|THE town of
Addison lies on the shore of Lake Champlain, in the western part of Addison
county, and is bounded on the north by Panton; east by Waltham and
Weybridge; south by Bridport, and west by Lake Champlain. The surface of the
town is level or with a gradual slope towards the lake, except the extreme
eastern part, which becomes hilly or mountainous, the highest elevation
being Snake Mountain (or Grandview Mountain, as it is now called; this
elevation rises to a height of 1,310 feet above sea level, and is the
highest point in the county west of the Green Mountains). The soil is
principally clay or marl, mixed to some extent with loam, and in the
mountains a strong loam prevails. The principal streams are Otter Creek,
which forms the eastern boundary between this town and Waltham, Hospital,
Ward's and Dead Creeks; the latter is formed by what are known as the east,
middle and west branches, which flow in a northerly course from the town of
Bridport, Dead Creek continuing northward into the town of Panton. Ward's
and Hospital Creeks flow through the southwest part of the town. There is no
valuable water power in the town and no manufacturing of importance is
carried on. The town was originally covered with a heavy growth of timber,
of which pine, cedar, maple, basswood, oak and elm were the principal
The town of Addison was chartered on the 14th day of October, 1761, by
Benning Wentworth, then governor of New Hampshire, to the original
proprietors, by the same form of charter under which other towns in Vermont
were granted. For purposes of reference we insert here a copy of those
charters, in blank, and will omit them in subsequent town histories:
[L.S.] By the grace of God, of Great Britain, France and Ireland, KING,
Defender of the Faith, &c.
To all persons to whom these presents shall come, Greeting: - Know ye, that
We, of Our special Grace, certain knowledge, Mear Motion, for the due
encouragement of settling a New Plantation within our said Province, by and
with the advice of our trusty and well-beloved BENNING WENTWORTH, ESQ., our
Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Our Province of NEW HAMPSHIRE, in New
England, and of our COUNCIL in the said PROVINCE, HAVE, upon the Conditions
and Reservations, hereinafter made, given and granted, and by these presents
for Us, Our Heirs and Successors, do give and grant in equal shares unto our
loving Subjects, Inhabitants of Our said Province of New Hampshire and Our
other Governments, and to their Heirs and Assigns forever whose names are
entered on this Grant, to be divided to and amongst them into sixty-eight
equal shares, all that tract or parcel of Land situate, lying and being
within our said Province of New Hampshire, containing by A measurement,
Twenty-Eight Thousand Eight Hundred Acres, which Tract is to contain
something more than Six Miles square, and no more, Out of which an allowance
is to be made for highways and unimprovable Lands, by Rocks, Ponds,
Mountains and Rivers. One Thousand and Forty acres free, according to a plan
and survey thereof, made by our said Governor's order, and returned into the
Secretary's Office and hereunto annexed, butted and bounded as follows,
* * And the Inhabitants that do or hereby shall Inhabit the said Township
are hereby to be enfranchised with and entitled to all and every the
privileges and Immunities that other towns within Our Province by Law
Exercise and Enjoy: And further, that the said Town as soon as there shall
be fifty families resident and settled thereon shall have the liberty of
Holding Two Fairs, one which shall be held on the -- and the other on the --
annually, which fairs are not to continue longer than the respective --
following the said -- and that as soon as the said Town shall consist of
fifty families a Market may be opened and kept, one or more days in each
Week, as may be thought most advantageous to the inhabitants. Also, that the
first meeting for the choice of Town Officers agreeable to the laws of our
said Province shall be held on the first Tuesday in January next which said
Meeting shall be notified by -- , who is hereby also appointed the Moderator
of the said first Meeting which he is to notify and govern agreeable to the
laws and Customs of our said Province and that the Annual Meeting forever
hereafter, for the choice of such Officers of said Town, shall be on the
second Tuesday in March Annually.
TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said Tract of Land as above expressed, together with
all the privileges and Appurtenances, to them and their respective Heirs and
Assigns, forever, upon the following conditions, viz:
I. That every Grantee, his Heirs and Assigns, shall plant and cultivate
five acres of Land within the term of five years, for every fifty acres
contained in his or their share or proportion of Land in said Township,
and continue to improve and settle the same by additional Cultivations on
penalty of the Forfeiture of his Grant or share in said Township, and of
its reverting to Us Our Heirs and Successors, to be by Us Regranted to
such of our subjects as shall effectually settle and Cultivate the same.
II. That all White and other Pine Trees within the said Township, fit for
Masting Our Royal Navy, be carefully preserved for that Use, and none to
be cut or felled, without Our Special License for so doing, first had and
obtained upon the penalty of the forfeiture of the Right of Such Grantee,
his Heirs and Assigns to Us, Our Heirs and Successors, as well as being
subject to the penalty of any act or Acts of Parliament that now are or
shall hereafter be enacted.
III. That before any Division of the land be made to and among the
Grantees, a tract of Land as near the Center of said Township as the Land
will admit of, shall he reserved and marked out for Town Lots, one of
which shall be allotted to each Grantee, of the contents of one Acre.
IV. Yielding and paying therefore to Us Our Heirs and Successors for the
space of ten years, to be computed from the date hereof, the rent of one
Ear of Indian Corn only, on the Twenty-fifth day of December annually, if
lawfully demanded, the first payment to be made on the Twenty-fifth day of
V. Every proprietor Settler or Inhabitant shall yield and pay unto Us Our
Heirs or Successors, yearly and every year forever, from and after the
expiration of ten years from the above said Twenty-fifth of December,
namely, on the Twenty-fifth day of December, which will be in the year of
Our Lord 1771, One Shilling Proclamation Money, for every hundred Acres he
owns settles or possesses, and so in proportion for a greater or less
Tract of said Land, which Money shall be paid by the respective persons
above said, their Heirs or Assigns in our Council Chamber in Portsmouth,
or to such Officer or Officers as shall be appointed to receive the same,
and this to be in Lieu of all other Rents and services whatsoever.
In testimony whereof we have caused the Seal of our said Province to be
Witness, BENNING WENTWORTH, ESQ.,
Our Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Our said Province, this 14th day of
October in the year of our Lord CHRIST, One Thousand Seven Hundred
Sixty-one, And in the Second Year of Our Reign.
By his EXCELLENCY'S Command
with Advice of Council.
Theodore Atkinson, Sect'y.
The charter has also this endorsement, together with a list of the grantees:
His Excellency, Benning Wentworth, Esq.
A Tract of Land to contain Five Hundred Acres, marked B. W. on the Plan,
which is to be accounted two of the within shares.
One whole share for the incorporated Society, for the propagation of the
Gospel in Foreign parts.
On' share of the Glebe for the Church of England, as by law established. One
share for the first settled Minister of the Gospel, and one share for the
benefit of Schools in said Town. Province of New Hampshire,
November 3d, 1761.
Theodore Atkinson, Sect'y.
Addison Town Organization
The town was organized and the first town meeting held March 29, 1784,
when the following list of officers was chosen to govern its affairs:
Captain Zadock Everest, moderator; Colonel John Strong, clerk; Colonel John
Strong, Zadock Everest and Joshua Whitney, selectmen; Colonel John Strong,
treasurer; Lieutenant David Vallance, constable; Benjamin Paine, Benjamin
Everest and Lieutenant Joshua Whitney, listers; David Vallance, collector;
Colonel John Strong, leather sealer; John Ward and Ebenezer Wright, grand
jurors; Joseph Chilson, tithingman; Timothy Woodford, brander of horses;
Samuel Strong, pound-keeper; and Benjamin Everest and David Whitney, fence
viewers. It was also voted at this meeting that "Colonel Strong's cow-yard
be and is hereby made a pound for the present year." That the bank of the
Lake for this year be Considered as a Lawful fence."
Among important and quaint votes recorded in the town records during the
first few years of the town's corporate existence may be quoted the
September, 1784. - That the town be divided into two school districts, north
and south districts.
1785- An early highway was surveyed from Hospital Creek, northward to the
south line of Panton to be ten rods wide. Surveyed by David Vallance.
1789- Survey was accepted of a road from Bridport to Panton, through Addison
near Snake Mountain, eight rods wide.
1797. - Committee of selectmen appointed to " find out the center of the
1798- Voted "to see if the inhabitants will agree to petition the General
Assembly of the State next to be holden at Vergennes, to divide the town of
Addison into two distinct towns, making Dead (Creek) the divisional line."
1800. - Town divided into seven districts.
1801. - "Voted to divide the town into two parishes".
1812. - "Voted to divide the town into nine school districts".
The growth and fluctuations in the town's population may be seen in the
following statistics from the census reports for each decade since 1791:
1791, 401; 1800, 734; 1810, 1,100; 1820, 1,210; 1830, 1,306; 1840, 1,229;
1850, 1,279; 1860, 1,000; 1870, 911; 1880, 847.
Addison Municipal History
Addison is exclusively an agricultural township. Though one of the oldest
and in a historical point of view one of the most important towns in the
State, the only settlement within its limits at all approaching the dignity
of a village is a small cluster of houses in the northeastern part of the
town, and known as "The Corners." Here is located the town hall. As early as
1830 there were two stores located here, and the mercantile business was
continued down to about ten years ago, the last merchant being Stephen
Chimney Point was formerly a place of considerable importance, and bid fair
to one day be the site of a flourishing village. But with the advent of the
railroad the course of commerce was taken from the lake; the village
declined and its once crowded wharf has long since gone to decay. Asahel
Barnes, sr., began keeping hotel here at an early date. In 1841 this was
taken by George B. Pease, who ran the business about four years and failed,
when Asahel Barnes, Jr., bought the property and kept the hotel down to
about 1861, when he gradually discontinued the business. In 1824 Amos B.
Chubb opened a store here, and after a time was succeeded by Byron Murray,
who continued the business until 1837. He was succeeded by Rev. Mr. Goodwin,
a Methodist clergyman, and by Benjamin C. Needham, down to about 1854, when
the business was discontinued.
Asahel Barnes, sr., had a cabinet and clock-shop here a few years. The ferry
at the Point was established a few years before Asahel Barnes, sr., came
here, and has been continued since. It is now controlled by John Wright,
though Asahel Barnes, Jr., had it for a number of years prior to 1885.
West Addison is a small hamlet located in the western part of the town.
Town Line is the postal name given a neighborhood on the line between
Addison and Bridport.
Postmasters. - The first post-office in the town was established at Chimney
Point about 1823, with Amos B. Chubb, postmaster. He held the office about
two years, and was succeeded by Byron Murray, and he by Asahel Barnes, sr.,
who held the Office until he went to Burlington, in 1841, when Dr. Prentiss
Cheney had it for a time; then Dr. David C. Goodale, and finally, in the
autumn of 1847, it was taken by Asahel Barnes, Jr., who has been continued
in the office up to the present time.
At the Corners a very early postmaster was Gideon Seeger. The present
incumbent of the office, Miss R. E. Watson, succeeded Stephen Gregory in
West Addison has for its postmaster Milo Everest.
The Town Line office, only established about two years ago, is held by
The Grandview House, located upon the summit of Snake Mountain, was built in
1874 by Jonas N. Smith, the present proprietor. It has an observatory
sixty-eight feet in height, from which an unexcelled view of the surrounding
country may be obtained, showing quite distinctly the old forts at
Ticonderoga and Crown Point, a fine view of Lake George, South Bay, West
Whitehall, Lake Champlain from South Bay to Cumberland Head, Crown Point
village and furnaces, Port Henry and its two furnaces, Moriah Four Corners,
Moriah Center, Mineville, Westport, Split Rock, Point Essex, the spires of
churches in Plattsburgh, Middlebury, Vergennes, Bristol, North Ferrisburgh,
Panton, Bridport, Shoreham, Orwell, Whiting, Leicester, Salisbury, Brandon,
Sudbury, the Adirondack Mountains from Fort Edward on the Hudson to their
northern terminus, and the Green Mountains from near Massachusetts on the
south to their northern terminus in Canada, while forty-two churches may be
counted from the tower.
Addison County, Vermont Genealogy
Addison Co., VT Townships
Addison Co., VT Records