History of Appletree Point, Burlington's North End

The history is a work in progress. It includes professional research, as well as oral histories, photographs, and recollections of local people whose families have lived in the North End of Burlington for many generations. http://bluebrickpreservation.com/pdf/aphs.pdf


Felix Powell, Appletree Point, first European settler in Burlington

The beautiful city now know as Burlington was, in the earliest days of colonization, part of New France. The king of France, in order to encourage settlement in the wilds of America, granted large tracts of land, or seigniories, to loyal servants. In July 1734 this region was granted to the Sieur de La Perriere, a Captain in the French military. By 1759, this area, along with all the French claims in North America became part of the British empire following the French defeat in the French and Indian War. With peace came increased settlement. On June 7, 1763 Burlington received its charter from the crown. Among the earliest settlers was one Felix Powell, who built a simple log home on what is now known as Appletree Point in 1773.

Felix Powell

In 1774, Powell bought a tract of land of Samuel Averill... This tract was in the vicinity of Appletree Point, and extended nearly to the Winooski River. A portion of the land on the point was cleared and a log house was erected. Vermont, the Green Mountain State, Vol. 1. By Walter Hill Crockett. p. 242.

Felix was in the Revolutionary war; he enlisted in Vermont in Captain Gideon Bronson's company, Colonel Seth Warner's troops; transferred to other regiments. Engaged in battles of Fort George, Lake Champlain, Bennington, Horseneck, and Valentine's Hill. Discharged 1783 at West Point.

Burlington was chartered in 1763 by Governor Benning Wentworth of New Hampshire. In 1772, the Onion River Land Company was formed by Ethan, Ira, Heman, and Zimri Allen. The first person to buy land from the company was Felix Powell...

The first settler who came into Burlington was Mr. Felix Powell, in the year 1773. On the 22d day of October, 1774, Mr. Powell purchased of Samuel Averill, of Litchfield, Conn., in consideration of £30, a tract of land in Burlington. [Chittenden County VT Archives History - Businesses .....Description Of Burlington 1891]

The first settler who came into Burlington was Felix Powell, in the year 1773. Frequent reference is made to him by Ira Allen, in his journals of surveys. In one of his journals is the following item of account:

"Burlington, November 10, 1773.
To: Phelix Powell, Dr
1 Pocket compass, £0
250 Eight penny Nodes, 0 3
" Beefe.
" Beefe.
" 1 Pocket compass.
" 11 days work of Sleeper."
And on the next page the following item:
"When Powell went to Mill he had 2 half Joes and 1 Pistole — I have had Ten Dollars."
The nearest mills at that time were those atNew Haven, on the Lower falls in Otter creek, where Vergennes was subsequently located.
On the 22d day of October, 1774, Mr. Powell bought of Samuel Averill of Litchfield, Conn., in consideration of £30, a tract of land in Burlington. The deed describes Powell as of "Burlington county of Charlotte, and Province of New York, and the land as: All that one full right or share of land in the township of Burlington on Onion river, in the province of New York, granted under the great seal of the province of New Hamphire, which share I have as an original grantee." *
This land, in addition to the village lots consisted of three 103 acre lots, occupying the whole of Appletree point, and running northerly nearly to Onion river. Mr. Powell subsequently cleared a portion of the land on the point and erected a log house, but afterwards removed to Manchester in Bennington county, and on the 19th day of August, 1778, in consideration of £190, sold his right of land to James Murdock, of Saybrook, Conn.; the deed is recorded on page 4, vol. 2, of the town records, and describes the land as "1 full share or right of land lying in the town of Burlington on Onion river, in the state of Vermont, which right was granted by Gov. Wentworth to Samuel Averill; the pitch is made on a place commonly called Apple Tree point, where there are about 5 acres of land under improvement with a log house upon it.Burlington was recognized by the first meeting of the proprietors, as in the province of New York, this was in 1774, and also in the deed from Averill to Powell, before mentioned; but in the deed from Powell to Murdock, it is stated to be in the state ofVermont. The state government had then been lately organized, and down to this event the settlers generally supposed that they were within the jurisdiction of New York, but claimed the validity of the titles under New Hampshire. This the New Yorkauthorities would not admit, and thus the troubles arose, which resulted in the independence ofVermont. If New York had acknowledged the grants made by Gov. Wentworth of New Hampshire,Vermont would to day have probably formed a portion of the Empire State. Source

Map, 1872 topographical survey.

Map, Woodbury Farm, 1931, courtesy of Tim Prim.
Double line is Staniford Rd. Ext. which is now named Appletree Point Lane. A driveway rings the farmhouse, providing access to the property behind where a chicken house was made into a home. A spur goes across a bridge to the barn and milking parlor.

The single line is Appletree Point Stream, which runs in a Y among the wetland ponds and on to Lake Champlain. There are two stream heads, both originating from springs on the property. The entire area is a spongy spring-fed wetland in a sandy forested area known as a "dry wetland." Water runs 6-12 inches beneath the surface of the watershed area.

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