[vintage pics and story] Did you know that Vermont has the 1st written constitution abolishing slavery

The picturesque state of Vermont, land of maple syrup and beautiful fall foliage can also claim to have the first written constitution in North America to provide for the the abolition of slavery, suffrage for men who did not own land, and public schools.

Elijah West’s tavern, scene of the adoption of this unique constitution in 1777, still stands and is now called the Old Constitution House.

The four photographs below are of the Old Constitution House, 15 North Main Street, Windsor, Windsor County, Vermont taken ca. 1930 from the Library of CongressThe Old Constitution House, 15 North Main Street, Windsor, Windsor County, VT ca. 1930 from Library of Congress

The Old Constitution House, 15 North Main Street, Windsor, Windsor County, VT ca. 1930 from Library of Congress2

The Old Constitution House, 15 North Main Street, Windsor, Windsor County, VT ca. 1930 from Library of Congress3

The Old Constitution House, 15 North Main Street, Windsor, Windsor County, VT ca. 1930 from Library of Congress4

Only New England state not bordering the Atlantic Ocean

Vermont is the 14th state of the United States. Vermont is the 6th smallest in area and the 2nd least populous of the 50 United States. It is the only New England state not bordering the Atlantic Ocean.

Although settled early by Europeans, the Colonies of New York and New Hampshire both claimed the land which makes up present day Vermont during much of the 18th century.

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Green Mountain Boys protected interests of New Hampshire

Settlers who held land titles granted by these colonies were opposed by the Green Mountain Boys militia.

Ethan Allan

Ethan Allen

In 1770, Ethan Allen—along with his brothers Ira and Levi, as well as Seth Warner—recruited an informal militia, the Green Mountain Boys, to protect the interests of the original New Hampshire settlers against the new migrants from New York.

Green Mountain Boys

Green mountain men

A significant standoff occurred at the Breakenridge farm in Bennington, when a sheriff from Albany arrived with a posse of 750 men to dispossess Breakenridge. The residents raised a body of about 300 armed men to resist. The Albany sheriff demanded Breakenridge, and was informed, “If you attempt it, you are a dead man.” The sheriff returned to Albany.

The Westminster Massacre

When a New York judge arrived in Westminster with New York settlers in March 1775, violence broke out as angry citizens took over the courthouse and called a sheriff’s posse. This resulted in the deaths of Daniel Houghton and William French in the “Westminster Massacre”

In the summer of 1776, the first general convention of freemen of the New Hampshire Grants met in Dorset, Vermont, resolving “to take suitable measures to declare the New Hampshire Grants a free and independent district.

New Connecticut – an independent republic – changed to Vermont

On January 15, 1777, representatives of the New Hampshire Grants convened in Westminster and declared their land an independent republic. For the first six months of the republic’s existence, the state was called New Connecticut.New Hampshire grants

On June 2, the second convention of 72 delegates met at Westminster, known as the “Westminster Convention”.

Westminster, Windham County, VermontWestminster, Windham County, Vermont

At this meeting, the delegates adopted the name “Vermont” on the suggestion of Dr. Thomas Young of Philadelphia, a supporter of the delegates who wrote a letter advising them on how to achieve statehood. The delegates set the time for a meeting one month later.

Constitution drafted on July 4th while thunderstorm took place

On July 4, the Constitution of Vermont was drafted during a violent thunderstorm at the Windsor Tavern owned by Elijah West. It was adopted by the delegates on July 8 after four days of debate. This was the first written constitution in North America to provide for the abolition of slavery, suffrage for men who did not own land, and public schools.

The republic lasted for fourteen years. Aside from the Thirteen Colonies, Vermont is one of only four U.S. states (along with Texas, Hawaii, and California) to have been a sovereign state in its past. In 1791, Vermont joined the United States as the 14th state, the first in addition to the original 13 Colonies. Vermont was the first state to partially abolish slavery while still independent.

On the eastern side of the mountains, Elijah West’s tavern, scene of the adoption of Vermont’s constitution in 1777, continued as a tavern until 1848 and is now administered as a state historic site.

Constitution HouseConstitution House VT JT Lynch photo

 

SOURCES

  1.  Vermont history. org
  2. Wikipedia

Check out these books by Donna R. Causey

 

See best-selling books by Donna R Causey

Faith and Courage: 2nd edition -A Novel of Colonial America Inspired by real people and actual events, the family saga of colonial America continues with Ambrose Dixon’s family and their life during Pre-Revolutionary War days of America, intertwined with a love story.

 

VINEGAR OF THE FOUR THIEVES: Recipes & curious tips from the past


By (author): Donna R Causey

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me

All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

She has authored numerous genealogy books.
RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE)
is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2)
is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series)
Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1)
is the continuation of the story. .

For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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