Vergennes is planning to unveil and dedicate a monument to Vermont’s first known African-American sheriff and police chief.
According to the state-approved text included on the monument, Stephen Bates was born on a slave plantation in Virginia in 1842 but ran away during the Civil War. He moved to Vergennes shortly after the war ended and was elected sheriff in 1879.
Bates served as sheriff for 25 years, and he was also appointed chief of police while continuing to hold his elected post. He died in 1907.
The monument in Bates’s honor will be unveiled at Vergennes City Park on Sunday, October 3 at 11:00 a.m.