The town of Arlington was chartered July 28, 1761, by New Hampshire Governor Benning Wentworth, as part of the New Hampshire Grants. In 1777, Arlington became the first capital of the Vermont Republic.
Among the first settlers in Arlington were Captain Jehiel Hawley and his family, who had settled there by 1764. They were Anglicans and had fled Roxbury, Connecticut, because of the oppressive requirements of the established Congregational church. At a Proprietor's meeting in 1764, the town voted to give of land to any man who would set up a gristmill in what is now East Arlington. This offer was accepted by Remember Baker (first cousin of Ethan Allen), who built a grist and sawmill.
In the years leading up to the American Revolution, both New York and New Hampshire laid claim to lands comprising current-day Vermont. The Province of New York began to grant land in 1765, lagging New Hampshire by four years. Arlington was, for the most part, settled by Anglicans from Roxbury, Newtown, and Milford, Connecticut, with ownership rights derived from the New Hampshire Grants.
When settlers with New York grants arrived, conflicts ensued. Among other things, the residents of Arlington relied on the militancy of Ethan Allen to discourage those touting New York grants. Ethan Allen and his group were known by their friends as the Green Mountain Boys. They were relatively effective in promoting the cause of New Hampshire grantees, although legal ownership was not settled monetarily for many years.
Several members of the Green Mountain Boys lived in Arlington before the American Revolution, including Thomas Chittenden, Seth Warner and Remember Baker, who was the first town clerk. Gideon Hard, a congressman from New York, was born in Arlington.