BELVIDERE VERMONT, a very mountainous,
pentagonal shaped town, located in the northwestern corner of the county, in
44° 47' north latitude, and in longitude 4° 19' east from Washington, is
bounded north by Avery's Gore, and Montgomery, in Franklin county, east by
Eden, south by Johnson and Waterville, and west by Waterville. It was
granted to a Mr. John Kelley, of New York city, March 5, 1787, and chartered
by Vermont, November 14, 1791, by the name of Belvidere. The town originally
contained an area of 30,100 acres, but was shorn of its limits November 15,
1824, when a portion of its territory was taken towards forming the town of
Waterville, and again, October 30, 1828, 13,440 acres were annexed to Eden
so that Belvidere now has an area of less than 20,000 acres.
In surface, the town is extremely broken and irregular, some of the
mountains attaining an elevation of from 2,000 to 3,000 feet, so that for
agricultural purposes it is of little value, though there are some good
farms found along the streams, where the soil is principally a clay loam. To
compensate for this deficiency, however, Belvidere has, aside from a variety
of wild and picturesque scenery, many thousand feet of valuable timber
standing in her forests. The manufacture of this timber into lumber, and
into manufactured articles, butter tubs, sap buckets, etc., constitutes the
principal occupation of the inhabitants, and is the source of the principal
exports of the town. The higher peaks and ridges of the territory are
covered with immense quantities of spruce and hemlock, while the lower
portions abound with maple, white and yellow birch, etc. The maple yields an
excellent quality of sugar, many thousand pounds of which find their way to
market annually. North Branch. flows through the center of the town, from
east to west, affording many excellent mill-sites, several of which are
utilized. This stream forms the water-course of the town, and into it flow
the waters of Rattling, Basin, Mill, and several other brooks. All of the
streams are noticeable for their clear, cold water, and are quite
plentifully supplied with trout.
The geological structure of the town is composed of rocks principally of the
talcose schist and gneiss formations. The former underlies the western half,
and the latter the eastern half of the township. The large bed of schist is
cut in several places by beds of steatite, or soapstone, many deposits of
which bid fair to develop into quarries of value. Gold in alluvium is said
to have been discovered in the extreme western portion of the town, though
in very small quantities. A bed of saccharoid azoic limestone also exists,
near the line of Bakersfield. Iron and led ores, too, have been discovered
in limited quantities, yet sufficient to warrant the belief that mines of
considerable value might be developed. Current tradition has it that an
Indian at one time took one of the first settlers with him upon Belvidere
mountain, and there cut from a ledge a chunk of very pure led ore, which he
afterwards run into bullets. There were indications from the cuts in the
ledge, so it is said, that there were large quantities of lead, and that the
Indian had frequently been there before to procure it. The settler thought
to mark the place with his eye, and his route back, so as to return, but the
wily savage crossed and re-crossed his steps so many times on their return,
that the man lost all traces of the spot containing the treasure, and was
never able to find the place afterwards.
In 1882, Belvidere had a population of 400, was divided into five school
districts, and contained five common schools, employing nine female teachers
at an aggregate salary of $430.10. There were 509 pupils attending common
school, while the entire cost of the schools for the year, ending October
31st, was $466.10, with R. D. Whittemore school superintendent.
BELVIDERE, a small post village located in the southwestern part of
the town, on North Branch, contains one church (Christian), one store, a saw
and grist-mill, paint shop, etc., and about a dozen dwellings.
BELVIDERE CORNERS (p. o.) is a hamlet located at the junction of
roads r, 2, 3, and 4.
Manufacturing in Belvidere
Joel C. Hodgkin's saw-mill, located on road 10, was built by
Mr. Hodgkins in 1877. The mill is supplied with an excellent water-power,
employs twelve men, and manufacturers about 3,000,000 feet of lumber per
annum. This lumber is mostly spruce, and is marketed throughout Vermont and
J. C. Hodgkin's tub factory, located on road 10, was established by Harris
Dennio, in 1868, operated by him about three years, then sold to Curtis
Brown, and by him re-sold to Frank Lumbra & Co., and finally, in 1876, came
into the possession of Mr. Hodgkins. The gentleman employs a number of
hands, and manufactures about 40,000 tubs annually.
Brown & Fullington's saw-mill, and butter-tub factory, located on Kelly
brook, near road 13, was built by John Hunter, and, in 188o, was purchased
by L. M. Fullington, of Johnson, and is now operated under the firm title as
above. The saw-mill has the capacity for cutting 8,000 to 10,000 feet of
lumber per day, and in the manufacture of tubs the firm employs ten men, who
turn out about 40,000 tubs per year.
Thomas W. Shattuck's grist-mill, located on road 16, was built by Oliver
Potter, and operated by him for several years, then was owned by several
parties in succession until 1864, when it was purchased by the present
J L. Squire's saw-mill, located on road 14, was built by Edmund Potter,
about the year 185o, and, in the autumn of 1881, was purchased by Mr.
Squires. The mill has a capacity of 4,000 feet of lumber per day, but
depends upon the supply of water, which varies.
It was nearly twenty years after the granting of its charter, that the first
settlement in Belvidere was commenced. The first settlers were Nathaniel
Hodgkins, Moody Shattuck, Timothy Carpenter, John Fletcher, and others, in
1806, '07, and '08, who were joined by others so rapidly, that, in 1810, the
town had a population of 217. The first town meeting was held March 21,
1808, pursuant to a warning issued by Sylvanus Eaton, justice of the peace,
March 7, 1808. John Holmes was chosen moderator of the meeting, which was
then opened in due form, and the following named gentlemen elected as the
first town officers: John Brown, town clerk ; William Beal, John Hodgkins,
and John Adams, selectmen; Jonathan Perham, John Adams, and Lemuel Warren,
listers; Nathaniel Hodgkins, first constable; David Chaffee, grand juror;
Jonathan Chaffee, Nathaniel Hodgkins, and Timothy Carpenter, surveyors of
highways; John Holmes and John Adams, pound keepers; John Perham, David
Chaffee, and Putnam Phelps, fence viewers; John Brown, sealer of leather;
Nathaniel Hodgkins, sealer of weights and measures; Abel Raymore, tythingman;
and Samuel and Jonathan Perham, haywards.
At a meeting held at the house of Enoch Dodge, on the first Tuesday in
September, 1808, the first ballot for electing a person to represent the
State in Congress, was taken, there being fourteen votes cast, ten of which
were for Ezra Butler, and four for Martin Chittenden. The names of the
voters were as follows: John Holmes, John Adams, John Hodgkins, Tavish
Pulsafur, Sherebiah Leach, Samuel Perham, William Beals, Enoch Dodge, David
Chaffee, Joel W. Perham, Jonathan Perham, Nathaniel Hodgkins, John Brown,
and Moody Shattuck, being in all probability all the legal voters there were
in the town at that time.
Sketches of Early Settlers of
Nathaniel Hodgkins, from New Hampshire, came to this
town in 1806. Of his family of eleven children, two spent their lives in the
town. Stickney, the third child, was born in 1791, and was a resident of
Belvidere from 1806, until his death, in 1864. He served in the war of 1812,
took a leading part in town affairs, representing his townsmen in the
legislature of 1840, and his death was generally lamented. He reared a
family of fourteen children, of whom Harriet, the seventh child, became the
wife of Heman L. Fletcher, in 1854. Mr. Fletcher died in the service of his
country during the late civil war, and his only son, Heman S., now occupies
the old homestead, on road 10. Joel C., the ninth child of Stickney, also
resides on road l0.
Moody Shattuck settled in the northeastern part of the town in 1807,
coming from Athens, Vt. He filled several of the first offices of the town,
represented his townsmen in the legislature several times, and served in the
battle of Plattsburgh, ranking as captain. His brother, Jeremiah, came to
Waterville soon after he located here, and subsequently removed to this
town, locating on road 14, where he followed the occupation of a farmer and
shoemaker. Chauncey, a grandson of Moody, now resides in Waterville, on road
7, and Thomas W., the eighth child of Jeremiah, born in Belvidere, in 1812,
still resides here, on road 16.
Martin Shattuck, son of Randall, the youngest son of Moody, was born
in this town in 1842, and resided here until twenty-two years of age, then
removed to Waterville to act as clerk in the store of E. H. Shattuck. He
subsequently engaged in mercantile pursuits for himself, and, May 12, 1871,
removed to Eden, where he carries on business on road 21 corner 22.
Timothy Carpenter, from the southern part of the State, came with his
family to Belvidere in 1808, and located in the southern part of the town,
where he died in 1814, aged forty-three years. He had a family of five
children, all of whom resided in the town. Phineas, a grandson of Timothy,
born here in 1815, now resides on road 6, owning one of the finest places in
John Fletcher, who is one of the oldest citizens of the town, came
here with his father, Artemas, on an ox-sled, from North Adams, Mass.
Shortly after entering the town he located where he now resides, on road 13.
He is a pensioner of the war of 1812, having served at the battle of
Plattsburgh. Two of his children also reside in the town, James H., on the
old homestead, and Artemas, on road 11. Elias J., the youngest son of
Artemas,. served in Co. H., 9th Vt. Vols., and died here in October, 1881,
aged forty-six years.
David Chaffee, from Athens, Vt., came to Belvidere among the early
settlers, but, after a few years residence here, he removed to Boston, Mass.
Alva, the second of his nine children, born in 1796, remained in the town,
continuing a resident until his death, in 1868. He reared a family of nine
children, and took an active part in town affairs. One of his sons, Alva J.,
who now resides on road to, represented the town in 1864, and has filled
other offices of trust. Nason, another son, represented the town of
Waterville in 1870, and held the office of high sheriff in 1874-75.
Amos K. Whittemore, from Litchfield, N. H., located in Eden in 1802,
and from there removed to this town, in 1835, and subsequently took up his
residence in Bakersfield, where he died, in 1871, aged eighty-nine years. He
reared a family of fourteen children, two of whom, Lewis and Robert D., now
reside in the town, on road 17.
Norman M. Cheeney, the second son of Joseph Cheeney, an early settler
in Waterville, was born in 1820, and has resided in Belvidere about twelve
years, during which time he has held most of the town trusts.
Sylvanus Brown, from Orleans county, came to this town in 1838, and
located near the central part, where he died, in 1867, aged sixty-eight
years. Curtis, his third child, born in 1826, has represented the town two
years, held other town offices, and is reckoned one of the most expert
hunters in the State. He has killed upwards of one hundred bears during his
life, three of which he shot during the winter of 1882.
Charles B. Weston was born in Franklin county, in 1805, and came to
Belvidere in 1852, since which time he has been a resident of the town. He
represented his townsmen in the legislature of 1874, and has held most of
the other town offices.
Eugene L. Chappell, from Canada, came to Belvidere in 1857, being the
third to locate in that part of the town called the Basin, since which time,
with the exception of three years spent in the service of his country during
the late war, has resided in the town. He married Miss Amelia St. John, in
1861, and has a family of three children.
Church of Belvidere
The first preaching in the town was in 1810, when Elder
Morris, of Hardwick, preached a sermon in the barn of Timothy Carpenter.
After the war of 1812, meetings were held under the auspices of Elders
Newland, of Hyde Park, and R. Dodge, of Stowe. The meetings resulted in the
organization of a church of the Christian denomination, with the following
list of members : Ebenezer Williams, Jerry Hodgkin, Chester Chaffee,
Eliphalet Carpenter, Jesse C. Holmes, Joseph Perham, Fanny Hodgkin, and
Nancy Russell. In 1851, a neat and substantial church was erected at
Belvidere village, where the society now meets, presided over by Rev. R. D.
Lamoille Co., VT
Lamoille Co., VT