Essex County, Vermont

Essex County is a county located in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of Vermont. As of the 2020 census, the population was 5,920,[1] making it the least-populous county in both Vermont and New England. Its shire town (county seat) is the municipality of Guildhall.[2] The county was created in 1792 and organized in 1800.[3] Bordered by the Connecticut River next to New Hampshire, Essex County is south of the Canadian province of Quebec. It is the county with the lowest household-income in Vermont.

Essex County
Essex County Courthouse in Guildhall
Essex County Courthouse in Guildhall
Map of Vermont highlighting Essex County
Location within the U.S. state of Vermont
Map of the United States highlighting Vermont
Vermont's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 44°43′15″N 71°44′42″W / 44.720894°N 71.745018°W / 44.720894; -71.745018
Country United States
State Vermont
Founded1800
Named forEssex
Shire TownGuildhall
Largest townLunenburg
Area
 • Total675 sq mi (1,750 km2)
 • Land664 sq mi (1,720 km2)
 • Water12 sq mi (30 km2)  1.7%%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total5,920
 • Density8.8/sq mi (3.4/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional districtAt-large

HistoryEdit

Prior to the arrival of colonists of European descent, the area was populated by the Abenakis. They used the Connecticut and Nulhegan rivers as primary means of travel through the area along with many subsidiary rivers and streams. The culture was mostly hunter-gatherer with a combination of agriculture, hunting and fishing. While the rivers provided good fishing the primary food animal was moose.[4]

Vermont was divided into two counties in March 1778. In 1781 the legislature divided the northernmost county, Cumberland, into three counties: Windham and Windsor, in approximately the modern location for those counties. The northern remainder was called Orange County. This latter tract nearly corresponded with the old New York county of Gloucester, organized by that province March 16, 1770, with Newbury as the shire town.[5]

On September 3, 1783, as a result of the signing of the Treaty of Paris, the Revolutionary War ended with Great Britain recognizing the independence of the United States. Vermont's border with Quebec was established at 45 degrees north latitude.[6][7]

On November 5, 1792, the legislature divided Chittenden and Orange counties into six separate counties, as follows: Chittenden, Orange, Franklin, Caledonia, Essex, and Orleans.[5] No reason is given for the county being named after the county of Essex in England.[8]

In 1999, a group of investors bought 86,212 acres (34,889 ha) from Champion International Paper for $7.5 million, covering parts of fourteen towns in the county. The state of Vermont and the Freeman Foundation purchased easements for $8.5 million to guarantee traditional uses of the land for logging and recreation. In 2008, Plum Creek Timber company announced plans to purchase this property.[9]

The last murder trial held at the county courthouse took place in 1923. In 1973, a non-resident murdered another non-resident.[10] In 2008, two residents died by homicide – the first in 85 years – when police said a young woman was shot by her boyfriend and a 59-year-old man shot his mother.[11]

In 2012, a study indicated that county residents, overall, were the least healthy in the state. The rating was based on premature death, low birth weight, smoking, obesity, inactivity, excessive drinking, car crashes, sexually transmitted diseases, graduation rates, poverty, violent crime rates, air pollution, limited access to healthy food, unemployment, and the number of single parent households.[12]

DemographicsEdit

Historical population
Census Pop.
18001,479
18103,087108.7%
18203,2846.4%
18303,98121.2%
18404,2266.2%
18504,65010.0%
18605,78624.4%
18706,81117.7%
18807,93116.4%
18909,51119.9%
19008,056−15.3%
19107,384−8.3%
19207,364−0.3%
19307,067−4.0%
19406,490−8.2%
19506,257−3.6%
19606,083−2.8%
19705,416−11.0%
19806,31316.6%
19906,4051.5%
20006,4590.8%
20106,306−2.4%
20205,920−6.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]
1790–1960[14] 1900–1990[15]
1990–2000[16] 2010–2020[1]

An estimated 1,000 military veterans reside in the county.[17]

2010 censusEdit

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 6,306 people, 2,818 households, and 1,814 families residing in the county.[18] The population density was 9.5 inhabitants per square mile (3.7/km2). There were 5,019 housing units at an average density of 7.6 per square mile (2.9/km2).[19]

Of the 2,818 households, 24.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.0% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 35.6% were non-families, and 29.3% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.70. The median age was 47.4 years.[18]

The median income for a household in the county was $37,734 and the median income for a family was $46,263. Males had a median income of $37,021 versus $28,710 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,040. About 13.0% of families and 16.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.8% of those under age 18 and 10.3% of those age 65 or over.[20]

GeographyEdit

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 675 square miles (1,750 km2), of which 664 square miles (1,720 km2) is land and 12 square miles (31 km2) (1.7%) is water.[21]

In the north central portion of the county the Nulhegan Basin is a circular area roughly 10 miles (16 km) in diameter. While the origin of this basin may be either an asteroid hit or ancient volcano it has not been proven as either one so far. Within the basin is a bog and the Silvio O. Conte Fish and Wildlife Refuge with a visitor center, hiking trails, and viewing platforms where one can wait under shelter.

The county has many mountains and waterways. The Northern Forest Canoe Trail passes through this area along the Clyde, Nulhegan, and Connecticut rivers.

Adjacent countiesEdit

Major roadsEdit

FaunaEdit

In 2011, there were about 1,000 moose in the county. State officials estimated that this was about the "correct number" for a sustainable herd, with the moose not showing signs of starvation, nor the feeding grounds showing signs of overgrazing.[4] In recent years the moose population has been suffering from infestations by ticks. Some moose have been found having as many as 10,000 ticks on one moose, thus causing death. Warmer winter weather in recent years has prevented the normal die-off of ticks from freezing.

National protected areaEdit

GovernmentEdit

The Essex-Orleans Senate district includes all of Essex County, as well as Orleans County. It is represented in the Vermont Senate by John S. Rodgers and Robert A. Starr, both Democrats.

The elected officials of the county as of the 2018 elections are as follows:

Position[22] Name Party First elected
State Senator Robert A. Starr Democratic 2004
Russ Ingalls Republican 2020
State Rep District 1 Terrie Lynn Williams Republican 2020
State Rep District 2 Paul D. Lefebvre Independent 2014
State's Attorney Vincent Illuzzi Prog/Rep/Dem/Lib 1998
Assistant Judge Calvin Colby Republican 2010
Allen D. Hodgdon Republican 2014
Probate Judge Allen D. Hodgdon Republican 2010
Sheriff Trevor Colby Rep/Prog 2010
High Bailiff Vacant N/A since 2012
Justices of the Peace:
Justices of the Peace[23]
 
Current composition of justices.
Town Name Party First elected
Bloomfield
5
Sharon Belknap Republican 2014
Martin Lomansey Independent 2012
Raymond Bowen Jr. Independent 2014
Steven Bunnell Republican 2016
Suzanne Routhier Independent 2006
Brighton
7
Krystyna Kurzej Democratic 2016
Stephanie Nagle Democratic 2012
Janet Osborne Democratic 2014
Peder Pederson Independent 2014
Susan Pederson Independent 2012
David Robbins Republican 2014
Dolores Robbins Republican 2014
Brunswick
5
Sharon Graham Independent 2008
Claudette Hook Independent 2012
June Hook Independent 2012
Deborah Tetreault Independent 2010
Janet Washburn Independent 2016
Canaan
7
Martha Allen Democratic 2012
Irving Cullivan Democratic 2012
Michael Daley Democratic 2014
Renee Marchesseault Republican 2004
Judith Masson Democratic 2008
Fern Owen Brown Democratic 2016
Vacant N/A
Concord
5
Linda Blakslee Republican 2012
Paula N. Christopher Republican 2018
Mary Gochie Republican 2010
Nancy Goodwin Republican 2008
Arlene Hovey Republican 2012
East Haven
5
Robert J. Burke Democratic 2008
Franklin Higgins Independent 2014
Michael Masure Republican 2012
Delbert Reed Republican 2016
Bonnie Ricci Democratic 2014
Granby
5
Bruce Berryman Republican 2016
Reginald Bunnell Republican 2012
Calvin Noble Republican 2006
John Noble Republican 2008
Sonia Peters Republican 2008
Guildhall
5
Casey Dowland Republican 2014
Valerie Foy Democratic 2010
Kelly McLain Republican 2016
Alfred McVetty Republican 2014
Jacqueline Spillane Republican 2018
Lemington
5
Myra Ellingwood Democratic 2012
Walter Noyes Independent 2010
Michelle Thibault Republican 2018
Mary Jane Walker Republican 2016
Linda Young Democratic 2016
Lunenburg
5
Maren Downing Republican 2014
Gisele Hallee Independent 2016
Patricia Kenny Republican 2008
James Peyton Independent 2016
Barbara Willson Independent 2016
Maidstone
3
Bruce Hobaugh Independent 2012
Cheryl McVetty Independent 2016
Gail Tattan Giampalo Independent 2016
Norton
5
Janice Daniels Republican 2016
Betsy Fontaine Republican 2018
Andre Gagnon Republican 2016
Franklin Henry Republican 2012
Kenneth Stransky Republican 2016
Victory
5
Zane Cooke Independent 2014
Laurie Gilman Republican 2018
Howard Lynaugh Independent 2016
Sylvia McKinstry Republican 2016
Lori Miller Independent 2016

ElectionsEdit

In 1828, Essex County voted for National Republican Party candidate John Quincy Adams.

Andrew Jackson would win the county in 1832 while Martin Van Buren would win it in 1836, making them the first Democrats to carry the county.

From William Henry Harrison in 1840 to Winfield Scott in 1852, the county would vote the Whig Party candidates.

From John C. Frémont in 1856 to Alf Landon in 1936, the Republican Party would have an 80-year winning streak in the county.

In 1940 and 1944, Essex County would be won by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Thomas E. Dewey would win the county in 1948 while Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon would win it in 1952, 1956 and 1960, respectively.

In 1964, the county was won by incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Following the Democrats' victory in 1964, the county went back to voting for Republican candidates for another 20-year winning streak starting with Richard Nixon in 1968 and ending with George H. W. Bush in 1988.

From 1980 to 2016, Essex County was a bellwether county, consistently backing the national winner.

In 1992 and 1996, the county was won by Bill Clinton while in 2000, it was one of the four counties in Vermont to be won by George W. Bush.

In 2004, Essex County was the only county in Vermont to vote for George W. Bush, by 10.7% over John Kerry, who won statewide by a 20.1% advantage.[24]

In 2008, Essex voted for Barack Obama by a 14.5% margin over John McCain, while Obama carried the state by 37%. In 2012, Obama won the county again by a similar margin.[25]

In 2016, it was the only county in Vermont that voted for Donald Trump, by nearly 18% over Hillary Clinton, who won the state by 28.5%.[26]

In 2020, it was similarly the only county in Vermont to vote for Donald Trump, the first time it backed a losing presidential candidate since 1976, when it backed Gerald Ford over Jimmy Carter.

United States presidential election results for Essex County[25]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 1,773 53.92% 1,405 42.73% 110 3.35%
2016 1,506 51.49% 1,019 34.84% 400 13.68%
2012 1,164 41.60% 1,539 55.00% 95 3.40%
2008 1,284 41.41% 1,733 55.89% 84 2.71%
2004 1,591 54.17% 1,276 43.45% 70 2.38%
2000 1,564 54.08% 1,129 39.04% 199 6.88%
1996 819 33.44% 1,120 45.73% 510 20.82%
1992 1,038 34.65% 1,092 36.45% 866 28.91%
1988 1,535 64.20% 837 35.01% 19 0.79%
1984 1,632 69.48% 693 29.50% 24 1.02%
1980 1,305 55.77% 799 34.15% 236 10.09%
1976 1,161 53.04% 1,002 45.77% 26 1.19%
1972 1,441 68.29% 655 31.04% 14 0.66%
1968 1,009 49.83% 952 47.01% 64 3.16%
1964 750 30.95% 1,673 69.05% 0 0.00%
1960 1,439 57.51% 1,063 42.49% 0 0.00%
1956 1,714 70.42% 719 29.54% 1 0.04%
1952 1,592 69.04% 705 30.57% 9 0.39%
1948 1,055 54.21% 881 45.27% 10 0.51%
1944 1,064 48.58% 1,126 51.42% 0 0.00%
1940 1,365 46.96% 1,531 52.67% 11 0.38%
1936 1,474 55.00% 1,203 44.89% 3 0.11%
1932 1,567 52.58% 1,397 46.88% 16 0.54%
1928 1,703 67.74% 805 32.02% 6 0.24%
1924 1,391 63.60% 576 26.34% 220 10.06%
1920 1,243 68.90% 552 30.60% 9 0.50%
1916 734 56.77% 544 42.07% 15 1.16%
1912 463 39.01% 348 29.32% 376 31.68%
1908 744 68.07% 327 29.92% 22 2.01%
1904 750 75.53% 233 23.46% 10 1.01%
1900 758 67.50% 358 31.88% 7 0.62%
1896 873 72.99% 277 23.16% 46 3.85%
1892 721 61.36% 418 35.57% 36 3.06%
1888 907 61.62% 502 34.10% 63 4.28%
1884 898 61.46% 500 34.22% 63 4.31%
1880 853 64.14% 472 35.49% 5 0.38%


EconomyEdit

Personal incomeEdit

The median income for a household in the county was $30,490, and the median income for a family was $34,984. Males had a median income of $27,929 versus $20,583 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,388. About 9.90% of families and 13.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.30% of those under age 18 and 12.90% of those age 65 or over.

The median wage is the lowest in the state, and that status is expected to continue through 2010.[27]

HousingEdit

In 2007, Essex was the only county in the state to have a positive Housing Affordability Index on housing; i.e. the average household can afford to buy the average house. Both figures are the lowest in the state.[28]

MediaEdit

WVTI 106.9 broadcasts from Island Pond, Vermont.[29]

CommunitiesEdit

TownsEdit

Census-designated placesEdit

Unincorporated communitiesEdit

In Vermont, gores and grants are unincorporated portions of a county which are not part on any town and have limited self-government (if any, as many are uninhabited).

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 28, 2021.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "Vermont: Individual County Chronologies". Vermont Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. 2008. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Starr, Tina (October 19, 2011). "Biologists keep close watch on moose herd". the Chronicle. Barton, Vermont. p. 20.
  5. ^ a b Gazetteer of Lamoille and Orleans Counties, VT.; 1883–1884. Hamilton Child. May 1887.
  6. ^ Van Zandt, Franklin K. Boundaries of the United States and the Several States. Geological Survey Professional Paper 909. Washington, DC; Government Printing Office, 1976. The Standard Compilation for its subject. P. 12.
  7. ^ Parry, Clive, ed. Consolidated Treaty Series. 231 Volumes. Dobbs Ferry, New York; Oceana Publications, 1969–1981. Volume 48; pp. 481; 487; 491–492.
  8. ^ Orleans County, Vermont: History and Information Archived September 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. E-referencedesk.com. Retrieved on April 12, 2014.
  9. ^ Sutkowski, Matt (September 16, 2008). 86,212 acre land sale in works. Burlington Free Press.
  10. ^ Ring, Wilson (September 15, 2008). Slaying a novelty for county. Burlington Free Press.
  11. ^ Silverman, Adam (January 1, 2009). Vermont killings jumped. Burlington Free Press.
  12. ^ Starr, Tena (April 11, 2012). "Essex is least healthy county in Vermont". the Chronicle. Barton, Vermont. p. 1.
  13. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  14. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  15. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  16. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  17. ^ The Chronicle, July 1, 2009, page 14, "Veterans ask for clinic closer to home," Joseph Gresser
  18. ^ a b "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  19. ^ "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  20. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  21. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  22. ^ http://vtelectionarchive.sec.state.vt.us/
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 7, 2019. Retrieved October 18, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ "2004 Presidential General Election Results - Vermont". uselectionatlas.org.
  25. ^ a b Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  26. ^ "Presidential Election Results: Donald J. Trump Wins". The New York Times. August 9, 2017. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  27. ^ "Vermont Department of Housing and Community Affairs" (PDF). Vermont Statewide Trends. Retrieved January 5, 2007.
  28. ^ Braithwaite, Chris (December 19, 2007). Vermont law prohibits pre-payment penalties. the Chronicle.
  29. ^ VPR (October 28, 2008). VPR Classical broadcasts from I.P. the Chronicle.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 44°44′N 71°43′W / 44.73°N 71.72°W / 44.73; -71.72