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 eastern border with Danville, crossing Rte.2, at about where West Shore Road begins. The original road parallels West Shore Road, more or less, veering slightly more south, but not along the recently disputed road, commonly called Bayley-Hazen Road today. Instead, the old route runs in a straight line from where Chatot Road leaves West Shore Road, climbing westerly to the pinnacle of Cabot Plain.

Until about fifty years ago, the roadbed could be located in some areas marked with swipes of red paint on trees along the way. Now, there is only swamp, windfall logs, and underbrush. There is some evidence of the road where it emerges on Cabot Plains, a few yards east of a large house owned by Andrew Leinoff. From there, it continues west. 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 Cabot Plains School. There it veered south along a ridge, parallel to what is now Cabot Plains Road, ending in woods east of Dubray Road on land owned by Richard Spaulding. This was where work was halted in June 1776, when Colonel Bayley received word that the Americans had retreated from Quebec. The planned road to St. Johns, Quebec became not only unnecessary, but, if continued, could facilitate invasion of New England by the enemy. Bayley and his men returned to Newbury.

In 1778, when a new
campaign was planned, the road seemed feasible again. A new survey was done by Major James Wilkinson. This may be when the route changed to a more northerly direction.

In April 1779, Gen. Moses Hazen and his men were sent to
finish the military road. At the trail  head they built a blockhouse on what was then called Fortification Hill. A granite marker with the words, "Gen. Hazen Camp," is in the woods there. (Photo at right, from Jennie Smith Donaldson.)  The marker is on privately owned land; access is only by permission. Building Hazen Road

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

The road used today that passes Cabot Plains Cemetery follows the original military road route. 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; there were no buildings along it. Now, several homes have been built along this brief stretch of road; the owners maintain the road in the winter.  The town does little to improve it. Residents of Cabot want to preserve the character of the original road. 

The old military road crosses Rte. 215 and continues through pastureland and swamp. A short distance from Rte. 215 is a marker, commemorating the shooting of British General Gordon near St. John's Quebec (see Note below). Benjamin
Whitcomb was well-known as the sniper who shot Gen. Gordon in June 1776, before his ranger company formed. Thomas Lyford and his teenage son, Fifield, early Cabot settlers, served in Benjamin Whitcomb's Independent Company of Rangers during the Revolutionary War. Whitcomb's Rangers 
Lyford, Fifield Private Enlisted 3-1-1778 for 1 year from Northfield NH born ?-?- 1762—16 yrs old discharged 3-?-1779
Lyford, Thomas  Lieu t Enlisted 11-4-1776 for the duration of the war  from Canterbury NH born ?-?- 1738—38 yrs old
Near this marker, the road crosses from Cabot into the Town of Walden.

In 1854, the Rev. James P. Stone, pastor of the Greensboro (Vt.) Congregational Church, delivered a sermon on the history of Greensboro and his church. This was revised and published later. He wrote of the Bayley-Hazen Road that linked Cabot to Greensboro. See: Old Stone House Museum, Greensboro, VT. Rev. Stone and his wife are buried in Durant Cemetery, Lower Cabot.

The road was abandoned by Hazen in 1779 after reaching the mountains in Westfield, at Hazen's Notch. It was never a useful military supply route. However it opened the territory north of Newbury to Cabot and beyond.  Settlers eventually abandoned the difficult, swampy route laid out by the soldiers. They built a new road along a less steep, dry ridge, west of the original route. By the mid-1800s there were farms all along the road. A school and a tavern were built. For a while, Cabot Plains was the Cabot business center.

Note: The account of the shooting of General Gordon 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.

Shooting General Gordon