|Front of postcard|
I have a lot of reasons to watch for information about Speedwell Farms. This agricultural effort of Theodore Newton Vail, whose telegraph-related enterprise skills empowered AT&T in the early 20th century, was a model of modern agriculture for its times. Through a series of local connections, T. N. Vail, a quintessential "out-of-stater," bought farmland in Lyndonville, Vermont, and developed it in both size and farming methods.
|Back of postcard|
Following the highest moral code of his time, Vail contributed heavily to his Vermont town, and both Lyndon Institute and Lyndon State College, now NVU Lyndon, owe their strengths to his support.
Vail's life and philanthropy were the major collecting interest for my husband Dave Kanell, enlivening his retirement years with an endless quest for related materials. Last week I noticed what's called a "real photo postcard" set at Vail's Speedwell Farms, and being sold online. The price was higher than Dave would ever, ever have paid, so with great regret, I didn't purchase the original, but the two photos here show the front and back of the card.
I have another connection to this beyond Dave's passion for it: Speedwell Farms took its name from the New Jersey ironworks that the Vail family established in the previous century, in Morristown there -- a place I often visited as a child with my mother, who loved its historic houses and battlefield. Talk about nostalgia!
Finally, this postcard was mailed to Miss Margaret (spelled Margrett) Bean in "Watterford Vermont" -- that is, my own town of Waterford. It's postmarked in both Lyndonville and Waterford -- on June 30, 1908, at 8 pm, in Lyndonville, and then the next morning (July 1) in Waterford. I transcribe the writing as follows:
June 30 Lyndonville Speedwell Farms / Just a line I am well hope you are the same is Al at home yet good buy from EOK
[If you see it differently and have a reason to think you know the sender, let me know!]
In documents archived online, I can find Miss Margaret Bean teaching in Waterford in 1925. She was quite young when this card was sent, though, only six years old at the time! Her parents were Ervin Lester Bean (a farmer; 1873-1957) and Orpha P. Kerwin Bean (1879-1929), both born just across the state line in New Hampshire. Margaret married Warren Weston Whitney in 1925, and lived in Littleton and then Lancaster, NH, where her burial stone stands.
Since one of my 5-great grandfathers is Jonathan Bean of Candia, NH, I'm especially curious about Margaret and may pursue this again later!
Most important for me today, though, is the pleasure of finding a Speedwell Farms image, and enjoying the link between Lyndonville and Waterford residents in 1908.
|1905 Waterford VT directory |