About

The Danville Historical Society is a non-profit educational institution whose mission is to promote an understanding of the history of Danville, VT, by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting that history and its relationship to the region and nation beyond to audiences of all ages and interests.

Danville Historical Society sign

open Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 7:00

It’s All About Community

Danville has always been a strong and industrious community. In 1796 it was the county seat of Caledonia County and hosted the 1805 Vermont legislative session. It had its own weekly newspaper, the North Star and is the birthplace of one of our country’s most noted statesman—Thaddeus Stevens. One Vermont governor came from Danville.

But the real heroes of Danville are its citizens, living day in and day out, working the land, building its farms, houses, businesses, churches, library and schools. Working and living together, the people have woven a culture that is thoughtful and caring. It is this culture that the Danville Historical Society strives to sustain. We do this by seeking and collecting artifacts and records of events as well as the stories of men and women in our past. By doing this, we honor the work and lives of those who have gone before us. In honoring the past, we so honor the present, and hopefully this will help carry the culture forward.

In 1961, a group of like-minded people got together to form the Danville Historical Society. The legal organization was necessary to conserve the Old North Church in North Danville. No longer used by the church that owned it, the beautiful old meeting-house had begun to deteriorate. Thus, the Danville Historical Society was officially formed and the building transferred into hands that would keep its integrity intact. The society then began in earnest to gather and keep detailed records of the town’s history. Until recently, these records and artifacts had no home and were stored wherever space was available and granted. In 2007, a generous benefactor came forward to give a permanent home, which now serves as our center of activity. The Choate-Sias House officially opened for business in 2009.


17 Responses to About

  1. sue george says:

    My family and I lived in Silas Dole’s house on Dole’s Hill in 1967 for 2 years..our last name was Jenkins..Do you have any information about Mr. Dole.?

  2. Dee Palmer says:

    Hi Sharon,

    Someone just came in asking where Col. Preston is buried. I should know that – but I don’t! (or can’t remember!) Do you know?

  3. Jack LaDuke says:

    Several years ago I attended your wonderful Dowser Festival.
    Do you still have it, and if so could you tell me when?
    Thanks,
    Jack Laduke

    • sharon lakey says:

      Hi Jack, The Dowsers Convention is no longer held in Danville. It had been moved to Lyndon State College, but one would check the administration of the Dowsers that is still located in Danville for better details. It was quite fun! But, it just got too big for our little town.

  4. Martha W Judd says:

    I am looking for information about the Danville Baptist Society that was instrumental in forming Derby Academy in Derby VT., as a theology school about 1840 Does the church have this information or is it with the historical society?

    • sharon lakey says:

      Hi Martha,
      We do have some information on Baptists in the Town, but nothing called the Danville Baptist Society. Have you information from the Derby Academy, that can pinpoint any information coming from our end?

  5. jim infantino says:

    I have a diary from a person who lived in Danville, 1850-1851, no name, but I wondered if you would like to have it for your archives? Its very detailed, outlining daily weather and work. Might have been a minister. I used to teach history and collected documents for class use, but now I would like to get them back where they came from. Just let me know. Thanks Jim

  6. Marian L Shatto says:

    Hello, I’m a member of the Board of the Lititz (PA) Historical Foundation and have just realized that Danville, VT, birthplace of Thaddeus Stevens, is on my route in mid-June. I’m wondering if you are open more days than just Tuesdays and Thursdays once we get past Memorial Day. Or is there an alternative location, like a Welcome Center, where a traveler can find information? I expect to be passing through Danville on Friday, June 19. Thank you.

  7. Jonathan says:

    Hello,
    I used to live in an old house in Danville which I rented. The house was intriguing and just looking to see if by any chance you can provide me with any history of the house? Any interested facts or stories, owners, deaths, etc. Anything you can tell me would be greatly appreciated. The address is: 4281 Bruce Badger Memorial Hwy. Across from the pie shack.
    Thanks very much,
    Jonathan

  8. Virginia V. Vanderplaats says:

    Dear Sharon,
    My ancestor, Harriet Nancy Hooker, was born in Danville, Vt. on Oct. 8 1826. She married John Laney, born in Hebron, New Hampshire. He was born on Aug. 28, 1820.
    Harriet’s father, Franklin Hooker, was born in Sturbridge,Mass. on 8/8/ 1792 and died in Danville, Vt. 5/9/8883. Is he buried in one of Danville’s cemeteries?
    We will be visiting Danville this Oct. 3rd or 4th. We would like to meet you. Will you be in town and available?
    Sincerely,
    Virginia V. Vanderplaats

  9. Carolyn Van Doren says:

    My paternal great, great, great grandparents lived in Danville around the late 1800’s. They had several sons. The distant grandmother’s name was Phoebe Dexter Howe (10/16/1784 in MA to 4/28/1871 in Orfordville, WI ) and grandfather’s name was John Howe, Esq. (1780 probably RI or NH to 11/19/1842 in VT). They were married in Windsor VT

    Their children were most likely born in Danville. Their names are
    Nathaniel Edson Howe (9/29/1806 to 1849)
    Almira Howe (7/9/1808 to 1888)
    Lucia Howe (7/9/1810 to ?)
    William Norton Howe (6/11/1812 died in New Zealand on ?)
    George Dexter Howe (6/11/1814 to before 1889)
    John Howe (2/8/1818 to 1869 in Orfordville, WI)
    Henry Morey Howe (5/20/1820 to 3/11/1903 in Dane, WI) My ancestor
    Warren Dexter Howe (8/11/1827 to 4/27/1899 in Woodstock, IL)

    One of her son’s had a nickname of Sixpence. Henry married Margaret Laird on a Christmas in Danville and the next day they traveled to Wisconsin. After Phoebe’s husband died, she joined her son and daughter-in-law in Southern Wisconsin.

    I would like to visit Danville in early May and share the pictures and letters I have, if you would like them. Do you have suggestions for lodging in Danville or close enough to do research and experience the area? Lodging does not have to be fancy, just clean and comfortable. A nearby family restaurant would be helpful. Lodging would be for my husband and me. We are active seniors.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Carolyn Van Doren

    • Miriam Hawkins says:

      Carolyn Van Doren,
      I am a descendant of Phebe and John Howe. I have copies of 1840s letters from John Howe (Wisconsin) to Phebe Howe in Vermont.

  10. Janet Hanning says:

    I am linked to families named Knapp,Hart,Westcott,Amsden,Kitteredge and Estabrook who lived in Danville when it was founded. They had links to Connecticut,Massachusetts,New York and Rhode Island and also New Brunswick Canada.
    My family is called McCracken and I am wondering who McCracken street in Danville is named after. I am searching for any connections between these families between 1786 and about 1830.

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