Thursday, April 21, 2011

Scribbler II: Spring 2011 Newsletter

250th (Semiquincentennial) Anniversary Activities

The following activities are being planned by the Cavendish Historical Society (CHS) for the town’s yearlong celebration of the signing of the Charter that created Cavendish.

• Quilt: Various members of the community are making squares that depict aspects of current life as well as historical people and events. The quilt will be one display starting with Old Home Day weekend.

• Cavendish Semiquincentennial Book: CHS is an integral part of the town’s anniversary committee and is responsible for several sections of this book-Cavendish Historical Timeline and the Anniversary edition of the Cavendish Business Directory.

• Town Play: CHS is helping to write this year’s play, depicting the town’s history, which take place August 27 and 28

• June 5 (Sunday): Museum opens for the season and will be open on Sundays from 2-4pm until October closing.

• June 12 (Sunday): Screening of the film “Life in Windsor County” with Bruce McEnaney, Vice President of CHS and one of the interviewees featured in the film.

• July 2 (Saturday): Old Home Day, Cavendish Pictorial Display; Museum Plant sale; Cavendish Green activities including a live auction

July 3 (Sunday): Cavendish Pictorial Display

July 17 (Sunday): Phineas Gage-His Importance Then and Now, includes a walking tour of sites pertaining to the accident with Margo Caulfield, Co-Director of Chronic Conditions Information Network, who has worked in traumatic brain injury (TBI) for over 25 years.

August/September (Dates to be determined)
- Tours of Dutton, Revolutionary and Center Road Cemeteries
- Early Cavendish Tour
- Cavendish Players will present a production about early Cavendish history
- Building of Long House

Starting in May, CHS’s Cemetery crew will be working in the oldest Cavendish cemeteries and will be cleaning the War Memorial.

More information about events and activities can be found at the CHS blog and on the Cavendish Update.

Young Historians Helping with Japanese Relief Effort
This year, the Cavendish Town Elementary School (CTES) Young Historians have been studying the 1940’s. They learned what an important role children played during that time period, whether it was helping to spot for enemy aircraft, planting Victory Gardens, holding scrap drives or making pins to support the war effort.

In response to the tsunami and earthquake in Japan, the Young Historians demonstrated a similar sense of helping as their predecessors by making origami cranes and white and red bracelets. The cranes are part of a program by Osh Kosh by Gosh. For every crane made, they will donate clothing for a child in Japan. The bracelets are being sold at Crows Corner Bakery and at the school. The students have chosen to send to Shelter Box USA. This organization responds instantly to disasters by delivering boxes of aid to those who are most in need. The box includes a tent for a family of 10, cooker, blankets, water purification, tool kit and other items survivors need to rebuild their lives in the days, weeks and months following a disaster.

Cemetery Restoration Continues
With the arrival of spring, it’s now possible to once again enter the cemeteries. Work will begin shortly on the righting of stones and cleaning markers. CHS continues to seek volunteers who would like to assist with this effort. All volunteers will be taught and equipped in the appropriate way to clean stones. Even after this year’s particularly cold and snowy winter, you can see the work completed last year. If interested in being part of this project, please contact Margo Caulfield at 802-226-7807 or e-mail Donations can be designated for the cemetery project.

Genealogy: Bates Family
Linda Welch has completed an extensive draft of the Bates Family genealogy. This includes information about James Hale Bates who built Brook Farm-also known locally as the Bates Mansion at Brook Farm. If you would like to review this draft in PDF format, please e-mail

Cavendish Timeline 1835- 1880

1835: Proctorsville Woolen Manufacturing Company, started by Jabez Proctor, employed 35 workers, making cassimere cloth by 1842.

1840: Cavendish population 1,427

1844: Universalist Church (Old Stone Church) built in Cavendish. This was the beginning of “snecked ashlar” buildings in the town. This construction technique refers to walls constructed with exterior and interior surfaces composed of mortared stone slabs arranged vertically on edge, tied together with smaller horizontal slabs called "snecks." The space between the wall surfaces was filled with rubble stone. Oral tradition suggests that Scottish stonemasons working in Canada were responsible for introducing the technique into Vermont. Examples of “snecked ashlar” construction are present throughout the town: Glimmerstone (Main Street); Black River Health Center; Roundy Farm (corner of Wiley Hill Road and High Street in Cavendish); Saydek home adjacent to the Town Office; the Black River Bank building on Depot Street in Proctorsville and several homes on Twenty Mile Stream Rd. The stone for the various buildings was mined in Cavendish.

1848: Phineas Gage, a foreman, was working with his crew excavating rocks in preparing the bed for the Rutland and Burlington Railroad in Cavendish. An accidental explosion of a charge he had set blew his tamping iron through his head. It entered under the left cheekbone and exited through the top of the head. His recovery from this injury and the impact on his life was the first well-documented case of traumatic brain injury in the medical literature. It was also the first understanding that different parts of the brain have different functions and effects on personality. With this knowledge, the first brain tumor removal operation became possible in 1885.

1848: The Rutland Railroad runs through both villages, connecting Burlington and Boston.

1850: Cavendish population 1,576

1858: Emily Dutton marries Redfield Proctor, ending a 75-year feud between the villages of Cavendish and Proctorsville. The merger of these families proved to be important to Vermont, since three governors and a United States Senator issued from this Dutton-Proctor line.

• The Proctorsville Library Association formed. Redfield Proctor elected librarian and clerk. The Hon. Richard Fletcher, of Boston Mass made a donation of books the following year.

1860: Irish railroad workers, who settled in Cavendish, form the Catholic Church in Proctorsville.
• Cavendish population 1,509

1867: Fitton Mill (Spring Mill) established and soon became the largest mill in the area. The Mill complex was destroyed by arson in 1875. Remains of the Mill can be seen in the area just before the Cavendish Gorge.

1869: At a special town meeting held October 18, 1869, the town accepted of the gift of Hon. Richard Fletcher, of Boston, Mass., of 2,600 volumes and the interest accruing on $2,000, for the permanent establishment of a library, which was named in honor of the generous donor. The question of the location of the library caused a great deal of jealousy among the people of the villages of Cavendish and Proctorsville, the inhabitants of the latter desiring the establishment of a branch in that village, which was at first refused by a vote of 138 against, to 119 in favor. Tile library was first established at the house of Luke Parkhurst, then town clerk. History of Windsor County, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich and Frank R. Holmes, 1891

• The flood of 1869 destroyed New City. This area was located four miles from Cavendish village near Weathersfield. As early as 1856, woodenware was manufactured there. Newspaper accounts indicate that some form of settlement was in place by 1845. The 1855 Dotton map shows three building, with one marked ‘sawmill.” New City is an example of an area that, according to the usual pattern of New England settlement, would not be inhabited. It was ignored in the early days. Far from other settlements, deep in a narrow valley, subject to flooding, it does not make sense to live there unless an economic situation provides incentive. Only prosperity would allow investors to develop the normally undesirable spot. The promise of good waterpower during a boom time must have caused the essential optimism to seek a “New City.” This area was an example of 19th century waterpower manufacturing boom and related domestic sites that are no longer operating or even standing. With the elimination of a boom time that demanded cut lumber and woodenware, there was no other reason for industrial operations. CHS Archives.

1870: Cavendish registered the highest population in its history with 1,823 people.

1875: Baptist Church (now the Historical Society Museum) and Alonzo Mills are burned.

1877: The Proctorsville Woolen mill is reorganized and becomes the second largest mill in Vermont under the management of Taft, Burbank and Murdock. It was known as the Crescent Mill.

1880: Cavendish population 1,276 This significant decline can be attributed to several factors-the westward expansion and lack of work.

Cavendish During the Civil War
On April 13, 1861 the first shots of the Civil War rang out with the firing on Fort Sumter in Charleston, SC. President Lincoln appealed to the states for soldiers to suppress the rebellion. Governor Erastus Fairbanks replied that Vermont would do its "full duty" to help preserve the Union. As you’ll see in the information below, at a Cavendish town meeting on April 30 of that year, Cavendish took up the matter of supporting the “Cavendish Light Infantry.” Governor Ryland Fletcher, who presided over the meeting was the 24th Governor of the state from 1856 to 1858. Governor Fletcher was born in Cavendish.

In addition to working on his father's farm, he taught in the district school during the winter months. At age eighteen, he joined the state militia, attaining the rank of Brigadier-General. In 1854 he was elected Lieutenant Governor as the nominee of the Whig, Free Soil, and Liberty Parties, and in 1855 he was reelected-this time on the Republican ticket with Governor Stephen Royce. In 1856, he undertook a successful campaign for governor as the Republican nominee, and he was reelected in 1857. Fletcher strongly favored biennial rather than annual gubernatorial elections and was a tireless worker in the anti-slavery and temperance causes. After leaving office, he served in the Vermont legislature and was a member of the State Constitutional Convention in 1870. He died and was buried in Proctorsville, Vermont. Note: Ryland Fletcher is buried in the Cavendish Cemetery on High Street and not in Proctorsville as noted in the National Governors Association’s website

Prior to the War, Cavendish became part of the eastern trunk of the Underground Railroad between Brattleboro and Montpelier. In 1857, famous abolitionist John Brown came to Cavendish in hopes of securing some of the $20,000 the Vermont Legislature had approved to support anti slavery settlements in Kansas. Although Fletcher was governor at this time, his request for funds was denied. An account of Brown’s visit in the May 7, 1869 edition of the Rutland Herald, was described as follows:

"... Hair closely cut, beard neatly shaven, tight, stiff stock around his neck, no collar, or dickey, closely fitting swallow-tailed coat ..." the newspaper described. "As soon as it was known that 'John Brown' was stopping in our village, all manifested a desire to see and hear the man ... Notice was given that he would meet the people at the school house, and at the appointed hour an audience assembled.

"We introduced the modest and unassuming old man ... He went on and told the tale of his struggles with the despotism of slavery ... We little thought then how soon 'John Brown's body' would be mouldering in the ground, but his soul was even at that hour 'marching on.'"

In the War of the Union. — The first action taken by the town in reference to the late civil war was at a town meeting held April 30, 1861, Governor Ryland Fletcher presiding. It was then voted to raise $2,000 to liquidate all obligations incurred by Captain Tuttle in raising the Cavendish Light Infantry, and to pay the board of the men and furnish support to their families. Another loan of $3,000 was authorized in August, 1862, to pay bounties for nine months' volunteers, and in November of the following year a bounty of $200 was offered for volunteers, which was subsequently increased to $300, and another loan of $4,000 negotiated. During the latter part of 1863 the bounty was increased to $500, to make it possible to fill the town quota, and the selectmen were authorized to raise $10,000 to pay the expense of future calls for volunteers. In January, 1865, another loan of $7,000 was made, and in 1867 $15,000 was borrowed to pay the balance of the war debt. From a compilation made by the Hon. Calvin French we give the following figures : Cavendish furnished to the armies of the Union twenty men in response to the first call for troops for three months' service. In the Second, Eleventh, Fourth, Seventh aud Fifth Vermont Regiments, forty-two men for three years' service. These volunteers received no bounties Forty-two men were furnished under the nine months call. For subsequent calls fifty-three men were furnished for three years, and thirty for one year, making a grand total of 187 volunteers furnished by the town, whose terms of service would amount to 3521^ years for one man. Of these 125 volunteers received bounties amounting to $43,550, the others being recruited before it was necessary to offer a bounty. As early as 1867 a movement was inaugurated to erect a soldiers' monument in Cavendish, but it was not successful. In May, 1883, the present secretary of war, Redfield Proctor, presented his native town with a fine white marble monument, suitably inscribed and surmounted with an eagle. The town at this time appropriated $1,000 to grade the lot and pay the expense of the dedication of the monument. History of Windsor County, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich and Frank R. Holmes, 1891

Cavendish Historical Society Board
Dan Churchill
Jen Harper
Gloria Leven
Bruce McEnaney
Mike Pember
Gail Woods


If you have not joined the Cavendish Historical Society, need to renew your membership, and/or would like to be a volunteer, please complete the form below and sending a check, payable to CHS, to CHS, PO Box 472, Cavendish, VT 05142. All contributions are tax deductible.

Name: _______________________________________

Address: _______________________________________________

Phone Number: _____________________ E-Mail: ____________________________

Membership Level
__ Individual Member $10 ___ Senior Member 65+ $ ___ Sustaining Member $500
__ Household Member $15 ___ Contributing Member $250

___ I would be interested in serving, as a volunteer .I would be interested in serving on the following committee(s):
__ Program Planning __ Fundraising __ Building (Museum)
__Archives _ Budget --–– Cemetery __ Young Historian Program

Donations are always welcome and can be designated as follows:
__ For general purposes __ Educational Programs __Publications
__ Archeological Activities __ Museum & Archival __ Special Events
__ Rankin Fund __ Williams Fund __ Young Historians
__ Other (please specify) __ Cemetery Restoration __ 250tAnniversary

No comments:

Post a Comment