October 2008
Artifacts and Fiction
Montgomery Historical Society
P.O. Box 47
Montgomery, VT 05470

e-mail pratthall@gmail.com
Click here for a pdf version that will print with correct pagination

Detail From Pratt Hall Stained Glass Window

Number 16

Scott Perry - Chair/Editor
 Bill McGroarty - Vice Chair
  Marijke Dollois - Secretary
   Sue Wilson - Treasurer

The MHS Board meets the third Wednesday of the month at 5:30.  Pratt Hall in the summer, Public Safety Building Conference Room in the winter.

Check out the History For Sale link for DVDs, Xmas decorations, cards and Frig magnets.  

Montgomery History Quiz:
In 1874 at the Montgomery Baptist Church, withdrawing the “hand of fellowship” meant. 
A.  Sinning against Christ
B.  Excommunication from the Church 
C.  Changing assigned seats to the back of the church.  
D.  Divorce.

Chairman's Message

    I love this time of year.  Changing foliage, baseball playoffs, apple cider... and yes snow on the way soon...but I shouldn't get ahead of myself.  

    My wife and I have a large clump of blueberry bushes on our property and have enjoyed picking through the months of August and September for the last 10 years.  An average year yields about 15 gallons, we've picked as many as 25.  This year we've harvested about 22 and the freezer is full.  Sometimes it seems like they grow as fast as we can pick them.  My Yankee heritage makes me want to get every last one... ah the satisfaction of a good crop.

    Likewise I was reminded of our organization's good fortune recently as I made a presentation on the MHS to one of the Vermont Historical Society's "Connecting To Collections" workshops.  The group was astounded by our membership and budget numbers and wanted to know our secret.   No secrets I said, just hard work by the Board, a generous membership, and a supportive community.

    In that vein I'm thrilled to announce we exceeded our 2008 goals of 200 memberships and $10,000 in membership revenue for the second year in a row.    A wonderful crop from which we can all take a good measure of satisfaction.  Thank you all and a special thanks to membership guru, Marijke Dollois.    

     I gotta go change the oil on the snow blower.  Anybody know of a good deal on a wood splitter?  See you next year...

                                                                    Scott Perry

(Reminder:  All MHS events are listed on the Town's Community Events Page and the Society's Calendar Page)

Candles and Carols

     Mark the date...  Our annual community sing along is scheduled for Sunday, December 21st at 5:00 p.m.  We hope to have Maestro Andrew Massey once again lead us in a fun evening of caroling.  Pratt Hall will be decorated and we will include storytelling, dancing, and even a few seasonal and family appropriate jokes.

Concert Series Completes Its 20th Year

     The 2008 "Concerts By The Common" series wrapped up it's 20th season with the Diller Quaile String Quartet in August.  Strong attendance and sponsorship resulted in a modest profit of about $250.00.  Thanks to Steve Hays for his excellent stewardship of the series.  Thanks also to the Vermont Arts Council, the Eastman Foundation, and to our sponsors and patrons:  
Lisa and Alan Cennamo/Sylvester’s Market
The Laura Crane Family
Fairpoint New England
Steve & Catherine Hays
Ann and Jim Lackner-Graybiel
Lutz’s Automotive
Bill and Noela McGroarty
People’s Trust Company
Rock-Tenn Company
TD BankNorth
Michael and Lee Forman/The Inn on Trout River
Chantal and Marty Lumbra/The Belfry
Marijke Dollois and Charlie Fichman
Mr. and Mrs. William Hays
Betty Stanton
Deb and Bob Winders

2008 Art Show
Photo Courtesy Charlotte Rosshandler

35th Anniversary Coming

     2009 will mark 35 years since a small group of concerned citizens organized and formed the Montgomery Historical Society.  They saved what was then called St. Bartholomew's church from demolition and began a labor of love that remains vital today.  The Board hopes to mount several special events to celebrate our anniversary next year.  (By the way, for those of you in a gift giving mood the traditional gift is Coral, and the modern is Jade!)

VT History Expo

     Some final thoughts on the exhibit...  The packing case arrived in September and is now on display at Pratt Hall.  Thanks to Gary Wetherbee for picking it up in Ohio and to Matt, Mary and John Leonbruno for helping us secure it once we won the Ebay auction.

     We also have added some tokens, used as pay,  and redeemable in the Company Store which was located where the present day Snowshoe Pub is located.  Thanks to Lauri DeCiucies
for donating them.  

     We also have a one page memoir based on a discussion with Gaston Begnoche who worked in a sister mill in Richford.   He also owns the farm where the Montgomery mill was located.

    We will be sharing all of this with the school and show it to others by appointment through the end of November.    Please call a Board member if you would like to arrange a showing.

Art Show & Sale

     This year's reception and show was well attended and the feedback very positive on the new lighting and display boards.  

Noela McGroarty did a magnificent job spearheading this year's event, and wants to thank all the participating artists.  

     Special thanks to Bill McGroarty, and Marijke Dollois for assembling and painting the new displays, and to Parma Jewett for super refreshments and the foil painting donated for the the raffle.


Abenaki Baskets and other items

Pratt Hall Rental Fees and Policy

     The Board agreed to raise the rental fees and updated the rental policy in September.  Rates are now:

    Member - $275/event comprised of the following:  $175 + $100 refundable reservation and cleaning/damage deposit.
    Non-member - $325/event comprised of the following:  $225.00 + $100.00 refundable reservation and cleaning/damage deposit

    Member - $325/event comprised of the following:  $225 + $100 refundable reservation and cleaning/damage deposit.
    Non-member - $375/event comprised of the following:  $275 + $100 refundable reservation and cleaning/damage deposit.

     The policy is posted on line at www.montgomeryvt.us/mhs.htm or can be obtained by contacting any Board Member.

Acquisitions & Donations

     We continue to benefit from donations of artifacts, funds, and services.   In addition to the donations already mentioned, thanks to Fern Perley who donated a signed photograph of Gov. Madeline Kunin and Merrill Perley at the signing of Housebill #8665 which settled the boundary line dispute of Avery’s Gore between Enosburg and Montgomery – most of Avery’s Gore went to Montgomery.  

  Additionally, Betty Stanton made a $1,000 donation to the general fund to help us make progress on a new exhibit and storage space.

  Thank you for thinking of us!

Jeanne Brink:  The Western Abenaki

     About 25 people enjoyed the presentation by Azoniz (aka Jeanne Brink) on Western Abenaki culture and tradition.  She displayed and explained baskets, rattles, and clothing; and taught us some Abenaki vocabulary.  Thanks to Sally Newton and Charles Henderson for bringing her to us and the Vermont Humanities Council for sponsoring her visit and presentation.

Early Montgomery: A Conversation with Betty Stanton  

     The August 9th program with Betty and members of her family was a grand success.  She shared stories of her, and her ancestors experiences in Montgomery accompanied with photos, original letters (with transcriptions), quilts,  fabrics, china, and other ephemera, most of which she donated to the MHS!!  

     Thanks to Betty for a fun evening, and her enthusiastic support of Montgomery and the MHS.  


     The pest treatment work for Pratt Hall will be done next June.  This will include the basement, tower, and the attic spaces.  In the meantime Bill McGroarty, John Beaty, and Pat Farmer have begun the tedious and sometimes nasty work of cleaning the cobwebs, dust and other debris out of the tower, a prerequisite to spraying for powder post beetles.  We may ask you to give us a hand if you can and we will work to get a grant to help finance that project.

Pratt Hall Evaluated By Timber Frame Expert

  The Board took the next step in the process of evaluating Pratt Hall for structural repairs.  Following the evaluation by VT Historic Preservation and architect Michael Gohl, we were urged to have expert timber framer and historian Jan Lewandoski take a look.  He was able to confirm much of the earlier assessment, identified other issues, and gave us costed estimates of the recommended repairs.  His report will be used for further grant writing.



     Thanks to the technical assistance from member Ave Leslie, we now have Elders' Nights I and II, and the recent Betty Stanton program on DVD and included in our archive for posterity.  

Montgomery History Quiz Answer

     B.  Excommunication.  Parishioners could be removed on recommendation of the Committee of Investigation for any number of offenses, including licentiousness, profanity, continual neglect of religious culture, drunkenness, and/or general looseness of daily living that dishonors the name of Christ.

Board Members

     The Montgomery Historical Society Board is... Scott Perry, Bill Branthoover, Marijke Dollois, Sue Wilson, Bill McGroarty, Parma Jewett, Sally Newton, John Beaty, Jo Anne Bennett, and Pat Farmer.   Meetings are the third Wednesday of the month and are open to all MHS members.

2008 League of Local Historical Society (LLHS) Awards

     The MHS has three nominations for this years awards.  Sue Wilson was nominated for Excellence in Individual Achievement for her work as our Treasurer and financial maven.  The "Concerts By The Common" program and Steve Hays were nominated  for Excellence in Society Operations.  Finally the MHS's VT History Expo exhibit was nominated for Excellence in the Exhibits/Museum Techniques category.  Winners will be formally announced at the LLHS Annual Meeting, November 7th, in Bellows Falls (they are all winners already in our opinion!)

Web Site Has More Content

     If you haven't recently, may we suggest you check out our web site.  We continue to add content, like the 1985 National Register of Historic Places Nomination for Pratt Hall, and are eager to hear your feedback.  

Thanks for your support!!