Vol. XV THE NUMBER 1
Trustees and Officers -- Dan
Axtell, Linda Fawcett, Ruth Grandy, Barbara Greenough, Obe Lisai, Patricia
Haas, Robert Haas,
Karen Larson, Richard Michelman,
Racheal Scott and Karen Walter
P. O. BOX 2 WESTMINSTER,
4 H CLUB, MEMORIES BY BARBARA (SHATTUCK) GREENOUGH
first recollection of any 4 H meeting was when I was eleven or so. Ruth Beals
had us kids in the kitchen of the Institute and helped us cut small squares of
material and sew them together. We all made our first booklet to hold sewing
needles. We sewed them by hand and put on a snap. I still have and use mine.
Lelia Williams had us at her house many times to teach us manners and
cleanliness. We washed each other’s hair and did manicures. We learned about
make-up, creams and soap. We took turns preparing meals and learned to cook. We
had to properly set the table and come to the table with combed hair and clean
hands. In Emily Post fashion, we practiced walking with a book on our head.
Good manners were very important for children back then. Robin Bond remembers
doing all these things at the home of Signa Buck. Signa Buck helped girls make
candles and kaleidoscopes made with paper clips and tissue paper. Different
leaders had different kids in their home. 4 H meant so much to us; we all loved
it. Quite a lot of Westminster ladies invited us to their homes for cookies and
tea, even though this wasn’t a 4H activity. They just wanted to do it for us;
Westminster is full of wonderful, kind people.
Julia Thompson did the sewing classes at her house. Our mothers taught us most
of the household chores, which we did before we went out to play, but 4 H
leaders taught us even more. We bought our sewing material at the “Square Yard’
shop in Bellows Falls. This shop was owned by Etta Harlow. Our first project at
Mrs. Thompson’s house was a tablecloth. We pulled threads all around the edges
to make fringe on the yellow material. We used stencils and fabric paint to
make leaves and vines around the edge of it. Mrs. Thompson was an artist who painted
in oils on canvas; her paintings can be found here and there around town today.
Our next projects were a simple apron, a ‘broom stick’ skirt and a simple
sundress. We progressed to more complicated dresses and play suits with shorts
and tops. The broom stick skirts were popular for a while. They had several
rows of elastic around the waist. I loved mine until I wore it while riding my
bike up Grout Street in front of the fire station and the skirt got caught in
the chain. It wound around the chain and pulled the skirt down around my legs –
I went down on the road like a ton of bricks! There were several firemen at the
station, including my father who rushed to tear the skirt out of the chain,
getting covered with grease and laughing. I went home, embarrassed to death
with skinned knees. That was the end of the broomstick skirt for me.
Alice Cote taught us needle work: crocheting, knitting and embroidery. All the
leaders helped to drive us to 4 H events. The largest and most memorable event
was the State get-together in Randolph, VT, which was held every year. While we
were there, we took our handmade items and put them on display. Everything was
judged and pinned with the proper ribbon. We modeled the fashions we had made.
We exhibited flowers, fresh produce, canned foods, animals carved from soap and
doll houses. We also did an ‘entertainment’ during the all-day affair. I
remember one play in particular that was so funny. We made an old car out of
our own bodies. There was a boy and a girl that rode in the car and they had a
lot of trouble on the trip. I was a tire on the car and I had to go flat and be
pumped up before the car could continue. There was trouble with the hood and
engine also. These plays and displays also took place periodically at the
Barbara won all
these ribbons in one summer at the age of eleven.
the most exciting time was when Bruce Buchanon came up from Brattleboro with a
clipboard, unannounced to check on our bed rooms. Lord! He had a written
account of what kind of housekeeper we were. He came to our house, got down on
his hands and knees and looked under our bed. To make matters worse, the person
whose house he had just come from was allowed to come to your house and also
look under your bed! How utterly embarrassing! All the telephones of the 4 H
kids were busy with mothers trying to pass a warning that the ‘dreaded Bruce’
was on his way. Whistles were all blowing to get kids home before Mr. Buchanan
arrived. Of course, this all reflected on our mother’s housekeeping talents. My
mother was a great housekeeper and I couldn’t go outdoors to play on Saturday
until I dusted the living room and the ‘what-not’ stand.
Buchanon, Agricultural Farm Extension Agent, was our official 4 H leader, out
of Brattleboro. He also was in charge of the Grange Home Demonstrations groups.
Leaders in Westminster were Ruth (Beals) Wells, Lelia Williams, Julia Thompson,
Alice Cote and Signa Buck. The 4 ‘H’s are Head, Heart, Health and Hands.
who were in the Arbtus Club that I remember and that you may know are: Robin
(Wood) Boyd, Jane (Rice) Lawrence, Joan (Rice) Sumner, Elaine Lord, Sylvia
(Slaight) Lawrence, Heidi and Paulette Wettach, Anna Perizzello, Irene
Thompson, Nancy Demmond, Ruth Brandon, Loretta Webster, Bernice (Cobb) Cook,
Ann Gibbs, Sandy Cobb, Lucy (Hopewell) Greenwood, Barbara Prior, Rolyn (Wood)
Ring and Sheila (Metcalf) Banik.
Those were the days of ‘no fear freedom’. We went anywhere in town, whether on
foot or on our bikes, as long as we were home by 5:00 pm. We couldn’t do
anything wrong anyway because some other mother would find out and call our
mother to tell on us. Now-a-days, at the age of 76, living is my aim and
laughter is my game. Play on!
AND FALL RAFFLES
The Westminster Historical Society held it’s
drawing for first annual Spring Fundraiser Raffle at the meeting on May 14th.
The lucky winners are as follows: the
lap quilt went to Barbara Rogers, Sandy Furlong won the one month membership to
Greater Rock Fitness and Lori Larue won the gift basket full of wonderful
items. Overall $584.00 was raised! The Society would like to thank all who took
chances and those that donated prizes.
Enclosed in this newsletter you will find
tickets for the upcoming Fall Raffle.
The drawing will be for six prizes this time and items are listed on the
tickets. These have been donated again
by individuals and community business.
The Historical Society is a 501c3 non-profit organization run by volunteers. It
was organized in 1962 for the purpose of collecting and preserving information
& objects relating to Westminster History for present and future
historians, students and people of Westminster and beyond. We are always
looking for new members to help out with the Society. Meetings are held at the
Butterfield Institute @ 7:00 on the second Tuesday of the month. The more
members we have the better the Society will be; so
we would love to see new faces!
SUMMER EXHIBIT: GROWING UP IN WESTMINSTER
Sunday from July 7th through the end of August our museum in Westminster will
be open for viewing from 2 to 4 pm. The museum holds many informative and
unique items from the by-gone days in Westminster. Our collection
contains items from as far back as the Westminster Massacre and on into the
20th century. Remember we are making history today for our museum to
display in the future.
join us this summer to see our special exhibit “Growing Up in Westminster”,
created by Rachel Scott. Most Sundays we will invite friends to bring and share
their items from childhood.
Sunday, July 7th, Rachell Scott and Alice Caggiano will host a show
of children’s clothing. Rachel and Alice have some knowledge of vintage
clothing, sewing and preserving textiles. You will have an opportunity to look
at clothing form our collection that was worn by children of Westminster
families. You may be surprises by the expertise of hand sewing. If you have
children’s clothing from the past to show and tell us about, please bring it
along with your curiosity and any questions you may have.
open this first Sunday is The Bradley Law Office. Richard Michelman, retired
history teacher and antique collector extraordinaire, will be hosting the law
Sunday, July 14th Bob Haas and Don Anderson will bring old trains they have
used and loved and will show and talk about their trains of yester-year.
The trains will be set up for display and operation.
July 21st Richard and Barbara Taylor will be hosting the museum and Richard
will demonstrate the art of whittling. Whittling was a pastime for many
in the old days but some items were made out of necessity. Come and watch
a master at work and enjoy seeing many of the wooden items we have in our
July 28th Barbara Greenough, Phyllis Anderson and Jet Vellinga will feature
dolls they have from previous generations.
is especially anxious to show dolls that her mother played with right here in
into August, Sunday, August 4th, we will feature children’s books
and games. Books will be available to peruse and games will be set up for
playing. You may know that we have several famous children’s book authors in
our town. Join Karen Walter and Shannon Fuller for an afternoon of fun.
Sunday, August 11th we will celebrate School Days in Westminster. Our
collection contains several photo albums that were kept by Evelyn Metcalf’s
teachers while she was teaching at the Westminster Center School. Stop in
and meet classmates and teachers that may be visiting. Alice Cobb will be
and Joan Slaght will be host and hostess on Sunday, August 18th. Ted was
active with the 4H Club in Westminster and would be happy to reminisce with
past members. Ted will also bring along several of his creative
sculptures, which he makes from old found objects and tools.
Sunday, August 25th Linda Wilson and Linda Fawcett will share samplers.
Some are old and some are still being created today. Samplers provided a
way for girls to practice their handwork skills in preparation for all the
sewing that would be necessary for young women to know.
historical society has received accolades from the state for our recent new
book Westminster Vermont 1735-2000 Township Number One written by Jessie Haas.
Jessie’s book and other items may be purchased at the museum.
will have the museum and law office open for viewing on Sunday, September 1st
and Sunday, October 13th.
ANNIVERSARY OF THE MEETING HOUSE FIRE
the Westminster Meeting House had survived the lightning strike 125 years ago
on June 6, 1888, it would be the "earliest public building in Vermont in
nearly original condition" - a claim now found in the younger Rockingham
Meeting House’s nomination for the National Register.
the Westminster correspondent to the Vermont Phoenix wrote after the 1888 fire,
"The burning of this old relic is a great loss and it will be greatly
missed, not only by the present residents, but by those who occasionally return
to visit their native town. Thus one by one, in the twinkling of an eye or by
the lightning's flash, these old landmarks are passing away."
Westminster Meeting House looking west from Main Street from Richard
Michelman's collection. In this undated photo, some window panes are
mysteriously missing. This "old relic" burned down 125 years ago
on June 6, 1888 after a lightning strike. The current Town Hall is on the
same spot. Some pieces of the building were saved and are on display at the
built in 1770 in the middle of the 165-foot-wide right-of-way of the King's
Highway. Later it was moved to the exact spot of the today's town hall. Photos
of the meeting house tend to confuse anyone new to Westminster. It is not the
same building or location as the current church on Main Street (built 1835).
And, it is oriented parallel to the road, with the steeple on the northeast
side. The road alongside is indeed Main Street.
building has now been gone longer than it stood, but it remains a source of
pride to our town. That’s why it’s pictured on the cover of the new Town
History, where you’ll also find more information and images of our proud,
historic meeting house.
Volunteer: Your time and memories are always