Courtesy of Netanel Crispe
Henry Frost was the first of the Frost family to come to Danby; arriving here around 1780. His name can be found within a list of Revolutionary War veterans from this town, although the full extent of his service is unknown. Henry Frost is credited with having operated the first store in town, as well as the second tavern, both of which were located on current day Smokey House Center land. His tavern was the second one in town and was first built and operated by another Revolutionary War soldier by the name of Abraham Chase. Mr. Chase opened the establishment in 1778 and operated it until around 1800 at which time it was purchased by his neighbor, Henry Frost, who owned it until 1810.
This tavern is perhaps of unrivaled importance to the history of Danby, for it served as a place of meeting for many town affairs and assemblies including the committee of safety. Additionally, it played an active role in the American Revolution, hosting, at one time or another, many of our State’s founding fathers including Thomas Chittenden (the first Governor of Vermont and former Danby resident), Ethan Allen, Ira Allen, Remember Baker, and Micah Vail.
Henry Frost is also credited with having constructed one of the first sawmills in town. This sawmill was later rebuilt and used by Samuel Morrison to make spinning wheels, some of which still exist to this day. One such Morrison wheel can be found on display in the Mt. Tabor/Danby Historical Society.
Records show that Henry was one of many Danby settlers who manufactured potash at one time or another. This was a very successful and prominent trade in the late 18th and early 19th century due to its especially low financial risks. Henry is noted for having served as a selectman in this town for two years beginning in 1799 and is remembered for having been a very prosperous, respected, and prominent man of his day. All of Henry’s children eventually left town and never returned.
Although the information regarding Henry Frost’s life in Danby is limited, the important role he played in forming the town of Danby, as well as the United States, is without a doubt worthy of recognition.