Ok…let’s get on to the last two days of Fun Stuff© here in Randolph Center VT…I gotta admit it’s been a hard 4 days here…long days every day except today and no days off due to the loss of 2 days here after our bearing failure. No worries though…we soldiered on and did cool stuff albeit not quite as fast paced as the first two days.
Sunday after Mass we headed about 60 miles north to the Ethan Allen Homestead Historical Center…not so much to visit the homestead itself as it was too much walking around for Connie’s sore hip…but to listen to a talk on the Shays Settlement Project…which like us you’ve probably never heard of so here’s a little background on the subject.
Daniel Shays was a Captain in the 5th Massachusetts Regiment of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary war…and was well known to George Washington…who personally chose him to serve as the commander of the guard over English Major John André during his trial as a spy after his capture following the defection of Benedict Arnold. A little aside here…Benedict Arnold has a reputation as a traitor to the Continental Army during the war…but it’s actually a lot more nuanced than that…the history books have given him somewhat of a bad rap. In actuality…only about 1/3 of the citizens supported the Continental side, another 1/3 were British loyalists, and the remaining 1/3 was effectively neutral…Arnold’s wife was a loyalist and he considered that the Continentals had done him wrong by passing him over for promotion and crediting his achievements in early battles to others.
Anyways…after the war Shays was discharged and not paid for his service…and then summoned to court and almost sent to debtors prison for unpaid debts which he could not pay since he did not receive the Army pay due him. He and about 800 or so other similarly treated veterans formed a group named the Regulators which went in under arms and closed courts when veterans were being charged as debtors. The Regulators tried to petition the legislature to no avail…and in November 1786 the Regulators went to capture the Springfield Armory to gain arms and cannon…they were met by and fired upon by the Massachusetts Militia with several Regulators killed and numerous others wounded…this action was termed the Shays Rebellion despite the fact that the only gunfire was from the Massachussets militia side. Following the incident at Springfield…Shays and several hundred of his supporters fled the state into southern Vermont and established a settlement at Egg Mountain near Sandgate in 1787. The settlement remained occupied until 1813 or thereabouts…a plague in that year killed 30 inhabitants and the settlement was burned, likely to prevent the spread of the disease. The mountain the settlement was on was known locally as Ague Mountain…ague being an old term for plague…and that was later bastardized into Egg Mountain. The settlement remained undisturbed for over 200 years until a local college professor named Stephen Butz discovered it in 1991 during a snowmobile trip in the area. Common local knowledge in the area called the area Shays Settlement…and as an archeologist he was astounded that something this significant and connected to a famous Revolutionary War figure had not been investigated.
Mr. Butz established the Shays Settlement Project of which he is the executive director and has spent the last 15 years or so excavating at the site.
The talk was given by Mr. Butz and detailed his discovery of the site, documentation searches over the years, and his excavations at the site…which include an annual dig each summer attended by high school students interested in archeology or Vermont history. While there is no definitive proof that this settlement was occupied by Daniel Shays…a considerable amount of circumstantial documentation including deeds to the land in his name, contemporary newspaper articles, and local lore have convinced him that most likely it was founded and inhabited by Shays and his followers. Archeological digs have produced numerous artifacts that date to the late 1700s time period, ceramics, tools and the like…the finding of glass windows at the site provides proof that somebody lived here and made a go of the settlement and ownership records and other documentation make it likely to have been Shays.
Anyway…a really great talk…Butz is an excellent speaker and both Connie and Neil enjoyed it as well as learning about something…Shays Rebellion and the aftermath…that neither of them had ever heard of.
After the lecture we headed over to nearby Burlington where we had an early dinner at Farm House Tap and Grill before heading home.
Monday was our shortest planned day…good thing as we needed it. We headed off to the Quechee Gorge…a 185 foot deep gorge on the Ottauquechee River for some photos…then over to the dam and waterfall at Emery Mills in Quechee VT, we also visited the Simon Pearce glass blowing workshop which is located in the old mill building. After that we stopped by Big Fatty’s BBQ in White River Junction for lunch…and take out for dinner before heading home.
We didn’t get any photos at the lecture since we skipped the Ethan Allen homestead…but did get some on Monday.
Looking downstream from the bridge over the gorge…pretty far down there and no real way to get down.
This is the covered bridge over the Ottauquechee River in Quechee…you can see the water coming over the dam in the background. Again…still in use although this one may have been reinforced as it’s 2 lanes, paved instead of having a wooden deck, and had no weight restrictions that we saw.
Overview shot of the dam that Connie got…as you can see it used to be a full waterfall before the dam was built but the builders preserved most of the waterfall itself, perhaps because the rocks helped support the base of the sam. Usually dam spillway “waterfalls” aren’t very photogenic but this one is an exception.
Closer view without all the distracting concrete in the shot.
Interesting things found on the net.
You’re gonna be here awhile…have a Snickers.
This is so true.
Seems about right…no party affiliation intended or implied.
London when the temperature gets to 75 degrees.
Taking speed limit enforcement to a whole ‘nuther level.