Elijah West and his wife Hannah (Thurber) kept a tavern at their home in Windsor, Vermont. In 1777, state delegates gathered there for a Constitutional Convention, in which they formulated and passed the constitution of the Republic of Vermont. A provision in this constitution stated that enslaved men were to be freed at the age of 21 and women at 18. No provision was made for enslaved children.
Vermont joined the union in 1791, when it became the fourteenth state. Despite the provisions for freedom written into Vermont’s original constitution, enslavers in the state violated the law against slavery. Examples of enslaved individuals like Dinah Mason White can be found in state historical records through the 1830s. The state of Vermont only moved to formally ban slavery in 1858.