Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cavendish Universalist “Stone” Church

At Town Meeting on March 4, voters will decide on the following article To see if the voters will accept the gift of the historic Universalist Stone Church property located at 2295 Main Street, Cavendish, Vermont 05142 from the Universalist Unitarian Convention of Vermont and Quebec. This building would be owned by the Town of Cavendish and leased to the Cavendish Historical Society for use as museum and exhibit space.

Built in 1844, the Cavendish Stone Church is a recognized landmark and appears on both the state and national historic registries. The church was decommissioned in the 1960’s and was leased to the Cavendish Historical Society (CHS) in the 1970’s. While work has been done to maintain the building, it is in need of repairs. Without grant funding, it will be difficult to make these repairs, and without the town owning the building, grant funds will not be forthcoming. 

The Universalist Unitarian Convention of Vermont and Quebec has agreed to deed the building to the town of Cavendish on May 11, 2013

The town does not tax the building, and this will not change when the deed is transferred to the town.

Intended Purpose
• CHS plans to use the building to house the permanent Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn exhibit as well as turn it into a small venue space suitable for concerts, lectures, theater etc.

• Occupancy would be limited to 49 people, as there is only one way in and out.

Implementation Process
• A committee has been formed to oversee the restoration and use of this building. The members of this committee include: Margo Caulfield, Dan Churchill, April Hensil, Mike Pember, Rich Svec and Rolf Van Schaik.

• A Master Facilities Plan will be developed and updated yearly.

Initial Recommendations by Preservation Trust of Vermont
• On February 26, a field representative of the Trust site visited the building and met with the Restoration Committee. The building is in “remarkable” shape and can continue to be used while repairs are made.

• The major work on the exterior of the building will be the cupola. As it appears this is the original paint and wallpaper, this should be maintained as much as possible. Insulation and heating it during the winter months is not recommended. Instead, it should function as other buildings of this nature in the state, from Memorial Day to Columbus Day.

• The Trust will work the town’s committee to help: identify funds, write the Master Facilities Plan and select qualified restorers to work on the building.  

Other than paying for insurance, there is no cost to the taxpayer for this project.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Solzhenitsyn's Addresses Cavendish Town Meeting 2/28/1977

Thirty six years ago, on February 28, 1977, Alexksandr Solzhenitsyn addressed his neighbors at the Cavendish Town Meeting.

Monday, February 28, 1977
Citizens of Cavendish!  Dear neighbors!

I have come here today to say hello to you and to greet you.

I will be turning sixty soon; yet in all my life I have never had any definite permanent place to live, much less my own home.  Not knowing the conditions of Soviet life, you can barely imagine that people in the Soviet Union are not allowed to live where they choose.  I did not have the opportunity to live in those places where my work dictated that I should be; at times, I was not even permitted to live with my own family.  Finally, the Soviet authorities would no longer tolerate me at all, and deported me from the USSR.

God determined that every man should live among his own people, in the land of his birth.  As a mature tree takes poorly to replanting, sickens, and sometimes dies in its new place, so too a man cannot always bear exile, and literally falls ill.  I would like to hope that none of you will ever have to experience this bitter fate of forced exile.  Nothing seems the same in a foreign land; nothing seems yours.  You feel a constant anguish in those conditions under which everyone else lives normally — and you are seen as a stranger.

It so happened that among you, in Cavendish, Vermont, I was able to find my first home and my first permanent residence.  I am no fan of big cities with their bustling way of life; but I like very much your simple way of life, similar to that of our Russian peasants, except that they, of course, live much poorer than you.  I like the landscape that surrounds you, and I like very much your climate, with its long snowy winters which remind me of Russia.

I like it here, but I hope that my presence will not turn out to be unpleasant for you.  I have read in the papers that some of you feel unhappy, or even insulted, that I have put up a fence around my property.  I would like to explain this now.  My life consists of work, and this work demands that it not be interrupted.  An interruption of one's work is enough to ruin it.  I have come here from Switzerland, where I first lived after being expelled from the Soviet Union.  There, I lived in an easily accessible place.  And thus, hundreds of strangers from around the world kept coming to see me, never asking for my agreement or for an invitation, but deciding that their wish to see me and talk to me was reason enough to come.  Furthermore, I have often been visited by reporters — also uninvited — who believe that my life is part of the public domain, and that they have the right and obligation to relate every petty detail of my life in the press, or to keep pressing me for new photographs.  Over and above all that, I am sometimes visited by Soviet agents — in other words, ill-meaning individuals sent by the hostile Soviet authorities.  They have already managed to come here; they have sent letters through the mail and even left notes at the gate, threatening to kill me or my family.  I understand, of course, that my fence is not a protection from Soviet agents (such a fence would do little against them); but as for the reporters and the idle types — from them, this fence protects well, and gives me the quiet necessary for my work.  Some of these people have already disturbed my neighbors, and you can judge for yourselves what it is like to meet with anyone who chances to come.  I would like to bring my apologies to those of my neighbors who have been annoyed and disturbed by these unbidden guests.  I would like to apologize even more to the snowmobilers and hunters across whose usual paths the fence now stands.  I think that you will understand, now, that this is an essential condition for my work, and hence for my life.  I could not have done otherwise.

Taking the opportunity of our meeting today, I would like to add a couple of words — to ask you not to misconstrue, not to succumb to the misinterpretation of the word "Russian," as it is used in the press.  Two words are being confused here: "Russian" and "Soviet."  You are told that Russian tanks entered Prague, and that Russian missiles are aimed threateningly at the United States.  I would ask you to keep in mind that, in fact, Soviet tanks entered Prague, and Soviet missiles threaten the United States.  "Russian" is to "Soviet" as "man" is to "disease."  We do not call someone afflicted with cancer—"Cancer," or someone with the plague—"Plague," for we understand that their disease, their severe trial, is not their fault.  The Communist system is a disease, a plague that has been spreading across the earth for many years already, and it is impossible to predict what peoples will yet be forced to experience this disease firsthand.  My people, the Russians, have been suffering from it for sixty years already; they long to be healed.  And the day will come when they are indeed healed of this Soviet disease.  On that day I will thank you for being good friends and neighbors, and will go back to my homeland.

[trans. by Stephan Solzhenitsyn]

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Annual Meeting Cancelled for 2/24/13

Given the winter weather advisory for this afternoon and evening, the Cavendish Historical Society is postponing their annual meeting until April.

Friday, February 22, 2013


CHS is scheduled to hold its Annual Meeting on Sunday, Feb. 24, 5 pm at the new Parish Hall of the Episcopal Church off of Depot Street. Starting with a potluck at 5 pm, the film “The Homecoming” will be shown. As part of establishing the permanent exhibit “I Wrote and Waited,” which covers the 18 years Aleksandre Solzhenitsyn lived in Cavendish, CHS selected this film as it begins in Cavendish. Produced by the BBC, the film documents the two-month train journey across Russia as Solzhenitsyn returns home with his family after twenty years of enforced exile. Solzhenitsyn, the man who experienced and revealed to the world the full horror of the Soviet gulag, is recognized throughout Russia as 'the conscience of the nation'. But despite the triumphant and emotional homecoming, this is no easy ride for Solzhenitsyn, his wife and American sons. Instead, they abandon their refuge in America to find their trans-Siberian trip from Vladivostok to Moscow dogged by the KGB, the Russian Mafia, old-style communist bosses, the tragic plight of ordinary Russians and the echoes of its even more terrible past.

Please note that the weather forecast for Saturday and Sunday is snow. It is possible that the Meeting will need to be postponed until April. Please check the Cavendish VT Facebook pageCHS Blog or the Cavendish Blog  on Sunday morning for cancellation information. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Paul Kingsbury

It is with sadness that we report the passing of one of the stalwarts of the Cavendish Historical Society, Paul Kingsbury. Raised on Chubb Hill and the Kingsbury Farm, Paul's wife wrote the history of Cavendish, "Chubb Hill Farm and Cavendish, Vermont: A Family and Town History 1876-1960," while describing how life was for his family. Paul was a WWII veteran, being injured in action, and graduated from Houghton College,  Institute for Far Eastern Languages of Yale University, and received a masters from the University of Vermont.  Paul became an agricultural missionary in Korea along with his wife the former Barbara Burkholder. Retiring early, Paul and his wife retired to the family farm and became very involved in a variety of activities in Cavendish, including the Historical Society and the Cavendish Baptist Church. Paul is survived by his wife and four daughters. 

For those who wish to write to Barbara Kingsbury, letters can be sent in care of Esther and Peter Sexton, 1310 Forrest St., Brookings, S Dakota 57006. Donations can be made in Paul's name to Heifer International. 

Linda Welch, the CHS genealogist, sent the following note about Paul.

Thank you Margo for your message about Paul's death. All of us who have known Barbara and Paul through time, are filled with sadness over his death. But he had gone away from us in his mind for the last few years of his life with that cruel Alzheimer's Disease.  He was one of the most wonderful, loving, kind and interesting people I had every met in my life. Paul was a constant scholar – reading and writing and keeping up with everything current and historic. When I used to go up there to their log house to visit, I always had a capital time chatting with he and Barbara. Barbara always called him endearing names like "My Love" and "Honey." They shared a life of public service and gave back to this world love and dedication that none of us can fully realize. Not only were they missionaries, but Paul often times served as doctor, agriculturalist, teacher of easier ways and methods, in order to make the lives of the Korean people better. He and Barbara never sought the limelight, preferring to do their service in humbleness, but both of them deserve the highest honors humanity can give to such self-less love and dedication. I shall never forget the time spent with them. They loved Cavendish and the Historical Society. It must have been truly sad for both, and especially Barbara, to be taken away from their hometown. 

My heart and prayers are with all, especially Paul's family and Carmine who loved him like a brother.  I went out with Carmine & Paul once on Memorial Day when they were putting flags on all the veteran's graves. This is something they did together for many, many years. We all know that losing people like Paul is not only sad, but a loss that is not replaceable.  He was one of a kind.  I scanned in one of my favorite "Raked Scatterings" of his from the Black River paper, and I am sharing it with you below.  Lots of Love and Hugs to everyone.  Linda Welch.

Raking Scatterings by Paul Kinsbury 1995 Black River Reporter

Since the mention of “creepers” here in February, I have been gratified to hear from at least four readers who have brought me up-to-date on this subject. Thank you all. I had not seen creepers for years. It is good to know that non-slippage devices for boots in winter are readily available. This shows me that my acquaintance with modern technology is somewhat lacking and that not only in regard to computers!

 It seems that “creepers” are now called “ice treads,” and I have to admit that that world is much more meaningful than “creepers.” I am told that these helpful devices can be bought in Claremont, Chester and at the Vermont Country Store, and probably in lots of other places. Some, or all, of the ice treads have steel studs attached to an adjustable rubber strap, which fits around the shoe or boot. These would appear to be much more convenient and effective than the old creepers of long ago. You can carry them in pocket or purse, and slip them on your feet whenever you come to an icy place in the path. Surely here is an example of the inventive genius of human being, which can make life easier and safer. Such technology is good.

Sometimes we carry the overwhelming affect of technology, machinery, and gadgets on our daily lives. Perhaps we could say that technology is good when it helps us to be more human and humane, and when it reduces suffering or poverty, but bad when it merely reinforces our urge to get and to spend, with little regard to the needs of other people. Take motor vehicles for example.

In the cabbage growing hills of Korea our sympathy went out to low-income women who supplement their living by gathering the poor-quality Chinese cabbage from the fields after the good cabbage is harvested. The women carried heavy sacks of cabbage on their heads, walking for several miles to sell it in the market. If they were lucky a passing truck might give them a ride; if not, they walked to town. I have seen these sturdy women striding along with their huge loads, the sweat streaming down their faces. When trucks and busses became more plentiful some of their drudgery was relieved. Surely that is good.

But our cars sometimes separate us from other people.

In my grandfather’s day the farmers drove along the road with their horse-drawn wagons, passing neighbors plowing and haying in their fields beside the road. There would be a cheerful greeting and perhaps a longer conversation. Now we speed by in our cars and seldom stop at our neighbors.

Thjs may be too dismal a picture of modern life. Of course there are many ways to be neighborly and friendly without a horse and buggy. John Harris’ weekly report on those who visit together at the morning coffee hour tells us of one way to relate to other people, even in our modern age of technology. The information highway should help people communicate with each other.

Better creepers are good, as are those kind people who told me about them.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Scribbler II Winter 2013

Annual Meeting

The Cavendish Historical Society’s (CHS) Annual Meeting will be on Feb. 24, 5 pm at the newly restored Episcopal Church Parish Hall on Depot Street in Proctorsville. There will be a potluck supper, short meeting, and the film “The Homecoming” will be shown.

As part of establishing the permanent exhibit “I Wrote and Waited,” (see article below) which covers the 18 years Aleksandre Solzhenitsyn lived in Cavendish, CHS selected this film as it begins in Cavendish. Produced by the BBC, the film documents the two-month train journey across Russia as Solzhenitsyn returns home with his family after twenty years of enforced exile. Solzhenitsyn, the man who experienced and revealed to the world the full horror of the Soviet gulag, is recognized throughout Russia as 'the conscience of the nation'. But despite the triumphant and emotional homecoming, this is no easy ride for Solzhenitsyn, his wife and American sons. Instead, they abandon their refuge in America to find their trans-Siberian trip from Vladivostok to Moscow dogged by the KGB, the Russian Mafia, old-style communist bosses, the tragic plight of ordinary Russians and the echoes of its even more terrible past.

Interested in Being a Board Member or Volunteer?

CHS is currently looking for new board members, as well as volunteers. If you have an interest in Cavendish history, or would like to be involved in the various programs of CHS, please e-mail or call 802-226-7807. You do not have to be a resident of Cavendish to serve on the board. We are also in need of volunteers who have experience or interest in archival work, exhibits, displays, web design, fundraising, maintenance and public speaking

I Wrote and Waited”
From September 1976 until May 1995, Aleksandre Solzhenitsyn, the 1970 Nobel Prize winner for literature and Soviet dissident, lived in Cavendish. CHS is working with the Solzhenitsyn family to establish a permanent exhibit to document those eighteen years. The title of the exhibit, “I Wrote and Waited,” is taken from the film “The Homecoming,” which is how Solzhenitsyn described his time here.

While in Cavendish, he wrote the “The Red Wheel,” which is a series of Russian historical novels beginning with World War I. Solzhenitsyn explained that living in Cavendish allowed him to write uninterrupted. “I could work all my waking hours. When you are absorbed in your work, there’s no room for other thoughts. Here I’ve been able to immerse myself fully in the year 1917, I’ve been living with the characters in my book so much so that they seemed more alive than many of my contemporaries. I really got to know them and no one disturbed me.” From “The Homecoming.”

For those who have materials-pictures, stories etc.- relating to the eighteen years he lived here, and would like to contribute them to the exhibit or Solzhenitsyn archives, please contact CHS by e-mailing, calling 802-226-7807 or by post, PO Box 472, Cavendish, VT 05142.

The Future of the Cavendish Universalist Church

A much loved building, and one of the oldest in town, the Cavendish Universalist Church (Main Street across from the Baptist Church) was built in 1844. While many of the early settlers were Baptists, and used the Union Meeting House (Davis and Center Roads), the first settler in Cavendish, John Coffeen, was a Universalist as were several others.

Under the leadership of Rev. Warren Skinner, a committee (Sam Adams, Otis Robbins and David Ordway) arranged for the snecked ashlar stone church to be constructed Rev. Skinner was an avid abolitionist and was part of the “above ground” railroad in Vermont.

 Decommissioned as a church in the 1960’s, it was leased to CHS by the Canadian Universalist Church. While used for art exhibits in most recent years, the building needs considerable work.

Because of the literary and historical significance of Solzhenitsyn, as well as the volume of material already gathered, to say nothing of how important religion was to him, CHS began to think about using the building as a permanent exhibit space. After conferring with Vermont Historic Preservation, CHS learned that it was important for fundraising purposes, that the town holds the deed to the building.

The VT Quebec Universalist Unitarian Convention has agreed to transfer ownership of the Universalist Church to the town. In preparation for the transfer of the deed on May 11, an article will go before the voters at Town Meeting in March. The voters will be asked if they are willing to accept the transfer of the church deed to the town, who in turn would lease the building to CHS.

Summer Fest 2013

While it may feel like months away, CHS has set the date for this coming year’s Summer Fest. It will be on Saturday July 6 on the Museum grounds.

Cavendish Historical Society Board
Dan Churchill
Jen Harper
Gloria Leven
Marc Miele
Bruce McEnaney
Joseph Pasquerello
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+ $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                    __ Hands on History
__ Other (please specify)         __ Cemetery Restoration        

 President’s Report 2012
Looking back at 2012, the town of Cavendish can take great pride in the job they have done in restoring the town from Irene. The Cavendish Historical Society (CHS) has been recording this effort so future generations will be inspired, much as we were by the records and history of the people from the 1927 flood. 

This year’s Museum visitors have come from all over the globe including Chile and Russia. As a result of these visits, we are not only gaining new information about our history, but we have been inspired to work on two new permanent exhibits.

Phineas Gage has been a fascinating curiosity since he was first injured in Cavendish in 1848. Many schools, as well as the general public, contact the Society about his remarkable recovery from the tamping rod that went through his brain. For the last two years, we’ve had special programs about Gage as well as a guided walking tour. This winter, we are working with the 4th grade class at Cavendish Town Elementary School, who are created a Phineas Gage website, as well as mounting a permanent exhibit about him. We are in contact with the Harvard Medical Museum, which displays his skull and tamping rod. In addition, we are communicating with a reporter in Chile, who is trying to find any information about Gage’s life in Santiago, where he lived just prior to his death.

The other person, about whom we receive frequent requests for information, is Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the Nobel Laureate in literature. While exiled from Russia, he spent 18 years living in Cavendish. As he noted in the film, “The Homecoming,” “I wrote and I waited.” Consequently, this will be the name of the permanent exhibit being planned by CHS and his family.

As we began to discuss the Solzhenitsyn exhibit, it became clear that we needed a separate space for it. Consequently, we thought of the Cavendish Universalist “Stone” Church. Our current lease agreement with the Universalist Church makes it hard to obtain the funds needed for renovation and preservation of this building. Fortunately, the Executive Committee of the Vermont Quebec Universalist Unitarian Convention has agreed to give the building to the town in a transfer ceremony planned for May 11. In the interim, there will be an article at the March Town Meeting about the voters desire to accept this donation.

CHS will be working with the Vermont Historic Preservation Trust to help with funding as well as ensure that the work on the Stone Church is done properly so that it is both an historic gem for Cavendish as well as for Vermont.

The coming year seems to be about buildings. In addition to the Stone Church project, we will be having the outside of the Museum painted in May.

Our web presence, which includes posting historic pictures on the Cavendish Facebook page, and our Hands on History program, offers workshops in the school and community. We are a historical society that operates year round and reaches thousands of people all over the world.