Stearns-Velas House // 1828

Prominently anchoring the east end of the North Common in Chelsea, VT and adjacent to the Congregational Church of Chelsea, the Stearns-Velas House contributes to the charm of the small town. The Federal style home was built for John Stearns (1784-1838), the postmaster for the town for over thirty years, who suffered financially in the Panic of 1837. The Panic appears to have been a major strain to the family as both he and his wife Elizabeth died in 1838. After, the home was purchased by Levi Vilas, the father of William Freeman Vilas (1840-1908) and they lived at the home for ten years. The Vilas family relocated to Wisconsin and William was eventually appointed as Postmaster General in the cabinet of President Grover Cleveland. serving from 1885 to 1888. In 1888 he was appointed as Secretary of the Interior, and served in that office until 1889. He was then elected as a Democratic Senator from Wisconsin to the United States Senate, serving from 1891 to 1897. There is a lot of history in even the smallest towns in Vermont!

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