New Frontier 1750-1820

August 31, 1754

After being taken captive during an Indian raid on Fort No. 4 in New Hampshire, Susanna Johnson gave birth to a baby girl as the raiders passed through Cavendish.  The child was named Elizabeth "Captive" Johnson.
May 10, 1775

Fort Ticonderoga was captured by the Green Mountain Boys under the leadership of Ethan Allen.
July 7, 1777
The Battle of Hubbardton, the only battle of the American Revolution fought on Vermont soil, ended in victory for the British under General Burgoyne.  As Colonel Seth Warner and his regiment of Green Mountain Boys retreated, Warner cried out, "Meet me in Manchester," where he and his men rallied and went on to victory at the Battle of Bennington.
August 16, 1777

The British forces of John Burgoyne were decisively defeated at the Battle of Bennington by American troops from Vermont and New Hampshire led by John Stark and Seth Warner.
May 31, 1778
Ethan Allen returns to Vermont after being held prisoner by the British for nearly three years.  Allen was caught when he tried unsuccessfully to capture Montreal.
February 20, 1779
Vermont adopts the first state seal.  Ira Allen, Ethan's brother, designed it and Reuben Dean, a printer, carved it.
December 23, 1779
Bethel became the first town chartered by the independent state of Vermont.
February 12, 1781
Judah Spooner and Tim Green began publishing Vermont's first newspaper, the Vermont Gazette, in Westminster.

June 15, 1785
The Vermont Legislature gave Reuben Harmon of Rupert permission to make copper coins for the state.  Harmon minted the coins from 1785 through 1788.
October 22, 1790
On the motion of Stephen R. Bradley of Westminster, the general assembly calls a convention to decide whether Vermont should ratify the United States Constitution and join the Union as the fourteenth state.
January 6, 1791
The Bennington Convention ratifies the federal constitution and applies for Vermont's admission to the Union.  Vermont becomes a state on March 4, 1791.
February 18, 1791
The U.S. Congress votes unanimously in favor of admitting Vermont to the United States.  The date for admission is set for March 4.
March 4, 1791
Vermont becomes the fourteenth state, the first to join the original thirteen.
June 6, 1791
Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, both to become U.S. presidents, tour Vermont.
October 14, 1795
Ethan Allen's brother Ira offered to pay the University of Vermont 1,000 pounds sterling if it would change its name to Allen University.
May 23, 1796
Historian and naturalist Zadock Thompson is born in Bridgewater.  He wrote history books and sold them cheaply so that all Vermonters could read them.
March 15, 1801
George Perkins Marsh, lawyer, congressman, ambassador, and language scholar, is born in Woodstock.  Marsh observed the destructive washing away of topsoil by rain and guessed correctly that this was due to the cutting down of the state's forests.  Many believe that his book Man and Nature (1864) started the conservation movement in the United States.
June 1, 1801
Brigham Young was born on this day in Whitingham, Vermont.  In 1844, Young became the leader of the Mormon church when church founder Joseph Smith of Sharon, Vermont, was shot.  The Joseph Smith monument in Sharon and the Brigham Young monument in Whitingham commemorate their lives.
November 8, 1805
Montpelier was selected as Vermont's official capital.
April 10, 1810
William Jarvis loads Merino sheep on board a ship in Spain. Their destination is Vermont, where they will begin the boom in sheep farming.
April 14, 1810
Justin Morrill, Vermont senator and author of the U.S. Land Grant College Act, was born on this day.  The Land Grant Act, which was signed into law in 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln, established a public agricultural college in every state.  Justin Morrill's Gothic cottage in Strafford, Vermont, is an historic landmark and is open to the public.
April 23, 1813
Stephen A. Douglas, the politician who ran against Abraham Lincoln in the 1860 presidential election, was born in Brandon, Vermont.
September 30, 1814
Jacob Estey, founder of the world-famous Estey Organ Company of Brattleboro, was born in Hinsdale, New Hampshire.
June 8, 1816
On this day, up to six inches of snow fell over most of Vermont.  Another snowstorm in July and killing frosts in August and September erased all hope of raising crops that year.  Many hard-pressed Vermonters were forced to eat roots and hedgehogs.  Others left the state.  The year 1816 has been known in Vermont ever since as "the year without a summer" and "eighteen-hundred-and-froze-to-death."
April 5, 1817
Ann Story, one of Vermont's most courageous pioneers, raised five children alone on the frontier at Salisbury, survived many catastrophes, remained loyal to the Green Mountain Boys, and died on this date at the age of eighty-two.
January 8, 1819
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.

Do you know of another important event in Vermont history that should be on this list?  Email the date and the details to

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