Monday, September 24, 2012

Cavendish One Room Schoolhouse program

Recently, the Cavendish Historical Society’s (CHS) “Hands on History program visited the third graders at the Cavendish Town Elementary School. They are studying what it was like in a one-room schoolhouse. Lucky for them, Sandra Field Stearns, author of “Cavendish Hillside Farm 1939 to 1957,” –we like to think of her as Cavendish’s Laura Ingalls Wilder (author of the Little House books)-told them what life was like at the Center Road School. The first one room school built in Cavendish, Sandy described how there were no more than 17 kids in the school, from first through 8th grade. She said she learned so much because as a first of second grader, she’d hear the lessons of the older kids.

Today’s third graders were shocked to hear that even the teacher walked to school and that there were no bathrooms. They thought it was great that parents would take turns bringing milk to the school in the winter so the kids could have hot chocolate on cold days.

The students made chalkboards similar to the ones that were used for many years in Cavendish and Proctorsville-a combination of non-sanded grout and paint on boards. They quickly saw how easy it was to break the chalk if they pressed to hard. Their teacher, Ellen Cameron, is planning on having them use their chalkboards as part of their lessons over the next several weeks.

It wasn’t all work for the students, as just like the kids long ago, they had recess. They learned a number of the games the students would have played in the schoolyards. Below are links to some of those games.

Hand Clapping Includes Miss Mary Mack and lots of old favorites

Sandy’s book relates many wonderful stories of rural life in Cavendish, as well as what it was like going to a one room schoolhouse. “Cavendish Hillside Farm” is available from the CHS and can be purchased for $15 plus $5 for shipping and handling by sending a check to CHS, PO Box 472, Cavendish, VT 05142.

Workshops for the CHS Hands on History program have been funded in part by a grant from the Cavendish Community Fund, a project of the Cavendish Community and Conservation Association. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


As many of us know, Don Carlos Pollard's store was not just a store. It was an operation. Located right near the railroad tracks and depot, the store was a stockhouse of just about everything families in a Vermont farm community would need to get along. And if Pollard didn't have it, he could get it (he had all kinds of catalogs in the store, and was agent for many companies). This advertisement of 1870 (the earliest one I could find) shows Pollard's was a dry goods, clothing, cloth, hats, caps, and ready made ware for boys, store. It sold boots, shoes, groceries including teas, coffee, etc., hardware, all the tools for the farm. In addition it was a drugstore and pharmacy and carried all kinds of dishes and housewares, glasses and pots and pans. It was an ole' New England style "WALMART" in its time.  This store was in business even after the Second World War. My great grandfather's and great grandmother's shopped there. My grandfather and grandmother shopped there; my father shopped there. He was raised in Proctorsville (born 1909). The people who lived all around this store knew its value and history. Everyone has there own personal memories of that great 'ole place, Pollard's Store. Do not forget, that it was while working in this store as a young lad, that Calvin Coolidge began interested in politics.  Many of you have your own memories of Pollard's. I would love to hear from you. —Linda M. Welch

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

From the VT Historical Society-Look What's New on Online to Help Researchers

Barre, Vt. – The Vermont Historical Society has released three new content areas on its website – two related to the Civil War and one related to Vermont’s governors.

Researchers now can access over 40 articles written about the Civil War that have appeared in the Society’s journal Vermont History since 1930. All the articles have been converted to searchable PDF files and cataloged in the library’s online catalog for easy access. The articles can be found at

Civil War registers from the library’s collections are also online. These poster-sized documents memorialized Vermont soldiers of the War Between the States. Of the 31 different registers in the library’s collections, nine are unique designs. Examples of each of these attractive memorials have been put on the VHS’s website at These registers will also be featured in the next issue of Vermont History.

The third new section of the historical society’s website is a gallery of Vermont governors’ portraits. Scanned from the VHS’s collection of governors’ portraits that began in 1908, this image gallery shows each of the state’s 78 chief executives. If you’ve ever wondered what our governors looked like, visit

The Leahy Library, on the second floor of the Vermont Historical Society at 60 Washington Street in Barre, is a center for resources documenting the history and people of Vermont, including books and pamphlets dating from the 1770s to the present; unique letters, diaries, ledgers and scrapbooks; some of Vermont’s earliest maps and planning documents; and extensive photograph and broadside collections. With a special interest in family history, the library has the largest printed genealogical collection in the state.

Call (802) 479-8509 at the Vermont History Center for more information.

The Vermont Historical Society is a nonprofit organization that operates the Vermont History Museum in Montpelier, the Leahy Library and new Vermont Heritage Galleries in Barre, and programming throughout the state. Established in 1838, its purpose is to reach a broad audience through outstanding collections and statewide outreach. The Vermont Historical Society believes that an understanding of the past changes lives and builds better communities. Visit the Society’s website at .