late 1700s, its people apparently never applied for a charter from the state, thus saving money in granting fees. Historians surmise that settlers learned about their unclaimed Rutland County land from Vermont's surveyor general Ira Allen, and gratefully named their town after him.
Ira today still doesn't have a charter. It doesn't have a general store, gas station or post office. It doesn't have a lot of people (1990 population of 420 is down from a peak of 519 in 1810).
"Ira don't seem to be on the map," laments Charlotte Lincoln, Stewart's wife.
Town meeting on Tuesday doesn't promise to change that. Surrounding towns in Rutland County anticipate fireworks over taxes, schools and town offices. But Ira taxes will dip slightly ($4,072 collectively). There is no public school. And all town officers are running unopposed.
Unlike towns that meet first and vote second, Ira traditionally votes first -- Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. -- and meets second -- Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. , after the ballots are counted.
The Lincolns will be there. She's a ballot clerk. He's the poll presiding officer.
"If someone causes trouble, I'm supposed to "throw them out, Stewart says. "Never had any trouble yet."
Stewart is honest. He's related to Abraham, but shies away from exposing the roots
of his family tree.
"We'd be here all day and probably tomorrow," he say's.
MORE TO COME!!!
By Kevin O'Connor
RUTLAND HERALD FEBRUARY 25, 1993
"Ira has changed an
awful lot in the last 10 years. A lot of
people move in, stay a couple years and away they
go again. I can remember when
practically everyone had cattle in town, made milk."
Stewart remembers the day when a carload of tourists
stopped outside his small white house and asked for directions to "Ira proper."
" I guess you're right in it now," he
told them. They looked at the house and a nearby wooden clapboard church. They looked at a shut-up brick town hall and acre upon acre of not much else. They looked stumped.
There are no gilded road signs heralding your arrival in Ira. The sign at the church--"We Preach Christ Crucified, Risen And Coming Again" -- is engraved in white stone, so it's hard to decipher the word "Ira" on it.
When Ira was settled in the 1700s, its people apparently never applied 1700s,
Photographs by Michael Aleshire
Charlotte and Stewart Lincoln in the kitchen of their Ira home.
No General Store. No Gas Station.
The Ira Baptist Church
Just A Gold Mine.