Saturday, January 29, 2011

Young Historians: Letters to soldiers/1946 Timeline

We've had a lot of snow days in January, so this past Wednesday was the first time we've met since the holidays.

In the 1940’s, school children wrote to the soldiers all over the world. This week we made cards and wrote notes to Jason O’Connor who is in Afghanistan. He wanted to hear from people living near his hometown of Chester, VT.

All of the students thanked him for serving his country. Some told personal things about themselves, such as how tall they were and what activities they liked. One student told him about a "yard of snow" we had received, while another commented that if the snow kept up we'd be in school in July.

1946 Timeline
• Bikinis Introduced
• Dr. Spock’s The Common Book of Baby and Child Care is published
• Juan Peron becomes president of Argentina
• Nuremberg Trials begin
• Winston Churchill gives his “Iron Curtain” Speech
• Fist baseball game telecast in Chicago with the Cards vs Cubs
• 7,000 TV sets were sold as commercial TV became established. Note: Vermont did not have its first television station, until 1954 when WCAX-TV began broadcasting from Burlington.

• Movies: It’s a Wonderful Life

• Books: Newberry Winner: Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski; Caldecott Winner: The Rooster Crows by Maude & Miska Petersham

• Songs: Round Midnight Thelonious Monk; Get Your Kicks on Route 66 Nat King Cole; A Night in Tunisia Dizzy Gillespie; Let it Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow Vaughn Monroe

Friday, January 21, 2011

Civil War Sesquicentennial: Cavendish Civil War Nurse

Born Eliza Atherton in Auburn, NY, Lizzie Aiken moved to Cavendish in 1826 at the age of nine. She came to live at her paternal grandfather’s, Jonathan Atherton, farm.. When Lizzie was 16, her mother became ill and she spent the next four years caring for her family. When her mother’s health improved, she attended the New England Academy in Cavendish for one term.

At the age of 20, she married Cyrus Aiken and they relocated to Illinois. Tragedy struck when she lost all of her sons to cholera, which was followed by the death of her sister from the same disease. Not long after, her home was destroyed by lighting. When her husband became ill, and her father died, she became a domestic nurse to help defray expenses and to support her mother, who was still in Cavendish.

With the onset of the Civil War, Lizzie nursed soldiers in the sick tents near Peoria, Il. In Nov. 1861, Aiken accompanied the 6th Illinois Cavalry to Shwaneetown on the Ohio River. Her comfort and care resulted in the nickname “Aunt Lizzie.” At first she worked for no pay but eventually received $12 per month from the army.

In 1862, she wrote a friend, “Twenty four nights in succession I have sat up until three in the morning dealing out medicine. I cannot think of leaving these poor fellows if there is any chance of their living. Dr. Niglas tells me I have saved the lives of over 400 men. I am afraid I hardly deserve that compliment. I cannot tell you how well this work suits this restless heart of mine.”

In 1864, the ladies of the Peoria Loyal League raised the money so she could visit her mother in Cavendish for three weeks. With the end of the war, Aunt Lizzie was sick and returned to Peoria where she was nursed back to health. In 1867, she joined the Second Baptist Church and worked as missionary until her death in January 1906. She was 88 years old.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cavendish 250th Anniversary: Crown Point Road

Construction began on the Crown Point Road in 1759. Built by the British, it linked Fort Number 4 in Charlestown, NH to Fort Crown Point on Lake Champlain. Major John Hawks and 250 rangers cleared a roughhewn road through the forest. A path was cut across the elevation in southeastern Cavendish, now called Hawks Mountain. Soldiers traveling along this section of the road soon complained of its roughness. Another route bypassing Hawks Mountain was laid out during the next spring. An encampment from twenty miles from Charlestown on the road gave the tributary of the Black River its present name: Twenty Mile Stream. The first settlers in Cavendish, John Coffeen and family, settled close to the Crown Point Road in 1769, eight years after the Charter was signed by King George III.

There will be a meeting to start planning for the town's 250th anniversary (Oct. 12, 1761) celebration on Jan. 24 (Monday), 4 pm at the Town Office. All are welcome. FMI: 226-7807 or 226-7292

Friday, January 7, 2011

Celebrating Cavendish’s 250th Anniversary: Amos Kimball Father of the Cavendish Proprietors

The following information is from Linda Welch, the Cavendish Historical Society (CHS) genealogist, and is being printed as part of the 250th Anniversary of Cavendish year long celebration.

Amos Kimball was born at Bradford, Mass. 13 Oct. 1717. He had lands in Winchendon, and a vast tract of land in Cavendish Vt., He was one of the original proprietors of Cavendish and should be considered the “Father of the Cavendish Proprietors” for it was Amos Kimball who sought and obtained the charter for the Town of Cavendish from Benning Wentworth, the governor of New Hampshire. Although Amos never settled in the town, he was a formidable promoter of its early settlement. He conducted most of his business concerning Cavendish from his home in Lunenburg.

Amos and his wife Dorothy removed from Bradford to Lunenburg, Mass. in 1746/7 and settled in that part which became Fitchburg. He served on the school committee and served as selectman in 1751-52, 1756, 1758-9. He and his cousin Ephraim built the first dam across the Nashua River near the present stone mill in Fitchburg. They had a saw and gristmill there as well. He was very active in procuring the incorporation of the town of Fitchburg from Lunenburg, and was very active and prominent in the affairs of Fitchburg until his death. There is no doubt he had every intention of locating in Cavendish, but the land controversy with the New Hampshire Grants persuaded him to give up the intention and leave it to pioneers younger than he.

Amos Kimball's faithful stewardship to protect the New Hampshire Cavendish charter was part of his life's work. He was very active in his land dealings and land speculation in Cavendish up to his death. The following deed tells us how he bought out Ephraim Whitney's Right of over 300 acres of land in the town for a mere thirteen shillings, via:

"To all people to whom these presents shall come, Greetings: Know ye that I, Ephraim Whitney of Fitchburg, in the County of Worcester, and Province of the Massachusetts Bay, Gent, in consideration of the sum of thirty shillings lawful money to me paid by Amos Kimball of Fitchburg, aforesaid, Gent, the receipt whereof I do hereby acknowledge; have and do hereby grant, sell and convey to him, said Amos Kimball, his heirs and assigs, one Right or Full Share of Land in the Township of Cavendish, in the County of Albany, and Province of New York, being the same Right or Share which I hold by virtue of my being a Grantee in the Original Grant of said Township, made by the Governor and Council of the Province of New Hampshire.

To have and hold the said Right or Share with the appurtenances to him the said Amos Kimball, his heirs and assigns forever, without ever being molested or disturbed by me or any from by or under me, in Witness whereof, I have hereunto let my hand and seal, this 11 March, 1766. Ephraim Whitney. Witnessed by: David Goodridge, John Grout and Richard Taylor - -
• Received for recording at Cavendish, 27 May 1793 (brought to town by Amos Kimball Jr.) and recorded by Samuel White, Register.

Amos Kimball land dealings in Cavendish continued. The following document tells us how he bought out Daniel Hoar's Right of over 300 acres of land in the town for the cost of paying John Chruch for going to New York State to procure a confirming deed and charter.
"To: John Church Esq., at Charlestown in the Province of New Hampshire, by this may certify that Deacon Amos Kimball has bought of me the subscriber, all Right & Title that I have or ought to have to all the Land or Rights and after draughts in the town of Cavendish, said Amos Kimball, paying all charges, fees, and charter cost that hath or may arise on said lands, and I hereby desire you to give the title of all the Lands and Rights that I have to said lands to Deacon Amos Kimball of Fitchburg and your complying will oblige me, I hereby promise to indemnify you from any trouble or damage that I ever will bring against you or your heirs or executors, as witness my hand and seal this 29 day of January and in the thirteenth year of his Majesties Reign, AD 1773. Signed, sealed in presence of Thomas Cowdrin and George Kimball, -- Daniel Hoar. —Received for recording at Cavendish, 27 May, 1793 {brought to town by Amos Kimball Jr.) and recorded by Samuel White, Register.

Amos died in Lunenburg, 6 Oct. 1774 (age 57), Dorothy must have come to Cavendish with one of her sons after her husband's death. She died 1 Jan. 1795 (age 77), and is buried in the Cavendish Village, Mt. Union Cemetery.

For a PDF copy of the Kimball Family genealogy, please e-mail or call 802-226-7807.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011-An Important Year in Cavendish History

Cavendish will mark two important anniversaries this year-the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War and the 250th anniversary of the founding of the town. Each week, during this historic year, the Cavendish Historical Society will provide information about the early years of the town as well as the Civil War era.

Cavendish was chartered on October 12, 1761 under New Hampshire’s Benning Wentworth, who was appointed first Royal Governor of New Hampshire (1741-1766). Starting with Bennington in 1749, Wentworth granted (sold) large tracts of land in what would become Vermont, even though this territory was claimed by the Province of New York. Wentworth kept the fees paid by the towns, as well reserving two shares (500 acres) of each town for himself. Though he became very wealthy through these activities, he desperately wanted a title. Consequently, he named the towns to honor people that he thought could further his interests.

Cavendish was most likely named for William Cavendish, the fourth Duke of Devonshire. The Duke was married to Charlotte, who was a daughter and heiress of Richard Boyle, the third Earl of Burlington, and a granddaughter of the Marquis of Halifax. At different times William Cavendish was lord lieutenant of Ireland and of Derbyshire and first lord of the treasury. In 1756-57 he was prime minister of England, and from 1757 to 1762 he was lord high chamberlain.

In 1764, after considerable dispute between New York and New Hampshire, the King awarded Wentworth’s grants to New York. Neither the settlers nor the proprietors of this town were eager to pay for a New York charter, which cost more than ten times the amount charged by New Hampshire. Eight years later, proprietors re-purchased Cavendish from New York, having raised funds by selling the town’s Wentworth’s tract. Yet the land dispute continued, and Vermont fought New York as well as Great Britain for its independence. Finally, in 1791, when no colony or state could any longer make claim upon its territory, Vermont joined the United States and the land question was settled.

A committee is being formed to plan events for the 250th anniversary. If you are interested in participating, please e-mail or call 226-7807.