Archive for May, 2012

Some Vermont Vital Records of the Early 19th Century, 1802-1838

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

The following summary and link to the subject document as a PDF file is from the Vermont Historical Society. It contains many references to Hartland.

Some Vermont Vital Records of the Early 19th Century, 1802-1838

The vital records contained herein were transcribed from index cards found in two drawers of a filing cabinet at the Vermont Historical Society. They consist of items relating to Vermont deaths and marriages in the early part of the 19th century. These records were compiled by John Elliott Bowman from various newspapers, chiefly dated between 1802-1838, with a single reference to a 1796 issue of the Keene, N.H., Rising Sun, and one of the same year to Spooner’s Vermont Journal. It is not clear whether all issues within the various time periods were searched. However, a list of the newspapers from which information was apparently derived, and time spans represented, are as follows:

Boston Advertiser, Boston, Mass., 1813 through 1822
Boston Record, Boston, Mass., 1819
Boston Recorder, Boston, Mass., 1814 through 1838
Columbian Centinel, Boston, Mass., 1817
Freeman’s Press, Montpelier, Vt., 1810 through 1811
Green Mountain Patriot, Peacham, Vt., 1804
Political Observatory, Walpole, N.H., 1803 through 1806
Rising Sun, Keene, N.H., 1796
Rutland Herald, Rutland, Vt., 1802
Salem Register, Salem, Mass., 1802
Spooner’s Vermont Journal, Windsor, Vt., 1796 through 1806
Trumpet & Universalist Magazine, Boston, Mass., 1838
Vermont Chronicle, Westminster, Vt., 1821 through 1827
Vermont Federal Galaxy, Brattleboro, Vt., 1802
Vermont Gazette, Windsor, Vt., 1802
Vermont Republican, Windsor, Vt., 1809 through 1810
Washingtonian, Windsor, Vt., 1811
Windsor Gazette, Windsor, Vt., 1803
Worcester National Aegis, Worcester, Mass., 1802

Download as a PDF: Some Vermont Vital Records of the Early 19th Century, John Elliott Bowman

Hartland News, Vermont Tribune, December 13, 1889

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

Gospel meetings were held at the M. E. church every afternoon and evening,  last week.

Rev. Allen HAZEN was in Boston, last week.

Mrs. Dr. RUGG and Master Harold were at Proctorsville with Mrs. Sarah HAGAR, last week.

Mrs. Jane GOVE of Springfield, Mass., is in town.

Miss Carrie E. PERRY left, recently, for Boston, where she has secured a situation as teacher.

Transcribed by Ruth Barton

Preface to “Your Grandparent’s Recipes From the Hills of Hartland”

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

You can order the cookbook from the Hartland Historical Society.  See details and ordering information.


By Judith Howland

I commend the Hartland Historical Society for compiling this cookbook. Taking pains to collate and publish the recipes of Hartland’s previous generations is a worthy project and benefits us all. History is not just names and dates; it is also the crafts, the tools, the seasonal tasks, and most of all - the food! And that means recipes and directions for making dishes “just the same way Grandma did.” I grew up in Hartland and have many memories of special foods such as:

Grandma’s chocolate birthday cakes. She made round chocolate layer cakes with chocolate frosting and white “beading” on top. It was such a treat, along with home made ice cream and a gathering of cousins to share in the birthday.

Sally Comstock’s spice cake, which she would make for the Grout School Community Club’s weekly winter whist parties. A whist party consisted of an evening of cards which ended with sandwiches, cupcakes and pieces of Sally’s spice cake for refreshments.

Home-made ice cream at Fairview farm, which was my Grandma’s childhood home. We had an annual family picnic with ice cream and my mother’s custard pies for dessert. We sat at picnic tables beneath the two trees planted in honor of Grandma (Kittie Gates Spear) and her sister (Nellie Gates).

Dora Shepard’s dried beef gravy (some would call this chipped gravy) on boiled potato. It tasted so good on cold winter nights.

Della Merritt’s lemon sponge pie. Mrs. Merritt would make her pies for community suppers, and they were always well received.

Popped corn with melted butter and cocoa for Sunday night supper. We used to grow our own popcorn and shell it by hand for popping in a wire popper on the stove.

Sugar on snow. Many families enjoyed sugar on snow in early spring, before all the snow had melted. This tradition is carried on annually at the Universalist Church by Clyde Jenne and Bruce Locke.

Strawberry shortcake. Once every summer we would enjoy a meal that consisted only of strawberries, biscuits, and whipped cream. Nothing else.

Then there were all the suppers! The Firemen’s Turkey Supper was in the fall, then the Fish and Game Club’s Wild Game Supper. Somewhere in there were the Grange suppers at Damon Hall. These were followed by the Brick Church’s Roast Beef Suppers in the winter and the Universalist Church’s Chicken Pie Suppers in the fall. The meat at these suppers has always been excellent. But a good word needs to be inserted here on behalf of the home made rolls, the mashed potatoes, the home made cole slaw and the winter squash.

The pies deserve their own paragraph! At every supper, someone has had the responsibility of “soliciting pies.” This means calling up every name on the list and asking for two pies, freshly baked, for each supper. Each pie baker would then turn out her best example of pie.

The kinds of foods that the cooks prepared might be for special occasions, such as holidays or birthdays, but some of the most memorable were for the everyday meals which were prepared with devotion for the family.

Harlow Brook Farm Barn Restoration, North Hartland

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

harlow-brook-375x281Matt Dunne and Sarah Stewart Taylor of Harlow Brook Farm, a beautiful Federal era homestead in North Hartland, VT, received a state barn grant to restore an early square ruled barn on their property. Their thirty-seven by twenty-six foot barn features English tying joints with flared posts. The large timbers were mixed softwoods, mostly pine. The braces and other scantlings were hardwood, mostly oak. The plates and tie beams feature a boarding groove. The drive girts in this barn are set in from the traditional drive reference to catch the pegged planks in the drive. The stanchion bay of this barn has no joists but was clear-spanned with three inch thick pine planks, some of which measured up to thirty inches in width

When the project first began [2009], the lowest post in the barn was more than fourteen inches below the highest post elevation. The highest post in the barn was resting on its stub tenon directly on the stone foundation. With the stub tenon being nearly three inches long and the sill timbers being nine inches in height, we determined that the post with the highest elevation was at least six inches low. Needing to clear the stub tenon when installing the new sills, we lifted the highest post to one inch above the height needed to clear the stub tenon with a nine-inch sill timber and stoned up to this finish height. This means that the lowest post was lifted a full two feet to the final resting height.

The entire sill system was replaced. Many of the original timbers were gone altogether while what remained was largely buried in the dirt with severe rot. One section of the rear sill that was still on the stone foundation was reincorporated into the new sill system as a summer girt in the drive. The nine-inch by nine-inch timbers for the sill system were replaced with bandsaw milled hemlock from a local sawyer. The original joists in the drive were log joists with only their tops hewn. The original joists had significant rot and were replaced with joists from timbers felled and hewn on the site.

The stone foundation had settled into the ground on the side of the barn toward the road. We excavated these stones and removed the loose soil and rotten wood along the front of the barn. We added crushed stone to the excavated trench before relaying the stone foundation. Much of the stone in the original foundation was round and had contributed to the sills slipping past. Although we did reuse all of the stone from the original foundation, we added two pallets of flatter stone from a local supplier in order to provide more stable support at the load-bearing points and make up the difference in height.

Two corner posts were replaced entirely. One corner post had severe rot at the top, another corner post was hollow due to carpenter ant infestation. All but three of the remaining posts required new post feet. The repair stock for the posts and feet were white pine to match the original post species. All of the post feet repairs were conventional bladed scarf joints with tables ranging from eighteen inches to two feet. All of the original braces and girts were able to be saved. Three of the braces required a new tenon at one end and one other brace required both a new tenon and shoulder. The repairs for the braces were also standard bladed scarf joints. The white oak repair stock for the braces was left over from the Willard twin bridge reconstruction a few miles down the road. The brace repairs were pegged with handmade pegs and wedges.

One of the middle girts on the gable required a free tenon and partial shoulder repair. This repair was made from white oak from the old decking of the Big Eddy covered bridge in Waitsfield,VT. The upper girt directly above the repaired middle girt required a new tenon. The softwood for this repair was recycled from materials on site.

One of the plate and tie beam junctions had severe rot, but fortunately good wood was found within a few feet of the corner. New ends were scarfed on to both the plate and the tie. These repairs were done in pine to match the original materials. Both of these repairs were bladed scarves with a wedged sheer key added to the table of the tie scarf.

One stud on the gable toward the house required a new foot. The two studs centered on the drive opposite the main doors were re-fabricated to fit original mortise positions. When we first began, these two studs had been moved. The tenons were gone and there was rot at the bases of both studs. The stud for the small door in the mow had been removed long ago. We fabricated a new stud for this location. A new stud and accompanying girt were also fabricated for the small door in the stanchion on the road-side of the barn. This doorway was not an original feature of the barn but had been made long before this restoration project. This was the only stud not to be mortised in. All of the new door studs are made of local red oak and reduced at the tennons with an adze to match the remaining studs in the barn.

Four out of five of the studs in the stanchion bay were gone and two of the studs were missing from the mow side of the drive. All of the missing studs were re-made using existing materials on site.

The most of the three-inch thick decking in the stanchion bay was too rotten at the ends to consider reusing to clear span as they had originally. These original planks are tagged, stacked and stickered in an adjacent barn to be placed in the mow bay at a later date. The original stanchion planks will fit neatly with the joist spacing in the mow bay with only the ragged ends needing to be trimmed. The clear span configuration in the stanchion bay has been kept and decked with new, three-inch thick planks. Ten feet of the original decking in the drive bay was able to be reused. The two-inch decking in the drive bay was elevated with furring strips, as it had been, to match the three-inch height of the stanchion bay decking. The drive bay decking is pegged at the log joists and spiked at the sill girts as they had been before.

In spite of the challenge, we managed to re-sheathe the barn with existing materials at the site. Most of the siding runs continuously from the boarding groove to the lower girt with short sections of siding running from the lower girt to the sill. We used all of the original wrought nails available to put the siding back on. The rest of the nails were cut, no wire nails were used in the siding.

The sliding doors on the front of the barn were put back with the existing hardware. The bottoms of the doors had rotten and hung a bit short of the drive. We cut a level line across the bottoms of these doors and added a horizontal base with new battens on the backs of the doors. A few of the boards on the doors were missing and replaced with left over siding material. The small door on the front of the barn was rebuilt with materials from the original small doors. The three small doors on the back of the barn were built with new materials. The batten height of each door is set to match the notches found in the posts adjacent to where they are hung. We had recovered four strap hinges and four pintles from the barn. We had the strap hinges hammered back into shape by a blacksmith in Marshfield. We purchased four more strap hinges of the same era and had a blacksmith in Woodbury make new custom pintles for the four purchased strap hinges.

It was a great privilege for Seth and I to save such early example of scribe rule framing.

Project Pictures

Click picture for larger image.

Reprinted from Knobb Hill Joinery, with permission.

Weed Cemetery Survey, 1991

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

The following is a transcription of the prologue to the 1991 survey of the Weed Cemetery done by Howland Atwood.  Virtually all of the information from the survey has been incorporated into the data in the Hartland Historical Society’s website.  A copy of the original is available in the Society’s library.

The survey has seven pages of transcriptions and notes.  It is supplemented by three pages of names, dates, and ages labeled, “Weed Cemetery - Town Highway #22, Hartland, Vt. (1989 Survey).


Byron P. Ruggles compiled a record from the gravestones in the Weed Graveyard on August 3, 1907. He reported the condition of the cemetery as “now a complete hedgerow of trees, brush, briars and weeds.” The town officers fro many years have taken an interest in the proper maintenance of its cemeteries and new flags are still placed in the metal flagholders on each soldier’s grave every Memorial Day.

The oldest gravestone is probably that of Moses Currier, who died March 20, 1791, ages 77 years. There are dated gravestones in every decade up through the nineteenth century to Dec. 31, 1893, the date of Augustine W. Rodgers, a civil war soldier.  There was a gap of 77 years before burials were resumed.

George Crandall was buried there in 1970 and George Spear in 1978.  Two boys, born the same year (1908), the youngest in their families, who were lifelong friends and grew up on adjoining farms in the Weed neighborhood. George Crandall wasn’t born in the neighborhood Crandall farm, but came there to live when he was about six years old.  His mother, Myrta Crandall exchanged her farm (the Blodgett place on County road) for the farm of Frank Burke on the Weed road in the spring of 1914.  George Crandall and George Spear were very successful in life.  Both retired in the same neighborhood.  George Spear on the farm settled on by his Gates ancestors and George Crandall on the Ahira Flower farm that adjoined the farm wher he spent most of his boyhood.  His retirement home farm may have adjoined the Weed farm.  George Spear’s wife Celia was buried in the Weed cemetery in 1986.

Later generations of the Weed family were buried in the Hartland Village cemetery (see pages 17 and 66A of the record of that cemetery).  The Weed family farm was probably sold out of the family in the early 1900s.  The descendants removed to Massachusetts.  Many descendants of original families in Vermont towns have moved out of state for better opportunities for over 150 years and still will.

Weed cemetery was a part of the old Weed farm.  Evaline (Darling) Morgan, who was a Weed descendant, wrote a very interesting article about a walk she took on June 20, 1943 from her family home on Hartland Hill — the next place beyond Lillian Marcotte’s.  She described her walk “across lots” and down through the Mose Weed hollow at one time.  The mill pond or what remained of it was aftwards used for a “sheep dip”. The brook wound down through the hills to join Lull brook at Fieldsville.

From this point, about 3/4 of the way down page one of the survey, are entries about the people buried in this cemetery and the markers left on their graves.

Transcribed by Brad Hadley, November 2011.

Historically Speaking: Nathan Frederick English

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Nathan English was the son of Eli, 1789-1852, of Norwich, Vt.  Nathan with his wife, Emily Stocker moved to Hartland in about 1834.

Nathan English was a remarkable man with a remarkable family. He was an inventor as were his sons, Euler, Analdo and Ernest. He also had some inventions with his brother-in-law, Benjamin Livermore.

A kindly man who carried raisins in his pockets to give to the children, N.F. spent countless hours in his shop on Lull Brook inventing things such as a machine to bind or wrap horse whips, and he made a drill that would drill cast iron. The Foundry people wanted to buy it but he wouldn’t sell. Told them to come over when they wanted something bored and he would do it for them.

The following is from Analdo and Ernest’s reminiscence recorded by Howland Atwood.

Back in 1847 or 1848 Nathan and his brother-in-law got up a line of shoe machinery-press and dinking machines, etc. They went to Milford, Ma and hired a loft with power and he was a pioneer in introducing shoe machinery. Formerly a shoe factory was merely a warehouse. The materials were accumulated and dealt out to men who cut out shoes - though in those days, boots were mostly made. The people used to come there and they were given so many pegs and various shoe parts, which they took home. They lived on little farms and had a room or two in their homes which was used as a shop where they worked on or made the shoes. The people did not all do the same thing. There would be a team of stitchers who would go get their materials and take them home and stitch them. The bottomers pegged or sewed on the bottoms - did lasting. The news leaked out that English and Livermore were making shoes by machinery. English used to hire teams of men to work for him and the people, being jealous, would mob the men and disable them so they couldn’t work for a few days. Of course, when the men weren’t able to work, English and Livermore used to work in their places and Mr. English got very tired. Milford was sort of a malaria city and Mr. English got very sick and he and Livermore gave up the business as things didn’t go right. Mr. English came home, poorer than when he left, when Analdo was a baby. Mr. English was sick for 2 or 3 years and wasn’t able to do much. A partner in their business had absorbed what was left.

A daguerreotype had not been out a great while and along in 1850 Mr. English made them. After awhile he dropped that and began experimenting with machinery. Mr. English made a turning machine in his round top shop which would cut an irregular last. There were two lathes and a pattern was put in and there was a saw which cut in unison with the turning of the last. He carried on the last business for a few years. He wouldn’t make a fashionable last so that is probably why he lost the business. He made several of these turning machines. Hammond and Merritt had one in their factory on the Mill Gorge. There was a gristmill with several runs of stone and below that a sawmill with machinery for making other things out of wood. There was one of Mr. English’s turning machines over in the foundry where they turned out wagon spokes, etc.

Along about 1858-59 Mr. English got up a sort of photographic apparatus, so that he took pictures around the area. He had a room in his house for working with daguerreotypes and one for sensitizing and developing “amber types”. By the time the Civil War broke out he had completed a daguerreotype machine and used it for a year or so.

In 1862, Nathan made up a portable “amber type” machine. It was a box 10 inches square and 20 inches long. This was the wet process. Mr. English made quite a few of these apparatus’s and he used to fit men out with them. He outfitted a boy studying to be a doctor who put himself through college by taking pictures during vacations - at the seashore and elsewhere. Mr. Milliken of the Brattleboro Reporter bought the patent right. Mr. English took hundreds of pictures, many of them portraits.

N.F.’s last years were spent making microscopes, telescopes, etc. He ground thousands of lenses and had rather a craze for making them. He spent months making powerful microscopes. He had one with such a wonderful lens that doctors used to come from all over to use his microscope, as it was so much better than theirs.

Reprinted from the Vermont Standard, “Historically Speaking” by Carol Mowry.

Willard Twin Bridge Rebuild, 2001

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Lattice interior of Willard Bridge

Lattice interior of Willard Bridge

Seth Kelley worked on this covered bridge as a sub-contractor for Jan Lewandoski in 2001. A hurricane had destroyed the original bridge during the 1930’s. The state had replaced the bridge with one built of concrete. The concrete bridge began to crumble and fail in less than 65 years. The town opted to rebuild the covered bridge.

The bridge is a Town Lattice Truss spanning eighty feet over the Ottauquechee River. Some of the features of the original bridge were changed in the new bridge, most notably, the engineer specified natural ships knees from Maine be used in place of knee braces. Ships knees are usually cut from the base of spruce trees where the trunk creates a natural buttress. Milled carefully, ships knees provide stable bracing that offer greater clearance for vehicles passing through the bridge. Although most of the ships knees in this bridge came from Maine, the project required a few additional knees. Seth and Jan selected appropriate trees from Jan’s property and hewed out the additional ships knees. Each of the knees were scribed in place. Oak sheer keys were added and finally the knees were bolted to the truss and tie beams. Seth and Michael Cotroneo spent may hot July days drilling and sledgehammering two inch diameter pegs into the lattice truss. With all of the pegs in place, a crane was used to lift the trusses. When the trusses were plumbed, four inch thick hardwood decking was added along with the board and baton siding. The Bridge was rolled across I beams and lowered down to rest on white oak bearing timbers on the new abutments. The remaining siding work was then finished and a wooden curb was added to the interior of the bridge before opening it for public use. If you ever find yourself in North Harland, be sure to visit the bridge. It is a rare opportunity to go through two covered bridges back to back.

Project Pictures

Click thumbnail for larger image.

Reprinted from Knobb Hill Joinery, with permission.