Monday, November 28, 2011

Annual Appeal

November 27, 2010

Dear Friend:

This past year was supposed to be one long celebration for Cavendish, given that we were honoring our 250th anniversary. While many wonderful events did take place, including weekly posts about various aspects of our town’s history, the big four-day event was scheduled for the anniversary date in October. While the flood of August 28 changed our town dramatically, we still came together and celebrated, just not at the scale we had planned on.

We saw first hand how important it is to preserve our history when the National Guard wanted to see photographs and articles about the 27 flood that could help them in the repair of the current “Cavendish Canyon. Therefore, it was not surprising that even before the shelter closed, we were being asked to mount an exhibit for 2012 comparing the 1927 flood to 2011.

CHS recognizes that what happens today is tomorrow’s history, so we are one of the supporters of the Cavendish Update, an electronic newsletter, which is archived at and has a Facebook page Cavendish VT. While we are leaving a digital history for future generations, it proved to be an invaluable resource during the flood. For ten straight days, posts were issued several times a day so people would know where to go for help and assistance. Further, the Facebook page was a quick way for people to post what roads were open and who needed help.

Along with organizing a flood exhibit for the Museum, we will be focusing on the Civil War-the 150th anniversary began in 2011-and expanding our outreach through our “hands on history program.” People learn best by doing, so we are offering workshops and activities for community groups and school children. The workshop list is available at the CHS blog, or can be e-mailed ( or mailed.

We know these are hard times, but we also know that that work of CHS is making a difference in our community now and for future generations. You can be an integral part of what CHS is doing by:
• Donating to our appeal campaign (see attached forms)
• Renewing your annual membership.
• Helping with our various programs
• Helping with fundraising

Wishing you a joyous holiday season, and a happy New Year.


Dan Churchill,

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cavendish Semiquincentennial: Quilting/Anniversary Quilt

Quilting was very prominent among the early settlers, not only because of the need for warmth, but fabric was expensive to buy and “homespun” was labor intensive. Every scrap had to be saved and “re purposed.”

The Cavendish Historical Society has quite a collection of quilts in the Museum, most of which were most likely made by a group of women to commemorate an event, such as a marriage. The oldest quilt in the collection is from the Civil War era and a recent acquisition.

Teresa Campbell of Lancaster, California was given eight squares by a friend of her husband. A quilter, as well as a genealogist, Campbell traced the squares to Cavendish and donated them in early June.

While we were discussing the Civil War era squares, a number of women and men (a first) in Cavendish, were preparing the 250th Anniversary quilt. When Campbell supplied the names of the quilters- Evey Kendall, Leizzie Kendall, Mrs. Maria Spaulding, Julia A. Davis, Mary Hemminway, Celia A. Davis, and Ella A. Spaulding-it was immediately noted that one of the quilters for Cavendish’s Anniversary quilt, Pang Ting, now lives in the house where the Kendall sisters once resided.

The Cavendish 250th Anniversary Quilt was on display at Old Home Day as well as serving as a backdrop for the play Cavendish Chronicles II: The Early Years. Because the school’s multi purpose room was both the site of the shelter during Irene recovery, and the play, the set was keep up for most of the shelter duration, so many people saw the quilt. Of particular interest was the square made by fiber artist Paulette Martell, which depicted the 1927 flood.

A combination of 14 different people made the 30 squares in the quilt. A variety of techniques were used to create a very unique design. While many of the squares were collaborative efforts, they depicted the town’s history as well as aspects that people thought should be remembered.

In addition to Martell, the quilters included:
• Jackie Blanchard: Raised in Cavendish, she is an award winning quilter. Not only did she transfer a number of photographs of Cavendish onto fabric, she included embroidered squares of the town name and dates, as well as an appliqué flower square.
• Margo Caulfield: From Baltimore, MD, is the coordinator of CHS. She, worked on several squares and choose to remember Phineas Gage, as she has spent many years working in the field of traumatic brain injury.
• Barbara Dickey: A retired researcher, Barbara worked with Wendy Regier and Tess Ellwood to capture the Cavendish countryside through six wildflower squares.
• Tess Ellwood: New to Proctorsville, Tess comes to our community from North Carolina. She is a quilter as well as a weaver. She not only contributed the log cabin square, but was the one who carefully sewed, repieced squares and masterminded the completion of the quilt.
• Gloria Leven: Born in West Virginia, Gloria has been a lover and maker of quilts for many years. She made several squares, including the pieced maple leaf.
• Paulette Martell: Originally from Maine, she is a well known fiber artist and quilter. Who knew her square depicting the 1927 flood would take on such significance?
• Jennifer McBride: A well known textile designer and owner of Jennifer Hoar designs and Soap Baubles, Jen moved to Cavendish from Brooklyn, New York just a few years ago. The bear, moose, tractor, and deer were her designs.
• Mary Ormrod: From Toronto Canada, where she lived in the bush country of Canada at one point, it is not surprising that Mary would choose the Crown Point Road as her quilt square theme
• Becky Plunkard: Growing up in a military family, Becky has lived in many different places. Making the square of the Universalist Church, known locally as “The Stone Church,” she only had to look out her window for inspiration.
• Craig Rankin: A landscape architect from New York, Craig retired to Cavendish in 1979. He was well known for his pen and ink drawings of Cavendish. His rendering of the CHS Museum was transferred to fabric by Jackie Blanchard.
• Lonnie Rankin: The daughter-in-law of Craig Rankin, she spent many happy days on the Rankin Farm and choose that as her theme. .
• Wendy Regier: From New York City, Wendy ahs been a professional weaver for the last 35 years. She made three squares: Marino sheep and loom; the Cavendish Green Marble Quarry (which is near her home) and Alexandra Solzhenitsyn
• Rich Svec: From New Jersey and Town Manager, Svec’s photograph of the town office, as well as the town logo were converted into squares by Jackie Blanchard.
• Pang Ting: From Hong Kong, while Pang may be a fiber artist with a love of paper, she created a one of a kind portrait of Cavendish today by using small pieces of fabric.

The quilt is being preserved and will be available for future generations as one of our town’s remembrances of our anniversary.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hands on History

The Cavendish Historical Society’s (CHS) “Hands on History” program is offering the following workshops and activities to Cavendish Town Elementary School and local community groups.

• Food from various time periods
- making butter with a churn: All ages
- bread making: 4th grade and up

• Because Cavendish has been home to many people from many parts of the world, we now offer workshops that not only reflect these cultures but also the traditions that coincide with different times of the year and holidays.

• Fiber arts:
- Corn husk dolls: This will not be offered until fall 2012 as we will dry husks starting in May. This will be limited to grades 4th grade and up. We request registeration for this workshop no later than April 1, so we can dry sufficient husks.
- Felt Wool Balls: All ages
- Beeswax candle making: All grades
- Quilt squares
- Stenciling: All ages
- Paper cuts: 5th grade and up
- God’s eyes, used in many cultures including the Irish for Shamhain (Sowen): 4th grade and up
- Using dyes from nature-such as butter nuts, milk weed etc.
- Knitting and crochet
- Simple weaving

• Games and toys throughout Cavendish history

• Music: Since we are in the process of celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Cavendish is fortunate to have the fiddler Bob Naess available to play tunes from this era. Of particular note is the music of a prisoner at Camp Chase.

• Speakers on the following topics:
- Farming
o Tap trees and sugaring Grades 3-6
o Clove Apples: 3-6 grades
o Cider press: All ages
- Archeology-early man in Cavendish
- Various crafts
- Cavendish history
- Business-large and home based
- Genealogy

• Tours of historic sites, including but not limited to:
- Cemeteries
- Fitton’s Mill
- Settler’s tour (Dutton, Proctor and Coffeen)
- First school house and one room school houses
- Proctorsville Historic Walking tour
- Phineas Gage Walking tour

Programs can be designed for a particular time period that you may be studying. While programs are available free of charge, donations are appreciated. Note that CHS will be creating an 1800’s house for the spring of 2011

For more information please call the CHS coordinator at 802-226-7807 or e-mail

Scribbler II: Fall 2011 CHS Newsletter

On-line, E-mail or Print
Have it your way. That is your bi monthly copy of “The Scribber II.” CHS is trying to reduce costs and meet the growing demand for information provided in a digital format. Many people like the “paper less” aspects provided by keeping a digital file of newsletters, genealogy and other materials. Others prefer print. Whatever your preference, if you are receiving your newsletter in print form, and prefer it sent to you electronically, please e-mail and provide the e-mail address you would like the newsletter sent to you. The newsletter is available on-line at the CHS blog (address above), in print and can be directly e-mailed to you in PDF format.

Remembering Sophie Snarksi 1916-2011
It is with sadness that we inform members that Sophie Snarski, a lifetime member of CHS, died Oct. 23 at the age of 95. Known for her love of Cavendish, Sophie was actually born in Racine, WI, to parents who had immigrated to the United States from Poland. Moving to Cavendish when she was three, Sophie held a number of positions-fiddler, town auditor, “drawing in girl” for Gay Brothers Mill, member of the Holy Name of Mary Altar Society and the Cavendish Historical Society, and most notably postmaster of the Cavendish post office from 1975 to the early 1990’s. It was in this position that many came to know her as matchmaker, source of all things local and much more. The April 2009 “Scribbler II” contains an article about Sophie’s memories of living in Cavendish during the “Great Depression.” Her obituary is on-line.

How Did Cavendish Fair?
We’ve received phone calls and e-mails from CHS members all over the country, asking how we’re surviving the flood. Yes, parts of Cavendish look a bit like they did after the flood of 1927, particularly the area by the old Duttonsville School. However, like then, we are managing.

Similar to 1927, the flooding was caused by an intense amount of rain from a tropical storm (in this case Irene) after a very wet period. Irene dumped 5-8 inches of rain over large sections of Vermont, with Cavendish receiving 8+ inches in a very short time period.

Emergency measures were put into place, with evacuation of homes in several locations, plus the opening of a shelter at Cavendish Town Elementary School, which remained operational for 10 days. Over 85 individuals and families and 36 organizations and businesses, including Vermont Red Cross, Homeland Security and the National Guard brought food and water to sustain us and the tools to clean up our homes and businesses, as well as the equipment and talent to restore our roads. Approximately 120 people helped to keep the shelter going, and another 25 formed work crews to assist in restoring damaged property.

You can read more about how people were managing day to day by reading the Cavendish Update blog from August. 29-Sept. 7.

While we wish we could report that we had no fatalities, one of the Air Guard men died, on deployment in Cavendish, of an apparent heart attack. In addition, there was a flood fatality in Ludlow.

Seven homes were washed away in 1927. There are at least eight families dealing with major housing issues, with many more coping with flooded basements and property damage. However, everyone in Cavendish was impacted because all of the roads and the town’s infrastructure, water and sewer, were damaged.

If there was ever a question as to why we study history, one only needed to watch the National Guard poring over the articles written by Olin Gay in 1928 about the flood. They were particularly interested in seeing pictures of the famous 1927 “Cavendish Canyon,” as it certainly looked very similar to the 2011 version.

We’ve already been asked to mount a special exhibit for next summer on the history of the floods in Cavendish. We are not only working on this, but we are looking to see if we can once again make copies of the 1927 flood panoramic photograph.

Annual Meeting Change
CHS board and members were heavily involved in not only the flood relief efforts, but also the 250th Anniversary Celebration weekend, which took place approximately five weeks after the flood. With all that was going on, plus the fact that the financial report is limited to the first three quarters of the year, the board voted to change the meeting to the end of January beginning of February. More information will be in the winter 2012 newsletter.

Cavendish is 250 Years Old
On Oct. 12, 1761, King George III signed the Charter that created Cavendish. In spite of flood damage, Cavendish celebrated with four days of activities. On Oct. 7, local fiddler Bob Naess, brought his dance band Yankee Chank to play contras, squares and Cajun/Zydeco music. Similar to dances attended by the Coffeens in the (Cavendish’s first settlers), people lined the walls to watch the dancers.

The flood recovery required a different route, but it didn’t keep hundreds from lining Depot Street to cheer for the local fire departments, horse drawn carriages, antique automobiles and the walkers in the “short but sweet” parade. Finishing at the Proctorsville Green, author and historian Sandra Stearns, the grand marshal, read a poem she wrote in 1990. See below.

Following the activities on the green, a BBQ was held at the school. Attorney Matt Birmingham spoke about Benning Wentworth and attendees had a chance to see the newly restored Cavendish Charter and other historic documents.

On Sunday, the churches held an open house, which was followed by a presentation by the authors of “The Inventor’s Fortune Up for Grabs.” Stearns and Una Hadley Gay’s granddaughter Suzanne Gay Beyer talked about her family’s connection with Art Hadley, who in 1913 invented the expansion bracelet. While Suzanne provided pictures and stories about life at Glimmerstone with her grandparents, John S. Pfarr, a Connecticut and Rhode Island estate-planning attorney, discussed the case of Art Hadley’s descendents’ six-year effort in trying to recover a substantial portion of the fortune left by Art Hadley. Pfarr represented nine of the Gay grandchildren.

The “Meet the Authors” event was held at Crows Bakery, which just reopened after having sustained major flood damage.

The last of the four-day events was a potluck supper and presentation of the histories of the churches in Cavendish and Proctorsville.

May 1990 Cavendish, Vermont
Cavendish, Vermont! How I love that name!
Of my birth or death, perhaps both the same.
You felt the first step I did make.
May it be here, my last I take.
Your history spans so many years.
You’ve sheltered hopes, dreams and tears.
The Black River flowed thru the Gorge.
Thru channels and drops it did forge,
Now as it did in ages old.
Such memories it does enfold.
Quiet were your hills many years ago.
While wild animals roamed, to and fro.
Brave Indians traveled over your lands,
Fished your rivers, walked your sands.
Came in 1754 with prisoners from Fort # 4.
And “Captive” Johnson was born in a shelter poor.
Five years later your woods were filled,
With British soldiers cutting thru your hills.
The Crown Point Road connected fort with fort,
To move troops, baggage and supplies of all sort.
Chartered by Benning Wentworth in 1761,
But no permanent settlement was then begun.
John Coffeen and his family came to this barren land,
In 1769, alone, alone no neighbors at hand.
While sparse was the company on that road.
Settling his land, Leonard Proctor in 1780 came.
In the village that still bears hi name.
Next year Salmon Dutton arrived in town,
Built his house in the village he found.
Gradually, gradually, more settlers came,
Established homes, farmed and hunted game.
Established government, schools and a meeting place.
Utilized, organized, filled and divided the space.
Worked together to build a town,
Using whatever talents were found.
Grist mills, saw mills, carpenters too,
Farmers, blacksmiths, inns so new.
Place to congregate and for neighbors to meet,
Bridges, cemeteries, churches and streets.
All that was needed to make a town so fine.
Over the years they worked, now it’s yours and mine.
The railroad was a fabulous thing.
Its engine puffed and its wheels would sing,
Connecting Cavendish to the world so fine.
You could go almost anywhere by 1849.
The 1927 flood, what a tragic time.
A chasm grew down lower Main Street line.
Seven houses were crushed and swept away.
But everyone lived to see a better day.
Remember the lives that stood on these hills!
Remember the voices ringing in the valley shrill !
Remember the trials and cares to make it great!

Cavendish, Vermont! My Town!! My State!!

Sandra F. Stearns

Hands on History (Young Historians)
For the last two years, CHS has provided a “Young Historians” program at the Cavendish Town Elementary School (CTES) for students in grades 3-6. A popular program, the teachers were interested in a program that was available to all grades and students. Since we know that people learn best by doing, we have launched the “Hands on History” program, not only for the students and teachers at CTES, but for any community group or organization that might be interested.

In addition to the programs being offered, the list is posted at the Cavendish Blog, or can be obtained by e-mailing or calling 802-226-7807, we are hoping to create a temporary 1850’s house in the spring. We are fortunate to have Sandy Stearns, who was engaged in similar activities at Billings Farm, involved in the planning and implementation of this project.

Cavendish Historical Timeline 1930-1954
The Cavendish Timeline is being printed in installments in the Scribbler II. Dates covered by issue are as follows: Winter 1759-1834; Spring 1835-1880 and Summer 1886-1960

1933: A Civilian Conservation Corps camp was established in the Proctor-Piper Forest in Proctorsville. One hundred twenty five unmarried men, between the ages of 18-25, came from New York to join local men in clearing trails for horse back riding and hiking and to create a recreational area.

1938: A hurricane struck the Town. The winds blew down thousands of trees, blocking nearly every road.

1940: Cavendish Population 1,398

1941-1945 WWII Era: One hundred and sixty-eight men and one woman served in the war. Imogene Baxendale served as an Army nurse. Six men were killed in action and several were wounded. They served in every branch of the armed services and in nearly every area where American soldiers, sailors and flyers were sent.
- Gay Brothers Mill was described as “the chief war industry of the town where 300 people worked producing 30,000 yards of woolen blankets, Navy uniform cloth and Khaki flannels each week for the United States Government. 37% of the workers served in the military. In need of workers, women worked in the mills, many men had second jobs there and all high school students over 16 were asked to work at the mill whenever possible.
- Due to its proximity to Precision Valley, as well as the mills in the Villages, Cavendish was viewed as being at risk for enemy bombing. Three spotter towers were erected and were staffed by volunteers (women, high school students, and men not in the service) 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The towers were located above the Duttonsville School, across from Moonlite Meadows Farm, on East Road, and at the end of Blood Terrace off of Maple Street in Proctorsville.

1946: Allen Wilcox becomes the first town manager hired. Each year the town would vote whether they wanted a paid town manager. Some years they had one and many years they didn’t. In 1960, Donald Ellison became town manager and held the post for quite some time.

1950: Dutton House moved from the Cavendish Green to the Shelburne Museum.
- Cavendish population 1,374

1950-1953: Korean War. Fifty four men from Cavendish served in this war. All returned home safely.

1953: Rutland Railroad stops passenger service, ending passenger service in Proctorsville and Cavendish. Depots in both towns are dismantled.

1954: First Television set comes to Cavendish. Vermont’s first television station, was established in 1954 when WCAX-TV began broadcasting from Burlington. Joseph Warren on Twenty Mile Stream owned the first TV set in Cavendish.

Cavendish Historical Society Board
Dan Churchill
Jen Harper
Gloria Leven
Marc Miele
Bruce McEnaney
Mike Pember
Gail Woods

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+ $ ___ 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 __ Hands on History
__ Other (please specify) __ Cemetery Restoration