This Place in History: Caspian Lake Blockhouse

Vermont Historical Society

GREENSBORO, Vt.

At ‘This Place in History‘ we’re in Greensboro, Vt. with Executive Director of the Vermont Historical Society Steve Perkins.

“We’re going to talk about Revolutionary War history, road building through the wilderness and a blockhouse to guard northern Vermont, all right here in Greensboro. It’s a little cold so we’re going to go see Nancy Hill at the Greensboro Historical Society to tell us all about this,” began Perkins.

“A blockhouse was one of the buildings built, around here anyway, on the Bayley-Hazen [Military] Road. There were four of them built in the 1770s,” said Hill.

“And a blockhouse itself, it’s a square building, a fortification right?” asked Perkins.

“Absolutely. Yes, it was square. The Bayley-Hazen [Military] Road started in 1776. I think it was Bayley who started this road. He asked General Washington if it was a good idea and Washington said it was, to be able to get to Canada quickly during the war. So, they started building it and they got as far as Cabot. And then they realized that the British could come down the road, too, so they stopped at that point,” explained Hill.

“In 1779, Hazen got permission again to build the road. At that point, it came up through Greensboro and was to go to Hazen’s Notch,” added Hill.

“But, it didn’t finish?” asked Perkins.

“The road was not finished at the time, no. Because we’ve heard that the British used it more than the Americans,” answered Hill.

“[The British were] sending those raiding parties down. We’ve heard a lot about that in the late 1700s. We’re during the American Revolution. So, the British and their Indian allies would come down and raid a lot of these Vermont towns,” added Perkins.

“The blockhouses were built so that the American scouts could go up and have protection. And they fortified them pretty well,” said Hill.

“There are two guys listed on the marker and I assume those are American scouts. And they lost their lives?” asked Perkins.

“Yes, they were two scouts. They lost their lives, the story goes, to Indians. Constance Bliss and Moses Sleeper,” confirmed Hill.

“Now, there’s a mystery surrounding where this blockhouse was located,” said Perkins.

“The blockhouse was near the monument, but they don’t know exactly where. Archaeologists have found the site that they presume is the correct site. They’ve found a lot of artifacts that we have in the historical society now. A book has been written about their digs. They did four different digs and they haven’t completed it yet. But, people lived in the blockhouse after this period, and so a lot of the things they found were artifacts, pottery and things of that sort,” confirmed Hill.

“If people want to learn more about this blockhouse or the whole area around Greensboro, how can they do that?” asked Perkins.

“They could come and visit. They could come to the historical society. It’s the Greensboro Historical Society, right next to Willy’s Store. We’re open in the summer,” answered Hill.

At ‘This Place in History’!

For more from our ‘This Place in History’ series, click here.

To view a map of Vermont’s roadside historic markers, click here.

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