Odds & ends

Below are a few newspaper clippings I found pasted in an old scrapbook kept by Mary Harris. They date from 1904-1913. The Harris family lived where Bill Dakin’s law office is today. The Fletcher block is now Phoenix Books Misty Valley. The Chester Budget was a weekly column in Ludlow’s Vermont Tribune.

Chester Budget
W.R. Spaulding and family pitching hay at the Henry Farm. Photo provided by Ted Spaulding

Vermont Tribune June 15, 1906

  Chester Budget

“The Fletcher Block Afire – Considerable Damage Done: Fire was discovered about 10:30 Wednesday night in the Fletcher Block on Main Street, occupied by W.W. Richardson & Son, groceries; S.A. Watson, jeweler; Dr. F.R. Newell, dentist, and A.D. Fletcher, tailor, whose residence is in the same building. It started in the partition in Richardson’s store, and it is thought some rats got into a box of matches. It burned up through the partition into a hallway next to Dr. Newell’s laboratory, and had it not been for the timely discovery the whole building would have been in flames.

“A big kerosene tank holding 200 gallons in the cellar under Richardson’s store had just been filled, but the fireman made special efforts to keep the fire from this, and succeeded in getting the fire under control in a few minutes, but everything was badly damaged by smoke and water. The stock in Richardson’s store will be nearly all worthless, and most of Dr. Newell’s office furniture is ruined or badly damaged. S.A. Watson suffered only slight damage from smoke and water, while Mr. Fletcher’s is principally on the building.

“The total loss on the building and the goods is estimated not less than $2500 [$69,000 in today’s money] partially covered by insurance. This is a very bad place for a fire to start, it is so near the hotel, which contains the National and Savings Banks and post office, and if it started two or three hours later would have probably gone much farther. This is our third fire in a year; may it be the last.”

Vermont Tribune June 22, 1906

  Chester Budget

“Workmen are clearing and repairing the Fletcher block. We wish our other burnt lots might be rebuilt; they are ugly spots in our pretty street.”

Bellows Falls Times March 21, 1907

“A large quantity of logs are to be seen on the Henry meadow south of the depot that have been drawn there the past winter under the management of Hugh H. Henry and others. A portable saw is being placed on the lot to be used in preparing the lumber for market.”

J.L. Spaulding diary donation

William Ryland “W.R.” Spaulding was leasing the Henry Farm in 1907. I checked what I thought was W.R.’s 1907 diary. Many of the diaries in Gramp Spaulding’s donation have the keeper’s name inside the front cover while others have no identification. After comparing handwriting and spelling with known W.R. Spaulding diaries, I concluded W.R. did not keep this diary. I have no doubt that we will solve it.

Most every day from January through April, the diary keeper records in this diary drawing logs on the Henry Farm. Some days he managed to draw 4,000 board feet. He drew logs in 20 inches of snow as if it was nothing.


“While trying to replace a belt to a moving pulley at the steam saw mill at Gassetts one day last week, Henry Wetherby had his left arm caught between the pulley and belt, lacerating the flesh from the elbow to the shoulder very badly. In the attempt to free himself Mr. Wetherby tore the sleeves of his coat and two shirts completely off.”

Ted Spaulding told me Warren Clemons ran a sawmill on Clemons Road in Gassetts. This may be the mill mentioned.

  Chester Budget May 30, 1907

“S.P. Carlton is making extensive repairs on his farm buildings, a new barn is being built and a new ell part to the house, while the main part is being remodeled; a bath room and furnace are also being put in which will add greatly to the convenience.”

Carlton’s farm is the brick house just up Goldthwaite Road off Route 11 West. Indoor plumbing was relatively new in 1907.

  Chester Budget August 8, 1907

“Mr. Wellman has improved his studio by putting in a larger show window.”

Ted Spaulding’s father Ed told him that Wellman’s photographic studio was the small house just below the Whiting Library and that Wellman lived in the house next to his studio.

This makes sense. If you look in Chester Historical Society’s new book, Pictorial History of Chester, Andover, Weston & Londonderry, Chapter 15, you will see several photos of teamsters drawing stone or logs near the library or Baptist Church. I’m sure Wellman was the photographer of those views.

This week’s old saying. “He was born in the shallow end of the gene pool.”

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