Submitted by Margo Caulfield
The Cavendish Historical Society is pleased to announce that this fall, we will be focusing on Proctorsville, Vermont.
In 1782, Capt. Leonard Proctor, a Revolutionary War veteran, moved his family to Vermont. With his two sons (Jabez and John) he built a “shunpike” to the village of Gassetts in nearby Chester to avoid paying the tolls of the Green Mountain Turnpike. Salmon Dutton, who came to Cavendish around the same time, had helped to build the Green Mountain Turnpike, which ran from Bellows Falls to Rutland, bringing Boston coaches north up the Duttonsville Gulf to the village and then west along the present RT 131 through Proctorsville. The “shunpike” being toll free resulted in North bound traffic from Boston coming directly to Proctorsville and bypassing Duttonsville. Because of the road, the Dutton and Proctor families, as well as the villages of Duttonsville (today know as Cavendish) and Proctorsville, feuded for 75 years.
The marriage of Redfield Proctor and Emily Dutton in 1858 joined the leading families of the two villages and promised to put an end to the former rivalry. As Redfield said of his first son, Fletcher Dutton Proctor, "if the old names and blood had the old inclination left to stir up strife, it would have created a fearful internal commotion." In fact, the merger of these families proved to be a propitious event for Vermont, since three governors and a United States Senator came from this Dutton-Proctor line.
In February 20, 1907, Proctorsville formally gave notice to the Town of Cavendish that it wished to be incorporated. Today Proctorsville is a village within the township of Cavendish.
On September 12, there will be a walking tour of Proctorsville, starting at 1 pm in front of the Proctorsville War Memorial. Learn about an Inn with a ghost, the hotels that once graced Depot Street, see the homes that were built by the founder of Proctorsville, Capt. Leon Proctor, and much more. There are 16 stops on the tour. Copies of the tour, available on the 12th, will also be at the Cavendish Library, starting September 14. Be advised that there are some hills, so be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes.
For the month of October, there will be a pictorial display of Proctorsville in the Cavendish Library.
On October 10, the annual cemetery tour will take place at the Hillcrest Cemetery in Proctorsville at 2 pm. There will be a second guided Proctorsville Walking Tour that day starting at 1 pm at the War Memorial, which will include the Cemetery tour. Carmine Guica, one of CHS’s genealogists, will have information about who is buried in this Cemetery. If you don’t know the story of “Fire Bug Fitton,” Carmine will tell you about it when you visit the family grave plot.