Weathersfield, Vermont

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Weathersfield is a town in Windsor County, Vermont, United States. The population was 2,788 at the 2000 census.

Contents

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 44.2 square miles (114.4 km2), of which, 43.8 square miles (113.4 km2) of it is land and 0.4 square miles (1.1 km2) of it (0.93%) is water.

History

The town of Weathersfield was named for Wethersfield, Connecticut, the home of some of its earliest settlers. The Connecticut town had taken its name, in turn, from Wethersfield, a village in the English county of Essex, the name of which derived from wether, or in Old English wither, meaning a castrated lamb. In England, wethers were trained to lead flocks of ewes to pasture. It was a supreme irony that the name of the Vermont town (with an 'a' inserted) would derive from a connection to sheep, the animal that would come to define Weathersfield's earliest antecedents and first put it on the map.[citation needed]

The man responsible for that feat was a native of Boston who had become a European trader. William Jarvis was appointed by President Thomas Jefferson as U.S. Consul General to Portugal, after founding a trading house in Lisbon. In 1811 Jarvis imported from Spain to his farm at Weathersfield Bow the first Merino sheep brought to America.[3] Jarvis set aside eight of the 4,000 Merino sheep he imported as gifts to former President Jefferson and to President James Madison.[4]

"I cannot forbear, Sir," Jarvis wrote to Jefferson, "making you an offer of a Ram & Ewes, both as a mark of my great esteem & well knowing that the experiment cannot be in better hands."[5] Jarvis was a wealthy financier and gentleman farmer who had bought up most of the flood plain of Weathersfield. Jarvis was also one of the most prominent Republicans in the Connecticut River Valley. Thanks to his introduction of Merino sheep, he provided the underpinning for Vermont agriculture for the next century.[6][7][8]

Jarvis married Mary Pepperell Sparhawk of Boston, a fellow descendant of Sir William Pepperell of Massachusetts.[9][10] (Jarvis' wife was the niece of his mother, the former Mary Pepperell Sparhawk Jarvis).[11] Katherine L. Jarvis, daughter of Hon. William Jarvis, married Harvard-educated lawyer and photographer Col. Leavitt Hunt, brother of architect Richard Morris Hunt and Boston painter William Morris Hunt, and son of Vermont Congressman Jonathan Hunt. Leavitt Hunt and his wife later lived in Weathersfield at their home, Elmsholme.[12][13]

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