Organized 1761
Local History and Genealogy



Excerpts from "History of Halifax," by Rev. H. Eastman:

Halifax is a small town lying 25 miles east of Bennington and 9 miles southwest from Brattleboro. The town was chartered May 11, 1750, by Benning Wentworth to Oliver Partridge and 63 others. Abner Rice was the town's first settler, coming from Worcester County, Massachusetts around the year 1761. By the early part of 1766, there were four families in town: Mr. Rice in the eastern part; Capt. John Pannel and a Mr. Gaught in the southwest part, that came to be called Pannel Hill; and a Mr. Pratt. Twelve years later, in 1778, the town recorded the names of 140 freemen. Pannel Hill was settled by people who came from Colrain, Massachusetts. They were soon joined by families from Connecticut and Princeton, Mass.

The southeast part of the town was also settled by many families from Colrain, along with the Taggetts and other families who came from Londonderry, NH. The northeast part of town was mostly settled by people from Rhode Island, among whom were the Wilcox and Thomas families. The center of town was settled mostly by people from Massachusetts. The Baptist Church was organized in 1793, with it's first settled minister being Abner Bemis, in 1796. He was followed by Mr. Samuel Fish, who was born in Halifax October 13, 1788.

The geographical center of the town in the early days was originally north of what was later the center. It was here that a meetinghouse was built, a town common and an adjoining cemetery, which was then deeded, to the Congregational Society, this cemetery being the second in town. The Congregational church in Halifax was organized July 24, 1778 with Rev. David Goodall as pastor. The first cemetery was on Pannel Hill. There was a third early cemetery near the business center of the town. Deacon Conant's daughter was the first person buried in this one, the second person being Cornish Stacy. The first person to die in town was Samuel Gaught, a lad three years old, a brother of the widow Crozier. He was buried in Colrain.

Among the early settlers were five families with the name "Hall". Another well-known person in the early days of the town was Jedediah Stark, a lawyer, who removed from Litchfield County, Connecticut to Halifax in 1792. Other noted people were: high sheriff, Chipman Swain; high sheriff and representative, Stephen Niles; and senator and representative, Sanford Plumb.

During the Civil War, Halifax furnished 109 men. Three were lost in battle and sixteen others died in service. See Vermont Civil War Site.

The town had a devastating tornado in August 1788, leaving a path of destruction through the town, nearly two miles in width.

Halifax today remains a very small town. It is not on one of the main roads in Southern, Vermont and therefore often remains a challenge to those trying to find it for genealogical purposes. It however, has provided Vermont through the years, with a wealth of intelligent and adventurous people.

Vital Records

o        Halifax Town Clerk
Laura Sumner
P.O Box 45
Halifax VT 05358

The Town Clerk holds all Vital Records for town and all Deed Books

o        "Halifax Vital Records, etc." Copy in Brooks Memorial Library, Brattleboro, VT. Many of the town vital records and cemetery records can be seen in this paper back notebook.


o        "Halifax Vital Records, etc." Copy in Brooks Memorial Library, Brattleboro, VT. Many of the town vital records and cemetery records can be seen in this paper back notebook.

o        Clark Family Cemetery

o        Center Cemetery

o        Pennel Hill Cemetery


o        Halifax in the Civil War

Census Records

o        Windham County Census Sources


o        Wilcox Family

Biographies & Famous Sons

Elisha Graves Otis, Inventor
Born August 3, 1811 Halifax - Died
April 8, 1861

Improved the hoisting apparatus for the modern passenger elevator --- He invented a safety device which prevented the car from falling if the cables broke.

Elisha Graves Otis Website1 | Elisha Graves Otis Website2



Historical Societies & Libraries

Local Websites

o        Virtual Vermont - Halifax


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Page Last Updated Thursday, June 08, 2000


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