Bennington, Vermont, An Industrial History

By Rush Welter | Go to book overview

BENNINGTON, VERMONT
An Industrial History

The economic history of Bennington, Vermont, is in many ways typical of the smaller industrial towns of upper New England. Bennington felt few or none of the spectacular developments that have characterized some of New England's factory cities. Unlike Lowell it was not struck off almost overnight by the hand of man; unlike Lawrence it never experienced a last-ditch battle between employers and employees -- but it rose and fell as an industrial center with its contemporaries. Hence its characteristic qualities are like those of so many other small towns: genuine significant, and in the last analysis helping Bennington to be in its own way exactly like the others.


i

In common with most frontier towns in New England, Bennington was first settled for economic reasons with which were mingled as well certain religious motives. Tradition has it that Samuel Robinson, a Massachusetts veteran of the French and Indian War returning from Lake George, mistook his way at the juncture of the Hoosic with the Walloomsac River and, turning up the latter, came upon the trough-shaped depression among the low mountain ranges of south- western Vermont that is now the center of Bennington. Acting swiftly upon his discovery, he and others bought out the rights of the legal proprietors, whose title was derived from Governor Benning Wentworth's first grant in the Vermont territory, and in 1761 there began a migration to the new land that rapidly made Bennington one of the sizable towns in the disputed area of the New Hampshire grants.

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