1825 - Coventry Gore
Coventry History

The town of Coventry as originally surveyed only contained 16,767 acres, far short of the approximately 20,000 acres or six square miles usually included in a township grant. To make up for this deficiency the original proprietor of Coventry, Major Elias Buel was granted two other parcels of land. One of them was the 4,000 acre gore down in Chittenden county which still bears his name. But the other was Coventry Gore.

Coventry Gore Plot Map
Coventry Gore from Crafts 1822 Plot Map

Coventry Gore was a separate 2,000 acre parcel of land situated about 4 miles west of the village, and centered on Black mountain in what is today the town of Newport. Indeed one could say that the Gore has it's own history separate from that of the main part of the town. It was mostly ignored by the original settlers and it wasn't until 1825 that the first of them decided to make a home there.

Coventry Gore Map
Coventry Gore from Burgett's 1876 Map

The Gore had been part and parcel of the struggle between the proprietors for control of the land. At one point in 1798, proprietor Ira Allen sold off just the Gore separately from the rest of the town to raise some cash when he was in such dire straits in London. But when Jabez Fitch finally secured most of the town in 1801 through a tax vendue the Gore was included in the purchase. It remained an addendum to the town, avoided by the settlers who arrived in the Barton River valley and at the falls on the Black River. Known back then as "bear ridge" it would take another 25 years before one family would finally decided to make a go at Coventry Gore.

A.W.Higgins Map
Higgins homestead from Walling's 1858 Map

In Oct of 1825 Archibald W. Higgins began the settlement of the Gore. With his wife and 4 small children he carved out a clearing on the west side of Black mountain probably somewhere along the southeast side of todays Bonin Rd. For the next 40 years the Higgins family would make their living farming in the wilds of the Gore,

The settlement of Coventry Gore was begun Oct. 7, 1825, by Archibald W. Higgins, who with three other persons, went out into the woods nearly three miles from any house, and began a clearing. They had not so much as a path to guide them, but found their way by following marked trees on the lines of lots. A log cabin was built, into which Higgins and his wife moved a few weeks after, and there they long resided without neighbors, and seeing bears much oftener than human beings. Wild beasts infested that part of the town more than any other. In those days its bore the name of "bear ridge." Higgins had many stirring adventures with his savage companions, fourteen of which he killed, three in a single day. One night as he was walking home from Troy a bear followed him three miles through the woods. Some of the time Higgins sung, some of the time he scolded, by which means and the help of a stout cudgel he kept his pursuer at bay, though he was not able to kill him or to drive him off. At another time he was confronted by a she bear with cubs. She stood on her hind feet and disputed his passage. Higgins was unarmed, save with such stones and sticks as were near at hand, but he maintained his position till his dog came to help him, and with that assistance he put his adversaries to flight.

Pliny White, History of Coventry, Vt.

- Pliny White, History of Coventry, Vt., 1858, Irasburgh, Vt.