The web site started in 1997. Originally the URL was wilton.net. The switch to wordorigins.org was in 2001.
The forums were originally on a service called “Coolboard.” The switch to Ezboard was in Feb 2001. Ezboard originally had a limit on the number of threads that could be saved. In 2002, that limit was lifted. Some of the threads that are dated 2002 are actually older--they were “rescued” from deletion because they were deemed worth saving.
The wilton.net site back to 1999 and some of the older Ezboard forums can be found on web.archive.org.