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Allen - Shepardson Blast Furnace

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Catalog Information

Title
Allen - Shepardson Blast Furnace
Accession Number
2017.024.0022
Type
Historic Building
Gift of
Robert Underhill
Collection Title
Misc
Collection Description
Misc
Format Description
*
Search Engine Type
Place

Iron ore deposits found in Vermont led to the development of blast furnace operations to extract iron from the ore for use in manufacturing items such as stoves and tools.  The cover photo (courtesy of Phil Mandolare 2018) shows the ruins of the Allen - Shepardson blast furnace found off New Horizons Lane.

Below are photos (Phil Mandolare 2018 & 2019) of the foundation of the bellows structure and below that a drawing of what a historic bellows might have looked like. 

The first mention that we have of this blast furnace is in a 1796 sale of 4 acres for a furnace by Noel Potter (1758 - 1847) to Samuel Allen (1740 - 1801).  We know from the 5-14-1798 Rutland Herald ad shown below that this furnace was in operation by 1798.  We don't know if Samuel Allen's son-in-law Noah Shepardson  (1770 - 1818) took over the furnace operation immediately after Samuel's death in 1801 but we do know Noah was in Clarendon by time of the 1800 census and thus was here before Samuel's passing.  Samuel Allen had served as a Lieutenant in the Revolutionary War.  Noah's wife was Jerusha Allen (1783 - 1841), Samuel's daughter by his 3rd wife, Jerusha Morgan (1746 - 1804).  

In the 8/13/1817 Rutland Herald there was an advertisement:

Clarendon Furnace

NOAH SHERPARDSON HAS FOR SALE.

Potash Kettles, Coldrons, Clothier's Plates, Large, Close & Small Stoves, and a large assortment of other kinds of HOLLOW WARE, on the most reasonable terms for ready pay. 

Clarendon, Jan. 20, 1817

Noah died just 4 months later and was buried in the Chippenhook Cemetery.  Caleb Hall (1779 - 1857) appears to have taken over the furnace operation in addition to marrying Noah's widow Jerusha.  At the very bottom is a Rutland County Herald ad from 5-4-1819 in which Caleb is selling wares from this furnace.  Two years later in a 5-15-1821 Rutland Weekly Herald public notice, Caleb was dissolving a partnership he had with Jonathan Bonny and Benjamin Tillson and at the same time advertising wares from the furnace.  Newspaper ads Caleb Hall took out on 10-19-1824 and 11-9-1830 tell us the furnace was still in operation.  When it finally ceased operation is not known. 

To what extent Caleb Hall operated the furnace vs simply owned it is not known.  We do know that in 1809 he bought a tavern in Clarendon Flats (see Hall Tavern entry in the Buildings & Enterprises collection) and that he also had a store where the Town Hall is now. 

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