Monday, May 30, 2016

A Productive Memorial Day Challenge: The Hill Cemetery

At the Charles Hill Cemetery: Cross-checking stones and name with 1980 listing.
A small but hard-working contingent met at Waterford's Charles Hill Cemetery this morning to trim, prune, and tug at blackberry canes and overgrown honeysuckle, to reveal the wonderful stones in the far corner of the burying ground. Another round of volunteer labor is planned to trim the bushes around the Hill cenotaph. We were glad to cross-check the stones against the 1980 listing created by Eugenia Powers and find that no further damage or losses have taken place. A lot of stories must belong with the lives remembered here, and we'll keep looking for them, for the pleasure and honor of saluting those who've gone before us.

Vines and brambles grabbed at us.

This stone had almost vanished ...

Without the "brush" in the way, look how lovely it is!

Lines at the base of the stone. Best seen in person ... when do you plan to visit?

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Honoring Waterford's Cemeteries: The WHS Tackles Two

On Monday May 30, 2016, Memorial Day, volunteers are invited to gather with some members of the Waterford Historical Society at 10 a.m. at the Hill Cemetery (on the Gingue dairy farm, Higgins Hill Rd) to prune, rake, and explore the Charles Hill Cemetery. Be sure to wear a hat and insect repellent? Gloves are helpful.

For a little inspiration, here are some photos of the newly visible and nicely pruned Stiles Cemetery, from earlier in May. The workers in the photos are Donna Heath, Roberta Smith, and Helen Pike; in addition, the local DAV (Disabled American Veterans) pruned the roadside hedge at another date.

And 15 years ago:

This final photo, taken by Brother Xavier Werneth of Baton Rouge, LA, in 2001, was shared on the FindAGrave site.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Waterford Hollow: The Stiles Farm and Cemetery

The Waterford Historical Society's "Green-Up" project this year focused on the Stiles Cemetery on Route 18, across the road from the water filtration plant for Stiles Pond Reservoir.

So here's the background on the area, with a photo (above) from the 1983 Waterford Town Report, taken from a C. H. Clark photo postcard. Look closely to see today's Route 18 between the barn and the pond; a high-rise entrance to the side of the barn farther from the pond; and the Stiles home, to the left of the barn in this photo. The three round structures are the earlier water filtration beds.

Here is the version of Waterford Hollow history (in which both the Stiles and Hill families play significant roles), as printed in that Town Report, written by the town's dedicated historian, Eugenia Powers. At the end are some photos showing the house foundation, not far from today's Stiles Cemetery, as WHS President Donna Heath explored it this month.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

An Upper Waterford Home and Family at "Trout Brook Farm"

Postcards sent and treasured can offer unexpected insight into families and their lives in the past 150 years. It was a delight yesterday to find this card, which must have been included inside an envelope, since it had no address or postmark. It is a Velox postcard, according to postcard expert Dave Kanell, who says the card was thus printed between 1907 and 1914. On the back in browned ink, in neat but not fussy script, it says "Compliments of / S/ F. Cutting / Trout Brook Farm / Waterford Vt."

S. F. Cutting was Stillman Franklin Cutting, a longtime resident of Upper Waterford. He was born in Concord, VT, on September 17, 1846, to parents Franklin H. Cutting and Prudence Isham Cutting. In 1910 he served as a member of the Vermont House of Representatives.

It's poignant to know this homestead vanished with the construction of the Connecticut River hydro dams. Mr. Cutting would have seen Comerford Dam built (1930-31), but he died in 1940, before the Moore Dam's reservoir would fill the scraped-bare landscape where his home once stood. His death was recorded in Gilman, Vermont, but he is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Waterford.

An extra pleasure in exploring Mr. Cutting's life in Waterford was discovering his Valentine's Day 1841 marriage to Martha Woodward Carpenter, daughter of Amos Bugbee Carpenter -- some of whose family letters, perhaps due to his role as West Waterford postmaster, have also survived the years. In fact, we have a note that Martha, nicknamed May, sent as a child to her brother in college at Dartmouth, which can be seen here.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

"Early Town Government in Waterford" by Eugenia Powers

Eugenia Powers (1913-1985) grew up in a Waterford family where everyone contributed to town government in some way. She gave her own historic research and writing to Waterford, Vermont, for decades. We will use her map and description of the Stiles Cemetery on Green-Up Day this year; we treasure the narratives she inserted in town reports (more on this next week with notes about the Stiles farm). And at the time of the town's bicentennial, she contributed longer work, like this essay.