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09 September 2008

Tuesday Tales From the Road - Vermont

Mary Mettler is still on the road. Here is installment six:

Greetings from Vermont I drove from Suffield, Connecticut through Massachusetts and up the middle of Vermont on Saturday. After the horrible Route 95 drive across the George Washington Bridge a week ago, the Vermont drive was wonderful! I loved the rolling green hills, steepled churches and “Moose Crossing” signs. Of course, I could not resist a stop at Ben and Jerry’s ice cream factory.

Monday, I journeyed to Westford, a tiny town about thirty minutes from Colchester, where my 3rd and 4th great grandparents and 2nd great grandmother lived. Birth, marriage and death records were not required until 1857, so one needs some luck to find information. I liken the search to an Easter Egg Hunt! You’ll never guess where I found the 1809 marriage record for my 3rd great grandparents – buried among land entries in the Third Volume of Land Records! I spent the day digging out gems from the Charter Book and the Land Record Books. Early settlers would come in to record this information, and I guess the Town Recorder would just put them in whatever book happened to be open!

The next day I moved down to the Montpelier area and stopped at the Vermont Public Records Center in Middlesex. They have the birth, marriage, death and land records on microfilm. The problem is each informational page costs $3! I spent the day copying some of the records by hand and printing only the most important. The next day, I discovered that I could print them out for twenty cents at the Vermont History Center/Vermont Historical Society (VHS) in Barre! So, Vermont researchers, go directly to VHS for birth, marriage and death records unless you need certified copies. VHS also has an extensive library of books and manuscripts, not only for Vermont but also for other New England states. Marjorie Strong, the Assistant Librarian, was very knowledgeable and helpful for my two days at the library. I would have loved a third day there, but today is a Vermont Holiday, the Battle of Bennington Day.

On a different note, I have a new “best friend,” Mike at Stone’s Auto Service in Barre. I lowered the passenger side window to tell the busy motel housekeeper to skip my room, but my window would not go back up. Yikes! It rains a lot in Vermont, not to mention that all my worldly goods are in my car. The motel suggested Stone’s Auto Service, and Mike took the door apart to discover a broken cable. A quick call to the only BMW dealer in Vermont, about an hour away in Burlington, yielded a frightening “about seven days” to get a new cable. Mike came up with an ingenious solution – he drilled a hole in the railing on which the window moves and put in a screw to hold the window up. I can’t open that window, but I should be able to drive home without any further trouble. However, I am now terrified to open any of the other windows and will pray each time I have to stop and pay a toll on the turnpikes. You didn’t think this trip was all fun, did you? Next week – Dorset, Rupert and Bennington.

From Your Roving Reporter,

Mary Mettler

Read the entire series:
Part One: Salt Lake City
Part Two: Indiana
Part Three: Pennsylvania
Part Four: More From Pennsylvania
Part Five: Washington D.C.
Part Six: Suffield, Connecticut
Part Seven: Vermont
Part Eight: Dorset, Vermont
Part Nine: West Point and Back to Pennsylvania
Part Ten: Some Final Thoughts From Home

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