Pittsford Historical Society Inc.
News - Spring 2015
Tues: 9 am–4 pm;
April – until mid-November;
And on Sundays 1PM- 4PM until Oct. 13
Located in Eaton Hall, 3399 US Route 7.
Address mail to:
PO Box 423, Pittsford, VT 05763
Curator: Anne Pelkey 483-6178
Membership: Doris Hoare 483-6470
Newsletter Editor: Peggy Armitage 483-2108.
Pittsford Historical Society, Inc.
Box 423, Pittsford, VT 05763
Newsletter - Spring 2015
The Museum will be opening in early April, depending on weather and
snowstorms and how soon Rebecca Davenport and Barb Willis can process the
greeting cards that now fill the exhibit space (see below). The museum
remains accessible to visitors by arrangement, of course; please contact
Curator Anne Pelkey if you wish to visit or consult the collections.
First Meeting of 2015
We will hold our first annual meeting and talk on Sunday March 29. The
speaker will be Jean Smith Davies, talking about the establishment and early
history of Camp Betsey Cox. This will be an afternoon meeting: potluck
desserts beginning at 1:30 pm at the Congregational Church, followed by a
business meeting and then Jean's presentation .
The Covered Bridge Society will be coming to visit on May 51 a Saturday.
Following their internal deliberations, there will be a presentation at
11:00 a.m. at which PHS members and the Pittsford public are welcome. Bill
Powers will talk about the Potwine Bridge to the north, and other PHS
members will follow with some background on Pittsford's covered bridges.
The Historical Society will be involved in the Memorial Day activities later
in May, as usual.
On June 211 we plan a Museum visit for the member's meeting, during the
afternoon (hope for good weather). The theme is the exhibit put together in
the spirit of last year's Vermont History Expo: Pittsford artists and crafts
people. We will be inviting local artists to come and display their work and
there will be a gallery talk on the works displayed in the exhibit and the
artists behind them.
On July 18 we hold our annual tag-and-bake sale. This is your chance to
dispose constructively of the white elephants & donkeys (a bipartisan
effort) that have been cluttering up your attic or basement.
The Crockett Card Caravan
In late January, Curator Anne Pelkey received an inquiry from Nancy Myers, a
florist in Bennington whose shop had closed; Ms. Myers had a substantial
inventory of cards from the Katherine Crockett label that had come to her
and needed to get them out of the store before a thrift shop opened its
doors in the space. The decision fell into the no-brainer category: of
course the Society wanted the Crockett materials.
For background: Katherine Crockett Marnell (1898-1979) was an art teacher
born in Brandon who began making and marketing greeting cards. Around 1951,
she set up her atelier in a barn on Furnace Road, and began silk-screening
her cards. Her volume of business was large enough to affect the Pittsford
Post Office, which was upgraded from third to second class (although we know
the personnel are first class). When she retired from the business in 19661
it was continued in Pittsford for a while and then moved to Manchester. A
number of Pittsfordites still remember working on the cards.
With the noble assistance of Bill Powers and Ernie Clerihew, unexpectedly
numerous boxes of cards and - larger and lighter - boxes of the boxes for
the cards were transported through frigid weather and over snowy roads to
the Museum, where they filled, for a time, all the open space in the
exhibits area. Ron Smith, to his credit, noticed a U- Haul truck in front of
the museum and stopped to make sure that things were going in, not out.
Rebecca Davenport and Barb Willis threw themselves at the task of sorting
the cards and putting them in new boxes, sustained by rhubarb muffins. Ernie
Clerihew is constructing shelving on the second floor to house the many
boxes of cards. Ivy Dixon is planning an internet marketing scheme (this is
Not all the designs were by Katherine Crockett; several of the boxes
contained materials on the other artists whose designs were used. So the
Society now has something of an archive of the commercial activities of the
Crockett Cards, a s well as a large store of delightful and lovely cards for
all seasons and humors.
Last year a committee chaired by Ernie Clerihew worked on drafting the text
for a new historical marker to be placed where the old Samuel Hopkins Patent
marker had stood, since Philadelphia lawyers have undercut the Pittsford
claim to Mr. Hopkins. The selected topic was the Pittsford iron industry,
that flowered in the era of the Granger stoves.
Our contact person, Mr. Dumville, in the Vermont Division for Historic
Preservation, then went onto the disabled list, and so the enterprise is
being revived. Peg Armitage has been reviewing the text on a letter
by-letter basis (we had a dispensation allowing a longer text carrying over
onto two sides of the marker), building on her experience composing the
marker for the Sanatorium, and has edited the text as follows:
Its Iron Industry 1791-1882
I n 1791 Israel Keith built an iron blast furnace on Furnace Brook, about a
mile east of here. Iron ore and manganese came from Chittenden, and
limestone flux from Pittsford. Charcoal kilns reduced Chittenden's forests
to fuel for smelting the ore.
Keith's successors, Nathan Gibbs, then Simeon Granger and Sons, rebuilt and
increased the furnace height to 50 ft.
I n 1829 the Grangers built a foundry near the furnace. From 1829 to the
1860s the Granger foundry produced 300 cast iron stoves a year and shipped
them across the eastern US. Different models of stoves were intended for use
in kitchens, laundries, parlors and bedrooms. Other wares were kettles,
griddles, basins, flatirons, door latches and hinges.
The Granger furnace capacity was 2,600 tons of iron a year. The area became
known as Grangerville. Workers' houses, the company store, a school and post
office surrounded the furnace works and Granger brick homestead.
Later owners were C. and E.L. Granger; Granger, Hodges & Co.; Pittsford Iron
Vermont Iron Co.; Jeremiah Pritchard. Under Mr. Pritchard the furnace,
foundry, mines and charcoal kilns employed 60 men.
As local sources gave out, iron ore from eastern New York was shipped by
rail to Pittsford. When operations ceased in 1882, it was Vermont's last
Several stoves are in the Pittsford Historical Society Museum.
We understand the marker will be put on the agenda of the Division's
council in April. This may be the time to lobby our representatives.
President: Bill Powers, 773-2633
Vice President: Ernie Clerihew, 483-6871
Recording Secretary: Rebecca Davenport, 483-6531
Corresponding Secretary: Jane Welsh, 483-9539
Treasurer: Terri Davis, 483-9597
Museum Curator: Anne Pelkey, 483-6178
Membership Chair and Newsletter: Steve Belcher, 483-2852
Geneology Research: Peg Amitage, 483-2108
Mark Mooney, 388-2944
Bob Welch, 483-9539
Past President: Charlene Patch
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