MappingVermont bio photo




This page is an annotated bibliography of sorts– books and web links that I’ve found useful, including a short description.

Swift, Esther M. Vermont Place-names: Footprints of History. Brattleboro, VT: Stephen Greene Press, Brattleboro VT., 1977.

Why not start with the best? This is without question the reference book for Vermont history. Whenever I read an obscure placename (Sandusky VT, anyone?), I find it in Vermont Place-names. Here’s a quote about the elusive Sandusky village:

There used to be a village called Sandusky just out of what is now East Granville
village in the extreme northeast corner of town. About 1850 a good vein of coal
was discovered there. A mine was opened, kilns were built for burning coke, and a
village grew up around the enterprise.

Brenda C. Morrissey, Ed. Abby Hemenway’s Vermont: Unique Portrait of a State. Stephen Green Press, Brattleboro VT., 1972.

This is a compiled best-of edition of Abby Hemenway’s county gazetteers, first published between 1867 and 1891. Entries include descriptions of pioneer life, local legends, and the various religious revivals of the day.

One morning she heard a terrfic scream in the dooryard, and on looking out saw
a catamount making an onslaught open the poultry . . . Fear for the safety of
the terrified children nerved the strong arm of the mother to desparation, and
seizing the fire poker, she gave the varmint a heavy, well-directed blow, and
with the assistance of the dog, now weak from loss of blood, succeeded in
killing him.

The Federal Writers Project. Vermont: A Guide to the Green Mountain State. Cambridge, MA: The Riverside Press., 1937.

Part of the American Guides Series, the Federal Writers Project compiled these town-by-town histories during the Depression. This is an incredible record of Vermont in the 1930s, including local industries, transportation, and points of interest. It’s available online here, and the text is fully search-able. From part of the description of Bellows Falls:

A curious deviation from the stable and suitable industrial development of the
town occurred between 1835 and 1845, when a number of local business and professional
men undertook the production of silk. The exotic industry prospered for a time, and
the company refused an offer of $20,000 for its mulberry groves, which were shortly
afterwards killed by a severe winter. There are still preserved in town a number of
articles made from Bellows Falls silk.