Arlington library to present history on three towns

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ARLINGTON >> In honor of Vermont's 225th anniversary as the 14th state in America, Bill Budde, curator of the Russell Vermontiana Collection at the Martha Canfield Memorial Library, will present a program on March 19 to celebrate Arlington, Sunderland and Sandgate between 1761 and 1791.

From 1 to 3 p.m., enjoy birthday cake, coffee, tea and juice with a presentation on the three town's history during a 30 year period. Information provided by Budde comes from the Russell Collection that consists of original material of founding families and early settlers of Arlington. Additionally, there are school lists, tax assessments, deeds, military records, land surveys and other manuscripts of valuable documentation, according to a release from the library.

"They're [residents] not aware of it, and it's not covered in schools. There's a lot of people who moved into town who don't have that sense of history for this area," Budde said. "One important thing is that people know this was the center of Vermont for a long time and a lot of things passed through here or took place here."

Budde has been the curator for 10 years after moving to the area from eastern Massachusetts. He started doing genealogy professionally and was in the "right place at the right time" when the position at the library opened.

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Arlington was the capital of the state until it was relocated to Montpelier in 1805. Budde explained that most influential people moved to the area during the Revolutionary War to keep tabs on the Loyalists and to not upset the Patriot's plans.

"There were a lot of influential people and a lot of things going on at that time. It wasn't just a sleepy little town but a place where a lot of things took place," he said. "The march to capture Fort Ticonderoga passed through Arlington and picked up residents with Ethan Allen's army."

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Phyllis Skidmore, library director said that teachers sometimes bring their classes to the collection for assignments. One class even interviewed older residents in Arlington and compiled a booklet of oral histories which is now included in the Vermontiana Collection.

"I know it will be interesting," she said. "Local history is always a popular subject around here. We get people coming in to research their family genealogy and if people purchase an older home and they want to research its background."

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In the past, school curriculum included local and regional history, but Budde said it's not incorporated as much anymore.

"A lot of people don't have the sense of ownership and belonging. Bennington gets most of the press and publicity but this was the capital of Vermont for 10 years and it's not as appreciated as it was in the past," he said. "Since that generation has died, new families come into town a lot of people lost touch with that."

In April and May Budde will run a four session series about how to do genealogy research. The collection is open on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by appointment. Contact the Budde at 802-375-6153 or email

—Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.


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