Westminster
Windham County
, Vermont

History and Genealogy

American Local History Network

 

Welcome to Westminster! Westminster is located in southern Vermont along, but high above, the Connecticut River. The Indians called this river the Great River and the earliest white settlers in Westminster probably knew it as such. This river provided a lifeline for the Indians before them and the white man who followed. The river was used for travel and first brought them to the village, for nourishment, for protection, and for escape from Indian attacks. Today, Westminster is a quiet and well-kept town, which consists of two parishes, the East and the West, which lies across the ridge. Westminster's history is rich and its people proud and strong.

The purpose of this site is to provide information to genealogical researchers and other interested persons on the town of Westminster. This will appear in a variety of forms ranging from other links, to history, to actual stories and to records. We plan to keep updating and adding new information on a regular basis. If you have anything, which you can add, we will be happy to hear from you.

 

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Old Father Time

Old Father Time shall reap the years
Dame Nature spun and knit, my dears
But now, this tale of ancient lore
Is left behind yon closing door.

---Bertha Miller Collins

 


 History

NEW HISTORY
Revolutionary Westminster, from Massacre to Statehood, by Jessie Haas
(Charleston SC: The History Press, 2011).
        Available from the Westminster Historical Society

Charters

The town of Westminster was first chartered by Massachusetts in 1735 and was as a result part of Massachusetts.  Then in Nov 1752, it was rechartered by the State of New Hampshire and became part of New Hampshire.  In 1763, the governors of New Hampshire and New York got into a dispute over the land and each claimed the land, which lay on the west side of the Connecticut River.  The King of England was called on to settle the dispute. His decision was declared on 20 Jul 1764 saying that, "the western bank of the River Connecticut, from where it enters the province of Massachusetts Bay, as far north as the 45th degree of northern latitude, to be the boundary line between the two provinces of New Hampshire and New York." So, now we find this land that we know as Vermont coming under the jurisdiction of  New York.  Then on 15 Jan 1777, a convention was held and Vermont was declared a free and independent state.


Revolution

At the time that the American Revolution broke out, Vermont was actually part of New York. Without getting into a lot of detail, this is what happened.  With the disgruntled state of the country just prior to the American Revolution, the state of New York voted to remain loyal to the King of England at all costs, and Vermont, which was then, a part of New York at first agreed.  Then the Continental Congress was held at Philadelphia to adopt measures against royal authority in the colonies; their real grievance being with the expenses and burdens imposed upon them (taxation).  The people in Vermont then voted to go along with the congress and were immediately in dispute with New York to which they belonged.  Of course, within the ranks of the people, there were differing opinions, from those who were staunch supporters of one side or the other, to those who through habit thought that they should keep their loyalty with the King.  Even families were split.  Those who remained loyal to the King and New York came to be called "Yorkers" and "Sufferers."   In Westminster, in Mar of 1775, this all came to a head and there occurred what has become known as the "Westminster massacre" which you will find described in some histories.  And, as we know, the war started soon after this.  When war actually broke out, people then did take sides in earnest and many that had at first declared their loyalty to the King switched their allegiance and fought for the colony. Those who remained loyal to the King were not looked upon kindly by their friends and neighbors and many of them had their land confiscated. 

 

Settlements

Westminster was first granted to petitioners from Taunton MA on 24 Nov 1735/36. It was then called Township No. 1 and sometimes New Taunton. For a listing of early proprietors, see Proprietors of Westminster

The History of the East Parish by Rev. F. J. Fairbanks, from The Double History of Westminster Vermont. Published in Vol. V of the Vermont Historical Gazetteer by Abby Maria Hemenway (Chicago: Press of Jameson & Morse, 1885).   Off page site.

The History of the West Parish by Rev. A. Stevens, from The Double History of Westminster Vermont. Published in Vol. V of the Vermont Historical Gazetteer by Abby Maria Hemenway (Chicago: Press of Jameson & Morse, 1885).  Off page site.


Early Petitions ~~ Large Files

Westmoreland NH: Petition for a Grant from New Hampshire, 1750
Westmoreland NH: Petition for Grant, 1752
Westmoreland NH: Complaint relative to Bounds of the Grant of 1752

Maps

Map of Westminster with Surrounding Townships -~ Large File

Miscellaneous

Vermont's first weekly newspaper was published from 1781-1783 in Westminster, Vermont. The Vermont Gazette, published by Alden, Spooner, & Green

The Westminster Massacre - Historic Marker

Land Grants That Became the Towns of Vermont


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Westminster People

First Families in Westminster (1800 and before)

ABBEY (ABBE), ALBEE, ALEXANDER, ANDROSS, AVERILL, BRADLEY, BRUSH, BURK, BURT, CARPENTER, CHAFFEE, CLARK, CONE, CRAWFORD, CROWELL, DAY, DICKINSON, DOUBLEDAY, EASTON, ELLIS, FISK, FULLER, GILSON, GOODELL, GOODRIDGE (GOODRICH), GORHAM, GOULD (GOOLD), GROUT, HALL, HALLET, HAMBLIN, HARLOW, HEATON, HITCHCOCK, HOLT, HOWES, HOLTON, IDE, KITTRIDGE, LANE, LOVEJOY, MAY, McNIEL, MORSE, NORTON, PAINE, PATERSON, PECK, PERRY, PETTY, PHIPPEN, PIERCE, RANNEY, RICHARDS, ROBINSON, SESSIONS, SPOONER, STODDARD, TUTHILL, WHITNEY WILCOX, WILLARD, WRIGHT

Family Pages & Links

AVERILL - Averill Family Genealogy

BANKS - Banks Family
BOLLES-HAMMOND - Book in possession of American Antiquarian Society 
BUXTON -Henry Hendrick Buxton

DARLING - Descendants of George Darling ... by Lisa Darling

DOUBLEDAY - Doubledays of Westminster & Northfield   
http://www.usgennet.org/usa/vt/town/westminster/doubleday.htm

EDDY - Joseph Eddy Genealogy by Ken Hinds 

FARWELL - William Farwell by Peter Hughes   
                               Unitarian Universalist Historical Society

GILSON - Relatives of Captain Michael Gilson of Westminster Vermont ... by Janet Helen (Rouse) Derbyshire

GOOD - John Good Family 

GOODELL - Robert Goodell of Salem, Massachusetts
GOOLD - Goold Family in America

GOULD - Gould Land Transactions

HARLOW - Harlow
Family - Ancient Landmarks of Plymouth Project

HINDS - Cynthia Hinds Genealogy by Kenneth Hinds

 

HITCHCOCK - Hitchcock Families of Westminster. Contributed by Henry Hitchcock

 

KITTREDGE - Kittredge Family Website by Faith Kittredge Dwyer

LOVELL - The Lovell Family ~~ Large File

MILLER - See Descendants of James Rogers, Father of the Rangers

PHIPPEN - Phippen Family Genealogy

RANNEY - Homepage of the Ranney Family Association

ROGERS - Descendants of James Rogers, Father of the Rangers

SPENCER - Ephraim Spencer Family

TRACY - The Tracy Family by Holly Klass  

TRACY - Nathan J. Tracy by Holly Klass  

TUTHILL - The Tuthill Family
TUTHILL - See Descendants of James Rogers, Father of the Rangers

TUTHILL - "My Patriot Ancestor Mehitabel Budd Tuthill, Patriot" by Arnold E. Fallon Jr.
http://www.commonpatriot.com/ancestor.html  


WHITNEY - Whitney Research Group
WILLARD - Willard Family Association

Other Family Links

Ancient Landmarks of Plymouth Project

Long Island Genealogy

People of Westminster

Rev. Mason H Abbey of Westminster - Contributed by David C. Young
David Allen
 

   
 

 

Frances Montresor Buchanan Allen

 

 

 

Descendants of John Atwater - Stephen Rowe Bradley
The History of Averill Stand

William Czar Bradley
Crean Brush

Henri Hendrick Buxton Biography

DICKINSON  

Alice Townsend Howard 
Robert Rand
Street Richards
Israel Sanderson

Margaret Schoolcraft, wife of Crean Brush & mother of Fanny Montresor

Patrick Wall
Capt. Benjamin Whitney

Family Genealogy Resources

Family Genealogies

Westminster Researchers

If you have information to share on any of these families or have a related website, please contact R. Duffalo

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Vital Records

Town Records

Records for the town of Westminster are kept by the Town Clerk.
Town Clerk, P.O. Box 147, Westminster VT 05158

The Vital Records of Westminster as found in the town records, church records, and other sources are currently being compiled for publication (date of release has not been determined). If you have any family records that would supplement this work, please contact R. Duffalo. Only information which is supported by town records (could be another town which refers to a birth or other event in Westminster), Bible records, or other documentable entries will be included.

Bible Records

Cemeteries

  • Old Cemeteries of Westminster, Windham Co., Vermont, compiled by Rachel V. Duffalo (2010), 139 double sided pages, index, maps.    NEW
    Available now from the Westminster Historical Society

Headstones and Epitaphs in Westminster, Vermont, edited by Alice C. Caggiano. A
Close Out Special available from the Westminster Historical Society.

Monuments & Headstones in the New Cemetery, East Parish, Westminster, Vt., as of November 10,1999, compiled by Charles Byron Wright. It is available from the Westminster Historical Society.

Old Westminster Cemetery Gravestone Images  

Gilson Cemetery Images

Westminster West Cemetery Images - See Photos below

Old Westminster's Graven Images America [link broken]

Interment.net  Cemetery Transciption Library

Bemis Hill Cemetery/North Cemetery - contributed by Henry Hitchcock


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Military

Westminster Soldiers in the American Revolution

Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services,
included in the foregoing (1840 Census)
of Westminster, Windham County, VT

Westminster Soldiers in the Civil War

Listing of Civil War soldiers credited to Westminster from the 1892 Revised Roster
of Vermont volunteers in the War of the Rebellion

Military Reference Books and Other Web Sites

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Vignettes

The book "Vignettes of Westminster Vermont" compiled by Rachel V. Duffalo and Bertha Miller Collins is a compilation of stories and anecdotes about residents of Westminster, Windham County, Vermont from the time of its early settlers.  This book has been photocopied, is spiral bound, and has 97 pages, including an index. 

 The chapter headings include, Women of Westminster, Friends and Neighbors, Trouble and Heartbreak, High Jinx, and Crime and Punishment among others.  One of the stories included is one of my all time favorites taken from the "History of the East Parish [Westminster]" by Rev. F. J. Fairbanks, published in the "Vermont Historical Gazetteer," edited by Abby Maria Hemenway (1885),  p. 579.

Guilty or Not Guilty?

John Gould ran the Gould Tavern (or Whig Tavern) on South Main Street in Westminster and was known as a great storyteller. Fairbanks (p. 579) gives us the following account of one such story:

There is a story of an incident that is said to have happened in those days which, perhaps, is worth telling here. A traveller who had stopped at his tavern over night, found in the morning as he was about to start, that he had been relieved of a part of his load. In the absence of any detective police it was agreed to adopt the following shrewd plan: A rooster was placed under a large brass kettle, and each one present was to pass round and touch his nose to the kettle, and when the guilty one touched the kettle the rooster would crow. When they had all passed around and examination was made of the noses, it was found that all but one had a black nose, and he was adjudged guilty of the theft.

This book is available from the Westminster Historical Society, Westminster, VT. The price is $20.00 plus $5.00 postage and handling. Proceeds from this book benefit the Historical Society and are helping to support the publication of the Vital Records of Westminster, which is currently being compiled.

Orders may be sent with your check or money order to:

Westminster Historical Society
P. O. Box 2
Westminster, VT 05158-0002


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Contacts and Look-ups

Look-ups

Westminster Researchers

If you have information at your disposal and are willing to do look-ups for people on Westminster or otherwise share your research, please submit your name, email address (or snail mail), and surnames and we will list them here.

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Resources

Westminster General Resources

Family Genealogy Resources

Historical Societies

Official Website of the Westminster Historical Society
http://www.westminstervthistory.org/                                 NEW

Westminster Historical Society

Vermont Historical Society
Brattleboro Historical Society

Libraries

Brooks Memorial Library, Brattleboro, VT
Butterfield Library, Wesminster, VT
Rockingham Public Library, Bellows Falls, VT

Other information

Old Medical Terminology
Old Time Occupations
Charts and Forms

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Web Links

Windham County, Vermont Queries [broken link]
The Vermont Genealogy Web Project (VTGenWeb)
The Vermont GenWeb Archives
The Vermont Data Mailing List
The Vermont-L Home Page
Brooks Memorial Library, Brattleboro, Vermont
Vermont Genealogy
Ancestors Resource Directory -Vermont
Virtual Vermont - Westminster

Walpole, New Hampshire
Ohio Migration Trails
Vermont Family History Research
Vermont - Local History and Genealogy

  Westminster Village Historic District  

Springfield Vermont Marriages  

Vermont Genealogy Resources Westminster Township

Cyndi's List of Vermont Resources

 Return to Top of Page Index

Census Links

1771 Census Westminster
1791 Census Westminster
Saxton's River - 1920 Census
1756 and 1791 New Boston, New Hampshire

1860 Census Westminster - Index  

1850 - 1880 Index of Persons listed as Black or Mulatto in Windham County
 

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Photographs

Rogues Gallery
Westminster Photos

Peter Good - Sheila Keller's website

Tracy Family Photos  - Holly Klass's website 

See Vermont as it was 200 Years Ago - A digital archive of historic & current photo pairs. 
Type in "Windham County" and/or the name of a village to do an image search. 

See also, Cemeteries

W A N T E D

Wanted - pictures of Westminster to include here.

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Wish List

If you have information on any of the following families, please see my Wish List

GILSON, KITTRIDGE, McNEILL, PAINE, PETTY, RICE, THAYER

WASHBURN, WILLARD, WILCOX, WOOD, WRIGHT

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Guest book

Please take the time to sign the guest book.
Be sure to include names you are searching that might be of help to others.

Previous guestbook entries: Guestbook 2000 Guestbook 2001 Guestbook 2002

 

History | People | Vital Records | Vignettes | Contacts | Resources | Web Links | Photographs

Wish List | Thought for the Week | Census Links | Top of Page | Quick Index

If you like this page, please let us know. Additions and suggestions are also welcome.

Email: rduffalo@comcast.net

Rachel Valliere Duffalo

 

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  Page Last Updated 08/22/2011