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.
Sunday, February 17, 2019
CHS: Winter 2019 Newsletter
Proenneke building his cabin.
Cavendish Historical Society’s (CHS) Annual Meeting will be held on Sunday,
March 31 (Sunday), 4 pm at the Cavendish Baptist Church. As part of the
Meeting, we will be screening Alone in
the Wilderness. The film provides a glimpse into what life might have been
like for Cavendish’s pioneering families.
Alone in the Wilderness is a documentary of Dick Proenneke
who, in the late 1960s, built his own cabin in the wilderness at the base of
the Aleutian Peninsula, in what is now Lake Clark National Park. Filming himself,
Proenneke traces how he came to this remote area, selected a homestead site and
built his log cabin by himself. The documentary covers his first year, showing
his day-to-day activities as he sought to scratch out a living. We hope to have
Proctorsville resident, Tim O’Donoghue on hand that afternoon as he visited Proenneke’s
property this past June.
PETER TUMBO: ABOLITIONIST &
the abolitionist newspaper, “The Liberator,” along with “The Vermont Watchman”
& “State Gazette” carried a notice that read, On Jan 30, 1832, Peter Tumbo, “colored man”, aged 106 died in
spent years trying to find as much information as possible about Peter Tumbo,
referred to in Cavendish records as Peter Tumber. What we’ve been able to
confirm, while sufficient to qualify for a Revolutionary War Veteran marker,
still leaves numerous questions.
Below is the
timeline we’ve constructed, though it is unclear if he was in fact 106 at his death:
Born in Africa and brought to America via slave ship
Served in the Revolutionary War. See below
1780: Marries Phyllis Vaughn in
Roxbury. Over the years multiple children are born to them as recounted by Dr.
Warned out of Roxbury Mass
Charlotte Tumber is born in Windsor VT
Buys 50 acres of land in Cavendish from Lake Coffeen ( town records)
Married Polly Job of Cavendish ( town records)
&1830 Census: Counted as head of household
Land reverts to the town (town records)
Tumber dies at the age of 106 (newspaper articles, no information in town
record, but believe he would have been buried in the Coffeen Cemetery)
Charlotte lived in Reading with Charles Buck’s family of 5. Probably a servant.
Her last name was spelled Tamber. (Census data)
Charlotte is living in the household of Merrium Sherburne (black) in Reading
and is listed as “keeping house.” Probably housewife.
Charlotte Tumber dies at 67 years of age (She is believed to be buried in the
The testimony below, taken as part of obtaining a
Revolutionary War pension, not only confirms Tumber’s veteran status but also
suggests that he wasn’t 106 at the time of his death. His daughter states that
he is given his freedom at the age of 21, soon after the war ended. Since the
war ended in 1783, he would have been considerably younger than 106 at the time
of his death.
Rumor has long persisted that a runaway slave named
Charlotte and her sister are buried in the right hand corner of the Coffeen Cemetery.
Charlotte was never a slave. Given that Tumber remarried in 1812, it’s possible
that his first wife Phyllis Vaughn is buried in the Coffeen Cemetery. While we
have found a death certificate for Charlotte, confirming place of birth and
death, we have found no burial record.
"I, Charlotte T. Tumbers of
Cavendish, aged 33 years on 18 Jan. 1837. (She made her affidavit before
Judge Calvin French of Proctorsville 7 July 1837.) "I am the youngest daughter of Peter Tumber and Phillis Tumber,
deceased. I have known and been acquainted for many years with Prince Robinson,
a Black man, late of Rutland and with his wife now is Widow Anna Robinson, now
living in Rutland.
That my father and mother were both
Black people; and I have often heard both, my father and Prince say that they
were African-born and had been imported and sold as slaves in this Country
before the Revolutionary War.
My father was last a slave to a
Quaker by the name of Tripp, who gave my father his freedom when he supposed
Tumber had arrived to the age of twenty-one year, which was soon after the war,
and then he went to reside in Roxbury, Mass. [He married in Roxbury, Charlotte’s mother
Philesta “ Phillis” Vaughan 24 Feb. 1780].
I have often heard my parents
say that Prince and his wife moved into Cavendish with them about 42 years ago
(1795). Prince was lawfully married to Anna, his present widow, also a Black
woman, during the Revolutionary War and I have always understood it was on Long
Island. I have heard my father tell a great deal about a Mr. Clark, a justice
of the Peace, who was said to have married Prince and Anna, that he knew Mr.
I have often heard both Prince and
Ann tell the same story, that they were married while Prince was in the Army by
the same Justice of the Peace, Mr. Clark. I have many times heard a great deal
more from both of them about their service in the war. I have also heard Prince
relate that he was to be free when the war closed, and that he was freed
accordingly. I have no doubt that my father related the story of Prince and
Anna's marriage from his knowledge of the fact; as he was always an upright and
conscientious man, and would never assent anything that he did not know or
believe to be true." [She signed her own name, which was very unusual for
a Back woman in 1837]: Charlotte T. Tumber."
of Josiah French of Cavendish, 15 Sept. 1837: "I, Josiah French of Cavendish.. aged 72 yrs. "I was
acquainted with Peter Tumber, deceased for about 40 yrs. previous to his death
which took place five or six years ago and during all the above time said
Tumber was an inhabitant of the Town of Cavendish, and as I believe he was
reputed to be a man of good moral character, and sustained a good reputation
for truth and veracity. He was a very industrious man and had acquired a small
property consisting of a farm of about 50 acres. He was a man of good natural
abilities and intelligent for one of his grade. He was believed to have been a
soldier in the American Army of the Revolution. I further testify and say
that I am acquainted with Charlotte T. Tumber, daughter of Peter Tumber and
Phillis Tumber, have been acquainted with her for fifteen or twenty years. She
has the reputation of a very honest person and a person of truth and veracity,
sustaining a good moral character as for as I am informed. —Josiah French
(before Calvin French, Justice). —
of Jabez Proctor of Cavendish:,
"I, Jabez Proctor of Cavendish, aged fifty-seven years, do depose and
testify: I was acquainted with Peter Tumber for about forty years previous to
his death which took place five or six years ago and that he was during said
period, a resident of Cavendish aforesaid. His general reputation for truth and
veracity was good. His uniform moral character was considered good and he was
not reputed as being in the habit of embellishing stories. I have understood
from him and I should think from others, that he was a soldier in the American
Army of the Revolutionary War.
Said Tumber did not draw a pension
to my knowledge, having died near the passage of the Act of Congress of 7 June
1832, and could not, I suppose draw under the Act of March 18, 1818 in
consequence of having acquired by industry, a small farm of about 50 acres of
land and some stock and other property. He was an intelligent man for one in
his grade and respected. I also further testify and say that for a number of
years I have been somewhat acquainted with Charlotte T. Tumber and that so far
as I am informed, she sustains a good moral character and was reputed as being
a person of truth and veracity and further this deponent sathe not. —Jabez
Proctor (before Judge Calvin French).
looking to erect a memorial in honor of Tumber. If you have information about
him or possible descendants, please contact us. If you would like to donate to
his monument, please send a check to CHS, PO Box 472, Cavendish, VT 05142
noting that it be used for the Tumber Memorial.
CAVENDISH PATRIOTS In honor of the United States Bicentennial
in 1976, the Cavendish Town Elementary School (CTES) changed its mascot from
the Blue Devils to the Patriots. It’s been 45 years since this change. On July
4, 2019, we celebrate the 245th anniversary of the signing of the
Declaration of Independence, so we thought it was worth taking a look at Cavendish’s
original patriots, which included men, women, former slaves as well as
children. Below is a sampling of who some of them were.
Coffeen Cemetery where many Patriots are buried.
The first legal settlers in Cavendish were Capt. John Coffeen, his wife Susanna
and their eight children. Capt. Coffeen’s grain and grass fields, as well as fledgling young
orchard, were destroyed when 300 New England troops were stationed on his farm,
while working on the Crown Point Road. Later in the year, after the surrender
of Crown Point and Ticonderoga, militia, whose terms had expired or where
discharged for misconduct, again encamped at Coffeens. The tavern house, which
Coffeen had established, was immediately filled to overflowing. Those who could
not get lodging inside built fires with the boards that Capt. Coffeen had
procured for building a large barn and house. They stripped his home of nearly
everything it contained and the turned their horses into his grain. They
justified their actions by declaring that the enemy would do it themselves
within 48 hours. Capt. Coffeen’s place became an
interim camp and as a result he buried a number of Revolutionary soldiers in
his family’s burial grounds. It is believed that there are 12 unmarked graves
of Revolutionary soldiers in the Coffeen Cemetery.
• Susanna: She was the only woman who stayed in Cavendish
throughout the war tending to soldiers, running the tavern and doing what was
needed. As a result of her service, the town awarded her property in her own
• Lake -Enlisted April. 1775 as a Minuteman. He served in
Capt. Reuben Dickinson’s Company of Minutemen of Col. Benjamin Ruggles
Michael: Enlisted as a Minuteman in May 1775 at the age of 17. He and his
brother Lake fought at Bunker Hill. Michael would serve in a number of battles
including the Battle of Saratoga.
In 1777, Capt. Coffeen attended the First Constitutional
Convention of Vermont at Windsor as Cavendish’s delegate. Capt. Coffeen and
Susanna are buried side by side in the Coffeen Cemetery.
Dutton (founder of what today is Cavendish Village): A minuteman
under the command of Captain Samuel Stone in Colonel William Prescott’s
regiment he would help to found the Cavendish Academy in 1792, one of the first
independent schools in the state. The building still stands at the corner of
High Street and Route 131. Dutton is buried in the Cavendish Cemetery on High
Leonard Proctor(Founder of Proctorsville): Well
respected for his leadership, he served as the company’s Second Lieutenant on
the Lexington Alarm of April 19, 1775 in Capt. Minot’s Company, Col James
Prescott’s Reg’t. “This brave group of men took up their muskets and fought as
minute-men on the Lexington Green in the opening battle of the American
Revolution. Leonard Proctor was 41 years old at this time and the father of
seven children.” Proctor is buried in the Proctor Cemetery off of Route 131 in
Lovell: Her gravestone in the Cavendish Revolutionary Cemetery
notes her involvement in the war. Research done by Carmine Guica found that she
was “a very brave and patriotic woman who often carried messages by horse back
to commanding officers of the Revolution.”
Joshua Parker was a Captain in the Revolutionary War. His son Deacon Joshua
Parker was 14 years old when he fought in the war. Both are buried in the
Center Rd. Cemetery.
There are many veterans of the Revolutionary War buried in
Cavendish, some in graves that are unmarked and some on private land. Other
parts of town, such as Chubb Hill, Tarbell Hill, take their names from
Revolutionary soldiers who were among Cavendish’s first residents.
The values and beliefs of the patriots that forged the small
rural community of Cavendish while helping to found the state of Vermont along
with the United States, are as relevant today as they were 250 years ago. Their
integrity, resilience, resourcefulness, bravery, creativity, compassion,
sociability and self worth are values that are timeless.
BECOME A MEMBER, RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP,
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.