January 2021

1st Quarter

Number 65
Artifacts & Fiction
The Quarterly Newsletter of the
Montgomery Historical Society
P.O. Box 47
Montgomery, VT 05471
e-mail pratthall@gmail.com
Click here for a printer friendly pdf version

Pratt Hall
 December 2020

Scott Perry,Chairman/Editor
 Bill McGroarty,Vice Chairman
  Marijke Dollois,Secretary
   Pat Farmer,Treasurer

  The MHS Board meets the third Thursday of the month at 5:00 p.m.  at Pratt Hall May - October and normally the Public Safety Building Conference Room November - April, but via Zoom until virus restrictions are lifted.

History Quiz:

  Vermont's 1777 constitution provided for a General Assembly.  Representation was based on the population of "taxable inhabitants".   How was representation allotted?

a.  Proportional by town population
b.  Proportional by county population
c.  One representative per town
d.  One or two representatives per town.  
Looking Forward to 2021
      Well, it's certainly nice to have 2020 in the rear view mirror.   There's not much new to report since we updated you in December, so this newsletter is a bit shorter than usual.    

     One of the things we’ve tried to communicate since last March is that while we’ve had to cancel or postpone most of our events we have carried on the day-to-day operation of the Society.  This includes paying the bills for power, water, insurance, snow removal, grounds keeping, clock winding, and routine maintenance on the Hall and former Heaton property.  We also field questions and try to help out in other areas when we can.  This includes recently supporting preservation initiatives for the former Baptist Church and Grange, and answering questions on a variety of topics.

     Sign of the times:  Last November we received a request from a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh who was canvassing a number of historical societies looking for information on “Loyalists in Vermont during the American Revolution”, the subject of his thesis.  Our answer was easy, our Town wasn’t chartered or settled until after the war so we had no information.   That was the end of our communication until we received a follow up email from him in January.  “I sincerely apologise for my delayed response - unfortunately, I have been in my own battle with COVID since I sent my initial message.“  He went on to say he was doing well and appreciated our  taking the time to respond.

     We will continue our work and look forward to resuming other programs and events as safety allows.  Thank you for your support and understanding. 



     Last year we began to make plans for the Farmers Market under State COVID guidelines.  We secured several small grants to help us get sanitizer, masks, and cordons but vendors started dropping out as they experienced difficult conditions at other markets and decided to take some time off.   When we got to two vendors we  pulled the plug.  

     This year we're hoping the vaccine and refinement of guidelines will encourage the vendors and allow us to reopen the market.  We are already polling our vendors for feedback.  We will update you as developments warrant.

Early truck at the Parker (Vllage) Store.  Now the site of the Montgomery Historical Society Farmers Market


      Applications for our annual Winston Lewis, and Joe and Irene Scott Memorial Scholarships are due May 1st.  All graduating Montgomery seniors going on to future education / training are eligible.   This includes technical training, such as a CDL, as well as college.


     Montgomery Schoolhouse (MSI) Toys:  A couple who had just purchased a "wonderful Montgomery Express" toy train, wrote us asking if we had any information about the manufacturer.  They were wondering if a catalogue was ever published or any old newspapers with advertisements.  

     We don't have any but were able to provided links to Maple Landmark toys in Middlebury who bought out MSI in 2001.  They still produce some of MSI's creations in a line called Montgomery Schoolhouse and have a short history of the MSI on their website.


     January:  2006 - MHS newsletter renamed "Artifacts and Fiction"  It was previously known as the "MHS Internet Newsletter" 

     February:  1862 C.T. Hall born in Montreal.  VT Lumber King and owner of mills and much of Montgomery Center.

     March:  1895 Kiss Party at Henry Baker's House (Pudvah Diary)


     d.  Towns with 80 or more "taxable inhabitants" were allotted two representatives, 80 or less had one.  After seven years each town would have one representative each.  

     This was changed in 1965 creating districts to be truly proportional based on population.  The districts are adjusted by the legislature every ten years based on the census.  Currently Montgomery is included with Enosburg in the Franklin-7 district.  

     Our 2020 membership was down significantly, as it was for many organizations throughout the state and country.  While our membership revenue took less of a hit we want to redouble our efforts to have as wide a membership as possible.  For those of you that were able to stay with us thank you, we hope you will continue.  

     Our annual goal is 200 memberships and we have reached as many as 220 in the past.  Our 2021 drive will begin in late March but you can renew, anytime online by clicking the Membership link on our home page.  You can use any credit card (processed by Paypal) or your personal Paypal account by clicking the Donate button and following the prompts.  
New and re-joining former members are appreciated greatly too.  

      If you have a friend, or family member, you think might be interested please encourage them to consider joining, or consider giving them a gift membership.  
                                            Thank you.


     We were pleasantly stunned early this month to receive a wonderfully generous behest from the Winston Lewis Charitable Remainder Trust.  Winston, who passed away in 2019, was a strong supporter or our Society and particularly happy with our commitment to providing small scholarship grants to Montgomery seniors.  Her gift will help us continue this program.  


     After having to cancel last year's meeting and dinner we're looking forward to getting together this year.  Keep your fingers crossed.  This and other events will be posted at the Events link on our homepage.


New railing completed and new grab bars installed.


The building at far left is L.D. Harts Barbershop and Pool Hall.  Also on that side of street are the Congregational Church, then Wrights Store, then Gardyne's store.  (Now Snowshoe, Town Hall, Lutz's, and Jay Cloud Cyclery)  Note telephone poles and web of utility wires.