A Stitch in Time: Townshend, Vermont 1753-2003

Townshend, VT, Townshend Historical Society, Inc. (2003)

288 Pages, illustrated, index Hardcover $30

Library of Congress Catalog Number: 2003103615

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A Stitch in Time, like an old New England patchwork quilt, is pieced together from journals, photographs, histories, interviews and memorabilia, to evoke the lives and acts of the people of Townshend, Vermont, over 250 years—people both famous and obscure. Profusely illustrated, it includes full source notes and bibliography, and appendices on Townshend in the military and on early landowners. A Stitch in Time received the 2004 Award of Excellence, Publication Achievement, from the US League of Local Historical Societies.



From Worcester, Massachusetts, to Townshend, Vermont, the distance is about 80 miles. Today, the drive might take as much as a couple of hours, depending on traffic and on the weather. Two hundred years ago, that journey was a very different kind of trip. A single traveler with a good horse might make it in one long day and part of another. But for the farming families who came with their belongings from . . . the Worcester area to settle Townshend, the way was far longer and more difficult. . . .

Like other families who settled in Townshend at the time, the Aaron Tafts brought their livestock with them. One of the Taft sons, Peter, then aged about fourteen, had the job of driving the family cow. . . . He walked in the snow behind the sleds the whole way. For the rest of his long life, Peter Taft, whose grandson became President of the United States, insisted that if they hadn’t had to follow the family’s movables, he and the cow could have made better time. (Chapter 1, “A Dreary Wilderness”)



A Stitch in Time is a lively and fascinating history of the town. Famous personalities like Clarina Howard Nichols, one of America’s early suffragists, make good reading. This book will be of great interest, not only for the residents of Townshend, but to all its Vermont neighbors.”—Madeleine Kunin, Governor of Vermont 1985-1991


“It is a major flaw of history that it deals almost exclusively with the large and the violent and too often passes by the small, intelligent, and gently civilized. This makes Townshend a fine, even precious example of the small, both interesting and important. It is thus that I recommend this lovely book. It is to be read for information and pleasure. This I urge for readers along with my thanks for those who did the work.”—John Kenneth Galbraith