Thursday, August 10, 2017

Scribbler II Summer 2017


Craig Rankin's Plant List
In spite of incredibly nasty weather, the annual Cavendish Historical Society Plant Sale went on as usual. A very special thank you to: the Tings of Moonlite Meadows for once again supplying the best dirt ever; Svetlana and Kem Phillips, Lu Choiniere, Margo Caulfield, Pang Ting and Pieter van Schaik for transplanting and caring for so many plants. Sale day, though it was a wet and rainy mess, was greeted with a knowledgeable plant sales team, particularly Svetlana and Pieter. Thanks Bob Naess for making sandwiches and putting up a tent so everyone stayed dry.

Craig Rankin would be thrilled to know that the sale continues and that plans are already underway for next year-mock orange and dahlias.


For the third straight year running, Bruce and Betty McEnaney have opened up their amazing organic
blueberry farm for general picking ($3 a pound). Located off Smokeshire at 354 Miner Rd, just over the Cavendish town line in Chester, it offers some of the best views in VT. The money raised from the "pick your own" is used to fund the Cavendish Town Elementary School (CTES) 6th grade trip to Sturbridge Village. We have a big class this year, so we need lots of picking if we're going to make this trip possible.


The Museum is open on Sundays from 2-4 pm and other times by appointment. Activities are free and open to the public.

August 20 (Sunday): Solar Eclipse Workshop. Make a pinhole projector for safe viewing of the eclipse. 2pm at the Museum

 August 21 (Monday): View the solar eclipse (it will be a partial eclipse) starting at 1:30 pm at the Museum. Maximum viewing will be at 2:41 pm. We will have a variety of devices for viewing. Please note that children 3 and under will only be able to use a pinhole viewer.

Sept. 9 (Saturday): Honey Festival at the Golden Stage Inn, off Depot Street in Proctorsville. CHS will once again provide an opportunity for visitors to make hand dipped beeswax candles. The festival hours are 10-4
Sept. 10 (Sunday): Annual Phineas Gage Walk and Talk. CHS Museum, 2pm.

Oct. 8 (Sunday): Proctorsville Ghost Walk-meet in front of the Proctorsville War Memorial, 2pm.  


If you travel along route 131, you may have noticed a structure in Cavendish Village and wondered what it might have been? Root cellar is a common thought.

It turns out that this this was a burial vault constructed in 1828 by Jonathan Atherton Jr. Two of the Athertons were buried there until they were reburied in the Cavendish Village Cemetery on High Street. 


Each year at Christmas time, CHS celebrates the holiday by holding a daylong series of workshops at Cavendish Elementary School based on the heritage of people who have settled in Cavendish. This year we will be celebrating the Polish, many of whom came to work at the Gay Brothers Mills.

“..In 1908 the mill at Cavendish needed more workers than it was able to find roundabout. Some Polish people had drifted into Springfield, Vermont, looking for jobs. But it was slack there. A power company was building a dam in the Black River Gorge and the Poles heard that laborers were being taken on, but by the time they got there the demand had ceased. As long as they were in the neighborhood they thought they might as well inquire at the mill in Cavendish, and there three of them were hired at once. They sent word to friends, who came to join them.
At first there was some show of hostility in the town. Vermont was for Vermonters, Americans, went the grumbling; no call for Vermonters to put up with any foreigners coming in.
But the Poles showed themselves so quickly to be good-working folk, diligent, thrifty and above all, clean, that people in the village soon fell into the way of treating them just as neighbors. “Mornin’ Isaac,” they’d say, casually, at the Post Office or the general store. And “That’s a fine rose in your garden, Tony-don’t know’s I ever saw the variety hereabouts.”
In the mill the Poles took naturally to the work. Two of those first Polish employees are bosses now, and good ones. Isaac, who was among that first three, still works in the picker room. And when anyone in town can’t get a lawn to grow just right under needle pines, or has trouble with a mulch, usually it is Tony who comes along and helps to straighten things out.

The Poles married in Cavendish and now a second generation works for the Gays too. In school the children of Polish extraction have continuously taken a lion’s share of prizes, which makes a bond between them and the environment and way of life in New England. When you have lived for years in a town, and your children have been born there, gone to school and married there, it becomes though you had really never anywhere else. During the World War period no one in Cavendish, ever had finer Victory gardens than the Polish mill people, and that included the children and their school gardens. And the Polish men, women and children have taken their fair share in social and civic events. The celebration of a Liberty Loan quota oversubscribed; or a Red Cross drive; ....
Hardly anyone in Cavendish remembers their Polish neighbors without recalling the incident of Tony’s daughter, Mary.
It was before the first World War and Mary was just beginning to learn to talk. Word came from her grandmother back in Vilna that she would like to have Mary for a visit, so her parents sent her over with some friends.
The war broke out and it was impossible to get Mary back to American. Not until she was twelve or thirteen were her parents able to arrange for her to come back. And even then there was an enormous amount of red tape. Her parents were absolutely bewildered. They followed what amounts to an informal village custom and took their problem to the Gays. Leon Gay decided that the most effective way would be to work through the Red Cross, getting passport, tickets, identification papers and so forth. For Mary’s people it all became a dream, of the great day Mary would arrive.
But, instead, a dreadful thing happened. Instead of a little girl being met by her parents and their friends at a certain train, there came a telegram, which said, “Mary dead Tuesday.”
Mary’s parents were simply beside themselves. But to Leon Gay it seemed that there was something queer about all this. A healthy child does not just die without warning. While he set in motion ways of checking every step of Mary’s journey from Vilna, he instructed the telegraph people to verify the message.
A few hours later a telegraph company clerk reported sheepishly, “There was an error in transmission-the message reads ‘Mary arriving Tuesday.’ “ Excerpt from “Neither Wealth Nor  Poverty: The History of the Woolen Mills of Gay Brothers 1869-1944,” by Janet Mabie pages 85-87

While we are assembling various projects for the students to do, if you have Polish Christmas traditions you’d like to share with the students-such as recipes, crafts, gifts etc.-please forward them using the contact information at the beginning of the newsletter.


Thanks to a generous donation from Stein (Ernestine) van Schaik, the Carmine Guica Young Historians Program is off to an incredible start.

Stein came to Cavendish as an eight year old from Holland. The youngest of a large family, she grew up on Chambers Rd in Cavendish. In making her bequest, Stein explained that the Cavendish schools were her introduction to America and in turn she hoped that the endowment would help to launch today’s schoolchildren in becoming the life long learner and educator that she has become.

Having lived on six of the seven continents, Stein now lives in Florida, but spends a portion of the summer here. Having been a teacher and a principal, as well as being bilingual in Spanish, Stein has been incredibly helpful in planning some of the “hands on” activities that CHS provides as a way of teaching history. This summer we’ve had lots of interesting conversations about immigration as well as some new ideas for the 5th graders Dias de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) annual workshop.

Thank you Stein for making such a difference in our kids’ education as well as helping to keep alive the memory of Carmine Guica who would be  thrilled.


Redfield Proctor
The name Redfield Proctor is well known in Cavendish.  Born in Proctorsville in 1831, Redfield Proctor married Emily Jane Dutton, ending the feud between the Proctors and the Duttons of Duttonsville (today Cavendish village). His achievements were considerable, 37th US Secretary of War, US Senator from VT, 37th Governor of VT to name a few.

So why would a new cannabis venture name itself after Redfield Proctor, who was a well-known conservative in his day? Could it be that the president Stephen Martin of Quechee, VT, who also runs ABVaporizers, is naming the company after Proctor’s son Redfield Proctor, Jr?

Redfield Proctor, Jr.
Like his father, Redfield Jr. served as Governor of VT as well as in the Vermont House and Senate. A graduate of MIT in mechanical engineering he was a prominent business man- executive at Vermont Marble Company, president of the Clarendon and Pittsford Railroad and served on the board of directors for various groups including Boston’s Shawmut Bank and the United States Chamber of Commerce. Could his civic work as a member of the Vermont Sanitarium Board, which took care of people with tuberculosis, be responsible?

The company “Redfield Proctor” has been awarded funding as a “start-up in stealth mode focused on efficiency in the cannabis industry.”  So were one or both of the Proctors secretive in their business dealings? Or could it simply be that Redfield Proctor is a well-known name in Vermont?

Don’t have an answer but when you hear Redfield Proctor in the future it may not be the former Governors of VT.


CHS is working with various groups in Vermont-Historical Society, Humanities, and the Russian Department at the University of Vermont-to plan activities throughout 2018 as a celebration of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s 100th birthday on December 11, 2018. Among the activities planned include a special proclamation signed by the Governor in January/February made possible by our local state representative Annmarie Christensen and our state senators-Nikitka, McCormick and Clarkson.

There will be an exhibit at the Vermont Historical Society Museum in Montpelier, which will focus on his time spent in Cavendish, where he was writing “The Red Wheel.” Various lectures, book discussions groups and more will be taking place in Cavendish and throughout the state.


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    __ Carmine Guica Young Historians

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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