Seasoning Vermont: When Fall Became a Product

Originally published in the Times Argus/Rutland Herald Weekend Magazine on 10.16.21 in the “Remember When” column with the title “Falling for Vermont

Frank O. Duffy, a postal worker from Mattapan, Massachusetts, had been visiting Wallingford for more than 40 years. His friend, Patrick J. Muiry, of Boston, had “discovered” the town back in 1895. And now, the retired Mr. Duffy was staying at Maple Grove Farm for his annual October vacation. The foliage was, he told the Rutland Daily Herald, “as gorgeous as ever this year,” especially along the “back roads where October’s colors are gayest.”

It was 1937, and Vermont hadn’t long been a fall vacation destination. That is, until marketers decided it should be.

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Gone to the Dog… River Valley Fair, Northfield, Vermont

Originally published in the Times Argus/Rutland Herald Weekend Magazine on 9.18.21 in the “Remember When” column with the title “Northfield’s Dog River Valley Fair

It was the third week of September 1928 when Northfield’s oldest resident, Joseph C. Rice, was honored as a special guest at Northfield’s Dog River Valley Fair. Mr. Rice, who at age 97, according to the Rutland Daily Herald, still enjoyed excellent health and was “about the village streets everyday,” was recognized by the fair directors for his impressive attendance record: 57 consecutive years, the same number of years the fair itself had been in existence.

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Biography of Frances Hawley Rastall, 1844-1920 (Manchester, VT)

Originally posted at Alexander Street as part of Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920.

By Joanna Tebbs Young, MA/MFA, independent historian

Biography of Frances (Fanny) Hawley (Mrs. John E.) Rastall, 1844-1920: National American Woman Suffrage Association: congressional chair for the state of Vermont & legislative superintendent (Manchester, Vermont), Milwaukee (WI) Sentinel: writer; Kansas Woman’s Christian Temperance Union: president; Kansas Industrial School for Girls: co-founder; Women’s Temperance Publishing Association: business manager; Entrepreneur; Bennington County (VT) WCTU: speaker & secretary


Frances (Fanny) Hawley Rastall, born in Leicestershire, England in 1844, emigrated to the U.S. in 1861 with her mother Elizabeth after her father, William, a dry goods merchant, died. Settling in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at the age of 18, Fanny took a job at the Milwaukee Sentinel becoming one of the first “girl compositors in the United States.” When she became “indignant” at her editor’s views on women’s suffrage, she adopted a pseudonym in order to debate the unwitting man in his own column.

In 1868, Fanny married John E. Rastall, a Milwaukee abolitionist and veteran of the Kansas Free State Army. In 1877, they settled in Kansas where Fanny raised their five children (one son died in infancy) and John published the Osage County Chronicle. Continue reading

Biography of Frances Rastall Wyman, 1869-1931 (Manchester, VT)

Originally posted at Alexander Street as part of Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920.

By Joanna Tebbs Young, MA/MFA, independent historian

Biography of Frances Rastall (Mrs. E.L.) Wyman, 1869-1931: Vermont Woman Suffrage Association: President, Manchester, Vermont

Frances Rastall Wyman, eldest child and only daughter of Frances (Fanny) Hawley Rastall and John E. Rastall, was born in Burlingame, Kansas on February 23, 1869. With her parents both active proponents of prohibition and her mother a well-known suffragist, Frances unsurprisingly followed in her mother’s footsteps in the pursuit of the “woman vote.”

Frances attended Oberlin College in Ohio from 1890 to 1894 and studied science for at least her first year. (Oberlin’s 75th anniversary publication states Frances was only enrolled 1893 to 1894 in The Academy; however, she is listed in the 1890 catalog under “Middle Class” next to the abbreviation Sc, indicating Scientific.)

In 1901, Frances married widower Edmond Lewis Wyman, a physician and surgeon 25 years her senior. Having met while he was studying a post-graduate course at Illinois College of Electro Therapeutics, they were married in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Rastall in Chicago. In approximately 1906, the couple moved to Dr. Wyman’s hometown of Manchester, Vermont, where he opened a medical practice and was appointed President of Factory Point Bank. In 1907, Frances joined the First Congregational Church of Manchester. Continue reading

The House on Garden Street

Rut Reader spring coverOriginally printed in the Spring 2015 edition of Rutland Magazine, this article represents only a portion of the information I discovered in my research. It is my hope that one day I’ll be able to add to this story, either in a fuller non-fiction piece or a fictional one (both of which would include a little ghostly action…)

Rut Reader spring pg 1At the opening of the twentieth century, when a nickel plater named Edgar Wood had risen in society to become an attorney, Rutland was on the verge of complete electrification and bustling with industry. My home, one of the first built on the newly opened Garden Street (renamed Kendall Avenue) in 1887, was home to the Wood family for three-quarters of a century. Its lack of fireplace or chimney, the wrought-iron heating grates, parquet floors, rounded-cornered walls, and molded ceilings are all indications of modernization around 1912, in the midst of an era of great change—for the Woods, for Rutland, and for the country.


A skating rink?! Fourteen year old Florence Wood was no doubt excited to learn that the opulent Bicycle Club rink, built in 1884, would be within sight of their soon-to-be built family home on a new street bracketed by the grand Baxter estate on Grove Avenue and attorney Redfield Kendall’s lofty home perched high on the corner of Main Street.

What Florence couldn’t foresee was, even before her home was finished, the skating rink would be defunct and within a decade torn down. Neither could she know that the day-to-day life of her little family—the emotional details of which we will never know—would be a reflection of their times in a way only we, in retrospect, can now recognize. Continue reading

Tracking up to Lake Bomoseen

The fountain behind Trak-In which was once a attraction at Bomoseen Park.

The fountain behind Trak-In which was once an attraction at Bomoseen Park.

Part 2 of two stories on the Rutland Trolley. See Part 1 here.

Emerging from the greenery which threatens to envelope it, it looks like a beehive, one of those conical ones that Pooh Bear would get excited about. But it is actually a fountain, and it sits behind the Trak-In Restaurant on Route 30 in Bomoseen. A century ago, this rock formation with its metal water spout was a novelty, which, along with other attractions, drew large crowds to Bomoseen Park.

Bomoseen Trolley Park was the last stop on a spur, which from 1906 to 1918 extended off the main trolley line which ran from Rutland to West Rutland to Castleton Corners (and on to Fair Haven or Poultney). One of many amusement parks Continue reading

When the trolley tracked through town


Part 1 of two stories on the Rutland Trolley. See Part 2 here.

When the street was dug up in front of Green Mountain Power’s new Energy Innovation Center on Merchants Row in the fall of 2013, the workers hit steel. Hiding just below the asphalt on which we daily drive our (one- or two-person, gas-guzzling, road-hogging) cars, they had discovered tracks to another time: The Trolley Era.

It was a short-lived era in Rutland; approximately 40 years, from 1882 to 1924, with its heyday spanning from 1913 to 1916. But the trolley was an innovation that changed the scenery and infrastructure of Rutland County, where people built their homes, and the way in which they spent their weekends. Continue reading

Clarendon’s curing waters

Clarendon Springs House Buggies with Visitors c. 1890

Clarendon Springs House Buggies with Visitors c. 1890

Asa Smith, “the strange mystic of Clarendon,” had a vision of “chalybeate water impregnated with lime” that would lead him in 1776 to discover the springs in the western part of town that would cure his “scrofulous humor” (cancer).

Five years later, a business-savvy Mr. George Rounds, saw the potential of the area after another man, a Mr. Shaw, was also cured of cancer by anointing himself with the clay surrounding the springs. He built a simple log cabin and took in as boarders those who traveled in search of a cure and in doing so gained the distinction of opening the first spa in the state of Vermont. Continue reading

William Barstow, Chittenden’s Electric Man

William S. BarstowBarstow Memorial School in Chittenden is, according to many, one of the finest in the state. For a rural town buried in the hills of Green Mountain National Forest, this seems a little surprising. But the fact that this school is just one part of a legacy left by a family of philanthropists, headed by a man of whom it was said, “To know (him) was to admire him; to know him well was to love him,” may help explain why Chittenden is rich in offerings as well as beauty. Continue reading