Many of Vermont's earliest log and wood-frame dwellings were incorporated into later buildings as ells or sections of a larger house. That is what happened to the one-room, frame dwelling with a chimney at one end that Benjamin Henry built. It doubled in size about 1785, and then doubled again around 1800, becoming a broad center-chimney, Cape Cod house that is recognizable from the exterior. Raised in neighboring Colrain, Massachusetts, and recorded as a member of Rogers Rangers, Henry purchased 182 acres of land in Halifax in 1762, within walking distance of farms in Colrain. In 1767 he married Martha Ayers, also of Colrain, and the 1768 birth of the first of their ten children is recorded in the Halifax Town records. The original dwelling is 19 × 22 feet, which conformed to the Massachusetts eighteen-square-foot minimum required for settlement. The massive summer beam that dominates the interior was exposed and finished and became blackened by the adjacent chimney. Henry served as Halifax justice of the peace for thirty years; as a selectman, town clerk, and treasurer; and state representative for twelve years. In 1791, he voted for Vermont statehood. The coved ceilings in both chambers may indicate that they were used for formal social purposes related to Henry's position in the community.
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Benjamin Henry House
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