Danby, Rutland, VT
Genealogy & History

Settlement of Danby

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


In treating of the settlement of the town, perhaps it would be well to give the preliminary proceedings and events which led to it. In 1760 Jonathan Willard and sixty-seven others, petitioned to Benning Wentworth, governor of New Hampshire, for a Charter, for two townships, each of six miles square. On the 24th day of September, 1760, the petitioners held a meeting, at the house of Nathan Shepard, in Nine Partners, Dutchess County, N. Y. The notice for this meeting was signed by Samuel Rose and Mathew Ford, two of the petitioners. At that meeting Jonathan Ormsby was appointed clerk, and Samuel Rose was appointed an agent to go to Albany and get what information he could, relative to obtaining a grant for the townships above referred to, in the western part of the Province of New Hampshire. Capt. William Lamson of Albany, had been employed by the petitioners to procure this grant, the result of whose proceedings Rose was to learn, and report at their next meeting. Rose was to have twelve shillings per day for his services, and find himself. The following copy of a receipt will show how much money was raised for that purpose:

"Nine Partners, N. Y., Sept. 24th, 1760. 

Then Received of Jonathan Ormsby, the sum of Three pounds Two shillings, toward defraying the charge of going to Albany, in order to get what information I can how far Capt. William Lamson has proceeded in getting a grant for two townships in New Hampshire.

I say, rec'v'd by me, SAMUEL ROSE."

The meeting was adjourned to October 8th, but at this adjourned meeting, nothing of importance was done, and Samuel Rose did not make any report.

The next meeting of the petitioners was held at Nine Partners, October 15th, 1760, of which Lawrence Willsee was chosen moderator. Jonathan Williard was chosen agent to go to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and procure a Charter.

He was to have three dollars on each right, with what had been paid to Capt. Lamson. From an account of money received at this meeting, we learn that the sum of fifty-eight pounds and six pence was raised, for which amount Willard was to proceed to New Hampshire, and if possible obtain a charter for two townships, and make report to the petitioners as soon as practicable.

The prayer of the petitioners was finally granted, and the charter for a township to be called Danby was obtained the following year, and bears date August 27th, 1761. The township of Pawlet was granted to this same Jonathan Willard and sixty-seven others, August 26th, 1761, and the township of Harwick (now Mt. Tabor,) about the same time. Other charters for townships were granted the same year, some of which were Poultney, Tinmouth, Dorset, Ira and Wells.

Below will be found a copy of the Charter for the township of Danby, which is the general form of the New Hampshire Charter.

"Province of New Hampshire, George the third, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, defender of the faith, &c. To all persons to whom these presents shall come, Greeting:

Know ye that we of our special grace, certain knowledge and mere motion, for the due encouragement of settling a new plantation within our said province, by and with the advice of our trusty and well beloved Benning Wentworth, Esq., our Governor and Commander in Chief of our said province, have upon conditions and reservations hereinafter mentioned, given and granted, and by these presents for us, our heirs and successors, do give and grant in equal shares, unto our loving subjects, inhabitants of our said province of N. H., and our other governments, and to their heirs and assigns forever, whose names are entered on this grant, to be divided to and amongst them, into sixty-eight equal shares, all that tract or parcel of land, lying and being within our said province of N. H., containing by admeasurement 23040 acres, which tract is to contain six miles and no more, out of which an allowance is to be made for high ways and unimprovable lands, by rocks, ponds, mountains and rivers, one thousand and forty acres free, made by our said Governor's order, and returned into Secretary's office, and hereunto annexed, butted and bounded as follows, viz:

Beginning at the north-west corner of Dorset, from thence running due north six miles; thence due east six miles; thence due south six miles, to the north-east corner of Dorset aforesaid; and thence due west by Dorset aforesaid six miles, to the north-west corner, which is also the south-east corner of Pawlet, and that the same be and is hereby incorporated into a township, by the name of Danby, and the inhabitants that do or shall hereafter inhabit the said township, are declared to be enfranchised with, and entitled to all and every the privileges and immunities that towns within our province by law exercise and enjoy; and further, that the said town as soon as there shall be fifty families resident and settled therein, shall have the liberty of holding town fairs, one of which shall be held on the ___, and the other on the ___ annually, which fairs are not to continue longer than the respective ___ following the said ___, and that as soon as the said town shall consist of fifty families, a market may be opened and kept one or more days in each week, as may be thought most advantageous to the inhabitants. Also that the first meeting for choice of town officers, agreeable to the laws of our said province, shall be held on the fourth Tuesday of September next, which said meeting shall be notified by Jonathan Willard, who is hereby appointed moderator of said meeting, which he is to notify and govern agreeable to the laws and customs of our said province, and that the annual meeting forever thereafter, for the choice of such officers for the said town, shall be on the second Tuesday of March annually. To have and to hold the said tract of land as above expressed, together with all the privileges and appurtenances to them and their respective heirs and assigns forever, upon the following conditions:

I. That every grantee, his heirs or assigns shall plant and cultivate five acres of land within the term of five years, for every fifty acres contained in his or their share or proportion of land in said township, and continue to improve and settle the same by additional cultivations, on the penalty of the forfeiture of his grant or share in said township, and of its reverting to us, our heirs and successors, to be by us or them, regranted to such of our subjects as shall be effectually settled and cultivate the same.

II. That all white and other pine trees within the said township, fit for masting our Royal Navy be carefully preserved for that use, and none be cut or felled without our special license for so doing first had and obtained, upon the penalty of the forfeiture of the right of such grantee, his heirs and successors, as well as being subject to the penalty of any act or acts of Parliament that now are or hereafter shall be enacted.

III. That before any division of the land be made to and among the grantees, a tract of land as near the center of said township as the land will admit of shall be reserved and marked out for town lots, one of which shall be allotted to each grantee of the contents of one acre.

IV. Yielding and paying therefor to us, our heirs and successors, for the space of ten years, to be computed from the date hereof, the rent of one ear of Indian corn only, on the twenty-fifth day of December annually, if lawfully demanded, the first payment to be made on the twenty-fifth day of December, 1762.

V. Every proprietor, settler or inhabitant shall yield and pay to us, our heirs and successors yearly and every year for ever, from and after the expiration of ten years from the above said 25th day of December, namely, on the 25th day of December, which shall be in the year of our Lord 1762, one shilling Proclamation money, for every hundred acres he so owns, settles or possesses, and so in proportion for a greater or lesser tract of the said land, which money shall be paid by the respective persons above said, their heirs or assigns, in our Council Chamber in Portsmouth, or to such officer or officers as shall be appointed to receive the same, and this to be in lieu of all other rents and services whatever.

In testimony whereof, we have caused the seal of our said province to be affixed. Witness Benning Wentworth, Esq., our Governor and Commander in Chief of our said province, the 27th day of August, in the year of our Lord Christ, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-one, and in the first year of our reign.

By his Excellency's command, with advice of Council,
Province of New Hampshire, August 27th, 1761, recorded in the Book of


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