1780 - Major Elias Buel: The First Proprietor
Coventry History

Elias Buel's Signature
On Monday November 4th, 1780 the Vermont assembly granted a tract of land to Major Elias Buel of Coventry, Connecticut and 59 other associates. The land was said to be situated in Addison County amongst five towns lying between Otter Creek and Lake Champlain. The list of 60 GRANTEES is interesting in the fact that just about all of them came from the town of Coventry, Connecticut. In fact most of them were former members of Major Buel's Connecticut militia company which marched to Lexington and Concord at the first battle of the Revolution in 1775.
"That a Grant issue to Majr Elias Buel and Company for the following gore or
tract of land situate between the towns of Shorum, Orwell, Hubberton, Sudbury
& Whiting so as to allow to each 320 acres or thereabouts." (1)
There is one name on the grantee list who is not directly associated with Coventry, Connecticut however and that is Ira Allen, Treasurer and Surveyor General of the State of Vermont. Allen's father Joseph was born in Coventry, Connecticut, so it is possible that Buel and his associates were acquainted with the Allen family and were approached by Allen to invest in some of Vermont's vast land holdings.

Either way, Allen should have known better than to sell them on this particular tract of land. He had been appointed to the surveyor post in 1778 and had been surveying Vermont lands since 1770. He was in fact intimately acquainted with every nook and cranny of the lands in the area having run the lines and laid out lots for Hubbarton and Sudbury in 1772. Nevertheless a major error was committed in granting these lands as subsequent survey showed that there was insufficient acreage available between the towns to complete the grant.
1790 Map
Addison County in 1795 from Carey's American Atlas (2)
Early maps of the Hubbarton area only add to the mystery of why the land was granted in the first place. Some maps show the towns lined up mostly end to end with no place for a gore to occur. Other maps show a town of Coventry already existing in the area before the town was officially chartered. Later maps have Coventry removed or displaced with other towns.

Buel submitted his ill-fated request and the Governor and Council approved the Coventry grant the next day charging ten pounds silver money for each right, (600 pounds total) to be paid by December 31st. Confirming that the grant was indeed for a gore of land, and that the quantity of land could not be ascertained, Buel was required to pay only 150 pounds by the December date. If subsequent survey of the land found that there were less than 15 shares available (4800 acres) Buel would be refunded his money without interest. If a larger quantity of land was found it would be paid for after it was surveyed.

Sometime in the following year 1781, Buel was credited with a payment of about 200 pounds towards his Coventry granting fees by paying off part of a debt which Vermont owed to the State of Connecticut for gunpowder which Vermont had previously purchased. He spent the next 3 years ascertaining that indeed there was not enough land around Hubbarton to complete his grant. It was found that the five towns in fact covered most of what was thought to be the gore. Realizing that his grant was worthless, Buel went back to the legislature and asked for redress. What he got was his new "flying grant".

1. A Journal of the proceedings of the General Assembly of the State of Vermont. Vermont. General Assembly. House of Representatives., 1780 p.156
2. Vermont From actual Survey, Carey's American Atlas, 1795, Philadelphia, Pa. David Rumsey Map Collection, Cartography Associates http://www.davidrumsey.com/