Clarendon, Vermont, may be a small town located in Rutland County, but it has a rich history that is deeply intertwined with the events that shaped the United States as a nation. From the American Revolution to the emergence of the industrial era, Clarendon has seen significant historical events unfold right on its doorstep. Let's delve into seven fascinating historical events that have taken place near Clarendon, Vermont.
1. Clarendon Gorge Incident:
On September 20, 1749, a tragic event occurred at Clarendon Gorge, which lies just south of the town. During an expedition, Samuel Loomis, a scouting officer under the command of Captain Samuel Willard, fell into the gorge and was killed. This incident marked the first recorded non-Native American death in Rutland County, emphasizing the dangers faced by early settlers.
2. The Green Mountain Boys:
Clarendon played a significant role in the formation of the Green Mountain Boys, a patriotic militia group during the American Revolution. Ethan Allen, one of the group's notable leaders, frequently visited and organized meetings in Clarendon. The Green Mountain Boys were instrumental in capturing Fort Ticonderoga in 1775 and playing a crucial role in the early stages of the war.
3. The Birth of Marble Industry:
Around the 1820s, Clarendon witnessed the birth of its most enduring industry, marble quarrying. The world-renowned Danby marble, widely used in buildings like the Jefferson Memorial and the United States Supreme Court, was first discovered in Clarendon. This event marked the beginning of industrial growth and economic prosperity for the town.
4. Anti-slavery Movement:
In the mid-19th century, Clarendon became an important site for the anti-slavery movement. The town hosted many abolitionist meetings and lectures, with influential speakers like Frederick Douglass addressing crowds at local venues. Clarendon was a hotbed of support for the Underground Railroad, aiding escaped slaves in their journey to freedom.
5. The Vermont Slate Company Fire:
On May 28, 1898, a fire broke out at the Vermont Slate Company in Clarendon Springs, completely destroying the factory as well as the nearby mills. The fire had a significant impact on the local economy, leading to a decline in slate production in the town. It stands as a defining event in Clarendon's industrial history.
6. World War II Contributions:
Like many small towns across the country, Clarendon played its part during World War II. Many residents joined the armed forces, and the town actively contributed to war-related efforts. The local marble quarries supplied material for the construction of war memorials, while citizens fervently supported the war through fundraising and volunteering.
7. Vermont State Fair:
Although not exclusively a Clarendon event, the Vermont State Fair has been held in nearby Rutland since 1846. This annual event brings together communities across the region, showcasing Vermont's agricultural heritage, livestock, exhibits, and entertainment. The fair has become an integral part of the area's culture, drawing visitors from near and far.
Clarendon, Vermont's historical events encapsulate the many diverse aspects of American history. From early settler tragedies to contributions during times of war and the growth of vital industries, the town's heritage has left a lasting impact. As Clarendon continues to evolve, it remains rooted in its historical significance, offering a glimpse into the nation's past.
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