From: History of Bennington County, Vt.
With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers.
Edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich. Syracuse, N. Y., D. Mason S Co., Publishers, 1889.
The village known by the name of Manchester Depot is a small burg, brought into existence mainly through the construction of the Western Vermont Railroad, but now known as the Bennington and Rutland Railway. This road was built during the years 1850 and 1851, therefore the village at this point is the youngest of the three that are made the subjects of special mention in this chapter. As is generally the case whenever a railroad is built through any locality, and a station established, a number of houses and a few stores will be constructed; and in this manner was this town created. The business of the town has never been large, the majority of traders preferring to transact their business at the larger town of Manchester Centre, which is but half a mile distant. A number of years ago there were in existence in this vicinity several manufacturing industries, but they have successively disappeared except the extensive marble and granite works of W. H. FULLERTON. Mr. FULLERTON was born in Washington county, N. Y., and first engaged in the marble quarry and manufacturing business in this county about 1861 or 1862 in connection with W. A. TERRILL at South Dorset, which relation continued about three years. Then after about three months Mr. FULLERTON became the sole proprietor. The shops at-the Depot were built about twenty-one years ago, and at that time there was but one or two dwellings in the village.
The manufacture of marble for all purposes for which that commodity was used was the business engaged in by Mr. FULLERTON, but when granite commenced to replace marble and a general demand was created therefore, that branch of business was added, and both are extensively worked at these shops.
The mercantile. business of Manchester Depot is confined to three or four stores, the most extensive being owned and conducted by John C. BLACKMER.
The town has no churches, and but one society or order-Skinner Post No. 24, G. A. R. This organization must be treated as an institution of Manchester Depot, having its place of meeting at that point, although the membership of the post embraces residents of various parts of the township and perhaps elsewhere.
Skinner Post was organized by charter dated May 9, 1873, and the following charter members: George H. SESSIONS, John T. BEACH, George BRADFORD, O. M. HOWE, Wayland ADAMS, John C. BLACKMER, SMITH W. JAMESON, T. B. EATON, Edward BROCKWAY, George P. UTLEY, William H- SMITH, Isaac WADE, Frederick W. COOK, Charles H. POND, E. W. HILL, Richard ROBERTS, George W. SESSIONS, D. K. SIMONDS, W. A. BLACK, R. E. BALDWIN. The post has a present membership of about fifty, and is officered as follows: Commander, J. C. BLACKMER; senior vice-commander, William H. SMITH; junior vice-commander, Almon F. DAY; adjutant, R H. LINDSLEY; officer of the day, O. O. WHITMAN; officer of the guard, Charles H. SCOTT; quartermaster, F. W. COOK; surgeon, Dr. L. H. HEMENWAY; chaplain, Rev. E. E. BROWN; sergeant-major, George H. SWIFT; quartermaster-sergeant, M. D. MARSH. Connected with the post is a regularly organized and effective order known as the Ladies’ Relief Society.
About midway between Manchester Centre and the depot is situated a cheese factory, which, in its way, is a rather important industry. Every morning, except during the winter season, the farmers of the township bring here their milk from which the cheese is manufactured. Each month the product is shipped to market, and the revenue derived therefrom is divided among the patrons according to the proportion of milk furnished by each. E. A. JAMESON acts in the capacity of sales commissioner, and Thomas LEE as cheesemaker.
Just above the cheese factory, and between that building and the tannery is the feed and cider-mill of Reuben COLVIN. The location was formerly used at the Peter WYMAN Marble Mill, power being procured from the West Branch stream twenty or thirty rods distant. This property came into Mr. COLVIN’s hands in 1882.
The Battenkill River, which crosses the township in a generally southwest course, is now and always has been the chief source of water-power in the township. To enumerate the great number of factories of all kinds that have from time to time been erected along its banks would be a most difficult if not impossible task. In the early part of this chapter reference has been made to a number of mills that were in existence as early as 1805 and 1826, and any additional mention concerning them or succeeding like industries is unnecessary. In the north part of the town, on the upper waters of the Branch, still stand the ruins of a number of water-power marble-mills. The same is true of the vicinity of “Marbleville,” as it was formerly known, but none of these are now in operation.
On the Battenkill River, about a mile above the depot, stands the saw and lumber-mill of Judge DEAN, a prominent resident of the town. Judge DEAN commenced operations at this point in 1868, and has since continued the same to the present time. The mill is under the direction of H. C. REYNOLDS, a man well known in the locality as a recent candidate for political preferment, but on account of the fact that the average majority of the Republican party in the town is about as four against one, and Mr. REYNOLDS being the Democratic nominee, his election was by no means expected. The Dean Mill is now about the only one in operation on the “Kill” in this town.
On Bourn Brook, a tributary to the Battenkill, there have been a number of mills, among them that known as the old Bourn saw-mill. Joseph H. HICKS, is now the owner of the only operating saw mill on that stream. On this same brook farther down is a planing-mill, the property of John V. COLVIN, that was started in 1874 The proprietor formerly owned a grist and planing-mill at North Bennington.
On Lye Brook, an exceeding winding stream, there had been for many years a number of mills, noticeably those known as BURRITT Brothers and PETTIBONE Brothers. The former name of BURRITT recalls one of the early families of the Lye Brook neighborhood. Some of the members of the BURRITT family have been celebrated bear hunters, and the number of this species of animal creation that they have trapped and shot is simply astonishing. The BURRITTs are among the highly respected and prosperous families of the town. The BURRITT mill is on the site of the first saw-mill built in the town of Manchester. The PETTIBONE Brothers, who also have for many years had a mill on Lye Brook, are descended from one of the old families of the town. There were two distinct family names of PETTIBONE in the town, and that just mentioned is in no manner related to the descendants of Samuel PETTIBONE, the pioneer. On the Battenkill, in the south part have also been mills, noticeable among which has been the HAWLEY & FIELDING lumber and marble-mill, but now gone into disuse.