Williamstown was chartered on August 9, 1781 and was named for Williamstown, Massachusetts. The earliest settlers built the first dwellings in 1784 on West Hill.
Among these early migrants was Elijah Paine who served as Williamstown’s first moderator and Representative to the General Assembly, eventually becoming a Vermont Supreme Court Justice, a U.S. Senator from Vermont and a Judge of the U.S. District Court.
Notable citizen and prolific inventor, Thomas Davenport, was born in Williamstown in 1802 and trained as a blacksmith’s apprentice before moving to Brandon. It was there he developed the world’s first electric motor which he patented in 1837.
Williamstown is known for its scenic Gulf that once was the site of medicinal springs that drew travelers from many states to “take the waters”. This natural area, unsettled and unspoiled, now offers a peaceful home to native flora and fauna and presents wonderful opportunities for naturalists, birders and photographers.
The Williamstown Historical Society museum is located directly on Williamstown’s “Main Street” (Route 14) and next door to the town offices. On the north side of the museum is the town’s Civil War Monument and an open space that, until recently, was the town’s United Federated Church building. The church building suffered a devastating fire in the spring of 2021 and was totally destroyed.
To contact the Society:
Williamstown Historical Society
P.O. Box 338
Williamstown, VT 05679
The Williamstown Historical Society is the only organization devoted to preserving the history of the entire Williamstown community. We have a museum, of many pictures and artifacts pertaining to Williamstown’s past, which is open primarily by appointment, May through October, by calling Rama Schneider at 802-433-5441.
The Historical Society relies on your support. Our activities include:
• Cataloging and archival preservation of items historically significant to Williamstown
• Public programs on historical topics
• Assistance to researchers
• Consultation to teachers, town groups and other historical societies
Become a member! Annual Membership categories include:
• Individual: $10
• Couple: $15
• Family: $20
• Friend: $35
• Patron: $50
• Benefactor: $100 or more
Payments of dues entitles you to participate in the direction of the historical society’s future. Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month, May through October.
Copies of Williamstown My Own, 2012 Edition, which is an updated version of “A History of Williamstown, Vermont: 1781-1991”, is available for $45 which includes shipping within the United States.