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Vermont Counties

There are fourteen counties in Vermont. Each county has a county seat, known in Vermont as shire town. In 1777, Vermont had two counties. The western side of the state was called Bennington County and the eastern was called Cumberland County. In 1781 Cumberland County was broken up into three counties in Vermont, plus Washington County, which eventually became part of New Hampshire. Today's Washington County was known as Jefferson County until 1814. Essex County, Orleans County, and Caledonia County are commonly referred to as the Northeast Kingdom.
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Bennington County, Vermont

Bennington County Education, Geography, and History

County Seat: Bennington
Year Organized: 1779
Square Miles: 676
Court House:

207 South Street
County Courthouse
Bennington, VT 05201-2247

Etymology - Origin of County Name

For the city of Bennington, which was named for Benning Wentworth, governor of the New Hampshire Grants.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

County History

Established on February 11, 1779 as an original county. County Seat: Bennington. Its has the unusual distinction of having two shire towns (sometimes called county seats). Bennington is known as the South Shire & Manchester is the North Shire

Bennington County is a county in the U.S. state of Vermont. As of 2000, the population was 36,994. Its has the unusual distinction of having two shire towns (sometimes called county seats). Bennington is known as the South Shire & Manchester is the North Shire.

In 1749, New Hampshire Governor Benning Wentworth chartered the first town in the territory now known as Vermont, and named it Bennington, in honor of himself. The town's original settlement was formed in the area known today as Old Bennington in 1761 by Congregational Separatists from Connecticut and Massachusetts.

The independent spirit of these early settlers was reflected in their overt resistance to land claims from New York colony and eventually led to the formation of a local citizen militia headed by Ethan Allen, which came to be known as the Green Mountain Boys. This militia later played a crucial role at the Battle of Bennington on August 16, 1777. That battle was a prelude to the surrender of British General John Burgoyne at Saratoga, which led directly to the success of the Revolution.


According to the US Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 678 square miles (1,755 km2), of which, 676 square miles (1,752 km2) of it is land and 1 square miles (4 km2) of it (0.21%) is water.

A county forming the S.W. extremity of Vermont, has an area of about 700 square miles. It is drained by the headwaters of Battenkill, Hoosick, andDeerfield rivers, and other small streams, which furnish abundant water-power. Although some good land is found within the limits of this county, a greater part of the surface is mountainous and unfitted for cultivation. (Bennington, VT .......from the 1854 U.S. Gazetteer)

Neighboring Counties:

  • Rutland County, Vermont - north
  • Windsor County, Vermont - northeast
  • Windham County, Vermont - east
  • Franklin County, Massachusetts - southeast
  • Berkshire County, Massachusetts - southwest
  • Rensselaer County, New York - southwest
  • Washington County, New York - northwest


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