First Grist Mill 1762


Some Interesting Facts, Locations and Dates of the Old Days


Brattleborough, Decemb'r 6th, 1762.

Then Rec'd of Wilder Willard four Pounds Ten
Shillings Sterling in full for an oxx that was
Damnified by Bringing his Excellency the
Governor's Millstone.

__________P'd me, ___John Arms


His Excellency the Governor was Governor Benning Wentworth of the Province of New Hampshire, who lived at Portsmouth. Wilder Willard had been a lieutenant at Fort Dummer and lived there. The headstone standing on a little knoll across the road north of Colonel John Hunt's was placed at the grave of Susan his wife in the field further east, who died November 20th, 1763, in the 28th year of her age. A farmer ploughed it up, leveled the graves and left it lying about; another farmer set it where it stands. John Arms lived where the asylum farm house is on the road to Newfane.


The date of the saw-mill is not so easily, but can be nearly, fixed. The charter of Brattleborough, like those of most towns, provided: "That all White or other Pine Trees within the said Township fit for Masting our Royal Navy be carefully Preserved for that use and none to be cut or felled without His Majesty's Especial Lycence for so doing, first had and obtained."


Ebenezer Fisher, grandfather of the late Wilder Fisher, who lived where Mr Brown lives on the east road north of Centreville, was prosecuted in 1769 by John Wentworth, Esquire, of Portsmouth, "Surveyor General of His Majesty's Woods in all and singular His Majesty's Colonies and Plantations in North America," for cutting such trees.


The logs were taken, "to a Saw Mill belonging to," Judge Wells, "adjoining to the high Road," in Brattleborough. He was arrested, "on Process from the Court of Vice Admiralty in New York," by Benjamin Whiting a deputy marshal, but released by Daniel Jones Esquire of Hinsdale, Deputy Surveyor, because the trees had "been blown down and laid rotting for several years," and were not fit for masts. To start such a prosecution would take a long time then, and the logs must probably have been taken to the mill in 1768, which had very likely been built as early as 1767. It stood just west of where Main street bridge now is.


The "high road" came from Hinsdale now Vernon line, back of where Colonel Hunt's buildings are, round by where Royal Wood lives, over down the hill and across the brook by a bridge near where the road and bridge now are, near where the front of the American House is, under where the fronts of the stores on the east side of Main street and the town hall are, east of where the dwelling houses to near Mr. Dowley's are, south of that into where Asylum street is, past Major Arms's, and Judge Wells's where the Women's Retreat is, down past where the Weld place is to, and by ford across, West river, and across the meadow and up the bank to where the present road north of the Thomas place is and beyond.


A bridge was afterwards built across the river at the ford, and that was the main road up and down Connecticut river till 1796 when a toll bridge was built by the West River Bridge Company where the present bridge over West river is, and a road where the present road is from Main street to the bridge and beyond.


Brattleboro Reformer, May 6, 1893.

Written by Judge Hoyt Henry Wheeler.


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