William Brayton (Vermont)

William Brayton (August 27, 1787 – August 5, 1828) was a Vermont attorney, politician, and judge. He served as a Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court from 1817 to 1821.


William Brayton was born in Lansingburgh, New York[1] (now part of the city of Troy) on August 22, 1787.[1] His family was residing in Greenfield, New York[2] when Brayton attended Williams College from 1800 to 1801.[3] He left college before graduating, studied law, and attained admission to the bar of Franklin County, Vermont in 1807.[4] Brayton settled in Swanton, where he established a successful practice and became active in politics and government as a member of the Democratic-Republican Party.[4] In addition, he served as Swanton's postmaster from 1809 to 1815.[5] Those who studied law under Brayton with the intention of becoming attorneys included David M. Camp.[6] In 1815, Brayton was named presiding judge of the Franklin County Court.[4] In 1816, he was chosen as one of Vermont's presidential electors, and he cast his ballot for James Monroe and Daniel D. Tompkins for president and vice president.[1] In 1817, he represented Swanton in the Vermont House of Representatives.[4]

In 1817, Brayton was appointed a Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court, succeeding William A. Palmer,[7] and relocated to St. Albans.[4] He served until 1821, and was succeeded by Charles K. Williams.[7] After leaving the bench he moved to Burlington, where he practiced law until his death.[8]

Death and burialEdit

Brayton died in Burlington on August 5, 1828;[8] he was buried at Elmwood Cemetery in Burlington.[9]


In 1812, Brayton married Hortensia Penniman (1795-1827), the daughter of Frances Montresor (Ethan Allen's widow) and Jabez Penniman.[10] Their children included: Frances Margaret (1814-1854); Agnes Abigail (1816-1902); Cornelia (1817-1855); William Henry (1820-1854); and Hannibal (1823-1825).[10]

Frances was the wife of Henry Norton, and died in Fayetteville, a now defunct community near Elkhorn, Wisconsin.[10] Agnes married John Adam Brinegar, and died in Granby, Missouri.[10] Cornelia was the wife of Valentine Seman Ferris (1809-1879) of Vergennes.[10] William Henry died in California.[10]




  • General Catalogue of the Non-graduates of Williams College, 1796-1920. Williamstown, MA: Williams College. 1920.
  • Allen, Orrin Peer (1907). The Allen Memorial: Descendants of Samuel Allen of Windsor, Conn., 1604-1907. II. Palmer, MA: C. B. Fiske & Company.
  • Baldwin, Frederick W. (1886). Biography of the Bar of Orleans County, Vermont. Montpelier, VT: Vermont Watchman and State Journal. p. 59.
  • Fleetwood, Frederick G., Vermont Secretary of State (1902). Vermont Legislative Directory. Montpelier, VT: Vermont Watchman Co.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  • Ledoux, Rodney R. (1988). The History of Swanton, Vermont. Swanton, VT: Swanton Historical Society.
  • Thompson, Zadock (1842). History of Vermont, Natural, Civil and Statistical. I. Burlington, VT: Chauncey Goodrich.



Political offices
Preceded by
William A. Palmer
Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court
Succeeded by
Charles K. Williams