Swain family cemetery: Edie’s Vermont roots run deep

Map to the Swain family cemetary.We often tell our guests here at the October Country Inn that 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.  You often pass isolated farmhouses with spectacular mountain and valley views. You invariably pass an old cemetery.   In might be the Swain cemetery.  Cellar holed, and old stone walls are everywhere.  These are remnants of a Vermont of old.

Many communities have disappeared.

Although hard to now imagine, early settlers cut down all the trees.  Many small communities scattered through the countryside disappeared.  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.

The Swain cemetery lies hidden.

Grave markers for two of Edie's ancestors.One of those cemeteries, the Swain Cemetery, lies hidden behind a couple of hunting camps, past the old schoolhouse,  alongside Brown Schoolhouse Road.  Edie’s people are buried here.

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 returned to her roots.

 

By |2021-01-13T15:47:56-05:00November 22nd, 2012|Historic Roots|

The Crown Point Road: Vermont’s first interstate highway.

 

Photo copy of a map of the Crown Point Road route.There are many opportunities for our guests here at the October Country Inn to explore early American History.  For example, in 1759, the British Government surveyed, constructed, and paid for Vermont’s first interstate highway.

Britain paid for it.

For centuries, native Americans in this area had followed the waterways leading from Canada to the coast.  One of the most-traveled routes connected Lake Champlain and the Connecticut River following Otter Creek and the Black River.  Coincidentally, this footpath starts at British General Amherst’s strategic position at Crown Point, New York.  And ends at an important military post, Fort No. 4 on the Connecticut River.  Using this route, Amherst tasked Captain John Stark, commanding Rogers Rangers, to cut and mark the road.  It was then constructed, and served to aid the British during the remainder of the French Indian War.

Named the Crown Point Road, it was built during the French and Indian War because, following England’s defeat of French forces at Forts Carrilon and St. Frederic on Lake Champlain, Amherst, wanted to pursue the French into Canada, but desperately needed to replenish troops and supplies.  Amherst needed a quicker route to Crown Point than using the slow and cumbersome passage up the Hudson River and through Lake George with all the overland portages that route required.

Colonial militias made use of this road to help defeat the British.

Photo of a stone post commemorating the Crown Point Road.

Granite marker placed alongside Route 131in the town of Amsden.

During the American Revolution, Colonial militias, schooled by the British during the French Indian War, turned the tables on the British and utilized this road to their own advantage, contributing to the ultimate British defeat.  After the Revolution, this road played a huge part as a conduit for the great influx of settlers coming to the area to establish many of the towns and homesteads that still exist today.

Much of this road can still be found.

Photo of a bronze plate commemorating the British Military Road.

Bronze plate alongside Meadowbrook Farm Road in the town of Reading.

Although much of this road has grown over, there is still a wooded trail, with stone markers placed along the way, that runs from Charlestown, New Hampshire to Chimney Point, Vermont.  The Crown Point Road Association, organizes hikes along this historic route from time to time.  Check their website for more information.

By |2021-01-14T14:03:55-05:00September 20th, 2012|Historic Roots|
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