Detail From Wood Block Engraving, 1860
Civil War Hospital is a small book with extensive photographs and detailing Brattleboro life during the War of the Rebellion. Here are the barracks, the first winter's mutiny, the quinine in the soup, patient lists, the womens' soldier relief, and the military exhibition at the Town Hall.
Officer Of The Guards Quarters, Chapel, Assistant Surgeons' Quarters
Corner Atwood And Sunny Acres, High School Grounds
Also the accidents, the pest house, the backgammon board, the medicinal cherry rum brandy recipe, the postal service, the chapel, the library, the sword presentation to the surgeons, drawings, maps, soldiers' and officers' records and speeches, the Invalid Corps on the Common on the long wooden benches, and the great achievements on "Hospital Hill".
Service For Abraham Lincoln is the complete text for the highly-charged, lyrical service given at the Centre Congregational Church by Rev. George Palmer Tyler for the fallen President, along with articles that describe the cannon-fire, and how Brattleboro looked in mourning that April 1865.
Seth Smith's House describes the familiar landmark on Western Avenue, now possibly threatened---and the Smith grist mill, and the first road and bridge across the Whetstone Brook there. Seth Smith was a Minute Man during the Revolution and a Yorkist afterwards. Ethan Allen came this way.
Seth Smith's niece was Chloe Smith, Mrs. Rutherford Hayes, the grandmother of President Rutherford Birchard Hayes. Seth Smith's grandson was Jedediah Smith, the famed mountain man and explorer in the West, who was killed by Comanche lances on May 27, 1831.
The Levi Goodenough Farm is an architectural treasure on the Goodenough Road in West Brattleboro, built in 1783, and never wired for electricity. Its large attic was a meeting house for the early Universalists in Brattleboro, who heard sermons there by Rev. Hosea Ballou 2d. The writer H. P. Lovecraft visited Arthur H. Goodenough there during 1927-1928 and the house was the setting for his tale "The Whisperer in Darkness".
The Brattleboro Stamp describes Dr. Frederick N. Palmer---music teacher, dentist with his office immediately south of the post office in Hall's Long Building, then the Brattleboro postmaster beginning in 1845, who invented the famous provisional 1846 stamp, and finally, a life-long homeopathic physician.
The scores for six waltzes that Frederick N. Palmer composed and published in 1844 are presented here. They still await the local musical artist who is willing to perform an arrangement for piano or violin that is simple, elegant, musically truthful and above all, respectful to the good doctor and craftsman who discovered them.
William A. Conant Violins concerns the violin maker, master craftsman who lived on Canal Street for so long at his labor, who was taught first by cabinetmaker Anthony Van Doorn, then by John Woodbury, and finally praised by the great Remini, concert violinist. Learn more about William Conant violins and cellos.
John Woodbury Violins describes the craftsman of the bass, double bass viols, and violins in Brattleboro, who instructed the young William A. Conant.
Richard Wagner's Estey Organ has rarely seen engraving insets showing the Estey Organ Company in the centennial year 1876, when Estey shipped a custom-made organ to the Bayreuth composer for his Ring of the Nibelungen cycle.
Brattleboro Epitaphs is a collection of over two hundred epitaphs, with their inscriptions, and photographs from the Prospect Hill Cemetery, Locust Ridge, Meetinghouse Hill Cemetery, Glen Street (Old Village), and the Mather Street cemeteries.
Our stonecutters are Ebenezer Soule, Sr. and his son Ivory Soule from Hinsdale, New Hampshire, Henry Ide and George H. Ide, John and Henry Locke, Ebenezer Janes, Stephen Risley, Jr., and Nathaniel Kittredge.
All the inscriptions here are recorded accurately for the first time---the spellings, the precise lining, the chiselling errors, and the superscripts, as, Feby, Esqr, Daur, and ye & the inevitable yt---
Susanna Butterfield the wife
of Benjamin Butterfield Esqr
She Departed this life Novemr
Ye 29 1776 in the 48th
Year of her Age --
She was born in Sept ye 22d 1729
Winifred Hadley was a well-liked young seamstress who died at age seventeen, of typhoid fever, while attending school in Boston. The Brattleboro monument depicts her sitting pensively over her piecework.
Stephen Risley's Tombstones concerns the stonecutter who came from East Hartford, Connecticut in 1806 with his wife Polly, to conduct an engraving shop on the Turnpike (Western Avenue) at the corner by the North and South Mill-Road (Meadowbrook Road).
The Lost Cemetery On High Street describes the sudden re-discovery of the last resting place for the early Church and Whipple families.
The Asylum Cemetery gives the story of Sarah Culy, abandoned, dying in 1854 after composing an epitaph for chiselling into her rare soapstone gravestone, which has recently been destroyed. The Brattleboro Retreat Cemetery has suffered from planned vandalism, but link here for a photograph collection of stones still remaining.
William Fessenden's Brattleboro Bookstore And Circulating Library follows the large two-and-a-half story brick building from its erection in 1810 on Main Street just north of the former Stephen Greenleaf homestead site and the American House, through its years as the "Brick Row" with its prominent merchant tenants, to its last days as the "Salisbury Block" and its destruction in April 1924. Thomas Chubbuck's March 1848 engraving of the Brick Row is here.
Mammoth Tusk took three weeks of research to prove the location of the discovery in September 1865 on what is now called Solar Hill or Harris Hill. The "smoking gun" was a reference in the land records to "Blake's pasture", and the presence of white quartz intrusions in the blue limestone on the site north of Western Avenue.
Jason W. Prouty Cabinet Card
Gen. John Wolcott Phelps can make any historian ponder "the strange mutability of human affairs". An immensely likable, and equally influential man, John W. Phelps lived in a Greek Revival house, one door north from the High School, which he called "The Lindens".
John Phelps sold "The Lindens" on July 13, 1882 to School District No. 2, and it then served as the Intermediate school for eighty or ninety students until it was removed, beginning in May 1884---lock, stock, and barrel---to where it stands today on the south side of Grove Street. Henry Burnham purchased the main parts of the old high school and set them down for a tenement, along the north side of Grove Street.
Rev. Jedediah Stark, the long-time serving pastor for the First Congregational Church in West Brattleboro, spoke with his congregation throughout the 1820's. His entirely forgotten history of the early settlement of Brattleboro begins in 1768 with the description of an Indian dance ring, poles, and fireplaces at a location near Cedar Street.
The John Thomas Farm lay along the Putney Road south from Black Mountain Road. Good English malt brewed here two hundred years ago.
The Rutherford Hayes Tavern, is in West Brattleboro at the old road to Marlboro, with mine hostess Chloe Smith Hayes and Polly her daughter.
Photograph 1911 By Porter C. Thayer
Used By Permission From Porter Thayer Collection - University Of Vermont
Rattlesnakes On Wantastiquet presents the reptiles and their rocks and rattles and oil for medicinal application, and Charles C. Frost's discourse on Chesterfield Mountain.
East Village Society Law Suit is a letter written by a legal authority for the March 29, 1834 Independent Inquirer newspaper, detailing the four Vermont Supreme Court precedents which were brought against the Church on the Common---removing completely and forever all church claim to the Brattleboro Common.
Reminiscences is Henry Burnham's series of twelver articles published in the Vermont Phoenix starting in March 1866. These articles are half way between Burnham's first lecture in February 1858 for the benefit of the Episcopal Church fund, and his final lively book, "Brattleboro, Windham County, Vermont. Early History, with Biographical Sketches of some of its Citizens" (Brattleboro: Published By D. Leonard, 1880).
George Houghton's Main Street Photograph takes a well-known 1866 glassplate negative photograph which shows the view north from the Anthony Van Doorn house, and enlarges different areas within it to reveal its heretofore hidden, magnificent details---
The Abigail White Whipping concerns the most famous incident in Newfane, Vermont history. From the Newfane Hill gaol, she was taken to the whipping post in August 1808. Less known is the fact that sympathetic local women, including the Windham County Sheriff's wife, helped to literally "save her skin", despite Abigail's passing counterfeit money for the Stephen Trask gang out of Keene, New Hampshire.
The Rev. William Wells Farm is described in detail by a traveller passing by in 1796. The house was built by Colonel Samuel Wells in 1773. It later served as a summer lodging for the Brattleboro Retreat's women patients.
Connecticut River Bridge 1804 gathers the scattered sources that describe the first bridge from Brattleboro across to Hinsdale, and its disastrous dedication ceremony, and its speechifying local magnates.
The Old Brooks Library The old honest American-style library is not forgotten. This is a virtual tour for the library building that was torn down on June 4, 1971. Here are rarely seen records, photographs, engravings, antiques, and sculptures, the Smithsonian Standard barometer---and where they were located in the old library, and the stories behind them.
Especially interesting are the rarely or never seen paintings of the Charles A. and Henrietta M. Loud Collection. These artists include George Frank Higgins, Charles Franklin Pierce, Enrico Meneghelli, Frank Henry Shapleigh, Frederick Porter Vinton, Wesley Elbridge Webber, Peter Moran, Frank Hill Smith, Thomas Clarkson Oliver, Carl Smidt, Stephen James Ferris, and Thomas Hill.
Charles C. Frost House
"There are few men on the street who will not miss his ready hands and ready wit."
Vermont Phoenix, June 22, 1877.
Black History In Brattleboro is Anne Dempsey's "Special to the Reformer" series in six parts during February 1994. Here are the forgotten black residents---the first black landowner, fugitive slaves, barbers, the women, the soldiers. There is an array of enjoyable research here.
Charles C. Frost's Shoemaker's Shop And Slave Safe House
Fugitive Slaves On Flat Street concerns the only reliably documented station on the Underground Railroad in Brattleboro. Charles C. Frost sheltered roughly forty fugitive slaves at his house and shoe shop on the south side of Flat Street, successfully concealing his activity even from friends for two decades.
Brattleboro Historical Society
Not A House On The Underground Railroad
Researchers in black history in Vermont should be aware that this house on High Street has no documented connection at all with fugitive slaves, Antislavery, or the Underground Railroad. This house was probably built in late 1869, and possibly later, but in any case, years after slavery days. No map shows any house on this site until then.
The two small chambers, dry walled with field stone and connected by a tunnel---that were found under the front porch there are obviously septic pits that were built before indoor plumbing became common. Cesspits, in any case, that no escaping slave would ever consent to sink into under any circumstances.
A plumber's heavy lead "T" shaped cylindrical strainer or sieve, filled with many 1/4 inch round holes was found in the larger pit. The purpose of this T-pipe was to connect the wastewater inlet with the leach field without disturbing the surface scum or crust.
The remains of several tools necessary for the removal of sediment buildup were also at this site. The large slate slab on the chamber floor was probably an additional dividing wall. The High Street hill was the perfect place for this septic system, which worked by gravity alone.
The Vermont Record and Farmer for October 22, 1875 carries the article "The High Street Sewer", which claims that "quite a portion" of the houses there had cess-pools at this time, which were effective, and never placed near any wells or springs that provided drinking water.
The partial draining, exploration, and measuring of this one cesspit was conducted in April 1987 by a group of concerned people, and detailed in a later report. Their work is recalled briefly in an article with the inaccurate headline, "Underground Railroad Had Stations in Brattleboro", published on February 8, 1994 in the Brattleboro Reformer.
This municipal building first floor hallway display is an admittedly entertaining fantasy, but it is distracting and misleading for visiting students---and for anyone who has a genuine interest in learning the rewarding truths that are to be discovered in local or national black history.
Hopefully this entire unfounded notion will be allowed to slide into obscurity, in the manner of similar fantasies and artistic development plans that show no regard, and no little contempt, for Brattleboro's past and for historical research, facts, accuracy, and truth.
The Brattleboro Historical Society management's disrespect for the property rights of the local library, the town office, local churches, and individuals, and its vandalism of the historical collections, records, antiques, and valuables that were formerly held in these tradtional places; vandalism by way of the typically crude, unnecessary, and destructive "restoration" works, are a disgrace.
John G. Sugland worked in Brattleboro as a woodcutter along the railroad tracks after serving with the Massachusetts 54th Infantry (Colored) in the Civil War, helping Gen. William T. Sherman's march through South Carolina. Private Sugland's letter written on May 20, 1864 from Charleston, South Carolina to Addison Whithead in Vernon, Vermont is here.
Alexander And Sally Turner established his Journey's End homestead after escaping from the Virginia plantation of John Gouldin, serving in the First New Jersey Cavalry as assistant cook and hospital orderly, and raising his great family in Grafton.
Elliot Street Chapel Riot 1837 concerns the disruptions at the Church on the Common chapel which was built three years before, and now stands on Spring Street.
Nathaniel Hawthorne created two famous literary villains, both modelled upon two very prominent men resident in Brattleboro, Dr. Robert Wesselhoeft and more importantly, Judge Royall Tyler.
This is my own historical research, which is always completely independent, based upon common sense and respect, never upon academic fantasy and destructive political agendas, local or otherwise.
Links to http://www.hawthornessevengables.com---
Nathaniel Hawthorne On Beacon Hill contains an account of the corrupt Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon, based upon Judge Royall Tyler, in "The House of the Seven Gables"---Hawthorne's literary reconciliation of crimes committed against his wife Sophia's family.
Dr. Robert Wesselhoeft became the evil figure in the tale "Rappaccini's Daughter" because Hawthorne considered him to be a villain, following an excessively invasive treatment of his wife Sophia. William Wesselhoeft, the hydropath's brother, was the Hawthorne family doctor.
Elizabeth Hunt Palmer, who lived and died here in Brattleboro with her daughter Mary Palmer Tyler, was the model for Nathaniel Hawthorne's character Hepzibah Pyncheon in The House of the Seven Gables.
Una Hawthorne in Brown's Woods recalls Una's visit here in May, 1868, when she was engaged to Storrow Higginson. Una's letter to Storrow is a botanical description of the Rev. Addison Brown's Woods, from Chase Street to the Chestnut Hill pond---following in the footsteps of Henry David Thoreau's walk here in 1856.
Hawthorne And Melville is another fine chapter from "Nathaniel Hawthorne: Studies in The House of the Seven Gables".
"Thunderbolt And Lightfoot"
T. Covil Daguerreotype About 1842
Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God is the title of the famous execution and hellfire sermon by the Rev. Jonathan Edwards---his response to the particularly lurid, prolonged, and violent events against the slaves in colonial New York throughout the summer of 1741. Several prominent New York men who were active in "the New Yok Negro Riots" were also involved in the land development that became Brattleboro.
Drawn By Henry E. Brewster On Tuesday, April 30th, 1850
One Door North Of The Williston Stone Building
Main Street, East Side, Looking North-West
The Henry E. Brewster Diary was generously contributed to this website by Tom Hoffman. Henry Brewster was the adopted nephew of Caroline Brewster, Mrs. Nathan Birdseye Williston. The Diary describes Brattleboro during 1850-1851 from the view of an active and alert youngster.
Thirty-two Inches In Height
Possibly From A Windham County Fair
Charles L. Spears Dining Room
Credit is required, by name, for the real historians of Brattleboro, for those who did the real work and research. This list is partial, and mindful for those not present---
William Henry Wells
Dr. James Conland
Maj. Frederick W. Childs
Abby Estey Fuller
Henry M. Burt
Hon. Hoyt Henry Wheeler
Joseph Steen, Esq.
Stephen Greenleaf, Jr.
Hon. James Elliot
Charles Kellogg Field, Esq.
Gen. John Wolcott Phelps
Rev. Joseph Chandler
Rev. James Eastwood
Harry R. Lawrence
Charles C. Frost
Hon. James M. Tyler
Charles F. Thompson
Rev. Nathaniel Mighill
Col. William Austine
Gov. Levi K. Fuller
William H. Bigelow
Larkin G. Mead, Esq.
Grace Bailey Dunklee
Charles R. Crosby
Rev. Harry R. Miles
Mary Palmer Tyler
Rev. Charles O. Day
Franklin H. Wheeler
Dr. Joseph Draper
Starr Willard Cutting
Rev. Addison Brown
Gov. Frederick C. Holbrook
William E. Ryther
Hon. Kittredge Haskins
Daniel B. Stedman
Charles E. Crane
Rev. Lewis Grout
Hamilton B. Childs
Hon. Broughton Davis Harris
Charles N. Davenport
Annie L. Grout
Rev. John C. Holbrook
Daniel Stewart Pratt
Rev. Hosea Beckley
Rev. Frank T. Pomeroy
Rev. George Leon Walker
Thomas C. Mann
Samuel Storrow Higginson
Photograph 1911 By Porter C. Thayer
Used By Permission From Porter Thayer Collection - University Of Vermont
Gardner C. Hall's House Built 1826, Dr. Charles Chapin's Residence
When the proprietors and editors of the fledgling Vermont Phoenix newspaper moved into their Main Street offices in 1834, they named their enterprise after the building's former residents---the Phoenix Lottery.
The name of the Phoenix Lottery came from the notion that if you hit the lottery, then your splendid new life would rise from the ashes of your old life---just like the fabled phoenix rises anew every five hundred years from its own nested pyre, fretted with rue and cinnabar.
Thomas Chubbuck Engraving
Former "Chapel On Elliot Street"
Centre Congregational Church, Unitarian Church, First High School
In May 1856 John L. Lovell took an ambrotype glassplate view of Brattleboro from a location about one-third of the way up Wantastiquet. This ambrotype was engraved by John H. Bufford, Lithography, 313 Washington Street, in Boston. John Batchelder of Boston published this lithograph for sale in August 1856.
The website banner is a detail from this lithograph's view along Main Street.
John Lovell's ambrotype here shows the Centre Congregational Church with its chapel built in 1854 and its horse sheds in back, with its steeple still placed within the church, ten years before the tempest that toppled it. Also seen is the Universalist Church, and the Central School.
The Asahel Clapp house, the Connecticut River boathouse, and the narrow track that became Grove Street, are all captured by the lens and the long glassplate exposure which ambrotype required in 1856.
Another detail shows the Central School, and north from it the residence of Daniel P. Kingsley, which was later owned by Phillip Wells, then by Gen. John W. Phelps. Ferdinand Tyler's house stands next north. Asher Spencer's house stands at the corner of Walnut Street, with poplar trees nearby---
---Frost & Proctor's window has this week the focus of a good deal of interest. The reason was the appearance there of an old lithograph of Brattleboro, John Batchelder artist, and published by the Buffords in 1856. It shows a very small village as compared to the present. Esteyville was a pasture, Prospect Hill, "Spauldings Pine Woods" as it was called then, a forest, the Chapin district of couse was open, there was no Oak street, no Grove or Tyler, or Brook, or Forest or Frost streets, no Harris Place, not a house on Terrace street and only five houses in all that section between Walnut and North Main streets, no houses on High street or Western Avenue north of the Unitarian parsonage, nothing in all that section now occupied by Mechanics Square, only two on Birge street, nothing where the Estey shops, the Smith & Hunt and the Carpenter works now stand, nothing but four houses on Flat street, no Episcopal church, no gas house.
The village consisted of the Canal and Clark street, the Elliot, Green and High, and the Main and North Main street districts with little tendrils running out Chase and Walnut streets. One of the prominent landmarks in those days was the "bowling alley" kept by Josh Clark and set on stilts 25 or 30 feet high on the river bank, about back of the Congregational church, and reached by a stairway from Main street. In those days our moral sentiment couldn't tolerate such a resort and it had to get into New Hampshire jurisdiction.
Another interesting relic is a slave driver's whip, which a runaway negro presented to the late Chas C. Frost in the days before the war. Mr. Frost, who was an ardent abolitionist, kept a sort of station for the "underground railway," and the fugitive slaves, being lodged at Greenfield, would be forwarded to him, he would feed and lodge them and pay their way to the next friend north. It was a work that had to be conducted very secretly, and few citizens knew much about it even then; but large numbers of the unfortunates were befriended by him in this way.
From The Charles A. And Henrietta M. Loud Collection, Brooks Library
Caleb Lysander Howe Photograph
John Burnham made brass pumps for the new-fangled windmills, and fashioned coin silver spoons from Spanish-milled dollars---six dollars to the spoon. From a nugget discovered in Williamsville in Newfane, Burnham cast a gold ring.
The shadows on the front of the building show that the sun is almost directly overhead on a summer day. Had Caleb Howe capped the lens five minutes later, the shadow falling from the roof eave would have dropped, to reveal the words painted on the lower part of the board.
From Sketches During July-August 1829
There are countless useful surprises and treasures here---the best that hard work and common sense, courage, time, and pure luck can yield. Spend time here---see the beauty that was Brattleboro!
Charles C. Frost's House On Flat Street
Groceries - Meats
Lewis R. Brown
Advance Of The School Division
Republican Club Banner For Benjamin Harrison And Whitelaw Reid
Wantastiquet Rockslide In 1868 Provides Rattlesnake Dens
Orion Clark's Barber Shop At Right
Frederick W. Kuech & Co., Ernest E. Perry & Co.
F. W. Woolworth & Co., Huntress-Adams & Co.
Benjamin Crown Photograph, May 1918
Brattleboro Drug Co.
Drive Slowly To The Right
September 30, 1909
Elbert C. Hall, No. 9 Main Street, Hall's Restaurant, James A. Hoadley, Proprietor
George H. Denyew, No. 30 Main Street, Barber
John A. Larrow, No. 32 Main Street, Barber
Outdated Forty-Five Star Flag
Baptist Church With North Tower Only
St. Michael's Episcopal Church
Centre Congregational Church With New Chapel
Gravel Pit Above Railroad Tracks
Woman Walking South Along Meadow Lane, Later Oak Street
Old High School, Far Right, Wing On South Side
Three Horse Power, License Plate No. 632
First Electric Carriage In Brattleboro
Maud L. Emerson, Daughter Miriam Clarke, Clarke Fitts Driving
Valley Fair Parade 1909, Linden Street
Photograph By George Harper Houghton In Autumn 1866
Drawing For Boxwood Block Engraving 1873
East Side Of Main Street 1868
Central School, John Wolcott Phelps House, Ferdinand Tyler House
Austin Jacobs Coolidge and John Brainard Mansfield
Boston: Austin J. Coolidge, 39 Court Street, Press of Geo. C. Rand, 1860.
George Harper Houghton, Photographer
Hall's Long Building 1849
Formerly The Post Office
Cabinet Card By Caleb Lysander Howe
Surgeon In Charge
Military Hospital At Brattleboro, Vermont
Horse Paddocks And Sheds In Background
Baptist Church, Fountain, Stone and Wood Post Fence
Carriage Shop, Unitarian Church
After Singing "Home, Sweet Home"
Site Of Indian Rock
Estey Organ Dedication Sunday, September 11, 1927
Forty-Three Star Flags, Estey Guard Detachment Presenting Arms
"The heavy rain of Friday had brightened the foliage and grass, making everything fresh and beautiful, and though the morning of Memorial day was threatening, it cleared away and the afternoon was pleasant."
Flooding From The Vernon Dam In April 1909
D. A. Henry Photograph
D. A. Henry Photographer
Hospital On Grove Street 1906
Before Adding The Pedestrian Walkway
Iron Rod Buttresses Below Deck Level