CAMBRIDGE VERMONT, located in the the extreme
western part of the county, in latitude 44° 38', and longitude 4° 7',
bounded north by Fletcher, in Franklin county, and Waterville, east by
Johnson, Morristown and Stowe, south by Underhill, and west by Underhill and
Fletcher, was granted Nov. 7, 1780, and chartered August 13, 178r, to Samuel
Robinson, John Fassett, Jr., Jonathan Fassett, and sixty-four others. The
town originally contained 23,533 acres, but two miles from the western part
of Sterling were annexed to its area, Oct. 30, 1828, and again, November 1,
1841, all that portion of Fletcher which lay upon the south side of the
Lamoille river was annexed, making in all, 9,184 acres, so that Cambridge
now has an area of 32,717 acres.
In surface, the township is rough and uneven, having several prominent
elevations, and lies at the base of Mt. Mansfield, which towers above it to
an altitude of 4,389 feet. Owing to this roughness of surface, it is much
better suited to grazing than grain raising, and, although grain of all
kinds is grown to a fair percentage in certain localities, dairy farming is
the principal occupation of the inhabitants. The soil varies from a fine
intervale to clay bottoms, and is said to be much better on the uplands than
on the intervales. The timber is that indiginous to the Green Mountain towns
of this locality, with large quanties of maple, from which sugar is
manufactured to a larger extent, it is said, than in any other town in the
The Lamoille river forms the principal water-course of the territory,
flowing through the center of the town from east to west, and is joined by
numerous minor streams from the north and south, some of which contain
valuable mill-sites. Geologically, the formation of the town consists of
talcose schist and gneiss, the former underlying the western, the latter the
Unexcelled facilities for the transportation of exports and imports are
afforded by the St. J. & L. C., and the Burlington & Lamoille railroads, the
former of which enters the town from the north, extends south to Cambridge
Junction, and there turns to the east, extending into Johnson, having a
station at the junction. The latter road enters the town from the west,
joining the St. J. & L. C. railroad at Cambridge junction, having stations
at Cambridge Borough, Cambridge Center, and the Junction.
In 1880, Cambridge had a population of 1,750, and in 1882, was divided into
eighteen school districts, and contained eighteen common schools, employing
three male, and twenty-nine female teachers, to whom was paid an aggregate
salary of $1,583.00 There were 339 pupils attending common school, while the
entire cost of the schools for the year, ending October 31st, was $2,120.03,
with R. L. Flagg, superintendent.
CAMBRIDGE BOROUGH (Cambridge p. o.), the oldest village in the town,
located in the western part, on the Lamoille river, is a station on the B. &
L. railway. It contains two churches, (Methodist, Episcopal, and
Congregational,) one hotel, six stores, a saw-mill, and about forty
dwellings. It is a thriving little place, and contains more wealth than most
villages of its size.
The American House, a well-appointed hotel, located at the corner of Main
and South streets, was built by Peleg Stearnes, in 1826. Charles B. Waite
came into possession of the property in 1868, when he changed the name of
the hotel from the "Eagle" to the "Boro' House," and in 1882, Thaddeus S.
Whipple became the proprietor, and changed the name of the hotel to the one
it now bears.
CAMBRIDGE CENTRE (Jeffersonville p. o.), located near the center of
the town, has excellent railroad communications, being located near the
junction of the St. J. & L. C., and the B. &, L. railroads. The village has
one church (Union), two first-class stores, several shops of different
kinds, and about thirty dwellings. Situated in the midst of a fine grazing
country, the village becomes quite a market center, and ships a large
quantity of butter each season.
In 18-, George and David C. Carleton purchased of David C. Griswold a large,
never-failing spring, located on his property, and constructed a cement
aqueduct from it to the village, a distance of about three-quarters of a
mile, for the purpose of supplying the village with water. In 1877, the
aqueduct, and control of the spring, were purchased by Alonzo Kinsley, who
thus supplies about fifteen families with water.
PLEASANT VALLEY (p. o.) is a hamlet located in. the southern part of
the town, about four miles distant from either of the business centers.
NORTH CAMBRIDGE (p. o.) is a hamlet located in the northwestern part
of the town.
EAST CAMBRIDGE (p. o.) is a postoffice, located in a dwelling on road
6, in the extreme eastern part of the town, for the convenience of the
inhabitants of that section.
Manufacturing in Cambridge
John M. Safford's saw and planing-mill, located on road 19,
was built by Macoy & Co., in 1865, and operated by them until 1868, when it
was purchased by Mr. Safford. In 1877, the buildings were destroyed by fire,
but were immediately rebuilt. Mr. Safford now manufactures about 1,000,000.
feet of lumber, 500 sets of bent felloes, and a large amount of chair stock
Byron G. Macoy's cabinet shop, located on road 19, was purchased by Mr.
Macoy in 1870, and has since been conducted under his management. He
manufactures about 40 coffins and a large amount of furniture each year.
Lucius A. Wheelock's saw-mill, located on road 26, was built by him in 1877.
It cuts about 100,000 feet of lumber per annum.
David C. Griswold's tub-manufactory, located on road 26, was built by
William Lathrop, about the year 1840, as an axe factory, and was purchased
by Mr. Griswold in 1859, who converted it into a carriage shop, carrying on
that business until 1882, when he commenced the manufacture of tubs, turning
out about 50,000 per year.
Joel M. Wilcox's grist and planing-mill, located on road 26, was built by D.
D. Safford, in 1862, and was purchased by the present proprietor in 1876.
The mill has every modern convenience, and does custom work.
W. M. Scott's cabinet shop, located on Main st., at Cambridge Borough, was
built by Mr. Burgess about fifty years ago. Mr. Scott manufactures from
forty to eighty coffins and a large amount of furniture per year.
The Wallbridge Saw and Planing-Mill, located on Brewster river, near road
36, is one of the oldest mills in the town. In 1869, it was purchased by its
present owner, Jonathan Lamplough. It has the capacity for cutting 10,000
feet of lumber per day, in addition to the planing done.
Early Settlers of Cambridge
John Spafford, the first settler in the town, came
here from Pierpont, N. H. (Piermont, NH ??), in May, 1783, cleared two acres
of land, which he planted with corn, and built a log house. In the autumn he
harvested his corn, which was a poor crop, as most of it had been destroyed
by an overflow of the Lamoille river, and returned to Pierpont in November
for his family, consisting of wife and two children. During the next summer,
Amos Fassett, Stephen Kinsley, John Fassett, and Samuel Montague, from
Bennington, Vt., and Noah Chittenden, from Arlington, located upon farms
adjoining that of Mr. Fassett. These settlers were joined by others from
time to time, so that in 1791, the town had a population of 359.
The first proprietors' meeting was held at the house of Jonathan Robinson,
at Bennington, Vt., July 1, 1783, pursuant to a warning published in the
Massachusetts Gazette. At this meeting John Fassett was chosen moderator,
and Joseph Safford, clerk. It was voted to lay out the first division of
lots, and Amos Fassett was appointed surveyor for that purpose. After this,
adjourned meetings were held on August 28, March 26, and May 13, 1784. At
this latter meeting it was voted to adjourn until the 2d day of September,
1784, to meet at the house of Amos Fassett, in Cambridge, at ten o'clock, A.
M. The records show that proprietors' meetings continued to be held up to
April 21, 1795, when, with the record of a vote to adjourn until June 10th,
following, the records cease.
On the first page of the town book of records, there appears the following
" These certify that all the leaves before this in this book were filled
with accounts, and were cut out in open town meeting, by order of said
meeting, on the. 29th day of March, being the first town meeting ever held
" Certified this 29th day of March, 1785, by me,
"JOHN FASSETT, town clerk."
This meeting was held at the house of John Fassett, pursuant to a warning
issued on the 15th of the same month. On the 29th of March, 1785, then, the
town of Cambridge was organized, and the proper list of town officers
chosen, which were as follows: David Safford, moderator; John Fassett, town
clerk; Amos Fassett, Stephen Kinsley, and David Safford, selectman; John
Fassett, treasurer; Noah Chittenden, constable; Samuel Montague, grand
juror; Ezekiel Brewster, tything man; David Safford, sealer of weights and
measures; John Brewster, and Noah Chittenden, surveyors of highways; and
Silas Billings, culler of shingles. The first justice of the peace was Amos
Fassett, appointed in 1786. Daniel Kinsley was the first representative,
elected in 1785.
The first birth recorded is that of Samantha, daughter of Amos and Anna
Fassett, November 14, 1784. She died at the age of twenty-two years. Daniel,
son of Stephen Kingsley, was the second child born, in 1784. He lived until
1864. An infant of David Safford was the third, which died in infancy.
Solomon Montague was the fourth. He died but a few years since, having for a
long time enjoyed the title of the "oldest resident" in the town. The first
death was that of Martha, a daughter of Robert and Thankful Cochran, April
13, 1788. The first grist-mill was built on Seymour brook, and owned by a
Mr. Poor. As late as 1791, they came from Morristown to Cambridge to mill, a
distance of twenty miles. In 1785, the first saw-mill was built, giving the
settlers a chance for the first time to have regular floors and doors for
their dwellings. Frederick Parker built the second saw-mill, at the junction
of Bacon, Smedley, and Boardman brooks. The first arched bridge in town was
built by Enoch Carleton and Joseph P. Hawley, in 1832. In 1786, the first
school was opened, in a log house, by John Safford, who had a class of
twenty-four scholars. The first deed on record is, under the date of April
2, 1785, Cambridge being then a part of Rutland county. In 1791, the town
was set to Chittenden county, and in 1796, to Franklin county, and finally,
in December, 1836, is the date of the first deed on record in the town since
it was a part of Lamoille county. The date of the incorporation of these
counties, of which Cambridge has been successively a part, may be found on
During the war of 1812, Cambridge did her full share in furnishing soldiers
to defend our country, and were it available to us, we should like to print,
a full list of those who served in the war. When the late Rebellion broke
out, also, the town was prompt in filling the quota required of her, the
first to enlist being Eli Ellenwood. The highest bounty paid by the town was
$500.00. There were 45 enlisted men furnished, thirty-eight of whom were
killed or died from wounds received, or from disease contracted while in the
The Congregational Church
The Congregational Church, located at Cambridge, was organized by Rev.
Ithimar Hibbard, of Bennington, February 18, 1792, with twelve members The
church building is a wood structure, built in 1805, being now the oldest
church in Northern Vermont, and capable of seating about 300 persons. The
society now has sixty-seven members, with Rev. Edwin Wheelock pastor, who
has held the position twenty-seven years.
The Methodist Church
The Methodist Church, located at Cambridge, was organized in 1848, with
thirty-nine members, by Elder Hiram Meeker. The first .pastor was Rev.
Salsbury S. Ford. The church building was erected in 1849, and remodeled. in
1863, so that it is now a comfortable structure capable of seating 250
persons, and is valued at $3,500.00. The society has ninety-two members,
with Rev. C. S. Vail, pastor.
Lamoille Co., VT
Lamoille Co., VT