Thursday, July 15, 2021

A Few Memories from Wayne Lewis

In August 2014, the Scouting award ribbons displayed on the wall of Waterford's town office were taken down in order to archive them out of damaging light. They are now in their own "Scouting" binder in the Waterford Historical Society archive cabinet, which stands in the lobby of the town office.

Examining them led Helen Pike to interview Wayne Lewis, a former Scouting leader, about the ribbons and Scouting in this town, on September 5, 2014.

Wayne began by describing Scouting in the 1960s and early 1970s as connecting to a time and place that was "more Vermont than it is now." He added as an example, "We did a five-mile hike from the race track [that is, the old Northeastern Speedway track on Route 18] to Shadow Lake [in neighboring Concord], through the woods, using only a compass and a topo map."

Another activity he told Helen about was camping: "In the winter we did camp-outs in the snow near a pond off the Cross Road and worked on our merit badges."

In those years, Boy Scout Troop 36 held its meetings in the Community Room on Maple Street, which was the space now occupied by the Waterford town office and Lower Waterford post office. The reason the town office and post office weren't yet in that space reflects a long town tradition of those functions taking place in the home or business of whoever was Town Clerk. At that time, the Town Clerk was Mrs. Dorothy Kimball, and she was the last in that role to have the municipal offices in her home.

However, the Scouts also went to see Mrs. Kimball at her house, which was on Old County Road South, known today as the historic Johnson-Powers farmhouse. [Today it's owned by Roberta and John Gillott, operating as Crooked Mile Farm, producing goat cheese.] Wayne pointed out, "We used to go to Mrs. Kimball's house to get our hunting license."

In those Scouting times, both the Champlain Valley Fairground in Burlington and the Mount Norris Boy Scout Reservation in Eden Mills used to hold annual one-week Scouting events where Boy Scouts could work on their merit badges.

But the ribbons archived in today's Waterford office were identified by Wayne as not related to the merit badges. Instead, they are from three other places and events: (1) There's a 1967 ribbon for "Camping" issued by the Wide World of Scouting. (2) A pair of ribbons from 1969 and 1971 represent participation in Ski-O-Ree, an event held at the Lyndon Outing Club (LOC) on Lily Pond Road, where there are still a ski slope and T-ball field. (3) The 1971 Forest & Stream Camporee took place at today's Caledonia Forest and Stream Club on Field and Stream Road off Route 5 (Memorial Drive) in St. Johnsbury. Today the club property includes a shooting range and clubhouse, with season passes that used to be sold at Caplan's Army Store on Railroad Street in downtown St. Johnsbury (see for current information on the club). Wayne did not discuss the 1972 Klondike Derby ribbon from the Long Trail Council, but a Klondike Derby is a traditional Boy Scouting event and the Scouts' Green Mountain Council was still announcing such events until the 2020 pandemic cut off such activities.

The Waterford Historical Society greatly appreciates Wayne's time and efforts in giving us this window into Scouting's past in our town.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Farming Diversifies in Waterford—Including Now!

 The Caledonian-Record, our regional newspaper, printed an article about the recent changes to the Gingue farm, a multigenerational farm in the region of town once known as Waterford Hollow. Although the end of profitable dairying came with sorrow for this family, they quickly began to diversify their products and processes. Enjoy reading this agricultural success story -- and for follow-up, why not subscribe to the newspaper yourself? (The online access is terrific—another example of adapting, for a paper that began in 1837.)

Monday, June 7, 2021

WATERFORD'S WORLD, 194 Pages, by David J. Carpenter

For many years, Waterford residents have relied on the conversational town history assembled by Dr. C. E. Harris in 1941, A Vermont Village. Perhaps Dr. Harris would have quickly confirmed that he was no professional historian, but his achievement in assembling the material around him has given us a powerful foundation for examining the town's past.

David J. Carpenter

David J. Carpenter, whose mother was Beatrice Elizabeth Kinne of Upper Waterford, labored for decades to take the work further and deeper. He too was not a historian by training, but his forestry education and his U.S. State Department career both impacted his research and writing. Though he was not able to complete his grand outline of the town's story by the time of his death in 2013, he provided the first half of it for the willing editorial hands of his daughter Betsy Carpenter.

Now that history, taking Waterford from its frontier settlement years in the late 1700s, to the aftermath of the Civil War, is available in polished and highly readable form, thanks to Betsy. It's a remarkable work, with discreet footnotes that don't interrupt the compelling reading. The "Tribute" at the front of the book WATERFORD'S WORLD gives a sense of David J. Carpenter's love for the town and its past as he described the view from the ridge on the east side of town:

On a clear night the lights of farms and distant villages gleamed silently in place. Quiet sounds from the woods bespoke the private world of the guardian creatures of the hill In the dark sky above, Polaris lit a path across the north side of the big field of sheltering stars.

And now, in the valley below, you can touch the faint presence of the past at the cellar holes, beside the stone walls, along the thrown-up roads and in the graveyards, where those who came before us lived, and worked and died, and entrusted to our care the prized legacy of this special world—this town.—DJC

The book probes the facts available about noted early settlers James and Submit Adams, explores religious frictions in the town in the early 1800s, and details Waterford's industrial and agricultural growth through that century. Family diaries add specifics, like the ones about the Ladd family members. And there are more journal entries from Waterford's contribution to battles in the War of Rebellion (the Civil War).

Treasures in the book.

Betsy Carpenter plans to take part in the Waterford Historical Society's Rhubarb Festival on Saturday June 19, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Conte place by the intersection of Route 18 and I-93 (uphill from today's Pettico Junction Country Store corner) -- older town residents will know the location better as the Begin place, or even as White Birch Farm, its moniker from when the Ide family owned it. She will bring copies of the new book for purchase. They may be limited in number, so pre-ordering with a phone call TODAY to Roberta Smith (treasurer of WHS: 748-0923) is a good idea.

This book will be treasured doubly: in the pleasure of reading it, and as a resource for years to come.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Adventurous Relatives in Our Past: Learning about Charlotte Saunders Cushman

Charlotte Cushman by William Page, 1853. National Portrait Gallery.

Waterford's calm serenity of this Memorial Day weekend could fool a new resident into thinking things are always this way! But regional historians know there's always another controversy or change brewing, because that's what "family" and "community" engage with.

A few months ago, I (Beth Kanell) was working on an assignment unrelated to Waterford history when I spotted the name Charlotte Saunders Cushman. Cushman is a Waterford name, so I stopped to look her up. It was a delight to discover she is a "relative" of Allen Hill, who gave the Waterford Historical Society a baking peel from the Streeter Tavern of long-vanished Upper Waterford; Charlotte was the 3-greats granddaughter of Thomas Cushman 1608-1691, who in turn was the great-great-grandfather of Soule Cushman (I) (1748-1795).

[For genealogy buffs: Charlotte Saunders Cushman 1816-1876, dau. of Elkanah Cushman 1769-1841 and Mary Saunders Cushman 1793-1865;  then Elkanah Cushman 1741-1776 and Mary Lathrop 1739-1792; then Elkanah Cushman 1706-1742 and Lydia Bradford 1719-1756; then Elkanah Cushman 1678-1715 and Hester Barnes 1682-1770; then Elkanah Cushman 1651-1727 and Elizabeth Cole 1657-1682; then Thomas Cushman 1608-1691 and Mary Allerton 1616-1699; and at last "Pilgrim" Robert Cushman 1577-1625 and Sarah Reder.]

In her time, Charlotte Cushman, a highly esteemed actress, often made the news and gossip publications. Not only was she extraordinary on stage, but she was an ardent feminist who chose her own lifestyle. When the New England Historical Society posted an article on her, they called her a "Cross-Dressing Tragedienne of the 19th Century." 

Cross-dressing wasn't new -- every Shakespearean play required it -- but Charlotte Cushman took her adventurous role into her own life. For the surprising story of the woman pictured so demurely in her portrait above, click here! As the saying goes, "There's nothing new under the sun." But don't we ever have time rediscovering that!

If you are a Waterford Cushman descendant, I hope you'll leave a message here to let us know whether Charlotte's story surprised you. 

For more Cushman material on this blog, click here. And to browse the blog (there's a white search box at the top left, click this:

NOTE: Here is a basic "backbone" tree of the Cushman family of Waterford, including Mr. Hill:

Cushman (first portion)


Thomas Cushman (1608-1691, b. Canterbury, England; d Plymouth MA) mar. Mary Allerton (1616-1699)


Thomas Cushman (b Plymouth MA) 1637-1726 mar. Ruth Howland 1637-1726 (or 1646-79)


Robert Cushman (1664-1757) mar. Persis Lewis (1671-1744)


Joshua Cushman (1707-1764) mar. Mary Soule (1711-1750)


Soule Cushman (I) (1748-1795) mar. Thankful Delano (1757-1814)


Soule Cushman (II) (b. Littleton NH 1792) mar. Esther Hendrick (1799-1879) (Soule may have died “after 1850” in “Canada East”)


Ezra Hendrick Cushman (1825-1888; his 1863 Civil War draft registration credits him to Concord VT) mar. Katherine Penelope Poppy Leavitt (her 2nd marriage; 1830-1904); they lived on the farm at the mouth of Chandler Brook


Kate (Katherine Ellen) Cushman (1861-1964) (great-grandmother of Allen Hill, donor of Streeter Tavern baking peel) mar. George Morse (1853-1928), eldest child of John Morse (1805-1877) and Harriett Temple (1832-1876), who lived just over the line in Concord, VT


Katherine Lyle Morse (1889-1981) mar. Allen Frank Hill (1882-1955); they lived in Littleton NH (Allen Hill’s grandmother)

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Seasonal Desserts Take the Stage at Waterford Historical Society's Rhubarb Festival

Rhubarb used to be called "pie plant" in New England -- and today's cooks combine it with strawberries, or lemon juice, or butter and brown sugar, turning it into seasonal desserts that tickle the tastebuds.

Get your rhubarb treats the easy way by pre-ordering them from the Waterford Historical Society! They will be wrapped and ready for pick-up, safely and simply, on Saturday June 19 from 11 to 2, at White Birch Farm (aka the Begin Place), next to the junction of Routes 18 and 93.

Orders should be received by June 7 for the bakers to get busy; here's an order form for this delicious funraiser!

Monday, May 17, 2021

Discovering the History of YOUR House: Tip Sheet

Ever wondered about your own or a neighbor's "house history"? Did you know how to start figuring it out? The Waterford Historical Society presents how! 

House historian Lise Moran will describe her own discovery of the history of Linda and Ed Mitchell's house (6888 Route 18) and placing the house on the state register of historic places, this Wednesday May 19 at 6 pm, via Zoom. (If you didn't get the Zoom link via email from WHS, watch for it on Facebook or contact Helen or Beth.)

To get us all equipped to become house investigators, here is Lise's own Tip Sheet -- a revelation of where she looked, and where the story of your own house is waiting for you!

Where to Go to Research Your Historic House- May 19, 2021  

Waterford Historical Society


 Town Office vault in Lower Waterford –


 Deed research to form a chain backwards in time

 Hovey Lot and Range map of Waterford with original grantors (1820)


State of Vermont Division of Historic Resources – Montpelier, VT -


 Historic Sites & Structures Survey to request a copy

 Google aerial photography of your property


Vermont Historical Society, 60 Washington St. Barre, VT  (802) – 479-8500


County Atlas of Caledonia, Vermont.  New York:  F.W. Beers and Co, 1875.

H.F. Walling Map of Caledonia, County, VT.  New York:  Baker and Tilden, 1858.

Child, Hamilton.  Gazetteer of Caledonia and Essex Counties, VT 1764-1887

Hemenway, Abby Maria, editor. Vermont Quarterly Gazetteer, A Historical Magazine Caledonia County, No.  LV, October 1862.

Collection of old postcards, letters, articles, catalogued by town


Davies Memorial Library in Lower Waterford –


Goss, David Philip.  Abel Goss of Lower Waterford   (family genealogy)

C.E. Harris.  A Vermont Village.

Hopper, Gordon E.  Upper Waterford.    A Village Lost to Progress.

An Informal History of Waterford, Vermont    (Bicentennial Historical Committee 1976).

Yearly Town Reports of Waterford


General Research Books for documenting an Historic House -


Congdon, Herbert Wheaton.  Old Vermont Houses, 1946.

Light, Sally.  House Histories:  A Guide to Tracing the Genealogy of Your Home, 1989.

McAlester, Virginia Savage.  A Field Guide to American Houses,   2013.

Garvin, James.  A Building History of Northern New England, 2001.

Blake, Harrison.  The View from Vermont,   2006

Williams, Henry Lionel and Ottalie K.Williams.  Old American Houses, 1957.


Additional Sources   (family relationships and locations) –


United States Census Records - 

1790 to present, after 1850 the head of the household is mentioned

Bird’s Eye Maps 

Aerial photography the United States Geological Survey maps

Cemetery records or gravestones ----find a grave

Church records of the Congregational Church of Waterford, VT


Lise G. Moran    P.O. Box 97    Whitefield, NH  03598  

(772)  631-3458
























Wednesday, April 21, 2021

May Is Historic Houses; June Is Our Rhubarb Festival!

The "tontine" structures in Lower Waterford.

What do you know about your home's history? How could you find out more about your house and the people who built it, then perhaps lived there? What would you to remember later about how you've invested part of yourself in your house?

All these, and much more, will be part of the Waterford Historical Society's May 26 meeting with a specialist in house history -- and this will be a Zoom'd event, perhaps the last one we'll need to do that way (hurrah!). Watch for more details soon.

June Is for Rhubarb Desserts and More

Mark your calendar for June 19, when the Waterford Historical Society and the Conte family host a drive-through Rhubarb Festival (our annual fundraising event) at White Birch Farm (aka the Begin place; on Route 18, near exit 1 from I-93). Bakers, get your recipes out -- we're eager for your special rhubarb dessert treats, from crumbles to pies to maple rhubarb muffins (yummy!). To inspire you, here are a couple of recipes from Yankee Magazine with new variations on old treats

Raspberry Rhubarb Pie (Yankee)


unbaked pastry for double-crust, 9-inch pie

3 cups chopped fresh rhubarb

1-1/4 cups sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

pinch of salt

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries

1 tablespoon butter, cut into several pieces


Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry for the bottom crust.

In a bowl, combine rhubarb with 1 cup of sugar, flour, and salt. Allow to stand for about 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine raspberries with remaining ¼ of cup of sugar.

Pour rhubarb mixture into pie plate. Drain raspberries and layer on top of rhubarb, then dot with butter. Cover with the top crust and seal edges.

Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325°F and bake for 30 more minutes, or until pie is golden brown.


Cherry-Rhubarb Crunch (Yankee)



1 cup quick cooking oats

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup flour

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

pinch of salt


Mix together all of the ingredients and press half of the mixture on the bottom of a 9x13-inch pan.




4 cups diced fresh rhubarb

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon almond flavoring extract

1 can cherry pie filling mix

1/2 cup chopped nuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the diced rhubarb on top of the crust. Boil the sugar, water, and cornstarch until thick. Add the almond flavoring, then the pie filling, and spoon the mixture over the rhubarb. Sprinkle the remaining crust mixture over it, then the nuts. Bake for 45 minutes.

Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.