Dorset, Vermont

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Dorset, Vermont
Dorset, Vermont
Dorset, Vermont
Coordinates: 43°16′N 73°4′W / 43.267°N 73.067°W / 43.267; -73.067Coordinates: 43°16′N 73°4′W / 43.267°N 73.067°W / 43.267; -73.067
Country United States
State Vermont
County Bennington
 • Total 47.9 sq mi (123.9 km2)
 • Land 47.8 sq mi (123.8 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 1,302 ft (397 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 2,036
 • Density 42.6/sq mi (16.4/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 05251 and 05253
Area code 802
FIPS code 50-17725[1]
GNIS feature ID 1462082[2]

Dorset is a town in Bennington County, Vermont, United States. The population was 2,036 at the 2000 census. Dorset is famous for being the location of Cephas Kent's Inn, where four meetings of the Convention that signed the Dorset Accords led to the independent Vermont Republic, and future statehood. Dorset is home to America's oldest marble quarry and is the birthplace of Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill W. East Dorset is the setting of the Bill Wilson House and the Griffith Library.

The East Dorset marble quarry had been established by Bill W's great grandfather and stayed in the family for 3 generations. Marble from these quarries provided stone for the New York Public Library Main Branch building in New York City.[3]


Through a series of treaties, native tribes had surrendered title to large areas of land. Subsequently the Provincial Governor of New Hampshire had provided land grants west of the Connecticut River in land that was also claimed by the Province of New York. Strife was created by the Province of New York attempting to enforce its legitimate claim to government on settlers who had in good faith purchased land titles from New Hampshire. The King upon the advice of the Privy Council decreed a settlement that was not followed by the Governor and Legislature of New York.

Sandwiched between New York and New Hampshire, the area was constantly in dispute and claimed by both. New York claimed it was included in its 1664 grant from Charles II, but had made no effort to settle it. New Hampshire, desiring to expand its frontier to the west, simply expropriated the land and proceeded to grant 131 charters in the territory, which then became known as the New Hampshire Grants. New York retaliated by declaring the Grants null and void and telling the settlers they would have to repurchase the land from New York (at a much higher price) if they wished to stay. The New Hampshire Grantees countered by organizing the "Green Mountain Boys," an informal alliance of civilian soldiers who successfully prevented the settlers from being evicted.

To protect their investments in the land and improvements, and the health and security of their families, farms and towns, the people of the district of New York commonly called the New Hampshire Grants formed Committees of Safety to coordinate protection of their society. These Committees predated those of the 13 colonies formed to protect themselves from the crown by eight years, yet had precedents in similar organizations during the French and Indian War.

Born in Connecticut, Cephas Kent moved himself and his family to Dorset in 1773, in a district commonly known as the New Hampshire Grants. He was a deacon in a local church. He owned and operated a small tavern, destined to play a part in Vermont's history. By 1775, the land control controversy had reached the point that the Grantees decided to take official action, and they held a general convention in Cephas Kent's tavern. Matters discussed at that meeting were not limited to their internal affairs but also included the general cause of American independence. The Continental Congress had voted to pay the Green Mountain Boys for their services and had asked that a regiment be formed in the New Hampshire Grants. The Grantees wanted to join in the general rebellion but not as a part of New Hampshire and certainly not as a part of New York. So they petitioned the Continental Congress to intervene in their behalf against New York and permit the Grantees to serve independently in the war of rebellion.

The Grantees met three more times during the course of the next year, always in Cephas Kent's tavern, and on 25 June 1776 voted "that application be made to the inhabitants of said Grants to form the same into a separate district." Later that day the convention bound itself "to defend by arms the United American States against the hostile attempts of the British fleet and armies until the present unhappy controversy between the two countries shall be settled." This was the first official step toward Vermont's independence.

Thus, the future state of Vermont was underway. The town of Windsor claims to be the birthplace of Vermont, and, indeed, it was there, on 2 July 1777, that the constitution was adopted and the name chosen. But it was in Dorset at Cephas Kent's tavern that the idea of Vermont was born; and, as Zephine Humphrey put it, "The idea is the dynamic reality and the fact its shadow." In 1790 New York finally relinquished her claims, and on 18 Feb 1791, Congress admitted Vermont as the fourteenth state. In 1912 the Vermont Society of Colonial Dames erected an historical marker at the site of the Cephas Kent Inn in Dorset.

The agreements made at Cephas Kent's tavern are commonly known as The Dorset Accords.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 47.8 square miles (123.9 km2), of which 47.8 square miles (123.9 km2) is land and 0.04 square mile (0.1 km2) (0.08%) is water.

Within the town is located Mount Aeolus.[4]


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 2,036 people, 856 households, and 600 families residing in the town. The population density was 42.6 people per square mile (16.4/km2). There were 1,246 housing units at an average density of 26.1 per square mile (10.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 98.97% White, 0.44% African American, 0.05% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.10% from other races, and 0.29% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.39% of the population.

There were 856 households out of which 27.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.8% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.8% were non-families. 24.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.82.

In the town the age distribution of the population shows 21.9% under the age of 18, 5.0% from 18 to 24, 23.0% from 25 to 44, 30.6% from 45 to 64, and 19.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 98.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.1 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $54,219, and the median income for a family was $62,969. Males had a median income of $40,027 versus $28,167 for females. The per capita income for the town was $32,956. About 3.0% of families and 5.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.3% of those under age 18 and 2.5% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people[edit]


This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Dorset has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.[6]


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