You really can’t appreciate Vermont without spending a fair amount of time wandering around on the extensive network of back roads. These hard packed dirt tracks will lead you through woods and meadow past isolated farmhouses and estates to spectacular mountain and valley views. You will invariably pass an old cemetery, the occasional cellar hole, and always an array of old stone walls that seem to be in the middle of nowhere. These are remnants of a Vermont of old.
Although it’s hard to imagine now, the Vermont of old was almost totally cleared of trees by early settlers. There were many small communities scattered through the countryside that no longer exist. All that exists, are the remnants–cemeteries, cellar holes, and stone walls.
Reading Center is one such town that no longer exists. All that remains of Reading Center is a marker alongside Town Hill Road, what remains of an old schoolhouse alongside Brown Schoolhouse Road, old apple orchards clustered around old stone walls and cellar holes, and a collection of old cemeteries.
Edie’s full name is Edith Swain Janisse. Her middle name, Swain, is her family name, and that family has deep roots in New England and Vermont.
Nathaniel Swain came to Vermont from Reading, MA in 1785, settled upon and cleared a 250 acre farm. Nathaniel had three sons. One of them, Nathaniel Jr., married Charlotte Sherwin and the two of them farmed that original homestead until Nathaniel’s death in 1850. Nathaniel Jr. donated the land that is now the Swain Cemetary. Edie is the great, great, great granddaughter of Nathaniel and Charlotte Swain. Although Edie was born in California, she has come back to her roots.