Around And About Addison County- Salisbury

By M. Stuart Parks

   The first permanent settler in Salisbury was a woman.  Amos  Story came from Norwich, Connecticut in 1774, claimed one hundred acres, built a log house and began to clear the land to grow wheat.  He intended to bring his family the following year but he was killed by a falling tree.  Mrs. Story, not to be deterred from her husband's plans, came to Salisbury in late 1775 with her sons Solomon, Ephraim and Samuel and her daughters Hannah and Susannah.  She was then 32 years old and reputed to be a woman of large stature and somewhat masculine in appearance with great strength and endurance.  She reclaimed the log cabin and with the boys she labored on the farm, taking the lead in clearing the land, raising grain and all the other chores necessary to raise her family.  As the Revolutionary war began to heat up settlers were advised to return to whence they came for fear of being killed by marauding Indians.  At the least they were advised to go to the southern part of the state where the population was denser and better protected.  Mrs. Story, confident in her ability to use a musket, wintered in Rutland but spent the summers working the farm in Salisbury.  For her efforts the town proprietors gave Mrs. Story 100 acres of land in her own name.  In 1792, with her children grown, she married Benjamin Smalley who died in 1808.  She married a third time at the age of seventy, in 1812, to Captain Stephen Goodrich.  Goodrich was one of the first settlers in Middlebury. The indomitable Mrs. Story - Smalley - Goodrich lived to be seventy-five years old and is buried in Middlebury.

    Salisbury began as most Addison County towns - with a grant from New Hampshire Governor Benning Wentworth in November 1761.  There are two explanations for its name.  One is the obvious; that most of the grantees were from Salisbury, Connecticut.  The other is that Governor Wentworth could never pass up an opportunity to flatter a nobleman and named the town after James Cecil who was then the sixth Earl of Salisbury.  After the typical re-arranging of boundaries Salisbury's area is 19,262 acres or 30.1 square miles.  Her lower land is 340 feet above sea level.  Early on there was a dispute between Salisbury and Leicester over the division of land but a committee of men from both towns and an agreement was reached which was acceptable to both towns.  Immigration began in earnest after this issue was settled.  By 1790 the following families were in residence:  Salathiel Bump, Ephraim Crook, Abe Waterous, Elias Kelsey, Samuel Pierce, Thomas Savery, Henry Kelar, Holland Weeks, Gilbert Everts, Jr., and many others.

    In 1863 when the call went out for volunteers to fight the English in the Revolution Salisbury, with a population of 853, saw 92 men leave for the war.  Some historians divide the number of citizens by five to determine the approximate number of families.  Using that formula would tell us that Salisbury had about 170 families and/or 170 heads of household.  Even accounting for young unmarried men it would still mean that at least fifty per cent of Salisbury's husbands and fathers fought for their country.

    Salisbury's western border is the Otter Creek where the land is level and very good for agricultural purposes.  As the town sweeps to the east it becomes more rolling until it climbs almost to the top of the Green Mountain Range.  More than half of Lake Dunmore is in Salisbury and provides much of Addison County with a summer playground.  The entire Lake covers a thousand acres and is crystal clear, warm and calm.  

   Branbury State Park is on the east side of Lake Dunmore. It is a beautiful area that was sold to the State of Vermont in 1945. It is composed of 69 acres with camp sites on both sides of route 53.  There is a sandy beach and large open areas for picnicking and family activities.  On the east side of the road Mount Moosalamoo rises steeply but has hiking trails to scenic sites, waterfalls, caves and an interpretive nature trail.  

    Salisbury is home to some fascinating places such as Shard Villa which was built by Columbus Smith; the Vermont Glass Factory which was opened in 1813 and issued its own money; Camp Keewaydin, an excellent summer camp for boys and not to be forgotten, the large cave or cavern that is thought to have been an Indian lodging place.
There is not space in this article to do justice to these places so they will be written about at another time.  For now it will have to be sufficient to say that Salisbury's contributions to Addison County are unique and appreciated.

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