Pittsford Historical Society, Inc.
Box 423, Pittsford, VT 05763
Newsletter - Winter 2015-16
The Museum is now closed for the winter, although volunteers
occasionally gather for activities. The Museum can be opened by arrangement;
anyone who wishes to visit should contact Curator Anne Pelkey (483-6178).
The Museum will reopen in April.
Annual Members’ Meeting
The members met on October 19th in the Congregational Church. The
business of the day was the election of officers. Bill Powers and Ernie
Clerihew, having agreed to continue on as President and Vice-President,
respectively, were re-elected. Joe Gagnon and Monica Freson were elected to
replace the out-going Trustees Mark Mooney and Bob Welch, whose terms had
expired and whom we thank for their service.
Bill Powers gave the presentation for the meeting: “'Aunt Jennie'
(Dutton) Rickert (1856-1934), a child of the Forestdale region who spent
time in New Hampshire while her son and husband worked in a mill before
returning the to Brandon area to work in the boarding house attached to the
Newton Thompson sawmill on Lake Dunmore. In 1920, she opened a tea-house in
an area near the approach to the Falls of Lana, that ran until 1934. Her
son, Paul opened an "Aunt Jennie's" restaurant in Brandon, but it burned
down in 1929. She counts as one of the many now-forgotten people who in
their time were a significant part of the local landscape, and Bill has
devoted much effort to bringing her back to us.
A Message from the President
I was honored to be reelected president of the Pittsford Historical
Society. This past year the society’s volunteers made an extraordinary
effort to obtain, preserve, catalogue, and make available the famous
Crockett greeting cards to the public at large. This was truly a momentous
effort by many helping hands. Income from the sale of the cards will offset
some of the society’s operating expenses.
I encourage your continued support to the society, and solicit your help and
aid in the planned digitization efforts of the society’s photograph
collections. Our goal is to make our collection available to you and the
public. History does not belong in a dusty archive. We aim to bring it to
William (Bill) J. Powers, Jr.
A Message from the Curator
Eaton Hall continues to be a place where visitors come in to look at
our exhibits, donate items with Pittsford significance, and more often than
not, research their family genealogy. I wish to acknowledge the following
donors who contributed to our museum collections and family files:
Rosemary Clark from Rutland donated two WW11
scrapbooks that belonged to her sister Pauline Woodbury (1924-2010) Pauline,
a longtime resident of Pittsford lived on Arch St. and was the daughter of
Perley and Anna Greeno.
John Ojala, treasurer at Proctor Pittsford Country Club,
brought in a painting by Albert C. Williams that hung over the fireplace for
many years at the clubhouse on Corn Hill. It’s a large oil painting of The
Fredetteville Bridge, more commonly known as the Cooley Bridge, built in
1849 by Nicholas Powers. Tom Brown, owner of Tom’s Treasures offered to hang
it up in the museum’s workroom where it’s enjoyed by everyone who comes in.
Kathie (Rantanen) Wyman gave six pieces of tinware made by
Michael Connolly. The Connolly Brothers, James and Michael, were listed in
the 1881-1882 Town of Pittsford Business Directory as dealers in hardware.
Kathie’s mother, Mae Rantanen, was John Mullin’s granddaughter. John was
known as the Tin Peddler and sold the tinware made by Michael Connolly. Pete
Whittemore eventually bought the building in the 1940’s and he and his wife
Viola opened Whittemore’s Cash Market.
Peg Armitage donated a snow shovel (Owosso Manufacturing) &
outdoor thermometer (Roger S. Pike General Insurance) that belonged to her
grandparents, Robert E.L. & Minnie Hutchinson. In 1909 they moved into the
house on Blackberry Lane where Peg lives now, and according to Pittsford’s
Second Century, it was the first Pittsford house wired for electricity
during construction. Peg also gave a stunning black beaded jacket that
belonged to Mrs. G. F. Hendee.
Joan (Wheeler) Rost gave a postcard album ca. mid 1800’s to
early 1900’s that belonged to her mother Doris Wheeler. The album features
vintage postcards of the Village Green, Maclure Library, Lothrop School &
Robin & Wayne Rowe donated several items belonging to
Wayne’s father, Richard, while he was active in the Lion’s Club. Dick was a
charter & lifetime member and held many positions. Among the collection was
Dick’s vest with over 150 pins on it, a testament to his devotion and
commitment to the organization.
Report on Genealogical Research
Inquiries directed to the Pittsford Historical Society website end up
with Peg Armitage, who has been performing the research in response to
queries. Asked to describe some of her activities, Peg provided the
Webster, MA - Looking for Fannie Ladd, born Pittsford 1825 married
Vernon Fitts b. 1825 died 1846
Tampa, FL - Researching husband’s family: Anna Wood m. Isaac Morgan
Jan. 4, 1804
Michigan - Barnum family before 1836; will visit us in October. (Barnums
were in Pittsford, NY, not VT.)
Pittsford, VT - Castleton College student re: “Betsey Cox, 1st
Generation Vermonter,” paper due next week
Saskatchewan, Canada re: teenage girl guilty of larceny (food);
James Tennien, JP, delivered her to Vergennes. Why Vergennes?
Conn. - I will visit your area w/ dau. & granddau. this summer. My
grandfather was Pittsford station-master in 1930s-40s, lived at top of
MI - I was a 2-yr. patient in the Preventorium, a traumatic
experience. My father told me I wasn’t sick. So why was I there?
Stuart, FL - Researching Davis families buried in E. Pittsford and
Evergreen Cemeteries. Eight died in 1863; a disease? or other
Pittsford - Bought a house on US Route 7. Do you have any
information about my new home?
Email to me - I grew up in Pittsford. We moved into the brick house
at the top of the hill south of Village when I was ten; really miss
Pittsford. Is Pittsford’s Second Century available? I just bought your
[photo] book on Amazon. [Around Pittsford, Arcadia Publishing, 2009].
Rutland Historical Society Links
This is perhaps the place to note an omission from earlier reports.
Bill Doyle’s ‘Vermont History and Government’ class at Johnson State College
has produced a short DVD, “Life in Rutland County”, available through the
Rutland Historical Society. The DVD features an interview with Peg Armitage.
Also, in October, Cliff Giffin of the RHS welcomed Anne Pelkey and others
for a short demonstration on how to scan glass negatives. The PHS has a
substantial number of these in the Mary Randall collection; some years ago,
we got a small grant to get a number of the negatives printed (they can be
found in a pair of binders in the exhibits room). But technology moves on,
and it now seems a good idea to scan the images, which will make them more
easily available. Our thanks for Mr. Giffin and the RHS.
A Lothrop Outreach Effort
The Fall Newsletter should have noted a PHS initiative, inspired by
Melanie Clerihew, who has dedicated much thought and effort to making the
students in Pittsford aware of the local heritage and history. The Society
gave each sixth-grader a copy of Pittsford’s Second Century (17 in all, we
hear). This seemed a more appropriately-targeted action than earlier
thoughts of giving the volumes to graduating seniors at Otter Valley.
As can be understood from Anne Pelkey’s note above, the Museum’s
collection derives almost entirely from items of local historical interest
donated by benefactors. The items on display in the exhibition room at Eaton
Hall are only a small selection of the Society’s holdings. One of the
challenges facing the curator is the preparation of new exhibits, drawing on
this hoard and illustrating different aspects of Pittsford’s history. The
Museum catalog is an essential tool in this task, and over the years it has
developed. The original card catalog (3,000+/- index cards) has now given
way to a computer program. In this program, the accession number is the
basic reference, leading to a screen that identifies the donor and the
provenance and describes the object. The number itself also provides
information: the example given in the heading, 2007.019, identifies the
object as having been the 19th accession in 2007.
This particular number refers, in fact, not to one object, but to a
collection donated by Simone Carvey: a wonderful series of the
Lothrop/Pittsford Elementary School annual photo albums, spanning a period
from the late 1960s to the late 1990s. It is not a continuous series (we are
missing the volumes for 1968-69, 1979-80, and 1983-84), and to our
disappointment we do not have names for all the faces in the photos. But our
computer program does allow us to record the names we know, and then indexes
This accession also highlights the challenges and solutions involved in the
collection. We might try to display the albums: we could coat the walls with
the pages taken from the albums, and provide visitors with high-powered
binoculars to examine the pictures at the top (binoculars are not standard
equipment in museums, even large ones such as the Louvre with long
Such a collection therefore impels us into new media. The photos have now
been scanned, and so supplement an earlier scanning effort that covered
class photos for the Pittsford High School from 1905 to 1961 (with some
In such an operation, the scanning is only the start. Equally important is
the identification of the persons in the photos, and the entry of that
information into the computer data-base. Kathy Swahn helped identify a
number of the classmates of one of her siblings; we would be grateful for
other assistance. There is a certain appeal in observing the changes in the
faces of the students over their six years at Lothrop (the teachers, of
course, remain invariable, as though embedded in amber).
The Society notes with regrets the passing of a number of members:
Judith Topp Krummel
Our condolences to the families of these members.
And the Society takes pleasure in welcoming the following new members:
Fred Pond of Barre, Vt
Bill Davenport of Kilbourne, OH
Sylvia Kallen, Pittsford
Kathie Wyman, of Ipswich
Lynn Washburn of Rutland
Robert and Karen Webster, of Chittenden (and a link with the Chittenden
Helen McKinley of Pittsford
Judith Bischoff of Galloway, OH (Life Member)
Membership in the Society extends over a calendar year. Your dues support
the annual operating expenses of Eaton Hall. Please send your check, payable
to Pittsford Historical Society to: (Welcome to the new Membership Chairman)
Stephen P. Belcher IV. Send dues to
Stephen P. Belcher IV
PO Box 423
Pittsford, VT 05763
We thank you for your continued support.
Town, State and Zip
Please check amount enclosed:
Single $15_____ Family $20 _____ Contributing $25_____
Sponsor $50_____ Life Member $200 (per person) _____
A 501(c)(3) organization