Castleton was chartered in 1761. The charter for 36 square miles of land was granted by Gov. Benning Wentworth of New Hampshire and divided the land into 70 "rights" or "shares". Governor Wentworth retained ownership of two shares and several others were given for churches and a school. In the spring of 1767 Col. Amos Bird and Col. Noah Lee arrived in Castleton from Salisbury, Connecticut. They were its first settlers. Castleton's favorite landmark, Bird Mountain, is named for Col. Bird. He had acquired 40 shares of land when the town was chartered and built a permanent home here in the summer of 1769. Three families had settled in Castleton by 1770. More settlers followed and by 1777 the town consisted of 17 families.
Castleton played an eventful part in the American Revolution. In May of 1775 Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys met here with Benedict Arnold to plan their next day's attack on Fort Ticonderoga, 30 miles west, on the New York side of Lake Champlain. Their successful capture of the Fort was a holding action that lasted two years until the British launched a powerful sweep southward on Lake Champlain, heading towards Skenesborough (now Whitehall). The battle at nearby Hubbardton, followed by battles at Bennington and Saratoga, marked the turning point of the Revolutionary War in the north. They were pivotal in the American success. Although Brunswick and Hessian soldiers were stationed in Castleton for a time in 1777, they left as the fortunes of the war changed, and Tory sympathizers were treated with contempt by Castleton settlers.
Vermont attained statehood in 1791 and Castleton continued to grow as an agricultural community. Farmers raised cattle, then turned for a while to sheep. Apple orchards abounded. Saw mills and gristmills were the first industries to be established in town. During the middle of the nineteenth century the slate and marble industries began to thrive in and around Castleton. The railroad came in 1854, and the last half of the century saw the development of tourism around Lake Bomoseen. Several luxury hotels were built around the west end of the lake.
Education has been important in Castleton from its earliest days. The Rutland County Grammar School was established in 1787, and later became the Castleton Seminary. The Castleton Normal School evolved from the Seminary, and became part of the state college system in 1912. It is now Castleton State College. Located on a pretty street near the center of the village, it has become the largest employer in town. An important medical school was established in Castleton in 1818, but did not survive past 1862.
The town prospered during the nineteenth century. Residents built more elaborate homes to replace their log cabins and primitive frame houses. Many of the beautiful homes that stand along Castleton's wide Main Street today were built between 1805 and 1840. Among the most remarkable are several built by renowned architect and builder, Thomas Royal Dake. Fires devastated much of the town's center in the early twentieth century, destroying several large hotels, and Castleton declined as a business center, but with its wide Main Street, it remains one of the loveliest villages in the state.1
The probate district for Castleton is Fair Haven, while the court district is Rutland.
The Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.) has one of the largest collections of city directories in the country. Their collection is in microfiche, microfilm, and books, but there is no online inventory of their holdings except for microfilm. See their guide online.
The following is a list of cemeteries in present-day Castleton. For location of cemeteries, see Cemteries of Vermont, Rutland County, website at this link. For more details regarding these cemeteries, see the state guide under cemeteries for books on the subject
Blissville Cemetery,located on Blissville Road, southwest of Castleton Corners
Culver Cemetery, located on Blissville Road, southwest of Castleton Corners
Crystal Beach-Town Farm Cemetery, located on Hwy. 30 at Crystal Bearch, north of Castleton
Federated Church Cemetery, located beside the Federated Church, Castleton Village
Gates Cemetery, 2592 South St Ext, south of Castleton Corners
Hillside Cemetery, located on Cemetery Drive, north side of Castleton
Lincoln Cemtery, located on East Hubbardton Road, east of Castleton
Libraries and Historical Societies
1. 1. Castleton Historical Society, P.O. Box 219, Castleton, VT 05735, http://www.bsi-vt.com/castleton/chs/