History of How the County Lines in Vermont Have Been Moved*
Cumberland county was the first county established in the grants, being erected by the legislature of the province of New York, July 3, 1766
, comprising the territory now included within the limits of Windham and Windsor counties.
The lands now included in the area of Essex and Caledonia counties were on March 7, 1770
erected as the county of Gloucester. It was organized by the assembly of New York, March 16 of the same year, with Newbury for its shire, and contained all the territory in the north part of the state which has since been divided into Orange, Washington, Caledonia Orleans and Essex counties.
After Vermont became a state the first general assembly, in 1778
on the 17th of March, divided the state into Bennington and Cumberland counties, Bennington county on the west and Cumberland county on the east.
In October, 1780
, the county of Cumberland was divided into half shires, of Cumberland and Gloucester, and in 1781
, by act of legislature for the division of counties, Cumberland county, as a whole, was divided into Windham, Windsor and Orange counties. Orange county embraced all the northeast part of the state
as formerly embraced in Gloucester county, and more recently, as the shire of Gloucester. Newbury was the shire of the new Orange county. .
November 5, 1792
, Caledonia county was incorporated from Orange county
, containing all the territory north of the present bounds of Orange county; but this county was not fully organized until November 8, 1796, when Danville was made its shire. [Court Records, for what is now Caledonia County, prior to that date are to be found among those of the present
Orange County]. It received its name from "Caledonia," the ancient Roman name of Scotland out of courtesy to the numerous emigrants from that country who located here.
Orleans and Essex counties were incorporated from Caledonia, but were not fully organized until 1799, at which time Lunenburgh and Brunswick were established as half-shiretowns of Essex county. At the October session of the legislature in 1800, county officers were commissioned for the latter county, and in 1801 the shire town was changed to Guildhall, where it has remained. In 1811
, when the state was divided into eleven counties, [Barre, Berlin, Northfield, & Roxbury were taken from Orange**
] and four towns [Calais, Montpelier, Marshfield, & Plainfield] were taken from Caledonia towards forming Washington county
, to which Woodbury was annexed 1836
and Cabot in 1855
. In 1856
the [Caledonia] county seat was removed from Danville to St. Johnsbury, where new county buildings were erected — large, elegant structures.
Caledouia county is thus to-day bounded on the north by Orleans county, east by Essex county, southeast by the Connecticut river, which separates it from Grafton county, N. H., south by Orange county, and west by Washington and Lamoille counties.
* Gazetteer of Caledonia and Essex Counties, Vt 1764-1887
by Hamilton Child; Syracuse Journal Company, Syracuse, NY; 1887; pp.12-13.
** Gazetteer of Chittenden County, Vt
by Hamilton Child; Syracuse Journal Company, Syracuse, NY; 1892; p.37.