1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Vermont
VERMONT, a North Atlantic state of the United States of America and one of the New England group, lying between latitude 42° 44′ and 45° 0′ 43″ N., and between longitudes 3° 35′ and 5° 29′ E. from Washington. It is bounded N. by the Canadian province of Quebec, E. by the Connecticut river, which separates it from New Hampshire, S. by Massachusetts, and W. by New York and Lake Champlain, which separates it in part from New York. Its total area is 9564 sq. m., and of this 440 sq. m. is water surface.
Surface.—Vermont is a portion of the plateau-like New England upland, broken by mountain ranges, individual mountains and high hills, rising above the general upland surface, and by deep narrow valleys, cut below that surface. The mean elevation of the state above the sea is about 1000 ft. Extremes range from 106 ft. at Maquam on the N.E. shore of Lake Champlain (96 ft.) to 4364 ft. at the summit of Mount Mansfield, about 25 m. E. of that lake. The most prominent feature of the surface is the Green Mountains, which extend nearly N. and S. through the state a little W. of the middle. From the Massachusetts border N. for two-thirds the length of the state the range is only slightly broken, but farther N. it is cut deep by the valleys of the Winooski and Lamoille rivers. The crest line is generally more than 2000 ft. high, considerable areas are above 2500 ft., and the following summits exceed 4000 ft.: Mount Mansfield, 4364 ft.; Killington Peak, 4241 ft.; Camel’s Hump, 4088 ft.; Mount Lincoln, 4078 ft.; and Jay Peak, 4018 ft. West of the Green Mountains the Taconic Mountains form a nearly parallel (but distinct) range, extending from New York and Massachusetts N. nearly to the centre of Vermont; and a series of broken uplifts, known as the Red Sandrock Mountains, extend farther N. along the shore of Lake Champlain. The Taconic Mountains rise in very irregular masses to 1500-2000 ft., and reach their maximum elevation in Mount Equinox at 3816 ft. The Red Sandrock Mountains are similar to one another in form and structure, generally rounded on the N. and E., but with some rugged escarpments facing the lake; their highest point is Snake Mountain (1271 ft.) in Addison county. There are no mountain ranges in the state E. of the Green Mountains, but distributed along the entire E. border are a number of tall and oval or conical shaped masses known as the Granitic Mountains, and between these and the Green Mountains the country is largely occupied by high hills and deeply carved valleys. Mount Ascutney, one of the Granitic Mountains, rises abruptly from the floor of the Connecticut Valley to a height of 3320 ft. The least broken section of Vermont is on the somewhat gentle slope of the Green Mountains in the N.W. and on Grand Isle, North Hero Island, and Isle La Motte in Lake Champlain. The forms of Vermont’s mountains, even to the highest summits, were to a great extent rounded by glaciation, but as the rocks vary much in texture and are often steeply inclined, stream erosion has cut valleys deep and narrow, often mere gorges.
Where the Green Mountain range is unbroken, in the S. two-thirds of the state, it forms a water-parting between the streams which flow W. or N.W. into Lake Champlain or the Hudson river and those flowing S.E. into the Connecticut river; but farther N. the line separating the Hudson-Champlain basin from the Connecticut basin runs among the Granitic Mountains; and extending 25 m. S. from the Canadian border is a small area that is drained N. into Lake Memphremagog, the waters of which, like those of Lake Champlain, are tributary to the St Lawrence river. North of Massachusetts the Connecticut river is wholly within New Hampshire—Vermont’s eastern boundary is low-water mark on the W. bank of the Connecticut river. The largest and only navigable rivers of Vermont are among those flowing into Lake Champlain: the Missisquoi, the Lamoille, the Winooski and Otter Creek. The Batten Kill is the principal river flowing into the Hudson. The Deerfield, West, Williams, White, Passumpsic and Nulhegan rivers are the largest of the many streams which are tributary to the Connecticut. The Black, Barton and Clyde rivers flow into Lake Memphremagog. Vermont’s rivers are generally swift, and in many places they are made very picturesque by their clear and sparkling waters, rapids, falls, gorges and wooded banks.
Lake Champlain, which lies beautifully in the valley between the Green and Adirondack mountains, belongs mostly to Vermont. The state has a shore line upon it of 150 m. or more, and in its N. portion are numerous islands which are attractive resorts during the summer season. On the N. border of the state is Lake Memphremagog with islands, a rugged prominence known as Owl’s Head on its W. border, Jay Peak, farther back, and a beautiful farming country to the eastward. There are also a large number of small lakes and ponds lying wholly within the state. Of these Lake Bomoseen in Rutland county and Willoughby Lake in Orleans county are the largest. Willoughby Lake is about 6 m. long by 1–11 m. wide, and its situation between two rugged mountains makes a scene of great natural beauty. All the lakes of the state were formed by glaciation.
Fauna.—The most common wild animals are deer, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, woodchucks and muskrats. There are some porcupines, red foxes, minks and martens, but the moose, wolf and lynx are practically extinct. The ruffed grouse (or “partridge”) is the most common of game birds, but woodcock, ducks and geese are quite common. Prominent among a great variety of song-birds and insectivorous birds are the robin, blue bird, cat bird, sparrows, meadow-lark, bobolink, thrushes, chickadee, wrens, brown thrasher, gold finch, cedar wax-wing, flycatchers, nuthatches, flicker (golden-winged woodpecker), downy and hairy woodpeckers, rose-breasted grosbeak, Baltimore oriole, barn-swallow, chimney swift, purple martin, purple finch (linnet), vireos and several species of warblers. Birds of prey comprise several species of hawks and owls, and a few eagles. A few sturgeon are taken in Lake Champlain. The lakes, ponds and streams afford some of the best trout fishing in the country, and many of them also abound in pickerel, pike, perch, black bass and land-locked salmon. There is a state fish and game commissioner, and the state has a fish hatchery at Roxbury and a forest and game farm at Sharon. There are Federal hatcheries at Swanton (for pike perch and yellow perch) and at Holden (for trout).
Flora.—Vermont (vert mont), the Green Mountain State, was so named from the evergreen forests of its mountains, whose principal trees are spruce and fir on the upper slopes and white pine and hemlock on the lower. Among deciduous trees the state is noted for its sugar maples; birch and beech are common on the hills, and oaks, elm, hickory, ash, poplar, basswood, willow, chestnut and butternut on the less elevated areas. Among indigenous fruit-bearing trees, shrubs, vines and plants are the plum, cherry, grape, blackberry, raspberry, cranberry and strawberry. A few of the medicinal plants are ginseng, pleurisy root, snake root, blood root, blue flag and marshmallow. Orchids are very prominent among a great variety of flowering plants. Along the shore of Lake Champlain are a few species of maritime plants that remain from the time when portions of western Vermont were covered by the sea, and on the upper slopes of some of the higher mountains are a few Alpine species; these, however, are much less numerous on the Green Mountains of Vermont than on the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The state's lumber trade was important until 1890, when the white pine was nearly exhausted, although there were still spruce and hemlock.
Climate.—The state usually has long and severe winters and cool summers, but sudden changes of temperature are common at all seasons. The mean temperature for January, the coldest month, is only 17° F.; for the three winter months it is 19° F., and for the five months from November to March inclusive it is 24.3° F. For July, the warmest month, the mean temperature is 68° F.; for the entire year it is 43° F. Extremes of temperature have ranged from -36° F. at Woodstock, Windsor county, in February 1896 to 97° F. at Cornwall, Addison county, in June 1901. The eastern section of the state is colder than the western, and the central or most mountainous section is still colder; for example, the mean annual temperature of Burlington, on Lake Champlain, is 46° F., while that of Saint Johnsbury, a little farther S. and near the E. border, is only 42° F., and that of Northfield, still farther S. but in the middle section, is only 41° F. The mean annual precipitation for the entire state is about 38.5 in.; more rain falls in summer than in any other season, and more falls in the southern section than in the northern. The average annual fall of snow throughout the state is about 90 in., but at Jacksonville near the S. border it often exceeds 110 in. More snow falls in February than in any other month. In the Connecticut and Hudson-Champlain valleys the winds blow mostly from either the N. or the S., but in several of the smaller valleys the prevailing winds are from the N.W.
Soil.—The soil is for the most part glacial drift, composed of clay, sand and gravel, and varying greatly in depth. On the higher elevations it is generally stony and sterile, but in the valleys and on many of the lower hills, where it consists largely of clay and sand, it is quite productive. The best soils are in the west section, where limestone clays or shell marls are common.
Forests.—Vermont was heavily forested with white pine, spruce and hemlock, and, in the southern part of the state and along the shore of Lake Champlain, with some hard woods. The white pine had been much cut off by 1890 and it is no longer commercially important. The woodland area of the state in 1900 was estimated to be 3900 sq. m., about 43% of the land area of the state.
Fisheries.—Lake Champlain furnishes the only commer
ical fishing grounds in Vermont, with the exceptions of small catches of white fish in Lake Bomoseen, Lake St Catherine in Rutland county and Lake Memphremagog. The total catch in 1895 was 208,139 lb, valued at $7160, and in 1902 was 528,682 lb, valued at $37,669. The capital invested in fisheries in 1902 was $9417, and the number of men employed, 145. The most valuable fish taken was wall-eyed pike, and the catch of this fish and of pickerel from Lake Champlain in 1902 exceeded in value that from any other body of fresh water in the United States excepting Lake Huron and Lake Erie. The wall-eyed pike taken in 1902 were valued at $16,915 (210,936 lb); white fish, $5777 (80,191 lb); pickerel, $4144 (51,711 lb); yellow perch, $2575 (43,917 lb); sturgeon, $2051 (15,590 lb), and suckers, $1854 (37,375 lb); other varieties taken in smaller quantities included smelt, sun-fish and eels.
Agriculture.—Vermont is largely an agricultural state; in 1900, out of a total of 134,933 persons engaged in gainful occupations, 49,820 were engaged in agriculture, 36,180 in manufacturing and mechanical pursuits, 23,028 in domestic and personal service, 18,889 in trade and transportation, and 7016 in professional service; and of a total land area of 9124 sq. m., 7382 sq. m. (4,724,400 acres) were included in farms. The percentage of improved farm land, as in Maine, New York and Pennsylvania, increased from 1850 until 1890 and decreased after 1890; and in 1900 out of a total acreage of 4,724,400 acres only 2,126,624 acres (45%) were improved. Of the 33,104 farms in the state in 1900, 25,982 were farmed by their owners, 1373 by part owners, 314 by owners and tenants, 2424 by cash tenants, 2396 by share tenants, and 615 by managers; 637 farms had more than 500 acres, 3431 were between 260 and 500 acres, 5512 between 175 and 260 acres, 10,215 between 100 and 175 acres, 6513 between 50 and 100 acres, 3511 between 20 and 50 acres, and 3285 less than 20 acres; and dairy produce was the principal source of income of more than one-half of these (16,700), live stock the principal source of income of 7323 farms, and hay and grain of 2519 farms. The general sterility of the soil except along rivers and the bases of hills has made intensive cultivation always necessary, and the competition of new and rich western farm lands has made the agriculture of Vermont develop further toward specialization in dairying and raising live stock. In 1910 there were 495,000 neat cattle (285,000 milch cows), 94,000 horses (average value, $106), 229,600 sheep and 95,000 swine. The horses of Vermont have been famous in the development of American racing stocks; the Morgan stock is best known, and other famous Vermont strains are Messenger and Black Hawk. Hay and forage are the most important crops, and Vermont grasses for grazing have been favourably known since the close of the 18th century. In 1909 on 879,000 acres a crop of hay (excluding forage) was raised valued at $16,155,000. The cereals are relatively unimportant. The largest cereal crop is oats, of which, in 1909, 2,608,000 bushels (valued at $1,304,000) were produced on 81,000 acres.
Mines and Quarries.—The principal mineral resource of Vermont is its building and monumental stone, including marble and granite and a small amount of limestone. The value of the total amount of stone produced in 1908 in Vermont was $7,152,624. Vermont marble is the best and most plentiful in the United States. It has been quarried since 1785; marble monuments were first manufactured about 1808; and at South Dorset in 1818 marble seems first to have been sawed in blocks, the earlier method having been chiselling. It is found generally throughout the western part of the state. The principal supply is in West Rutland, Proctor and Pittsford; this, the “Rutland marble,” is a duller, less lustrous white, and of a greater durability than the Carrara marble, and is used largely for monuments and statuary. There are other large quarries at Dorset and East Dorset, Bennington county; the finest marbles from this region are the white, slightly marked with pale brown and with greenish lines; they are commonly used for building, the Harvard Medical School and the office of the U.S. Senate being examples. At Rutland, Proctor and Dorset many darker shades are found, including “moss vein,” olive green and various shades of blue, green, yellow and pink, which are used for ornamental purposes. There are important quarries in Franklin county (at Swanton), the stone being a dark Chazy limestone, in which pink and red (“jasper,” “lyonnaise” and “royal red”) marbles of Cambrian age are found. At Monkton, Addison county, there is a quarry from which other red marbles are taken; and at Roxbury, Washington county, a fine serpentine, called “green marble,” or verde antique, is quarried. On Isle La Motte, Grand Isle county, there are marble quarries, the characteristic colours of the marble being “Fisk black” and “Fisk grey.” The output of marble in 1908 was valued at $4,679,960 (out of a total of $7,733,920 for the entire production of marble in the United States). Only less important and only less early to be established in Vermont was the quarrying of granite, which began in 1812, but which has been developed chiefly since 1880, largely by means of the building of “granite railroads” which connect each quarry with a main railway line—a means of transportation as important as the logging railways of the Western states and of Canada. The largest granite quarries are near Barre, Washington county, a city which owes its importance to the quarries. The Barre granites, like those of Woodbury and Calais (also in Washington county) and part of those of South Ryegate, Kirby and Newark (Caledonia county), are of the biotite type; they are grey, except the stone from Newark, which is pinkish. Of the quartz-monzonite type are the whitish granites of Bethel and Rochester (Windsor county) and Randolph (Orange county), the light grey of Dummerston (Windham county), and the darker greys of Cabot (Washington county), Derby (Orleans county), Hardwick and Groton (Caledonia county) and Topsham (Orange county). The olive green syenite found on Mount Ascutney, near the Connecticut river, in Windsor county, is a hornblende-augite. Other important granite quarries are near Williamstown, Dummerston, Berlin and Woodbury. The total value of the output of granite in the state in 1908 was $2,451,933. In 1908 the output of limestone was valued at $20,731; there are limestone quarries in Washington and Orange counties and on Isle La Motte. Slate-quarrying and cutting is carried on in the south-western part of the state, in Rutland county; there are important quarries at Fair Haven, Poultney, Castleton, Wells and Pawlet. In Washington county there are quarries near Northfield. The industry began about 1840, though one quarry had been opened as early as 1805. There are two green varieties, called in the trade “sea-green” and “unfading green,” the former being used for a cheap roofing slate; and there are purplish varieties. In 1908 the value of slate produced was $1,710,491 (out of a total production for the United States of $6,316,817).
Manufactures.—The first important industry of the state was “rafting” lumber from Vermont through Lake Champlain and the Richelieu and St Lawrence rivers to Quebec. Burlington became a great lumber market for a trade moving in the direction of Boston after the Richelieu river was blocked to navigation and railway transportation began, and in 1882 Burlington was the third lumber centre in the United States. Mountain streams furnish important water-power, and the typical factory of Vermont has long been a sawmill run by a water-wheel. The value of sawmill products in 1905 was $5,888,441, and of planing-mill products $3,080,117. Closely connected with the manufacture of lumber is the making of paper and wood pulp, centralized at Bellows Falls, with water-power on the Connecticut river and with the raw materials near; the product was valued in 1905 at $3,831,448. Dairy industries have rapidly increased in value: in 1905 the value of butter and cheese was $6,416,434, more than any other single industry under the census classification. If a less arbitrary classification be followed the principal manufacturing industries would be stone manufacture and textiles. The first marble quarry was opened in Dorset in 1785 and a second at Middlebury in 1805; and the first granite was quarried in 1812. Barre is the centre of the granite business, and the region about Rutland, especially Proctor, is the principal seat of the marble industry. The product of stone manufactures in 1905 was $9,570,436. Vermont was almost the last of the New England states to develop textile manufactures, though the manufacture of woollen goods was begun in 1824. The greatest development was between 1900 and 1905; the total value of textiles in the former year was $5,407,217 (woollen goods, $2,572,646; hosiery and knit goods, $1,834,685; cotton goods, $999,886) and in the latter was $7,773,612 (woollen goods, $4,698,405; hosiery and knit goods, $1,988,685; and cotton goods, $1,086,522). Other important manufactures are: flour and grist mill products, foundry and machine-shop products, furniture, patent medicines and compounds, roofing materials, and scales and balances, manufactured especially at St Johnsbury.
Transportation and Commerce.—Railway transportation is supplied to Vermont by parallel lines crossing diagonally every part of the state at about equal intervals and running in general in a N.W. and S.E. direction, and by lines running N. and S. respectively along the eastern and western borders of the state. The railway map of the state thus has roughly the appearance of a gridiron. The principal railways are: the lines operated by the Boston & Maine system, extending along the eastern border from Brattleboro through Bellows Falls, and St Johnsbury to the Canada boundary (Vermont Valley, Sullivan County, and Connecticut & Passumpsic Rivers railways), with a line, the St Johnsbury & Lake Champlain railway, extending across the northern part of the state from Lunenburg to Maguam Bay; the Central Vermont railway (Grand Trunk system) which crosses the state diagonally from S.E. to N.W., connecting Burlington, Montpelier and St Albans and affording connexion to the north with Montreal and to the south over trackage shared with the Boston & Maine, with the New London Northern which is leased by this road, and the Rutland railway (New York Central system) extending along the western edge of the state and connecting Rutland with Burlington to the north and with Bellows Falls and Bennington to the south. These railways provide outlets for through freight and passenger traffic southward to Boston and New York, and to the north to St Johns and Montreal.
The southern part of the state was early opened to railways, the Sullivan County railway (operated by the Boston & Maine) having been opened in 1849; and in 1850 the state had 290 m. of railway; in 1870, 614 m.; in 1890, 991.42 m.; and on the 1st of January 1909, 1093.43 m. Water communication is afforded by Lake Champlain to the south, for seven months of the year, by way of the Champlain canal, via Whitehall, New York, to Troy and the Hudson river and the Atlantic coast, and to the north by way of the Richelieu river and the Chambly canal to the St Lawrence. The commerce of the lake consists principally of coal, wood pulp and building material, besides general merchandise. The only river with traffic of commercial importance is Otter Creek, flowing northwards into the southern part of Lake Champlain and having a navigable length of 8 m. to Vergennes, with a depth to this point of 8 ft. at low water. The commerce on Lake Champlain is carried on chiefly through Burlington, the port of entry for the Vermont customs district. The tonnage of the commerce of this port amounted, according to the reports of the United States army engineers, to 107,421 tons in 1904 and to 249,174 tons in 1908, of which in the latter year nearly 80% was lumber.
Population.—The population of Vermont in 1890 was 332,422; in 1900, 343,641; and in 1910, 355,956. Of the total population in 1900, 298,077 were native whites, 44,747 were foreign-born, 826 were negroes and 39 were Chinese. Of the inhabitants born in the United States, 19,974 were natives of New York, 9675 were natives of New Hampshire and 9111 were natives of Massachusetts. Of the foreign-born, 14,924 were French Canadians, 10,616 were English Canadians and 7453 were Irish. Of the total population, 117,344 were of foreign parentage (i.e. either one or both parents were foreign-born) and 27,226 were of French Canadian and 20,228 of Irish parentage, both on the father’s and on the mother’s side. Of 147,223 communicants of all churches in 1906, the largest number, 82,272, were Roman Catholics, 22,109 were Congregationalists, 17,471 Methodist Episcopalians, 8450 Baptists, 1501 Free Baptists and 5278 Protestant Episcopalians. The principal cities are Burlington, Rutland, Barre, Montpelier (the capital) and St Albans.
Administration.—Vermont has been governed under the constitution of 1777, that of 1786 and that of 1793, with twenty-eight amendments, of which the first was adopted in 1828, the second to thirteenth in 1836, the fourteenth to twenty-third in 1850, the twenty-fourth, twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth in 1870, and the twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth in 1883. The administrative officers of the state are a governor, a lieutenant-governor, a secretary of state, a state treasurer, and an auditor of accounts, elected by popular vote, and an inspector of finance, a commissioner of taxes, a superintendent of education, a fish and game commissioner, three railroad commissioners, and various boards and commissions, of whom some are elected by the General Assembly and some are appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. All elections and appointments are biennial. The governor has limited powers of appointment and pardon and a veto power which may be overridden by a majority vote in each house.
The legislative department consists of a senate of 30 members, apportioned among the counties according to population, but with the proviso that each county must have at least one senator, and a House of Representatives of 245 members, one from each township. Since 1870 elections and legislative sessions have been biennial. The powers of the two houses are equal except that revenue measures must originate in the House of Representatives.
The judiciary is composed of a supreme court of seven members, a court of chancery, a county court in each county, a probate court in each probate district, and justices of the peace. The judges of the supreme court are elected biennially by the General Assembly, and all the other judicial officers are elected by the people. Sessions of the supreme court are held in each county once a year in addition to the general session which meets at some central place selected by the judges. The court of chancery is held by the judges of the supreme court, the county by a supreme court judge with the aid of two associates elected by the people of the county.
For the administration of local affairs the state is divided into 14 counties and 245 townships. There is no special board of commissioners or supervisors as in most of the other states, the county authority being the assistant judges of the county court. The assistant judges, the sheriff and the state’s attorney are elected annually by popular vote. The county treasurer is elected by the assistant judges. The more important township officials are a moderator, a board of selectmen, a clerk, a treasurer and a superintendent of schools. Any community containing thirty or more houses may, with the approval of the selectmen of the town, receive a separate village organization. Their officials are a clerk, five trustees, a collector of taxes and a treasurer.
All citizens of the United States residing in Vermont are citizens of the state. The right of suffrage is confined by the constitution to adult male citizens who have resided in the state for one year. Women have the right to vote in all elections relating to schools and school officers in cities, towns and graded school districts, and also the right to be elected to any local school position or to the office of township clerk. The original method of revising the constitution was adopted from Pennsylvania (see History), and it was retained long after Pennsylvania had abandoned it. Thirteen censors chosen septennially were empowered to suggest amendments and to call a convention to pass upon them. The censors, being elected on a general ticket, were always more progressive than the convention, which was chosen on the principle of equal township representation. In spite of the repeated recommendations of the censors, the convention refused to abolish the collegiate executive and the unicameral legislative system until 1836. Propositions to establish the judiciary on a more permanent tenure were also voted down in 1814, 1822, 1857 and 1870, and the state still elects its judges for two years’ terms. On its own suggestion, the council of censors was abolished in 1870 and the present method of amending the constitution was adopted. Every tenth year, beginning in 1880, the Senate is authorized to propose amendments, which proposals, if concurred in by the majority of the members of the House of Representatives, are published in the principal newspapers of the state. If they are again approved by a majority of each house in the next General Assembly, they are submitted finally to a direct popular vote, a majority of the votes cast being decisive.
Miscellaneous Laws.—A married woman may hold her separate property, carry on business, sue and be sued the same as if she were single, except that in conveying or mortgaging her real estate she must be joined by her husband. A widow has a dower interest in one-third of her husband's real estate unless barred by a jointure or an agreement. A widower is in any case entitled by courtesy to one-third of his wife's real estate, and he may choose between his rights by courtesy and the provisions of his wife's will. Where there is no issue and the deceased dies intestate the surviving spouse is entitled to the whole estate, both real and personal, if it does not exceed $2000, and if it exceeds that sum the survivor is entitled to $2000 and one-half of the remainder; if there are no kindred, the whole of the estate goes to the surviving spouse. The causes for a divorce are adultery, sentence to confinement in the state prison for three years or more and actual confinement at the time of the suit, intolerable severity, wilful desertion for three consecutive years or absence for seven years without being heard from, or wanton and cruel refusal or neglect of the husband to provide a suitable maintenance for his wife. The plaintiff must have resided in the state for at least the year preceding the application, and if the cause accrued in some other state or country before the parties lived together in Vermont and while neither party lived there, the plaintiff must have been a resident at least for two years preceding the action. When a divorce is granted, the defendant is not permitted to marry other than the plaintiff for three years, unless the plaintiff dies. The homestead of a householder or head of a family to the value of $500 is, so long as it continues to be used as the homestead, exempt from levy or attachment other than upon causes existing at the time it was acquired and for taxes. If the owner is a married man, he cannot sell or mortgage it, except for the purchase money, unless his wife joins him in the execution.
Education.—The public-school system is under the supervision of a state superintendent of education, elected biennially by the General Assembly, and local schools are under union superintendents and in a few cases under town superintendents. The district system was displaced in 1893 by a township system. The revenues for educational purposes are derived mainly from a state tax of 8% on the general list, from local taxes, and from the interest on the permanent school fund, which (including the money paid to Vermont by the United States government when a portion of the treasury surplus was distributed among the states in 1837) amounted in 1908 to $1,120,218. The schools are open to all children between the ages of 5 and 20, and attendance for twenty-six weeks in each year is made compulsory for those who are between the ages of 8 and 15. The average number of weeks in the “legal schools” (about 95% of the public schools) was 32 weeks in 1907-1908. The chief institutions for higher instruction are the university of Vermont and State Agricultural College (1800, 1865), a land-grant college at Burlington, Middlebury College (1800) at Middlebury, Norwich University (1819) at Northfield, and the state normal schools at Randolph (1867), Johnson (1867) and Castleton (1868).
Charitable and Penal Institutions.—The charitable and penal institutions of the state are controlled by separate boards of directors, but all are subject to the general supervision of a board of visitors composed of the governor, lieutenant-governor and speaker of the House of Representatives, and a woman appointed by the governor. There are a state prison at Windsor (1808), a house of correction at Rutland (1878), an industrial school at Vergennes (1866), and hospitals for the insane at Brattleboro (1836) and Waterbury (1891). Biennial appropriations are made for the support of the deaf and dumb, the blind and imbecile children at various institutions in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Finance.—The chief sources of revenue for the state are a corporation tax, a collateral inheritance tax (1904) and a licence tax. There is no general property tax except a special levy of 8% on the general list for school purposes and 5% for the construction of roads. For the year ending on the 30th of June 1908 the total receipts were $1,822,390, the expenditures were $1,871,166. The state is practically free from debt, the only obligation of this character being $135,500 in 6% bonds, payable in 1910, which were issued in behalf of the Agricultural College. The banking institutions are supervised by an inspector of finance, who reports annually to the General Assembly. There were no banks in the state until 1806, when a state bank (controlled by the state) was established which was finally closed up in 1845, although as early as 1812 a law was passed to close it. The first private state bank was opened in 1817; an act of 1831 provided for a safety fund guaranteeing bank circulations and derived from a 41% tax on capital stock and a 10% tax on profits; but this law was modified in 1842, the tax being removed from banks giving specie guarantees; and a free banking act was passed in 1851. Owing to the high rate of taxation on deposits, a considerable part of the savings of the people is sent into other states.
History.—Samuel de Champlain, as governor of Quebec, entered what is now Vermont in July 1609 in an expedition against the Iroquois, and thus laid the basis for the French claim. In 1665 the French built a fort on Isle la Motte. The first English settlement was probably made at Chimney Point, in Addison township, in 1690 by a party from Albany. The first permanent white settlement was established by Massachusetts at Fort Dummer (near the present Dummer, in the south-eastern part of the present town of Brattleboro) in 1724. Similar outposts were located during the next few years at Sartwell's Fort and Bridgman's Fort in the township of Vernon (Windham county) and at Fort Hill in the township of Putney (N. of Brattleboro, in Windham county). The territory in which these settlements had been made was involved in the boundary dispute between Massachusetts and New Hampshire, which was settled in 1741 by a decision of the king in council favourable to New Hampshire (q.v.). The extension of the southern boundary line by this decision due westward until it met His Majesty's other governments gave rise, however, to a controversy with New York. New Hampshire claimed that her territory extended as far to the west as those of Massachusetts and Connecticut, whereas New York, under the charter of 1664, claimed eastward to the Connecticut river. New York protested against the Bennington grant in 1749, but the question did not become serious until the chief obstacle to settlement was removed by the conquest of Canada in 1760-61. From 1761 to 1763 Governor John Wentworth of New Hampshire issued 108 grants, and settlements were established in Brattleboro, Putney, Westminster, Halifax, Marlborough, Wilmington, New Fane, Rockingham, Townshend, Vernon (Hinsdale) and Dummerston (all in Windham county, except Vernon, which is in Cheshire county). A privy council decree recognizing the claims of New York was issued on the 20th of July 1764, and the settlers were soon afterwards ordered to surrender their patents and repurchase the land from the proper authorities at Albany. Under the leadership of Ethan Allen, Seth Warner and Remember Baker (1737-1775), they refused obedience and took up arms in defence of their rights. About the close of 1771 Colonel Allen organized a regular military force among the inhabitants of the district W. of the mountains, which came to be known as the Green Mountain Boys. The trouble was soon complicated by the conflict with the mother country. On the 13th of March 1775, a riot occurred at Westminster between the people of Cumberland county and the royal authorities, in which two of the people were killed. The Green Mountain Boys, with some help from Connecticut, captured Fort Ticonderoga on the 10th of May 1775, and took part in the Canadian expedition of 1775 under Montgomery and Schuyler. Within the state itself battles were fought at Hubbardton on the 7th of July and Bennington on the 16th of August 1777. The representatives of the towns assembled in convention at Dorset and Westminster in 1776 (Jan. 16-17, July 24-25, September 25-28, October 30), and on the 15th of January 1777 adopted a declaration of independence, assumed the name New Connecticut and appointed Dr Jonas Fay (1737-1818), Thomas Chittenden (1730-1797), Hemon Allen (1740-1788), Dr Reuben Jones and Jacob Bayley a committee to submit their proceedings to the Continental Congress. The chief adviser of the committee in Philadelphia was Dr Thomas Young, a prominent physician, who had helped to draft the Pennsylvania constitution of 1776. Young advised them to call their state Vermont, and he also sent through them a circular letter, dated the 11th of April 1777, urging the people to adopt a state constitution on the Pennsylvania model. The advice was followed. A convention met at Windsor (July 2-8, 1777), and drafted a document which contained almost all of the important provisions of the constitution of Pennsylvania, such as a unicameral legislature, a plural executive and a council of censors, which was not abolished until 1870. One important variation, however, was a clause in the bill of rights providing for the abolition of slavery, Vermont being the first state in America to take such action. The first legislature of the state met at Windsor in March 1778, and voted to admit sixteen towns east of the Connecticut river which were dissatisfied with the rule of New Hampshire. As a result, New York and New Hampshire formed a secret agreement to divide the state between themselves, the mountains to be the line of division. In this crisis the British government through General Sir Frederick Haldimand offered to recognize Vermont as a separate province and to give her very liberal terms provided she would desert the other states. Ethan Allen (q.v.) and some of the other leaders seemed inclined to accept these overtures, but for various reasons, the chief of which was the general success of the American cause, the scheme was soon abandoned. The difficulties with New Hampshire were adjusted in 1782, the west bank of the Connecticut being accepted as the final boundary, but New York refused to abandon her claims until 1790. In the meantime, Vermont continued as an independent state without any recognition from Congress until its admission into the Union on the 4th of March 1791. The legislature wandered about from town to town until 1808, when the capital was permanently located at Montpelier. In presidential campaigns the state has been Federalist, 1792–1800; Democratic-Republican, 1804–1820; Adams-Republican, 1824–1828; Anti-Masonic, 1832; Whig, 1836–1852; and Republican since 1856. During the War of 1812 Vermont troops took part in the battles of Chippewa, Lundy’s Lane, Lake Erie and Plattsburgh; but the only engagement in the state itself was the defence of Fort Cassin (at the mouth of Otter Creek in the N.W. corner of the present Addison county) in 1813. On the 19th of October 1864 a small band of Confederate soldiers under Lieutenant B.H. Young crossed the frontier from Canada and raided the town of St Albans. A few of the inhabitants were wounded and one was killed and about $200,000 was taken from the vaults of the local banks. St Albans was also the headquarters of an attempted Fenian invasion of Canada in 1870. Since 1815 a considerable proportion of the native stock has migrated to the W., but the loss has been partially offset by an influx of French Canadians. The wool-growing industry has been almost entirely destroyed by the competition of Australia and the West, and the people are now engaged mainly in dairy-farming, timbering, granite- and marble-quarrying, and in keeping summer boarders.
|Thomas Chittenden, Federalist||1790–1797|
|Paul Brigham, acting-governor, Federalist||1797|
|Isaac Tichenor, Federalist||1797–1807|
|Israel Smith, Democratic-Republican||1807–1808|
|Isaac Tichenor, Federalist||1808–1809|
|Jonas Galusha, Democratic-Republican||1809–1813|
|Martin Chittenden, Federalist||1813–1815|
|Jonas Galusha, Democratic-Republican||1815–1820|
|Richard Skinner, ”||1820–1823|
|Cornelius P. Van Ness, ”||1823–1826|
|Ezra Butler, Adams-Clay||1826–1828|
|Samuel C. Crafts, Adams-Clay||1828–1831|
|William A. Palmer, Anti-Masonic Fusion||1831–1835|
|Silas H. Jennison, acting-governor, Whig||1835–1836|
|Silas H. Jennison, Whig||1836–1841|
|Charles Paine, ”||1841–1843|
|John Mattocks, ”||1843–1844.|
|William Slade, ”||1844–1846|
|Horace Eaton, ”||1846–1848|
|Carlos Coolidge, ”||1848–1850|
|Charles K. Williams, ”||1850–1852|
|Erastus Fairbanks, ”||1852–1853|
|John S. Robinson, ”||1853–1854|
|Stephen Royce, Republican||1854–1856|
|Ryland Fletcher, ”||1856–1858|
|Hiland Hall, ”||1858–1860|
|Erastus Fairbanks, ”||1860–1861|
|Frederick Holbrook, ”||1861–1863|
|J. Gregory Smith, ”||1863–1865|
|Paul Dillingham, ”||1865–1867|
|John B. Page, ”||1867–1869|
|Peter T. Washburn, Republican||1869–1870|
|George W. Hendee, acting-governor, Republican||1870|
|John W. Stewart, Republican||1870–1872|
|Julius Convers, ”||1872–1874|
|Asahel Peck, ”||1874–1876|
|Horace Fairbanks, ”||1876–1878|
|Redfield Proctor, ”||1878–1880|
|Roswell Farnham, ”||1880–1882|
|John L. Barstow, ”||1882–1884|
|Samuel E. Pingree, Republican||1884–1886|
|Ebenezer J. Ormsbee, ”||1886–1888|
|William P. Dillingham, ”||1888–1890|
|Carroll S. Page, ”||1890–1892|
|Levi K. Fuller, ”||1892–1894|
|Urban A. Woodbury, ”||1894–1896|
|Josiah Grout, ”||1896–1898|
|Edward C. Smith, ”||1898–1900|
|William W. Stickney, ”||1900–1902|
|John G. McCullough, ”||1902–1904|
|Charles J. Bell, ”||1904–1906|
|Fletcher D. Proctor, ”||1906–1908|
|George H. Prouty, ”||1908–1910|
|John A. Mead, ”||1910–|
Bibliography.—For physical description and material on minerals see the Report on the Geology of Vermont: Descriptive, Theoretical, Economical and Scenographical (2 vols., Claremont, N.H., 1861); G. H. Perkins, Reports of the State Geologist, especially vols. iv., v., vi., new series (Concord, N.H., 1904, 1906, 1908); and “Underground Waters of Vermont” in Water Supply and Irrigation Paper No. 114 (Washington, 1905) of the U.S. Geological Survey; T. Nelson Dale, The Granites of Vermont (ibid., 1909), an abstract of which appears in the sixth volume of the state Report mentioned above; and Henry M. Seely, “The Geology of Vermont,” pp. 53-67, vol. 5 (1901) of The Vermonter.
For the government of the state see The Revised Laws of Vermont (Rutland, 1881); the Vermont Legislative Directory, published biennially at Montpelier; the biennial reports of the secretary of state, the auditor, the treasurer, the commissioner of state taxes, the superintendent of education, the supervisors of the insane, &c., and the annual reports of the inspector of finance. See also L. H. Meader, The Council of Censors (Providence, 1899); F. A. Wood, The History of Taxation in Vermont (New York, 1894), and G. G. Bush, History of Education in Vermont (Washington, 1900).
For a general bibliography of Vermont history see M. D. Gilman, Bibliography of Vermont (Burlington, 1897). The standard authorities for the period before 1791 are: Ira Allen, Natural and Political History of the State of Vermont (London, 1898); B. H. Hall, History of Eastern Vermont to the Close of the Eighteenth Century (2 vols., New York, 1858, 2nd ed., Albany, 1865); and Hiland Hall, History of Vermont from its Discovery to its Admission into the Union in 1791 (Albany, 1868). A more recent book, based almost entirely on these three, but containing a few sketchy supplementary chapters, is R. E. Robinson, Vermont (Boston, 1892) in the “American Commonwealths” Series. See also Records of the Council of Safety and Governor and Council of Vermont (8 vols., Montpelier, 1873–1880); Vermont Historical Society, Collections (2 vols., Montpelier, 1870–1871); Proceedings (1 vol., Montpelier, 1898); and Report of the Regents of the University of New York on the Boundaries of the State of New York (2 vols., Albany, 1874–1884).
- According to previous censuses, the population was as follows: (1790) 85,425; (1800) 154,465; (1810) 217,895; (1820) 235,981; (1830) 280,652; (1840) 291,948; (1850) 314,120; (1860) 315,098; (1870) 330,551; (1880) 332,286. The increase between 1850 and 1900 was remarkably small.
- Died in office on the 25th of August 1797; succeeded by the lieutenant-governor.
- As there was no governor elected by the people, Jennison as lieutenant-governor elect acted as governor.
- Died in office on the 7th of February 1870; succeeded by the lieutenant-governor.