Welcome to Milton, Vermont!
Milton was Chartered June 8, 1763, and functions under a Selectboard - Town Manager form of government. The Town has several hundred acres of natural areas and mapped trails open to the public. The Milton Municipal Building and campus are surrounded by many acres of recreational space and parks.
Milton is located in Chittenden County, approximately 14 miles north of Burlington, the State’s largest city. Milton is the 8th largest community in Vermont, with a population of just under 12,000 residents. Milton covers approximately 38,336 acres or 60.9 square miles, of which the Town owns approximately 1000 acres.
Milton is a vibrant, diverse, growing Vermont community with modern municipal, police, fire, rescue, and recreational buildings. A school system that serves more than 1600 students daily. A well-maintained water distribution system, a modern wastewater facility with ample capacity for growth, easy access to power, high-speed internet, natural gas, and the highway. Milton is also home to a UVM Family Practice and many churches, civic organizations, and social organizations. However, much of our beautiful scenery and architecture remains underutilized.
Milton is investing nearly 10 million federal, State, and local dollars over the next several years to improve aesthetics and give the Town a center. We are working hard to boost commercial growth, develop restaurants/retail space and expand our pedestrian network. This effort is essential to moving Milton forward.
Milton is open for business and is an excellent place to live, work and raise a family.
Milton in the Beginning
The Town of Milton was chartered on June 8, 1763, by Governor Benning Wentworth of New Hampshire. It was comprised of 23,040 acres and was made to 62 grantees. As far as can be determined, the Town was not settled until the end of the Revolutionary War, although settlements were encouraged to increase the value of the land. Any records which may have existed of proceedings of proprietors previous to the war have been lost in the Flood of 1927
Milton was first settled by William Irish, Leonard Owen, Amos Mansfield, Absalom Taylor, and Thomas Dewey in February, 1782.
The first meeting of which a record has been kept was held in Middletown on August 2, 1786. At that meeting, a moderator and a clerk were chosen. On August 5, it was voted to let out the first division of lots. A tax of one pound and ten shillings was to be paid by each proprietor to defray expenses.
On June 25, 1788, in Manchester, New Hampshire, a meeting was held to allot and survey the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th divisions of the undivided land. The first division was previously let out on August 5, 1786.
By 1795, about 300 settlers lived in Milton, making it challenging to hold Town or religious meetings in private homes. However, meetings were held in private homes until 1806, when the voters met at the Town House at Checkerberry Green. The Town House was built in 1849 and destroyed by fire in 1878.
West Milton, on the Lamoille River, was the first part of Town to be settled. Timber was abundant in the area, notably old growth white pine, which the English desired for their Navy. The Lamoille River was high enough to permit schooners as far up as West Milton in the spring. Lumber, pulpwood, and cordwood could be loaded on these schooners and floated to Montreal and foreign markets. Early settlers derived most of their income from forest products.
As the Town continued to grow, the seven waterfalls within the Town provided a valuable power source for sawmills, gristmills, and various other manufacturing industries. The first settlers found little open land suitable for raising cash crops, so the land had to be laboriously cleared by the primitive methods of the day, mainly by manual labor, aided perhaps by a faithful ox or horse.
A vital cash crop was potash obtained from the ashes of burned hardwood logs. At this time, there was a tremendous demand for potash salts in Europe, and this product became one of the few sources of ready cash for the struggling Vermont residents. Potash sold for $4 to $5 per hundredweights. Thus ashes were the first money crops for the early settlers.
Around 1840, farmers turned to dairying in earnest. At first, the milk was converted into butter and cheese on the farm, where it was produced. Later it was sold to creameries who turned the raw milk into dairy products. By the early to mid-1900's most of the milk was shipped to Boston or New York, where it was sold as fluid milk.
By 1935, most of the available land in Milton was used for farming. As new farming methods were introduced, the number of cows increased, hogs, sheep, and wheat and grain production declined, reflecting the farmer's dependence on the dairy industry.
The Milton Cooperative Dairy Corporation was organized in 1919 by farmers of Milton and the vicinity. The headquarters and main plant were located in Milton. In 1963 the plant employed 40 people. The creamery was closed in 1974. Since then, the dairy industry in Milton has suffered a gradual decline. There are now only about 7 or 8 operating dairy farms left in Town.
- Compiled by Stanley Henry, Former Secretary of the Milton Historical Society