Pittsford Historical Society

Pittsford Historical Society Inc. News

Eaton HallMuseum Hours:
Tuesdays from 9 am to 4 pm, April through October.

During this time, volunteers gather for a variety of constructive activities, and company is always welcome. Visitors to town outside normal hours should contact our Curator, Anne Pelkey, or Steve Belcher, for access to the museum.

Located in Eaton Hall, 3399 US Route 7.
Address mail to:
PO Box 423, Pittsford, VT   05763
(802) 483-2040

Curator: Anne Pelkey 483-6178
Membership: Steve Belcher
Newsletter: Steve Belcher, spbelcher4@myfairpoint.net 483-2852
Genealogy Research: Peggy Armitage 483-2108. peggy.armitage@gmail.com

Pittsford Historical Society, Inc.

 PO Box 423, Pittsford, VT 05763    802.483-2040    www.pittsfordhistorical.com


Newsletter - Summer  2018

Museum Notes

The Museum at Eaton Hall (3399 US Rte 7) is now open again; regular hours are 9 am-4 pm on Tuesdays. Visits can be scheduled at other times, preferably in advance. Volunteers interested in helping our activities are always welcome, as are visitors with inquiries and questions.

Schedule of Events

July 21 – Tag and Bake Sale, 9 am-2 pm at Eaton Hall
The museum space is filling up with boxes, and we thank all those who have dropped things off. The volunteers are having fun admiring the donations and then trying to price them (thank goodness for cell-phones!) We welcome additional donations; the event is an important fund-raiser for the Society. The sale will offer edibles as well as a wide range of household good from a variety of periods.

August 18 – Pittsford Day, 2:00-6:00 pm at the Fire Station
The Society will have a table with exhibit materials and items for sale. There will be fireworks and music in the evening.

September 9 – Members’ Meeting. 2-4 pm. Meet at OVUHS parking lot.
Bill Powers will lead a historical walk over Hawk Hill (behind the Otter Valley High School) to explore the remains of the first settlements in the area. This event is also part of Vermont Archaeology Month.

September 30 – Annual Meeting & Election of Officers. 5:30 pm Potluck supper; 6:30 pm Program. Fellowship Hall, Congregational Church.
Brian Kamuda will talk about the Kamuda store and its place in Pittsford, as well as the challenges of maintaining a small community business in the modern era.

Meeting And Activity Report

May 6 Members Meeting: David and Tracey Barnard on the Barnard Funeral Home
As noted earlier, the Barnard Funeral Home has now been sold to the Aldous Funeral Home in Rutland, and this ends a five-generation family business in Pittsford. The event was set up as an opportunity for David and Tracey to share some of the stories about the business, and for the community to see them and wish them well. There was a wonderful cake, courtesy of Carol Johnston. They had brought photos and memorabilia, and Curator Anne Pelkey also brought items from the PHS collection, such as a top hat belonging to an early Royal Barnard. The family history covered the move from the first building to the next; a practice of in-family apprenticeship (David learned his trade from his father and grandfather); and observations on current trends: cremation rather than embalming is one.

Of the anecdotes offered (but not recorded on audio) we recall one: the household cat made its way into the hearse, beside a coffin, and then went to sleep until David had started driving the hearse to its destination. Along the way, the cat woke up and put its paw on his shoulder. He was ... surprised.

Anne Pelkey notes that: David & Tracey Barnard have donated three pairs of gloves worn by the pallbearers at Barnard’s Funeral Home between 1940 and 1960. Also given were several convention pins that belonged to David’s great great-grandfather Royal Barnard, and a 1940s ‘Faintex’ smelling salts kit, used to revive the mourners overcome by grief. Smelling salts are a usually scented mixture of ammonium carbonate and ammonium water, and were at one time an essential accessory for well-bred and langorous ladies.

May 28, Memorial Day

The observations included two additions worth mentioning. The music was performed not only by the OVUHS band, but also by an elementary school band combining students from Lothrop and Neshobe. In the parade they were separated by several cars whose mufflers or exhaust systems need work. The elementary school band, directed by Julia Murach, was followed by the second addition: a Pittsford Historical Society banner carried by Barb Willis, Ivy Dixon, and Steve Belcher. Barb and Ivy took turns tossing red, white, and blue necklaces into the crowd, while Steve tried to take one-handed photographs of the onlookers. This is not generally successful, alas.

The other elements of the observance followed previous pattern. The Lothrop students presented their observations on the occasion: Leann Thomas (4th grade, second place); Marissa Dick (4th grade winner); Sara Loyzelle (5th grade, second place); and Kyle Costales (5th grade winner); Hannah Greeno (6th grade, second place) and Shyanne Buzzell (6th grade winner). Frank Hudson (USNR Retd., and son of Kit and Lillian Hudson) was the guest speaker, addressing ‘The American Spirit.’ He looked back to World War II and the immediate, defiant, and effective response to the attack on Pearl Harbor, and followed that theme up to 2001, when the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 united to overcome the hi-jackers on 9/11 and prevent the plane crashing into the Capitol. He also noted the spirit of community and volunteerism in Pittsford, with our many institutions established through philanthropy and community action.

Returning to the musical note, Cameron Silloway was seconded by Evelyn Bart in performing Taps. Cameron is graduating, and the band now has a new bugler.

June 24 Members Meeting: Lance Meade on the Pittsford Marble Industry

Lance worked for a long time for the Vermont Marble Company, and he drew a good audience that included an impressive number of people who had also worked for the VMC. He had photos of the quarries that seemed unimpressive until one noted the tiny figures in the lower corners that showed the scale: hundreds of feet of stone above them. He discussed the techniques for hauling marble up from the bottom, the changes in function from building stone t0 paper component. The audience chimed in with questions and observations on the geology and the practices. The principal quarry in his presentation was the Hollister Quarry. There were apparently several divisions of this quarry, and he worked in particular on one that was re-opened when the U.S. Senate decided to expand what has become the Everett Dirksen Building in the Capitol complex of Washington DC.

Curator’s Report

This year marks the centennial of the Armistice signed by the Allies and Germany in World War I, that led to the cease-fire that started at 11:00 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918. The event was celebrated by a large parade in Pittsford according to a local newspaper, with the entire school body from Lothrop marching along with their teachers. Church bells, fire bells and whistles were in evidence for most of the day. The actual peace treaty followed in May, 1919. Our Veterans’ Day observances look back to that date in November of 1918.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary, we are mounting a special exhibit to honor the more than 119 men and women from Pittsford who served. Among the items we plan to display are a uniform that belonged to Frank Rabitor, boots worn by Francis Carrigan, memorabilia from Grace Merrill who was a nurse during the war, certificates belonging to Dr. Leslie Frost and Charlie Powers and a flag that covered the coffin of Carmi Reed, killed in France during the war. We also have reproductions of two paintings, by Pittsford artists Martha Wood Belcher and her daughter Hilda Belcher, of victory parades from the era (the originals are being restored and will be exhibited when the process is completed).

Lothrop School

This year, we once again distributed copies of Pittsford’s Second Century to the sixth grade students leaving Lothrop. There were 31.


Joyce Bates Daniels would have turned 100 years old on Nov. 7th of this year, but sadly she passed away on March 11th. She was the daughter of Doug and Anna Bates, grew up in Pittsford and graduated from PHS in 1935. Joyce was very proud of her Pittsford roots and donated many family heirlooms over the years. The museum has lathe-turned lamps made by her father Doug, and beautiful cherry wooden ‘keepsake’ boxes with hinged tops that were made by her grandfather, George Douglas Bates in his Cabinet and Job Shop on Corn Hill ca. 1876-1910. And this past May, according to Joyce’s wishes stated in her last will and testament, the PHS received a beautiful mahogany Grandfather’s clock made by her grandfather between 1912 & 1916. It was a wedding present to Joyce’s parents who were married in 1916. We also received a small bench made by Doug Bates and a mahogany commode made by George Bates for his brother Thomas. And it was decided that the Maclure Library would become the home of a beautiful cherry table made by George Bates. Anne Pelkey

Members should also be informed of the recent loss of a major figure from the Pittsford community and in the PHS. Jean Smith Davies passed away on April 22, at the age of 90. She was the daughter of Leone Smith, who founded Camp Sangamon; in 1957, she and her husband Charlie Davies established Camp Betsey Cox, to provide opportunities for girls (and, by the reports from her memorial service, had uncanny skill at interrupting the attempted rendez-vous of counselors from Sangamon and BC). She served as Curator and President of the Pittsford Historical Society, and was a key member of the team that produced the award-winning Pittsford’s Second Century that appeared in 1998. She chronicled Pittsford and regional history in writings for the newspapers; her pieces were collected in Neighborhood Notes (2003). She recently finished a history of Camp Betsey Cox: The Camp with a Song in its Heart (2014), and was working on a history of Camp Sangamon. SPB.

Member Notes

We thank all those who have renewed their membership, and encourage visits to the museum by those in the area. And for those afield ... Pittsford is lovely in summer time.

Town Notes


The town has been sprayed for mosquitoes several times since the season started, with remarkable results in places. People can now enjoy their porches and yards. You may recall that at the Town Meeting, Pittsford decided to join the Brandon-Salisbury-Leistecester-Goshen Mosquito Control Board. They are still debating whether to add a P to their acronym.

Rec Day

Pittsford observed a Rec day on June 23. Reports say: 1. come early, if you want to park; 2. the event was well-attended, and 3. Do it.

Real Estate Matters

The Zoning Board of Administration held its final hearing on the proposed Dollar General Store to be sited at the junction of Rte. 7 and Plains Rd., on the SE side; the public offered no comments in favor of the proposal. We expect a decision in the next days.

Village District

John Haverstock, the Town Manager, led a small delegation to Montpelier to argue in favor of the Town’s delimitation of a ‘Village District.’ The designation (intended to economic stimulus) had lapsed when Pittsford was late in passing its Town Plan. The State approved the designation but insisted on their spatial limits, which excluded much of Arch St. because it is residential, although they did leave the door open for future examination. Baird Morgan came to speak about the Village Farm project, that now has community gardens in operation, and a kids-oriented activity– the Sprouts Club, with their own garden plot, meeting on Saturdays.

Maclure Library

Bonnie Stewart is no longer the librarian at Maclure. We thank her for her service to an institution that is a central part of the Pittsford community, and for which she provided a welcoming face for many years. Members may recall that in 2011, when Pittsford was celebrating its 250th birthday and Lothrop its 100th, the Library organized an excellent series of sessions and discussions on Pittsford history.

Pittsford Historical Society Directory

Pittsford Historical Society Officers and Board Members


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.


Street/Apt. #

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 since 1960