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 www.pittsfordhistorical.com   802-483-2040
A 501(c) organization since 1961

Spring 2022


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.

Spring Newsletter

Eaton Hall

By the time you receive the newsletter, Eaton Hall will have reopened for its regular Tuesday hours, 9-4. Visitors are most welcome to view the exhibits or to bring questions about Pittsford’s past. Visits can also be arranged outside the regular hours; contact Anne Pelkey or Steve Belcher (contact info at end of the newsletter).


(April 6, a day after the newsletter was put in the mail). The Village Farm has received a $400,000 grant for improvements to the house on the property – the home of Dr.Abiel Caverly, who wrote the first History of Pittsford (1872) and his son-in-law Dr. Henry Haven Swift. The improvements will allow them to set up a day-care center for up to 26 children. The building currently houses a stained-glass workshop. More in a later newsletter.

Planned events

Sunday April 24: A Member’s Meeting at the Congregational Church, with a pot-luck supper starting at 5:30. After the business meeting, Lorrie Smith Byrom will give a talk on the history of the two camps on Sangamon Rd. Lorrie is the grand-daughter of Leone and Eleanor Smith, founders of Camp Sangamon, and niece of Jean Smith Davies, who with her husband, Charlie Davies, founded Camp Betsey Cox. Jean wrote a history of Camp Betsey Cox (The Camp With a Song in its Heart) and was working on a history of Sangamon that she left uncompleted.
This summer marks 100 years of happy summers at Camp Sangamon and 69 similarly happy summers at Betsey Cox. Lorrie looks forward to sharing remarkable stories from the camps' founding through to the present.

Saturday May 21, 9-2 at Eaton Hall: A Plant Sale. (see enclosure)

Monday May 30: Memorial Days activities starting at 12:30 with a parade down Arch St. from the Post Office to the Fire Station. The speaker will be Bill Bowman, a Vietnam War veteran.

Saturday June 19: Town-wide Yard Sale. Local members plan to participate, using Eaton Hall as the site.

Saturday July 23: 9-2 at Eaton Hall. PHS Tag and Bake Sale. Donations will be gratefully accepted.

Saturday September 3: Pittsford Day at the Fire Station. The PHS will have a presence.

Sunday October 23: Annual Members’ Meeting at the Congregational Church. A pot-luck supper starting at 5:30 followed by the business meeting and the election of officers. Allen Mills will then offer a presentation on Jack Terwilliger and the establishment of the Recreation Area. More information later.

N.B. Two other Member Meetings have yet to be scheduled. We expect to provide the information in the Summer Newsletter at the end of June.

Conservation Activities

Elizabeth Simpson, Barb Willis, and Anne Pelkey have been attending workshops offered at the Middletown Springs Historical Society, under the instruction of Michelle Pagan, a professional textile conservator. Using textiles from the Middletown Springs collection, they have helped to properly document and photograph the pieces, and then to preserve them in acid-free materials. Michele’s workshops have also covered the construction of archival boxes, and Elizabeth has been teaching PHS volunteers how to make the boxes. This is much cheaper than buying them ready-made, and also allows the possibility of custom-sizing the boxes to the materials.

Anne Pelkey consulted Michele about preserving an 18th century kerchief donated by Peg Armitage. It had belonged to Mary Rowley Mott, wife of John Mott, commandant of Ft. Mott in Pittsford in 1777. Michele removed the kerchief from its frame, ‘wet-cleaned’ it, repaired several small holes, and then rewrapped it in acid-free tissue paper and placed it in a custom-made archival box, that can be used for storage and exhibition. Mary was Peg Armitage’s great-great-great grandmother.

Crown Point Road Marker

In a previous newsletter, we noted that a Crown Point Road marker was removed from Depot Hill Rd. The Crown Point Road was laid out ca. 1760 during the French and Indian Wars. Markers were laid out, largely under the auspices of the Daughters of the American Revolution, early in the past century. The marker will be placed on the proper side of the Otter Creek, along Whipple Hollow Road, at some time this summer.

Covid and Pittsford: Bob Welch

We normally note the passing of members in the end-of-year newsletter. But the passing of Bob Welch deserves earlier notice: Bob was President of the Pittsford Historical Society and then served on the board. His wife Jane was for several years the Corresponding Secretary. The two of them volunteered countless hours at the museum. Last fall, Bob contracted Covid, and given other underlying conditions, succumbed. The Society offers its condolences to the family. Michael Dwyer, current Pastor of the Congregational Church in Pittsford, offered perhaps the best summary in his eulogy at the recent memorial service: he imagined Bob arriving at the Pearly Gates. And Bob’s answer, on being welcomed, would have been: “Thank you. How can I help?”

Town Notes

February 16: Dedication of the Town Report

The Town Report is dedicated to individuals or organizations who have provided service to the community. It is available online at:


We are happy to report that this year, Barb Willis was one so honored. Barb was recently the Vice-President of the PHS and now serves as a Trustee. The dedication cited her tireless work for the Maclure Library, as a volunteer and offering support to the staff during the Covid period. It then described her involvement with the Pittsford Historical Society, and especially her management of the Crockett Card collection. It finally noted her service as President of the Pittsford Cemetery Association, and her support of the Bowen-Walker Fund and Pittsford’s Santa Fund.

Previous PHS figures honored by such dedication are Peg Armitage (2011) and Bob and Jane Welch (2013).

The second dedication went to the Pittsford Recreation Department. Its long-standing director, Randy Adams, stepped down for health reasons a year or so ago. There was a new hire, who left and was replaced. The new and current director is Jen Popp, who qualifies as pro-active (activities, emails, etc). Unfortunately – no Oscar for cinematography here – the Zoom view of her response on behalf of the department was blocked by a large male in the foreground.

Town Meeting

There was no in-person meeting in the Lothrop gym. There was an informational Zoom meeting on Monday, Feb. 28, at which the reports were presented, with low attendance. In-person voting happened the next day, at the Fire Station, with plexiglas shield and distancing. They did not sanitize the votes in the sight of the voters. At least 648 ballots were cast. None of races were contested (Mr/Ms Write-in lost by wide margins), and the budgets were approved. Cannabis sales were also approved by a 10-vote margin (323-313).

Personnel Change in the Town Office

John Haverstock is stepping down as Town Manager. He will be replaced by Brenda Fox-Howard, who has worked in public administration in several New England states. John has now moved from his hill-side home on Sugar Hollow Rd. to the flatter areas of Addison County.


Following last year’s Census, the Vermont State Legislature has drawn up new maps. Pittsford will no longer have two Representatives; Pittsford and Proctor will form a single-member district, and Brandon will also become a single-member district.

Covid in Vermont

The state continues to be doing comparatively well. Mask mandates were made optional (community choice) early this winter, and in most places have been dropped, although Rutland County remained a ‘high-risk’ area because of a spike in cases. The number of deaths stands at 617; the percentage of Vermonters over age 5 who have received at least one dose of vaccine is 87%.

Mud and Sugaring Season

The mud season promises to be extended, as early warm weather is being interrupted by temperatures in the teens (so the ground will freeze again). Tammy Hitchcock, on whose land Reg Charbonneau collects the sap, predicts that the weather variations will allow sugaring well into the month of April.


(April 6, a day after the newsletter was put in the mail). The Village Farm has received a $400,000 grant for improvements to the house on the property – the home of Dr.Abiel Caverly, who wrote the first History of Pittsford (1872) and his son-in-law Dr. Henry Haven Swift. The improvements will allow them to set up a day-care center for up to 26 children. The building currently houses a stained-glass workshop. More in a later newsletter.

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