THOMAS CHITTENDEN was born in East Guilford (now Madison), Connecticut. He became a Justice of the Peace in Salisbury, Connecticut and served as a member of the Colonial Assembly from 1765 to 1769. He rose to the rank of Colonel in Connecticut's 14th Regiment, in which he served from 1767 to 1773. In 1774 he moved to the New Hampshire Grants (now Vermont), engaging in land speculation. And in 1776, he was a member of a convention that considered independence. He helped draft the Declaration of Independence and in July 1777 was a delegate to the convention that framed the Vermont Constitution. He was then chosen president of the Vermont Council of Safety and was elected governor in 1778. With the exception of 1789, he went on to be reelected annually by popular vote until his retirement due to ill health. Consequently, he was the first to be chief executive when Vermont achieved statehood in 1791. Chittenden's gubernatorial administration was marked by his efforts to protect Vermont's independence from New York and New Hampshire and to establish a state government where none had existed.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 8. New York: James T. White & Company.