Thursday, June 30, 2011

Auction Items for Old Home Day

Thanks to so many generous members of our community, CHS will have a very successful auction on Saturday. The live auction takes place at 1 pm on the Cavendish Green, while the silent auction runs from 10 to 12:45. We will only be accepting cash or check. No credit cards.

A special note of thanks to Gloria Leven, who has so tirelessly worked to obtain items.

Note that more items are coming in, so look for more on Saturday

Items for Auction

Services/Gift Certificates
Camping at Meadow Brook Camp Grounds
Candlelight Dinner for four with Chef Leven
Six Loose Ladies
Two hours of gardening
Will write a personalized poem
Invite for two to the famous Fisher 4th of July Party
Paint a room in your home from Wallscapes
2 large American Pie Pizzas
Ludlow Cooking Company
Village Clipper Haircut
Smoked Bacon from Singleton’s (2 certificates)

Home Goods/Furniture
Antique Pitcher and Wash Basin
Flower arrangement
Interior Design Consultation
Painted Vanity and Chair
White Chair
Oval and small frame mirrors
Floor lamps
Bombay console tables
Silver Herb plant markers
Anniversary Clock
Plastic pipe from Hancor
Coffee Table

Two Painting by Elizabeth Wolfson
Framed Print by Phillip Philbeck
Winston Churchill Framed Photograph
Gazing Glass Ball
Scrag Pottery (vase and two dishes)
Pillows (5)

Monkey Chews from Old Cavendish Products
Old Cavendish Fruitcake

New Yorker CD’s
Nordica Ski Boot
Swatch Watches
Clare Murray Silk Scarf
Shoot a Machine Gun (2 positions)
Earrings from Jen Hoar Design

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cavendish Semiquincentennial: Old Home Day

Cavendish's Old Home Day will be celebrated this Saturday. The Museum will be open at 8:30, with its new display "250 Years of Cavendish History." Outside will be the annual plant sale. Starting at 9:30, the Cavendish Green will be filled with many different booths staffed by various organizations, businesses and artists. The Cavendish Historical Society will be holding a silent auction, which ends at 12:45, just in time for the live auction to begin at 1 pm. There will be a variety of food, including grass fed lamb kabobs and beef burgers; strawberry shortcake and lemonade; baked goods and pies, as well the Cavendish Fire Department's Chicken BBQ.

The fifth year of the revival of this custom, it's quite a bit different than Old Home's Day celebrated in the early 1900's.

Because so many people moved away from Vermont, frequently for economic reasons, Old Home Day became a time for family and friends to reconnect with those who remained in town. At the CHS Museum, there is a poster for the September 1901 Old Home Day. Featuring “horribles” (people dressed in costumes), floats and lots of speeches, 2,500 people gathered for this event. The September 1901 issue of “The Vermonter” describes the “Old Home Week” festivities in Cavendish as follows, “The morning parade, headed by the Proctorsville Band, was one of the principal features of the day and was composed of various patriotic and social organizations and floral carriages.” The afternoon featured speeches, with refreshments served at the Masonic and Odd Fellows Halls.

Below is the speech given by James Hales Bates at the Old Home Day celebration of 1901:

Non-resident Vermonters frequently have it flung up to them by friends in other states in a mood of sarcastic facetiousness, “Your state of Vermont is a good state to emigrate from.” Well, yes, it is a good state to emigrate from for two sorts of people. One sort is that not large class who have fitted over the border to escape the clutches of the law and find the climate healthier outside. The other sort are those who cannot afford to live here. Not that living is costly, but if beefsteak is five cents a pound and a man has not got the five cents, the beef might as well be fifty; it is out of his reach at either price. There have always been so much ability and energy in the state, and so few things for there to work on except climate, scenery, stone quarries and one another, that thousands have been ground out in the competition, and reluctantly gone into more promising communities where the natives know less and have more, and in these easier fields of action have thriven famously, and made for themselves and their descendants renown and riches. It will be a mighty poor spot on the earth where a Vermonter cannot be found, his eyes and hands wide open for all within reach. A few years ago, a little party of young government engineers engaged in the coast survey were passing a vacant half day, lounging about on the bank of St. Johns River in Florida, finding their pleasure in trifles, as idlers will do. Presently one cried out, “Sail Ho!” and twenty miles away emerging from the horizon, was a solitary coasting sloop beating up the river. All eyes were fixed on it in a long silence. Then a bright youth spoke and said, “I will wager any man here a box of cigars that the name of the captain of that craft is Spaulding and that he is from Vermont.” “The idea is absurd,” said another, “there are not more than five of the crew altogether and it is ridiculous to suppose the captain can be named Spaulding from Vermont. I take that bet and would like to make it dollars instead of cigars.” At last the little craft swung up to the wharf, and a tall solemn Yankee stepped ashore and made her fast. The engineers drew near. “Is Capt. Spaulding aboard?” “Yes, he is in the cabin asleep. Would you like to speak to him?” “I want to ask him what part of Vermont he is from.” “I can tell you that. He is from Cavendish.” If I have omitted any important particular of this illustration of the widespread distribution of the Vermonter, the ex- Secretary of War (Redfield Proctor) who must have had three young officers in his control, will correct me. He is fond of seeing things corrected and put in order.

Everybody knows that the valley of the Twenty Mile Stream in the upper part of this town is the most salubrious, picturesque, fertile and fascinating spot in the state, and the inhabitants the most industrious, honest and virtuous in the world. We are industrious up there because we must be to live; honest because we read in our school books that “Honesty is the best policy,” and we always want the best; virtuous because we don’t know any other way and are not anxious to learn. As to our honesty: my uncle, William Smith Esq., lived for almost ninety years under the roof where he was born, at the head of this Happy Valley. He is remembered by many here, I am sure, with honor and affection. Uncle went abroad and visited foreign countries where he saw many strange things and wicked practices quite unknown at home! On his return he for the first time in his life, felt anxious at night because HARMONY HALL —his residence— had no fastenings to its doors and windows. There were five outside doors, rendering the house uncommonly open to nocturnal visitors. For his peace of mind, Uncle bought a lock for the front door, and for two score years thereafter, slept soundly but was always careful to have that one door locked; and to show that his precaution was quite sufficient, no burglar entered the premises in all that time.

Up there a hundred years ago my grandfather’s anvil rang out cheerily among the hills from the smithy where for a generation, with busy hammer, he did not only what blacksmiths do now, but besides made all kinds of nails and the hammer which drove them in, all the implements used on the farm and in the shop— scythes, axes, forks, hoes, harrow-teeth, knives, cranes, andirons, the carpenter’s adze, square, saw, plane, —made the hunter’s traps and repaired his gun. According to all testimony an excellent blacksmith was he, as were his father and grandfather before him. Those were days when families lived within themselves, and ate and wore what they could produce on the farm and indoors. The best of potatoes grew in the fields. Big sweet brown loaves of rye and Indian came smoking out of the large brick oven indoors. Wheaten flour was little used, the immortal pie having often a rye under and wheat upper crust. The universal sweet was the sap of the maple tree with a small, well hoarded stock of loaf sugar used chiefly to sweeten the person’s glass of sling when he came to catechize the children, and express a hope that it was not sickness which kept the head of the family home from church so often.

Days before stoves, when great fires roared up the kitchen chimney, piled high with logs, and the shoemaker came with his kit and stayed a month, and made the family boots and shoes from skins grown and tanned nearby; and if they chafed more corns on the toes and had more room in the heels, chilblains than those which now come here from Boston, they at least wore longer and did more hustling. Days when the neighborhood seamstress came with her goose and press board for another month and made the family clothes, fashioned those extraordinary trousers, baggy and buttony, so exactly alike before and behind that little boys sometimes got bewildered in them and brought up in the pasture under a butternut tree when they thought they were headed for school, and were made to feel the difference between front and rear by the teacher’s heavy ferule applied to that part of the person on which the truant could sit if it did not smart too much.

No man born in the free air of the mountains can ever disown or forget or divorce them from his love. Out of sight of them he remains a homesick exile wherever he may wander or abide. Under burning tropical skies, as he breasts the icy waves of Arctic or Anarchic seas, pursues his calling in the roar of great cities, in the languorous lowlands of the south, amid the monotony of the illimitable prairies of the west, or bears the flag of his country high advanced in far off islands of the Pacific, — the Vermonter is haunted with visions of the verdurous hills and smiling valleys of his early home, and the silvery spring where he quenched his boyhood thirst bubbles and sparkles in his dreams as long as life endures.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cavendish Semiquincentennial: 18th Century Medical Care

Among the first Cavendish settlers, health care was most likely typical of late 18th century America. It would have been provided at home under the direction of women. They served as doctor, nurse, midwife, pharmacist, and therapist. Since women of this era received minimal education, their medical information was handed down within families and among neighbors and what they learned by trial and error. Kitchen gardens did double duty, offering remedies in the form of herbs.

If a woman was thought to be specifically skilled at caring for the sick, or helping with childbirth, she might take care of her neighbors. During the Revolutionary War and again in the Civil War, including Cavendish’s Aunt Lizzie Aiken, women served as nurses to the sick and wounded.

The use of vaccinations began in the 18th century, with a vaccination for smallpox. Given the outbreaks of this disease in Cavendish, it is unlikely that the early settlers would have been so treated.

The first physician came to Cavendish in 1787, when ASAP Fletcher settled near Proctorville. Physicians of this era based health on the four ancient elements: earth, air, water and fire and their corresponding “humors” blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. People became sick if the humors were unbalanced. If a patient had excess, practices such as bloodletting, purges, blistering, sweating was used, while herbal remedies; food and drugs were used to add humors. One of the most popular forms of medicine at the time was Calomel, a form of mercury.

The difference between how women treated their patients (family members, friends and neighbors) and how doctors administered care was that the women practiced what they found to work, while doctors practiced “scholarly medicine,” whether it worked or not. Most midwives washed their hands before attending to the mother. Physicians did not start washing their hands before assisting in a delivery until the mid 1800’s or later.

These women must have known what they were doing as John Coffeen was 76 and his wife Susanna 94 when they died. Salmon Dutton was 80, his wife 83 and Leonard Proctor were 93 at the time of their passing.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cavendish Semiquincentennial: Whose Buried in the Revolutionary Cemetery?

This past week, Carmine Guica dropped off some of his binders at the Cavendish Historical Society Museum. Among them were the stories and genealogies of those buried in the various town cemeteries.

About the Revolutionary Cemetery, off of Brook Road in Cavendish, Guica notes, “The reason why it is so rough and little knolls and no grave stones, especially on the lower end is that years back a lot of the families dug up their dead either on account of religion or they wanted them moved to the new cemeteries. This has come to me by word of mouth, one generation to the next.”

While a number of Revolutionary soldiers are buried in the Cemetery, he pointed out the story of Thomas Gleason who was born before 1758 at Worcester, Mass and died at Cavendish in 1830/31. He was a Revolution soldier. The following is from “The Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society” in 1935. “Gleason could of told much more about his Military Service. As a matter of fact, he had been a deserter repeatedly and was probably a bounty-jumper. When not in uniform, he was in trouble with the civil authorities. He was brought to trial in his native Town of Worcester in 1779, charged with passing counterfeit bills. He pled guilty and was committed to jail for two months.

Following this imprisonment he re-enlisted in the Army, but soon showed in Worcester, an alleged deserter and was then in trouble over counterfeit bills. After another enlistment and desertion, he appears before the Superior Court in Cambridge charged with obtaining fraudulently a note of hand but was given “the leave of Court to depart.”

The following year, 1791, he was found guilty of burglary and put away for five years at Castle Island. Described as a man 5 and one half feet in height, dark complexion, born in Worcester, Mass 1758 ‘much given to vice and immorality, (testified his Uncle) not to be depended on because he would rather lie then tell the truth.’ He must nevertheless be put down as a Veteran and Pensioner of the Revolution.”

The oldest grave stone is for Henry Proctor (born 3/15/1729, died 6/19/1778). It is the only stone facing east. “It was believed by some at that time that the Spirit will rise from the east.”

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Civil War Quilt Comes Home to Cavendish in Time to Celebrate Old Home Day

On April 22, 2011, the Cavendish Historical Society (CHS) received an e-mail about quilt squares made in Cavendish during the Civil War era from Teresa Campbell of Lancaster, California. “Several years ago, I received a gift of old hand pieced quilt squares from a friend of my husband. She later stated that her mother was friends with a descendent of one of the block makers, but is not interested in these blocks. Being a quilter, this was an extraordinary gift and being a genealogist, it was a puzzle to be solved. Each block has a name pined or sewn to it, but one also had the name of a hometown, Cavendish. So I did a family search for each of the names and found that each lady who made a block lived in Cavendish, Vermont during the Civil War era.”

To the immediate response of an emphatic “yes,” Campbell supplied how she thinks the quilt came to be in her possession, One of the blocks did not have a name on it, so I believe that was made by the owner of the blocks. Here's what I think happened. Marcia Ann Heald (paternal grandmother of Marsha Parker) or Mary Jane Dunsmore (mother of Marsha Parker) one of these ladies made this unsigned block (maybe). The blocks(never sewn together) were given to Marsha Parker Amsden, b.1874. Then given to her daughter, Grace Amsden Parmanter, Vermont, which was then given to Grace's friend, Frances Willis Turner, Florida. Given to Frances's daughter, she gave it to Ellen Turner, Connecticut, who passed it on to her friend Teresa Campbell, California. On May 9, eight quilt squares came home to Cavendish.

While it is the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, it is also the 250th Anniversary of Cavendish being chartered. In keeping with the 250th Anniversary, a group of women and men in Cavendish have been working on a quilt. When Campbell supplied the names of the quilters- Evey Kendall, Leizzie Kendall, Mrs. Maria Spaulding, Julia A. Davis, Mary Hemminway, Celia A. Davis, and Ella A. Spaulding-it was immediately noted that one of the quilters for Cavendish’s Anniversary quilt, Pang Ting, now lives in the house where the Kendall sisters once resided.

The quilt squares, along with the genealogy of the quilters, is on display at the Cavendish Historical Society Museum, which is open on Sunday’s from 2-4 pm. The Museum is located on Main Street in Cavendish. As part of Old Home Day, Saturday July 2, the squares can be seen along with the correspondence that led to their return.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Help Support The Cavendish Historical Society

At Old Home Day, July 2, the Cavendish Historical Society will be holding a silent and live auction. We need donations of:
• gift certificates to restaurants, stores etc.
• certificates of service, such as ski tuning, gardening, dinner in your home, childcare, business service, lawn care etc.
• items, such as art work, furniture etc. Items need to be in good shape-new, gently used or actual antiques

You can send certificates to CHS, PO Box 472, Cavendish, VT 05142 If you have items that you need to drop off, you can bring them to the Museum on Sunday from 2-4 pm. Otherwise, please contact the numbers below and we’ll arrange for a pick up.

If you have a service you would like to donate, please e-mail the following information to and we’ll create a certificate for you:
• Service to be donated (be clear about what you will offer, such as 3 hours of gardening, dinner for 4 in your home, and if there is a time limit, e.g. redeemable by January 1, 2012)
• Estimated Value
• Person/organization making the donation

With this being the 250th Anniversary of our town, you can imagine that there are a lot of requests being made of CHS. With your help we can meet them.

Don’t forget that we have free booth space at Old Home Day for Cavendish residents, second home owners, businesses (in Cavendish or owned by Cavendish residents/second home owners) and organizations that serve the town. Please register for booth space by e-mailing or calling 226-7204.

Thank you for your support of the Cavendish Historical Society.

Cavendish Semiquincentennial: New City

The flood of 1869 destroyed New City. This area was located four miles from Cavendish village near Wethersfield. 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.