Monday, May 20, 2013

Cavendish Historical Society’s Settlers Tour

Coffeens: John and Susanna Coffeen and their children arrived in Cavendish in 1769. They were the town’s first settlers. Their first home was located off of Heald Road, but was relocated shortly after being built, as it was too far from the Crown Point Road. Since Coffeen planned on having an inn, he believed it was prudent to build closer to the road. The Heald Road property was given to Lake Coffeen and it is believed that the cellar hole there was most likely his.

 Coffeen relocated to the Cavendish Reading Road, close to Brook Road. Not long after Coffeen settled in Cavendish, he and his wife set out for Charlestown, NH for supplies and grinding their grist. Due to a snow storm, the parents did not return for six weeks. During this time, one of the Coffeen children became ill and died. The other children kept the body in the house until the parents return, at which time, due to heavy snow, the body was buried across the road from the house. Coffeen decided that this would be the family’s cemetery. Coffeens, Baldwins and at least four Revolutionary soldiers are buried there. The cemetery is located on the left hand side of the South Reading Rd just before the house. This property is now owned by the Durkins.

John Coffeen played a key role in not only being a founding father of Cavendish, but he was chosen to represent Vermont at the Windsor Convention to form a Constitution for the new State of Vermont

Dutton: In 1781 Salmon Dutton moved to Cavendish from Massachusetts. Dutton worked as a road surveyor, a justice of the peace, and the treasurer of the town of Cavendish. He was also a major contributor to the Cavendish Academy.  His home was located on the Cavendish Green, and is now located at the Shelburne Museum. He is buried in the Cavendish Village Cemetery on High Street.

Proctors: In 1782 Capt. Leonard Proctor, a Revolutionary War veteran, moved his family to Vermont. With his two sons (Jabez and John) he built a “shunpike” to the village of Gassetts in nearby Chester to avoid paying the tolls of the Green Mountain Turnpike. Salmon Dutton, helped to build the Green Mountain Turnpike, which ran from Bellows Falls to Rutland, bringing Boston coaches north up the Duttonsville Gulf to the village and then west along the present RT 131 (Main Street) through Proctorsville. The “shunpike” being toll free resulted in North bound traffic from Boston coming directly to Proctorsville and bypassing Duttonsville.

Because of the road, the Dutton and Proctor families, as well as the villages of Duttonsville and Proctorsville, feuded for 75 years.

Leonard Proctor built a log cabin and in the spring of 1783, he constructed the first house or tavern beside the cabin near where the Methodist church now stands. The house stood where the present highway runs. Part of the house was moved, and then torn down to make way for the elementary school. The remaining part of the house was moved to the current location and became known as the Page House. This house is to the left of St. James Church.
 Across the street from the Page House and the second house before Maple Street, is the “Town house or the “Jenny House.”   This was built in 1787 by Captain Leonard Proctor. He and his wife Mary Proctor, lived in this house over 30 years and died there in 1827. The house, built of wood, is famous for its fancy hand-carved decorations around the roofline, on the corner posts and around the center doorway.
 The Proctor family is buried in the Proctor Cemetery off of Main Street in Proctorsville.

All directions start from Route 131. 

A1. Coffeen: Heald Road: In Proctorsville on route 131, take Twenty Mile Stream to Heald Road, which will be a right hand turn.

A Coffeen Homestead and Cemetery: Take Center Road from Route 131 in Cavendish. Turn left on either Town Farm Roard or just after on Brook Road. Either road intersects the Cavendish Reading Rd. Go right on the Reading Rd. It wont be long before you will see the cemetery on the left, and the homestead above it on the right.

B. Dutton: Dutton’s home was on the Cavendish Green on Route 131. There is a marker, which explains that the house was moved to the Shelburne Museum. Dutton was buried in the High Street Cavendish Cemetery. The road next to the Cavendish Green, where the Town Office is located, is High Street. The Cemetery is at the top of the hill. Dutton and his families graves are on the right hand side of the cemetery, in the older section,  and have slate grave markers.

C. Proctor: On Route 131 one in Proctorsville, the remains of the first home Proctor built are located in the “Page House” which is the white house just before St. James Church when heading west to Ludlow. The “Jenny House” is across the street from the Page House and the second house from Maple Street when heading east towards Cavendish Village. This house has decorative carvings on the front. The Proctor Cemetery is located in short walking distance of the two houses on the right hand side of the road when heading towards Ludlow. The entrance is opposite Singleton’s Parking area. This is up a fairly steep hill, but isn’t all that long. Capt. Leonard Proctor is buried just outside of the gated area. 

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