Thursday, June 30, 2016

CHS Briefs July 1, 2016

Welcome to the first edition of CHS Briefs. Before you start thinking about “tidy whities,” this is a quick way for the Cavendish Historical Society (CHS) to give you a “brief” overview of what we’ve been doing and coming up as well as ways you can help. We hope you find it informative.

What’s New
• The Museum is open for the season every Sunday 2-4 pm and by appointment at other times.

• Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The Writer Who Changed History, the newest publication from CHS is now in print and ready for purchase. So far the reviews have been good. You can purchase the book and have it signed at the upcoming Annual Plant Sale on July 2 and when the Museum is open on July 3. As much as we want to educate people about Solzhenitsyn, we also are using this as a way to raise funds for the Solzhenitsyn project. Either purchasing from Create Space or directly from CHS provides the best return. The book is also available from Learn more about the book.

Craig's original plant list
The Annual Plant Sale is Saturday July 2, 8:30-2:30 in front of the museum. We are so lucky to have Svetlana & Kem (CHS board member) Phillips working with us. If Craig Rankin had a green thumb, Svetlana is the “plant whisperer.” She has successfully grafted Mock Orange from leaves from Gloria Leven’s tree. New for the sale this year are herbs and an expansion of our patio tomato plant offerings. Psst... Instead of milling around on Friday night wondering when we’re going to be setting up so you can get the “best picks,” we’ll be there at 6 pm. 

Jackson Gore dig where volunteers from CHS
met Charlie, he's the one in the straw hat.
• Archaeology: Due to insufficient registration, the flint knapping workshop on June 5, with the archaeologist Charlie Paquin, was cancelled. However, through Charlie, several volunteers from CHS have been recruited to help with a Paelo Indian dig (about 11,000 years ago) in Fair Haven, VT. We are arranging to have Jess Robinson, the state archaeologist, speak at the museum regarding the Jackson Gore (Ludlow, VT) Paleo Indian dig.

• Museum Doors: Last year, we discovered the original doors in the cellar. Milling wood for replacement parts, the doors and wood were stashed for a year of “seasoning.” Working with master wood worker David Stern, it was determined that the doors are not worth saving. However, board members Bruce McEnaney and Kem picked up a pair of old church doors last summer-just in case. Scrapping and retooling the doors begins on July 5th. We will be posting “progress” pictures to the CHS blog. The goal is to have the new doors hanging before the “snow flies.” 
The Museum with the "original" doors. When built, the Museum
would have had solid doors, which is what the new doors will be. 

What’s Coming Up
• Pick UR Own Blueberries: Thanks to Bruce and Betty McEnaney, they will once again be opening up their amazing blueberry patch to the community to “pick and pay” for the “world’s best blueberries.” Proceeds from the sale go to help defray the cost of CHS’s school program, particularly class trips. Last fall we took the 6th grade to Sturbridge Village and we’d like to do that again as well add trips for lower grades. We will let you know when the berries are ripe for the picking.

Murdock's Mill Proctorsville
• Mill Exhibit coming in August: Cavendish’s Mill history is fascinating and so we’re working on a new way people can learn about it, including a number of hands on activities for visitors to try. 

The logo for the tag sale was developed by Rich Svec
• Town Wide Tag Sale: Always the last Saturday in July, this year July 30, we will have the Solzhenitsyn book on sale (you can have it signed as well) at the Gazebo on the Proctorsville Green. The sale is from 9-3

• Cemetery Cleaning: A group of student volunteers will be in Cavendish in July. Working with the Cavendish Sexton and CHS volunteers, they will be tackling the orange mold problem in the Cavendish village Cemetery.

For any of the items below, please e-mail or call 802-226-7807.
• Timber Framer: We are in desperate need of a timber framer who can work on the belfry of the Stone Church. We have grant funding for this project and are having a very hard time finding someone who can do the work. This is the second construction season slipping by.
• Honeycomb: CHS will once again be doing candle dipping at the Annual Honey Festival at the Golden Stage Inn in September. If you have extracted honey from your hives, we’d love to have the comb. Need it by the beginning of September. 

• Marketing Assistance: Do you have experience in marketing? We could use your help with the book distribution.

• Board Members: Want to have a more active role in CHS? Become a board member

Friday, June 24, 2016

Cavendish Historical Society Annual Plant Sale & Book Signing

Craig Rankin's Plant Sale List
For close to 40 years, the Saturday before the 4th of July is marked by the Annual Plant Sale of the Cavendish Historical Society. On July 2, once again shoppers can purchase the best and most affordable hosta around, in addition to other perennials, including for the first time Mock Orange shrubs, herbs and even raspberry plants.

By popular demand, and in case you didn’t get around to it, “patio” tomato plants (Better Boy, Early Girl, Sweet 100s, and Brandywine) will be available for sale. These are potted and staked in five-gallon containers and can sit out on the back deck/yard/patio for easy pickings this summer. Because of the handle, you can bring them in on cold nights and probably get to October before you need to call it quits. Tomatoes are limited and were sold out by 9:30 last year so recommend getting to the sale early if you want one.
This year, there will also be a book signing of CHS’s latest publication Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The Writer Who Changed History. The first children’s book ever written on Cavendish’s famous resident, the book is suitable for all ages, particularly because of the many photographs thanks to the Solzhenitsyn family. 

The sale takes place on Saturday, July 2 from 8:30 to 2:30 at the Cavendish Historical Society Museum, 1958 Main Street (Route 131, Cavendish VT. For more information call 802-226-7807 or e-mail

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Plant Sale 2016-Mock Orange Pre order

At Barbara Kingsbury's Memorial this past week, many people commented on the incredibly beautiful and sweet smelling Mock Orange that was in the church. When we mentioned that CHS would have them at this year's plant sale on July 2, people started asking if we could save one for them.

Thanks to the incredible talents of Svetlana Phillips, with the assistant of her husband and CHS board member Kem, we have 24 plants that she have been cultivated from Gloria Leven's bush in 2015, wintered over and potted in the best soil thanks to Moonlite Meadows (Pang and Etienne Ting's farm) beautifully aged compost. These are very hearty plants.

So for the first time ever, we are going to allow pre ordering of the Mock Orange. These are selling for $20 (large) and $10 (small). To pre order:
• Send a check payable to CHS to PO Box 472, Cavendish VT 05142
• Checks can also be dropped off at the Museum on Sundays 2-4 pm
• Specify whether you want a large ($20) or small ($10) plant
• Pick your plant up on July 2 - If you won't be here, we can arrange another time. However, we will not ship plants.

If you have questions call 802-226-7807 or e-mail

Friday, June 3, 2016

Scribble II Spring 2016

We were saddened to learn of the passing of Diana Leonard on March 28, a stalwart of the Cavendish Historical Society (CHS), she moved to Colorado in recent years to be near family. One of her friends, and an important historian for Cavendish, Barbara Kingsbury died just about a week later on April 7. Our condolences to their family and friends.

Upcoming Events

The Museum is now open on Sundays from 2-4 pm and other times by appointment

July 2 (Saturday): Plant Sale takes place at the Museum from 8:30-2:30. CHS’s newest publication Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The Writer Who Changed History will be available for sale and autographs.

July 29 (Saturday): 6th Annual Cavendish Town Wide Tag Sale 9-3

Sept 10 (Saturday): Bible, hymnal and prayer book burial. As a follow up to the Spring 2015  Newsletter article, “How to Dispose of a Bible” while some of the Cavendish churches preferred recycling, there were others that felt it was most appropriate to bury these items when they became too old to be repurposed. CHS, the town’s sexton and the Cavendish Baptist Church are arranging for a burial in the Old Revolutionary Cemetery. If you have Bibles that you would like to be included please contact CHS at the numbers above. Please note that if you have a Torah, these need to be buried in a Jewish Cemetery.

Sept 11 (Sunday): Annual Phineas Gage Walk and Talk, 2 pm at the CHS Museum

Remembering Barbara Kingsbury

It is with deep sadness that we learned of Barbara Kingsbury’s passing on April 7 in South Dakota.

As many people connected with Cavendish know, Barbara’s book “Chubb Hill Farm and Cavendish, Vermont” is one of our most important "go to" reference guides. In fact, as Coordinator of  CHS, her book sits right next to my computer always at the ready for quick consultation.

What I appreciate  about Barbara’s history is not only the incredible research and interviews, but it’s the juxtaposition of the town’s history next to Kingsbury family history. It provides a unique perspective and in the ensuing years since she wrote and updated it, we have found the diary entries from her husband’s family important in understanding current events.

One year everyone was complaining about “sugar season” being “off.” Reading Barbara’s book, which contains the maple sugar production of the Kingsbury Farm for many years, we quickly could see that some years were short, some rather long, with quality and quantity varying. In short, there really isn’t a “normal” season.

Barbara was also part of a group that met weekly to cut out newspaper and magazine articles pertaining to Cavendish. Thanks to this activity,  CHS has a very detailed record of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s time in Cavendish, which was an important reference when writing the children’s biography, “Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The Writer Who Changed History.”

When I first started working for CHS, Barbara and her husband Paul were stopping a lot of their volunteer activities. Barbara’s eyesight was failing and one afternoon she wistfully told me how she wanted to be 65 again. “Oh what I could do. There is so much more to write about Cavendish history.” Barbara you gave Cavendish a great deal, much more than you probably realized. 

Born Alice Barbara Burkholder on Nov. 3, 1928, in Chicago, she attended schools in Chicago, earning degrees from Northwestern University and McCormick Theological Seminary. Barbara did short-term mission work in Puerto Rico, where she met Paul Kingsbury from Cavendish. They were married on May 20, 1952.

Barbara and Paul became missionaries to South Korea with the United Presbyterian Church. While Paul focused on agricultural work, Barbara helped with an orphanage, taught Bible classes, English and French. They lived in South Korea for 29 years, most of this time living in Taejon, Andong and then Kangwondo.

Barbara and Paul retired and returned to Cavendish in 1982. In addition to CHS, they were active in the Cavendish Baptist Church and many other local community organizations. Barbara continued to enjoy bird watching, and identifying wild flowers in the woods of Vermont, as she had done in the mountains of Korea.

Barbara is survived by her four daughters, Ellen (Rob) Stearns of Canterbury, Conn.; Grace (Mike) Muzzo of Downingtown, Pa.; Esther (Peter) Sexton of Brookings, and Alice Kingsbury of Keene, N.H.; eight grandchildren; six great-grandchildren, as well as nieces and nephews; and by her sister-in-law, Olive Kingsbury of Cavendish.

On behalf of CHS we extend our deepest sympathies to the last remaining relative on the Kingsbury Farm, Olive Kingsbury, and to Barbara’s family and friends.

Watch the Flowers Grow This Summer

Thanks to Svetlana Phillips, there will be a cascading flower display this summer on the stump of  the silver maple tree that had to be removed because of serious decay. Over the course of the summer, we will be photographing the growing and tumbling planting and posting to the CHS blog, see URL above.

The Book a Community Wrote: The Writer Who Changed History  

Cavendish is known for having been the home of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the Soviet dissident and Nobel Prize winner who lived here for almost 18 of the 20 years after he was exiled from Russia. The town’s willingness to protect his privacy from outsiders is legendary and as a recent visitor to the CHS Museum noted, “there is little on the Internet about Solzhenitsyn’s time here, other than people wouldn’t give directions to his house.”

That is about to change, with the publication of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The Writer Who Changed History. The author, Margo Caulfield, the Coordinator of CHS, is very clear that this is a community effort that started in the 1970s when a group of CHS volunteers met weekly and clipped articles pertaining to Cavendish, from local and national newspapers and magazines. Through their efforts, Solzhenitsyn’s time in Cavendish was well documented and these archives were key in writing the chapter “Life in the West.”

Isabele Gross
The inspiration for The Writer Who Changed History came from former third grader Isabelle Gross. As part of CHS’s outreach to children, Solzhenitsyn’s experience as a Captain in the Russian Army during WWII was included along with the stories of other Cavendish veterans. Isabelle became extremely upset about how Solzhenitsyn was arrested on the front lines and imprisoned just because he wrote to a friend about his concerns with Stalin. She kept on saying, “This is unfair!” and had many questions including “Was he okay?” “Did they hurt him?” By showing her pictures of Solzhenitsyn living in Cavendish, his children and grandchildren, her concerns were eased. It became clear that having a book might be a better way for Isabelle and other students to understand that Solzhenitsyn’s war experience was literally just one chapter in a very amazing life.

The Cavendish Community Fund provided funding for editing, while the Vermont Humanities Council gave CHS a grant to develop the book’s companion website, [] which was created by Cavendish resident and webmaster Katie Hamlin. The site includes a study guide and curriculum that teachers and book groups can use. Finally, private donations helped with other costs.

Caulfield states, “There were three things I thought were important. The book needed lots and lots of photographs that on their own could tell the story.” Thanks to the generosity of the Solzhenitsyn family, who provided the majority of the book’s photographs, a number of these pictures have until now, not been seen in the west.

Equally important was the look of the book. “It needs vibrancy and color. We don’t want kids turned off because it appears dark.” Another Cavendish resident, Julia Gignoux, was able to provide the right mix. Responsible for the layout and design, Gignoux made  The Writer Who Changed History come alive, resulting in a final product that is appealing to all ages.

The third element was that the book had to include Solzhenitsyn’s writing. “When you mention his name, people immediately think of “Gulag Archipelago,”  but his body of work is vast and includes plays, poems and so much more. As much as possible I thought it important to rely on these resources so that Solzhenitsyn gets to tell his own story but at a level children will understand.” The Writer Who Changed History includes excerpts from speeches, interviews as well as text from his books.

Of most importance are the people of Cavendish. Their cooperation and willingness to protect Solzhenitsyn from the prying eyes of the public, made it possible for him to complete “The Red Wheel.” That same Vermont spirit brought many locals together to make The Writer Who Changed History possible.

The book is self-published by CHS and is available for purchase at Create Space (, and at the Museum. All proceeds from the sale of the book will be used for the Society’s Solzhenitsyn Project, which includes a permanent exhibit, archives, education and outreach.

I have worked here for almost eighteen years.  It has been the most productive period in my life.  I have done all that I wanted to do.....Our children grew up and went to school here, alongside your children. For them, Vermont is home. Indeed, our whole family has felt at home among you. Exile is always difficult, and yet I could not imagine a better place to live, and wait, and wait for my return home than Cavendish. Solzhenitsyn’s Farewell speech at Cavendish Town Meeting 1994

CTES 6th Graders Working in the Cavendish Cemeteries

On May 3, through a combined effort of CHS, Cavendish Town Elementary School, the town and sexton, the sixth graders, along volunteers went to six of the seven town cemeteries to lay flags on veterans graves, clean and learn more about the history of the town. CHS provided lunch for the students and volunteers. Special thanks to:  our drivers/volunteers Penny Trick, Pat Moore, Pang Ting, Woodie and Gail Woods; best ever Mac & Cheese-Jillian Flinn; and to the Gross family for all of their help with the luncheon at the Cavendish Baptist Church.

If you have not joined the Cavendish Historical Society, need to renew your membership, and/or would like to be a volunteer, please complete the form below and sending a check, payable to CHS, to CHS, PO Box 472, Cavendish, VT 05142. All contributions are tax deductible.

Name: _______________________________________

Address: _______________________________________________

Phone Number: _____________________    E-Mail: ____________________________
Membership Level
__ Individual Member $10        ___ Senior Member 65+ $5  ___ Sustaining Member $500
__ Household Member $15      ___ Contributing Member $250                                

___ I would be interested in serving, as a volunteer .I would be interested in serving on the following committee(s):__ Program Planning          __ Fundraising            __ Building (Museum)
__Archives                    _ Budget         ­­–– Cemetery    __ Hands on History

Donations are always welcome and can be designated as follows:
__ For general purposes               __ Educational Programs           __Publications
__ Archeological Activities             _ Museum & Archival             __ Special Events
__ Rankin Fund                           __  Williams Fund                  __ Solzhenitsyn Project
__ Other (please specify)                        __ Cemetery Restoration        __ Preservation Projects