The Cavendish Historical Society's accepts tax-deductible contributions to help preserve our history. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org 802-226-7807 or PO Box 472 Cavendish, VT 05142 The CHS Museum is located at 1958 Main Street (Route 131) in Cavendish.
On January 15, 1941, I changed from farmer's blue jeans to
the Army olive drab for a year's extended active duty. The year stretched to
more than five before I again put 'on civvies.
Crammed into this period were enough experiences for a
lifetime, most 'of them satisfying but a few, Inevitably, not. At Fort Riley,
after brief refresher training, I helped to receive and then train the first
contingent of cavalry replacement recruits under the Selective Service Act. In
August, foreseeing the end of the cavalry, by my own application I was
transferred to the Armored Force and went to the Replacement Center at Fort
Knox, Kentucky, to spend over a year as company commander and battalion
commander (major) training more and more troops. It was a life I enjoyed to
begin with, but was not to my liking after we entered the war.
Then unexpectedly . as such things seemed usually to happen to
me-I was assigned to the 10th Armored Division in training at Fort Benning,
Ga., which, following maneuvers in Tennessee, was slated soon to go to Europe.
At this time I was a lieutenant colonel and due to command a tank battalion.
But no such luck. Again with great suddenness I was sent on "temporary duty"
to Headquarters 2d Army at Memphis to act as an assistant Army Inspector
General. This was the low point; I felt completely frustrated and out of place
and was unable to do anything about it. Except, finally, in order to make an
uncertain status secure, a transfer to The Inspector General's Department, which
I accepted with the best grace I could, It wasn't what I wanted yet it was no
come-down (the I. G. Department is top-drawer) and I saw more of the Army than
would have been possible under any other circumstances, It involved trips over
half of the United States as the "eyes" of the Commanding General,
making inspections and investigations and rendering lengthy reports. Then in
the spring of 1944 while away from Headquarters I received orders to return
post haste, This could mean only one thing, I had been assigned to the cadre of
the newly activated 8th Army, which was to prepare immediately for overseas
movement, Not to Europe, as I had fondly expected, but to New Guinea in the
Pacific, from whence the American 6th and 8th Armies would take part in
MacArthur’s return to the Philippines, As an Army Inspector I roamed widely
before being transferred to the 43d Infantry Division as I. G. With this fine
combat outfit I participated in the liberation of Luzon after making an amphibious
landing at Lingayen Gulf.
While I was in the States the family was with me as much as
possible, The children’s education was the governing factor. They came out to
meet me at Fort Riley in a fine new Nash, which Isabel had somehow managed to
negotiate and we spent a most pleasant week seeing the country on the way to
Fort Knox. After a couple of exceedingly hot months there in
"quarters" (a euphemism for two tiny rooms in a converted barracks)
Isabel located a comfortable apartment in near-by Louisville where the family
spent the winter . and where we were together the Sunday when the fateful
announcement of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor came over the radio. This
of course changed the entire picture and intensified training. But I was able
to secure a short leave, just as the children’s school ended and we all
returned to Windy Hill, the family remaining for the summer.
In the fall I secured nice quarters on the main Post at Knox
and they came down again,. only, within six weeks, to be uprooted for the
transfer to Fort Benning, There we were well off indeed, in a commodious house
on the main Post with pleasant surroundings, the only difficulty being that the
division training area was situated several miles away,- a relatively minor
matter. We had a happy winter together.
Wyeth graduating from high school in Columbus, and than we
again went home. I rejoined the division in the Tennessee maneuver area. The
family found a place in Brattleboro where the girls could go to school. That
fall Wy was inducted into the Army, having persuaded them to waive his defective
vision, - I saw them all at Easter and again briefly before going overseas, -
The next fall Isabel and Joyce went to Boston Isabel to train as an
occupational therapist,- and Ann commenced two years at Green Mountain Junior
College in Poultney, Vermont.
What had in general been a very fulfilling period of service
was marred at the end when I became ill and was evacuated back to the States,
But this was in July of 1945 after the campaign had ended. Following long
recuperation in several hospitals with brief visits with the family I had the
satisfaction of being promoted Colonel, given terminal leave, and was finally
relieved from active duty in May, 1946,
My government service was not entirely over, however. My
health still was uncertain, and not having energy enough to resume farming I
accepted a temporary position with the Office of Price Administration, working
out of Montpelier. This proved most unsatisfactory, partly because I was unwell
but more because the work was not in my line. The agency had outlived its
usefulness, and some of the time we did not have enough to do to justify
drawing our pay. It was a relief when it came to an end in December.
In the meantime the family had to do some adjusting. Isabel
was heading the OT department of a hospital in Providence. Joyce was with her,
going to secretarial school. Ann still was at Green Mountain. Wyeth came back
in April following service in the combat engineers in both Europe and the
Pacific, and was discharged at Fort Devens. After taking some summer courses in
Providence he entered Norwich University.
We all spent Christmas together in Providence, Then it was
arranged so that Isabel and Joyce remained in Providence until Joyce graduated
in June, and I came back to Windy Hill to work on the house, During the spring
I installed electric wiring, and the power line at last came thru; so when the
family reassembled for the summer we had more comfort and conveniences than
ever before. This homecoming in 1947 was what really brought the war period to
Cavendish Post WWII:When
Philip Tiemann returned to Cavendish, he began raising pure-bread Hampshire
sheep for breeding stock. This proved to be more profitable than his earlier
He had been a
selectman in 1941 and soon became active again in community affairs. Isabel
died in 1958 and Tiemann died in 1969, having written these Memoirs in 1966.
came to the back roads of Cavendish in the late 1940s. The Center School, which
the Tiemann children attended, was wired for electricity in 1947, with most of
the houses along the Center Rd receiving power in 1948. One of the last areas
to be wired was the Knapp Pond area. Jim Hasson, a WWII Seabee, reports that
they didn’t have electricity until 1949.
While most of
Cavendish’s servicemen returned, the prosperity of the first half of the 1940s
was replaced with significantly fewer job opportunities. Neither the mills nor
the machine shops needed more workers and in fact slowed down considerably from
the feverish war years. Many veterans were content not to return to the mills
and machine shop jobs. The noise of the Gay Brothers Mill was considerably, with
the clack of the looms being heard up and down the village streets. Deafness
was a common risk for those who worked any length of time in the weave room.
Gay Brother's Mill
Gaymont Mills in
Ludlow, owned by the Gay Brothers and managed by L. Stearns Gay of Cavendish,
was sold in 1950. In 1951, the building was purchased by General Electric and a
number of Cavendish residents went to work there. That same year, Gay Brothers
Mill closed and was sold to F.C. Hyuck and Sons and renamed Kenwood Mills. This
mill lasted until 1957.
The ranks of the American
Legion swelled with the returning veterans. The Legion bought the Opera House
(now Crows Bakery) in Proctorsvilleand
the vets went about the business of “catching up” on the life they missed.
Because sports team
was a big part of the community, in 1948, Dr. H.J. Greven deeded his eight-acre
filed to the Proctorsville Fire Department. Volunteers put in a baseball
diamond, bleachers, and more to create a community recreational field, which
remains in use to the present day.