Orwell was chartered on August 18, 1763. No settlement occurred in town for another eight years, however.
The first settler is recorded as John Charter, a Scotsman who took up residence near what was then known as Rattlesnake Hill, now Mount Independence, in 1771.
By the mid-1770's, a few families were living in town, clearing land for fields and building rudimentary shelters for themselves and their livestock. With the start of the Revolutionary War, most residents returned to the safer, established communities to the south.
Further settlement did not commence until the close of the war.
- A history of the town of Orwell, Vermont, by the Orwell Historical Society (1988) - view digital copy of this book online.
- History of the town of Orwell, Vt., from 1763 to 1851, by Roswell Bottum - find this book in a library.
- Vintage Photos of Orwell, VT
FamilySearch Historical Records Collection has Vermont birth, death, and marriage records online.
The probate district for Orwell is Addison.
Addison Probate Court
7 Mahady Court
Middlebury, VT 05753
Phone: (802) 388-2612
The following is a list of cemeteries in present-day Orwell. For location of cemeteries, see Cemeteries of Vermont, Addison County, website at this link.
- Coats Cemetery - inscriptions found at Find A Grave site.
- Hack Cemetery - inscriptions found at Find A Grave site.
- Lake View Cemetery - inscriptions found at Find A Grave site.
- Mountain View Cemetery - inscriptions found at Find A Grave site.
- North Cemetery - inscriptions found at Find A Grave site.
- Saint Pauls Cemetery - inscriptions found at Find A Grave site.
- Smith Cemetery - inscriptions at Find A Grave site.
Town Clerk Vital and Town Records, 1802-1887, can be found on FamilySearch (browse only images).
The Family History Library has microfilm of original records from the Orwell Town Clerk's Office. These include Records of births, marriages, and deaths, 1883-1997; indexes to births, marriages, deaths, 1857-1997, Town records, 1787-1791 and Index of births, deaths & marriages recorded in early land records, 1829-1854.
Orwell Town Clerk
PO Box 32
Orwell, VT 05760
Phone: (802) 948-2032
Libraries and Historical Societies
Orwell Free Library
473 Main St
Phone: (802) 948-2041
- Orwell VT Town History, http://www.town-of-orwell.org/events/history.html
- History of the Town of Orwell, VT http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~vermont/AddisonOrwell.html