April 2022

2nd Quarter

Number 70
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

Made in Hawaii Mask
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 6:00 p.m.  at Pratt Hall in the Summer, Public Safety Building Conference Room in the Winter, and on Zoom during pandemics!

History Quiz:

1.  According to the most recent VTrans map (2017), how many miles of roads are there in Montgomery?
    a.  26        b.  38       
    c.  49        d.  56

2.  Of those, how many miles are the Town responsible for plowing in winter?
    a.  19        b.  35       
    c.  42        d.  47


     In 1990 my wife and I were both stationed in Hawaii
.  We knew the chairwoman of Oahu's inaugural New Year's First Night celebration who bemoaned only having enough funding to bring in two artists from outside the state for the celebration.  She knew we had Vermont connections and quite eagerly let us know one of those out of state artists was from Vermont, a woman who did masks.  Appointments were limited so we quickly signed up.

     Come New Years eve we celebrated in Honolulu and showed up to meet Maggie Sherman and make a mask.  Previous appointments had ravaged her mask decorating supplies and our group's session started over an hour late, but we persevered.  It was fun and even more meaningful since we were anticipating an imminent separation; a deployment for Desert Storm.

     We had never heard of Montgomery, nor Maggie or her Montgomery Masks project. We ended up here by accident four years later after taking an adventurous left turn onto Route 58 while on vacation,  "Hey, this is where the mask lady was from".   We think it must have been fate but perhaps she cast a spell on us and those made-in-Hawaii masks.

     Maggie passed away in late February.  She was a longtime supporter of the Historical Society and we will miss her and cherish our memories.  The Society has a small collection from her Montgomery Masks project, a reminder of the special sauce ingredients that made, and make, Montgomery, Montgomery.
                                                                Take care everyone,   Scott


     As we emerge from two years of Covid and approach our 50th anniversary we thought it might be an opportune time to ask you "how are we doing?"  Do you have any thoughts on programs or activities, or how we do things?   Do you have any ideas for programs or events you would like to see?  Please drop us an card or email.


     Our long time director and Vice Chairman, Bill McGroarty, resigned from the office recently but agreed to remain on the Board.  He has been a trusted friend, adviser, and Man-with-tools for over 20 years.  Thank you Bill.
    Relative newbie, John Kuryloski, agreed to take on the role and was formally appointed in February.  With a background that includes teaching shop he has hit the ground running a la Men-with-tools as well.
    Marijke Dollois will retain Secretary and Membership duties, assisted by Mary Garceau.
     Pat Calecas was appointed as Assistant Treasurer and will help out Pat Farmer in an area that has expanded and become a lot more complex in recent years.
     The Board is also looking at these functional areas with possibilities of some new or revitalized work:

Programs & Events
  A.   Speakers
  B.   Concerts/Non-speaker
  C.   Farmers Market
  D.   Annual Meeting
  E.  Scholarships
  F.   50th Anniversary Committee
  G.  Outreach
  H.  Website
   I.   Newsletter
  J.   Exhibits
  A.  Archives / History
  B.  Buildings
  C.  Grounds

     There are lot's of opportunities for volunteers from accessioning artifacts to painting the Heaton House annex.  Please contact any member of the board or email us if you have a particular skill, or interest.  Thank you.


     John Beaty, Pat Calecas, Tim Chapin, Bob Cummins,
Marijke Dollois, Pat Farmer, Mary Garceau,
John Kuryloski, Roger Lichti, Bill McGroarty, Patty Perl,
Scott Perry, Elsie Saborowski, Sue Wilson.


    Applications for our annual Dr. Winston Lewis Memorial Scholarship and the Joe and Irene Scott Memorial Scholarship are due May 1st.  All graduating Montgomery seniors going on to future education or training are eligible.   This includes technical training, e.g. CDL, as well as college.  Applications and related information was mailed to seniors in March and are also available from our web site at the link above.


     We received an inquiry about women serving on the Montgomery Selectboard recently.  A reporter from a local paper was researching why there were so few women serving  in Franklin County and Vermont in general.  We  directed her to our website where we have a list of every member of the Selectboard since 1802.  It shows Montgomery has bucked the trend in recent times.

     The first woman to serve on the Montgomery Selectboard was Beatrice Chaffee, who completed the term of her husband, William, who died in 1971.  She served through 1973, then again from 1976 through 1978.

     It would be almost 30 years before the next woman, Tosca Smith, would serve.  Tosca was elected when the Town voted to expand the Board from three to five positions.  She served from 2002 through 2006.

     Tosca was followed by Wendy Howard who served from 2007 through 2015, making her the longest serving woman to date at 9 years. 

     Carol McGregor (2009-2015) and Sue Regan (2010-2015) joined Wendy on the board making the women the Board majority for six years from 2010 through 2015.  Sarah Silva served one year ending in 2016.

     The current Board has had a majority of women beginning in 2021;  Leanne Barnard, Suzanne Dollois, and Emily Kimball. 

     BTW:  The first woman to serve as Town clerk was Roseanna Ariel who took office in 1957 following the death of her husband, Wilfred, who held that office but died the same year.   Montgomery Town Clerks have been women ever since.  Theresa Lamore was the longest serving woman, 1960 through 1987.

     Women have been active in many other town Boards and Committees, including the School Board, Library Board, Rec Board, Planning Commission, Board of Listers, and Budget Committee.


  For this year's report we provided a two page article, "A Short History of the Montgomery Town Hall".  It is based on the research we did to get a historic preservation eligibility designation for the building formerly known as the Grange, Crescent Theater, and Congregationalist Church.  As always we thanked the community and welcomed future support.


   April:  1865  Moris Braman dies.  Last Montgomerian to die in/during the Civil War.  He was a POW beginning 7/21/64, and was paroled 2/22/65.  He is buried in the Center Cemetery.

   May:  1951:  Montgomery school children put on music festival at Crescent Theater...  well attended.  Funds used to buy school a projector.   

  June:  1948:  B-47 Bomber en route Maine from Georgia crashes in West Hill - East Enosburg area.



    John Beaty put together our annual membership letter which we hope will inspire you to join or renew.  You should receive it soon if you haven't already.  You can renew, or join for the first time, online anytime, or mail us your membership with the provided return envelope. 

Revenue from membership dues is the life blood of our Society.  It pays for heat, water, power, insurance, grounds keeping, and our programs like preservation, speakers, concerts, and holiday events.  

      Your membership is also an important consideration for grant administrators when deciding whether to award us a grant.  It is seen as a metric of the health of our organization, community support, and our ability to effectively use their funds.  We have a strong track record.



     Memorial Day Commemoration:  
This year's commemoration will be at the old Montgomery Center Cemetery (close to the road) on May 29th or 30th. It  will include military honors by American Legion post 42, roll call, and brief remarks and laying a wreath.  We will update you via email, facebook and our website when we know the of the exact date and time.

     Annual Meeting:   We are planning on returning to a catered heavy hors d'oeuvres, BYOB event at Pratt Hall in June.  We will update you via mail, email, facebook, and our website once we have more details.  

      Farmers Market:  We need vendors!  If we can get enough, year five of our Farmer's Market will begin July 9th and run through September 10th, every Saturday from 9:00 to noon.  If you are interested in vending please contact Sue Wilson, 326-4189 or email her at sue_wilson@fairpoint.net.


     MHS past President, Archivist, and Director, Parma Jewett, was this year's Town Report honoree (aka "Cover Girl").  Congratulations Parma.

     In other Parma related news...  She, Lynda CLuba, and Sue Wilson have been working to restart the Senior Meal program.  In person lunches will start in May at the Public Safety Building.  The Society has agreed to provide short, community history themed programs when requested and we expect to learn from these elders as well.  We will update you in future newsletters.


  Sun and rain work in their own unique ways
  Melting snowbanks, unlocking ponds and streams
  From Winter’s ice.  The stark, monochrome scenes
  Of frozen cold evaporate as days
  Begin to warm.  Early Spring’s browns and greys
  Are punctuated by plants shooting greens,
  Lady slipper pinks, and willow bud’s creams.
  Birds return, creatures stir with the sun’s rays.
  The mountains’ spines of marble and granite
  Seen through tree’s boughs with leaves still unfurled
  Hold in high crevice and ledge the last snow.
  In valleys, on hilltops winter has quit
  And nature has, once again, knit and purled
  Midst gneiss and lake places for hope to grow.

From "A Vermont Year In Sonnets" by John Chapados, used by permission.


     Our thanks to Harvey and Lisa Chaffee for a donation of a book of photos and newspaper clippings on the construction of the Montgomery Elementary School in 1991-2.


     1. d.  The most recent State road map credits Montgomery with 56 miles of roads.

    2.  c.  The Town is responsible for plowing about 42 miles of roads.  The town doesn't plow Class 4 roads or the portion of Class 2 roads that are plowed by the State.

     According to Channel 3 News, Burlington plows 72 miles of sidewalks, using two motorized sidewalk plows.


  Two thumbs up on this documentary on the restoration of London's Big Ben.  Click the photo to view it on YouTube.  Our Pratt Hall work is similar in some respects and, thankfully, a lot less expensive.  

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