The history of Greensboro began with the building of the Bayley-Hazen military road ordered by George Washington in 1776 for an anticipated invasion of Canada. By 1779 the road had reached Greensboro and continued through to Montgomery before the project was abandoned. Blockhouses, including one at Greensboro, were erected at intervals for protection. Because of Indian raids on Peacham in 1781, four scouts, all young boys, were sent to man the blockhouse near the southwest corner of Caspian Lake. The four were surprised by Indians who killed two of the scouts and took the other two to Quebec, where they were later traded for some Indian prisoners in Vermont.
In 1781 the township was granted to Harris Colt and 66 associates and was called Coltkiln. Later it was changed to Greensboro in honor of Timothy Green, another proprietor. There is no record that either man ever lived in Greensboro.
In the spring of 1789, Ashbel Shepard and his brother Aaron arrived in Greensboro with their wives, whose names were not given. Ashbel and his wife moved into the blockhouse, and Aaron and his wife built a cabin near what is now Randolph Road at the south end of the lake.
The following year Timothy and Joseph Stanley arrived, starting a sawmill and blacksmith shop in what is now Greensboro Village. Timothy Stanley built a house near where the McIntyre house now stands in the village. By 1793 there were enough inhabitants to organize a town, the first town meeting being held in Ashbel Shepard’s new home.
By 1795 there were twenty-three families with a total of 108 persons in town. School was being taught in Aaron Shepard’s barn, while a suitable building was being erected near the golf course road. Settlement of North Greensboro and East Greensboro had begun. Greensboro Bend remained largely a cedar swamp with only two farms until the coming of the railroad in 1872.
The years following the railroad’s arrival were prosperous as the Bend began building. A large sawmill and box factory employed many men. Numerous stores, a foundry/tin shop, and a granite shed were also in operation.
In the early 1900’s an influx of French Canadians and the beginning of a Greensboro summer community changed the character of the community. Since that time, a decline in the number of dairy farms has led to a decrease in the year round population.
Greensboro’s population is now a mix of many groups which historically peopled the town: the English of the 1790’s, Scots of the 1830’s, Irish of the 1870’s, Portuguese and French Canadians of the early 1900’s. The summer community, with many members from academe, authors and the foreign service, has contributed to the year round population as well. Newcomers from various parts of the country have settled in Vermont, seeking the quality of life which the Northeast Kingdom seems to offer in better measure than many other areas.
For more information visit:
Greensboro Historical Society