Village Life in the Eighties and Nineties
ON October 14, 1879, Albert Wellington Flanders and Mary Lizzie Gilfillan were married and set up housekeeping in Barnet, Vermont. On September 28, 1880, I was born. My birthplace was Grandpa Tom's house, which stood and still stands at the brow of the hill, across the road from the Congregational Church.
Grandpa Tom's woodworking shop was at the upper end of the village, where the Stevens River drops into the meadows for a brief rest before plunging down the hillside to join the Connecticut. The mill has long since vanished. It converted logs into lumber and then into various sawed, shaped and turned specialties.
The town of Barnet was to a considerable degree a self-sufficient economic unit. Besides raising its own meat and vegetables, it raised most of the grain for feeding the animals and some of that for feeding its inhabitants. In its several villages it boasted gristmills, creameries, and cheese factories. There were simple manufactures as well. There was a tannery, and a pulp mill. The latter was powered by a spectacular falls where the Stevens River cascades down its hundred and forty feet to the level of the Connecticut.
The most fascinating place for me was Mr. Wallace's tin shop. Mr. Wallace was a true craftsman, and I never tired of watching