Frank Van Doorn

Recollections of Boyhood Life in Brattleboro Fifty Years Ago.

Editor of The Phoenix:--- Your article on "the old violin maker" and "Brattleboro 50 years ago" remind me very pleasantly of part of my boy life spent in Brattleboro about that time.

I well remember the old windlass at the foot of "the island," used to pull boats up through the "tunnel," as the narrow part of the river was then called; and especially of one boat sunk in the operation, and of seeing Mr. Cune up to his waist in the water assisting in the rescue of some freight he had on board.

At the lower end of High street was the little law office of Bradley & Keyes. Over opposite was Postmaster Green in another small building, and at the top of the hill his pretentious house, afterwards owned by Dr. Higginson.

Mr. Green brought the first tomatoes to town ever seen or heard of by any one there. They were called "love apples."

On the north side of High street, at the top of the hill, was a picnic grove, in which Daniel Webster once made an address from a little platform on which was a rug from my father's house, which from that time had extraordinary value in our eyes.

G. C. Hall's large side yard on Main street was a great meeting place and playground for the boys, where some mischief and lots of fun were planned, and good times had.

At the free academy farther up Main street, we had an enthusiastic, loving teacher, Mr. Woolson, who led us easily in all our lessons and exercises. We were taught drawing by Lawyer Bradley, we went on mineralogical and botanical excursions with the principal, we gazed at the stars with the astronomy class.

Up on the "common" we played ball in summer and investigated snow-drifts in the winter, boated on the Connecticut, fished in West river, and climbed Chesterfield mountain whenever we could.

We always enjoyed going to Lawyer Mead's and Parson Walker's houses. We liked the boys and their parents, too. Mrs. Walker was a splendid woman. She gave us cookies and apples sometimes. Larkin Mead, jr., made us funny pictures.

Well, well--- so many things I think of! They would fill a book. But books are not in my line, nor yours.

Frank Van Doorn.

Rochester, N. Y. April 2, 1894.

Vermont Phoenix, April 6, 1894.

[Frederick Van Doorn had a house and sign painting and glazing business on Main Street opposite George Bugbee's hotel. His advertisements in the Vermont Phoenix began in March 1839. He also painted chairs, papered, and made imitations of wood, stone, and marble.]

[The men named here are William P. Cune, Asa Keyes, Jonathan Dorr Bradley, Dr. Francis J. Higginson, Larkin G. Mead, Jr., Gardner C. Hall, Asa Green, and Rev. Charles Walker, and Moses Woolson.]






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