What historic events happened in December?


December 1, 1946

Paula Welden, a student from Bennington College, disappeared. Welden told her roommate that she wanted to go for a long walk. Since Vermont did not have state police, they called for help from other states. The Vermont State Police formed in 1947 because of this case.

December 3, 1990

Governor Madeleine Kunin appointed Denise R. Johnson to the Vermont Supreme Court. Johnson was the first woman to be a Justice on this court. Since her appointment, other women have joined the Supreme Court. Johnson served until 2011 when she stepped down.

December 8, 1859 

Reverend Joshua Young of Burlington, an abolitionist, angers his congregation by crossing Lake Champlain to preach at the funeral of John Brown in New York State. Brown had started a revolt to free southern slaves, but had been caught and hanged by the United States government.

December 18, 1849

The first train arrives in Burlington via the new Rutland Railroad, connecting the city with Boston and the rest of the country. Within the next forty years, the railroad helped make Burlington the third largest lumber port in North America.

High quality scan of the map

December 18, 1880

Women are allowed to vote in Vermont school district elections.

Clarina Howard Nichols, Crusader for Women's Rights (PDF)

December 20, 1980

The Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe burned to the ground. The lodge was owned by the Trapp Family Singers, the same family made famous from books and movies like the Sound of Music. A new hotel was opened after the fire.

December 23, 1779

Bethel became the first town chartered by the independent state of Vermont.

December 23, 1805

Joseph Smith was born in Sharon, Vermont. Smith is the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Joseph Smith Part 1

Joseph Smith Part 2

December 26, 1837

Admiral George Dewey, the hero of Manila Bay, was born on State Street in Montpelier across from the Vermont State Capitol. His victory over the Spanish fleet in 1898 made Admiral Dewey the most famous American of the day and he was welcomed home to Vermont with a huge celebration in October, 1899.

Vermont Welcomes Her Hero Home (PDF)

December 27, 1918

Frank Plumley, enjoying a meal in the dining room of the Pavilion Hotel in Montpelier, was delighted to find a large pearl in his serving of oyster stew.

December 30, 1933

The temperature in Bloomfield, Vermont, dropped to fifty degrees below zero. This still stands as the lowest official temperature ever recorded in the state.

Above the Surface: Small State, Big Weather (PDF)

Copy and paste this citation to show where you did your research.

Vermont Historical Society. "December." Vermont History Explorer. Accessed July 23, 2024.

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