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Rutland was named by the settlers from Rutland, Vermont. The town was surveyed by Benjamin Wright in 1796 with 57 lots of about 500 acres each and in 1799 he subdivided those lots into quarters. The share of William Henderson in the Black River Tract, was first opened for settlement by his land agent, Asher Miller, of Middletown, CT, whom he employed on 6 June 1799 to come to Rutland and begin improvements. As compensation, Miller was given his choice of 500 acres at a very reduced rate. Miller left memorandums for the years 1799, 1800, and 1801. He returned to Ct. where he died 24 Dec. 1821. Those men and the number of acres taken by each are:
Levi Butterfield, 21 Sept 1799, 172 acres
William Keyes, Amos Stebbens & William Keys 3 Oct 1799, 342 acres
David Coffeen 1 Nov. 1799, 391 acres
Goldsmith Coffee, 312 acres
Raphael Porter, 213 acres
Israel Wright, 98 acres
Jonathan and Clark Boss, 161 acres
James Killiam, 141 acres
Charles Kelsey, 116 acres
Jeptha King, 137 acres
John Dole, 154 acres
Gardner Cleveland, 242 acres
Warren Foster, 142 acres
John Cotes, 6 Nov. 1799, 134 acres
John Earl, Jr. 120 acres
Nathan Green, 128 acres
Robert Jerome, 145 acres
Isaac and Caleb Corp, 196 acres
Henry Houk, 130 acres
In Autumn 1800:
John Earl, 134 acres
Danford Earl, 113 acres
Simeon Munson, 89 acres
Mathias Houk, 135 acres
Alford Comins, 94 acres
Charles Comins, 128 acres
Solomon Tuttle, 233 acres
Chauncey Rawson, 122 acres
Gershom Tuttle, 276 acres
Abel Sherman, 229 acres
Kenyon Larkin, 352 acres
Peter Cook, 92 acres
Ezekiel Andres, 144 acres
(___) Rose, (___) Welch, 155 acres
Lot McClure, 72 acres
Isaiah Bailey 50 acres
Luther Foot, 137 acres
Enos Sanford, 141 acres
Jacob A. Williams, 108 acres
Amos Barnes (2nd), 97 acres
Stephen Kemball, 97 acres
Vernon Huston, 193 acres
Elijah Beech, 80 acres
Thomas Lee, 61 acres
Daniel Russell, 75 acres
Turner Ellis, 160 acres
Joseph Patterson, 122 acres
Silas Pierce, 100 acres
Benjamin White, 53 acres
James Murray, 125 acres
Abner White, 51 acres
Thomas M. Converse, 78 acres
(___) Brayton, (___) Swan, 93 acres
Jonathan Hill, Frederick Tyler, 146 acres
John Stanley, 136 acres
Stephen Cummins, 146 acres
Andrew Stafford, 106 acres
William H. Stevens, 81 acres
Dr. Phillips, 197 acres
Henry Allen, 106 acres
Elisha Ludden, 261 acres
Philip H. Hinman, 269 acres
Thomas Hosmer, 225 acres
Peter Wright, 118 acres
Erastus Maltby, 158 acres
Chandler Maltby, 151 acres
Roger Williams, 291 acres
George White 266 acres
Benjamin Pike, 170 acres
Clift French, 105 acres
William Coffeen, 257 acres
Thomas Dunton, 328 acres
John Patterson, 130 acres
Alexander Warner, 74 acres
Joseph Wakefield, 98 acres
Jesse Hale, Asa and Luther Brown, 100 acres
Josiah Osmer, Luther W. Dexter, 120 acres
Samuel Treadway, 178 acres
Orange Eno, 68 acres
James Morse, 68 acres
Levi Hare, 155 acres
Joseph Underwood, 133 acres
John Smith, 121 acres
David Stafford, 118 acres
Thomas Starkweather, 103 acres
Joseph Ludden, 124 acres
Thomas Hill, 112 acres
Caleb Harris, 114 acres
Reuben Scott, (___) Wessel, (___) Johnson, 651 acres
Asher Bull, 247 acres
Ethan Newton, 130 acres
Stukely Wicks, 114 acres
Jonathan Covey, 126 acres
Job Olmstead, 145 acres
(___) Britton, (___) Foster, 173 acres
Those who arrived in the above three-year period:
Jonathan Davis, 93 acres
Thinyon Green, 110 acres
Charles Hill, 120 acres
Jacob Shook, 70 acres
Ethan Post, 148 acres
Artemus Pike, 135 acres
Samuel Parker, 120 acres
The total amount of land sales during the above three-year period was 17,540.03 acres for $50,738.14; the contracts were written without interest for one year.
In June 1803, Abel French became the agent and he sold 2,313 acres for $7,112.60. In early 1804, Henderson assigned Dr. Isaac Bronson of Greenfield CT, and New York, his interest in the town. Dr. Bronson was born in Middlebury, CT and studied medicine at Hartford and became a surgeon, serving on a merchant ship which sailed for the East Indies and there, by trade, he amassed wealth. On his return from the Indies he began land speculations, and at the close of the Revolutionary War, he bought soldiers' scrip at a great discount, which later rose to par. After he purchased the town, Dr. Bronson appointed Ethel Bronson, his brother of Middlebury, CT, as his agent to settle in the town and sell lands. In May of 1804, Ethel Bronson, David Tyler and Josiah Tyler, with their families headed for Black River country. It took them three weeks to reach their destination. Ethel Bronson settled in the center of town, David and Josiah Tyler in the northern part; and for whom the village of Tylerville was named.
Among the first to settle was Samuel Porter with his family. The closest mill was nearly 70 miles distant and accomplished by ox team. The Indians pilfered and plundered the property of the settlers while they were absent at work.
In 1803, there were nine farms in or near the Rutland Hollow Road. They were: William Newton, Jon Cotes, John Eddy, Morgan Starks, Robert Adams, Stutely Weeks and three men named Maltby. There were two families between the Hollow and Felt's Mills-Elisha Veber and Jacob Fuller. At Felt's Mill's there were the following: Richmond Howland and his brothers, Rufus and David; Jonathan Graves; Asa, Elisha, Elias and Archibald Clark; Asaph Chase; Reuben Scott; David Wilcox, Enoch Eddy with his family, and David Veber. Zelotus Harvey had previously settled on the farm later owned by Henry Orvis.
A man by the name of John Harris had a contract to deliver spars at either Montreal or Quebec and bought all of the nursery pine on the LeRay plains. Many of the settlers thought it was a good opportunity to get a little ready money and contracted to deliver the spars on the river bank at $5 each. Enoch Eddy and Asa Ness delivered 100; after delivering only a part it caused a breach of contract. The settlers discovered that it cost as much to deliver the spars than they received. In floating the spars down Black River, eleven men were drowned and those who failed in their contracts were sued by Harris for damages, causing many to be reduced to poverty.
Ezekial Andrus' father migrated from Utica in the spring of 1800 and brought his family of nine children, his wife having died several years previously. One of his daughters later became the wife of Danford Earl, and another the wife of Warren Spaulding. They lived in a bark shanty until an improved dwelling could be built. Known children were Ezekiel, Elisha, Mrs. Frederick Woodruff and Uriah. Allen and Gershom Tuttle came a few years later. Joseph Russell came for a look at the land in 1800 and settled permanently in 1802, which location became the Stebbins Farm. Joseph died at 96 years. Peter Thompson was born in 1782 and came to Rutland in March of 1816.
Other early settlers were: Asa Clark, who was born on the farm his father settled on 10 Dec. 1806; Asa Clark Sr. came to Rutland in 1804 and brought his family from Vermont in 1806. Asa Sr. died in March of 1854. Elisha and Archibald Clark came at about the same time. Trustrin Frink, Andrew Middleton and his four sons--Robert, John, Andrew and Samuel; Renel Randall, father of John D. Randall; L. D. Olney; James, Samuel and John L. Wilson. Those who settled in the center of town were: Joseph Hopkins, father of Henry and grandfather of Henry T. Hopkins; Daniel Eames; C. P. Kimball, M.D.; Alexander Warner; Robert Hardy; Andrew Dunlap; William and David Howland; Asa Parkinson, father of Phineas and James Parkinson; John Stebbins, father of Lyman Stebbins; Joel Webb, father of Arnold Webb, who was born on the home farm; Eli Kellog and Sylvester, his son, who be came the proprietor of the hotel at Tylerville.
During the War of 1812, a company of Silver Grays, a group of about 40 Revolutionary soldiers, whose age exempted them from militia service, was organized under Timothy Tamblin as captain and Levi Butterfield as Lieutenant. They were at Sackett's Harbor for several weeks and near the site of Madison barracks built a defense named For Volunteer.
On 13 April 1846, the last of the Rutland lands were sold and the parcel was an island near the village of Black River.
The first child born in Rutland was Harriet Kelsey, daughter of Charles and Lois Kelsey. She married Alfred Pardee, who settled at the bend of the river, in Champion. She died in 1863. The first twin children born in the town were Robert and William Middleton, son of John Middleton
The first death was Relief Torme, wife of Francis Torme; she was killed by lightning on 16 Aug. 1804. The first physician was Dr. Hugh Henderson, who practiced as early as 1802.
It is thought that Levi Butterfield opened the first tavern. The first grist mill was built in 1800 by David Coffeen who had received a gift of ten acres when the mill was finished. It began operation on March of 1801. The millwright was Samuel Parker. The mill stones were made from local boulders found in the area. The first saw mill was built at Felt's Mills in 1801. Wolcott Hubbell built the first frame house on the Jacob Tooker lot, later owned by William Roberts.
In the winter of 1810 a school exhibition was held in Rutland at Heath's Tavern. Attendees, Ezra Worden and brother Avery, age 12, started for home at about 6 in the evening, the snow being five feet deep. Avery became so overcome with cold and weariness that he could go no farther and Ezra could not drag him through the snow. Ezra went to the house of Benjamin Weeks to get help between eleven and twelve o'clock. Mr. Weeks and Robert Sword put on their snowshoes and went for Avery. He was alive but died before he could be taken to a house. Ezra was unconscious for about 12 hours but survived.
Township No. 3, of the Black River Tract, was taken from Watertown on 1 April 1802. At the first town meeting at Levi Butterfield's house on 7 March 1803 town officers were chose: Henry Coffeen, Supervisor; Jacob A. Williams, Clerk; Abel Sherman, Zelotus Harvey, William Coffeen Assessors; Levi Heath, Solomon Thompson, Gershom Tuttle, Commissioners of Highways; Benjamin Eddy Constable and Collector. Early Justices of the Peace were: Zelotus Harvey, Daniel Eames, Perley Keyes, Ethel Bronson, Archibald Clark, Joseph Graves, Levi Hale and Merrill Coburn. Dr. Abel Sherman, the first sheriff, was born in Brimfield, MA and moved to Clinton, Oneida Co, and in 1802 settled in Rutland, his home until his death.
Felt's Mills was first settled in 1800. A grist mill was begun in 1800 and finished in 1801. The first grist brought to that mill was by William Hadsall of Champion, and was so full of millstone grit that it was scarcely fit to be eaten. David Coffeen, the miller, was given ten acres of land as a reward for his enterprise. In 1804, Wolcott Hubbell built another mill; the mill passed to Barnabus Eldridge and from him to Barnabus and Omie LaGrande. In 1813, the mill was purchased by John Felt, who did business until 1821, when he built dams across Black River and built a stone mill. John Felt owned the mill until 1858 when he sold it to Charles H. Bartlett. Several parties, William Griswold & Son, and Samuel Manser and Edward McDonald, were successive parties to own and operate the mill.
The first saw mill was built in 1801 and passed through the same hands as the grist mill had-John Felt and his predecessors. A new saw mill was built and in 1828 passed to Jason Francis. In 1813 George Choat owned the first carding machine. George Oaks, Merrill Coburn and William Usher were interested in the shop at various times. High water in 1862 washed the building away.
O. A. Felt, son of John Felt gave information on the manufacture of whiskey:
"There used to be places where liquor was sold. John Felt started a distillery in 1813, and ran it almost uninterruptedly till the spring of 1833. Within a radius of two miles there has been within my recollection four distilleries, namely, those of John Felt, Ashbel Symonds, Jacob Fuller and Elisha Yeomans, Jr., where liquid death and damnation was dealt out freely; and whisky (sic) was a lawful tender here as much as cischos were at Chaumont. As an illustration, when the church near Francis' Corners, in Champion, was being built, quite a number paid their subscriptions in whisky."
The first merchant was Jenison Clark, who kept a small store and after him, William Brown. The first tavern was opened in 1825 by Wm. K. Butterfield, son of Levi Butterfield, one of the first settlers. Early teachers were Jacob Fuller, Gardner Towne, John Felt and Elijah Graves.
In 1808 a bridge was built to the Island and soon after another to the north bank, which was swept off in 1811. An iron bridge was swept away in 1873. Another replaced it and cost for the two was about $10,000.
Considerable business was carried on in Felt's Mills and one of importance was the tannery of C. C. Veber. The business was established by a stock company incorporated in 1857. The original incorporators were: Merrrill Coburn, Martin L. Graves, Russell Wilmot, LeRoy Wood, Benjamin Crossett, and Orlin Wheelock. Mr. Coburn owned it in 1866 and formed a partnership with C. C. Veber . The cheese box factory and saw mill was owned and operated by H. Marshall; the pump factor by D. C. Wheeler; the carriage factory by Charles Roberts; cabinet shop, blacksmithy and grist mill by Samuel Manser, conducted by Ed. McDonald.
There was a general store kept by Sam. C. Cross & Co., two groceries, a hotel - F. L. Rockwood as proprietor, a post office with James M. Smiley as postmaster, an express office and a depot of the Utica and Black River Railroad. It also had a Union church building, a district school, cemetery and about 300 inhabitants.
The Felt's Mills Burying Ground Association was incorporated on 29 March 1852 with these officers: Henry W. Chapman, president; O. A. Tooker, vice-president; Elijah Graves, secretary; Samuel Felt, treasurer; Paschal P. Carpenter, sexton. All of the above plus Hugh and Joshua Roberts comprised the board of trustees.
The post office at Felt's Mills was established in 1824 and William Brown was appointed postmaster, but failed to qualify; Merrill Coburn was then appointed.
The Rutland Woolen-Manufacturing Company, was formed on 25 Sept. 1811 with a $25,000 capital outlay and the following parties signed the articles, with the first three being trustees: Ethel Bronson, Daniel Eames, Josiah Tyler, Thomas Hill, Abel Doolittle, Eber Ingalsby and John Oaks. It was the first of its kind in the county. On 19 Sept 1817 the factory and machinery were sold to Daniel Eames for $400, the enterprise failed soon after the close of the War of 1812 and the influx of British woolen goods. Eames sold the building to Albert Boyington, who in turn sold it to Dr. A. W. Porter. Dr. Porter's widow sold it to Arnold Webb, who used it as a tenant house in 1875, when he sold it to the Kellogg Brothers. They converted it into a creamery.
Early settlers of Tylerville were: Joel Webb, Erastus Lathrop, Nathaniel Frink, Jonathan Smiley. In 1805, Lathrop built a grist mill and operated it until about 1815. Joel Webb and Jonathan Smiley succeeded him until 1821 when they sold the property to Frederick Tyler. He carried the business for about five years and then demolished it, using the scrap to build another mill. In 1830 he sold the new mill to Elijah Holmes, who did business for a decade, and then it passed to Nathaniel Wadsworth; in 1855 he sold it to Henry Andrews who tore it down and built another mill.
At the same time as the grist mill was built, Nathaniel Frink built a saw mill which remained in the Frink family until about 1830. It then passed to Giles and Harvey Doud. Owners since then were: Henry Andrews, Homer Hecox, John Babcok, Even Evans, and Hiram Hadcock.
The first store was built by Josiah Tyler, father of Lucy Ann Eames, in about 1810. He was succeeded by Frederick Tyler. Other merchants were McCue, Grinnel and Lacey. Simeon Oaks started a store in about 1840.
The first post office was opened in 1820 and Calvin Chipman was postmaster. Tylerville had two general stores, a harness shop, a blacksmithy, a creamery, a grist mill, saw mill, a hotel, post office, two churches (Baptist and Union), a public school and 100 inhabitants.
Improvements began in 1806 via saw mill, built by Isaac and Harvey Cleveland, which was destroyed by flood in 1807, but rebuilt in the same season. In 1818 there was only one house on the Rutland side of the river. In 1815, Andrew Middleton and Christopher Poor built a mill. Francis Butterfield moved from Antwerp to Black River in 1826 and there were four families on the Rutland side of the river-Bariah Penniman, Eli Penniman, Thomas Scott and one other not remembered. Francis Butterfield built the first frame house in 1826. In 1830-31 he built the first hotel. In 1832 the first bridge across Black River was built. The first post office opened in 1832 with Dr. Albert Parsons, son-in-law of Mr. Butterfield, as post master. The first store was opened by Levi, Francis, William K. and Philander Butterfield, four brothers, who carried on general merchandising.
The principal manufacturing interest was a chair factory. The company made different kinds of chairs and was owned and operated by David Dexter & Son. Poor & Dexter, was a firm composed of Christopher Poor and D. E. Dexter, natives of Jefferson County. They were the successors of Christopher Poor. The chairworks was located on the Island in the town of Rutland.
W. S. Wilcox was the coffin and casket works company, which he established in 1849.
Rutland was a dairy production area and in 1875, Rutland produced 777,000 pounds of cheese and 183,200 pounds of butter. In 1877 the figures increased to 1,000,000 and 200,000 respectively. At least 4,500 cows were needed to keep production at that level. There were nine cheese factories in Rutland-B. P. Smith, Thomas Maines, William Fuller, Henry C. Eames, Parkinson Brothers, Timothy Bailey, W. Case, David Hamblin and H. M. Campbell. Two creamers were operated by the Kellogg Brothers and B. Hines.
Rev. James W. Woodward in 1802 visited the area of Rutland. The Baptists, in 1806, were ministered to by Rev. Mr. Maltby. On 12 Jan. 1808 Rev. Wm. Lathrop, Vermont missionary, formed with David Tyler, Amos Mallory, Thomas Converse and wife, Samuel Porter and wife, and William Parkinson and wife, the first Congregational Church. Amos Mallory and David Taylor were its first deacons. And objection was made regarding Amos Mallory because he was not married. However, his name continues on the rolls until at least 1815 so the objection must have been withdrawn. The First Religious Society of Rutland was formed on 8 Feb. 1808 with Ethel Bronson, Timothy Tamblin, John Read, Thomas Converse, and Ebenezer Hayward as trustees .
Educational practices dictated that when a sufficient number of persons settled in a neighborhood to sustain a school, that a log school house and teacher must be engaged. Females taught in the summer and males taught in the winter months. It is thought that the first school house was built in 1800 or 1801; the first teacher may have been Miss A. Porter. Soon a school was built at Four Corners with Naomi Blackman as one of the first teachers. At a town meeting on 2 March 1813 a resolution was passed to levy a school tax. Named to the committee were: Ethel Bronson, Judah Williams and Amos Stebbins. Among the early teachers were: Curtis Mallory, Jacob Fuller, Zelotus Harvey, Hon. Charles Dayan, Hon Jason Clark, Horatio Sherman, Garnder Towne, A. P. Sigourney, John M. Dunlap, John Felt; Cornelia Johnson and Adeline M. Brown and Elijah Graves.
Elijah Graves taught longer than any other person in Jefferson County. He was the son of Jonathan Graves, one of the early settlers of the town of Rutland and was born there 16 Jul 1813. In 1827 he attended courses and lectures in an adjoining district. The first school taught by him was in the winter of 1833. In 1837 he spent the summer clerking for A. Copley, Esq. at Chaumont, and taught during the winter. He married in Champion on 4 July 1840. He was still teaching in the 1860's.
Information transcribed and contributed by volunteer M. Sapienza. © 2009.
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