Connecting the dots

Baxter Burrows place. Photo provided by Danny Clemons

Not long ago, Danny Clemons was showing me some postcards he had just bought. In a group of Perkinsville cards, Danny found the card you see with this article. We didn’t know for sure it was Perkinsville.

Over the weekend, I was looking through the book, “We Remember,” compiled by Rebecca Tucker and published by the Weathersfield Historical Society, 2016.

This is an excellent book that documents the effects of the North Springfield flood control project. This flood control system gave us Stoughton Pond. Numerous old houses, farms, and covered bridges were lost in this late 1950s project.

My aunt and uncle, Laura and Alan Miller, lived in a large, old brick house that was demolished for flood control. I was young, but I remember their home. What I remember most is the excavation going on around their house and in the valley.

I sat, turning pages of Rebecca’s book, when I came across Danny’s postcard. Eureka, I found it! Here is some information from “We Remember” for this farm. It is identified as the Frederick and Jacqueline Knapp place.

  “Before Knapp it was known as the Elno Wilbur place. The Knapp place had earlier been the home of Reverend Baxter Burrows (1804 – 1892) who married Lydia Boynton, daughter of Jewett Boynton, a previous owner. Rev. Burrows, a Baptist minister, is said to have attempted raising silk worms in the loft over his carriage shed in the 1850s.”


Now Danny and I knew it was Perkinsville, and the house was still standing in 1959. It is unknown to me is if it stands today.

Another possible clue was Burrows being a Baptist minister. So, on a hunch, I retrieved from the bookshelf the history of the Baptist Church in North Springfield. Sure enough, I found Burrows there.


  The North Springfield Baptist Church by Jean Follett Willard, in part:

  “Baxter Burrows 1850-1857

  “September 8, 1849, the Church invited Baxter Burrows, a former licentiate, to preach for them one year, beginning the first Sunday in January 1850. He continued his pastorate until 1857…

  “The meetinghouse, when built, did not contain a vestry. The vestry was added in 1857 by subscription in which members of the community, not members of the church, joined in making an agreement that it could be used as a village hall when not needed for the purposes of the church.

  “The next year (1858) some repairs were made and the pews were taxed for their appraised value. Records show that several pews were taxed, but there is no evidence that the pews were sold for nonpayment of taxes.

  “Baxter Burrows was born in Petersham, Mass. July 22, 1804; May 1816, moved to Chester, VT; April 3, 1823 he was baptized and was received into the fellowship of the Church; studied under Rev. Fisher; in 1833; went to the institute of New Hampton, NH, where he remained three years; was ordained over the Baptist Church in Grafton, NH; in 1837 became pastor in Passumpsic, VT, followed by the Baptist Churches of Ludlow, 1841; Grafton, 1849; then North Springfield.

  “After leaving here, Rev, Burrows lived on his farm in Weathersfield, continuing to preach as a supply for Churches in Grafton, Chester, Andover, Felchville, Windsor, Brownsville, South Reading and other places. In 1871 his wife died suddenly of a “fit of apoplexy” in her carriage while riding to her home from this village. She was the daughter of Jewett Boynton, Sr. and a sister of Jewett Boynton, Jr., “for many years our efficient clerk and esteemed deacon.” Rev. Burrows personality remained fresh in the memories of the older inhabitants into the late 1920’s.”


Now, while this was an unknown postcard for me and Danny, there would be those in Weathersfield who would have recognized it immediately. Danny and I have many old photos lacking any identification, many we will never know. So, it was satisfying to identify this farm. Now we all know.

You might think, why not just contact the Weathersfield Historical Society? First, we didn’t know it was Perkinsville for sure, so why bother others. Besides, it’s more fun this way.

The photo in “We Remember” and Danny’s card are of the same place, but taken maybe 15 years apart. We noticed the height of trees differed.

Reminder: Chester Historical Society meeting Thursday, June 23 at 7 p.m. The slideshow will be old Weston photos.


  This week’s old saying my father used to tell me: “There’s only one thing a man can give and still keep, and that’s his word.”

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