History and Facts of Vermont Counties
Today’s Vermont counties did not always exist in the present form. They went through many different changes in the space of a few short years.
Vermont Counties in New York
There were only four Vermont counties from 1772 to 1777, Cumberland, Charlotte, Albany and Gloucester counties.
Vermont Republic Counties
On January 15, 1777, Vermont declared its independence from New York. Although not recognized as a separate state by the Continental Congress, Vermont was included in American territory by the 1783 Treaty of Paris and functioned as an independent republic until statehood in 1791.
On March 17, 1778, the first two Vermont counties were establish; Bennington County on the western side of the state and Unity County (3 days later renamed Cumberland) on the eastern side.
In 1781, Cumberland County was divided into three counties in Vermont plus created another county named Washington (not the same as the modern Washington County) that eventually became part of New Hampshire.
The State of Vermont entered the union as the 14th state on March 4, 1791 with 7 counties.
Vermont Counties Today
Vermont Counties don’t have much meaning politically.
These Vermont counties together contain 237 towns, 9 cities, 5 unincorporated areas, and 4 gores. Each county has a county seat, often referred to as a “shire town.”
Fun Facts about Vermont Counties
Counties by Year
- Bennington and Unity Counties was the original 2 counties created on March 17, 1778.
- Lamoille County was the last county created on October 26, 1835.
County Size Facts
- Windsor County (971 sq mi) is the largest county in Vermont.
- Grand Isle County (83 sq mi) is the smallest county in Vermont.
County Population Facts
- Essex County (6,163) is the least populated county in Vermont.
- Chittenden County (161,382) is the most populated county in Vermont.
Vermont City / Town Facts
Vermont’s 10 largest cities and towns (2010) are:
- City of Burlington (41,609) is in Chittenden County
- City of South Burlington (19,472) is in Chittenden County
- City of Rutland (15,136) is in Rutland County
- Essex Junction (11,294) is in Chittenden County
- Barre (8,587) is in Washington County
- Montpelier (7,352) is in Washington County
- Winooski (6,921) is in Chittenden County
- St. Albans (6,651) is in Franklin County
- Newport (4,103) is in Orleans County
- Bellows Falls (2,983) is in Windham County
Boundary Changes of Vermont Counties from 1764 to 1895
This Interactive Map of Vermont Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from the creation of Vermont from 1764-1895.
List of Vermont Counties
|County||Created||Created From||Named For||County Seat||Notes|
|Addison County||18 Oct 1785||Rutland and Orange Counties||In honor of Joseph Addison (1672–1719), an English politician and writer||Middlebury|
|Bennington County||11 Feb 1779||One of the original two counties||In honor of Benning Wentworth (1696–1770), the colonial governor of New Hampshire (1741–1766||Bennington|
|Caledonia County||05 Nov 1792||Orange County||Latin name for Scotland||St. Johnsbury|
|Chittenden County||22 Oct 1787||Addison County||In honor of Thomas Chittenden (1730–1797), the first governor of Vermont (1791–1797)||Burlington|
|Essex County||05 Nov 1792||Orange County||Essex, a county in England||Guildhall|
|Franklin County||05 Nov 1792||Chittenden County||In honor of Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), one of the most critical Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat||St. Albans|
|Grand Isle County||09 Nov 1802||Chittenden and Franklin Counties||The largest island in Lake Champlain||North Hero|
|Lamoille County||26 Oct 1835||Chittenden, Franklin, Orleans, and Washington Counties||French word "lamoille", meaning "the seagull", named by French explorer Samuel de Champlain (1570–1635)||Hyde Park|
|Orange County||22 Feb 1781||Cumberland County||In honor of William of Orange (1650–1702), Prince of Orange. As King of Scotland, he is known as William II.||Chelsea|
|Orleans County||05 Nov 1792||Chittenden and Orange Counties||City of Orléans, France||Newport|
|Rutland County||22 Feb 1781||Bennington County||Rutland, Massachusetts||Rutland|
|Washington County||22 Feb 1781||Orange, Caledonia, and Chittenden Counties||In honor of George Washington (1732–1799); commander of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, a Founding Father, and the first President of the United States (1789–1797)||Montpelier|
|Windham County||01 Nov 1810||One of the original two counties||The town of Windham, Connecticut||Newfane|
|Windsor County||22 Feb 1781||Cumberland County||The town of Windsor, Connecticut||Woodstock|
List of Old Former / Extinct Vermont Counties
Vermont contains some counties that no longer exist because they were discontinued, renamed or merged with another county. These are important for genealogy research purposes.
The below Vermont counties no longer exist:
Albany County, New York Colony
Created as a New York county on November 1, 1683 from unorganized lands. Northern limits were not specified but were understood to cover present Vermont.
On July 20, 1764, Albany County gained all of present Vermont when King George III established the boundary between New Hampshire and New York along the west bank of the Connecticut River, north of Massachusetts and south of the parallel of 45 degrees north latitude.
Charlotte County, New York Colony
On January 15, 1777, Charlotte County was abolished from Vermont when Vermont declared its independence from New York.
Cumberland County, New York Colony
Created as a New York county on July 3, 1766 from Albany County. Cumberland County was located entirely within present day Vermont.
On June 26, 1767, Cumberland County was abolished when the act creating it was annulled.
Created again as a New York county on March 19, 1768 from Albany County. Cumberland County had slightly different boundaries from those Cumberland had originally in 1766.
On January 15, 1777, Cumberland County was abolished from Vermont when Vermont declared its independence from New York.
Cumberland County, Vermont Republic
Created on March 21, 1778 when Unity County was renamed. Land that had been in Cumberland and Gloucester counties, N.Y., fell under Cumberland County, Vermont, jurisdiction.
East Union, Vermont Republic
Created on April 11, 1781 when Vermont made a second attempt to annex part of New Hampshire (aka East Union), the first attempt was made in 1778, but did not involve counties. New Hampshire never lost control of the area.
On February 23, 1782, Vermont’s overlap of New Hampshire ended when Vermont gave up its attempt to annex East Union.
Gloucester County, New York Colony
Created as a New York county on March 16, 1770 from Albany County. Gloucester County was located entirely within present day Vermont.
On January 15, 1777, Gloucester County was abolished from Vermont when Vermont declared its independence from New York.
Jefferson County, Vermont
Created on November 1, 1810 from Caledonia, Chittenden, and Orange counties. Jefferson County not fully organized, and parts attached to Caledonia, Chittenden, and Orange counties for administrative and judicial purposes.
On November 8, 1814, Jefferson County was renamed Washington County.
Washington County, (Old) Vermont Republic
Created on April 11, 1781 when Vermont attempted to annex part of New Hampshire (aka East Union). Washington County (old) was located entirely in New Hampshire and overlapped part of Cheshire County. New Hampshire never lost control of the area.
On February 23, 1782, Washington County was abolished when Vermont gave up its attempt to annex part of New Hampshire aka East Union.
Unity County, Vermont Republic
Created on March 17, 1778 as one of the two original Vermont counties . Unity County was renamed Cumberland County on March 21, 1778.
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