Saturday, January 26, 2013


The CHS Annual Meeting will be on Feb. 24, 5 pm at the newly restored Episcopal Church Parish Hall on Depot Street in Proctorsville. There will be a pot luck supper, short meeting, and the film “The Homecoming” will be shown.

As part of establishing the permanent exhibit “I Wrote and Waited,” which covers the 18 years Aleksandre Solzhenitsyn, the 1970 Nobel Prize winner for literature and Soviet dissident, lived in Cavendish, CHS selected this film as it begins in Cavendish. Produced by the BBC, the film documents the two-month train journey across Russia as Solzhenitsyn returns home to Russia with his family after twenty years of enforced exile. Solzhenitsyn, the man who experienced and revealed to the world the full horror of the Soviet gulag, is recognized throughout Russia as 'the conscience of the nation'. But despite the triumphant and emotional homecoming, this is no easy ride for Solzhenitsyn, his wife and American sons. Instead, they abandon their refuge in America to find their trans-Siberian trip from Vladivostok to Moscow dogged by the KGB, the Russian Mafia, old-style communist bosses, the tragic plight of ordinary Russians and the echoes of its even more terrible past.

CHS is currently looking for new board members, as well as volunteers. If you have an interest in Cavendish history, or would like to be involved in the various programs of CHS, please e-mail or call 802-226-7807. You do not have to be a resident of Cavendish to serve on the board. We are also in need of volunteers who have experience or interest in archival work, exhibits, displays, web design, fundraising, maintenance and public speaking.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Luke Parkhurst’s Journal 1840

Dear Margo and Members of the Historical Society.

I am so very impressed and grateful to Sharon Phennah for providing me (for the CHS)
a complete digitally photographed copy of all pages and all content of Luke Parkhurst's Business Journal.  It is a tremendous primary source document of Cavendish History.

This journal tells us the story through barter and trade – accounts and notes – of the people and families who lived in Cavendish (mainly the Twenty-Mile Stream, Proctorsville area) in the 1840s. 

I loved it when Sharon 1st gave it to me a few years back for safe keeping and 'typescribing'   but with all my work on “Families of Cavendish,” I did not have time to digitally photograph it like I should have!

Sharon came to visit the CHS in September. We all met at George Timko's restaurant in Proctorsville.[Crows Bakery and Opera House Café]Carmine, Margo, me and Sharon, (we also saw Gloria and Seymour Levin and others). Sharon when out afterwards and photographs headstones at the Twenty-Mile Stream Cemetery, which she also sent me digital copies of. She also took Luke's book back with her to photograph.

She did an outstanding job, and it took her hours and hours to do it (sore arms!) During the winter months, Sharon has meticulously photograph in high DPI and at least 3 shots per page to make sure we could read the writing, all of Luke's Journal.

Sharon just sent me the little stick drive in the mail, and I am going to start reviewing all items in the journal and sending Margo Jpg's from it, for all of us to enjoy. Also, I will give her a copy of the stick drive for CHS.  

The Parkhurst –  and Gilson families were very important to early Cavendish.

I am still working on them all for a forthcoming new edition of Families of Cavendish (working as fast as I can!)

If you have a moment, please sent a thank you card to:
Sharon Phennah
1722 Spencer Avenue
New Bern, North Carolina.  28560-5422.

Regards to you all. Thank God the Holiday's are over and I can get back to Cavendish history work!

Linda. Welch (CHS Genealogist)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Cavendish’s Role in Emancipation

 One hundred and fifty years ago, on Jan 1, 1863, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring  "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free.". A hundred days earlier, Lincoln had issued a preliminary proclamation stating that he would order the emancipation of all slaves in any Confederate state that didn't return to Union control by January 1. No states returned, and Lincoln issued the order.

Cavendish was such an anti slavery town, that in Dec. 1856 or the early part of 1857, the famous abolitionist John Brown came to Proctorsville, staying at the Village Hotel and using the law offices of Henry Bridge Atherton. His purpose was trying to secure guns from the state arsenal. According to Atherton, He became satisfied on looking at the law, that Gov. Fletcher could not appropriate guns for the Defense of Freedom in the direction indicated. [Atherton’s letter about John Brown’s visit is available on-line]

Governor Fletcher, a staunch abolitionist, was born, raised and buried in Cavendish. Vermont Governor from 1856 to 1858, when the first shots of the Civil War, (April 13, 1861) were fired, Fletcher at the Cavendish Town meeting on April 30th of that year, took up the matter of supporting the “Cavendish Light Infantry.” From a compilation made by the Hon. Calvin French we give the following figures : Cavendish furnished to the armies of the Union twenty men in response to the first call for troops for three months' service. In the Second, Eleventh, Fourth, Seventh aud Fifth Vermont Regiments, forty-two men for three years' service. These volunteers received no bounties Forty-two men were furnished under the nine months call. For subsequent calls fifty-three men were furnished for three years, and thirty for one year, making a grand total of 187 volunteers furnished by the town, whose terms of service would amount to 3521^ years for one man. Of these 125 volunteers received bounties amounting to $43,550, the others being recruited before it was necessary to offer a bounty. History of Windsor County, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich and Frank R. Holmes, 1891

Contrary to popular belief, there is no documentation that Cavendish was part of the Underground Railroad (UGRR). Even though Rev Warren Skinner, who organized the Universalist Stone church in Cavendish, was an ardent abolitionist, it is unlikely that the Golden Stage Inn, once the Skinner homestead, was a stop on the UGRR. According to “The Vermont Underground Railroad Survey Report,” by Ray zirblis, because Vermont was the first state to outlaw slavery, 50% of the documented escaped slaves spent a great deal of time in VT. They could safely live openly and many were brought here to work on farms. Two captains from Cavendish, French and Atherton both brought slaves back to Cavendish as a result of the Civil War.

A probate guardianship paper dated at Cavendish, 19 July, 1864, signed by Gilbert A. Davis, Register gives George B. French guardianship of “Arthur Lewis, a colored boy, apparently about fifteen years of age now residing in said Cavendish.” Lewis was rescued by George French in Virginia during the early years of the Civil War, and stayed with him at different headquarter stations as George’s Regiment fought the war. Lewis lived with the French family for many years, where he was taught to read and write. Excelling in the raising of thoroughbreds, he was a valued member of the family, paid for his work with wages, board and room. He married in Woodstock and had at least two children. Lewis did not join the French family when they moved to Nebraska, instead he remained in Woodstock.