Thursday, March 31, 2011

Young Historians: Helping with the Japanese Relief Effort

During WWII, kids in Cavendish would have made pins to raise money to help with the war effort. These would often be made with red, white and blue beads, the colors of USA flag. Using white and red beads, Japan's flag colors, the students make bracelets to help with the Japanese Relief Effort. In addition, some also folded origami cranes. The latter will be mailed to OshKosh B'Gosh as part of this company's Japanese relief effort.

Alex Provance, a flight attendant for Delta, has recently flown twice to Japan. She brought Japanese newspapers, as well as "Pokey," a chocolate cookie from Japan. She told the students about what it was like experiencing the "after shock" of the earthquake.

The bracelets the students made are available for a minimum donation of $5. They are on sale at the Cavendish Elementary School (go to the office), Crows Corner Bakery and the Cavendish Town Office.

The students want the money raised to go 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.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cavendish Semiquincentennial: Other Cavendish Women to Know

In celebration of March being National Women’s History Month, this is the final post on Women in Cavendish History.

Arey, Harriet Ellen (Grannis), author, born in Cavendish, Vermont, 14 April 1819. Her father, John Grannis, was a member of the Canadian parliament at the breaking out of the rebellion of 1837, and was obliged to flee to the United States, where he afterward held positions of trust. The daughter became a schoolteacher in Cleveland, and a contributor to periodicals. She married Oliver Arey in 1848, and edited the "Youth's Casket" and the "Home Monthly." Her principal work is "Household Songs and other Poems" (New York, 1854).

Bacon, Fanny and Carrie Spafford: Wrote, edited and printed “The Scribbler,” in the early 1900’s. Local writers could see their poetry, essays or short stories in print. This was produced once a month.

Baxendale, Imogene: She is the only female who name appears on the WWII plaque attached to the Civil War memorial in Cavendish. Baxendale was stationed in the Philippines and Japan during and after the war. She was the first woman to join the Legion of Guardsmen, a veteran’s organization in Bellows Falls. During WWII the women in Cavendish worked multiple shifts at Gay Brothers Woolen Mills, grew Victory Gardens, took turns manning the three spotter towers in town and “Did their bit and Knit” socks for soldiers.

Foster, Gertrude: First woman elected to the Cavendish Select board in 1918.

Haven, Florence: Founder of the Cavendish Chapter of the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution)

Pollard, Erminie: Served in the Vermont Legislature in 1951-1952. She was the first woman on the Banking and Insurance Committee.

Pollard, Mary: A dietician in an Army Hospital on Ellis Island during WWI. She is the only female whose name appears on the WWI plaque attached to the Civil War memorial in Cavendish.

Skinner, Cornelia Otis: A great grand daughter of Cavendish native, the Reverend Warren Skinner, and daughter of the famous actor Otis Skinner, she spent summers at the family home in Proctorsville, which is now The Golden Stage Inn. Cornelia wrote numerous short humorous pieces for publications like The New Yorker. These pieces were eventually compiled into a series of books, including Nuts in May, Dithers and Jitters, Excuse It Please!, and The Ape In Me, among others. With Emily Kimbrough, she wrote Our Hearts Were Young and Gay.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Eliza Seaver

Dear Friends: About the following letter:
Eliza French was born in Cavendish, Vermont, 31 Dec., 1804, dau. of Daniel & Sarah Brigden (Swift) French. Dan French was a native of Hollis, New Hampshire and came to Cavendish, raised by his brother-in-law, Ben Spaulding on the Twenty-Mile Stream farm. Dan's father had died when he was only 13 but Ben Spaulding looked after him as if he was his own son. On 21 Oct., 1799, Dan purchased his own land and built a farm on the Twenty-Mile Stream. He had purchased his land from Dr. Asaph Fletcher, and named one of his own sons after the doctor. There is a great deal of information about Dan and his family, in "Families of Cavendish, Vol. 3 - the French family. A handful of historical original letters - treasures were sent to our Cavendish Historical Society by Mr. Larry Gobrecht who looked up our historical society on the internet and offered to lend the originals to us so we could "typescribe" them and scan them in for our own collections. Larry wrote to me: "somehow the New York destination letters and Vermont destination letters ended up in the same place before ending up in Cornwall NY (near West Point) in my dad's collection. That would have been at least 15 years ago and probably much longer than that." Larry's father, apparently collected old letters! We are very grateful to Larry for thinking of us. I am especially since I know all these folks from my own research into our Families of Cavendish. It is amazing letters still exist and we are very fortunate to have Larry look up our historical society and make contact.

The following letter (the 1st one I have type-scribed) is especially interesting. Sounds like Eliza had rheumatic fever or some such critical illness and it was a miracle she lived! They did not know back then, about the advantages of aspirin or other medicines. They put her body in "warm water" and bled her. She was lucky to have survived the treatment, let alone the disease.

In this letter, she speaks of the Adams' folks, who were also from Cavendish (see Vol. 3) and moved to the same area in New York State as she and William Seaver did. She speaks of A. Baldwin (Abel Baldwin who went to Montpelier, Indiana about this same time with Newton Putnam and all the Putnams on the Twenty-Mile-Stream with other Cavendish folks - see Families of Cavendish, Vol. 1.] William Seaver also wrote of the Smith family who went to Schoolcraft Michigan. This was the time when many Cavendish Vermonters headed "West young men" Eliza mentions that she just learned her sister Mary was married! Mary married 29 March, 1836, Artemas Spaulding. For all of our folks related to the Spaulding families, I thought I would add that tidbit. I am going to go through the rest of the letters and will type-scribe them all -scan them all in, before I send the originals back to Larry. I will send my typescripts to Margo to put up on our web site.

-Good reading to all. If anyone has questions, feel free to e-mail me. -Linda M. Welch, Historian, Cavendish Historical Society.

Lowville, New York 25 April, 1836
To: Daniel French, Cavendish, Windsor County, Vermont
From: William & Eliza Seaver & family
[first part from William Seaver] Dear Parents: I improve this opportunity to inform you of my health and family which is good at this present time. Although Eliza has been very sick this winter, she was taken the 15th of January; she was confined to the bed 5 weeks, which she was not able to sit up any at all. She was taken deranged after she had been confined to the bed one week. The first that we discovered that she was out of her head she rose up in the bed and hollered for the Jimeson who is a preacher in that place, that she wanted that he should come and pray with her for her soul was in hell and he must come agreeable to her request. We sent for him and repeated it for several times until we found it was a damage to her then we dispensed with his coming. She would for the most part of the time answer every question with the greatest correctness, but her memory was better than when she was in health. She had spasms or fits, which took us from four to five to keep her on the bed. Those spasms was mostly nights. We had a counsel of doctors twice and they decided that there was no chance out of them for her to get well, but she sometimes was so bad that they thought that was doubtful; but He who breathed all world into existence has seen fit to restore her to health again. We was blest with kind neighbors. There was not anything lacking to be done that was not done for her good. As for myself, I was attacked with the fever in the meantime, which I was in bed and went through in course of medicine which broke it up and I was not confined to the house but one week. After that I was taken with fever and ague which lasted five or six days but I am in good health now. I am to work at my trade this summer and a plenty of liveliness. As respects that money I had due me in Michigan, I have not yet got it. I have wrote to Smith twice and not had any answer yet. You must give my respects to Mr. Wyman and family and tell him that he shall have his pay. I shall write to him before long. You must write soon as convenient. So I must close. -Wm. Seaver.

[this next part written by Miss Eleanor E. Whitehouse of Dayonsville by request of Elisa Seaver] "As it is Eliza's request that I should write to inform you of her sickness, I will endeavor to. I went to her house the 29th of January. She had been unwell about two weeks but she kept about and done her work until the day before I went there, she was taken with a severe pain in he head but she thought it nothing strange as she was subject to the sick headache, but she would often say I never had such a headache before. She tried everything that she could think of but it was all of no avail. I went there on Friday. Saturday she was rather better. The next day se was not so well and continued so until Monday morning, than her husband went after Doctor Jerry (Iry?) Adams. He came and said that she had got a settled fever. He said he though that she must have a course of fever but he did not think it would be very severe. She continued quite comfortable until Friday night when she was taken deranged and she appeared to be in great distress. The doctor came and said that she was a very sick woman but did not consider her dangerous. Her mind seemed to be in a continual worry. She said that it seemed to her as though she should never get well. The Doctor would tell her that she must be calm or he could do nothing for her. She remained in a state of derangement for better than three weeks- the most of the time the next Tuesday after Adams came, they had a council of doctors. Doctor Perry came and said that she could not live. He said that she had the inflammation on the brain. They then put her into warm water and took about two quarts of blood that night. She grew worse very fast. She would rave, and pull her hair, and tried to injure herself all she could. The Doctor called her fits, 'spasms.' Some of the time it would take three or four persons to keep her on the bed and we thought that she would not live till morning. Richard [Eliza's brother] and his wife were there and such a night I never past. It was enough to make the hardest heart melt to see a person in such a situation. The Doctor said it was beyond their comprehension that they never saw the likes of it before. The next morning she was a little more easy and remained stupid through the day. On Thursday, Dr. Seth Adams of Lowville came to see her. He said the disease was not in her head and there was a probability of her recovering. Doctor Iry stayed by her night and day and tended upon her with the strictest care. She did not want for anything in this world. She had the strictest care and attention. Everyone seemed interested in her case; she would often speak of her friends in Vermont and desired to see them very much. She would say "my blessed Father, my blessed Mother, I can see them now. I can hear their voices. My friends are all around my bed. Get away from me let me go and see them. Why don't they come and speak to me?" She seemed in this situation through the week. Sunday morning we had a little more hope of her, but it did not last long. Sometimes she would appear like herself for a few moments, and then we would feel quite encouraged, but her spasms were harder and harder and everyone she had, it did not seem as if she could live through another. She called her husband to her bed and gave her little son up into his care and now said she, "I am willing to die." One night she wanted to be turned on her side. We did so. She fainted away and we did not think that she would ever breathe again, but the Lord has been very merciful unto her, has spared her life and she is now quite smart. I have been here eleven weeks yesterday. I expect to go home today. I have taken up more room now than I calculated on this page when I began to write. I must leave off or I shall encroach upon the rest. -Dayonsville, -Eleanor E. Whitehouse."

[different writing now, Eliza's] Dear Parents: As they have left a little room, I gladly improve it with pleasure that I am permitted once more to write to you as my health is tolerable good now, but not so healthy as I was before I was sick, but I do my work, with the help of Sarah Homes [Holmes probably]. She is going to live with me, and go to school three months. I am some lame with my left leg. When I was taken I was in a good deal of pain in my leg. It seemed to be in the narrow of the bone. It don't pain me now, nor well near so bad as it has.

Mary, I have just heard that you was married. I wish you all the happiness this world can afford. You give my love to yours and to all that inquire after me. You must write if Father and Mother think of visiting us or not. We should be very glad to see them. I think it is entirely unnecessary to wait thinking that Joseph [Adams] will come with you for we've given up all hopes for he has so much to see to, he never will find time. I think you had better take Sally and come on for I think you'll never be sorry. I must close for I've taken up all of the page. You must all write soon as convenient. Yours &C. -Eliza Seaver.

Allen [brother] has bought [land] joining Richard. He works all of the time as steady as can be. Richard was here yesterday. He was well and family. He said Allen was a' coming over Saturday to stay all night. I was up to Brother's the day before I moved and ate new sugar linthed [?] and I thought we should like to call to your tavern to take breakfast and call for the best the house afforded and not have you know us. Please to write where A. Baldwin & Mr. Putnam have made their Pitch [set out their land and log cabins] as we should like to know. -Eliza Seaver. -Marinday Adams.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Cavendish Semiquincentennial: First Female Proctorsville Fire Fighters

In 1985, Donna Blanchard became the first female fire fighter for the Proctorsville Fire Department. Her sister Amy was the second female. Today there are three women fire fighters. Donna credits her time in the firehouse for teaching her to play poker. Donna served in the Navy during the Gulf War and Grenada. Currently, she’s a Deputy Sheriff in San Diego, plays competitive poker and is on the Deputy Sheriff’s pistol team. Amy became a crew chief on a Black Hawk Helicopter for the US Army and served in Iraq and Turkey. She now works for Toyota in Kentucky.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Cavendish Semiquincentennial: Nettie Stephens PHD

Nettie Stevens was born in Cavendish in 1861. The child of working-class parents, Stevens was raised during a time when women's educational opportunities were limited. In spite of this, Stevens ultimately received a PH.D. from Byrn Mawr and was given an assistantship by the Carnegie Institute. In 1905, her work on sex determination was published. Investigating mealworms, she found female cells contained 20 chromosomes, but male cells contained 19 large chromosomes and one very small one. She showed that the X body paired with a 20th, much smaller chromosome in meiosis. She proposed that these two chromosomes be called X and Y, and explained that females contained two X chromosomes. Some believe her position in the field of genetics has largely been ignored because the credit for the discovery of X and Y chromosomes and their role in determining gender is instead generally given Edmund B. Wilson, who had read Stephens’ manuscript on chromosomal patterns before publishing his own theory, and T. H. Morgan, the biologist with whom Wilson shared the Nobel Prize for the discovery. Stevens died in 1912. Women in Technology News, Fall, 1994, Vol. 11, No. 1

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cavendish Semiquincentennial: Women’s Role in Town Meeting

In 1880 Vermont women finally begin to see change with a new law passed by the legislature giving tax-paying women the right to vote and hold office in school districts. With the establishment of the Vermont Woman Suffrage Association (later changed to the Vermont Equal Suffrage Association) in 1883, a statewide organization now existed and continued to push for female suffrage. The efforts of group members like Annette Parmelee and her determination guaranteed that the woman suffrage issue would remain a much debated topic in the newspapers and legislature. Efforts further paid off in 1900 with the passage of a law allowing women to serve as town treasurers, town librarians, and notaries public.

By 1917, support could no longer be contained and Vermont women gained the right to vote in municipal elections, providing the turning point for women to implement real change across the state. The passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution in 1920 gave Vermont women and their sisters nationally full suffrage in state and national elections and also the right to serve in local and national governments. Women in VT Politics; During and Post Suffrage 1840-1940 from the Vermont Women’s History Project

Barbara Kingsbury’s book “Chubb Hill Farm and Cavendish, Vermont: A Family and Town History” relates how Cavendish women were viewed in 1912. “Although the ladies had their own groups and participated fully in the Grange and Farmers’ Club activities with the men, they did not go to the Town Meetings. A 1922 newspaper article in the history of the Sunshine Society, commented that, “In 1912 when the ladies presumed to bring some sunshine into the annual town meeting some of the old guard among the men grumbled at the intrusion and would have none of it. A compromise was effected wherein the ladies might spread their luncheon in the gallery if they would screen off their view of the men below. But that first meal was enough to make the Sunshine dinner welcome at every Town Meeting since…”

It is interesting to note that while there are fewer women in the Vermont Legislator, those that do run have a higher chance of winning then their male counterparts. In 1921, there was one woman in the house and none in the Senate. Today, 36.6% (11) of the Senate is comprised of women (one of whom is Alice Nitka for Windsor County) and 38.6% (58) of the House. In Cavendish, we have no women on the Select Board and only one on the Cavendish Town Elementary School Board.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Young Historians: Town Meeting/1949 Timeline

At yesterday's Young Historians Town Meeting, voters approved only one of four articles presented to them. The approved article was "To see if the voters will approve the addition of soup to the salad bar." There was considerable debate on each item and we could have gone on much longer than the alloted time. The other three artices voted down were as follows:

Article 2. To see if the voters will approve a hour long recess period.

Article 3. To see if the voters will adopt a policy to end school attendance.

Article 4: To see if the voters will approve music being played during lunch time.

We are now at the last decade of the 1940's for our timeline.

1949 Timeline
• China becomes communist
• First non stop flight around the world
• 1984 by George Orwell is published
• NATO established
• Soviet Union has atomic bomb
• Junior Mints, Smarties Candy Roll Wafers and El Bubble Bubble Gum Cigars are introduced
• The first TV daytime soap opera, “These Are My Children” was broadcast from the NBC station in Chicago
• “Happy Pappy” premiered. It was the first all black cast variety show.
• Look Magazine proclaimed that radio was “doomed” and that within 3 years television would completely overshadow it.
• Bozo the Clown made his TV debut
• “Crusader Rabbit” was the first cartoon made for TV
• Milton Berle hosted the first TV telethon. $1.1 million for cancer patients was raised in 14 hours.
• The first Emmy Awards for TV productions were made.
• Jackie Robinson wins the National Leagues Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award

Movies: Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer; Blondie: Blondie Hits the Jackpot.

• Books: Newberry Award: King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry; Caldecott Award: The Big Snow by Berta & Elmer Hader

• Songs: Some Enchanted Evening Perry Como; I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry Hank Williams; Lovesick Blues Hank Williams; Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Gene Autry;

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cavendish Semiquincentennial: Women in Cavendish History

As March is National Women’s History Month, we will be focusing on women’s contribution to Cavendish’s History. This post recognizes four women who have provided Cavendish with much of our written history.

Mary Churchill spent a year documenting who was buried in the cemeteries of the town of Cavendish. She was assisted in this effort by Harold Lawrence, Mrs. Thurston Owens, Mrs. Francis Ward and her son Dan Churchill. The resulting booklet, Cemeteries of Cavendish: 1776-1976 Bicentennial Project, is still used by many to locate their ancestor’s graves.

Sandra Stearns wrote Cavendish Hillside Farm 1939-1957 so that her grandchildren would know what life was like at one time in Cavendish. Called the Laura Ingalls Wilder of Cavendish, Stearns wrote, “During my growing up years on the farm I lived things that my children and grandchildren cannot even begin to imagine. Life was hard, conveniences were few and far between, but I was happy being outdoors and around animals. I appreciated school and church for they were my major chances to get away from the work and solitude. I was blessed to live and see and do so many things the old fashioned way! “

Barbara Kingsbury has written a comprehensive history of Cavendish, while at the same time telling the story of her husband’s family. In developing “Chubb Hill Farm and Cavendish, Vermont : A Family and Town History 1876-1960 (updated in 1994), Kingsbury spent countless hours reading town reports, family diaries as well as interviewing many residents. This is a very unique town history, which will be of interest for many generations to come.

Linda Welch, a descendant of the Farr family and CHS genealogist, continues to research and document Cavendish genealogy. To date she has written four volumes in the Families of Cavendish series.

• Volume I, 2nd Edition: Includes families Adams, Baldwin, Coffeen, Dutton, Fletcher, Gilbert, Lowell, Proctor, Russell, Spafford & Wheelock
• Volume II: Includes families Hall, Parker (Abraham, James & Thomas), Pollard, Skinner & Spaulding
• Volume III: Includes families Adams, Blood, Burbank, French, Gammon and Giddings
• Volume IV: Atherton, Bemis, Heald, and Ordway

We are grateful to these four women who have made such a significant contribution in the understanding of our history. All of the books listed, with the exception of Volume IV of Linda Welch’s are available from CHS. FMI: 226-7807 or