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This is part of a three part series dealing with Marshall P. Felch and where he grew up.  We have learned that Marshall was a shoemaker when he was young which was a rather common profession for young men in New England during the 1850’s and discuss this in a post related to our visit to Sturbridge Massachusetts.  We have also learned that in the late 1850’s Marshall was working as a shoemaker for an Alvah Bean in West Fairlee and we discuss this in a second post.  This post is related more to where he lived on a farm near Piermont New Hampshire and the general neighborhood where he and his first wife Carrie Eastman lived in.  The neighborhood is shown on the following map.

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Joan Alexander, Natalie Kinsey-Warnock, my wife JoAnn, and I piled into Natalies car after our visit to West Fairlee on October 5, 2012 and headed into the Vermont and New Hampshire hill country surrounding the Connecticut River Valley.  We hit several locations but our primary focus was Piermont.    Nat and Joan would head home at the end of the day while JoAnn and I would scour the neighborhood one more time the next day on the 6th of October, 2012.

Lets focus first on Piermont, a rural village near the Connecticut River where the Parker and his wife Hannah (Gould) Felch would raise their family which included Marshall and 8 other brothers and sisters.    Our first stop in Piermont was the town cemetery, Nat and Joan’s second visit here.

 

PIermont Town Cemetery

Piermont Town Cemetery

They took me right to the location where Parker and Hannah were buried.  It was one of those special moments for me.

Parker and Hannah Felch

Parker and Hannah Felch

Also buried here is Marshall’s brother Henry H  and his sister Sarah Learned (whom most likely Marshall and Amanda’s daughter Sarah would be named after).  Henry would eventually come to Canon City and help Marshall find dinosaur bones!  Henry went on to marry and live in San Diego California, relatives that Sarah Felch (daughter of Amanda and Marshall) would visit during her life.

Henry H and Sarah L Felch

Henry H and Sarah L Felch

Our next quest though was to figure out where the family farm was.   One of our clues turned out to be the maps and information we had found in the Rauner Special Collections library and the Evans Map Library at Dartmouth.

Here is a historic map showing Piermont and on it is the location where Parker Felch had a farm a couple of miles east of the town.

Parker Felch Farm Location

The location of the farm where Parker and Hannah Felch raised a family

If you look carefully at the map you can see P Felch.  Also notice the mountain called Peaked Mountain.  We’ll come back to that in a minute.

One of the great things about this part of the world is things have not changed a whole lot in the last century.  So many places where we have all grown up look so dramatically different when we visit but things here we’re not so different, what a great feeling!   Naturally we drove up and down that road a few times looking for clues and then we finally pulled over and headed up the hill.  We could see where a road once went up the hill based on stacked stones so we figured we were in the right neighborhood.

stacked stones below Felch farm

stacked stones below Felch farm. Possibly in support of a road going up to the farm about 50 feet higher up the hill.

We walked on what we all felt was the “hill farm” area they lived but it was getting very late (and a bit cool) near the end of this fine October day so we decided to call it a day.  JoAnn and I would scour the countryside one more time the next day including this area.  The previous day in Alvah Bean’s diary we learned that Parker was a wagon driver and that he helped support the family most likely carrying goods (mostly shoes!)  around the villages in this part of Vermont.

So the next day JoAnn and I traveled back though this area and were lucky enough to capture a beautiful fall picture of Peaked Mountain and the farm area!

Peaked Mountain just east of Piermont New Hampshire

Peaked Mountain just east of Piermont New Hampshire.  The Felch farm would be just to the right of this mountain.

This brings us to the story of Carrie Eastman whom was born in the Strafford area on the 10th of August of 1842.  She met Marshall in the neighborhood sometime before 1860, became pregnant in late 1859 and on the 27th of January of 1860 married Marshall.   It was on the 20th of April of 1860 that Caroline “little Carrie” was born in West Fairlee and it was seven days later that Carrie passed away.   We can surmise that this was a tragic event for Marshall and the Eastman family who lived in this area.  Marshall and his daughter Sarah would maintain a good relationship with little Carrie for the rest of their lives.  The story of the Eastman family is for another post but we did travel and see some of the neighborhood where both the Eastman’s and the Felch family lived and worked.

Piermont Town Library

Piermont Town Library

Strafford Vermont

Strafford Vermont, an “Eastman Family” location

We picked up a short story by Bob and Stefanie Johnston on Strafford at the Strafford historical society building and visited with the authors about our story and learned more about this beautiful area.

Thetford Vermont

Thetford: A Felch family location but also a location where George Peabody (uncle of Professor Marsh) donated money for a library. Most of the Thetford history is closely tied to that of Post Mills, just a short distance away.

Marshall and Carrie (Eastman) Felch’s daughter Carrie Felch was living in Strafford with her grandfather, Amos Whitney Eastman, a farmer, and grandmother Mary “Polly” Eastman, in 1870 and she probably had lived with them all through the war years.   Many years later in 1889, Marshall and Amanda’s daughter Sarah visited Carrie in the Thetford/Post Mills area.  We stopped at the library in Thetford where we met a most informative librarian who was very helpful in acquainting us with the area.  We picked up a publication on the history of this area by Charles Lantham jr. most informative with nice historic illustrations as well.  One other publication we grabbed was the history and folklore of Post Mills Vermont  by Jessie A. Baldwin which is full of good stories!

We would also be remiss not to mention a publication entitled “Green Mountain Copper – the story of Vermont’s Red Metal by Collamer Abbott.    Mines were well known in this area, certainly to Marshall Felch who would arrive near the dawn of Colorado’s mining industry in 1866 and would move with Amanda to Montezuma Colorado where they would build a hotel for early silver miners.

 

Bradford New Hampshire

Bradford New Hampshire, a location known well to both the Eastman and Felch families.

During our stay in this area we spent two nights at a bed and breakfast called naturally “Breakfast on the Connecticut”.  I got up early the next morning and walked down to the edge of the Connecticut River on a foggy and misty morning so will close out this picture!

Connecticut River

Connecticut River just below our bed and breakfast called “Breakfast on the Connecticut” on October 7, 2012