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


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