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Monday, April 25, 2016

Nice day today, but cold.  The wind was tempered by icebergs, I think.  The sun was pleasant, though.  Last night the low was in the 20's somewhere, and tonight is going to be pretty cold, too.  Snow showers in the forecast - not unexpected; that's the way our weather has been for months - erratic. 

I've been happily watching the birds around our house this past week, and tonight a partridge flew into one of the windows.  When the light is just right, that happens sometimes, and it's always such a sad thing.  I love partridges - they are in my category of "nice" birds.  I was chased by one once - she had a brood of chicks and when I got out of my car to take a picture of them crossing the road, she lowered her wings, ruffled her feathers and charged me.  I retreated and never did get the picture.  Afterwards I was sorry I'd caused her such concern.  It's never a good idea to invade the space of wild things, even medium sized birds.  We were sad that this poor bird had the poor judgement to fly into a window reflection.

We had our book meeting today at the Danville Historical Society.  We're moving ahead slowly - the research takes lots of time.  We are hoping to find information about West Danville in the early 1800's.  It seems there is not much information about that time period.  I have digital copies of the North Star from 1807 on, but there is no information specifically about West Danville - only Danville - and we have no way separating one section of the town from the others.  Danville seemed to be where the growth and commerce was taking place in those years, and I find that a bit surprising.  With the advantage of water power and the Joe's Pond as a resource, I wonder why it wasn't Palmer Mill Village, now called West Danville, that became the shire town and hub of commerce.  Instead, it was "the Green," with no nearby water to power mills - the resource that was the draw for so many early Vermont towns.  

Cabot was first settled on the Plain, on the Bayley Hazen military road, and that was the hub of commerce and town business for 20 years or more, and there was no water for mills nearby there, either.  However some of the town's leaders thought the business of running the town should be at the geographic center of town, about two miles south of the Plain, and moved there at an intersection of a north-south road and an east-west road; but within a few years all business moved into the valley to take advantage of easy access to the Winooski River's power.  The Plain was settled first because of the military road, and again roads may have been part of the reason for moving to the Center, but ultimately, the water power was the powerful magnet for business and a concentration of settlers.

Joe's Brook is only about a mile from the Bayley Hazen military road, so wouldn't it seem logical for the settlement around Jesse Leavenworth's mills on the brook, the community known as Palmer Mills Village, now West Danville, to be chosen as the county seat, or shire town?  Of course, Cabot thought they would become the shire town of Caledonia County, but that didn't work out and they ended up being in Washington County.  Instead, Danville was chosen.   

My best guess at this point is that Danville Green was situated on a more direct route from Peacham and points south - and there was more level farm land than the area surrounding Joe's Pond, but we may find more information as we move ahead.

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