Bayley-Hazen Military Road

This old military road, begun in the spring of 1776 and abandoned in 1779, crosses the Town of Cabot from the town's eastern border with Danville, crossing Rte.2 at about the point where West Shore Road begins.  The original road runs parallel to West Shore Road, more or less, veering slightly more to the south, but not on the route of the recently disputed road commonly known as the Bayley-Hazen Road today.  Instead, it runs in a straight line from where Chatot Road leaves West Shore Road, climbing in a westerly direction to the highest pinnacle of Cabot Plain where it emerges from the woods a few yards east of the Leinoff home. 

Until fifty or so years ago the road bed could be located in some areas and had been marked by swipes of red paint on trees along the way.  Now, however, the elements, hooves of deer, moose and domestic farm animals have taken a toll and there is only swamp, windfall logs and underbrush.  There is some evidence of it where it emerges on the Plain a few yards east of a large house owned by Andrew Leinoff, and continues west where it joins the road to the Leinoff's house and passes between the house and barn of the former Bolton farm.  It then runs along what is now Bolton Road to the Cabot Plains School.  At that point it veered south along a ridge running parallel to what is now Cabot Plains Road, ending in the woods east of Dubray Road on land now owned by Richard Spaulding.  It was at this spot that work was halted that June of 1776 when Colonel Bayley received information that the Army had retreated from Quebec and the planned road to St. Johns, Quebec had become not only unnecessary, but if continued could afford easy access to the colonies by the enemy.  Bayley and his men returned to Newbury.

When a new camp
aign was planned in 1778, the military road again seemed feasible and a new survey of the road was done by Major James Wilkinson.  This may be when the route of the road changed to a more northerly direction.  (See page 5 of  NVDA mappings at left.) 

General Moses Hazen and his men were sent in April, 1779 to comple
te the military road.   At the trail head they built a block house on what was then known as Fortification Hill.  There is a granite marker with the words, "Gen. Hazen Camp," located in the woods at that spot.  (Photo at right, from Jennie Smith Donaldson.)  The marker is on privately owned land, and access is only by permission.

We have, in the historical society
museum, a large iron kettle that was found at the camp site in the early 1800's.  (Photo at right.)  


The road used today that passes the Cabot Plains Cemetery is the same as the original military road. At the bottom of the hill beyond the cemetery, going north, Cabot Plains Road turns left and the Bayley-Hazen Road continues straight.  This section of the original military road is now an unimproved seasonal road.  Until about 30 years ago, only farm land bordered this road and there were no buildings along it.  Now, several new homes have been built along this brief stretch of road and the owners maintain the road in the winter.  The town does very little to improve it, as the residents of Cabot want to preserve the character of the original road. 

The military road crosses Rte. 215 and and continues through pasture land and swamp.  A short distance from Rte. 215, on the left is a marker designating where General Gordon* was shot, and not far from this spot the road crosses from Cabot into the Town of Walden.

A more detailed description of the full route of the Bayley-Hazen Military Road with supporting maps, is found on the Northeast Vermont Development Association (NVDA).  NVDA History of the Bayley-Hazen Military Road

Although the road was abandoned by Hazen in 1779 after reaching the mountains in Westfield at what is now known as Hazen's Notch, and was never useful as a military supply route, it served to open the territory north of Newbury to Cabot and beyond.  The settlers eventually disregarded the difficult, swampy route that had been laid out by the soldiers and made a new road that kept to the less steep, dry ridge west of the original route.  Land was cleared and by the mid-1800's there were farms all along the road, a school and a tavern were built on the Plain, and Cabot Plain became the center for the town's business.

*Note:  The account of the shooting of General Gordon found in History of the American revolution, Vol. 1, by John Lendrum, J. and B. Williams, 1836,
differs greatly from that in the Vermont Historical Magazine of 1867. 


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