August 26th, 2019

Senate Report: Settlers in Early Fayston Sought Education at Any Age

By Senator Bill Doyle
The town of Fayston was chartered by the state of Vermont on February 27, 1782. The charter was signed by Governor Thomas Chittenden and by Joseph Fay, Secretary to the Governor’s Council and a member of the family from which Fayston received its name.

The charter of Fayston reads in part: “The Governor’s Council and General Assembly of the Freemen of the state of Vermont and to all people… greeting: Know ye that whereas our worthy friend, Colonel Ebenezer Wallbridge and his associates have by petition requested a grant of a tract of unlocated lands within this state for the purpose of settling a new plantation to be erected into a township…” The charter goes on to say “and that (the land) be incorporated into a township by the name of Fayston and that the inhabitants that do or shall hereafter inhabit said township are declared to be enfranchised and entitled to all the privileges and immunities that other towns within this state do by law exercise and enjoy.”

The charter ends by saying, “Each proprietor of the township of Fayston shall plant and cultivate five acres of land and build house at least 18 feet square on the floor or have one family settled on each share of the land in said township within the time limited by law on penalty of the forfeiture of the land not so settled and improved” and if not, “revert to the freemen of this state in order to be regranted.”

Although Fayston was chartered in 1782, its first settler, Lynde Wait, who married Waitsfield’s General Wait, settled on Bragg Hill in 1798, which is now known as the Vasseur Farm. Until the first school was built, children were taught in private homes. The first schoolhouse cost $159.75.

There are two important streams in Fayston, Mill and Shepard brooks. Mill Brook received its name because it furnished power for a gristmill. Shepard Brook received its name from a hunter who trapped beavers.

Most of the mountain peaks on the western side of Fayston are approximately 3,000 feet. Dana Mill was named for the saw mill on Mill Brook, and Stark Mountain was named for General John Stark, whose leadership was crucial in the Battle of Bennington. The Battle of Bennington was the beginning of the Battle of Saratoga, which was the turning point of the Revolutionary War.

Charles Maxwell, a Fayston native, was a well-known lecturer, educator and author.

Senator Bill Doyle serves on the Senate Education Committee and Senate Economic Affairs Committee. He teaches government history at Johnson State College. He can be reached at 186 Murray Road, Montpelier, VT 05602; e-mail wdoyle@leg.state.vt.us; or call 223-2851.

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