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Category Archive for 'Interviews'

Bernie Hurlburt Interview 11-18

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Bernie Hurlburt

Dan Baker set up this amazing interview for us both, and I have to say- Bernie told us some pretty amazing things.

**I also have this interview condensed to a 6 minute clip if anyone is interested in that version…

2:00 Rosco family lived there early. Story about Rosco kid who drowned in the well outside Bernie’s house in the early 1800s.
4:45 Pot ash- lots of charcoal pits can be found in the fields (5:15-5:25 quote 6:01-6:11)
7:00 Where Charlie Parker lives today, ‘Place’ was the original settler. ‘Stedmon’ next.
7:35 “I think they started both places about the same time” – settlement of Hillsboro and Little Ireland
7:55 On Hillsboro- “They was farming there, in 1931, when my dad bought this farm. I was six years old. You could look over cross and see them farming, plowing, cuttin’ hay”
8:20 Why was Hillsboro abandoned? “That’s the worse road to travel.”
You could go up in the summer, but it’s mostly impossible, I would think, even with chains on…”
8:50 “When we first moved here, Ernest Diddy was the mail carrier, and he’d come up this road, and go around down that road. And he had a horse and sleigh, and most of the time in the summer he’d have a horse and a buggy… course there was farms all through there.”
12:55 Two first houses on Hillsboro: Little Ed Hannon, and another — Bertha Smith (owned both). Her husband got killed at a sawmill on Little Ireland.
16:45 ‘Farnham’ place- beyond the town’s two farms-2000 acres- by the Fish+Game parking lot- somebody else bought it and then sold it to the state; ‘Tatro’ place after the Twin Bridges
18:34 Hill home in Bertha’s book at the Fish + Game parking lot. Lemuel Hill’s house owned by Mrs. Olsen. Four or five Hills who came at the same time.
20:20 – Places houses: ‘Rosco’, ‘Moody’, School house
21:40 ‘Charlie Devoid’ last person to live at Hillsboro house site above school- related to Bernie’s dad.
23:30 Hotel in Hillsboro area: “There’s a lot of them big houses that they used…”
Could have been the Holcomb Bushnell farm?
24:20 Farnham farm by the parking lot might have been a hotel too- it was a large house. The last people who lived in it were the ‘McLanes’. “It just bowed down after a while.”
26:05 Bertha Smith owned those two places. Charlie Thibault’s father bought them after her- only stayed a year or two. “I guess they didn’t like the hill…” Tucker before the cemetery (2nd house site), D Hill (1st house site), T Brock all the way at the bottom of Hillsboro
28:20 Hannons, Conways—all Irish.
29:40 Cole’s house- where the Little Ireland school house is
31:10 Garage across from Hillsboro was another schoolhouse- area called Little Boston
32:30 B. Hurlburt graduated from L. Ireland SH in 1938
34:00 Talks about all his L. Ireland schoolteachers
36:40 Employment: Creamery… started out farming sheep, then cows… potatoes
40:30 Samuel Hill came to live at the Devoid place (above the Hillsboro SH)
46:40 Devoid place- had an identical barn to Frank Spina’s/Butler’s barn
48:20 The barn had already burned when B. Hurlburt moved up. Fancy house, abandoned. “I think the barn burnt, and that’s why they quite farming”. LW Hill:Devoid
51:10 Dan Baker talks about the size of the barn- “It’s got to speak to the quality of the land”
51:40 Farm size: 10-11 cows- most farms that was about it
55:40 Dunham’s place- used to be the Crowley’s farm (Crowley road?). The house burned, and one part was sold to Connors, then the Johnsons. The other part was sold to the Dunhams.
58:49 Lemuel Hill farm/ Mrs. Olsen place – 3 barns (1 hay barn, 2 cattle barns). House is above the pond. Randall, Murphy, then Cofflin, then T. Hannon.
1:02:50 “It was hard farmin on the hill. It was better to go down the road, it was better farmin” The barn burned.
1:10:20 “Mostly it was hard farmin up here… They moved down where it was easier farmin”. The soil: “It isn’t better, but up here it’s awful stony.”
1:11:40 Frank Hannon used to say “It’s good soil… it had to be strong to hold up all them rocks”
1:13:15 What did this place teach you? “Well… it taught me to work” Talks about telling college kids how to spell things… “We got a good education up here”– 20 kids, 1 teacher.
1:16:00 Explored Hillsboro more when he started hunting… talks about the ‘Gully’.

Alfred Thompson Interview 11-16

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Alfred Thompson
Listening to this interview again for the time-log just made me think- what a quirky interview. I think the most interesting part is the relationship between the father-daughter (subtle exchanges). I did cut out some long pauses/deliberations/repetitions of questions, so it’s not exactly true to the original style, but some is left just to give the listener a sense of the dynamic. About half way through, Audrey leaves and Alfred says something like “well she’s got to get her piece in somehow…”, which I thought effectively summed up his views on her presence in the interview. She was very interested in recording details about their family history, and I was extremely grateful for her prompts to her dad, as well as numerous documents, maps, contacts, and of course the delicious pumpkin pie.

0:00 Logging in the family
1:30 Split his head open logging
3:00 His family has always been here- they’re farmers
5:45 We weren’t told a lot of things, as dad said, we didn’t discuss history or ancestry
7:15 Using a funnel to put gas in the truck when you were driving uphill
8:00 The logging camp used to be part of the Hannon farm
9:00 Everybody had potatoes back then
12:00 Cemetery on Crowley road
16:00 Bristol house…?
17:00 Buying the land at the logging camp – he forgot about it and his daughter ‘prompts’ him back to remembering that he actually bought it for $1500
18:35 Only remembers Herb Itty? Who built the farmhouse up off of 116. (not sure who/what he’s referring to)
19:40 Hunting- always got the biggest and the best
20:30 Audrey left home at 13 (very quiet, doesn’t want to be heard here)
21:30 Stokes place (Brown hill?) Art Clifford put a pond there.
22:30 Rerouted the creek by Big Hollow
22:45 Sawmill across from their cemetery- Walt Smith was killed here
24:00 After an age-guessing game, I find out that Alfred is 91- born in 1917
25:45 Went to school 4-5 years
27:30 Samuel Hill, ancestry story of prisoners being sent up to work in lumber mills- Audrey speaks about how lumbering has always been in the family
28:30 How logging has changed– Audrey’s brother has the philosophy that he was born in the wrong time period- lumbering has gotten much more difficult to make a living with since his dad’s (Alfred’s) time.
32:10 Alfred used to drive the Starksboro creamery truck back and forth between here and Boston every week. Lots more good stuff about the creamery, Frank Wells, ice house across the street from the creamery
34:00 Family history and connections to the Browns
37:20 Logging- mostly maple, but a bit of everything. “It worked pretty good for me, it always did. I never had no complaints. And that’s saying something, for me.”
39:00 Talking about food, cooking, canning, and how a garden held them through hard times.
40:40 “I fished a lot. Weekends. We always took a weekend off.”
“I don’t go to supermarkets much, unless I really need something. Stay in there long, and you spend more money than you got.”
41:40 Coon hunting
43:00 Arsonists set several places on fire
47:00 Why logging is difficult now. “There’s too many doing it [now, but] there’s good money in it if you can work hard enough at it. It worked pretty good for me, it always did. I never had no complaints. And that’s saying something, for me.”
51:00 Audrey’s brother- story about getting stuck in the wetlands by the logging camp. He fell through the ice…
52:00 “I liked the mountain pretty well… Used to go coon hunting; hunted it all over.
53:40 Talks about flats house site by the twin bridges- big house, horse barn below it :
58:10 Meeting his wife, a Brown girl, and more about school.
60:10 His first memory- a great story about sipping homemade alcohol when his father sent him to pick it up from up the hill (Lindy Liberty?), for “medicinal uses”
1:04:40 Important issues were kept very quiet- Audrey speaks about things that weren’t discussed
1:06:40 Questions about Hillsboro/Ireland, doesn’t remember anything else about the structures

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I interviewed siblings Linda Barnard and Rodney Orvis in Linda’s home in Jerusalem about growing up in Jerusalem, why they’ve chosen to stay, how the community has changed, and how they imagine it will look in the future.

I’ve taken out a lot of really good/important quotes, but here are some basic time stamps….its a very long interview, but worthwhile.

1:00– Linda on growing up in South Starksboro

3:15—Grandma Helen Orvis

6:00—going to Bristol and Lincoln, and getting groceries delivered.

7:45—Rodney on growing up in the little red house

12:00—the changing landscape

15:00—”we were poor”

25:45 “Life was so simple then” on growing up and using your imagination

27:30—Grandma Orvis and independent women.

39:50—connections (or lack thereof) with Starksboro Village, and the building of Rt. 17

48:30—Linda on going away to school and deciding to return to Jerusalem, a changed community

55:40—Rodney on going away and coming back

58:00—mentions Larry and conserved land (the stevens block); hunting and fishing

1:07:30—zoning, development, growth and conservation in South Starksboro

1:11:00—rebuilding community, cyclic growth, and commuter communities.

1:19:00—Jerusalem in 20 years

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Luke Eastman

Interview with Marylin and Lum Melendy

Jersualem, VT


Marylin and Lum Melendy are an elderly couple living in Jerusalem. They’ve been in VT for longer, but moved to Jim Dwire Road in 1985. Lum runs a chainsaw shop right near the house and they own a campground (I didn’t get to see either because it was nighttime). They describe a very positive experience in town, but also the sentiment that they don’t have much to do with Starksboro itself.

This interview ran for about an hour and a half (hence the copious timestamps), and was unfocused at times. Some good historical tidbits and stories are in this interview, though.

1:00 – 2:20 Marylin – Born in VA, 1930, lived in VT since 17, Lum – Born in St. Johnsbury, 1926, lived in Jeffersonville, South Burlington with wife until 1985.

2:20 – 4:20 The couple had $100, bought 4 acres of land in Jerusalem, built a camp. Funny story about the bridge, how it was tough to navigate

4:30 – 7:30 Positive comments on neighborhood security. Story about fire next to Jane Cooper’s house. Details of the Ladies’ Home Circle that Marylin is in (active since 1920’s) – they cook for the victims of the fire.

7:30 – 11:20 Memories of a schoolhouse teacher they knew (did not attend it). “it’s our community building.” Details of Halloween party there recently. Road history of the area.

11:25 – 14:15 Describing what the Ladies’ Home Circle did (She has notes going back from 1921….sewed, put on plays, made meals) and what they do now (don’t sew, cook).

14:50 – 16:30 Reasons for coming (originally built camp in 1959). Was a getaway when they lived in south Burlington. Son uses it with family.

16:30 – 18:50 and 21:00 – 28:15 Sugaring in Jerusalem (Lum’s experience of 14 years, stopped 4 years ago; and some history of other sugarers)

28:20 – 36:00 Lum’s career in selling chainsaws – started shop in South Burlington, then moved it to Jerusalem right at his house for reasons of “downsizing” the business. Describes his customers (all sorts of people use chainsaws in VT), and changes in business.

36:45 – 40:40 Marylin describing son’s education in VT, is now a forester at Johnson lumber. They have 3 sons and a daughter. – in Hinesburg, Middlebury, Huntingdon, Berry.

42:50 – 45:50 Cool stories from Lum about his Dad’s police job during Prohibition chasing down gangsters smuggling alcohol through from Canada.

45:50 – 46:15 Harry Truman’s grandson lives in Starksboro.

46:20 – 48:25 – Short bit on Lum’s WWII experience

49:30 – 51:15 ; 52:50 – 55:30 “No, we’d rather not sometimes [have anything to do with Starksboro]” They definitely think that Jerusalem is quite separate. They don’t really do too much in Starksboro at all. “Well there’s nothing to do!” [in Starksboro].

55:10 – 57:30 Telling me about Bertha Hansen’s book about Starksboro history.

57:40 – 1:00:25 Talking about Stony Mason.

1:01:30 – 1:04:35 Jerusalem used to be called Orvisville. People who went to the schoolhouse: Greg Orvis, Gary Orvis, Cathy Bushy, Linda Barnard, Bruce Rublee(sp?).

1:04:45 – 1:09:00 No real disappointments about their experience in Starksboro. Kind of resent the necessity for transportation. General satisfaction.

1:14:30 – Marylin tells funny story about founding of Jerusalem (she misquoted it).

1:18:00 – “when you’re talking to people around here you wanna pay attention.”

1:23:00 – Had an easy time connecting to people when they moved in because of the shop and the people they met.

1:34:00 – Story about how Rodney Orvis helped their son decide what to do.

Jeff and Betsy Dunham Interview

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October 24, 2008

Dunham residence

Ireland Rd., Starksboro, Vermont

Interviewed by Chester Harvey

The Dunhams have been Starksboro residents since 1976. They now live in a house they built themselves on 320 acres at the top of Ireland Rd. where they raise about fifteen beef cattle and have a productive sugarbush. Elizabeth uses the road’s high speed internet connection to telecommute to her job with Lockheed Martin. Jeff is an architect working for a firm in Waitsfield.

The interview was conducted in the Dunhams’ home. Their dog, Ellie, can be heard in the background of the recording.

0:00 – Middlebury College, early time in Starksboro during College and as recent graduates

4:10 – Jeff: Starksboro was sort of like the “end of the world” back then

10:15 – The Ireland Rd. community

14:00 – The Dunham’s understanding of Hillsboro and Ireland Rd. History

15:00 – Land stewardship, farming, sugaring

22:15 – Kids, maintaining the homestead, their childhoods

24:30 – “Everywhere you go, up here, is ten miles away”

32:00 – Betsy’s career, Lockheed Martin, working from Starksboro

37:45 – Telecommuting on Ireland Rd.

43:00 – Jeff’s career, architecture in Waitsfield

43:50 – Betsy: “In both of our cases, … we chose where we wanted to be knowing that we were going to have to figure out how to make it work, and knowing that we might even seriously compromise our material career prospects. But it was more important for us to be here, and to have this kind of life.”

46:00 – Jeff’s involvement with Starksboro planning, the early planning process

48:00 – ‘Spaghetti’ lots

52:30 – Town planning forums

54:30 – “One way or another, they all cared [about the town] … That was very clear.”

56:30 – Agricultural corridor planning, incentives to put housing in the woods around the edges

57:40 – Jeff: “There was a strong feeling in town not to extend town roads back into the wilderness area … in the middle, so there were strong disincentives for that.”

58: 20 – Jeff: “The town went from being run by the traditional group, who were very dedicated people, to being much more of a democracy. … It included more and more people. The more people who feel like they’re part of the process, [the more people] take ownership of the results.”

59:45 – Betsy: “Starksboro will continue to be a bedroom community for folks who work somewhere else.”

Following their interview, the Dunhams noted that the planning process helped to solidify the relationship between and ‘old timers’ and the new ‘hippies’ who were coming into town. It helped prevent many problems that might have occurred throughout the past twenty of thirty years had a cross section of the town’s population not been encouraged to meet and understand each other on their own terms so early on.

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