Biography of Sidney H. Weston
Chittenden County, VT Biographies





WESTON, SIDNEY H., was born in Chesterfield, Essex county, N. Y., on the 16th day of December, 1824. The origin of the Weston family in America dates back to the time of the coming of the Mayflower, which brought over three Weston brothers from England. James Weston, the grandfather of the subject of this sketch, bore a conspicuous and honorable part in the Revolutionary War, and was a commissioned officer. He was an early settler in the town of Peru, Clinton county, N. Y., where he died on the 18th day of May, 1840. His wife, Sally Witherell, from Braintree, died the day following and was buried in the same grave with her husband. They were the parents of eleven children, six boys and five girls, of whom Harvey, the next to theyoungest, and the father of Sidney H. Weston, was born on the loth day of June, 1798, in Peru. He adopted the vocation of a farmer and lumberman, and went to Chesterfield, N. Y., to live. He died on the 20th of February, 1857. His first wife was a daughter of George Mace, of Peru. By her he had four children, one of whom died in infancy, and the other three, Fidelia, wife of L. D. Gay, of Chesterfield, N. Y., Sidney H. and Blanchard, in Chesterfield, N. Y., are living.

Mr. Weston received a good common school education in Chesterfield and afterward attended for some time the academy at Underhill, during the principalship of Professor J. S. Cilley. Just previous to this, however, he earned the means of attendance upon the academy by making charcoal for the iron company at Vergennes, Vt. That period of his minority which intervened between April and December, before his twenty first birthday, he bought of his father and paid for the time out of the proceeds of his labor. After his term of schooling at Underhill had expired he purchased 100 acres of timber land in Peru, N. Y., from a portion of which he manufactured charcoal, disposing of a part of his products to the Peru Iron Company and part to an iron manufacturer named Cook, of Ferona, N. Y. The rest of the timber he had made into lumber, which was sold at Clintonville and Keeseville, N. Y. After working there two years he sold the farm and in April, 1848, removed to Butler's Corners, in Essex, Vt., where he purchased a small farm. Here he remained, devoting his energy and time to agriculture, until 1856, by which time he had added 135 acres to his original purchase in Essex, when he removed to Winooski. This flourishing village was at that time not more than half its present size, but promised to become what it has, by reason of the passage through the place of the new railroad. Mr. Weston opened a hotel on the site of the present postoffice, and conducted also a good business in a livery stable and meat market. After an experience of three years in the hotel he sold out and removed to his present farm, which he had previously purchased and the buildings on which he had just completed. He continued his interest in the meat market, however, to the present time without interruption except about a year following 1858, when he sold out and remained out that length of time. The home farm which Mr. Weston occupies contains about 160 acres of good farming land, but it is only a small part of his vast possessions. He is the owner of not less than 7,000 acres of land in all, 3,000 of which are in Vermont and the remaining 4,000 in the State of New York. That in New York is mostly timbered land lying in the towns of Peru, Keene and Wilmington. The timber he cuts for sale and for his own use in the manufacture of lime, in which he is extensively engaged at the High Bridge over Winooski River. He has been interested in this business since 1864, and now owns two kilns, one in South Burlington and one on the Colchester side of the river. He first bought a one half interest in the Burlington Lime Company, of which John McGregor and Mr. Jackson were principal owners. Soon afterward Mr. Weston purchased a one half interest in the Winooski Lime Works, originated by Penniman & Catlin and afterward carried on by Penniman & Noyes, and within a few years became sole owner of both properties.

In connection with his farming Mr. Weston engages largely in the raising of fine cattle, sheep and horses - Holstein, Guernsey and short horn cattle and Spanish Merino sheep being with him a specialty. He usually winters about one hundred and thirty five head of cattle, one hundred sheep and twenty five horses and colts. Other property in Winooski to which he has title is the northwest corner of Main and Allen streets and the entire block below his store, which he rents for tenant houses, stores, etc.

It requires more than ordinary energy and sagacity, industry and economy, to acquire possessions as large and valuable as those just related; but Mr. Weston has added one industry to another, and with a spirit like that of Alexander of old, seeking for new worlds to conquer, has never rested from his labors. About 1868 he purchased $15,000 worth of stock in the Winooski Lumber Company. Since then he has added $3,000 more in stock, and is now the president of the company. The company owns about 1,800 acres in timbered land. Mr. Weston also owns a sixth interest in the enterprising clapboard company of W. R. Elliott & Co., of North Duxbury, Vt., which turns out about 1,000,000 feet of clapboards and a large quantity of dimension lumber every year, taking its timber from a tract of 2,000 acres. In company with his son, Warren F. Weston, he has extensive iron works, a forge and coal kilns, and a store in Wilmington, N. Y., and at Keene, N. Y., owns another store, ore mines, a separator, a six fired forge and eighteen coal kilns. They also own a large hotel at Keene village, and another summer hotel at Cascade Lake, about six miles from Keene on the way to Saranac Lake, the house being situated between two lakes, one of which, by a freak of nature known as a mountain slide, has been elevated nine feet higher than the other. In this slide, moreover, is an extensive iron mine, said to be about the first ever worked in the State of New York, which is included in the possessions of Sidney H. Weston and son.

Besides his home farm in Winooski Mr. Weston owns a tract of about a thousand acres just across the river, and extending about three miles east to the Lamoille bridge, which is really a consolidation of five farms, partly timbered and partly prepared for cultivation. He is a large stockholder in the Vermont and Rio Grande Cattle Company, which owns a ranch controlling 100,000 acres about twenty miles from San Marcial, New Mexico, and covering six miles of river front on the Rio Grand. This company is under the management of G. G. F. Tobey, superintendent of the cattle ranch and manager. Thus it will be seen without further statement that the range of Mr. Weston's abilities cannot be confined to one enterprise, or to undertakings of a similar character. It is impossible for him to rest idle upon one farm or in one business; but with all the various industries with which he is connected he is thoroughly conversant, and with a prudence and sagacity seldom equaled keeps a familiar understanding with all departments. He is now, and for about six years has been, president of the Winooski Savings Bank.

Mr. Weston's political principles are Republican. Although he represented Colchester in the Legislature in 1865 and z866, he has usually kept aloof from office seeking, his time and interests being absorbed in the management of his private affairs. He always keeps abreast of the times, however, in his knowledge of current events.

He is a life long member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He is now one of the stewards and trustees of the church at Winooski, and is the superintendent of the Sabbath school. In these days of blatant infidelity, when men of property are too apt to drift from the pious teachings of childhood, and when opposition to Christianity is necessarily an encouragement to anarchism and all iconoclastic organizations, it is refreshing to feel that the church is still powerful in her possession of men of brain and energy, who are not made stiff necked and rebellious by success.

On the 14th day of December, 1847, Sidney H. Weston married Philinda, daughter of Warren Ford, of Essex, Vt. Mrs. Weston was born on the 5th of September, 1824, in Essex. The union has been blessed by the birth of six children, one of whom died young. Their names in the order of birth are as follows:

Warren F., the eldest living, born February 14, 1849, at Essex, who is living in Keene, N. Y., and who has represented his district two successive years in the New York Assembly; Matilda M., born April 15, 1851, wife of G. G. F. Tobey, of Winooski; Herevy S., born March 12, z857, at Winooski, where he now resides; a daughter, born July 31, 1859, who died in infancy; Ina M., born November 5, 1860, wife of George B. Catlin, of Winooski; Clarence G., born October 26, 1863, and now living with his parents.

From:
History of Chittenden County, Vermont
Edited by: W. S. Rann
D. Mason & Co., Publishers
Syracuse, New York. 1886


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