Monday, May 1, 2017

CHS Briefs May 1, 2017

Brook Farm Vineyards of Proctorsville  is sponsoring a wine tasting, including cheese, chocolate and charcuterie plates, to benefit the Cavendish Historical Society on Monday, May 15 from 6:30 to 8:30. The cost is $35 a person and will take place at their Ludlow tasting room, Circa 1810, 116 Main St. Tickets can be purchased by stopping by Circa 1810 during business hours or sending a check, payable to Brook Farm Vineyards, to CHS, PO Box 472, Cavendish, VT 05142. This would make a great Mother’s Day present. FMI: 802-226-7807 or

Stone Church: The belfry repair has been completed. Next up is to take care of the powder post beetle problem in the vestibule of the church; replace the belfry roof; assess repair needs on the roof and to paint the door and shutters.
Belfry Repair underway. 

These were most likely the original doors to the
museum, which were modified with panes
of glass. The new double hung doors will
be solid, similar to the doors at the Cavendish
Stone Church, which was built around the same time.
Museum: Under Dave Stern’s guidance, work has begun to replace the single door with period correct double hanging doors. Thanks to Carl Liener, the transom window over the door is being reglazed and painted. Nothing is ever simple with a building of this age, but little by little progress is being made and it wont be long before the new doors will be installed.

Carmine Guica Young Historians: A series of activities are being planned with the 6th graders including a panel on immigration; recording of Cavendish ghost stories with LPC-TV; day long cleaning of debris and placing flags on veterans’ graves in Cavendish maintained cemeteries; and making poppies for Memorial Day.

One of Craig's original plant
sale lists
Annual Plant Sale: Thanks once again to our “plant whisperers” Svetlana and Kem Phillips, we will have something new to offer at this year’s Plant Sale-Chestnut trees. We begin to transplant after Mother’s Day so if you have plants you’d like to donate, please contact us. If you have pots you can donate, leave them by the door to the Museum. Once again we will offer container tomato plants and you will be able to pre order. 

Presentation: Margo Caulfield will be doing a discussion and book signing –Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The Writer Who Changed History-at the Fletcher Community Library in Ludlow on June 22, 7pm

If you can help with any of the following, please contact CHS; 802-226-7807 or PO Box 472, Cavendish, VT 05142

• Annual Plant Sale-Do you have plants you like to contribute? Are their plants you’d like to see us carry this year? Other suggestions?

• Do you like to paint? CHS has painting projects both at the Museum and at the Stone Church.

• CHS is looking for new board members as well as volunteers who can help with various activities.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Wine Tasting to Benefit the Cavendish Historical Society

Thank you to Brook Farm Vineyards for sponsoring this event. Please order early as tickets are limited.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

CHS Briefs April 1, 2017

 Please check the Cavendish VT Facebook page for photo albums of various CHS activities.

Annual Meeting: CHS’s Annual Meeting was on March 5. It was great to see so many kids (seven) who came to learn about the “strange” side of Cavendish. One boy stayed for the business meeting because he said, “I like learning about this.” At the Annual Meeting, the following was agreed to:
• Rename the Young Historians Program to the Carmine Guica Young Historians Program (CGYH). Funds donated in his name will be earmarked specifically to help offset the costs of the programs at Cavendish Town Elementary School (CTES). 

• Since the Catholic Church is no longer able to offer a luncheon after Memorial Day activities, it was suggested that CHS could work with the respective churches-Cavendish Baptist when the ceremony is at the High Street Cemetery and Gethsemane Episcopal when it’s held at Hillcrest- in providing a lunch as a show of respect for our veterans. See Memorial Day in the Upcoming Activities section for more information.

• The activities for the coming year will include: Continued renovations of the Cavendish Stone Church; Installing the new doors on the Museum; planning for the 100th anniversary of Solzhenitsyn’s birth in 2018; and to have sufficient fundraising to offset expenses.

An Irish knot made 
Bruce McEnaney talking to the 3rd
graders about the Irish in Cavendish.
School Program: Grades 3, 5 and 6th learned a lot about the Irish in Vermont and Cavendish as part of CHS’s annual St. Patrick’s Day program. This year, everyone (staff, students, faculty, visitors) colored a section of a Celtic knot. A wall hanging was created and hangs in the school's hallway. Thank you Becky Plunkard for jumping in at the last minute and helping. 

Solzhenitsyn 100th Anniversary in 2018: CHS is talking to the Russian Departments at various colleges and universities about collaborating on a year long series of events pertaining to the 100th birthday of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn on Dec. 11, 2018. To that end, Dartmouth, University of Vermont and Middlebury College have expressed interest in working with us. Some of the activities being discussed include: Governor declaration of 2018 as the "VT Tribute Year to Solzhenitsyn" (this would be done with the help of UVM’s Office of Governmental Affairs); series of lectures throughout the state working with VT Humanities Council, Elder Hostel, Osher Lifelong Lecture Series etc.; holding a special weekend Elder Hostel event in Cavendish; opening of CHS’s permanent Solzhenitsyn exhibit at the Cavendish Stone Church.

Stone Church: The first order of business is to take care of the powder post beetles that were discovered in the vestibule in January. The exterminator explained that until we had warmer temperatures the chemicals needed to remove the beetles wouldn’t be effective. The belfry beams, which are currently housed in the church, will be installed. Outside painting of doors, shutters etc.

These were most likely the original doors
but for various reasons wooden panels were removed and
glass panes installed. 
Museum: Installation of the new doors, which wintered over inside the Museum. These will be very similar to the original doors that would have been installed in 1834, so no windows.

Memorial Day: CHS has been working with Bruce McEnaney, who is both Cavendish’s Assistant Town Manager and CHS board member, on Memorial Day activities. In order to promote environmental conservation and reduce the use of plastics, the wreath tossed into the Black River will be made from natural fibers. Planters will be placed in front of each war memorial and will be filled with red, white and blue annual flowers. The 6th graders will be making poppies for the day’s event and the Cavendish Baptist Church has agreed to host the luncheon following the parade and service at the Cavendish Village Cemetery.

Cemeteries: The 6th graders will be placing flags on the graves of veterans in all of the town maintained cemeteries as well as removing winter debris on May 15. This is a daylong activity and volunteers will be needed. In June, the 6th grade will be cleaning gravestones.

A young Carmine Guica.
Carmine Guica Young Historians: A series of activities are being planned with the 6th graders including a panel on immigration and interviews and recording of Cavendish ghost stories with LPC-TV.

If you can help with any of the following, please contact CHS; 802-226-7807 or PO Box 472, Cavendish, VT 05142

Craig Rankin's Original Plant Sale List
• Annual Plant Sale, which will be July 2 (Saturday). Do you have plants you like to contribute? Are their plants you’d like to see us carry this year? Other suggestions?

• The Museum is in desperate need of a deep cleaning. Do you have some time to spare to help with this activity? It’s a great way to learn about what’s in the Museum.

• CHS is looking for new board members as well as volunteers who can help with various activities.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Do You Know the Henry James Farm?

Recently the Cavendish Historical Society was asked if we knew anything about the Henry James Farm in Cavendish, dating back to the WWII era. The person who is inquiring writes, "I only know about it because my father volunteered there between 1941 and 1944. And I only know that because the FBI was watching him at the time and reported that he went out with the other young people who stayed - there- likely other COs [consciousness objector] -to volunteer to help local farmers with their work such as haying I imagine. Chances are no such person as Henry James who lived there- maybe it was named after a radical Henry James figure ?? Or maybe a local farmer named Henry James with lefty politics?? Really love it if u dig up Any info- the coincidence of this has bugged me for years as my dad eventually settled in close by Andover but never bothered to mention his experience in Cavendish a decade earlier... although he did love to tell a story about how he went door to door during the depression trying to peddle apples in Springfield . Having no luck with sales he eventually just knocked on doors and offered them for free .!people would not accept them and slammed their doors and called him a communist. He did love to tell that story. Now I wonder if that period in his life was the same as when he lived on Henry James farm in Cavendish. FBI records are the only documentation ironically of this."

We've solved the mystery. Turns out the name was William James, for the psychologist and philosopher, and a former Civilian Conservation Camp (CCC) in Sharon VT was renamed accordingly. Turns out this individual was never in Cavendish but rather in Sharon VT.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Annie's Grave/Annual Meeting

As part of Sunday's, March 5, Annual Meeting (3-5 pm at the Cavendish Baptist Church),  we will be telling stories that you may have never heard of.

Recently, CHS learned of a song “Annie’s Grave”  that was published by Melvin Wright of Proctorsville, VT. The song is typical of the era it was written in -1865

I remember well the time tho’twas many year ago,
When I wooed and won the love of dear Annie.
Oh, the time went swiftly by like a sweet gliding Stream
For my young heart was happy, light and free
But that happy time is past and my hair is turning gray
For that love one I never more shall see
And my heart is sad and lone, as  I weep from day to day
Since dear Annie is no longer here with me

Oh Annie, dear Annie
Thous art laid where the tall willows wave
And my heart is sad and lonely
Yes my heart is sad and lonely
As I weep o’er dear Annie’s grave.

Twas a bright and sunny morning in the autumn of the year
When they told me that I’d lost dear Annie.
That her sweet and gentle voice I never more shall hear
Or her winning smile would beam again on me
In a little green vale where the sweet flowers bloom
Near the spot where the tall willows wave
They have laid her there in rest and my heart is sad and lone
As I weep o’er dear Annie’s grave.

Curious about the author and publisher, we asked CHS genealogist Linda Welch what she might know. It turns out that the song’s publisher, Melvin Wright lived in Cavendish from at least the 1860’s to 1870’s. His wife Catherine died in 1875 and is buried in the Hillcrest Cemetery in Proctorsville, along with their child. By 1880, he had remarried and was living in Saratoga Springs.

Interestingly, Wright served as town agent for Cavendish in 1868-69. He wrote in his report, "On coming into office March, 1868, I found the town carrying on three county court suits. The "Troy case" was carried to a successful termination by the former agent, though now hanging upon the matter of taxable costs. This town should receive $300 or more from the same source yet it is unsafe to make any calculation upon that or any specified amount. The W. B. Davis Road case I settle by paying the opposing party $8.00, the sum usually charged by an attorney to get a case "continued." The case Windsor vs. Cavendish, I have given but little attention as the former agent stated in town meeting that it was virtually settled and has also assured me that he was making the town no costs. I did not consider it best to spend any time with it. I have charged the town for one day on these matters, which included the correspondence with parties on other smaller matters for the town. —Melvin Wright, Town Agent."

The songs author, George M. Clark, lived in Felchville, VT. He was no stranger to death as his first wife died in childbirth in 1856, having been married for a little over a year.

 In 1860, Clark joined with other musicians and actors and put a show on the road called the “Broadway Minstrels.” In the spring of 1866, he organized with E. P. Hardy and O. A. Whitmore, a minstrel company that became widely known in Vermont as “Whitmore & Clark’s Minstrels.” This company traveled throughout the New England states, New York and the Provinces, and for twenty-six consecutive years.

Throughout his career, he wrote some twenty-five songs— both the words and the music —many of which were published, copyrighted, and became well known and popular in their day. Among the most widely known are “Annie’s Grave,” “Meet me Josie at the Gate,” “Drifting with the Tide,” “Give me the Man who is True to his Neighbor,” etc. All of his songs had the theme of high morals and sentimentality. He also wrote church music, some of which he published, and all of which were used in the Union Choir at Reading, one time or another. George also sung in this Union Choir, and led the group for many years. 

On March 3, 1876: “Geo. M. Clark and his company gave an entertainment at Eagle Hall Tuesday evening last, consisting of vocal and instrumental music of a great variety. Hank and George were both there. If anyone wants to enjoy an evening entertainment, go and see and hear them, and if you are not satisfied that your 25 cents were well expended, we are of the opinion that to please you is a very difficult task. As usual when George comes here, the hall is full, and everyone, young and old, had a good time, ‘laughed and grew fat.’ 

Clark died June 5, 5 June 1885 (age 47) in Felchville. From his obituary:  “The news of the death of George M. Clark, the well-known and popular showman, was announced on Friday afternoon of last week, and took many of our citizens by surprise as it was not known by many that he was not in his usual health until informed of his demise. His funeral was attended on Sunday at the Baptist church, which was used because of its superior seating capacity, by Rev. F. S. Rice of Springfield, assisted by Revs. Luther Rice of Watertown, NY, A. Heald and W. E. Douglas of Felchville, Masonic Lodges from Cavendish, Springfield, Woodstock, Windsor, and Claremont, to the number of 160 members, were present, together with the G. A. R. posts from Windsor and Ludlow and the Good Templars Lodge of Felchville.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Murdock Returns to Proctorsville

In 1886, Herbert T Murdock bought into the firm of Hayward, Taft, and Burbank and took over the management, which owned the Proctorsville Mill. By 1890, Murdock had complete control over the Mill and added a large brick addition of four stories. Machinery was increased by 12 sets of cards and sixty broad looms employing 175 people. The Proctorsville Mill was considered to “rank second in the state.” Dependent on waterpower with steam as an auxiliary source of power, the expansion of this mill, along with the Gay Brothers Mill in Cavendish, were part of the town’s the population boom.

By 1916, the Proctorsville’s Mill, locally known as Murdock’s was specializing in cassimere and doeskins. H.T., as he was known, was an influential member of the community. His wife Cora promoted culture and social advancements and even purchased what today is Crows Bakery and Cafe to be used as a library and social gathering spot for employees and community.

Unfortunately, Murdock’s death in 1916, brought an abrupt end to the mill, as it revealed the shoddy practices of the second in command.

The mill operated during WWII and changed hands several times, becoming the Bear Woolen Mill. However, by 1938, this mill had fallen on hard times and Proctorsville village purchased the building. Various businesses operated out of it, with the last one being Acousti Phase. A fire destroyed the property in 1982.

However, out of the ashes come great things, and thus, under the direction of the town manager at the time, Rich Svec, the Proctorsville Green was born, along with the revitalization of Proctorsville Village. Directly across from the Green’s gazebo is now the home of Murdock’s Pub in what was once an original Mill building.

As with so many things with the Cavendish Historical Society, there is a twist.

After talking with Etienne Ting, the owner of Murdock’s, CHS thought this was a good time to educate the town about its mill history. As the summer exhibit was being mounted, who walks into the Museum but the descendants of H.T. Murdock, donating both the original keys to the Mill along with portraits of him! With them was Linda Welch, CHS’s genealogist, who provided the family’s history.  Talk about dumb struck. You couldn’t script something like this.

Note that the timeline of the Cavendish/Proctorsville Mills is being serialized in the Scribbler II, the CHS newsletter.

Murdock’s on the Green opened on February 17, 2017 to the cheers of many in Cavendish who have wanted a local place to escape to for a few hours, grab a quick bite and catch up with friends. Currently open from 4-10 pm, Murdock’s is offering craft beers, fine wines and the all-important comfort food.

The owner is Etienne Ting, who with his wife Pang, owns Moonlite Meadows Farms in Cavendish. So yes, this is a farm to table pub.

When we told Murdock’s descendants about the new “Murdock’s” they were pleased to know that their family once again “lives” in Proctorsville. We agree that H.T. would be thrilled to see how his old mill building continues to serve the people of Cavendish.