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Unlike other Vermont towns, Swanton counts its beginnings as far back as 6,000 BC, when Indians are thought to have camped at the site of John’s Bridge to hunt and fish. Swanton is believed to be the earliest area in Vermont to have been inhabited by humans. Archaeologists can confirm that Abenakis, who call themselves the People of the Dawn, were living here by 800 BC with 20 percent of its population being Abenaki. Swanton remains a center of Abenaki activity and culture.

The Swanton Historical Society is a local non-profit organization that collects and shares the full history of Swanton. Their museum is located just outside of the village on South River Street.