By Barbara Emery Moseley
With this chapter we conclude the previous series (“Stones & Bones, Where can they be?“) which related to the now-vanished Polly Lee Cemetery and various generations of the Lee family in Vernon, and begin an exploration of another family that has a cemetery named after them — the Whitheds. (The Whithed cemetery is on Route 142 just north of the intersection with Newton Road.)
Marshall Whithed was a prosperous landowner in town. In the 1840s, the imminent arrival of trains prompted the building of hotels at each stop. The enterprising Marshall Whithed built a large two-story hotel, the Whithed House, in the center of town, immediately north of the present day Vernon Union Church.
Its upstairs contained a large hall, with a stage and dressing rooms. Dancing was a popular pastime.
The ground floor housed the post office and general store. Its merchandise was delivered to a river landing. Old account books note the purchase of cloth, needles, kerosene, stationery, patent medicines, etc. Anxious relatives would visit the post office, hoping to receive a letter from a loved one, far away on a Civil War battlefield.
Much like the bed-and-breakfast of today, the Whithed House did the same. Water for the house and guests came from a spring through hollowed-out pump logs, each being tapered like a pencil fitting into the next. On the bank near the railroad was a patch of “blue clay.” It was used to seal each joint. (more…)