1806 - 'Setting Off' The Public Lands
Coventry History

After the settlers of Coventry organized the town they found they were still beset with legal difficulties. Because the proprietor Jabez Fitch had never officially drafted the public lands for the town and proprietorship was never transferred to the settlers, they were unable to legally sell their land. And because the public lands had not yet been determined it was impossible to fairly determine each settlers proper proportion of taxes to be paid. The citizens of the town petitioned the Vermont Legislature to remedy the situation.

On September 2, 1806, 17 of Coventry's leading residents sent a PETITION to the Vermont Legislature asking them to pass an act appointing a committee of "three juditious (sic) and disinterested persons to lay out or set off all the public lands in the township of Coventry". At the October session of the legislature being held in Middlebury the petition was read and referred to committee but was never acted upon and was referred to the next session. In October of 1807 it was again read and referred to committee. This time it was accepted and passed into law on November 7. It would appear that part of the committee's work included the creation of a new plot map for Coventry.

Johnson's Plot Map
John Johnson's plot map of Coventry circa 1810 (1)
At about the time the legislature would have been considering the petitioners request, John Johnson, the most prominent surveyor and engineer in northern Vermont (and future Surveyor-General of Vermont) created a new plot map of Coventry indicating all the set aside public lands as well as individual land owners. While the map is not dated it would appear to have been drawn in the latter part of 1810.

1. - John Johnson Collection, Folder 5, Map 54, Special Collections, University of Vermont Library