Official state portrait of Governor Thomas Chittenden
|1st Governor of Vermont|
October 1790 – August 25, 1797
|Preceded by||Himself as President of the Vermont Republic|
|Succeeded by||Paul Brigham|
|1st & 3rd President of the Vermont Republic|
1790 – March 4, 1791
|Preceded by||Moses Robinson|
|Succeeded by||Himself as Governor of the State of Vermont|
|Succeeded by||Moses Robinson|
|Member of the Vermont Colonial Assembly|
|Born||January 6, 1730|
East Guilford, Colony of Connecticut, British America
|Died||August 25, 1797 (aged 67)|
Williston, Vermont, U.S.
Thomas Chittenden (January 6, 1730 – August 25, 1797) was a major figure in the early history of Vermont, and was leader of the territory for nearly two decades. Chittenden was the first and third president of the state of Vermont, serving from 1778 to 1789, when Vermont was a largely unrecognized independent state, called the Vermont Republic, and again after a year out of office, from 1790 until his death. During his first term after his return to office, Vermont was admitted to the Union as the 14th state.
Chittenden was born in East Guilford in the Colony of Connecticut on January 6, 1730. He married Elizabeth Meigs on October 4, 1749, in Salisbury, Connecticut. The couple had four sons and six daughters while they were living in Connecticut. All the children survived to adulthood. He was a justice of the peace in Salisbury and a member of the Colonial Assembly from 1765 to 1769. He served in Connecticut's 14th Regiment from 1767 to 1773, rising to the rank of Colonel.
Chittenden moved to the New Hampshire Grants, now Vermont, in 1774, where he was the first settler in the town of Williston. In 1777, a convention was held in Windsor, which drafted Vermont's first constitution, establishing Vermont as an independent republic. During the American Revolution, Chittenden was a member of a committee empowered to negotiate with the Continental Congress to allow Vermont to join the Union. The Congress deferred the matter in order to not antagonize the states of New York and New Hampshire, which had competing claims against Vermont. During the period of the Vermont Republic, Chittenden served as governor from 1778 to 1789 and 1790 to 1791, and was one of the participants in a series of delicate negotiations with British authorities in Quebec over the possibility of establishing Vermont as a British province.
Chittenden died in Williston on August 25, 1797 and is interred at Thomas Chittenden Cemetery, Williston, Chittenden County, Vermont. Citing Vermont's tumultuous founding, his epitaph reads "Out of storm and manifold perils rose an enduring state, the home of freedom and unity."
Legacy and honors
An engraved portrait of Chittenden can be found just outside the entrance to the Executive Chamber, the ceremonial office of the governor, at the Vermont State House at Montpelier. A bronze sculpture of Chittenden can also be found on the grounds of the Vermont State House near the building's west entrance. In the 1990s a statue of him was erected in front of the Williston Central School. Chittenden County is named for him, as is the town of Chittenden in Rutland County.
- Frank Smallwood, Thomas Chittenden: Vermont's First Statesman, The New England Press : 1997, 304 pages, ISBN 1-881535-27-4
- Thomas Chittenden at Find a Grave
- Vermont Governor Thomas Chittenden – National Governors Association
| Governor of Vermont