Middlesex, Vermont

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Middlesex is a town in Washington County, Vermont, United States. The population was 1,729 at the 2000 census.

Contents

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 39.9 square miles (103.2 km2), of which, 39.7 square miles (102.7 km2) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km2) of it (0.53%) is water.

History

The town of Middlesex was granted by royal charter on 8 June 1763 by New Hampshire colonial governor Benning Wentworth. The town takes its boundaries from Waterbury, incorporated the previous day, and Worcester, which received its grant the same day as Middlesex. The source of the town's name is uncertain but it is supposed Wentworth, or a staff member, chose the name for its location in the middle of Waterbury and Worcester. Another possibility would be that Wentworth chose Middlesex to seek favor from English nobleman Charles Sackville who held the title Lord Middlesex until 1765, when he became Duke of Dorset.

The town remained largely undeveloped through the period of the Vermont Republic and early Vermont statehood, with settlements in the village and Putnamville. The Putnam family were among the first settlers of the town. Seth Putnam was elected first town clerk in 1790; brothers Isaac and Jacob Putnam were elected town surveyors.

Middlesex village, situated along the Winooski River, is the town's chief settlement and location of the town hall. Middlesex Village obtained a post office in 1821 (that office closed in 1966). Middlesex Center is, as the name suggests, in the near center of the town situated northwest of the Great Brook and Brook Road. Shady Rill is rolling, mostly lowland where three brooks-Herrick, Martins, and Patterson, each named for a local family, converge with the North Branch which runs south to Wrightsville and Montpelier. A northern affiliation Baptist Church was built in Shady Rill in 1849. The village of Putnamville is located along the town's eastern border along the North Branch River. A waterfall there once powered grist and saw mills. A post office was opened in Putnamville, incongruously titled Putnamsville, in 1882 (this post office closed in 1935).

Wrightsville, just south of Putnamville, was once a sizable settlement with nearly 30 built structures, and several mills. The Wrightsville Dam, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps 1933-35 in response to the 1927 flood caused that settlement to be disbanded. The Northbranch Cemetery was moved southwest to Portal Road, and a majority of the mostly Greek Revival houses were moved west up the hill to where the old Hood place presently stands. Off Portal Road and Bolduc Road is Tangletown Road, which takes its name from an area of town nicknamed Tangletown because the woods there are so thick and so alike that settlers reported getting "tangled up" (lost) in the area.

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