Vermont humor

Ron Patch is a Chester native, Chester Historical Society president, and a lifelong antiques dealer. He can be reached at 802-374-0119 or email

Below is a front page article from the May 1924 Carpenter’s Store News. “Carp,” as he was known, wrote stories under a number of pseudonyms: B.V.D., Jack, Diogenes, Heinie, and others. Carp’s hyperbolic sense of humor was enhanced with his eloquence.

L.A. Carpenter’s Store was a men’s, women’s, and kids’ clothing store. Carpenter’s was located where Meditrina is today. Wiley Hall was upstairs.

Up until about 1967-1968, Chester had two governing bodies. Downtown Chester and outlying area was the Village Corporation. Al Hardy was Chief of Police and a U.S. Marshal. Ken Barrett tells me he lived upstairs of the Henry Office Building. The pathetic figure he rescued was a stray cat.

May 1924 Carpenter's Store News.
May 1924 Carpenter’s Store News. Photo provided by Chester Historical Society


  “Seen and Heard on the Boulevard!

“Probably one of the greatest disasters of modern times, so far as the Village Corporation is concerned, occurred April 2, at the Annual Meeting of the Village of Chester.

“Like all catastrophes, the extent of damage is not clearly apparent at the immediate occasion, when men are wild, women hysterical and all is pandemonium, as it is after some time has elapsed so that with clear brain and sober thought a proper comparison can be made and the actual proportions of the cataclysm ascertained.

“No one noticed during the evening while under the spell of fervid oratory, submerged in the flow of hot air, anaesthetized by floods of laughing gas, what destruction was being wrought upon Wiley Hall. It will never be the same solid, safe and sane building as of yore.

“Evidently it rocked on its foundations, the masonry crumbled, the side walls shimmied and shivered, the floors ran in ripples and waves, the ridgepole heaved and bucked, and finally settled down in the middle like an old sway-backed horse thoroughly discouraged with life and all that pertains thereto.

“Uncle Henry says, ‘Hereafter the Village Fathers will have to hold their Annual Circus on Memorial Field or else Chief Hardy must swear in 50 deputies to preserve order, for he just can’t stand the strain.’

  “Chief Hardy to the Rescue

“In our modest way we want to commend our efficient and tactful Chief of Police Hardy and his wife, who recently took into their home from off the street on a cold evening a most pathetic figure, one without place to lay her head, without friends to take her in, without food and with little clothing, and warmed and fed her, gave her a comfortable night’s lodging, listened patiently to the outpouring of her troubles and next day quietly and peacefully took her to a good home where she will have every care a lady of her age should receive. We should appreciate such an officer. He may have averted a grave tragedy that would have placed a blot on Chester’s fair name for years to come. May his shield be ever bright.

  “The Marshal was right

“Last evening, while strolling along the great white way, our reporter observed U.S. Marshal A.W. Hardy making a round of social calls. The Marshal always makes a good appearance, is, in fact, a snappy dresser, a reg’lar ‘Beau Brummel.’ Last evening, however, he eclipsed any previous effort and this was accounted for by the new silk hat he was wearing.

“This silk ‘topper’ is one we made him for the Easter Parade, under special specifications, and is called ‘The Boot-leggers Despair.’ The feature of this hat, which was designed by Paul Adams, aside from its becoming shape and beautiful quality, is what it conceals. Compactly secreted within its glossy surface ready for instant use is; a 4 cyl. motorcycle, two 6 shooters, a gattling gun, a coat of mail, and a set of hand cuffs. The total weight complete is only 6 oz., so your reporter is informed by Dea. Wood, who did all the mechanical work.

“Al, was so pleased when he saw what a great improvement we had made in his personal appearance and how efficient this contrivance would prove, said, ‘Well! Well! If you want to get the real stuff you gotta go where they keep it. Now, ain’t it the truth.’ We’ll say; The Marshal Was Right.”

  This week’s old saying is from Danny Clemons. A few years ago Danny and I were working at the historical society. It was really hot inside so we went out to sit on the bench under the maple tree.

  Andy Ojanen didn’t see us as he made his way to the building. Andy was leaning forward, shuffling along with his cane. Danny says, “There goes Andy at a dead run.”

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