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"Mostly farmers, and in general pretty intelligent and successful."
--Franklin, as described by Abby Hemenway in the 1872 Vermont Historical Gazetteer.
This covered high drive bank barn, ca. 1890, is a well-kept example of the popular late nineteenth century style of barn.
Photo by Jennifer Parsons.
Franklin, VT has maintained a strong agricultural tradition since it's
beginnings in 1789. This 19,400 acre
town initially found its popular Lake Carmi, then known as Franklin Pond, to be an interruption in an otherwise good agricultural landscape. Like many small farms in Vermont, the early farms were highly diversified and largely subsistence based. By the first US Agricultural Census of VT in 1840, Franklin had three times the number of sheep as it had dairy cows. Yet, by 1850, Franklin had largely moved toward dairy farming, with herds of 5 to 25 cows engaged in the production of cheese and butter, to be sent by iced railroad cars to Montreal and
Boston. No fluid milk was sold until around 1870, and as demand
for fresh milk grew with the populations increasing in urban areas.
Herd sizes also grew toward the end of the nineteenth century,
and many barns in Franklin that were built around that time are still
standing, indicating the prosperity of dairy farming in the town during
that era. Today, Franklin county still produces much of the dairy
in the state of Vermont, and the town of Franklin continues in its
dairy farming tradition.
excerpt from the 1845 Poster for Franklin County's Agricultural Fair,
held that year in St. Albans, and presumably a forefather to the
Franklin County Field Days of today. Note the invitation to those
from the "richest and most exclusively agricultural county in the
state."Photo by Jennifer Parsons. Source: UVM Special Collections.