Danby, Rutland, VT
Genealogy & History

1786 Town Meeting

From The History of Danby, Vermont, by J. C. Williams, 1869

Annual Danby Town Meeting of 1786

The annual town meeting of 1786, was held at the school house then situated near the present residence of Walter M. Parris. Among those elected to town office that year, were John Palmer, leather sealer; Samuel Merry and Benjamin Sutton, tythingmen; Darius Lobdell, brander of horses; Jonathan Mabbit, fence viewer; Moses Vail, pound keeper. Roads had increased in numbers so rapidly, that it then required fourteen surveyors.

Town meetings were also held at the school house during the year 1786. At the annual meeting a committee consisting of John Burt, Peter Lewis and Benjamin Fowler, was appointed to settle with the treasurer. The petit jurors for that year, were Thomas Harrington, Ezekel Smith, Stephen Williams, Bradford Barnes, William Garrett, Rowland Stafford, Nathan Salisbury, Caleb Green and John Vail. A meeting was held April 11th, for the purpose of settling some lines and boundaries, in the first and second division of land; It was voted that the strip of land left and laid out by the proprietors for a road eight rods wide, west of the "town plot," be left for fuutre consideration. This road had been laid out from the Tinmouth line, north and south through the town, but was never used for a highway. It was called a county road, running north through Tinmouth, which was then intended to be the county seat. The grand list of 1786 was 3664 pounds 10 shillings.

A town meeting was held at the house of Abraham Chase, September 14th, 1787, Doct. Ebenezer Tolman, Moderator. A tax was voted at this meeting of two pence on the pound of the grand list of 1786, to be paid in grain. In the fall of 1787, another list was taken, which amounted to 4250 pounds 5 shillings, showing an increase of 585 pounds 15 shillings in one year.

The annual meeting of 1788, was also held at the house of Abraham Chase, and Jacob Eddy was Moderator. Five selectmen and five listers were chosen for that year. Moses Vail was elected pound keeper; Jonathan Seley, Benjamin Fowler, tythingmen; Daniel Cook and Samson Harrington, haywards. There was but one pauper in town in 1788, who was Sarah Barlow; she was the first person ever supported by the town. Zebulon Smith was hired to take care of her that year, for which he was to receive his pay in grain. A town tax was voted at the above meeting, of one penny on the pound of the grand list, to be paid in wheat at 4 shillings 6 pence per bushel, and corn at 3 shillings per bushel. These prices show that grain was not very high in those days, compared with prices at the present time. Taxes were not very high in those times--the whole tax in 1789 amounted to only 18 pounds or about $60. The grand list for that year was 4612 pounds 6 shillings; in 1790 it was 4920 pounds 5 shillings.

In 1791, when the first census was taken, the population of Danby was twelve hundred and sixty, (1260,) nearly as many as there are in town at the present time, there being by the census of 1860 but fourteen hundred and nineteen, (1419.) A saw mill had been erected by Stephen Calkins and framed houses began to be built. Rapid progress had been made in clearing up lands, schools had been organized in several districts; a large number of roads had been laid out and the population was thriving and industrious.

The annual town meeting of 1793, was held at the house of Doct. Adam Johnson, and Edward Vail was Moderator. Among the town officers elected that year, were Benjamin Brandwell, leather sealer; Israel Phillips, tythingman; Peleg Smith and Leonard Griffith, fence viewers. It was voted to lease the school lands, and to hold future town meetings, at the house of Dr. Adam Johnson, who then lived on the farm now belonging to G. J. Locke's estate.

In 1794, Caleb Phillips and Henry Signor, were elected tythingmen; Bradford Barnes, Barton Bromley, William Edmunds, fence viewers; and Hatzel Kelley, hayward. Twenty highway surveyors were appointed for that year, and a school committee consisting of John Allen, Miner Hilliard, Edward Vail, Abel Horton, Elisha Fish, Daniel Sherman, Charles Nichols and Amos Brown, whose duty it was to make alterations in districts.

The following town officers were elected in 1795: Henry Herrick, tythingman; Dennis Canfield, Moses Clark and Caleb Smith, haywards. Sheep were not allowed to run at large that year, and another pound was built, near the house of Ephriam Seley. The office of Auditor was created in 1797, in which year there was three elected, viz: Daniel Parris, Lemuel Griffith and Edward Vail. Among those eleeted to office in 1797, were Reuben White, leather sealer; Gardner Harrington, tythingman; Alexander Barrett hayward; Jonathan Seley, Elihu Sherman, fence viewers. The grand list of the town that year amounted to ś5570 or $19658.16.

In 1798, Prudential Committees were required to make returns of the number of scholars in their respective districts. It was voted at the annual March meeting that year, that all warnings and notices for town meetings, should be set up at the house of Bradford Barnes, on the east side of the town, on the sign post near Moses Vail's, and at the Methodist Church, then situated near the burial ground, west of the Corners.

The following officers were elected in 1799: Joseph Ross, Edmund Sherman, haywards; Alexander Barrett, tythingman; Obediah Edmunds, Daniel Parris, fence viewers; Elisha Brown, pound keeper; Daniel Sherman, leather sealer, and also sealer of weights and measures.

The census of 1800, shows the population of the town to have been fourteen hundred and eighty-seven, a gain of two hundred and eighty-one in nine years, by which we can see that rapid progress had been made in the settlement of the town. At that time nearly every part of the town was settled, the farms cleared up and under cultivation. Three saw mills had been built, and considerable progress made in the erection of framed houses. Roads had been built in nearly every direction; two churches had become established; and two stores and three hotels were in operation. There were but two dwelling houses at Danby Borough, at that time, and one hotel kept by Bradford Barnes, but it was very thickly settled along Otter Creek north
of the village. The central part of the town, in the vicinity of Danby 4 Corners, and south from there, was at that time the most thickly settled. A settlement had been commenced on what is now known as "Dutch Hill," by Henry Signor and others. A large number of the inhabitants had settled in the little village, and a few had located themselves in the "Oxbow." That portion of the town known as "Bromley hollow," and "South America," had also become quite thickly settled, and the town was in a flourishing condition.

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