Category Archives: Genealogy

For posts about genealogical pursuits.

Cheapside Uplands and the Hoit Place

I took a recent walk around the Cheapside uplands with old buddy Billy Wardwell, a Bingville native I trusted would know all the little nooks and crannies. You’d have to know affable “Wardy.” He grew up there. Highland Park was his playground. We’ve known each other since high school, both from the Class of 1971: […]

The Brooks Brook Conundrum

A new player recently entered my orbit, temporarily reorienting my focus about 10 miles north. Her name is Andrea Liebenow Varney, daughter of my late neighbor and friend, Sylvia Smead Gallagher. Three years younger than me, Varney grew up and graduated from high school in Greenfield, and has lived for decades in Proctor, Vermont. She […]

Colonial Roots Are Shallow Indeed

What does it mean to be connected to a place, to have a sense of a place… and how does it change over time? I pondered that question during a recent daybreak walk along the shoulder of a lonely, gray, Upper Meadows road in Greenfield. Since then the thought has reappeared, darting through my consciousness […]

Gass Family Built a Local Legacy

Unexpected diversions and distractions can sometimes strike historical gold… like the one I stumbled across last week. Most often these unexpected discoveries come to light as what I refer to as “peripherals” – that is, random findings unveiled entirely by dumb luck while reading, researching, or engaged in informal conversation. Nowhere do such bits of […]

1951 Plane Crash Shakes South Deerfield

It occurred two years before I was born: a Saturday-morning plane crash that exploded on impact in bucolic Mason, New Hampshire, instantly killing four prominent South Deerfield townsmen and shaking the village to its core. The date was July 28, 1951, the time about 9:30 a.m., visibility poor in foggy rain. The crash made the […]

Deerfield’s First Mill Site Lives On

I recently visited an old South Deerfield mill site I discovered some 60 years ago as a young lad trout-fishing on the Mill River. The field trip with historian friend Peter Thomas ignited a research adventure, beginning at the dam and steep ravine below and ending at the expansive old farm today owned by the […]

Bloody Brook’s Old Wright Place is Long Gone

I was on the road around 7:30 a.m. for an hour’s drive up Interstate 91 to Claremont, New Hampshire, a Connecticut River mill town south of Cornish and Windsor, Vermont – Mount Ascutney looming large on the northwestern horizon. There I would for the first time meet Avis Dodge Rogers, a dignified 92-year-old bundle of […]

Family Matter in Montagnais-Naskapi Land

My overstuffed December woodshed has been hollowed out by now, leaving a tall, thin reminder along the back edges that the happy sound of spring birdsong is near. “Don’t let the frigid mornings fool you,” I have many times told myself in recent days, looking up at what’s left. “It’ll soon be over.” That’s obvious, […]

Who Was U.S. Deputy Marshal Leonard Arms?

South Deerfield left its mark on the Wild West, including the death of Deputy U.S. Marshal Leonard Arms, gunned down in the line of duty on April 20, 1860 in Topeka, Kansas Territory. The shooting occurred less than a year before the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, […]

Trust Temple On Swamp-Fite Site

In recent years an intense spotlight has focused its beam on the Falls Fight of May 19, 1676 – the bloodiest day in the history of our splendid slice of the Connecticut Valley. Much federal money has been and will continue to be spent trying to pin down exactly what happened before, during, and after […]

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