Saturday, May 6, 2017

When Alden Hull Managed the Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford

Recently Christopher Ryan, a St. Johnsbury Academy alumnus, wrote to the Caledonian-Record about Alden Hull, whose daughters still live in this area. Here is his letter (if you click on the image, it should enlarge so you can read it):

And here is a postcard featuring the inn with its "Motel" sign on the roof, from the days when Mr. Hull managed it along with the St. Johnsbury House. At some point, the Waterford Historical Society hopes to host a gathering of people who worked for Mr. Hull -- many worked in both locations at the time, according to the day's needs.

Waterford's Hill Cemetery: Greening Up, and Two Revolutionary War Veterans

A small but dogged crew from the Waterford Historical Society brushed out the two sections of the Hill Cemetery this morning, as our contribution to Green-Up Day and in recognition of the many Waterford residents buried there. (A follow-up crew added raking afterward.)

The photos here show the graves of Revolutionary War veterans Moses Wright and Caleb Bugbee, and Mr. Bugbee's family. DAR member Nola Forbes, who was present when the DAR marker for Mr. Wright was set into the lovely little cemetery, shared details of both men's lives, families, and military service. She also planted a flag at each of the two grave sites. This salute to the men and the town's past is greatly appreciated.

To learn more about Waterford's veterans of this early American conflict, join the Waterford Historical Society at its May 24 meeting:
Waterford's charter took place in 1780, in the midst of the ongoing American Revolutionary War. Among the town's first non-indigenous settlers were a startling number of Revolutionary War veterans. Where did they come from? What are their stories? Where are their graves? And are they connected to today's town residents? Beth Kanell, author of both historical novels and some regional histories, presents insight into this early wave of Waterford residents, on May 24 at 6:30 pm at the Davies Memorial Library in Lower Waterford.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Waterford's Poets and Poems

Wednesday evening April 26, 2017, the Waterford Historical Society gathered with many guests at the Lower Waterford Congregational Church, to celebrate National Poetry Month through the words of local writers. What a great event!

WHS Pres. Donna Heath as master of ceremonies.

Patirica Powers
Teagan and Joe Healy reading together.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Alex M. Williams, Photographer with Roots in Waterford

Alex M. Williams is one of the names in the Memorial Garden at the Lower Waterford Congregational Church. A gifted photographer, Alex died at age 52 in Burlington, Vermont, in 2014; his parents, Dr. Russell and Lois Williams, live in the White Village.

Because there is no online site showing Alex's work, his parents graciously allowed these framed items to be photographed. Their detail is elegant and astonishing, and something to bear in mind as we enter the season of lilies in our Vermont gardens.

After attending New England College and the University of Vermont, Alex lived in London, England, and then in Boston for a time, during a seminal period for the Boston rock music scene. Alex shot live music, did album covers and band photos. Early "Mission of Burma" promotional photos are credited to Alex. Then in New York City, Alex assisted at photo studios, freelanced with print publications such as DETAILS, and photographed artwork for such artists as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, and Julian Schnabel.

In Vermont, he worked with photographer Didier Delmas and at Photogarden on College Street and Jager Di Paolo Kemp Design of Burlington. Samples of his work, especially in Vermont, would be welcome, to add to this brief note.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Farewell to Waterford's Friend, Robert Heath Goss

Waterford Historical Society board member Lynn Troy provides a rolled-up panoramic photo of the construction of the Comerford Dam to genealogist Bob Goss (center), who offered to have the photo professionally enhanced to show more details. At right is another WHS board member at the time, Charles McMahon. Photo taken at the Davies Memorial Library by Helen C. Pike.
 The Waterford Historical Society lost a good friend and researcher last month with the death of genealogist Bob (Robert Heath) Goss on March 20, 2017. Bob's retirement choices led him into genealogy and into preserving the records of cemeteries across Vermont. In particular, he took the records compiled for Waterford's cemeteries years ago by Eugenia (Genie) Powers, and updated them, adding more details and descriptions. His awareness of the town's past added to our discussions of place names like "Copenhagen" (near today's Waterford Springs), as well as changes that came from reshaping the Connecticut River with two major dams.
About three years ago, Bob Goss discovered that Waterford resident Lynn Troy had a stunning panoramic photograph of the construction of the Comerford Dam, which changed so much in Waterford during 1930-1931.  Lynn recalls, “Bob had the panorama picture of the Comerford Dam (which I had received from a friend and [in the photo here] am giving him rolled up) touched up by a professional photographer.  He then returned the much improved finished picture to me and I had it framed.  The final product is a gift to WHS from both of us.  It is in the library now waiting for a discussion with [library director] Jen as to where to hang it.” Lynn adds, “He was a delight to work with and I enjoyed knowing him for the brief time I did.”
Bob was born in Barnet, Vermont, in 1934. His parents were Dean Abbott Goss (1901-1957) and Della Maud (Heath) Goss. His mother's family does not appear to be connected to today's Waterford Heaths. However, his father's family goes back for generations to the years when Waterford was settled by nonindigenous people: Levi Goss, one of the first to settle here, was Bob's great-great-great-grandfather; subsequent generations were Locke, Francis, Charles, and Bob's father, Dean.
Almost any search of Waterford's cemetery records will turn up Bob's work for generations to come. His attentive documenting of our history and his clear joy in preserving it ensure that we will remember both his work, and his generous spirit.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Memories of Fifty Years Ago -- and Before ... in Waterford, Vermont

At the small district schoolhouse, when Waterford had one-room and two-room (and even four-room) schools. Courtesy of Vivian Davis, who is one of the students here.
Stories of the "old days" from the people who remember what happened -- these are the treasures that the Waterford Historical Society's spoken history team gathers from area residents, on video, in pictures, and in voice recordings. And now you can watch and listen to Waterford, Vermont, residents share their memories, at the group's channel on YouTube. Hope you can make time to visit really soon -- just click here to see what's available!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Time to Chat About Waterford, Vermont, History! (but Note Weather Changes Possible)

Young trees surround the Adams-Babcock Cemetery.
Waterford Historical Society program calendar for 1st half of 2017.

WHS meets at The Davies Memorial Library unless noted otherwise.

Wed., Feb. 22, 6:30 PM: Annual Meeting. Membership votes on officers. Members also share their discoveries and board of directors shares update on archives work. NOTE: may be rescheduled if weather severe.
Tues., March 7, 8 AM to noon:
It’s Town Meeting Day!
Come help us ID photos! Pick up a membership form & a copy of this program calendar for a friend or neighbor. Read about all we accomplished in the Town Report!

Wed., March 22, 6:30 PM:  Garden memories! Heirloom seeds! Old-growth rhubarb! Butternuts! Come share.

Wed., April 26, 6:30 PM:
National Poetry Month!
We’re teaming up with the Davies to offer a night of poetry reading out loud from Waterford poets present and past. Limericks, quatrains, free verse – all forms welcomed!
Poems to be submitted at Town Meeting 3/7 to help us determine the rhythm and flow for a memorable evening.
Location: to be announced later.

Sat., April 29, 9 AM to 1 PM: Davies Library Spring Book Sale and Congregational Church rummage & artisanal food sale.

Sat., May 6, 9 AM: Green-Up Day project at the Hill Cemetery on Higgins Hill Road (Gingue Farm). Rain? We’ll reschedule.

Wed., May 24, 6:30 PM: Author-poet and one of our founding members, Beth Kanell, talks about her research on Waterford’s Revolutionary War veterans.
Sat., June 17: 4th annual joint fund raiser between WHS and Congregational Church in Lower Waterford features a series of mini documentaries of Waterford residents and a return of the tasty Rhubarb Café. 
Time: 6:30 PM. Location: village church.
Tkts: $10; $5 for children under 12.

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