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Wheelock
05851

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Wheelock Town Hall
Photo by Matt Wills

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About Wheelock, Vermont
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Click for Wheelock, Vermont Forecast

Caledonia County
Chartered: June 14, 1785 (Vermont Charter)
Area: 25,613 Acres = 40.02 Square Miles [ Size Rank: 118* ]
Coordinates (Geographic Center): N 44° 35' W 72°05'
Altitude: 790 feet ASL
Population (US Census, 2010): 811 [ Population Rank: 203* ]
Population Density (persons per square mile): 20.3 [ Density Rank: 213* ]
Full Census Info: Town
  County  State

*Area, Population and Density rankings refer to Wheelock's relative position among Vermont's 255 civic entities (9 cities, 242 towns, 4 gores and grants). Complete rankings are here.

Wheelock has an interesting and involved history. In 1774 it was patented by New York as part of a much larger tract named Bamf to a group of Scots who planned to divide the whole tract into two towns, Bamf and Sterling, after their old homes in Scotland. The Revolution intervened, preventing them from taking up their patent, and after the war the same group of men petitioned Vermont to charter the tract to them. Before their petition was acted upon, Vermont chartered part of their tract as the new town of Wheelock under very unusual circumstances.

The charter was issued to John Wheelock and the trustees of Dartmouth College and Moor's Charity School as being "of important service in diffusing useful literature among mankind and thro' this state in particular." The town had been applied for during the lifetime of Dartmouth's founder, the Reverend Eleazar Wheelock, the father of John Wheelock and second president of the college. A short time before the charter was issued, it was strongly suggested that the town be named Santa Maria. John Wheelock had just married Maria Suhm (a daughter of Governor Christian Suhm of the Caribbean island of St. Thomas), and he very much wanted her name commemorated in the Vermont town's name. However, the legislators must have felt that it sounded either too foreign or too popish for their state, and they elected to name the town for both the father and the son.

Wheelock is thus the only town in Vermont ever to have been chartered to an organization wholly outside of the state. As late as the mid-l800's the rentals paid by Wheelock tenants continued to provide a large percentage of the permanent funds for Dartmouth College, and some lands in the town are still held under long-term rentals from the college.

As if all that wasn't enough, in 1828, Dartmouth President Nathan Lord was in Wheelock collecting rents, and was heard to invite any young man of Wheelock who wanted to go to college to come down to Dartmouth, where they would get free tuition. Fifty years passed before anyone actually took him up on his invitation.

The program is pretty simple: the student must be a full-time resident of Wheelock at the time application is made to Dartmouth (and, of course, be academically qualified and accepted).

When Dartmouth went co-ed, so did the Wheelock Scholar program. So far, the only female recipient of the scholarship was of the Class of 1988. In total, only eight students from Wheelock have taken afvantage of Lord's offer. A man of the Class of 2005 is the most recent.

Very early in the town's settlement a village grew up at what became known as Ramsay (sometimes Ramsey) Corners. Located almost in the geographic center of town, the little settlement in the early 1800's had a store, several businesses and two hotels. It is said that the proprietors of the Ramsay Hotel owned 1,000 acres of land and at one time ran as many as 6,000 sheep. One of the hotel owners, Bob Ramsay, was a fiddler of considerable talent, in great demand for every party held within miles. For many years it was a tradition to cut a tall tamarack tree in the Ramsay Corners neighborhood for the town's Fourth of July "Liberty pole."

Material excerpted or adapted from Esther Munroe Swift's
Vermont Place-Names: Footprints of History
with the author's permission

Activities
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Goings-on in and near Wheelock
Calendar of Events provided by the Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing.

Contact Info
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Emergency Services (Statewide): 911
Hospital: Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital (St. Johnsbury) 802-748-8141
Town Clerk:  Michelle Trottier PO Box 1328 Lyndonville, VT 05851
 802 626-9094
 M-Th 7:45-3

Neighboring Towns
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This is a basic geographic reference, intended to show relative location of adjacent towns. Directional accuracy is limited to 16 compass points. There isn't even the slightest suggestion that one can necessarily travel directly from one town to the next (as in "You can't get there from here").

Glover Sheffield Sutton
Wheelock
Greensboro Lyndon
Stannard Danville St. Johnsbury

Utilities
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Notes about utilities:

  • One electric or phone company indicates that company serves the entire town. More than one of either indicates each serves different areas of town.
  • A listed cable company MIGHT mean the entire town is covered, but not necessarily. More than one listed indicates each serves different areas of town.
  • Unless your area is one served by Vermont's only gas utility, your only option is bottled gas (any dealer).
    Electric Lyndonville Electric Dept. 802-626-3366
    Electric Vermont Electric Co-op 800-832-2667
    Electric Washington Electric Co-op 800-932-5245
    Telephone Fairpoint 866-984-2001

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    May 25, 2013