Popple Dungeon history

C.C. Fletcher pitching hay in the Popple Dungeon. Photo provided by Ron Patch

Below is a newspaper clipping I found in Mary Harris’ scrapbook. It dates to 1929. Some of the details are interesting.


Fletchers observe 68th wedding date

Chester Couple Were Married in 1861 in House They Still Occupy. (Special to The Herald).

CHESTER, Jan. 22 – Mr. and Mrs. Coolidge C. Fletcher observed their 68th wedding anniversary today. They were married in 1861 by Re. C.C. Gurr, pastor of the Baptist church in Chester. He drove out of the village to the home of Mrs. Fletcher’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Davis, to perform the ceremony, finding the snow so deep and badly drifted that his sleigh, as well as sleighs of others who attended the wedding, was tipped over before they reached the house.

Mrs. Fletcher, who was Lydia Ursula Davis, was born in the house where they were married, which is still their home in the summer. For the last few years they have spent the winters with Mr. and Mrs. W.A. Edson. They have two sons, Leon J. and Leslie D., both living on the Springfield road, and one granddaughter, Miss Esther U. Fletcher.

The schoolhouse, which Mrs. Fletcher attended, was a short distance below the present Poplar Grove schoolhouse. She remembers attending school when there were 40 pupils during the winter terms. At that time there were 30 families living within two miles of their home, where now there are only three.

Their house was built in 1798. Mr. Fletcher has a brick taken from the chimney, which bears that date. Many years ago there was a cider mill and a cooper’s shop on the farm, also a blacksmith shop where nails were made by hand for use in nailing the clapboards on the house. Mr. Fletcher has saved a quantity of these nails. One side of the house is still covered with the original clapboards, which were split out and shaved by hand.

The first schoolhouse in this part of the town was built of logs on this farm.

Mr. Fletcher was born in Acworth, N.H. and will be 90 years old February 14. He came to Chester to live with his parents 72 years ago and is probably the oldest man in town. Both Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher possess wonderful memories concerning people and events of their neighborhood. They received many cards and letters of congratulation but otherwise spent the anniversary very quietly.


C.C. Fletcher farm in the Popple Dungeon. Photo provided by Ron Patch

Another clipping:

Chester’s Budget

Sept. 7, 1911

Old Home day

The third annual old home day of the Popple Dungeon district was held in the grove near the red schoolhouse, Thursday, Aug. 25, with an attendance of 201. The grove was decorated with flags, and tables were set for the picnic dinner, which was served at noon. A drum corps of four members and an orchestra of three members furnished music for the day.

After dinner exercises were held consisting of a historical talk, dating back some 65 years, given by C.C. Fletcher. James A. Gould also gave a short talk. There were recitations by the children and vocal music by a quartette. After the program there were sports consisting of sack, potato, and wheelbarrow races.

There were 18 different towns represented at the gathering. Seven ladies over 70 years old were present; their names are Katy Howard of Walpole aged 75, and as it happened it was her birthday, Huldah Clark 83, Mary French 85, Loorsa Stearns 83, Amy Mack 74, Hannah Fuller 79, and Alvira Clark 72.

When the United States flag was drawn to the top of the pole, the hills echoed back the three cheers as never before. No one went hungry, oh no. The grounds around the schoolhouse had been nicely cleaned of brush and grass. The tables, seats, and swings in the grove all newly made.

Dean Williams was there with his ice cream rig, but the day a little too cool for trade. The old fashioned game “quoits” was going all day, played by the experts.

It was voted to hold the next old home day the last Thursday of August, 1911.


The next meeting of Chester Historical Society is upstairs of Town Hall, Thursday, April 28 at 7 p.m. The slideshow will focus on old Vermont photos. Included will be a real photo postcard of Dorothy Canfield Fisher, bearing her signature. We have some great views to be included. All are welcome whether members or not. Come find out what we’re about.


This week’s old saying: “Frankly Scarlet, I don’t give a…”


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