Friday, May 27, 2011

Cavendish Semiquincentennial: Cavendish Cemeteries

Below is information about the Cavendish cemeteries, which the town maintains:
Coffeen (S. Reading Road): Not long after John Coffeen settled in Cavendish, he and his wife set out for Charlestown, NH for supplies and grinding their grist. Due to a snowstorm, the parents did not return for six weeks. During this time, one of the Coffeen children became ill and died. The other children kept the body in the house until the parent’s return, at which time, due to heavy snow, the body was buried across the road from the house. Coffeen decided that this would be the family’s cemetery. Coffeens, Baldwins and at least four Revolutionary soldiers are buried there.

Old Revolutionary Cemetery (off of Brook Rd): 1778- The earliest burial in town was that of Henry Proctor in the Old Revolutionary Cemetery, located off of Brook Rd in Cavendish. The 1760 Crown Point Road passes to the right (north) of this cemetery.

Cavendish Cemetery (High Street): 1790- First burial in the Cavendish Village cemetery on High Street. The land originally belonged to Salmon Dutton, but the town bought the land from several local people.

Twenty Mile Stream Cemetery: 1793-Samuel Hutchinson Sr, who gave the land for The Twenty Mile Stream Cemetery in Proctorsville, buried the first person there, his wife Abigail.

Pest Cemetery: 1811-1815-Spotted fever epidemic. Many of the early settlers died, particularly the young and the old. The Pesthouse Cemetery, located on the upper end of Town-Farm Road was a place to bury those who died from contagious disease such as small pox. The only marker in this cemetery is for Jotham Wheelock b 8-26-1763 d 4-27-1831.

Mt. Union Cemetery (Center Road): 1805-First burial occurs. The land was obtained from several local citizens.

Proctor Cemetery (Main Street Proctorsville): 1816-First burial occurs. The land was donated by the Proctors and contains the graves of this family.

Hillcrest Cemetery (Proctorsville, off of 103 on Bailey Hill RD): 1828-First Burial. The land was obtained from the Proctors. The tomb was built in 1897. Just before entering the Hillcrest Cemetery, there used to be a “potter’s field.” During the Depression (1930’s), this area was plowed and used for planting potatoes. Only three graves remain in this area of the cemetery.

For information about who is buried in Cavendish cemeteries, the Cavendish Historical Society’s Cemeteries of Cavendish: 1776-1976 Bicentennial Project is available for sale at the Cavendish Town Office and at the Museum. It can also be ordered by sending a check to CHS for $5 to CHS, PO Box 472, Cavendish VT 05142.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Today’s Rapture and the Millerites

For quite some time, there has been considerable press given to today’s reported rapture. However, this is not unique tparticularly Vermont's history

Similar to Harold Camping, the 89 year-old retired civil engineer who has built a multi-million-dollar nonprofit ministry based on his apocalyptic prediction for today, Baptist preacher William Miller predicted Jesus was going to return to earth on Oct. 22, 1884. In Miller’s Lecture XIX he writes "Can ye not discern the signs of the times?" Will God's word fail of being accomplished? Can you show a single instance? Why not listen, then, to the warnings and admonitions, to the calls and invitations, to the examples and precepts contained therein? "Can ye not discern the signs of the times?" Will God cut off the unbelieving Pharisee for not discerning the signs of the times, and let you, with twofold more light, go free? No; how can ye escape, if you neglect this great salvation? Watch, then, "the signs of the times." I say, Watch.

Estimates very, but between 50,100 and 500,000 people were convinced that on this date, the “saints,” those who believed in the rapture, would be taken into the New Jerusalem while fire destroyed the world. The newspapers covered stories of the Millerites prior to the day of rapture and after. An article in the New York Herald, March 24 1843, made the link between Millerism and insanity: We lately published a statement that a Mr. Shortridge, of New Hampshire, had run mad with Millerism, and attempted to ascend to Heaven from an apple-tree, but found the attraction of gravitation too strong for his celestial aspirations, and came to the ground with such momentum as to cause his death. We have just seen two letters of late date from different sources in Portsmouth, N. H., stating that letters had been received there from this same Mr. Shortridge, making no mention of his 'ground and lofty tumbling' or death-circumstances so remarkable that they could hardly have escaped his notice had they actually occurred. We have heard from another source that this same Mr. S. was crazy ten years ago. So in the case of the woman who poisoned her children and attempted to commit suicide some weeks since—her insanity was attributed to Millerism, but entirely without reason. Doubtless the like has been the case in many other instances. Those who know any thing of Insanity are aware that it very commonly takes its hue from the most exciting topic of the hour, so that hundreds of persons have been reported as victims of 'religious mania,' when in fact their insanity was caused by functional disorders, often having its seat in the digestive organs and only by sympathy affecting the brain. Of those who are currently reported as rendered insane by 'Revivals' or 'Millerism,' a great portion would be found, on due inquiry, to have been constitutionally disposed to insanity, and often to have inherited that malady. In other cases, physical derangement consequent on personal excesses, such as intemperance, gluttony, and other forms of sensuality, was the true cause.—We cannot exclude from our columns accounts of remarkable casualties, but our readers will know how to make due allowance for the causes to which they are often mistakenly attributed.

Like today, many Millerites gave up jobs, sold their property and divested themselves of all things worldly. Gathering at the highest peaks where they lived, wearing white ascension robes and some sitting in metal wash tubes, they believed that when the great triumph from heaven sounded, they would be a good position to ascend.

The Millerites were most common in the Northeast. The Akron Historical Society in Ohio writes the following about what happened to the Millerites when the day of rapture came and went. For the faithful, heavy depression set in. This day was perhaps the greatest disappointment to befall the church in the history of the New Dispensation. Fifty thousand of Miller’s followers had found it impossible to stay in fellowship with their former congregations. These fifty thousand now had to face the truth. They hadn’t been taken into glory. The wicked still weren’t destroyed by fire. One by one, they retreated back into their lives.

Humiliated by what has been called "The Great Disappointment," some Millerites shucked their faith completely. Led by Miller, others formed the Adventists. The majority returned to more traditional churches.

Shortly afterward, Miller wrote a letter to his followers: “Brethren hold fast; let no man take your crown. I have fixed my mind on another time, and here I mean to stand until God gives me more light, and that is today, today, and today, until he comes.” (Bliss, Memoirs, p. 278)

Many of those, that didn't learn the first two times, resorted to believing that Jesus Christ had returned to earth on October 22, 1844, and that he is invisible. This particular theory was that it would take an additional three and a half years after Christ’s invisible return before his kingdom would be thoroughly established, which led to setting another date in 1848. What happened in 1848? You guessed it.

For more than five years, William Miller went back to the book of Daniel and Revelation, he went back to his prophetic chart and his numbers, still pondering why he had missed the truth about Christ's Second Advent.

Washington Morse of Northfield, Vermont wrote about the Great Disappointment as follows:
“The day came and passed, and the darkness of another night closed in upon the world. But with that darkness came a pang of disappointment to the advent believers that can find a parallel only in the sorrow of the disciples after the crucifixion of their Lord. . . to turn again to the cares, perplexities, and dangers of life, in full view of jeering and reviling unbelievers, who scoffed as never before, was a terrible trial of faith and patience. When Elder Himes visited Waterbury, Vt., a short time after the passing of the time and stated that the brethren should prepare for another cold winter, my feelings were almost uncontrollable. I left the place of meeting and wept like a child.”

While Miller died not long after the failed rapture, two groups continue based on his teachings the Jehovah Witness and the Seventh Day Adventists.

Friday, May 20, 2011

We’re 250 Years Old: Let’s Celebrate

The charter that created the town of Cavendish was signed by King George III on Oct. 12, 1761. To celebrate this event, a series of activities are being planned, starting in June and going through December. Here’s just part of what you can look forward to:

• Quilt: Various members of the community have made squares depicting 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: This book will include a historic timeline, pictorial display, copy of The Vermonter’s article on how Cavendish celebrated its 150th anniversary, a special edition of the Cavendish Business Directory and much more. We hope to have the book available for sale at Old Home Day, July 2.

• Town Play: Once again the Cavendish Players will treat us to a unique understanding of Cavendish history. August 27 and 28

• June 5 (Sunday): Cavendish Historical Society 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 will include a live auction at 1 pm.

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

Join us on Facebook
To help get the word out about Cavendish’s 250 Anniversary, a Facebook page has been set up at This is a great way to share your photographs and stories of Cavendish, learn about activities and help to make our 250th a very special year. A 250th Anniversary Website will soon be available as well.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cavendish Genealogy: Craigue/Craig

A story has been passed down through many generations of the Craigue family, that William joined the 9th Norfolk Regiment of the British Army on 14 Jan., 1775 at Downpatrick, Ireland. Downpatrick is across the Irish Sea from Cumberland, England. The soldiers sailed for America in 1776 to fight in the Revolution. He was then twenty-one years old. Oral family history reports: "in 1775 Will was a lad of around 16 years old and living with his parents at their home in Carlisle, England. Some say he was caught for a crime of "throwing a man or a tattling servant girl over a stair rail, killing his victim." In any event, he was given the choice of being tried, convicted and punished for the crime, or enlisting in His Majesty's troops than being raised for service in America.”

There are some family researchers who believe William changed his name when he deserted the English Army and joined up with the New England Continental Army, so that his father would not find him. All agree that he was a trooper in General Burgoyne's Army stationed at Ticonderoga in 1777. He might have deserted that year along with others. The convention troops of Burgoyne's Army were captured at Saratoga 17 Oct., 1777. They were first sent to Boston. There was a list prepared, containing the names of officers. There is no complete list of the soldiers who were captured that day. Whether William Craigue deserted at Ticonderoga on his own, or whether he was at Saratoga and deserted from the "Convention Troops" who were originally taken as prisoners, is not known. In any event, after the Saratoga defeat, William became a Revolutionary soldier.

After the war, William and Esther lived in Chelmsford or a nearby town before moving to the newly growing community across the Connecticut River in Weathersfield, Vermont. It must have been during the winter of 1790/1 that they came to Weathersfield with Esther's parents and her two sisters, Bridget and Joanna Adams. In 1792, William purchased land in Weathersfield, consisting of a 60-acre parcel from Longley Willard. This was Lot #48 in the 4th Division of lands of the town. This area was known as Eagle's Head and is where the Covell family later lived. In 1809, William sold his Weathersfield property to Joshua Morgan and received in return a 50-acre farm in the Witherspoon section of Cavendish, which was the South half of Lot #11. He lived in Cavendish for approximately seventeen years. He removed to Troy, Vt. in Feb., 1826. In 1832 he lived in Westfield. In a peculiar quitclaim deed dated 10 Dec., 1825 at Cavendish, William Craigue sold a 359-acre parcel of land in Cavendish to Salmon Dutton for $10. The bounds of this property: “beginning at a corner— a small beech tree, it being Jonathan Atherton’s southwest corner; thence north, 12 degrees east, 428 rods (or thereabouts) to the north bank of the Black River; thence on the same course, 58 rods to a stake and stones; thence west ten degrees north, 116 rods to the northeast corner of Billings Walker’s lands; thence south twelve degrees west, 508 rods to southwest to the corner of Billings Walker’s lands to a stake and stones standing in Benjamin Page’s pasture and in the south line of Brantingham’s tract; thence east on the south line of the Brantingham tract to the beginning.” Why would William quit claim a 359-acre parcel of land in Cavendish for $10?

For the 44 page genealogy of the Craigue/Craig family, compiled by the Cavendish Historical Society genealogist Linda Welch, please contact or call 802-226-7807. Copies are available via PDF files and/or CD rom

Friday, May 13, 2011

Cavendish Semiquincentennial: House Resolution HCR 147

Concurrent House Resolution H.C. R. 147 commemorates the incorporation of Vermont Towns observing their 250th anniversary in 2011. Copies of the resolution have been given to the Town Office and to the Cavendish Historical Society by Cavendish Representative Ernie Shand. A copy of the Resolution can be seen online.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Cavendish Civil War: A letter regarding John Brown’s stay in Proctorsville

This past week, Linda Welch, the CHS genealogist, e-mailed a letter written by Henry Bridge Atherton, a lawyer from Cavendish, to John Redparth, a biographer of John Brown, the famous abolitionist. Below is a copy of the letter, which further adds to the knowledge that Cavendish played an interesting role in the Civil War era. Not only was Governor Ryland Fletcher, from Cavendish, but he was a staunch abolitionist.

The letter indicates that not only was Brown seeking guns and money to help with his cause, but that he had begun to lay out the plans for the eventual insurrections in Kansas, which led to the death of five people that were pro slavery .

Unfortunately, the last page of the what was most likely a five page letter, is missing.

Proctorsville, VT Mary 9th, 1882

James Redparth Esq

I have sometimes thought the day would come where your publishers would issue another edition of your “Public Life of John Brown,” which was 1st published at Boston in 1860 by Thayer and Eldridge 11 St and 116 Washington St. I have been recently reading that book, and it occurs to me that, inview of the events following the execution of the old hero-the man-the freedom of the slave, the political results of the execution-and the history of our country in the past quarter of a century-you might perhaps to write that book and, if so, I would want a copy to side by side with the copy I now have in my library. John Brown and his son, Owen, I think it was, came here in the last days of Dec. 1856 or in the early part of January 1857- and spent some time on those days at my office-boarding at the Village Hotel. At that time I held the office of Secretary of the VT Senate- and our Governor-Hon. Ryland Fletcher, a brother of the late Hon. Richard Fletcher, of Boston, and Judge of Mass. Sup. Court- now my new neighbor. Our Legislature at the previous Oct. Session at Montpelier had passed an act authorizing Gov. Fletcher, in his discretion to furnish funds to an amount not exceeding twenty thousand dollars -$20,000-for the relief of the suffering citizens of Kansas-as you will find by reference to the session laws of 1856 in the Library-Our state casual care of __ General Gundry of Vergennes, VT had on hand quite an amount of guns-out of date & useless to our State. Gundry was authorized to sell or dispose of them. In some way John Brown had learned of these facts—and came here to examine the laws-and to confer with Gov. Fletcher. The Old man told us that the generosity of the people had so supplied the citizens of Kansas with food and clothing as none of this __ appropriation would be thus needed, least be thought possibly the Gov. might be authorized to let him have some of the old guns from the state Arsenal-He became satisfied on looking at the law, that Gov. Fletcher could not appropriate guns for the Defense of Freedom in the direction indicated. The Old man told us his objectives to enlist young men-pious and patriotic determined young men-not wild and -- profane ones in his service and that he proposed to rendezvous at Tabor in Iowa-just over the boarders from Kansas and await events. He showed me the enlistment papers as drawn up by him and most neatly executed. He said he expected on the return of Spring in 1857- the Missourians-becoming supplied themselves with a new stock of whiskey, would again invade Kansas-and he wishes to be ready to repel them. He said that courage of those invaders depended very much on the amount of whiskey they had. He was very conscientious-writing at my office table many letters in the time he was here. I offered him paper, envelopes—postage stamps-and he always left the dimes in the box to pay for them. The son was a light complexioned and sandy haired youth as compared with the father-they had the chains with them-that the borders….