War & Industry 1860 - 1910

April 23, 1861
An emergency session of the state legislature is held, due to the outbreak of the Civil War.  The first call goes out for volunteers to fight.
August 23, 1864
Mrs. Abraham Lincoln, her son Tad, and their servant signed in at the Equinox Hotel in Manchester for their second visit.  Their rooms were #27, #50, and #51.  Robert Todd Lincoln, the eldest son in the family, later bought Hildene, a Manchester mansion that is now a museum.
October 19, 1864
A small group of Confederate soldiers brought the Civil War home to Vermont by raiding St. Albans and robbing three banks.  After killing one man and wounding others, they escaped into Canada.
February 9, 1865
Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley was born in Jericho, Vermont.  He was the first person to photograph snowflakes and discovered that no two were alike.
October 2, 1867
The first "little World's Fair" opens in Tunbridge.
February 4, 1870
Lucy Stone, Julia Ward Howe, and many other famous American heroines spoke at the Women's Suffrage Convention held in Montpelier.
July 4, 1872
Calvin Coolidge, the thirtieth president of the United States, was born in Plymouth Notch, Vermont.  Coolidge assumed the presidency from his position as vice-president, when President Harding died.  At 2:47 a.m., on August 3, 1923, at the Coolidge's family farm, Calvin's father, John, swore in his son as president of the United States.  Calvin Coolidge is the only U.S. president to be born on Independence Day.
March 17, 1878
Redfield Proctor, founder of the largest marble company in the world, became governor of Vermont.
December 18, 1880
Women are allowed to vote in Vermont school district elections.
January 15, 1885
Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley takes his first successful photomicrograph of a snow crystal at his home in Jericho, Vermont.
May 17, 1886
John Deere, a native of Rutland, developer of the self-scouring steel plow and founder of a farm machinery empire, dies in Moline, Illinois.  His invention was known as the "plow that broke the plains," because it was used by farmers on the Great Plains.
February 4, 1887
Vermont's most famous train wreck occurred at White River Junction when the Montreal Express was derailed on the huge bridge that crossed the river.  Many people were killed in the fall, and more lost their lives as the wooden passenger cars and railroad bridge caught fire and burned.
July 9, 1888
Vermont's first Jewish congregation was incorporated in Poultney.
February 2, 1891
Electricity lights the streets of Newport for the first time.  "A village without electric lights ain't much of a village," wrote the Newport newspaper.

February 1, 1895
The red clover was selected as Vermont's official state flower.  Oddly, this flower is not native to Vermont but was introduced from Europe.
  May 1, 1898
Admiral George Dewey, native of Montpelier, Vermont, won the Battle of Manila Bay by destroying the Spanish fleet.  When Dewey returned to America, he was greeted by the nation as the greatest living naval hero.

November 6, 1902
A big meeting in Manchester stops the building of an electric trolley car system.  People fear that the noise of the cars and the ugly electric wires will keep away tourists.
October 29, 1909
At a meeting in the Baptist Church in Barre, a group of fourteen youths started the first Boy Scout troop in America.  Their leader, William Milne, was from Scotland, where he got the idea for such a club.  One of the charter members of the first American Boy Scout troop, Deane Davis, later became governor of Vermont.  In 1950 the United States Postal Service honored the formation of the Boy Scouts of America with a three-cent stamp.

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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