WARDSBORO, VERMONT, home of the delicious heirloom and official State Vegetable - the Gilfeather Turnip - was settled circa 1779 by Samuel Davis and his wife from Milford, Massachusetts. It was granted and chartered on November 7, 1780 to William Ward of Newfane, the man for whom the town was named Wardsborough, together with 62 others.
William Ward was born in Mendon, Worcester County Mass. He married Hannah Taft of that town in 1778, and soon moved with her to Newfane, VT. In the records of the town he is referred to Colonel Ward. One writer, speaking of him, says he was chosen the first representative, in 1778, to the legislature; but this is a mistake as the records do not show it. It has been said that before the Revolution, he and some others went to Canada for a load of furs and were arrested on the suspicion of being spies, thrown into prison and Ward died there. The others who were taken with him were released, soon after his death. His widow married Moses Joy, of Putney, the town where she died in February, 1842, aged 86 years. (Source: Vermont Gazetteer, 1891)
In 1788, the town was divided into north and south districts, the latter set off and incorporated in 1810 as the town of Dover. Although the terrain is very uneven and rocky, farmers worked the soil into productivity. Mills were built along the brook, a tributary of the West River. In 1859, industries included three gristmills, six sawmills, one tannery, and a rawhide whip factory.
During the Civil War, Wardsborough Center was called Unionville because of its strong Federal sentiment. In 1894, the U.S. Post Office dropped the letters "-ugh" from town names ending in "-borough," so Wardsborough was thereafter known as Wardsboro. Wardsboro City was the intersection of Route 100 and Main Street.
The local newsletter, published monthly by private citizens, is known as The Bucketville News. Bucketville is an area along Route 100 where there was a bucket factory. In the 1880s, Jebediah Estabrook's tub, bucket and pail factory at what was officially called Wardsborough Center was the area's principal employer. Other sections of town are called South Wardsboro and Podunk (seriously).
ROOTSWEB link to the Vermont Gazetter, 1891. Historical Info about Wardsboro, Vermont.
To read more about Wardsboro's History, buy the book Wardsboro Vermont Exposing The Past, on sale at the Wardsboro Public Library, and also available online at this website. Or at the library, check out the history of Wardsboro, Return to Yesterday, by C.S. Streeter. Library cards are free to residents and second homeowners and long-term and seasonal renters of Wardsboro and Stratton.
The Town is known for its great community events: The annual 4th of July Parade and Street Fair, The Gilfeather Turnip Festival, honoring Vermont's Official State Vegetable, and Turnip Contest every October, and the December Holiday Bazaar with Santa. Read more about the history of the Vermont State Vegetable from Wardsboro - The Gilfeather Turnip - read the full article.