Waterford: A History of Settlers
Waterford, Vermont, is a “young” town – it wasn’t settled until after the American Revolution. Exact dates are scarce, but it’s clear that James and Submit Adams arrived by 1783, in the part of town that bordered St. Johnsbury. Soon a few dozen others began to settle, in clusters that became the town’s villages: Upper Waterford and Lower Waterford, West Waterford, and districts like “Copenhagen.” Each one focused on industry: grain mills, lumber mills, tanneries. The town’s rivers and fierce springtime streams provided power for these. Farms spread out around the villages. And churches and schools, the mainstays of educated people and community life, were established all over the town.
Waterford contributed more than her share of Civil War soldiers, with some returning, some memorialized instead. (The town has a dozen cemeteries; at least three are still active. Visit them to find the settlers, the patriots, the schoolteachers, the families.) More patriotic men and women would volunteer in the wars of the 20th century, too. In between, families moved west for land, for gold, for adventure. And many returned.
In the 21st century, Waterford’s students learn advanced technology just as those in urban locations do; roads, river, and solar power are all part of local discussions. Service industries and telecommuters add to the mix. Broadband coverage is generous and essential. Community events multiply, and the library is the heart of Lower Waterford, today’s main village. Most of all, the sense of being “many villages” linked in one sturdy and prosperous town unites Waterford’s citizens in shaping current history, in one of the loveliest locations in northern Vermont.
For more Waterford History, visit the town’s history blog: http://waterford-vt-history.blogspot.com. Some day, you, too, may take part in the town’s stories of the past, present, and future.