Probably the first European to gaze upon the green peaks of Vermont was the French navigator, Jacques Cartier. On the 2d of October, 1535, he was conducted by an Indian chief to the summit of Mount Real, which now overlooks the city of Montreal, and there “in that bright October sun” was opened to his enraptured gaze the beautiful country for many miles around. Before him the mighty St. Lawrence, coming solemnly from an unknown land, rolled on majestically toward the ocean; the distant horizon was bounded by the lofty mountains of Vermont, crowned with perpetual verdure; while illimitable forests,
Location: Bridport Vermont
That the reader may gain a more definite conception of the freeholders of the town, and the amount of money on which they were taxed at this time, we have herewith the grand list of 1786, from the original record: £ s. d. Alexander Osborn……… 12 0 0 Marshall Smith……….. 25 0 0 Phillip Stone………… 48 0 0 Samuel Smith…………. 26 0 0 Esril Hucker…………. 6 0 0 Isaac Chipman………… 9 0 0 Bijah Dunning………… 18 0 0 John Fisk……………. 31 0 0 ??? Rockwood…………. 5 0 0 John Nobel Bennett……. 27 0 0 Samuel Lewis…………. 57 10 0 Nathan
Rev. Increase Graves was the first settled minister and received the ministerial lot allowed by charter, the same being the farm now occupied by H. N. Sollace. Calvin Sollace, born in Walpole, N. H., was a graduate of Middlebury College, studied law in Middlebury, and commenced practice in Bridport in 1814, and subsequently served as judge six years.
BRIDPORT lies upon the lake shore, the center one of the county’s western tier of towns. It is bounded on the north by Addison; on the east by Weybridge and Cornwall; south by Shoreham, and west “by the center of the deepest channel of Lake Champlain.” The charter deed which brought the township into existence was signed by Benning Wentworth, the royal governor of New Hampshire under King George III, October 9, 1761, granting to Ebenezer Wiswall and sixty-three others “a tract of land six miles long, from north to south, and seven miles broad from east to west, bounded
Isaac Pettibone, with his father, emigrated from Norwalk, Conn., to the eastern part of Middlebury, and subsequently, in 1795, removed to Bridport, settling upon the farm now owned by E. Jewett. Isaac was a hatter by trade, which occupation he followed here many years. His sons were Charles C. and Edwin S.; both have died and their widows have homes in town.
William, Barnabas and Zenas Myrick, the three brothers, were early prominent business men in town. William served as town clerk many years; represented the town in the State Legislature six sessions; was a judge, etc. Barnabas served the town as selectman, and in numerous other offices. He was killed by the fall of a tree in 1823. B. J. Myrick, in town, was his son. Zenas was a carpenter by trade; he also represented the town in 1828 and 1829. William M. and Charles H. Grandoy, of this town, were grandsons of Judge William Myrick.
Daniel Hamblin came to Bridport from Guilford, Conn., when there were but two families in the township. After the war broke out he returned to Guilford, enlisted in the Continental service and served till the cessation of hostilities, when he soon after returned to Bridport and located upon the farm now owned by J. T. Fletcher. His son Alexander, a noted hunter and trapper, succeeded to the homestead. Hiram E., son of Alexander, now resides in the town.
The population of Bridport has always been strictly of an agricultural character. Its tradesmen and mechanics have almost invariably devoted their energies exclusively to supplying the home demand. The dearth of manufactures is attributed to the absence, as we have previously noted, of adequate water power. At an early day, when the settlers were clearing their lands and wood ashes were plentiful, Bridport, in common with other towns, did considerable business in the manufacture of potash, which found a market in Troy, Albany, and sometimes Quebec. In this manufacture Samuel Buck was pioneer. His works were located near the present
William Russell, an early inhabitant, located upon the farm now owned by his grandson, N. W. Russell, and raised a large family of children; only one is now living, Mrs. B. J. Myrick, who resides in town. But his descendants are numerous–probably would take the prize, if such was offered, for the greatest number. He died in 1829.
Ephraim Stone, from Groton, Mass., made his first settlement upon a farm now owned by Aikin Dukett, in 1787, where he resided until his death in 1841, aged seventy-eight years. His son Philip, born in 1803, died recently, leaving two sons, Charles and Marshall.