Page 576 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY.
HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF PANTON
PANTON is one of the lake shore towns of Addison county, lying in the northern part, and is bounded on the north by Ferrisburgh and Vergennes; east by Waltham and Vergennes; south by Addison, and west by the lake. In its natural features the surface is somewhat low and quite level, a heavy clay soil predominating and furnishing excellent grazing lands; good crops of wheat, oats, rye, buckwheat, corn, and potatoes are also raised. The only streams of much importance are Otter Creek, which forms a portion of the eastern boundary of the town, and Dead Creek, a sluggish stream, bor-
Page 577 TOWN OF PANTON.
dered by low, marshy lands, which flows through the central part of the town, from south to north.
Panton was chartered by New Hampshire on the 3d of November, 1761, to James Nichols and sixty-three others, who were mostly citizens of Litchfield county, Conn. These grantees supposed they were acquiring title to 25,000 acres of land, "extending seven miles west and six miles south from the lower falls of the Great Otter Creek." [Note 1] It was learned, however, when the first survey was made, that a tract embracing the amount of land named in the charter would extend a long distance into the lake. It is known that some effort was made by the proprietors to obtain other lands in place of those thus lost, as hereafter shown.
Proprietors' Records. -- The first meeting of the proprietors of which there is existing record was held at Canaan, Conn., on the 20th of July, 1762, at Lieutenant Daniel Horseford's. At this meeting Isaac Peck was chosen clerk, and Captain Josiah Dean moderator. Isaac Peck, John Clothier, and Abraham Jackson were appointed a committee to proceed to lay out the township of Panton, "in the province of New Hampshire."
At a meeting held on the second Tuesday of October, of that year, it was voted that the rights of those who had not paid their rates should be sold at public vendue.
On the first Tuesday of November, 1762, it was voted that Captain Dean go as "agent to Portsmouth." Voted, also, "that each man's lot that does not join the lake may join it, deducting the same out of the next division."
The following from the records of a meeting held on the 25th of April, 1763, at Canaan, explains in part the efforts of the proprietors to recover the full number of acres of land demanded in their charter, to which we have alluded. We quote as follows: " Captain Josiah Dean was chosen agent to go to Portsmouth, and there make petition of the survey of s'd township of Panton, to the governor of New Hampshire, or of the proper officer for s'd return to be made, and, whereas there is not room between Otter Creek and Lake Champlain for s'd township of Panton, to be laid agreeable to the charter thereof, by reason the Lake and Otter Creek at the northern end of s'd Township are found on a mensuration to be nearer together than were supposed to be by the Governor of New Hampshire when he granted the charter of s'd Township -- Therefore the s'd Josiah Dean at s'd meeting was appointed (when
[Note 1] With reference to these boundaries the following extracts from the charter are pertinent: "Beginning at a tree marked standing on the west side of Otter Creek, so called, near the head of the Falls in said Creek, from thence running west seven miles, then south six miles, then turning off and running east to Otter Creek afores'd, then down the creek as that runs to the bounds first above mentioned, then beginning again at the end of the south line aforesaid which in the grant of the town of Weybridge is called the southweststerly corner of Panton and is the northwesterly corner of Weybridge and from thence running west to Lake Champlain, thence northerly by the shore of Lake Champlain, thence northerly by the shores of said lake to a stake and stones there standing in the side of the seven miles west line aforesaid."
Page 578 HISTORYOF ADDISON COUNTY.
he makes return of the survey of s'd township) to lay the Premises before his Honor the Governor of New Hampshire, and make application in Behalf of the Proprietors of s'd township of Panton, for a suitable compensation in some the ungranted lands adjoining or elsewhere if it cannot be had adjoining, and to endeavor to obtain the same for s'd Proprietors in the best manner he can on Acct of lands falling short in the place specified by charter," etc.
The military exigencies of the times under consideration are shown by the following extract from the records of a meeting held October 25, 1763: "Voted, that Captain Samuel Elmore proceed to Gen'l Amherst and endeavor to obtain a Pass for any of the Proprietors of s'd township to come and go to and from s'd township as Occation shall require for the settlement thereof."
It appears that during the year 1763 little was done toward the settlement of the town or by the proprietors; but the following year was an important one, as it witnessed the first attempts toward permanent settlement. At a meeting held on the second Tuesday of December, 1764, it was voted "That whereas M'ssrs. James Nichols, Griswold and Barns, David Vallance, Timothy Harris, Joseph Wood, Capt. Samuel Elmore, Wm. Patterson, Elijah Smith, Zadock Everest, Amos Chipman, Sam'l Chipman, &c., to the number of 15 did go the last Summer to the Township of Panton near Crown Point, and did there build, clear and fence and do the duty on 15 rights in s'd Township pursuant to a vote of the Proprietors of s'd Township convened on the first Monday of Aprell, 1764, as on record, but did not finish and compleat the same, Voted that the s'd James Nichols, Griswold and Barns, &c. be allowed till the last day of June next to finish and compleat the s'd Duty, and make the same evident to the proprietors."
This conclusively fixes the date of the first steps towards permanent settlement of the town. In April of the same year, at a meeting held in Canaan, the proprietors took action for the building of that urgent necessity to the pioneer, the first saw-mill. The record says, "Voted, that Capt. Samuel Elmore, David Griswold, esq., and Mr. Simon Smith, all of Sharon, be a Committee to agree with Mr. Isaac Peck, Jeremiah Griswold, and Daniel Barns, jun., relative to their building a Saw-mill on the falls in Otter Creek, at the northeast corner of Panton, and empowered to dispose of a convenient privilege; and further, the s'd Persons, (viz.) Peck, Griswold & Barns, may have liberty to lay out 150 acres of land adjoining to s'd mill place in a suitable form &c., reserving to s'd Proprietors convenient highways to s'd mill place. Then s'd Committee are to soon deliver to them one good set of sawmill Irons at Fort George as they want them on the cost of the Proprietors." This saw-mill was begun that year, but not finished until the next fall, and was the same mill of which they were dispossessed by Reid, as fully detailed in Judge Smith's history of Vergennes, in later pages of this work.
It is probable that little was accomplished in the way of clearing land in
Page 579 TOWN OF PANTON.
the town during 1765, but some of the acts of the proprietors may be noted: At a meeting on the first Tuesday in December it was voted "that a highway Ten rods wide be laid out in the Township of Panton north and south through the center of the Home lots or as near the centre as the land will admit of according to the direction and best judgement of the Committee after named, to be laid out through the whole length of the town."
Jedediah Ferris, Joseph Pangborn, and Peter Ferris were chosen a committee to layout this broad road, and were directed to "clear a road in s'd highway one rod wide."
At the same meeting it was voted that Joseph Pangborn have the right to build a grist-mill on the falls on Otter Creek, with the privileges for horses to pass and repass to and from the mill, provided that he build a good grist-mill and have it fit to go by the first day of May, 1767."
The following record of a vote shows that several men intended to, and probably did, come to the town early in 1766: On the second Tuesday in March "Timothy Harris, Joseph Pangborn, Jedediah Ferris, Zadock Everest and David Vallance were chosen a committee to Fence the whole town of Panton into one common field, to do it immediately, and as soon as they get there in the spring."
Referring again to the action of Colonel Reid and his associates from New York, in taking possession of the mills, the following vote of the proprietors passed at a meeting held at the house of David Bebee in Salisbury, Conn., is of interest: "Voted, that whereas, the Proprietors of Panton were engaged and zealous to settle and make improvements on s'd township, yet they have met with many discouragements and Hindrances which have obstructed and Retarded the Progress of settling, particularly the summer past, Gov. Moore's Proclamation, and from Col. David Wooster's obtaining a Patent from the Gov. of New York, that laps on s'd Township, and from his threatening the People, warning some off the Land, and harrassing one of them with a lawsuit, and also from Col. Reed's taking possession of the mill at the falls on Otter Creek which we have built, whereby the Progress of settlement of s'd Township is greatly obstructed and the People terrified, therefore it is voted to choose a committee to join with the committees from other towns to prepare a Petition to Present to his Majesty's clemency that he will be pleased to confirm and ratify the original grant or charter given by Gov. Wentworth, and that he will be pleased to lengthen the time allowed in s'd charter for compleating the settlement of s'd Township to five or ten years longer, or any shorter time he shall please," etc. The committee named for this duty were Captain Samuel Elmore, Captain Charles Burrell, and Daniel Griswold.
In April,1769, owing to the fact that those to whom the mill privilege had been granted had allowed Reid to dispossess them, the proprietors voted to resume possession of the privileges at the falls, and Samuel Elmore was appointed
Page 580 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY.
agent to "enter in their names and take possession of s'd saw-mill," etc. Between June 15 and July 15, 1772, Ethan Allen and his party dispossessed Reid and his agents; but the latter again took possession in the following summer, only to be again routed by Allen's men in August.
In the fall of 1773 the number of settlers in the town and the importance of its interests warranted the transfer of the proprietors' meetings hither, where they continued to be held for many years.
In 1770 began the charter difficulties with the town of Addison, of which Judge Smith writes as follows: "These difficulties continued till an agreement was ratified, May 17, 1774, by which Addison held according to her charter: but gave 8,000 acres of the disputed territory to the Panton proprietors 'for a reward for duties done in settling s'd tract,' which was defined and ratified at the first meeting held after the Revolutionary War, at Pawlet. This agreement left 115 acres of Panton territory, lying on Otter Creek, near Reef Bridge, detached from the rest of the town, and long known as 'Little Panton,' which was annexed to Weybridge in 1806"
The last appointment for a meeting previous to the war was for the second Tuesday in October, 1776; but as this was the week, and possibly the very day, of the battle of Ferris's Bay, it is not strange that the meeting was not held. Of this event and other incidents connected therewith, we quote as follows from the sketch furnished the Vermont Historical Magazine, by Judge Smith: "Events had by this time occurred within the immediate neighborhood, that convinced them [the inhabitants of Panton] that they could not remain inactive spectators of the struggle in their exposed locality. The year before Ethan Allen had sent Captain Douglass, of Jericho, to Panton, to consult his brother-in-law, and procure boats to assist in carrying his men across the lake to attack Ticonderoga; and among the reinforcements sent to Canada under General Thomas, after the death of the lamented Montgomery and so many of his brave companions, was Edmund Grandey, the father of the late Judge Grandey and brother of Elijah Grandey, then living in Panton, who passed down the lake on snow-shoes in the winter. Nathan Spalding also enlisted, and left home January 20, 1776, and died at Quebec the May following, of the small-pox, while being carried in a cart when the army retreated in such haste. And now, in October, Arnold having command of the first American fleet on Lake Champlain, consisting, some say of nine, and others of fifteen vessels, of different sizes, manned by 395 men, was attacked by a British naval force under Captain Pringle, greatly superior in numbers and equipments. After four hours' hard fighting at Valcour Island, in which one of Arnold's vessels was burned and another sunk, the British retired from the attack. Arnold endeavored to escape in the night with his vessels to Crown Point, but was overtaken October 11 near Ferris's Bay, in Panton, and the battle was renewed and kept up for two hours, six of Arnold's vessels being engaged,
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those foremost in the flight having escaped to Ticonderoga. The Washington galley under General Waterbury, owing to her crippled condition, was obliged to surrender, and, in order to prevent the rest of his men and vessels from falling into the hands of the enemy, Arnold ran ashore and blew up or sank his fleet. We have the statement of 'Squire Ferris as first published by Mr. Tucker, that Lieutenant Goldsmith was lying wounded on deck, and blown into the air at the explosion, Arnold's order for his removal not having been executed, much to his sorrow and indignation. This affair gave Arnold's name to the bay where it occurred. Of the five vessels sunk, three are known to have been raised, and two of them may still be seen in low water, lying where they sank eighty-three years ago, and have often been visited for the purpose of fishing up the balls and other articles which may be seen in clear water. One brass cannon was taken out many years since by Ferris, and fired in the militia gatherings after the war, and is said to have been used at the battle of Plattsburgh. It is not known whether the British pursued Arnold on land, but 'several shots fired by them at his men struck the house of Peter Ferris, near the shore where they landed. Ferris and his family, and probably some others in the town, went with Arnold to Ticonderoga, but soon after returned.'
"From this time the inhabitants were frequently visited by straggling bands of Indians and Tories, who plundered them of any movable property desirable in their eyes, and after Burgoyne came up the lake, in June, 1777, these robberies were more frequent. Some few of the families again left, and it is thought by some this was the time of the general fight; but we have good evidence that the Holcomb, Spalding, and Grandey families were not burned out till the next year. Some of the men were taken prisoners in '77. It is supposed that October of this year was the time when Phineas Spalding and eleven others of Panton and Addison were taken and kept awhile on board a vessel in the vicinity. Spalding was employed to dress the animals brought onboard for food, until an opportunity occurred to him to jump into a small boat lying aside the vessel, when he paddled for shore, but before he reached it was observed and ordered to return. Knowing they would fire upon him, and thinking his body too large a mark to escape, he jumped into the water and swam safely to shore amid the bullets of the British. On the evacuation of Crown Point, about one week later, the other prisoners were released. "In the fall of 1778 a large British force came up the lake in several vessels and thoroughly scoured the country on both sides," and every house in Panton was burnt but one. Timothy Spalding's house escaped for some reason not known, although the enemy came to the front while he was escaping at the back. The house of Elijah Grandey was visited before his wife left. She was then but nineteen years of age, but had become accustomed to the visits of the Indians for plunder. After witnessing the burning of her house and furniture, she carried her son Edmund, two years old, to the bateaux at Merrill's Bay, where
Page 582 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY.
the women of the vicinity assembled. Her husband was taken prisoner with others and carried on board a vessel, but was released by the officer commanding to go in company with Thomas Hinkley, of Westport, to take the women and children to Skeensboro. Five of the Holcomb family, two Spaldings, and two Ferrises were taken prisoners about the same time, and the town remained deserted till after the close of hostilities, when those of the settlers who were still living gradually returned, rebuilt their houses, and again commenced the cultivation of their long-neglected farms."
After the war a number of unsuccessful attempts were made to unite a portion of Panton and the town of Ferrisburgh into one township. Thus, in May, 1784, we find it recorded that a meeting proceeded to the following action: "Mr. Peter Ferris git a remonstrance for to see who will sign to unite with Ferrisburgh,(viz.) the Inhabitants on the southwest side of Otter Creek and the inhabitants of Panton." And again in September, 1785, "That we will and do by a great majority, of votes that we will petition with Ferrisburgh to the legislature body of this State to frame the township of Panton and the land that belongs to Ferrisburgh on the west of Otter creek into one township." These efforts at a union of the territory named continued at intervals until some forty years ago.
Town Meetings and Records. -- On the 30th of March, 1784, the first public town meeting was held in Panton and the following officers chosen: Benjamin Holcomb, moderator; Elijah Grandey, town clerk; Noah Ferris, Benjamin Holcomb, Henry Spalding, selectmen; Benjamin Holcomb, treasurer; Asa Strong, constable; Elijah Grandey, Henry Spalding, Noah Ferris, listers; Asa Strong, collector of town taxes; Noah Ferris, leather sealer; Timothy, Spalding, Noah Ferris, grand jurors.
At this meeting it was voted that a pound be "built near the house of Henry Spalding, in Panton, and he be poundkeeper." The following quaint vote was passed: "Voted no howning of deer shall be permitted or allowed in this town and all dogs that run at large and are not restrained shall and may be a freemark for any whome he offends, this act voated in the affirmative."
In 1785 Zadock Everest and John Strong, living in Addison, were appointed a committee to look after the interests of Panton in the Legislature, and the next year Peter Ferris was chosen their representative.
Upon the question of allowing a portion of the town to be taken off to form the city of Vergennes, the inhabitants took a decided though ineffectual stand on the negative side; for we find a vote recorded in January, 1787, that they "are not willing to have no part of the town taken off for a City at the N. E. corner of said town."
"In the summer of 1788," says Judge Smith, "the wheat crop was so much injured by rains that before the next harvest there was a great scarcity of breadstuffs and considerable suffering. A few barrels of flour brought into
Page 583 TOWN OF PANTON.
Woodford Bay gave some relief, although no one could obtain more than ten pounds at one time because of the necessity of a general distribution. In 1793 a destructive fire swept across the town in the woods between the Ledge and Dead Creek, and in 1816 a large tract was burnt over on the east side of Dead Creek.
"Previous to 1804 there was no bridge in the town over Dead Creek, and the summer travel was either by a ferry across Otter Creek, at the mouth of Dead Creek, or by a road in Addison. In 1804 the south bridge was completed; the north, in 1805; the turnpike finished, and toll-gates erected in 1818, and became a free road in 1840."
Early Settlers. -- Peter Ferris was one of the prominent early settlers of the town and lived on Arnold Bay; he was of the family from whom the town of Ferrisburgh took its name. He was born in 1722, and had married the second time before coming to Panton. Leaving his first family of children in Dutchess county, he came here with his wife and two sons, Squire and James, about the year 1766. It is believed that his family was the first in the present limits of this town. His third son, Darius, is supposed to have been the first child born in the town. On this point Judge Smith says that "the statement of Deming, that Lois Farr was born here in 1764 is not accepted, because there is no evidence that there was a family in the town at that time." Mr. Ferris's wife died in Panton before the Revolution, and was the first white adult person buried in the town. He died in 1815 at the age of ninety-three. Squire Ferris died at Vergennes in 1849, aged seventy-seven years.
The Grandey family have been a conspicuous one, and are thus written of by Judge Smith: "Elijah Grandey (great-uncle of George W. Grandey, of Vergennes), born March 14, 1748, in Canaan, Conn., came to Panton about the year 1773; commenced a clearing and built a log house where Isaac Spalding now lives; was married February 23, 1775, to Salome Smith, of Bridport, then sixteen years of age; (they were obliged to go to Ticonderoga to find an officer competent to perform the ceremony). Lived on his farm till the war; was taken prisoner, and released to take care of the women and children; went to Canaan, and left his wife and child at his brother Edmond's; returned to Vermont, where he frequently acted as scout and guide; and, after the close of hostilities returned to his farm, where he died at 1810. He, as well as his brother Edmond, appears to have possessed advantages of education superior to most of the early settlers; was for many years proprietors' clerk, and first town clerk. His son Edmond, born in 1776, died in Panton in 1849. Elijah, born in 1782, is still living. Edmond Grandey was a soldier of the Revolution; was at the siege of Quebec in 1776, and with the army in their retreat in 1788 he came with his family 'to Panton, where he resided till his death in 1826. He was several times chosen to represent the town, and held other offices. Of his four sons, Jesse and Elijah, who settled near their father,
Page 584 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY.
left large families, mostly settled in this vicinity. Jesse Grandey was born in 1778,and died in 1846, having long enjoyed the confidence and esteem of his townsmen. He was often called to the more important town offices, and in 1832 appointed judge of probate."
Phineas Spalding, whose name often appears in the records of the town, was born at Plainfield, Conn., in 1720, and came here from Cornwall with a large family of children by way of Fort Edward and Lake George in 1767, stopping in what he supposed was Panton, of which he was one of the original proprietors. He remained on what has been known as the Swift farm, in the town of Addison, until November 5, 1778, when his house and goods were burned and two of his sons taken prisoners. He escaped to Rutland and died there not long after. Phineas Spalding, jr., born in 1749, married for his second wife Sarah, daughter of Phineas Holcomb. He was driven from his farm and went to Rutland, where he enlisted for six months. In the spring of 1779 he went to Canaan, returning late in 1785; was taken prisoner, as before stated, and died in Panton in 1825, at the age of seventy-six. His children by a third wife, Isaac and John, also lived in the town. Philip and George were captured on their father's farm on the 5th of November, 1778, and carried to Canada with other prisoners. They effected their escape, and Philip, with some others, wandered in the woods twenty-one days, when they reached the Connecticut River. Philip enlisted after his return and served through the war; then married and moved on the farm where his son Hiram afterward lived. George was retaken and put in irons; afterward offered his liberty if he would first go one trip in a vessel to Great Britain. Stopping at a port in Ireland, he went ashore and was taken by a press-gang. Nothing further is known of him. Timothy Spalding lived on the place now occupied by Burton Kent, in the west part of the town on the lake road. His son Henry also occupied that place and kept a public house.
The Holcomb family was prominent in the early history of the town. Of its settlement Judge Smith wrote Phineas Holcomb came from Dutchess county, in the spring of 1774, with a large family, and settled on land now owned by Edrick Adams, esq. On the morning of November 5, 1778, his son Joseph, then sixteen years old, was cutting fire-wood under an elm tree now standing, at the door of his brother-in-law, Spalding, who was away from home at the time. Being intent upon his work, he saw nothing of his danger till an Indian stepped up from behind, and a number more surrounded him. They took him off to a vessel, on the lake, with his father, and three brothers who lived a short distance from Spalding's, and who were taken by the same party, and their houses burned. They were taken to Quebec, and endured great privation and suffering, which resulted in the death of the two oldest brothers, Joshua and Samuel, in the prison, in the summer of 1781, and of the father, in September of the same year. The two younger boys, Joseph and Elisha,
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allowed more liberty, and treated with less severity (being permitted to aid in the care of the sick prisoners), escaped the disease and death which was the sad fate of so many of their companions in misery, and were exchanged after three years and eight months' imprisonment. Joseph died at Panton, January 20, 1833, in his seventy-first year. Elisha moved to Elizabethtown in 1813, where he died." Lieutenant Benjamin Holcomb lived in the west part of the town, as did the others of that name -- Benjamin on the place now occupied by Aaron Curler. He was an officer in the Revolutionary War and a man of much native ability; lived in Panton from 1783 to 1790, when he moved to Elizabethtown, N. J., and died there. In the spring of 1787 Abner Holcomb, nephew of Benjamin, came to Panton and located in a house near where Aaron Curler lives, and in 1802 removed to Westport, his children going with him, with the exception of Abner G. Michael Hays came at the same time with his family, bringing the women and children of both families, with his horses and sleigh.
Asa Strong, son of John Strong, of Addison, came to Panton in 1783, locating in the part now included in Vergennes. He owned and managed the saw-mill on the west side at the fall. He was postmaster at Vergennes from 1795 to 1799, and a man of character and ability.
William Shepherd moved from Simsbury, Conn., with six children in 1785, having purchased two fifty-acre lots for one hundred pounds. He died in 1802, at the age of seventy. He lived a mile south of the meeting-house, and later on the Joseph Tappen place. He had three sons -- William, jr., Samuel, and Abel. All of them were men of prominence in the town and represented it in the Legislature at different periods. William died in Panton in 1836, aged seventy-seven. Abel removed to Ohio. Samuel was married to Rachel Grandey in 1790, and soon afterward built a small house near the later site of the larger one; the latter was built in 1815. After holding many town offices, including representative, he was appointed in 1812 one of the assistant judges of the County Court.
Jared Payne lived in the east part of the town, and Amasa about a mile from him; the latter afterward removed to Connecticut, where he was killed by the blowing down of his dwelling. Reuben Bristol lived one and a half miles South of Vergennes on lands still occupied by descendants of the family. Benjamin Pangborn settled in the west part of the town, and was a blacksmith; he was noted for his great strength. He left many descendants, but none of them, now resides in town. Elkanah Brush lived near the falls in Panton, but became identified with Vergennes after the separation. Ephraim Curtis, father Of Charles and Bradford Curtis, lived on a farm in the extreme northwest corner Of Panton. Charles Curtis married a Pangborn and reared a large family, and his son, Charles E., lives now in Vergennes. Amasa Payne lived in the east part of the town, on the banks of Otter Creek, on the farm long owned by
Page 586 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY.
Philo Bristol. John Reynolds, jr., father of twenty-four children, lived nearly a mile south of the meeting-house, on the place now owned by Charles Tull. Gideon Spencer lived in that part of the town set off to Vergennes, and his descendants were prominent in Panton for many years; they at one time owned all of the water power at the falls on the west side of the creek, and made a perpetual lease of it, which is still in force. In 1788 or '89 he kept a hotel near the creek on the west side. Beebe Pangborn was a brother of Benjamin and lived in that part set off to Vergennes; he was a mechanic.
Such are the meager details now accessible of the settlements of those who bore a prominent part in laying the foundations of the town; but we are enabled, through the memories of Judge Smith, George W. Grandey, and a few others, to extend these notes of the leading men of the town to a later date. Coming down to a date of fifty years ago we learn the following of the then residents of the town: Charles Curtis, who has been mentioned, still lived in the northwest corner of the town. South of him, on the Lake street, Friend Adams, on Arnold's Bay, and the ferry from there to Westport has always been known as Adams's Ferry. He owned the ferry, wharf, storehouse, store, a large farm, ferry boats, and kept a hotel; was one of the largest land holders in that vicinity. He had a large family, and one son, Charles, now lives in Vergennes. Other sons, Hiram and Harry, were prominent in Vergennes, but are now deceased. Friend Adams died about the year 1839, leaving a large property. A little east of Adams lived Darius Ferris, a son of Peter, the early settler. Next south on the Lake street was Roswell D. Hopkins, a son of Roswell Hopkins (see history of Vergennes) who lived in Vergennes. Roswell D. was a farmer and left a large family. His son, Dr. William F. Hopkins, now practices in Vergennes. Next south of him was Silas Tappen, a respectable farmer, a frequent office-holder, and popular man. One of his daughters is the mother of the present Carlton T., Charles 0., and Herrick Stevens, of Vergennes. Another daughter married Cyrus Smith, who now lives, at the age of ninety years, in Panton. One daughter married James Ten Broeke, who lived on the place next south of Silas Tappen's. James Ten Broeke taught school and had the reputation of being successful in that calling. In later life he became a Baptist preacher. His son, the present town clerk of Panton, lives on the place the father occupied. At an earlier date than that under consideration a store and potashery stood nearly opposite Mr. Ten Broeke's. Next south of the Ten Broeke place lived Horatio N. White, for many years a prominent lake captain, and still living as one of the oldest residents of the town. A little south and east of Ten Broeke's was the farm and blacksmith shop of Thomas Stagg, and still farther south was the Spalding farm, then occupied by Hiram Spalding, and now by his descendants. The next place south was then occupied by Nathan-Spalding, and now by Burton Kent. Josiah Stagg lived on the farm next south, which is now occupied by William Conant. Then came
Page 587 TOWN OF PANTON.
Isaac Spalding's place, which passed to Isaac Somers Spalding, and is now occupied by his family.
Beginning at the south end of the middle north and south street lived Judge Jesse Grandey, father of General George W. Grandey, of Vergennes, and Truman Grandey, deceased. Jesse Grandey was in early life a carpenter and surveyor and held many public offices. North of him lived his son, Truman Grandey. Next north lived Jason Cole, school-teacher, farmer, and owner of a limekiln; the place is now occupied by Jacob Spalding. The farm next north (originally Abel Shepherd's) was occupied by Chilion Wines, who was followed by Henry Gardner, Clark Conant, and Jacob Tappen; William E. White is the present occupant. North of that place was the farm of John Spalding, now occupied by Elisha Doten. The next farm north was that of Judge Samuel Shepherd, at that time one of the most prominent men of the town, and one of the side judges of the county. He held the office of justice of the peace many years and represented the town. Next north lived Wareham Brown, on the place now occupied by Cyrus Bowers. Ensign Tull lived on the next farm, which was formerly occupied by John Reynolds, jr., as before stated; the place is now occupied by Charles Tull. Next north then lived the widow of Dr. Stephen Rusco, who died more than fifty years ago. He practiced medicine in this section as many as forty years. His grandson Andrew Rusco, now occupies the Place. The next farm to the north is the one then owned by Enoch Kent, whose son, Loyal Kent, now lives there. Silas Pond, son of the early settler of the same name, lived next; he was a man of considerable prominence and held numerous offices. On the next place, now occupied by Silas Hoyt, then lived Putnam Bishop, and next to him Primas Storms, a colored man who had been a slave in New York; his former master was an aid to General Washington. A grandson of Storms, named Eugene Storms, now occupies the farm. The Master was General Storms and gave his servant the farm. On the place now occupied by Dr. Norman Towsley then lived Calvin Hyde, and next to him Jonathan Gaines, grandfather of S. S. Gaines, now proprietor of the Stevens House, in Vergennes. The place is now occupied by Hopkins Gaines, a brother of S. S. They are sons of B. F. Gaines. The next farm north was that of Benjamin Curler, now occupied by brother of S. S. They are sons of B. F. Gaines. The next farm north was that of Benjamin Curler, now occupied by his son-in-law, Henry Allen. On the next place, the last one within the town, on that street, lived Phineas Holcomb, who was a corporal in the War of 1812.
The turnpike, as it was then called -- a road built by General Strong -- in the first house east of Dead Creek lived Uriah Chapin, who married a daughter of Enoch Kent, Chapin held several offices. Nearly opposite his house was that of Abner G. Holcomb, a grandson of Benjamin Holcomb; he was a man of positive opinions and generally respected; held the office of justice of the peace. He kept a hotel for a time and reared a large family. One son, Girard Holcomb, now lives in Panton. Next on the east was the farm of An-
588 HISTORYOF ADDISON COUNTY.
thony Barton, remembered as keeper of the toll-gate and proprietor of "Bartonville," who expressed a desire to return fifty years after his death to see his city, then comprising half a dozen log huts. The next farm on the east was that of William H. Smith, who had been a merchant and manufacturer of West Haven, Vt., and came to Panton in 1821; he died in 1843. He had one son and four daughters, of whom only the son is now living -- Judge John D. Smith, of Vergennes -- and one daughter, Mrs. Morgan, of Vergennes. No others then lived on that road.
On the road from Vergennes to Addison meeting-house, in the east part of the town, the first farm in the town of Panton, going southward, was that of Alexander Brush, a man of excellent qualities. Of his two children one married a Mr. Knowles, of Potsdam, N. Y., and the other is the widow of William Kingsland, of Vergennes. Next south lived Moses Bristol, who built the brick house in 1827 where his son Norman now lives. Noah Bristol, brother of Moses, lived next south, where his son, Russell D., now lives. Next south was the Jonathan Spencer farm, then occupied by his son George. That farm included the present farms of N. Richards and Mr. Holland. At the corner next south was a tannery owned by the Spencer family, and next to that and also on the corner was the tavern of Isaac Havens. Next south was the farm of Johnson Walker, who was succeeded by his son George; the place is now occupied by Cassius Warner. The next place was where Solomon Adam lived, and has become somewhat noted in recent years as the site of the Elgin Spring House, a popular summer resort. The medicinal spring and the farm are now owned by Frederick Sears. Dr. Marsh C. Smith lived on the next place, now owned by Ichabod Sherman. Near the southeast corner of Panton lived Norman Munson, a man of considerable note as a farmer and captain of militia; Corydon Harris now owns the farm. On the farm then recently occupied by Amasa Payne was Ethan Hitchcock, the place recently occupied by the Misses Rugg. There were other transitory residents, but these notes include about all of the permanent dwellers in the town at that date, and give the reader a clear idea of the condition of the community, as far as the inhabitants were concerned at that time.
The first school-house in Panton was built of logs and covered with bark, in the fall of 1786. It is not certain who was the first teacher, but Thomas Judd taught two winters about that time; he lived in the neighborhood of William Ten Broeke's present residence. Not long afterward Dr. Post taught several seasons. The first framed school-house was built in 1791 and was used until recent years, latterly for a barn. In later years the town has comprised four school districts, and excellent schools have been provided.
When the War of the Rebellion called to the test the patriotism of the people, no town responded more readily to the demands of the national government for troops than did Panton. Below is a list of the names of those who enlisted in Vermont bodies of troops:
Page 589 TOWN OF PANTON.
Volunteers for three years credited previous to call for 300,000 volunteers of October 17, 1863:
F. Bombard, J. G. Converse, W. Cross, J. Daniels, M. Daniels, J. H. Gandell, T. G. Gardner, I. Hatch, H. Matthews, H. Matthews, L. P. Matthews, C. Minor, A. Perry, H. Perry, J. P. Perry, L. Raymond, C. R. Shambo, J. Spalding, G. A. White.
Credits under call of October 17, 1863, for 300,000 volunteers, and subsequent calls:
Volunteers for three years-- R. H. Barnes, W. Clarke, J. R. Converse, N. Laplant, J. H. Larock, R. Ryan, S. S. Tucker.
Volunteers for one year.- S. F. Ellison, I. W. Everett 2d, C. W. Holcomb, G. A. Wood.
Volunteers for nine months.--S. T. Allen, E. E. Beach, J. R. Converse, G. Holcomb, H. Pecue, W. D. Talbot.
Furnished under draft.--Paid commutation, B. Allen, J. Spencer. Procured substitute, H. F. Gaines, M. D. Lee, W. E. White.
The inhabitants of Panton had scarcely returned after the Revolutionary War, when they turned their attention to the subject of religious worship for prayer were held at private houses, and in 1794 a Baptist Church was organized with ten members, one of whom occasionally preached to them until 1799, when Elder Henry Chamberlain was ordained their first pastor. In 1810 the first meeting-house was finished, which in 1854 gave place to a new one, which is still in use. The present pastor is Rev. A. Davis.
The First Methodist Church of Panton was organized on the 29th of March, 1839, by Rev. Merritt Bates, with twenty-one members; Rev. Richard Brown was the first pastor. The church in use by the Methodists was built in 1857, and the membership is about fifty. Rev. P. S. Mott is the pastor.
Like many other Vermont towns, Panton has been populated largely by an agricultural class, and is at the present day. In years gone by, when Lake Champlain was the highway of an important commerce, considerable traffic was carried on at Arnold's Bay; but with the advent of railroads Vergennes became the trading point of the inhabitants, and very little business of any kind is carried on in town.
The following figures show the population of the town at the different dates given 1791, 220; 1800, 363; 1810, 529; 1820, 548; 1830, 605; 1840, 670; 1850, 559; 1860, 561; 1870, 390; 1880, 419.
The present officers of the town are as follows: Moderator, C. S. Harris; town clerk Wm. H. Ten Broeke (twenty- fourth consecutive year); selectmen, Edrick Adams, Joseph Carter, E. J. Bristol; treasurer, Frederick E. Sears; constable and collector, Charles Jackson; listers, Emerson Holland, Loyal
Page 590 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY.
Kent, Wm. H. Ten Broeke; auditors, E. S. Bristol, J. L. Grandey, Wm. E. White; superintendent of schools, Frederick E. Sears; fence viewers, J. Carter, J. L. Grandey, Minor Mitchell; agent, E. Holland.
Miss Clara Trask is postmistress at the little hamlet of Panton. There is but one physician at present in the town -- Dr. Norman Towsley. He was born in Rupert, Vt., August 15, 1815; educated at Castleton Medical College, and admitted to practice in October, 1843; practiced first in Lincoln, Addison county, Vt.; came to Panton in 1846.
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