Mark Worthen remarks in his book “Hometown Jamaica” that mills began working here in the town of Jamaica as early as 1782 and that in the 19th century there were 11 dams here with one mill for each dam and sometimes two. These mills ground corn, functioned as tanneries, produced boards from vertical saws, milled parts for furniture, produced shingles and more. These mills that were the industry of Jamaica disappeared one by one having suffered the ravages of time, hurricane and floods.

 All but one!

To understand the legal history of Vermont, we might start with a legal history of one town. The dart is thrown, and lands on Jamaica. Jamaica, a small town deep in the Green Mountains, in Windham County, has left large footprints on the law of Vermont. It has trod into areas of pauper law, highways, property tax assessment, and others, and the decisions that emerged from its controversies became precedents that affected other towns in similar situations.

The name probably comes from the Arawack Indians of Jamaica Island and means “land of spring and water”.  The settlement was founded in 1780 and first occupied by a few young, energetic and adventuresome people who built primitive log cabins along the mountain streams and rivers.  They were drawn to the area with the lure of cheap land and freedom to be their own masters.  History tells us that Indians traveled between the Connecticut River and Lake Champlain valley via the creeks and rivers and fished and traded but did not live in the area.