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Then Again: Vermont’s first town meetings

Vermont’s settlers lived in a wilderness far from the colonial ... These early town meetings were usually held at private homes. But towns quickly moved to building their own meeting houses, which often also hosted religious services.

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The town would eventually expand, thanks to town meetingOne March, a group of men from the neighboring town of Newfane set off for their town meetingThese men lived in a section of town that was separated from the rest of Newfane by the West RiverTo reach the meeting house, they walked across the icy river, there being no convenient bridgeWhen they returned to the river after the meeting, they discovered to their chagrin that the ice had gone out, cutting them off from their homesTheir families spent a sleepless night worrying what could have happened to them.The incident proved so traumatizing that the Newfane residents on the “wrong” side of the West River vowed never to have it happen againThey decided to ask Brookline voters whether they would annex this sliver of NewfaneAt their next town meeting, Brookline voters agreedIt had proved easier to build new connections with neighbors than a bridge across a riverShare Tweet Share EmailRELATED STORIESThen Again: ‘There Shall Be No Pain’Then Again: What was this respected Vermont doctor hiding?Then Again: ‘Young men do draw the true love knot’Then Again: The deadly 1877 crash of the Montreal ExpressThen Again: Vermont’s Statehouse rose from ashes If you read us, please support us.Filed under:People & PlacesTags: Town Meeting Day, Vermont history Report an Error Upload a DocumentTip Drop About MarkMark Bushnell is a Vermont journalist and historianHe is the author of Hidden History of Vermont and It Happened in Vermont.Email: [email protected]Latest stories by MarkThen Again: Vermont’s first town meetingsThen Again: ‘There Shall Be No Pain’Then Again: What was this respected Vermont doctor hiding?View all stories by Mark BushnellRecent StoriesEnvironment

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