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