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New England > Vermont > Strafford

Strafford, Vermont

Orange county. This town is watered by a branch of Ompomponoosuc river, and lies 30 miles S.S.E. from Montpelier, 30 N. from Windsor, and 11 S.S.E. from Chelsea. Population, 1830, 1,935.

The surface of the town is rough, but the soil is productive. It feeds a large number of sheep. The manufacturing interests of Strafford are quite extensive.

"In this township is an extensive bed of the sulphuret of iron, from which immense quantities of copperas are manufactured. The ore is situated on the east side of an elevation, and the bed is about half a mile in length, and from two to three rods in width. Its depth has not been ascertained. A company was incorporated by the name of the 'Vermont Mineral Factory Company,' in October, 1809, which immediately commenced the manufacture of copperas at this place [the "Elizabeth Mine"]. In 1822, 180 tons of copperas were manufactured here, and in 1823, 158 tons; since that time the manufacture has increased. The ore is covered to the depth of about three feet with a stratum of earth. Below this is a stratum of ferruginous petrifactions, which exhibits the forms of buds, leaves, limbs of trees, &c. in admirable perfection. This stratum varies from two to three feet in depth. Below this lies the bed of sulphuret of iron. It is very compact. Its colors are brilliant, varying from that of steel to a bright yellow, and its appearance is occasionally diversified by small quantities of green copper ore. It is also traversed in many parts by small veins of quartz. The ore is detached from the bed in large masses, by blasting. It is then beaten to pieces with hammers and thrown into heaps several rods in length, about 12 feet in width, and seven or eight in height. Here it is suffered to lie exposed to the action of the air and moisture until a spontaneous combustion takes place, and the whole heap is converted from the sulphuret to the sulphate of iron, which usually takes several weeks. After the process of burning is completed, the residue is removed to the leaches, where water is passed through it which dissolves the copperas and leaves the earthy matter behind. The water is then conveyed to boilers, which are made of lead, and weigh about 2,500 pounds each. Here it is boiled and evaporated to a certain extent, and suffered partially to cool. It is then transferred to the crystalizers, where the copperas continues to crystalize, while cooling, and when the crystalization ceases, the water is again returned to the boilers, mixed with water from the leaches, and again evaporated."

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