HOW ROCKVILLE WAS NAMED
In 1726 Samuel Grant traded his farm in Bolton for 500 acres In the north part of that town. This included what is now known as "Rockville."
For more than 100 years this settlement remained as a hamlet without a name.
By the year 1836 the population had grown to 440. This consisted of 61 families with 89 children under 10 years of age. These people had been drawn to this area by the mills that had been built beside the many falls along the Hockanum River. The first mill erected stood by a spot known as "the Rock", where a natural dam of solid stone made a high falls. This furnished water power for the mill to manufacture woolen cloth. It was hence known as the "Rock Mill".
At that early date mail service was meager. One mail a day, by stage coach, was brought from Vernon Center, which was then the post office and voting place for the town. In 1837, according to an old record, "an amateurish notice was posted on the Rock Mill announcing A public meeting in the lecture room of the village to decide in a democratic way the most suitable name for the vicinity". If they were to have a post office of their own, a permanent name was needed. A number of suggestions were made. Some thought it should be called "Frankfort" in honor of Francis McLean who had built the Rock Mill. The name, "Vernon Falls", was favored by a few. As Samuel Grant was its first settler, others felt that the name, "Grantville" would be most appropriate. Some said that "Hillborough" seemed the best name for a village of such hilly terrain. There were others suggested, we may be sure, but history failed to record them.
After much debate Simon Chapman, who kept a local boarding house for mill workers, who knew from their daily table discussions the real wishes of the male population, submitted the name, "Rockville". "Going to the Rock", he explained was a common expression understood by all the surrounding countryside, hence, "Rockville" it was officially named.
Many years passed. It was not until 1842 that Rockville finally got a post office of its own.
Copyright © Vernon Historical Society, Courtesy of the Vernon Historical Society.