Established 1753. Before the Massachusetts General Court voted on December 27, 1753, to build a stockade and blockhouse on the Connecticut River near the site that would later become known as Brattleboro, the Abenaki peoples would travel through this area between their summer hunting grounds in northwestern Vermont and their winter camps in western Massachusetts.
Joined DVCUD June 2020
DVFiber representative Patrick Moreland; alternates Ian Goodnow and Sue Fillion
Settled 1779 by Captain Abner Perry of Hollister, Massachusetts. The real history of the town began when a Vermont Charter, signed by Governor Thomas Chittenden, head of the newly formed Vermont Republic, was granted on November 7, 1780, to William Ward of Newfane and 60 associates.
Settled 1715. Dummerston was part of the Equivalent Lands—several large sections of land given to settlers in the early 18th century. It lies on a tract given to the Connecticut Colony about 1715 by the Province of Massachusetts Bay as compensation for land mistakenly awarded to its settlers. In 1716, the town was auctioned to a consortium, which included William Dummer, lieutenant governor of Massachusetts. On December 26, 1753, the town was chartered as a New Hampshire grant and renamed Fulham. But when the grant was renegotiated, the name reverted to Dummerston.
Established 1791. Guilford was first chartered in 1732 as Gallup’s Canada, Massachusetts, then charter as Guilford, New Hampshire in 1754, then chartered as Guilford, New York in 1758, and finally chartered as Guilford, Vermont in 1791.There is some uncertainty as to who was the first settler to arrive; it was either Lucy Terry in 1760 or Michah Rice in 1761.
Established 1750. Halifax was chartered on May 11, 1750, by New Hampshire Governor Benning Wentworth. Halifax is the second oldest town in the state. The town was named for the George Montagu-Dunk, second Earl of Halifax.
Established 1780. The original grants for this area, issued by the Royal Governor of New York in 1767 and 1772, were for two towns. But in 1777, the Republic of Vermont was established, which ignored the previous grants, it gave charter on November 7, 1780, for “a tract of vacant land within this state which has not heretofore been granted.” The charter goes on to say “that the same be and is hereby Incorporated into a Township by the name of Jamaica”—its name from the Natick word for beaver. Not the Caribbean island.
Established 1780. Between 1770 and 1772, Colonel James Rogers of Londonderry, New Hampshire, received a royal grant and led the first settlers into an area called Kent. By 1775, they had held their first Town Meeting at Great Pond (Lowell Lake). Kent was renamed Londonderry in 1780, by act of the new Vermont legislature. At that time, it included most of what is now the towns of Windham and Londonderry. During the 1790s, it was agreed between the settlers on the two sides of Glebe Mountain to divide Londonderry into two towns with the land on the east side of the mountain becoming the separate town of Windham. In 1804, the present dividing line was established and each town sent representatives to the state legislature.
Established 1761. Named “New Marlborough” for the Duke of Marlborough, the town was a New Hampshire grant chartered on April 29, 1751, to Timothy Dwight and 64 others from Northampton, Massachusetts and vicinity. The French and Indian War prevented settlement, so the first charter was forfeited and a new one issued by Governor Benning Wentworth on September 21, 1761, then again on April 17, 1764, as New Marlborough. The town was surveyed in 1762, and 64 equal “rights” (divisions) were created, with four lots in the center of town excepted.
Chartered 1753. Newfane is the shire town (county seat) of Windham County. One of the New Hampshire grants, it was chartered on June 19, 1753, by Governor Benning Wentworth, who named it Fane after John Fane, the seventh Earl of Westmoreland. Because hostilities during the French and Indian War prevented its settlement, a first town meeting was not held within the required first five years after the charter was enacted. As a result, the original charter was deemed null and void, so Wentworth issued an entirely new charter on November 3, 1761, and named the town New Fane. A village was built atop Newfane Hill, including the county buildings. The village was relocated to the flatland below in 1825 and until 1882, it was called Fayetteville after the Marquis de Lafayette.
Established 1753. On December 26, 1753, Colonel Josiah Willard led a proprietors’ petition for a Putney charter to be established in the Equivalent Lands. The charter was issued that day by Governor Benning Wentworth, issuer of the New Hampshire Grants under the authority of King George II of England. Significant settlement of Putney did not begin until after the French and Indian War ended in 1760.
Established 1786. Readsboro, in Bennington County, was named after John Reade, a landholder. The hamlet of Heartwellville is in the northern part of Readsboro, approximately 5 miles north.
Chartered 1761. Daniel Webster spoke to 10,000 Whigs on Stratton Mountain in 1840. Stratton Mountain Resort on Stratton Mountain was the first ski resort to allow snowboarding. It has 91 ski trails and snowmaking capability.
Established 1672. Vernon was chartered in 1672 as part of the Massachusetts Grant. In 1736, the area was granted by Massachusetts as part of Fall Town, and in 1753, the area was granted as Hinsdale. When the Connecticut River was established as a boundary, two separate towns were created: Hinsdale, New Hampshire and Hinsdale, Vermont. The people who lived in Hinsdale, Vermont wanted a separate name and in 1802, the Vermont legislature changed the town’s name to Vernon, purportedly chosen in honor of President George Washington’s plantation home, Mount Vernon.
Chartered 1780. Wardsboro, home of the delicious heirloom and official State Vegetable—the gilfeather turnip–was settled circa 1779 by Samuel Davis and his wife from Milford, Massachusetts. It was granted and chartered to William Ward of Newfane, for whom the town was named, and 62 others. In 1788, it was divided into north and south districts, the latter set off and incorporated in 1810 as Dover.
Established 1735. Westminster is Vermont’s oldest existing town and was chartered in 1735 by the Province of Massachusetts Bay and was called New Taunton or Township Number One. The town had no permanent settlers until 1751. The town was later incorporated in the Province of New Hampshire in 1752, becoming the third chartered town for New Hampshire, west of the Connecticut River. The Court of Common Pleas of the County of Cumberland of the Province of New York was moved to the town of Westminster in 1772. On January 15, 1777, a group of Vermonters met in the Westminster courthouse to declare the independence of the Republic of New Connecticut (later renamed the Republic of Vermont).
Incorporated 1799. Weston was originally the western part of Andover called West Town. Because Markham and Terrible mountains blocked travel between the town’s halves, it was set off and incorporated on October 26, 1799, by the legislature. A second village grew at the canal cut to divert the West River to power watermills. Called the Island, it developed into a small mill town. Vermont’s oldest professional theatre, the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company, was founded in 1935. The Vermont Country Store, a catalogue, retail, and e-commerce business, was established here in 1946 by Vrest and Ellen Orton.
Chartered 1796. Whitingham was named for Nathan Whiting, a landholder. Whitingham is the birthplace of Brigham Young, the second president of The Church of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and founder of Salt Lake City, Utah. Its village center is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Whitingham Village Historic District.
Established 1751. Wilmington was chartered in 1751 by Benning Wentworth, colonial governor of New Hampshire. It was named in honor of Spencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington. Wilmington is the home of Haystack Mountain Ski Area, which operates the Hermitage Club.
Organized 1796. Windham was part of Londonderry until after 1792 and was “duly organized” in 1796. About 1783, Benjamin Pierce, from Westmoreland, New Hampshire, was the first settler of what was to become the village.
photo, top of page Gary King