Friday, September 30, 2011

Cavendish Semiquincentennial: The 150th Anniversary/Other News

This Sunday, Oct. 2, is the last day the Cavendish Historical Society Museum will be open, 2-4 pm, for the season. Stop by and see the 250 year timeline.

The 250th Anniversary celebration takes place Oct 7-10. Events are as follows:

Oct 7 (Friday): Community Dance, 7 pm at the Cavendish Town Elementary School in Proctorsville. Yankee Chank will be playing a variety of music-contras and squares with Mark Sustic as caller (the dancing of our first settlers); and hot Cajun/Zydeco dance tunes. Given our recent situation, could it be any more fitting to have a Louisiana inspired dance band? Les Bon Temps Roulet! (Let the Good Times Roll)

Oct. 8 (Saturday): Parade on Depot Street in Proctorsville starts at 10 am. We may have an abbreviated parade, but it will be inspired. The grand marshal is Sandra Stearns historian and author of “Cavendish Hillside Farm 1939 to 1957.” A variety of activities will take place as the parade ends at the Proctorsville Green (alternative location is the school). Look for games from the 1700’s that people of all ages can enjoy, food, face painting and much more.

Oct. 9 (Sunday): The Proctorsville/Cavendish churches will be holding an open house/reception at their respective churches from noon until 2 pm. At 2 pm, the authors of “The Inventor’s Fortune Up for Grabs,” Suzanne Gay Beyer, granddaughter of Olin Gay and John S. Pfarr, will be talking about their book at Crows Bakery on Depot Street in Proctorsville. There is a very interesting connection between Cavendish and the popular wristwatch expansion bracelet. This is the iconic American story of the underdog coming from behind to prevail. Please note that the location may need to change if Crows Bakery is not fully operational by that Sunday. The school will be the alternative location.

Oct 10 (Monday): The churches will be sponsoring a pot luck supper at 5 pm at the Cavendish School in Proctorsville, followed by a discussion on the history of religion in Cavendish.

The 150th Anniversary of Cavendish celebration had to be rescheduled to August 1912, due to a smallpox epidemic. Angie Kingsbury wrote to her sister, Marietta, on August 16, 1912 about the parade and events:

I am sending a list of the floats etc. which was printed in the last Tribune. No. 1 was drawn by an ox team the man representing John Coffeen driving the oxen. One person was barefoot and they all looked rather dilapidated. The next to come along was two men riding oxen. They didn’t have any yokes or anything on. ..No. 4 was a man dressed as they did in colonial times-powdered hair, cocked hat & all the fixings-riding on horseback. He looked exactly like George Washington. …No. 5 was an old, old green wagon. No. 7 were men on horseback painted red. A float with evergreens on the bottom covered with cotton to represent snow & two Indians sitting beside an old iron kettle and a bower of evergreen….The Rebekah float, which took first prize, was all white. …The horsback riders were few & the bicycles weren’t so very wonderful. There were quite a few autos. Gay’s took first prize. That was all covered with green & flowers & some little girls around with one perched on the back of the seat holding pink lines that were hitched to the shield in front. Murdock’s was second prize & was draped with golden rod. Fletchters was third & was decorated with sunflowers. The horribles [people dressed in costume] were plentiful. ….Sandford Emery got first prize for being horrible. He drove a scrawny horse hitched to a dilapidated wagon the wheels didn’t go together very well and were patched up boards and he was rigged as an old fat woman, wore a mash(ed) and new fashioned hat and an old cotton dress & brown umbrella with the ribs all sticking out as a sunshade. He had a bundle in his arms for a baby & was labeled “votes for women.” …There were two lineal descendents of Capt. Coffeen there. A man & a woman. The woman made a fine speech. It didn’t take her more than two minutes. The man spoke quite a while… Rev. Hough read an original poem. There were more speakers…

Allen M. Fletcher was to give the closing address at this celebration, but since it was late and beginning to rain, he wisely made just a few short remarks. “Chubb Hill Farm and Cavendish, Vermont: A Family and Town History” by Barbara B. Kingsbury

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cavendish Semiquincentennial: Floods of 1936 and 1938

While the Flood of 1927 has been considered the standard by which all other floods are judged in Cavendish, few realize the damages done in 1936 and again in 1938.

In March, 1936, there was an unusual amount of snow on the ground in early March when rain and warm weather (40’s and 50’s) came March 11-12. More heavy rain came March 16-22. Cavendish received a total of 7.89 inches of rain, not counting the enormous quantity of water from the snow melt. Schools were closed, mail and milk deliveries were not possible trains stopped running, bridges were out and the roads were covered with ice and water. Local fire men and the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) were responsible for saving both lives and property. Isabelle Briggs recalled looking out of her childhood home and seeing a “lake” covering the road and the lower part of Whitesville where Twenty Mile Stream flows into the Black River.

The New England Hurricane of 1938 stuck on September 21. Strong winds blew down thousands of trees while heavy rain caused flooding again in the river valleys. In some areas, the flooding was as bad as in the Floods of 1927 and 1936. It was second to the Flood of 1927 in its total devastating impact throughout the state. For Cavendish, the wind damage caused the most destruction. Fallen trees blocked nearly every road the next day.

The disasters of the Flood of 1936 and the Hurricane of 38 at least gave work for road crews and Works Progress Administration (WPA) men in clean-up and road repair. The federal and state governments paid for most of this rather than the town. Logging the trees felled by the hurricane provided jobs as well. From “Chubb Hill Farm and Cavendish Vermont,” By Barbara B. Kingsbury.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Originally scheduled for August 28, the Cavendish Founder’s Tour, will take place on September 25 (Sunday). The tour will include the homes and final resting places of the first settlers: Coffeens, Proctors and Duttons. Meet at the Cavendish Historical Society Museum at 2 pm. Please car pool if possible. While most places can be seen by car, there will be some walking involved when visiting the cemeteries.

If you haven’t had a chance to see the 250 years of Cavendish History Timeline, it is on display at the CHS Museum, open this Sunday from 2-4 pm and available at other times by request. Please note that this is the last Sunday the Museum will be open for the season.

Mark your calendars for Cavendish’s 250th Celebration, the signing of the town’s charter on Oct. 12, 1761, starting October 7, with a community dance at 7 pm at the Cavendish Town Elementary School (CTES) and continuing with the following events:

October 8 (Saturday): Parade 10 am (goes from Cavendish to Proctorsville) with a program and reception to follow at CTES.

October 9 (Sunday): Open houses at the Cavendish/Proctorsville Churches noon-2 pm; From 2-4 pm, the authors of “The Inventor’s Fortune Up for Grabs” will be discussing the book and its links to Cavendish at the Cavendish Elementary School’s Art Room.

Oct 10 (Monday): A potluck supper at 5 pm at the school will be followed by a history of the various Cavendish Churches.


802-226-7807 or

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lucius Paige Builder of Stone Houses

Lucius Paige of Cavendish was not the usual man of his time, a farmer. Instead he was a mechanic, wheelwright, carpenter, mason, power broker, deal maker, and many other things. He was a man who knew how to think stratgically and did what he could to take advantage of his knowledge. I thought while I am working on the DAVIS families of Cavendish, I would share the story of Lucius that we know, thus far, with you all. If anyone has anymore information, I would love to see it. For example, I would like to have a good photograph of the Hickernnel House (the gingerbread one), and an older photo of Glimmerstone. I also need to know if anyone else knows the other places that Lucius built. I think he built the stone Universalist Church in Felchville.. I have to do a little more research. Linda Welch, CHS Geneologist

Almira Davis (7) {John (6), Joshua (5), Joshua (4), Joseph (3), Joseph (2), George (1)}, was born in Springfield, Vt., 2 Nov., 1808. She m. 2 May, 1832 Lucius Paige (b. Roylaton, Vt. 7 Oct., 1802, son of Nathan & Hannah (Cobb) Paige).
Lucius’ brother was Benjamin Paige who m. Huldah Cheney and lived in Baltimore, Vt.Benjamin and Huldah had a son they named Lucius Hubbard Paige, b. Baltimore, 14 Oct., 1815, m. Wethersfield, 8 May, 1850, Lucinda Wheelock Williams]
Lucius Paige was an enterprising young man and an expert craftsman. He was responsible for building many stone structures in Cavendish and vicinity, and worked incompany with his father-in-law, John Davis. They were among the leading contracting carpenters in their day, and taking on construction projects as a company. They hired many local laborers.. Lucius helped design and built the famous "Glimmerstone" on the road to Proctorsville and also the Buck House in Cavendish Village, known to all as the 'ginger bread house.' [put in pictures of Glimmerstone and the Hickendale house here].
At the time of the 1850 census, Lucius and Almira were living in Cavendish on property valued at $1,000. He was occupied as a carpenter. Their neighbors were Salmon Dutton, Joseph Freeman, and Edmund Ingalls. They had two children living at home this time
In Cavendish on 3 June, 1850, witnessed by R. H. Eddy and F. P. Hale, Jr., Lucius applied for a patent on his invention of a new and approved "Sash-Lock." He wrote: "as a sash fastener or bolt, my device will be found to be very effective in operation, easily applicable to sashes and not liable to get out of order. The cavity for its reception in the sash frame may be made principally by a common auger, having a diameter corresponding to that of the case. A screw inserted through the center of the case and into the sash frame will not only serve to fasten the case to the sash, but as a fulcrum for the weighted arm. His figures presented with the application, he said "the combination and arrangement of the weighted arm 'D', the rack 'C' the sectoral gear or pinion 'E', the stopping arm 'F' and the stop shoulder 'H' as applied to the bolt and within the case thereof and so as to operatetogether and actuate the bolt substantially in manner as specified."
On 3 Jan., 1854, Lucius was living in Cavendish when he received Letters Patent No. 10,368 for is invention of "Screw-Bolt and Nut." He submitted his drawings and application to the patent office 7 Dec., 1853. It was witnessed by Charles L. Blood and Otis Robbins of Cavendish, and described as: It as a "new and useful improvement. The object of his invention was to prevent a screw-nut from turning backward on its screw or from being unscrewed therefrom under ordinary circumstances or when a wrench or some equivalent is not applied to the nut for the purpose of unscrewing if. His invention provides ability to "score or groove the helical thread of the male screw so as to form it into a row or line of teeth, applying the screw nut "B" with a dog or catch "C" properly made to engage with the teeth formed on the helical thread of the male screw. The catch is affixed in a recess formed in the bolt and make it as a lever to turn on a fulcrum or pin "D." He claimed that the "forming of the helical thread of a male screw with notches or teeth in combination with applying to its screw nut a dog-catch or -spring-pawl to operate in the teeth, or notches, and prevent back rotation of the nut on the screw substantially."
Lucius applied for a second patent No. 12,245 (witnessed by S. H. Wales and S. F. Cohen) and it was approved 16 Jan., 1855, for "Brake-Block For Railroad Cars." It was a new improvement in a peculiar construction and arrangement of the shoes which bear against the wheels. "The improvement of so construction the shoe and the socket or bearing thereof and applying them as described herein, that the shoe may extend entirely through and out of the socket in opposite directions and be capable of being moved up to the wheel as fast as occasion may require until it (the shoe or rubber) is worn up or rendered unfit for service; my improvement being one of the great practical importance and utility." The next patent he applied for on 20 March, 1855, with Josiah Q. Adams and OtisRobbins as witnesses, for a "Lever of Railroad-Car Brakes," which was in an improvement in mechanism for operating the brakes of the truck frames of an Eight-Wheel Railway Car. His patent for the same was approved 25 March, 1856.
The third patent we find issued to Lucius Page was dated 24 April, 1855 (Patent No. 12,765); for "Combined Table and Writing-Desk." He applied for it 30 Sept., 1854, and he described it as a new and useful "secretary, table or article of furniture which can be converted into a table or writing desk at pleasure. He submitted figure designs and the application was witnessed by Charles L. Blood and Otis Robbins of Cavendish.
In a mortgage deed to Edmund Stone of Cavendish for $200 dated 8 Dec. ,1856, we learn the boundary description of the Lucius Paige home in Cavendish. "bounded on the west on the old Weathersfield Turnpike Road, on the north by land now owned and occupied byJoseph Freeman, and Sarah A. Freeman, on the east by land of Salmon Dutton, and on the south by land owned by the Widow and heirs of Addison Fletcher, deceased, and now occupied by the widow Mary S. Fletcher, containing about half of an acre of land, be the same more or less, together with the buildings thereon. "
On 2 Nov., 1855 in a patent application witnessed by J. P. Derby and William J. Pillsbury, Lucius Paige of Cavendish applied for his fourth patent for a "Grinding-Mill." It was approved 29 Jan., 1856 and issued Letters Patent No. 14,164. This invention made use of a screw 'A' applied to a vertical shaft 'B' extending downward through a hopper 'C' and supported in suitable bearings so as to be capable of being rotated. He employed four or any other suitable number of wheels shoe peripheries were formed with teeth or helical spaces to engage and work with the screw, "that when said screw is revolved, each of said wheels will be put in revolution, thereby on its own axis." He stated that "a mill constructed and made to operate in the above described manner has been found very advantageous for crushing and grinding or pulverizing various substances; whereby one or more wheels and a hopper whereby such mechanism is ame to answer the purpose of a mill for grinding."
Lucius was not done inventing. He applied for his fifth patent from Cavendish, 20 March, 1856, witnessed by R. H Eddy and F. P. Hale, Jr. He with Albert L. Lincoln of Boston were issued the patent 22 April, 1856 for "Studs For Wearing-Apparel" This was for an improved shirt button or stud, submitted with drawings. "In carrying out by invention, I take a common shirt stud or button as constructed with a circular disk or plate holder; "a" united to another disk "by" by a shank or projection "c" and I form said disk or plate holder with a slot "d" extending inward from its circumference towards its shank, and bend one edge of said slit so as to elevate the same a little above the other edge as seen in Figure 1, and in order to enable such raised edge to be inserted in a button hole corresponding in length with that of the slit. My improvement consists in constructing the "back disk holder" of an ordinary shirt stud or button with a slit "d" extending from its circumference to the shank, and having one of its raisedwith respect to the other substantially as specified."
Lucius was issued another patent 26 Aug., 1856 (Letters Patent No 15,617) for his invention of a new and improved "Water-Gage for Steam-Boilers." His object was to so construct a gage that in case one of the tubes of the inner series should become broken, thetube surrounding it will prevent the escape of steam and enable the gage to be continued in use until a more convenient opportunity to repair it shall occur. Furthermore should any one of the tubes of the external set become broken, the inner tube thereof will sustain the column of tubes and enable to gagte to be continued in use and also, by making the gage of several separate glass tubs instead of one long glass tube, there is not much danger of its being broken or getting out of order in consequence of contraction and expansion which its emperature various from time to time when the gage is in use."
Lucius d. of dropsy in Cavendish, 15 June 1857 (age 53).
When the 1860 census was taken, Almira was a widow and head of her household living with her daughter Sarah who was employed as a music teacher. Fourteen-year- old Danny was attending school. Mr. Orasia Lockwood (age 36) the station agent was boarding in the home. Almira’s real estate holdings were valued at $1,800 and she had personal property of $200. All those “inventions” of her husband did not seem to increase their annual income, but everyone in town still believed that Lucius was a brilliant man and Almira must have been left "wealthy"From all his inventions. It could not have been farther from the truth. She struggled to take care of herself and do what she could for her children, but she had always been a proud woman. Her neighbors in 1860 included William Davis, Widow Mary (Parkhurst) Spaulding, Samuel and Calista Adams, and James and Mary Whitten. Almira lost her beloved son Chancellor in the Civil War. He died far off in Louisiana at the age of 20 in 1865. He was buried with honors at Chalmette. Almira and her children were not listed in the 1870 census of Cavendish. In 1880, Almira lived in on the Hartland Road in Woodstock with her daughter's family.
Almira d. at the home of her daughter, 3 Aug., 1880 (age 71).
Lucius and Almira and the three young children they lost early, are all buried in the Cavendish Village, Mt. Union cemetery.

Paige Children (at least):

1. Eckford Paige, b. 1833 ....... d. Cavendish 14 July, 1834
2. Henry E. Paige, b. 1837 ....... d. 2 June, 1837
3. Lucius Allen Paige, b. 1838 ...... d. 2 April, 1842
4. Sarah Paige, b. Bethel, Vt., 1840. She m. Cavendish, 1 Jan., 1868, William Henry Harrison Sargent of Woodstock, Vt. (b. Tunbridge, Vt. 4 March, 1840, son ofWilliam Brown & Mahala (Noyes) Sargent). Mr. Sargent had moved to SouthRoyalton Vermont in 1865 to find work and settled permanently in the town in 1868. He bought a blacksmith shop of Mr. Charles Crandall. When the 1860 census was taken, he had $2,100 in real estate and $1,000 in personal property. Almira, Sarah's mother lived with them and helped look after the house. He carried on the blacksmith business until 1883 when he started a meat market, which proved very successful. Impaired health deprived Sarah of an active social life for many years, but the “quiet graces of domestic life” were found constantly in her cheerful home.
Sargent children:
1. Harry Adelbert Sargent, b. Woodstock, Vt. 2 Nov., 1869. He m. April, 190, Gerturde Dowing of Newmarket, NH.
2. HerbertChancellor Sargent, b. Royalton, Vt., 30 July, 1871. He m. in Royalton, 15 Aug.,1894, Nettie Pamela Waldo (b. 12 Nov., 1871, dau. of Joseph Warren & Nettie (Woodworth) Waldo). They had no children.
3. Fred Wellington Sargent, b. Royalton, 28 Oct., 1873
4. Myra Louise Sargent, b. Royalton, 18 Dec., 1875 ….. d. of consumption, 1 Aug., 1905.
5. Josephine May, b. Royalton, 4 May, 1883. She graduated from the South Royalton Highschool, and became a teacher in 1902.
5. Chancellor Paige, b. 1844. He was a Civil War soldier. He was 20 yrs. old 20 Aug., 1864 when he enlisted Co. "G", 7th Reg't. Vt. Vols. He was mustered in 20 Aug., 1864. He died of disease in New Orleans, Louisiana, 21 Jan., 1865. He was buried in the Chalmette National Cemetery, Louisiana.
6. Danny Paige, b. 1846 (nothing further).

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Myron Davis’ Chair Factory

Here is a story about that Chair Factory in Felchville. Many Cavendish men worked there on and off in the 1880s and into the 1890s. It was a large enterprise for its day. Linda Welch


Myron Davis’ Chair Factory, Felchville, Vermont, NEWS:
NEWS: —Felchville, 17 Jan., 1879: “Myron Davis has taken in a partner in the chair business, Mr. W. S. Hodge, from East Templeton, Mass., an experienced workman.” —27 Feb., 1880: “Business is brisk at the chair shop. Since it has been in the hands of Mr. M. A. Davis, many improvements have been made. First class chairs are manufactured of the most improved styles.” —Felchville, 23 Oct., 1885: “Mrs. M. A. Davis is having a bad time with her arm. She was vaccinated for small pox and took cold in the arm when erysipelas set in.” —3 Aug., 1888: “Evidently, M. A. Davis does not mind much about the cry of ‘free trade,’ as he is laying out about six hundred dollars in repairs and new machinery for the chair shop. He is getting ready for a large fall trade, and has added to his already largelist of clients, the reform school at Vergennes, and is shipping to and receiving from there quite a quantity of chairs.” —4 Oct., 1889: “M. A. Davis and wife returned from their trip to the sea-shore last week. The former is somewhat improved in health, but tells us that medical advisers say that he must go to a warmer climate as the only means of fully regaining his health. In view of this, we are informed that he has advertised his entire chair-manufacturing business in this village, for sale. Mr. Davis began business here ten years ago, employing but three hands; but since then his business has steadily increased necessitating each year additional buildings to his enterprise and some of the time, employing over 30 men, besides a small army of cane-seaters. At the present time he has a variety of sixty cane-seat chairs, of modern patterns and styles, and judging from the loads of his goods hauled from this village, marked not only to parties in the Central and Western states, but to parties in Florida, Mississippi, California, and Washington Territory, we conclude hisreputation as a chair manufacturer extends from sea to sea. We regret that he cannot stay with us to enjoy the fruits of the reputation he has so persistently earned. In speaking of his success here, he largely attributes it to being located in a lumber region, where lumber and the living expenses of workmen are much cheaper than in the great chair manufacturing sections of Massachusetts. We hope some good man will see the advantage of investing in a well-established business.” —Advertisement: Chair Factory For Sale! Rare Opportunity for Investment! .. said business consists of a well-equipped factory for the manufacture of Cane-Seat Chairs, employing, (on full time) from 25 to 30 men; has fine water power on a branch of the Black River, running two good wheels under 30 feet head, giving ample power. There is attached to this factory a first-class circular sawmill which does a payingbusiness. In connection, there are large and commodious Storehouses and Lumber-Sheds, all well filled with lumber, stock, and finished goods. Buildings, Machinery, and Dry Kilns are in first class repair; and buildings and kilns are heated by steam. This is an excellent section for lumber, andliving expenses and rents for men are extremely low. Experienced workmen are located here; also an adequate number of cane-seaters. The above business has been established 10 years and has grown from nothing to a large and profitable industry, doing a wholesale business all over the country. This property must be sold at once and we invite parties or their representatives to investigate at once. Timberlands, houses, teams, etc., sold with the above if desired. —M. A. Davis, Felchville” — The local newspaper did what it could to enhance Myron’s plan to sell his business and in just about every weekly issue of the paperthey mentioned the success of the factory as a business in hopes that some hearty businessman would come along and buy it from Myron. NEWS:—31 Jan., 1890: “M. A. Davis has sold 40 dozen chairs within the last two weeks.” —9 May, 1890: “M. A. Davis has received an order from Dublin, Ireland, requesting price and terms for a large shipment of his chairs, and his brother, F. C. Davis is in the West on a business trip.” —8 May, 1891: “M. A. Davis has more orders for chairs than he can fill.” — Towards the latter part of Aug., 1891, Myron and his wife decided to take a pleasure trip through the northern part of the state and took in the Presidential reception in Montpelier on their return. President Harrison had made a tripthrough Vermont with his Secretary of War, Redfield Proctor, and whistle-stopped at many villages, greeting the Vermont farmers and familiesalong the way from his special train car. His train stopped in Ludlow where a large, enthusiastic crowd greeted him. —16 Oct., 1891: “Henry E. Byron and wife (Flora) of St. Johnsbury, and George Round, wife and two children of Lancaster, NH, who have been visiting at M. A. Davis’, returned home last week.” —29 April, 1892: “The tenant house of M. A. Davis, known as the ‘old boarding house’ and occupied by White Chapman, took fire from a defect in the chimney last Friday and had it burned a few minutes longer before being discovered, the building could not have been saved, but by a good supply of water, it was early extinguished.” Myron d. in Felchville, 16 Oct., 1893 (age 45). From his obituary: “... he had been an invalid for a long time. He was the proprietor of the chair shop for many years and was a highly respected

Friday, September 9, 2011

Cavendish Semiquincentennial: 1927 Flood

The Cavendish Historical Society Museum will be open this coming Sunday from 2-4 pm. We will have information about the flood of 1927 and are collecting pictures and items from previous floods, including the one from Aug. 28. For more information, or 802-226-7807.

The largest flood on record in Vermont caused heavy damage in the Black River Valley, particularly Cavendish. A quarter mile long channel avulsion bypassing the Cavendish Gorge eroded approximately 2 million tons of sediment down to bedrock leaving a channel 150 feed deep and 600 feet wide. Seven houses were washed away and the Duttonsville School ended up protruding over the edge of a high sandbank. Redfield Proctor, former Vermont governor, offered $10,000 to restore the schoolhouse. Olin Gay, Chairman of the School Board, proposed using this gift to move the school to a new location. He also proposed that the town raise an additional $5,000 by taxes to put in an auditorium basement, modernize the heating system and install toilets. The school building was moved on big rollers by oxen and horses 400 feet back to a safer location. It had much better facilities than before the flood. A Vermont Standard School until 1928, thanks to the renovations after the flood, Duttonsville was upgraded to a “Superior School,” a status it retained until closing in 1971.

President Calvin Coolidge telegraphs his cousin, Park Pollard, after the flood, wanting to know what he can do for Cavendish. He sent Herbert Hoover, his Secretary of Commerce, to visit the region and to make recommendations. Two Army engineers came to give technical help about relocating the state road.

Note: Articles from the 1927 Flood, as well as pictures, will be at the Museum on Sunday 2-4 pm.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Museum Closed Today

Given the recent damage to Cavendish from Irene, the Cavendish Historical Society Museum will be closed today. We plan to reopen on Sept. 11. Fortunately, the Museum was not damaged by the flooding.