2019 Annual Meeting

Date: Sunday, October 27th

Time: 4:00 p.m.

Place: Pond Village Church, 49 Ridge Road, Brookfield, Vermont

What:  These Old Tunes are Good Enough for Me: Harold Luce, the story of a Vermont Fiddler by Adam Boyce.

A potluck supper will follow the program and annual meeting.

Harold LuceHarold “Chuck” Luce (1918-2014)

Harold was a featured performer at the Smithsonian in the mid 1980’s, and he appeared in the documentary “New England Fiddles,” along with winning various awards at fiddle contests.  Adam Boyce, one of Luce’s many pupils, shares photos, audio recordings, and personal recollections of Harold, and also plays a few favorite tunes that he learned from him.

About the Presenter

Adam Boyce

Adam Boyce is a fiddler, composer, and author who studied the traditional music and dance history of New England with the legendary “Yankee” fiddler Harold “Chuck” Luce.  See full biography.

A Vermont Humanities Council Speakers Bureau event hosted by the Brookfield Historical Society.

This event is free, open to the public, and accessible to those with disabilities.

Published in: on October 15, 2019 at 3:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

These Old Tunes are Good Enough for Me

Flyer - These Old Tunes

Click on the image for a larger view.  PDF version of flyer.

Published in: on October 15, 2019 at 2:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Spinning Exhibition

Click on the image for a larger view.  PDF version of flyer.

Published in: on July 14, 2019 at 9:31 am  Leave a Comment  

2019 Marvin Newton House Open Sunday Afternoons

The Brookfield Historical Society’s museum, the Marvin Newton House, is open in July and August from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Published in: on July 14, 2019 at 9:21 am  Leave a Comment  

2019 Ice Out!

The official ice out time and date is April 21 at 6:26 p.m.

Thank you all for participating in the annual raffle.

(Dunkin’s time for glory approaches!  Photo taken the morning to April 21, 2019.)

(April 22, 2019, Dunkin is on his way home.)

Published in: on April 26, 2019 at 3:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Red Scare in the Green Mountains: Vermont in the McCarthy Era 1948-1960

Red Scare in the Green Mountains site header and bookcover

(Book cover image retrieved from the Red Scare in the Green Mountains website and used with permission.)

Rick Winston – Red Scare in the Green Mountains – April 7, 2019, 4:00 PM, at the Pond Village Church, Fellowship Hall, 49 Ridge Road, Brookfield, VT.

A community potluck dinner will follow the presentation.

What happened in Vermont when the anti-Communist fear known as the “Red Scare” swept the country? Quite a bit, as it turns out. Rick Winston explores some forgotten history as we see how a small, rural “rock-ribbed Republican” state with a historically libertarian streak handled the hysteria of the time. Far from the klieg lights of Washington D.C., Hollywood, and New York City, there were several fascinating stories in the Green Mountains: a high-profile academic firing, a conservative senator who helped take down Joseph McCarthy, controversies involving left-leaning summer residents, and some veteran newspaper editors who spoke out against McCarthy’s tactics. Now, as our country again experiences a political atmosphere charged with intolerance, condemnation, and widespread falsehoods, this book could not be more timely. Rick will talk about his book with special attention on a 1950 episode that unfolded in nearby Bethel.

For more information about the author and book, please visit his site at http://redscareinthegreenmountains.com/.

Published in: on March 17, 2019 at 3:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

My Summers as part of the Barn Crew at Green Trails, 1961-1964, by Stuart Osha

As a rule, guests did not start arriving at Green Trails until late June.  The barn crew arrived as soon as school was out and went right to work.  We moved into the boys’ quarters located in the attic of the shed attached to the Fisk house (now removed).  There was space there for four boys with a bathroom and shower downstairs.  I might mention that the bedroom of Jessie Fiske, owner of Green Trails, was at the end of the Fisk house, just on the other side of the wall from the boys’ quarters. I don’t think this was an accident.   She was known to go downstairs and out into the shed, hollering up instructions to “quiet down” if we got a little too boisterous, a little too late.  Jessie did not like to be awakened after she was in bed for the night.

The first summer I arrived to work at Green Trails my older brother, John, was already working there.  He had started there a few years before me and was in charge of the barn crew.  Usually, John and I were the first to arrive for the season and to get started on the projects at hand, which were mainly bringing the horses in from pasture and also riding the new horses Jessie had traded for during the off-season. These horses sometimes presented their own challenges and needed to be ridden to get over their hangups and get used to being ridden regularly. This was also our chance to make a judgment as to the riders’ skill level required.  We also had to get our schedule organized for barn chores…morning, noon and night.  This included watering the horses.  The horses in use were kept in straight stalls so they needed to be led to the water tub five or six times a day depending on the temperature and their use. The barn also needed to be cleaned and fresh sawdust put down at least twice a day.  We also mixed our own grain consisting of oats and bran.  This was a very dusty project indeed.

We ate our meals at the Fork Shop located at the east end of the Floating Bridge.  We, as well as the Green Trails guests, were summoned for lunch and dinner by the ringing of the bell located in the cupola of the Fork Shop.  We had our own dining room in the basement, directly below the kitchen.  We were served by a dumb waiter operated with a rope.  We would sit at our round table and wait for our food to arrive.  We gathered at the table three times a day and we never knew what was coming down the dumb waiter for meals. Early in the season, when there were only two or three of us, we would eat up in the kitchen.

There was also trail maintenance that needed to be done before the arrival of guests.  After the winter there would always be brush to trim and fallen limbs to clear from the trails.  This was a real fun time for us.  We had trails all over Brookfield and even into Williamstown.  Miss Butters, who was in charge of the Fork Shop, would make our lunch and we would pack it into our saddle bags, tie our clippers to the saddle and away we would go to spend most of the day clearing trails.  We really didn’t consider this work.  We enjoyed it so much.

One time is still special in my mind.  We were opening up the Revery Ride Trail.  This trail was off of Old Post Road and came out by Dr. Barry’s road.  We would return via Lavender Road and Morgan Mile Road.  On this particular lovely June day, I remember stopping at the cellar holes, where the Barry house now stands.  We tied up our horses and had lunch. We sat on the stones eating our sandwiches that Miss B. made for us.  We felt like cowboys having great conversation between the three of us, John, Stan Miller and myself.  We certainly did not consider this working, how could we?

Jessie kept the saddles and bridles up in the attic of the Fork Shop where she also did most of her own tack repair.  During these early days we were bringing the tack to the barn.   For the most part, we needed a saddle for each horse although some horses could share tack.    Jessie was easy to work for as long as you did what you were told, and mentioning the tack reminds me of an example of this.  One rainy day we went back to bed after breakfast, and a visit from Jesse soon informed us that we were expected to clean tack first and foremost.   Once the tack was cleaned the day was ours except for regular chores.  We did as we were told and it was never mentioned again.

Guests mostly came from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and the Boston area; usually staying a week or two, but some stayed a month and even had family join them during their stay.  Most arrived by car and some via train.  Jessie would take her car and one of the crew and go to Randolph to meet them at the train station.

We had so many different trails to choose from.  Many dirt roads combined with old roads from long ago and they were different lengths; some easy terrain and some not so easy.  The bottom line is, we enjoyed the two-rides-a-day schedule very much. It is important to mention that during this time the only paved roads in Brookfield were Route 14 and Route 12.  There was no I-89 to cut off so many of the trails we enjoyed.

After lunch and before the afternoon ride we needed to get the horses watered again. This chore was usually rotated among the barn crew.   This was not a popular chore, so we came up with an alternative plan for designating this chore.  Directly after lunch, we headed for the croquet court behind the trailer house (up beside the barn) and the Fisk house.  There a very serious game of croquet was held.  The loser did the noon time watering. The competition was fierce but all in fun, like most everything else we did at Green Trails.

When all the afternoon rides had returned, usually by 3:30 or 4:00, the horses were cooled out by hand walking and given water before afternoon chores were started.  I might mention that the incentive for getting the afternoon chores done on time was the swim we so enjoyed in the pond (there may have been some female attractions also swimming) before the evening meal.

Jessie also kept two or three registered American saddlebred horses, her prize show horses.  John rode and showed these horses.  After my first year working there I participated as well.  We would ride and exercise these horses in addition to the regular chores and rides.  Jessie had a large riding ring up in back of the barn and this was where we would work and prepare the horses for show.  At that time there was a really nice horse show in Montpelier at the England Farm.   We attended this show every year and perhaps a show or two in other places.  Kit Gage also participated after John had left Green Trails.  One time we were at a show and the horse I was riding was not dependable at taking his left lead at the canter and this day he did not.   Kit got the blue ribbon and I got the red, I’m still not over that one!

When the summer season was over and everyone had gone home, we had one more Green Trails event, the fall foliage ride held in early October. Many of the summer guests would return for this ride always held on a weekend.  This was a fun time, an all day ride. Miss B. and Jessie would pack up the 1957 Ford station wagon with a delicious lunch for everyone and meet us at the designated location.  One year stands out in my mind… the designated lunch stop was Braintree Hill Church.  It was a beautiful day with brilliant foliage views to the east and west.

When we started each summer work season we did not know how much money we would be making until the summer was over.  When we had our individual exit meeting with Jessie, the check might be $200 or $300 for the entire summer. There was no weekly pay.  If you needed a little spending money all you had to do was ask Jessie and she would write a check for $10 and deduct it from your pay at the end of the season.  Keep in mind our summer wages included our board, meals, and, for the most part, even our entertainment.

A little about the people that held Green Trails together:  I know you all are familiar with hearing about Jessie.  She was an amazing, caring person who from the outside might have appeared a little gruff. She was a real “local” and a real “intellect” and was comfortable in either role.  She managed the entire operation.  I did not think much about it at the time but I realize now the real task it presented.  With guests in all three houses:  trailer house (up beside the barn, the Fisk house and the Benham house.  Miss B. was a delightful person.  She was in charge at the Fork Shop, managing the waitresses and chambermaids.   She too put in long days, seven days a week.  Another individual who was a standout for many of us was Earl Hodgdon.  Earl was the all- around handyman.  He did all the horse chores in the off-season.   He was at Green Trails year ‘round.  Earl had spent many years working on ranches in the west, and we so enjoyed listening to his stories.

We got the opportunity to meet some very interesting and nice people. This was good for many of us who had grown up in the rural community of Brookfield. I would like to take this opportunity to remember my parents for releasing John and me from farm chores to go live and work at Green Trails for the summer.  There is so much more I would like to tell about this wonderful opportunity and experience that I had.  These years are some of my fondest memories. I am very thankful to be able to tell you, that fifty-seven years later, my wife, Margaret, and I continue to ride our horses on parts of these same trails.

(From left to right, Stuart Osha, Stanley Miller, and John Osha)


Memories of Green Trails


As we age in these fast-moving times

Our memories are some of what

We hold dear

As we think back to yesteryear


Years spent at Green Trails hold

Wonderful memories

Ones with special meaning to me


A place that seemed to have

A life all its own

With horses like Honesty, Modesty,

Justice, Becky and of course Betty,

Who could forget Betty


Barn crew, chambermaids, the kitchen crew

And of course, Jessie and Miss B.


From June to the end of August

We all worked hard to please our guests

Together we worked

Doing our very best.


Stuart W. Osha

April 15, 2017

Published in: on March 17, 2019 at 1:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dunkin is out!

Dunkin has been positioned on the Sunset Lake ice this past Thursday, March 14, 2019. He is ready to record when the ice “goes out,” which determines the winner of the Brookfield Historical Society Ice-Out Raffle. Buy your tickets ASAP to guess the date and time the ice goes out.

Published in: on March 16, 2019 at 4:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ice-Out Tickets Available Online

New for 2019, Brookfield Historical Society Sunset Lake Ice-Out Contest tickets are available online.  Follow these simple steps:

  1. Follow this link to pay with Paypal: paypal.me/iceoutguess.
  2. Enter guess amount. $2.00 per guess or three guess for $5.00.
  3. Log into Paypal.
  4. Where it says “Add a note,” give us your name, contact info, and your guesses: dates and times.
  5. Submit the payment.

The online Ice-Out Contest link is provided by Greg Wight, BHS Treasurer.

Published in: on March 4, 2019 at 7:41 pm  Leave a Comment