Historians annual town meeting day food sale

The Vernon Historians will be on hand during town elections, Tuesday, March 1 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., downstairs in the town office building.

In addition to baked goods and food items, they are selling the “History Tour of Vernon” DVD, Pine Top Ski Area posters, the “Vernon Voices” and “Wise Old Sayings” booklets.

Members and non-member supporters are asked to drop off their contributions of baked goods and food items between 6:45 a.m. and 10 a.m.

‘Hunt’ing down history, Part 6

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!

No doubt Jonathan Hunt, early on, had built a rough, cabin-like dwelling on his many riverside acres in Vernon. It was likely that it became attached , on the east side, to other sheds and barns. That was a practical New England style that allowed settlers access to their stored firewood and provisions, and to attend to the farm animals in all kinds of weather. His bride, however, would expect a more comfortable home.

Jonathan had the means to hire a master builder. Also, there was close access to a sawmill built several years earlier by his father. It was located on Lower Salmon Brook, near today’s Post Office Plaza (George’s Mill). (more…)

‘Hunt’ing down history, Part 5

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 recapture of a Yorker’s cow in Guilford, coupled with another power play by New York sympathizers in Vernon, likely precipitated Jonathan Hunt’s resignation as Sheriff. Still, he would have been watchful of the following incident.

On May 3, 1778, a mysterious event occurred in Vernon. (Its site roughly encompassed the area between today’s Post Office and the east end of Newton Road.)

On that date, the granary of Ensign Stratton was broken open during the night and a quantity of gunpowder and lead stored there, belonging to Vernon, was stolen. The patriots in the area were alarmed by what appeared to be a threat of British infiltration in the locality.

Guards were placed and an investigation was undertaken. A scouting party that had passed by two nights earlier later found a man asleep against a haystack. He proved to be a Tory, Jonathan Wright, “one inimical to the American cause.” Elijah Elmer, an accomplice, was taken at the same time, but escaped. (Both were descendants of some of Vernon’s earliest settlers.) (more…)

‘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…)