By Patty Conly, President of the Danville Historical Society
For a video of the event, produced by Kingdom Access, click here.
A full house at Fuller Hall, St. Johnsbury, VT, on May 4, 2013, for the screening on Lincoln and discussion on Thaddeus Stevens’ role in the film and Constitutional history.
Two students from the Thaddeus Stevens School introduced the evening’s program with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, host of the event.
Despite a spectacular spring day in the Northeast Kingdom and a vast array of events in competition, a large crowd was on hand at St. Johnsbury Academy’s Fuller Hall Saturday evening May 4, for a screening of the recent film Lincoln. This free public event was hosted by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, who began the evening by introducing three students from the Thaddeus Stevens School in Lyndonville. The students spoke eloquently, giving a brief summary of the life and times of Lincoln, Thaddeus Stevens and the period during the Civil War.
Senator Sanders told the audience how he became intrigued with the life and career of Thaddeus Stevens, particularly after his first viewing of the movie. It became apparent to him that Stevens was a much more monumental figure in the political issues of the period during the Civil War, of which he was previously unaware. He found it amazing that a constituent who was born, raised and educated in two very small towns in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, as well as being from a poor family, could rise to become one of the most influential and instrumental congressional representatives for the abolitionist movement. Stevens was passionate about his cause and deeply dedicated to ensuring the passage of the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution to abolish slavery. Continue reading
The Efforts of Union Generals in the Eastern Theatre Comes to Naught and the North Star Takes a Shot at Its Hometown Boy
By Gary Farrow, Danville Historical Society
May 9, 1863 North Star–Radicalism
Nothing is more common now, when everything depends on a united North, than for the Radicals to fulminate their extreme abolition notions – ignoring both the Constitution and the Union. Their leaders in Congress have boldly proclaimed this sentiment. “Who,” shouted the Abolitionist Bingham, Ohio member of Congress, at the last session, “in the name of God wants the Cotton States, or any other State this side of perdition, to remain in the Union, if slavery is to continue.” Thaddeus Stevens has uttered, if possible, still more extreme sentiments. It tells the whole story. They do not want and do not mean to have the Old Union. It is a direct assault upon the loyalty of the Border States, which have furnished thousands of troops for the Federal army – of States which have ever claimed the right to regulate their own internal negro policy. But the Radicals make no distinction between those slave states which remain true to the Old Flag, and those which have fought against it so long. Were the seceded states to lay down their arms to-day, and propose a full return to loyalty and the Union, these men would say “No” to their submission. And what is more, this class of radicals has always wanted, in some way or somehow, to drive off the slave states.
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Masonic Hall Renovation Goes Forward on Danville Green
By Sharon Lakey
The Masonic Hall graces the Green in Danville.
It takes a commitment to keep a town’s history alive, and Danville’s Masons of Washburn Lodge #92 appear to be in it for the long haul. The big, brick building on the Green has been their home since 1894, but it has been a graceful presence there since 1831.
At first glance, the building looks like a church, so it makes sense when one learns that the Calvinist Baptists, who formed in 1792, built it for their congregation at a cost of $3,100. One of the founding members in the Calvinist Baptist Church in Danville was Charles Sias, the first captain of the first military company in town. In our Society’s historical records, a note reads that in the church a “revival took place from 1833 to 1836” but also relates “the church disappears from the minutes of the Danville Association in 1852.” The building stood empty until the Washburn Lodge purchased it as their new home in 1894.
The Masons, of course, have their own interesting history that dovetails with the building. Just before the Baptists built their church on the Green, Danville became the hotbed of the Anti-Masonic movement, and the old North Star led the charge. Danville’s William Palmer, the first and only governor in the nation to run on the Anti-Masonic ticket, was elected Governor of Vermont in 1831, the same year the church was built. Continue reading
Jan Houston, who along with Barbara Matsinger founded the Monday Painters, was the honored artist at the event.
A great event! Our April 21 afternoon artists’ reception was a lot of fun. Now that it is warming up, when you are out and about, come see the show; it will be in place through May. To see a photo album of the event click here.
Stamps–Telling great tales in the smallest of spaces
By Sharon Lakey
Don Gallagher, A Stamp for Stevens volunteer
Don Gallagher is a man on a mission; he thinks it is the right time to get Thaddeus Stevens on a first class forever stamp. But he needs a lot of help to further the cause. He came by the Choate-Sias one day last week and shared his enthusiasm for the project. “Now, since the movie Lincoln has been released, a lot more people are interested in Thaddeus and the role he played in the passage of the civil rights amendments,” said Don. Continue reading
Arlene Hubbard is Danville’s reigning oldest woman at 101 years old.
By Dale Lynaugh
Arlene was born in Kirby, VT on September 20, 1911 to Carl and Maude Ailes. She lived there until she was three years old and then she and her family moved to St. Johnsbury. Arlene lived in St. Johnsbury for five years, attending Grades 1 and 2 at the Portland Street School. In 1920, her family moved to North Danville. Arlene continued with her education in a three room school house in North Danville. She finished grade school, Grade 3 through Grade 8, at the same school, as well as her Freshman and Sophomore years of high school before going to Phillips Academy in Danville where she finished her Junior and Senior year and graduated in 1929. Continue reading
Andy Wasserman discusses her post concept at the Danville Historical Society
Andy Wasserman, the lead artist on the Danville Green project, was impressed by the movie Lincoln and the part Thaddeus Stevens played in the passage of the 13th Amendment that made slavery constitutionally illegal in the United State. She decided to dedicate one of the granite posts of the Green project to him and met with Society representatives to discuss it.
“I didn’t want to use images that have been overused,” explained Andy, “such as broken chains and clasping hands.” Instead, after much thought, she gravitated to a symbolic tree and after discussion has settled on a single rootstock emerging from the stone, then branching out into two stems, one black and one white, with their upper limbs becoming integrated. All present were pleased with the idea.
Andy tells us that the artists will wait for VTrans to complete their part of the project before beginning the final artistic phase. She feels that will probably be in mid-July. Some of the artistic features are already completed and are waiting for installment.
By Paul Chouinard
The historical marker located on Danville Green in Danville Vermont.
Elected as a Whig to Congress in 1848, Stevens served the traditional two terms. While in Congress he delivered several major speeches against the Compromise of 1850, protesting the Fugitive Slave Law and the extension of slavery into the territories. During his first term Stevens gave an emotionally charged speech, “The Slave Question,” in which he challenged his colleagues: “You and I, and the sixteen millions are free, while we fasten iron chains, and rivet manacles on four millions of our fellow men; tear their wives and children from them; separate them; sell them and doom them to perpetual, eternal bondage. Are we not then despots – despots such as history will brand and God abhors?”
Upon the passage of the Fugitive Salve Law of 1850, Stevens defended runaway slaves. In the celebrated 1851 Christiana trial, Stevens served as one of two defense lawyers for thirty-eight blacks accused of murdering a slaveholder. All defendants were acquitted. Continue reading