Pittsford Historical Society

Pittsford Historical Society Inc. News

Eaton HallMuseum Hours:
by appointment. Current special exhibits include a carry-over from last fall, on World War I, and we are adding another exhibit on the 1961 Pittsford High School Class ‘M’ Basketball Championship (See Newsletter below).

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

Pittsford Historical Society, Inc.

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


Spring 2020



Given the preventive measures against Covid-19 currently in force, all scheduled events, including the opening hours of Eaton Hall, are subject to change. We shall do our best to provide a two-week notice of any changed dates.


Museum Schedule

Eaton Hall will reopen in early April, with the regular Tuesday visiting hours (9-4). Volunteers are meeting on Tuesday mornings to clean, organize and conserve the collection. More hands are always welcome. The Museum can also be visited by appointment; contact Curator Anne Pelkey or Steve Belcher (contact info below).

            This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Pittsford Historical Society, and we are working on an exhibit to display the Society’s activities over the years. We also plan a 60th birthday party for the PHS, founded on Sept. 17, 1960: a cookout in the yard of Eaton Hall on Sept. 20.


Schedule of Events

Member Meetings

The Members’ Meeting scheduled for April 5 has been postponed to June 14!!

Venue: Congregational Church in Pittsford, 2:00 pm.

            Tom Giffin, President of the Vermont Old Cemeteries Association will talk about the Pittsford cemeteries and work that might be undertaken. At the invitation of the Pittsford Cemetery Association, he has accepted the challenge of identifying needed repairs and cleaning for the Baptist, the Meeting House (Congregational Church), and Evergreen Cemeteries. The event is also intended to recruit volunteers to perform the work.

Date to be settled: Summer Members’ Meeting

Dave Markowski will talk about the new hemp enterprise in Vermont and his involvement. More details to follow.

9 August: Members’ Meeting, 2-4 pm. Belcher House, 3357 US Rte 7 (two doors south of Eaton Hall; parking at the PHS or Lothrop School).

            A visit to the home of artists Martha Wood Belcher (1844-1940) and Hilda Belcher (1881-1963), observing the 140th birthday of the house and offering a view of the artwork left by these two artists. Please note that short (3-step) stairways are involved in every entrance to the house.

Date TBA October: Annual Members’ Meeting.

Michael Dwyer will speak on DNA research and history. More details to follow

Other Activities

9 May: Plant Sale at Eaton Hall, 9 am-2pm

The PHS will again host a plant sale. We ask PHS members and friends to donate materials: houseplants that need to be divided, shrubs that spread, tree seedlings, garden tools ... Anything plant related. For information, contact Tom Browe at tedi@fairpoint.net

25 May: Memorial Day. Speaker proposed, to be confirmed.

11 July: PHS tag-and-bake sale

We ask for donations for this important part of our fund-raising activities. Volunteers to help sort and price articles would also be most welcome (the sessions occasionally resemble a quilting bee, without needles but often with cloth).

Veteran Questions

The informal but diligent Veteran Records Committee is requesting information from members and others about the service of veterans. Page 4 has the form with the list of requested information.

Town Notes


The winter has been marked more by freezing rain (and the Town is over-budget on salt) than by heavy snows, although the temperatures have often dipped into sub-zero levels. The mountains around Pittsford have offered wonderful snow-capped views.

It also appears that bluebirds may be wintering in the area; they have been seen in Evergreen cemetery and flitting across roads. And goldfinches have seen seen, molting from olive to gold.

The Town Report

We are delighted to report that one of the two dedicatees of this year’s Town Report was our Curator, Anne Pelkey, along with Robin Rowe. Anne was honored for her dedication to the task of honoring Pittsford veterans, as well as for her work with the PHS; Robin was honored for her military service and her social commitment, currently applied to managing the Pittsford Food Shelf.

The report is available on-line, of course (see below), and offers much information on the town. It focuses on finances and management, rather than social news (but there is a Facebook page). Some social news can be inferred from some statistics: 22 births (15 female, 7 male); 13 marriages; 27 deaths.

Maclure Library

The Walker building celebrates its 125th birthday this year; the Pittsford Library association dates back to the 18th century; in the 1800s it was named the Maclure Library, to qualify for a donation from a Scotsman, Mr. Maclure.

Only in 1895 was a permanent library building erected by the Walker family, honoring the late Stephen Walker, a lawyer. Expect more news on this front.

The Second Amendment Sanctuary Question

Pittsford made it into state news through its participation in a gun rights movement. Seven Days (sevendaysvt.com) has covered the background and developments of the story. A group, the Gun Owners of Vermont, has been pushing resolutions presented to town governments across the state.

In Pittsford, Brian Wood brought their resolution to the Select Board; it affirms support of the Second Amendment and declares Pittsford a ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary’ town in which gun laws will be held void. At a first meeting all Select Board members voted to approve the resolution.

The Rutland Herald then reported their decision, and there was a negative reaction from other townsfolk. At the next Select Board meeting, Hank Pelkey offered an amendment to the resolution, to remove a troublesome paragraph, claiming authority through the ‘Marsbury vs. Madison’ case to nullify laws.

After some discussion (covered by PEG TV of Vermont and by a young reporter from WCAX – see below for a web-link), Hank’s amendment was not seconded, and four of the Selectmen signed the resolution. John Haverstock’s advice on the matter was misleading; in explaining the reference to ‘Marbury vs. Madison’ (allowing laws to be annulled for violating the US Constitution) he failed to note that the case applies only to U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

 Towns and individuals do not have the option of disregarding laws. The Chittenden Select Board, by contrast, amended the resolution to exclude the last paragraph and put the question to a Town Meeting vote, where the amended resolution passed. There was a suggestion that the issue might be raised in the Town Meeting, under ‘new business.’

As a sequel to the debate: Dan Adams launched a write-in campaign against Hank Pelkey, who had not signed the resolution. His supporters put up signs around the town. Hank was re-elected by a vote of 458-301.

Town Meeting

March 2 brought the Town Meeting. Eligible voters were identified not with colored cards, as in past years, but with strips of pink tape on their shirt-fronts. As Moderator Jim Carvey later noted, the activities were entirely free of Russian influence.

The articles presented to the voters (General Funds, Highways, one or two special funds) passed on a voice vote. The townsfolk voted for a periodic review of some of the special allocations – some years back, the town had decided not to schedule individual votes for each of the organizations receiving funds.

The most unusual activity was a paper ballot, required (by state law) for an article that replaced the Listers with a hired professional. This came at the end of the meeting and was attended by confusion over the color of the ballots (red and neon green) and where to place them. In the aftermath, many people waiting to cast their ballots decided to eat some of the tasty cake and leave. No-one then raised the issue of the Second Amendment resolution.

            The Australian Ballot election the next day brought no surprises: most persons named were running unopposed. We await determination of the empty seats and the results of the write-in suggestions.

Web Links

Town Report:


Sanctuary news story:


Pittsford Veterans Project Deadline

We are in the final stages of collecting names for all **Pittsford Veterans from the Revolutionary War to present day, and if you haven’t already submitted your family’s military history, please do so by July 1st 2020.  The names will be mounted on six marble panels inside Pittsford’s Town Office Building.


Branch of Service___________________________________________

Period Served or Period of Conflict from ________to ____________________

Email info to
Anne Pelkey:  hankpgolf@aol.com              Phone 802-483-6178

Tom Browe:   tedi@myfairpoint.net            Phone 802-483-0034

Mail info to Pittsford Historical Society PO Box 423 Pittsford, Vt. 05763

**Definition of Pittsford Veteran: Claiming Pittsford Vt. as residence at time of entering service.

We want to be as “inclusive” as possible with the names, so if you have any questions about eligibility, please contact one of us.

Definition of Veteran: Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations defines a veteran as a “person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.”  This includes the National Guard and Reserves.


Pittsford Historical Society Board of Directors 2020-01-01


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