By Barbara Emery Moseley
Unlike the Polly Lee Cemetery, which has been “lost” (as described in our previous series, Stones and Bones), the Whithed Cemetery remains intact. It is located on Fort Bridgman Road (Route 142) near the intersection with Newton Road, about opposite 3413 Fort Bridgman Rd.
A pair of granite posts engraved with the name Whithed Cemetery mark its entrance. Most of the stones bear the Whithed name, including a large monument honoring Mr. Gad Whithed, who died June 24, 1850, aged 83 years. In the far corner, toward Route 142, are several stones bearing the Frost name.
Most imposing is a large polished granite monument near the entrance. Its inscription reads “Julius O. Frost, son of Jesse and Sophia Frost, died October 12, 1913, aged 73 years.” Beneath his name is inscribed “Ellen Morris Hunt Hubbard” (who was the daughter of Civil War Col. John and Leonora Hunt). The line beneath promises “gone but not forgotten.”
Therein lies a love story. “J.O.,” as he was referred to locally, was probably the richest man in Vernon; Ellen Morris Hunt Hubbard was probably the most beautiful. It was said that J.O. had a full-length portrait painted, showing her in a purple velvet gown.
His find home with a gazebo on the side lawn still stands, almost opposite the former Schoolhouse Grocery. The home is currently being renovated.
J.O. raised and sold fancy fowl, many leghorn breeds of different colors, some with tufted heads or feathery “pantaloons” on their legs. The biggest attraction was several peacocks strolling the lawns.
Let your imagination put you into the Vernon of J.O.’s day.
Railroad trains, with their steam locomotives belching smoke, passed by several times a day and at night. The “highways” were dirt and lined with trees. Lighting was by kerosene lamps and lanters. In most homes, the toilet was an outhouse and baths were taken in a tub in the kitchen, or in the bedroom using the “chamber set” — a pitcher and bowl — on a wash stand.
The Frosts and the Whitheds enjoyed more “modern” conveniences. However, it was the Frost kitchen that provided the operating table for Mrs. Frost when a number of toes had to be removed. It left her with a limp. J.O.’s affair was the final blow to her dignity.
He was scorned by the Whithed family, but that did not deter J.O. and his enterprises. One was Central Park, a name that still appears on many maps. Evidence of Central Park existed until a year ago.
What did the resolute J.O. do next? It involved music, food, exercise and entertainment. Can you guess?
(Click here for Part I. Tune in soon for the next installment!)