The daily local history sidebar is one of the most interesting features on ibrattleboro, and seems to be seldom commented on. Those abbreviated items often leave me wondering about the details.
Today we read:
1878: The 90-cent dollars have put in an appearance as pocket pieces.
What could that be about?
About a month ago, this item ran:
1887: Samuel Simkoveze, the well known Jew peddler, is about to open a clothing store in the basement of Vinton’s block.
The Brattleboro Historical Society is putting together an ORAL HISTORY of the Vietnam War Era and is seeking Brattleboro area people - veterans to anti-war activists - to come forward to share experiences. If you have an interest in participating contact Bill Holiday at -
On March 16, 1888, The Phoenix ran the following report on the Great Blizzard of 1888, which had happened just a few days earlier.
Brattleboro’s Experience with a Dakota Blizzard.
40 in. of Snow in a 90-mile Gale.
Sights, Scenes and Incidents in Brattleboro on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, Brattleboro AAUW presents: The Theatrical, Eccentric, Flamboyant Madame Sherri, a talk by Eric Stanway on Tues., March 17 at 7 p.m. at the Brattleboro Historical Society History Center at the Masonic Temple, 196 Main St., Brattleboro.
Stanway is author of “Madame Sherri: The Special Edition,” an expanded biography of the diva of the 20’s who scandalized the locals for years before succumbing to poverty and dying in a Brattleboro boarding house, leaving her castle in the woods of West Chesterfield, N.H., to crumble to ruins.
Those who follow This Day In History on a regular basis might recall a couple of mentions of members of the community rehearsing to perform as cards for an upcoming entertaining exhibition of "Living Whist." Well, you will be pleased to know that the event was a success.
Below you'll find the almost complete account of the event as told in the Phoenix on March 3, 1895. (The scanned newspaper was torn in one place, so I copied as much as was available.)
If we have any whist players, perhaps the game could be explained a bit?
The Vermont Phoenix account of the first train arriving in Brattleboro, from Boston, on February 20, 1849.
Celebration of the Opening of the Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad
This celebration took place on Tuesday last, the 20th inst., and will be long remembered by those who were present at it. By the arrangements made, the cars from Boston were to arrive about 1 o’clock P.M., but owning to the large train of passengers, they did not arrive until 3 P.M. Our citizens, and guests from the adjacent country, in the mean time were assembled “en masse” - and notwithstanding the long delay, had not the least difficulty in keeping cool.
From the Vermont Phoenix, Feb. 21, 1896, comes a story of puppies and pigs.
"Michael L. is a son of Erin’s Isle. His facial expression and his linguistic accomplishments would be convulsive proof before a jury.
Michael is not afraid of trichinosis, and recently bought two infantile porkers in Brattleboro, to be raised on his Vernon farm.
Michael started for home with his pigs, but he stopped at a wayside in in Guilford, presumably to get refreshments. While he was there some fun-loving person released his pigs from the bag and put two small puppies in their place.
Join independent scholar, David Mulholland, in his talk Handed Down from the Trade, Wednesday, February 18, 7:00 PM, in the library's meeting room.
Imagine growing up in an America grasping with the horrors and social havoc of its slavery past that you personally despise. Then imagine discovering that your ancestors participated extensively in slavery, prospered from it, and influenced public policy to set people, states, and a nation on a path to spread slavery, to engage in a Civil War, and to undertake an arduous Civil Rights struggle.
I'm a local fellow with a great interest in the context and culture of this area prior to its becoming the Brattleboro we know today. Meaning, the vast sweep of 12,000 years preceding the past 250 or so; the Sokoki of the Western Abenaki were here for centuries and their ancestors for millenia before them. And, it must be affirmed, their descendants are still among us.
By way of honoring this land and its people, I would like to help acknowledge and document this heritage and raise awareness to engender respect. It struck me that this gathering of the minds might be a reasonable venue within which to inquire about likemindedness. Anyone else with such an inclination?
In February of 1860, the principal of the high school gave a lecture describing what he saw as “defects” in the current school system. The newspaper was kind enough to dcoument this, so we can go back and read what he said about such topics as books, naps, exercise, carbonic acid gas, and politeness.
The system he describes seems rather far from what we do today, but the goal is identical.
The weather was right for packing good snowballs. The targets were a plenty. Nobody stopped them.
February 5, 1892, as reported in the Phoenix:
The heavy fall of damp snow, which came on Tuesday and Tuesday night, was followed Wednesday by the worst exhibition of hoodlumism ever seen on Brattleboro streets.
In the early morning the boys began snow-balling in an entirely proper and legitimate way, but at noon this had degenerated into a wanton and indiscriminate attack upon every passerby, and upon every team, person and object which chanced for any reason to furnish a target.
On January 20, 1837 the Vermont Phoenix published the following announcement regarding the opening of a new establishment in town. Read on to see how the Brattleboro Retreat was first presented to the public.
VT. Asylum For The Insane, Open
The Trustees of the Vermont Asylum for the Insane would announce that this institution is now ready for the reception of patients. The building is finished in a manner adapted to the classification and convenience of its inmates. The two wings are so constructed as to afford pleasant and commodious rooms, and that the sexes may be entirely separated. Rooms are prepared for the sick, removed from all annoyance, where the immediate relatives and friends of the patients can if they desire, bestow their kind attentions and sympathy. Experienced nurses and attendants are procured, and none will be retained except this who are kind and faithful to their trust. - No harsh treatment will ever be for a moment allowed.
From today's Phoenix, December 15, 1899:
"Before the appearance of Booker T. Washington in the Auditorium a Brattleboro girl read that he always carried a lead pencil in his right hand when delivering an address. When he came up to the stage she looked for the pencil, and there it was.
Digging through the old newspapers today, I found an interesting story describing the holiday items for sale at some of the stores downtown in 1875 during a period of economic hard times for many people.
The article provides quite a few extended details about the stores and items for sale, so I thought I'd share it. Set your iBrattleboro time machine for early December, 1875, and let's go shopping in downtown Brattleboro.
Today is the 30th anniversary of the runaway truck down the High Street hill, December 8, 1984. It was a busy shopping Saturday in Brattleboro. Margaret MacArthur's song, "Stephen Johnson" tells the story. It's available online at the VermontFolklifeCenter website.