January 2024
1st Quarter
Number 77
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 version

Nutcrackers at Pratt Hall
Scott Perry,Chair/Editor
 John Kuryloski,Vice Chair
  Marijke Dollois,Secretary
   Pat Farmer,Treasurer

  The MHS Board meets the third Thursday of the month at 5:00 p.m.  Pratt Hall in the Summer, Public Safety Building Conference Room or Zoom online in the Winter

History Quiz:

1.  How many "Notable People" are listed on the Wikipedia Montgomery, Vermont page?

  a.  1     b.  2     

  c.  3     d.  4

2.  Homer Wheeler was one.  What was Homer Wheeler noteworthy for?

Chairman's Message

     One of the things I really enjoy is receiving calls from people interested in donating items to our archives.  Sometimes they are at wits end.  Three recent donations are highlighted in this newsletter.  

     One gem among them was a group of diaries written by William Ariel from 1950 to 1957 while he was our Town Clerk.    He records the weather, road conditions, wedding licenses, vehicle purchases, and an occasional character gaming the rules.  In one case he suspected a citizen might be claiming more bounties than he was entitled to.  

     This month begins the 51st year our Society has been working to preserve our shared heritage, everything from buildings to toys to bridges to tubs to plywood packing cases.  These things give us insight into what life was like back then, and informs us about what it might be.  It's hard to avoid the problems of the past without knowing something about the past.  Things that worked in the past might work in the future too.

     All of this work is made possible by our volunteers and your generous support and involvement in our programs.  We're looking forward to the future.  Thank you and Happy New Year!
 P.S.  Applications for our annual scholarships are due May 1st.  High school seniors from Montgomery are eligible.  Please email us if you have any questions.

     Pratt Hall hosted the Friends of the Library's "Young Writers Contest and Pizza Party" in late October.  The theme was "Everything was going so well today until..."  Each young writer read their creations to the audience and judges.  The 6-8th grade winner's was a chilling Halloween Cabbage Night adventure with a surprise ending.   Congratulations to all


       Our numbers have partially rebounded, and new members are up.  You can renew / join online anytime.   THANK YOU!

     If you have questions or concerns please drop us a line.  As always, thank you for your support,


      The Society sponsored a festive weekend in December consisting of "Holiday Happiness" and "Candles and Carols"
      "Holiday Happiness" included a puppet show and puppet making, horse drawn wagon rides, and Santa arriving on the Montgomery Fire Department's pumper truck.  Candy canes, cookies, and cocoa abounded.   Our thanks to Sue Wilson and all involved.

Percherons Apollo and Minor wait as riders load up.

     Our singing during "Candles and Carols" was led masterfully by Steve Hays once again.  The "Twelve Days of Christmas" was a tour de force!  Click the photo below.

     Marlene Hambleton read "The Night Before Christmas" (below).  The jury is still out on the jokes.  Again our thanks to all involved, including Master Elf, Noela McGroarty for the wonderful decorations.


     We attended a regional societies meeting in Fairfield in October.  Beside the exchange of items and networking we were treated to a presentation on "Breeding Radicals in Early Vermont".  The next meeting will be hosted by the Georgia Historical Society in October.


     The clock is acting up again.  We are working on it!

     Board member Dale Matthews set up a holder for our Covered Bridge Pamphlets and a donation box at the Comstock Bridge.  It's been popular!

     A crew from VT Public Media (VT PBS and VPR) did drone filming this fall and included Pratt Hall and some of our neighboring communities.  Click here to view.


     January 1866:  Montgomery votes to join Bakersfield Poor Farm.

     February 1979:  Montgomery Historical Society granted federal tax exempt status.

     March 1909:  Independent Phone Company organized serving Montgomery, Richford and East Berkshire.


      1.  d. 4.  Homer W. Wheeler, Dana Reed Bailey, Percival L. Shangraw, Elle Purrier St. Pierre
      2.   Homer Wheeler was born in Montgomery and moved out west where he was commissioned an officer in the Army.  He was known as an Indian fighter and wrote two books on living on the Western frontier.  We have a copy of  "Buffalo Days" signed and inscribed to his sister who lived in Montgomery, in our archives.  He died while living in California.


      We've received three wonderful donations since the last newsletter.  

     Randy Colomb, a descendant of William and Roseanne Ariel, donated diaries, photos and ephemera.  William, his grandfather, was Montgomery's Town Clerk from 1948 to 1956, and Roseanne took over after his death, becoming Montgomery's first woman Town Clerk serving for two years.  They lived on Main Street in the Center.

William and Roseanne Ariel
     The Colomb donation also included two hand colored photo enlargements made by Clayton Fuller.  Pictured below is a black and white Fuller photo postcard from our archives of Montgomery looking east toward Hazen's Notch
, and the colored version of the same photograph donated by Mr. Colomb.

     Louise Celentano donated this rare collage of Montgomery Covered Bridges painted by Bobby Anderson.

     Carolyn Babcock donated a painting by her husband, the Reverend Harold Babcock, titled "Nunc Dimittis".  The painting shows the pastor and altar boys posing for a photograph after evening prayers.

     “Nunc Dimittis” is sometimes called the "Song of Simeon", a prayer often recited as part of evening prayers, and refers to Simeon’s recognition of the baby Jesus as the Savior, and son of god.  This story of Simeon is depicted in one of the Hall’s stained glass windows (below) and was familiar to Harold and his ancestors, one of whom served here. 


Our thanks to Randy, Louise, and Carolyn for these treasures!

2023 MHS Business Partners… 

     Thanks to the following businesses for their membership and support. Let them know you appreciate their civic mindedness. 

Black Lantern 

Breezy Acres Farm

Community National Bank Trust Services 

Community Bank NA 

Crafty Lil' Gift Shop

David Howe Memorial Library (UVM) 

The Inn 

Kristin’s Flowers 

Johnson Woolen Mills 

Lucky Dog Maple 

Lutz's Automotive 

Manosh Properties LLC 

Preservation Painting

Sunset Motor Inn

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