‘Hunt’ing down history, Part 4 — The shot heard round the world

By Barbara Emery Moseley

NOTE: This series chronicles the generations of Vernon’s Hunt family, all related to Jonathan Hunt of “Governor Hunt Road” fame. If you’ve missed any installments in this series, you can catch up here!

The “shot heard ‘round the world,” that launched the American Revolution, echoed in Vermont. On receipt of the news from Concord and Lexington, Vermont farmers left on foot and horseback to join the determined patriots.

Vermont, as a newly formed republic, was in a struggle of its own to divest itself of any further control by the provincial governors of New Hampshire and New York. Many in Guilford, however, were stubbornly loyal to New York’s Governor Tryon. Nor did they recognize the power of the new state to draft men for the Revolution or else require them to secure a substitute.

The Guilford Selectmen at the time were of the Vermont faction and directed Sheriff Jonathan Hunt to levy, in the name of the State, “the sum of 15 pounds in goods,” which the Town had spent securing substitutes for the five who had refused military service. (more…)

‘Hunt’ing down history, Part 3

By Barbara Emery Moseley

NOTE: This series chronicles the generations of Vernon’s Hunt family, all related to Jonathan Hunt of “Governor Hunt Road” fame. If you’ve missed any installments in this series, you can catch up here!

Samuel Hunt (1703-1770) was the father of “our” Jonathan, along with six other children. Samuel owned a prosperous tavern on Northfield’s broad Main Street. It also served as an inn and stagecoach stop. Residents, hearing the piercing notes of the coach horn that announced the arrival of the Boston Stage, would gather there. The delivery of mail and newspapers was welcome, but it was the travelers themselves who brought the “late-breaking news” from the city.

After the coach’s pause that allowed its passengers and horses time for food and drink, it continued its northward journey, using the crude road along the east bank of the river. Likely, the next stop was Charleston, NH, where “our” Jonathan’s older brother, Samuel, was also an innkeeper and active In the town and county, including being its first sheriff. (more…)

‘Hunt’ing down history, Part 2

By Barbara Emery Moseley

NOTE: This series chronicles the generations of Vernon’s Hunt family, all related to Jonathan Hunt of “Governor Hunt Road” fame. If you’ve missed any installments in this series, you can catch up here!

The Jonathan Hunt who built his impressive “mansion” in Vernon (on the road now named for him) was the great-grandson of another Jonathan who left England in 1637. Landing in Boston, he made his way to the Connecticut River Valley, found a wife in Hartford, and settled in Northampton. (Coincidentally, he had emigrated from Northampton, England, a city known for its making of boots and shoes.)

Two generations later, his descendants were living in the beleaguered settlement of Northfield. Twice it had been attacked, burned, and rebuilt. It was here that “our” Jonathan was born in 1738. (more…)

Where’s downtown Vernon?

By Barbara Emery Moseley, as told to Kathy Korb

How did Vernon go from having three “centers” in the early days of the town to having none today? This is the story of how all three Vernon centers disappeared, leaving the town with no real location which feels like a focal point now.

In the 1800s, when the town was young, it was rich with three centers. Each one was fully functioning with a hotel, a railroad depot, and a post office. Two also had churches, businesses, and stores. The arrival of the railroad in 1849 brought easy access and mass transportation to Vernon. With this came a need for services to meet the needs of the passengers and townspeople, causing the other enterprises to follow. (more…)

Annual meeting of the Vernon Historians

The Vernon Historians Annual Meeting and Program will be held downstairs at the Town Office Building, Tuesday, October 13. There will be no potluck this year. The business meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by the program at 7:00 p.m. by Jim Auchmoody.

Jim will speak on homemade musical stringed instruments of the Depression Era. Because times were tough and poverty prevalent, some very unusual instruments were created. Have you ever heard a bedpan guitar? You will be surprised and amused when you hear some of Jim’s creations and learn about their history. Everyone is welcome.

A glimpse into the past: Vernon’s long grim winters

By Barbara Emery Moseley

A “long, execrable winter is about over,” proclaimed the editor in the March 17 Reformer. Execrable is not an adjective in common usage, but it is derived from the Latin “to curse”, and aptly describes the past months.

The word reminded me of some old-time Vernon winters, stories of which were uncovered in my historical research of our town.

One grim incident was found in the Phoenix of February 18, 1860. (The Phoenix was a weekly newspaper published in Brattleboro, and included items from surrounding towns). (more…)

Family haying in the 1930s

Tim Arsenault writes:  Picture includes my Grandfather , former Vernon selectman W C Tyler, plus my mom Isabelle Tyler Arsenault,and her two sisters Marjorie Tyler Unitas and Marion Tyler Reiber in with the crowd.. my guess is this is a mid to late 1930’s pic. looks like mom’s the one without the pitchfork at the top of the hay. The three sisters later made news by all enlisting at once during World War Two

‘Hunt’ing down history, Part 1

By Barbara Emery Moseley

NOTE: This series chronicles the generations of Vernon’s Hunt family, all related to Jonathan Hunt of “Governor Hunt Road” fame. If you’ve missed any installments in this series, you can catch up here!

While driving on Governor Hunt Road or passing the Governor Hunt House, many people do not realize the importance of the man and his family for which both are named. In terms of wealth, intellect, political importance, and fame, the Hunt family is on the level of the Rockefellers, Roosevelts, and Kennedys, of more recent history. The house, as well, reflects the Hunts’ status in society.

It was considered a “mansion” in its day. It was no doubt completed in time for Jonathan Hunt’s 1779 marriage to Levinah Swan of Boston. Her education as a pupil of John Adams was most unusual for its time. Possibly, it shows the influence of Adams’ wife, Abigail, who was an early feminist. (Jonathan Hunt was a widower. By his first marriage, he was father of Anna, who later married Dr. Perley Marsh of Hinsdale. Together, they formed the Brattleboro Retreat. She also established our Marsh Fund—reported annually in the Town Report—“for preaching to the heathen of Vernon.”) (more…)