The town of Weathersfield was named for Wethersfield, Connecticut, the home of some of its earliest settlers. The Connecticut town had taken its name, in turn, from Wethersfield, Essex County, England -- the name of the English town derived from 'wether,' or in Old English 'wither,' meaning a castrated lamb. In England 'wethers' were trained to lead flocks of ewes to pasture. It was a supreme irony that the name of the Vermont town (with an 'a' inserted) would derive from a connection to sheep, the animal that would come to define Weathersfield's earliest antecedents and first put it up on the map.
The man responsible for that feat was a native of Boston who had become a European trader. William Jarvis was appointed by President Thomas Jefferson as U.S. Consul General to Portugal, after founding a trading house in Lisbon, and in 1811 Jarvis imported from Spain to his farm at Weathersfield Bow the first Merino sheep brought to America. Jarvis set aside eight of the 4,000 Merino sheep he imported as gifts to former President Jefferson and to President James Madison.
"I cannot forbear, Sir," Jarvis wrote to Jefferson, "making you an offer of a Ram & Ewes, both as a mark of my great esteem & well knowing that the experiment cannot be in better hands. Jarvis was a wealthy financier and gentleman farmer who had bought up most of the flood plain of Weathersfield. Jarvis was also one of the most prominent Republicans in the Connecticut River Valley. Thanks to his introduction of Merino sheep, he provided the underpinning for Vermont agriculture for the next century.
Jarvis was married to the former Mary Pepperell Sparhawk of Boston, a fellow descendant of Sir William Pepperell of Massachusetts. (Jarvis' wife was the niece of his mother, the former Mary Pepperell Sparhawk Jarvis.) Katherine L. Jarvis, daughter of Hon. William Jarvis, married Harvard-educated lawyer and photographer Col. Leavitt Hunt, brother of architect Richard Morris Hunt and Boston painter William Morris Hunt, and son of Vermont Congressman Jonathan Hunt. Leavitt Hunt and his wife later lived in Weathersfield at their home "Elmsholme.
Rev. John Dudley, a sometime missionary to the Choctaw Indians, a graduate of Yale Seminary, the descendant of one of the earliest families of Connecticut -- his ancestor William Dudley settled in Guilford in the early 17th century -- and a widely reprinted Congregational preacher made his home in Weathersfield, where his son William Wade Dudley was born.
There were 1,167 households out of which 26.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.6% were married couples living together, 5.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.8% were non-families. 22.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.77.
In the town the population was spread out with 20.6% under the age of 18, 5.1% from 18 to 24, 26.9% from 25 to 44, 31.2% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 96.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.0 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $42,057, and the median income for a family was $46,282. Males had a median income of $33,226 versus $27,011 for females. The per capita income for the town was $21,647. About 4.8% of families and 6.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.2% of those under age 18 and 5.4% of those age 65 or over.