The Peacham Historical Association will hold its annual meeting on Wednesday, August 14 starting at 7 p.m. at the Peacham Congregational Church. Following the Association’s business meeting, the evening program will begin at 7:30 and is entitled: “Thaddeus Stevens: History versus Hollywood.” The featured speaker, Beverly Wilson Palmer, well-known editor of the Thaddeus Stevens Papers, will share her extensive knowledge of Peacham Academy’s famous alumnus.
Thanks to Tommy Lee Jones’s brilliant portrayal in the popular movie Lincoln, many Vermonters have only recently become aware of the prominence of their native son, Thaddeus Stevens. Born in Danville in 1792, he moved to Peacham around 1807 where he attended Peacham Academy and where he started his law studies. Although Stevens left Peacham when he was 23, his passion for equal justice was formed during his early years in Danville and Peacham. These qualities appear in Lincoln along with Stevens’ oratorical skills and his irascible personality. However, Hollywood has taken liberties with some aspects of this statesman’s’ life and his role in the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery. Her talk will focus on these discrepancies.
The program is open to the public and admission is FREE! The evening will end with dessert and conversation downstairs in the church.
By Dwayne Langmaid
Arnold and Shirley Langmaid at the award ceremony for oldest man in Danville.
First of my remembering much of Arnie, and of course Shirl, they were living in half of the little house across from the old North Danville store. Rather tight quarters by today’s standards, but certainly a step-up from the tin-can tiny trailer that had been home. Before that, I’m told Arnie went to the St. Johnsbury Trade School, worked at C. H. Goss, married Shirl in ’42, and then did three years with the Army in Europe until the end of the Big One.
After getting out, Arnie and Shirl bought the tin-can and lived in Springfield where Arnie was a machinist in one of the big shops. A couple years later, we–Hom, Boo, Joe and Snug–started coming along. This prompted the move to Arthur Sanborn’s little house. Arnie mechaniced out back in the garage that still stands there and helped his dad, Burl, in the woods. Wrenching and logging didn’t seem to be making ends meet, so he went to work for Fairbanks Scales, rapidly going through the foundry–drilling to planning to milling and lathe work.
In 1950, Arnie and Shirl bought the farm where Snug and Smitty (Don and Dianne) are now. The place was pretty rough. They, with the help of our grandparents, aunts and uncles, hoed and dug, ripped and tore until in the summer of ’51, we moved in. The old house was plenty big enough, but we didn’t dally running down to the cook stove on nippy mornings. Continue reading
It takes a community to identify a house! This photo of a house, photographed by Harold Hatch, ca late 1800s early 1900s, was identified and discussed via Facebook. We have many of these unidentified house photographs at the Choate-Sias. We will run them by Facebook for further help. “Like” our page on Facebook and join in the fun.
House identified on the junction of Rt. 2 and Cormier Road, now owned by the Rose family.
by Mark Moore, Historian and Archivist, Danville Historical Society
1863. The third year of the war. The music exalting medal-bedecked glory and the bloodless romance of a quick 90-day war had faded long ago. In its place was endless, mindless slogging–the cleaning of weapons, large and small, marching with no discernible purpose—the killing and dying with an equally pointless objective.
General George G. Meade, aka the “Old Snapping Turtle.”
This proved to be the rule in the war in the west. The bloodletting at Fredericksburg and Antietam, to name two, proved early on that there would be no quick, dramatic, glittering northern victories. Chancellorsville had shown the superiority of some southern commanding generals so Lincoln would have to engage on a continuous revolving door of command for the Army of the Potomac replacing the useless Major General Joe Hooker with fish-eyed Pennsylvanian George Meade, known to his troops as Old Snapping Turtle. Confederate General Robert E. Lee, on other hand, lost his second-in-command, his boldest tactician and architect of the victory at Chancellorsville, “Stonewall” Jackson, to the gunfire of his own troops in the evening twilight. Continue reading
By Gary Farrow, Danville Historical Society
A cartoon printed in England in 1864, showing Lincoln as the Federal Phoenix rising from the flames of American Democracy.
Tensions between national security and civil liberties are not an unfamiliar topic to modern day readers. So what led to a former US Congressman from Ohio and potential candidate for governor to be rousted out of his house at 2:30 AM on May 5, 1863 and arrested by the federal troops?
Although Clement Vallandigham had lost his reelection bid for the House the prior year, he was still a leading light for the “Copperheads,” the anti-war wing of the Democratic Party. He had run afoul of Gen. Ambrose Burnside’s mid-April “General Order Number 38,” which stated that the “habit of declaring sympathies for the enemy would not be tolerated in the Military District of Ohio.” Offenders would be subject to execution.
Richard Boisseau, a former teacher at Danville High School, found a roll of film from one of his classes from the 1970s. He returned it to the Danville Historical Society in case it might have some value as an artifact. What a wonderful trip that must have been! There was no sound available at that time on an 8mm movie camera. You can find the film here. Thanks, Richard, for sharing a part of history.
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