Page images
PDF
EPUB

PREFACE.

Ever since the publication of his Gazetteer of Vermont in 1824, the author iras contemplated a larger work, which should embrace, not only the Gazetteer, but a general History of the state, both Natural and Civil. He accordingly commenced collecting and laying aside materials for that purpose, and during the four years last past, he has devoted the greater part of his time to the preparation and publication of the work. His means and facilities for the researches and investigations in which he has been engaged, have not been such as he could have wished; but he has endeavored to improve these, such as they were, to the best advantage; and now, through the blessing of a kind Providence, he is enabled to lay before his fellow citizens the result of his labors. That his work, embracing, as it does, subjects so multifarious and dissimilar, has many imperfections, he is fully sensible ; but he ventures to indulge the hope that it may be found to answer the reasonable expectations of all, and especially of those who can duly appreciate the labor and difficulties of a work of this kind.

For convenience in printing, the three several parts into which the work is divided, have been separately paged, and, to the two first parts, separate indices have been prepared. On account of the alphabetical arrangement of the third part, an index to that was thought to be unnecessary.

Part First is devoted to the Natural History of the state, and is almost wholly the result of original investigations. The only general account of our Natural History, which has hitherto been published, is that contained in Dr. Williams' History. Though highly interesting and useful, that account was prepared at a period and under circumstances which necessarily rendered it imperfect, and in many respects

Misled by the vulgar names, and depending upon the representations of the hunters, he has in, perhaps, a majority of cases, applied the scientific names of European animals to ours, which, though bearing considerable resemblance to them, are specifically distinct. The first chapter of this part contains the result of several years' meteorological observations made by the author at Burlington, and also of observations made at several other places within the state. The author's views will be found here, respecting the formation of ice, earthquakes, the cause of the coldness of our climate compared with that of Europe, &c. The descriptions in the four following chapters have been nearly all made by the author, directly from Vermont animals. In some cases, where Vermont specimens could not be procured, and the animal was known to exist in the state, a borrowed description has been introduced, but in all such cases the source from which it was derived has been indicated, by placing the name of the author at the close of the description. In making out his account of the Birds, he was much assisted by a list of Vermont Birds, kindly furnished by Dr. Thomas M. BREWER, of Boston; and in determining several species of Reptiles and Fishes, he has been kindly aided by Dr. D. H. STORER, also of Boston. For the full descriptions of our Molluscous Animals, in the sixth chapter, he is indebted to the kindness of Prof. C. B. ADAMS, of Middlebury College, and the full and excellent Catalogue of Vermont Plants has been generously prepared for this work by William OAKES, Esq., of Ipswich, Mass., who ranks among the first botanists in the country. The eighth chapter remains to be written after a Geological Survey of the state shall have been effected.

erroneous.

Part Second contains a connected Civil History of the state from the first discov. ery of its territory down to the year 1842. That portion of the history, which precedes the admission of Vermont into the Union, being of a very peculiar and interesting character, has been treated more fully than in any previous history of the state. The materials for this portion have been principally derived from Dr. WilLIAMS' History, the Hon. William SLADE's Vermont State Papers, and a valuable series of papers recently published at Bennington, in the State Banner, under the title of Historical Readings, and understood to be from the pen of the Hon. HILAND Hall., one of our Representatives in Congress. Of these works he has made free use, which he would here publicly acknowledge, as he has often copied their language as well as their facts, and has not been particular to disfigure his pages with quotation marks.

From the admission of Vermont into the Union, only a rapid sketch of the political history of the state has been given; but to compensate for deficiencies here, he has added, in separate chapters, the history of the political, the literary, and the religious institutions, with a closing chapter upon the state of society. The assistance, which he has received, in the preparation of these, will be found duly acknowledged in the progress of the work.

Part Third is, to a considerable extent, a reprint of the author's Gazetteer, published in 1824. Many additions and corrections have, however, been introduced, together with the most important statistics collected at the last census, and the history of the towns has, in most cases, been brought down to the year 1841.

The Map has been prepared with much care, and will, it is believed, be found more correct than any map of the state hitherto published. It is engraved upon steel, and that, and all the other engravings have been executed expressly for this work, by Mr. J. H. Hills, of Burlington, and in a manner, which we think highly creditable to him as an artist.

From the beginning of his undertaking, the author has endeavored to keep two objects constantly in view ;-first, to embrace in his work every thing of special importance relative to the Natural and Civil History of the state ; and, secondly, to publish it in so condensed and cheap a form as to place it within the reach of all the families in the state. In his endeavor to effect these objects he has spared neither labor, nor expense ; nor has he had any special regard to a pecuniary recompense from the sale of his book, as will appear from the fact that he has added more than 150 pages to the aniount required in order to fulfil the conditions of his prospectus, the whole number of pages being 656, and the number promised only 500.

His work, such as it is, he now submits to his fellow citizens. If it shall answer the purposes for which he has designed it, the author will expect his highest reward in the reflection that he has not added to the number of useless books.

Burlington, Oct. 3, 1842.

THOMPSON'S VERMON T.

Part First.

NATURAL HISTORY OF VERMONT.

CHAPTER I.

DESCRIPTIVE AND PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY OF VERMONT.

tory.*

SECTION 1.

Vermont is in the township of Canaan,

and the most western in the township of Situation, Boundaries, Extent and Didis- Addison. This state lies nearly in the ions.

middle of the north temperate zone. The Situation.-Vermont is situated in the longest day at the south line of the state, northwestern corner of New England, is 15h. 9m. 9s., and at the north line, 15”. and lies between the parallels of 42° 44' 25m. 50s. and 45° of north latitude, and between 3° Boundaries.-Vermont is bounded on 35' and 5° 29' of east longitude from the the north by the province of Canada, on Capitol of the United States at Washing- the east by New Hampshire, on the south ton, or between 71° 33' and 73° 25' of by. Massachusetts, and on the west by west longitude from Greenwich Observa- New York. The north line of the state The most eastern extremity of runs upon the parallel of latitude 45°

north. This line was first surveyed by * Where it is not otherwise specified, the longi; commissioners appointed by the provinces tudes given in this work are in all cases reckoned from the Capitol of the United States. The longi- of New York and Canada, in the year tude of the Capitol from Greenwich, according to 1767. It was afterwards run, but very the most recent observations, is 770 1 4811. It is very much to be lamented that the longitude of erroneously, by I. Collins and I. Carden. places in Vermont is so imperfectly known. We in 1772. In 1806, Dr. Samuel Williams are not aware that a single point within the state made some observations with the view of has been determined with any pretensions to ac- ascertaining the true north lineof the state, served and some calculations have been made, for and still further observations were made in the purpose of deducing from them the longitude of 1818, by Messrs. Hassler and Tiarks, surthe places; but the only observations within our

veyors under the treaty of Ghent. Acknowledge, which have hitherto been regarded as entitled to any degree of confidence, were those of the longitude of the University. But the opportu. the solar eclipse of 1811, made at Burlington by Prof. nity proved unfavorable, the sun being hid

by clouds James Dean and John Johnson, Esq., and at Rut- during the greater part of the eclipse. Of the beland by Dr. Williams. The longitude of the Uni-ginning he had a tolerable observation, and from this versity of Vermont, deduced from these observa- | alone he carefully calculated the longitude by Di; tions by Dr. Bowditch, was 73° 14' 34”, and of Rut- Bowditch’s precepts, and the result was 73° 10' 36'' land court house 72° 57' 27'' west from Greenwich for the longitude of the University, or about 4m. less observatory, and in accordance with these has the than was obtained from the preceding observations longitude of the different parts of the state been and, as he is inclined, from other circumstances, to laid down upon our maps. In 1838, the author pre- think it as near an approximation to the true lonpared, with much care, for observing the large solar gitude as any yet obtained, he has adopted it in this eclipse of that year, for the purpose of determining work.

[ocr errors]

PT. I.

1

BOUNDARIES.

EXTENT.-AREA,

DIVISIONS.

cording to the latter, the 45th parallel lies 1 former being about 175 miles, and the lata little to the southward of the line pre- ter, following the course of the Connectiviously established, but it is not yet finally cut, 215 miles.* The state is divided into settled. The eastern boundary was es- two equal parts by the parallel of 44d. tablished by a decree of George Ill, July Im. north latitude, and also by the meri20th, 1764, which declared the western dian in 4d. 19m. of east longitude. These bank of the Connecticut river to be the two lines intersect each other near the western boundary of New Hampshire. western line of Northfield, and about 10 The southern boundary is derived from miles south westerly from Montpelier, and a royal decree of March 4th, 1740, and the point of intersection is the geographiwas surveyed by Richard Hazen, in Feb- cal centre of the state. ruary and March, 1741. This line, which Divisions.--The Green Mountains ex. was the divisional line between Massachu- tend quite through the state from south setts and New Hampshire, was to run due to north, and, following the western range, west from a point three miles to the north- divide it into two very nearly equal parts. ward of Patucket falls, till it reached the These form the only natural division, province of New York. It was run by with the exception of the waters of lake the compass, and ten degrees allowed for Champlain, which divide the county of westerly variation of the magnetic needle. Grand Isle from the counties of Franklin This being too great an allowance, the and Chittenden, and the several islands line crossed the Connecticut river 2 which compose that county, from each 57"' to the northward of a due west line. other, and from the main land. For civil In consequence of this error, New Hamp- purposes the state is divided into 14 counshire lost 59,873 acres, and Vermont 133,- ties, which are sub-divided into 245 town897 acres, and the south line of the state ships, and several small gores of land, is not parallel with the north line. The which are not yet annexed to, or formed western boundary was settled by the gov- into, townships. The names of the counernments of Vermont and New York at ties, the date of their incorporation, the the close of their controversy, in 1790. shire towns, and the number of towns in This line passes along the western boun- each county at the present time (1842) daries of the townships of Pownal, Ben- are exhibited in the following table : nington, Shaftsbury, Arlington, Sandgate, Rupert, Pawlet, Wells and Poultney, to

Incorporated. Shire Towns. No Poultney river; thence along the middle Addison, Feb.27,1787 Middlebury, 22 of the deepest channel of said river, East Bennington Feb.11, , 1779

Bennington

17 bay and lake Champlain to the 45th de

Manchester, gree of north latitude, passing to the east- Caledonia, Nov.5,1792 Danville, 18 ward of the islands called the Four Broth- Chittenden, Oct.22, 1782 Burlington, 1.5 ers, and to the westward of Grand Isle Essex, Nov.5, 1792 Guildhall, 17 and Isle la Motte. The portion of this line Franklin, Nov.5, 1792 St. Albans, 14 between the southwest corner of the state Grand Isle, Nov.9, 1802 North Hero, 5 and Poultney river, was surveyed in 1813 Lamoille Oct.26, 1835 Hydepark, 12 and 1814, and the report and plan of the Orange,

Feb. 1781 Chelsea, 17 survey are in the office of the Secretary Orleans, Nov.5, 1792 Irasburgh, 19 of State at Montpelier.

Rutland, Feb. 1781 Rutland, 26 Extent and Area. The length of Ver- Washington Nov. 1, 1810 Montpelier, 17 mont from north to south is 1574 miles, Windham, Feb.11, 1779 Newfane, 23 and the average width from east to west Windsor, Feb. 1781 (Woodstock, 123 57} miles, which gives an area of 9,056

* Dr. Williams (vol. I, p. 24) seems to have, insquare miles, or 5,795,960 acres. The

advertently, taken the mean of the two ends of the length of the north line of the state is 90 state for its mean width and thus computed tha miles, and of the south line 41 miles, but, area at 10,237 1-4 square miles, or 118lm, too much ; on account of the great bend of the 'Con- but this is the area which has usually been given

in our geographies and other works respecting Vernecticut to the westward, the mean width mont. As the area of countries fornis the basis of of the state is considerable less than statistical tables, it is a matter of some consequence the mean between these two lines, as ample, we wish to know how Vermont comparos

that it should be correctly stated. Suppose for exabove stated. The width of the state with the other states in density of population, we from Barnet to Charlotte through Mont- divide the population of each state by its area and pelier, which is 50 miles nearer to the the quotient is the average number of persons to northern than to the southern boundary, if we take the last census and the area at 10,237,

each square mile in the states respectively. Now is only about 60 miles. On account of the population is only about 28 to a square mile, but the irregularities in the western and east- if we take the true area, 9,056, it is 32 to the square ern boundaries, both these lines are lon- to the other states. According to the census of 1820,

mile,which would effect very materially its relation ger than the mean length of the state, the Vermont was set down as the 10th state in density

[graphic]

FICE OF THE COUNTRY.

PRINCIPAL SUMMITS.

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

SECTION II.

of the roads, more particularly in their Face of the country.

more judicious location near the streams,

the difficulty of crossing the mountain has Mountains. The surface of Vermont is nearly vanished. In the southern part of generally uneven. A few townships along Washington county, the Green Mountains the margin of lake Champlain may be separate into two ranges. The highest of called level ; but with these exceptions, these ranges, bearing a little east of north, the whole state consists of hills and val- continues along the eastern boundaries of leys, alluvial flats and gentle acclivities, the counties of Chittenden and Franklin, elevated plains and lofty mountains. The and through the county of Lamoille to celebrated range of Green Mountains, Canada line; while the other range strikes which give name to the state, extends off much more to the east through the quite through it from south to north, keep-southern and eastern parts of Washinging nearly a middle course between Con- ton county, the western part of Caledonia necticut river on the east and lake Cham- county and the north western part of Esplain on the west. From the line of Mas- sex county to Canada. This last is called sachusetts to the southern part of Wash the height of lands, and it divides the ington county, this range continues lofty, waters, which fall into Connecticut river, and unbroken through by any considera- in the north part of the state, from those ble streams; dividing the counties of which fall into lake Champlain and lake Windham, Windsor and Orange from the Memphremagog. This branch of the Green counties of Bennington, Rutland and Ad- Mountains, though it no where rises so dison. In this part of the state, the com- high as many points of the western branch, munication between the eastern and west- is much more uniformly elevated; yet ern sides of the mountain was formerly the acclivity is so gentle as to admit of difficult, and the phrase, going over the easy roads over it in various places. mountain, denoted an arduous business. The western range, having been broken But on account of the great improvement through by the rivers Winooski, Lamoille

and Missisco, is divided into several secof population, whereas, if the true area had been tions, these rivers having opened passa

, ed as the eighth.

ges for good roads along their banks, while

« PreviousContinue »