Friday, March 17, 2023

Waterford's Irish: A St. Patrick's Day Salute

Although the name of the town of Waterford has nothing to do with Ireland, many local farmers declared Irish descent in the 1900 US Census. Among the ones born in Ireland were George Morrison, Henry Morrison, John Morrison, Anne Rudd, and Maggie Laffre.

Others with one or both parents born in Ireland included Nelson Mayhen, William Frazier, Elmore Miles, Winfield Hastings, Jane Hastings, Elmer Mayhue, Tobias Lyster, and Mary Corlis.

George Morrison's story is of special interest because he was one of the town's several Civil War veterans to survive hellacious conditions in Andersonville as a prisoner of war. 

Born in 1837 in Kilkeel Down, Ulster, Ireland, George immigrated into the United States in 1858. His wife was Katherine (also spelled Catherine). They married in 1870 in Quebec and had four children.

This page is from the Soldiers' Record of the Town of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, in the War of the Rebellion:

And here is the Caledonian's November 21, 1906, obituary for this Waterford farmer:

Friday, November 25, 2022

William A. Dow of Waterford, Passumpsic, and St. Johnsbury: A Railroad Story

An extended period of sorting my late husband Dave Kanell's research turned up this wonderful photo this month, labeled on the back "William Dow's House." The photo was taken by Charles F. Shepherd (21 Main Street, St. Johnsbury, according to the 1890 St. Johnsbury directory), whose wife was Emma A. Smith (married August 7, 1884); the photographer also stamped his work "Passumpsic Vt," indicating he had a studio there. Note the buggy to the far right of the photo.

William A. Dow was born in Waterford, Vermont, in 1850, to Joseph and Lydia Jane (Keich/Keach) Dow. William worked for the Canadian Pacific Railroad, with some express agent labors, and as a Western Union agent in McIndoe Falls, say Dave's notes. In 1880 he married Mary Agnes Smith (1958-1908). His brother John K. Dow (1845-1853; wife Beverly, 1845-1913) was a member of Company H 13th Regiment Vermont Volunteers in the Civil War, John was born in Cabot; his death in 1863 was of "typhoid."

Dave's notes indicate that William also owned a home in Cambridge, MA.

As you can see from the newspaper article (St. Johnsbury Caledonian, November 10, 1915), William Dow's notoriety at that date came from his tragic death at the railroad crossing in East Ryegate. Mr. Howard Harris, one of two auto dealership partners in Boston, was driving Mr. Dow in his brand new automobile, purchased two days earlier in Boston. "Neither one had any idea that a train was approaching the crossing and the automobile was nearly over the track when it was struck near the rear wheel by the engine," the newspaper reported. A train, presumably the next one along the tracks, brought Mr. Dow to St. Johnsbury, and he was treated at Brightlook Hospital for concussion, by "Drs. Ross and Fitch," who failed to find other injuries; he did not survive the next day, dying of heart failure.

In addition to its ties to Waterford and Passumpic (presumably where the house in the photo stood) and St. Johnsbury, this material connected to today's Dow family in the region. William Dow's paternal ancestry goes to Joseph Down 1822-1905, Jacob Dow 1776-1831, Ebenezer Dow 1737-1817, John Dow 1695-1738, Thomas Dow 1653 (born in Hampton NH)-1728, Henry Dow Jr, 1615-1657. [Henry Dow Jr., in the small world of northern New England ancestry, is one of my 10-great grandfathers.]

An additional newspaper article in the St. Johnsbury Republican, also on November 10, 1915, adds that the car was a Regal; that William and Mary (who came from Littleton, N.H.) had an adopted son Earl Dow of Littleton); and that relatives called to town for the funeral included Mr. and Mrs. John Bacon of Danville (Mrs. Bacon was William's sister), Mr. and Mrs. George Smith of Littleton, Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Smith of Hardwick, and Mr. and Mrs. B. R. Smith of Passumpsic, as well as A. J. Richardson and family of Littleton. William Dow's surviving brothers were Edward Dow of South Dakota and Dexter Dow, "whose whereabouts are unknown."


Friday, October 28, 2022

A West Waterford Letter from 1902

 "West Waterford" existed as a significant village of Waterford beginning just before the Civil War, when 55 years of settlement created new generations and prosperous business.

Until the middle of the 20th century, post offices in Waterford took up space in the home of whoever the postmaster was at the time. Here is the history of the West Waterford post office, which must have spent many years in the home of Amos B. Carpenter and his wife Cosbi, then their daughter-in-law Mabel:

West Waterford, Caledonia County, Vermont
Established on January 5, 1856
Discontinued on February 28, 1902 (mail to Saint Johnsburg) [sic]
Reestablished on April 8, 1902
Discontinued on June 30, 1905 (mail to Saint Johnsburg) [sic]

Postmasters                  Appointment Dates
                               Through June 30, 1905

Amos B. Carpenter      January 5, 1856
James W. Curtis           April 21, 1862
Amos B. Carpenter      October 31, 1862
Edwin L. Hovey          December 11, 1863
Amos B. Carpenter      August 25, 1864
Cosbi B. Carpenter      August 13, 1884
Cosbi B. Carpenter (Reappointed)    April 8, 1902
Mabel H. Carpenter       July 16, 1903

The shift of West Waterford mail to St. Johnsbury (as it's spelled now) remains in force, a result of how mail was sorted and how carrier routes were laid out.

I purchased this letter from a dealer who specialized in postmarks, so his interest lay in the posted date, January 1902, about five weeks before the first closing of the West Waterford post office. Mabel (Hovey) Carpenter wrote the letter, to Ezra Carpenter, who was in Boston at the time. The letter is now in the hands of the Carpenter family, who maintain a residence in Waterford.


W. Waterford, Vt.

Jan. 21, 1902

My Dear Ned,

    I wonder what you are doing this morning and if it is pleasant in Boston. Up here we are having a snowstorm & I guess we shall have quite a fall by the way it has started.

    Father got home pretty cold last night but he was very happy for everybody signed his paper, Barton Works included, though he had quite a time to get him. He has gone again today.

    I let the children take their dinner so we won't have many to dinner.

    How is your cold? Please be careful and don't take more.

    Miner [Ezra's brother] says there were about sixty down to Frank's and they had a good time.. I didn't go. Miner didn't say a word about how I was to get there & of course I wouldn't to him, but I did think that if Mary had been in my place and she wanted to go you would see that she went. I guess it is just as well for I can hardly wag (excuse the slang) this morning.

    When I went to bed last night I put Miner H. [her son] into my bed. He woke up enough to realize and said "Me over here."

    He laid just as still as a mouse all night. 

    Miss Everding's certificate [probably a teaching certificate] came last night and I sent it to Mr. Taylor today with a letter. Osgood sent a big check and I have sent that over. Will send a letter and Osgood's statement. Miner thinks he is cutting it awfully.

    I must not write more, the dinner needs my attention.

    Much love to my Ned.

            Mabel H. Carpenter

Two years later, Mabel became a widow; the 1910 Census shows her renting a home in St. Johnsbury with her six children.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Three Generations of Adams, Blodgett, and Ladd Descendants

To make sure these photos don't vanish, here they are for remembering the pleasure of the July 12 visit to Waterford from this family -- we all met for nibbles and photo sharing at the Waterford Town Office, then collaboratively (with Helen and Beth) annotated a map so the Johnson and Brown families could drive around town for the day, visiting locations of meaning to their ancestors.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Saturday, June 25, 2022

West Waterford Cemetery Rehab, June 25, 2022, Waterford Historical Society, VOCA, and More!

The first cemetery rehab session sponsored by the Waterford Historical Society, on June 25, 2022, was a resounding success! VOCA (Vermont Old Cemetery Association) members arrived before 8 a.m., to survey the lovely fenced cemetery and make a plan of action. Some came from as far away as Rutland, and their skills and teaching efforts are enormously appreciated.

Here are some photos from the 4-hour session -- it was so rewarding to see the names emerge on the stones, and there will surely be more of these events. People joining us from other towns plan to also share the skills that the VOCA leaders taught today. THANK YOU, ALL!

VOCA members lift & straighten stones, as Joan Alexander of Glover looks on.

Nola Forbes of East St J, Waterford Historical Society and DAR member, tackles a stone on the shady side of the cemetery.

Nicole from Wilder, another VOCA pro, gives a basic lesson on cleaning the stones; Elizabeth Dean, Kacey Dean, Susan Hayes, (sorry, missed your name), and Donna Heath get ready for action.

Elizabeth Dean cleans one of the Bugbee family stones. She is an Austin family descendant.

Kacey Dean applies new skills to discovering long-hidden names here.

Christine Morey has her own list of stones in a neighboring town where she plans to apply her new skills.

Steven Carpenter-Israel maneuvers to lift crooked and sunken stones. His wife Wendy's family has roots in Waterford back to the 1700s.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Grandmother's Daylilies, Great-Grandfather's Onion Plants? May 7, Heritage Plant Swap

The White Birch Farm in Waterford (361 Route 18, not far from Route 2) will host a free event from 9AM til noon for people looking to share stories about their heirloom plans, and swap for another, with possibilities ranging from house plants to rhubarb to birch trees. 

The Waterford Historical Society also will be on hand to sign folks up for two upcoming events in June, including an order form from the The Rhubarb Kitchen for deserts in July.

Some pick-up services for plants in Waterford available on Friday May 6 -- email Beth at BethPoet at gmail dot com.

Many thanks to co-hosts Sam Haimovitch and the Ward/Conte family!