1800 - Settlement: The East Side
The settlement of the town of Coventry began in earnest in 1800 when families primarily from the
Westmoreland, N.H. area began their migration here. They settled at first along the Barton
River valley and then towards the center. These early settlers were squatters who pitched
their lands without any title. It wasn't until 1803 that the first of them obtained deeds
from Jabez Fitch the proprietor.
Samuel Crafts Plot Map circa 1820 (1)
CLICK ON THE MAP TO SEE MODERN SETTLEMENT PLOTS
COVENTRY SETTLEMENT 1800-1803
Conventional histories of Coventry say that the first of the settlers to arrive was the Cobb
family. In September of 1799 Samuel Cobb and his son Tisdale visited Coventry with the idea
of settling here. After liking what they saw they built a log cabin and returned to Westmoreland
for the winter. The next spring on March 15, 1800 the family set out from Westmoreland on horseback
as far as Brownington where the road ended. They then set out on foot through the woods and on
March 27 pitched their lots. Samuel built a cabin on lot 11, and Tisdale built his on lot 12.
Samuel Jr. made a clearing on lot 6 but never built a dwelling and eventually left deciding that
Coventry was not for him after being disappointed by some promises that Jabez Fitch had made to
him but did not keep. The cabins were rough hewn affairs, but the floors were milled wood planks
carried 10 miles through the woods from General William Barton's sawmill located in Barton. The
following June, the rest of the Cobb family joined them from Westmoreland. They spent the rest
of the summer clearing small parcels ot land and planting grain and potatoes, enough to get them
through the coming winter. Each family had a cow which foraged in the woods as best it could for
food with a scanty supply of hay bought and brought in from Barton. The nearest gristmill to grind
flour was Arnold's Mill in West Derby where the Cobb men would carry the bags of grain on their
shoulders. It was a bit easier in the winter when they were able to haul the bags on handsleds
across frozen Lake Memphremagog. There were no roads to travel on and no neighbors within two miles
of them, but by the winter of 1800 the family was settled on their 200 acres of land overlooking
the Barton River valley.
The first industry in Coventry began the next year when Samuel Smith of Brownington built a
on the Day Brook apparently where it crossed over the land of Samuel Cobb Jr. The Cobbs
now no longer needed to travel to Colonel Barton's mill in Barton for boards and planks. A few
years later a rough
PUDDING-MILL was built on
Day Brook further to the west by David Kendall.
1. Vermont Historical Society, Montpelier, VT
- Pliny White, History of Coventry, Vt., 1858, Irasburgh,Vt.