The settlement of Sheldon was commenced about the year 1790 by Colonel Elisha Sheldon, and Samuel B. Sheldon, emigrants from Salisbury, Connecticut. ….That town, originally called HUNGERFORD, was changed to Sheldon, Nov. 8, 1792. ….
The town, originally called HUNGERFORD, from Samuel HUNGERFORD, to whom, with 64 others, it was granted, in 1763. Uriah FIELD, or “Daddy FIELD” as he was familiarly called, seems to have acquired, by purchase, the greater part of the town. It was of him and Timothy ROGERS, living in Ferrisburgh Vt., and who was one of the town’s first surveyors that the SHELDONs bought, and gave it their name. Year after year, for nearly 20 years, Uriah visited Sheldon, riding all the way from Connecticut on horseback, to receive the annual pay, which was in part beef-cattle, which they drove to New York markets.
The first of the SHELDONs that visited the town was Samuel B.,. He and Elisha, Jr., and George were sons of Col, Elisha SHELDON. It was in 1789 that Major Sam first came to town. His object in coming was to look the township over and inspect the soil previous to purchasing.
In the spring of 1790, George, the youngest son of Col. SHELDON, accompanied by a sturdy old Scotchman by the name of MAC NAMARA and his wife, together with several negro servants, came to town as “first settlers;” their only means of locomotion being a yoke of oxen and sled.
After the crops were harvested the negroes returned to Burlington to pass the winter. George also started for home in Connecticut, leaving MAC NAMARA and wife to keep watch and ward over matters at the settlement until the return of spring. Early the next spring George returned. When he reached the settlement he found that MAC NAMARA’s wife had died and that he had covered the body in a snow-bank near the house. She was afterward buried on the south side of the river, about a quarter of a mile distant, upon a “hemlock ridge,” and there, alone, where no monument nor tablet marks the spot, and where the exact place cannot be indicated became the first grave site in Sheldon.
Later in the spring, Col. SHELDON and his sons, Elisha, Jr., Maj. Sam. and son-in-law, Elnathan KEYES, together with their families and that of George, and their Negro servants, also James Herrick and James HAWLEY, arrived in town. After incorporation as the town of Sheldon in 1791 the town grew with 33 votes cast as early as 1796.
In 1792 Major SHELDON built a saw-mill at the lower falls not far from what is now known as Olmsted’s Mills, about 2 miles from the present village of SHELDON. It was built there on account of the great amount of pine lumber in the immediate vicinity, A few years later, in 1797, be built a grist-mill on the west side of the creek. In 1799, Israel KEITH built a furnace and forge, and for a long time a flourishing business was done; employing, much of the time, 100 men or more, to supply it with coal and iron.In 1803 a carding-mill was built, and, the same year, a post-office established, Dr. HILDRETH was appointed Postmaster; date of commission, Jan. 15, 1803. Dr. H. was also first physician in town, and first tavern-keeper.
The first birth in town was a colored child; its mother, “Old Mary,” was a servant of Col. SHELDON, who bought her in Connecticut where she was sold for the commission of some crime. The second child born was Harry DEMING, son of Frederick DEMING; the third, Louisa SHELDON, daughter of Geo. SHELDON.
The Missisquoi derives its name from the Indian words Missi meaning much, and Kiscoo waterfowl, from the great number of cranes, herons and ducks, that frequented, and still frequent, this stream. It is about 80 miles long and drains a surface of 600 square miles. It enters the town about a mile south of the Enosburgh Falls. At the end of another mile it is joined by one of its principal tributaries — Tyler’s Branch followed by Black Creek, its principal tributary, a few miles farther down river. Continuing along, in graceful curves, gradually bending southward, it receives another and its largest tributary-Black Creek. After an additional 4-5 miles, or a total of about 11 miles, it enters the town of Highgate
Black Creek, running through Fairfield, enters Sheldon on the south, and empties into the Missisquoi 2 miles below Sheldon village where it provides water power to local industry..
Tyler’s Branch, a stream of less size than Black Creek, enters the town on the east. Besides these there are two small streams emptying into the Missisquoi which are Goodsell and Morrow brooks.
Portions taken from
“The Vermont Historical Gazetteer:
A Magazine Embracing A History of Each Town,
Civil, Ecclesiastical, Biographical and Military.”
Volume II, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille & Orange Counties.
Including Also The Natural History of Chittenden County.
Edited and Published by Miss Abby, Maria Hemenway.
Burlington, VT. 1871.
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