellows, John Ashley, Steven Dewey, Benjamin Keyes, Enoch Shepard, John Fellows, Jr., Enoch Shepard, Jr., Samuel Shed, Joseph Goodrich, John Watson, David Pixley, and Daniel Shepard.
In surface, Wolcott is somewhat hilly and uneven, though it possesses no mountains. The soil is usually of a good quality and produces fine crops of the grains and grasses indigenous to the latitude, while the rich pasturage of its many hill slopes afford sustenance to many herds of cattle. Many beautiful views are afforded throughout the town, the most accessible of which being from the cemetery near Wolcott village, where one may obtain a sweep of the fine country of the Lamoille valley, through Morristown, Hyde Park and Johnson, to the mountains, and south into Washington county. Near the vicinity of A. H. Keeler’s, on road 8, a fine view of the country south, west and north, to Canada, New York, and as far south as Camel’s Hump, including the sublime profile of Mt. Mansfield, may be obtained.
The Lamoille river forms the principal water-course, flowing across the town from east to west, about a mile from the Elmore line. Its principal tributaries are Wild branch and Pond brook, from the north, and Elmore brook from the south, though there are a number of streams of minor importance. Numerous mill privileges are afforded, many of which are utilized. Several small ponds are found, the largest of which are Wolcott and Akins pond, near the eastern line, and Peach pond on the western line.
The rocks that enter into the geological structure of the township are of the talcose schist formation, with a narrow bed of clay slate in the eastern part. No minerals of importance, except copper, have been discovered. About six years ago this useful metal was discovered near the western line of the town. A mining company was organized soon after, composed of Canadian gentlemen, and though the ore is said to have yielded a good percentage, nothing has been done towards the development of the mines for several years. The vein extends south to the river, underlying the farm of C. C. Twiss, and it is said to be only a question of time when this section will be reckoned one of the richest copper producing districts in the State.
In 1880, Wolcott had a population of 1,166, and in 1882, was divided into twelve school districts and contained eleven common schools, employing one male and nineteen female teachers, to whom was paid an aggregate salary of $1,025.88. There were 256 pupils attending common school, while the entire cost of the schools. for the year, ending October 31st, was $r,180.56, with Mrs. Angie Jones, superintendent.
WOLCOTT, a post village and station on the St. J. & L. C. R. R., located in the southern part of the town on the Lamoille river, contains three churches, (Congregational, Methodist, and Universalist,) an hotel, schoolhouse, three general stores, two groceries, a furniture store, drug store, sawmill, grist-mill, two carriage shops, two blacksmith shops, two millinery shops, a shoe shop, and about fifty dwellings.
NORTH WOLCOTT (p. o.) is a hamlet located in the northern part of the town, containing two stores and a few scattered dwellings.
Manufacturing and Industry in Wolcott
The Wolcott Hotel was built by Ira Woodbridge at an early date, and came into the present proprietor’s hands, L. A. Tillotson, in 1874. Mr. Tillotson has made many improvements, so that the house is now a well appointed hotel.
H. B. Bundy’s flouring-mill, located on the Lamoille river, is operated by four turbine water-wheels, and is supplied with five runs of stones. The building, a two story structure 42 by 52 feet, with a basement, was erected in 1878, upon the site of a mill destroyed by fire the year previous. Mr. Bundy grinds about 30,000 bushels 0f custom grain per year, in addition to 6,000 bushels of wheat and 20,000 bushels of corn for the trade.
C. H. Reed’s saw-mill, located on road 40, is operated by water-power, employs twenty-five men, and cuts about 1,500,000 feet of lumber per year.
Joel R. Parker’s saw-mill, located on road 18, corner 11, is operated by water-power, is furnished with a circular saw, and cuts 250,000 feet of lumber per year. The first mill on this site was built by Calvin Graves about forty-five years ago. The present mill was erected in 1853. An upright saw was used until 1872, when a circular saw was introduced.
E. Guyer’s saw-mill, located on road 33, was originally built by Amos Walbridge, in 1833, who operated it about eight years, when it passed into the hands of Hezekiah Guyer and Gilbert Noyes. In 1851, Mr. Guyer purchased the whole interest and retained the property until 1864, when he sold it to his son, Earle, the present proprietor, who remodeled the mill and instituted many improvements. He employs eight men and manufactures 900,000 feet of lumber per annum.
W. W. Cate’s saw-mill, located at Wolcott village, was built in 1879. Mr. Cate employs eight men and manufactures about 1,000,000 feet of lumber per annum.
The Wolcott Steam Mill Co.’s saw-mill, located on road 41, was originally built in 1881. About three weeks after business was commenced the buildings were destroyed by fire. The present mill was immediately commenced, and was in operating order by the 25th of May of that year. The mill contains one band saw, jointing and edging saws, planing and matching machinery, etc., operated by a forty horse-power engine, having the capacity for cutting 18,000 feet of lumber per day. The firm employs about fifteen men.
D. N. Boynton’s saw-mill, located at North Wolcott, employs about twelve men and has the capacity for manufacturing 1,000,000 feet of lumber per annum.
C. C. Fisher’s refrigerator and cold storage buildings, located on road 40, have the capacity for storing several tons of poultry.
Charles E. Clark’s carriage manufactory, located on road 38, was established November 1, 1882. Mr. Clark manufactures all kinds of carriages, wagons and sleighs, and does a general repairing and blacksmith business.
The first settlement in the town was made in 1789, by Thomas Taylor and Seth Hubbell, who took up land in the western part of the town. Mr. Taylor came the day previous to Mr. Hubbell, with his wife and two children, on snow-shoes. Both families were subjected to great hardships, but Mr. Taylor having more means escaped many of the privations that fell to the lot of Mr. Hubbell and his family. The vicissitudes of the latter were unusually severe, though but a counterpart of what many of our forefathers had to endure.
Luke Guyer and Hezekiah Whitney came into the town next, and these four men, with their families, constituted the first settlers, and many of their descendants are now residents of the town. Settlement was very slow until after 1800, the census report of that year showing a population of only thirty-seven. In 1806, Mrs. Hubbell made a quilting to which she invited all the ladies in the town, and they all came, numbering fourteen. The town was organized and the first town meeting held March 31, 1791, when all the male citizens were elected to an office, as follows: Hezekiah Whitney, moderator, Robert W. Taylor, clerk, and Hezekiah Whitney, Thomas Taylor, and Seth Hubbell, selectmen. The first child born was Charlotte Hubbell, in 1790. The first justice of the peace was Thomas Taylor, in 1794, who held the office for a period of thirty years. At this election Mr. Taylor was also elected town clerk, first selectman and constable, and in 1801, he was elected to the legislature, which office he held twenty years. Mr. Taylor also built the first frame house, which is still standing, the property of C. A. Reed, whose wife is a great-granddaughter of Mr. Taylor.
During the late civil war Wolcott furnished 134 enlisted men, thirty-two of whom were killed, or died from the effects of wounds or exposure, while in the service.
The Congregational Church
The Congregational church, located at Wolcott village, was organized by Rev. Daniel B. Dodge, with the following members, in 1818: Thomas Taylor, Oliver Walbridge, Perez Smith, Gideon M. Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, and Elizabeth Walbridge. The church building is a wood structure capable of seating 250 persons, built in 1833, and the property is now valued at $9,000.00. The society has forty members, with Rev. C. J. Richardson, pastor.
The Methodist Episcopal Church
The Methodist Episcopal church, located at Wolcott village was organized at an early date, and supplied for years by circuit preachers. Rev. George Brown, a colored man, being the first resident pastor. Through his energy and perseverance money was raised to build the present church building, which was erected in 1855. The building will comfortably seat 300 persons, cost $1,500.00, and is now valued, including grounds, at $3,000.00. The society now has seventy-three members, with Rev. John Morse, pastor.
The Methodist Episcopal church of North Wolcott has thirty members, with Rev. Charles S. Hamilton, pastor.
The Universalist Church
The Universalist church of Wolcott, located at Wolcott village, was organized in 1875, with six members. Rev. I. P. Booth was the first pastor. The church edifice was built in 1882, a wood structure capable of seating 165 persons, at a cost of $1,200.00, about its present value. The society has about seventy-five members, with Rev. G. Foster Barnes, pastor.
For an interesting look into the early life of Wolcott, read the writings of Mr. Justus Hubbell, the early settler.