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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.

Although there were many New Hampshire towns in those counties, they were considered to be part of New York, politically.

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

Today, Vermont is divided into 14 counties. States bordering Vermont are MassachusettsNew HampshireNew York and Canada.

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.”

Essex, Orleans, and Caledonia Counties are commonly referred to as the Northeast Kingdom.

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

County Population Facts

Vermont City / Town Facts

Vermont’s 10  largest cities and towns (2010) are:

  1. City of Burlington (41,609) is in Chittenden County
  2. City of South Burlington (19,472) is in Chittenden County
  3. City of Rutland (15,136) is in Rutland County
  4. Essex Junction (11,294) is in Chittenden County
  5. Barre (8,587) is in Washington County
  6. Montpelier (7,352) is in Washington County
  7. Winooski (6,921) is in Chittenden County
  8. St. Albans (6,651) is in Franklin County
  9. Newport (4,103) is in Orleans County
  10. 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

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.

On January 15, 1777, Albany County was abolished from Vermont when Vermont declared its independence from New York.

Charlotte County, New York Colony

Created as a New York county on March 12, 1772 from Albany County. Charlotte County was located in parts of New York and present day Vermont.

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 CountyCumberland 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 CountyCumberland 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.

On February 16, 1781, Cumberland County was was abolished and divided into Windham, Windsor, and Orange counties.

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.

East Union included Cheshire County and Grafton County in New Hampshire.

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 CountyGloucester 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 December 1, 1811, Jefferson County was fully organized, and detached from Caledonia, Chittenden, and Orange counties.

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 countiesUnity County was renamed Cumberland County on March 21, 1778.