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United States Gotoarrow.png Vermont Gotoarrow.png Rutland Gotoarrow.png Castleton

Brief History

Unlike so many other Vermont towns in the central and southern part of the state, New Hampshire Gov. Benning Wentworth did not charter this town. Instead, the Republic of Vermont issued the charter, making it the oldest Vermont chartered town in Rutland County. That historic date was Oct. 27, 1779.

The origin of the name Fair Haven remains a mystery. Since some of the original grantees hailed from Massachusetts, where a Fair Haven exists, that is one possible theory. Another makes more sense — that the beauty of the region was synonymous with the word "fair," and therefore Fair Haven. Up until 1861, the town was written as one word, just as it occurred in the charter. For some unknown reason after 1861, it switched to the two-word format used today.

At its formation, Fair Haven included the presented community of West Haven within its boundaries. The Legislature split Fair Haven in 1792, but regarding membership in the Vermont House, it would "be but one town with respect to representation." This policy lasted until 1823.

Like so many other Rutland County communities, Fair Haven can trace much of its wealth to stone — specifically slate. Part of Vermont's slate belt runs through the town and it has been successfully quarried since 1839. Alonson Allen and Caleb Ranney excavated the first slate on Scotch Hill north of town.

By the late 19th century, 21 slate companies operated in Fair Haven. Six firms still run today..

Between 1903 and 1924, a trolley connected Fair Haven and Rutland. It proved so successful that in 1910, the trolley company extended the line to Poultney.

Though slate proved a major industry, the United Shirt and Collar Co. served as a mainstay in the town for almost 50 years. Started in 1900, the firm, located along the Castleton River, produced Lion Brand Shirts and employed as many as 600 workers.

Downtown Fair Haven remains an architectural jewel. A number of fires have destroyed portion of the business district, but it still retains much of its character of the 19th and 20th centuries.[1][2]

Historical Data

Town Histories

Vital Records

FamilySearch Historical Records Collection has Vermont birth, death, and marriage records online

Probate Records

The probate district for Fair Haven is Fair Haven, while the court district is Rutland.

City Directories

FamilySearch Library Catalog


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

  • Carvers Falss Cemetery
  • Cedar Grove Cemetery
  • Old Fair Haven Cemetery
  • Old North Half Cemetery
  • Our Lady of Seven Dollors Cemtery
  • Saint Marys Cemetery


1. First Congregational Church
    2 N Park Pl
    Fair Haven, Vermont 05743
    (802) 265-8864

2. First Baptist Church
    32 West St,
    Fair Haven, Vermont 05743
    (802) 265-8879

3. United Church of Benson
    2793 Stage Rd
    Fair Haven, Vermont 05743
    (802) 537-2455

4. Our Lady-Seven Dolors Church
    10 Washington St
    Fair Haven, Vermont 05743
    (802) 265-3135

Town Records

Town Clerk Vital and Town Records, 1732-2005, can be found on FamilySerach (browse only images) at this link.

The Family History Library has microfilm of original records in the Fair Haven Town Hall for the years 1767-1861.

Town of Fair Haven
3 North Park Place
Fair Haven, Vermont
(802) 265-3010
Fair Haven Town website


Rutland Herald online at this link.

Libraries and Historical Societies

Fair Haven Public Library
107 North Main St.
Fair Haven, VT 05743
(802) 4265-8011

Fair Haven Historical Society Website


  1. Fair Haven: Big wheels keep on turning in Fair Haven, Don Wickman, Rutland Herald Newspaper, Mar. 18, 2006.
  2. History Rutland County Vermont, Edited by H. P. Smith and W. S. Rann, Syracuse, NY, 1886

Adjacent towns: