Vermont’s Town Offices are treasures of historical documents. Inside you can find public records such as land records, maps, town meeting minutes, school records and vital records (birth, marriage and death records).
Town Meeting minutes can teach students about how a community was settled, how individuals were involved in government, and how a community might have responded to national issues and crises. In most town offices, the minutes can be found in bound volumes, arranged chronologically. Each town meeting will begin with a warrant listing the items to be discussed at the meeting. Following the recording of the warrant will be the minutes. Particularly interesting points in time to investigate are the town’s settlement era, the Revolutionary Era, and the Civil War.
As towns matured, the town meeting minutes were accompanied with a printed annual report. These annual reports are very similar to today’s reports recording town finances, reports of the various officers and Selectboard, as well as reports of the schools. The Annual Reports can reveal expenses for the Civil War, lists of textbooks purchased for schools, and information about how the town supported the poor.