Thursday, June 26, 2014

CHS News 6/25/14

The Cavendish Historical Society (CHS) receives requests for genealogy information all the time, so it wasn’t unusual to receive an e-mail from California. The family could trace their ancestors back to the union of the Dutton and Proctor families and included the names of Spaulding and Parker. Did we have genealogies? Could we meet with them when they would be visiting in June? The answers were yes and yes. There was a less frequently asked question, “were there possible descendants still living in the area that they could visit?”

Other than recording the date, time and place of meeting with the family, mention was made to a CHS board member whose family included Parkers. “We’re having visitors on Tuesday that may be part of your family. If it turns out that they are, I’ll call you.”

Arriving at the Museum, the family was standing by the War Memorial. The man introduced himself, his wife and young sons. “My Dad is on that War Memorial,” he said. He went on to describe how his mother and father left Cavendish and moved to New Hampshire. Periodically they would come to Proctorsville and meet with Aunts and Uncles. “Who knows if they were really relatives,” he said. Falling on hard times, the family moved to Florida, with both parents dying in 1969. With no siblings or a knowledge of family, he was on his own at a relatively young age.

A career as a leather artist took him to California in 1970, where he has lived ever since. It was the birth of his sons that prompted his wife to start doing a genealogy search. “They might want to know where they came from,” she said.

Greg Roche and Ann Pipkin
A few questions about his Parker line confirmed that he was in fact part of the same family as CHS board member Gail Woods. As we stood in her kitchen, he tells Gail his mother's maiden name-Carmine June Cook. "I knew Carmine,” Gail replies. “ She had a son Greg Roche." To which he excitedly pointed to himself repeating, "that's me, that’s me!" 

For the first time in 45 years he had met a member of his family. Not only were they cousins but Gail recalled playing with him and remembered he was a champion swimmer. Better yet, since Greg only had one picture of himself, and none of his parents, he was thrilled to hear Gail say, “I have pictures of you.”  

While this alone would have been an amazing story, it gets better.

As Greg asks about names from his childhood, Gail pieces together that the Aunt Adie he remembered has a granddaughter-Janet Pipkin- now living in the old family home on Depot Street.

An e-mail and phone call, resulted in Janet’s posting the following to Facebook, What a night... Almost 50 years ago, my mom's cousin [Carmine June Cook] disappeared and cut ties with the family. So my mom never knew what happened to her and her son.

One of my strongest childhood memories is my mom always looking up their names in phone books whenever we were staying at a motel in another city. "You never know, they might be in here," she would say.

Today a man from California visited the Cavendish Historical Society to look up some family history, and thanks to Margo [Margo Caulfield is the coordinator of CHS] he not only got the history, he got the family! It is my mom's cousin's son. I got to meet him and we called my mom together.
Mom was so overjoyed to hear from him. She has wondered for so long how he was. And on Sunday, she will find out when she gets to see him again after all this time. Just amazing.

Being on speaker phone, we were treated to the amazing reunion of Greg and Ann Pipkin, Janet’s Mom.

“We use to go to Arlington to visit Aunt Adie. I had an eye problem and we’d have to go to Boston...”

“Yes, I know all about the issues with your eyes. In fact, I probably know more about you than you do!”

As luck would have it, Janet’s family is having a reunion this coming weekend and Greg and his family will be able to take part in it.

While we’re finding out a lot about Carmine June Cook, we’re still looking for information about Jim Roche. He came to Cavendish as part of the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp Proctor Piper State Forest. Even though he was 42, he served in the Navy during WWII in the Pacific. If you have any information about Jim, please contact CHS or call 802-226-7807.

There are many things an historical society can do for its members and community but it’s beyond thrilling to give someone back the family they thought they had lost 45 years ago.

One of the worst tragedies to befall Vermont troops during the Civil War began to unfold on the morning of June 23, 1864. With Robert E. Lee's Confederate army largely confined to fortifications that stretched from Richmond twenty-three miles south to Petersburg, the Union army continued its efforts to encircle the rebels and cut off vital supply lines, especially railroads. On June 23, Vermont troops were detailed to reconnoiter the Weldon Railroad, which ran north to south. This advance was part of a tentative and ill-managed effort by Sixth Corps Commander Horatio G. Wright to fulfill the order of General George G. Meade for a general advance. The result was the capture of 412 Vermonters, including several from Cavendish, who were marched to Camp Sumter, better known as Andersonville prison. Of the 412 Vermonters in Andersonville, 203 died. One Cavendish soldier, en route home from Andersonville, died at sea.

On June 29 (Sunday), at 2 pm, the Cavendish Historical Society will be showing part 3 of The Vermont Movie: Vermont Movie Refuge, Reinvention and Revolution: In the mid-20th century, political pioneers like Bill Meyer, a Congressman who challenged the Cold War, and Governor Phil Hoff, whose 1962 victory set the stage for historic change, rose to take the lead in state politics. Innovation was everywhere: in the work of “talented tinkerers” like Snowflake Bentley and Thaddeus Fairbanks, in the rise of IBM, and in the creation of the Interstate highways. We see the pros and cons of the highways--the high price of “eminent domain.” Revolution was in the air—rare archival footage provides a vivid look at the "hippies," the realities of communal life and the paths of members of the counter-culture who established roots in Vermont. Who changed whom?

The film will be shown at the Cavendish Historical Society Museum on Main Street in Cavendish at 2 pm. FMI: or 802-226-7807

The Saturday closest to the 4th of July has been the CHS annual plant and tag sale for more years than many can remember. With the proliferation of Farmer’s Market, attendance has been declining in recent years and so this year, this event is being moved to coincide with the Town Wide Tag Sale on July 26, from 9-3 pm.

Want to know more about Cavendish history, check out the following timelines:
• 1759-1858 

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