Sandgate, Vermont

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THE TERRAIN

Probably the best description of Sandgate's hills and vales can be taken from an article in Hemenway's Vermont Historical Gazetteer written by Walter Randall, in 1861. His father, Asa N. Randall, had brought his family to Sandgate from Southbury, Connecticut, in 1800, although he had established himself here a few years earlier. Walter Randall became Town Clerk in 1834 and held the office to 1860, with the exception of one year. He wrote --

"The eastern part of town is mostly side-hill, with not more rock or large stone than needed for fencing and building purposes. We cultivate our hillside in many places to the top of the mountain. The soil is slate gravel and better adapted to sheep than a dairy. I do not believe we have 200 acres of intervale in the township. We have some limestone, but it is not worked. "Between the east and west part of town there is a remarkable passage through the mountain called the Notch, where there is scarcely room enough for a carriage-way. This cut is through solid rock, some 30 feet high, and wholly the work of nature, turning and winding through the rocks some 50 rods, and is the only way to pass from one part of the town to the other with a carriage short of 10 mile travel. It will well repay those who like to feast on the curious works of nature to visit this spot in the summer season.""

[One hundred years later this is still a curious work of nature, although man has improved on the width of the passageway, and the condition of the road.]

"West of the Notch the soil is a hardpan from one to two feet below the surface. The hills are not as high as in the east part. Half a mile south of the Notch is a hill known as Swearing Hill and so recorded on the books of deeds since the first settlement of the town. It is said that two parties started out in pursuit of game, one from the east side and the other from the west side, and met on the top, where they had a hot fight which party should be entitled to the game. Thus the name was established. Across the hollow east of said hill is another high hill, called Minister Hill, on the west side of which lay the farm or lot of land occupied by Rev. James Murdock, the first settled minister in Sandgate, of the Congregational order." 6

Mr. Randall might have continued by saying that beyond Minister Hill and along the eastern boundary of Sandgate are the foothills of Equinox Mountain, which rises to a height of some 3700 feet in Manchester.

Bear Mountain is in the northeastern part of town, and the Green River, a clear beautiful stream, has its source in Beartown, the name given by early settlers to that section of Sandgate. This river, which derives its name from the greenish schist that forms its bed, is fed by numerous brooks, among them being Covey Brook, Moffitt Brook, Pruddy Brook, Hopper Brook, Hawks Rookery Brook, and Tidd Hollow Brook. The Green River flows into the Batten Kill.

Terry Brook, which flows through West Sandgate, has two sources: the south source rises on the western slope of Moffitt Mountain, east of the Rupert Road; the north fork on Egg Mountain near the Sandgate-Rupert line. Terry Brook flows southwestwardly through the Camden Valley to the Batten Kill; some of its feeder brooks are Bennett Brook, Robinson Hollow Brook, Eadie Brook, and Mother Brown Brook. It is said that Terry Brook was sometimes called "Holy Terror Brook" due to the forceful flow of its waters at certain periods of the year..

6. Walter Randall, Hemenway's Vermont Historical Gazetteer {Burlington, Vt., 1868), Vol. I, p. 230.


Printed by
Farnham & Farnham
Shaftsbury, Vermont
1961

 Introduction     Origin     The Terrain     Early Settlers     First Years     Churches     Cemeteries     Schools     Changing Times     Bibliography