Jefferson-Signed Vt. Statehood Deal at Auction - NECN
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Jefferson-Signed Vt. Statehood Deal at Auction

It's one of about 28 printed copies that were made for 13 original colonies and Vermont

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    Jefferson-Signed Vt. Statehood Deal at Auction
    AP

    An act of Congress signed by Thomas Jefferson in 1791 declaring Vermont as the 14th state is heading to the auction block.

    It's one of about 28 printed copies that were made for the 13 original colonies and Vermont.

    The item, along with half dozen other historical documents related to Vermont from a private collector, will be auctioned off by Swann Auction Galleries in New York on Thursday in its autograph auction.

    Statehood came at an unusual and wild time in the history of Vermont, which had been a fiercely independent republic.

    "I think the thing that is really interesting not only Vermont's unique path to statehood but the fact that it was the first state after the original 13. So being the 14th state we were the first state to join the new union," said Mark Hudson, executive director of the Vermont Historical Society, which already has its own copy of the document.

    Both New York and New Hampshire had laid claim to the land which became Vermont, while Vermont declared its independence in 1777.

    The independent state, or what some have called republic, of Vermont had been in an ongoing land dispute with New York, with New Yorkers protesting Vermont becoming part of the union because they felt like that it was part of their state, Hudson said. The dispute was eventually settled with Vermont paying $30,000 to New York to settle any existing claims on the property.

    "It had been a long road for Vermont to get to statehood so it was I guess for many people a moment of great relief when that finally happened," Hudson said.

    But there wasn't absolute unanimity in the state whether to join the union, remain independent or ally with Great Britain through Canada, he said.

    Vermont also had abolished adult slavery in its own constitution in 1777, calling into question the balance of pro-slavery and free states in the union. But at that time it was fairly clear that pro-slavery Kentucky was lining up to become another state, so Vermont would maintain the balance.

    Swann estimates the document signed by Jefferson to be worth between $15,000 and $25,000, but is expected to bring in more.

    It's from the collection of the late Milton R. Slater of Sleepy Hollow, New York.

    Swann is also auctioning off letters concerning boundary disputes between New York and Vermont and land transfer material signed by Ethan Allen.

    The items to be auctioned can be previewed online at the Swann Galleries website.

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