Vermont History

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1609 - Samuel de Champlain claimed the Vermont region for France.

1690 - Jacobus de Warm led British soldiers from Albany, New York to a point near the site of present-day Middlebury, Vermont.

1724 - Vermont's first permanent white settlement was made at Fort Dummer, in what is now Brattleboro.

February 22, 1754 - The Town of Chester was originally chartered by New Hampshire Governor Benning Wentworth under the name of Flamstead. Chester was one of the first towns chartered in Windsor County.


Chester Depot Vermont, Prominent Building (Center/Right) is currently the Chester Town Office (From Postcard Image)

1761 - The township of Windsor was originally settled by farmers, millwrights, blacksmiths and carpenters. Windsor is referred to as "the birthplace of Vermont".

Sometime between 1761 and 1763 - After failing to meet obligations of the charter, a second grant was issued naming the town New Flamstead. In 1764, two families arrived to settle.

July 14, 1766 - A third charter was granted by Governor Tyron of the province of New York and New Flamstead was changed to Chester.

1774 - The fierce independence of the town gave rise to Chester's own Declaration of Independence, which resolved that acts of the British Parliament. Though Vermonters fought in the Revolution, they withdrew from the newly formed nation making Chester part of an independent republic until Vermont was granted statehood in 1789. Located at the convergence of the three branches of the Williams River, Chester offered fertile ground for farming to the early settlers.

May 10, 1775 - The Green Mountain Boys, led by Ethan Allen (with Colonel Benedict Arnold) captured Fort Ticonderoga (in New York) from the British in the Revolutionary War.

January 15, 1777 - Vermont declared itself an independent republic.  "New Connecticut" is declared an Independent State of the New Union.(1)

June 4, 1777 - "New Connecticut's" name is changed to "Vermont" as the name "New Connecticut" is already in use in PA. Another convention for Vermont is scheduled for July in Windsor.(1)

July 2, through July 8, 1777 - A convention held in Windsor, Vermont drafts a Constitution and adopts the Constitution on July 8, amidst a severe thunderstorm. The Constitution is the first to abolish slavery, first to allow for public education, and the first to allow common voting rights. Three major advancements in civil rights. Vermont also becomes the first state to establish the right of inhabitants to hunt or fish in its waters, and on its lands. The convention in Windsor established a new Republic of Vermont, from 1777-1791.(1)


Early 1900's Main Street, Ludlow Vermont (From Postcard Image)

March 4, 1791 - Vermont became the 14th state. Vermont is the first State to join the original thirteen colonies in the new Union. Its Constitution is the first such document to outlaw slavery, the first to prevent a person from being transported out of the state for a crime committed within, and the first to provide for a state university.

1794 - The Rutland Herald is Vermont's oldest continuously published newspaper. It began as a weekly in 1794.

1805 - Montpelier becomes the State Capital.

1812 - Vermont volunteers fought the British in the battles of Chippewa, Lundy's Lane, and Plattsburgh. But the War of 1812 was unpopular in Vermont, because trade with British-controlled Canada had become important to the state's economy. Hard times came to Vermont after the war.

1823 to 1836 - During a prosperous period, many persons moved from Vermont to the growing Midwest. They feared future economic hardships in Vermont.

1823 - Opening of the Champlain Canal created a water route between VT and NYC.


Hotel Windham, Downtown Bellows Falls Vermont, Early 1900's Postcard Image.
A fire destroyed the fourth floor in 1912.  Hotel structure still exists today, though the hotel closed decades ago.
Now home to several street level stores and galleries, including The Windham Performance Space.

1823 - Samuel Read Hall, a pioneer educator, established the first teacher-training school in the United States at Concord.

1840 - By 1840, Vermont had six times as many sheep as persons. Many small, water-powered mills were built in Vermont to process the wool from the sheep. During the mid-1800's, competition from Western states and other countries made wool prices drop. By 1860, Vermont farmers had sold half their sheep to be used as meat. This crisis caused Vermont to change from a sheep-raising state to a dairy-farming state.

1849 - The railroad from Boston to Lake Champlain was completed and Chester became a commercial and shipping hub for the surrounding communities as well. The prosperity that came with the railroad built many of the Victorian style buildings on the Chester Village Green (Route 11), now part of a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places, and the stone buildings which make up the Stone Village on North Street (Route 103).

1881 - Chester A. Arthur, born in Fairfield Vermont became the 21st President of the United States.

1900 - Vermont's tourist industry grew rapidly during the early 1900's. Many large resort hotels and vacation camps were built.

1911 - Vermont became the first state with an official publicity bureau to attract tourists.

1923 - Calvin Coolidge, born in Plymouth Notch became the 30th President of the United States.

1923 - The state flag (adopted in 1923) bears the VT coat of arms.


Circa 1900's View of the Adna Brown Hotel, Springfield Vermont

1927 - The worst flood in Vermont history occurred in November. Waters from the Winooski River and branches of the Connecticut River swept away entire sections of towns. The flood caused 60 deaths.

1930 - Vermont's first radio station, WSYB, opened in Rutland.

1930 - The nationwide Great Depression of the 1930's brought severe hardship to Vermont. Many small factories and lumber mills closed.

1954 - The first television station, WCAX-TV, began broadcasting from Burlington. This means that Vermont had no television station when Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz debuted "I Love Lucy" on October 15, 1951.

1962 - Philip H. Hoff became first Democrat elected Governor of Vermont since 1853.

1970 - Vermont legislature passed the Environmental Control Law. This law permitted Vermont to limit major development's that could harm the state's environment.

1984 - Madeleine M. Kunin became first woman elected Governor of Vermont.

Unique Vermont Facts:

bulletThe word Vermont comes from "Vert Mont", the French words for Green Mountain. Vermont's nickname is the Green Mountain State.
bulletThe State Motto is "Freedom & Unity".
bulletVermont ranks 48th among all the states in population with less then 600,000 people (or about 59 per square mile). Compare that to the estimated population of 7,500,000 people in New York City.
bulletNearly 25% of Vermonts population live in the Burlington Metropolitan Area.
bulletVermont has 49 villages and 242 towns.
bulletVermont has the lowest percentage of city dwellers of any state in the nation.
bulletForests cover about 75% of the state.
bulletVermont is about 9,600 square miles.
bulletVermont is the only New England state without any coastline along the Atlantic Ocean - but, water borders more than half the state! The Connecticut River forms Vermont's entire eastern border.
bulletVermont has about 430 lakes and ponds (compared to as many as 22,000 in Minnesota).
bulletThe average high temperature in July is 68 degrees and in January, 17 degrees.
bulletThe state song is "Hail, Vermont!", words and music by Josephine Hovey Perry.
bulletThe time clock was invented by James A. Sargent of Chester.
bulletThe state flower is the Red Clover and the state tree is the Sugar Maple. The state bird is the Hermit Thrush.
bulletVermont is the largest producer of Maple Syrup in the United States.
bulletVermont towns use the town meeting form of government, the purest type of democracy.

The information contained herein was collected from various books, magazines, literature and people. Submissions, corrections and clarifications are encouraged - please contact me.

(1)Source: Henry Steele Wardner "Birthplace of Vermont"

Additional history may be found at the following internet sources including:

http://www.vacationinvermont.com/towns/ChesterHx.html

http://www.state.vt.us/vhs/

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