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.
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Scribbler II Winter 2016
The Annual Meeting of the
Cavendish Historical Society will be March 5 (Sunday) from 3-5 pm. We will once
again be returning to the Cavendish Baptist Church, which hosted so many meetings
for CHS over the years. After a significant renovation, the downstairs parish
hall is now handicap accessible.
While this edition of the newsletter
contains the President’s Letter, the budget is still being worked on and will
be made available at the meeting. In addition to the business agenda, there
will be a special program Cavendish Believe It or Not! -see the article
below.In addition to the review of
CHS’s finances, the business agenda will include:
How to honor Carmine Guica-Suggestions to date have included: restoration
project; renaming Young Historians to the Carmine Guica Young Historians
Program; scholarship fund; fund to help local kids research aspects of
The 100th Birthday of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and how we would like to recognize
renovation of the Stone Church
CAVENDISH “BELIEVE IT OR NOT!”
Alexis St. Marten
When ever something unique, strange, funny or unusual
happens in town, board member Bruce McEnaney’s comment is “it’s going in the
book.” When Bruce has time to write this book remains to be seen, but in the
interim, we’ve borrowed the title “Cavendish: Believe it or Not!” to be the
theme for the Annual Meeting program.
There are many Cavendish
stories that people don’t know about. Yes, Phineas Gage’s and his famous
accident ushered in the age of brain research. However, another medical
curiosity lived here for at least 10 years. Alexis St. Martin revolutionized
the understanding of gastroenterology with his permanent hole in his gut. A bit
gory, and definitely strange, but oh so fascinating.
Penguin Ski Hill
With the snows of February, its fun to remember that
at one time Cavendish had both a top notch bobsled run and its very own skihill. As part of February’s Black History Month, we have once again revisited
the amazing story how an African slave, Peter Tumber (Tumbo) became free, moved
to Cavendish and died here in 1832 at the age of 106. We’ve learned a lot in
the past year that adds even more understanding to the Tumber’s story we
published this time last year. Then there is Clarence Adams. Just who is buried
in his grave? Turns out he visited with a friend in Montreal after his supposed
death and was spotted in Nova Scotia and still later in Florida.
In the last few days we
learned that a “zombie” movie was partially filmed in the Proctor Cemetery in
Proctorsville. We’re trying to obtain a copy of this short film to screen at
the meeting. If you have other tales you’d like to share, we’d love to hear
LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
The Cavendish Historical
Society (CHS) “Preserving Cavendish Heritage” committee has made incredible
strides this year. The Civil War Memorial was cleaned, lights replaced and
decorated for the holidays for the first time in many years. The Cavendish
Stone Church’s belfry is undergoing a replacement of beams, resetting of the
bell and making it possible to once again ring it. Rounding out the activities
is the replacement of the doors to the CHS Museum. A dedicated team of
volunteers, headed by master craftsman Dave Stern, spent the summer and fall
restoring doors from the same era as the building. Both the door installation
and the exterior work on the Stone Church Belfry will take place in the
spring.Also on the 2017 preservation
“to do list” is the extension of a stonewall in the new portion of the Twenty
Mile Stream Cemetery.
In June, CHS published Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The Writer Who
Changed History, a biography for students in grades 4-7. However, many
adults are purchasing the book and the reviews have been positive. I got the book yesterday and it is so beautiful. I am really impressed with
the layout, the photos, the prose and the way the inside covers feature
Solzhenitsyn's writing, in his own hand. It makes you feel like you are getting
a glimpse into his private diary.
4th graders with archeologist, chaperones and volunteers. Every student found something.
The CHS Young Historians
program at Cavendish Town Elementary School (CTES) continues as a way to teach
town history as well as encourage stewardship. New this year was the 5th
graders joining the 6th graders in RiverSweep. Through the “Pick
Your Own Blueberries,” sponsored by Bruce and Betty McEnaney, we were able to
take the 6th graders to Sturbridge Village once again. While cemetery
cleaning has primarily focused on Hillcrest or Proctor Cemeteries, this spring,
the students placed flags on veterans’ graves and cleaned up debris in six of
the seven town cemeteries.
CHS volunteers are working on the South Champlain Historical Ecology
Project, an archeological dig over 12,000 years old. As a result, CTES 4th
graders were able to visit the site and participate in the dig. One of the
archeologists visited the 5th grade to discuss Mayan Ball Courts. In
the spring, we hope to offer more archeological experiences to other grades.
People come from around the world to visit the Museum. Because Cavendish
history has such international appeal, CHS maintains a very strong web presence
(see URLs above) including various Facebook pages, websites and even posting
lots of historical photos and history to the Cavendish VT Facebook page. Use of
these Internet resources is rapidly growing with thousands using the sites
every week, if not daily.
CHS relies heavily on
contributions from individual donors as well as the town. Whenever possible we
use in-kind donations and volunteers to meet our mission. While we’d normally
list the names of all those who make CHS possible, this year we want to
acknowledge the incredible contribution of Carmine Guica who died, at the age
of 95, in November..
A founding member of CHS, Carmine was also President for a number of years.
He has been an invaluable source of information, researching any request made
of him. Thank you Carmine for making such a difference to our community.
VISITORS TO THE SOLZHENITSYN
In October we had a group of
Chinese dissidents who came to visit the Solzhenitsyn exhibit. We loved what
they wrote in the guest book. Special thanks to Pang Ting and Sze Pang for the
Because we share
Solzhenitsyn’s trials and ideals, because like him we are living as exiles, we
are the true bearer of Solzhenitsyn’s mantel. Yi Zheng writer
The Chinese have an honorific
title, we add the word ‘old’ in front of a person’s name to express our
respect. I call Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn ‘Old Sol.’
Od Sol belongs not only to
Russia, he belongs to China. He belongs to all suffering humanity seeking
The town of Cavendish Vermont
is very fortunate to be the one to have given refuge to and welcomed the great
writer old Sol.
Today the seven of us have
made the pilgrimage to the sacred ground where Old Sol lived and was inspired.
We are honored by this privilege. Wang Kang Scholar
He has left
His voice still echoes
throughout the valleys
Faintly across the centuries
Faintly from the ends of the
earth Yi Ping
Cavendish’s Woolen Mills Timeline: Part II
I of the Cavendish Woolen Mills timeline appeared in the Scribbler II Summer
2016. This issue covers the turbulence period of 1933-1937.
1933: The workers at Gay Brothers
(Cavendish) walked out on a strike followed by the millworkers in Proctorsville
and Ludlow. The workers were afraid that their mill owners were not going to
follow the code provided for in the National Recovery Act (NRA). Leon Gay
assured the workers he was going to sign this agreement and immediately
announced a 10% wage increase and a 40 hour week. The other mill owners
1934: In September, there was a
general strike of textile workers throughout much of Vermont. Ludlow and
Cavendish had not yet joined. Some Ludlow mill workers only made 10¢ an hour
for their work, and although they worked 60 hours a week, they couldn’t feed
their families. Wages were higher in the Cavendish mills. The National Recovery
Act set 35¢ an hour as minimum wage. Many workers were ready to join the United
Textile Workers Union and fight for better pay. The Black Bear employees asked
for a union representative to come down and organize them as they wanted to
join the strike. Louis Guilmet,union
organizer, and about a hundred other union men left Winooski at night to come
to the support of their fellow workers in Proctorsville. Management was
prepared and met the visitors with state troopers. Ninety workers were deputized
and told to bring clubs. “Attempts to
force the closing of Black Bear Mill failed Tuesday, September 11) for the
third time in three days when “flying squadrons,” approximately 300 men from
idle mills in Burlington, Winooski, and Claremont were met at the entrance of
the village by armed deputies and ordered to return to their homes.
(Vermont Tribune). The state trooper would not allow the Winooski men to come
near the mill and Guilmet was advised by the County Sheriff to withdraw.
Guilmet and his party did so and there was no violence.
Gay Brothers workers met Louis Guilmet before he left town and asked him to
meet with them about forming a union. To avoid problems, 27 men met with
Guilmet at a farm in Plymouth a week after the Black Bear incident and
officially organized as Local No. 162, Textile Workers Union of America. Their
leaders advised them that it was not an opportune time to join the general
strike. On September 29, 150 mill workers met in the Cavendish Town Hall to
hear a speech by Guilment, who told them they had the right to unionize under
the National Recovery Act.
1935: A public meeting was held at
the Cavendish Town Hall to protest the firing of a weaver by Gay Brothers. They
voted to strike, production was stopped and a committee, accompanied by
Guilment, called on the Gays. The surprise ending to this incident is that the
Gays did not call out the state troopers but listened to the complaints and
worked out a compromise satisfactory to both sides. The weaver, who had more
than one serious violation of company policy, was given a six week lay-off and
then re-instated. With no written agreement, the Gays had recognized and to a
degree that the union was now part of the Mill. Among mill owners of the time,
this was an unusual stance.
Wagner Act was passed in July 1935, which reaffirmed the rights of labor to
join unions and choose their own representative for collective bargaining.
1936: In March, 150 workers of the
Black Bear Woolen Mill (Proctorsville) did not report to work. Later that day,
14 of the union leaders were fired. The union had been trying to see the owner
to negotiate a wage increase. The owner, Gordon Brown, had two other mills in
New Hampshire, which also went on strike at the same time. Later in March, it
was reported that the mill officials had agreed to confer with the union. They
evidentially changed their minds as on March 26, the strikers reported that the
main issue was no longer wagesbut full
recognition of the union. Instead of talking with the union, the officials now
posted a notice of dismissing all employees who were out “on holiday.” By now
180 men, almost the entire work force had joined the striking group. They were
paid .35¢ an hour, which gave them $14 for a 40 hour week. Other local mills
were paying $16 a week. The workers returned to work on April 2 when the mill
officials agreed to talk with the union leaders. Gordon Brown died and his sons
took over the running of the Black Bear Mill.
1937: In November, the Black River
Mill closed leaving 200 workers without jobs. Lack of orders and modern
equipment were given as reasons for the closing. Although there were rumors
that the mill would reopen, it never did.
BECOME A MEMBER, RENEW YOUR
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.