American History and Genealogy Project

State of Vermont

Vermont, one of the northern United States, is bounded n. by Lower Canada; E. by New Hampshire; s. by Massachusetts; and w. by New York, from which it is chiefly separated by Lake Champlain. It lies between 42° 44' and 45° N. lat., and between 71° 38' and 73° 26' w. Ion. It is 157 miles long from N. to s., and 90 miles broad on the northern boundary, and 40 on the southern, and contains 10,212 square miles, or 6,535,680 acres. The population in 1790, was 85,589; in 1800, 154,465; in 1810, 217,895; in 1820, 235,764; in 1830, 280,679; in 1840, 291,948. Of these 146,378 are white males; 144,840 do. females; 364 colored males; 366 do. females. Employed in agriculture, 73,150; in commerce, 1,303; in manufactures and trades, 13,174; navigating the ocean, rivers, &c, 187; learned professions, &c, 1,563.

The state is divided into 14 counties, which, with their population in 1840, and their capitals, were as follows:

County, Population, Capital

Addison, 23,533, Middlebury Lamoille, 10,475, Hydepark
Bennington, 16,872, Bennington and Manchester Orange. 27,873, Chelsea
Caledonia, 21,891, Danville Orleans, 13,634, Irasburg
Chittenden, 22,977. Burlington Rutland, 30,699, Rutland
Essex, 4,226, Guildhall Washington, 23,506, Montpelier
Franklin, 24,531, St. Albans Windham, 27,442, Newfane
Grand Isle, 3,883, North Hero Windsor, 40,356, Windsor and Woodstock

Montpelier, on Winooski river, 38 miles e. s. e. from Burlington, is the capital.

Vermont is a hilly or mountainous country. To the distance of from 5 to 10 miles e. of Lake Champlain the country is moderately uneven, and generally very fertile. A chain of mountains, called the Green mountains, from which the state takes its name, runs almost the whole length of the state, being in the south part from 10 to 15 miles wide, with some intervening valleys. Near the centre of the state the range divides into two parts; the western continues n., and, though broken, has the highest summits; while the eastern passes in a n. e. direction, in an unbroken chain. It is a curious fact that this immense barrier has a passage through it, without even any high hills. The southern branch of Onion River, which flows into Lake Champlain, has its source very near to if not in the same swamp with the head of White river, which flows into the Connecticut. The road passes along these streams from Burlington through Montpelier to Hartford, Vt., without any considerable elevations or depressions, and is called the valley road, presenting much grand and beautiful scenery. It passes near the base of Camel's Rump, one of the highest peaks of the Green mountains. Before the mountain divides, Killington Peak, 3,675 feet above the level of the sea, is the highest summit, but there are two higher summits after it divides, which arc in the western range. These are Camel's Rump, on the s. side of Onion River, which is 4,18S feet high, and Mansfield Mountain, the highest of all, on the n. side of Onion River, which is 4,279 feet high. The land in the part of the state e. of the mountain ridge is more hilly than that on the western side.

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The soil of the state may be regarded as fertile, but is generally better fitted for grazing than for grain. Excellent land for wheat is found throughout the western border of the state near Lake Champlain, and summer wheat succeeds well in most parts of the state. Corn produces the best on the margin of the streams, though it does well in other parts. Even among the Green mountains are fine grazing farms. The productions of the state are wheat, rye, Indian corn, oats, buckwheat, peas, and flax. The natural growth of the soil, on the e. of the mountains, is birch, beech, maple, ash, elm, and butternut; and on the w. the growth of hard wood is intermixed with pine and other evergreens.

In 1840 there were in this state, 62,402 horses and mules; 384,341 neat cattle; 1,681,819 sheep; 203,800 swine; poultry to the value of $131,578. There were produced 495,800 bushels of wheat; 54,781 of barley; 2,222,584 of oats; 230,993 of rye; 228,416 of buckwheat; 8,869,751 of potatoes; 1,119,678 of Indian corn; 836,739 tons of hay; 29 of hemp and flax; 4,286 pounds of silk cocoons; 3,699,235 of wool; 4,647,934 of sugar; 48,137 of hops; 4,660 of wax. The products of the dairy amounted to $2,008,737; of the orchard to $213,944; of lumber to $349,939; 718 tons of pot and pearl ashes.

The exports consist of pot and pearl ashes, beef, pork, butter, cheese, flax, live cattle, &c. The trade e. of the mountains is chiefly to Boston and Hartford; and w. of the mountains to New York and Montreal, to which it has an easy access through Lake Champlain and the Champlain canal to the Hudson river.

The climate is healthy, though the winters are cold. The snow generally lies from December to March, and is often 4 feet deep on the mountains. It is on an average several degrees colder on the eastern than on the western side of the mountains. Lake Champlain is not wholly frozen over until about the 1st of February.

The most important rivers are on the w. side of the state, and flow into Lake Champlain. They are the Otter Creek, 85 miles long, and navigable for sloops 6 miles to Vergennes; Onion River, which is 80 miles long, and enters the lake 4 miles n. of the village of Burlington; Lamoille, which is 70 miles long, and Missisque, which has about the same length. Small boats may penetrate these rivers to their lower falls, and they all have sets of fine falls, which furnish excellent mill seats. The principal rivers on, the e. side of the mountains, which flow into the Connecticut, are Deerfield, White, Black, and Pasumsic rivers.

Lake Champlain, more than two thirds of which is in this state, is estimated to contain 600 square miles. Lake Memphremagog lies partly in this state and partly in Canada, and is 40 ms. long, and 7 or 8 wide. Lake Bombazine in Castleton, and Salisbury Pond in Salisbury, are considerable bodies of water. The islands of Lake Champlain are considerably numerous, and some of them are large, fertile, and populous, and, with the peninsula of Alburgh, constitute Grand Isle county. The principal are North Hero, South Hero, and La Motte. There are various harbors on Lake Champlain, the principal of which are those of St. Albans, Burlington, and Vergennes.

Burlington is the largest and most commercial town in the state. The other principal towns are Middlebury, St. Albans, Rutland, and Bennington on the w., Montpelier in the centre, and Windsor, Woodstock, Danville, and Newbury on the e. side of the mountains.

The exports of this state in 1840, amounted to $305,150; and the imports to $404,617.

Vermont is an agricultural, rather than a commercial or manufacturing state. There were in the state in 1840, 747 retail stores, groceries, &c, which employed a capital of $2,964,060. There was employed in the lumber trade a capital of $45,506. The home-made or domestic manufactures amounted to $674,548. There were in the state 95 woolen manufactories, and 239 fulling mills, which employed 1,450 persons, and produced articles to the amount of $1,331,953, with a capital of $1,406,950; there were 7 cotton manufactories with 7,254 spindles, which manufactured articles to the amount of $113,000, and employed a capital of $118,100; 26 furnaces produced 6,743 tons of cast iron, and 14 forges produced 655 tons of bar iron, employing 788 persons, and a capital of $664,150; hats and caps were manufactured to the amount of $62,432, and straw bonnets to the amount of $2,819, employing 126 persons, and a capital of $32,875; 17 paper manufactories produced articles to the amount of $179,720; all other manufactories of paper produced 835,000, the whole employing 195 persons, and a capital of $216,500; 2 glass houses employed 70 persons, producing articles to the amount of $55,000, with a capital of $35,000; 8 potteries produced articles to the amount of $23,000, with a capital of $10,350; 261 tanneries employed 509 persons, with a capital of $403,093; 399 other leather manufactories, as saddleries, &c, manufactured articles to the amount of $361,468, with a capital of $168,090; granite and marble were manufactured to the amount of $62,515; bricks and lime were made to the amount of $402,218; 2 distilleries and 1 brewery employed 5 persons, and a capital of $8,850; 87 persons produced machinery to the amount of $101,354; 33 persons produced hardware and cutlery to the amount of $16,650; 437 persons produced carriages and wagons to the amount of $162,097, with a capital of $101,570; 190 persons manufactured furniture to the amount of $83,275, with a capital of $49,850; 72 stone or brick houses, and 468 wooden houses were built by 912 persons, and cost $314,896; 42 persons manufactured 1,158 small-arms; vessels were built to the amount of $72,000; 29 printing offices, 14 binderies, 2 daily newspapers, 26 weekly do., 2 semi-weekly do., and 3 periodicals, employed 156 persons, and a capital of $194,200. The total amount of capital employed in manufactures in the state was $4,326,440.

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There are three colleges in Vermont. The University of Vermont, in Burlington, was founded in 1791; Middlebury College in 1800; and Norwich University in 1834. In these institutions, there were in 1840, 233 students. There were in the state 46 academies, with 4,113 stude.iis; and 2,402 primary and common schools, with 82,817 scholars; and 2,270 persons over 20 years of age who could neither read nor write.

The principal religious denominations are the Congregationalists, the Baptists, and the Methodists. In 1836, the Congregationalists had 186 churches, 114 ministers, and 20,575 communicants; the Baptists, 125 churches, 78 ministers, and 10,525 communicants; the Methodists had 75 itinerant preachers; the Episcopalians, 1 bishop and 18 ministers. Besides these there is a considerable number of Universalists and Christians, and a few Unitarians and Roman Catholics.

In September, 1839, there were 19 banks, with an aggregate capital of $1,325,530, and a circulation of $1,966,812. Vermont has no state debt.

There is a Penitentiary located at Windsor.

The first constitution of this state was formed in 1777. The present constitution was adopted July 4th, 1793. The legislative power is vested in the House of Representatives, elected annually, and every town is entitled to one representative. The "General Assembly of the State of Vermont" meet annually at Montpelier in October. The executive power is vested in a governor, lieutenant-governor, and a council of 12 persons chosen annually by the people. They commission all officers, sit as judges to consider and determine on impeachments, prepare and lay before the general assembly such business as appears to them necessary, and have power to revise and propose amendments to the laws passed by the House of Representatives. The judiciary power is vested in a supreme court, consisting of 5 judges; and one judge of the Supreme Court, with two assistant judges in each county, constitute a county court. The judges of the supreme and county courts, judges of probate courts, sheriffs and justices of the peace, are elected annually by the general assembly. A council of censors, consisting of 13 persons, are chosen every 7 years, who meet at Montpelier in June, to inquire whether the constitution has been preserved inviolate, whether the executive and legislative branches of the government have performed their duty as guardians of the people, whether taxes have been justly laid and collected, in what manner the public moneys have been disposed of, and whether the laws have been duly executed.

Every person of 21 years of age, who has resided in the state one year immediately previous to the election of representatives, and is of quiet and peaceable behavior, has the right of suffrage. The pay of the councilors and representatives is $1.50 a day, during the session, and 6 cents a mile for travel, going and returning. The lieutenant-governor and speaker of the house receive $2.50 a day. The salary of the governor is $750 a year.

Several charters have been granted by the legislature for works of internal improvement, but it is doubtful whether any of them will soon be undertaken. Several short canals have been constructed for the improvement of the navigation of Connecticut River.

The first settlement of the state was at Fort Dummer, in the s. e. part of the state, by settlers from Massachusetts. New Hampshire claimed the territory from 1741 to 1761, and granted many townships in the state to proprietors. New York also claimed the territory, and obtained a grant of it from the British Parliament in 1764. These conflicting claims produced great difficulties. When the revolutionary war commenced, Congress dared not admit Vermont to the con-federacy, for fear of offending New Hampshire and New York. But the inhabitants were determined to be independent, and the British hoped to be able to detach them from the American cause. Vermont had a difficult part to act. But her wise leaders outwitted the British, by cherishing their hopes, and thus saving themselves from attack; and gave the most demonstrative proof of their exalted courage, and their devoted patriotism.

In 1790, New York was induced, by the payment of $30,000, to withdraw its claims; and in 1791, Vermont was admitted into the Union.

Table of Contents

Source: A Complete Descriptive And Statistical Gazetteer Of The United States Of America, By Daniel Haskel, A. M and J. Calvin Smith, Published By Sherman & Smith, 1843

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